Tag: Nelson MCBS

Commemoration of the Name of St. Joseph in the Syro-Malabar Holy Qurbana

Commemoration of the Name of St. Joseph in the Holy Qurbana

Download the Original Circular here

St Joseph

Letterhead George Cardinal Alencherry

Dear Archbishops and Bishops,
The XXU(2014) Session 1 decided to include the commemoration of St. Joseph in the invariable
part of the Onitha d’Raze with prior approval of the Apostolic See. The Apostolic See has given
the recognition for this decision as follows:
By a letter of 26 February 2014 (Prot. No.383/2014), Your Beatitude sought the
recognitio of the Holy See for the introduction of a commemoration of St. Joseph, Spouse of
the Holy Mother of God, into the pre-anafora (invariable part of the Onitha d’Razey of the
Taksa of the Qurbana of Mar Addai and Mari. This proposal corresponds to the deeply rooted
devotion to the Guardian of Our Lord that is already found among the Syro-Malabar faithful.
After due consideration, this Dicastery has no objection to the request, which seems
particularly timely in our day as evidenced by a similar step recently taken in the Latin
Church.

Name of St Joseph in Holy Qurbana

Emmanuel Retreats 2013

Emmanuel Retreats 2013 ഇമ്മാനുവല്‍ ധ്യാനങ്ങള്‍

Emmanuel

MCBS Theologians perform Summer Retreats for the Children in Parishes.

Interested Vicars Can contact

Method & Style

  • Could be arranged in Retreat Model or Camp Model

  • Arranges for three days or even for two

  • A normal group consist of three theologians including a Deacon

  • Multimedia devices including projector & Laptop will be brought or could be arranged locally

 

jm_600_GIA.pd-P9.tiff

MCBS Seminaries

Sanathana Divya Karunya Vidya Peetham, Thamarassery

Sanathana MCBS Seminary

P.B. No.05,Thamarassery – 673573

Calicut,Kerala.

Tel: 0495  2220931,2220932,2220930

Fax: 0495 2225688

Web : http://www.sanathana.wordpress.com

E-mail : sanathanadkv@gmail.com

Jeevalaya Institute of Philosophy, Bangalore

MCBS Novitiate House , Kanjirappally

MCBS Novitiate House , Chembery

MCBS Minor Seminary, Athirampuzha

MCBS Minor Seminary

Sreekandamangalam P.O.

Athiampuzha

Kottayam 686 562

Kerala, India

Ph. 0481 2730599, 2731882, 2731982

Email: mcbssem@sancharnet.in (Official)

mcbslisieux@live.in (Public)

Website: http://www.lisiuex.wordpress.com

MCBS Minor Seminary, Pariyaram

MCBS Mission Minor Seminary, Solapur

MCBS Mission Minor Seminary, Anappara

MCBS Study House, Kaduvakulam

MCBS Study House, Aluva

 

Formation Houses of MCBS

Sanathana Divya Karunya Vidya Peetham, Thamarassery

Sanathana MCBS Seminary

P.B. No.05,Thamarassery – 673573

Calicut,Kerala.

Tel: 0495  2220931, 2220932, 2220930

Fax: 0495 2225688

Web : http://www.sanathana.wordpress.com

E-mail : sanathanadkv@gmail.com

Jeevalaya Institute of Philosophy, Bangalore

MCBS Novitiate House , Kanjirappally

MCBS Novitiate House , Chembery

MCBS Minor Seminary, Athirampuzha

MCBS Minor Seminary

Sreekandamangalam P.O.

Athiampuzha

Kottayam 686 562

Kerala, India

Ph. 0481 2730599, 2731882, 2731982

Email: mcbslisieux@gmail.com (Official)

mcbslisieux@live.in (Public)

Website: http://www.lisiuex.wordpress.com

MCBS Minor Seminary, Pariyaram

MCBS Mission Minor Seminary, Solapur

MCBS Mission Minor Seminary, Anappara

MCBS Study House, Kaduvakulam

MCBS Study House, Aluva

Vocation to MCBS

Vocation / ദൈവവിളി

ദൈവവിളിക്കായുള്ള പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥന / Prayer for Vocations

“വിളവധികം വേലക്കാരോ ചുരുക്കം, അതിനാല്‍ തന്റെ വിളഭൂമിയിലെക്ക് വേലക്കാരെ അയക്കാന്‍ വിളവിന്റെ നാഥനോട് പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കുവിന്‍” എന്ന് ആഹ്വാനം ചെയ്ത ഈശോ നാഥാ ലോകത്തെ മുഴുവന്‍ അങ്ങേക്കായി നേടുവാന്‍ ധാരാളം  നല്ല ശുശ്രൂഷകരെ തിരുസ്സഭക്ക് നല്‍കണമേ. അവര്‍ അങ്ങയുടെ ജനത്തെ വിശുദ്ധീകരിക്കുകയും നയിക്കുകയും പഠിപ്പിക്കുകയും ചെയ്യട്ടെ. തനിക്കു ഇഷ്ടമുള്ളവരെ അരികിലേക്ക് വിളിച്ചു പരിശുദ്ധാത്മാവിനാല്‍ നിറച്ച്‌ ലോകത്തിന്റെ നാനാ ഭാഗങ്ങളിലേക്കും അയച്ചതുപോലെ അങ്ങേ അറിയാത്ത അനേകായിരങ്ങളുടെ അടുത്തേക്ക്‌ കടന്നുചെന്ന് അവരെ അങ്ങയിലേക്ക് നയിക്കുവാന്‍ നല്ല അജപാലകരെ ഞങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് നല്‍കണമേ. ധാരാളം നല്ല ദൈവവിളികള്‍ നല്‍കി ഞങ്ങളുടെ കുടുംബത്തെയും  അനുഗ്രഹിക്കണമേ.   അങ്ങയുടെ ഹൃദയത്തിനിണങ്ങിയ നല്ല മകനായി/മകളായി  എന്നെയും മാറ്റണമേ. അങ്ങനെ ലോകത്തിനു ദീപവും ഭൂമിക്കു ഉപ്പുമായി തീരുവാന്‍ എനിക്കും ഇടയാകട്ടെ. അങ്ങയുടെ വിളിയും തിരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പും മനസ്സിലാക്കുവാനും അതിനു പ്രത്യുത്തരം നല്‍കുവാനും എന്നെ സഹായിക്കണമേ. അതിനായി അങ്ങയുടെ പരിശുദ്ധാത്മാവിന്റെ ദാനങ്ങളും   ഫലങ്ങളും എന്നില്‍ നിറയ്ക്കണമേ.  നിത്യ പുരോഹിതനായ ഈശോ അങ്ങയുടെ വിളി സ്വീകരിച്ച് അങ്ങേക്കായി ജീവിക്കുന്ന സമര്‍പ്പിതരെ അങ്ങേ തിരുഹൃദയത്തില്‍ കാത്തുകൊള്ളണമേ. ഞങ്ങളുടെ അമ്മയായ പരിശുദ്ധ കന്യകാമാതാവേ, കന്യാവ്രതക്കാരുടെ കാവല്‍ക്കാരനായ മാര്‍ യൌസേപ്പിതാവേ എനിക്കുവേണ്ടിയും ഞങ്ങളുടെ  കുടുംബത്തിനുവേണ്ടിയും പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കണമേ. എന്റെ കാവല്‍ മാലാഖയെ   ദൈവതിരുമുന്‍പില്‍ നിര്‍മലനായി /നിര്‍മലയായി ജീവിക്കുവാന്‍ എന്നെ സഹായിക്കണമേ. എന്റെ പ്രത്യേക സ്വര്‍ഗ്ഗീയ   മദ്ധ്യസ്ഥരെ… നിങ്ങളും  എനിക്കുവേണ്ടി പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കണമേ. ആമ്മേന്‍

Prayer for Vocations

Jesus, High Priest and Redeemer forever, we beg you to call young men and women to your service as priests and religious. May they be inspired by the lives of dedicated priests, Brothers, and Sisters. Give to parents the grace of generosity and trust toward you and their children so that their sons and daughters may be helped to choose their vocations in life with wisdom and freedom.

Lord, you told us that the harvest indeed is great but the laborers are few. Pray, therefore, the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest. We ask that we may know and follow the vocation to which you have called us. We pray particularly for those called to serve as priests, Brothers and Sisters; those whom you have called, those you are calling now, and those you will call in the future. May they be open and responsive to the call of serving your people. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യ നാഥന്‍ നിന്നെ വിളിക്കുന്നു

എം സി ബി എസ് സന്ന്യാസ സമൂഹം  നിന്നെ സ്വാഗതം ചെയ്യുന്നു

വരുവിന്‍, അവനോടൊപ്പം മരിക്കാന്‍ നമുക്കും പോകാം…

വിശ്വാസ ജീവിതത്തിന്റെ കേന്ദ്രമായ വിശുദ്ധ കുര്‍ബാനയിലൂടെ അനേകായിരങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് വിശ്വാസ വെളിച്ചം നല്‍കുവാന്‍ വിശുദ്ധ കുര്‍ബാനയില്‍ കേന്ദ്രീകൃതമായ ഭാരതത്തിലെ ഏക സന്യാസ സമൂഹമാണ്‌ MCBS. ഏഷ്യ, ആഫ്രിക്ക, യൂറോപ്പ്, ഓസ്ട്രേലിയ, എന്നീ ഭൂഘണ്ടങ്ങളിലും ഇന്ത്യയിലെ വിവിധ സംസ്ഥാനങ്ങളിലും കേരളത്തിലുടനീളവും വചനപ്രഘോഷണം, ഇടവക പ്രേഷിതത്വം ആതുര സേവനം, വിദ്യാഭ്യാസം,  മാധ്യമ പ്രേഷിതത്വം, യുവജന നവീകരണം, സാമൂഹിക സേവനം തുടങ്ങി വിവിധ രംഗങ്ങളില്‍ MCBS വൈദീകര്‍ കര്‍മ്മനിരതാരാണ് . നാഥനുവേണ്ടി ജീവിക്കുവാനും ലോകത്തിനുവേണ്ടി മുറിക്കപ്പെടുവാനും ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യ   ഈശോ നിന്നെ വിളിക്കുന്നു. ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യ നാഥന്‍ നിന്നിലൂടെ നിറം പകരുന്ന സ്വപ്നങ്ങള്‍ക്ക്  ജീവന്‍ പകരാന്‍, വിശുദ്ധ കുര്‍ബാനയുടെ പ്രേഷിതനകാന്‍ ഉള്‍വിളി ലഭിക്കുന്നെങ്കില്‍…. മടിക്കരുത്… അംഗമാവുക… ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യ മിഷനറി സഭയില്‍….

Vocation Director

MCBS Seminary

 Athirampuzha

Kottayam – 686 562

 Tel : 0481 2730599, 09495804598

 E- mail : mcbslisieux@gmail.com

mcbslisieux@live.in

Website: http://lisieux.wordpress.com

Or

Fr Maneesh MCBS

MCBS Seminary

Athirampuzha

Kottayam 686562


 

Prayer for the Success in Exam / പരീക്ഷാ വിജയത്തിനായുള്ള പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥന

***********************************************************

Vocation to Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS)

Eligibility

Catholic: Latin, Syro-Malabar & Malankara.

Age: 15 – 30 years.

Education: At least Secondary School or Equivalent Completed.

Family: Sound Family background and Spiritual Environment.

Admission: Interview by a Panel of Priests including the Rector of the Seminary.

Admissions Open: April to June every Year.

Houses of Formation

Minor Seminaries

MCBS Minor Seminary, Athirampuzha, Kottayam, India

MCBS Minor Seminary, Pariyaram, Kannur, India

MCBS Minor Seminary, Solapur, Maharashtra, India

Novitiates

MCBS Novitiate House, Kanjirappally, Kottayam, India

MCBS Novitiate House, Chembery, Kannur, India

Major Seminaries

Jeevalaya Institute of Philosophy, Bangalore, India

Sanathana Divyakarunya Vidhyapeetham, Thamarassery, India

Study Houses

MCBS Study House, Alwaye, India

MCBS Study House, Kaduvakulam, Kottayam, India

Duration of Formation

Minor Seminary: 2 or 3 Years

Novitiate: 1 Year

Degree: 3 years (If Separately Done)

Philosophy: 2 or  3 years

Regency: 1 or 0 Year

Theology: 3.5 years

Higher Studies: Up-to 5 Years (Before Ordination)

Total Years of Formation: 09 to 15Years

Contacts

Vocation Director

MCBS Seminary

Athirampuzha

Kottayam – 686 562

Tel : 0481 2730599, 09495804598

E- mail : mcbslisieux@gmail.com, mcbslisieux@live.in

Website: http://lisieux.wordpress.com

Or

Vocation Director

MCBS Minor Seminary

Pariyaram P.O., Kannur – 670502

Tel: 0497 2808577, 2808495, 2808877

E-mail : st.maryspariyaram@gmail.com

mariyanbikp@bsnl.in

Or

Vocation Director

MCBS House

Elavanthy, Anappara P.O.

Angamaly –

Tel.  04842694895

Mob. 09447267114

Email: jesuscalls2mcbs@gmail.com

or

Fr Maneesh MCBS

MCBS Seminary

Athirampuzha

Kottayam 686562

 

Charism of MCBS

CHARISM & NATURE

In this Congregation our ideal is to consecrate the entire life to the realisation of God’s Kingdom (Matt 6, 10), placing the Eucharist at the core of our being.

 Drawing inspiration from the age-old spiritual wisdom of Eastern Christian Monasticism and from the quest of the sages (rishis) of India for the Absolute, the MCBS tries to reach out, in and through the Eucharist, to the God-experience of our father St. Thomas, the Apostle, in his faith-surrender “My Lord and My God” (John20,28).

 Our Charism, sown by the Spirit as a seed in our founders, grew up to the spiritual patrimony of our Congregation. They have entrusted to our keeping for our spiritual heritage, a religious life marked by love and single minded devotion (bhakti) to the Eucharistic Lord and missionary vitality.

 This charism is to live and proclaim the Eucharistic Mystery we celebrate, to gather the children of God around the altar to “praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice and to eat the Lord’s supper” and to uphold the real presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

 Liturgical Apostolate, Eucharistic Retreat, Parish Apostolate, Proclamation of Good News, Mission towards unity, Inculturation, and Dialogue with other religions and social Apostolate form the core areas of MCBS activity.

 Our mission works are mainly among the poor, illiterate, and the marginalized in various parts of India’s vast mission fields entrusted to us for the pastoral care by the local bishops.

MCBS Apostolate of Documentation and Research

MCBS Apostolate of Documentation and Research

Introduction to the Foundation of MCBS

Foundation Documents

Chronicle – SABS, Mallapally

Chronicle – MCBS Study House, Aluva

Chronicle – SABS Generalate

Will of Mar Kurialachery about MCBS

About the Founders

Photos of Fr Mathew Alakulam MCBS

Photos of Fr Joseph Paredom MCBS

Alakulam Tharavadu

Paredom Tharavadu

Founders Together

Voice of the Founders

Fr Paredom at Study House, Aluva

Funeral – Fr Joseph Paredom MCBS

Funeral – Fr Mathew Alakulam MCBS

Mortal Remains at Athirampuzha

Writings – Fr Alakulam

Writings – Fr Paredom

Diary 01

Diary 02

Diary 03

Locations of History

Mallappally Mission Church

SABS Convent Mallapally

Parel Church Changanassery

Mother House Kaduvakulam

Karimpany Ashram

Athirampuzha Lisieux Ashram

Study House Aluva

Poovathode Church

Mutholapuram Church

Events of History

Men of History

Community in Heaven

Superior Generals

Provincial Superiors

Emmaus Province

Zion Province

Maharashtra Region

Karnataka Region

Witnesses – Video

On Fr Alakulam

Bishops

Priests MCBS

Priests All

Sisters

Family

Laymen

On Fr Paredom

Bishops

Priests MCBS

Priests All

Sisters

Family

Laymen

On General History

Bishops

Priests MCBS

Priests All

Sisters

Laymen

On Ancestors

Bishops

Priests MCBS

Priests All

Sisters

Laymen

Witnesses – Audio

On Fr Alakulam

Bishops

Priests MCBS

Priests All

Sisters

Family

Laymen

On Fr Paredom

Bishops

Priests MCBS

Priests All

Sisters

Family

Laymen

On General History

Bishops

Priests MCBS

Priests All

Sisters

Laymen

On Ancestors

Bishops

Priests MCBS

Priests All

Sisters

Laymen

Charism of MCBS

 CHARISM & NATURE

In this Congregation our ideal is to consecrate the entire life to the realisation of God’s Kingdom (Matt 6, 10), placing the Eucharist at the core of our being.

 Drawing inspiration from the age-old spiritual wisdom of Eastern Christian Monasticism and from the quest of the sages (rishis) of India for the Absolute, the MCBS tries to reach out, in and through the Eucharist, to the God-experience of our father St. Thomas, the Apostle, in his faith-surrender “My Lord and My God” (John20,28).

 Our Charism, sown by the Spirit as a seed in our founders, grew up to the spiritual patrimony of our Congregation. They have entrusted to our keeping for our spiritual heritage, a religious life marked by love and single minded devotion (bhakti) to the Eucharistic Lord and missionary vitality.

 This charism is to live and proclaim the Eucharistic Mystery we celebrate, to gather the children of God around the altar to “praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice and to eat the Lord’s supper” and to uphold the real presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

 Liturgical Apostolate, Eucharistic Retreat, Parish Apostolate, Proclamation of Good News, Mission towards unity, Inculturation, and Dialogue with other religions and social Apostolate form the core areas of MCBS activity.

 Our mission works are mainly among the poor, illiterate, and the marginalized in various parts of India’s vast mission fields entrusted to us for the pastoral care by the local bishops.

History of MCBS

The Birth of Our Congregation:

….In the beginning of the twentieth century itself the Eucharistic-centered re-awakening in the life of the Church, initiated by the Holy Pope Pius X (1902-1914), had its impact on the Syro-Malabar Church . There was also a new missionary awareness and enthusiasm in this Apostolic Church . It was in this historical setting that the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS) was born.
….God has been preparing two great men (mahatmas) in the persons of Father Mathew Alakalam and Father Joseph Paredom to take up this new charism in the Church, who in fulfilment of their life-long religious and missionary aspirations outlined a new way of religious life in the Church: the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.
….In 1933, the jubilee year of the redemptive sacrifice of our Lord, on Sunday 7th May, the feast of St. Joseph ‘s patronage, in the mission church at Mallappally, Mar James Kalacherry, bishop of Changanacherry, established the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed

MCBS at a Glance

Members

490

Bishops

2

Priests

333

Brothers Co-operators

03

Major Seminarians

210

Novices

40

Minor Seminarians

175

Houses of Formation

10

Houses

60

Mission Centers

30

Mission Stations

40

Ayurveda Hospital

01

Centre for caring the poor and aged

5

Training Centre for Physically Handicapped

01

Children’s Homes

08

Dispensaries

12

Hospital

01

Centre for Caring for mentally handicapped

05

School for the mentally retarded

02

HIV- AIDS Hospital

01

Hostels

10

I.T.I

02

Printing Press

1

Publications

4

Nursery Schools

21

Retreat Centers

5

Schools

45

Self Help Groups

750

T. B. Sanitorium

1

Tailoring Schools

30

Training Centre for Deaf and Dump

1

Adult Education Cetres

24

 
   

MCBS ON THE ROAD TO GROWTH

….In 1978 , the district of Shimoga in Karnataka, under the jurisdiction of Mananthavady diocese, was entrusted to MCBS for pastoral care and evangelization.
….In 1989 the missionary activities of the congregation were extended to Rajasthan. The district of Sirohi is entrusted to the congregation for evangelization.
….The ‘Rule of Life’ of the congregation, revised and renewed after a careful study of the charism, nature, spirit, tradition and founders, and according to the directives given by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, was promulgated on 25th May 1989. The Holy See approved the Rule of Life for an experimental period of seven years and raised the congregation to pontifical Status on 2nd December 1989.
….In 1992 the districts of Satara and Solapur in Maharashtra , under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Kalyan, were entrusted to the congregation for pastoral care and evangelization.
….On 4th May 1995 the congregation was divided into two regions, namely MCBS Emmaus Region and MCBS Zion Region.
….Jeevalaya, MCBS’ Major Seminary, was inaugurated on 3rd July 1996.
….Shencottai Mission in South Tamil Nadu under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Tukala was started in the year 1996 for the pastoral care of the poor and afflicted.
….On 2nd December 1996 the two regions were raised to the status of provinces, namely, MCBS Emmaus Province and MCBS Zion Province .

On 18th December 1996 Thomas Elavanal, then Superior General, was nominated the first bishop from the Congregation. Mar Thomas Elavanal was consecrated Bishop of Kalyan on 8th February 1997.

On 21st May 1997 the first Provincial synaxis of both provinces was held to elect the Provincial Superiors and their teams.

On 28th October 1998 the Holy See gave definite approbation to the Constitution and Directory of the MCBS.

‘SANATHANA’ MCBS Theologate, Thamarassery was inaugurated on June 07, 2004.

On 7th May 2007 , the Platinum Jubilee of the Congregation was inaugurated at Mother House, Kolladu, Kottayam.

