Saturday, December 31, 2011

LET ME START AGAIN - a song for a new beginning

This song for a new beginning asks for the Lord's blessings on the New Year - God bless all of us as we start again - Alleluia...Come Lord Jesus!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

O Holy Night by Susan Boyle

As we prepare for that most Holy of Nights - May we enjoy true and lasting peace in our world, our nations, our cities, our homes and our hearts...Happy Christmas to all of you...

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Dear Jesus,

Now that you are going to be born again at Christmas allow me to give you some advice:

Please do not be born in Europe because:

They will put you before a TV screen and fill you up with popcorn and junk food, they will teach you to be competitive, a “person of power and success”; to disregard other children from Africa, Latin America and Asia.

And we call you the Lamb of Service…

Please do not be born in North America

They will teach you that you are superior to other children, that time is money, that time is money, that everything hinges on business – even nature, that every person has a price, that everyone can be brought or corrupted; they will teach you how to use missiles and how to set up embargos thus keeping medicine and food away from other children in poor countries.

And yet we call you the Prince of Peace…

Avoid Africa

You could be born with AIDS and die of diarrhea as a baby, or you could end up a refugee in a foreign country as you escape from conflict in your own country.

Yes we continue to call you the Lord of Life…

Also it may be better to avoid Central and South America

You could end up a street child, you could be forced to cut cane sugar, to collect coffee and cocoa for children in First World countries without ever tasting a spoon of sugar or a bar of chocolate.

We claim that you are the Lord of Creation…

Avoid Asia also

They will set you to work in a factory 14 hours a day at making carpets, shoes, footballs and toys for rich children in the developed countries while you will have to go around barefoot and use a sockball to play football.

We call you Master of the World…

Above all avoid Palestine for the second time

Some will put a gun into your hands others a stone teaching you to hate your brothers (after all Jews, Christians and Muslims) have the same Father.

We know that you come each year to give us mercy and love…

Actually Lord – you should be born again in all these places but not in the hearts of children or of poor and weak people. You are present there already. How about choosing to be born in the hearts of the strong, the rich and the powerful so that as you who are Almighty and Powerful became a simple, weak and powerless child – they too can be reborn – small innocent and at last WEAK…

Don Ivan Manzoni

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Salesians of Don Bosco Malta - Christmas E-Card 2011

A Christmas wish from Malta - as we enter the octave of preparation...

Friday, December 9, 2011


Here is a music video worth the watch in this Advent season that is almost swamped by Christmas celebrations...

So sit back and enjoy the song - It could perhaps be just the thing we need to kickstart the "interior" preparations for Christmas...

Happy Advent one and all!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Here is a tribute to the great Indian balladeer - Bhupen Hazarika - popularly known as Bhupenda...His music has fallen silent but he lives on in the lilting and haunting melodies he gifted the world with.

Here is one of his hits - Dil hun hun kare - from the movie: Rudaali.

Thank you for the music Bhupenda...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


(From a homily given on All Soul's Day)

I want to take a look at the significance of All Soul's Day with you - an annual occurence that seems to be a little out of tune with our regular Christian emphasis on the resurrection.

Well in the first place let us speak about the traditional meaning of All Soul's Day which is undeniable today. We believe that when we die we will be judged on our life by a loving God. The harmful choices that we have made while we lived may lead to us experiencing deep pain at our not having chosen the way of love, the way of Jesus. When this has been set right by our sorrow for missing the mark and our desire to be always with the Lord - we enter heaven. Now purgatory can last for a moment but it may seem like eternity. So we have very little knowledge of how long our loved ones are away from the Lord. We only know that they have died and that they will be purified before being ultimately admitted to God's presence. So our prayers are always for this purpose to help them experience in the shortest possible time the bliss of heaven.

There is another way of looking at All Soul's Day. We can see in it an opportunity all of us receive to remember and recall our loved ones who are no more with us. Allow me to use a personal experience. About a decade ago my grandfather died. I missed being with him in his last moments as I was traveling from Bhopal. But by the time I reached his house the body was already in the coffin and we were a good group of family members praying and singing hymns. Finally after all the rest had gone and only the immediate family were left we began an interesting conversation. One of my uncles suggested that we recall some really funny events of my grandpa - Papa - as we fondly called him. Well needless to say with my Papa having lived to the ripe age of 80+ there was much to recall and fond memories began to emerge. There was no attempt to hide his faults and foibles but emerging from it all was memories of good times and not so good times which were now being seen through the prism of hope and joy. It went on and on - and even my grandma who was for certain the most hard hit at his death slowly began to cease her sobbing and to snicker at some of the stories - all true and all so characteristic of this multi-faceted man. I would like to think that we would all do well to spend All Soul's Day in like manner, recalling the happy and funny memories of our loved ones who are now with God in the hereafter.

