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Becoming Christ-centred Families

Fr Joshan Rodrigues


The Church celebrates Parenthood on the Feast Day of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin and grandparents of Jesus. Four years ago, Pope Francis also constituted the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly to be celebrated on the fourth Sunday in July. And so in our own archdiocese, the end of July is a happy amalgamation of both these commemorations. Parents and grandparents, as well as the elderly in our parish communities, are celebrated and cherished.

However, in the midst of these happy celebrations, comes a daunting realisation – Parenting in the contemporary world of today is hard, very hard, and being a senior citizen even more so! Speaking in the context of our own archdiocese, which is set in a dense urban space – the fast-paced, demanding, success driven,  and individualistic landscape in which we live and breathe, make being a parent and an elderly person extremely challenging, not to mention the impact on childhood. As a result, family life and family culture is in peril.

Pope Francis mentions in his Message for the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly 2024 (reproduced in this issue of The Examiner) that the modern drive for success and materialistic fulfilment pushes men and women to seek personal fulfilment and independence at the cost of human relationships. Salvation comes through personal achievements rather than through the family. As a result, individualism thrives, and families disintegrate. Children see little in terms of a proper 'childhood' owing to the pressures of growing up, parents are forced to spend more time at work than at home, spousal relationships suffer, and the elderly are pushed into isolation as their grown up children move far away in search of the good life. The result? Individuals with notable personal wealth, but poor family relationships.

The pressure to make ends meet and provide a good life to their children makes parents take shortcuts when it comes to parenting. In today's ultra-nuclear families, working parents try to suppress their own guilt about not spending enough time with their children by offering handouts, being generous with expensive material goods, being lenient when they make mistakes, and being excessively protective – protecting their child from facing the natural hardships of the world – what is sometimes referred to as 'helicopter parenting'. As a result, we are bringing up children who are disconnected from the community and humanity, with fragile emotional capacity, and who do not realise the consequences of their actions.

Extreme examples of this can be seen in the recent case of the Pune Porsche case, the Worli BMW hit-and-run case, and disgraced IAS trainee officer Puja Khedkar. In all of the above cases, a spotlight was thrown on the conduct and behaviour of their parents who enabled criminal delinquency in their children probably due to poor parenting. Our own situations may not lead to such extreme consequences; however, there is a need to ponder if, as parents, we are teaching our children the real priorities of life—humanity, family, love, compassion, taking care of our planet, and God.

Speaking of God, the pressure on parents in making success stories out of their children wreaks havoc on instilling a good faith life and trust in the providence of God. How can Sunday School compete with classes for competitive entrance examinations, how can the Eucharist compete with salvaging sleep and social life after a hectic work week, or how can the Family Rosary compete with tuitions, late working hours and smartphone entertainment? It cannot! Unless parents have the conviction and the will to imbibe in their children the right priorities, even at the cost of going against the tide of social pressures.

Pope Francis urges us to guard against the illusion of individualism, and of worldly success. Family life is at the heart of true and lasting joy, when parents make time for their children, when they refuse to push their children to unrealistic expectations, and when the elderly are cherished and loved amongst their loved ones and cared for in a family setting. 

This Parents' and Grandparents' Day, we are invited to be Christ-centred families, where our goals, ambitions and lives are founded not on the strength of our personal successes alone, but first and foremost on the strength of God, and on God's will for our life. Let us raise our children centred on the Lord, disciples of God's Kingdom… and then everything else that we desire will be granted to us.

Mt Carmel: Paradoxical Union of Strength and Tenderness


Carmelite spirituality speaks to the heart. It is, in essence, recognising the deep desire that resides in each person, the desire and hunger for God, whether they know it or not. Carmelites want to see God now. And prayer is that open door through which one begins to enter in, to see and experience the depths that can be explored within each soul, simply because God dwells in each human heart.

Carmel offers something extraordinary to the ordinary people of today. They come to see that God is walking right alongside them, that He enters the messiness of our lives and transforms it in the process. One begins to see with St Therese how holiness comes to life in the little things. To be a Carmelite is to be like the prophet Elijah who said, "With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord, God of Hosts." To be a Carmelite is to be like the Blessed Mother who said, "Let it be done unto me according to Your word." Seeming opposites. Activity. Passivity. Yet together, a spirituality that speaks of strength and gentleness, great passion and discipline. It speaks in all things of great love.

