Sunday, April 30, 2006

Saint (St.) Gianna Beretta Molla

A heart to heart – mother to mother summary on the life of St. Molla. Though short lived – She "lived to the fullest" in all means of this sentence.

By Cynthia Fernandes

Gianna Beretta Molla

Prayer of St. Gianna Molla

"Jesus, I promise You to submit myself to all that You permit to befall me, makes me only know your will. My most sweet Jesus, infinitely merciful God, most tender Father of souls, and in a particular way of the most weak, most miserable, most infirm which You carry with special tenderness between Your divine arms, I come to You to ask You, through the love and merits of Your Sacred Heart, the grace to comprehend and to do always Your holy will, the grace to confide in You, the grace to rest securely through time and eternity in Your loving divine arms."
Born: 4 October 1922
Died: 28 April 1962
Canonized: 16 May 2004 by Pope John Paul II
Feast Day: April 28
Patron Saint of: mothers, physicians

Patron of "Mothers of the Family."

Born in Magenta (near Milan), Italy, on October 4, 1922; died April 28, 1962. Gianna Beretta, the 10th of 13 children, was raised and educated by pious parents, who taught her the life is a great gift from God to be embraced with gratitude. Consequently, she had a strong hope in God's providence and was convinced of the effectiveness of prayer.

Already as a youth she willingly accepted the gift of faith and the clearly Christian education that she received from her excellent parents. As a result, she experienced life as a marvelous gift from God, had a strong faith in Providence and was convinced of the necessity and effectiveness of prayer.

As a teenager and young adult, she was a member of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and volunteered her time to work among the elderly and poor. At the same time she diligently applied herself to her studies, earning degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949. The following year, she opened a medical clinic in Mesero near her hometown. She specialized in pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952 and thereafter gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly, and the poor.

She diligently dedicated herself to studies during the years of her secondary and university education, while, at the same time, applying her faith through generous apostolic service among the youth of Catholic Action and charitable work among the elderly and needy as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. After earning degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, she opened a medical clinic in Mesero (near Magenta) in 1950. She specialized in Pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952 and there after gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly and poor.

While working in the field of medicine-which she considered a "mission" and practiced as such-she increased her generous service to Catholic Action, especially among the "very young" and, at the same time, expressed her joie de vivre and love of creation through skiing and mountaineering. Through her prayers and those of others, she reflected upon her vocation, which she also considered a gift from God. Having chosen the vocation of marriage, she embraced it with complete enthusiasm and wholly dedicated herself "to forming a truly Christian family".

Gianna saw medicine as her means of serving the Creator; thus, she increased her generous service to Catholic Action. Yet, unlike many of the earlier saints, Gianna exhibited a real joy for living. She loved skiing and trekking through the mountains. Some thought that such a good Christian woman should enter the convent; but after prayerful reflection, she knew that her vocation was marriage and cooperation with God "to forming a truly Christian family."

On September 24, 1955, she married Pietro Molla in Saint Martin's Basilica in Magenta, and she became a happy wife. Gianna was no cardboard saint. She knew and joyfully embraced the demands of balancing her obligations as a career woman, wife, and mother. In November 1956, to her great joy, she became the mother of Pierluigi; in December 1957 of Mariolina; in July 1959 of Laura.

In September 1961 towards the end of the second month of pregnancy, she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. Before the required surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence. The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord. She spent the seven months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable strength of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as mother and doctor. She worried that the baby in her womb might be born in pain, and she asked God to prevent that.

A few days before the child was due, although trusting as always in Providence, she was ready to give her life in order to save that of her child: "If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child--I insist on it. Save the baby." Thus, Gianna Emanuela was born on the morning of April 21, 1962. Despite all efforts to save both mother and child, today's saint died less than a week later in horrible pain. After repeatedly exclaiming, "Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you," the mother died. She was 39 years old. Her funeral was an occasion of profound grief, faith and prayer. The body of the new blessed lies in the cemetery of Mesero near Magenta (L'Osservatore Romano, 4/27/94).

On July 6, 1991, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, issued the Decree of Heroicity of Virtue of the Servant of God. On December 21, 1992 the Decree of the Miracle was proclaimed. On April 24, 1994, Pope John Paul II beatified Gianna Beretta Molla at St. Peter's Square in Rome. Finally, on May 16, 2004, Gianna Beretta Molla was canonized.

"Conscious immolation», was the phrase used by Pope Paul VI to define the act of Blessed Gianna, remembering her at the Sunday Angelus of September 23, 1973, as: "A young mother from the diocese of Milan, who, to give life to her daughter, sacrificed her own, with conscious immolation". The Holy Father in these words clearly refers to Christ on Calvary and in the Eucharist.

Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, during the international Year of the Family.

St Gianna Beretta Molla was a physician, a working mom, professional women, and a loving wife.

She has now been raised to the alter in heaven and provides particular inspiration to all those who experience the constant demands and confusing signals that our current culture places on us.


God our Father we praise You and we bless you because in St Gianna Beretta Molla you have given us one who witnessed to the Gospel as a young women, as a wife, as a mother, and as a doctor. We thank you because through the gift of her life we can learn to welcome and honour every human person.

You, Lord Jesus, were for Gianna a splendid example.
She learned to recognize you in the beauty of nature.
As she was questioning her choice of vocation she went
in search of you and the best way to serve you.
Through her married love she became a sign of
your love for the Church and for humanity.
Like you, the Good Samaritan, she cared for everyone
who was sick, small or weak. Following your example,
out of love she gave herself entirely,
generating new life.

Holy Spirit, Source of every perfection, give us wisdom, intelligence, and courage so that, following the example of Saint Gianna and through her intercession, we may know how to place ourselves at the service of each person we meet in our personal, family and professional lives, and thus grow in love and holiness. Amen.

Posted by Cynthia Fernandes

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Reflection: Garment of God's Glory

A Reflection on Clothing

Konkani Catholics member, Cynthia Fernandes shares a reflection on being clothed with God's glory

Inside Out

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Have you ever thought about the fact that man is the only creature God created who has to wear clothing to cover himself?

All the other creatures grow their own coverings. Some grow fur, some feathers, others scales, or leathery hide. But all are clothed from the inside out!

Most people don't realize it, but in the beginning, man was clothed that way too. He was made in the image of God.

And, if you'll look in Ezekiel 8:2, you'll find that God is clothed in fire from the loins up and from the loins down.

That fire is His glory emanating outward from His inner-most being.

When man was first created, he was like that too. He was covered with the very glory of God. It radiated from his inner being outward.

That's why he had no sense of nakedness until after he sinned and the glory departed from him.

It was a tragic day when man lost that glorious covering. But I want you to know something today. It's not lost forever.

The Word of God says we can gain it back.

You see, when you put your faith in the blood of Jesus and were born again, the glory of God once again took up residence in you.

It may be well hidden right now, but believe me, it's in there.

And the Bible says that as you gaze into the Lord's face by studying the Word and fellowshiping with Him, as you renew your mind to understand who you are in Christ, you'll be changed into His image on the outside as well.

As you learn to hear His voice and obey it, you'll start giving outward expression of the glory within you. Little by little, you'll be turned inside out!

Instead of simply staring into your closet every morning, spend some time gazing at Jesus and beholding His Word.

Let Him clothe you in His radiant presence. Once His glory starts shining through, anything you wear will look beautiful on you.

Posted by Cynthia Fernandes
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Friday, April 28, 2006

UK: Konkani Mass at Cranford on 30th April

Konkani Mass at Cranford on 30th April and Goan Chaplaincy Day

A Konkani Mass will be celebrated by Fr Oliver Antao (Goan Chaplain) this Sunday 30th April, 2006.

The Mass will be at Our Lady and St Christopher's Catholic Church, 32 High Street, Cranford, Middlesex TW5 9RG at 5pm, with a get-to-gather thereafter.