I would also liken All Soul's Day to what many boarders call "Parlour Sunday"...the one Sunday in the month when their parents are allowed to visit them. They long for the day because they know that their parents are going to bring them all the things of home they miss - the food and sweets that will sustain them in the weeks ahead. But above all they know that they will be seeing face to face their parents whom they love so much and miss so much. On All Soul's Day we have a chance to meet our loved ones - not face to face but in our memories. So as we recall them and all the wonderful times we have spent together - the predominant metaphor is not one of sorrow and morbid thanato-philia but one of joy, good cheer and love. We lived with them - they are not with us anymore - but we remember them and know that we will be united with them at the end of time.

That is why I have chosen all the readings that speak of the hereafter - in the first reading from Isaiah we hear of the Messianic banquet - prepared for all of us at the end of time - every tear will be wiped away. And in the Gospel - Jesus reminds Martha and Mary that their brother Lazarus will enjoy everlasting life. So when we recall that the present time is but a painful separation and that at the end of time we will be close to all our loved ones forever then we have the strength to bear the pain of separation and in enjoying happy memories we will remember them and spend All Soul's Day with joy and Christian optimism. For our departed loved ones life is changed not ended. We will be with them forever - soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


A wonderful song - Give all your troubles to Jesus and He will turn your sorrows into joy...

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Found these two interesting tributes to the man who showed us that 'A' for apple does not only refer to the 'blessed fruit' that caused 'original sin'.

So to all users of the 'I' series (I-mac, I-pad, I-phone, I-pod) Remember: you may have lost a great mind on earth but God is the richer for that...

Monday, October 3, 2011


I received today some sad news - the passing away of Anna Maria Bianchi (seen in the picture holding her niece Maria Eleonora) - one of my good friends from Maccio in Italy. She was the niece of Fr. Mario Bianchi, one of the Salesian missionaries in North-east India. She always had a special place in her heart for Shillong and the people of the North-east where her uncle had laboured so valiantly. She had fought a long battle with cancer for five years. Here is the letter sent to her relative Cristina Vimercati...

Dear Cristina

Thank you for so promptly informing me of the sad demise of dear Anna Maria.

My heartfelt sympathies to all of you her relatives and friends who will miss so much her kind and caring ways. I am sure the Lord will take her to Himself with great joy seeing that she was truly his messenger of peace and joy to people. She has gone home on the Feast of the Guardian Angels perhaps because she was sent as an angel, a messenger of God's love to all of us...maybe also to teach us to care for and to love one another.

As you mentioned she fought the good fight against cancer and she won the battle with her spirit of serenity and calmness in the midst of much pain and hardship. That can be considered a grace from the Lord who surely accompanied her in moments of discouragement and difficulty. The birth of Maria Eleanora and Giulia surely brought her great joy and we could consider that as the Lord's reward for all her sacrifice on behalf of your family.

I have benefited much from her kindness in the years I would come to Maccio (2002-2006). She was a great source of encouragement and a generous benefactor...She always had something interesting to say about the faith, about the Church and about the mission...I have been enriched in many ways by knowing her.

I will offer a special mass for her tomorrow - another wonderful feast when the Catholic Church recalls the Poverello of Assisi - Francesco - who transformed the Church by his simplicity and holiness. Anna Maria was so like him in many ways.

Please pass on my condolences and sympathies to Peppino and Alfonsina, and to all the members of your family. The people of Shillong have lost a great support on earth but I am sure Anna Maria will continue to help spiritually the work of the mission and the growth of the faith in North-east India.

With prayers and wishes in this moment of grief,

Don Matthew Coutinho sdb

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I was interacting with a group of students today and one of the questions they posed was: "Why is God partial to man that he made woman from man and not the other way round?"