The Spirit of Carmel can be summed up in four words: it is contemplative, prophetic, communal and apostolic.

"Pray without ceasing," instructs Saint Paul. The contemplative life of Carmel teaches us to turn our gaze again and again to God, present within every heart. God wants us to know that He is always near, loving and guiding us.

The story of Carmel tells of souls throughout the centuries who refused to bow to the spirit of the world, choosing a life of radical discipleship. This prophetic spirit gives up what is passing for what is eternal. The life of a Carmelite is meant to point to one great truth – He who has God lacks nothing. God alone suffices.

When we respond to Christ's call to discipleship, each of us is brought into communion – first with the Blessed Trinity, as well as with the other followers of Christ. Religious life expresses this truth in a concrete way as the priests, brothers and sisters live and serve side by side.

St Elijah, the spiritual father of Carmel, encountered God in the gentle breeze on Mount Carmel. This encounter lit a fire in his heart: "With zeal I have been zealous for the Lord God of hosts." Our union with God in prayer also lights a fire of zealous service, which overflows into our apostolic works.

The very purpose of the existence of a Carmelite is to become an intimate friend of Christ. This friendship is not grounded on my ascent, my struggle to get back to God, but rather the Incarnation – God coming so close to us as to make His dwelling among us. This is the basis for the friendship – His divine, unconditional love for me. However, the enjoyment of this intimacy with Christ is not the goal of the Carmelite life. It is the means they use to fit them for the work of saving souls, of spreading the kingdom of Christ. Saint Teresa, the great reformer of the Carmelite Order, once wrote, "We should desire and engage in prayer not for our own enjoyment, but for the sake of acquiring the strength which will fit us for service."

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the queen and beauty of Carmel, summing up in herself all the glories of Carmel. She is for Carmelites both the Mother of Christ and their own mother. She expresses the soul's essential attitude before God. She is its soul athirst for God, longing for God, hoping for God. All her strength and all her faculties are turned towards God, so that she may receive and fully live by Him.

In Carmel, God is the objective, but the soul will become more and more Mary. What Mary represents is the soul itself. As the soul is united to Christ, so Carmel is hidden in Mary. For Carmel, Mary is, beyond any doubt, the infinitely admirable and lovable Mother, the all-merciful Mother, but deeper than this, she is the one who was chosen and formed by God to be the Mother of the Saviour; she is the purest, highest, and most perfect expression of the soul that is open to divine action, and lives in Mary's light and in Mary's love. She is, par excellence, the contemplative soul.

(collated from various online sources)


Technology and Faith Formation

Fr Joshan Rodrigues


At the heart of Christianity lies not so much a belief system and an ideology to match, but a RELATIONSHIP, a personal encounter with the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The Apostles were personally called by Jesus and spent three years journeying with the Lord, living with Him, listening to His words and watching Him in action, as He brought the hope and joy of the Kingdom of God to countless people in His time. It is only then that they were empowered to launch out into the deep by themselves, taking the Good News well beyond their known horizons.

Encountering the Lord is therefore making a journey of faith. It means walking with Him, sitting at His feet and experiencing Him in action in my own life and in the world around me. The more I walk with the Lord, the deeper I get to know Him. This then would indicate that a continuous and robust faith formation is at the heart of the Christian journey of discipleship.

As we celebrate Faith Formation Sunday, we can surmise that traditional methods of faith formation currently available, though rich and proven in themselves, may be insufficient in a world where multi-tasking dominates people's lives, and where educational methods have advanced in leaps and bounds, thanks to the infusion of technology, and today, Artificial Intelligence!

So how can we bring Tech and AI to bear fruit in the realm of faith formation?

Technology can be a great connector in a situation where the lay faithful may spend very little time at church. An eight to ten-minute homily each week is hardly sufficient to help them navigate their lives and their actions in the world, keeping Christian values at the centre at all times. How then do we reach those countless souls who spend most of their time labouring in the world and building a life with their families? With the aid of technology.

