YPC Planning and Programming 2013

100_9373On 24th February, 11 of us including 6 YPC members, 3 new recruits, Saleh DSP pre-postulant, and myself spent the day in prayer, planning and relaxation. The place chosen was my family’s holiday house at Gorai.  Right from 7:45 a.m. onwards the beautiful experience of togetherness began from Borivli station itself, waiting for each other and then welcoming the 3 new recruits, from Jeri Meri parish, Valentina, Jacklin and Remita, studying in the 11thStd at Divine Child Junior College, Andheri  east. Beginning with the Lenten Recollection talk which I gave, we went into an active mental and spiritual state of reflecting on passages from the Bible, where God tells us “Do not Fear”. I based the talk on the Lenten reflection from our congregational site www.paoline.org, by Rosario Carello.  They wrote instances from their life where there were difficulties, and they were afraid, until they had surrendered to God and it passed by.  After this there was a time of silence as I gave them the sheet with the talk for a deeper assimilation of Carello’s reflection, “A Slow-moving bike and race”.  The recollection, concluded with a sharing of their experience of the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness in their lives.

After the recollection we began planning for the year 2013.  Before anything else, in view of the new recruits, we explained in simple terms who the Young Pauline Collaborators were and what was their vision and goal. The members also reiterate in short an informal report of all the activity carried out in the past year, since June 20, 2012, when we began.  I also shared with them informative bits about our Provincial Chapter, specially about the discussion regarding the YPC. I also informed them of the new name, “Young Pauline Collaborators” and the possibility of there being a chance of having other such groups in different parts of the country where we had communities.  It was a time for rejoicing and enthusiasm and of course thanksgiving to the Lord.

We had carried calendars with us, and we went from month to month, planning formative and service-oriented programmes.  A recruitment drive was also planned. In the course of the planning we felt the need to have a set of guidelines which would help us to present ourselves to other youth and parish team members in a clearer light.  We planned programmes for animating youth in parishes and vulnerable groups of society.   The group felt the need to have at least one common service-oriented programme in collaboration with the Senior Pauline Co-operators. There was also an interest to insert themselves in the actual apostolic programmes of the Daughters of St Paul, specially helping in the Parish Displays on Sundays  and at the stall which is put up for one week, during the Mt Mary feast at Bandra. A brochure needs to be prepared where we could also ask for funds to carry out our projects.  A strong desire to have a session on the Year of Faith was felt.

After breaking for lunch at around 2:30 and about half the year of planning done, we decided to unwind a bit and took a nice walk down the beach, dipped our feet in the sea waters and walked back via the village glancing at the simple lifestyle of the inhabitants who are mostly fisher folk. We paid a visit to the parish church and prayed a few minutes as we admired the beautiful and ancient architecture which was still so well-maintained from pre-British, i.e. Portuguese colonial times.  After a hot cup of tea at one of the families, we trodded back to complete the planning. Soon it was time to say good bye to good old Gorai. So we waited until we could hire a ‘tonga’ as we call it in the local language, which is but a horse carriage so that all of us could fit in and also enjoy the ride back to the Gorai creek. Once again we crossed the ferry, which had brought us to this side in the morning. It was parting time, and soon we said our goodbyes but no less enthusiastic about making concrete all that we had absorbed during the beautiful day that had passed, recollection, planning, fellowship and all.

Sr. Joeyanna, Bandra

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ICPA National Convention

The theme of the day-long convention held at Don Bosco Centre, Okhla, New Delhi on March 3, 2013 was Media and People’s Outrage. At his inauguration speech the Chief Guest, Archbishop Anil J Couto congratulated the ICPA (Indian Catholic Press Association) for completing 50 years of its existence. Incidentally, the ICPA was an offshoot of the Second Vatican Council. Plans for its Golden Jubilee Celebrations are in progress.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe theme was sub-divided into (1) Sting Operations and Paid News, (2) Gender Violence, People’s Outrage and (3) Corruption and People’s Movements. Eminent journalists like Pranjoy Guha Thakurta, John Dayal, A J Philip, Dominic Emmanuel, Seema Mustafa, Anil Chamadia, Anto Akkara, Augustine Veliath, etc. were invited to speak on these themes. Many insightful interventions from the participants threw more light on the points in discussion.

The convention was organized by Fr. George Plathottam, Secretary to the CBCI Commission for Social Communications. Also present at the sessions were the students of NISCORT pursuing studies in social communications.

