Author Archives: Bill Buck

Remember in your prayers the mission work of Father Shinto Abraham

Remember in your prayers the mission work of Father Shinto Abraham of the Diocese of Satna who spoke to us in July on the dignity of the human person.

Diocese of Satna.
Mission Diocese of Satna is entrusted with the mission of evangelizing
seven districts in the State of Madhya Pradesh in the Northern part
of India. Even though the population of Satna is over ten million, only
3000 belong to the Catholic faith. Majority of the population belongs to
the Hindu religion. We extend our support to everyone irrespective of
their religious beliefs.
In the Diocese of Satna there are 37 schools, 6 dispensaries, 1 Hospital, 1
Orphanage, 2 Homes for the mentally challenged and one Home for
the physically challenged children and one home for the street girls.
There are some formation centers for the future missionaries. Together
with this we are working for the amelioration of women through different
programs. We are also giving AIDS awareness programs.
In the multi-religious and fundamentalist context of Madhya Pradesh
direct evangelization is a difficult task. The diocese of Satna has taken
up the mission of evangelization in the midst of challenging situations.
The Church involves herself more in the educational and charitable
activities to witness Christ than on direct evangelization since there is
political and religious pressure. But we are always attentive to provide
adequate pastoral care to our catholic faithful.
With the help of formal and non-formal schools we provide education
to the people so that they become liberated from the clutches of the
evil effects of the caste system, superstitions, untouchability etc.
Through the non-formal education the poor and the marginalized children
are brought into the world of letters and to the main stream of the
In view of evangelization we are conducting retreats, family renewal
programs, small Christian Community gatherings, ecumenical meetings,
inter-religious meetings, prison ministry, training for Nursing Assistance,
education centers for school drop-out children, job oriented
training for children, assistance in farming and development of land for
cultivation for the poor villagers.
Health Care Centers such as hospitals and dispensaries run by the
Diocese help the poor people in the remote areas. Infant mortality and
malnutrition are very high in this State of Madhya Pradesh due to lack
of medical care. The diocese is initiating program to address these
Being a mission Diocese, we are in great need of financial support to
do our further missionary activities and humanitarian support for the
poor and the needy. Kindly make some generous contributions for the
Mission Diocese of Satna. We are grateful to you for helping us by
your generous contributions. Your prayers and support help us to
continue with our missionary activities. Thank you for your participation
in the mission of the universal Catholic Church.

Three Knives-Cup with Snake- Basket with a “T”

The three knives are the symbol of St. Bartholomew (also known as Nathaniel) In Hebrew, Bartholomew means “Son of Talmai” and Nathaniel means, “Gift of God”.  Three flaying knives were used for skinning animals, are his most common symbol.  Nathaniel was the “Israelite without guile” (John 1:47).  Nathaniel’s faith was constant; after the crucifixion he missioned in Jerusalem and later in Asia Minor and Southern Russia where he founded numerous churches.  He is said to have been flayed alive and then crucified.  He suffered martyrdom in Russia.

The cup with snake is the symbol for St. John the beloved Disciple (Hebrew; “God has mercy”) According to tradition, John drank from a cup of poison, but the poison disappeared in the form of a snake.  John and his brother James were men of zeal and ambition, desiring the highest seats beside Jesus in the Heavenly Kingdom.  They were taught humility instead.  John witnessed the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, faithfully standing at the foot of the cross. For his faith and love of Jesus, John was given, by our Lord, the care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to receive her as his own mother.  He missioned in Samaria and Asia Minor and was a great pillar of the early church.  He wrote the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, and died peacefully of old age about 100 AD exiled on the Greek isle of Patmos.

The Basket with a “T”  (Tau Cross)  is the symbol for St. Philip (Greek; Lover of Horses)  usually Philip is pictured by a cross and loaves of bread which refers to the feeding of the 5,000.  He introduced his friend, Bartholomew/Nathaniel to Christ. While at various times, Philip expresses uncertainty of Jesus as the Son of god, he was a loyal friend to Jesus.  After Pentecost, Philip became a missionary in South Russia, Asia Minor, and possibly also France.   He was crucified in Hierapolis, Turkey. In 2011, his tomb was uncovered near the Turkish city of Denizli.