Technology and AI can help faith communities foster connection, communion and catechetical formation in many different ways. Christians can plug into their parish and/or local churches through live streaming, online services and faith formation modules and social media. Even within this digital bouquet of offerings available today, the buzzword is 'interactivity', 'creativity' and 'personalisation'.

Technology can carry content to the lay faithful, but AI can make it personal, interactive, and locally relevant. The advantage of personalisation in faith formation is undeniable, as it allows Christians to discover the treasures of the Faith in a way that deeply resonates with the unique situation of their personal lives, learning styles and interests. AI is not just a mere information lookup tool aka Google, but makes information relevant to your existing needs. It attempts to understand what you are looking for and why, connects the dots with new material, and customises information at a pace and style that matches your preferences and digital footprint. In fact, in a data-driven world, AI has the potential to know you better than you know yourself!

Technology and AI therefore presents a tremendous opportunity to parishes, catechists and dioceses to synthesise vast amounts of catechetical information, and personalise that according to age groups, educational levels and geographical contexts. This would mean that catechists and clergy need to be trained in using these Tech-AI tools to better understand them and utilise them effectively.

This approach can make educational and catechetical resources more engaging, especially for children and young adults. AI can help bring biblical characters and stories to life in a way that was unimagined only a decade ago. Immersing children into the world of the Bible, in which they can visualise, hear and interact with the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles and with Jesus Himself, could take faith formation to a whole new level.

AI-powered tools have other benefits. They can summarise and synthesise large amounts of catechetical information available online; help with administrative tasks, such as managing databases and communication, thus freeing up valuable time for faith educators. They can offer new ways of community building for adults; online platforms (assisted by AI) can help parishioners connect from wherever they are, share faith experiences, provide prayer opportunities, especially when physical gatherings are challenging, due to time and mobility constraints.

Of course, there could be concerns about replacing human connections with virtual ones, privacy and security, or whether AI could ever provide the authenticity of a physical encounter through the Sacraments. However, we must remember that we are called to use technology as responsible stewards, and that AI-driven tech is not meant to replace the traditional practice of the faith, but rather, complement and enhance it.

Strengthening our Community Consciousness  to grow as Citizens and Christians  


Christians are too honest, and don't do well in business." "They're out to convert us and spoil our culture." "Best for us to stay away from politics." These are familiar stereotypes or prejudices we not only face, but also adhere to. Living our faith in contemporary society has never been easy, and our times are particularly challenging. The persecution of Christians even today is a reality we cannot whitewash, and most of us will admit to a pervasive unease. After all, we are a small percentage of the population, and it is not implausible for our churches to be attacked and our schools and institutions to be targeted. 

Nevertheless, we can look back at some positives in history, both globally and nationally, and take heart. In the world of work, the protection of workers and their rights, including that of forming unions, work ethics, and the payment of just and fair wages have received a significant impetus from Christianity. We are known for providing quality education and compassionate healthcare. We have been instrumental in social reforms such as the abolition of the caste system, and it was through the efforts of the Christian community that religious freedom came to be guaranteed in the Constitution of India. We continue to advocate for the poor and the marginalised, while protesting capital punishment, abortion and the neglect or abandonment of the elderly – an expression of our steadfast commitment to protect and defend life. We have made a difference, and this Laity Sunday, we are called to keep making a difference by enhancing our economic, social and political consciousness. 

So how do we keep making a difference when our country has been experiencing polarisation? A recent report stated that income inequality in India is worse than it was during British colonial rule. Our country now has close to 300 billionaires, yet around 22 crore Indians sleep hungry every day. The youth are struggling with unemployment and under-employment. Caste identity still mars our social interactions, job prospects and our attitudes. There is ghettoisation along religious and communal lines. There is tension and resentment between the locals or indigenous people and the migrants. The splitting of political parties disillusions us from participating in elections and getting involved with our local government authorities. We experience our own spiritual difficulties and turn into lukewarm Christians who are content to receive the Sacraments and leave our faith at home or in the church, when we have to be living the gospel values and giving witness through our lives.