On 28th July 2007 , Adilabad Mission , the first missionary field in Andrapradesh was started in the feast of Blessed Alphonsa

On 29th August, Fr. Joseph Arumachadath, the then Vice Rector of Sanathana MCBS Theologate, Thamarassery was nominated as the first bishop of the Bhadravati Diocese, Karnataka.

2007 September 08 – Missionaries to Switzerland .

On 25th October 2007 – Consecration of Mar Joseph Arumachadath and the inauguration of the Bhadravati Diocese, Karnataka

On 07th May 2008 – Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the Congregation came to its end at MCBS Generalate, Aluva.

Our Bishops
On 18th December 1996 Thomas Elavanal, then Superior General, was nominated the first bishop from the Congregation. Mar Thomas Elavanal was consecrated Bishop of Kalyan on 8th February 1997.

http://mcbsemmaus.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/clip_image001.jpg?w=180
Mar Thomas Elavanal

His Excellency Mar Thomas Elavanal, Bishop of Kalyan

On 29th August, Fr. Joseph Arumachadath, the then Vice Rector of Sanathana MCBS Theologate, Thamarassery was nominated as the first bishop of the Bhadravati Diocese,Karnataka. On 25th October 2007 – Consecration of Mar Joseph Arumachadath and the inauguration of the Bhadravati Diocese, Karnataka

Mar Joseph Arumachadath

His Excellency Mar Joseph Arumachadath, Bishop of Bhadravathy

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അൽമായ വചനഭാഷ്യം

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About Mangalapuzha Seminary

Mangalapuzha Seminary

St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Mangalapuzha (സെന്റ്‌ ജോസഫ് പൊന്റിഫിക്കല്‍ സെമിനാരി,  മംഗലപ്പുഴ) is a Major Seminary of the Syro-Malabar Church of the St. Thomas Christians.  It is the continuation of several Seminaries and the outcome of the centralization of the priestly formation in Kerala.   It has a long history of untiring service and selfless sacrifice of several missionaries, native clergy and laity.

 In 1964 the seminary was raised to Pontifical status by the Holy See.  His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. James Robert Knox read the Papal Brief at a public meeting in the seminary on 14 June 1964.The Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference (K.C.B.C.) was entrusted with the direction and administration of the Seminary On 12 June 1976.  On 27 October 1973, a formal request was made by the Superior General of the Carmelite Order for the transfer of the direction and administration from the Superior General of the Order to the Catholic Hierarchy of Kerala.  On 12 June 1976 the Congregation for the Oriental Churches communicated to the Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Conference the decision of the Congregation for the Oriental churches and the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples to transfer the direction of the seminary to the K.C.B.C.  The letters of the Congregations recall the concern of the two Congregations for the well-being and progress of the Pontifical Seminary and its continuance as a model of inter-ritual cooperation.  The statutes of the Seminary approved by the two Congregations state ‘St. Joseph’s Pontifical is a pluriritual institution, common to the three Rites, namely the Syro-Malabar, the Latin and the Syro-Malankara.  The seminary belongs to the Holy See and its direction and administration is entrusted to the Conference of Bishops of the three Rites of Kerala, subject to the high authority of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples’.

 The request of the KCBC to reorganize  the seminary on the basis of the Rites was approved by the Holy See in 1996.  Concrete steps for the implementation of the project were taken at the end of the academic year 1996-1997.  With academic year 1997-1998 Mangalapuzha section started to function as the Major Seminary of the Syro-Malabar Church.  Now the seminary is subject to the Holy See under the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and its direction and administration are entrusted to the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Synod.

The objective of the seminary is to provide priestly formation to the seminarians of the Syro-Malabar Eparchies.  Members of Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic life who are preparing themselves for priestly ministry as well as seminarians of other Eastern Churches may also be admitted according to the availability of accommodation.

 The programme of formation given here aims at the development of a fully integrated priestly personality taking into account the human, spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and missionary dimensions of priestly formation.  While giving this formation the seminary also gives particular emphasis to the study of traditions and heritages of the Church of St. Thomas Christians and of other Eastern Churches taking into consideration the religious and cultural context of India.  The seminary also gives importance to inter religious dialogue particularly with the religions of India.  There are also con-curricular activities as part of the seminary formation such as cultural academies to train the students in the art of public speaking, social work in order to create in them concern for the poor, the pastoral work for the Theology students to give them pastoral experience.

Mangalapuzha seminary (മംഗലപ്പുഴ സെമിനാരി) has been blessed with the presence of about 22 resident members of the staff and almost an equal number of visiting staff.  Regular staff meetings, prayer sessions and an exclusive annual retreat help to motivate and mobilize them in the desired direction of seminary life and formation.

Aeterni Sacerdotii

Pasce oves meas

 

Aeterni Sacerdotii

On February 24, 1972, the congregation for Catholic Education issued a decree erecting a Theological Faculty in the Pontifical Seminary, Alwaye. The first step towards the realization of the plan for a Faculty had been taken on October 1959, when the Congregation issued a decree affiliating the theology department of the Seminary with the Lateran University. With this, the theology department of the Seminary became “Studium Theologicum” which was governed by norms given by the University and a convention between the Rector of the Lateran University and the Rector of the seminary. In April 1971, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council sent a petition to the Congregation for the erection of an autonomous Faculty. On February 24, 1972, the Congregation for Catholic education issued the decree erecting the Theological Faculty in the Pontifical seminary. The decree granted the new Faculty all the rights and privileges which were enjoyed by Theological Faculties. It also empowered the Faculty to confer suitable degrees to students who are successful in their studies and research. The power of conferring the degrees of Bachelor and Master (Licentiate) in theology was explicitly granted. On 15th February 1973, the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye, was officially inaugurated by His Excellecy, the Most Rev.Dr.John Gordon, the then Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to India. On 25th April 1997, through a decree the congregation for Catholic Education separated the Pontifical Institute from the Pontifical Seminary. At present the Pontifical Institute functions at two separate campuses – Mangalapuzha and Carmelgiri, and offers simultaneously courses of theology and philosophy in both campuses.

At present the Institute is empowered to confer the following degrees. Bachelor of Philosophy; Bachelor of Theology; Master of theology; Doctor of theology. For the degree of Master of theology Spiritual theology, dogmatic theology, Pastoral theology and Counseling and Biblical theology are offered by the Institute as branches of specialization.

Though the St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary has been reorganized on the basis of rites(the Mangalapuzha section for the Syro Malabar Church and the Carmeligiri section for the Latins), the Pontifical Institute remains common and is autonomous It is governed by the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council.(K.C.B.C.).

The academic community of the seminary is composed of two categories, namely the resident students and the day scholars. The latter have their religious study houses around the seminary and come to the seminary only for class. The resident students are mainly from the Syro-Malabar dioceses in Kerala and outside. There are also a few students belonging to the Syro-Malankara dioceses and a handful from religious communities having no houses nearby. The number of resident students is 280 and of the day scholars is 144 in the academic year 2006-2007.

Mangalapuzha seminary (മംഗലപ്പുഴ സെമിനാരി) has been maintaining a close collaboration with other seminaries. A common “Programme for Formators” for the staff of the Syro-Malabar seminaries was organized under the auspices of the Syro-Malabar synod of bishops. Informal meetings of the staff of the seminaries were also held with sharing sessions. Such gatherings help the staff to know each other, to share the problems of formation in each seminary and eventually to arrive at solutions. As far as the students of various seminaries are concerned there are inter-seminary matches in Volleyball and Basketball, inter-seminary Quiz Competition, debate Competition, Homily Competition etc.

Mangalapuzha seminary has a cemetery chapel, which is a place of pilgrimage. The bodies of Venerable Aurelian OCD and the Servant of God Zacharias OCD of blessed memory rested there for decades. Their mortal remains were solemnly transferred to the special tombs in the Carmelite Monastery Church at Manjummel.

As regards the finance of the seminary the various papal agencies, namely CNEWA, Opus Sancti Petri and MISSIO have been rendering wonderful service to the seminary. The Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Congregation for the Catholic Education render special care and support to the seminary and its activities.

The undivided St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Mangalapuzha, (സെന്റ്‌ ജോസഫ് പൊന്റിഫിക്കല്‍ സെമിനാരി,  മംഗലപ്പുഴ) celebrated the Golden Jubilee of its transfer from Puthenpally to Mangalapuzha on 9th and 10th of March 1983. This year 2007 the seminary celebrates the Platinum Jubilee of its transfer to Mangalapuzha. On this occasion the seminary remembers with gratitude all benefactors and the zealous discalzed Carmelite missionaries for their outstanding contribution to the Church in Kerala especially in the field of priestly formation. The statement of Msgr. Martin Lucas SVD, the then Apostolic Internuncio, on the occasion of the inauguration of Carmelgiri seminary on 24 November 1955, is the best compliment for them. “If the Carmelite Fathers had done nothing else for the Church in Kerala,but build these two splendid and magnificent seminaries, India would never forget them”.

History of Mangalapuzha Seminary

Mangalapuzha Seminary

A Glance Through Its History

(Dr.Pallipurathukunnel is professor of Church History at the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye. The article is a brief history of the priestly training programme in Kerala from the ancient to modern times .It also traces the growth of the Mangalapuzha Seminary and highlights the contributions which the Carmelite Missionaries have made in this field.)

St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Mangalapuzha is a Major Seminary of the Syro-Malabar Church of the St. Thomas Christians. It is the continuation of several Seminaries and the outcome of the centralization of the priestly formation in Kerala. It has a long history of untiring service and selfless sacrifice of several missionaries, native clergy and laity.

Until the sixteenth century the St. Thomas Christians of Kerala followed the general system of education of Malabar known as ‘Gurukulavasam’, which means living with the teacher. Such a system of the formation of the clergy was known as Malpanate.

Seminaries under European Missionaries

With the arrival of the European Missionaries in India in the sixteenth century Seminaries, after the model of the formation houses of Europe according to the prescriptions of the council of Trent, were started by the missionaries belonging to different Religious Orders. These Seminaries helped much in raising the standard of the clergy. With the opening of such Seminaries the Malpanate system gradually died out.

1. The Franciscan Seminary At Cranganore: 1541

A Portuguese Franciscan missionary, Frey Viacente de Lagos started a college /Seminary at Cranganore in 1541. He had the support of the bishop of the St. Thomas Christians, Mar Jacob (1502-1522) and of Fr. George, a St. Thomas Christian priest who studied in Portugal. St. Francis Xavier in his letter to the king of Portugal praised the attempt of Frey Viacente. There were about 100 students in this seminary when the saint wrote this letter.

This seminary was a failure because the missionaries did not take care to teach Syriac, the liturgical language of the St. Thomas Christians. Hence those who studied there could not administer the sacraments in the parishes of the St. Thomas Christians. The priests, who were ordained here, were disowned by them. They served the Latin diocese of Cochin. Mar Joseph, the successor of Mar Jacob, refused to ordain anyone who had studied in this seminary because of the lack of the knowledge of Syriac.

This Seminary was under the jurisdiction of Goa. The college continued to be under the Franciscans even after the establishment of Vaippicotta Seminary by the Jesuits. This college was a success in the sense that it produced well trained and good Latin priests from the community of the St. Thomas Christians. But in another sense, it was a failure since those trained there could be of no use to the St, Thomas Christians themselves. So the St. Thomas Christians stopped sending their children to this seminary and thus it came to an end.

2. The Jesuit Seminary At Vaippicotta: 1581

The Jesuits started a seminary at Vaippicotta in 1581 for St. Thomas Christians. Fr. Francis Roz S.J. was the Rector and the he taught Syriac in 1584. The excellent teaching in the seminary really attracted the St. Thomas Christians and they sent their children to it. It was under the jurisdiction of Mar Abraham, the bishop of the St. Thomas Christians.

This seminary became very famous. It was staffed by the Jesuits. There were 50 or 60 students who were taught the Humanities, Latin, Chaldean, the case of conscience, the rudiments of catholic faith and liturgy.

In 1627, the yogam at Edapilly decided to suppress Malpanates and to give instructions to send the students to Vaippicotta seminary. The following directions were given to the seminary :

To limit the number of admissions to Vaippicotta seminary

To select candidates from noble families

To select only the best to priesthood

To reach others to live as good Christians

Regarding the piety and exemplary life of the students of this seminary, there is a report of 1597. They increased more and more every day in number as well as in diligence to piety. Every fifteen days they receive the sacraments, sometimes more frequently. They do various penances and fasts. They are taught Syriac and Latin. They recite prayers at fixed hours every day. They speak about divine things with ardour.

When the Dutch captured the Portuguese possession of Cochin in 1663, the Jesuits were expelled from Vaippicotta and the seminary was turned to an asylum for lepers. They shifted the seminary to their house at Ambalakad, which was started in 1662. At Ambalakad the seminary for the Syrians was different from the Jesuit house of studies. This seminary was closed down legally with the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773. It was destroyed in 1789 during the raid of Tippu Sultan.

3. The Dominican Seminary At Kaduthuruthy: 1624

Fr. Francesco Donati, a Dominican, started a seminary at Kaduthuruthy for the St. Thomas Christians in 1624. He built a church dedicated to Our Lady and the seminary was attached to it. In the seminary Syriac was taught and Donati celebrated Holy Mass in Syriac and spoke Malayalam, the language of Kerala. The Jesuits opposed the entrance of the Dominicans to Kerala. The Jesuit archbishop Stephen Britto S.J. wrote to the Jesuit General and the Propaganda congregation to ask the Dominicans to withdraw from Kaduthuruthy. The Archdeacon favoured the Dominicans. In 1628 the Archdeacon wrote to the Pope against the Jesuits and recommended Fr. Francesco Donati to be appointed coadjutor bishop of Angamaly. Rome was in favour of such a step. Fr. Donati was called to Rome but on the way he has killed by the Moors. We do not know how long this seminary continued to function and when it ceased to exist.

4. The Discalzed Carmelite Seminary At Verapoly: 1682

Fr. Peter Paul of St. Therese OCD, a Carmelite missionary, started a seminary at Verapoly for the St. Thomas Christians in 1682. He appointed Bartholomew Anna, a Maronite priest to teach Syriac there. He requested the Propaganda to grant certain privileges and favours for the new seminary. This seminary ceased to function on account of the fight between the Propaganda and the Padoado and financial difficulties.

5. The Seminary At Verapoly And Alengad Under Propaganda: 1766 – 1866

After the Coonan Cross Oath in 1653, the Catholic St. Thomas Christians – the Syrians – became divided under two jurisdictions, i.e. Padroado and Propaganda. They could choose to be under any of these jurisdictions. In 1766 a seminary under Propaganda was instituted at Verapoly for the Latins and another at Alengad for the Syrian Catholics. In 1774 both the Latins and the Syrians were put together at Verapoly. Due to the dissension between the Carmelite missionaries and the Syrian clergy, the Syrians demanded separation of the Syrian students from the Latins. Therefore the unification was postponed to a suitable time. The Syrians were trained separately and mostly in the Malpanates and in the seminary at Alengad until 1854. Therefore there was no uniformity in the training of the clergy.

6. The Seminaries Under Native Carmelites

In 1854 all the Malpanates were suppressed and all the Syrian students were sent to five seminaries, namely those at Mannanam, Pallipuram, Pulincunnu, Vazhakulam and Elthuruthu. They were run by Syrian Carmelites. The Latin students continued to stay at Verapoly.

7. The Seminary Under Padroado: 1867 – 1886

The Syrian Catholics under Padroado had no seminary of their own, while those under Propaganda had seminaries conducted by the Carmelites at Verapoly and Alengad. Besides, the Syrian Catholics also wished to reestablish the extinct seminary of Vaippicotta. Therefore, 55 Syrian Catholic parishes of Padroado Archdiocese of Cranganore contributed their share towards buying a plot for a new seminary. The sum was entrusted to Parayil Avirah Varkey Tharakan of Thaikkattusserry. Since the amount collected from the parishes was not sufficient, Varkey Tharakan added Rs. 2000 which his great grandfather had given for this purpose and thus brought a property, covering forty acres at Mangalapuzha, Aluva, together with a two storied Bunglow situated in the property, from a European who was the owner – Mr. Schoetlier of Fort Cochin. In 1866 the ownership of the property was transferred and put in the name of the Archbishop of Goa for the purpose of erecting a seminary for the Syrian Catholics.

In 1867 the seminary was duly begun and Syrian Catholic clerics were regularly trained there. It seems that this seminary was run by the diocesan priests. The priests of the Archdiocese of Cranganore used to assemble there for the retreats and conferences. By the conclusion of the concordat with Portugal on 23 June 1886 and the establishment of the Latin Hierarchy of India under Propaganda on 1 September of the same year, the seminary at Mangalapuzha under Padroada ceased to function. The administration of the property was entrusted to the bishop of Cochin who could not of his own accord legally make any transaction relating to this property. The congregation of Extraordinary Affairs decided that the property should be under the Congregation for the Oriental churches,. Since it had been donated by Syrian Catholics.

8. The Central Seminary At Puthenpally: 1866 – 1932

The seminary at Verapoly was shifted to the new buildings at Puthenpally in the year 1866. In 1888 the seminary of Puthenpally was constituted the Major Central seminary for the whole of Malabar and was placed under the immediate jurisdiction of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide. Important changes were made in the curriculum of studies as demanded by the exigencies of time and circumstances. It was during this time that the study of the languages such as Sanskrit, Greek, Hebrew and Malayalam was introduced in the curriculum.

9. The Central Apostolic Seminary At Mangalapuzha, Aluva: 1932

Owing to the increase in the number of the students and the unhealthy location of Puthenpally, a new seminary with better accommodation was built at Mangalapuzha, Aluva, the same location of Padrado Seminary. On 1 June 1932, the Theological section was transferred from Puthenpally to the new seminary which was still under construction. In December of the same year, when more accommodation was made available in the new seminary, the Philosophy section too was transferred to Mangalapuzha. The official inauguration of the new seminary was performed on 28 January 1933 by Most Rev. Dr. Leo P. Kierkels C.P., the then Apostolic Delegate of India. The seminarians at that time numbered 274. On 2 January 1951 the inauguration and blessing of the chapel of the seminary by Most Rev. Dr. Leo P. Kierkels took place.

The increase in the clerical vocations necessitated further extension. The strength of the seminary in 1954 was 486 even though the maximum capacity of the seminary with all the extensions made was only for 450 students. The problem was soon solved when on 24 November 1955 the new Philosophical Seminary later named ‘Pontifical College, Carmelgiri’ was solemnly blessed and inaugurated by His Grace Most Rev. Martin Lucas, the then Apostolic Internuncio to India.

10. Further Development Of Mangalapuzha Seminary : The St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary

In 1964 the seminary was raised to Pontifical status by the Holy See. His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. James Robert Knox read the Papal Brief at a public meeting in the seminary on 14 June 1964.The Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference (K.C.B.C.) was entrusted with the direction and administration of the Seminary On 12 June 1976. On 27 October 1973, a formal request was made by the Superior General of the Carmelite Order for the transfer of the direction and administration from the Superior General of the Order to the Catholic Hierarchy of Kerala. On 12 June 1976 the Congregation for the Oriental Churches communicated to the Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Conference the decision of the Congregation for the Oriental churches and the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples to transfer the direction of the seminary to the K.C.B.C. The letters of the Congregations recall the concern of the two Congregations for the well-being and progress of the Pontifical Seminary and its continuance as a model of inter-ritual cooperation. The statutes of the Seminary approved by the two Congregations state ‘St. Joseph’s Pontifical is a pluriritual institution, common to the three Rites, namely the Syro-Malabar, the Latin and the Syro-Malankara. The seminary belongs to the Holy See and its direction and administration is entrusted to the Conference of Bishops of the three Rites of Kerala, subject to the high authority of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples’.

The Church of Kerala is greatly indebted to the dedicated missionaries of the Carmelite Order for the excellent formation they had imparted to the clergy of Kerala for over three centuries. It is a matter of great joy and honour for the seminary that the Cause for the beatification of two of its former professors, Fr. Aurelian OCD and Fr. Zacharias OCD has been taken up. Fr. Aurelian had served the seminary for 51 years and Fr. Zacharias for 45 years.

Mangalapuzha Seminary: The Major Seminary of the Syro-Malabar church

The request of the KCBC to reorganize the seminary on the basis of the Rites was approved by the Holy See in 1996. Concrete steps for the implementation of the project were taken at the end of the academic year 1996-1997. With academic year 1997-1998 Mangalapuzha section started to function as the Major Seminary of the Syro-Malabar Church. Now the seminary is subject to the Holy See under the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and its direction and administration are entrusted to the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Synod.

The objective of the seminary is to provide priestly formation to the seminarians of the Syro-Malabar Eparchies. Members of Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic life who are preparing themselves for priestly ministry as well as seminarians of other Eastern Churches may also be admitted according to the availability of accommodation.

The programme of formation given here aims at the development of a fully integrated priestly personality taking into account the human, spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and missionary dimensions of priestly formation. While giving this formation the seminary also gives particular emphasis to the study of traditions and heritages of the Church of St. Thomas Christians and of other Eastern Churches taking into consideration the religious and cultural context of India. The seminary also gives importance to inter religious dialogue particularly with the religions of India. There are also con-curricular activities as part of the seminary formation such as cultural academies to train the students in the art of public speaking, social work in order to create in them concern for the poor, the pastoral work for the Theology students to give them pastoral experience.

