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Rediscovering the Power of the Spirit in the Church 


In the Acts of the Apostles, we see the Holy Spirit as an instrument in and through which the Lord Jesus guides and even protects the nascent Church. The Spirit is seen literally guiding the actions – holding by the hand, as it were – of the Apostles and disciples, showing them where to go and where not to go for the time being, what to say and how to overcome the obstacles presented by different worldviews and philosophies of the cultures where the Church makes a missionary foray. 

The Holy Spirit is thus closely bound to the Resurrected Lord, and makes true His claim that "I will be with you always till the end of the age." It is in and through the Holy Spirit that Jesus is now present to all of humanity at all times, precisely emerging forth from the continuum of space-time, to dwell in a continuum of eternity. The Holy Spirit, being the principal engine of movement and guiding consciousness of the Church, also pulls the community of believers that is the Church from this world into the life that is to come. The eternal presence of the Spirit in the Church reminds us that while nestled in this world, the Church is in fact a mirror of, and gateway to, the heavenly Jerusalem. 

Too often though, the Holy Spirit is relegated to being merely the third person of the Trinity in the general consciousness of the believers. While the Trinitarian reality is in fact true, it can erode the pneumatological foundation and basis of the Church's life and activity on earth. Bereft of the charismatic dimension so powerfully seen in the early life of the Church making its way into new places and territories, the Church can be tempted to be anchored in its institutional nature, focusing on organisation, hierarchies, stability and a passive orthodoxy, rather than being open to being blown by the wind, to wherever the Spirit takes it. 

It is time that the Church, both local and universal, sees Pentecost not as a powerful event of the past, but as an ongoing event. The local Church must rediscover the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, more so the power of the Spirit, and allow itself to be set on fire for the salvation of the world. The Christian faith is not something to be maintained and protected, but to be evangelised and shared to the four corners of the earth. The Church must learn to let itself be guided once again by the Spirit, over and through uncharted waters, new ministries, old and new challenges, and the new cultures and philosophies of the contemporary post-modern world yet untouched by the faith of the Gospels. 

The Synodal process begun by Pope Francis is a step in the right direction and a new "aggiornamento" in the Church. By listening and being listened to, we are allowing the Spirit to once again take primacy of place in the Body of Christ, provided we are open and honest about the process. We must continue to have these "Conversations in the Spirit" in a manner of sincerity and willingness to listen with an open heart. If we continue to seek security and comfort in the institutional dimension of the Church, we may soon find ourselves sharing the destiny of all human institutions throughout the history of mankind. 

But the Church, the Body of Christ and the community of believers, is precisely led and guided by the inner sighs and screams of the Spirit dwelling within us. This precisely is the reason for our hope, and excitement when we look to the future. We must pray that the gifts of the Spirit be accepted and put to good use in a powerful way in our daily lives. A popular wisdom saying tells us that an elephant's trunk has approximately 10,000 muscles, and while it is strong enough to knock down a tree, it is also nimble enough to pick up a blade of grass. What does this tell us? That each one of us has the powerful force of the Spirit residing within us, that can bring about a revolution in the world, and yet it is through the gentle power of LOVE shining through the Face of Christ that we set the world on course towards the Kingdom to come. 

When we abdicate this Christian duty, we discount the presence and the power of the Spirit within us. 

Come, Holy Spirit!

Fr Joshan Rodrigues is on The Examiner Editorial Board, with the additional duty of Managing Editor.

Ascension in the Age of AI and Algorithms

Fr Anthony Charanghat


The feast of the Ascension is a celebration that presents the perfect scenario of Jesus’ final glorification after His suffering, death and Resurrection – a glory in which we, too, hope to share. The Gospel of John describes how Jesus ascended to His heavenly abode, after giving His final blessing and missionary command to His disciples. The command was to 'proclaim and communicate the Good News of Salvation to the whole of humankind and creation.' Jesus promises His disciples the Holy Spirit who shapes the perfect source of heavenly power to assist them to bear witness to His new kind of glorified bodily-spirit presence throughout the world. It is the Spirit who enables us to communicate the message of this new kind of His presence to the world.