Further, the first Goan Chaplaincy Day will be on Sunday 28th May 2006 at Archbishop Lanfranc School, Croydon

Please pass on this information to anyone who you think might be interested. Further details of both the programmes and a schedule of forthcoming masses may be obtained by calling The Chaplaincy on 0208 665 2176 or by sending an e-mail directly to Ciril de Quadros at

Thursday, April 27, 2006

GOA: Blessed Joseph Vaz Biography Released

Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao Releases Biography of Blessed Joseph Vaz, Apostle of Kanara

Archbishop releases book on blessed Joseph Vaz

NT News Desk
Panaji, April 27: A biography of blessed Joseph Vaz entitled De Goa a Ceilco: Saga de um Caminheiro Infatigavel (From Goa to Ceylon: Saga of a Tireless Wayfarer), by Pedro Correia Afonso (1892-1965), was released at the hands of Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao, at St John the Baptist Church, Benaulim, recently. Addressing the congregation at the end of the solemn mass held to install the parish council, the Archbishop reminded the parishioners that, by the designs of Divine Providence, they were assembled in the church where the protagonist was baptized 355 years ago. It was from here that he took the torch of the Christian faith to Kanara and Ceylon, he added.

Archbishop Ferrao recalled the trying conditions under which Blessed Vaz exercised his apostolate in the island country. He would traverse the island of Ceylon in search of Christians, who practised their religion clandestinely, gathering them in small communities, and never forgetting to train one or two lay leaders among them before seeking newer pastures, he said.

He also appealed to the publishers of the book, Third Millennium of Panaji, to have the work translated into Konkani and English, for the benefit of the larger public. Earlier, in his review of the book, Fr Mario Saturnino Dias appreciated the author’s lucid style. He spoke at length on the traits of blessed Vaz as a missionary, stressing that he raised a people of God rooted in the local culture, a pioneering method commonly adopted by the Church in the world today. Mr Joaquim Correia Afonso welcomed the gathering and gave a vote of thanks.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Indian Priest Kunjachan to be Beatified

Beatification of Father Augustine Thevarparambil ("Kunjachan") from Kerala on April 30, 2006

April 25, 2006

Kunjachan to be Beatified on April 30

Ramapuram (ICNS) -- Father Augustine Thevarparambil, popularly known as Kunjachan, the humble priest from the village of Ramapuram in Kerala, will be beatified in the local village church on April 30.

This is for the first time that the Vatican has given permission for conducting the beatification ceremony of an Indian sainthood candidate in his own village church.

Pope Benedict XVI has given permission to Major Archbishop Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil of Syro Malabar Church to conduct the beatification ceremony of the Venerable Servant of God Augustine Thervarparampil at Ramapuram.

The Vatican has also asked Cardinal Vithayathil him to preside over the ceremony in the name of the Pope.

According to Bishop Joseph Kallarngat of Pala Diocese, Cardinal Vithayathil will lead the beatification ceremony which will be attended by representatives from Vatican, some 70 bishops, hundreds of priests and religious and lay men from across the country.

“This is going to be the biggest and rare ceremony that is taking place in the history of the Church in Kerala. We are preparing for the blessed occasion,” Bishop Kallarngat said.

Everyone in Ramapuram village in Kerala considers Father Augustine Thevarparambil popularly known Kunjachan as a humble priest.

He was born in the village in on April 1, 1891. He was ordained priest, belonging to the diocese of Pala, in 1921.

Interestingly during most of his priestly career, Kunjachan stayed in his own parish, the St. Augistine’s church at Ramapuram as one among the three assistant parish priests for more than 40 years.

Kunjachan died on 16th October 1973. Soon after his death, his tomb at the St. Augustine Church became a center of pilgrimage for people from far and wide.

According to parish priest Father Mathew Narivelil, the biography and the prayer for intercession of Kunjachan have been published in many Indian and European languages.

After Kunjachan was declared a Servant of God, an elaborate enquiry about his life and virtues was followed by a diocesan tribunal. Father Mathoth prepared the 'positio' on the virtues and submitted it to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints in Rome on 12 Feb. 1997.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Mangalore: Mother Teresa Church Inaugurated

Mangalore: New Parish Church Dedicated "Mother Teresa of Kolkata" Inaugurated

MANGALORE: On Monday 24th April, 2006, the first Church in Mangalore Diocese to be dedicated to the Blessed Mother Teresa was inaugurated.

The ceremony began with the welcoming of the Bishop of Mangalore, the Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, by the parish priest Fr G W Vas who was joined by guest Priests and the faithful. The Bishop proceeded to inaugurate the newly built presbytery before inaugurating and blessing the new church and leading the solemn Eucharistic celebration. Adding solemnity to the occassion was a brass band.

The "Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, Church" built in Roman style, became the 156th parish in the Diocese. Bifurcated from the Holy Cross Church at Kulshekar, the new parish has received an estimated 250 of over 1,800 families from Kulshekar, the largest parish of the Diocese.

Th Kulshekar Holy Cross Church was the initiative of the French Missionary, Fr. Alexander Dubois, better known as 'Frad Saib', who laid the foundation stone for the building on 14 September 1873. The missionary whose mortal remains were laid to rest in the same parish in 1877, was also responsible for calling the place "Cordel" which means "Abode of Heart" in French.

The Holy Cross Church which assumed the status of parish in 1904, easily counts over 8,000 Catholics today. With the new Church receiving some of the families, the task of pastoring the large flock is now made more efficient.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Holy Spirit Interactive Blogs

Holy Spirit Interactive (HSI) takes to blogging

In what should be described as a commendable move, the Holy Spirit Interactive (HSI) website has decided to extend its reach by letting itself spill over into the world of blogs.

Blogs, a shortening of the phrase "Web logs," are maintained as online journals. Newer posts appear on top while the older ones go below and then into the archives.

HSI's first blog registered at has a self explantory title, "The Da Vinci Code, The Gospel of Judas, and Other Assorted Crock". It deals with some of the hoaxes and controversies of our times which keeps the world fascinated and the Church persecuted. The HSI blog is doing the right thing by exposing the truth to those willing to hear.

At KonkaniCatholics, we welcome HSI's initiative to step into blogosphere for the faith!

Visit the HSI blog at:

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Reflections: Second Sunday of Easter (B)

Reflections for the Second Sunday of Easter

John 20:19-31

The disciples of Jesus had one thought in common. It was, "What about Jesus in whom we put our trust?" They had been so dismayed by the arrest, trial, scourging, stripping of clothes, nailing to the cross and crucifixion of Jesus. Out of fear of the Jews of being arrested and crucified, they had gathered in an underground cenacle, closing the doors and windows. When they were in such a situation, all of a sudden the Risen Lord appeared to them.

Thomas, the apostle, usually called doubting Thomas, was not with them at that time. When the others told him about the appearance of Jesus, he said that he would not believe unless he put his fingers into His wounds.

Thomas can be called a modern man. A modern man is of a scientific bent of mind. A modern man does not accept anything unless he has a scientific proof for it. However, Thomas was transformed when he saw the Risen Lord. The faith that he expressed at that moment is unique in the entire Bible. His faith was so deep and firm that he could go to a far away country, India, and spread there the Gospel of Christ and pass away in harness at Mylapur, South India.

God made Thomas a great Saint because of his deep and firm faith in God. According to Jesus, we are greater than Thomas: "Happy are those who have not seen Me, but believe in Me" (John 20:29). Let us, therefore, be grateful to the Lord for this assurance and deepen our faith in Him.

For Faith Articles, Sunday Homilies, Prayer Requests etc. log on to:

Rev. Fr. Robert Crasta, a Roman Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Mangalore in India and currently serving as the Parochial Vicar at the Church of Our Lady of Victory, 60 William Street, New York, NY 10005, is the founder of America's Mangalorean Konkan Catholic Prayer Society (AMKCPS), an online prayer society of free membership, dedicated to strengthening the spiritual life of Mangalorean Christians abroad. To know more, visit

Posted by Fr. Robert Crasta
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Friday, April 21, 2006

Goa, Salesians and Sports

April 21, 2006

Salesians Highlight 60 Years Of Cultivating Sports Culture in Goa

By Bosco de Souza Eremita

PANAJI, India (UCAN) -- When three Italian Salesian priests began playing soccer with local youths in Goa 60 years ago, they did not know their sporting venture would help them achieve new goals in the western Indian state.

Archbishop Felipe Neri Ferrao of Goa and Daman compares Salesian growth in the state to a mustard seed that has become a huge tree. He says thousands of youths have been "enriched under the shade of this tree."

