Friday, July 31, 2009

The Photo Meditation of the Month (July, 2009): THE PETS


My neighbour with his lovely cat
Photo (Toronto: August, 2008) © Jerome D'Costa

The Pets

When we hear the word 'pet', we immediately envision a picture of an animal. That can be a dog, cat, horse, cow, goat, sheep, bird or fish. Like man, pets, though animals, are creatures of God, too. They are in this world for the benefit of mankind.

Pets serve as our companions, our work-buddies, or as a source of amusement. Their presence among us helps us not only physically, but also emotionally and psychologically. Those who have pets, spend a considerable time with them playing and exercising. This helps people lower their blood pressure and relieve stress, if any, to a certain extent. It has been proven scientifically that disabled or seriously ill people can get a lot of help from medically-approved therapy animals, especially dogs. It has also been found that dogs can diagnose certain types of cancer in a person. Some dogs frequently licked certain parts of their owners' bodies and later it was found that those very parts were affected by cancer!

We can learn a number of things from our pets. Generally they are loyal, patient, obedient and self-sacrificing. Their alertness and protective attitude saved a lot of owners from serious dangers like fire in the house, intruders, and so on. In the western countries, many pets received awards and recognitions from civic organizations and governments.

It is sad but true that sometimes men and women do not treat their pets humanely. When pets get sick or cannot serve their owners' purpose as before or, for some other reasons, some of these pets get really cruel treatment. They even get hurt physically or even get maimed, bruised or burnt severely. To save these types of animals, some countries have private or government shelters for animals.

Let's enjoy our pets and treat them humanely. If they receive good treatment, they, in return, give back to us many times over.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Poem of the Month (July, 2009): I LOVE YOU



In my youth, I had written this poem. It was published in Bangla (Bengali) in the Pratibeshi, the national Catholic weekly in Bangladesh, in its March 19, 1972 issue. Here I provide the English rendition of the poem for your poetic enjoyment.

I Love You
You are my darling, I love you.
You're my constant companion,
I don't "feel good" without you!

I caress you
Holding your hands. I search for your beauty
In every fold and curve, When you expose your shapely body
In front of me.

You talk so much,
So much so, that you spill all your secrets.
I become forgetful of myself,
I listen to every word of yours
With rapt attention;
You enjoy my intentness,

That's why you tell me
All you have to tell.

Sometimes you make me laugh,
Sometimes you make me cry,
At times you make me titillated,

Other times you make me frightened or thrilled.I can be with you
Leaving all works behind, I can be absorbed with you,Without touching my meals.

Sometimes you speak in prose,
At times in verses,
Other times in hard metaphors. Your figures of speech
Befuddle me.
I take time in decoding your words,

What a joy you receive
In making me such a fool!
But that's how our love
Turns from the deep to the deeper.

When I'm on leave
And go to my rural home,

Or go to some distant location,
If I'm, by chance, without your companionship,
I feel "uneasy, awkward."
I become anxious
For hearing from you.

Darling, I love you,
You're so beautiful, so loving --

You're my sweetheart,

My intimate and beloved.

Many wonder aloud: Who are you?
You are none,
But my goddess of wisdom -- a book!

Bookmark and Share

The Social Tradition of Honour Killing


"Honour Killing"
Graphic design (Toronto: July 29, 2009) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa

Montreal's Afghan businessman Mohammad Shafia (56), his second wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya (39) and their son Hamed (18) have been charged recently with four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of conspiracy to commit murder in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, reports National Post.

They are charged for killing Zainab (19), Sahari (17), and Geeti (13) -- all daughters of Mr. Shafia and Mrs. Yahya -- and Mr. Shafia's undivorced first wife Rona Amir Mohammad. These four women's bodies were discovered in a submerged car near the Kingston Mills Locks on the Rideau Canal.

Mohammad's sister Diba Masoomi mentioned in a newspaper interview that Mr. Shafia "believed his daughter had dishonoured him and the family by having a romance with a young Pakistani man in Montreal." The police strongly believe that these were honour killings.

The police believe that it was a premeditated murder that happened in Kingston on their way back to Montreal from a visit to the Niagara Falls.

What is honour killing?