Ever since then, humankind has attempted the use of different means of communication traditions, via oral, written, visual, and multimedia movie technology generating poignant pathos, to express this mysterious saving presence. The Pope however says, we must continue to cultivate new wonders of technology in communications like AI, so that we may be more effective in communicating this kind of presence of God’s infinite saving love.  It is the Holy Spirit who endows us with the supernatural wisdom of the human heart enabling us to communicate as men and women of the Ascension.

The Ascended Jesus into heaven sends us, His disciples, to spread the Gospel throughout the world. It is a matter of being men and women who seek Christ along the transitory paths of our time, bringing His Word of salvation to all people of good will. Without the gift of the Spirit, all our missionary efforts in communication would be deficient, and fall short of conveying the fullness of the glory of God, that reveal the comprehensive understanding of the Way as shown by Jesus to follow His path to Heaven.

In his recent message for World Communications Day 2024, Pope Francis delves into the profound impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on our lives, urging us to ponder deeply on how we can remain truly human amidst this technological revolution. He emphasises that the development of AI systems is not merely a concern for professionals, but a matter that affects every individual and the fabric of society as a whole.

Central to the Pope's message is the concept of the, "wisdom of the human heart,". A new kind of humanity must take shape, endowed with a deeper spirituality and new freedom and interiority” which guides us in integrating our decisions, emotions and spirituality amidst the complexities of technological advancement. This wisdom enables us to overcome the challenges posed by AI, while upholding human dignity, transparency, and equality. It is imperative to approach this technological transformation with a perspective grounded in humanity, underlining the call to embrace the new, while safeguarding our humanity.

The Pope underlines the dual nature of AI, presenting both opportunities and dangers. He recognises AI’s potential to facilitate communication, bridge linguistic barriers, and disseminate knowledge. However, he also highlights the risk of misinformation, manipulation, and the erosion of truth, particularly in the era of deepfakes and algorithmic bias.

Moreover, the Pope accentuates the importance of ethical regulation and responsible use of AI technologies. He calls for international collaboration to establish binding regulations that address the moral implications of AI development and deployment. He affirms that regulation alone is insufficient, stressing the need for self-restraint in practices that would endanger individual and collective growth in humanity.

Pope Francis calls for the need for thoughtful engagement with AI, focusing on its impact on professions, dignity, transparency, and equality. He warns against fostering divides and exploitation through AI. Advocating for AI should be a means to promote equality and empower communities globally.  A wise and discerning use that upholds human values will ensure that AI serves the common good and enhances the integral quality of communication in society.

On our journey, we will encounter Christ Himself in our brothers and sisters, especially in the poorest, in those who suffer in their very flesh, the harsh and humiliating experience of old and new forms of poverty. As at the beginning, the Risen Christ sent His Apostles with Faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, so too does He send all of us today on our mission ministry, with the power of His grace to firmly communicate concrete and visible signs of Hope. He went to heaven and opened the gates of heaven, and gave us the Hope to reach it.

Mary: Receptacle of Christian Joy


The privilege of Mary, when compared to the constellation of the Apostles and Saints, is that the Church sets aside not one day, but an entire month to Mary. May is a month to honour Mary, Mother of God and our Mother. The genesis of this practice can be traced back to medieval times, as May 1 was considered the birth of a new springtime and the end of the barrenness of winter. In India and the Asian sub-continent, the month of May coincides with summer rest, and is a wonderful opportunity for young and old alike to plan their downtime with Mary who can lead us to restful waters.

The Mother of Christ is a gentle stream that leads us to the Ocean of Divine Mercy. Mary can help us see the loving face of Christ in the midst of fatigue and despair, and bring respite to our tired souls. To see the face of Christ was one of the greatest gifts and graces that God in His mercy presented to the human race. And Mary became the immaculate and spotless vessel that bore the face of God. In fact, Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP suggests that it was Mary who put a smile on God's face!

The Israelites longed to see the face of God. This beautiful Benediction Blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 expresses this longing: 'The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you! The Lord look kindly upon you and give you peace!'

