Three days National meet of Dalit Christians Women for Change
A three day National meet and exposure program was held at Cochin Pastoral Orientation centre, Kerala. 40 participants from different parts of India participated in the program. Sr. Robancy the Program coordinator of CBCI Office for SC/BC inaugurated the program welcoming the participants and giving a brief about the National meet. Ms. Brinda Adige and Ms. Shalin Maria Lawrence were the resource persons. They spoke on Constitutional and human rights of Women, Ambedkarism and Periarism.
The resource persons spoke from their personal experiences and the experience of many women. Mother Savitribai Phule award was given to the Dalit Christian women who contributed their great service to Dalits especially to Dalit Christians. Ms. Jamuna from Odisha, Ms. Rani from Tamil Nadu, Dr. Isabella from Karnataka, Ms. Celine Joseph from Kerala and Ms. Jayanti Patole from Maharashtra received awards from Fr. Varghese, the Deputy Secretary of Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Fr. Shaj the Regional Secretary of Kerala SC/ST commission and Fr. Devasagayaraj, the National Secretary for the CBCI Office for SC/BC. All the participants were given certificate of participation.
The general body meeting of Dalit Christian Women for Change (DCWC) was held under the leadership of its president Dr. Isabella. The members pledged to develop their knowledge and skills in their respective areas of interest. They also form chapters and units of DCWC in the regions and dioceses respectively.
The members decided to asset their rightful space in the Church as well in the society.
CBCI Office for SC/BC
Capacity building for the Dalit Christians in South Karnataka
The Indian Social Institute (ISI) Bangalore in collaboration with the Karnataka Regional SC/ST commission organised a training program for the Dalit Christians in South Karnataka in Mysore diocesan social work centre. Around 30 young people and women participated in the training. Dr. Chand from ISI Bangalore the chief organiser of the program explained the need for capacity building of Dalit Christians and said it is a series of training in which the participants should attend without fail. Fr. Yagappa the Regional secretary and Mr. Kennedy the Regional Joint secretary for the Karnataka Regional SC/ST commission coordinated the program. Fr. Devasagayaraj, Secretary to the CBCI Office for SC/BC gave the inaugural talk. Dr. V. Shanmugam, professor at the Mysore University guided the people with values of the Constitution and the need for the social equity for the development of the Nation. Fr. S.D Joseph the first Dalit priest in Karnataka encouraged the participants with his presence.
There will be 12 follow up training for the participants and the same will be replicated in North Karnataka Region.
CBCI Office for Labour
Consultation Workshop on Bonded Labour
Venue, Sewa Kendra, Patna
Date, October 26, 2018
Bihar Regional Commission for Labour in collaboration with CBCI Office for Labour organised a state level consultation on ‘Bonded Labour and labour standards at workplace’ at Sewa Kendra, Patna on October 26, 2018. Archbishop Willam D’ Souza, the metropolitan of Patna Archdiocese who inaugurated the workshop, recalled his experience of working against the bonded labour system prevalent in our country in 1970s. He said, in olden days the bonded labour was prevalent in the rural areas and now the urban setting was more vulnerable to these kinds of evils. Fr. Jaison, Secretary to CBCI Office for Labour reminded the participants the commitment of the Catholic Church to fight against all kind of exploitation at the workplace. He quoted Pope Francis explaining the Book of James, which asserts that ‘the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your filed are crying aloud’. Pope likened those who exploit the workers to bloodsuckers and were committing mortal sin.
27 participants representing different dioceses and religious congregation attended the training program. Mr. Nirmal Gorana of HRLN New Delhi was the main resource person for the day. He started his sessions with a personal note that Jesus had been always his inspiration in his work for the bonded labourers. He said the network with different religious institutions and faith is a need of the time to address issues of exploitation and poverty among the vulnerable sections of the society today.
Bonded labour is a form slavery continue to exist in India even after 72 years of Independence. The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976 lists the following situations as the different cases of bonded labour. 1. Forced Work. 2. Restriction on Movement to avail alternate employment to sustain a livelihood. 3. Human Trafficking (Labour purchased for exploitation) and wages paid less than the minimum notified by the Government. If one or more conditions are satisfied it would amount to bonded labour. In the words of supreme court of India, “We are, therefore, of the view that when a person provides labour of service to another for remuneration which is less than the minimum wage, the labour or service provided by him clearly falls within the scope and ambit of the words “forced labour” under Article 23.” The participants were made to understand through the sessions of the workshop how a bonded labour rescue operation is conducted and what are the line departments of government involved in the whole process. The Bonded labour abolition act also prescribes stringent punishment including three years rigorous imprisonment to the offenders.
