Friday, January 24, 2014

World Communications Day 2014

Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter
[Sunday, 1 June 2014]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we are living in a world which is growing ever “smaller” and where, as a result, it would seem to be easier for all of us to be neighbours.  Developments in travel and communications technology are bringing us closer together and making us more connected, even as globalization makes us increasingly interdependent.  Nonetheless, divisions, which are sometimes quite deep, continue to exist within our human family.  On the global level we see a scandalous gap between the opulence of the wealthy and the utter destitution of the poor.  Often we need only walk the streets of a city to see the contrast between people living on the street and the brilliant lights of the store windows.  We have become so accustomed to these things that they no longer unsettle us.  Our world suffers from many forms of exclusion, marginalization and poverty, to say nothing of conflicts born of a combination of economic, political, ideological, and, sadly, even religious motives.
In a world like this, media can help us to feel closer to one another, creating a sense of the unity of the human family which can in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all.  Good communication helps us to grow closer, to know one another better, and ultimately, to grow in unity.  The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another.  We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect.  A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive.  Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances.  The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity.  This is something truly good, a gift from God.
This is not to say that certain problems do not exist.  The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression.  The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests.  The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings.  The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbours, from those closest to us.  We should not overlook the fact that those who for whatever reason lack access to social media run the risk of being left behind.
While these drawbacks are real, they do not justify rejecting social media; rather, they remind us that communication is ultimately a human rather than technological achievement.  What is it, then, that helps us, in the digital environment, to grow in humanity and mutual understanding?  We need, for example, to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm.  This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen.  We need also to be patient if we want to understand those who are different from us.  People only express themselves fully when they are not merely tolerated, but know that they are truly accepted.  If we are genuinely attentive in listening to others, we will learn to look at the world with different eyes and come to appreciate the richness of human experience as manifested in different cultures and traditions.  We will also learn to appreciate more fully the important values inspired by Christianity, such as the vision of the human person, the nature of marriage and the family, the proper distinction between the religious and political spheres, the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, and many others.
How, then, can communication be at the service of an authentic culture of encounter?  What does it mean for us, as disciples of the Lord, to encounter others in the light of the Gospel?  In spite of our own limitations and sinfulness, how do we draw truly close to one another?  These questions are summed up in what a scribe – a communicator – once asked Jesus: “And who is my neighbour?” (Lk 10:29).  This question can help us to see communication in terms of “neighbourliness”.  We might paraphrase the question in this way: How can we be “neighbourly” in our use of the communications media and in the new environment created by digital technology?  I find an answer in the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is also a parable about communication.  Those who communicate, in effect, become neighbours.  The Good Samaritan not only draws nearer to the man he finds half dead on the side of the road; he takes responsibility for him.  Jesus shifts our understanding: it is not just about seeing the other as someone like myself, but of the ability to make myself like the other.  Communication is really about realizing that we are all human beings, children of God.  I like seeing this power of communication as “neighbourliness”.
Whenever communication is primarily aimed at promoting consumption or manipulating others, we are dealing with a form of violent aggression like that suffered by the man in the parable, who was beaten by robbers and left abandoned on the road.  The Levite and the priest do not regard him as a neighbour, but as a stranger to be kept at a distance.  In those days, it was rules of ritual purity which conditioned their response.  Nowadays there is a danger that certain media so condition our responses that we fail to see our real neighbour.
It is not enough to be passersby on the digital highways, simply “connected”; connections need to grow into true encounters.  We cannot live apart, closed in on ourselves.  We need to love and to be loved.  We need tenderness.  Media strategies do not ensure beauty, goodness and truth in communication.  The world of media also has to be concerned with humanity, it too is called to show tenderness.  The digital world can be an environment rich in humanity; a network not of wires but of people.  The impartiality of media is merely an appearance; only those who go out of themselves in their communication can become a true point of reference for others.  Personal engagement is the basis of the trustworthiness of a communicator.  Christian witness, thanks to the internet, can thereby reach the peripheries of human existence.
As I have frequently observed, if a choice has to be made between a bruised Church which goes out to the streets and a Church suffering from self-absorption, I certainly prefer the first.  Those “streets” are the world where people live and where they can be reached, both effectively and affectively.  The digital highway is one of them, a street teeming with people who are often hurting, men and women looking for salvation or hope.  By means of the internet, the Christian message can reach “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  Keeping the doors of our churches open also means keeping them open in the digital environment so that people, whatever their situation in life, can enter, and so that the Gospel can go out to reach everyone.  We are called to show that the Church is the home of all.  Are we capable of communicating the image of such a Church?  Communication is a means of expressing the missionary vocation of the entire Church; today the social networks are one way to experience this call to discover the beauty of faith, the beauty of encountering Christ.  In the area of communications too, we need a Church capable of bringing warmth and of stirring hearts. 
Effective Christian witness is not about bombarding people with religious messages, but about our willingness to be available to others “by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence” (BENEDICT XVI, Message for the 47th World Communications Day, 2013).  We need but recall the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus.  We have to be able to dialogue with the men and women of today, to understand their expectations, doubts and hopes, and to bring them the Gospel, Jesus Christ himself, God incarnate, who died and rose to free us from sin and death.  We are challenged to be people of depth, attentive to what is happening around us and spiritually alert.  To dialogue means to believe that the “other” has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective.  Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.
May the image of the Good Samaritan who tended to the wounds of the injured man by pouring oil and wine over them be our inspiration.  Let our communication be a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts.  May the light we bring to others not be the result of cosmetics or special effects, but rather of our being loving and merciful “neighbours” to those wounded and left on the side of the road.  Let us boldly become citizens of the digital world.  The Church needs to be concerned for, and present in, the world of communication, in order to dialogue with people today and to help them encounter Christ.  She needs to be a Church at the side of others, capable of accompanying everyone along the way.  The revolution taking place in communications media and in information technologies represents a great and thrilling challenge; may we respond to that challenge with fresh energy and imagination as we seek to share with others the beauty of God.
From the Vatican, 24 January 2014, the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Mary Kom says she also faced sex attack