The prelate was speaking to about 3,000 people at the launch of a yearlong Salesian jubilee celebration. The function took place on April 4 in Panaji, Goa's capital, 1,910 kilometers southwest of New Delhi.

Salesian involvement with young Goans began at Don Bosco School, the first institution the Italian pioneers opened in Panaji. Father Giuseppe Moja, one of the pioneers, attended the jubilee launch. The 91-year-old priest pointed out that he and his confreres opened the school in 1947 with just 36 students and three teachers. The school now has 1,800 students and 52 teachers.

Former students say that, like those pioneers, today's Salesians still use sports to instill in their pupils a concern for the poor and less privileged.

One such alumnus is Victor Vaz, who promotes sports among the physically challenged. "My years in Don Bosco were the driving force for me to get involved with the physically challenged," he told UCA News. Vaz, who is vice president of the World Confederation of Don Bosco Past Pupils, also credits the priests for inspiring his efforts.

Goa performs well in Special Olympic World Summer Games for the physically challenged, he said. In the 2003 games, Goans won some medals, noted Vaz, a member of the committee that selects the Indian team for the games.

Francisco Raposo, a physical-education instructor at Don Bosco School, told UCA News the school gives its students "early exposure" to various games, especially soccer, and this has helped them join top soccer teams in India.

Vaz claims that Goa has become a leading soccer-playing state in India and he credits the Salesians for the achievement.

Using sports to reach out to young people is a special strategy of the Salesians, explains Father Ian Figueredo, vice provincial of the Konkan province of the Religious society of men. His society has inspired many Catholic societies in Goa to launch sport clubs, the priest told UCA News.

Kennedy D'Silva, who heads the special education department of Don Bosco College in Panaji, says the Salesians have now taken on other sports and other projects. Among several other establishments they currently run in Goa are special homes, animation centers, schools, training institutes and a parish.

One example of Salesian diversification is Don Bosco Farms at Sulcorna, 70 kilometers south of Panaji. The Salesians reached out to the poor by forming 35 or so self-help groups in Nunen, Cazur and Sulcorna, tribal villages spread across 3,000 hectares. The project was undertaken as a response to a water shortage caused by indiscriminate mining.

Maya Dessai, a member of a self-help group, credits Salesian Brother Philip D'Souza for teaching them how to pool resources and lend funds to one another at low rates. That system, she said, has helped them get rid of the "cutthroat interest of moneylenders." Moreover, the 29-year-old Hindu woman said, "Banks that had no faith in us are now starting to trust us and give us loans."

With such a loan, her group bought pepper-packing equipment, while other groups got financial help to develop cashew-nut processing. Dessai also pointed out that instead of depending on dealers, the people in her group now earn more income by selling their products themselves.

Salesians have also gone to the villages. In Pernem in the north, they have a school for 300 students and a hostel for 125 students from distant villages. And at Don Bosco Crafts Institute in Loutolim, a village in the south, they now train 280 school dropouts in various crafts.

The organizers told UCA News the jubilee-year program will include various competitions, spiritual activities to reinvigorate the spiritual life of the Salesians and young students, and the release of a souvenir magazine. They said also they wil set up a Corpus Fund to educate deserving Catholic youths.

The jubilee will conclude with the visit of the Salesian superior general on Feb. 6, 2007.



Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reflection: On The Easter Mystery

A Reflection on the Easter Mystery

As part of his Easter wish, Jesuit Seminarian, Arun D'Souza (Japan) shares a brief reflection on the great feast.

"For our sake, Christ was obedient, accepting even death, death on a cross. Therefore, God raised him to high and gave him a name above all other names!"

Shalom! Christ is the light of the world. The Christ dispels our darkness, enabling us to come to a new self-understanding. The Resurrection of Jesus is filled with paradox: obedience giving freedom, death bringing life, suffering leading to infinite joy. And all of us are invited to participate in this divine comedy, this heavenly race, this great mystery of love and mercy.

As an Easter people, we must shake off our comas and stupors and lazy sleeping. We must arise and go with the Risen Lord toward the fullness of light and peace. Time and eternity intersect; finitude and infinity lose their boundaries. All creation is gathered to a new great oneness - now!

The Easter mystery transforms lives and confirms love. Now all was new; a light shone in the darkness, never to be extinguished. And through all creation an eternal Alleluia echoes and re-echoes.

Easter is the experience of a new and majestic presence of the Christ. As light scatters the darkness of death, so love leads to the fullness of life. The power of grace grabs us by the sleeve and leads us to an empty tomb, inviting us to the banquet of joy.

Easter assures us that we are under regard, that God's promise of presence is fulfilled. We are neither abandoned nor lost in the universe. Rather, the Risen Christ, now disguised as a pilgrim, gardener, cook, continues to visit humankind with compassion and mercy.

The entire universe is filled with a new presence. Every nation and people, every home and city can experience this divine visitation. In the silence we encounter grace. In openness of heart we surrender to life. In abandonment to the will of God, we find peace.

Wish you a holy and peaceful Easter. I wish and pray that the Risen Christ be with you, with your family and all your near and dear ones. May you be filled with the peace of Christ. Alleluia! Alleluia!! Alleluia!!!

Posted by Arun D'Souza SJ
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Divine Retreat Centre Faces Opposition

The Divine Retreat Centre at Muringoor, Chalakudy, Kerala in South India, faces increased opposition from Hindu Radicals after the Kerala High Court on March 10, 2006, ordered an investigation into its activities.

April 19, 2006

People Rally Around Catholic Retreat Center As Hindu Radicals Press For Its Closure

By Jeemon Jacob

MURINGOOR, India (UCAN) -- Thousands of people including Hindus have backed a Catholic retreat center in southern India after a Hindu front demanded its closure.

Posters put up by right-wing Hindu organizations in various places of Kerala state accuse Divine Retreat Centre of several transgressions. The groups have also held street corner meetings to condemn the Catholic center's alleged large-scale conversion of Hindus.

The Vincentian Congregation manages the center at Muringoor, a village in central Kerala, about 2,900 kilometers south of New Delhi. According to its director, Father George Panackal, it is the largest retreat center in the world. It conducts weekly retreats in six Indian languages and English throughout the year, and has served more than 10 million people from all over the world since 1990.

Hindu radicals have opposed the Catholic center since its beginning, but they stepped up their opposition after March 10, when the Kerala High Court ordered an investigation into its activities. The Hindu groups have banded under Hindu Aikya Vedi (HAV, Hindu united front), which has the backing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian people's party), the main federal opposition party.

"We have demanded (the center's) closure," HAV organizing secretary Kummanam Rajasekharan told UCA News April 11. He alleged the court ordered the probe after it found prima facie evidence against the center.

"Our investigations have revealed that the Divine center is involved in large-scale religious conversions," Rajasekharan added. Other allegations against the center, he added, include murder and money laundering. He said his front would continue the campaign against the retreat center until it folds up.

Father Panackal says the controversies have not affected the center's credibility. Soon after the news of the probe spread, thousands of people visited the center to offer prayers, he said. People from various religions have "pledged their support to us," the priest told UCA News. "I feel happy about it," he added.

However, the HAV campaign and the court order have hurt people at the center, many of them Hindus. Santosh Kumar, who now preaches at the center, views the developments as attempts to damage the center's reputation. "But we believe in God and his wisdom," the 32-year-old Hindu told UCA News.

Kumar, who moved to the center in January, said he has not "come across any illegal activity here." He said he first came to the center in 2003 after his business suffered losses. After a weeklong retreat he decided to dedicate his life to preaching the Gospel at the center.

"Though I'm a Hindu by birth, today I believe in Christ and pray everyday," said Kumar, who claims he has regained all that he had lost. He currently runs a hair salon at the center and preaches whenever he finds time.

Another Hindu "deeply pained by the allegations" against the Catholic center is Shyla, a woman living with HIV. She told UCA News she came to the center when she "lost all hope in life," as nobody was willing to help her family after news spread that her husband had tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which usually leads to AIDS. "But Divine Retreat Center offered us a comfortable stay and care," continued the woman, who now lives at St. Vincent Home, which is attached to the retreat center.

Her husband and daughter also are among the 100 people with HIV at the home. "The priests and nuns here are doing a great service. It's unfortunate that they have become the subject of wild allegations," Shyla said.