The workshop also had a session on Human Resource Manual for the Catholic Church Institutions by CBCI Office for Labour which was approved and mandated by the Standing Committee of CBCI. It prescribes measures to improve the dignity and respect the employees should enjoy in our institution. Social dialogue and democratic process to improve the working conditions and productivity of the worker are enshrined in the document prescribed by CBCI. The workshop concluded with the formation of a working group to plan and put forward the learning of the workshop in the Bihar Region.
On 27th October 2018, 180 Heads of Catholic schools of Chennai came together for a day of study regarding the safety and security of children in our schools. The day’s programme was organized by the newly appointed Regional Education Secretary, Rev. Fr. D.F. Bosco who took charge in June this year. The programme was inaugurated by the Chairperson of the Tamil Nadu State Child Protection Commission who gave the key note address. The first session was taken by the NGO named CACA who highlighted the importance of creating awareness regarding the issues of Child Protection and the implications and importance of POCSO 2012 and its implementation in our schools. They also distributed literature to create awareness of children’s safety in schools. The next session that followed was animated by Fr. Joseph Manipadam from the CBCI Office for education and Culture who introduced the “CBCI Child Protection Policy and Procedures”, the handbook brought out by the CBCI Education Office, to ensure that all the catholic Schools comply with POCSO 2012. He familiarised the participants with the manual taking them through the entire book which dealt with all aspects of implementing the law by way of understanding the legislation, having a Child Protection Committee, the importance of taking preventive measures, the dos and don’ts that the staff have to abide by, the importance of screening well the staff who are appointed, the importance of the awareness that needs to be created among the stakeholders etc. After dealing with safety of children in schools, he also gave the participants an awareness regarding the latest policy matters regarding education and the directives from the Church and the initiatives taken by the CBCI Office for Education in interacting with the government and issuing directives to the schools etc. The programme lasted the entire day and the participants were happy with the interactive programme that was conducted and organized by Fr. D.F. Bosco to ensure that the schools gear up to face the present day challenges. As part of the day long programme the “CBCI Education Masterminds”, the national quiz being introduced by the CBCI office of Education to launch the revision of the Catholic Education Policy and to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Policy, was also initiated to the participants seeking their full co-operation.
Secretary General CBCI: The Country and the World needs healing and Religious Heads and Organizations must lead this effort
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India gave a clarion call to spiritual heads and guides representing different religions of India and to men and women of good will to come together and to lead the nation and the world towards peace and harmony . He was speaking at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on 27 October, 2018 at the Inter faith meeting organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, Centre for Advanced Studies in International Humanitarian Law and Rajeev Gandhi National University of Law. The meeting was held to mark the Fourth Centenary of the death of the Sikh leader and social worker Bhai Kanhaiya (1648–1718). He was known for pouring water for all the wounded members of the battlefield no matter whether they were Sikhs or fighting against the Sikhs.
Speaking on the theme, “Refreshing humanitarian action: Role of interfaith organizations in changing humanitarian landscape”, Bishop Mascarenhas lauded the Sikh community for their humanitarian works reflected in the organization of langars, providing free medical aid, conducting relief in disaster zones, providing relief in times of floods, earthquakes etc. He reminded the audience that Guru Nanak had exhorted that “Even Kings and emperors with heaps of wealth and vast dominion cannot compare with an ant filled with the love of God.” Bishop Theodore warned the people to beware of those sowing hatred and invited them to spread love instead. He said, the nation and the world required people who will bring healing and who will work for peace and harmony. We have had enough of hatred, division and injury, he said.
Recalling that Guru Gobindji had praised Bhai Kanhaiya, for his service without discrimination and without desire for being rewarded, the Secretary General made a call to the Spiritual leaders to unite together in the service of humanity. Recounting the Gospel passage on the last Judgement, Bishop Mascarenhas told his audience that what eventually defined our humanitarian efforts and our bid for salvation was defined by Jesus in these words: “ When I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me… whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”
Others who spoke on the occasion were Swami Chitananda Saraswati, Acharya Lokesh Muni, Binny Sareen, Jaspal Singh, A.K. Merchant, Bikkhu Sanghasena, and Goswami Sushilji Maharaj. The Panel discussion was moderated by Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, President of the Maulana Azad University. Earlier Sardar Surinder Singh Oberoi, Political Advisor to International Red Cross Society introduced the Programme.