Mangalapuzha seminary has been blessed with the presence of about 22 resident members of the staff and almost an equal number of visiting staff. Regular staff meetings, prayer sessions and an exclusive annual retreat help to motivate and mobilize them in the desired direction of seminary life and formation.

The Pontifical Institute of Theology & Philosophy

On February 24, 1972, the congregation for Catholic Education issued a decree erecting a Theological Faculty in the Pontifical Seminary, Alwaye. The first step towards the realization of the plan for a Faculty had been taken on October 1959, when the Congregation issued a decree affiliating the theology department of the Seminary with the Lateran University. With this, the theology department of the Seminary became “Studium Theologicum” which was governed by norms given by the University and a convention between the Rector of the Lateran University and the Rector of the seminary. In April 1971, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council sent a petition to the Congregation for the erection of an autonomous Faculty. On February 24, 1972, the Congregation for Catholic education issued the decree erecting the Theological Faculty in the Pontifical seminary. The decree granted the new Faculty all the rights and privileges which were enjoyed by Theological Faculties. It also empowered the Faculty to confer suitable degrees to students who are successful in their studies and research. The power of conferring the degrees of Bachelor and Master (Licentiate) in theology was explicitly granted. On 15th February 1973, the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye, was officially inaugurated by His Excellecy, the Most Rev.Dr.John Gordon, the then Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to India. On 25th April 1997, through a decree the congregation for Catholic Education separated the Pontifical Institute from the Pontifical Seminary. At present the Pontifical Institute functions at two separate campuses – Mangalapuzha and Carmelgiri, and offers simultaneously courses of theology and philosophy in both campuses

At present the Institute is empowered to confer the following degrees. Bachelor of Philosophy; Bachelor of Theology; Master of theology; Doctor of theology. For the degree of Master of theology Spiritual theology, dogmatic theology, Pastoral theology and Counseling and Biblical theology are offered by the Institute as branches of specialization

Though the St.Joseph’s Pontifical seminary has been reorganized on the basis of rites(the Mangalapuzha section for the Syro Malabar Church and the Carmeligiri section for the Latins), the Pontifical Institute remains common and is autonomous It is governed by the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council.(K.C.B.C.)

The academic community of the seminary is composed of two categories, namely the resident students and the day scholars. The latter have their religious study houses around the seminary and come to the seminary only for class. The resident students are mainly from the Syro-Malabar dioceses in Kerala and outside. There are also a few students belonging to the Syro-Malankara dioceses and a handful from religious communities having no houses nearby. The number of resident students is 280 and of the day scholars is 144 in the academic year 2006-2007.

Mangalapuzha seminary has been maintaining a close collaboration with other seminaries. A common “Programme for Formators” for the staff of the Syro-Malabar seminaries was organized under the auspices of the Syro-Malabar synod of bishops. Informal meetings of the staff of the seminaries were also held with sharing sessions. Such gatherings help the staff to know each other, to share the problems of formation in each seminary and eventually to arrive at solutions. As far as the students of various seminaries are concerned there are inter-seminary matches in Volleyball and Basketball, inter-seminary Quiz Competition, debate Competition, Homily Competition etc.

Mangalapuzha seminary has a cemetery chapel, which is a place of pilgrimage. The bodies of Venerable Aurelian OCD and the Servant of God Zacharias OCD of blessed memory rested there for decades. Their mortal remains were solemnly transferred to the special tombs in the Carmelite Monastery Church at Manjummel.

As regards the finance of the seminary the various papal agencies, namely CNEWA, Opus Sancti Petri and MISSIO have been rendering wonderful service to the seminary. The Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Congregation for the Catholic Education render special care and support to the seminary and its activities.

The undivided St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Mangalapuzha, celebrated the Golden Jubilee of its transfer from Puthenpally to Mangalapuzha on 9th and 10th of March 1983. This year 2007 the seminary celebrates the Platinum Jubilee of its transfer to Mangalapuzha. On this occasion the seminary remembers with gratitude all benefactors and the zealous discalzed Carmelite missionaries for their outstanding contribution to the Church in Kerala especially in the field of priestly formation. The statement of Msgr. Martin Lucas SVD, the then Apostolic Internuncio, on the occasion of the inauguration of Carmelgiri seminary on 24 November 1955, is the best compliment for them. “If the Carmelite Fathers had done nothing else for the Church in Kerala,but build these two splendid and magnificent seminaries, India would never forget them”.

Ecclesia in Asia: An Evaluation

Ecclesia in Asia

 Introduction

Ecclesia in Asia is a document issued by Pope to serve as a blueprint for the expansion of the Roman Catholic faith in Asia. It summarizes ideas and conclusions of the Special Asian Synod held in Rome from April 18 to May 14, 1998. It was officially promulgated by Pope John Paul II in New Delhi, India on November 6, 1999.

The document stated that “just as in the first millennium the Cross was planted on the soil of Europe, and in the second on that of the Americas and Africa, we can pray that in the Third Christian Millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital continent of Asia.”

We Asian peoples like to think in symbols and images, and do not indulge so much on analytic reasoning or speculations; we prefer evocation to demonstration, intuition to argumentation, wisdom to science. There several cultures here, different kind and coloured people here, numerous languages exist here and the philosophy and theology and the very mind set of the people are different from that of the west. Having in mind all these context of cultural and linguistic veracity of the people of Asia Pope John Paul II inspired by the Holy spirit write this document as it was clear from the very title itself Post-synodal apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Asia of the Holy Father John Paul II to the bishops, priests and deacons, men and women in the consecrated life and all the lay faithful on Jesus Christ the saviour and his mission of love and service in Asia: “…that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10)

1.  The Structure of the Document

The Exhortation is composed of seven parts dealing with the following themes: the Asian context, Jesus as Savior, the Holy Spirit as Lord and Giver of life, proclamation of Jesus in Asia (with a focus on inculturation), communion and dialogue for mission (with a focus on ecumenical and interreligious dialogue), the service of human promotion, and Christians as witnesses to the Gospel.

The long document concludes as “The peoples of Asia need Jesus Christ and his Gospel. Asia is thirsting for the Living water that Jesus alone can give (Jn 4:10-15). The disciples of Christ in Asia must therefore be unstinting in their efforts to fulfill the mission they have received from the Lord, who has promised to be with them to the end of the age (Mt 28:20). Trusting in the Lord who will not fail those whom he has called, the Church in Asia joyfully makes her pilgrim way into the Third Millennium.”

The content of the document is the following:

Introduction

The Marvel of God’s Plan in Asia (1)

Background to the Special Assembly (2)

The Celebration of the Special Assembly (3)

Sharing the Fruits of the Special Assembly (4)

 Chapter I – The Asian Context

Asia, the Birthplace of Jesus and of the Church (5)

Religious and Cultural Realities (6)

Economic and Social Realities (7)

Political Realities (8)

The Church in Asia: Past and Present (9)

 Chapter II – Jesus the Saviour: A Gift to Asia

The Gift of Faith (10)

Jesus Christ, the God-Man Who Saves (11)

The Person and Mission of the Son of God (12)

Jesus Christ: the Truth of Humanity (13)

The Uniqueness and Universality of Salvation in Jesus (14)

 Chapter III – The Holy Spirit: Lord and Giver of Life

The Spirit of God in Creation and History (15)

The Holy Spirit and the Incarnation of the Word (16)

The Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ (17)

The Holy Spirit and the Church’s Mission in Asia (18)

 Chapter IV – Jesus the Saviour: Proclaiming the Gift

The Primacy of Proclamation (19)

Proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia (20)

The Challenge of Inculturation (21)

Key Areas of Inculturation (22)

Christian Life as Proclamation (23)

 Chapter V – Communion and Dialogue for Mission

Communion and Mission Go Hand in and (24)

Communion within the Church (25)

Solidarity among the Churches (26)

The Catholic Eastern Churches (27)

Sharing Hopes and Sufferings (28)

A Mission of Dialogue (29)

Ecumenical Dialogue (30)

Inter-religious Dialogue (31)

 Chapter VI – The Service of Human Promotion

The Social Doctrine of the Church (32)

The Dignity of the Human Person (33)

Preferential Love of the Poor (34)

The Gospel of Life (35)

Health Care (36)

Education (37)

Peacemaking (38)

Globalization (39)

Foreign Debt (40)

The Environment (41)

 Chapter VII – Witnesses To the Gospel

A Witnessing Church (42)

Pastors (43)

The Consecrated Life and Missionary Societies (44)

The Laity (45)

The Family (46)

Young People (47)

Social Communications (48)

The Martyrs (49)

 Conclusion

Gratitude and Encouragement (50)

Prayer to the Mother of Christ (51)

2. An Evaluation of the Document

2.1 Truly Asian, Authentically Christian

While the Pope sees the crux of the matter as doctrinal (Christo-centrism), the bishops’ interventions saw their problem as not with Jesus the Christ – who is widely accepted and loved by Asians – but the presence of a foreign Church burdened by a colonial past. Ecclesia in Asia finds it strange that Jesus the Asian, has become a foreigner in Asia (EA 20). Apart from the indigenous Churches in the Near East and Kerala, most remaining Churches are the result of colonial expansion and missionary outreach working hand-in-hand. Whatever the nuances, however great the social contribution of the mission Churches in the past, however heroic the sacrifices of cross-cultural missioners over the centuries, the fact remains in stark clarity: the Latin Churches of Asia are a foreign presence. They are alien in the official dress of its leaders; alien in its rituals; alien in its formation of cultic and community leaders in foreign thought patterns in seminaries whose professors are foreign-educated; alien in its large, often rich, institutions among people who are generally poor; above all alien in that Christians have had to uproot themselves from their own cultural identity in order to claim a “hybrid” Christian one. This is a major issue for most Asian bishops. However, Ecclesia in Asia mentions it in passing in a single sentence as though the problem was over:”… the Church in many places was still considered as foreign to Asia, and indeed was often associated in people’s minds with the colonial powers” (EA, 9).

Ecclesia in Asia is surely right in placing Christ at the center rather than the Church, whether Latin or Oriental. This is not to separate Christ from his body, the Church, but rather to accept the Church as sign, sacrament and instrument of Christ’s saving presence. The eternal, incarnate, redemptive, cosmic presence of Christ can neither be confined to, nor controlled by the Church. The central problem is neither Christ nor his acceptance/rejection by his fellow Asians. The key missiological problem is rather the Western Church’s alien tone and idiom inherited from colonial times. As for the how of mission we need time, patience and perseverance in order to move away from insulated, devotional practices and re-invent ourselves as dynamic diaspora living out a dialogue of life and action.

2.2 A New Way of Being Church

Another way of making the point for the Asian Synod to have a lasting impact, the Asian Churches must, with courage and creativity, find new ways of being Church, and hence construct an alternative ecclesiology. This ecclesiology, in a sort of Copernican revolution, de-centers the Church in the sense that it makes the center of the Christian life not the Church but the reign of God. Their mission is not to expand the Church and its structures in order to enlarge the sphere of influence for the Church but to be a transparent sign and effective instrument of the saving presence of the reign of God, the reign of justice, peace, and love, of which the Church is a seed. As the Exhortation puts it well: “Empowered by the Spirit to accomplish Christ‘s salvation on earth, the Church is the seed of the kingdom of God, and she looks eagerly for its final coming. Her identity and mission are inseparable from the kingdom of God he Spirit reminds the Church that she is not an end unto herself: In all that she is and all that she does, she exists to serve Christ and the salvation of the world” (EA, 17).

2.2.1 Church as a Communion

The Church, both at the local and universal levels, is seen primarily as “a communion of communities, where laity, religious and clergy recognize and accept each other as sisters and brothers.” At the heart of the mystery of the Church is the bond of communion uniting God with humanity and humans with one another, of which the Eucharist is the sign and instrument par excellence. In this ecclesiology there is an explicit and effective recognition of the fundamental equality among all the members of the local Church as disciples of Jesus and among all the local Churches in so far as they are communities of Jesus’ disciples and whose communion constitutes the universal Church. The communion (koinonia) which constitutes the Church, both at the local and universal levels, and from which flows the fundamental equality of all Christians, is rooted at its deepest level in the life of the Trinity in whom there is a perfect communion of equals.18 Unless this fundamental equality of all Christians is acknowledged and lived through concrete policies and actions, the Church will not become a communion of communities in Asia. Living out this fundamental equality is particularly difficult in Asia, not only because the insistence on the hierarchical structure of the Church tends to obscure and minimize it but also because it goes against the class consciousness of many Asian societies.

2.2.2 Discipleship of Equals

 The understanding of pastoral “discipleship of equals” leads to the second characteristic of the new way of being Church in Asia, that is, the participatory and collaborative nature of all the ministries in the Church: “It is a participatory Church where the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to all the faithful – lay, religious, and cleric alike -are recognized and activated, so that the Church may be built up and its mission realized. This participatory nature of the Church must be lived out not only in the local Church but also among all the local Churches, including the Church of Rome, of course, with due recognition of the papal primacy. In this context it is encouraging to read in the Exhortation the following affirmation: It is in fact within the perspective of ecclesial communion that the universal authority of the successor of Peter shines forth more clearly, not primarily as juridical power over the local churches, but above all as a pastoral primacy at the service of the unity of faith and life of the whole people of God” (EA, 25). A “pastoral primacy” must do everything possible to foster co-responsibility and participation of all the local Churches in the triple ministry of teaching, sanctification, and service in the Church and must be held accountable to this task so that these words do not remain at the level of pious rhetoric but are productive of concrete structures and actions. Only in this way can the Church’s teaching office and the pope’s ministry of promoting unity be effectively exercised, learning from the varied and rich experiences of being Church from all corners of the globe and welcoming respectful but frank warning and correction when errors of intellectual narrowness, moral arrogance, and  spiritual blindness have been committed.

2.2.3 A Dialogical Spirit

The third characteristic of a new way of being Church in Asia is the dialogical spirit: Built in the hearts of people, it is a Church that faithfully and lovingly witnesses to the Risen Lord and reaches out to people of other faiths and persuasions in a dialogue of life towards the integral liberation of all. The universal church must have in mind the necessity of this triple dialogue. In the dialogue with the Asian cultures (inculturation), the Exhortation highlights the areas of theology, liturgy, and the Bible (EA, 22). In the dialogue with other religious traditions, the document emphasizes ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. It quotes approvingly proposition 41 of the Synod: “Interreligious relations are best developed in a context of openness to other believers, a willingness to listen and the desire to respect and understand others in their differences. For all this, love of others is indispensable. This should result in collaboration, harmony and mutual enrichment” (EA, 31). In the dialogue with the poor, the Exhortation affirms the necessity of the preferential love of the poor (in particular, the migrants, indigenous and tribal people, women and children), defense of human life, health care, education, peacemaking, cancellation of foreign debts, and protection of the environment (EA, 32-41). There is no doubt that if the Christian Church is to become truly of Asia, Asian Christians must be engaged, relentlessly and wholeheartedly, in this triple “dialogue of life and heart” and in this way fulfill their inalienable right and duty of proclaiming Jesus to their fellow Asians.

2.2.4 Being a Prophetic Sign

The fourth and last feature of the new way of being Church in Asia is prophecy: The Church is “a leaven of transformation in this world and serves as a prophetic sign daring to point beyond this world to the ineffable Kingdom that is yet fully to come” As far as Asia is concerned, in being “a leaven of transformation in this world,“ Christianity must give up its ambition, so enthusiastically endorsed in many missionary quarters at the beginning of the twentieth century, to convert the majority of Asians to Christ. The report of the demise of Asian religions was premature and vastly exaggerated. In Asia, where Christians still form but a minuscule part of the population after four hundred years of mission, and where non-Christian religions have recently staged a vigorous revival, the prospect of a massive conversion of Asians to the Christian faith is utterly unlikely. Christians in Asia must come to terms with the fact that they are destined to remain for the foreseeable future a “small remnant” who must journey with adherents of other religions toward the eschatological kingdom of God.

The objective of the Church‘s mission of “making disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19) in Asia cannot therefore be adding as many members to the Church as possible, even though baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19) remains the desirable outcome of the Church‘s mission. Rather, the primary task of the Church is to become a credible prophetic sign” of the coming reign of God. This new focus of the Church‘s mission must be the light guiding the ordering of its priorities and the choice of its policies which must not aim at serving the internal interests of the Church but the proclamation of the Gospel through the triple dialogue.

The significance of the Asian Synod and Ecclesia in Asia lies,  not so much in what they say as in the recognition that the Churches of Asia have come of age and must continue to pursue the task of becoming Asian, relentlessly, courageously, creatively. Only in this way can the Christian Church fulfill its missionary vocation which is the task of the entire Church.33 It is only by living out a new way of being Church that Asian Christians will make true what the Exhortation states as a fact: “Contemplating Jesus in his human nature, the peoples of Asia find their deepest questions answered, their hopes fulfilled, their dignity uplifted and their despair conquered” (EA, 14).

2.3 Ecclesia in Asia and the Biblical Pastoral Ministry

In EA, the explicit reflection on our ministry comes in chapter IV “Jesus the Saviour: Proclaiming the Gift”, in the section, “The Challenge of Inculturation” (nos. 21-22). Among the key areas of inculturation, priority is given to theological inculturation: “The Synod expressed encouragement to theologians in their delicate work of developing an inculturated theology, especially in the area of Christology.” (EA 22) This is to be undertaken “with courage and faithfulness“. The thrust of the document in this section is on the inculturation of the Good News. The word inculturation, culture and related words appear one hundred and one times in the document.

3.0 Conclusion

The significance of the Asian Synod and Ecclesia in Asia lies not so much in what they say as in the recognition that the Churches of Asia have come of age and must continue to pursue the task of becoming Asian, courageously and creatively. Only in this way can the Christian Church fulfill its missionary vocation which is the task of the entire Church. It is only by living out a new way of being Church that Asian Christians will make true what the Exhortation states as a fact: “Contemplating Jesus in his human nature, the peoples of Asia find their deepest questions answered, their hopes fulfilled, their dignity uplifted and their despair conquered” (EA, 14). What the Pontifical Biblical Commission says about the actualization of the Bible is valid for a dialogic approach to biblical pastoral ministry. “In any case, the risk of error does not constitute a valid objection against performing what is a necessary task that of bringing the message of the Bible to the ears and hearts of the people of our time” (Interpretation of the Bible in Church, p.117). A dialogic proclamation of the word is not a clearly defined task. It is a venture of hope. It will become an adventure of the Church in Asia. Today we are here to plant the seeds of a future visioning. Our task is to greet from distance that future and to keep sowing the seeds and nurture their growth. May this Apostolic Document strengthen us for such a mission.

Bibliography

  1. Pope john Paul II, Ecclesia in Asia, 1999.
  2. Losservatore Romano, november, 1999.

Eschatological Vision of the Ordinary People

Eschatological Vision of the Ordinary People

Table of Contents

 

Eschatological Vision of the Ordinary People. 1

The Interview.. 1

1. Major Questions Asked. 1

2. Participants’ Statistics. 2

3. Evaluation of the Interview.. 2

3.0 Introduction. 2

3.1 On Death. 3

3.2 On Life after Death. 3

3.3 On Heaven. 3

3.4 On Hell 4

3.5 On Purgatory. 4

3.6 On Judgment 4

3.7 On Soul and Body. 5

3.8 On Parousia. 5

3.9 On People of other Religion?. 5

3.10 On the Teaching of the Sects. 6

3.11 The Terminally Ill on the Last Things. 6

4. Synopsis. 7

5. Conclusion. 7

The Interview

1. Major Questions Asked

1. What do you feel if you came to know that you are going to die within few hours?

2. What is your opinion about death? Do you pray for a holy death?

3. Have you ever thought of life after death? Then, how shall it be?

4. Are you afraid to die? Why?

5. What is your understanding of heaven?

6. Do you expect to go to purgatory?

5. Are you afraid to go to hell? What do you think about hell?

7. How do you think of the Judgment of God?

8. What is expectation of the Last Judgment? Will Jesus come again?

9. What do you think of the people of other religion? Whether they will be saved?

10. What is your opinion about people of different sects teaching about the end of the world and immediate parousia and all? Have you ever been to such groups and what is your comment?

2. Participants’ Statistics

Category Age Group Number Response
Household Men 25-40 3 Rather Good
Household Women 25-40 3 Good
Household Men 40-70 4 Best
Household Women 40-70 4 Very Good
Sisters 40-60 2 Good
Youth (Girls) 15-25 4 Poor
Youth 1 (Boys) 15-20 4 Rather Good
Terminally Ill 20-25 2 Very Good

Total Participants      – 26

3. Evaluation of the Interview

3.0 Introduction

It was a wonderful experience for me to have an interview with all these people in different ways and styles. I have chosen people mainly from the parish of St. Mary’s Church, Njrackal, Ernakulam. I have asked the questions to a few indirectly and to others introducing that I am going to have an interview with them as a part of my study. Both groups responded well. I am satisfied with the persons I interviewed in the sense that they cooperated me well but I am very much dissatisfied with the result I have collected from them. People are quiet ignorant about the basic notions of the Church and at the same time they have got a curiosity to know the things. What they believe is a kind of popular beliefs and superstitial ideas. And as far I understand they are not fed well by the ministers and therefore the ministers do have a duty to educate them with all the possible means.

