Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
By 9:15 am it was time to hit the road again and to begin our climb into Mizoram. The last part of the Assam road is still being done up - a four-lane highway is in the pipeline, which means the current state of the road is far from satisfactory. In an hour we found ourselves climbing into Mizoram. One of the unique features of the state is that houses are built along the road - often with very little other free space available. This also means that the road is the centre of business, the playground, the place for socializing etc. Drivers beware! The drive was cool and pleasant, the road till Kolasib was smooth in general.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Here in Shillong the mercury keeps dipping and what is more alarming is the level of ailments reported by the common man. Normally they say that winter is the healthiest time but this year things are not going too well.
Yesterday - Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception - many of us were present for the first religious profession of 15 MSMHC novices. What a beautiful ceremony and for many of us it was a time to recall our first steps in religious life as we rededicated ourselves to the mission we undertook years ago.
So happy Advent to all. We await his coming into our hearts and we prepare to welcome him in the poor, the suffering and the weak...He comes, He comes, He ever comes...
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Just the month of November seen us enjoy fantastic music from the Rexband on All Saints Day...a massive crowd of about 15,000 were on hand for the show. It took place at Calvary - Shillong with the beautifully lit Cathedral in the foreground...On All Soul's Day we made our way to the cemetery for a very meaningful eucharist once more attended by a large crowd of people. This year the crowd was not as large - primarily because it coincided with a big football match pitting the local heroes "Lajong Sports Club" and "Salgaocar Goa"...To me the beautiful decoration of the graves was a very moving sight...And then the faith that brings so many to pray for loved ones who have passed on to the Lord...
We attended a big "Green Festival" on Friday (7 November) at which most of the schools from the city came together to speak for the environment and take pledges to preserve it. From the various presentations one could note a new awareness of the urgency to redress consumerism and work for ecological balance.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Here is one news report and it ends with a recap of the major quakes in the last two months...quite a list there...
Tremor rocks the north-east
Bhutanese officials confirmed that three persons died at Mongar, about 180 km east of Thimpu, and five were injured. Sources said the victims were believed to be labourers from Assam's Baksa district. Some unofficial reports, however, put the toll at seven.
Kunjang Wangdi, the deputy commissioner of the Bhutanese district of Sarpang, said some of the victims were Indian workers and they died in the Gyalposhing area when a building collapsed. He, however, could not provide the exact toll. Bhutanese website Kuensel Online quoted government officials as saying that reports of damage poured in from eastern Dzongkhags.
In the northeastern region of India, Monday's tremor triggered a widespread panic across Assam with hundreds of people seen running out of their houses in sheer desperation, frantically looking for safer places.
According to the Borjhar-based Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) in Guwahati, the earthquake occurred at 02.23 pm with an epicenter in Bhutan between 27.3? North latitude and 91.5 ? East longitude.
"This was the strongest quake in the North-East this year," RMC director D K Handique said.
Even as officials of the state disaster management department claimed no casualty or damage to property was reported, TOI found some highrises in Guwahati developing cracks. A seven-storey building in the city's Bhangagarh area tilted and touched another apartment. A witness said people staying in the two buildings ran out of their houses. "All 72 families staying in flats were scared," said a member of the apartment society.
Kamrup (Metro) deputy commissioner Prateek Hajela said he had got news about some buildings developing cracks and asked his officers to verify the reports. The lower Assam districts of Nalbari, Baksa, Kamrup and Kokrajhar bordering Bhutan were also jolted by the quake.
Hitesh Das, the deputy secretary of the state disaster management department, said they had verified reports from eights districts. "So far, no casualty was reported. We are awaiting reports from other districts. We have already put all district administrations on high alert," he said.
State revenue and disaster management minister Bhumidhar Barman has convened an emergent meeting on Tuesday to assess the situation.
Met officials in Shillong said there was no immediate report of any damage to life or property in Meghalaya. Tawang, the Buddhist monastery town in Arunachal Pradesh, too, experienced the quake for about seven seconds. Sources said there was no report of any damage.
