The coming of the monsoon signals a relief from the scorching summer heat. Dark and gloomy skies are a common sight during the monsoons, which only signify the much awaited rainfall. The season of monsoon is always welcomed by people.
During this month, students are gearing up for the New Academic Year. Students are seen hurrying to school with their colorful raincoats and umbrellas and seem very excited at times to have a shower in the rain.
The monsoon season is a blessing for the farmers across the country as well as for agriculture. During this season, the fields, crops, trees and plants come to life. The whole of nature comes to life as the “sea of the green”. Beautiful flowers also blossom in this time, bringing immense joy.
Once again, the Society of Pilar rejoices as it was blessed with 4 Missionary Priests on 30th April 2017 and 6 New Members, who made their First Profession on 24th May 2017 and Canonical Erection of the Pilar Sisters Association (PSA) into a Society of Apostolic Life in the name of “Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Pilar” on 13th May 2017 which coincided with Fatima Centenary Celebration. On this auspicious day, Pope Francis canonized Saint Francisco, 11 and Saint Jacinta Marto, 10 making them the youngest non-martyrs beatified in the history of the Church. The Inaugural Mass of the New Seminary Year 2017-18 will be held on 18th June 2017 at 4.00 pm in the Mission Seminary Chapel presided over by Archbishop of Goa, Filipe Neri Ferrao along with Fr. Francis Carvalho, Superior General and Fr. Norman Almeida, Rector.
This year another 18 students have joined the Theological College for the First Year Theology. Let us place ourselves in the hands of the Lord and seek his aid that he may guide us along the right path throughout the year. We wish all our Missionaries, Staff & Students and well-wishers a Fruitful Academic Year.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA - THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN
The world celebrates the 100th Anniversary (centenary) on 13th May 2017, of Our Lady of Fatima's visit to three shepherd children (Francisco Marto, Jacinta Marto, and Lucia Dos Santos) in Fatima, Portugal on May 13, 1917. This event historically signifies the First Marian apparition that delivers a peace plan for the world and a message for everyone’s salvation.
Prayer, Fasting, Reparations and visions of Hell /Heaven among countless topics will be covered at this important event. Pope Francis has announced to the world that this is the year of Fatima. St. Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have all called upon the message of Fatima to be known and celebrated. On this auspicious day, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Francisco, 11 and Blessed Jacinta Marto, 10 making them the youngest non-martyrs to be beatified in the history of the Church.
The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima, commonly known as the World Apostolate of Fatima was founded in 1946 by Rev. Fr. Harold V. Colgan, Parish Priest of St. Mary of Plainfield, New Jersey (USA). Fr. Harold had fallen seriously ill and was hospitalized. During his illness he prayed to Our Lady of Fatima that if she cures him he would spend the rest of his life spreading devotion to her. He experienced a mysterious recovery from a terminal heart condition in 1946. He attributed his recovery to his prayers and began preaching to his congregation on a regular basis about the Virgin Mary.
The World Apostolate of Fatima is a Public International Association of the Christian Faithful. It’s general purpose is “the promotion of the authentic teaching of the Roman Catholic Church and the strict adherence (commitment to the cause) to the tenets of the Gospel; the personal sanctification of adherents through faithful adherence to the Message of Fatima and the promotion of the common good by the spreading of the Message of Fatima”.
The Symbol of the Apostolate consists of a pair of doves forming an image of praying hands holding a Rosary, surrounded by an image of a brown scapular, containing the words in Latin Orbis Unus Orans, (One World Praying) the motto of the Apostolate. All of these surmounted on a blue disc, blue being the symbolic liturgical color of the Virgin Mary in the Catholic Church.
The W.A.F. is devoted to the formation of the faithful, especially families, towards the new evangelization through the Message of Fatima. Seminars and spiritual retreats on the new evangelization take place all over the world to prepare new leaders to make possible “the civilization of love”, the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary announced in Fatima.
The W.A.F. is also a facilitator providing to other Church Groups, Parishes, Schools and Associations, the spirituality of Fatima as a way to enrich their Christian life in defense of “the culture of life” over “the culture of death”.
Let us pray that our Mother may lead us to conversion and renewal of our sins thereby bringing salvation and peace to all mankind and through her intercession, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life.
A special endeavor of the World Apostolate of Fatima is that every Diocese and Parish community should make an Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
JUBILEE PRAYER OF CONSECRATION
(By the Shrine of Fatima)
Hail, Mother of the Lord,
Virgin Mary, Queen of the Rosary of Fatima!