Honour killing means murder (by strangulation, hanging, setting on fire, poisoning, or other means) of a family member belonging to a close-knit male-dominated clan or community for bringing in dishonour on the family, clan or community. Usually, the murder victim is a daughter, sister, wife or mother who is perceived to have brought in dishonour through her unacceptable behaviour or sexual conduct.

This sense of honour is rooted in the age-old tradition and social custom that gives legitimacy and condones such killing. When a family is dishonoured, the tradition or social custom gives a male relative the sanction of killing the "strayed" woman to restore the family honour and good name in the clan or community.

Who does the honour killing?

A male member of the nuclear or extended family commits this murder. He could be one's own brother, father, uncle, grandfather, or nephew.

How can the close relatives commit such a heinous act?

The liberal western society with widespread nuclear families, having individualistic attitude and perspective and, at the same time, enjoying so much personal freedoms and rights guaranteed by the state, will find it difficult to understand the dynamics of honour killing.

To really understand honour killing one has to look at it from wider perspective and take into account the following dynamics:

  • This killing is prevalent in societies that are fiercely paternalistic and tribal with strong group mentality and loyalty. These societies think of and give importance to the group (family, clan or society) and not to individuals. So any defiance, disrespect or disobedience to the group is considered an unpardonable offense.
  • From the past, this has been a kind of safeguard to keep one's women loyal to one's family, clan or tribe so that outside or alien influence or rival party's interference may not infiltrate through these women. That's why the society supports this practice, that's why those countries' law enforcement agencies support or condone it.
  • In some Muslim societies, adultery or illicit sexual liaison is looked upon as a serious moral degradation and dishonour to a family. They practise the age-old tradition that was prevalent in the Old Testament times. In the Torah or Old Testament of the Bible we find that the 7th of the Ten Commandments of God explicitly prohibited adultery: "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18). "If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die" (Deuteronomy 22:22). "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife -- with the wife of his neighbour -- both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death" (Leviticus 20:10).
  • Honour killing is the male assertion of control over women.
  • The powerful, the upper class or caste people do honour killing to cling on to their status, power and property.
  • In those societies, no jobs are readily available for women. They just cannot go out on their own to earn a living. There is no social security or old-age benefit. So, a woman, facing honour killing, just cannot go away and live elsewhere. In most cases, the country's law will not favour her.
  • Men think that they have ownership over women. Women are considered as chattel (movable property). So, males think that they can do anything with females.
Males unwilling to participate in honour killing are ostracized

The clan or society ostracizes the males, who are sympathetic to the straying female or refrain from vindictive murder. These males and their families are avoided by other members of the clan or society. They cannot participate in social functions or enjoy the benefits and security of belonging to the group. Their sons or daughters cannot marry within the group. Daughters will remain unmarried for the rest of her life. This is a tremendous shame on the part of the family in the sense that they failed to raise a good well-behaved daughter, sister, sister-in-law or daughter-in-law.

In case of emergency, none of the clan or tribe members will come to their aid -- either financially or giving protection from enemy. In case of normal death in the family, there will be no participation of the community in burying the dead. This is also considered to be a great shame and failure of the affected family.

So, why carry a life-long burden because of a female member of the family? It's easy to get rid of her and be acceptable to others.

Issues that trigger honour killing

  • Marital infidelity (adultery)
  • Pre-marital sex (fornication)
  • Sexual rumour (of having illicit liaison or sexual relations)
  • Incest (illicit sexual relations with an extremely close kin or relative)
  • Rape (even if it is done against her will, the female is considered to be unclean and spoilt -- none in the group will marry her, ever)
  • Sexual abuse
  • Mixing with or dating a male outside one's own clan, ethnic group, social class, or religion
  • Wearing more revealing or provocative dress
  • Being alone with a male not belonging to the family or clan
Dowry Deaths are honour killing, too

In Asia, Africa and Europe, the practice of dowry (a bride's giving of money, property or goods to her husband at marriage) was prevalent for many centuries. With increased education, enlightenment, spread of Christianity, Europe gradually could get away from the abuse and misuse of the dowry practice, but in Asia -- especially in South Asia (Bangladesh, India and Pakistan) -- and in some parts of Africa this practice with its bitter and deadly results are still continuing.