Incidentally, the North-East is located in the seismically active Zone V, making the region one of the most quake-prone areas in the world. Assam had already experienced two high-intensity earthquakes one in 1897 and the other in 1950. The two tremors had triggered some topographical changes in Assam and changed the courses of a number of mighty rivers, including the Brahmaputra.
Sept 4: 21:08 am Indo-Myanmarese border M 5.9
Aug 31: 12:57:44 am Manipur-Nagaland region M 5.3
Aug 19: 4:15:15 pm Sonitpur M 4.9
Aug 11: 3:13:39 am Manipur M 5.6
Thursday, September 17, 2009
They went to the brother who was doing everything right and asked him the same question. "How come you are doing everything right? What is your source of motivation?" And guess what he said? "My father. When I was a little boy, I used to see my dad drunk and doing all the wrong things. I made up my mind that that is not what I wanted to be."
Both were deriving their strength and motivation from the same source, but one was using it positively and the other negatively.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Among the highlights of this annual academic event was the keynote address delivered by Fr. Cereda entitled: "To Do and Study Theology after the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God". The ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held at Rome from October 6-26, 2008 examined the theme of "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church". It underscored the division that had crept in between exegesis and theology. Fr. Cereda indicated ways in which this could be remedied using the insights of Dei Verbum, establishing a new rapport between exegesis and theology, and through the practice of Lectio Divina. The presentation of the Academic Report took the audience down memory lane recalling salient events of the year gone by, while presenting the new avenues opening up in the year ahead. Each of the provincials present also had a chance to share their views on the college and indicate ways in which all could use the new year and its possibilities to grow in their faith and knowledge. The release of three books (two in English and one in Khasi) that have been authored by professors of the college was done by Archbishop Jala. The two in English are entitled: Salvatorians among the Khasis by Dr. Aloysius Hemrom sdb and Contextual Theology by Dr. Barnes Mawrie sdb.
The Academic Function was followed by time for the students to get acquainted with the program of the new semester and to elect their representatives. This year the college has about 130 students in the various programs it offers. They hail from different parts of India as well as from Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The faculty has 22 professors (of whom 12 are in residence) on the permanent teaching staff, with another 27 visiting professors. The year ahead holds great promise for growth in knowledge and holiness, two pillars of Christian life and ministry.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
The worldwide celebrations on 4 August in honor of St. John Marie Vianney, the patron of priests took on added significance in
In his homily,
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Suffice it to say that what we saw was worth the drenching we received in the bargain.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Now the gang is back - almost all of the 85 odd brothers and most of the staff. Truly there is never a dull day - today began the annual retreat animated by Fr. Tom Polackal - our in-house spiritual father. That assures us of 6 days of spiritual renewal in an atmosphere of silence and prayer.
In the meantime we have among others an interesting project happening in our campus (in truth this is just one of the many things on hand). Fr. Gravier Augustine, Fr. Nazarius Lakra sdb and Sr. Jancy SMI are with us as they team up to prepare Catechetical material for the students of the 10th, 11th and 12th Standards. They are convinced that the synergy created by their praying, studying and working together on the texts along with the availability of phenomenal library resources in our college will help them achieve their goals expeditiously. Add to that the serene ambience of a theologate and one can see that they have their priorities in place. We assure them of our prayers for the successful completion of this project.
Monday, July 13, 2009
I began with Savio Juniorate (already marked on Wikimapia) which is quite close and then slowly made my cyber journey to our house, discovering enroute that someone has already identified Sacred Heart Theological College. The map seems to be recent with the new annexe clearly visible.
So, this is one more step before I can post some recent pictures of the wonderful campus I am blessed to live in. Welcome to my world!!!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
My long silences have become so common that you could be forgiven for thinking that this blog has now been discontinued. Well this time too I have the perfect excuse for the delay in posting.
I have been moving to a new location - to take up a new job and face new challenges. The old remains an indelible memory and yet one moves on to be enriched by the newness that life brings...
I now belong to a new community in a new province. Sacred Heart Theological College is situated in North East India in the state of Meghalaya (the land of the clouds). This community is part of the Salesian province of Gauhati.