Blessed among all women,
You are the image of the Church dressed in the Paschal light,
You are the honour of our people,
You are the triumph over the mark of evil.
Prophecy of the Merciful Love of the Father,
Teacher of the Annunciation of the Good News of the Son,
Sign of the burning Fire of the Holy Spirit,
teach us, in this valley of joys and sorrows,
the eternal truths that the Father reveals to the little ones.
Show us the strength of your Mantle of protection.
In your Immaculate Heart, be the refuge of sinners and the way that leads to God.
In unity with my brethren,
In Faith, Hope and Love,
I surrender myself to you.
In unity with my brethren, through you, I consecrate myself to God,
O Virgin of the Rosary of Fatima
And thus surrounded by the Light that comes from your hands,
I will give Glory to the Lord forever and ever.
Once again we have entered another Holy Week. We entered the city of Jerusalem with Jesus - the Prince of Peace (with joy in our hearts) along with the praising/cheering crowd and then comes the Easter Triduum…… The celebration of the Triduum marks the end of the Lenten season. It helps us to experience again the Central Event of our salvation. These days are more of intense prayer and meditation in which, with the help of the moving rites of the Holy Week we are enabled to reflect on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. Pilar Missionaries are fully engaged during this season of grace, helping in conducting Retreats, Preaching, helping in the Sacrament of Reconciliation to bring about a Spiritual Renewal. On Maundy Thursday, we observe Christ who made a gift of himself to the Church, instituted the ministerial priesthood and left to his disciples the new commandment, the commandment of love. Thus, he wished to remain with us in the sacrament of the Eucharist, making himself the food of our salvation. On Good Friday, we revisit the tragic chain of events of the Passion of our Redeemer leading to his crucifixion. The Adoration of the Cross will enable us to understand more acutely the infinite mercy of God. By willingly experiencing that immense sorrow, the Only-Begotten Son of God became the definitive proclamation of salvation for humanity. The prayerful, silent atmosphere of Holy Saturday will offer us the opportunity to await the glorious event of the Resurrection. On Easter day, the churches in every corner of the earth ring out “the Lord of life was dead, now alive, he triumphs”. On this day, we fix our gaze more intensely on the face of Christ, the light of the world, the new age of the Resurrection that fills the whole liturgical year with its brilliance. Let the face of Risen Christ be our joy and renewed hope to our lives. Let us enter the Holy Triduum with great expectations and drink deeply fully soaked in the paschal mystery.
Once again we have entered the Lenten season. It is a period of fasting, repentance, self-denial, spiritual discipline and preparation for the coming of Christ. It is a time for self-examination and reflection on Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death and resurrection.
During the season of Lent we take a journey with Jesus. Stations of the Cross are a way of re-enacting and remembering Jesus’ journey to Calvary, carrying his cross. We retrace in imagination each station on the way, meditating on the weight of the cross, on his crucifixion, and on his death and burial.
In his Lenten Message, Pope Francis exhorts, “Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion.”
The Rich man was clearly ostentatious about his wealth, and in the habit of displaying it daily: "He feasted sumptuously every day” (v. 19). In him we can catch a dramatic glimpse of the corruption of sin, which progresses in three successive stages: love of money, vanity and pride. The Gospel of the Rich man and Lazarus helps us to make a good preparation for the approach of Easter. The liturgy of Ash Wednesday invites us to an experience quite similar to that of the Rich man. When the Priest imposes the ashes on our heads, he repeats the words: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. The Rich man recognizes Lazarus only amid the torments of the afterlife. He wants the poor man to alleviate his suffering with a drop of water. At the root of the Rich Man’s ills was the failure to heed God’s word. As a result, he no longer loved God and grew to despise his neighbour. The word of God is alive and powerful, capable of converting hearts and leading them back to God. When we close our heart to the gift of God’s word, we end up closing our heart to the gift of our brothers and sisters.
Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in is word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. Let us pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and poor. Then we will be able to experience and share to the full the joy of Easter.
Pope St. John Paul II instituted the “World Day of the Sick” on the Feast day of “Our Lady of Lourdes” on 11th February, saying that an illness is a “visit from God.” He recognized the value of suffering and sought to bring comfort to the ailing by designating February 11, the Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, as World Day of the Sick.
