Archive for the ‘History of Goa’ Category

SONGITACHO GURU: MAESTRO FIGUEIREDO

January 19, 2009

*Dr.Ivo da Conceição Souza

Nam’nnechea songitkaranchem Goyem mozbut painnem. Hanvem taka kodinch polleunk na, ponn tachem nanv aikun khub thottaklom. Tachi veakti az meren Goyeam songitkaram modhim dolleam mukhar zhogzhogta. António Fortunato de Figueiredo, Gabriel de Figueiredo ani Ermelinda Parras e Figueiredo-ancho put, Nakoddeam, Lottle, Saxttiche talukent, Goyenchea prantant Agostache 20ver, 1903 vorsa, zolmak ayla. Xallent astona to songitache poile ghontt chakunk pavlo, firgojeche xallent Mestirichea hatakhal to aslo. Tachea kuttumbant songitacho ithias chalu aslo: tachi avoi mandolin vazoun gitam kortali; tacho bapui ‘soprano’ unch tallo gaitalo; tacho bhav Francisco ‘viola’ vazoitalo; ani tacho bhav Sebastião ‘cello’ vazoitalo. To salvink ani ladinink hajir zatalo ani Mestiri “kurum-kurum” korta, tem ruchin aikotalo. “National Lyceum”-ant Ponnje xikop kortoch, to 1927 vorsa palem unch xikop korunk Lisboa-k gelo ani “Faculdade de Letras” Lisboa-chea Vidhyeapittant suruvat keli, ponn songitacho mog aslo, dekhun to Lisboa-chea “Conservatório Nacional’ , hantunt 1932 vorsa porzollan xikop sompoilem.

Goyeam 1936 vorsa portolo, “Nacional Liceu Afonso de Albuquerque”-ant “Canto Coral”-acho Prodhyapok taka nem’lo, thoim tannem “Orfeão” ani “Tuna” ghoddun haddlim. Ponnje ani Lottle vazoun, Lottlechea “Dublleanchea Ghor”-ak (Albergue) adhar dilo, ani koddacher ani T.B.-cher add zhuzunk ful-na-pakli dili.

Dusrea Vixv-Zhuza uprant 1948 vorsa to Paris-ak gelo ani songitache pongodd “conductor” koso Paris-achea “Conservatório Nacional Musical”-ant Eugène Bigot, hea Maestro-chea hatakhal cholounk xiklo. Uprant “Accademia Musicale Chigiana”-hantunt Siena-nt Italia-k, Paul Van Kempen ani Alceo Galliera, hea “Maestro”-chea margdorxonnakhal odik xikop kelem. Florensa-k “l’Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino”-acho pavnno Maestro koso vaurlo ani Lisboa-k porto yeun tannem “Grande Orquestra Sinfónica da Emissora Nacional de Lisboa” choloili.

Europak ravnche boldek to Goyeam porot yeta ani hangasor vaurta: ho tornno Maestro 1952 vorsa “Orquestra Sinfónica de Goa” ghoddun haddta ani poile pavtthim Fevrerache 16ver 1952 vorsa lokak vazoita. Ostomtechem songit amchea Goyenchea tornnatteank xikounk to Portugez Sorkarache palven “Academia de Música da Índia Portuguesa’ eka sadhea-sudhea ghorant ugti korta, ‘Fontainhas’ vaddeant, Ponnje. Jen’na Bharati Sorkaran Goyem Dezembrache 19ver, 1961 vorsa, aple zom’nint vilin kelem, ten’na “Academia” Kala Academy-nt, Miramar, Ponnje, misoll keli. “Orquestra Sinfónica de Goa” Maestro António de Figueiredo-achea hatakhal sobhar pavtthim gailem ani vazoilem, bhovkorn Bhagivont Fransisk Xavierache Kuddichi (vo Relikenchi) Ugtavnni tachea chovthea xenkddeache somarombhnne somoim kelea, tenna, Dezembrache 30ver, 1952 vorsa, hajir asun Kardial D. Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, Lisboa-cho Patriark, Pius XII-vea Papsaibacho Protinidhi (Legado a latere), Goyencho Palvi Arsebisp D.José Vieira Alvernaz, Mumbai-cho Arsebisp Msgr.Valeriano Gracias, Portugal-che ani Ispanache Niti-Montri, D.António Iturmendi Banales ani Dr. Manuel Cavaleiro Ferreira. Uprant Bharatacho Poilo Prodhan-Montri, Pondit Jawaharlal Nehru, Goyeam Maiache 22ver, 1963 vorsa ayla, ten’na tannem dakhovn dili. Aple bholaike khatir, 1977 vorsa, Maestro Figueiredo-an Orquestra Sinfónica ani Academia de Música Maestro Padri Lourdino Paulino Barreto-achea hatamni ghatlim. Maestro Figueiredo sobhar bhaxonnam Songitacher “Emissora de Goa”, Goyenche Akashvannicher ditalo, ani uprant “All India Radio-Goa”, Ponnje, “Renascença” karyavollint. Taka Maiache 1961 vorsa Jeneral António Vassalo e Silva, hea Rajpalache suchovnnen ‘Cavaleiro da Ordem de Sant’Iago da Espada”, ho Puroskar dilo. Maestro Figueiredo-an amchea Goyenchea tornnateank aplea songitachea apovnneak veng marunk ani kalljidarponnan ttanch marunk adhar dilo, zoso Noel Flores, zo atam “Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst”, Viena-k vavr korta; Margarida Miranda-hika, ji Jermanik xikli ani Kala Academy-ichea Ostomtechea Songitachea bhagant vavr korta; Leopoldina Figueiredo, ji Roma-k gitxastr xikli ani uprant Academia de Música-ant xikoilem. Maestro Figueiredo-an sobhar songitacheo manddavolli boroileo manddeank, Portugal-chea ani Bharat-achea Raxttrik Gitank, ani Rapsódia de Damão”-aka songit ghoddlem. Tannem khub tornnatteank songitachea mollar fudde panvlam marunk adhar dilo. To Novembrache 5ver, 1981 vorsa, 78 vorsanche prayer hea sonvsarak ontorlo. Az poreant tachi yad amche modhim songitachea mollar urlea.