It is scientifically understood that a baby learns facial expressions by gazing upon the faces of those who look upon it with love. A baby's face is a response to the smiles of those who shower it with love. The Christ child learned to smile, reflecting the beautiful smile of Mary. Israel's longing was answered in a child who sat on His mother's lap and responded to her gaze. It becomes obvious then, that it is our faces, or rather, our smiles oozing with the love of God that bring Him into the lives of those around us.

But our faces do not always carry a smile. Our smiles may have vanished due to the heavy burdens of life, our anxieties, daily responsibilities, chores that never seem to end, and dreams that seem so far away and unattainable at times, in spite of our never ending efforts. Smiles can also be wiped away by the heavy chains of injustice, poverty (both in the material and moral life), scorn and ridicule heaped by others, or simply the ignominy of being ignored or unknown in society, not considered worthy of being known and seen by others.

The first witnesses of the Incarnation, outside of the Child's family, were the shepherds. Those who had no 'face' in their society, bring the good news: 'Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.' Those who are not considered worthy of being seen are among the first to see the longed-for face of God.

To all of us, Mary becomes the Cause of our Joy! Resting and reflecting with her during this month can bring us solace and happiness… and that smile back to our faces. A smile mirrors the joy of the soul. The mysteries of the Rosary encompass the range of human emotions: from joy to sorrow, from agony to luminous happiness. Praying the Rosary brings home the message that the glory of goodness will always triumph over the darkness of evil and sin. Our joyous moments may turn into sadness and pain from time to time in our lives, but the final word is the Resurrection, the triumph of Life and the vanquishing of death. It is fitting that the Coronation of Mary brings the Rosary to a close.

Let us allow Mary to envelop us with her maternal embrace, as we allow her to teach us to smile once again amidst the trials of life. It is through Mary that the Saints learnt to carry their heavy Crosses with a smile. Each one of us must be that face to the world. Even before we speak a single word, the joyous smile of a happy Christian must spread like contagion through a tired humanity looking for Living Waters.

Fr Joshan Rodrigues is on The Examiner Editorial Board, with the additional duty of Managing Editor.

St Joseph - Universal Patron of all Workers

Fr Anthony Charanghat

Pope Francis has often emphasised the universal significance of Saint Joseph on Labour Day, May 1st even in the modern context of work and family, particularly relevant to our times. In several of his messages and prayers, the Pope consistently highlights Saint Joseph as an ideal of dedication to work and a protector of families.

In one of his general audiences, Pope Francis reflected on Saint Joseph's virtues, portraying him as a guardian who teaches us to trust in God's providence over our own plans, and to embrace those marginalised by society. He praised Joseph's silent yet profoundly impactful role in Jesus' life and the Holy Family, underscoring his example of fatherly love and care which can guide us in facing life's challenges with dignity and hope.

Moreover, the Pope has connected the figure of Saint Joseph to broader social issues, such as the dignity of work and the fight against modern forms of slavery and unemployment. He has encouraged solidarity and effort from those in positions of authority to improve employment opportunities, reflecting on work not just as a necessity, but as a fundamental aspect of equal human dignity to both man and woman, reflecting their co-participation in God's Creation.

The Book of Genesis tells us that God created man and woman, entrusting them with the task of filling the earth and subduing it, which does not mean exploiting it, but nurturing and protecting it, caring for it through their distinct roles in the work of Creation (Gen 1:28; 2:15). Work is part of God's loving plan; we are called to cultivate and care for all the goods of God's Creation. Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. Work, to use a metaphor, 'anoints' both man and woman with dignity, makes them partakes in God's ongoing Creation, who always acts (Jn 5:17). Renowned philosopher, theologian and scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin speaks of each one having the ability to maintain oneself, one's family, to contribute to the growth of the nation and the world. There are difficulties in various countries today that afflict the world of work and business. How many people, not only young, are unemployed? It is often due to a purely economic and gender concept of society which seeks profit selfishly, beyond the parameters of social justice.

