Mangaluru: Fr Charles Serrao, Provincial Superior of the Order of Carmelites stressed on the importance of virtual media to reach out to more and more people in its efforts to spread the Word of God. He was presiding over the celebrations to mark the 7th anniversary of ‘Naman Ballok Jesu’, the popular Konkani monthly, organised last evening, 20th December 2015, at Carmel Hills, in the premises of Infant Jesus Shrine at Bikarnakatte. He said “Earlier the communication media was not widely used for proclaiming Word of God. However in the last 15 years there has been a concerted effort to use the media to spread the Word of God. The Carmelites have been carrying out this task devotedly and successfully in the last 7 years.”
Fr Serrao further added, “Virtual communication is increasing promoting both good and bad. Though communication media is important, the habit of reading is equally important and should not be neglected. Through virtual communication it is necessary to reach out to more and more people in a planned way. ‘sokallik.com’, the new website launched by the Carmelite Friars will be able to spread the Word of God by reaching out to a wider section of the society”. The Provincial also congratulated the Fr Stephen Pereira, the Editor of Naman Ballok Jesu and his team for popularising the monthly magazine and encouraged them to continue the good work they have been doing in the last seven years.
The celebration at the Carmel Hills was a culmination to mark the seven important achievements and was aptly titled ‘Carmel Gudyar Pavsadonu’ (rainbow on Carmil Hills). It was a gathering of likeminded people comprising established and young and emerging writers, literary people, poets, academicians and media personalities. Apart from the 7th anniversary of Naman Ballok Jesu, it was an occasion which witnessed the launching of the new website ‘sokallik.com’ and celebration of two years of Carmel Kiran, a TV programme aimed to proclaim and spread the warmth and love of God. The other occasions that formed part of the celebration include the first anniversary of ‘Carmel Preran’, the whatsapp group through which the Carmelites try to reach out to people spread over the globe, presenting Yuva Puraskar Award, release of four books, presentation of prizes to the winners of Naman Balok Jesu literary competition for creative writing 2015 and ‘Kavi Mell’ symposium of poets.
Fr Stephen Pereira OCD, who welcomed the gathering gave a brief account of the 7 programmes that formed part of the day’s grand celebrations. He pointed out that Naman Ballok Jesu has been able to make a make its presence due to the tremendous support it received from readers, sponsors and writers. Fr Stephen also declared that publishing books is to encourage young and new writers as it would give them the necessary push to make a grand entry into the literary field.
He also highlighted that Carmel Preran has grown in popularity as it has benefitted Catholic people spread across the globe. “Through Carmel Preran we cater to the spiritual needs of the people. So much so if there is a slight delay we are flooded with requests from people from different parts of the world, which demonstrates the popularity of spreading the Word of God making use of modern media.”
The welcome speech was followed by a power point presentation (PPP) on the path traversed by Naman Ballok Jesu, the monthly magazine of the Carmelites, in the last seven years. The PPP also gave a brief account of the feedback of eminent personalities in the Konkani literary field about the monthly magazine.
Fr Dennis D’Sa, PRO of Udupi Diocese, who was the guest of honour, launched the new socio-religious website ‘sokallik.com’, which marks the grant entry of Carmelite Friars of Mangalore into the popular field of web journalism.
Speaking on the occasion Fr Denis D’Sa stated that for the media completing one year is in itself is a milestone. “You have successfully completed 7 years which is a high point because in the present situation even completing one year is an achievement in itself. At the same time you never compromised on your ideals of ‘satyam, shivam and sundaram’. Through this magazine you have enriched Konkani language and recognised and patronised Konkani writers”, he averred. Stressing on the importance of media he stated that today we are in the world of ‘mediacracy’. “Media is power. It can be both a dynamo and dynamite. Today mediacracy is ruling us because 56% of jobs in our country are in media field” he stated. Pointing out that we are living in the age of digital revolution Fr Denis D’Sa stated that if it was Stone Age and Bronze Age a few millenniums back now it is the “ice age” i.e the age of internet, communication and entertainment.
Fr Denis also stated that there are three stages of maximising media i.e., use the media, evangelise through the media and evangelise the media. Lauding the efforts of Carmelites for their hard work to maximise use of communication media he said “Jesus made best use of the audio and he himself of the visual media. You are now are now making use of the new media to the maximum extent and by this you are doing the work of the diocese.”
Fr Prashanth Madtha, noted writer and columnist who was also the guest of honour on the occasion, entertained the gathering with his rich repertoire of four liner limericks called chutukas in Kannada. Trying to explain the difference between ordinary words and literature he said when you say ‘button’ it is just a word. But when you say ‘soft button’ it becomes literature and it depends on the age of the person to imagine and understand the true connotation of that literary word.