Dr.Ivo da Conceição Souza

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AN UNKNOWN FREEDOM FIGHTER

January 19, 2009

We do remember our freedom fighters. Each one of them has done a lot for the liberation of Goa. I have come to know about one of them who has remained unknown, though he has been living as a man for others.

Professor Carlos da Cruz was a man of character, dedicated, sincere, selfless, who fought for the human rights till his death. He was a man of silence, but a man of action: silent action. He continued to live in silence in the memory of our people. He was a man of calibre. Even stones should be telling about the moral greatness of this man. Carlos Luís Martinho Nazário da Cruz was born on July 28, 1907 in Chandor (Chandrapur), Salsete, Goa. His parents were João Napoleão Víctor da Cruz and Amélia Ritinha Clara Lobo e Cruz. He excelled in several fields: he was a professor/teacher, journalist, freedom fighter, selfless social worker. It is interesting to know about his life so that our youth may emulate him.

He studied in the National Lyceum of Panjim (Nova Goa). He was not allowed to finish his studies, because he revealed his independence of spirit. He completed his Escola Normal and did the examination of law, without having finished the 5th year of Lyceum. He was clever and passed his exams with flying colours. He was sent to the backward village of Arambol, where he toiled and moiled for the poor people. He started a night school for the workers. It was the first night school in Goa. He taught them human rights and etiquette. He was writing constructive articles for journals. He was sending articles for «Anglo-Lusitano», but they were not published. Then he began his own paper «Oriente» and continued to fight against injustice perpetrated by the Portuguese Government aginst Goan people. He was transferred to Silvassa, capital of the district of Dadra and Nagar-Haveli (which was belonging to the Portuguese till 1954). He continued to teach and impart the knowledge of the Portuguese language and culture to the simple people. He observed inhuman conditions of the people and worked for them. The people were adivasis, indigenous and primitive. There was a lot of corruption there. He began publishing another journal «Sandalcado», under the name of a river that flows between Great Daman and Small Daman. He was dismissed from the service, nonetheless he continued to work and to fight for the rights. He was imprisoned by Portuguese authorities twelve times, he was really a “saviour” for those people. He came to know other Goan revolutionaries, like Dr.Tristão Bragança Cunha, and became an active member of the Committee of the Goa Congress. He was also in contact with the nationalist leaders like Ram Manohar Lohia. He was writing to Jawaharlal Nehru on political events of Goa. On August 2, 1954, Nagar-Haveli was liberated and became part and parcel of India. The Government of India named him Public Prosecutor of Nagar-Aveli. Even in this post he worked for the uplift of the adivasis.

He died suddenly at the tender age of 51 years, after a brief illness, on August 25 of 1958. While he was ill, he heard the National Anthem and got up from the bed and gave one rupee for his burial. He died poor without leaving one pie. He devoted himself for the uplift of the masses.

A SAINT ON THE MOVE

January 17, 2009

*Ivo da Conceiçao SOUZA

Movement is a sign of life. A saintly life is a life of growth, of movement. Movement can be local/geographical, cultural, dynamic, existential. Movement is sign of growth in spirituality. Thus, geography  can become theology. Yes, it can  become  genuine holiness, it can bind us to God, our neighbour, ourselves and the Universe. God has entered human history by sending his Son to the earth. Even the  far-off people  can become our neighbour, of our kith and kin. God has called those “who were far-off” to become his own people.

But the local-geographical movement is a manifestation of the dynamism of faith and love. With a new vision and new heart there is a living encounter with new people, new cultures, other religions and quasi-religions.

Let us have a glance through the movement in the life of Jesus, whose follower Fr.Joseph Vaz was, and in his own life.

In  the life of Jesus, we find this geographical displacement: The  first mention  of  the annunciation of John the Baptizer brings  us  to Ayn-Karim,  where Mary visited Elizabeth; but soon Mary  receives the  message  of the birth of Jesus in Nazareth  of  Galilee  (Lk 1:26).  Mary goes to a town in Judah, Ayn-Karim (Lk  1:39).  Mary and  Joseph go to Bethlehem, city in Judea, where Jesus is  born. Wise  men come from the East to Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph  go with Jesus to Egypt (Mt 2:14), even though we may think of midrashic elements in the Infancy Gospel, where Jesus is portrayed as the new Israel. Then they go to the town  of  Nazareth (Mt  2:23), since Joseph had to work in the construction of a new city of Sephoris.  Jesus is presented in the Temple  of  Jerusalem  (Lk 2:28) and  from there they returned to Galilee, to their  town  of Nazareth (Lk 2:39). Jesus goes to the Temple of Jerusalem, when he was twelve  years old. Jesus comes from Nazareth to the river  Jordan at  the  age of thirty years fo be baptized by  John the  Baptizer ((Lk  3:23). Jesus comes back to Galilee, he attends the  wedding at  Cana  in Galilee; He goes to Capernaum, a  town  in  Galilee, where he casts out an evil spirit (Mk 1:21-23). Jesus begins his preaching  in the synagogues at Galilee (Lk 4:14), in  the  syna­gogue of Nazareth (Lk 4:17). Jesus settled down in Capernaum, on the shore of the sea of Galilee. He had a house by the house of Simon Peter (Mt 4:14). Jesus heals a palsied man in Capernaum (Mk 2:1). From Capernaum he goes to Nain (Lk 7:11), where he raised to life the son of a widow. He cured the mother-in-law of Simon  Peter; there was a storm in the sea of Galilee; he  went to  the territory of Gerasenes, across the lake opposite  Galilee.

He  raised  to life the dead daughter of Jairus (Mk  5:22)  and  healed a bleeding  woman (Mk 5:25). On the way to Jerusalem, passing  bet­ween Samaria and Galilee, he went to Bethsaida, across the sea of Galiee, and fed five thousand with five loaves and two fishes (Mk 6:33; Jn 6:2). He went to the neighbourhood of Tyre (Mk 7:25). He came by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee (Mk 7:33). He went  to Jerusalem  for the feast of Tabernacles. Then Jesus went into  the villages  around  Caesarea Philippi. His journey to Jerusalem was the climax of his life, of the mystery of cross and Resurrection.[1]

In the life of Fr.Joseph  Vaz, we find dynamism of faith and action. He was  always on the  move. He is “A Saint on the Move”. His  geographical displacement can fill up pages of heroic life. It was the sign of his heroic life of faith and love, faith working through love (Ga 4:6).