The General Body Meeting of the ICPA commenced at 5.30 p.m. on the same day and carried on to the next. The minutes of the Meeting 2012 and the financial Statements were circulated among the members and clarifications sought.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The next item on the agenda was the election of the Executives for the next 3 years. The EC consists of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, a Representative each for North South, East and West, and a Woman Member. As very few women were present at this meeting, as also in other years, I was requested to file my nomination paper and fill the last post. In the recent past the ICPA was going through a turbulent period. The new blood injected into the governing body, has brought hope and enthusiasm as we move towards the fifty-first year of ICPA. The participants welcomed with joy the proposal to revive SAR News and initiate a new website for ICPA.

One of the main problems of the ICPA is scarcity of finances. Hence it was decided that the membership fee be hiked: individual membership fee to Rs 300.00 (from 150.00) and the institutional membership to Rs. 1000.00 (from 350.00). It was pointed out that the membership fee has not been revised for the last 10 years.

The next item on the agenda was the planning of the golden jubilee celebrations. All present agreed that it will be held before the end of this year in Mumbai. A committee was formed for the purpose; Fr Joe Eruppakkat is the Convener. There is also a Souvenir Committee under the chairmanship of Fr. Feroz Fernandes (Goa). A point on which everyone agreed is the urgent need to remind the old registered members who have not been attending for years and to recruit new members, particularly Catholic media houses.

The Meeting came to an end with a joined meeting of the outgoing and incoming Executives.

Sr. Clare Ukken, Mumbai

Celebration of International Women’s Day

women - chosen 2Five of us from the Bandra community, namely, Srs Joeyanna, Neena, Pauline, Rita and Zarina participated in International Women’s Day Celebrations organized by the Women’s Commission of the Archdiocese of Bombay on 3rd March, 2013 at St Michael’s Church, Mahim.  After the registration and breakfast snack, there was a warm welcome address accorded by Ms. Marcia D’Cunha, Executive Secretary of the Archdiocesan Commission for Women, to the near 350 strong crowd of mostly women. The Indian lamp was lit by some of the dignitaries present, which included Merlyn D’Sa, the first catholic and woman municipal corporator, Sr Jeanne Devos ICM, (honourable awardee) and Flavia Agnes, Advocate (honourable awardee) who were to be honoured with awards during this programme. His Lordship Emeritus Bosco Penha was also present for the occasion. The programme which followed consisted of watching a video to the tune of Ram Sampat’s “GoriChiraiya” of Aamir Khan’s Satyameva Jayate fame, which featured the plight of women. This was prepared by Andre D’Cunha in view of the 37 Million Diyas programme which was organized in January, this year.  Another interesting item was the recitation in act of the poem by Maya Angelou ‘Still I Rise’, which was enacted by young women of the group 1 Billion Rising, which mushroomed after the horrendous Delhi rape, or better known “Nirbhaya Rape Case”. Fr Ralph Fernandes then read a poem “Every Man” which spoke of woman from a man’s point of view which was indeed meaningful. This was followed by the much awaited award-winning ceremony and after Mrs Astrid Lobo Gajiwala introduced both the aforementioned awardees, their citations were read and the awards handed over by His Lordship Bishop Bosco Penha.

women- chosen 1Awardee Sr Jeanne Devos, of Belgian origin and belonging to the ICM sisters, in her address to the floor said that she had accepted the award in the name of the domestic workers movement, incidentally for whom she had dedicated her life.  She said among other insightful things that rights are never given into our laps, you have to fight for them.  She emphasized that domestic work is the growing option for those who do not have employment, and still though everyone wants domestic help, these women still remain the most vulnerable and ill-treated of society.

Awardee Mrs Flavia Agnes, Advocate, accepted the award on behalf of the women she worked for, those who suffer domestic and sexual violence. He address to the attentive group consisted of various incidents from her professional life concerning the plight of women today. She said that unless women are ready to stake, go out and do something, the award she has received will not be effective.

In the panel discussion which followed various questions were raised and comments made. Sr Pauline and Sr Joeyanna also made comments and reflections in the light of the context being discussed, namely about the education of the boys in our families towards respect for women and the often forgotten moral responsibility of women towards society respectively.

The Eucharist was presided over by Bishop Bosco Penha and he gave a meaningful homily highlighting the contribution made by women to society and the Church. The programme ended with lunch and a feeling of satisfaction as we left a little more inspired from the programme and also challenged to actively participate in the cause of women.

Sr Joeyanna, Bandra

Srs Albina and Immacolata say goodbye….