To be good Christians, we also have to be good citizens. Let us cultivate a deeper love for our country, and foster its peaceful and tolerant ethos. Let us be appreciative and promote the positive developments made in combating Climate Change, empowerment and employment schemes, local manufacturing, etc. regardless of which political or business entity spearheads such initiatives. May we expand our Small Christian Communities to Small Human Communities – relying on social friendships and commonalities to combat hate, intolerance and indifference. Often, city Catholics are criticised for our 'Western' mindset and lifestyle. This alienates even the local Christians who may not be comfortable with English. Could we inculturate by making an effort to at least be conversant in the local language? Could we encourage migrants to do the same, as learning the local language serves to integrate with the local culture?

Many of us have houseworkers. Do we extend to them the same benefits we get in our workplaces – weekend offs and annual leave? Do we treat them mindfully or do we inadvertently undermine their human dignity? After all, as Pope Francis put it, albeit in a different context, "Service is not servitude." Could we buy more at our local grocery stores, local and farmers' markets, reduce purchases from the big brand names and reduce shopping online? This is a small way in which we can try to reduce the income inequality. Let us network and collaborate more so that we encourage and support businesses within our communities. Successful entrepreneurs create jobs, livelihood and financial security for their employees, and business in that sense is a noble profession. And let us engage cautiously, but with conviction, in civic and political affairs, transforming ourselves from passive consumers to active citizens. May the Lord bless and guide us to become empowered laity, better Christians and better Indians!

Bishop Allwyn D'Silva is Emeritus Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay.

Pope Francis at G7 calls for urgent political action over AI


Pope Francis stressed that human dignity requires that the decisions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) be under the control of human beings as he participated for the first time in a G7 summit on June 14.

"Faced with the marvels of machines, which seem to know how to choose independently, we should be very clear that decision-making, even when we are confronted with its sometimes dramatic and urgent aspects, must always be left to the human person," he said in front of world leaders on June 14.

"We would condemn humanity to a future without hope, if we took away people's ability to make decisions about themselves and their lives by dooming them to depend on the choices of machines," the Pope added. "We need to ensure and safeguard a space for proper human control over the choices made by Artificial Intelligence programs: human dignity itself depends on it."

Pope Francis participated in the June 14 "outreach" session of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations, which also included invited nations and international organisations and was on the topics of Artificial Intelligence, energy, and the Africa and Mediterranean regions in the southern Italian region of Puglia.

The Pope held bilateral meetings with several notable leaders before the session, including Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, US President Joe Biden and others.

Calling AI "an exciting and fearsome tool," the pontiff said it must be used for good and for building a better tomorrow, and aimed at the good of people. "It is up to everyone to make good use of [AI technology], but the onus is on politics to create the conditions for such good use to be possible and fruitful," he underlined.

Pope Francis drew attention to the complexity of AI as a tool, warning that "if in the past, men and women who fashioned simple tools saw their lives shaped by them — the knife enabled them to survive the cold, but also to develop the art of warfare — now that human beings have fashioned complex tools, they will see their lives shaped by them all the more."

He also urged leaders to reconsider the development of so-called "lethal autonomous weapons" and to ban their use. "This starts," he said, "from an effective and concrete commitment to introduce ever greater and proper human control. No machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being."

He warned that the good use of advanced forms of AI will not remain fully under the control of its users or original designers, given that in the future, AI programs will even be able to communicate directly with one another to improve performance.

The Vatican has been heavily involved in the conversation on AI ethics, hosting high-level discussions with scientists and tech executives on the ethics of AI in 2016 and 2020. In his remarks at the G7, Pope Francis also highlighted some specific limitations of AI, including the ability to predict human behaviour.

He described the use of AI in the judicial system to analyse data about a prisoner's ethnicity, type of offence, behaviour in prison, and more to judge their suitability for house arrest over imprisonment. "Human beings are always developing and are capable of surprising us by their actions. This is something that a machine cannot take into account," he said.

