Monday, September 30, 2013

Fr Rudolf Schoch remembered on 100th birth anniversary

Father Rudolf Schoch remembered on 100th birth anniversary
Sakal Times
Sunday, 29 September 2013 - 02:15 PM IST

Pune: The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) paid rich tributes to the late Fr Rudolf Schoch, educationist and former principal St Vincent's High School and Loyola High School on his 100th birth centenary on Friday.

Fr Schoch, born in Basel, Switzerland on September 27, 1913, had taught thousands of students when he was a teacher and principal at various  Jesuit-run schools in Pune and Ahmednagar districts. He had served as a member of the Senate of the University of Pune and on the Maharashtra School Board for many years.

Fr Schoch played an important role in the foundation of  the Dnyanmata High School in Sangamner in Ahmednagar district in 1948 and the Loyola High School in Pune in 1960. He is especially remembered for introduction of  the German language in the University of Pune curriculum and in the founding of the Max Mueller Bhavan in the city.  

Recalling services of Fr Schoch,  Fr Bhausaheb Sansare, Head of the Pune Jesuit province, described the late educationist as a great visionary and excellent financial administrator.  “Fr Schoch guided thousands of his pupils and also moulded their characters. He lived a very simple life,”  Fr Sansare said. 

Schoch had joined the Society of Jesus, a congregation of Catholic priests, in 1932 and came to India in 1938. In Pune, he studied Marathi and Sanskrit and also taught at St Jude's High School in Dehu Road between 1946-48. 

He also translated some abhangs of  Sant Tukaram  into German. Fr Schoch died in Pune in 2001 at the age of 88.  
Anup Y Attavar, an ex-student of the St Vincent's High School said, “Fr Schoch was an institution by himself and motivated us students to excel. His commitment to high moral values helped him make gentlemen out of the boys.”

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our Lady of Lourdes, France

Our Lady of Lourdes, France

Sakal Times blog

We checked into the hotel rooms at Lourdes pilgrim town in France and soon left for the site where Mother Mary is believed to said to appeared to teenager Bernadette Soubirous  in 1858.  My wife Jacqueline, daughter Aditi and I joined the hundreds of pilgrims who were heading towards the basilica built near the site of the apparition. Lourdes is one of the most visited Catholic pilgrim centres in the world. What we experienced during the next three days of our stay in this small town was just unforgettable. The ongoing novena prayers in honour of Mother Mary and her feast on September 8 have refreshed my memories of the days we spent in Lourdes.

We reached at the large ground in front of the impressive Rosary basilica. There were hundreds of wheelchair-bound patients queued up to participate in the evening candle-lit procession during which the devotees said rosary and litany prayers in French, English and other languages. Sick people from various places In Europe and elsewhere are especially brought here to seek their healing. Incidentally the wheel-chairs were moved not by the relatives of the sick but by local volunteers and professional health nurses clad in white and blue uniforms. Lourdes city has indeed seen prosperity due the flourishing pilgrim tourism there. The city is one of the most important centres of Marian devotion, the other being Fatima in Portugal and Vailankanni in India. Some group of devotees in the procession were carrying banners of their nations from various continents and looking at them I wished I too should have prepared a banner of India!

The next morning, we visited the grotto, the site of Mother Mary's apparition. Mary is said to have appeared to peasant girl Bernadette 18 times. A small statue of Mary is placed up higher in the grotto and masses celebrated daily at the site are attended by thousands of visiting devotees. During our visit, a German bishop and an Italian cardinal concelebrated the mass there and me and my family members were privileged to meet both of them, thanks to a Catholic priest who was accompanying us on our Europe tour.

The visit to the Saint Pius X Basilica on the third day of our stay left all of us bewildered. The underground basilica accommodates as many as 25,000 people and is one of the largest churches in the world. International masses with prayers in major world languages are celebrated at the basilica on every Wednesday and 
Sunday morning. Pope John Paul II - the pilgrim pontiff who set a record of visiting a large number of nations - had visited Lourdes first in 1983 and later in 2004.

Lourdes is indeed a beautiful and very clean tourism centre. During our stay there, we walked for a long distance admiring the landscape there, the clean sky blue waters of the river flowing just opposite the grotto and shopping at the local shops. The large number of photographs taken there have helped me to keep afresh memories of this picturesque town.