9th March was day which brought us Daughters of St Paul, specially the Bandra Community, a shock and deep sadness, when we realized it was time for not one but two of our sisters to say good bye to us. Though both they and we ourselves were preparing ourselves for this fateful day, little did we realize the truth in the saying death comes like a thief. At around 2 p.m. Sr Immacolata said her ‘yes’ to the Lord’s call to enter into eternity while sisters accompanied her with prayers. We were still making preparations for her to be taken to the Hospital Morgue, getting documents ready etc, when in the room opposite, Sr Albina began to show signs of declining health. Her pressure began to drop drastically and at one moment she lifted her shoulder indicating pain. Some of our sisters were by her side, massaging her and helping her as they could. But the Lord had decided that she accompany Sr Immacolata to the eternal banquet and she serenely passed away due to cardiac arrest, or simply a heart attack.  After documents of both our dear sisters were ready, they were taken to the Bhaba hospital morgue until the next day around 12:45 when they were brought back.  Not a minute passed when prayers were not said or hymns sung, in order that the ambience be almost like the one they were approaching – that of heaven. The floral tributes, the aromatic incense sticks all added the heavenly touch to this beautiful atmosphere.  The band group which was hired by Sr Immaculata’s family played soothingly well-chosen hymns.

The funeral Eucharist began at 3 p.m. and the Chapel was overflowing with the relatives and well-wishers of our dear sisters, and of the Congregation in general, including members of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master and the Society of St Paul. Rev Fr Michael Raj, presided over the Eucharist , flanked by Fr Jose Pottayil, the homilist and Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt, besides many other priests of the Society of St Paul, who incidentally had come to Mumbai for the Superiors Meeting.  Truly Srs Albina and Immacolata were privileged to be led to the Pearly Gates, on a carriage of prayers of the Pauline Family who were far from lacking on this day. In his homily Fr Jose Pottayil expressed his deep gratitude to Srs Albina and Immacolata, both of whom he knew personally, both in India and in Rome, where Sr Immacolata had served at the Queen of Apostles Hospital.  He spoke all the good that he had learnt from them how they had always been a example to him. The choir helped us all to praise God using our voices melodiously. Before the Eucharist ended, the Funeral Rites were recited by Fr Joe Eruppakkatt in the Chapel itself, since it was predicted that it would be difficult in the cemetery due to probable lack of space, conditions, etc.  Two buses were arranged and also the Community vehicles took the sisters , relatives and well-wishers to the Sewri Cemetery for the burial. Here after Mr. Elroy, of A.J. Fernandes Undertakers said a few words of thanksgiving to God , for the lives of our two sisters, and contribution , women and religious sisters make to the world. After this, the graves were blessed by Fr. K. V. Sebastian and while a song dedicated to Motherhood was being played, and all showering petals of roses and other flowers, the two coffins were lowered down into to the grave. The wreaths and candles were then arranged on the graves and they were looking beautiful at the end of the entire proceeding.

In conclusion, we must acknowledge the love and care showered our two sisters by Sr Jayanthi and Sr Rosaria, as also Srs Rose and Mukta as also the other sisters.

 

Sr Joeyanna fsp

 

Sr Grazia Vaz passes away

On 25th April, on the Feast of St. Mark, our dear Sr. Grazia said good bye to us. It was a day which brought us Daughters of St Paul, specially the Bandra Community, a shock and deep sadness, to know that after two sisters had passed away in the month of March, one more sister within a month is leaving us for her eternal reward. I had sent you a message on 11th April saying that Sr. Grazia began to show signs of declining health, her haemoglobin was low, and she had infection all over the body. The chemotherapy could not be continued and she was taken to Holy family for the transfusion of blood, for she had reached the 4th stage tumour of the urinary tract.  Sr. Grazia had a very peaceful death although she suffered intensely.

After the documents of sr Grazia  was ready, she was taken to the Bhaba hospital morgue until the 27th  morning around 7.00 am  when she  was brought back and placed in our chapel.  Not a minute passed when prayers were not said or hymns sung, in order that the ambience be almost like the one she was approaching – that of heaven. As soon as the body was placed in our Chapel we prayed again as a community the Office for the Dead.