Our Lady of Lourdes is one of the venerated titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary after she appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a French peasant girl, asking her to dig on the ground and drink of a spring that emerged there. The water that came to the surface is now collected and drunk by millions, who visit the site every year and numerous miraculous healings received by the sick have been scientifically documented. Lourdes is one of the most important “places of grace” known to the Church. It is like a vast basin of purity where countless souls have removed the clothes of sin and put on the snow white garments of spiritual rebirth! The message of Lourdes is a call for Personal conversion, Prayer and Charity.
This Day is an opportunity to reflect on the needs of the sick and more generally, of all those who suffer.
In India, the Healing Ministry formally began in 1905 by a group of Missionaries called Medical Missionary Association of India (MMAI) and in 1926 it was renamed as Christian Medical Association of India. It serves as a Christian network of hospitals and healthcare professionals promoting medical care in hard-to-reach communities through its member institutions or by direct technical inputs.
The Christian Medical Association of India is celebrating the Healing Ministry Week along with the National Council of Churches in India, Catholic Health Association of India and the commission for Health care Apostolate of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India. The broader partnership has enabled many more congregations to celebrate healing ministry.
Healing Ministry Week will be celebrated from 12th – 19th February 2017. 12th February will be the Healing Ministry Sunday.
The Pilar Fathers also contribute their share in the Healing Ministry. Fr. Damaciano Fernandes, sfx and Fr. Alfred Almeida, sfx in Nongkhlaw, Meghalaya cater to several villages where there is no presence of Medical doctors or health care centres. In Goa, Fr. Santiago Fernandes, sfx is involved in providing Herbal Medicines to those in need. The Goa Province also supports NGO’s who work for HIV/AIDS patients.
May the Blessed Virgin, "Health of the Sick" and "Mother of the Living", be our support and our hope during the celebration of the world day of the Sick. We pray that the Mother may comfort all those who suffer from sickness and infirmity. Let us pray for all those who are directly involved in the Healing Ministry.
We wonder how fast the year passed……. We are a few hours away from 2017. It’s time to say Goodbye to the Old year - 2016. Like any other year, 2016 also had its share of achievements.
The Indian Church in particular and the Church worldwide rejoiced at the Canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta.
During this year another milestone was recorded in the annals of the history of the Society of Pilar as two of its missionaries, Fr. Eusebio Gomes and Fr. Vincent Lobo entered the Continent of Africa in the Diocese of Nouakchott in Mauritania.
In the field of Olympics, India may not have fared as well as it did in the 2012 London Olympics, but there were many stand-out athletes who impressed with their performances. They are: Sakshi Malik, the first woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal. Shuttler P. V. Sindhu, the first woman to win a silver medal. Recently, the Indian Hockey Team won the Junior Hockey World Cup thus, ensuring that India has a bright future in Hockey in the coming years.
Perhaps, the most earth shaking event was the Demonetisation introduced by the Prime Minister on 8th November which turned out to be “a large shock to the economy”. It was an effort to eliminate fake currency; imposing losses on those with black money; and disrupting terror and criminal activities and at the same time enabling growth in bank credit and turning India into a cashless economy.
However, due to Demonetisation, Banks and ATM’s across the country faced severe cash shortages. The cash shortages had harmful effects on a number of Small Businesses, Agriculture and Transportation, while people seeking to exchange their notes had lengthy waits, and several deaths were linked to the rush to exchange cash. The daily wage workers had to lose their daily earning to withdraw the cash.
The Supreme Court said that the Centre's demonetisation was more like "carpet bombing" instead of a surgical strike against black money. People indeed seem to be inspired with the whole idea of going cashless but many don’t have any clue as to how it really functions. But at the same time we must not forget that there is another India in our villages and not just the Digital India.
We are a great nation and a great people and proud citizens of our country. With our honesty and resilience and a deep desire to seek the Light and Truth we shall overcome the forces of darkness and work for a more progressive and humane India in the year 2017. May the dawn of this New Year fill our hearts with new hopes, open up new horizons and bring promises of brighter tomorrow. Let us be grateful for all the things the Lord has done for us throughout 2016 and put our hands into his hands as we enter 2017. We wish all our Collaborators, well wishers, Benefactors Happy and Fruitful New Year 2017.
A thrilling December is drawing near! An eventful month! During the month of December, we celebrate in all our communities the Feast of our Patron, St. Francis Xavier. We take the opportunity to reflect on the life of this giant missionary so that our own hearts may be set on fire with zeal for the Missions.