Born  in Benaulim at his mother’s home, on April 21, 1651, son of Christopher Vaz and Maria de Miranda, Joseph Vaas (as he used to sign) was baptized on the eighth day in the parish-church of St.John the Baptist, Benaulim, by a Jesuit parish-priest, Jacinto Pereira. He attended the elementary school at Sancoale (Sankvalli), his paternal village. Later on, his father sent him to a school at Benaulim to learn Latin as a preparation for his priestly studies. Then he decided tos end him to the city of Goa to follow a course of Rhetoric and Humanities in the Jesuit College of St Paul. After haing completed his humanistic studies with the Jesuits, Joseph Vaz entered the Academy of St.Thomas Aquinas for his philosophical and theological studies and was staying in the collegiate Church of Our Lady of Rosary. He was ordained a priest by the then newly appointed Archbishop of Goa, D.António Brandao. As he did not receive any appointment , he went to this home at Sancoale and assisted the parochial clergy. He was summoned to the capital city of Goa to preach. He was chosen as spiritual director by two prominent men of his time, D.Rodrigo da Costa and Luis Gonsalves Cotta (both of them were later called to act as Governors of Goa). He opened a Latin school at Sancoale to help the candidates for the priesthood and also to educate the young people. On August 5, 1677, he wrote his “Deed of Bondage (or Letter of Captivity)”, at the feet of the statue of Mary in the church of Sancoale, offering himself as a slave to the Blessed Virgin Mary and decided, like an Indian yogi, to carry out his mission barefooted. At this stage his heart was turning towards the island of Ceylon, through a Canon of the Cathedral of Goa, F. De Sardinha, who spoke of the dire needs of the Catholics of Ceylon. His heart was set on fire. But the Cathedral Chapter proposed to him to go and save Christianity of Kanara. Joseph Vaz was given the high title of “Vicar Forane of Kanara”. He went on foot from Goa to Canara, where he worked for four years. With his new vision, he built churches, chapels, schools and, above all, communities. Back in Goa, he found a newly formed community of Goan priests at the Church of the Holy Cross of Miracles, Old Goa. Its founder was Fr.Pascoal da Costa Jeremias. They were called “Milagristas”. He joined them and was elected as their Superior. He organized the Goan community into the Oratorian Institute of Milagristas of Goa, according to the model of the Oratory of St.Philip Neri in Rome and of Fr.Bartholomeu do Quental in Lisbon. He left Goa for Ceylon in March 1686, accompanied by his servant boy John.[2] His intense journey continues: he went from Goa to Cannanore, to Tellichery, to Kochi, to Quilon, then to Tope on the coast of Travancore, where the Jesuits had a college. They advised him to wear the garb of a simple class worker so as to enter Ceylon like a “coolie”. When he entered the Malabar Coast, he tried to study Tamil, which was the language of the north of the Island of Ceylon. By the end of March 1687, they reached Tuticorin, on the Fishery Coast, where there was a Dutch fort from where they could embark to Ceylon. It happened that the Jesuit priest in charge of the church had been a classmate of Joseph Vaz in the College of St.Paul in Goa. By indiscretion he suggested to him to celebrate the liturgical functions of Maundy Thursday together with him. When the Dutch Calvinist officer came to know it, he suspected that he wanted to eneter Ceylon in disguise and ordered that he would not allow anyone to embark for Ceylon without his special permission. But within three days the Dutchman died and the new officer allowed them to enter the ship. From Tuticorin to Jaffna, they took 20 days to reach due to a tempest, instead of three to four days. They embarked on Mannar island and then by first half of May arrived in Jaffna. It was providential, because they were taken as Ceylonese travellers and embarked unnoticed.

They were half dead inJaffna, they needed rest and food. But Joseph was attacked with acute dysentery and was helped by a lady in the forest with a bowl of canjee every day. He started his life without any support from the Church or colonial authority. Since it was dangerous for him to remain in Jaffna, the headquarters of the Dutch command in the north of Ceylon, he prudently decided to to secretly to Sillalai, ten miles away from Jaffna. There he performed his apostolate at night to small groups of Catholics. He organized his work through the catechists (Moppu). He would eat his rice on a leaf, sitting on the ground like the poor people, and slept on grass or bamboo mat. When Adrian Van Reede, the Dutch commander of Jaffna, was harrassing him, he fled from Jaffna deep into the jungle in December 1689, crossed to Vanny, went to Puttalam, which was a part of the Kandy kingdom, ruled by Vimaladharma Surya II. There he catered to a little over one thousand Catholics, till August 1692. He visited the villages of the Kalpityia peninsula, and the interior villages inhabited by Mukkavars such as Manattivu, Tetapola, Manpuri, all in the district of Puttalam, also on the borders of the disrict of Vanny, the village of Galgamuwa, where there is still a cross, planted by Joseph Vaz , because of dread of wild animals. He had also contact with villages of Sat Korales, the seven districts lying between the coast of Puttalam and Kamala. But he preferred to take refuge in Kandy, the centre of his apostolate. He was imprisoned as a Portuguese spy in Kandy, where he took pains to study Sinhalese and prepared a vocabulary in Sinhalese. New missionaries were sent there: Fr.Joseph Menezes, Fr.Pedro Saldanha, Fr.Miguel de Melo, Fr.Jacome Gonsalves, who became a specialist in Tamil and Sinhalese, and won name and fame in the literary history of Sri Lanka, as a classical poet in Sinhalese and a writer of about forty books, rightly called “the creator of Catholic literature in Ceylon”. The papal legate in the East, Charles Thomas Maillard de Tournon, Patriarch of Antioch and afterwards a Cardinal, admired his work and wanted to appoint Joseph Vaz the first Vicar Apostolic of Ceylon, but he declined the offer, in order to avoid conflicts with the political power. Once Fr.Joseph Carvalho, his nephew, was stationed in Kandy, Joseph Vaz went to the west of the island: the city of Colombo, seat of the Dutch Government of Ceylon, in the guise of a beggar. He would assemble the Catholics by evening in house, like catacombs, and organized the pastoral work through the lay leaders and catechists, Moppus and Annavis. When the Dutch police officer was searching him, he left for Negombo, where he worked for the reformation of customs, and then he continued to Gurubavilla, Malvana and Sitawaka, and then to Soffragan. Back to Kandy, he went to Jaffna in the north of the island and passed to Vanny, where he met Fr.Pedro Ferrao. He returned to Kandy. When a dreadful small pox epidemic started in Kandy in September 1697, he together with Fr.Joseph Carvalho (who died of exhaustion in 1702), witnessed to faith through social service. He came for the second time to Colombo, continuing his apostolic journey through Negombo, Gurubawila, Malwana, Mantota, Mannar, Vanny, Kalpityia, Punarym, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Puliyadiva, Batticalao. During his third missionary journey in 17004, Blessed Joseph Vaz went to the end of Delft (Neduntivu island) in the north, where he converted 200 persons. In spite of his failing health he went to Kottiyar at the beginning of the year 1710. But he fell ill and died around midnight on Friday, January 16, of the year 1711, after 24 years of toil and moil in the mission of Ceylon, at the age of 59. He was loved and admired by the people of Ceylon as “Sammanasu Swami” (‘angelic priest’).

