Tag Archive: Archbishop Thomas D’Souza

KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) — Three youth movements of Kolkata have formed a consortium along with a host of student bodies, alumni associations and Non Government Organisations to celebrate Christmas Fiesta 2012 – a two day event, Dec. 15-16 at St Xavier’s Collegiate School Kolkata.

“A first of its kind fiesta, it involves two fun filed days of healthy competition among 25 of the best schools and colleges, in various events as well as stage shows and guest performances,” says president of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM) Kolkata Albert Sanjoy Gomes.

The ICYM director Fr Gnana Peppin adds, “apart from the expected student audiences, we are inviting the residents of the Old-Age Homes, Orphanages and Homes for street children to spread the Christmas cheer.”

“I think that this endeavour of our youth to share the joy of the season with the less fortunate and the forgotten deserves our every support,” says Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Kolkata endorsing their efforts.

In an appeal sent out soliciting participation, donation, sponsorship, and advertising for the event the archbishop adds, “I would earnestly urge you to support this noble initiative in any way possible – cash, kind, effort and prayers.”

A Christmas Bazaar will provide NGOs working with the differently-abled, marginalised and vulnerable groups, to showcase and sell their wares like greeting cards, candles, Christmas decorations, cakes, handicrafts, as well as food items.

The core group of organisers includes youth groups ICYM, Young Christian Students (YCS) and Leadership Training Service (LTS).

On the evening of Christmas (25th Dec at 5.00 pm) youth groups from Auxilium and Christ the King parishes along with Don Bosco and Queen of the Missions Schools will present “The Miracle of Christmas” an open air event in the Park Circus maidan.

The three hour programme will feature multilingual choirs, and Christmas pageant. This year, after the Christmas message by Archbishop Thomas D’Souza, Baul Samrat Sanajit Mondol will render Christmas story in folk music.


By Fr I. P. Sarto

Konchowki, Oct 22, 2012: Integral human formation for priests and religious is a great challenge today and it needs to be given priority, said President of the CRI West Bengal & Sikkim unit, Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod Sr Gracy Sundar.

Six bishops, about 20 major Superiors of the religious congregations in West Bengal and Sikkim region, CRI representatives from eight dioceses and the office bearers of the Conference of Diocesan Priests of Bengal (CDPB)  deliberated on the theme “Integral Human formation for priests and religious” from Oct. 19th to 22nd , 2012 at Dhyanashram in Baruipur diocese.

About 80 church leaders from West Bengal and Sikkim region reflected on this theme of “Integral Human formation” facilitated by Salesian Fr Joe Mannath from Chennai.

To help the formees to deal with their inferiority complex and psycho-sexual problems, all the formators in the formation houses need to be well qualified on spiritual accompaniment and psychological counselling, the participants of the annual meeting suggested.

“No formator can form a fomee”, said Fr Mannath while facilitating the first two-day sessions. The formators need to create an atmosphere of openness, fraternity  and genuine love in the formation houses so that the formees could share their problems confidentially with the formators for their personal healing and integral personal development, added Fr Mannath sharing a number of examples of guiding formees.

Formators can only guide the formees through inspiration, interaction and instruction by the formers’ exemplary lives.  Personal examples and value based lives of the formators would create a lasting impact on the formees, said Fr Mannath.

Today formees need someone to trust to share their worries, hurt, guilt, problems, etc to experience healing. The formation houses should provide opportunities for the same

The participants suggested for personal spiritual guidance for the formees. Self- confidence building is essential for formees for integral growth, suggested Fr Felix Pinto, former Rector of the Morning Star Regional Seminary, Barrackpore.

Every formator needs to have a compassionate heart like Jesus, said Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta while inaugurating the annual meeting. Every priest and religious needs to become good shepherds for others, he added.

Bishop Clement Tirkey, the secretary of the Bengal Regional Bishops Council (BRBC) elaborated about the Regional Pastoral plan being drafted for the region. Fr Irudaya Raju, deputy secretary of the BRBC briefed the members about the process of gathering information from each diocese and about the planning meeting to be held in Calcutta Nov 29-30, 2012.  He also shared about the functioning of various commissions in the region.

Sisters of Charity Sr Vianney Kapiarumala presented a report  of CRI. She elaborated the initiatives of CRI for promoting justice and human dignity. She shared the visits of the executive committee members to the Tea Gardens in North Bengal and to the Jhargram area.

