Saturday, 27 June 2015

Common Zonal-wise Animations

The Second Phase of the Common Zonal-Level Pastoral Plan Animations took place simultaneously in the four deaneries on Saturday 27 June, 2015. The animations were to present the Pastoral Plan of six commissions, through a short slideshow and interaction by animators from each of those commissions. Participants from the Parish Core Teams and two parish representatives of each concern, attended.

The six commissions/concerns covered were:
1. Ecumenism & Inter-religious Dialogue
2. Laity
3. Health
4. Education
5. Environment & Social Development
6.  Social Communication

Detailed reports by the ASCC reporters (members of Parish Media Teams) will be published here soon.

With this event, only one concern of the Pastoral Plan is left to be animated, Administration.

Kolkata - Archbishop's House - Fr Dominic opens with a musical prayer

Kolkata - Archbishop's House - Bemvinda, Animator for Laity Commission gives an inspiring presentation

Kolkata - Archbishop's House - Dean of Kolkata in the foreground
Howrah/Hooghly -Don Bosco Liluah - Participants and Animators

Howrah/Hooghly -Don Bosco Liluah - Feedback Session on the Workshop

Howrah/Hooghly -Don Bosco Liluah - Charles Sassoon speaks on Laity

Friday, 26 June 2015

New Editor for The Herald

The Archdiocesan paper, The Herald, has a new editor in the person of Fr Devraj Fernandes, who was formally welcomed at the Meeting of The Herald Board, Friday 26 June, 2015. Fr Devraj is a Diocesan priest, who also holds the post of Principal, at the heritage St Anthony's High School, Market Street.

The outgoing editor, Fr Julian Das SJ, was also felicitated at the meeting, and was heartily commended for his role in giving the paper a renewed direction and vitality during his tenure. 

Fr Julian receives a bouquet from Archbishop Thomas

... and so does new Editor, Fr Devraj

The ASCC is conducting a survey dubbed "The Herald Readership Survey 2015," which it is hoped will provide the data to take the paper to new directions, through this community feedback. The Herald could then focus on core values and strengthen them, while  also charting out a new course for the decades old journal.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Sr Nirmala laid to rest

 By Isaac Harold Gomes

The first sentence His Grace Thomas D’Souza Archbishop of Calcutta uttered on 21st June 2015 during his homily, on the installation of Fr John P. Chalil sdb as the new Parish Priest of Auxilium Parish, was Sister Nirmala was seriously ill and that all should pray for her recovery. 

Two days later she was no more.

In an age when political and religious leaders of all hues clamour for media attention, Sister Nirmala, in spite of having succeeded Mother Teresa as the Superior General of Missionaries of Charity in March 1997 and being honoured with Padma Vibhushan in 2009 for her services to the nation, chose a self-effacing contemplative life.

The crowded Funeral Service was held on Wednesday 24 June 2015 at 4.15 p.m., at Mother House. Cardinal Telesphore Toppo led the concelebrated Mass.  He was joined by  Archbishop Thomas D’Souza, Bishop Salvadore Lobo,
Vicar General Fr Dominic Gomes, Devraj Fernandes - the new Editor of The Herald, and a number of priests. The VVIPs present at the Mass were Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, along with Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien and Commissioner of Police Surajit Kar  Purkayastha.

After the two-hour Mass, Sister Nirmala was taken in a procession to St John’s Church cemetery Sealdah, where her body was buried, after the last rites. CM Mamata Banerjee walked in the funeral procession. 

Many had doubted that the introvert missionary would survive after Mother Teresa's death in 1997, but Sister Nirmala with her double black belt (MA in political science and a trained
lawyer) proved them wrong. During her 12-year stewardship the Kolkata-headquartered order grew stronger. Sister Nirmala visited many countries, opened new houses and drew more people to the Missionaries of Charity, which now has over 4,500 religious sisters and activities spread across 133 countries.

We have a reputation for showering praise when one is no more.  The same is happening in the case of Sister Nirmala. When will our community learn to recognise talent when one is alive?  In its Pastoral Plan the Social Communications Commission of Calcutta Archdiocese has adopted a novel point - it is to identify and recognise Catholic talents in various fields during one’s lifetime, so as to encourage others. Bravo!