Blessed Joseph Vaz, the Apostle of kanara and Sri Lanka, and the Patron of Goa, was a man of God, a man of the people, a man on the move.

SOPNEKAR JUZE VAZ

*Ivo da Conceicao Souza

Juze Vaz sopnam sopneta ani tim to sakar korta. To visvaxi sodanch to Devachi khoxi sodhun kaddta. Adlea Korarant Juze sopnelo ani sopnam iskuttavn dilim/parkhilim. Te bhaxen amcho Juze sopnam sopnelo ani sodanch visvaxi ravlo. Seilanvak  (Sri Lankent) vochun thoim povitr-sobha  thiraunk mhollear  techem  sopon  aslem. To hem sopon  sakar  korta.  Ponn thoinsor  bhitor sorunk zaite tras taka poddlet.  Aplea  utramnim ani  jivitache chalin Jezucho govai to zalo.

Bhoktivont Padri Juze Vazachem jivit teagi jivit; aple  gunn Jezu  pasvot bhettoile: gneanan huxar to aslo; to  umedin  xikta, ponn sogllench aplea havesa khatir laita. To Juanvak gheun bhikari-kuli koso, Tutikorin thaun  Jaffna-che  vatter  astanam, modd ieta ani te Mannar urtat.  Bhukek  ani tanik  te sampoddtat. Thoinsor te bhik magon dis kaddhtat.  Asro sodhit,  te Jaffna pavtat, ponn thoisor moddxi zaun  to  piddest-osokt zata. Lok tenkam poisaita and eksurea zagear ghaltat.  Ponn Dev tenkam soddhina: ek ostori tenkam pez ani ier gorjecheo  vostu dita. Thoinsor Katolk ghorabeant bhitor sorun, to aplem  munniar­ponn choloita: ekunntis vorsam uprant Jaffnant poilem Mis  tenkam favta.

Surokxa  na zaun te Sillalai vetat. Ponn thoinsoroi te  sam­poddtat. Kristi lokak Holandez Sorkar piddnuk dita. Thoimthann te Puttalam’  vetat.  Thoinsor Padri Juze Vaz  nettan  Devachem  Utor porghotta,  Mis  bhettoita,  sonvskar dita.  To  Kandy-nt  bhitor sorta.  Thoinsor te bondkhonnint poddtat. Ponn thoinsor te  prar­thon kortat ani Padri Juze, 1691 vorsa, Kristjoiantiche ratri Mis bhettoita. Vimaladharma Surya Razan teka suttka dili, ponn Kandy xharantlo  bhair sorunk porvangi diunk na. Padri Juzen  ek  sadhi igroz  bandhli. Teche vinontin ek vismit ghoddlem: pavs naslo  to pavs poddlo. Ten’na Razan teka soglli sot’tea dili.

Techo gutth mhollear prartnachem jivit. Jen’nam  Papsaibacho Protinidhi,  Antiokecho Patriark, Thomas Charles de Tournon,  teka  Bisp zaunk magta ani ek khursar khillail’lo Jezu dita, Padri Juze  Vaz Khuris gheta ponn Bisp zaunk kobul na. Teka vhoddvik naka,  mijas naka, rajki guspagonddoll naka–Seilanvacho  Bisp  zaunchem dennem to nakarta. “Padroado” ani “Propaganda”-che bangoddint to misoll zanvk sodhina, ponn ikmotin osle proxn suttave korta.

Tannem 15 igorzo ani 400 kopelam bandhlint. Dublleancho  mog kelo. Kristi Sannyasi koso jielo ani melo. Durboll-sadho  mision­ar.  Zatkaticher add urben-hikmotin to zhuzlo. Vatikani  Vixvsobha  ani odhunik  misanvxastri  xikoitat, tem tannem  adhim-fuddench  korun dakhoilem. Ponn khoim to hem sogllem xiklo? Aple dhimbier,  aplea kallzant, aplea moga vorvim to “sogttank sogott” zalo (1 Kor 9:22) ani mogachi vatt dakhoili (1 Kor 13:1-13).

Sopnam sopnevn Jezuk ani amchea apovnneak visvaxi ravum-ia!


[1] Cf.T.V.Rodriguez,  Life  of Christ. A Total Picture, Through a Thorough Analytical Study  and Synthesis of the Holy Gospels, Santhome Publications, 5, Crescent Road, Madras-600030, 1988, pp.15-238. It is to be read with a critical sense, in the light of modern biblical exegesis.

[2] Fr.Cosme José Costa, SFX, Life and Achievements of Blessed Joseph Vaz (Apostle of Canara and Sri Lanka), Pilar Publications, Goa, 1996, pp.52-81; Fr.Denis Pereira, Joseph Vaz, India’s Gift to Sri Lanka, Don Bosco Publications, Mumbai, 1995.

