Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Feast of St. Stephen

After the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, Christmas, we celebrate the  martyrdom of St. Stephen. St. Stephen offered his life for the sake of Jesus the master who himself gave to humanity by becoming man. St. Stephen believed that being faithful to the master gives meaning to our human existence. He died because of his faith in Jesus made man to bring salvation and redemption to fallen humanity. By dying he confessed that Jesus is the Lord of the Universe. St. Stephen was a young and vital man and one of the first seven deacons appointed to help the Apostle’s in their ministry.
Today is the feast day of our Vicar General, Br. Stefan. He celebrated the Eucharist and in his message he called all of us to be faithful to the call that God has given to each one of us to be his witnesses. St. Stephen remained faithful to the Lord till his las breath.
Happy Feast to all.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Message by Archbishop of Mumbai -cardinal Oswald Gracias

Christmas in Curia

Last evening, after the dinner the friars from Curia gathered together in Recreation room to sing Carol in different languages. It was a wonderful  moment as we prepared ourselves to celebrate the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Eucharist was celebrated at 10pm by the General Minister in the College Church with  few friends and friars. General Minister spoke about the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus christ. Both had different backgrounds and preparations. One had family around to welcome him and the Giver of life had animals to welcome him in His own created world. One had relatives to visit and gift him and Jesus had poor shepherd and three wise men to visit and gift Him. the general Minister also said that God gave fully and totally and kept nothing behind. He gave Himself in His Son. More than this He could not give. Jesus birth was a new begining and every Christmas we celebrate not just an event but a new begining.
After the Mass we gathered in the bar to wish one another and sang Crols. What a wonderful night, Holy and Fraternal night.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Br. Clayton arrives in Curia

This afternoon Br. Clayton Fernandes, the new general Secretary from Goa, India arrived to curia. along with br. Damien i went to receive him at the airport. He was warmly welcomed by all the friars in the curia. In the evening the General Minister officiallly welcomed him in the refectory. Br. Clayton has licentiate in Scriptures and he knows and speaks good many languages. He was the vice secretary for the General chapter 2012 and did a very good job. He was the provincial definitor in the Province of st,. Anthony, Goa. We wish him all the best and good stay in the curia.

Archbishop of Mumbai speaks on eve of Christmas

MUMBAI: Oswald Cardinal Gracias , the Archbishop of Mumbai, has greeted the Christian community ahead of Christmas. His message reflects the papal declaration of 2012-13 as the 'Year of Faith'.

More importantly, the archbishop has expressed anguish at the growing corruption and inequity in society. "The genuine Christian goes beyond the law, beyond self-interest, beyond self-preservation in always seeking what is truly good for the well-being of others, as indeed of themselves," he says in the Christmas edition of the 'Examiner'.

"The greatest enemies of Christmas are not those who do not know or believe in Christ but those Christians who have become hard-hearted, self-righteous and have closed their hearts to the human needs of others," says the archbishop.

Cardinal Gracias explains how Christmas transcends the tale of Virgin Mary giving birth to the Christ Child. "As we relive the mystery of Christ's birth, the Church also gives birth to Christ in today's world. Just as He spoke to Mary, God has spoken to us, and we believe. When we believe, we bring Christ into the world by our good actions, by acting responsibly towards our families, in our jobs and in our relationships with others."

The archbishop says %we will not see the fullness of peace until Christ comes again at the end of time. "But we cannot wait until then. We need to pray %and work for peace now," %he urges.
Taken from "Times of India"

Friday, December 21, 2012

In vatican for Christmas recollection

This morning we attended a talk delivered by Fr. Cantalamess, the official preacher of the Holy Father. he preaced three recollection during this advent season. Today he spoke of "Joy" ahd how can we evangelise through this Joy.
Let us return to the theme of joy. Where does happiness come from? The ultimate source of joy is God, the Trinity. But we are in time, whereas God is in eternity. How can joy flow between two so distant points? Actually, if we delve more deeply into the Bible, we discover that the immediate origin of joy is in time: it is God’s action in history. God who acts! A divine action, at the point where it “falls” upon history, causes a vibration and a wave of joy that resounds for generations; indeed, when dealing with actions bequeathed by Revelation, it resounds forever.

God’s action is always a miracle that fills heaven and earth with wonder: “Sing for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it” – exclaims the prophet – “shout O depths of the earth!” (Is 44:23; 49:13). The joy breaking forth from Mary’s heart, and from the hearts of the other witnesses of the beginnings of salvation, is wholly based on this: God has come to the help of Israel! God has done it! He has done great things!

How can this joy in God’s action reach the Church today, infecting her with the same jubilant gladness? First, it reaches her by way of remembrance, in the sense that the Church “remembers” God’s marvelous works accomplished on her behalf. The Church is invited to make her own the Virgin’s words: “The Almighty has done great things for me”. The Magnificat is the canticle which Mary first intoned - as the coryphaeus preceding the chorus- and has left to the Church, that its singing might be prolonged through the centuries. Truly the Lord has done great things for the Church over these last twenty centuries!