3.1 On Death

What I understood from the interview is that people generally have fear to die. Two persons told me that they don’t have any fear to die and they are ready at any time to be called by God. But their further reactions to my questions proved that they are also afraid of death. Death is universal phenomenon, perhaps, every living beings on earth has to face. But people are afraid of death and they want live more. Actually they are not prepared to die. They have expectations and hopes with regard to the life in this world. They have their own plans to be fulfilled and do not know what would be the plan of God. Their wish is that if God could do the will of their own. 60% of the people whom I have interviewed have got at least a positive approach regarding death. The 40% are not willing to consider death as something positive. Some of the youth consider death as an intervention by God into the human freedom. For example they say that three of their friends were called to eternal life within last one year. They are therefore afraid of death the villain of their life and they hate such a God who does injustice to his people. The question here may be of unexpected death or innocent suffering and all. But the reality is that they don’t understand the meaning of Christian life and a virtuous life in the context of such catastrophes.

3.2 On Life after Death

People do have a belief in the life after death. 90% of whom I have interviewed have got the clear conviction that they will have a life after the death. Two of the youth girls gave me a negative answer saying that they do not believe in a life after death. For them there is only one life here on earth and they wanted to enjoy it to the maximum. And they also added that they are not worried about hell heaven or a life after the death. Really this answer pained me but I thought it may be because of their age and still pray for them. All others believe that there is life after death. They do have the belief that they will be given a reward from the part of God for all their actions in the world. People are also afraid and at the same time curious to know about the life after state of a soul.

3.3 On Heaven

The traditional belief pattern about the heaven is heard from 80% of the people. Some of them do not believe in such a heaven where there is plenty of honey and milk. They in way understand it as a reward from God for the good works of a person in this world. They do consider it as state of bliss rather than a place of majestic glories. Almost all the people want to go to heaven (for a few if there is heaven) at any cost.

3.4 On Hell

Those 80% who are sure of heaven are also sure f a hell where there is fire and worms. Two people have got the idea of hell as a state of mental agony. Such ones do not believe that there is the so called place hell where there is Satan and all kinds of cruelties by him.

05 of the people have the fear of hell. And they don’t want to go there. 10% do not have any fear about hell. Any way generally people have the idea that I am not worthy for heaven. There is every possibility that I may go to hell, they say. And out of this fear, I saw one old lady who prays every day the litany of the dead and such other prayers saying that it would be helpful for her not to commit sin and to seek the mercy of God.

3.5 On Purgatory

80% of the people also believe in purgatory. They do like to pray for the souls in purgatory. All of them consider it as place between hell and heaven. The general belief is that through the prayers of the relatives of a departed one, the merciful God relives a soul from purgatory and keeps him in heaven. Some people believe that every one has to go through purgatory in order to reach heaven. Those who do not cross the purgatory are the saints they say. People also believe that there is severe fire in the purgatory and the souls suffer for all their sins there in the purgatory unless they were not repaired here on the earth when they were alive.

3.6 On Judgment

All people who believe in heaven and hell do have the idea that there is judgment from the part of God. They are not clear about how this judgment shall be. Any way the general idea is based on the chapter 25 of the book of Mathew. People are not aware of the immediate judgment and the last one. They mix it up; and when I asked distinctly they are in a state of dilemma. Majority believe that the judgment is the Last Judgment at the end of the world. And some say that the soul will be in purgatory until the last coming of Jesus.

3.7 On Soul and Body

The common belief of the people is that they have a body and a soul. The soul will be liberated from the body when one dies. A few people believe that death happens when the soul separates itself from the body. Some others believe on the other hand, that when the body dies the soul leaves the body and it goes to hell or heaven. A few people believe that after the model of Jesus the soul will be moving to heaven or hell only after 40 days. What is interesting in all these people is that they are absolutely certain about all these things. The separation of body and soul is very much deeply rooted in the minds of the ordinary people.

3.8 On Parousia

There is clear and solid belief among the people about the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus. 90% of the people believe that this world will end and 75% of the people believe that Jesus will come again. 10% say that the world will continue to exist. They say the earth may be destroyed, but man will find out some other planet where he can live safe. People are also afraid of the end of the world due to the mis-concepts generated by the sects and all. A few old people told me that it seems to them that the world is going to end without much dely. It will happen in the near future. Those who believe in the second coming of Jesus do have the expectation that Jesus will come in his glory. He will appear on the sky with the sign of the cross. He will gather his people and will judge them according to their sins and virtues.

3.9 On People of other Religion?

70% of the people believe that people of other religion also will be judged by God according to their deeds. They will be saved if they do well according to the norm of their religion. But the 30% believe that there is no salvation for those who do not believe in Jesus Christ. According to them those who do not come to Catholic faith will be thrown into the fire of hell. According to them the catholic religion is the true and only religion in the world and those who do not belong to it will be condemned to eternal fire. I found this strong conviction especially among the old women and two Old men. Anyway they also demand a meritorious life for the Christians also to go to heaven.

3.10 On the Teaching of the Sects

I could also ask some questions about the teachings of the sects among our people. Thank God that they are almost aware of the false notions propagated by these sects and the harm hey could impose upon the people. Our priest must have taken some precautions in this area. But there is also a fact that the people are influenced very much by these people. They may not be considering the major concepts against the faith. But the stories and the minor ideas and descriptions influences the people very much. Slowly they began to associate things with these notions. For example, some people and especially the youth are very much certain about what all things are there in heaven. When asked in detail I came to know that all these ideas they have collected from one of the sects active there. They are also sure about the state of soul after the death. And this idea seems to have an influence of Mr. Tom Zachariah and his ‘Spirit in Jesus’.

3.11 The Terminally Ill on the Last Things

I could also meet two terminally ill persons as a part of my interview. Both I met are men around 50 years old. To my surprise these persons are almost prepared for their death. One person is suffering from blood cancer and the other one has lost liver due to over drunkenness and is now also affected by many other diseases (he also undergoes regular dialysis and now is at stage it would not be sufficient to save his life). Interestingly, they feel that they have sinned a lot during there life and still they feel confident in the saving mercy of God. Both of them were addicted to alcohol and smoking in their life and had been a burden to their wife and children. Now they say God has given the proper punishment for their sins. And they are also confident that in some way or other way that the good God will protect their family and will guide the family at their place. Both of them found to be preparing for the death and they really repent on their sins. They also have the confident that the good God will receive them to heaven and will continue to be merciful to their family. One of them seemed to be extremely happy even in the midst of great pain and suffering. They don’t feel that God is acting in an unjust way and has got no complaints against God unlike Job. Their attitude really touched me. They have now received the sacraments after a long time and now pray for a long time. They also have the feeling that if tried they could have lived better in their past life.

4. Synopsis

Generally I was satisfied with the interview. People have differences of opinion and their opinions, as far as I understand, is moulded from their living conditions and particular situations. The answers that I got would have been slightly changed if I could meet the persons from some other area. Anyway the evaluation gave me the conviction that the lay men of the Church needed to be guided in their spiritual as well as intellectual life. For that the priests must be prepared well. They understand and admire the priesthood to a great extend. Not only that they thirst for good priests. People are still in the traditional frame work of belief systems. It is not that easy to change their flow of thought; but gradual progress in their attitude could be a possible thing. At least the basic Catechism should be taught to people. Sunday sermons are to be made use of catechetical instructions too – not in an isolated way but as the part of biblical interpretation and faith formation of the people. There is an element of fear I the minds of the people regarding the last tings. We always have a tendency to make use of them. This attitude is not a Christian attitude. The priests are therefore to be prepared for the proper training of the people of god.

5. Conclusion

The eschatological vision of the Church could be well expressed in the words of the Church itself:

The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus views it as a step towards him and an entrance into everlasting life. When the Church for the last time speaks Christ’s words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance:

Go forth, Christian soul, from this world

in the name of God the almighty Father,

who created you,

in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,

who suffered for you,

in the name of the Holy Spirit,

who was poured out upon you.

Go forth, faithful Christian! May you live in peace this day,

may your home be with God in Zion,

with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,

with Joseph, and all the angels and saints. …

May you return to [your Creator]

who formed you from the dust of the earth.

May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints

come to meet you as you go forth from this life. …

May you see your Redeemer face to face. (CCC No. 1020)

The Catholic Church does have an eschatological vision which is unique to her heritage. The Church does not claim to know the exactness of the eschatological kingdom. Her vision of the last things is related to her understanding of the mysteries. As humans we are not able to know the divine mysteries in its full sense. What we can know is revealed to the church through her saints, doctors and the teaching authority. The church is also waiting for the future glory with the prayer “come, Lord Jesus Christ.”

HUMAN QUALITIES OF JESUS: FILIAFIL INTIMACY WITH THE FATHER (THE ABBA EXPERIENCE OF JESUS)

Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye

 

A

Seminar

Paper on the

HUMAN QUALITIES OF JESUS

FILIAFIL INTIMACY WITH THE FATHER

(THE ABBA EXPERIENCE OF JESUS)

 

 

Bro. Antony Madthikandam MCBS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mangalapuzha

19-09-2009

HUMAN QUALITIES OF JESUS

FILIAFIL INTIMACY WITH THE FATHER

(THE ABBA EXPERIENCE OF JESUS)

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

1.1 PERIOD OF POLYTHEISM

1.2 MONOTHEISM OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL

1.2.1. GOD AS A DISTANT REALITY

1.2.2. GOD WHO TAKE REVENGE AND PUNISHES HIS PEOPLE

1.2.3. FEARED TO CALL THE NAME OF GOD

1.3 GOD EXPERIENCE OF JESUS

1.3.1 CALLED GOD HIS FATHER

1.4 FILIAL INTIMACY TOWARDS HIS FATHER IN THE LIFE OF JESUS

1.4.1 AT THE TEMPLE

1.4.2 EVENT OF BAPTISM

1.4.3 AT THE DESERT

1.4.4 BEGINNING AND END OF THE DAY

1.4.5 ON IMPORTANT OCCASIONS

a) ON CHOOSING THE DISCIPLES

b) RAISING OF LAZARUS

c) AFTER THE LAST SUPPER

1.4.6 AT TRANSFIGURATION

1.4.7 AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH

1.4.8 AT RESURRECTION

1.4.9 ASSUMPTION INTO HEAVEN

1.5 INTIMACY REVEALED BY HIS WORDS AND DEEDS

1.5.1 WE ARE ONE STATEMENTS

1.5.2 ALL MY FATHER HAS IS MINE

1.5.3 WILL OF THE ONE WHO SEND ME

1.5.4 PARABLES OF FATHER’S LOVE

1.5.5 WHEN CHOOSING THE DISCIPLES

1.5.6 RAISING LAZRUS

1.5.7 REJOICING IN THE SPIRIT

1.5.8 AT GETHSEMINY

1.6 TESTIMONY BY DESCIPLES AND OTHERS

1.6.1 SHOW US THE FATHER

1.6.2 DECLARATION OF PETER

1.6.3 TEACH US TO PRAY

1.6.4 THE DEMONIAC

1.7 ABBA EXPERIENCE IN OUR LIFE

1.7.1 LIFE OF SAINTS AS MODELS

1.7.2 EUCHARIST AS THE IDEAL MEANS OF INTIMACY

CONCLUSION

HUMAN QUALITIES OF JESUS

FILIAFIL INTIMACY WITH THE FATHER

(THE ABBA EXPERIENCE OF JESUS)

INTRODUCTION

Revelation of God in the history depends on the intellectual development, culture and the lifestyle of a particular group of people. God revealed himself to them according to their way of thinking. From the very beginning of the history of mankind humans believed to the existence of some kind of super natural reality as God. They had a kind of god experience which was deeply situated at their state and status of life. In order to understand the uniqueness of the God-experience of Jesus it is important to know the history of the People before Jesus

1.1 PERIOD OF POLYTHEISM

Polytheism was prevalent among the people till the time of Abraham. It even continued for centuries and even today there so many people having a god experience in a polytheistic context. The natural and supernatural powers were identified and worshiped by those people. All these powerful creations were considered to be gods and goddesses. It was almost impossible for them to believe in a single God.

1.2 MONOTHEISM OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL

Through the call of Abraham (Gen 12, 1-9) the Revelation of God progressed to the idea of One God. The uniqueness of Abraham was that he believed in YAHWEH the one God. The promised of nation and the chosen people of God, the Israel continued the Faith of their Father Abraham. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me” (Det 5, 8), (Ex 20, 1). Det 4, 1-40 is a good example of monotheistic mind of the people where Moses gives his exhortation to believe in the One God, the Lord of their forefathers. (Det 10, 12-22)

1.2.1 GOD AS A DISTANT REALITY

The people of Israel could understand YAHWEH only as a distant reality. It should also be noted that the revelation of God to that particular people was in such way so that they may understand him in their context. For them God was therefore a distant God to whom they feared to approach. Lord is said to have been sitting at heavens and at times he came down to his people but h then even reluctant to look upon him. “Look, the Lord our god has shown us his glory and greatness and we have heard his voice out of the fire… if we here the voice of the Lord anymore we will die” (Det 5, 24- 26). The people thought of God somebody distant and distinct from them.

1.2.2 GOD WHO TAKES REVENGE AND PUNISHES HIS PEOPLE

Israel also had the idea that their God is a God of revenge. Therefore they feared God and it actually motivated them to have moral life according to the Commandments of God given through Moses. The list of Punishments can be seen in the Pentateuch quiet often especially in the Book of Leviticus. (Lev 4, 1 – 5, 13). “… and the Lord was so angry with you that he was ready to destroy you.” (Det 9, 8)

1.2.3 FEARED TO CALL THE NAME OF GOD

Out of their respect and fear of the Lord they never dared to call his name. They used to call Him as the God of their forefathers namely, God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. This distant God helped them to lead life of norms and values based on the commandment that the Lord their god has given to them. From the part of god also there is no positive attempt to reveal his name. He revealed His name to Moses only in a Mystical way (Ex 3, 14)

1.3 GOD EXPERIENCE OF JESUS

The abba experience of Jesus, beyond doubts, was his God experience since he lived as perfect human being. The difference that Jesus made in his understanding of God was the most significant thing in the Human-God relationship. He understood God in a different sense than that of the time and his understanding was even challengeable to the then existing system. He, being the son of a carpenter dared to cal God his Father, which in itself could be considered a blasphemy by the Jews.

1.3.1 CALLED GOD HIS FATHER

Abba” is the translated word “Daddy” in Aramaic, the common language of Jesus’ day. It says so much more than, “you sired me.” It is a term of absolute intimacy. Two hearts beating as one. While God is referred to as “Abba” only three times in Scripture (Mark 14, 36, Romans 8,15, and Galatians 4, 6), there’s no doubt Jesus referred to Him as such in the many times He “went away to a private place to pray.” Scholars like Jeremias and Schillebeeckx have shown that Jesus experience of God as “Abba” was so central to his personal meaning that it claimed and defined his entire identity. And in an amazing act of love Jesus gives to his disciples a gift so radical that its use will distinguish them as his own. This most intimate and personal name which Jesus alone used of God, “Abba, Father,” is now to be the one by which they themselves are to commune with God as familiarly as a child snuggles close to its mothers breast or lies safe and secure in its fathers arms. Jesus invites his followers into such unreserved union with himself that his own experience of his Father’s extraordinary closeness and care is to become their own: “When you pray, say ‘Father’ . . .” (Lk 11, 2).[1]

Jesus thus takes a word of tender familiarity, a word little children used of their own fathers, and, applying it to the God who utterly surpasses the limitations of male gender, gives it a radically transcendent meaning. The name “Abba” for Jesus thus does not mean “man” or any other created reality. What, then, does it mean? Here, precisely, is the heart of the matter: we do not yet know fully what “Abba” signifies, nor will we until heaven. There, the personal God whose intimacy with us can only be hinted at in the name “Abba” will be unveiled to us by the one whose home has forever been this Fathers heart: “No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known’ (Jn 1, 18).[2]

1.4 FILIAL INTIMACY TOWARDS HIS FATHER IN THE LIFE OF JESUS

Jesus in his life and ministry expressed His filial Intimacy with the Father at various occasions. He was fully aware of the relationship that He should keep with His Father so as to fulfill Father’s Will on the earth for which Jesus was send.

1.4.1 AT THE TEMPLE

The Lukan infancy narrative gives the first impression of Father-Son relationship in the life of Jesus (Lk 1, 5 – 2, 52). Here the Father speaks of His Son through the Holy Spirit with the mediation of Simon, Anna and Zachariah.  But the first instance where Jesus expressed his relationship with the Father was at the Jerusalem Temple on the Occasion of His Presentation (Lk 2, 49). Here Jesus clearly expresses His Relationship with the Father that ‘don’t you know that I should be…’ this divine must expresses the necessity and intimacy of Jesus’ relationship with Father.[3]

1.4.2 EVENT OF BAPTISM

The event of baptism was another instance when Jesus personal intimacy with the Father was revealed to us (Lk 3, 22). Here not Jesus but the Father himself expresses intimacy and relationship to the Son. The ‘beloved son’ expression has special significance. Jesus is the son of the most high and his relationship to the father is so intimate that the disciples are advised to listen to his words as of that of the father.

1.4.3 AT THE DESERT

Desert experience of Jesus after the model of Moses on the mountain with the Lord for forty days, is a clear indication of his filial relationship and intimacy with the father (Lk 4, 1-10). Jesus spends forty days at the desert in union with the father and this experience actually provided him the strength and courage for his public ministry. He was even dared to face the temptations of Satan in an effective way and had the clear knowledge that it is the Lord of Israel, whom now Jesus calls his Father, is the only one who deserves all the glory and has all the power here on earth and in the heavens, and testing God is equal to spoiling his glory. This might be the Abba consciousness of the Jesus who underwent the desert experience.[4]

1.4.4 BEGINNING AND END OF THE DAY

Jesus used to pray in the beginning of the before his ministry begins and at the end of the day when all his tiresome ministry of preaching, working miracles and doing all the works demanded of Father out of his love (Mk 1, 35; 6, 46). He was going to wilderness to pray to his Father in secret. Only very few occasions the disciples were with him. When the disciples fell asleep due to the heavy work of the day Jesus was in active mood of prayer. He begins the day with the Father, work according to the will of the Father in complete union at evening He might have rested at the lap of the Father.[5]

1.4.5 ON IMPORTANT OCCASIONS

Jesus before important occasions of his life prayed to the Father in which the personal relationship and intimacy is very evident. He prayed at all the important occasions of choosing his disciples, raising Lazarus before his passion, death and resurrection through which he had to undergo in order to redeem the world.

a) ON THE OCCASION OF CHOOSING THE DISCIPLES

Before the election of the twelve Jesus prays intensely for a night, so that his mind may be conformed to the will of the Father. (Lk 6, 12) It is the only occasion where it is explicitly stated that Jesus prayed for a whole night. Jesus might have used this occasion to know the will of the Father out of which he has to choose his followers, who later has to continue the mission from above. Thus “the abba consciousness that Jesus had was peculiar in its absoluteness in surrendering to the will of the Father even in designing his future ministry in the world through whom He had specially chosen”.[6]

b) RAISING OF LAZARUS

The friendship with Lazarus and that family is clear evidence for the humanity of Jesus. This relationship, in way, turn to an occasion where the glory of god is revealed to the disciples of Jesus at all times.[7] Before this act of bringing one back to life Jesus prays publicly expressing his filial relationship with the Father (Jn 11, 41). Father listens to the Son always and Son wanted to glorify the Father in all his acts. Here lies the filial relationship of both Father and son.

c) AFTER THE LAST SUPPER

When it was the time for him to be taken up Jesus becomes disturbed at heart and goes to the mountain to be with His Father in prayer (Lk 39-46). Jesus was aware of the pain and suffering he has to have on the coming days. As a human being it was too heavy for Jesus to go all through the suffering unto death. But realizing that Father has an answer for everything Jesus approach Father through the prayer. The redeeming mission of Jesus was thus fulfilled according to the will of the father though he had the feeling that at times even Father Himself abandoned Jesus. But at the end on the cross it was proved contrary.[8]

1.4.6 AT TRANSFIGURATION

Transfiguration was again another confirmation from heaven that Father and Son are in intimate union (Mk 9, 2-8). Father wills that all the people and the nations shall listen to his beloved Son. Father is pleased with the son and confirms that it is the pleasure of the Father to declare that Jesus is the beloved Son whom he has given for the world in order to redeem it from the clutches of sin and evil. Sending an angel to strengthen Jesus is also an expression of Father’s concern for his Son.

1.4.7 AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH

Death on the cross also gives an explicit occasion for us to know the Father-son relationship. Even at the cross the human Jesus had the feeling that even the Father abandoned Him. But at the time of death Jesus clearly pronounce that “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.” (Lk 23, 46) Jesus on His earthly life completely subjected himself to the will of the Father and he continued his faithfulness to the will of the Father until time of his death on the Cross.[9] He was also aware of the fact that everything Father entrusted to him was fulfilled before last breath. “It is finished” (Jn 19, 30).