RACHOL SEMINARY: A SKETCH

January 16, 2009

We offer here a short sketch of the history of the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, Goa. The Seminary of Rachol had three important stages: a)From its foundation in 1606/1609 till the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1759; b)from 1759 till the extinction of the Religious Orders in India in 1835; and c)from 1835 till today. The foundation stone for the College of Rachol was laid on All Saints’ Day, November 1, 1606 by the Jesuit Fr.Gaspar Soares (1606-1610), who after three years solemnly celebrated the first Eucharist in the new church of the College on a Saturday, vespers of All Saints, on October 31, 1609. It was the “Colégio de Todos os Santos” (College of All Saints). It was renamed into Colégio de S.Ignácio (“St.Ignatius’ College”), after the name of the Founder of the Jesuit Society, in the year 1925, after the canoni¬zation of St.Ignatius by Gregory XV in 1622. They had a school for poor boys, a house for the catechumens, a class of catechism, where it was taught to read, writer and count (three R’s), and a class of Moral Theology and Konkani for the Jesuit students. The College went on till the expulsion of Jesuits by the Royal Letters, dated September 3, 1759 (from Portugal), and April 1, 1760 (from its colonies). After the canonization of St.Ignatius in 1622, the name of the College was changed to Colégio de S.Inácio (“St.Ignatius’ College”) around 1625. After the expulsion of the Jesuits by the Royal Letters in 1759, the College was handed over to the Diocese of Goa. It was entrusted to the Oratorians and then to the Vincentians. Finally, in 1835, its direction was entrusted to the Diocesan Clergy. When the Archbishop of Goa was given the title of “Patriarch of the East Indies” through the “Concordata”, agreement between the Portuguese Government and the Holy See, the Seminary was renamed as Seminário Patriarcal de Rachol, which stands today as the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol. We could sum up the history of the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol with the following milestones, placed in three stages: 1)1606: Foundation stone was laid and blessed; –1610: Inauguration of the Jesuit College, as All Saints’ College; –1625: It was named after St.Ignatius of Loyola, between 1625 and 1630, after the Canonization of the Founder of the Society of Jesus in 1622; 2)–1762: After the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1759, the Archbishop Neiva rum raised the College to a Diocesan Semi¬nary under the name of “Colégio do Bom Pastor” (‘College of Good Shepherd’) and entrusted it to the Oratorians. –1761-1774: It was in the hand of the Oratorians; –1781-1789: It was handed over to the Vincentians/Lazarists; –1793-1835: Again it was in the hand of the Orato¬rians. 3) In 1835, when all the religious Orders were expelled from Goa by the Portuguese Government, the Seminary was entrusted to the Diocesan Clergy. –1835-1935: First Centenary Celebration. Publication of the Monograph on Rachol Seminary. –1835-1985: Celebration of 150 Years, since Rachol Seminary was entrusted to the Diocesan Clergy.

THEOLOGIZING IN THE CONTEXT OF TSUNAMI PHENOMENON

January 13, 2009

Introduction:

It is needless to say that the tsunami disaster has rocked the world. It was a real ordeal, which has left horrific memories till today. It has erased people and buildings from the villages and lands. It has ushered in an atmosphere of panic into the world, on December 26, 2004, during the joyous season of Christmas. Already eighth months have rolled on… Yet, while the work of rehabilitation continues, also the scar of the tragedy still persists.

Panic still prevails, while reconstruction work is going on. There have been more minor (and not so minor) earthquakes, even on July 24 and August 13, reminding us to be on our toes… The sword of Damocles is still hanging on us…

We have to be aware of the Mother Nature, with whom we are one. Once at the end of a Biblical Course given by me to novices in a Convent, the Superior was wondering why I referred to the extraction of sand dunes and ecological destruction… It is high time that we get acquainted with eco-theology and get out from the ivory tower before we may be flung off the convents and monasteries…

In this environment, I intend to recall scientific data on tsunami phenomenon—which has been part and parcel of our conversation and scientific studies (following the interdisciplinary approach, I had also to revise and deepen my own knowledge of Geography, with all the risks and dangers of dilettantism)– and theological reflections on the suffering of the people, who have lost their property and their near and dear ones, in order to be reminded again and again of our eco-responsibility.

1.1: Scientific Explanation:

The Phenomenon:

What is tsunami? Tsunami (tsoo-nah’-mee, from Japanese words, represented by two characters, the top character “tsu, “harbour”, while the bottom is “nami”, “wave”) is a series of massive ocean waves (or speeding walls of water), generated in a body of water by an impulsive disturbance that vertically displaces the water column. The phenomenon we call tsunami is a series of large waves of extremely long wavelength and period usually generated by a violent, impulsive undersea disturbance or activity, near the coast or in the ocean.  When a sudden displacement of a large volume of water occurs, or if the sea floor is suddenly raised or dropped by an earthquake, big tsunami waves can be formed by forces of gravity. The waves travel out of the area of origin and can be extremely dangerous and damaging when they reach the shore.   Often the expression, “seismic or tidal sea wave“, is used by the scientific community and by the general public, respectively, in order to describe the same phenomenon. However, the term is a misnomer, because tsunami waves can be generated also by non-seismic disturbances, such as volcanic eruptions or underwater landslides, and have physical characteristics different from tidal waves. The tsunami has nothing in common with normal wind-driven sea waves and tides. Tidal waves, caused by large storms at sea, are called storm surges. The size of a storm surge depends on the wind velocity, the duration of the storm, the sea distance over which the wind blows, and the barometric pressure. Storm surges are especially destructive, if they hit the shoreline during high tide. Astronomical tide is the rise and fall of large expanses of water, on a definite time schedule, generated by the gravitational pull of the moon, or the sun, or the planets. Thus, the Japanese word “tsunami“, meaning “harbour wave” is the correct, official and all-inclusive term. It has been internationally adopted, because it covers all forms of impulsive wave generation. It is called tsunami in geological parlance, because a wave train breaks itself at the harbour and is lifted from five to ten or even thirty metres high. It can be generated by earthquakes, volcano eruptions, explosions, underwater landslides, and even the impact of cosmic bodies, such as meteorites and asteroids, on the sea. A tsunami can savagely attack coastlines, causing devastating property damage and loss of life.

Submarine shocks (or under water disturbances), such as earthquake and volcanic eruption, often generate large waves, but not all earthquakes cause tsunami. It takes a magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale to produce one. If the intensity increases by 0.5 (say, from 7.5 to 8), the effect (of all earthquakes) will be ten times more. The largest measurable intensity of all earthquakes on Richter scale is 9. Gargantuan tsunami waves can travel at a speed of 1,000 km/hour.