He criticised "Generative AI," which he said can be especially appealing to students today, who may even use it to compose papers. "Yet, they forget that, strictly speaking, so-called Generative AI is not really 'generative.' Instead, it searches big data for information and puts it together in the style required of it. It does not develop new analyses or concepts, but repeats those that it finds, giving them an appealing form," the pontiff said.

"Then, the more it finds a repeated notion or hypothesis, the more it considers it legitimate and valid. Rather than being 'generative,' then, it is instead 'reinforcing' in the sense that it rearranges existing content, helping to consolidate it, often without checking whether it contains errors or preconceptions."

This runs the risk of undermining culture and the educational process by reinforcing "fake news" or a dominant narrative, he continued, noting that "education should provide students with the possibility of authentic reflection, yet it runs the risk of being reduced to a repetition of notions, which will increasingly be evaluated as unobjectionable, simply because of their constant repetition."

(Excerpts from Hannah Brockhaus' report on the Catholic News Agency website)

This War Needs To End…Now!

Fr Joshan Rodrigues


The world continues to watch with brazen apathy as the war in Gaza continues unabated. The Old Testament Torah refers to 'an eye for an eye' as the law of retaliation in the book of Exodus. Jesus rescinded this law in the NT, and replaced it with the law of love. However, the State of Israel has far exceeded this lex talionis by exacting 150 eyes for each Israeli who was kidnapped by Hamas militants on October 7 last year. Last week, Caritas Internationalis said that over 30,000 people have died in Gaza, and 1.7 million have been forcefully displaced, many of them facing hunger.

This is nothing short of genocide, and a few brave nation states have knocked on the doors of the International Court of Justice, asking for the world court to call it as such, and hold Israel accountable. A large percentage of the victims in Gaza are women and children, but the Israeli military continues its relentless bombardment of relief camps and civilian populations, justifying it by the presence of Hamas forces hiding amongst them. Even if this is true, does it justify killing innocent civilians, women and children? Does not this go against internationally laid down principles of war?

However, what is most shameful is the apathy and lack of humanity amongst world leaders, especially those who have the power to end this senseless war immediately. While empty platitudes are offered to the suffering and dying populations of Gaza, Western powers continue to supply arms to Israel to further decimate innocent civilians. The reason behind this apathy? Political compulsions and economic interests! When politics becomes more important than the cost of human lives, the path is paved for innocents to be massacred across the world. Who said that all human lives are equal? They certainly are not. An Israeli life is more precious than that of a Palestinian – 150 times more precious to be exact!

I am in awe of those citizens of the planet, especially younger people, who came out and protested in college campuses, in front of embassies and government buildings around the world, asking their leaders to condemn this horrific violence, and do everything within their power to put an end to this systematic erasing of an entire population. Many of these protestors put themselves at great risk professionally and personally, but were motivated by an enlightened conscience and a deep concern for the future of humanity.

Pope Francis has been a lone voice amongst the comity of nations relentlessly appealing for an end to all hostilities. He once again renewed the call for peace on Friday, June 7, at an inter-religious prayer service held in the Vatican Gardens to mark the 10th anniversary of the June 8, 2014 "Prayer for peace in the Holy Land," at which Israel's then-President Shimon Peres and Palestine's President Mahmoud Abbas embraced.

Pope Francis said he was always thinking of all the Palestinians and Israelis of goodwill who, amidst tears and suffering, are waiting in hope for peace. "We must all work and strive so that a lasting peace is achieved, where the State of Palestine and the State of Israel can live side by side, breaking down the walls of enmity and hatred; and we must all cherish Jerusalem, so that it becomes the city of fraternal encounter between Christians, Jews and Muslims, protected by a special internationally guaranteed status," he urged.

And what about us? Are we to remain mute spectators, experiencing guilt and sorrow, while horrific images of suffering in Gaza flicker on our screens? We must rise together as parishes and local churches, prepare written representations of protest, and bring pressure to bear on our own Government, and that of Israel and other Western nations to bring about an immediate ceasefire. We can organise our own peaceful and prayerful protests and vigils to show solidarity with those who are suffering in the Holy Land.

If the world continues to be inhumanly indifferent to the plight of those who are suffering in Israel and Gaza, we will certainly be held accountable by future generations, and probably also by the Almighty.

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.