Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Quotation of the Week (December 28, 2014 - January 3, 2015)

A quotation of Herbert Bayard Swope on 'failure,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (A Christmas lighting in Toronto, Canada: Dec. 15, 2013) © Jerome D'Costa

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to You All!

Today is the Christmas. Christians all over the world observe their Saviour Jesus Christ’s birthday with solemnity and festivity. 

Christ’s birth reminds them of the love of God for mankind. Jesus Christ, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, took the human form and came to this world to save mankind by expiating for their sins through his suffering, death and resurrection.

On this auspicious day, we wish you all a Merry Christmas!

To know more on Christmas, you may visit the following:

A banner in front of St. Lawrence the Martyr Church, Toronto, urges people to "keep Christ in Christmas"

A giant Christmas crib in front of the same church mentioned above
Christmas lighting in front of a house
Christmas trees on sale in a gift store
A man dressed as Santa Claus gives a chance for a fee here to children to pose with him for photographs in a shopping mall
Sample of a postcard that millions of children write to the Santa Claus every year
A shop display of women's dresses during this Christmas season
A Santa Claus balloon on a car sales shop
Small potted Christmas trees on sale in a store
A lighted Christmas tree, on the left, in the commercial district of Toronto

A man dressed as a Santa Claus greets customers in a shopping mall

Christmas lighting in front of another house
Photos (Toronto: December, 2014) © Jerome D'Costa

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pope Francis Scolds Vatican Curia Officials in Unprecedented Harsh Language

Pope Francis giving Christmas message to the Vatican Curia officials on Dec. 23
 Photo courtesy: National Post

This year it will be a bitter-sour Christmas for many Vatican Curia (administrative departments) officials whose behavior was condemned by Pope Francis in his pre-Christmas audience on December 23.

The Curia officials were cardinals, bishops and priests who work for the Vatican. Most of them are Italian, few others are from foreign countries. 

In his speech to the officials, he spoke of ‘15 ailments’ affecting the Curia. These ailments were mentioned in strong words, never hear before publicly in the history of the Catholic Church. The Pope would never use such words if the real situation in the Curia were not in its worst condition. There must have been a deep chasm between what the officials speak, teach and portray in public and how they behave.

Some of the words used in the speech to the cardinals, bishops and priests were: lust for power; spiritual Alzheimer’s; existential schizophrenia; social exhibitionism; orchestra that plays out of tune; sower of discord; rivalry and vainglory; excessive busyness; mental and spiritual petrification; greed; egoism; thinking oneself as immortal, immune and indispensable; need for acting responsibly; excessive planning and functionalism; bad coordination; divinizing directors; sickness of close circles; sickness of accumulating; indifference to others; mournful face; lords of the manor; slave to passions, caprices and manias; possessing a heart of stone and a stiff neck; scandal; double life; hidden and often immoral private life; need for paying a visit to the cemeteries; terrorism of gossip.

To learn more on the Pope’s speech to the Curia officials, please visit the following:

Pope Francis giving his Christmas message to all Vatican employees on Dec. 22
Photo courtesy: National Post

Shortly before noon on Dec. 22, Pope Francis met with employees of the Holy See and of Vatican City State, with their families, for the exchange of Christmas greetings, reports Zenit news agency. Details of his audience are as follows:

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Archbishop Joseph Coutts’ Beard Named ‘Best Beard of the 2014 Synod'

Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, Pakistan
Photo courtesy: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

The blog of the Catholic News Agency (CNA) recently in its “Who Wore It Best” in the 2014 Synod of Bishops named the beard of Pakistani Archbishop Joseph Coutts as the “Best Beard of the 2014 Synod.” The blog also said: ”We applaud Bishop Coutts for his very full yet nicely-kempt Santa Claus-esque beard. We also applaud his aviators fashion choice – we think Joe Biden [U.S. Vice President] would be proud.

In the second half of 1966, I came to know Archbishop Coutts, who was known as ‘Joe Coutts’ in the Christ the King Major Seminary of Karachi, in the then West Pakistan (present Pakistan then comprised of both East and West Pakistan and I was from Dhaka, East Pakistan, which in late 1971, became Bangladesh). At the time I was in the first year Philosophy and Joe Coutts in the second year. Some other seminarians (who later became priests) from East Pakistan, in various classes of Philosophy and Theology, were Francis Gomes, Abel Rozario, Bernard Palma, Julian Rozario, Marcus Marandi, Patrick D’Rozario (now archbishop of Dhaka), and Alexius Jyoti Gomes. Due to health reasons, I had to leave the seminary after six months.

In that short period, I knew Joe Coutts as a friendly, personable, ever-smiling and ready-to-help-others person. These qualities had made an impression on me. Now his beard became an additional qualification in his personality! Congratulations, Archbishop Coutts!

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Quotation of the Week (December 21 - 27, 2014)

A quotation of Ruth Carter Stapleton on 'Christmas,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (Play of lights on Kennedy Road in Toronto: Dec. 16, 2014) © Jerome D'Costa

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Today Is the Victory Day in Bangladesh

Bangladesh muktijuddhas (freedom fighters) raising the flag of Bangladesh

 Artwork © Joachim Romeo D'Costa (2011)

Bangladesh gained its independence from the ruling elite of Pakistan on December 16 of 1971. Millions gave their lives, hundreds of thousands of women lost their honour in the raping armymen of the then West Pakistan and their local East Pakistani collaborators, billions of dollars worth of properties were also lost to army arson and destruction. Today Bangladeshis commemorate that victory with determination and pride.

On this occasion, you may read the following to look back to the history of the 9-month genocide and atrocities in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) in 1971: 

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Quotation of the Week (December 14 - 20, 2014)

A quotation of St. Augustine of Hippo on 'prayer,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (A terracotta rabbit and a pig used as children's toys in the village of Bhadun in Bangladesh: January 10, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The NSCTC Launches Its New Catalogue of Catholic Books, Posters, CDs and DVDs

Some of the Catholic books of the NSCTC

The main building of the National Social Catechetical Training Centre (NSCTC)  at Jessore, Bangladesh

Photo courtesy: NSCTC

The National Social Catechetical Training Centre (NSCTC) of Jessore, Bangladesh, recently published its latest Bengali-language catalogue of its books, posters, CDs and DVDs. This particular catalogue is now online at Jerome D’Costa Documents website. 

Interested Bengali-speaking readers, living abroad, will now be able to place their orders through the email and telephone numbers mentioned in the catalogue. 

The catalogued items are divided into following categories: the Bible, biography, catechism, Catholic dictionary, Catholic terminology, Christian life, Christian martyrs, Church Fathers, Church history, healing, holy sacraments, inter-Church and inter-religious issues, liturgy, meditations, pastoral work, plays and songs, social teachings of the Church, and spirituality. The centre also publishes the subscription-based bimonthly magazine 'Mongolbarta' (Good News) in Bengali.

Father Sergio Targa is the director of this centre and Father Silvano Garello, S.X., based in Dhaka, is the editor and one of the writers and translators of books. The National Social Catechetical TrainingCentre has to date published more than 230 books.

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