1.2: Its Extension:

The tsunamigenic earthquake, that struck northwest of the Indonesian island of Sumatra (Indonesia) on December 26, 2004, was the strongest in the world for the last 40 years. Although the worst hit were nations to the west of the epicentre—India and Sri Lanka—, the countries in the immediate neighbourhood also suffered its impact of destruction: Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Seychelles, Hong Kong…

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), it is the fourth largest earthquake in the world since 1900, and the largest since the 1964 earthquake in Prince William Sound (Alaska). It was of magnitude 9.15 on the Richter scale, with its epicentre off the west coast of Northern Sumatra (3.3 deg. N, 95.78 deg. E) and at 10 km depth. The quake occurred at 00.59 hours Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-same as Greenwich Mean Time or GMT). The location is 250 km south-southeast from Banda Aceh, Sumatra, 1,260 km south-southwest of Bangkok, and 1,605 km northwest of Jakarta. According to official reports, thousands of people lost their lives, of whom one-third are children.

The eastern Indian coast in Tamil Nadu is about 2,000 km from the epicentre. The wave appears to have hit Cuddalore first, barely one and a half hours after the event. That makes the tsunami that hit the Indian coast to be an extremely fast one, with a speed of about 900 km/hr. In Tamil Nadu more than 106 villages were affected, 984,564 people were affected, 8,012 people lost their lives, 126,182 houses and huts were destroyed. It left a trail of destruction also in the Andaman and Nicobar, Pondicherry, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

The Andaman region itself is seismically very active–the earliest recorded tsunamis on the eastern Indian coast are, in fact, because of Subduction events off the Car Nicobar island. The first in that area was on December 31, 1881, which had a magnitude of at least 7.5; a more recent tsunami event in the same area is that of June 26, 1941, which had a magnitude of at least 8.5.

The catastrophic tsunami hit Sri Lanka, the pearl of the Indian Ocean, and killed around 40,000 people, displaced nearly one million people, having lost their houses, belongings, property, and livelihood, swept away motor roads and railway tracks, destroyed the town of Galle (the Calvinist stronghold at the time of Venerable Father Joseph Vaas), and gravely damaged Batticaloa.

The tsunami struck Phuket island just after 10 a.m., when Christmas revellers were just starting to surface. About 70 divers, who were exploring the famed Emerald Caves, were plucked to safety after the first couple of waves struck. The more remote Phi Phi islands, where the film The Beach was filmed, were hit even more badly than Phuket. Most of the fatalities in Malaysia were people swimming and jet-skiing off beaches on the island of Penang, who were struck by the tsunami.

It is on records that there was a tsunami to strike the state of Hawai’i on May 23, 1960, generated from an 8.3 earthquake in Chile. Much of the damage occurred in Hilo Town, Hawai’i, where 61 people were killed, 537 buildings destroyed, and damages totalled over dollars 23 million. A Notice Board in a Beach Hotel read as follows:

“In case of tidal wave, Rule 1—Stay calm; Rule 2—Pay Hotel Bill; and Rule 3—Run like Hell”.

2.1: Theories of Tsunami Phenomenon:

The earth is a huge sphere-ball (rather like a pear), of which the surface is made up of rock, soil, and water. It is surrounded by air. It is one of nine (or today ten, the last one, being a minor planet 17095, discovered by the linear programme of MIT Lincoln Laboratory in the USA, and named as ‘Mahadik Planet’, after an Indian student, Bhushan Mahadik) spinning planets, that travel around the sun through space along paths, called orbits. The Sun is a star, one of billions of stars that make a galaxy: Milky Way Galaxy (Via Lactea). The Milky Way and billions of other galaxies, together with huge amounts of gas and dust scattered through space, make up the Universe. The earth is about 150 million kilometers from the sun. We enjoy sun’s warmth, light, and water for life. All life on the earth is found on and above a skin-like crust, made of rock. The crust lies under the land and water (the earth’s surface). Beneath the crust, the earth is a hot, lifeless ball of rock and metal. It is always moving—it spins like a top around its axis (giving rise to day and night), travels around the sun at the same time (giving rise to seasons), and moves through the Milky Way with the rest of the solar systems. Water covers about seventy per cent of the earth, whereas land covers only about thirty per cent. Changes in the earth’s crust can be explained by the theory of plate tectonics.

2.2: a) Theory of Plate Tectonics:

According to the theory of plate tectonics, the outer shell of the earth (lithosphere) is divided into about fifteen rigid (seven large and about as many smaller) plates. The theory of plates includes not only the Earth’s solid upper crust, but also parts of the denser, partially molten rock in the mantle below, called Asthenosphere. The plates carry the continents and oceans on their backs like mammoth rafts. With an average thickness of 100 km, the plates float on the Asthenosphere, and move continuously against one another at a rate of up to 20 cm a year. Continents form only a part of the plates, the surrounding oceans form the rest of the plates. It is the plates containing both continents and oceans that move. The relation of inter-plate movement is defined by the type of plate margin: constructive, destructive or conservative. Destructive force is found on all sides of the Pacific Ocean, as the various plates slide down beneath the surrounding lithosphere.

As the plates move, they carry the continents and the ocean floor with them. In other words, not only the continents are in motion, but the oceans as well, because the top crust of the Earth is not a complete single shell of granite and basalt, but a mosaic of several rigid segments. They move in three different ways: a)away from each other; b)toward each other; or c)past each other. Different movements of the plates have different effects on the sea-bed and the continents. They can trigger volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, as well as build mountains. They can reshape the earth’s crust and change the morphology of the earth.

The “shallow thrust-type” earthquake, according to the USGS, occurred at the interface between the Indian and Burmese tectonic plates. In this region, the circum-Pacific belt (called also “Ring of Fire”) accounts for more than three-fourths of the world’s earthquakes, whereas other quakes occur in the Alpide belt, which cuts across Europe and Asia from Burma to Southern Europe and North Africa. Off the west coast of northern Sumatra, the Indian plate moves in a northeastward direction at about 5 cm. a year relative to the Burmese plate. According to USGS, preliminary locations of larger aftershocks show that approximately 1,000 km. of plate boundary dipped as a result of the main Sumatra earthquake.