Spear and Carpenter’s Square-Two Crossed Keys-Fish resting on the Bible

Spear and carpenter’s square are symbolic of St. Thomas (Aramaic, Twin) Thomas is said to have built a church with his own hands in East India at Malipur. While there, he was shot with arrows and finally martyred by a pagan priest’s spear.  He was a simple fisherman from Galilee and followed Jesus, he would not believe that Jesus rose from the dead until he saw Jesus with his own eyes, and touched his wounds. (John 11: 14-16)   In the Early church, he was a zealous and fearless missionary, preaching in Babylon, Persia and India.  There he founded many churches, baptized countless people.

Two crossed Keys – Simon/Peter (Simon is Hebrew for “Obedient” Peter Greek for “Rock”) The two crossed keys are the symbol of St. Peter, who was given the keys to the kingdom of Heaven by Jesus.  (Matthew 16:13-19)  Peter was a Galilean fisherman, introduced to Jesus through the apostle Andrew, his brother.  Later, called from the seashore to follow Christ, Peter was impulsive and assertive.  Often he questions and misunderstands Jesus, although his loyalty is never questioned.  When the Gospels speak of Peter, it is usually first, as he was the natural leader of the apostles.  Although he publicly denied Christ three times (as Jesus predicted at the Last supper)  He was also the first to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, and so Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter and declared “Upon this rock, I will build my Church”  at Pentecost, Peter boldly preaches the Gospel. He was imprisoned in Jerusalem by King Herod (AD 42-44) but was released by an angel. He preached the gospel throughout Palestine, Babylon, Greece and he was finally crucified by Nero Caesar in Rome.  Because he felt unworthy to be crucified as Jesus, he asked to be crucified upside down, a request that was honored.   In 1942, the tomb and bones of St Peter were found hidden in a tomb  that lies under the floor beneath St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.  The bones were tested and belonged to a robust man who died man in his 60’s.

Fish resting on the Bible – Simon the Zealot (Hebrew for Obedient); This symbol is given to Simon because he was a great fisher of men through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He is said to have been a companion of Jude on many of his missionary journeys.  When Jesus met Simon, he was a Zealot, a member of a group of revolutionaries carrying on guerrilla warfare against the Romans.  Simon hoped Jesus would become the next king of Israel and forcefully remove Roman rule from Israel.  He eventually became an apostle and a man of peace.  It is believed that in later years he preached the gospel in Russia, Africa Britain and was martyred in Persia.

Boat with Sails – Two crossed fish – The Saw

Boat with Sails is a symbol of St Jude Thaddeus (Hebrew “praised” and Aramaic “Wise”) The ship symbolizes his travels with Simon on missionary juries.  Thaddeus only appears in the Gospel at the Last Supper when he asks Jesus why He his disclosing Himself to the Apostles and not to the rest of the world (John 14;22)  Jesus’ answer was that those who did good already knew Him.  In the early Church Thaddeus worked as a missionary preaching in Asia Minor and Russia. He was eventually martyred around 65 AD. He was beaten with a club in Beirut in the Roman province of Syria with St Simon the Zealot.  His bones are interned  in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

Two crossed fish symbolize             St.  Andrew (Greek for ‘manly”). Tradition says that Andrew was crucified in Greece on an X shaped cross. The symbol recalls that cross and his original occupation as a fisherman along with his call to become a ‘fisher of men’.  (Matthew 4:19 and Mark 1:17)    He began his ministry as a follower of St John the Baptist. He introduced his brother, Peter to the boy with the loaves and fish (from which Jesus multiplied the food to feed the 5,000)  He was a missionary to Asia Minor and later, southern Russia.  He was imprisoned and crucified in 69 AD.

The Saw is the symbol for St. James the Less/the Younger (English form of Jacob; James means “the supplanter” in Hebrew) The saw represents the method of St James’s martyrdom in Russia.  It is believed that James was Matthew’s brother and probably a Zealot and was in opposition to his brother, a tax collector for Rome. He and Matthew were reconciled through Jesus. James preached in Syria and later in Russia. Because much of his life was not recorded and is unknown, he is considered the patron saint of the nameless.