Well, I was reminded of these beautiful lines from Matthew Henry that are often quoted in wedding sermons:

Eve was not taken out of Adam's head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, from under his arm to be protected by him, and from near his heart to be loved by him.

And then again what came to my mind was the quip of a woman libber made some years ago:

God first created man...Then he said: "I can do better!". Then he created woman and it was so.

Yes, we are created equal - men and women - and we must live that out as a reality. And as the image above shows we can make one heart to love all humanity...

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Five years after defending my doctoral thesis at the Alfonsianum (Rome) I have had the extract printed here in Shillong at Don Bosco Press. They have done a good job at the layout and the quality. Thanks to one and all who helped me during the years of my study and then during the years of my teaching...God bless you all!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011


One fine beautiful morning, a chirpy sparrow flew out of his cozy nest and sat near the apple tree. As he surveyed the world around him, his eyes fell on a small snail. The little snail unaware of anyone watching him, was painstakingly trying to climb the tree. The sparrow flapped his wings to catch the snail’s attention but in vain.

Then in a sarcastic tone he said.
“Don’t you know, friend that it is not the season for apples?”

The snail replied.“True, my dear friend, but it will be, by the time I get there."

And the little snail continued his effort in climbing the tree.

(From the assembly of Dominic Savio High School, Andheri)

Friday, June 24, 2011


Lovely presentation of the source of good ideas...(Thanks Glenn!!!)

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Two little children (a boy and a girl who are siblings) were left behind after school yesterday. School ended by 3 pm. When no one had come to fetch them by 4 pm, the school authorities began calling the numbers given in their handbook. The teachers and school authorities found that the phone numbers in their handbook were not in service. And so the teachers waited and the children waited. Fortunately, there is a boarding attached to the school and the sisters were able to take care of the children. Also, being brother and sister they were supportive of each other. The parents came looking for the children after 11:30 pm by which time all gates were closed and lights were out.

I met the children this morning after my mass. They were rather quiet but did not seem too perturbed exteriorly. However, the other children who were with them told me another story. Both of them were sad and hurt that their parents and grandparents had not come for them. They had put up a brave front but I guess they were traumatised by this "abandonment".

While we may not pass judgment on the parents, who I am told are busy running two businesses, my concern is for the children. What are they feeling right now and how is this going to affect their relationship with their parents in the future? Lessons aplenty to be learned for all of us - parents, teachers, school authorities and those who care about what is happening in our society today...

Friday, June 10, 2011


Some years ago I read the story of an old man who was planting an apple tree. Seeing him undertake this exercise a friend commented: "But aren't you doing this a bit late in life? You are never going to eat apples from this apple tree." The man replied: "It does not matter, all my life I have eaten apples from trees I never planted. Those were planted by people who came before me. I am planting for those who come after me."

Well, that is the key to understanding the ecological crisis of our day. It helps us to see what we need to do in order to make a clean, green and harmonious world. God created this world a beautiful place with all the things we need to have a joyful and comfortable life. If, we still enjoy the world and all that it offers it's thanks to all those who came before us. They cared for this gift of God, preserved it and even did their bit to make it a little better than they found it. But, we cannot ignore others who did not care much for the earth, who thought that they were the owners of the world, that they could do whatever they pleased and so destroyed the forest cover, polluted the water bodies and depleted the ozone layer. They ate the apples and never thought of leaving some for those who came after them.

It is our decision about which of these two groups we are going to follow. Are we ready to care for Planet Earth, treat it well, use its resources wisely and leave things better than we found it. Or, will we join the selfish people who think that everything is meant for "ME"?

We would all love to live in a world that affords us peace, that is clean - green and full of every good thing. Why we would also love to enjoy apples. So we are encouraged to remember the people who come after us - our children and their children. They would love to eat apples, too.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


This picture that I found on a friend's Facebook page contains a very pithy message...