In the Subduction zone, tectonic plates converge towards each other, the plate with heavier oceanic material, dives beneath the other, with lighter continental material. When the tectonic earthquake occurs beneath the sea, the sea floor abruptly deforms and, like the swimming spring-board, vertically displaces the overlying water from its equilibrium position, waves are formed as the displaced water mass, which acts under the influence of gravity, attempts to regain its equilibrium (centripetal force). From the source area, where the initial water surface profile changes, the subsequent wave is propagated away (centrifugal force). When large areas of the sea floor elevate or subside, a tsunami is created.

The potential energy of displacement is converted into the kinetic energy of horizontal motion. Unlike tidal wave, a tsunami extends deep down into the ocean waters, that is, a tsunami crest is just the very tip of a very vast mass of water in motion. Within several minutes of the quake, the initial tsunami will split into one that travels out to the deep ocean (distant tsunami) and another that travels towards the nearby coast (local tsunami).

As the waves travel over the near shore region, a tsunami ‘run-up’ occurs (‘run-up’ is a measure of the height of water observed on shore above the mean sea level [MSL]). Tsunamis do not result in creaking waves like the normal surf waves on a beach. They come in like very powerful and fast local rises in sea level, and travel much farther inland than normal waves. Much of the damage inflicted by tsunamis is on account of strong currents and floating debris. After run-up, part of the tsunami energy is reflected back to the open ocean. The height above the mean sea level (MSL) of the two oppositely travelling tsunamis is about half that of the original tsunami. The speed, at which both travel, varies as the square root of the water depth. Therefore, deep ocean tsunamis travel faster than local tsunamis.

Because the momentum of the tsunami is so great, it can travel great distances with little loss of energy. The 1990 Chilean tsunami had enough force to travel for 22 hours across thousands of kilometres to kill people in Japan. As the tsunamis (both local and distant) approach the shallow coastal waters, their wavelength decreases and the amplitude increases several-fold. As the waves hit against the slope of the coastline, the long waves pile on one another, and the wavelength is reduced, while the amplitude increases.

Moreover, a tsunami can generate a particular type of waves, called edge waves, which travel back and forth, parallel to the shore. The geometry of the seafloor, warping near the coast, has a significant influence on them. These effects result in repetitive arrivals of the tsunami waves at a particular point on the coast rather than a single wave. Because of the complicated behaviour of the phenomenon of the waves near the coast, the first run-up of a tsunami is often not the largest, emphasizing the importance of not returning to the beach for several hours after a tsunami hits. In certain cases, the sea can seem to draw a breath and empty the coast. This is almost immediately followed by a wall of water, inundating the coast, as it was noticed in Phuket by a 13-year-old English girl, who saved with her observation her family and many more…

The theory of plate tectonics explains both continental drift and sea-floor spreading. This theory also helps explain the location of mountains and volcanoes, and the occurrence of earthquakes.

2.4: b) Theory of Continental Drift:

The continents plough through the oceans like massive ships. In his book, The Origin of Continents and Oceans, published in 1915, the German scientist, Alfred Wegener (1880-1930), advanced the theory of Continental Drift. He theorized that the changes on the Earth surface were mainly due to the shifting of continents.

According to the theory of continental drift, the continents originally consisted of a single great land mass surrounded by one ocean. The mass broke up into continents, which slowly drifted apart. The theory explains why the shape of the eastern coast of the Americas and that of the western coast of Africa seem to fit together, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Interestingly, new oceans, including the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, resulted from the drift of the continents.

At first, several scientists rejected the continental drift theory, because no one could explain what forces might move continents. Then, later on, a theory called sea-floor spreading came to the rescue.

2.5: c) Theory of Sea-Spreading:

According to the theory, the sea-floor itself never moves, carrying the continents along. Circulating movements deep within the earth’s mantle (that is, the thick layer of hot melted rock beneath the earth’s crust) make the sea-floor move. The circulating movements carry melted rock up to the mid-ocean ridges and force it into the central valleys of the ridges. As the melted rock cools and hardens, it forms new sea-floor and pushes the old floor and the continents away from the ridges.

3.1: Eco-concerns and Reconstruction:

We should be aware of the natural, God-given structures and try to preserve them. Coral reefs and mangrove forests act as walls blocking soil from entering into the sea (interestingly, in Tamil language these forests are known as ‘forests that control waves’, Alaiathi kadukal). This blocking of soil creates sand dunes, which, in turn, act as sturdy natural coastal barriers, reducing the velocity of waves. But these mangrove forests were destroyed for fuel, shrimp farms, luxury hotels and holiday resorts, ports, salt ponds.

Tsunami has brought also emotional trauma, psychiatric illnesses, and water-borne diseases, like malaria and dengue. People, even children, were crying and running panicky everywhere in search of safety. Some of them were saved, others, drowned… Those who were saved were frantically searching their near and dear ones… Animals may have instinctively felt the forthcoming disaster and run away. Even the geological, topological configuration is changed, the distance between the earth and sun reduced…

There is a need for psychological rehabilitation through counselling of the affected population, rehabilitation of immediate livelihood, ecological restoration, rehabilitation of agriculture, long-term livelihood. Religion and faith will also play a therapeutic role in the traumatic, shattering experience of the people. Work of rehabilitation and reconstruction is going on. In Andaman and Nicobar, out of 579 islands about 28 were inhabited by tribals. Over 70,000 people are displaced. Huge cracks were seen all over the islands. Tribals in deep forests were forced to starve. There were 8,700 casualties (unofficially, 15,000), loss of property, 1,000 crores. Schools were washed away. Pilar Fathers under the guidance of Bishop Aleixo das Neves Dias, SFX, carry on, through NGO’s, the work of reconstruction. In all these tsunami-devastated areas, good Samaritans are working for short-term (relief) and mid-term (temporary shelter, bedding, mosquito nets, basic commodities) and long-term rehabilitation programmes (housing, livelihood re-establishment, community facilities, health care, water, sanitation, schools, counselling, fisheries, agriculture). It is a Herculean task… The work of rescue, relief and rehabilitation will take years to come…

3.0: Theological Reflections:

In the aftermath of the Asian disaster, the credibility of Religion has been challenged by some ‘agnostics’. The frequently asked questions (FAQ), regarding the killer sea waves, are as follows: Why did God allow them? Is tsunami disaster God’s punishment? Could not God shun it, if God is the Lord of the Universe and the Lord of History?