Mary Kom says she also faced sex attack

In the wake of a series of rape cases reported from across the country, Olympic medal-winning boxer Mary Kom narrates how she faced a molestation attempt when she was 18; tells women to be alert all the time and fight odds with courage

Mary Kom says she also faced sex attack (© AP)
Kolkata: Olympic medal-winning boxer M.C. Mary Kom said she had also faced a sex attack when she was 18, but managed to overpower the assaulter.
The boxer expressed concern over women's safety in India and urged them to go for physical training to fend off attackers.
"I would urge them to have some kind of physical training to prevent sex attacks, because you need to be strong and fit to fight attackers. I would also tell them to fight sex offence without fear," she said.
The boxer's comments came in the wake of a series of rape cases, including of foreigners, reported from across the country.
Mary Kom, who won a bronze in women's flyweight class in the 2012 London Olympics, said she faced a sex attack when she was 18, but managed to overpower the assaulter.
"I was going to church on a Sunday. I was wearing a traditional wraparound dress and took a rickshaw as I was a bit late. Suddenly, the rickshaw puller caught my hand and tried to molest me," she told a stunned audience at an interactive session organised by the FICCI Ladies Organisation.
Mary Kom said she kicked and punched the man who fell flat.
"I managed to flatten him because I was fit and strong. But that incident taught me a lesson that as a woman, I have to be very alert all the time and must have courage (to fight the odds)," she said.
Mary Kom recently launched a mobile app for teaching self-defence to women

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Dear Friends,
Greetings from Gurjarvani.

Watching film is a favorite pass-time and entertainment for many of us. We have organized a three-day workshop to appreciate films. Some of us (NGOs) have come together to bring activities related to films. We, mainly focus youth of Ahmedabad. This time too we are inviting the youth to explore various ways to appreciate films. Attached please find the poster and forms for the event.

Workshop on Film Appreciation (FILMDARSHAN) 
From 17th (2 pm) to 19th (7pm).
At XICA, St. Xavier's College Campus, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad.
Contact: 9687933835
Last Day well-known writer, director, columnist & lyricist Sanjay Chhel will give away the certificates.

‘FILMOGRAPH’ is now well-known event for Ahmedabad youth. It’s a theme based festival of feature and documentary films. This year we are starting new venture for the youth named ‘FILMDARSHAN’. It’s an introductory film appreciation course. 

This year on the last day of the event well-known Hindi film director writer and lyricist SANJAY CHHEL will come and will show his National Award winning film ‘HALO’. [A children film - Written by him and Directed by Santosh Sivam]. He will also show the trailor of his upcoming film ‘KILL THE RAPIST?’

Still we can adjust some participants to participate in this event. Whoever eligible participant is interested to participate can contact us at the venue.

The detail address of the venue is;
Xavier’s Institute of Computer Application
St. Xavier’s College Campus,

All the participants will report at the venue 2.00 p.m. on 17th January, 2014. The time table and entry form with eligibility norms has been attached with this mail also.

For, the FILMOGRAPH team.