The funeral Eucharist began at 9.00 am and the Chapel was overflowing with the relatives and well-wishers of our dear sister, and of the Congregation in general, including members of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master and the Society of St Paul. Rev Fr George Kaitholil, the Vice Provincial of SSP presided over the Eucharist and in his homily he highlighted the aspect of hope and trust so beautifully and powerfully.  Truly Sr Grazia was privileged to be led through a carriage of prayers of the Pauline Family who were far from lacking on this day. Her face was looking very peaceful and radiant. Sr. Vimala gave short introduction about Sr Grazia and Sr. Ancy John proposed the vote of thanks in which she also testified about Sr Grazia’s life. The choir helped us all to praise God using our voices melodiously. Before the Eucharist ended, the Funeral Rites were carried out by Fr Michael Raj, the Provincial Superior of SSP in the Chapel itself and closed the coffin, suggested by Mr. Elroy the funeral undertaker, due to extreme heat.

Two buses were arranged to proceed to the Sewri Cemetery for the burial. The grave was blessed by Fr. K. V. Sebastian SSP and while an appropriated song was being played, and all showering petals of roses and other flowers, the coffin was lowered down into to the grave. The wreaths and candles were then arranged on the grave beautifully at the end of the entire proceeding.

Sr Grazia was a person of prayer, she believed in the Lord, who promised his continuous assistance. She worked hard and taught her successors to love the work and motivated them, whether they were our young ones in formation, young sisters in various communities or the co-workers in the Catholic Enquiry Centre; she was a great teacher, for she really put her heart and mind into the responsibility entrusted to her, by using all her talents and creativities in whatever work she was called to carry out.

She was a person who readily made friends and collaborated with others, she was always striving to do the greatest good possible, inspired by the promise of Jesus Master, which echoed powerfully in the depths of her heart: “Do not be afraid. I am with you always.”

Sr Grazia’s brother-in law, her nephews, niece and their families, were present for the funeral. There were also sisters from the communities of Ahmedabad, Goa, Mangalore, Nagpur, and Secunderabad, besides the sisters from Borivli and Vasai. There were also several relatives of our sisters who participated in the funeral Mass as well as accompanied the body to the Cemetery.

The Lord visited Sr Grazia and called her for her eternal reward and the memory of her lingers in our minds ever fresh and we keep her in our prayers.

She was truly a Pauline apostle who offered her life in dedicated service of the Word with great love and zeal. May she obtain for our Province all the graces needed for our life and mission.

Sr. Ancy John fsp

Sr Antonette Jesumani’s musings, from Rome…

 Loving greetings from Rome, the land of our origin. I am happy to meet you all through this letter. It is the 8th month that I am here in Rome and it is really a long time to write my first letter to you. It is not that I do not remember you all. It is rather I remember very often and it is really bad to tell that after this very long time. But better late than never.

 There are many reasons why I was silent, first and for most I came here with mixed feelings and though I said yes and accepted to come here and study, I had my own fears about many things, one of the things is my study itself but now I have finished one semester already and everything went well and am confident now that with God’s help I can make it and do it well.

 As you all know I am here to continue my theology studies, but I had to complete some courses which I have done 20 years back in Nagpur before taking any specialization. These past months I experienced the Lord at every step of the way – great and small. How true it is that He really is with the chosen ones.

 It is not very easy to take up the study after a long gap and that too in a foreign land, but the grace of God and the Love for the apostolate gave me the courage to take it up as a challenge, amidst many things. I am very grateful for this opportunity to study after a long gap in view of giving myself in the Apostolate little more effectively and professionally.

 It is also not only study, but I am experiencing and growing in many ways as a Pauline, living in an international community and closer to the founders place etc. God has put many and wonderful people in my way and I am learning from all of them. Also I consider it as a responsibility to do well in my learning from everything.

 Believing comes from the very depths of who we are. Believing is not rooted in what we know in our heads, but in what we have embraced with our hearts. Being far away from home and dear ones, I have more chances to experience Him and Him alone in the depths of my being and grow closer to him and also discover the beauty of living with the sisters from other nations.

 All this is possible because of the generosity of the Sr Antonieta and the General Government and Sr. Ancy and team and each of you sisters and I am grateful to one and all for your encouragement and support. Initial months were not very easy, but they all helped me to grow. I am grateful to the community of Nagpur who took trouble to send the papers on time from Nagpur seminary and for the community of Trichy, my last community before coming here and to the sisters of Bandra who send me off and to you my dear sisters. Thank you for your love and encouragement and support.

 I always remember each of you in my prayers, especially whenever I visit new churches and our founders’ places and during the last blessings of Pope Benedict XVI. I remembered specially our senior sisters and sisters who are sick and who are looking after them. At present, my way of being grateful to you is by giving my best in my studies and I want give also in the Apostolate for God, our province and for the congregation for His greater glory.