We must encourage a sense of solidarity in every organisation of industry to make effort to give new impetus to the dignity of every kind of employment undertaken by persons. This means caring for the dignity of the person, but above all, not to lose hope. St Joseph also experienced moments of difficulty, but he never lost faith, and was able to overcome them, in the certainty that God never abandons us. Young people should be urged to commit themselves to daily duties, to excel in studies, diligently work, in a spirit of collaborative relationships of friendships. With an indomitable spirit of courage, youth should not fear the sacrifice of commitment nor fear confronting the unknown future. Like St Joseph, we must keep our hope alive: for there is always a light on the horizon.

We must be concerned about 'slave labour' - what we could define as exploitation, work that is demeaning. How many people worldwide are victims of this type of slavery, when a person becomes a servant of labour, with labour dominating the dignity of persons. We should always opt for a decisive choice to combat the trafficking in persons, in which 'slave labour' exists.

The Pope's dedication to promoting the virtues of Saint Joseph was particularly evident when he declared the 150th Anniversary in the year 2020 dedicated to Saint Joseph as the patron of all workers in the Universal Church. This period was meant to deepen the understanding of Joseph as a figure of humble service and spiritual guidance, reinforcing his role as a model for Christian life in times of difficulty.

Saint Joseph is an emblem of commitment, resilience and faithfulness in both familial and professional roles. His example calls on all individuals and leaders alike to reflect on the value of work, and to strive towards creating conditions that uphold and respect the dignity of every worker.

Evaluations from an Easter Experience


In the days following Easter Sunday, a number of gospel texts from the liturgical readings of the day have highlighted the appearance of the Risen Christ in the Upper Room, where His disciples had locked themselves in for fear of the Jews. This closed space represented not just fear, but hopelessness, despair, anxiety, failure, sadness and doubt. The Risen Lord breaches this closed space, and liberates His disciples with the gift of His Resurrection. They are now emboldened to emerge from this closed space and proclaim the Good News of the Resurrection with great joy and courage, with little concern of any harm or persecution being inflicted on them. Note that Jesus enters the room with the door still closed; the disciples are now filled with the Spirit to open these locked doors themselves.

As we come to the end of another pastoral year, this is an opportune time for parishes to engage in some serious introspection and evaluation about the year gone by, as well as prepare goals, objectives and action plans for the year ahead. Evaluation is essential to any endeavour. Evaluation keeps us from repeating the same mistakes year after year. Planning asks, "What will we do?" before the event, while Evaluation asks, "How did we do?" after the event.

While the past year may, no doubt, have been a year of many blessings for the parish community, with a multitude of good events and deeds done, an evaluation will help us realise if we have been faithful to our objectives and goals, if we have been committed to tasks of discipleship and evangelisation, and most importantly, if we have progressed as a Church community, as People of God. A year filled with good events and programmes does not necessarily mean that the faith community has moved forward; it could have remained stagnant, being exactly where it was last year, or it may have regressed due to many unavoidable factors.

Synodal consultations in the Archdiocese of Bombay have centred around four pivotal themes: 'An Inclusive Church', 'A Collaborative Church', 'A Faith-filled Church', and 'A Church relevant to the times'. This is a good place to begin our evaluations. "Are we moving towards achieving these four pillars in our parish life?" Note that, in addition to a parish level evaluation, this process must be undertaken by every ministry, Cell, Association and ecclesial body that forms the beating heart of ecclesial and faith life.

A good place to start is always 'Listening' and having 'Conversations in the Spirit' as advocated by Pope Francis during the Synod on Synodality in Rome last October. This method is a community discernment based on prayer and listening. "We listen to each other, to our faith tradition, and to the signs of the times in order to discern what God is saying to all of us." In this way, we understand each other in a deeper way, rather than have 'business-like' meetings. The emphasis is on understanding before evaluating. A lot of tools can be used to listen to the community, including survey forms, polls, questionnaires, emails, focus groups, discussion circles, and just person-to-person conversations.

An important aspect of evaluation is to reflect on the missionary goals of our actions. Are we reaching out and ministering to every group in the parish (Young adults, the sick and homebound, migrants, people with disabilities, minority language groups, domestic workers, families with special needs, the poor, etc)? Has Mass attendance increased? Have more people been drawn into active ministering and involvement, compared to a year ago? Has the parish been able to reach out to other faith groups and civil society groups in its neighbourhood? Do members of parish Cells and Associations feel fulfilled and happy with their participation and work? Has there been growth?