1.4.8 AT RESURRECTION

Resurrection was yet another occasion which revealed the Father-Son Relationship. Here the initiative is from the Father. Father did not abandon the Son to death; but he raises Him above the limitations of this world. The resurrection thus became another instance of the manifestation of the filial affection the Father has to his beloved Son. Resurrection is a more filial  a revelation than a theological and philosophical understanding of an act of God, in which Father raises His Son from among the dead so as to not only the dead but also the those who are going to be dead till the end of the world may reach the Father through Christ, the First born in whom all are made heirs of heaven.[10]

1.4.9 ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN

Ascension was really Jesus’ reply to the Fathers’ love. The human life and the human nature he had been to until his death did not prevent him to return to his Father, nor the salvific-zeal or the love for the mankind never prevented him to remain here on earth. Jesus willed to go back to the Father in order that he can have the union in its full sense. The Father-son union was perfected in heaven through the ascension. He was seated at the right side of the Father and is having a clear role and complete share in the creative work of the Father.

1.5 INTIMACY REVEALED BY HIS WORDS AND DEEDS

Not only we can observe in the life of Jesus the filial intimacy towards the Father but also Jesus has expressed this relationship many times trough his words and deeds.

1.5.1 WE ARE ONE STATEMENTS

The feeling that “I and the father is one,” was the core of the ‘abba’ consciousness of Jesus. “… I in them and you in me, that the may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have send me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (Jn 17, 23). “… and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me” (Jn 16, 32). Jesus was aware of son-ship and the relationship of a son to an Abba from a normal Israelites’ situation based on which He related to God the Father His Abba in heaven and ours too.[11]

1.5.2 ALL FATHER HAS IS MINE

Jesus had the firm conviction that “all my Father has, is mine.” Out of this conviction Jesus always performed miracles and taught the people.[12] “All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare to you” (Jn 16, 15). “On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name he will give it to you” (Jn 16, 23). Jesus understood the Father relationship in terms of the right of the son. Since he is the Son he has the right in all that the Father has.

1.5.3 WILL OF THE ONE WHO SEND ME

Jesus considered that doing the will of god is equal to food for the stomach. “… for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me” (Jn 6, 38). “I have food to eat which you do not know about” (Jn 4, 32).  Jesus was well aware of his mission. Doing the mission entrusted by the Father itself was considered the best food by Jesus.

1.5.4 PARABLES OF FATHER’S LOVE

Parable of the prodigal son explains the lavishness of love of a father to his son. This parable might be a creation of Jesus from his own personal experience. He knew the nature of the Father and his love for the lost and repentant. He always liked to say the forgiving love of the Father. Parable of the lost sheep, lost coin, giving one more chance to the baron tree and all are vague but clear examples of Fathers’ love towards the children. It is the heavenly Father of Jesus’ day to day experience of this world is reflected in all these parables.[13]

1.5.5 WHEN CHOOSING THE DISCIPLES

On the occasion choosing his disciples Jesus prays intensively for a night. It is out of his personal relationship with the Father he has elected the future ministers of the church who are to lead the mystical body of Christ after he has been taken unto the right side of the Father.[14] He prays there for a whole night and tries to identify the will of the Father. On the other hand it would be a possibility that the human Jesus could choose Lazarus or somebody else according to his personal preference as normal human being. He do not fall into this human possibility only because of his personal relationship with the Father and the firm desire to do His will alone.

1.5.6 RAISING LAZRUS

Jesus also makes a public announcement of the relationship between Father and himself at the tomb of Lazarus. Before raising Lazarus to life Jesus pray to the Father a moment aloud which explicitly state his relationship to the Father. “Father I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always here me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that the may believe that you sent me” (Jn 11, 41-42). ‘I wanted to glorify you and I know that you always here my prayers’ gives the state of his relationship to the Father.[15]

1.5.7 REJOICING IN SPIRIT

Lk 10, 21-22 is again a great pronouncement of Father-Son relationship. The joy of Jesus here is nothing other than the glory of the Father. “I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and revealed them to infants; yes Father, such was your glorious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the son and to anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal” (Lk 10, 21-22). Father-Son relationship is all the more evident in this passage. Jesus, both at the moment of his joy and sorrow never forgets to praise the Father.[16]

1.5.8 AT GETHSEMANE

Gethsemane experience of Jesus should in no way be omitted in explaining the filial relationship between Father and Son. Here the complete surrender of the will of Jesus to the will of the Father is very evident. God the Father never changes his mind but the human Jesus changes his mind. This is a model and a real example of Jesus to his disciples for ever. The pain and suffering that Jesus had while thinking of the suffering, death and abandonment was so severe that it produced not sweat but blood from his body. But still the will of the Father sustained (Lk 22, 42).

1.6 TESTIMONY BY DESCIPLES AND OTHERS

Not only form the words and deeds of Jesus but also from the witness of the disciples and even of the daemons we understand the filial relationship that Jesus had to his Father. The relationship is made explicit through their mouth too.

1.6.1 SHOW US THE FATHER

One of the disciples asking Jesus to show them all the Father to whom Jesus relates always in prayer gives the sound impression that Jesus had such a relationship towards his Father that even his disciples who are mostly doubtful and weak in understanding could guess the fact that Jesus their beloved master has a Father to whom Jesus has got such a deep relationship that they could also be learned and imitated. (Jn 14, 8). The “I am the way[17]” statement of Jesus’ answer again is a testimony of His relationship to Father.

1.6.2 DECLARATION OF PETER

Peter, the future head of the Apostolic Community, pronounced as the representative of the disciples with an inspiration from above that Jesus is the Son of the God, the most high. His proclamation was in anyway not knowing the divine and human nature of Jesus completely but it was a heavenly attestation of God the Father trough the mouth of Peter in order that they may believe and to be prepared for witnessing that faith in future. (Mt 16, 16)[18]

1.6.3 TEACH US TO PRAY

The prayer experience that Jesus had at various occasions might have influenced the disciples. They might have observed the prayer of Jesus and should have been marveled at the relationship of Jesus towards his Father. They too wanted to have such an experience of prayer. That is why they bring the example of ‘John the Baptist teaching his disciples to pray’ as an argument relevant to put before Jesus so as Jesus to teach them to pray [19](Lk 11, 1). Knowing the mind of the disciples Jesus teaches them the classical prayer of the Bible the “Abba Father”, a Prayer addressing to God, the Father. The content of the prayer also explains how deeply Jesus was related to Father and seek out only thy will.

1.6.4 THE DEMONIAC

Even the Demoniac understood that Jesus the Son of the Father send to this world to redeem the mankind from the slavery of sin. The feared Jesus and not only but they pronounced that he is the beloved son of God and has the power and relationship with the Father out of which Jesus has got the authority over them.[20]  “… and he shouted at in a loud voice, ‘What have you to do with me , Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by god, do not torment me’”(Mk 5, 7).

1.7 ABBA EXPERIENCE IN OUR LIFE

The abba experience of Jesus should also be a good example before us. The Christian life of witnessing demands such a deep relationship with the person of Jesus and the heavenly Father. Life of Jesus it self is a model before us; and also we can learn from the life of saints observing that how they practiced this relationship in imitating Jesus.

1.7.1 LIFE OF SAINTS AS MODELS

The god experience after the model of Jesus can be I different ways. Jesus identified god as the Father and that is the ideal way. But more important thing is that the intimacy with god. Saints practiced this intimacy in different ways. St. Teresa of Child Jesus and Holy Face selected the way of a spiritual childhood to relate to Father God. She considered her self as a little child of the Father and sometimes as friend of child Jesus and even at other occasion as a ply ball at the hand of child Jesus. These all were her ways in expressing the intimate relationship with the Lord. St. Teresa of Avila is yet another example of a mystical union with God. She considered god as husband and sometimes as a lover who seek for his beloved. St. Teresa of Calcutta, again another Theresa understood the suffering Jesus as her personal God. She expresses the love Jesus towards the abandoned in relation to the Fathers’ concern for the children

1.7.2 EUCHARIST AS THE IDEAL MEANS OF INTIMACY

Ideal means to grow in our intimacy with God is the Eucharistic sacrifice itself. Jesus is present to us completely in the Eucharistic mysteries. One who receives him with proper intention and adequate preparation receives Christ in his entirety and become one with Christ. Eucharistic sacrifice also commemorates the love of the Father towards this world. The salvific mysteries are made present for the people of the present times, is through the Eucharist. Holy Communion preserves the supernatural life of the soul by giving the communicant supernatural strength to resist temptation, and by weakening the power of concupiscence. It reinforces the ability of our free will to withstand the assaults of the devil. It help us to avoid the occasions of sin and to have complete union with the Holy Trinity and thus capable of  doing the will of the Father always, in this life on earth. In a formal definition, the Church calls Holy Communion “an antidote by which we are preserved from grievous sins” (Council of Trent, October 11, 1551). St. Cyprian of Carthage (c. 200 – 258 A.D.) says, “If Christ Jesus, our Lord and God, is Himself the High Priest of God the Father; and if he offered himself as a sacrifice to the father; and if he commanded that this be done in commemoration of himself — then certainly the priest, who imitates that which Christ did, truly functions in place of Christ.” (Letters 63:14).

CONCLUSION

The abba consciousness of Jesus was so firm that in all his words, deeds and action he represented the Father and His will. His relationship with the Father was very evident to anyone who listened to him, all those who approached him and even the daemons. Not only Jesus had the awareness and conviction that Father is with him and he is in union with the Father but also the Father too has confirmed that Jesus is his beloved Son and it is to whom the nations and the people shall listen especially on the occasions of baptism, transfiguration and at last on the moment of resurrection. “When Jesus walked among us, He had a special name for God. When he called Him “Abba,” he introduced to the world a new and more richly intimate view of God” (St. Justin the Martyr (c. 100 – 165 A.D.) Dialogue with Trypho, 41).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

  1. JEREMIAS, Joachim, “Abba,” in Abba (Gtittingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1966).
  2. SCHILLEBEECKX, Edward O.P., Jesus: An Experiment in Christology (New York: Seabury, 1979).
  3. GRAEF, Richard, Yes Father (New York: Frederick Pustet Co. Inc., 1938).
  4. MARITAIN, Jacques, On the Grace and Humanity of Jesus (London: Burns and Oates Limited, 1969).
  5. BUCKLEY, James J., Seeking the Humanity of God: Practices Doctrines, and Catholic Theology (Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1992).
  6. WEINANDY, Thomas, In the Likeness of Sinful Flesh: An essay on the humanity of Christ. (Edinburgh: TT Clark Publishers, 1993).
  7. TORRANCE, Iain, Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity (London: Burns and Oates Ltd., 2000).
  8. BARBOTIN, Edmund, Humanity of God (New York: Orbis Books, 1976).
  9. BARTH, KARL Humanity of God (London: Collins, 1961).
  10. GRUEN, Anselm Jesus: The images of humanity (New York: Continuum, 2003).
  11. COMBLIN, Jose, Jesus of Nazareth: Meditations on his Humanity (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1979).
  12. WEINANDY, Thomas, In the Likeness of Sinful Flesh: An essay on the humanity of Christ. (Edinburgh: TT Clark Publishers, 1993).
  13. ROME. Liturgical Commission, Abba, Father (Mumbai: Pauline Publications, 1998).
  14. UNDERHILL, Evelyn, Abba: Meditations based on the Lord’s Prayer (London: Green and Co., 1940).
  15. AMALDAS, Yesu Abba consciousness: Method of a Christian yogic meditation (Bangalore: Asian trading corporation, 1982).
  16. KODELL, Jerome, Collegeville Bible Commentary: the Gospel according to Luke.Vol.3 (Minnesota: Liturgical press, 1982).
  17. HILL, David, New century bible Commentary: the Gospel of Matthew.Vol.13 (London: Marshall, Morgan Scott, 1981).
  18. LINDARS, BARNABAS, New century bible commentary: the Gospel of John.Vol.16 (London: Morgan Scott, 1981).


[1] JOACHIM JEREMIAS, “Abba,” in Abba (Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Gtittingen 1966) 14.

[2] EDWARD SCHILLEBEECKX O.P., Jesus: An Experiment in Christology (Seabury, New York 1979) 09.

[3] JEROME KODELL, Collegeville Bible Commentary: the Gospel According to Luke.Vol.3 (Minnesota: Liturgical press, 1982) 98.

[4] DAVID HILL, New century bible Commentary: the Gospel of Matthew.Vol.13 (London: Marshall, Morgan     Scott, 1981) 105-107.

[5] THOMAS WEINANDY, In the Likeness of Sinful Flesh: An essay on the humanity of Christ. (Edinburgh: TT Clark Publishers, 1993)  46.

[6] KARL BARTH, Humanity of God (London: Collins, 1961) 166.

[7] BARNABAS LINDARS, New century bible commentary: the Gospel of John.Vol.16 (London: Morgan Scott, 1981) 574.

[8] BARNABAS LINDARS, New century bible commentary: the Gospel of John, 683.

[9] JEROME KODELL, Collegeville Bible Commentary: the Gospel According to Luke, 218.

[10] AMALDAS, Yesu Abba consciousness: Method of a Christian yogic meditation (Bangalore: Asian trading corporation, 1982) 127.

[11] EVELYN UNDERHILL, Abba: Meditations based on the Lord’s Prayer (London: Green and Co., 1940) 29.

[12] EVELYN UNDERHILL, Abba: Meditations based on the Lord’s Prayer, 43.

[13] ANSELM GRUEN, Jesus: The images of humanity (New York: Continuum, 2003) 96.

[14] ROME. Liturgical Commission, Abba, Father (Mumbai: Pauline Publications, 1998) 33.

[15] BARNABAS LINDARS, New century bible commentary: the Gospel of John, 326.

[16] JEROME KODELL, Collegeville Bible Commentary: the Gospel According to Luke, 189.

[17] JOSE COMBLIN, Jesus of Nazareth: Meditations on his Humanity (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1979) 101-103.

[18] JOSE COMBLIN, Jesus of Nazareth: Meditations on his Humanity, 124.

[19] IAIN TORRANCE, Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity (London: Burns and Oates Ltd., 2000) 94-96.

[20] THOMAS WEINANDY, In the Likeness of Sinful Flesh: An essay on the humanity of Christ. (Edinburgh: TT Clark Publishers, 1993) 202-205.

Psychological Problems of the Youth

Psychological Problems of the Youth

-Nelson MCBS

Table of Contents

Table of Contents. 1

Psychological Problems of the Youth. 2

1.0         Introduction. 2

1.1 Major Psychological Problems of the Youth. 2

1.1.1 Feeling of Isolation and Loneliness. 2

1.1.2 Thirst for Acceptance. 2

1.1.3 Criminal Tendencies. 3

1.1.4 Emotional Imbalances. 3

1.1.5 Inferiority Complexes. 3

1.1.6 Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. 3

1.1.7 Suicidal Tendencies. 3

1.2 Causes behind the Psychological Problems. 3

1.2.1 Physical problems. 4

1.2.2 Parental control 4

1.2.3 The Influence of Media Violence. 4

1.2.4 Sexual, Physical, Emotional and Psychological Abuses. 5

1.2.5 Conflict and Rejection in Significant Relationships. 6

1.2.6 Situational Causes. 6

1.2.7 Cultural Stress. 6

1.2.8 Lack of Religious and/or Spiritual Connections. 6

1.3 Suggestion to Overcome the Psychological Problems. 7

1.3.1 Proper Psychological Training. 7

1.3.2 Counseling and Guidance. 7

1.3.3 Respecting the Individual Freedom.. 7

1.3.4 Developing good Personal Relationship. 7

1.3.5 Religious Backup and Care. 8

1.4 Conclusion. 8

Bibliography. 8

Psychological Problems of the Youth

1.0 Introduction

Youth are the hope of the future of the world or in other words the future of the world lies in the hands of the youth. It is they who build up the nations. Youth are the resources of country and it their empowerment is the empowerment of a nation. The present generations have their hope in the youth. They are productive and active people who are capable of large undertakings.  In the midst of their strong and stubborn nature we realize the fact that there are several problems among the present day youth. These problems are most often psychological and are developed during their stages of development. There is no other way but to recognize, identify and find out remedies to such problems of the youth. The science of psychology and the Psycho analysis has been contributed much to the youth related problems and solutions. Youth psychology is a branch of psychology that develops very fast. Let the youth of the world merit from the psychological innovations of psyche of the youth. This paper is an attempt to point out the major psychological problems of the youth, the causes behind it and discusses a few remedial measures.

1.1 Major Psychological Problems of the Youth

Youth of present day are having several psychological problems. Most often these problems are not their own creation and they are not completely responsible for their problems. Even then they are often mistakenly accused to the psychological defects visible in their life. Major psychological problems found among the present day youth are the following:

1.1.1 Feeling of Isolation and Loneliness

One of the major problems found among the youth is that they feel that they are alone. They wanted to be in company; but circumstances and the feeling within them forces to be alone. This habit makes them moody and sometimes even leads them either to depression or a kind of anti-social attitude. Feeling of isolation is more in girls when compared to boys. The feeling of unwanted ness is very much strong in them. They like to watch TV or other Medias rather than to relate with people around them. They privatize their time in front of the visual media.

1.1.2 Thirst for Acceptance

Youth always like to attract others by their appearance and various other means. A single or slight event of avoiding will be great wound to their mind. In order to get attention of the people they choose whatever means possible. This may cause again a kind of depressive and negative feeling because people easily identify artificial characters of youth especially the colleagues themselves.

1.1.3 Criminal Tendencies

Often youth are known for criminal activities. They develop criminal tendencies from their living social circumstances. Youth easily develop in their mind an anti- social attitude by which most often they are forced to do criminal activities

1.1.4 Emotional Imbalances

Modern youth are very much imbalanced in their emotional life. Researches show that they are very high at their IQ rate but deep down at EQ levels. They don’t know how to take away strain and do not know how to face with a risky moment. They are crooked enough but not prudent enough. Failures of love affairs become common among the youth. Girls are easily trapped by the boys for immoral sexual activities. Their life also more open to sex rackets due to lack of emotional maturity and prudence.

1.1.5 Inferiority Complexes

A lot of inferiority complexes can be seen among the youth of today. They are not coming forward to the fore front of a dignified group. They feel that they are not worthy. They have also the feeling that they are sinners and anti-social. They think that they are not according to the expectation of the society, their teachers and the parents.

1.1.6 Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

Youth are nowadays very much prone to alcoholism and drugs. They often act criminally or violently because they are under the influence of drinks and drugs. It becomes really a problem in the life of the youth. They are unhappy at their home, become week in their studies, a lot of tension and anxiety is created in their mind.

1.1.7 Suicidal Tendencies

May be due to the all above said problems they have also a tendency for suicide. For silly reasons they like to end their life. Failures in the examinations and the love failures are sufficient reasons for them to commit suicide. Sexually abused ones had the suicidal tendencies earlier but nowadays researches show and it seems that sexually abused is not a sufficient reason for suicide.

1.2 Causes behind the Psychological Problems

There are several cusses and cause factors in the life of a youth that creates psychological problems in his/her life. These problems are caused not as mere occurrences of their youth hood; but are developed through the different stages of his/her personality. Some of those causes are the following:

1.2.1 Physical problems

Physical problems are one of the main causes that create mental or psychological problems among the youth. Lack physical fitness affects them negatively. Physiological problems are mainly caused by Poverty, Malnutrition and Diseases.

a) Poverty

Instead of improving upon the system to reduce the economic differences between classes, if the society builds counteracting machinery to curb the violence, it leads to nowhere. Poverty of the people affects the psycho-social development of child.

b) Malnutrition

Good nutrition for the brain can be had from Vitamin B and minerals, magnesium, zinc, calcium. The phyto-nutrients are the antioxidants quite necessary to check any radical damage occurring in the body. The phyto-nutrients are concentrated and are responsible for the color, scent, and flavor of the vegetables and fruits.

c) Diseases

All kinds of trans-generational and even the ordinary diseases causes ill health among the youth and it severely affects the social life and thereby the psychological maturity. Diseases caused by malnutrition and the food habits affect very much the younger generations and they are very much influenced by the cruel and wretched hands of it.

1.2.2 Parental control

Types and patterns of parental controlling behavior and their effects on children’s development have been the focus of considerable research over the past several decades. Although specific labels vary, researchers have consistently identified control in their conceptualizations of salient parental behaviors. The several ways in which parental control of children has been conceptualized and operationalized testifies to the complexity of the construct. It is therefore not surprising that the empirical evidence for the effects of parental control on children has often been inconsistent or equivocal There have been some attempts to integrate and synthesize the various conceptualizations of control in order to bring clarity to the construct and its effects on children’s development.

1.2.3 The Influence of Media Violence

Research on violent television and films, video games, and music reveals unequivocal evidence that media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior in both immediate and long-term contexts. The effects appear larger for milder than for more severe forms of aggression, but the effects on severe forms of violence are also substantial when compared with effects of other violence risk factors or medical effects deemed important by the medical community (e.g., effect of aspirin on heart attacks).The research base is large; diverse in methods, samples, and media genres; and consistent in overall findings. The evidence is clearest within the most extensively researched domain, television and film violence. The growing body of video-game research yields essentially the same conclusions. Recent surveys reveal an extensive presence of violence in modern media. Furthermore, many children and youth spend an inordinate amount of time consuming violent media. Although it is clear that reducing exposure to media violence will reduce aggression and violence, it is less clear what sorts of interventions will produce a reduction in exposure. The sparse research literature suggests that counterattitudinal and parental-mediation interventions are likely to yield beneficial effects, but that media literacy interventions by themselves are unsuccessful. Though the scientific debate over whether media violence increases aggression and violence is essentially over, several critical tasks remain. Additional laboratory and field studies are needed for a better understanding of underlying psychological processes, which eventually should lead to more effective interventions. Large-scale longitudinal studies would help specify the magnitude of media-violence effects on the most severe types of violence. Meeting the larger societal challenge of providing children and youth with a much healthier media diet may prove to be more difficult and costly, especially if the scientific, news, public policy, and entertainment communities fail to educate the general public about the real risks of media-violence exposure to children and youth.