Sudheer Antony, a Hindu convert to Catholicism, sees the controversy as the "handiwork" of agents of darkness. He said he came to the center "voluntarily" and became a Catholic when he experienced God there. "I want to tell others what I have experienced," he added, explaining his reason for staying at the center. He dismissed the HAV protests as "ill-motivated campaigns" and said God will protect the center from forces that want to destroy it.

Margaret John, 48, who lives in a house for poor people located in the center complex, said the allegations have "shocked" the people who depend on the retreat center. She said the center offered her and two daughters shelter when her mentally ill husband disappeared a year ago. She also said she has no place to go if the center is closed.


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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

An MoU with Jesus - Dr. John Dayal

The following was published in the Indian Express chin of newspapers on 17th April 2006

Road Jesus trudged

John Dayal

Sacrifice endures, faith abounds

I am a convert. Not in the sense that the newly enacted Freedom of Religion Bill in Rajasthan would perhaps like, for I was born to Christian parents, and they in turn to parents in the Faith. But as someone who spent a quarter of a century or so outside the practice of organised religion, my return was a coldly deliberated choice, fulfilling internal needs not fully met by professional excellence or civil society involvement.

That is where the conversion takes place, the realisation of a certain unidentifiable thirst (it would be pompous to call it a thirst for spiritual sustenance). The miracle follows in the next realisation that there is, after all, a model at hand to give this thirst and hunger both an identity and a fulfilment. What made Jesus different, for me, was that he offered himself as the Sacrifice, flaunting as weapons nothing more that a driving love that prayed forgiveness even for his murderers. That is something new in civil society. Something one can practise, possibly, in challenging injustice and inequity.

The four Gospel writers - John, Mathew, Luke and Mark - would not win Oscars for screenplay of the Passion of Christ. And visiting Jerusalem can be disappointing at first if one expects Via Dolorosa to be road dozens of miles long, and Golgotha to be a high hill atop which three crosses would make dramatic silhouettes as the sun suddenly turned dark. But short and twisting as it still is, there is something overwhelming as one walks in the footsteps, the last footsteps, of the young Carpenter from Nazareth who taught a new love and a direct relationship with father God. It is easy to see in the jostling crowds Simon, perhaps an unwilling aid in carrying part of the cross, and Veronica, with her comforting towel to wipe the blood and sweat. On Via Dolorosa, theology is physical, and faith abounds.

One does not have to go to Jerusalem to trudge up the tragic track. Via Dolorosa exists in everyday life, and seeks Simons and Veronicas even on the streets of New Delhi. And the Empty Tomb reminds the world that Jesus kept up his end of the Memorandum of Understanding he signed with us. It was this MoU that I signed 15 years ago as I rejoined the Church. It is this MoU that I celebrated yesterday, on Easter.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Mangalore Bishop's Easter Message - 2006

Bishop Aloysius Paul D'Souza

Easter Message (2006) by Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, Bishop of Mangalore


To all friends from Mangalore!

'Christ is truly Risen' Alleluia this is our belief built on the solid foundation of the apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ who witnessed the historical event of the resurrection of Jesus. St John says " we have seen, heard and touched Him". The faithful from the beginning never doubted about the resurrection of Christ. Therefore the 300 years of the Church was the centenaries of martyrs. The resurrection of Christ was a reality to them. The Church lives by the presence of Risen Lord. We live by Him. Let the strength and grace of Risen Christ strengthen us in our faith and to over come evil in us and in the society.

Happy Easter- Joy and Peace of the Risen Lord.

+ Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D'Souza
Bishop of Mangalore.


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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Goa Archbishop's Easter Message - 2006

Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao

Goa Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao - EASTER MESSAGE - 2006


To all who celebrate the Feast of Easter and to every person of goodwill I am pleased to convey my warm greetings and prayerful wishes for God's abundant blessings and every good gift. Easter indeed celebrates the gifted-ness of God, who did not shun taking up human nature and who, most of all, laid down his life for his friends (Gospel of John, 15:13). His greatest gift, however, is that he conquered death, opening for humanity the way to a new life characterized by Victory: of Life over death, of Love over hatred, of Peace over conflict.

Easter, therefore, challenges us to be agents of peace, understanding and goodwill, engaged in the building of a new society wherein the interests of the other fellow human beings, irrespective of their social, cultural or religious background, reign uppermost. My sincere wish is that all of us, living in this beautiful State of Goa, may join together in the building of such a society, where peace, mutual respect and frank collaboration will be the hallmarks.

+ Filipe Neri Ferrão
Archbishop of Goa and Daman

Archbishop's House, Panjim, April 16, 2006.

Also See:

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Reflections: Easter Sunday

Reflections for Easter Sunday of the Lord's Resurrection

God raised Jesus from the dead. We have this mentioned six times in the Gospels. The pagan historian Josephus also made a mention of this unique event of Jesus' resurrection. Mary Magdela, the apostles, the disciples and many others saw Him after His resurrection.

Risen Christ is the Saviour of the world. There are many religions in this world. With the only exception Christ, no founder of other world religions has said, when alive, "within three days after death I will rise again". Christ alone said it and He kept up His assurance. St Paul says, "If Christ has not risen from dead, nobody would have believed in Him and there would have been no Christianity today. The resurrection of Jesus is the greatest and most important event in the history of the world. The resurrection of Christ is a victory of the spirit over flesh. Christ's resurrection is life over death. It is truth over falsehood.

For Faith Articles, Sunday Homilies, Prayer Requests etc. log on to:

May the Risen Lord bless you with His Joy and Peace.

Rev. Fr. Robert Crasta, a Roman Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Mangalore in India and currently serving as the Parochial Vicar at the Church of Our Lady of Victory, 60 William Street, New York, NY 10005, is the founder of America's Mangalorean Konkan Catholic Prayer Society (AMKCPS), an online prayer society of free membership, dedicated to strengthening the spiritual life of Mangalorean Christians abroad. To know more, visit

Posted by Rev. Fr. Robert Crasta
Also See:

Friday, April 14, 2006

Divine Mercy Novena

The Divine Mercy Novena

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Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday. He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said:

"These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.' The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy."

In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her:

"On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy ... On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls."

The different souls prayed for on each day of the novena are:
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy may also be offered each day for the day's intention, but is not strictly necessary to the Novena.

Source: EWTN

The Divine Mercy Devotion - Background, St. Faustina, The Image, Feast of Mercy, The Indulgence, The Chaplet, The Novena, The Hour, Second Coming, Audio & Video

Posted by Mariza Ferrao, Jeneview Lasrado


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bombay Archdiocese Pastoral Letter 2006


"Launch out into the deep" (Lk 5:4)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The Bombay Archdiocesan Synod, which was held in January 2001, set the Church in Mumbai on an enterprising journey of pastoral renewal aimed at attaining the fulness of life in Christ and making it a Home and School of Communion. Among the many initiatives taken in the ensuing years after the Synod, we must needs mention that each of the parishes and units in the Archdiocese, after a broad-based consultation, drew up a Parish Vision and Mission Statement (PVMS). It was deemed opportune to pause for a moment to take stock of the progress made in the Synod implementation process over the past five years and to consider which pastoral priorities the Archdiocese should be emphasised during the next quinquennium. Hence, a Mid-Term Synod Assembly (MTSA) was held at St. Pius X College, Goregaon, on January 25-26, 2006.

The MTSA was indeed a moment of grace. Four hundred and seventy-eight delegates from all the parishes and sectors of the Archdiocese met to collectively discern what the Spirit was saying to the Church in Bombay. I warmly welcome the Statement they submitted at the end of the meeting: it contained the fruit of their deliberations on the achievements registered after the 2001 Synod and concrete suggestions for the years ahead.

The MTSA felt that the Church in Bombay should now focus on deepening the personal and communitarian Spirituality of the faithful, which must then permeate in a special manner three important areas in the Archdiocese: Family, Youth and Marginalised. This thrust was to be fitted into each PVMS and concretised into time-bound action plans.

