Sunday, December 20, 2009


On the 12th December 2009, the Second year students of the Salesian Institute of Philosophy - Divyadaan, as part of their annual academic activity organized a symposium on the latest encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI CARITAS IN VERITATE (Charity in truth).The symposium was co-coordinated by Cl. Evangelo D’Souza, under the guidance of Fr. Valerian, Fr. Rector sdb, Fr. Robert, Fr. Wyman and Fr. Aloysius. The three speakers of the day were Cl. Joshua Alphonso, Cl. Larsen Iyengar and Cl. Ashok Lingampalli.

The entire encyclical was sketched out in gist by Cl. Bosco Carvalho, who also enfolded the role of the church, whose prime concern is not only God, Religion and Salvation of souls but in all her being and acting- when she proclaims, educates, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity- is engaged in promoting the integral development of each and every individual. The church is not just involved; but develops and pressed forward to achieving the well-being of all humans.

Cl. Joshua Alphonso introduced the encyclical letter of the Supreme Pontiff on the Integral Human Development in Charity and Truth. He led a brief historical survey of how the church has been active in times of trials in order to uphold the dignity of human being and empowering them through the different encyclicals down the ages. This aided the audiences to understand the perspective of the encyclical.

Cl. Larsen Iyengar presented the understanding of Rights and Duties in Caritas in Veritate. He said that the church calls each one of us to live our human vocation to love more radically and in solidarity with others by sharing our resources. The Rights are to be considered here as objective and not merely subjective. Further, he goes on to show how people are in dependent on one another in fulfilling their rights and duties which in turn brings about growth in the individual and growth in the society as whole.

Cl. Ashok Lingampalli, emphasized on the role of the church through this encyclical in challenging governments, industries, NGO’s and institutions to a reform in their works on Justice towards one another; justice that is rooted in God’s love, which enables us to continue seeking and working for the welfare of our neighbor. He also dealt upon some practical implications, as to how an individual and communities have a special role to play to bring about a change. Educators have a greater responsibility in building one’s lives and that of others on the values of the church.

The symposium proceeded further with a panel discussion and questionnaires, during which there was a certain clarifications of the terms, concepts, aspects and focus of the encyclical. There was lively participation from the part of the audiences from the various neighboring religious institutes.The symposium ended on a melodious note with the theme song composed by Cl. Nobin Narzary.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kristapurana - Pastoral Theology and Dialogue

NASHIK, NOVEMBER 23, 2009: Kristapurana, the Biblical Epic of 11,000 verses which was composed by Thomas Stephens, S.J. (1549-1619) is becoming known gradually. The Marathi translation and its release in Nashik and in other places has given it publicity. It would be interesting to see how Kristapurana was born. It was born in the Pastoral context of Goa. The new Hindu converts who were forbidden to read their earlier Hindu texts asked for some Christian text in Marathi language for their pass-time. Thomas Stephens took up the challenge and along with his Pastoral work (he was Pastor-in-charge in various Parishes in Goa) made time to study Sanskrit, Marathi, Konkani and read the various Puranas and finally to compose the Great Biblical Epic. And so the Kristapurana was born in a Pastoral context, i.e., the people asking for a text to read and the Priest involved pastorally with the people and for the people, making time along with his many Pastoral involvements to compose it.

This text is like the Bhagavad-Gita which is Smruti and not Shruti (infallible Word) or like Jnaneshvari which is a Marathi commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita. It is not the Bible itself but a type of a commentary on the Bible or the narration of the life of Christ. Fr. Francis D’Britto, Marathi writer and poet, suggested during the release of the Marathi translation of the Kristapurana at Nashik, that Kristapurana should be translated into French, German and other languages. In fact, the English translation of the same is almost ready (85%) and one more volume should be out within a few months. Like Bhagavad-Gita or Jnaneshvari it should reach to all the corners of the world. But in all this, the Pastoral context should be kept in mind. One involved in doing this should himself be involved in Pastoral work and should be in touch with the flock. Setting-aside oneself totally, not being pastorally involved, not being in touch with the people may not be the proper context for any translation of the Kristapurana.