Another event that formed part of the ‘Rainbow at Carmel Hills’ programme was presenting the first ever NBJ Yuva Prathibha Puraskar 2015 to Shalon Joanne Pais for her stupendous achievements in the sports field. The award is instituted by Mavis and Calvin Rodrigues in the name of ‘Akash-Amulya’, to mark the 7th anniversary of Naman Balok Jesu. Shalon has won laurels as a chess player both at national and Asia level for the last many years. Being a multi-talented youngster who excelled in music, singing, dancing and public speaking she was duly chosen for the youth award. Mr World Raymond D’Souza, read the citation in her honour and Shalon was felicitated with a shawl by Fr Charles Serrao and flowers, citation, memento by the guests on the dais. Sponsorer Mavis Rodrigues handed over a cheque of Rs 25,000/- to the winner. A jury comprising Geo Agrar, Nithisha Rodrigues and Mr World Raymond D Souza had selected the winner.
Mavis Rodrigues who sponsored the first ever NBJ Yuva Puraskar award stated there is a need to recognise our own talent and then work towards that goal of nurturing it to get the best result. It is the responsibility of the society to find new talents and encourage them to reach greater heights. She said that humbleness is a virtue which will help achievers to reach their goals and realise the dreams.
Four books, three of them written by Carmelites priests and printed by Dhyanavana Publications, Bengaluru, were released on the occasion. ‘Uja Tuja Vengenth’, a collection of poems by young Carmelite priest Fr Joseph Cyril D Souza widely known by his acronym Jocy Siddakate was released by his mother Louisa D Souza. This is the 5th book to the credit of this young priest. Eminent poet Andrew L’ D’Cunha, who reviewed the book prior to the release said that there is not even a single word which is unwanted or inappropriate in any of the poems of Jocy in the book. He said Fr Jocy’s poems demonstrate two aspects – namely giving new meaning to life and adding zest to life.
‘Mistikanchi Mistirn’ (spiritual teacher) a book writer by Fr Ivan D Souza, was released by Provincial Superior of Carmelites Fr Charles Serrao. Fr Dominic who reviewed this book said the life of St Teresa of Avila has been an inspiration to people cutting across religious, geographic or linguistic boundaries. He said the book is written in simple language and can be read even by children. St Teresa is known as the teacher of prayer and the book contains details about her prayers, her childhood and other details of her life and will prove to be of great inspiration to all.
‘Pakl’yo’ (petals) a compilation of Konkani poems from the whatsapp group ‘Poetics’ was released by writer and columnist Fr Prashanth Madtha S J. H M Pernal who reviewed the book gave a detailed account of the history of the poetics group which traces its origin to a WhatsApp group. In a lighter vein H M Pernal stated that the poetics group was started in March 2015 and within 9 months it has delivered a baby and both the child and the mother are healthy. He stated that the group was named after the first philosophical treatise ‘Poetics’ on the theory of literature by Greek Philosopher Aristotle. Dwelling on the issue further he said the book ‘Paklyo’ is an answer to the issues and concerns raised by those who believe that Face book likes and WhatsApp shares is like an abortion of poetry. “You get an answer in this book whether there was an abortion or not,” he said.
The fourth book released on the occasion was ‘Prathama Dampathi Santaru’ written by Carmelite priest Fr Richard Menezes. Fr Gregory D Souza reviewed the book of Fr Menezes and he opined that in the last two millenniums only religious people have become saints. The third millennium offers an opportunity for the laity and he said that Louis and Zelie Martin Parents of Carmelite nun St Teresa of Lisieux have set precedence for the laity in this regard. “This proves that sainthood is not only in church. A person’s spiritual history is best said by what is achieved in his chosen life,” Fr Gregory declared.
On this occasion young writer Ria Vithasaha known by her pen name Muddu Teerthahalli, who had shot to fame through her book ‘Ondu Chandrana Thundu’, a collection of essays, was felicitated for her stupendous achievements in the literary field. Prizes were given to the winners of the Naman Ballok Jezu creative writing competition 2015.
Provincial Superior Fr Charles Serrao, Fr Denis D’Sa, Fr Prashanth Madtha, Fr Joe Tavro, Superior St Joseph’s Monastery, Mevis Rodrigues, and Fr Stephen Pereira were on the dais.
The grand celebration culminated with the symposium of poets titled ‘Kavi Mell’. It was presided over by poet Fr Melvin Pinto Neerude SJ and poets Andrew L D’Cunha, Wilson Kateel, Fr Jocy Siddakkate and Smitha Shenoy narrated their poems to the thunderous applause of the assembled gathering. ‘Kavi Mell’ was followed by dinner.
Earlier, the programme began with a prayer dance presented by the girls of Infant Mary Church, Bajjodi. Geo Agrar compeered the programme and Fr Jocy Siddakatte delivered the vote of thanks.