22 June 2017

Parents as educators of adolescent children

POPE FRANCIS GIVES 6 KEY TIPS:
1, Be Concrete
2. Be Connected not uprooted
3. Be Dynamic (updated)
4. Be Integrated & holistic
5. Be Supportive not Competitive
6. Be Austere to overcome consumerism

17 June 2017

Fragilty or Frailty

VOCATIONAL FRAGILITY OR FRAILTY.
Fragility and Frailty have two distinct meanings. While Fragility refers to strengths or weakness that are constitutive elements of an object, Frailty describes a strength or weakness that is not in the nature of the object. Thus a glass tumbler is fragile by nature. A tree  may be Frail for lack of proper fertiliser. Fragility is something permanent and linked to the nature of an object. Frailty is a temporary condition subject to change.
Is the talk about Vocation crisis today a problem of Fragility or Frailty?

9 June 2017

Rev. Fr. George Williams RIP at 101

At a ripe good age, 101, Fr. George Williams SDB returned to the Lord in early June, 2017. He will be remembered by many in India as our Regional Superior for the English speaking Salesian region, in the late seventies. I personally have several memories of pleasant and not so pleasant interactions with him when I was  Provincial in the period 1976 to 1982. The young Province of Mumbai, barely three years old, experienced quite a few problems that required some difficult decisions to be taken. Fr. Williams on an extraordinary visit to the Province had the task of setting things right and dealing with confreres. Though he may have hurt or upset some Salesians among the young and old, he showed great loyalty to Don Bosco and sincerity to the Salesians. In hindsight, I may observe that the province benefitted from his tough decisions.
May he rest in peace! 

8 June 2017

UNITY ----- DIVERSITY

Pope Francis invoked the Holy Spirit's guidance in making a clear choice of "both Unity and Diversity" over "either Unity or Diversity" in our Christian life.  Is it a call to realism or compromise?

4 June 2017

Dissent essential to Democracy

In a healthy Democracy, good governance implies an honest commitment to the wellbeing of all the citizens and an openness to dissent as its necessary component. India's Democracy today is very unhealthy and dangerously poised to deteriorate into fundamentalism and communal wars slyly instigated by a false patriotism called 'Hindutva'.

The BJP stood shrudely on the platform of  "Dissent", during the last National Elections by waging a relentless campaign of dissent in parliament and in the media against the alledged rampant corruption and scandalous scams for which it held th ruling party, the INC, mainly responsible. There was much more of a malignant 'Dissent' and very little of the "Developement' on the National agenda of both parties or more precisely, of all political parties. 
The dissent strategy obviously won the elections as the results emphatically showed.  While the INC was trapped in a struggled to clear its damaged reputation, the BJP  through dissent, mesmerised the citizens into believing that the demolition of the corrupt INC was the key to 'Development' of the Nation.

Three years into governance, and the voices of dissent are rising from the Opposition parties and inceasingly from the poor farmers, the Dalits and minority communities. Will the strategy of Dissent which is building up at different levels, political, social, economic topple the present government of the BJP?

Recently, I read a comment on the erosion of Democracy in India  with too many instances of intolerance towards the voices of the People that differ or criticize the ruling political party policies. What was trumpeted as a just strategy of Dissent by the BJP is today condemned as Anti-nationalism. From Dissent, BJP has perhaps unknowingly gravitated towards Dictatorship while mouthing toothless slogans of Development promises. How Deceitful!

5 February 2017

WHY DID JESUS SUFFER?

After the Original Sin of our first Parents described in the Sacred Scripture, HUMAN LIFE ceased to be a state of eternal bliss in God's Kingdom but became an arduous journey back to Original Blessing. Human Life became a 'return journey" from brokenness to wholeness, from powerlessness to powerfulness, from pain and suffering to  health and healing.

The Yahweh of mercy, however did not abandon his people but promised and provided leaders who were Prophets, Judges and Kings to lead them through a long journey across the deserts to the "promised land" as recorded in  the Holy Bible. While Yahweh remains always faithful to his Covenants the people stumble into broken covenants. Finally the patient and forgiving Yahweh sends His own Son as Messiah to redeem Human Life. Thus Jesus Christ entered our world, born of a Woman and his entire life from the crib of his birth to the cross of his death becomes a model for imitation. "I am the way, the life and the truth," He says, and again: "Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart". 

Suffering is part and parcel of the Human Life and we all have to make the journey from brokenness, powerlessness and suffering like Jesus did.  Jesus sets an example for us to accept and not deny  our brokenness; to  surrender and not control our powerlessness; and, to respond to suffering, not with curses but compassion. Seen in this light, the life of Jesus teaches us how to live the brokenness, powerlessness and suffering in our own lives. We may even say that Jesus did not experience brokenness, powerlessness and suffering in order to redeem us but rather to guide our own human life to God's Kingdom. Hence, though Jesus has set us a convincing example, we are only redeemed when we accept Jesus Christ in faith and faithfully follow Him who is "our Way, our Life and Our Truth." 

28 January 2017

Bro. Robert Dias RIP

Robert Dias SDB - "Secretary par excellence"!

As we mourn the sad demise of our Salesian Brother, Robert Dias, on 4th. November 2016, at a ripe old age 93, many memories of his edifying life rush into my mind. Chief among these, for certain, many will agree is: "Rev. Bro. Bob, the committed Salesian at the Secretarial desk." Infact, I remember him as a long time, faithful secretary to Archbishop of Madras -Mylapore, Louis Mathias for many years. 

Later, after the death of the Archbishop, Bro. Bob served as Secretary to several Provincials of the Southern Salesian province of Madras, India, extending  over Tamilnad, Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharastra. After the province of Bombay was was established, we requested the experienced secretarial services of Bro. Bob and he willingly took up this responsibility in the provincial office. 

Bro. Bob was certainly a great help to me, not only with his secretarial skills but as a committed and convinced Salesian Brother. Observing him at close quarters, he came across as a person of deep faith in God, with tender devotion to Mother Mary and a steadfast attachment to Don Bosco and his own identity as a Salesian Brother. 

He was a very dependable secretary with a keen sense of duty done to perfection. 
He attended to his desk work, tapping the typewriter keys into late nights to get the provincial circulars and other correspondence despatched on time. He was very caring in his dealings especially with young Salesians and quite popular at community gatherings. Even at an advanced age, he surprised us with his active presence on the field, yes, formidable with the hockey stick in hand.

I saw in Robert,"an elder brother" who lived life with exemplary religious zest. He could be consulted and entrusted with confidential matters. Though much senior to me in age and Salesian profession, and while he was at times quite opinionated, his exemplary faith and respect for superiors was an edifying lesson.

At the request of the Superiors, Bro. Bob served in the office of the General Secretariat in Rome, for a couple of years. In response to the missionary appeal, Bro. Bob opted for the African missions and here too, we had his precious services as provincial secretary for quite some years in Nairobi, Kenya. Bro. Robert spent the last years of his life as a zealous missionary in Uganda and as per his desire, is laid to rest in the land of the Ugandan martyrs. 

As a genuine missionary, Bro. Bob always manifested a deep love for the people of the mission land rather than the land itself. He leaves us to cherish and even imitate his edifying life of total commitment to God and selfless dedication to his vocation of a Salesian, Missionary Brother. 

May The Lord embrace his most faithful Disciple, Robert Dias SDB and through his intercession bless our Salesian Congregation with more missionary vocations.