The bridegroom or his parents demand a dowry and, in a good number of cases, if the bride's parents fail to fulfill the demand, the bride is ridiculed, persecuted and, in extreme cases, killed. Then it is claimed that the bride committed suicide (by hanging herself from the ceiling, drowning or poisoning) or died accidentally by catching fire to her clothing when cooking!

It is honour killing in the sense that the honour of the bridegroom's family is lost because the bride's family failed to fulfill the promise of dowry given before the marriage. The bridegroom's family loses its face in the clan or society.

Countries that experience honour killing

Honour killing is frequent in countries from South Asia (Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan) to west Asia (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Israel -- among the Palestinian community, Palestine --the West Bank and Gaza Strip), and some parts of north Africa (Egypt, Morocco). Immigrant communities from these countries to Europe (Britain, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and the like), North America (Canada and USA) and Australia have their own share of honour killings.

Resources on Honour Killing:

To learn more on the honour killing in different countries, you may visit the following blogs and websites:

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Fallout from the Holy Communion Affair


Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Photo Courtesy:

The Telegraph-Journal of St. John, New Brunswick, in its July 8 report mentioned that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had pocketed the holy communion he was given when he attended the funeral Mass in honour of late Governor-General Romeo LeBlanc in Memramcook. The report triggered a lot of hullabaloo in the Canadian media, blogs and a certain quarter of the Canadian Catholic Church.

Mr. Stephen Harper later denounced the original report as a "low-point" in Canadian journalism giving the impression to the public that he had dishonoured the Catholic faith and committed a sacrilege against the holy communion, considered the holiest of the holies in the belief system of the Catholic Church, reports The Toronto Star.

On July 28, the Telegraph-Journal made a front-page apology by saying: "...the Telegraph-Journal published a story about the funeral mass celebrating the life of former Governor-General Romeo LeBlanc that was inaccurate and should not have been published. We pride ourselves in maintaining the high standards of journalism and ethical reporting, and regret this was not followed in this case."

This daily also said: "The Telegraph-Journal sincerely apologizes to the Prime Minister for the harm that this inaccurate story has caused. We also apologize to reporters Rob Linke and Adam Huras and to our readers for our failure to meet our own standards of responsible journalism and accuracy in reporting."

The paper apologized to the two reporters because their original report did not contain the controversial item of pocketing the holy communion. Some editor later inserted this piece into the news before publication.

The paper's apology was followed by an unexpected fallout. Shawna Richer, editor, and James Irving, publisher, were removed from their positions.

It is reported that Prime Minister Stephen Harper accepted the newspaper's public apology. Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 23, 2009

His Luck Takes an Unlucky Turn


Barry Shell with his $4.4 million cheque
won in Lotto 649 in Toronto
Photo Courtesy: The Toronto Star

Barry Shell (45), of Brampton, Ontario, recently won $4,377,298, collected his cheque from the Ontario Lottery Corporation, and got arrested with his cheque still in his pocket, reports The Toronto Star.

The police arrested him on the charge of his failure in appearing in 2003 at the court for theft under $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime.

Nowadays, when a person wins a big lottery, worth $10,000 or more, his or her background is thoroughly checked by police. While doing such a checking, the police stumbled upon Barry Shell's past outstanding arrest warrant.

Barry Shell spent a night in jail and was released next day on a $1,500 bail when he promised the judge to appear in the court on July 30. Bookmark and Share

Monday, July 20, 2009

Flirting with the Past: The 40th Anniversary of the Man on the Moon


(L-R): U.S. astronauts of the Apollo 11 Mission: Neil Armstrong,
Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin

Before landing on the moon (below), astronauts are viewing
the earth-rise (above) over the lunar horizon

A crater (No. 308) of the moon as seen before their landing

Astronaut Edwin Aldrin in front of the U.S. flag planted on the moon

During their return trip from the moon, astronauts viewed
the earth
as a crescent
Photos Courtesy:

Man on the Moon: The Dream Fulfilled

It was July 20, 1969. The perennial dream of man to be on the moon was realized with the landing of two American astronauts on this day four decades ago. All the myths, folklores and fables, that developed in the imagination of man from time immemorial, came to a reality. Man himself was on the moon in real flesh and blood.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy, on May 25, 1961, had announced the goal of U.S. astronauts' landing on the moon before 1970. His aspiration was fulfilled when Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module and set foot on the moon by saying: "That's one step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

The Apollo 11 mission to the moon consisted of Mission Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin. They started their mission from the earth on July 16, 1969 and landed on the moon July 20. Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin were the first human beings to land on the moon, while Michael Collins orbited around the moon.