This occasion is a time to reflect the dedication and service of this great missionary who committed himself to preach the message of the Gospel to different people and was a pioneer of Catholic Missions in Eastern Asia. Our Founder Bento Martins was inspired by St. Francis Xavier and walked in his Steps in the New Conquests of Goa. As usual, Seminarians joined thousands in their pilgrimage to Old Goa, on foot with a desire to be inspired by St. Francis Xavier and grow to be missionaries like him.
8th December is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It celebrates the belief that Mother Mary was born without original sin and that God chose her to be the Mother of his Son. This Feast celebrates Mother Mary’s unique role, her cooperation with God in the mystery of redemption, in the Word made flesh. Let us look at Our Mother and allow ourselves to be watched over by her so that we may learn how to be more humble, and more courageous in following the Word of God; to welcome the tender embrace of her Son Jesus, an embrace that gives us Life, Hope and Peace.
Advent is season of Joy and Hope for all who follow Christ. It is also a Season of Preparation, Renewal, Penance, Repentance and Anticipation. It is a time to renew our lives in Christ and to thank God for bringing His forgiveness in the person of His Son. It is a season for asking God to save all people and praying for peace in the world. During Advent, we are invited to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord and to wait in joyful hope for his return in glory at the end of time and to prepare for the annual celebration of his birth. Soon after the Advent, we celebrate Christmas day, the birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour with joy in our hearts as we share the songs of the Angels, the gladness of the Shepherds and the worship of the Wise Men. It is the celebration of the incredible love of God that God demonstrated for us by sending His Only Son. Therefore, the real Christmas story is the story of God becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. This festival teaches us to live a noble life of Prayer, Love and Sacrifice. It brought good news for the people - the hope of redemption, the gift of grace unlocking the gates of heaven! Keeping this in mind let us renew ourselves and invite Jesus into our hearts to experience a “Holy Christmas”.
The Pastoral Year 2016-2017 is especially dedicated to Ven. Agnelo by the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman with the Theme, “Inspired by Ven. Agnelo, Let us witness to the Mercy of God”, keeping in mind Pope Francis’ Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy entitled Misericordiae Vultus which speaks of Jesus as the face of God’s mercy.
The theme of God’s loving mercy expressed by the Compassion of the Father embracing his Son on his return from the strayed path is depicted in the logo. The Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, invited us to witness the Mercy of God showered upon us. This brings us to Ven. Agnelo, who especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation treated all with compassion and continues to do so through the innumerable favours God grants to suffering humanity through his intercession.
Keeping in the mind the Pastoral Year, Vice Postulation for the Cause of Ven Agnelo presents “Padri Agnel Sant kedna zatolo?”, a drama on the life of Ven. Agnelo written by Ives Tavares which portrays scenes from his life right from his childhood to the process of Canonization. It is an effort to make the Faithful aware of his saintly life and at the same time nurture their faith in Jesus Christ through the exemplary life of ‘Maneavont Agnelo’.
The Pilar Theological College is also presenting “Dreams don’t die”, an English Musical Play on the Life of Ven. Agnelo written and directed by Fr. Allan Tavares, sfx and the Music is composed by Fr. Max Gonsalves, sfx. The purpose of the Play is to portray what happens to the missionary dreams of Fr. Bento Martins, sfx, Founder of the “Society of Pilar” and how they were sustained by Ven. Agnelo’s Apostolate. The Play will be staged on the “Seminary Day” on 6th November 2016.
This year is the 89th Death Anniversary and the Theme is “Inspired by Ven. Agnelo, Let us witness to the Mercy of God”. Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Daman will be the Main Celebrant. Let us pray fervently for the early canonization of Ven. Agnelo and the Archdiocese of Goa may have the honour of seeing another Indian saint on the altar.
During the month of October, we Pilar Missionaries celebrate in all our communities the Feast of Our Lady of Pilar, the Patroness of the Society and the Queen of Missions praying fervently for her maternal protection.
According to ancient local tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. James while he was deep in prayer in Zaragoza, Spain. She showed a special predilection to St. James, in his difficult times carrying out the evangelization plan of Jesus, her Son. She also gave him a small wooden statue of herself and a column of jasper and instructed him to build a church in her honour at that very spot.
After the apparition, St. James’ evangelization work became smooth and fruitful with hundreds of people accepting the Good News. As a result, Spain was transformed into a nation of great faith and soon became the first Christian country of evangelizing other people by sending out a number of Missionaries.
The devotion of Our Lady of Pilar was brought to Goa by the Franciscan Capuchos, who chose to build their main Monastery on a picturesque hillock in Goa Velha. Hence the Hillock came to be known as ‘Pilar’ after the shrine that was dedicated to Our Lady of Pilar.