I am pleased to present this Post-Assembly Document to the Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Archdiocese. It should be read together with the 2001 Post-Synodal Document (PSD) and its directives must be treated as an archdiocesan priority in every parish. Since Spirituality should be the "incarnational" force animating the other three themes indicated by the MTSA, as a soul does to the body, I deem it wise to speak about it at length in this document, for "unless the Lord build the house, in vain do the labourers toil" (Ps 124:1).

Holistic Spirituality

A genuine Christian spirituality must necessarily be holistic, i.e. embracing our relationships with God, with our Christian brethren and with those of other faiths who are co-pilgrims with us towards our heavenly Father. It is imperative that our Catholic faithful be taught to cultivate a proper relationship with the Triune God, to develop sound Christian values and to make faith flow into action. This is especially necessary today when many are adopting worldly mindsets and egocentric behaviour patterns, at times even lured by some evangelists preaching a so-called “prosperity gospel cult” which ignores or considers as irrelevant the Gospel virtues of Christian discipleship, like carrying one’s cross, poverty, humility, etc.

I earnestly encourage the faithful in the Archdiocese to attend Holy Mass frequently - daily, if possible. The Eucharist is, in fact, the summit and source of Christian life. I also recommend that they receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once a month. The practice of many to visit Our Eucharistic Lord in the Blessed Sacrament Chapels is indeed praiseworthy and should be fostered in every family, association and community in the parish.

Personal and communitarian prayer too must have an important place in our daily life. I exhort everyone to spend at least 15 minutes in personal prayer everyday. For prayer - in the words of St. John Chrysostom - is "a precious way of communicating with God… It is an indescribable desire for God, a fruit of God’s grace, whereby the fiercest of fires light up the soul." (Homily 6). - May all learn the art and beauty of contemplative prayer - where one is led to be still in the Lord’s presence and to know that He is God (cfr Ps 46:10) - choosing from the various schools of Christian spirituality present in the Archdiocese (Desert Fathers, Franciscan, Carmelite, Jesuit, Dominican, Salesian, and others). - All prayer, of course, must be Christ-centred: through Him, with Him and in Him we are in communion with God the Father in the Holy Spirit. United thus with Jesus, as branches to the vine, we shall produce abundant fruit (cfr Jn 15:1-5) and be true witnesses “of the hope which is in us” (1 Pt 3:15).

The Holy Bible should be a companion for every Catholic in the Archdiocese. Courses could be organised at various levels, so that the faithful can deepen their understanding of the Word of God and its implications in their personal lives and communitarian behaviour. This should go hand-in-hand with catechetical faith formation. In his message for the next World Youth Day (2008) Pope Benedict XVI says: "I urge you to become familiar with the Bible, ... so that it can be your compass pointing out the road to follow. By reading it, you will learn to know Christ. ... A time-honoured way to study and savour the word of God is ‘lectio divina’ which constitutes a real and veritable spiritual journey marked out in stages. After the ‘lectio,’ which consists of reading and re-reading a passage from Sacred Scripture and taking in the main elements, we proceed to ‘meditatio’ ,... in which the soul turns to God and tries to understand what His word is saying to us today. Then comes ‘oratio’ in which we linger to talk with God directly. Finally we come to ‘contemplatio.’ This helps us to keep our hearts attentive to the presence of Christ". The Holy Father thus describes the four classical steps in the ladder of prayer which leads to an authentic Abba-experience, unique to Christianity. These prayer steps are: vocal (lips), mental (mind), spontaneous (heart), and unitive (total abandonment). In fact, when in silence we surrender to what we have read, reflected, prayed over and contemplated, it has a better chance to penetrate into the depths of our being and be woven into the tapestry of our daily lives.

There are many archdiocesan bodies which cater to the spiritual life of our faithful. Among them, we could mention the Biblical, Liturgical, and Dialogue Commissions, the Catechetical Centre and the Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Committee (PEACE). An Archdiocesan Spirituality Commission will be established to co-ordinate them, so as to foster a harmonious overall deepening of the Christian faith and ensure that the parish liturgies are spiritually uplifting, meaningful and performed with due solemnity and decorum. Particular attention must be paid to sacred music during the liturgical celebrations. The hymns should elevate the mind and soul to God, while rhythms, tunes and accompaniments which echo the mundane must be totally avoided. The aforementioned bodies should offer everyone in the Archdiocese the possibility to grow maturely in the knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so that, deeply rooted and grounded in love, they may be able to comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ which surpasses all understanding and be filled with the fullness of God (cfr Eph 3:17-19, 4:13).

I would like to mention here the necessity of cultivating a communitarian spirituality in all our parishes. The SCCs, in particular, are fertile grounds where the spirit of unity in diversity should be sowed and where all the members learn to live "with one mind and heart", as was the characteristic of the first Christian community (Acts 4:32).

A holistic Spirituality which does not flow into service is sterile. The MTSA signalled out three areas where this should occur as an archdiocesan priority: Family, Youth and Marginalised.


Although the establishment of cells in every parish has been left to the discernment of each Parish Team and Parish Pastoral Council, given the important role which the family plays in society today, the family cell must be established in every parish by December 2007 and persons/associations in the parish specialised in family matters should be called to collaborate with it. The same consideration applies to the formation of deanery family cells. In order that these may have qualified persons, our Family Service Centre, Snehalaya, will organise training courses and I encourage all to avail themselves of them.

In our present-day society into which secular values and options are making stealthy inroads, family prayer must be encouraged, since "the family that prays together stays together". I would like to make special mention of Scripture Reading (see lectio divina above), the Holy Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet as powerful means of bonding the members of a family in the love of Christ and of each other.

I warmly recommend that the faithful be cognizant of the Church’s teaching on modern bio-ethical problems which intimately touch family and pro-life issues.


No one can underestimate the importance of the care due to the youth in our Archdiocese. I request the Parish Teams and Parish Pastoral Councils to extend their full support to this special ministry, which forms a unique segment in the life and mission of the Church.

The Archdiocesan Youth Centre has envisaged a three-pronged approach in their apostolate - the formation of Neighbourhood Youth Groups (NYG) within the SCCs, whose representatives will form the Parish Youth Councils (PYC), and the setting up of a Parish Youth Animation Team (PYAT). The May 2007 deadline suggested in the MTSA Statement to establish these bodies should be respected and adhered to. I warmly encourage the formation of an Archdiocesan Team of Resource Personnel to foster and facilitate creative ministries for youth.


Faith must flow into action. In his Encyclical Deus Caritas Est Pope Benedict XVI speaks at length on the Church as a "community of love". It should remind us of Jesus’ new commandment to love one another as He has loved us (Jn 13:34), His thought-provoking teaching in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31) and the criterion He will use at the Last Judgement: "whatever you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt 25:40). St John the Evangelist says quite emphatically: "If you do not love your neighbour whom you see, you cannot love God whom you do not see" (1 Jn 4:20), and St. James insists that "faith without works is dead" (2:26).

It is in this spirit that the Archdiocese has made a pastoral option in favour of the poor and marginalised. Already at the Priests’ Consultation in 1990 it was resolved to set up a Centre for Community Organization (CCO) in every parish, not merely to dole out aid, but as an agent to empower the weaker and underprivileged to attain and fully express their dignity of being children of God, in whose image they have been created. Through awareness programmes, community initiatives and action plans the CCO fulfils the thrust of the Archdiocese to be in communion with others, especially with those who are marginalised, irrespective of their caste or creed, social condition or political affiliation.

It is heartening to note that to-date there are CCOs in 75 parishes of the Archdiocese. I hereby direct, once again, that - with immediate effect - CCOs be established wherever they do not exist as yet. The rules governing them are contained in the Handbook for CCOs. Experience has suggested that the office of the CCO executive director be henceforth separated from that of the Parish Priest, who will shoulder the overall responsibility as CCO manager.

The Community Welfare Fund is mandatory in every parish. I am glad to note the success it is having in the many parishes where it has started already, and I request that it be established in all the other parishes of the Archdiocese by May 2007 the latest. As it happened among the early Christians, our common ideal and concern should be that no one in our communities lacks the basic necessities of life, viz. food, health and education (cfr Acts 4:34).

Finally, true to Jesus’ wish that we welcome Him in the strangers around us, I request that special attention be paid to the vernacular groups in our parishes: let them not feel estranged and forced to live in ghettos. Let us help them to be integrated in our parish liturgies and pastoral activities so as to form one flock of Jesus Christ, where God is all things to everyone (Eph 4:6).


