October 24, 2014 at 6:54 pm (SILENT VOICE)
October 23, 2014 at 11:14 am (SILENT VOICE)
October 21, 2014 at 12:21 pm (SILENT VOICE)
Cardinal Gracias said that Indians have traditionally maintained strong family ties but negative influences, including films, challenge that tradition.
|Cardinal Oswald Gracias|
Vatican City: While some countries face family issues such as divorce and polygamy, the synod’s Indian participants have voiced concern for interreligious marriages, which pose pastoral concerns across Asia, said Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay.
We have got this whole thing of mixed marriages, there are many marriages in India which are between (a) Catholic and somebody who is not baptized, a Hindu, a Muslim, or a Buddhist, and that is what specifically came out of India,” Cardinal Gracias told Catholic News Agency.
While marriage between a Catholic and an unbaptized person would normally be invalid, the local ordinary can dispense from this impediment, and thus allow such a marriage to be validly contracted (canon 1086).
Cardinal Gracias, who is part of Pope Francis’ ‘council of cardinals’, explained that when faced with the difficult situations interreligious marriages can present, it’s always necessary to have a “positive pastoral approach” to the couples and families involved.
The cardinal was accompanied to the synod by Fr. Cajetan Menezes, who is director of the Bombay archdiocese’s Snehalaya Family Service Center.
Fr. Menezes has served as an auditor for the synod, and spoke to CNA Oct. 15 saying the topic of interreligious marriages was one of the three points he brought up when he addressed the synod fathers.
With the number of interreligious marriages on the rise across Asia, the priest said that it is an important issue, and one with which the Church needs to have a “very specific pastoral care.”
Although other countries might not share the pastoral difficulties caused by interreligious marriages, Fr. Menezes observed that “this is a big issue in Asia because we are a minority,” and cited India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Japan as countries with a high percentage of interreligious couples.
Fr. Menezes said that the synod’s emphasis on welcoming and inviting those who are far from the Church or who find themselves in situations that could be problematic is also a way of embracing those who have been ostracized because of interreligious challenges.
“I think it’s the first time I noticed (them) speaking a different (kind of) language, and I think that’s a very positive influence of Pope Francis, (who) is reaching out, welcoming, and also looking at not only those who are at the center, but at the periphery,” the priest said.
Returning to the situation in India, Cardinal Gracias said that Indians have traditionally maintained strong family ties but negative influences, including films challenge that tradition.
“I think that people are beginning to feel that this is not the best thing and we have got to try to reinforce the family,” he said. Noting that although a zero percent breakdown rate is impossible, he said: “It should not be 50 percent either.”?
However, he explained that much of a lasting family dynamic will depend on the preparation of the couple before marriage, as well as the process of accompanying them after the sacrament is contracted.
Source: Catholic news agency
October 20, 2014 at 10:15 am (SILENT VOICE)
Fatima Pereira, president of SOGAC, said these illegal activities have been going on for many years.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa that holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. File photo: Paul Noronha
Panaji:A group that fights mushrooming of illegal structures around world heritage churches of Old Goa has demanded a ‘Heritage Master Plan’ for the area since it is a recognized global heritage site, now facing a threat of losing its sheen.
The Save Old Goa Action Committee (SOGAC) that is spearheading the movement made the demand as the State is gearing for next month’s decennial Exposition of St. Xavier’s body at Bom Jesus Basilica Church at Old Goa.
Peter Viegas of SOGAC told The Hindu on Saturday that there are 14 ASI declared monuments, eight State protected sites and 18 unprotected sites. There could be some more undiscovered structures with historical importance in Old Goa since Kadambas, Adil Shah and Portuguese ruled the State for thousands of years.
The local people are agitating over growing cases of land shark-politician-builder nexus to grab the land and carry on illegal construction activities in and around the premises of the world heritage Churches.
Fatima Pereira, president of SOGAC, said these illegal activities have been going on for many years.
The activists say they have urged the government to initiate immediate steps to preserve and protect Old Goa from being swallowed by land sharks-builders-politicians nexus.
Articulating their concerns, they pointed out that recently 10 illegal migrant rented rooms and a shopping mall with many individual stalls have come up inside the Basilica compound by demolishing the compound wall at the western gate.
Several letters and representations have been made to the authority concerned such as Panchayat, ASI, Collector, Police and Director of Panchayat etc. from 2011 onwards.