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Yesterday we laid to rest Sr. Prisca Thangkhiew FMA. She passed away on 6 May 2011 - the Feast of St Dominic Savio and the First Friday of the month of May. Her last words were: "Thank you". She was a perfect example of one who always lived up to her name, expressing her gratitude for every little favor done to her.
She had an angelic smile and a very kind heart. Perhaps the current "greeter and smile-giver" at the Pearly Gates asked the Lord for some help and assistance. Seeing the "crying need" the Lord decided that Sr. Prisca was the best person for the job. And then recently she had been suffering much - a fall and some broken bones taking a heavy toll on her. So, a two-in-one solution was found. Freeing Sr Prisca from all her earthly ailments and helping the good souls entering Heaven to feel welcome.
Thank you Lord for giving us Sr Prisca - thank you also for taking her away from suffering and pain. But honestly Lord you could have warned us that you were taking her. Yet, we surrender to Your Will and we know that She will be at peace in heaven and bring much joy and happiness there with her smiling kind ways. We will miss you much Sr Prisca...but we will try to give more smiles and express more kindness and gratitude to others in tribute to you. Adieu till we meet again!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Men's and women's brains

This is hilarious - but so true!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011


It’s Lent again! So what, it’s going to be the same thing all over again. I will go to Church on the days required (as if I had a choice) and do a bit of fasting (imposed on me by others) and praying and some almsgiving and soon – real soon it will be Easter (wow!). But wait a minute. Can I make this Lent different? I know it is not going to be different unless I make some effort towards that. What can I do to make it different? Maybe I should just for once open myself to “What God wants to give me”. After all He is giving me all the time and I am deaf and blind to His actions.

So I am going to just begin the process of preparation from now – a few days before Ash Wednesday. Anticipation increases the excitement. Yes together with my friends and community I am going to prepare for a good Lenten Season, knowing that it will culminate in Easter and the beautiful season of Spring. All that I need to do is to desire it and focus on it.

How about beginning each day by the edge of our bed (as we look for our slippers) and asking the Lord for the grace to be open to His action in our lives? And then we could also close the day at the edge of our bed, thanking Him for all that has happened during the day gone by (once again in those few moments it takes to get out of our slippers and into bed). This simple pattern (at the start and end of each day) can stir our hearts to look forward to each day of the Lenten season with anticipation and to allow God to change us gradually and gently.

This Lent could also be a time to practice new patterns; new patterns of prayer, eating, generosity, and of life in general. I could, for instance, start giving more time to God in my daily life – a short time for personal prayer, the daily reading of a few verses from the Bible, attending mass with greater attention. The idea is to start something that is good and continue it even after the ‘penitential’ part of the season is over. In the area of eating – I may be able to think of some dietary habits I have that are doing me more harm than good. I need to discipline myself and this Lent could provide me with the perfect opportunity and the good feeling of being more in control of my eating. In the general tenor of my life, too, I can make many changes. Maybe I spend too much time in one particular activity that is not doing anything good for me. Anything that does not contribute to my general well-being (physical, spiritual, emotional, professional) needs to be seriously questioned and in time changed.

The Lord invites me at Lent to “COME BACK” to Him. This return can be in myriads of ways. All that it takes is the first step – which as all of us know is the hardest. Lent can provide each of us with that impetus to get back on track, to ‘return to the Lord’ and to journey to a better more committed life as a Christian. I will surely ‘rise again’ at Easter, if I have taken the journey seriously. And, what can be better than feeling that I have grabbed a wonderful opportunity to grow and be a better person. Conversely, how sad it will be if I ‘miss out’ once again on a chance to make a new start.

“He is Waiting” – “Are you ready to return?”

Friday, February 18, 2011


This was shot at Don Bosco School, Matunga and directed by Amit Sharma of Chrome Pictures. Released on January 26, this video is flashed across screens in all the BIG Cinemas, before a film commences.

“The idea is to urge Indians to rid themselves of prejudices against those who are different from us,” says Bobby Pawar, chief creative officer of the Mudra Group.
Words are inadequate to express the sentiments this arouses - just go ahead and watch it>>>

Monday, January 31, 2011


We need someone who can lead we call on Don Bosco - to lighten our burdens and guide us on the path of Jesus...

Sunday, January 30, 2011



We pay tribute to the Father of the Nation - a man of deep integrity...who taught us to conquer violence with non-violence...His inspiration leads many today all over the world - Thank you Bapu...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


(Des Rangila - from the movie Fanaa)

Happy Republic Day - May each Indian work for a better nation and a better world !!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


A beautiful duet sung by Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins - a song of hope that all people will live in peace...We need this more than ever today in a world torn apart by division and violence...

May our prayers be heard and may we work to bring our dreams to fulfillment!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011