RIP - Fr. Bernard Peris Ahmedabad Dio. died yesterday in Mangalore

Rev. Fr. Bernard Peris was born on 18th December, 1958 to Late Mr. Paul Peris and Late Mrs.  Theresa Peris in Pezar, Mangalore. He joined St. Joseph Minor Seminary, Mangalore in 1977 and pursued studies to become priest for the diocese of Ahmedabad. He was ordained priest for the diocese of Ahmedabad on 4th April, 1989.

 After his ordination he served the Diocese mainly as an assistant and later on parish priest during his 25 years of priestly life. He served in Radhanpur, Petlad, Deesa, Jesus Nagar, Camp parish, Cathedral parish, Umreth and Mehmdabad. He loved the poor and was very helpful to the needy. Being a man of prayer, he was in communion with the Lord sitting for long hours before the Blessed Sacrament. A priest who prayed for the needs of the Church and those who asked him to pray for their needs.

He served the Diocese as a hard worker in the Lord’s Vineyard. While in the Cathedral parish for a couple of years, he helped me in person on various occasions. Showing care and concern towards visitors was his motto. He has been a wonderful priest who served hospitality to the guests. He was a priest who was ready to forgive and forget.

By nature he was concerned for the poor and the sick.  Often he visited the hospitals and prayed on the sick. He loved to conduct charismatic Prayer and brought healing touch to many people.  He had a special devotion to Mother Mary and he never missed the recitation of Rosary.  Although he appeared physically mighty in structure yet he was simple, soft, friendly, approachable and gentle. 

He was presently doing studies in Spirituality at A.V.T. Carmelaram, Banglore. While in Bangalore he developed renal problem for which he was under medication and was relaxing at home. The sad moment came on the 16th around 7.30 p.m. when he had to be admitted in Muller’s hospital, Mangalore for chest pain. The attack was severe which resulted into Cardiac Arrest.

The Diocese of Ahmedabad has lost a fine, hardworking and a praying priest. It has shocked the diocese for his sudden death.

May his Soul Rest in Peace
Let us all pray for him , relatives, and the diocese of Ahmedabad

News By Rev. Fr. Avinas


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Glory of Gujarat Award to Sister Elsa c/o [BBN]

Posted: 06 Jan 2014 10:24 PM PST
Glory Of Gujarat Award given to Sister Elsa Rodriguez (St. Anne) on 27th Dec 2013 from the Governor Rev. Kamla Benival at Gandhinagar
Sister Elsa Rodriguez
 It is said you take one step and God takes thousand steps towards you. That’s what happened in the life of Sr.Elsa. When she finally decided to follow the person of Christ.

 Sr. Elsa was born on 2nd Aug 1944 in Bogota Colombia in (South America). She had happy childhood with her siblings and she completed her Master in psychology. She decided to become a religious nun and joined the congregation of Sisters of Charity of St. Anne in the year 1962. She had a call to be a missionary so she came to India on 14th Nov 1978.

 She has so much love for the mentally challenged children. She has special place for these children in her heart and in her life. This was the reason she began the home for the mentally challenged children in Ahmedabad in Maninagar in the year 1983 with two children Pinky and Jimmy. The beginning of this mission was in the small house and she had a dream to build a residence for these children. Her dream came true when a house for mentally challenged children was built in Bapunagar – Ahmedabad in the year 1986 in February. This centre was named “Madhurya Bhuvan”. It is meant for the age group of 5 to 17 years for boys and girls. It is a special need school and hostel where children are trained to manage by themselves their daily routine and become self dependent. When they began they had 11 children with them. And today at this moment there are 113 boys and girls including the day scholars. Till today 696 children have benefited from Madhurya Bhuvan and had taken shelter in its arms.Sr. Elsa served in Bapunagar - Ahmedabad till the year 2000.

 While Sr. Elsa was in Bapunagar it was her constant worry as to what would happen to these children once they grow up. When she used to hear the parents making these kind of statements: She started thinking about it seriously and these thoughts of Sr.Elsa became reality when she built a beautiful house for mentally challenged women in Kadi – Unteshwari (Mehesana) in the year 2000 in June. It is said Optimistic never stop dreaming and so Sr.Elsa. She extended the same house for men too in 2006. Today Madhurya Bhuvan stands tall in Unteshwari giving shelter to many mentally challenged men and women.


1) She is a person of perfection. Whatever she does it she will do it perfectly.

2) She lives disciplined life. She likes everything to be done in time and proper manner.

3) She is committed person. Her commitment is total and complete.

She has offered her whole life in the service of these differently abled people. It is indeed admirable. Hats off to you and accept our grand salute for being the channel of love and compassion to those who came to your life.

- News By Sr. Shital Parmar - Nadiad