The  members unanimously decided to have the next meeting of BRBC-CRI- CDPB Nov. 5-7, 2013 in Raiganj. The theme would be “New Evangelizaion”.

The CRI unit of Baruipur diocese left no stone unturned to make the meeting a meaningful and fruitful one. Bishop Salvadore Lobo took all the participants to Baruipur Cathedral for Eucharist on Oct 22.

By Fr I. C. Jacob, SDB

Incessant rains and the resultant puddles and water logged roads could not stop the parishioners of Auxilium Parish to participate in the inauguration of the Year of Faith on Oct 11.

Salesian Provincial Fr Thomas Ellicherail declared the Year of Faith open amidst applause, and lighted the Year of Faith torch.

Fr Robin Gomes the commentator said “By lighting the torch of faith, we will be ushered into the Year of Faith.” Fr Provincial hoisted the flag and lit the torch of faith while the song “Aguner porosh moni” was rendered by the parish choir.

In the meantime the balloon man was waiting at the entrance of the church with a set of around 25 aerated balloons along with a placard. Fr Provincial let off the balloons and they shot into the night sky, got intertwined.

Fr Ellicherail also released the Year of Faith programme folder and presented a copy to Ranjit Biswas while the choir sang, “More love, more power…”

Special rosaries made by MC Sisters were distributed to all. The luminous mysteries were recited in English, Hindi and Bengali. After the recitation of the rosary, the solemn Eucharistic cele-bration began.

It is hoped that the flame of faith lit at the beginning of the Year of Faith will continue to burn bright in Auxilium Parish in the days to come, which has a record of over 10,000 Christians. Let the flame of faith envelop the land, pointing THE WAY to many who still grope in darkness.

The celebration was intertwined with the belated feast of Fr Rosario Stroscio.

The presence of Archbishop Thomas D’Souza and Bishop Clement Tirkey from Jalpaiguri Diocese to falicitate Fr Strocio, added to the solemnity of the occasion.

By Julian S Das

Archbishop Thomas D’Souza lighting the lamp to inaugurate the Year of Faith

Kolkata, Oct. 7, 2012: Priests, consecrated men and women, joined the laity of the Calcutta Archdiocese to launch the Year of Faith at  Our Lady of Holy Rosary Cathedral.

Over 70 priests and 200 religious were part of the congregation which joined the Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta, Oct. 7, to begin the year-long celebration of the Year of Faith.

The Archbishop and the Jesuit Provincial Fr Jeyaraj Veluswamy on behalf of priests, MC Sister Lynn on behalf of religious and Charles Sasoon and Geeta Rodrigues on behalf of laity and women respectively lighted the traditional lamp, as the Archbishop declared the Year of Faith open.

Representatives of all the congregations of women orders carried lighted lamps and offered them as symbol of joining the Archdiocese in the celebration of the Year of Faith.

The newly-elected president of Catholic Association of Bengal, Alexander Anthony read out the Pastoral Circular of the Archbishop for the priests, consecrated men and women and laity of the archdiocese before the inaugural ceremony for the year of faith.

Today we are beginning a journey of our faith, to open the door of faith to walk in, meditate and draw fruit, said Archbishop D’Souza in his introduction to the Eucharistic celebration.

He said that programs to observe the Year of Faith in the archdiocese are being planned for different sections of people, so that the celebrations may strengthen our faith.

The Calcutta Archdiocese had decided to have the launching of the Year of Faith on Oct. 7, a Sunday, in order to enable the office-goers participate in the celebra-tions. The Pope had announced the Year to begin on Oct. 11, Thursday, a day inconvenient for the laity and religious men and women.

The Archbishop also urged the priests, religious and laity to pray the special prayer prepared for the Year of Faith every day, so that through the prayer we might grow strong in our faith.

The day also coincided with the feast of Our Lady of Holy Rosary, the feast of the Cathedral.

Pro-vicar of Cathedral, Fr Peter Arulraj said that it was fitting that we launched the Year of Faith at the Cathedral, which had been treasuring the Catholic faith, ever since it was built by the Portuguese, preserved by the Jesuits and the Salesians, before handed over to the diocese.

Lay representatives from different city parishes and religious communities also joined the celebrations. Present during the Eucharist was also Archbishop emeritus Lucas Sirkar.

Change of the Guard at CAB

By Eugene Gonsalves

The CAB Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday Sept 16 at St Thomas Church, Kolkata.

On this day, the CAB Educational Merit Awards 2012 of Rs.3000/- each were given to five meritorious Catholic students.