3.1: There are “natural” disasters and calamities, like earthquakes, floods, cyclones, tornadoes, birth handicaps, genetic accidents, diseases associated with old age (Alzheimer, dementia), sometimes with fatal consequences. Tsunami was a “natural disaster”. Could Science predict tsunamis so as to avoid such a plight of the innocent people? We cannot surely stop such disasters from happening, but at least we can reduce the impact wreaked by such disasters. Warning systems are being devised, centres are being established.

3.2: How to cope up with natural disasters and life tragedies? Our reaction can be that of rebellion, or of passivity and resignation. Where is God when it hurts? To be human is to search meaning. Science alone cannot provide that meaning. As we have seen, tsunamis have a scientific explanation. In any case, we have to face reality and do something constructive about human suffering. We are witnessing human fragility, the impotence of sciences, the mystery. We cannot handle it as a problem, it is a mystery… Tsunami havoc reminds us of the frailty and precariousness of human existence. The world is not a finished product. God has entrusted the world to humanity with an unfinished task. We have to handle with care the nature, of which we are stewards. It is a challenge to our humanity.

3.3: Some religious leaders have advanced the explanation of retributive justice, namely that it is God’s punishment for the sins of humanity. But this theory (“religious explanation”) is inadequate explanation. Why should God punish also the innocent people? Sinners punish themselves. “The wages of sin is death” (Rm 5: , cf.Jn ).

3.4: How does the Bible explain calamities? The biblical flood was regarded as a sign of God’s premonition (cf. Gn 6: ; 9: ). Jesus does not accept the explanation of retributive justice, when he healed the blind man (cf. Jn 9: ). He said that the man was not born blind because of his sins, or those of his parents, but for the glory of God”…In the book of Job, we find a rejection of this explanation given by the three friends of Job,…

At a deeper level, we are here in the realm of the Paschal Mystery, the mystery of suffering, of the redemptive value of the Cross. We have to personalize our relationship with the divine “Thou”, merge our pride and self-centredness into humble, trustful faith (cf.Rm 5:11). It comes within the horizon of God’s project. The world is unfinished, we have the task of perfecting it. Human freedom plays a pivotal role in this matter. Through reason and science we have to know the nature, prevent the dangers, cure diseases, invest our energy in the struggle that builds up the world, we build the world and ourselves, collective efforts for a better world, for a fuller, more human and humane life are being expended. We have to struggle to humanize the world. This goes hand in hand with the fight against sin (basically self-centredness). Through sin we “de-create” instead of continuing the work of creation. By overcoming selfishness and pride, it goes towards building our self, so as to strengthen our solidarity, justice and love. The more we divinize ourselves, the more we humanize the Universe. Our hearts were created for God, as St.Augustine puts it: “Lord, you have created us for you, our hearts cannot rest but in you” (Confessions, 1:1). We need self-transcendence.

3.5: God is love (cf.1 Jn 4:8). The disaster has brought the whole world to compassion and solidarity. Creation is a continued work of a loving God. When people are rebuilding life from the rubble, we witness a history of hope and creativity. This calls us to be people of thankfulness and hope. Resurrection is a stepping-stone… We are “Halleluia-people”. This is what creation means: not a once-and-for-all Big Bang, but the continual renewing of the conditions for life in defiance of the powers of darkness or death—this means that there is a struggle at the heart of every creative endeavour. St. Paul speaks of all creation groaning in childbirth (cf.Rm 8:28). We are historical beings. We are witnessing the history of the cosmos as a struggle of becoming and of growth. What we experience now as a senseless destruction may be a part of the mystery of creation in hidden ways. The empathy of the people with victims and the courage of the sufferers to begin living anew bears witness to the power of creativity and hope over death and destruction. We do trust in the ultimate power of God’s love.

His power is expressed in a love that participates in our struggle against death by becoming one of us and dying for us. God loves us, God suffers with us. Thus, we must look for a God, not in the power that moves the world, but in the suffering of the victims and in the love of those who comfort them. This is the human dimension of Christianity, the human face of God”…

Suffering is the most intimate aspect of every human life, and it is inseparable from love. His love is revealed in the Cross of Jesus of Nazareth, in whom God is revealed. This is the only way to cope up with suffering., when we are confronted by the reality of suffering.

3.4: In the era of economic and cultural globalization, globalization of solidarity and love is a must. Nor is suffering cumulative, as if the random deaths of 2,52,000 posed a greater theological problem than the random death of a single person. A mother’s faith would be more challenged by the death of one of her own children than by the deaths of thousands of strangers. What matters is not statistics, but personal stories of love and loss. We do believe in God, yet we are struggling to find an answer to what has happened to the helpless people. We cannot see God, but we can feel his love in various ways…

Conclusion:

Tsunami phenomenon remains a challenge for the scientists and a point for reflection and action for the common Man. As Christians, we have an opportunity for faith reflection, for theologizing for the enrichment of our own living and praxis.

Bibliography:

Tina BEATTIE, “Where was God?”, The Tablet, January 8, 2005, pp.8-9

R.RAMACHANDRAN, “The Tsunami Phenomenon”, Frontline, vol.22, no.1, January 14, 2005, pp.14-16

Nandkumar KAMAT, Navhind Times, January 3, Monday, 2005

Felix PODIMATTAM, OFM.Cap., “Why would a Good God Allow Suffering?”, ITS 42, 2005, pp.175-211

M.SALAMOLARD, “Le Mal: Dieu responsible et innocent. Reflexions inspirees par A.-Gesche”, Nouvelle Revue Theologique 127, 2005, pp.373-388

Prakash LOUIS, “Displacement and Rehabilitation in Post Tsunami South Asia”, Social Action, vol.55, no.3, July September 2005, pp.318-329

Fr.Jesuino ALMEIDA, SFX, “Tsunami in Andaman and Nicobar Isles”, Fr.Agnelo’s Call, April 2005, pp.1517

*Dr.Ivo da C.Souza