1.2.4 Sexual, Physical, Emotional and Psychological Abuses

Psychological problems of the youth are sometimes related to abuses they are experienced. Most often the sexual abuses they have encountered as teenager and sometimes as a youth affect their personality very much negatively. Moody nature, inferiority complexes are sometimes the result of sexual abuses encountered. Physical abuses also generate psychological illness. Overwork at home, child labor, physical punishment by parents or relative can affect the personality of a child when it grows as a youth. They sometimes form an anti-social attitude due to these tortures. Emotional abuses are mostly on girls. They could be wounded due to unnecessary words and comments from the parents and relatives during their developmental stages. Psychologically also youth are abused because their psychological formation take place in and through their developmental stages.

1.2.5 Conflict and Rejection in Significant Relationships

Love failures and broken friendships are severe problems of the youth. These breakings up of relationship of the beloved, sometimes, lead them to suicidal tendencies and other physiological problems. Some of the youth becomes moody and antisocial when they break with such relations. They lack confidence in their friends and even to the close relatives. Rejection by the lover or a close friend become unbearable and it at times leads to deep stress, depression and inferiority complexes.

1.2.6 Situational Causes

The situation in which a youth develop his personality strongly influences the behavior and psychological maturity of that person. It seems that sometimes youth becomes mere victims of their situations. Political persons or other significant personalities make use of the zeal and enthusiasm of the youth. Having influenced by such known social criminals the youth sometimes happens to commit some criminal act. And as a result of this, feeling of remorse, hatred anger, and sometimes personality disorders may occur in the life of a youth.

1.2.7 Cultural Stress

Culture stress is a term used to refer to the loss of confidence in the ways of understanding life and living that have been taught within a particular culture. It comes about when the complexity of relationships, knowledge, languages, social institutions, beliefs, values, and ethical rules that bind a people and give them a collective sense of who they are and where they belong is subjected to change. For aboriginal people, such things as loss of land and control over living conditions, suppression of belief systems and spirituality, weakening of social and political institutions, and racial discrimination have seriously damaged their confidence and thus predisposed them to suicide, self-injury and other self-destructive behaviors.

1.2.8 Lack of Religious and/or Spiritual Connections

Modern youths are also affected by lack of spiritual nourishment and religious background. Years before they were affected by the religious rigidity and it sometimes created psychological problems in their life. But today no religion so rigid to its practices but is now more open and helpful to youth to build up their personality. But for the youth of today it seems a fashion to go away from religion, God and religious people. It creates a great deal of problem. The youth are not properly directed and they lack genuine hope in their life due to the lack of faith in god. Actually this leads them to the feeling of emptiness and loneliness and at times to the suicidal tendencies.

1.3 Suggestion to Overcome the Psychological Problems

Youth have got psychological problems and they must get rid of it in order to have a sound personality. The causes behind the problems of the youth must be remedied in order to develop their personality. The following are some of the suggestions:

1.3.1 Proper Psychological Training

Today there are several psychological centers available at our country. Youth shall be directed to such centers and must be trained well so that they may get the basic psychological knowledge. There shall be preliminary courses of psychology from school level itself. It is important and worthwhile to treat a person from his early stages of development itself. For that the parents and the teachers must be properly trained to educate their children or students properly. Proper knowledge of human psychology and the basic education into the science of psychology will be to a great extend a remedy to the present day problems of the youth. It also serves as a preventive measure.

1.3.2 Counseling and Guidance

Youth who are already affected psychological defects shall be directed to counseling centers and properly guided. Personal care from the part of parents and the close ones will help the youth to build up their personality in a proper way.

1.3.3 Respecting the Individual Freedom

Resecting the freedom of the person is very important factor in the development of personality of a youth. Most of the psychological problems are caused by the parental control. Often parents do not like to see their children as grown up people. They wanted their children as obedient as they were before. This creates conflict in the family. Father and mother no more a hero at their life. They slowly go after other heroes and heroines; this in turn widens the gap between parent and the son/daughter. Therefore it is better that the parents respect the freedom of their son/daughter and be a good friend to them. It will influence their personality very well and they will grow positively. Parental control sometimes can happen from the part of teachers, relatives and religious leaders this also will harm the personality of a youth. Respecting the dignity and freedom of the youth is therefore inevitable.

1.3.4 Developing good Personal Relationship

Most of the psychological problems of the youth can be overcome by developing good personal relationship. Sharing the sorrows and stress with the friends would be an easy means to overcome anxiety and distress. Spending time in solitude and lonely will create more grief and remorse within the mind. Problem of mediacracy also could be avoided because of good and healthy relationship. Friends can be of any type; but it is advisable to have a mature person who has more experience of the world than that of the youth rather than selecting only form the peer groups

1.3.5 Religious Backup and Care

Support from a religion is inevitable in the psychological development of a person. No man can stand alone. Support and backup from a religious community will -no doubt- creates a feeling of confidence and trust in a person. Faith in god also adds to the hope of a person. Religious leaders have got a great role in leading and guiding the youth. In our context the Catholic Priest do have the special duty and obligation to serve the youth of their parish. They are in need and are in search of heroes; and the priest can become their hero if he wills.

1.4 Conclusion

Youth and the youth ministry is a much discussed theme today. Youth of today are the hope of the society as a whole. With all their capabilities the youth have got several psychological problems which are natural since they are social beings and therefore essentially relational beings. The society as a whole has got an obligation to help the youth in their psychological needs. Youth are to be well educated in psychological disciplines and the parents also should be aware of the psychological stages that a child passes through. Proper guidance and training shall be given for the youth from the part of parents and teachers in their journey of development to youth hood. Freedom of the youth should be respected by the parents and teachers. A proper religious background and a deep sense of the sacred will also guide youth to mature personality.

Bibliography

PATRI, VASANTHA, Counseling Psychology (New Delhi: Authors press, 2001).

BERNE, ERIC, Games people play: The Psychology of human relations (New York: Penguin Books, 1964).

ZAVALLONI, ROBERTO, Self-Determination: The Psychology of Personal Freedom (Chicago: Forvm Books Publishers, 1962).

SUHAIL, SHAIZAD – ASHWINEE BAPAT, Development Psychology (Mumbai: Himalaya Publishing House, 1996).

MOORE, CARMELLA C. – HOLLY MATHEWS F., (ed.) The psychology of cultural experience (Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 2001).

DURKIN, KEVIN, Developmental social psychology: From infancy to old age (Oxford: Blackwell publishers, 1995).

PECK, M. SCOTT,            The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth (New York: Arrow books, 1990).

SUTHERLAND, STUART, International Dictionary of Psychology (Second Edition) (New York: Crossroad, 1995).

KAZDIN, ALAN E., Encyclopedia of Psychology (Vol.3) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).

SIMHADRI, YEDLA C. (Ed.), Youth in the Contemporary World (Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1989).

ARIL, JAMES Be at Your Best: A guide to excellence for modern youth (Bombay: Better Yourself books, 1995).

KUMRIA, R.R. Calling Youth: A Book of good Living for Young People (New Delhi: Mudrak Publishers, 1997).

Church and Sacraments: Contemporary Understanding – A Practical Study

Church and Sacraments: Contemporary Understanding – A Practical Study

Nelson MCBS

Table of Contents

Table of Contents. 1

Abbreviations. 1

Part 1. 2

Church and Sacraments: Contemporary Understanding. 2

1.0 Introduction. 2

1.1 Contemporary Problems of Sacramental Life. 2

1.1.1 Over-Emphasis on Popular Devotions. 2

1.1.2 Ignorance of the People. 3

1.1.3 Carelessness of the Pastors. 3

1.1.4 Problem of Improper Communication Medias. 3

1.1.5 Increase in the Number of Sects. 3

1.1.6 Lack of Models in the Church. 4

1.2 Contemporary Trends in Sacramental Theology. 4

1.2.1 Sacraments as Official Acts of the Church. 4

1.2.2 Return to the Patristic Understanding. 5

1.2.3 Promoting Active Participation. 5

1.2.4 Sacraments as Signs of the Church. 6

1.2.5 Church as the Continuation of Jesus Christ, the Sacrament 7

1.2.6 Priests as the Ministers of the Sacraments. 7

1.3 Conclusion. 8

Part 2. 9

The Interview.. 9

1. Questions Asked. 9

2. Participants’ Data. 9

3. Evaluation of the Interview.. 10

3.0 Introduction. 10

3.1 On Sacraments of Initiation. 10

3.2 On Sacraments of Healing. 11

3.3 On Sacraments of Communion. 11

3.4 On Popular Devotions. 11

3.5 On Active Participation. 12

3.6 On Ministers of the Sacraments. 12

3.7 On Other Religions. 13

4. Synopsis. 13

5. Conclusion. 13

Bibliography. 14

Abbreviations

CCC                –Catechism of the Catholic Church

CCEO             -Code of Canons of the Eastern Orientals

LG                   –Lumen Gentium

SC                   -Sacrosanctum Consilium

Vat. II             -Second Vatican Council

Part 1

Church and Sacraments: Contemporary Understanding

1.0 Introduction

Sacramental theology is a much discussed theme in the present world especially among the theologians and even among the laity. One of the reasons which the Sacramental theology became a matter of discussion is that the popular devotions in the Church develop very fast and it and it creates deep rooted effects among the ordinary people. Therefore they have got a tendency to replace Sacramental celebrations with popular devotions. Any way the Catholic Church has got a clear idea about the real nature of the Sacraments and its development in the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1131 teaches: “The Sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the Sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each Sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.”

1.1 Contemporary Problems of Sacramental Life

In order to have clear idea of the contemporary trends in Sacramental theology one should have basically the idea that how Sacramental life of the people are going on. Ofcourse there is no doubt that the people of today like to have religious life. They do have a thirst for God. They seek for spiritual food. But most often they are unable to choose between the real and fake. The major problems of Sacramental life could be understood from the following heads:

1.1.1 Over-Emphasis on Popular Devotions

Popular devotions are very much essential to the people and they help them to grow spiritually. People are interested in popular devotional practices such as Rosaries, Novenas, Way of the Cross, Veneration of Relics, Pilgrimages, etc. Catholic Church always encourages such devotional practices. But the problem is that the people do have a tendency to replace it with the Sacraments of the Church. Actually what the devotional practices should serve as a stepping stone to grow faithfully in the Sacramental life of the Church. When otherwise considered it goes wrong. When devotion becomes a matter of emotional satisfaction alone, the faith becomes meaningless. Faith is not a meaningless practice of our personal devotion but is an act of Holy Spirit at a particular place, time and community. [1]

1.1.2 Ignorance of the People

People are ignorant about the true meaning for the Sacrament. They wanted to know more about Jesus and His Church and they seek for it too. But often the source they depend up on is wrong. They are not careful enough in searching for the true knowledge but go after mere satisfaction of their senses. Knowledge of God must be attained through a continuous search for the truth. That which provides us temporal satisfaction cannot be considered as the real knowledge and the blessing of the God. Search for truth is continuous task and it is the work of the Holy Spirit in accordance with our cooperation.[2]

1.1.3 Carelessness of the Pastors

The pastors must have taken special care in the spiritual and material well being of the souls entrusted to them. But most often our Pastors fail to feed their sheep. Having taken interest in so many other activities priests often forgets the primary duty, which is feeding the shepherds. Church has always the intention of Jesus in treating the people of God; and pastors must imbibe the attitude of Jesus seeking the one by leaving the twelve. Those who search for God and God experience shall not be denied it or in other way they do not loose the occasion of knowing Christ because of the carelessness of the minister of Christ. [3]

1.1.4 Problem of Improper Communication Medias

The field of communication is growing very fast. There are new techniques developments in the area of communication and knowledge. The children and especially the youth of today are more open and exposed to media. In this context the pastors have the duty to educate them through using all these proper Medias. The old ways of communication may feel boring to the youth of today who are in the cyber world and the world of visuals. Therefore it is the duty of the priests to update themselves to the present situations as it was done from the part of church through the great Vatican II.

1.1.5 Increase in the Number of Sects

Sects are increasing day by day. In this context proper and timely shepherding of the people become very relevant and at the same time necessary for  the perseverance of the genuine teaching of the Church and there by the message of Jesus himself. The modern sects are often interested in gathering people through their attractive presentation of Christ and his message. They imitate the Sacramental celebrations of the church in such way that people feel a kind of attachment to it. They may not be true in their presentations; but the people go after them only because they make it attractive. The church therefore has the duty to proclaim the true message of Jesus in an attractive way both by our Sacramental presentation of it and in our external proclamations.

1.1.6 Lack of Models in the Church

Church lacks genuine models. People are in search of persons who are moving in Spirit. But often they are discouraged because of the lack of such genuine models. Priests do have a responsibility in bringing back people to real Christian life by way of their examples in life. They should celebrate the Sacrament of the Church with such a zeal that the people might feel that the priest who celebrate the Sacrament for them really encounter Christ. This would be an example an inspiration to the whole community to participate in the Sacrament more meaningfully.[4]

1.2 Contemporary Trends in Sacramental Theology

There is an absolute change in the understanding of the Sacraments today. There is a shift of emphasis from the cultic aspect of the Sacrament to a mystic aspect of the Sacraments. This paradigm shift of understanding may help the people to understand Sacraments as the highways to their journey towards the Eschatological Kingdom.

1.2.1 Sacraments as Official Acts of the Church

People have the doubt why they should participate in the Sacraments and whether they could compensate with something else. It was Karl Rahner who gave a solution to this problem properly. According to him we participate in the Sacramental celebrations of the church not get grace or something else, but because they are the official acts of the church.[5] The Catechism of the Catholic Church also gives answer to this problem. “The fruit of Sacramental life is both personal and ecclesial. For every one of the faithful on the one hand, this fruit is life for God in Christ Jesus; for the Church, on the other, it is an increase in charity and in her mission of witness.” (CCC No.1134). Fathers of second Vatican Council Says,

“Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the fount from which all her power flows. For the goal of apostolic endeavor is that all who are made sons of God by faith and Baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of his Church, to take part in the Sacrifice and to eat the Lord’s Supper. The liturgy, in its turn, moves the faithful filled with “the paschal Sacraments” to be “one in holiness”; it prays that “they hold fast in their lives to what they have grasped by their faith.” The renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful and sets them aflame with Christ’s insistent love. From the liturgy therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, grace is poured forth upon us as from a fountain, and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God to which all other activities of the Church are directed, as toward their end, are achieved with maximum effectiveness. (SC No. 10)

1.2.2 Return to the Patristic Understanding

There is tendency today to return to the patristic understanding of the Sacraments. Fathers considered Sacraments as mysteries. According to the Fathers Sacraments are the mysteries revealed to the Church through different manifestations of God either through his saints or through the magisterial body of the Church. The real meaning of the mysteries is known to God alone and He manifests it according to the way he likes. It is foolishness that if one attempt to explain mysteries of God in human terms. [6]

1.2.3 Promoting Active Participation

Sacraments are official actions of the Church. Therefore they are to be celebrated in a community where maximum of its members are present. Private celebrations and personal interests in Sacramental action are discouraged by the Church. The council Fathers had a clear vision about the participation in the Sacraments.

“With zeal and patience pastors of souls must promote the liturgical instruction of the faithful and also their active participation, both internal and external, taking into account their age, condition, way of life and standard of religious culture. By so doing pastors will be fulfilling one of the chief duties of a faithful dispenser of the mysteries of God, and in this matter they must lead their flock not only by word by also by example.”  (SC No. 19).

Participation does not mean only presence but also action accordingly. It is not reciting prayers loudly and standing with devotion and attention alone. Active participation must change our hearts and it also makes us able to participate in the day to day life of our fellow brethren. The participants must understand the true meaning of the Sacrament and must be able to incorporate its spirit to the Christian life.[7]

1.2.4 Sacraments as Signs of the Church

Another modern approach in theology is the doctrine of the Church as the basic Sacrament of the salvation of the world. For the moment we are not concerned with the relationship in terms of connection, distinction, and subordination in which the Church as basic Sacrament stands to Christ as the historical arch-Sacrament in whom God’s self-utterance as forgiveness and divinization comes to its historical manifestation and its irrevocable fullness, It is in any case an explicit word of the Second Vatican Council, which itself in turn is connected with the patristic theology with its more comprehensive concept of the mysterion and Sacramentum, the ‘Sacrament of unity,’ the ‘Sacrament, i.e. sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of all mankind’ (LG No. 1). The Second Vatican Council never developed in any truly systematic or explicit way the concept of the Sacrament of the salvation of the world which is the Church. For this reason it is not very easy to say what precisely is being expressed by this term in the mind of the Council. At best we will have to take as our starting-point the fact that ultimately speaking it is in virtue of her entire reality, and so above all through those factors which belong to her very nature as determinative and constitutive, that the Church constitutes this basic Sacrament, and at the same time we shall have to apply to the Church precisely those basic properties which are familiar to us from the official and established theology of the individual Sacraments. This latter approach is justifiable if only because the Church is in fact intended to be the Sacrament of the salvation of the world and of the unity of mankind as a unity in God which brings about salvation – in other words between the Church on the one hand and salvation and unity on the other a distinction is drawn and at the same time a connection is established which is characterized as ‘Sacramental,’ signifying that in the concrete it can consist only in the fact that the Church is the sign in history which brings to manifestation at the historical level, and thereby also ‘effects,’ that will of God towards the world which creates salvation and unity.[8] “A Sacramental celebration is woven from signs and symbols. In keeping with the divine pedagogy of salvation, their meaning is rooted in the work of creation and in human culture, specified by the events of the Old Covenant and fully revealed in the person and work of Christ.” (CCC No. 1145)

1.2.5 Church as the Continuation of Jesus Christ, the Sacrament

Contemporary theology considers Jesus Christ as the primordial Sacrament and Church as the continuation of what has been initiated in Jesus Christ. The role of the Church is to be fulfilled in space and time. Therefore she has to present it in such way that people shall be able to experience it with their day to day life. Sacraments must be visible and concrete reality. It must be served as the good news to the people who are suffering and are in distress. As people of God Church is the witnessing community witnessing to God’s salvific deeds in Jesus Christ. The council Fathers says,

“Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the fount from which all her power flows. For the goal of apostolic endeavor is that all who are made sons of God by faith and Baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of his Church, to take part in the Sacrifice and to eat the Lord’s Supper. The liturgy, in its turn, moves the faithful filled with “the paschal Sacraments” to be “one in holiness”; it prays that “they hold fast in their lives to what they have grasped by their faith.” The renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful and sets them aflame with Christ’s insistent love. From the liturgy therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, grace is poured forth upon us as from a fountain, and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God to which all other activities of the Church are directed, as toward their end, are achieved with maximum effectiveness. (SC No. 10)

1.2.6 Priests as the Ministers of the Sacraments

The priests are the ministers of the Sacrament of Christ. It is not they themselves offer the Sacraments for the people but God works through them.[9] In order to express this attitude of the church the Orientals use the passive formula in all the liturgical texts. The church also teaches it clearly through its catechism text:

“The ordained ministry or ministerial priesthood is at the service of the Baptismal priesthood. The ordained priesthood guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the Sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church. The saving mission entrusted by the Father to his incarnate Son was committed to the apostles and through them to their successors: they receive the Spirit of Jesus to act in his name and in his person. The ordained minister is the Sacramental bond that ties the liturgical action to what the apostles said and did and, through them, to the words and actions of Christ, the source and foundation of the Sacraments.”  (CCC No. 1121).

Second Vatican council clearly says the role of the ministerial priesthood in the church,

Christ the Lord, high priest taken from among men (cf. Heb. 5: 1-5), made the new people “a kingdom of priests to God, his Father” (Apoc. 1:6; cf. 5:9-10). The baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, that through all the works of Christian men they may offer spiritual sacrifices and proclaim the perfection of him who has called them out of darkness into his marvelous light (cf. 1 Pet. 2:4-10). Therefore all the Disciples of Christ, persevering in prayer and praising God (cf. Acts 2:42-47), should present themselves as a sacrifice, living, holy and pleasing to God (cf. Rom. 12:1). They should everywhere on earth bear witness to Christ and give an answer to everyone who asks a reason for the hope of an eternal life which is theirs. (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15). (LG No. 10)

1.3 Conclusion

Sacramental theology could be understood only in relation with the church and necessarily in relation with Jesus Christ, the primordial Sacrament. It is the celebration of the paschal mysteries by the community in signs and symbols. “Liturgy is an “action” of the whole Christ (Christus totus). Those who even now celebrate it without signs are already in the heavenly liturgy, where celebration is wholly communion and feast” (CCC No. 1136). The church teaches further,

It is the whole community, the Body of Christ united with its Head, that celebrates. “Liturgical services are not private functions but are celebrations of the Church which is ‘the Sacrament of unity,’ namely, the holy people united and organized under the authority of the bishops. Therefore, liturgical services pertain to the whole Body of the Church. They manifest it, and have effects upon it. But they touch individual members of the Church in different ways, depending on their orders, their role in the liturgical services, and their actual participation in them.” For this reason, “rites which are meant to be celebrated in common, with the faithful present and actively participating, should as far as possible be celebrated in that way rather than by an individual and quasi-privately.” (CCC No. 1140).