The CAB Education Committee Coordinator, Rosemary Gomes stated that for the academic year 2011-12, a total of 24 students applied for the CAB Educational Merit Awards, out of which 5 students were awarded for scoring highest aggregate marks in all subjects in different educational boards of Class 10 and 12, and the association also felicitated another 6 students who got more than 90% marks in aggregate in ICSE / ISC Board and more than 70% marks in aggregate in WB Boards with an award of Rs.2000/- each.

She also informed that out of the 40 applications received for CAB Educational Aid all will receive a cheque of Rs.2000/- each or actual fees paid, whichever is lower and the same would be disbursed from the CAB office separately instead at the CAB AGM as decided at the last AGM. Finally she informed that the association has submitted all forms received for Education Aid under WBMDFC.

Francisca D’ Rozario of Calcutta Girls High School from  St. Teresa’s Church Moulali scored the highest aggregate marks of 91.42% in class 10, ICSE Board in all 7 subjects.

Nichola Ann Mitchell of St. Teresa’s High Secondary School from Infant Jesus Church, Behala and Mark S.M. Wheatley student of St. Xavier’s Collegiate School from St. Mary’s Church, both scored the highest aggregate marks of 93.28% each in all 7 subjects in class 12 in ISC Board.

Rahul S.I. Toppo of St. Lawrence High Secondary School from Infant Jesus Church Behala scored the highest aggregate marks of 84.57% in all subjects in class 10, WBBSE Board.

Divya Kuzur student of Howrah Sikhsha Sadan Premnagar from Catholic Church, Premnagar scored the highest aggregate marks of 80.60% in all subjects in class XIIth – WBCHSE Board.

Nihal Surin of St. Xavier’s Collegiate School from Infant Jesus Church Behala scored 90.4% in all subjects in class 10, ICSE Board, Ruby Mary Notts of Loreto House from Church of Christ the King  scored 92.14 in all subjects in class 12, ISC Board.

Sudipta Hansda of Kulitikiri Girls High School from Holy Family Church Kearchand scored 76.57% in all subjects in class 10, WBBSE Board. Avishek Rozario of St Lawrence High School from St.Anthony’s Church Keorapukur, Stephen Tudu of Nirmal Hriday Ashram C.C. High School from Holy Family Church, Kearchand and Sujan Biswas of Hat Chapra King Edward High School from Catholic Church, Ranabondo scored 76.20%, 72.60% and 71.60% respectively in class 12, WBCHSE Board.

Archbishop Thomas D’Souza congratulated all the students who received the awards and encouraged them to go for careers in IAS, IPS and other Civil Services. He requested CAB to identify such students and help them with Educational Aid and sponsorship available from the Government for minorities.

Eugene Gonsalves, President of CAB was presented with a memento and a garland by Archbishop Thomas D’Souza on behalf of the Executive Committee for his dedicated service as the President for 10 years and on being elected National President of All India Catholic Union.

The Election Committee was a three member team of Felix Thakur,Harris James and Derek Fernandes. After the elections the Committee declared Alexander Anthony as President, Charles Sassoon as Vice President 1, Ofelia Kaisar as Vice President 2, Margaret Coelho as Secretary General and Isaac Harold Gomes as Honorary Treasurer for  2012-2015.

By Julian S Das

Kolkata, Sept. 15 : To get to know the dynamics and the content of discussions during the Second Vatican Council, the press-persons had to divice their own mechanism, said TIME magazine’s reporter for the Council.

Robert Blair Kaiser was addressing a motley group of Christians and people of other faiths at St Xavier’s College, Kolkata, Sept. 15, on ‘Steps to a Church of the people for the people’.

Kaiser highlighted the importance of this council in relation to other councils in the history of the Church.

Since the procedings of the Council was out of bounds for the press, we had to befriend bishops and cardinals to extract news about the deliberations in the aula, Kaiser revealed.

Sometimes Kaiser invited American and Indian bishops to his house for dinner, and they ended up discussing about the deliberations.

During the later part of the council, there were about 70 people joining for Sunday dinner at his house in Rome, which included over 30 bishops attending the council, he said.

The Vatican Council II has presented us two images – the people of God and pilgrim Church, which gives a modest view of the Church, said the Jesuit-turned journalist.

Looking at the impact the Council has on the life of the Church, he pointed out that the church has not changed much after the council, with such papal encyclicals as Humanae Vitae, which went against the general trends which were corroborated by the Church at the initial stage.