Sword laid on the book Three coin purses Three scalloped shells

The sword laid on the book of the bible is the symbol for St. Paul (Latin meaning “little”) In Ephesians 6:17, Paul speaks of the Word of God as being the sword of the Spirit.  Paul was originally named Saul and was leader of the Pharisees; a Jewish sect that adhered strictly to the Laws of Moses.  He was present and approved of the martyrdom of the Christian deacon Stephen, who was martyred by having heavy stones thrown at him. While riding out to another persecution of Christians, Saul saw Christ who asked him, “Why are you persecuting Me?”  Paul was blinded (acts 9: 4-9)  Saul found Ananias, a Christian, who assisted in Saul’s baptism, and Saul was renamed, Paul. Paul became a major Christian missionary, preaching not only to the Jews, but also Gentiles (non Jews) He is the writer of numerous letters (Epistles) that eventually became part of the canon of the Books of the Holy Bible.  Paul suffered gladly both violence and ridicule for the love of Christ and the Gospel. About three years after the crucifixion of St Peter, St. Paul embraced his own martyrdom, reserved for a citizen of Rome, that of being beheaded.  His bones were found in a white marble sarcophagus hidden beneath the floor of the basilica of St Paul’s outside the walls in Rome.  In 2006 the bones were tested and confirmed the tradition that they were the Apostle Paul’s.

Three bags of money, the symbol for St Matthew/Levi (Hebrew “The Lord’s Gift”) Three purses of money symbolize his first profession (Matthew 9:9 & 10:3) He is believed to be the brother of James the younger (Matthew 10:3 Mark 2:14); As a tax collector in Galilee he was probably ambitious, greedy and corrupt. He would have been despised by other Jews because he worked for the Romans.  He left his profession at the invitation of Jesus to “Follow Me” (Luke 5: 27-28)   Matthew preached the good news in Asia Minor, Greece, Armenia. The Gospel of Matthew is attributed to his authorship. He is believed to have been martyred in Armenia. The method of his martyrdom remains unclear, with traditions having him burned, stoned or beheaded.

Three scalloped shells are the symbols of St James the Great (James is the English version of Jacob, which means supplanter) James was the brother of St John the Evangelist.  The Scalloped shells are a symbol of pilgrimage representing James’s missionary spirit. Some traditions have him preaching in Spain until his return to Palestine and martyrdom. In 44AD he was beheaded for his faith by King Herod Agrippa I. James was the first apostle to be martyred.  His bones were moved to a tomb at Compostela, Spain and enshrined at the Basilica that was built in his honor.

Judgment Day


Christ promised us that He will come again at the end of time. As we read in the Scriptures the Son of Man will come to judge the living and the dead. Jesus is sitting on clouds and is surrounded in majesty and glory. The scene shows Christ holding a scale in one hand and an orb in the other the scales symbolize justice and the orb kingship.

Matthew 24: 29-31

The Coming of the Son of Man.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days,the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.


Mother of the Church


Vatican II (1962-1965)

The Holy Spirit blessed us in our own time through the inspiration of Pope John XXIII. Pope St. John called Vatican II to renew the Church and bring us into our present time.

The council studied the entire scope of the Church and our place in the world.

The council continued under Pope St Paul VI and gave the Blessed Virgin Mary the title “Mother of the Church”

An Image of the Mystical Body

We are the Church, the people of the entire world. Christ died for all regardless of skin color or sex. Christ said, “I am the vine, you are the branches” any person who confesses to be a follower of Christ  takes part in the mission of Christ through baptism, our daily strength comes through the Eucharist. One way that Jesus is with us today is in His Eucharistic presence as seen in the upper right side of the window.

The Vine and the Branches.

John 15: 1-15 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.

The Council of Jerusalem Acts 15:1-22


All the apostles preached and baptize in the name of the Trinity.  The first community becomes and action group. The new community grows by the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit.  We see in this scene Peter Baptizing an adult and Paul preaching the Word of God.

Council of Jerusalem.

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.” Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and presbyters about this question. They were sent on their journey by the church, and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria telling of the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, as well as by the apostles and the presbyters, and they reported what God had done with them. But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and direct them to observe the Mosaic law.”
The apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter. After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to them, “My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the holy Spirit just as he did us. He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts. Why, then, are you now putting God to the test by placing on the shoulders of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus,g in the same way as they.” The whole assembly fell silent, and they listened while Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders God had worked among the Gentiles through them.

Pentecost Acts 2: 1-4


The future for the apostles temporarily collapses. They are confused and the Master is gone. The Promise of Christ that he will send the Spirit becomes reality on Pentecost.  Since the Holy Spirit filled their hearts and minds they began their mission for which they were chosen; to continue building the kingdom.  In the scene, we find Mary and the disciples gathered in the upper room on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon them in ‘tongues of fire”.

The Coming of the Spirit

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.