The Influence of the Moon on Mankind

Man was obsessed with the moon. His imagination gave free reign to develop myths, folklores, fables, literature, songs, and lullabies. So, the influence of the moon on mankind cannot be denied.

The moon also has a powerful influence on the water system of the earth. Tides and ebbs are the results of the gravitational pull of the moon.

Man also has water in his body. In fact, more than 90% of his body is water. The moon, therefore, has some effect on man -- more or less. Some get influenced by it more than others.

From experience man came to the understanding that some persons behave erratically or irrationally during the full moon phase. For this reason, the words like lunatic, moonstruck came into being. How much scientific basis is there we don't know, but this syndrome has been observed in almost in all cultures and they have coined particular terms for this condition in their languages.

The Skeptics of the Moon Landing

There are skeptics who still believe that the American astronauts' moon landing did not happen. They believe that the landing on the moon was a great hoax perpetrated by the American government with careful rehearsal in a desert in the U.S.A.!

These skeptics will always remain among us, as there are skeptics who believe that 9/11 was not caused by outsiders, rather the American government did it to start a war in Afghanistan. Similarly, there are expatriate Tamils who still believe that Tamil Tigers leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran was not killed, only his double was murdered by the Sri Lankan goverment. The existence of such skeptics is dependent on disbelief. They expend a lot of time, energy and even money in proving their points. Even if you take them to the moon, still they will say that it was only a dream!

I see the usefulness of having such skeptics in our society. They help us strive harder to prove our point, to reveal the truth more fully. They help us go farther. We will always remain backward if we just be gullible and listen to them and act according to their dictates.

Moon to Mars

Scientists are getting ready to colonize the moon and even to explore the Mars in future. Many of us may not be able to see it, but I strongly believe that a day will come when these new dreams and aspirations will come to fruition. Bookmark and Share

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bangladesh Catholic Church Has Its Own Teachers' Training College


Sister Moli Costa, CSC, the principal of Archbishop T. A. Ganguly
Teachers' Training College, on the day of the inauguration
Archbishop T. A. Ganguly's photo is on the background.

(L - R) The teachers' training college principal Sister Moli Costa, CSC,
Holy Cross College professor Sister Joseph Mary, CSC,
and Holy Cross Brothers' superior Brother Binoy Gomes, CSC,
with other participants at the inauguration ceremony

St. Joseph's Higher Secondary School and College,
where Archbishop T. A. Ganguly Teachers' Training
College is holding its classes in the afternoon
Photos received through the courtesy of Brother Nipu Hubert Rozario, CSC

Archbishop Paulinus Costa inaugurated Archbishop T. A. Ganguly Teachers' Training College in Dhaka on June 25, 2009. Vatican nuncio Archbishop Joseph Marino, Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Christian Education Bishop Theotonius Gomes, CSC, and the only Christian member of the Parliament Promode Mankin were present at the ceremony along with other guests and teachers and students of the college.

Housed at St. Joseph's Higher Secondary School and College building, the teachers' training classes started on July 1 with 34 students. Sister Moli Gomes, CSC, is the first principal of this college, which has a capacity for 100 students. Both Catholic and non-Catholic teachers will receive training in this college.

Named after Archbhishop Theotonius Amal Ganguly, CSC, -- the first Bangali bishop and archbishop of Bangladesh -- the college is run by the Episcopal Commission for Christian Education under the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB). It is noteworthy that the canonization process of Archbishop Ganguly started in the recent past.