 I count on your support; please continue to pray for me. I look forward to meeting the sisters who are coming for the charism Tour. Most Welcome dear sisters.

The greatest treasures in life begin with God’s abundant goodness in giving us the gift of a Saviour. HAPPY EASTER!

 

Sr. Antonette Jesumani, Rome

Sr Rose returns to India…

As you already know, here I am, back   in India and have started another new chapter of my life. After  twenty six years of my service as a nurse in the hospital  ‘Ospedale Regina Apostolorum’ in Italy I find myself  here in  the provincial house at  Bandra, Mumbai,  where I  was accepted  as a member of the Pauline Family and have taken my  first steps  in  the Pauline life.  I thank God for all what had been and for all that he has done in my life in these past years. Yes, indeed once again it is a challenge for me to begin another phase of my life at this moment back here in India.

I  also take this chance  to thank all of you, the sisters of the Indian province who gave me this opportunity and  have supported   me  with your  prayers and encouragement  all through the years of my mission at Albano. I wish to thank each one of you dear sisters for your 1st from the right - Sr Rose. Along with Sr Arul, 1st from leftwhole-hearted welcome expressed in various ways in having me back.

As I am  just getting myself inserted in to my new responsibility in the Bandra book Centre, I am reminded of   Primo Maestro who  at certain point of his life made an exercise of contemplation and evaluation of his personal story of life, the famous double story of divine mercy and the humiliating story of  not corresponding to the graces of God. It made me reflect  and that stimulated in me the desire to  share  with you all  the  sentiments of gratitude  and the personal experiences of life during these past  years of my    specific mission at Albano for which I was sent.

I must say that the memory of those years of my life spend in the community of Albano  and in the   hospital ‘Regina Apostolorum’  as a nurse, is  of great joy and gratitude to God who gave me the strength and grace to accomplish the mission entrusted to me. In the beginning, the invitation to  go to  Italy for this specific mission disturbed me a lot  as it is not our mission and moreover I did not like to become a nurse. I was also afraid to accept it as my human reasoning could not comprehend it. At the same time I believed in the will of God and His plan for my life along with His grace that would accompany me.

I felt deeply my insufficiency,  and in prayer I heard the voice of God telling me “do not be afraid,… I will be with you,… go ahead”.  From that moment onward my life was no more the same. There was a complete change over in my way of thinking, doing  and being.

Today, after many years as I look back I can say with great joy and gratitude that the Lord kept His promise.  I felt His powerful hand leading me all through my mission particularly in times of great difficulty in the process of accomplishing the specific mission of taking care of the sick and the needy and in a very special way the cancer patients.

The guiding hand of the Lord sustained me and led me all through, as I carried out my  mission  as the head nurse of the cancer ward. For me, to be at the side of  the sick and the dying, in a very particular manner as they unfold their lives   petal by petal before the Divine Master, in  the gradual conversion of their life, the  total acceptance and  the final surrender of life  in the last stage of their lives were unique moments of grace. I have touched with my hands the fragility of the human person in times of sickness and sufferings. I had the possibility of being at the side of hundreds and hundreds of dying persons, imploring the Divine Mercy and love.  These are experiences that can never be forgotten and they will remain forever in my life as a gift of God to me.

It is difficult for me to explain in few words all what I have learned in these years of my stay with the senior sisters of the community. I can say with certainty that,  what we learn from the school are forgotten  easily but the experience of life  forms a person,  and leaves an inner impact that will never be forgotten.

The experience of community life has enriched me in many ways. I have learned from the senior sisters not to stop in front of the difficulties and sufferings but to be ever onward   towards that goal for which we are called. In fact the Divine Master forms us constantly in his school through the daily conversion and choices of life.

I have learned from each of them many things. I still remember my first day of arrival in Rome not knowing a word of Italian… I do remember my first days in the community….my first day in the surgical ward in the hospital… my first day in the nursing school… and so on.  After that I also had my professional preparation for the cancer ward.

The sick and the senior sisters of the community, like Moses on the mountain intercede and offer their pains and sufferings for the sanctification of the whole congregation and the Pauline Family. In a very special way they offer their sufferings for the apostolate of the social communications and do not get discouraged by the limitations of their old age and personal problems but remains alive to the Pauline Spirit and to the real joy of life.

The  witness of life, the wisdom, the prayers and the  sufferings of everyday life  is certainly  the security for the rest of the congregation in all over  the world.

Sr. Rose Melkulangara