Just as the government has formed a High Powered Exposition Committee with all the stake holders, SOGAC insists on a Heritage Master Plan.
Mr. Viegas expressed the need for formation of a regulatory authority for preservation of the world heritage structures through concerted effort of all stakeholders including the government, Archdiocese and non-governmental organisations.
Morover, the committee demanded demarcation of all State-protected monuments, and other sites and also sought demarcation of a 100-metre protected zone and 100-200 metre regulated zone for ASI and State-protected monuments.
Source: The Hindu
WISHING ALL THE SILENT VOICE READERS. ‘A VERY HAPPY DIWALI’.
Dr. (Sr.) Mudita Sodder is regular contributor to SILENT VOICE;
English Proficiency Classes (EPC) is mandatory for all 1st and 2nd Year students of St Xavier’s College and St Xavier’s College of Management and Technology, Digha Ghat, Patna. When asked why, Dr (Fr) Nishaant S.J., the Principal of the college explained, “In order to explore the intersection of culturally responsive pedagogy and do justice and cater to the many vernacular medium students who join the colleges and have to listen to lectures in English, special English Proficiency Classes are held for those who score less than 80% in the Diagnostic Test. Those who score more than 80% are assigned to the Media Cell, where an expert trains them in creative writing and journalism.”
A streak of Xavierian enlightened madness this year began with a week-long Diwali Celebration from Thursday 16th October 2014. Instead of sombre sanity, St. Xavier’s Colleges decided to make EPC shine in the darkness even when the darkness does not comprehend it and the light of EPC flicker still against the withering winds, by teaching students English action songs and conducting English Language games in the canteen, thus using their kinaesthetic energy to create Garam Hava (sweat) keeping in line with the hot climate of Patna.
Another group of EPC students shut their eyes in deep meditation under ace guru, Fr Joe Kunnumpuram S.J, a counsellor, psychotherapist, healer, spiritual director, retreat giver, leadership-trainer and Director of Atmadarshan, Patna who guided them into flights of fantasy helping them to introspect and at least feel their own warmth and goodness within and turn and see and understand that their deepest longings are not for power and pride nor for hate and violence but for peace and harmony, for forgiveness and love.
A riot of very creative and colourful activities, have been going on in every classroom, during EPC this week. Shivani of BCA Part I opined, “Deepavali the festival of Lights has already begun for me. My first year in college has been most exciting! I have learnt a lot of English and have gained much confidence in such a short time.” “I look forward to every English Proficiency Class wondering what novel technique the teacher will use to teach me English in an effective and creative way. I have never ever learnt English in such an interesting way before”, remarked Mukund Shivesh of BBA Part II.
Nishant Kumar a B.Com (Professional) Part II student said, “Ajay Sir is amazing! He keeps us enthralled all through the English Proficiency Class. What’s more is the fact that he makes us do something in English in the class, gets each one to evaluate the same, collects our written responses at the end and then emails a very balanced and honest collective and individual feedback of those who have performed. His written comments are very endearing and helpful.”
“There is a lovely family spirit during EPC. We are only 32 students in the class and the individual attention given to each of us and the sharing is very bonding. The Language Laboratory, phonetics, games, field trips and hands-on-experience is very bonding which makes the learning of English very enjoyable”, observes Alisha Ekka of BMC Part I.
Special English teachers are selected to take these English Proficiency Classes. They are trained with demonstration workshops, constant supervision and feedback, together with model lesson plans and guidelines. Teacher, student perspectives of academic achievements are examined by videotaping the oral performance of every student at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year in order to gauge the degree of culturally responsive caring and progress made thereby.
Dr (Sr) Mudita Sodder RSCJ co-ordinator of EPC at St Xavier Colleges commented, “If only we teachers/professors could connect and touch the lives of our students and make them a little more beautiful, joyful, lightsome and uplifting, then learning English or any other subject would be so much easier and fun. But then we teachers /professors would all need a little enlightened madness to try it out, yet knowing fully well that the alternative is only more of the same old, traditional, one-sided, boring lecture method of sombre sanity! May this Diwali make us all a little Divana!
Dr (Sr) Mudita Menona Sodder RSCJ
17th October 2014
Patna, Bihar, India
Photo No 1 In the Canteen
Photo No 2 Meditation-Fr Joe S.J
Photo No 3 Depicting Sati in Art Form
Photo No 4 Using Kinaesthetic Energy
Photo No 5 Winners of the Talent Contest.