Sacraments are thus the official acts of the church. We participate in it not to gather grace but to express our communion with the church as Christians being united in Christ through his church. Through the Sacraments we participate in the mysteries of Christ the primordial Sacrament and there by become part of the salvific event.

Part 2

The Interview

1. Questions Asked

1. What do you feel when you participate in the Holy Mass?

2. Which mass you prefer to participate in: Latin or Syro-Malabar? Why?

3. What do you understand by Sacraments? Which Sacrament made you happy more when you received it?

4. Do you have a practice of personal prayer in your life other than common prayers?

5. What do you prefer: personal prayer or community prayer?

6. What is your experience with confession? Why do you make confessions?

7. There are people who are interested only to participate in Novenas? What is your opinion about them?

8.  How do you prefer to baptize your child: alone or with many other children?

9. Do you feel proud to be a Christian with Eucharist and other Sacraments?

10. What do you like most in the Eucharistic celebration, and the least?

11. When the Sacraments are celebrated do you feel that Christ himself is the minister of it?

12. Do you understand the signs and symbols used in the Sacramental celebrations?

13. Do you have particular intentions when you go for the Eucharistic celebrations?  Which are the ones most used to have?

14. Non-Catholic religions often do not accept 7 Sacraments. What do you feel about this?

15. Are you informed about the recent developments in the understanding of the Sacraments?

16. What is the difference between Sacraments and Sacramentals or devotional activities?

17. What is your opinion about the huge festal elements in parish feast celebrations?

18. While participating in the Sacraments, do you feel that you are not given the expected graces?

19. Which part do you consider as the most important part of the Eucharistic celebration?

20. How do the People of other religions consider our Sacraments?

2. Participants’ Data

Category Age Group Number Response
Household Men 25-40 3 Good
Household Women 25-40 3 Best
Men 40-60 2 Best
Sisters 30-40 2 Rather Good
Women 40-60 2 Very Good
Youth (Girls) 15-25 4 Good
Youth 1 (Boys) 15-20 4 Good
Youth 2 (Boys) 20-25 4 Very Good

Total Participants      – 24

3. Evaluation of the Interview

3.0 Introduction

It was a wonderful experience for me to have an interview withal these people in different ways and styles. I have chosen people mainly from the parish of Njrackal, Ernakulam. I have asked the questions to a few indirectly and to others introducing that I am going to have an interview with them as a part of my study. Both groups responded well. I am satisfied with the persons I interviewed in the sense that their cooperated me well and I am very much dissatisfied with the result I have collected from them. People are quiet ignorant about the basic principles of the church and at the same time they have got a curiosity to know the things. And as far I understand they are not fed well by the ministers.

3.1 On Sacraments of Initiation

The general idea of the people on the Sacrament of initiation is richer than any other Sacraments. They are almost aware of the Sacrament of Baptism and Eucharist. Meaning of confirmation is not that known to them. The idea they have in general is that of Pre-Vatican. Almost all of them I met believe that Baptism is the Sacrament of Christianizing and a remedy for the Original sin. 60% of them do not like Baptism celebrating in common. And 40% of them said they like to have Baptisms in common. I have also noticed an attitudinal change in the 60% when I talk to them of meaning of a communal Baptism.

Regarding Eucharist people are well aware of the presence of Jesus in the Sacrament. They are almost convinced that Jesus himself stands in the place of priest. But they are almost ignorant about the signs and symbols used in the Eucharistic celebration. Youth like mostly the Latin Mass the reason they say is that it is sweet and short. Sisters and all other groups like Syro-Malabar Mass. 40% of people do have intentions in participating in the holy mass. And these ones come under the female group.

Their knowledge about the Sacrament of reconciliation is nothing but it gives them Holy Spirit and they like to receive it from a bishop. Some of them received it from a bishop. And they think that this Sacrament is very much precious and sacred.

3.2 On Sacraments of Healing

100% of the people underwent the interview admire the Sacrament of confession in the Catholic Church.  But they have differences of opinion about the priests to whom they confess. They have personal preference of priests in hearing their confession. Youth group 1& 2 prefer young priest for confession. They don’t like old way of advising and giving longer penance. But the female groups wanted a holy priest who can give them adequate advice too.

The general idea of the people regarding the Sacrament of the sick is that of as an ‘Extreme unction’. 70% believe that it should e given only once ad has to be offered before death as a preparation to it. They generally don’t think that they will be healed by receiving this Sacrament.

3.3 On Sacraments of Communion

50% of the people do not realize the Sacramentality of Christian marriage. It is being done in the church to get a merely a blessing of the priest. One youth and a married one asked me why the church does not permit divorce. And they say it is their right to get divorced. Most of the married people are not satisfied with the preparatory course for the marriage. They say that they did not like to participate it then, but now thinks that it would be better if it had lasted for a week and could have attended little more seriously. Anyway they recommend some ongoing programs for the Christians in marriage life. But the youth in general has got a tendency to make their marriage an event with their friends. They don’t want to reduce any celebrative aspect of it.

With regard to the Holy Order they consider it as higher vocation and a special call. They have high expectation of the priests and wanted to get the service of the priest as much as possible. They wanted to have ordinations in their parishes itself. All of them whom I interviewed had participated at least once in an Ordination.

3.4 On Popular Devotions

People do not know really the distinction between popular devotions and Sacraments. Only 10% answered the difference to an extent. They like to participate in the popular devotions. One lady asked me ‘if Mother Mary or a saint can give me a blessing why should I hesitate to get it.’ People are going for devotional practices out of their needs in their life. They demand blessings to a saint and continue to ask for it. They are not bothered about the internal grace or the personal purification. Another Lady told me that she goes for the Sunday mass only because the church has a law. Otherwise she has to present it on the confessional too. But she likes to go for Novena, Retreats etc. ad she certifies that she got many external blessings when began to go for a Novena at a particular church and advised me to go there. 90% of the people have got the practice of reciting the rosary and the rest lack it; not because they don’t like it but because they don’t get time. They like to celebrate the Parish feast more splendidly. 80% present like the celebrative elements in the feasts and all. 20% say that some of the elements like fireworks, bands, decorations, etc. could be reduced to an extent. They also like solemn masses on feasts.

3.5 On Active Participation

People understand by the active participation is simply reciting the prayers loudly and attending every part of the Sacramental celebration devotedly.  And in order to have an active participation they recommend church music. They also wanted that the priest too recite the prayers in such way that it would evoke in them a kind of feeling piety and devotion. They actively participate in the popular devotions because they are short and priest gives occasional commentaries so that they can keep attentive again and again. Only 30% of people have a thirst and genuine intention in participating in the Holy Mass. For others, it is only part of a custom and they obey it since the law demands it; otherwise they say they would like to replace it with some other devotional practices. Therefore it is duty of the priests to make the Sacramental celebrations meaningful and effective.

3.6 On Ministers of the Sacraments

Generally all the participants like priests and love priesthood. But they have a lot of suggestions about the minister of the Sacraments. Their priest should pray before and after the celebration of the Sacrament. They don’t behave in such way that as if they hate their people when they approach them for Sacramental purposes. They wanted the priest should be simple and they must approachable at every time and everywhere. They should respect the dignity of the person. They don’t want to be offended publically. They shall not be angry to them in confessional. They wanted the priest to make good sermons during the mass. They have the feeling that the ministers do not t really understand the situation of the people. They think that the priests live far from the realities. They want their needs to be remembered in the Alter. Ministers must pray for the people and they say they must feel it. They are happy to see them sometimes praying in the church. They like the priest giving guidance and instructions in the church. They also wanted to know about the Sacramental life and contemporary teachings too.

3.7 On Other Religions

90% of the people believe that other religions are false religions and they do not have valid forms of worship. The positive thing is that all of them I interviewed are proud to be a Christian. 10% believe that the people of other religions are also worshipping God in different way and they would be saved if they live a sinless life in their religion. They also recommend that if they could come to Catholic faith it would be easy for them to lead a virtuous life because the church provides everything helpful for their salvation. 25% are intolerable to other religions and their way of cult. 20% has got a tolerable attitude. 55% has got neutral attitude.

4. Synopsis

Generally I was satisfied with the interview. People have differences of opinion and their opinions, as far as I understand, is moulded from their living conditions and particular situations. The answers that I got would have been slightly changed if I could meet the persons from some other area. Anyway the evaluation gave me the conviction that the lay men of the church needed to be guided in their spiritual as well as material life and should be well educated by the priest. For that the priests must be prepared well. They understand and admire people to a great extend. Not only that they thirst for good priests. People are still in the traditional frame work of belief systems. It is not that easy to change their flow of thought; but gradual progress in their attitude could be a possible thing. At least the basic Catechism should be taught to people. Sunday sermons are to be made use of catechetical instructions too – not in an isolated way but as the part of biblical interpretation and faith formation of the people.

5. Conclusion

The mission of Christ is being continued in the church. Church is the Sacrament of Christ. We the ministers of the Christ and their by the church has special duty and obligation to feed the people of God in their pastoral needs. People respect people very much and they need the priests. They seek peace and words of consolation from the ministers of the church. Priest has therefore to understand the needs of the people and must be prepared properly to guide and lead the people of God to their supreme destination.

Bibliography

COOKE, BERNARD, Sacraments Sacramentality (Connecticut, USA: Twenty-Third Publications, 1983).

EVELY, LOUIS, Church and the Sacraments (New Jersey: Dimension Books, 1971).

 

FARRELL, CHRISTOPHER-THOMAS ARTZ, The Sacraments Today: their Meaning and Celebration (Liguori, USA: Liguori Publications, 1978).

KELLY, W., Sacraments Revisited Darton, London: Longman Ltd., 1998).

 

MARGERIE, BERTRAND DE, Sacraments and Social Progress (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1974).

MICK, LAWRENCE, Understanding the Sacraments Today (Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1987).

RAHNER, KARL, The Church and Sacraments (Montreal: Palm Publishers, 1963).

SCHANZ, JOHN P., Introduction to the Sacraments (New York: Pueblo Publishing Company, 1983).

SEGUNDO, JUAN LUIS, Sacraments Today (New York: Maryknoll, 1971).

TAYLOR, MICHAEL J. (Ed.), Sacraments: Readings in Contemporary Sacramental Theology (New York: Alba House, 1981).


[1] LAWRENCE MICK, Understanding the Sacraments Today (Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1987)101-103.

[2] CHRISTOPHER FARRELL -THOMAS ARTZ, The Sacraments Today: their Meaning and Celebration (Liguori, USA: Liguori Publications, 1978)17-18.

[3] CHRISTOPHER FARRELL -THOMAS ARTZ, The Sacraments Today: their Meaning and Celebration, 19-24.

[4] JOHN P. SCHANZ, Introduction to the Sacraments (New York: Pueblo Publishing Company, 1983)12.

[5] KARL RAHNER, The Church and Sacraments (Montreal: Palm Publishers, 1963) 42-46.

[6] W. KELLY, Sacraments Revisited Darton, London: Longman Ltd., 1998)12–20.

[7] MICHAEL TAYLOR J.,  (Ed.), Sacraments: Readings in Contemporary Sacramental Theology (New York: Alba House, 1981)24-28.

[8] EVELY, LOUIS, Church and the Sacraments (New Jersey: Dimension Books, 1971)11-17.

[9] JUAN LUIS SEGUNDO, Sacraments Today (New York: Maryknoll, 1971)24-27.

The Reception of the Conciliar Reform in the Liturgy of the Syro-Malabar Church

The Reception of the Conciliar Reform in the Liturgy

of the Syro-Malabar Church

 

Fr Antony Nariculam

Introduction

 

Among the 16 documents of Vatican II, the first one discussed and passed in the Council was the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Liturgy is said to be the ‘heart’ of the Church. So much so, the ‘quality’ of an Individual Church can be determined, to a great extent, by observing the liturgical celebration of her members because the Church is basically a worshipping community.

After the Council, the Church in India took a leap forward with the “Church in India Today” seminar held at NBCLC, Bangalore in 1969 to find out the ways and means to implement the Council documents. One of the documents which drew pointed attention of the participants of the seminar was the constitution on liturgy. Among all the 22 Catholic Individual Churches, the Syro-Malabar Church is perhaps the only one which took bold steps to renew the liturgy. This renewal movement was spearheaded by Cardinal Joseph Parecattil who believed that the Syro-Malabar Church should be ‘Indian’ in worship. Among the then Syro-Malabar Bishops, Archbishop Jacob Thoomkuzhy was one who whole-heartedly supported the Cardinal to go forward with the reform process ‘indianizing’ the liturgy. Though the Cardinal’s initiatives were helpful to create a new awareness about the need of liturgical reform in the Syro-Malabar Church in the light of the conciliar document on the sacred liturgy, there was also opposition to his move from various quarters. Therefore, the reform process gradually slowed down, heading towards a standstill.

Vatican II and  Liturgical Reform

The thrust of Vatican II regarding the liturgical reform can be concisely summarized as “restoration, revision and adaptation”. The Council declared that the Church wishes to preserve all lawfully recognized rites and foster them in every way, and also that the rites be revised in the light of sound tradition in order to meet the needs of the modern age (SC 4). The Council gave some directives also to achieve this aim.

In the liturgy, the Council observes, there are unchangeable and changeable elements. Not that the latter may be changed, but ought to be changed if they have become less suitable for today. In this process, one of the principles to be followed is that liturgy is understood by the faithful with ease and that they can take part in it fully, actively and as a community (SC 21). SC 34 which says that the rites should be simple, short, clear and free from useless repetitions, is one of the golden principles of Vatican II. Another basic principle is regarding the need of inculturation.  The Church is open to admit into the liturgy what is not superstitious or erroneous in the way of life of the people and their culture (SC 37).

Conciliar Reform and Reception in the Syro-Malabar Church

 

One of the stumbling blocks in the reception of the conciliar constitution on the liturgy in the Syro-Malabar Church is the (mis)understanding about the very process of restoration, revision and adaptation. According to some, revision and adaptation should take place only after completing the restoration of all liturgical texts. It would mean that the Syro-Malabar Church should fully restore and use the ancient Syriac texts, may be translated into modern languages, without much change. On the other hand, the vast majority in the Church preferred to give greater emphasis to revision, adaptation and inculturation . Of course, no Church can revise its liturgy without restoring it first. But this should be, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger observes, only for “recovering the lost values”.[1] In other words, our primary concern should not be ‘What was the liturgy like then?”, but “What ought to be done today?” to make it meaningful and relevant to the people of today.[2]

‘Pastoral realism’ is important in any reform. This has been always a crucial concern of the Syro-Malabar Church. This idea was endorsed also by the Roman Congregation for the Oriental Churches. “The good of the faithful ( ‘bonum fidelium’)”, the Congregation noted, “is the pastoral norm governing all liturgical legislation”.[3] The right and duty to resolve concrete pastoral issues in the liturgy belong to the diocesan Bishop, said an eminent Oriental liturgiologist, Prof. Robert Taft, addressing the Syro-Malabar Bishops in the Synod held in the Vatican in 1996.[4] The steps taken by Archbishop Thoomkuzhy in the realm of liturgy were influenced by this pastoral attitude. Therefore, he told the Syro-Malabar Bishops: “Liturgiology is a very comprehensive discipline like linguistics. We have, however, to be extremely wary of liturgical reforms, conceived by scholars who perhaps do not have direct contact with the pastoral realities”.[5] Further he said: “There is no divergence of opinion among the (Syro-Malabar) Bishops or others with regard to essential matters of faith or morals. Often it is concerned with certain rubrics, clarity, simplicity etc. They are more of a pastoral nature. It should be noted that these pastoral exigencies do not have a uniform pattern all over the Syro-Malabar eparchies”.[6]

Another issue which continues to be discussed in the realm of Syro-Malabar liturgical reform is the meaning of “organic growth”, and consequently, the understanding of ‘tradition’ and ‘traditions’. According to Vatican II, in the process of liturgical renewal new forms adopted should in some way grow ‘organically’ from forms already existing (SC 23). In the words of Pope John Paul II, tradition is not an unchanging repetition of formulas, but a heritage which preserves the original core.[7] The Instruction of the Oriental Congregation observes that “No Church, Eastern or Western, has ever been able to survive without adapting itself continuously to the changing conditions of life”.[8] This is so because history is not simply the past, rather it is the contemporary understanding of life in terms of its origin and evolution as seen through the prism of our present concern. Therefore, Pope John Paul II told the Syro-Malabar Bishops in 1980 that the liturgical reform  must be based on “fidelity to genuine ecclesial traditions and open to the needs of the faithful, to the culture and to possible changes by way of organic progress”.[9]

About ‘tradition’ and ‘organic growth’ Archbishop Thoomkuzhy has this to say: “First of all, there is no agreement as to what the genuine traditions are and what are not. Secondly, there is the difference as to which traditions we have to return and which traditions are to be reformed”.[10] Further he observes that in the process of organic growth in the liturgy, there can be influences not too consonant with its original structure. Unless they are too essential for the salvation of souls it does not seem to be worth going back to the original state.[11]

In this context, it is good to note an observation made by Robert Taft. “It has been my constant observation”, writes he, “that liturgies do not grow evenly, like living organisms. Rather, their individual structures possess a life of their own. More like cancer than native cells, they can appear like aggressors, showing riotous growth at a time when all else lies dormant”.[12]

The above observations are relevant when we consider the reception of the conciliar reforms in the liturgy of the Syro-Malabar Church. The restored texts of the Syro-Malabar liturgy – Divine Office (1938), Holy Qurbana (1957), Pontifical (1958), Propria (1960), Calendar (1960)etc. – belong to a period prior to Vatican II. Of these only the holy Qurbana underwent slight modifications in 1962, 1968, 1985 and 1989. The revised text of the Sacraments was published in 2005. The other texts are to be published in the coming years.

Despite the earnest efforts of the Bishops, there still persists a complaint that the revised texts are not sufficiently adapted and inculturated. Liturgy is always subject to reform. The most consoling aspect of the ‘liturgical crisis’ in the Syro-Malabar Church is that there is no difference of opinion about the fundamental and essential aspects of the liturgy. As Archbishop Thoomkuzhy rightly observes, the divergence of opinion is only about certain rubrics, clarity, pastoral concerns etc. Vatican II, the Popes, the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, the Oriental Congregation and the Syro-Malabar Synod of Bishops have on various occasions laid down principles and guidelines in order to restore, revise and adapt liturgy for the ‘Church of today’. Adaptation to local needs is all the more urgent today since the Syro-Malabar Church is fast spreading to various countries, especially to Europe, America and the Gulf. An unprejudiced openness towards new pastoral realities based on fundamental principles of liturgical reform will help us to be relevant and useful for the people living in diverse circumstances. The steps taken by Archbishop Thoomkuzhy throughout his episcopal ministry have indeed this mark of pastoral realism.

 

 


[1]  The Ratzinger Report, p.38

[2]  The Ratzinger Report, p.132.

[3] Directives of 1988, No.2

[4] Acts of the Synod, p.133

[5] Acts of the Synod, p.98

[6] Acts of the Synod, p.109

[7] Orientale Lumen, No.8

[8] Instruction  of 1996, No.11

[9] Roman Documents, Kottayam  1999, p.65

[10] Acts of the Synod, p.94

[11] Acts of the Synod, p.95

[12] How liturgies Grow? p.360

THE PRIEST AND THE LITURGY

THE PRIEST AND THE LITURGY

Dr Antony Nariculam

             Antony Nariculam

 

Vatican II describes the ministerial priesthood as a participation in Jesus’ mission. “Priests are consecrated in the image of Christ, the eternal High Priest, to preach the Gospel, shepherd the faithful and celebrate the divine worship as true priests of the New Testament” (LG 28). It is said that a Christian community is judged by the liturgy it celebrates. For, the liturgy of a Church is an index of that particular Church’s inner dynamism.

 

To have an effective liturgical celebration, according to Vatican II, people have to participate in it ‘consciously, devoutly and fruitfully’ (SC 48). Every word and gesture in the liturgy has a meaning. Unless this meaning is understood, liturgy becomes a hollow ritual, and consequently, it is felt to be a boring experience.

 

When we examine the history of liturgical celebrations, we come across three ‘deviations’, so to say, from the focal point of celebration. The first is making the word of God a concatenation of human words by unnecessarily long homilies or shared view points on the biblical passages. The second is the clericalization making the liturgy a ‘performance’ of those who are in the sanctuary. And thirdly, the anachronistic imperial paraphernalia which obfuscated the simplicity of the original celebration.[1]

 

In the patristic golden age the Fathers like Ambrose, Gregory Nazianzen, Augustine and Gregory the Great have written treatises on clerical life. But, most of them are on the ethical and pastoral aspects. A book of the patristic age specifically on the priesthood is that of St.John Chrysostom and it deals above all with the celebration of the Liturgy.[2] According to him, the ministerial priesthood is something unearthly since the priest makes Christ present to us in the Eucharistic sacrifice. In Christian liturgy the ordained persons are considered to be an access to the divine. Though many symbolic roles of the priests are influenced by the Old Testament priesthood, the origin of Christian priesthood is Jesus himself. The early Christian commentators of liturgy are unanimous in considering the priest acting in persona Christi in the liturgy.[3]

 

This article is an attempt to identify the various roles of the priest in the liturgical celebration and his ministry in personal Christi.

