Friday, October 31, 2014

Today Is the Halloween Day

Today is the October 31st, the Halloween Day. This is the day when people -- young and old -- of the western countries think of witches, ghosts and ghouls.They get a special thrill in scaring people with all kinds of creative ideas, decorations, and costumes.

Originally the Celts were into this Halloween thing and later the Catholic Church tried to give it a religious character by letting people think and pray for their dearly departed who are officially remembered by the Church on the All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). With the immigration of the Irish, Welsh and Scottish people to the USA, Canada, Australia and some other countries, the Halloween customs and rites spread to other ethnic groups. When the business community found it to be financially lucrative, they took it to a new level selling their Halloween items and making billions of dollars in profit.

The following photos depict how the Halloween is represented in the decorations in and around the houses and apartment buildings in Toronto, Canada.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Quotation of the Week (October 26 - November 1, 2014)

A quotation of Caroline Klein Simon on 'how to be a successful woman,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (Cloud and jet plane vapours in the sky over a section of Toronto: March 10, 2013) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Quotation of the Week (October 19-25, 2014)

A quotation of Seneca the Younger on 'keeping a secret,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (A person reflected on a tinted glass of a vendor's stall at the Scarborough Town Centre Mall, Toronto: June 26, 2014) © Jerome D'Costa

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Global Surveys on Catholic Marriage and Family Life Present Surprises

St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican
One year prior to the Catholic Bishops' Synod on Family, started on October 5 this year, the Vatican had sent out a preparatory document with a questionnaire on marriage and family to all the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of the world to know the situation and mind of the present-day Catholics. The synod participants are now discussing their points based mostly on the results of this survey.

Following this, Univision Global, a U.S.-based communications company, through Bendixen and Amandi International, did a survey of its own of 12,038 Catholics in 12 countries of three continents. These countries are the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and the Philippines. This survey, being independent of the Catholic Church, provides the changing nature of the Catholics in this modern world. 

Both the surveys give a picture of the gap between the official Catholic Church teachings and the life led by the Catholics around the world.

For details and additional information on the surveys, please access the following:

The Vatican survey of Catholic Bishops' Conferences of the world: 

 The Univision survey of Catholics in the world:

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Quotation of the Week (October 12 - 18, 2014)

A quotation of Rudyard Kipling on 'a woman managing a man,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (The dusk at Agincourt Mall, Scarborough, Toronto: August 25, 2013) © Jerome D'Costa

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Pope Francis Opens the Synod on Family with a New Attitude

Pope Francis inaugurates the Synod on the Family
Photo courtesy: The Telegraph, London

Pope Francis on Sunday, October 5, formally inaugurated the Extraordinary General Synod on the Family at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. More than 200 cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and lay men and women are participating in this synod. This pastoral-oriented synod will place more emphasis on justice and mercy rather than having the Church's judgmental attitude of the past.

 This two-week synod will deal with the Catholic family in general and, in particular, divorce, birth control, premarital sex, marriage annulment, same-sex marriage and the like which are the real-life issues in today’s world. 

The pope told the participants to avoid obscure theological debate and intellectual sparring in favour of analyzing why so many Catholics defy official teaching on issues such as birth control and premarital sex, reports The Telegraph. 

On October 4, Pope Francis, in the pre-synod prayer vigil, said we must be attentive to the signs of the times to see the needs of the family by listening, being open and looking to the Lord, reports the Catholic News Agency. 

“To search for that which today the Lord asks of His Church, we must lend our ears to the beat of this time and perceive the ‘scent’ of the people today,” the Pope told thousands of people gathered for the vigil in St. Peter’s Square.

For daily proceedings and other details of the synod, please visit the following regularly:

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Monday, October 6, 2014

A Photo Essay on St. Lawrence the Martyr Church's Annual 'Life Chain' in Toronto

St. Lawrence the Martyr Church and the local Knights of Columbus organized the annual "Life Chain" yesterday on both sides of Lawrence Avenue East facing the church in Scarborough, Toronto. About 100 parishoners and supporters, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., were holding posters with various pro-life messages towards two-way motorists, many of whom honked their vehicles expressing their support.

The purpose of the annual Life Chain at this parish is to support the "good cause to defend the unborn and to protect women from the harmful effects of abortion," says the weekly parish bulletin.

Some of the posters they were holding announced: "Abortion kills children," "Abortion hurts women," "Defend Life," "Adoption the loving option," and "Life the first inalienable right."

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Quotation of the Week (October 5-11, 2014)

A quotation of Francis Bacon on 'books,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (A hawker sells English-language books to motorists in Dhaka, Bangladesh: Dec. 28, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ghost Apparitions Caught on Cameras

A ghost appearing on a staircase
 Photo courtesy:

Every culture has its own version of ghost stories that are passing down to next generations for centuries. Some of these stories are plausible, others are not. Yet, people are fascinated by these stories and they like these hair-raising narratives.

Recently, the Espanola (in New Mexico, USA) police station security camera at night captured a white figure easily passing through several metal enclosers from one end to the other without triggering any alarm. (Click on the first item below).

In this modern age with scientific and technological advances, the idea of ghosts is losing its currency all over the world. Certain religions, especially Christianity, specifically speaks of the life after death -- the life that is eternal. 

When I was a child in my village in Rangamatia (in the district of Gazipur, Bangladesh), I used to hear ghost stories from elders. Our Catholic parish church has a cemetery in the intersection of two canals. Elders would say that certain relatives of theirs saw ghost apparitions in the past. When passing by the cemetery in the dark, they saw ghosts in white shrouds appearing from nowhere and walking in front of them! These figures would walk in suspended motion above the ground and their feet were turned backwards.We experienced a lot of goose bumps listening to these creepy stories and we were afraid of the dark for quite some time. 

Whether you believe in the ghosts or not, you may check out the following:

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