Till there are pictures to post or ideas that coalesce for sharing check out the link in the previous paragraph. Here's assuring all of you that this blog will continue and hopefully be updated more regularly...
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
- On 15 May Fr. Maurice Figueiredo succumbed to his injuries sustained in a road accident in Goa...a tragic end for a dedicated catechist and pastor...
- On 22 May it was Archie Braganza - the grand old man of our parish who went on to his heavenly reward after suffering much in the last few months...
- On 23 May Marcus Brahmane - also a senior in our parish went home to the Lord... a good Christian who made many sacrifices for the education of his children...
- Then yesterday we received the sad news of the death of Fr. Giuseppe Moja in Italy...a true son of Don Bosco - albeit 'tough as nails' and 'quick of tongue'...
- Today it was the turn of the good lady Magdalene D'Souza(popularly known as "Maggie") from Nirmala Home who passed away...a quiet soul who served faithfully and without too much of a fuss...
The Easter Season is as good a time if any to recall that for Christians death is not the end but the beginning of a new and everlasting life...
Eternal rest grant to all these good people Lord and may your light shine upon them and all of us...May we know your true peace!!!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I received news a couple of days ago that a good friend has been diagnosed with cancer. She says she knew it was coming, but with the load of other responsibilities just kept putting off the visit to the doctor. Well now her worst fears have been confirmed.
I would like to share with all the readers of this blog her words - some of the most beautiful I have heard in a long time inspired by Mark 4:35-41. She will I hope pardon my use of them, realizing that they can bring solace to many in pain whose faith does not pre-empt worry, anger, frustration and depression. She writes:
Good news - He never sleeps.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
After his body had been prepared, a requeim mass was celebrated in the Divyadaan chapel by Fr. Savio the rector of Divyadaan and other priests of the campus. Many religious and parishioners turned up at short notice to bid a fond and tearful farewell to Fr. Vincent who had been confessor, confidante, professor and many other things to all present at the eucharist.
We will miss him - his uprightness and discipline, his pastoral availability and his total dedication to work and study. We are sure he has entered into the eternal peace of the Divine Master whom he so joyously and zealously served in his 74 years of life, 58 years of profession, and 45 years of ordination. May his soul rest in peace.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
She told me that she was not afraid to die - and her voice had deep conviction when she said it soon after she had received the Sacrament of Anointing and the Viaticum. But, she is sad and terrified at leaving behind her young son - Vivek - who is 10 and her doting husband - Valerian. She kept repeating to all of us present - "Take care of my Vivek and my Valerian."
Yesterday she was moved to a hospice for the terminally ill where I am told she is at peace with some top-class palliative care. She is relaxed and peaceful, feeling much better and stronger. But we know it is a matter of time.
Questions keep cropping up - the regular kind that afflicts the human mind when faced with innocent suffering and premature death. "WHY LORD?"
For now there are no answers - we can just live the questions...and in the meantime here is a beautiful poem that was sent to me...Yes, He who walks on water can calm the stormy seas of our life. Amen.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
We need them in life's early morning,
We need them again at its close;
We feel their warm clasp of true friendship,
We seek it while tasting life's woes.
When we come to this world we are sinful,
The greatest as well as the least.
And the hands that make us pure as angels
Are the beautiful hands of a priest.
At the altar each day we behold them,
And the hands of a king on his throne
Are not equal to them in their greatness
Their dignity stands alone.
For there in the stillness of morning
Ere the sun has emerged from the east,
There God rests between the pure fingers
Of the beautiful hands of a priest.
When we are tempted and wander
To pathways of shame and sin
'Tis the hand of a priest that absolve us.
Not once but again and again.
And when we are taking life's partner
Other hands may prepare us a feast
But the hands that will bless and unite us,
Are the beautiful hands of a priest.