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: "Our contemporaries listen more easily to witnesses than to teachers, and if they do listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses". These words of Pope Paul VI (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 41) are especially true of the people, Christian and others, in our Archdiocese today. May we come up to their expectations with words and deeds worthy of our identity as followers of Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord and Saviour. For this, the members of our Catholic community must help each other to grow and mature in the faith, a faith which is strong and convinced, ready to be communicated and credibly witnessed with concrete actions in their daily life.

Echoing the Master’s command to His disciples, and taking the cue from Pope John Paul II’s clarion call at the dawn of the Third Christian Millennium to "launch out into the deep" (Lk 5:4), the MTSA has beckoned the Archdiocese of Bombay to steer the Church along the routes of Spirituality, Family, Youth and Marginalised, in the spirit of communion envisaged by the 2001 Archdiocesan Synod. The secret of safe and secure sailing lies in having all hands on deck and each one on board doing his/her part without counting the cost and giving tirelessly even if it hurts. Our common task ahead is very challenging indeed and its success is assured, thanks to the presence in the barque of Him who calms the winds and commands the waves. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the New Evangelisation, pray for us and guide us as we wander on the high seas of life.

While commending the excellent work done by the Bombay Archdiocesan Synod Implementation Committee (BASIC) during the past years, I entrust it with the execution of the on-going archdiocesan pastoral thrust as traced in the MTSA Statement and confirmed by this Pastoral Letter.

Together with my Team of Bishops, I bless you affectionately and assure you of our special prayers.

+ Ivan Cardinal Dias
Archbishop of Bombay

Also Read:

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Humour: Jesus Saves!

Humour: Jesus Saves!

Jesus and Satan were having an on-going argument about who was better on the computer. They had been going at it for days, and frankly God was tired of hearing all the bickering.

Finally fed up, God said, "THAT'S IT! I have had enough. I am going to set up a test that will run for two hours, and from those results, I will judge who does the better job." So Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away.
They moused.

They faxed.

They e-mailed.

They e-mailed with attachments.

They downloaded.

They did spreadsheets!

They wrote reports.

They created labels and cards.

They created charts and graphs.

They did some genealogy reports.

They did every job known to man.

Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency and Satan was faster than hell.
Then, ten minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and, of course, the power went off. Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curseword known in the underworld. Jesus just sighed.

Finally the electricity came back on, and each of them restarted their computers. Satan started searching frantically, screaming:

"It's gone! It's all GONE!

"I lost everything when the power went out!"

Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files from the past two hours of work.

Satan observed this and became irate.

"Wait!" he screamed.

"That's not fair! He cheated!

How come he has all his work and I don't have any?"

God just shrugged and said,

Posted by Cynthia Fernandes

Monday, April 10, 2006

Kuwait: Parent Child Relationships - Talk

The Young Adults in Christ Fellowship (YAFC) Kuwait

"The Family Talks - March & April 2006"

The Young Adults in Christ Fellowship group of the Catholic Holy Family Cathedral Church, Kuwait City

Talk V

Relationships between Parents and Children

The following is the summary of the fifth of a series of family talks organized by the Young Adults in Christ Fellowship (YAFC) at the Holy Family Cathedral Premises, Kuwait. This talk was given on 7th April, 2006 by Sr. Libby Sequeira of the God's Love Community, Salmiya, on the topic of "Parent-Children Relationships".

Of the many different relationships people form over the course of their life span, the relationship between parent and child is among the most important. The quality of the parent-child relationship is affected by the parent's age, experience, and self-confidence; the stability of the parents' marriage; and the unique characteristics of the child compared with those of the parent. Parental self-confidence is an important indicator of parental competence. Mothers who believe that they are effective parents are more competent than mothers who feel incompetent. Also, mothers who see themselves as effective also tend to believe their infants as less difficult to handle. Parental age and previous experience are also important. Children who are loved thrive better than those who are not. Either parent or a non-parent caregiver may serve as the primary caregiver or form the primary parent-child love relationship. Loss of love from a primary caregiver can occur with the death of a parent or interruption of parental contact through prolonged hospitalizations. A divorce can also interfere with the child's need to eat, improve, and advance.

Are you ready to be a parent?

Knowing that they'd like to have children one day is the easy part for many ‘to-be’ parents. The hard part is knowing when the time is right to start a family. When you're faced with this decision, your health, financial considerations, the impact on your career, your willingness to shoulder the responsibility of being a parent, and your readiness to give up a great deal of personal freedom all come into play. Whether or not you are ready for the joys and responsibilities of parenting, you also must take into account your spouse’s views. Talk things out, be frank about your feelings, and be prepared to hear your spouse's honest opinions in turn. It is very important that deciding to have a baby is a joint decision and that both of you are ready for the child. Finally, think about your support network. Having a baby is much easier if you can rely on a group of family and friends for practical advice, hands-on help, and the occasional pep talk. Getting these things in order before becoming pregnant can help you prepare for the inevitable stresses of adjusting to pregnancy and for the responsibilities that a baby brings to your family.

Infancy and attachment

The significant bond between infant and parent is critical to the infant's survival and development. Started immediately after birth, attachment is strengthened by mutually satisfying interaction between the parents and the infant throughout the first months of life, called bonding. If parents can adapt to their babies, meet their needs, and provide nurturance, the attachment is secure. Psychosocial development can continue based on a strong foundation of attachment. On the other hand, if a parent's personality and ability to cope with the infant's needs for care are minimal, the relationship is at risk and so is the infant's development. When attachment is strong, anxiety demonstrated by crying, clinging, and turning away from the stranger, is revealed when separation occurs. This behavior peaks between seven and nine months and again during toddlerhood, when separation may be difficult. Although possibly stressful for the parents, stranger anxiety is a normal sign of healthy child attachment and occurs because of cognitive development. Most children exhibit secure attachment when reunited with their caregiver after a temporary absence. In contrast, some children with an insecure attachment want to be held, but they are not comfortable; they kick or push away. Others seem indifferent to the parent's return and ignore them when they return. The quality of the infant's attachment predicts later development. Youngsters who emerge from infancy with a secure attachment stand a better chance of developing happy and healthy relationships with others. The attachment relationship not only forms the emotional basis for the continued development of the parent-child relationship, but can serve as a foundation for future social connections. Secure infants have parents who sensitively read their infant's cues and respond properly to their needs.


When children move from infancy into toddlerhood, the parent-child relationship begins to change. During infancy, the primary role of the parent-child relationship is nurturing and predictability, and much of the relationship revolves around the day-to-day demands of caregiving: feeding, toileting, bathing, and going to bed. As youngsters begin to talk and become more mobile during the second and third years of life, however, parents usually try to shape their child's social behavior. In essence, parents become teachers as well as nurturers, providers of guidance as well as affection. Socialization (preparing the youngster to live as a member of a social group) implicit during most of the first two years of life, becomes clear as the child moves toward his or her third birthday. Socialization is an important part of the parent-child relationship. It includes various child-rearing practices, for example weaning, toilet training, and discipline. Dimensions of the parent-child relationship are linked to the child's psychological development, specifically how responsive the parents are, and how demanding they are. Responsive parents are warm and accepting toward their children, enjoying them and trying to see things from their perspective. In contrast, nonresponsive parents are aloof, rejecting, or critical. They show little pleasure in their children and are often insensitive to their emotional needs. Some parents are demanding, while others are too tolerant. Children's healthy psychological development is facilitated when the parents are both responsive and moderately demanding. During toddlerhood, children often begin to assert their need for autonomy by challenging their parents. Sometimes, the child's newfound assertiveness during the so-called terrible twos can put a strain on the parent-child relationship. It is important that parents recognize that this behavior is normal for the toddler, and the healthy development of independence is promoted by a parent-child relationship that provides support for the child's developing sense of autonomy. In many regards, the security of the first attachment between infant and parent provides the child with the emotional base to begin exploring the world outside the parent-child relationship.

School age

During the elementary school years, the child becomes increasingly interested in peers, but this is not be a sign of disinterest in the parent-child relationship. Rather, with the natural broadening of psychosocial and cognitive abilities, the child's social world expands to include more people and settings beyond the home environment. The parent-child relationship remains the most important influence on the child's development. Children whose parents are both responsive and demanding continue to thrive psychologically and socially during the middle childhood years.