An important indicator of parish growth is the growth of its members. In his acclaimed book, 'The Purpose Driven Church', author Rick Warren proposes the 5 Cs or the 5 Concentric Circles model to evaluate if members have progressed deeper into the life of the faith community. Beginning from the exterior, the five circles named Community, Crowd, Congregation, Committed and Core mandate an inward movement towards the interior/centre, one circle at a time. This inward movement indicates that parishioners at every level are being engaged and encouraged to deepen their participation in the life of the Church. This happens through listening, praying and an intentional discipleship.

I guess the pivotal question is not how many events/programmes were conducted, but how many lives were changed because of the parish ministry this year. As we look with hope and excitement towards a new pastoral year, do we want to do more of the same? Or do we want to emerge from self-imposed closed spaces, and bring light to new places where darkness has prevailed for too long?

Fr Joshan Rodrigues is on The Examiner Editorial Board, with the additional duty of Managing Editor.

Lourdes – A Shrine  of Hope and Healing

The Spiritual and Theological Significance

Fr Anthony Charanghat


The apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, beginning on February 11, 1858, mark an important dogma in Catholic spirituality and doctrine of the Church. These events, centred around Saint Bernadette Soubirous (whose feast we celebrate on April 16), unfold a profound narrative of faith, healing, and divine intercession, deeply intertwined with the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The central figure of these apparitions, Bernadette Soubirous, experienced eighteen visions of the Virgin Mary near a grotto along the banks of the Gave River. In one of these encounters, a thorough scientific and theological investigation conducted by a Diocesan Commission authorised by the Bishop were meticulously verified and documented. The report confirmed a direct communication between Bernadette and the Virgin Mary. 

Notably, on March 25, the Virgin Mary identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, a dogma proclaimed just four years prior, in 1854, by Pope Pius IX. This proclamation clarified that Mary, a Virgin, was conceived free from original sin, highlighting the purity of her sinless person, as foretold by the lips of holy men, who were prophets from of Old in the Bible. This was the Divine favour promised by God, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).

The timing and content of these apparitions were no mere coincidence; they served as a divine affirmation of the defined dogma of those times. Bernadette, a simple and humble girl, could not have known of such a complex theological concept on her own. This aspect underscores the authenticity of the visions, and reinforces the theological significance of Mary's Immaculate state, serving as a conduit of divine grace and intercession.

Beyond the theological affirmations, Lourdes evolved into a sanctuary for those seeking physical and spiritual healing. The site of the apparitions, where Bernadette unearthed a spring of water at the Virgin's instruction, became a place of pilgrimage, offering real hope for countless individuals battling illness and despair. The Lourdes water, symbolic of purification and healing, signifies Mary's role as an intercessor, guiding the faithful towards spiritual renewal and physical well-being.

The transformative power of Lourdes is not confined to physical healing alone; it extends to profound spiritual conversions, offering the message of hope and redemption. This aspect of Lourdes highlights the Virgin Mary's abiding presence and her intercessory role in leading the faithful closer to Christ, the ultimate source of healing and salvation.

The narrative of the wedding at Cana, where Mary prompts Jesus to perform His first miracle, parallels the events at Lourdes. In both instances, Mary demonstrates her compassionate intercession, underscoring her role in the divine plan of salvation. At Cana, Mary's request leads to a change of water into wine, symbolising the transformative power of Christ's presence. Similarly, at Lourdes, Mary's apparitions catalyse a spiritual and physical healing, reinforcing the primacy of her intercessory role as a collaborator between the divine and the human.

The juxtaposition of these events underlines the theological and spiritual significance of Mary's intercession. It highlights her unique role in the Christian narrative, not only as the Mother of God, but also as a compassionate advocate for humanity, continually guiding the faithful towards the mercy of Her Son.

The apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, and the subsequent establishment of the shrine have become an iconic centre to innumerable pilgrims from all over the world seeking hope and healing, that bring out a profound spiritual message. Lourdes serves as a tangible reminder of Mary's role as the Immaculate Conception, a symbol of purity and grace, and her continuous intercession for humanity.

 This narrative encourages the faithful to seek spiritual renewal and trust in divine providence, ensuring that the message of Lourdes underlines the need to build a robust faith, hope, and love in His healing of our contemporary world. Above all, it does not endorse some magical and superstitious ritualistic practice, but provides a path of Prayer, Penance, and contemplative Peace. 

Divine Mercy is the Heartbeat of Life


This year, as we celebrate the twin feasts of the Divine Mercy and the Annunciation of Our Lord on April 7 and 8 respectively, we are invited to reflect on the meaning of Mercy and its power to be life-giving. The infinite and unconditional mercy that God pours out on the world is the foundation of Christian life and the driving force of the Church in the world. The Church powers itself not on earthly energies, but on the love and mercy of God. Indeed, the blood and water that flowed out from the Saviour’s side on the Cross is the beating heart of the Church.

The announcement of the birth of the Saviour to a humble handmaid at Nazareth was an act of the Divine Mercy. The Annunciation event sent ripples across the cosmos, across all Creation, seen and unseen. The visible face of God’s mercy would now walk on the earth, amongst us, like us in all things, but sin. Throughout His public ministry, Jesus became the face of the Divine Mercy to the sick, the suffering, to those who were hated and pushed to the margins of society. What moved Jesus whenever He encountered these people was nothing but mercy. He read their hearts and responded to their deepest longings.

After freeing the demoniac in the country of the Gerasenes, Jesus entrusted him with this mission: “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mk 5:19). In the parables He preached, Jesus always revealed the nature of God as merciful, who would not rest until He had forgiven the wrong and overcome rejection and failure with love and mercy. The three ‘lost’ parables at the heart of Luke’s gospel (Ch. 15) are a testimony to God’s abiding mercy.

In fact, the whole Bible is the great story of the marvels of God’s mercy. Every one of its pages is steeped in the love of the Father who, from the moment of Creation, wished to impress the signs of His love on the universe. In the Bible, Mercy emerges as a concretisation of the Love of God. Expressing love can sometimes remain an abstraction; it is mercy that makes love visible and tangible.

The appearance of the Risen Lord to the disciples huddled in the Upper Room, and to Thomas a week later, is one more expression of the Divine Mercy. With just these simple yet powerful words, “Peace be with you,” Jesus filled His disciples with love, and wiped out the hurt and guilt that was consuming them from within. Guilt – for they had failed their Master in His darkest hour, and Hurt – because their hopes, aspirations and faith in the Messiah had been temporarily killed by the horrific events of Good Friday. They were now arrested by fear and living in the shadow of death. The Risen Lord liberates them with the Light of His Peace, and immediately sends them out on mission, as Missionaries of Mercy.

These twin feasts remind us of our mission to be ambassadors of the Divine Mercy in a world that is consumed by the Culture of Death. It is only mercy that can overcome the darkness of evils that currently afflict humanity. Looking around us, at times, it seems that there is no part of the world that is untouched by suffering. The daily news reports are a grim reminder of the ‘wounds of the world’. Human suffering due to war, particularly families and children, civil and internal strife that leads to the pain of migration; dictatorships and the loss of freedom, religious persecution; unemployment and poverty that leads to hopelessness and despair, hunger and a lack of opportunities; the twin evils of abortion and euthanasia that kill the youngest and the oldest among us; a ‘woke’ culture that obfuscates the Truth of Life and Creation, and ironically deadens society to eternal and divine realities instead of awakening them; and finally a heightened individualism, secularism and relativism, that lead to a culture of indifference, isolation, emptiness and extreme unhappiness.

It is only the ‘Wounds of the Risen Christ’ that can heal the ‘wounds of the world’. And for this to happen, each one of us must become a tangible, visible face of the Divine Mercy to every human being around us. May the Divine Mercy fill our hearts and the world with a Peace that only He can give.