 

  1. Priest as ‘Liturgist

 

A ‘liturgist’ is one who celebrates liturgy. Hence every priest is a liturgist. (The one who ‘teaches’ the ‘science of liturgy’ is a ‘liturgiologist’). Any liturgical celebration becomes effective, to great extent, depending upon the ‘liturgist’. Therefore, the pastors of souls must realize that when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the laws governing valid and lawful celebration. It is their duty also to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing and actively engage in the celebration so as to be enriched by it (SC 11). Pastors should carefully apply requisite pedagogy so that the faithful actively participate in the liturgy (SC 14). Unless the priests themselves become fully imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy and become capable of teaching people about the meaning and value of it, Vatican II observes that “it would be futile to entertain any hope of realizing the goal of conscious, active and fruitful participation of the people in the liturgy” (SC 14). In fact, a priest is ordained, among other things, to celebrate “devoutly and fruitfully the mysteries of Christ for the praise of God and the sanctification of the Christian people”.[4]

 

The Cultic Ministry of the Priests

 

The cultic dimension of priesthood began to be emphasized already from the second century. By the end of that century, we observe a connection between episcopos and presbyter with hierus, sacerdos and pontifex. Eventually liturgy, especially the Eucharistic celebration, began to be stressed as the characteristic mark of priesthood. The cultic understanding the priesthood was further emphasized by the Council of Trent. The later theology, especially after Vatican II, which gave due emphasis to the prophetic and leadership roles of the priest has not caught the attention of the faithful in general, and to a certain extent, even that of the priests themselves. The ordination rites also give the impression that the priest is mainly ordained for cultic service. The actual pastoral situation also attaches greater importance to priests’ sacramental role than other functions. This paradigm shift began sometime in the 4th century when Christianity became the official religion of the Roma Empire. Soon the liturgical interpreters of both East and West began to give allegorical interpretations to the cultic acts, comparing the celebrants to the heavenly hierarchy of the angels and making then ‘channels’ of grace.

 

According to the uninterrupted teaching of the Church a priest has three functions: Prophet, Priest and Servant. This is reiterated in Vatican II (LG 28; PO 4-6). But, which function constitutes the ‘essence’ of priesthood? In the history we find theologians giving primacy to one or other function of the priest. Pope John Paul II was one who advocated primacy of cultic and sacramental ministry. “If the Eucharist is the centre and summit of the Church’s life, it is likewise the centre and summit of priestly ministry. For this reason, with a heart filled with gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ, I repeat that the Eucharist ‘is the principal and central raison d’etre of the  sacrament of priesthood, which effectively came into being at the moment of the institution of the Eucharist”.[5]

 

Thus, whether one likes it or not, the fact is that the cultic ministry of the priests continues to be of primary importance. Hence it is imperative that this role is effectively carried out by the liturgical celebrants.

 

Liturgy as Ritual Action

 

Liturgy is not simply a prayer, but a ‘rite’. It has a ritual language which goes beyond the language of words and texts. In order to implement this language of rituals, a proper church building is necessary because liturgical acts take place in space set up for the same. The celebrant should know how to make use of this space. The liturgical space does not depend basically upon the ‘tastes’ of the celebrant or the people. Instead, it is arranged according to the needs of the celebration such as procession, incensing etc. The sanctuary, altar, ambo (bema), choir, place for preparing the gifts (beth-gazza), baptismal font and the nave (hykla) are some of the elements of this space. Only when the celebrating assembly is obedient to the specification of space, can the symbolic communication through the ritual act take place. The communication scholars inform us that more than half of our communications is non-verbal. At times the non-verbal communication in the liturgy is more powerful than the verbal. A careless celebrant who has scant attention for the rite is, in fact, symbolically calling into question the content of the celebration.

 

A liturgical rite is a human action in which man apprehends himself as religious being. It is an action in which he feels that he is sharing in the divine activity, that is, “an action which God performs through and in man, as much as man himself performs it in and through God”.[6] At the same time, a ritual action without appeal to the mind, or words which have no contact with reality is often the predicament of modern man. The words which convey nothing more than a reasoning process and actions which no longer make sense cannot be considered an effective ritual.

 

St.Cyprian in his Letter 63 insists that true worship depends on performing the ritual with the same intent as that of Christ. “The priest truly serves in Christ’s place who imitates what Christ did and offers up a true and complete sacrifice to God the Father in the Church when he proceeds to offer it just as he sees Christ himself to have offered it”.[7]

 

Liturgy is not for one who does not understand and appreciate the role of signs since the liturgy is an expression of human religious ethos through outward symbolic means. Unfortunately for many moderns it has a bad ring. They consider the ‘rites’ to be rigid and restrictive of human freedom, especially when they are prescribed from above. According to a second century Roman jurist Pomponius Festus, a non-Christian, ‘rite’ is an “approved practice in the administration of sacrifice”.[8] This definition seems to be still a valid one. The signs and symbols in the liturgy, says Vatican II, derive their meaning from the Bible (SC 24). For Christians, the ‘rite’ means “the practical arrangements made by the community in time and space, for the basic type of worship received from God in faith”.[9] Of course, no sign or rite has any absolute value. At the same time, not every celebrant is free to change the ‘rites’ to his taste since it belongs to the community.

 

Besides, to celebrate the rituals meaningfully and effectively, one needs to know one’s own liturgical tradition sufficiently well because each tradition will have its own ‘vocabulary’ and ‘grammar’. All traditions will have something in common as the languages may have common words and grammar. However, each language will have its own grammatical construction. Writing English according to Hindi grammar would be comic. So is the case with a liturgical tradition. Each tradition will have its own way of expressing the worship formulae. A priest has to respect them.

 

Ars Celebrandi and the Priest

 

The ars celebrandi is not simply a gift, but a product of constant and disciplined practice. To a great extent, the way a priest celebrates the liturgy is a litmus text. To celebrate well, first of all, he needs to have the sensus Ecclesiae. Today people are on a fast-moving thread mill. Priests are no exception to this reality. The impression many celebrants give is that the ars celebrandi is a fait accompli with the seminary formation.

 

The attitude of the priest’s mind, heart and body towards God in the celebration affects the assembly. The tone of priest’s voice, his bodily movements and gestures invite people to a joyous and fruitful celebration. As the Charter of Priestly Formation for India remarks, “as a minister of the sacraments the priest renders the believing community and sharing community acceptable to God and transforms it into a living community of worship and service”.[10]

 

Familiarity with the liturgical texts repeated everyday can cause the celebrant to fail to convey their full meaning. So also, a shift of emphasis in reciting prayers can give wrong signals to the community. For example, the dramatization of the Institution Narrative during the holy Mass can obfuscate the role of the Holy Spirit in the epiclesis and attribute the transformative power to the words uttered by the minister. Still worse, the attention of the participants can be drawn to the minister rather than to God!

 

The ‘art’ of reciting the prayers is an aspect every liturgist should attend to. Take, for example, the anaphoral prayers. They have multiple layers of meaning and hence key words and phrases deserve to be emphasized . To rush through these prayers obfuscate the sense of the sacred and obstruct active participation. Note the following key words given in italics from the anaphora of Mar Addai and Mar Mari and see how important it is to emphasize them as the priest recites the prayer.

 

Lord, as you have commanded us, we your humble, weak and distressed

Servants are gathered together in your presence. You have showered upon

us such great things for which we can never thank you enough. To make

us share in your divine life, you assumed human nature, restored us from

our fallen state, and brought us from death to life eternal. Forgiving our

debts you sanctified us sinners, enlightened our minds, defeated our

enemies and glorified our frail nature by your immense grace.

 

  1. Priest as President of the Assembly

 

The priest-celebrant acts in his role as an ordained minister who is delegated to be the president of the assembly. Hence his interventions take place according to a determined manner and they constitute a particular mode of action within the framework of a liturgical action. In the liturgy he is an ‘ecclesial man’ (Vir Ecclesiasticus) united with the bishop and the presbyterium and thus a symbol of unity of the faithful. That is why Sacrosanctum Concilium No.42 recommends the Sunday Mass in the parish with the parish priest as the most sublime expression of the community of the faithful of the parish.

 

The primary duty of the president of the assembly is to create a congenial atmosphere so as to enable the Christian faithful to participate fruitfully in the mysteries of Christ being celebrated. In order to make the celebration active and fruitful, the president should have an understanding of the life-situations of the people with whom he celebrates because the liturgical celebrations are not only commemorations of the mysteries of Christ, but also are ‘celebrations’ of the life of the people in relation to the mysteries. Hence the breakings of the Word and the Bread as well as the celebration of other sacraments have to be contextualized for the benefit of the people. “The joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the men of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well” (GS 1). This statement of the Council is relevant also for the liturgical assemblies. Precisely for this reason the discrimination against the poor in the Eucharistic assembly was considered by St.Paul as an offence against the Lord himself (1 Cor 11:17 ff.).

 

In the New Testament we find the word ‘president’ (referring to the role of a minister (cf. Rom 12:8; 1 Thes 5:12: 1 Tim 5:17; Tit 3:8). In these instances the term ‘president’ is equal to someone who is ‘responsible to’ or ‘having care of’. Therefore, the priest-president should be aware of the fact that he is called upon and deputed to serve the assembly, besides being part of it. He does not preside over the assembly’ but is within it; he does not lead it, but serves it. Every liturgical celebration being an ecclesial act nobody – not even the priest – shall monopolize it.

 

The priest-president of the liturgical assembly is, in a way, a guarantor of the faith of the Church. Hence his actions should correspond to the noble role he plays. This role is effectively fulfilled only when he is aware of the fact that the Church is a communion. Consequently, the freedom of the president is very limited. His personal impulses and charism are not of primary importance. He has to take into consideration also the ‘catholicity’ (universality) of the liturgical action which does not in any way diminish the importance of adaptation and inculturation.

 

  1. Creativity and Liturgical Celebration

 

‘Creativity’ is a necessary quality of a good celebrant. But it does not mean that one acts according to his tastes or fancies. It presupposes sound doctrinal formation because orthopraxis is always based on orthodoxy. Creativity in the liturgy does not necessarily and always mean ‘creating’ new prayers substituting the fixed ones. A well-trained celebrant can be creative in manifold ways. Choosing appropriate readings and hymns, using the options provided by the text itself, preparing relevant prayers of the faithful (karozutha prayers), contextualizing the celebration with an introduction and preaching a suitable homily are occasions to be creative. In fact, untimely and unnecessary improvisations are uncalled for since they can only distract people. Creativity is not meant to give ‘surprises’ to the community. The priest should know more than anyone else that every celebration, especially that of the Eucharist, has a content of its own and a style. Ordinarily the community too is well aware of it. In the name of creativity a good celebrant will not tamper with it unless there is a genuine need. Therefore the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments remarked that the post-Vatican II reform has caused a number of abuses due to misguided sense of creativity and adaptation.[11]

 

Generally speaking, the liturgical texts belong to the assembly. To change well-known to them runs not only the risk of distracting them, but also it becomes an airing of minister’s personal views. Liturgical worship is not the forum to express such views.

 

‘Minimalism’ and ‘Pontificalism’ are two unacceptable extremes in the liturgical celebrations. Minimalism sins by symbolic and ceremonial ‘defect’ and Pontificalism by their ‘excess’. Pontificalism lays unnecessary emphasis on secondary elements as to obscure the primary. Minimalism ignores almost everything and makes the celebration a poor one without any solemnity.

 

A temptation for many today is to look at the liturgical action in terms of, as Joseph Ratzinger observes, “creativity, freedom, celebration and community” wherein things like rite, obligation, interiority and Church laws are ‘negative factors’.[12] For them the Missal is only a ‘guidebook’. The celebration is determined by the community and the concrete circumstance. They measure the ‘success’ on the celebration on the basis of the ‘activities’ that take place during the act of worship. Of course, there is some truth in this approach. But to tarnish the content of the celebration for the sake of creativity, spontaneity and participation can cause damage to the celebration as an action of God. In the attempt to make liturgy ‘simple’ and ‘intelligible’, the praise and honour to be rendered to God in an sacred atmosphere should not be made a mere secular action. In fact, liturgy is concerned not only with the conscious mind and with what can be immediately understood at a superficial level. Reducing the ecclesial community to a horizontal and humanistic group of persons will make religion and worship an affair about us rather than about God.

 

Trying to change prayers and rites in order to improve or contextualize them is, at times, something like trying to improve a finely turned musical instrument. One may know ‘something’ about the instrument, but he/she may not know the intricacies involved. In such cases, the best solution would be to leave it as it is and try to enjoy it. Very often the liturgical rites are carefully planned and based on principles and hence any capricious change will only impoverish its content.

 

The act of worship should help people to find strength in their spiritual life. Unfortunately many people find these celebrations dry, mechanical and unprofitable. This happens often due to the defective manner of the celebration. As Bishop Thomas Dabre observes, “We can no longer take their participation for granted. The celebration of the sacraments should be a joyful, inspiring and enlightening experience, for the sacraments unite us with the mysteries of salvation. Routine and the pressure of work can make our celebrations perfunctory, mechanical and dry. Priests and faithful need to collaborate and make the liturgy become an experience. Within the discipline of the Church’s worship, there is much scope for creativity, spontaneity and renewal. A greater commitment is called for to make the worship meaningful and profitable”.[13]

 

  1. Priest as Homilist

Among the functions of the priest, Vatican II places the preaching of the Gospel as the first one (PO4; cf. 2 Cor 11:7). In this way they carry out the command of Christ: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (MT 16:15). In fact, “Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard from the preaching of Christ” (Rom 10:17). As far as liturgy is concerned, this primary duty of the priest is realized in the Liturgy of the Word which essentially contains also the homily. Vatican II which recommended the need of a more ample, varied and suitable readings from the Sacred Scripture in the liturgy, suggested to give homily its rightful place in it and asked the priests to fulfil that duty most faithfully and carefully (SC 35/1-2). The Council also suggested the nature of the homily: “It must expound the Word of God not merely in a general and abstract way, but by an application of the elements of truths of the Gospel to concrete circumstances of life” (PO 4).

 

The homily besides being kerygmatic, doctrinal and moral, is also didactic and mystagogical. Hence the role of the president as a  homilist is of utmost importance. In a way, homily is sharing of the ‘known to the knowing’. It is a time of ‘liturgical catechesis’. The source of this catechesis is ordinarily the Sacred Scripture and the liturgy. As the homily is usually addressed to the baptized, it is a time to help them to deepen their faith and to direct them to a morally upright life. For many members of the Church, the Sunday homily is the only spiritual food they receive in a week and hence the homily should be informative and stimulating about religious matters and capable of steering them towards God.

 

Homily in the liturgical celebration is an “act of worship”, that is, homily is not simply defined by its content – an explanation of the mysteries of salvation -, and rather it is an integral part of the celebration itself. Precisely for this theological reason, the lesser clerics or lay persons are not permitted to preach homily within the liturgical service. The homilist acts sacramentally in the place of Jesus the PRIEST b y rendering through his words an act of worship, as PROPHET proclaiming and explaining the Word of God, as KING he addresses the Body of Christ authoritatively as head and pastor”.[14] As the priest exposes the word of God to the congregation, he is not only teaching the facts about salvation, but also carrying out the work of salvation. Presenting the truth of God the homilist awakes a response from the people, helping them to deepen their faith that leads to salvation.

 

In the homily, the role of the priest is not to teach ‘his own wisdom’, but the word of God and to issue an invitation to conversion and holiness.[15] Preaching “cannot be reduced to the presentation of one’s own thought, to the manifestation of personal experience, to simple explanations of a psychological, sociological or humanitarian nature; nor can it excessively concentrate on rhetoric, so often found in mass-communication. It concerns proclaiming a Word which cannot be altered, because it has been entrusted to the Church in order to protect, penetrate and faithfully transmit it”.[16]Therefore, homily not properly preached is a disservice done to the Church. As far as priests are concerned, homily should not be a ‘problem’, but an opportunity.

 

  1. Priest as Promoter of Active Participation

One of the major contributions of Vatican II liturgical Constitution is the impetus it gave to the active participation of the people in the liturgy. The priest plays an important role in making people participate actively in the celebration. But it is a matter of concern that many have not understood the real meaning of active participation. For them it is merely some external activities like responses to the prayers, singing by the choir and the like.

 

The central ‘action’ in the liturgy, in fact, is not the participating community. “The real liturgical action, the true liturgical act, is the oratio, the great prayer that forms the core of the Eucharistic celebration, the whole of which was, therefore called oratio by the Fathers… In this oratio the priest speaks with the I of the Lord – ‘This is my Body’, ‘This is my Blood’… This action of God, which takes place through human speech, is the real ‘action’ for which all of creation is in expectation… This is what is new and distinctive about Christian liturgy”.[17] This dimension of the interior dynamism of the liturgical action – the divine action – needs to be safeguarded. Therefore, for the sake of contextualization and being ‘creative’, the worshipping community should not be made a mere ‘social gathering’. The Eastern, and hence Indian, approach of apophatism can be of great help to pay attention to this divine dimension. The words and actions of the priest as well as the place and atmosphere of the celebration should be such that they evoke a sense of the sacred.

 

Vatican II has given a number of suggestions to promote the active participation of the people (SC 11, 14, 17, 18, 19, 28, 29, 30 etc). The roles[18] of each minister and that of the community need to be properly understood and respected for an effective participation. It is not right that the priest cedes to others those things that are proper to his office.

 

Vatican II which recommended responses, acclamations, hymns as well as gestures and bodily attitudes on the part of the faithful for active participation, added also that at proper times a ‘reverent silence’ should be observed (SC 30). Today people need to realize the effectiveness of silence in the liturgy, especially in the context of Indian religious ethos.

 

Silence in the liturgy is not a pause or an interruption, but a time of recollection , giving us an inward peace.[19]Silence helps ‘to feel the divine presence’. But, as Ratzinger observes, it is ‘manifestly not being met in our present form of the liturgy’.[20] Besides the silent moments for reflection after the homily and holy communion, Ratzinger suggests the time of the deposition of the gifts at the offertory as a time of silence placing ourselves before the Lord, asking him to make us ready for ‘transformation’ as the bred and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ.[21] A good celebrant will help people to experience this interior silence and take maximum fruit out of the celebration.

 

Conclusion

 

Alluding to some church-services, the Russian writer, Vladmir Rozanov once remarked that many Christians actually do not worship; instead, they have a lecture followed by a concert.[22] The author was sarcastically referring to the long biblical discourses and the music.

 

As we have already explained, the liturgy is more a ‘ritual prayer’. While the priests of pre-Vatican II erred in rubrics by excess, the post-Vatican generation errs by reductionism. Proper ritual actions – a slow entrance procession, a respectful carrying of the cross, Gospel book and candles, a reverent sign of the cross, a devotional recital of the prayers etc. – are important from a didactic point of view because they impress upon the congregation who participate in the worship.

 

In short, a totally necessary aspect of the formation of every Christian, and in particular of every priest, is liturgical formation in the full sense of becoming inserted in a living way in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ who died and rose again and is present and active in the Church’s sacraments’.[23]

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] A.PIERIS, A Liturgical Anticipation of a Domination-Free Church: The Story of an Asian Eucharist, EAPR, 3/2006, 215.

[2] G.NEVILLE, St.John Chrysostom: Six Books on the Priesthood, New York 1984.

[3] P.MANIATTU, Heaven on Earth. The Theology of Liturgical Spacetime in the East Syrian Qurbana, Rome 1995, 196.

[4] Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004), No.31.

[5] Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003), No.3; cf. PO 14.

[6] L.BOUYER, Rite and Man. Natural Sacredness and Christian Liturgy, Notre Dame 1963, 57.

[7] Letter 63:14.4. Quoted in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, July 2005, 51.

[8] J.RATZINGER, The Spirit of the Liturgy, San Francisco 200, 159.

[9] J.RATZINGER, The Spirit of the Liturgy, 160.

[10] Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, Charter of Priestly Formation for India (2004), No.1.2.3

[11] Redemptionis Sacramentum, No.30

[12] J.RATZINGER, The Feast of Faith, San Francisco 1986, 61.

[13] The Ministry of Diocesan Priests in India today, Vidyajyoti, April 2005, 249.

[14] J.FOX, The Homily and the Authentic Interpretation of Canon 767/1, Rome 1989. Quoted in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, November 1999, 18.

[15] JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo Vobis (1992), No.26.

[16] Congregation for the Clergy, Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests, Rome 1994, No.45.

[17] J.RATZINGER, The Spirit of the Liturgy, 172-173.

[18] Redemptionis Sacramentum, No.32.

[19] J.RATZINGER, The Spirit of the Liturgy, 209.

[20] The Spirit of the Liturgy, 209.

[21] The Spirit of the Liturgy, 211.

[22] A.PIERIS, A Liturgical Anticipation of a Domination-Free Church, 216

[23] Pastores dabo Vobis, No.48.