As the child enters adolescence, biological, cognitive, and emotional changes transform the parent-child relationship. The child's urges for independence may challenge parents' authority. Many parents find early adolescence a difficult period. Although the value of peer relations grows during adolescence, the parent-child relationship remains crucial for the child's psychological development. In this regard, parenting has four main styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive (indulgent), and detached. Although no parent is consistent in all situations, parents do follow some general tendencies in their approach to childrearing, and it is possible to describe a parent-child relationship by the prevailing style of parenting. These descriptions provide guidelines for both professionals and parents interested in understanding how variations in the parent-child relationship affect the child's development.

Authoritarian parents

Authoritarian parents are rigid in their rules; they expect absolute obedience from the child without any questioning. They also expect the child to accept the family beliefs and principles without questions. Authoritarian parents are strict disciplinarians, often relying on physical punishment and the withdrawal of affection to shape their child's behavior. Children raised with this parenting style are often moody, unhappy, fearful, and irritable. They tend to be shy, withdrawn, and lack self-confidence. If affection is withheld, the child commonly is rebellious and antisocial.

Authoritative parents show respect for the opinions of each of their children by allowing them to be different. Although there are rules in the household, the parents allow discussion if the children do not understand or agree with the rules. These parents make it clear to the children that although they (the parents) have final authority, some negotiation and compromise may take place. Authoritative parents are both responsive and demanding; they are firm, but they discipline with love and affection, rather than power, and they are likely to explain rules and expectations to their children instead of simply asserting them. This style of parenting often results in children who have high self-esteem and are independent, inquisitive, happy, assertive, and interactive.

Permissive parents

Permissive (indulgent) parents have little or no control over the behavior of their children. If any rules exist in the home, they are followed inconsistently. Underlying reasons for rules are given, but the children decide whether they will follow the rule and to what extent. They learn that they can get away with any behavior. Indulgent parents are responsive but not especially demanding. They have few expectations of their children and impose little or inconsistent discipline. There are empty threats of punishment without setting limits. Role reversal occurs; the children act more like the parents, and the parents behave like the children. Children of permissive parents may be disrespectful, disobedient, aggressive, irresponsible, and defiant. They are insecure because they lack guidelines to direct their behavior. However, these children are frequently creative and spontaneous. Although low in both social responsibility and independence, they are usually more cheerful than the conflicted and irritable children of authoritarian parents.

Disengaged parents

Finally, disengaged (detached) parents are neither responsive nor demanding. They may be careless or unaware of the child's needs for affection and discipline. Children whose parents are detached have higher numbers of psychological difficulties and behavior problems than other youngsters.

How can I be a good parent?

“I want so much to be a good parent.” “I want my child to succeed in life.” These anxious remarks are a common refrain among parents. All too often, parents are afraid of making a mistake that could mark their child or fear “leaving out” something important. But let’s make one thing clear right from the start: parenting is something you learn as you go along. Trusting your basic common sense and your instincts, and talking things over with others, is still the best way to go. Having faults does not disqualify you from being a good parent – we all have our strengths and weaknesses. After all, to err is human, but to be perfect is impossible.

1. Being A Parent

All parents hope that their child will grow up to be a happy, independent adult. But how do parents help this come about? Therein lies the challenge. You cannot anticipate every situation your child will have to face, but you can show him from a very early age how to develop good judgment by offering him guidance: “How will you go about doing that? Do you want some help? ” The starting point is creating an affective relationship with him and seeing him/her for what he./she is. Your way of thinking and doing things should also provide him with a clear direction. Finally, much can be gained from taking a long, hard look at the question: “What do I want for my child?”.

2. Knowing Yourself

Parents are, first and foremost, people. Many of the experiences we share with our children bring out our good points, our bad points, our ways of dealing with things, our needs and our personal history. If we take the time to ask ourselves some questions, we will be able to see ourselves more clearly and to change our approach, if need be. Do I take care of myself? Do I respect myself? Are my actions fuelled by my emotions (anger, sadness...)? Am I reacting against how my parents brought me up? Am I acting in the best interests of my child or for my own benefit? What do I want? These questions help us identify the model that we offer our children, a model that influences them considerably. It is important to note, however, that the fact that an adult was traumatized, neglected or physically abused as a child does not mean that he will be an abusive parent. Parents who are sensitive to what their children are experiencing find ways to develop good relationships with them.

3. Establishing Affective Relationships

Playing with your child, sharing in his activities, having fun with him – these are all ways of establishing an affective relationship with him. Here are some other ways:
  • Put yourself in your child’s shoes in order to learn what he may be feeling in a given situation. To do this, think back to how you would have felt in that situation when you were a child.

  • Be an active listener. Be attentive to what your child is experiencing by getting him to express his needs and feelings. Ask him questions so that you can think things through together, and not so that you can simply reject what he has to say.

  • Trust your child’s abilities. A challenge (within reason) can be stimulating. Mistakes can be due to a lack of maturity or something that has been improperly learned. Avoid questioning your child’s motives.

  • Help your child learn without doing things for him. Give him opportunities to experience success. When your child makes a mistake or suffers a setback, review the situation together to help him make better choices next time.

4. The Importance of Communication

Family communication should be kept simple. Discussions should not drag on forever. A five-to-ten-minute conversation is sufficient, even for a ten-year-old. Messages should be clear and non-contradictory. Your actions should reflect your words, and your words should be consistent with your gestures, body language and tone. This enables your child to feel confident and to grow up with a clear understanding of what is expected of him.

5. Parental Authority

Learning self-control
There are certain things you can do to help your child learn self-discipline: learn more about your child by observing his behaviour; make sensible rules and stick to them; take the time to explain these rules; help your child choose behaviour appropriate to the situation; if you want your child to obey your rules, then follow them yourself; be fair and loving. Teaching a child self-control requires a great deal of patience. It is a long road, and there will be setbacks. In order to successfully navigate this road, your child needs you to set an example. A Swedish study reports that disciplined parents who always act in accordance with their values do not have to use pressure to have disciplined children. However, parents who demand discipline yet are incapable of self-discipline do not get any results.

What if I lose my patience...
Certain situations can make us lose our patience. Try not to over-react or to put too much blame on yourself. To avoid “losing your cool”, try to recognize the warning signals, calmly tell your child what is happening and ask him to leave you alone. But are repeated severe spankings or other acts of violence so bad? A parent who punishes his child in this manner shows him that it is sometimes all right to: lose his self-control; hit someone, even if that someone is smaller than him. The parent may win peace and quiet or obedience temporarily, but he will lose in the long run. There is no educational value in using violence, because violence does not teach the child what he should have done in a given situation. On the contrary, the child becomes bitter and aggressive, and looks for ways to get even.

Reward, punishment and consequences
There is every indication that rewarding a child for his good behaviour and sensible decisions is still the best way to raise him. This encourages him to continue in that vein. There are very simple ways of rewarding a child: a kind word, a smile, an affectionate remark, a word of encouragement, a caress...

Another way of eliminating a certain mode of behaviour is to ignore it. Eventually, your child will stop repeating this behaviour (such as whining) if you stop paying attention to it. Of course, you should avoid this tactic if it endangers his safety or that of another child, or if he takes advantage of your indifference. Punishment should not always be ruled out. In certain situations (such as when a child persists in acting in an unacceptable or dangerous manner), punishment is necessary. It should not, however, be administered in a climate of vengeance or aggressiveness, for this will leave the child bitter, frustrated and full of resentment. For punishment to be effective, a warm relationship must exist between the parent and child. Asking a child who has misbehaved to leave the room in order to calm down and reflect on his actions can have a positive effect. He should be sent to a quiet area, with no toys. This method is also useful in that it gives the parent and the child a cooling-off period, allowing each to return to his senses. Another method is to take away one of the child’s privileges, such as going outside after supper, riding his bicycle or watching a television program.