In a certain sense, we have greater reason for rejoicing than Zachariah, Simeon, the shepherds and the early Church in general. She went forth “bearing the seed for sowing”, as Psalm 126 says. She had received God’s promises: “I am with you!” and his commands: “Go out to all the world!” But we have seen these fulfilled. The seed has grown, the tree of the Kingdom has become immense. The Church today is like the sower who “returns with shouts of joy, bearing his sheaves. (Taken from the homily of Fr. Cantalamessa)

Natale In College

Yesterday, the college wore a Christmas look for the annual Christmas get together. It was a family celebration with students, General Curia and all those who work for the College. The celebration began with the Holy Eucharist presided over by Vicar General. In his inspiring homily he invited all to be find Jesus in our celebrations. The Choir sang beautiful christmas songs. After the Mass we all gathered in the refectory where the Rector welcomed all the guests and curia members. The meal was good and a lot of variety. The various groups of students sang carrols in their languages. The height of the celebration was housie housie game. I was one of those who got a price. The celebration ended by singing an Italian popular carrol called "Tu Scendi". The students will be all out for Christmas ministry and celebration in various parishes in Italy. You can see some of the following photos of celebration.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Twitter: Pope passes 2 million followers


Taken from 2012-12-17 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) Five days have passed since Pope Benedict XVI sent out his first Tweet in eight languages and according to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, his @Pontifex handle has surpassed two million subscribers.
President of the Council, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli told Vatican Radio the Pope is tweeting because that’s what people are doing today and he wants to be present in the latest platforms of communication to share with them “words of truth.” 
That means adapting his messages to fit into Twitter’s 140 character format. But the key, Archbishop Celli notes, “is not so much the number of characters available but the depth of the words he uses.”
The Archbishop says we could all stand to re-learn how to communicate using words “that always have a profound significance for others.” 
Msgr. Celli points out that 140 million people actively use Twitter and forty percent of them are young people from 18 to 34 years of age. And Pope Benedict wants to be there in the dialogue with them, he says.
The Pope and the Church, Celli says, want to be where men and women are speaking together because not only are they sharing information, they’re also sharing a bit of themselves.
And, he notes the Church must do all it can to bridge the “digital divide” in Africa and certain areas of Latin America and Asia where access to social media is greatly limited.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Back to Curia, Rome

After having spent three weeks in Camerino, Loretto and Giovanni Rotondo I am back to the General Curia. It was cold over there but here it is not so cold but tolerable. But nice to be back to your own dwelling and familiar faces. My province members were waiting for me. we met this morning during the tea break. They are all getting ready to leave for Christmas ministry in the parishes. The whole indian group celebrated Christmas yesterday with the High Mass celebrated by the Rector and in the evening a "Bada Khana" for Indian Capuchins and the Fraternity members. I heard it was a wonderful celebration. I too was invited but i reached late to Curia around 11pm. 
As you are in mood of Christmas celebration i share with you the following little reflection by the Holy Father. Taken from Vatican Information service. Good thought indeed and worth reflecting!

Christmas Tree: A Sign And Reminder Of Divine Light
Vatican City, 14 December 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received in audience a delegation from the Italian region of Molise, which this year has donated the fir tree raised next to the Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square. The lighting ceremony will take place later on today.
The Pope thanked the delegation for the silver fir - which was accompanied by eight other smaller trees destined for the Apostolic Palace and various other locations around the Vatican - and greeted them following a brief address.
"God became man and came among us to dispel the shadows of sin, bringing His divine light to humanity. This highest of lights, symbolised and recalled by the Christmas tree, has not only shown no sign of dimming through the passing of the centuries and the millennia, but rather continues to shine upon us and to illuminate every person who comes into the world, especially in moments of uncertainty and difficulty. Jesus Himself declared, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life'. ... And, the attempts made through the ages to extinguish the light of God, to replace it with the glare of illusion and deceit, have heralded episodes of tragic violence against mankind. This is because the attempt to cancel the name of God from the pages of history results in distortion, in which even the most beautiful and noble words lose their true meaning"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Message of the Holy Father