God bless them and keep them all holy,
For the Host which their fingers caress,
What can a poor sinner do better
Than to ask Him who chose them to bless
When the death dews on our lids are falling,
May our courage and strength be increased
By seeing raised o'er us in blessing
The beautiful hands of a priest.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Then yesterday I read something that brought home the reason for my discomfort, and made me feel a little less alone (I was in some very esteemed company when I felt unhappy with Archbishop Sobrinho’s reaction). Here are the views on this issue of Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He took a personal approach. The girl “in the first place should have been defended, hugged and held tenderly to help her feel that we were all on her side” he wrote in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, March 15.
The perspective is clear and is the truly Christian approach. It reflects the words of Jesus: “Be ye merciful as thy Father in heaven is merciful.” Would that my entire approach to life and people is marked by this same mercy and compassion, and especially when it concerns the weak and the helpless, who feel condemned already and have no need to be consigned to some deeper abyss of denigration.
Lord make us all merciful and compassionate!!!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
But here is a personal experience that turned out positively. I was once asked by a relative to communicate a rather unpalatable truth to his father. This was the cause of much heartburn and pain in the life of the family. Well, living 2,000 kms away this seemed a rather easy task. Needless to say it was not so. Once the truth was told in as charitable a manner as possible, the recipient went into typical "attack is the best form of defence" mode. I was at the receiving end of some choice epithets maligning my vocation and intentions. Well, that was the last I wanted to hear of this case and the good news was that I lived far from the said family. But a couple of months later I received a letter from family thanking me profusely for my intervention. In the course of time, my relative had begun to take the suggestion seriously and work on his behaviour making himself less obnoxious and more a pleasure to live with.
So when they mock and ridicule and persecute you for telling the truth just remember that always the message gets home: a bit later from our perspective but in God's perfect time.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The Goldilocks Rule refers to presenting the "just right" amount of data. Never include more information than your audience needs in a visual image. As an example, Kosslyn showed two graphs of real estate prices over time. One included ten different numbers, one for each year. The other included two numbers: a peak price, and the current price. For the purposes of a presentation about today's prices relative to peak price, those numbers were the only ones necessary.
The Rudolph Rule refers to simple ways you can make information stand out and guide your audience to important details — the way Rudolph the reindeer's red nose stood out from the other reindeers' and led them. If you're presenting a piece of relevant data in a list, why not make the data of interest a different color from the list? Or circle it in red? "The human brain is a difference detector," Kosslyn noted. The eye is immediately drawn to any object that looks different in an image, whether that's due to color, size, or separation from a group. He showed us a pizza with one piece pulled out slightly, noting that our eyes would immediately go to the piece that was pulled out (which was true). Even small differences guide your audience to what's important.
The Rule of Four is a simple but powerful tool that grows out of the fact that the brain can generally hold only four pieces of visual information simultaneously. So don't ever present your audience with more than four things at once. This is a really important piece of information for people who tend to pack their PowerPoint slides with dense reams of data. Never give more than four pieces of information at once. It's not that people can't think beyond four ideas — it's that when we take in the visual information on a slide we start to get overwhelmed when we reach four items.
The Birds of a Feather Rule is another good rule for how to organize information when you want to show things in groups. "We think of things in groups when they look similar or in proximity to each other," Kosslyn pointed out. Translation into PowerPoint? If you want to indicate to your audience that five things belong in a group, make them similar by giving them the same color or shape. Or group them very close together. This sounds basic, but it often means taking your data apart and reorganizing it. Kosslyn's co-panelist, Stanford psychologist
Even these goofy names for each rule of PowerPoint follow a principle from cognitive science: it's always easier to remember an unfamiliar idea if it's named after something familiar.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
In ancient times before calendars were common, most people did not know the dates for the upcoming Liturgical year. On Epiphany Sunday, the upcoming dates were "proclaimed" after the gospel in this way:
Dear brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of his return.
Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.
Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated between the evening of April 9 and the evening of April 11, Easter Sunday being on April 12.
Each Easter -- as on each Sunday -- the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death. From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy.
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on February 25.
The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on May 21.
Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on May 31.
And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on November 29.
Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christian the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.
To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever.
(Taken from the website of Collaborative Ministry)