In an effort to assert the papal authority, the Pope had gone against Vatican appointed Family Planning Com-mission’s proposals, he pointed out.

In the light of the recommendations of the Council to form people-oriented Church, Kaiser said, “We need more accountable Church and bishops, and we do not need top-down Church anymore.”

Responding to the obser-vations of Kaiser, Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta pointed out that the Council’s deliberations were built on the four pillars – on liturgy, divine revelation, Lumen Gentium and Gaudium est spes, and all other declarations were built around them.

One of the outcomes of the council was a quest for deeper understanding of herself, and others, especially the poor, which is still going on, the prelate observed.

Kaiser arrived at Kolkata from the USA on Sept. 14.

He is on a ‘lecture tour’ in India, on the fiftieth anniver-sary of the beginning of Vatican Council II, coordinated by Jesuit Father Gaston Roberge, in collaboration with Signis India.

By Julian S Das

Holy Land prilgrimage, photo by Julian S DasKolkata : Israeli government is funding the pilgrimage of a group of Christians from West Bengal state to the Holy Land from Nov 2012.

The Consul General of Israel in Kolkata, Harsh Neotia has confirmed about the full sponsoring of 25 pilgrims from poor economic background in West Bengal, to Maria Fernandes, vice-chairperson of Minorities Commission in the state.

Fernandes told during press meet at Archbishop’s House, Sept 1, that West Bengal Christian Holy Land Pilgrimage Committee had been formed with representatives from all Churches, with Catholic Archbishop Thomas D’Souza as chairperson of the newly formed committee.

So long Christian pilgrims from West Bengal used to go to the Holy Land either from Cochin or Chennai or Mumbai, and there was no facility to go directly from Kolkata, said Fernandes.

For the first time, Qatar Airways flights to the Holy Land will take off from Kolkata’s Netaju Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, from Nov 14 to Dec 9 on every Wednesday, she added.

The maiden trip on Nov. 14 will have 25 pilgrims, who would be required to pay Rs. 66,000 for five day trip to the Holy Land, and 25 pilgrims sponsored by the Consul General for Israel at Kolkata.

The second phase of the pilgrimage from Kolkata to the Holy Land would begin on Ash Wednesday in 2012, and will continue till Good Friday, Fernandes said.

The pilgrims would be visiting such important places as Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Mount of Olives, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee.

Nine members from the Christian community are also invited to visit the Holy Land as state guests of Israel, including Fernandes, and Anglo-Indian MLA, Michael Shane Calvert.

Archbishop D’Souza said that it is the desire of every Christian to visit the Holy Land at least once in their life time, and this opportunity is made possible with the help of the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

He said that of the 25 fully sponsored seats during every trip to the Holy Land during regular intervals, are shared by all the eight Catholic dioceses (two seats each), three Church of North India dioceses (two seats each), and one seat each for Baptists, Methodists and the Assembly of God Churches.

All applications to join the pilgrimage from Bengal Christians would be sorted out and processed at the Coordinating Committee at the Archbishop’s House in Kolkata, Fernandes said.

Among those present during the launching of the West Bengal Christian Holy Land Pilgrimage Committee was the Church of North India Bishop Probal Kanto Dutta of Durgapur, and representatives from the Methodist Church.

By Fr Robin Gomes, SDB

Ten Missionaries of Charity Brothers belonging to the Indian and African (Kenya) regions made their final profession at Auxilium Church during the Eucharist, presided over by Archbishop Thomas D’Souza, August 27.

Brother David Roberts, General Servant of the Missionaries of Charity Brothers, accepted their lifelong pledge society.

“My heart is filled with joy to find these mature young men reaching this day of  total surrender; after an intense period of tertianship for nearly ten months at Shanti Bhavan, Tangra in Kolkata, the Brothers are prepared and convinced to take this final step for the service of the poorest of the poor”,said the Tertian director Br George. 

The fifty year old Brothers congregation was founded by Mother Teresa and Brother Andrew and today has nearly four hundred vowed men, serving the poor, the sick, the abandoned and the neglected.

“It is a great moment of gratitude and joy that we in the Auxilium parish are part of the commitment event of the Brothers. It is a moment of edification and witness for us,” said the Salesian parish priest, Fr K. K. Sebastian.

The Brothers who made the final vows  include Brothers Anastacius Lakra, Peter Oketch, Paul Wambua, Emmanuel Samad, Anthony Waweru, Jimmy C.A, Justin Samad, Cornelius Xess, Prakash Lakra, and Lipu Soreng.