In 1887, the Society of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier was founded in Agonda by Rev. Fr. Bento Martins. He had been a missionary in the new conquests of Goa. It was providence that led Archbishop Dom Antonio Sebastiao Valente to invite the Missionaries to live at Pilar in 1890.
The Society adopted Our Lady of Pilar as its Patroness. Hence it is now called the ‘Society of Pilar’ and the Priests are known as the ‘Pilar Fathers’.
The Novena of Our Lady of Pilar will begin on Monday, 3rd October with the Eucharistic celebration followed by the veneration of the statue of Our Lady. The people living around the Pilar hillock will flock to the Monastery to receive favours through the intercession of Mother Mary. On 11th October evening as usual the vespers will be held preceded by the traditional procession from the Apostolic School. People participate in the procession devoutly praying the rosary, prayers and hymns. Brothers and sisters of other faiths also participate in the procession to receive blessings of the Blessed Mother. The Feast day Mass of Our Lady of Pilar will be held on 12th October in the Monastery Church.
Come September and we will be treated to a number of events but the one that the Indian Church in particular and the Church worldwide is waiting for is the Canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa.
Mother Teresa is widely known around the world for her whole-hearted and free service to the poorest of the poor. Her simple service touched the hearts of millions of people of all faiths. The canonization will be held on Sunday, 4th September 2016 in Rome. The Theme for the celebration is “Carrier of God’s Tender and Merciful Love”.
The Poor, the suffering and those who minister to them will be at the center of celebrations leading up to the canonization of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata at the Vatican.
A “Family Feast” for the poor, a musical, Masses and prayer vigils will precede her canonization, according to programs published by the Vatican and by the Missionaries of Charity, the order she founded.
The date of Mother Teresa’s canonization will coincide with the conclusion of the Year of Mercy pilgrimage for workers and ministers engaged in works of Mercy.
Here are the main events planned around the canonization of Mother Teresa:
1st September: “Feast for the Poor and Missionaries of Charity Family”, including a Musical based on Mother Teresa’s life.
2nd September: Masses in various languages in Rome’s Basilica of St. Anastasia al Palatino and veneration of her relics.
In the evening, a prayer vigil with solemn Eucharistic adoration will be held at Rome’s Basilica of St. John Lateran with Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Papal Vicar of Rome, presiding.
Catechesis 3rd September: by Pope Francis for the Jubilee celebration of workers and volunteers for Mercy.
In the evening, a prayer and musical meditation will be held at Rome’s Basilica of St. Andrea della Valle followed by veneration of Mother Teresa’s relics and Mass.
4th September: Canonization Mass – Pilgrims will be able to venerate St. Teresa’s relics in the evening at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
5th September: Celebration of a Mass of thanksgiving and the First Feast of St. Teresa of Kolkata in St. Peter’s Basilica with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, presiding. Pilgrims will be able to venerate the relics of St. Teresa at St. John Lateran in the evening.
6th September: continuing veneration of the relics of St. Teresa at St. John Lateran.
7th & 8th September: Veneration of the relics of St. Teresa of Kolkata at Rome’s Church of St. Gregory the Great, along with the possibility of visiting her room at the convent of St. Gregory.
The Church wishes to present Mother Teresa as an icon of the Father’s mercy in this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. From heaven she continues to fulfill her mission as she “lights the light of those in darkness on earth.” With her canonization, the Church presents her as a model and intercessor of those who like her, “long to light the fire of love and peace throughout the world.”
It is our hope that her words and example will urge all of us to become generous servants and to reflect the “face” of God’s mercy to those around us, beginning in our own families. May Mother Teresa inspire many to give their ‘hearts to love and their hands to serve’. As Mother Teresa’s face radiated God’s tender and merciful love, so too may we become more and more a reflection of His tender mercy through our loving actions.