The Pratibeshi, the national Catholic weekly, reports that among 120 teachers' colleges in Bangladesh, it is the first such Christian college. The Catholic Church in its six dioceses of Bangladesh is involved in education since 1853. It has four colleges, 48 high schools, 12 junior high schools, and more than 130 primary schools. Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 17, 2009

Toronto Garbage Piles Up


On the Bay Street and Edward Street
(July 8, 2009)

On the Bay Street and Edward Street intersection (July 8, 2009)

On the Bay Street and Edward Street intersection (July 15, 2009)

On the Edward Street and Bay Street intersection (July 15, 2009)
Photos © Jerome D'Costa

Toronto was one of the cleanest cities of Canada, but now due to the 26-day-old strike of the garbage collectors, it is turning into a garbage city. The municipal government and the strikers' unions unashamedly failed in coming to a full agreement so far. Before the situation becomes unbearable, the Ontario Provincial Government must desist from keeping its hands off from the striking situation. The city dwellers are already feeling that they have become hostage to the unrelenting strikers.

Garbage bins, that had been sealed with cellophanes just before the strike, have been forced open by city-dwellers and they have been placing garbage in them. As a result, garbage is overflowing in important Toronto locations. This bloggeru (blogger) found several such garbage bins on the Bay and Edward Streets intersection.

The municipal-designated garbage drop-off locations in different public parks and parking lots of the city have hills of garbage already. Some of these areas have rat infestations and are reeking with the stench.

On July 15, there had been a rally, called "Toronto's Had Enough," in front of the Toronto City Hall. Posters carried in the rally declared: "You are embarassing the people of our city! Sick Pay? Pay Increase? How about NO PAY?"

Piles of garbage bags in the temporary drop-off location
on 75 Birchmount Road, Toronto (July 6, 2009)

Photo © Mary D'Costa

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Cross: Little Flora's Art Work


Flora Gomes is holding her handiwork
Photos (Toronto: July 4, 2009) © Jerome D'Costa

Little Flora Gomes is from Bangladesh. She studies at St. Theresa Shrine Catholic Elementary School, Toronto. Presently she has been enjoying her two-month summer vacation with her older sister Lira.

When she was in grade two this year, she made a beautiful cross with wooden clothesline clips as part of her Easter art work. This cross is now hanging in the family's living room (drawing room). Whoever sees her work is immediately drawn to it and asks the parents from where they purchased the cross! Her parents Shonjit Hubert and Geeta Gloria Gomes are proud of her work.

Flora Gomes

Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Holy Communion, Stephen Harper and the Hullabaloo

_Cartoon Courtesy: National Post (July 9, 2009)

The headlines in some Canadian newspapers of July 9 were:

"The faux pas, the spin and the holy host" -- The Toronto Star

"Harper consumed communion host, spokesman says" -- The Globe and Mail

"Did Harper Pocket Wafer? PMO Says No" -- National Post

"Harper ate Catholic host, aide says" -- The Toronto Sun

All this hullabaloo is about whether Canada's Evangelical Protestant Prime Minister Stephen Harper, given holy communion in hand in a Catholic funeral Mass, consumed it or put it in his pocket.

It was July 3, Friday. Prime Minister Stephen Harper went to Memramcook in New Brunswick, for attending the funeral service of the former Governor-General Romeo LeBlanc in a Roman Catholic church. During communion service, Archbishop Andre Richard of Moncton came to the front bench to give communion to the notables present there. At the time, Stephen Harper reached out to take the host in his right hand and the Archbishop gave him one. A video footage shows him receiving the communion in right hand but fails to show what he did with it.

Since the Prime Minister did not place the communion in his mouth immediately after taking it from the archbishop, all kinds of speculations began to circulate about what he did with it. Someone said that, instead of placing it in his mouth, he put it in his pocket. Some Catholics took offense at this and began to express their dissatisfaction at the Prime Minister. After this event, the Prime Minister flew to Italy for the G-8 (Group of Eight) summit and was not available for immediate comment on the allegation.

Vicar general and chancellor Monsignor Brian Henneberry of the Diocese of St. John, New Brunswick, told the local Telegraph-Journal: "It's worse than a faux pas, it's a scandal from Catholic point of view."

The Prime Minister's press secretary Dimitri Soudas said that "it's totally absurd" to think Prime Minister pocketed the wafer. "The Priest offered the host to the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister accepted the host and he consumed it."

The Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella, who is a Catholic, said in a statement: "I would like to state that I personally witnessed Prime Minister Harper consume the host that was given him by Archhishop Andre Richard. Sitting only a few seats behind him, I had a full view of the proceedings and clearly saw the Prime Minister accept the host after Archbishop Richard offered it. The Prime Minister consumed it," reports The Toronto Star.