“We do what we can with the limited sources we have; the new challenge of dealing with the HIV phenomena, has made things harder. However, we do give adequate training to our Brothers. Several medical professionals offer their services, which strengthens our efforts,” said Br David Roberts.

By Dilip Rozario

The inmates and the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity at the Nirmal Hriday Home for the Sick and Dying Destitutes at Kalighat celebrated the Diamond Jubilee on Aug 14.   Sixty years ago, Mother Teresa had opened the doors of the Nirmal Hriday, putting into practice her motto of “Love in Action”.

Nirmal Hriday celebrated the Diamond Jubilee with thanksgiving, remembrance, tributes and quiet celebrations of sixty years of serving Christ in the broken bodies of the sick and the dying.

Grace Archbishop Thomas D’Souza celebrated the Eucharist in the morning, and later a Special Thanks-giving Service was held inside the hall of the Home that Mother Teresa herself referred to as the “Treasure House of Kolkata”.

The ceremonial lamp was lit and floral tributes were paid to Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata by His Grace Archbishop D’Souza, Sr Prema, Missionaries of Charity Superior-General, Sr Nirmala, Maria Fernandes, Secretary, State Minorities Commission and Chairperson of the Kalighat Temple Authority.

Speaking on the occasion, the Archbishop commended the Missionaries of Charity sisters on the service carried out by them in bringing peace and love of Christ to the loveless, uncared for, abandoned dying destitutes.

Sr Prema expressed her gratitude to the State Government, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and the Kalighat Temple authorities for their support and cooperation for making the presence of God’s loving care in Nirmal Hriday possible.

During the sixty years since its inception, more than 87,000 sick and dying destitutes have been cared and loved at the Nirmal Hriday and treated with dignity in the last moments of their lives.

A dance performance by the children of Missionaries of Charity’s Shanti Dan and the opening Prayer Song by the Bengal Christian Choir added to the prayerful ambiance of the celebrations.

By Fr Ignatius Philo Sarto

Burdwan: The representatives of Small Christian Communities in West Bengal and Sikkim have planned to coordinate with other commissions in the dioceses for vibrant Christian lives in the parishes.
About 60 participants from the eight dioceses of the region attended the regional council meeting at Chetana, Burdwan from July 11-13, 2012.
Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta exhorted the participants of the SCC Regional Council to be an umbrella for all commissions in the parishes and in the dioceses. The SCC units are the miniature Church, so all the activities need to be undertaken in the SCC for meaningfulness and fruitfulness, added Archbishop Thomas.
The SCC animators must make an effort to revitalise the commissions which are not effective in the dioceses, said Fr Pius Marcus of Darjeeling diocese.
The participants including priests and religious from the region also shared their reflection and experiences on Diocesan Service Teams (DST).
The DST members work with the Diocesan Coordinators of SCC in planning for parish animation on the Word of God and for Small Christian Communities. The members regularly review and to do follow-up for starting and sustaining the SCC units in the parishes.
In some parishes due to lack of support from the Priests, catechists and religious, the SCC promotion is affected, said some members.
The priests need to be encouraged and introduced to the importance of SCC, said Mary Ghosh who is involved in SCC promotion in the region for the last five years.
The participants also shared how the SCC enabled them to have deeper devotion to the Word of God.  Many of them shared that they read the Bible daily for about 30 minutes and meditate on it.  The word of God enabled me to relate with the people cordially, said Ajit Mondal from Krishnanagar.
The experience of being together for three days is a joyful one, said Akhil Naskar from Baruipur. The participants from different cultures and walks of life stayed together, prayed together, read the Word of God jointly and reflected on it and shared their feelings and inspirations.
Bishop Cyprian Monis of Asansol celebrated the inaugural Eucharist and exhorted the participants to promote SCC in every parish.  The SCC is the future of the Church, he added.
Fr Reginald Fernandes exhorted the SCC animators to help the Church to grow into self-reliant one.
The participants decided to take up special programmes during the year for faith formation, which will be planned and organised in consultation with other commissions in the parishes and in the dioceses, said Michael Baptist from Asansol.
They planned to collaborate with other commissions in their parishes and dioceses for strengthening the Church life.
The participants also decided to reconstitute the Regional Service team with 20 members. Bishop Clement Tirkey, chairperson for SCC will be the president. The other members would be Archbishop Thomas D’Souza, the eight diocesan coordinators for SCC, eight lay persons and two religious from the region.