“The destiny of a nation is shaped in its class rooms.” The Society of Pilar has always believed in the importance of Education. Education is one of the major areas in which the members of Society of Pilar are engaged. As Missionaries of the Society of Pilar, we are committed to work for the Poor and Marginalized, contributing to the Church’s Apostolate of Education. We continue the good work started by Our Founder, who started schools in the new conquests of Goa, even before founding the Society of Pilar. Even Ven. Agnelo was a teacher par excellence, who tutored students after completing his priestly studies. Our Re-organizers were visionaries in this regard. Now the Society runs several Educational institutions of all categories including Technical Schools, Engineering Colleges and Catering Institutes. This year one of our institutions, Fr. Agnel College of Arts and Commerce, Pilar, celebrates its Silver Jubilee, 25 years of dedicated service in the field of Higher Education. The College is part of the Pilar Educational Complex which creates responsible citizens of tomorrow. It is said, “Small beginnings are often the prelude of great things.” That is exactly, what can be seen in this journey of Fr. Agnel College. This Journey started in 1953 with the Foundation of Fr. Agnel School at Pilar. After a gap of a year or two it re-started in 1962, when some classes were held in the Mission Seminary. Seeing the need of the Students, the School was raised to a Higher Secondary in 1979. Fr. Agnel Degree College of Arts and Commerce begun in 1991, functioned in the evening in the building of the Higher Secondary School. The college was started to fulfill the needs of the parents from the rural surroundings who wanted their children to pursue higher education. The commitment of the Society in converting the vision into goals and goals into deliverables were visible in this regard. It is the fruit of the efforts put in by the Pilar Fathers to impart education to the Students in rural areas or villages surrounding Pilar. The Principal of Fr. Agnel College, Fr. Fredrick Rodrigues; sfx said: “The seed that was planted 25 years back has bloomed into a tree and has not only sheltered thousands of youngsters but also molded them into great personalities, now spread across the globe. We remained faithful to our mission that is to cater to socially, economically and academically challenged students. This gives satisfaction and impetus to work with commitment and dedication.” Motto of the College: “Success lies in honest toil” – A gentle reminder to the students and teachers that ‘toil’ was imperative and it had to be ‘honest’ in its pursuit. The college gained many achievements not only in Academics but also in Sports, co-curricular and extra- curricular activities, having topped in a number of inter- collegiate events at the State and National Level. It is heartening to see that the number of students in the college is growing. This can be attributed to the homely atmosphere created by its committed staff. It is worth mentioning that the college has students from other States and Countries who come to the portals of this institution for learning. As said by the Superior General, Fr. Francis Carvalho; sfx “Jubilee is an occasion to look back with gratitude and march forward with hope.” It is indeed, a milestone for the college to celebrate 25 years of existence. We take this opportunity to extend our wishes to congratulate the Principal, Teachers, Students, Employees and Management for their commendable work and effort in bringing the institute to these great and significant heights. We ask our Heavenly Father to bless and make the future of the institution bright. May this institution flourish and prosper.
Independence Day was celebrated with great splendor, enthusiasm and respect for our Mother India. On this day we remembered the immense contribution of our freedom fighters and paid heartily homage, acknowledging their sacrifices during the freedom struggle and at the same time a grand salute to the citizens who made our country proud. On this day, all citizens irrespective of their caste, creed, etc celebrate this day with great joy in their hearts. Schools, Colleges and other Institutions unfurled the Flag and sang the National Anthem with pride in their hearts. This day also reminds us of our duty and responsibility towards our country and a vision: continuing for moving India towards a developed nation.
“Freedom in mind, Faith in words, Pride in our hearts and memories in our souls. Let’s salute the Nation on this Independence Day!”
The Independence Day coincides with the Feast of the Assumption of our Lady into heaven. On the one hand it is a Feast of celebration of Freedom for the Motherland and on the other; it is the celebration of the freedom from the shackles of death for the Mother of the Lord. Both are in a way giving birth to millions of children and holding hopes of a bright future for them.
We must be proud to belong to our great Mother land - “Mera Bharat Mahaan”. Let us pray and work for the prosperity of every citizen of our great country, so that their dreams to achieve their destiny may be realized. Let us pledge to work for the welfare of our Motherland as we honor her and the Mother of the Lord – Our Lady of Assumption. Let us commend our beloved country to the care of Our Heavenly Mother.
This month also witnessed the quadrennial sports celebration of Olympics from August 5th to 21st in which 207 nations participated in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. This time India sent a contingent of 120 participants. Though we had many medal “hopefuls”, in the end the medals won by Sakshi Malik and P.V. Sindhu were the only Silver lining on our Olympic endeavor. Let us hope for a better showing in Tokyo.
The monsoon in Goa is heralded with great joy. Everyone awaits and looks forward to the arrival of monsoon and yes!! It has made its way…….monsoon has arrived…….. bringing immense joy! During this month, students are gearing up for the New Academic Year.