Archbishop Andre Richard in a telephone interview on May 9 said that it is considered "sacrilegious" for non-believers to take part in the rite, but only if it is done to disrespect. "In the context, it's obvious that no disrespect was meant. I'm quite sure," reports the "I'm sure he [Harper] didn't mean any desecration or nothing of the sort. Somehow, the gesture was misunderstood. I think he should have been briefed by the protocol of what has to be done in a Catholic ceremony," he said.

The Prime Minister, after attending the G-8 summit, is supposed to meet with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on July 11.

The Mass and Holy Communion: A Very Serious Matter

In the Catholic Church, it is taught that the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist was instituted by Jesus Christ himself in the Last Supper to unite us to himself and to prove his love for us. He also did it to increase grace in our soul and to give us pledge of eternal life and of a glorious resurrection.

In the Last Supper he said to his disciples present: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As the living Father has sent me, and as I live through the Father, so he who eats me, he also shall live through me." (John 6:57-58). He also said: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day," (John 6:55).

The holy eucharist is the communion, host, or white round wafer that is consecrated by the priest during the Mass. According to the teaching of the Church and strong belief of the Catholics, this consecrated eucharist or communion turns into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. That means, Jesus Christ is really present in the eucharist. That is why the eucharist or communion is considered as the holiest of the holies. So, when a Catholic receives the communion, Christ comes to his or her soul and he or she unites with Christ.
This may sound absurd to a non-Catholic person, but that is what a Catholic believes and practises.

The priest, who consecrates the host or communion in the Mass, must be in a state of grace or holiness and have the right intention. If a priest is in a state of sin, his consecration of the eucharist will be valid, but he himself will commit another sin by unworthily doing the consecration. If a priest is in a state of mortal or serious sin (e.g. embezzling or squandering away a large amount of money, pedophilia, sexual relations with an adult -- male or female etc.), he commits another mortal sin every time he says Mass and consecrates the eucharist.

The same is true of the person who receives holy communion from any priest. The communicant (receiver of the communion) must also be in a state of grace during the reception of the eucharist. Otherwise, he or she commits another sin by receiving communion unworthily.

The Catholic Church also has the Sacrament of Penance or Confession -- presently called the Sacrament of Reconciliation -- to get remission of one's sin. To be worthy to be in a state of grace, the priest as well as any other Catholic can take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Differences Between Catholics and Protestants

Although Catholics and Protestants are Christians, there are certian glaring differences between them regarding religious beliefs and practices. The eucharist or communion is one of them.

The Communion Incident with the Prime Minister: Being Too Much Judgmental Is Dangerous

The communion incident got so much publicity because certain Catholics, including some priests, got offended at the "sacrilege" or "desecration" of the holy eucharist and lodged complaints and passed judgmental opinions. I think that this was too premature before hearing from Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself.

The judgmental opinion is uncalled for because the matter needs to be looked into from different angles -- the angle of Archbishop Andre Richard, the angle of Stephen Harper, the angle of the person who "saw" him pocketing the holy communion, and the angle of the persons who saw him "consuming the communion."

Archbishop Andre Richard himself went to the front bench to distribute communion. He knew who Stephen Harper was. Why did he give the communion to the Prime Minister who is a Protestant and who does not have the same belief and practices regarding the holy communion?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not go to Archbishop Richard to receive the communion. He, being an evangelical Christian, perhaps took time in consuming the communion. Since he does not look at the communion at the same level as the Catholics, what can we do if he did not behave like the Catholics?

The person, who saw the Prime Minister to pocket the communion, might have been biased and upset already because holy communion was give to a Protestant. This person should have been upset with Archbishop Richard and not the Prime Minister.

Among those, who saw Prime Minister to consume the communion, was Senator Noel Kinsella, who is also a Catholic. Is he telling a lie?

Let's See What Jesus Did

The Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. They mentioned that Moses had given the law to stone such persons to death. They asked Jesus' opinion about it. Jesus told them that the person, who is sinless, should stone the woman first. At this the Scribes and Pharisees one by one left the place. Jesus asked the woman whether the men condemned her. When she said that no one did, then Jesus said: "Neither do I condemn you; go, do not sin again." (John 8: 3-11)

In another instance, Jesus also said: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged...Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (Matthew 7: 1-3)

We should learn from Jesus about being judgmental about others.