Fr Joshan Rodrigues is on The Examiner Editorial Board, with the additional duty of Managing Editor.

A Call to Mirror God’s Way of Communication

Fr Anthony Charanghat

 

The Examiner Catholic Newsweekly, based in Mumbai and serving the Archdiocese of Bombay since 1850, stands as a bedrock of Catholic religious faith-based journalism, endeavouring to emulate the divine mode of communication God established with humanity. The call to The Examiner on the monumental event of the 175th Anniversary titled the De Quadrant Bicentennial year is to encapsulate the essence of mirroring God's Way of Communication, by incorporating the profound messages of God as revealed in Christian scriptures.

The core of these messages posit that Christian communication is a divine gift, initiated by God to unveil the existential and spiritual realms of the world He created. This foundational belief steers The Examiner's editorial focus towards illuminating God's teachings and fostering a deeper bond between humanity and the divine.

The Examiner's De Quadrant Bicentennial celebrations will have programmes conducted during the celebratory event that will display the vibrancy of the faith of the community in writing and reading Christian literature. The inauguration of the jubilee celebrations began with a prayer dance by the Holy Name School children, which was followed by The Examiner anthem, composed by Mr Tony Menezes and music arranged by Adv. Amanda Rebello and the children's choir of the Church backing the family of The Examiner to raise their hearts in thanksgiving.

Cardinal Gracias then unveiled The Examiner commemorative issue, symbolising its longevity. These moments underscore the publication's evolution and its unbroken connection to its roots and mission in spite of being an arduous journey. His Eminence, the Chief Guest and patron of The Examiner, lit the inaugural samai, marking the commencement of the celebrations. His address highlighted The Examiner's esteemed position within Catholic journalism, acknowledging its resilience and purposeful navigation through changing technological landscapes. The Cardinal's words serve as a testament to The Examiner's dedication to journalistic excellence and its role in shaping critical narratives within the community.

The Examiner event also featured jubilee memorial lectures, beginning with Fr (Dr) Plavendran's analysis of Artificial Intelligence's impact on Catholic media; his caution against uncritical adoption of technology without alignment to Catholic teaching reflects a broader discourse on maintaining authenticity in the Digital age. The next lecturer, Dr. Rochelle Almeida, Professor Emerita of The Humanities New York University,  shared her recollections on her journey with The Examiner, from a young contributor to a celebrated academic, underscoring the publication's role in nurturing intellectual and spiritual growth to great heights of excellence, which also motivated her to write an article for the successive Christmas Bumper Publication every year. It also made her realise how popular The Examiner was, as readers in various parts of the world showered encomiums on her.

The discussions extended into the regulatory and operational challenges faced by print media today, as outlined by Mr Gavin D'Souza. His emphasis on compliance and the strategic importance of accreditation in India highlighted the behind-the-scenes efforts required to maintain The Examiner's legacy.

The crowning event was The Examiner awards founded in honour of the parents of the Mascarenhas family. This year's Golden Pen award was won by Ms Nirmala Carvalho, a well-known independent journalist not only in The Examiner, but in other Christian media outlets around the globe. Mr Christopher Mendonca was the recipient of the Silver Pen award for writing on the extraordinary liturgical seasons of the year for The Examiner and for his reflections on contemplative prayer and spirituality in the Christian tradition. Ms Fiza Pathan was the winner of the Bronze Pen award for being a prolific writer and having written and published 17 award-winning books and short stories.

Amidst the celebration, The Examiner Editor's candid admission of past shortcomings revealed a humble introspection and a fervent desire to live up to the divine mission. This acknowledgment speaks of the publication's resilience and its commitment to spreading God's light through truth, justice and love, despite facing challenges. He underlined that we were unworthy vessels of clay and have been remiss in our mission to spread the brilliant light of God anchored in truth, justice and love. However, he emphasised that deep in our hearts, we are more resolved than ever that with the Spirit of God, we will labour courageously to fulfil our mission, no matter what the cost.