Once again, the Society of Pilar rejoices as it was blessed with 8 Missionary Priests on 2nd May 2016 and 8 New Members, who made their First Profession on 24th May 2016. The Inaugural Mass of the New Seminary Year 2016-17 was held on 11th June 2016 at 4.00 pm in the Mission Seminary Chapel presided over by Archbishop of Goa, Filipe Neri Ferrao along with Fr. Francis Carvalho, Superior General and Fr. Norman Almeida, Rector.
This year another 18 students have joined the Theological College for the First Year Theology.
Archbishop administered the ministries of Reader and Acolyte to 14 scholastics during the Eucharist Celebration. In his homily, Bishop referred to the Pope Francis’ Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy entitled Misericordiae Vultus which speaks of Jesus as the face of God’s mercy and urged the gathering to experience the mercy of God. He also referred to the theme of the Pastoral Year of the Archdiocese dedicated to the cause of Ven. Agnelo D’Souza who was a face of mercy. He motivated the members of the Society of Pilar to follow in the footsteps of Ven. Agnelo. Mass & Conferral Ministries.
The Inaugural function was held at the Bro. Albert Memorial Hall. The programme began with the instrumental music performed by the Scholastics after which the logo on the theme of the Formative year “Called to serve like God with fidelity, justice and mercy” was unveiled.
In his address, Fr. Norman Almeida, Rector of the Mission Seminary exhorted the Scholastics to follow the four fundamental pillars – spiritual life, intellectual life, apostolic life, and community life – presented by the Holy Father.
The traditional Lectio Brevis was presented by Dr. Ivon D’Almeida, sfx who dealt with the topic, “DIALOGICAL PARADIGM OF MISSION: Breaking barriers, crossing boundaries, building bridges”. In his lecture, he identified the barriers to Inter-Religious Dialogue and proposed the need to cross the boundaries. He presented a paradigm (example) for bridge building to enhance Inter-Religious Dialogue.
Very Rev Fr. Francis Carvalho, Superior General of the Society of Pilar, released the Handbook of the Pilar Theological College.
Let us surrender ourselves in the hands of the God - the Most Gracious, Most Merciful and seek his aid that he may keep us on the right path throughout the year. During this Pastoral year, let us pray fervently for the Canonization of Ven. Agnelo and imitate him in our lives.
We wish all our missionaries, Staff & Students and well-wishers a fruitful academic year.
As the Sun is about to set on 2015, we wonder how fast the year passed away. As any other year 2015 too had its share of achievements both locally as well as globally. At a personal or individual level too, there have been bright spots worth remembering. Each one of us can recollect beautiful moments in our own lives or that of our families and friends.
There has been heart wrenching stories like the beheading of Christians by ISIS in Syria, Iraq and other places and attacks on Civilians in Paris and other innocent people. The ISIS has been perhaps the most threatening terror group in recent history and its acts of terror a big blot on the year 2015.
On the other hand some Pro-life stories were heart-warming: 19-year-old; Christian Gunter, a Teenager saved disabled veterans from a tornado. Aitzaz Hasan, a Pakistani teenager who sacrificed his life to save 1,500 students from a suicide bomber who was forced to detonate himself outside the school building killing Aitzaz too. Robert Kuba , a Teacher saved his students from a school shooter. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook while announcing their daughter's birth, he and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan pledged to donate 99% of their Facebook stock worth about $45 billion --"during our lives" to promote equality and the human potential.
“The beauty of life does not depend on how happy you are, but how happy others can be because of you.”
Some people make headlines whereas there are other unsung heroes who go about contributing to life and humanity in unseen ways or far from the limelight.
The Top Medical innovations in 2015 were; Dengue vaccine, New art of Blood collection and Diagnosis, Inhibitors for Cholesterol reduction, Antibody Drug conjugates, New medications for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, etc. On the other hand, A 79-year-old; Retired blood bank technician, Omkarnath Sharma who is also known as Medicine Baba has opened a medicine bank for the poor and needy. He then distributes these medicines to those who cannot afford them. He also donates some of the medicines to hospitals and dispensaries in Delhi. His present work and the future dream is a source of hope for many.
87-year-old, Dr. V. Shanta runs one of the biggest cancer hospitals in India. It is known for its quality care and world class facilities. The hospital provides free treatment to 20 percent of its patients. The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 or CMP 11 was held in Paris, France, from 30 November to 12 December 2015. The governments of more than 190 nations gathered in Paris to discuss a possible new global agreement on climate change, aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and thus avoiding the threat of dangerous climate change. This gives hope to our children, grand children and great grand children.
