Friday, December 31, 2010
This beautiful song from ABBA - perennial favourite...
"Happy New Year, Happy New Year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend.
Happy New Year, Happy New Year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and I"
Saturday, December 25, 2010
One of those great songs that sum up what Christ meant by coming into this world...He came to bring joy to all...yes 'to all'...
So to all my friends and family - Have a Great Christmas sharing joy and love with all especially those who are alone and sad...poor and on the margins of this world!!!
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
A beautiful way to prepare for this wonderful feast of the Lord's coming - we celebrate and recall the first even as we prepare for the second and continue to welcome Him every day...
Maranatha - Come Lord Jesus...
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Yesterday we laid to rest a Salesian who truly lived his life for others big time…and he was not a priest. In fact, his being a ‘simple brother’ is what made the difference to all he did. As I participated in the funeral rites my mind went back to my encounters with this great man.
My first memories of Br. P.M. Thomas (or ‘Br. PM’ as he was fondly called) goes back to the earliest days I spent in Don Bosco Lonavla. He was the Principal of a really small school – just classes 8, 9, 10 and 11 – with a total strength of not more than 120 boys. He was a tough disciplinarian pushing all of us to greater heights and motivating us to achieve more. He had a wonderful gift of communicating his ideas forcefully and persuasively. In the four years he was at the head of our school there were many changes. For one our school moved to new premises, it opened a junior college and admitted girl students, and his pet subject – mathematics – became something that we feared less and learned to love. The latter was inculcated in his characteristic. It entered your head when you paid close attention and woe to you if you did not for out of nowhere your shin would feel the lasting impact of a well-delivered kick.
My next chance to meet Br. PM was during my practical training at Salesian Training Institute (novitiate). Here I encountered another facet of the person. He was Prefect of Studies and also professor of Psychology in Divyadaan. I was often amazed at his prime focus – an unrelenting desire to communicate values to the young novices and students of philosophy. He was keen that they should be ‘good Salesians’ and he spared no efforts to realize this goal. He was always ‘present’ be it in the chapel, the classroom or the football and hockey grounds. He brought intensity to all he did. There were no ‘bad novices’ just some who were not sufficiently motivated and he did his best to correct that error.
In the years after my ordination I often had opportunities to meet and discuss issues with Br. PM. The years did not dim his enthusiasm for life and his vocation. On the contrary, they just made him even more committed to his passion. He showed in myriads of ways his joy at being a consecrated person, his love for Don Bosco and the congregation, and his desire to encourage many others to follow religious life. And what was even more admirable was his love for people, in a special way the relatives of his brother Salesians. Whenever parents visited the community he was the first to greet them, to set them at ease and to make their stay comfortable. It did not matter that he did not speak their language. For him all that mattered was that they had generously offered their son to God and that made them special.
I was the beneficiary of Br. PM’s Salesian spirit. In 1996 he was the pioneer principal of Don Bosco School Nashik. The school began with a few students in very difficult circumstances but that did not prevent him from initiating some very beautiful practices. He would be there every morning to shake the hand of each child, he created a warm and loving camaraderie among the staff, he made sure that the poor students were never discriminated against and he never stopped speaking about God and inculcating the spirit of prayerfulness. Years later, it was so beautiful to be on the staff of the school which has become a living testimony to the greatness of Br. PM. Don Bosco School Nashik has to this day a sound tradition rooted in the spirit of Don Bosco which exudes joy and optimism, family spirit and striving for excellence.
Br. PM will never die in the memories of us - his ‘students’. We will always have to return to the ‘lessons he taught’ and ‘replenish our enthusiasm with his infectious zeal for the young and the poor’. Adieu Br. PM – Intercede with the Master for us who seek to follow your example of dedication, love and excellence.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
(I could not resist posting this from an email sent by a friend...Happy Advent folks...)
WARNING……WARNING: ADVENT VIRUS
Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.
Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:
- A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
- An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
- A loss of interest in judging other people.
- A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
- A loss of interest in conflict.
- A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
- Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
- Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
- Frequent attacks of smiling.
- An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
- An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
" On the cusp of the fourth decade of the AIDS epidemic, the world has turned the corner - it has halted and begun to reverse the spread of HIV. The question remains how quickly the response can chart a new course towards UNAIDS’ vision of zero discrimination, zero new HIV infections, and zero AIDS-related deaths through universal access to effective HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
Since 1999, the year in which it is thought that the epidemic peaked, globally, the number of new infections has fallen by 19%. Of the estimated 15 million people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries who need treatment today, 5.2 million have access - translating into fewer AIDS-related deaths. For the estimated 33.3 million people living with HIV after nearly 30 years into a very complex epidemic, the gains are real but still fragile. Future progress will depend heavily on the joint efforts of everyone involved in the HIV response.
At a time of financial constraint, good investments are more important than ever. The evidence supporting increased investment in the HIV response has never been clearer or more compelling. New data from 182 countries, along with extensive input from civil society and other sources, clearly show that steady progress is being made towards achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. HIV prevention is working. Treatment is working.
(Taken from UNAIDS, Global report: UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic 2010, Geneva: UNAIDS, 2010, 7.)