Presentation Of The Pope's Message For World Day Of Peace

Vatican City, 14 December 2012 (VIS) - A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office to present Benedict XVI's Message for the 46th World Day of Peace, which will take place on 1 January with the theme "Blessed are the peacemakers". Participating in today's conference were Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson and Bishop Mario Toso S.D.B., respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
The cardinal referred first to the "concrete" nature of the document. "The title, drawn from the Gospel, would induce us to think of the Message as having a rather spiritual or, so to speak, theoretical nature", he said. "However, the Pope's message is very closely linked to reality. It states a fact - the existence, in the midst of conflicts, tension and violence, of numerous peacemakers; in the explanation of the Gospel beatitude it explains that this is a promise that is guaranteed, in that it is made by God and does not refer merely to the future but already finds fulfilment in this life. It clearly indicates the duties of peacemakers: they must promote life in its fullest expression, in its entirety and therefore in all the dimensions of the human person, and draws attention to urgent problems issues such as the correct vision of marriage, the right to conscientious objection, religious freedom, the issues of work and unemployment, the food crisis, the financial crisis, and the role of the family in education.
He then went on to emphasise the "positivity" of the Message which, "aside from opening the way to hope, reflects love for life and life in its completeness. Alongside the theme of the defence of life, the Pope highlights matters connected to justice, necessary for a worthwhile life, lived fully, or rather in which all people have the opportunity to develop their own potential".
A further characteristic of the text is its "educational and pedagogical perspective. ...This is an aspect which is always close to the heart of the Church, one of whose tasks is to 'form consciences'", the cardinal emphasised. "In this regard, the Pontiff calls for responsibility on the part of the various educational institutions who must form capable leaders and propose new economic and financial models. This is necessary to overcome the particularly grave situation the globalised world is currently facing, a phase of profound spiritual and moral crisis in which there are still bloody conflicts and numerous threats to peace".
Bishop Mario Toso observed that Benedict XVI's message is "an invitation to become peacemakers 'at three hundred and sixty degrees', in our entirety, protecting and implementing all the rights and duties of the individual and of communities".
He continued, "Typical of the Pontiff's view is the part of the Message in which he urges us not to erode social rights, foremost among which he includes the right to work, which is a fundamental rather than marginal right. This is in spite of the context of economic recession, provoked in part by the financial crisis which began in 2007, and ideologies of radical liberalism and technocracy according to which development can be achieved without social and democratic progress. Without the defence and promotion of social rights - as recognised by liberals, communists, socialists and Catholics during the last century - civil and political rights cannot be adequately attained, and democracy itself - substantial, social and participatory - would be undermined.
"In summary, the Message promotes the growth of a human family that is not divided into groups and peoples in favour of life, and those who work for peace without equal passion for the defence of human life from conception to natural end. Peace is a common goal to be pursued as a community, to the full benefit of every human being and population", concluded the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Taken from EWTN

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holy Eucharist at the Tomb of Padre Pio

Yesterday evening I was privileged and fortunate to offer Mass at 4pm at the tomb of Padre Pio with around 50 faithful. Being the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe i was asked to preach a short which i did in Italian. Oh, It was a holy and spiritual experience for me. The snow outside and the beautiful interiors of the chapel made me to lift my spirit and soul to the Almighty God.
This morning i was asked to offer Eucharist for the Clarists sisters who have a monastery right top on the Hill. It was a beautiful panorama as the hill is covered with snow. There are about 12 sisters in the monastery most of them are latin americans. They sing like angels with sweet melodies voices accompanied by instruments. Today is the feast of St. Lucy, so a small homily i preached to the sisters. After the Mass i joined them for the morning prayers and followed by breakfast. The sisters had a lot of questions to ask me. They said that i was the first Indian Capuchin to celebrate Mass for them.
At 11.30am there was another Eucharist in the new church which once again i celebrated. This mass is live telecast throughout the world. I preached the same homily here too but short one.
Today the sun is shining and it is quite pleasant but outside it is very cold.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Padre Pio, Giovanni Rotondo

Hi, Good Morning! Here in Giovanni Rotondo, the morning is fine and it snowed the whole night....the entire hill is covered with can see all white....good for me....i love snow. I reached here yesterday evening from Loretto. I love this place more than that I love Padre Pio and his spirituality. I come here to renew and reinforce myself with the spirit of the Lord. It is wonderful to be spending sometime at the tomb of a great man whose life has changed million lives around the world. The pilgrims are now very few during this time of the year. But some few hundreds still come especially when it snows like today. They are expecting good number by noon. The friars are ready to help in the sacrament of reconciliation. I am going to help the friars in confession for two days. This is what Padre Pio loved to do all throughout his life.
you can see some of the pictures of snow and the Christmas decorations in the friary.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dear Friends, this is one of the Christmas's tree around can find huge Trees well decorated in front of the Church's and houses in Italy. It's white christmas already in some place as it has been snowing a lot these is expected to continue snowing well beyond  christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Camerino to Loretto

From Camerino to Loretto. It was a great and rich experience being in Camerino for 8days. The friars were simply good and fraternal. I had two lessons in Italian Language every day one by a Novice and another by an elderly friar.  Thanks to the fraternity for taking a great care of me. They took me around for a little sightseeing too. The entire fraternity went to celebrate a festal mass close by and thereafter a dinner with the parishioners on 5th of this month and in the morning on 6th I left for Loretto. It is a famous Marian shrine known all over the world. It is is known for the "Holy House" of Mother Mary brought by the angels from Nazareth. Millions of people have visited this pilgrim centre. Thousands do visit every day from all over the world. 
After the feast of Immaculate conception of Mary, which is a national feast in Italy, they celebrate the feast our Lady of Loretto here. It is a grand celebration and well planned and organized. They have a vigil Mass preceded by Holy Rosary and then followed by a lovely procession. On 9th night there were around 8 thousand pilgrims from all over Europe. What a faith in Mother Mary. The Cardinal of Palermo presided over the Masss. I had the opportunity to concelebrate the vigil Mass. The procession was a simply awesome and spiritual experience.

A Friar from Camerino