Likewise, Daripalli Ramaiah, native of Khammam district presently in Telangana State is a man on a mission to plant trees and bring back the green cover. Wherever he sees a barren spot, he takes out seeds from his pocket and plants them. People say he has planted over a crore plants and made them survive. This nature lover not only plants trees but also paints slogans and messages about the environment and the need for trees in Telugu on all the walls of the villages.
“It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It is gratefulness that makes us Happy.” Let us be grateful for all the things the Lord has done for us throughout 2015 and put our hands into his hands as we enter 2016.
We wish all our Collaborators, well wishers, Benefactors Happy Holy and Fruitful New Year 2016.
THE SOCIETY OF PILAR SALUTES TWO GOANS DECLARED BLESSED
Two Goans Priests, Fr. Antonio Francisco Alvares (Mar Julius) and Fr. Roque Zeferino Noronha were declared Blessed by the Catholicos of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, at Brahmavar, Karnataka on Sunday, 6th December 2015.
Fr. Antonio Francisco Alvares was born on 29th April 1836 in Verna. In 1859, he completed his priestly studies in Rachol Seminary and was ordained in 1862 by Bishop Walter Estin in Mumbai. He came back to Goa in 1867 and served the poor and the needy. He left the Catholic Church in 1887 and entered the Malankara Orthodox Church. On 29th July 1889, Fr. Antonio Francisco Alvares was consecrated a Bishop with the title ‘Mar Julius’ at the Old Seminary, Kottayam- Kerala.The newly consecrated Bishop Mar Julius was appointed as Archbishop of India and Ceylon for the diocesan area outside Kerala of the Malankara Orthodox Church. He died on 23rd September 1923 and his mortal remains are entombed at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Ribandar, Goa.
Fr. Roque Zeferino Noronha was born on 20th October 1850 in Angediva but his family members are settled at Badem, Salvador do Mundo, Dongorim and Chorao. After serving as an assistant Parish Priest and Chaplain in Salvador do Mundo, he entered the Syrian Church at Brahmavar. He built St. Mary’s Church through his own efforts and lived his entire life helping the poor and the needy. He is known for his great work as he helped the poor and those afflicted by diseases like cholera and typhoid in 1871.Candles are lit by thousands of devotees near his tomb and many miracles and healings have taken place. A month before his death, a cross appeared on his back.
It is a matter of great pride for Goans as these two Sons of Goa are declared ‘Blessed’. They are an inspiration for all missionaries who take the faith to distant lands especially for us Pilar Missionaries who have a special call for Missio Ad Gentes.
“IT WILL BE A HOLY YEAR OF MERCY”
On the 3rd of December, Catholics all over the world and Goans in particular celebrated the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, the Patron of Missions. The members of the Society of Pilar too celebrated this Feast of their Patron in every community which was preceded by a Novena as a preparation for the Solemnity. The occasion is a time to reflect on the Labours of this great missionary who worked tirelessly to spread the message of the Gospel to different peoples and cultures in the continent of Asia. As usual, Seminarians joined thousands in their pilgrimage to Old Goa, on foot with a desire to be inspired by St. Francis Xavier and grow to be missionaries like him. The 3rd of December also coincided with International Day of People with Disability, a United Nations sanctioned day that celebrates progress in breaking down barriers, opening doors, and realizing an inclusive society for all. Disability organizations, businesses, governments and the community come together at events across the country to mark the occasion and celebrate the achievements of people with disability. This Day aims to "promote an understanding of disability issues and rally support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It was a person with a disability, St. Ignatius of Loyola who was responsible for St. Francis Xavier changing his life and becoming a Saint. This day calls us to be sensitive to persons with disability. On 8th December, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Francis solemnly inaugurated the Jubilee Year of Mercy with the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The year of mercy will end on the Feast of Christ the King on 20th November 2016. “This Extraordinary Holy Year is itself a gift of grace” the Pope said in his homily. To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them.” In calling for this Jubilee Year, Pope Francis is encouraging the faithful to know the face of God's mercy — Jesus Christ Incarnate — and to show that face of mercy to the world through our words and actions. Our Holy Father has declared an Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy, saying he wants to make it evident that the Church’s mission is as a witness of compassion. With the approach of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy Holy Father would like to focus on several points which he believes that it require attention to enable the celebration of the Holy Year to be for all believers a true moment of encounter with the mercy of God. It is indeed his wish that the Jubilee be a living experience of the closeness of the Father, whose tenderness is almost tangible, so that the faith of every be
© SOCIETY OF THE MISSIONARIES OF ST. FRANCIS XAVIER. 2014