If a Catholic priest offers Mass and consecrates the host most unworthily and if a Catholic receives holy communion most unworthily, it is much more sacrilegious, desecrating and scandalous than a non-Catholic receiving holy communion. We should be very careful in jumping into the bandwagon of judging (finding faults with) others so easily.

Learn from Bangladesh Catholic Church

The Canadian Catholic Church may learn something on this matter from the Bangladesh Catholic Church. In Bangladesh, when non-Catholics (Protestants, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists) are invited or are present in a Catholic Mass (e.g. during the visit of Pope John Paul II in November, 1986; funeral of a bishop or priest; wedding and the like), a priest, just before the distribution of the holy communion, announces publicly that only the Catholics can receive the host.

What's your opinion on this? Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fruit Carving Is an Art


Fruit carving and presentation by Bimol Gomes
at a party at Chaffee in the state of New York, USA

Bimol Gomes with another fruit carving done on a melon
Photos (June 27, 2009) © Jerome D'Costa

Ars fructis -- 'fruit art' in Latin. Fruit art comes from fruit carving which is a profession of its own. Fruit carving has come a long way and the presentation of carved fruits in a platter draws a lot of saliva of food aficionados in parties.

Bimol Gomes, originally from Bangladesh, presented his ars fructis at a party of his relative and received a lot of kudos from invited guests. Bookmark and Share

Monday, July 6, 2009



It is already two weeks that the garbage collectors in Toronto
are on strike for better pay package. A seagull is sitting on
a receptacle of uncollected garbage in the College Park

Photo (July 1, 2009) © Jerome D'Costa

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Holy Cross Priests Celebrate Their Jubilee in Maryland


(L-R): Father Boniface S. Tolentino, CSC, Father Richard
W. Timm, CSC, and Father Adam S. Pereira, CSC
offering their jubilee Mass in a church in Maryland, USA
Photo by Jude V. Gomez

Bangladesh Christian Association of (BCA) of Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., hosted three Holy Cross priests' jubilee celebrations at St. John the Baptist Church in Maryland on May 31.

On their visit to the USA, Father Richard William Timm, CSC, observed his diamond jubilee (60th year) of priestly ordination and Fathers Boniface Subrata Tolentino, CSC, and Adam Subash Pereira, CSC, observed their silver jubilee (25th year) of ordination with a special concelebrated Mass attended by special guests and members of the BCA.

After the Mass, the jubilarians were given a rousing reception at the church auditorium by the members of the BCA under the presidentship of Christopher Rodrigues. Among the special guests were Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury (Director of the Bengali Programme of the Voice of America -- VOA), Ms. Rokeya Haidar (an officer of the Bengali Programme of the VOA, Anis Ahmed (Commission of Asia-Pacific Affairs in Maryland) and Dr. Gholam Farid Akhtar.

Father Richard W. Timm, CSC, a Ph.D. in biology from the Catholic University of Washington, D.C., was born in Michigan, USA. He went to Bangladesh as a Holy Cross missionary in 1952. First he taught biology at the Notre Dame College, Dhaka and did research on nematodes. Later he became the principal of the college, worked as relief coordinator in the cyclone-affected island of Manpura, and was the Planning Officer and then Executive Director of Caritas Bangladesh. He also worked for justice and peace as the Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commision for Justice and Peace. In 1978, he was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal by the Vatican for his contribution in the field of relief and development in Bangladesh. In 1987 he was given the Ramon Magsaysay Award from the Philippines for his work in the field of international understanding. Presently he is well known all over the world as a human rights worker.

Father Boniface S. Tolentino, CSC, a Bangladeshi priest, was the editor of the Pratibeshi, the national Catholic weekly in Bangladesh for several years. He also worked as a Bengali programme officer of Radio Veritas in the Philippines, besides working in different parishes in the Archdiocese of Dhaka.

Father Adam S. Pereira, CSC, another Bangladeshi priest, worked in different parishes and a Holy Cross formation house. Presently he teaches at Notre Dame College. Bookmark and Share