In leading a child towards independence, it is wise to introduce the notion of consequences as part of his upbringing. The decisions he makes have consequences, and he is responsible for any positive or negative repercussions. This teaches him to assume responsibility for his choices. Certain consequences can be self-evident. For example, if an object is broken on purpose, it will not be replaced. However, when it comes to rules, the consequences must be spelled out beforehand. The parent and child enter into a contract. For instance, the child knows in advance that if he does not come home for supper, he will not get a full meal (logical consequence) and will be forbidden to watch television (loss of privilege). Consequences may also be determined jointly by the parent and the child. In the case of a broken window, it may be decided that the child will pay part of the costs of replacing it or will personally help repair it. Whether it comes down to punishment or consequences, parents must take into account the following:

The child must know what he is being accused of. A warning is appropriate and can sometimes suffice. Never set traps for him. The gravity of the misdeed and the degree to which the child is responsible determine the penalty. The timeframe must be reasonable; otherwise, the parent will give in (either from exhaustion or a sense of guilt), or the situation will become too heavy for the child to take. The parent has to stick to what he says. If he spells out what the consequences or punishment will be, this must be something that he can and will enforce. Misbehaviour is hard for a child to stop if it is punished one day and not the next. The penalty must be aimed at the child’s misbehaviour, and not at him personally. He can be told: “I cannot accept this type of behaviour.” On the other hand, telling him: “You never do anything right” is needlessly hurtful and leaves him with a poor self-image. The parent must react quickly to the misbehaviour or even forestall it if possible. The sooner the child is warned or reprimanded, the sooner he will learn to refrain from misbehaving. The parent must verify whether the undesirable behaviour is being eliminated. An effective strategy may consist in suggesting and encouraging good behaviour. For example, instead of the parent angrily saying: “Your friends are coming over for lunch again? What am I, your servant?”, the parent can suggest that the daughter check in advance whether it’s all right. Punishment is abusive if it lasts too long, is accompanied by blows, results in injuries, involves physical control (tying the child up, for instance), humiliation or threats, or is often administered for no good reason.

For discipline to be effective, it must be based on clear, familiar rules. And rules – by establishing what is and what is not allowed – express family values. A value is something we care about. It can be respect for human dignity, authority, social status, non-violence, money, helping others and so on. For example, if I value human dignity, I will not tolerate any vulgarity in my home. To learn more about my rules, I could do the following: First, make a list of my rules. Next, ask myself if all the members of my family understand and are familiar with my rules. Are my rules adapted to my child’s abilities? Are they fair? Do they serve all the members of my family? Do they achieve the desired results? Are my rules influenced by my frame of mind? By other people? It is important that our rules reflect our beliefs, values and limits. If a child feels he can come home at 6:30 instead of the agreed-upon time of 6:00, he will do so. Are my rules open to discussion by members of my family? If children cannot question a rule openly, they will question it indirectly. It is better to promote a frank and honest approach. The parent should remain open-minded, but should never lose sight of the fact that he has the last word.

What causes and perpetuates aggressive behaviour in children?
The child gets what he wants through aggressive behaviour. The parent tolerates aggressiveness. The message received by the child is that this type of behaviour is permissible. The parent encourages the child to use aggression to resolve conflicts with others. The parent himself is aggressive towards his child. Not only does this pose risks for the child, but it serves as an example of how he should handle situations. He sees that this type of behaviour is allowed and has no negative consequences.

6. Where to turn for Help

For your child to develop harmoniously, he needs respect, love, guidance and basic common sense. As a parent, your greatest challenge lies in realizing that you are up to the task and in trusting yourself. You have all the necessary resources. If you hesitate, make a mistake, recognize this and change your approach, you will be setting a good example for your child. If you feel like sharing your experiences with other parents, go right ahead. If, on the other hand, you: l feel out of your depth or ill at ease; l feel that your child is not responding to you any more, is always up to no good or is provoking you; l feel that violence is the only way you can get your child to obey you; do not keep these concerns to yourself. Talk them over with a person you trust or someone who can refer you somewhere else.

10 Tips For Enhancing That Loving Feeling Between Parents and Their Children

Just like with any relationship, building a positive relationship between parent and child is one that requires work and effort to make it strong and successful. Parenting is a tough job, and maintaining close relationships and open communications helps to ensure parents and their children stay connected through all ages of their upbringing. Here are 10 simple tips for enhancing the bond between parent and child.

1) Say I Love You

Tell your child you love him every day -- no matter his age. Even on trying days or after a parent-child is in disagreement, when you don't exactly "like your child" at that moment, it is more important than ever to express your love. A simple "I love you" goes a long way toward developing and then strengthening a relationship.

2) Teach Your child about the Catholic Faith and pray as a family

Teach your child about your Catholic faith and beliefs. Tell him what you believe and why. Allow time for your child to ask questions and answer them honestly. Reinforce those teachings often.

3) Establish A Special Name Or Code Word

Create a special name for your child that is positive and special or a secret code word that you can use between each other. Use the name as a simple reinforcement of your love. The code word can be established to have special meaning between your child and you that only you two understand. This code word can even be used to extract a child from an uncomfortable situation (such as a sleepover that is not going well) without causing undue embarrassment to the child.

4) Develop And Maintain A Special Bedtime Ritual

For younger children, reading a favorite bedtime book or telling stories is a ritual that will be remembered most likely throughout their life. Older children should not be neglected either. Once children start reading, have them read a page, chapter, or short book to you. Even most teenagers still enjoy the ritual of being told goodnight in a special way by a parent--even if they don't act like it!

5) Let Your Children Help You

Parents sometimes inadvertently miss out on opportunities to forge closer relationships by not allowing their child to help them with various tasks and chores. Unloading groceries after going to the store is a good example of something that children of most ages can and should assist with. Choosing which shoes look better with your dress lets a child know you value her opinion. Of course, if you ask, be prepared to accept and live with the choice made!

6) Play With Your Children

The key is to really play with your children. Play with dolls, ball, make believe, checkers, sing songs, or whatever is fun and interesting. It doesn't matter what you play, just enjoy each other! Let kids see your silly side. Older kids enjoy cards, chess, computer games, while younger ones will have fun playing about long as it involves you!

7) Eat Meals As A Family

You've heard this before, and it really is important! Eating together sets the stage for conversation and sharing. Turn the TV off, and don't rush through a meal. When schedules permit, really talk and enjoy one another. It can become a quality time most remembered by young and old alike.

8) Seek Out One-On-One Opportunities Often

Some parents have special nights or "standing dates" with their children to create that one-on-one opportunity. Whether it is a walk around the neighborhood, a special trip to a playground, or just a movie night with just the two of you, it is important to celebrate each child individually. Although it is more of a challenge the more children in a family, it is really achievable! Think creatively and the opportunities created will be ones that you remember in the future.

9) Respect Their Choices

You don't have to like their mismatched shirt and shorts or love how a child has placed pictures in his room. However, it is important to respect those choices. Children reach out for independence at a young age, and parents can help to foster those decision-making skills by being supportive. After all, it really is okay if a child goes to daycare with a striped green shirt and pink shorts. Off course a parent is not expected to overlook in-decent dressing or the like. These should be corrected at an early age so that the child understands the value of the same at an early age.

10) Make Them A Priority In Your Life

Your children need to know that you believe they are a priority in your life. Children can observe excessive stress and notice when they feel you are not paying them attention. Sometimes, part of being a parent is not worrying about the small stuff and enjoying your children. They grow up so fast, and every day is special. Take advantage of your precious time together while you have it!

Advice for Teens in Trouble

All teenagers have disagreements with their parents and feel the need to get away. But when that need leads you down a self-destructive path, it's time to make a change. The answers can't be found on the outside — they're inside you.
  • Don't throw your life away to spite your parents, or to get even with them. Try your best to resolve these issues in a way that does not offend them.

  • At times it may be difficult to understand why your parents are asking something from you. Trust their judgement in these situations and rest-assured you will be the one to gain.

  • Never be-little your parents because of their age or educational background. Respect them as long as they live. Never feel ashamed to introduce or show-off your parents in public, even to your friends.

  • Running to a boyfriend or girlfriend is not the answer, because you're not really running to them. You're running away from your problems at home.

  • Even if no one else tells you, remember that you are a valuable human being. You have so much to offer to the world — don't sell yourself short and give yourself away cheap.

  • You are a worthy person. But the only person who can give you more of what you need is yourself.

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