The editorial content's future, as led by Fr Joshan Rodrigues, promises a dynamic and forward-looking approach to faith-based journalism. His concluding words of thanks encapsulated the collective spirit that has sustained The Examiner, acknowledging the contributions of Bp Dominic Savio Fernandes, Rector of Holy Name Cathedral, the clergy, educators, contributors, and the wider community as partners in the publication's journey, not failing to thank specially the personnel of the various departments involved in giving birth to the people's favourite Examiner weekly. And also, our gratitude goes to Fr K.T. Emmanuel who compered the entire show of the evening with his sense of humour, keeping the audience riveted to the exciting story of The Examiner's uphill task of traversing from Quill to Digital.

The Examiner Journey

Scroll to Digital

Fr Anthony Charanghat

 

Ae raise our hearts on the occasion of the 175th year of the uninterrupted publication of The Examiner to give thanks to God for the gift that He has given us. Through His merciful love, the genesis of The Examiner began in the Church of India in March 1850. It has been a record of sorts, ranking among one of the premiere English publications in this country.

We do not take this occasion to trumpet the glories of our work, for we are just frail vessels of clay made from the earth, and unto dust we shall return. But praise we must: give glory to God for the wonders and marvels of His work; and loudly proclaim and communicate the grandeur of His Love.

Where do we begin to tell the story of how great the Love of God can be, greater than the ocean and the sea, a communion between God and Humanity! This is the essence of the branding of The Examiner insignia which gives us the motto, and the icon of what a religious Catholic newspaper ought to be. The above mentioned quote summarises the quintessence of what Cardinal Valerian Gracias, the first Indian editor, exhorted the subsequent editors, when he inducted them into The Examiner publication 50 years ago.

We are also beholden to our Emeritus Cardinals - His Eminence Simon Pimenta and His Eminence Ivan Dias, and our current Shepherd of the Archdiocese of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias for their support and guidance in helping us run the Catholic newsweekly.

Accordingly, the logo and motto were conceptualised to spell out the purpose and goal of The Examiner which was to unravel the Word of God in human language to be understood by the people of God – a theme well depicted in The Examiner emblem.

The Coat of Arms of The Examiner is shaped within the circle of God's embracing love. It is anchored in God, illumined on the top of a Cross by a flame spreading the light of Christ. Perched at the bottom of the Cross are two arms of the anchor on which are two pens symbolising the medium of our time - the written word, to spread His Truth, Justice and Love.

It is a religious magazine which gives primacy of place to human relationship with God. Hence, The Examiner is called to function as a mirror of God's Love revealed by His Word, who is Christ. The Examiner, being a Catholic religious newspaper, has to interpret the deeper insights of God's Word in the language of the common person.

The Examiner has employed the language of scripture to convey the message of the mission entrusted to every man and woman to fulfil their call to bring the Kingdom values on Earth. The literary genre of the language of the Bible has been extensively used in The Examiner and by our writers who were legends of yore, that has elevated the tenor and tone of The Examiner and raised it to the touch of the Divine, casting a spiritual glow that makes The Examiner so riveting.

It is interesting to observe that human religious writings are always inspired by God, especially if they mirror the revelations of God, as evidenced by the authors of the Bible. The language of the Bible has been extolled as the best literature in the world which touches the mind, moves the heart and changes the world. The Bible has been deemed universally as the greatest story of Love ever told.

We pay tribute to a galaxy of eminent writers and contributors who have embellished the volumes of The Examiner over the years with their expertise, knowledge and writing skills, who have made it a readers' delight to be found not only in many Christian homes, but also avidly read in public libraries, educational institutions and hospitals, to bring comfort and solace in the healing powers of God in their moments of pain and suffering.

Above all, the Bible is a story of Salvation realised in the redeeming life of Jesus Christ, our mediator between God and man.

I cannot fail to thank the dynamic and exuberant Fr Joshan Rodrigues, who has been a pillar of strength, upholding the edifice of The Examiner as he assisted me in editing the content and operations of The Examiner, and on several occasions, writing the leaders of the Newsweekly.

It is our sincere belief and hope that the next generation of The Examiner family will surely steer the forward march of The Examiner to greater heights into the last lap of the bicentennial. May Godspeed your journey.