Fr. Ashit Toppo
Office Secretary to the General Secretary
October 27, 2018
51st Convention of the Association of Catholic Schools held at CMS, Lucknow
AINACS (All India Association of Catholic Schools) is a voluntary association of around 2000 Catholic Schools in India and is affiliated to the CBCI Office for Education and Culture. It is the only association of Catholic schools though it has a membership of only 2000 which is a small number considering the fact that the Catholic Church in India under the CBCI Office for Education and Culture has around 35,000 schools and colleges and around 20 thousand other educational institutions by way of Technical schools, Job Oriented Training Institutes, Special schools, Vocational Training Institutes, Boarding institutions, Skill Training Centres, non formal training centres, homes for street children apart from higher education institutions like Medical Colleges and Universities. AINACS as an association organizes annual training programmes for its members and holds a General Body Meeting which is attended by more than 500 members. Lately they have also begun to conduct some activities for students of the member schools. What is yet desirable would be greater involvement of the association and its members in the educational concerns of the Church in India, study and reflection on the Church documents issued from the Sacred Congregation for Education, greater involvement and an advocacy role as an association in the emerging challenges posed by the changing policies being introduced by the Government with damaging consequences. However the participation of the Chairman Bishop and the National Office Secretary – CBCI Office for Education and Culture at the Executive and General Body meetings of the AINACS, serves as a continuous reminder regarding the above mentioned roles that the association should also focus on.
The Conference was inaugurated by Archbishop Thomas D’Souza- Chairman for the CBCI office for Education and Culture, Mr. Philippe Richard -Secretary General of the International Association for Catholic Schools (OIEC) and Mr. George Kurian-Vice Chairman, National Commission for Minorities and a galaxy of others who were also the resource persons at the Conference. They included Mr. Ashok Ganguli, Former Chairman of CBSE, Mr. Philip-a Columnist, Mr. Sitaram Yechury-Secretary General of the CPI-M and Ex Rajya Sabha M.P, and Mrs Jahanzeb Akhtar- Income Tax Commissioner and the hosts Mr. Jagdish Gandhi and others. Each of the resource persons spoke regarding their area of expertise to guide, advise and educate the 500+ educator participants of the conference. The Spiritual animation and celebration of the Holy Mass was done by a Bishop each day viz. Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta, Archbishop Albert D’Souza of Agra and Bishop Gerald Mathias of Lucknow. Fr. Ashok M. Kumar- President, Bro. Thomas Thannickal and the Executive members of the AINACS meticulously saw to all the logistics in making the Conference a success.
The speakers at the Conference highlighted the concerns of the Minority Communities in the country viz. the Muslims (20 crores), Christians (2.75 crores), Sikhs (2.1 Crores), Buddhists (85 lakhs), jains (45 lakhs), and Parsies (50 thousand). Although the Constitution of the Country gives maximum protection to the Minority communities, there are multiple violations experienced and promoted. Many speakers highlighted the many educational concerns and sought to empower the participants with the latest and the best in imparting education and delivering institutional administration effectively.
The most liked session was that of Mr. Sitaram Yechury- Ex Rajya Sabha member and Secretary General of the CPI-M party who highlighted the basic issues faced not only by the Minority communities but the Country as a whole. He also focused on the educational concerns and the erosion of democratic and Constitutional values and the control and commercialisation and communalization of education and institutions. He also interacted with the participants answering several of their questions. The many emerging challenges in the area of education and the socio-political scenario in the country were highlighted and discussed during the days of the conference.
The valedictory function was presided over by Mr. Philippe Richard who had come from the OIEC (International Office for Catholic Education) in Rome. He in his speech mentioned: ”The OIEC is an international Catholic organization, headquartered in Rome, which works closely with the Congregation for Catholic Education of the Vatican to promote catholic education in the world. The OIEC federates all the national bodies in charge of Catholic schools in each country, and is also a great part of the congregations involved in education, which represents a network of about 210,000 schools and more than 47 million students. Let me bring you the greetings of all other national organizations for Catholic education in America, Europe, MEA, Africa and Asia. OIEC has also the mission to represent all Catholics schools of the world before the UN and the UNESCO. We are very involved with the program Education 2030 and with the SDG and specially the SGD 4- quality of education. I thank specially Fr. Joseph Manipadam for his long and faithful participation in the life of OIEC, specially as a member of our Executive Council. He doesn’t hesitate to cross the world to participate at the different meetings. Due to him, India is well represented in OIEC.CBCI Office for Education and Culture Catholic Bishops' Conference of India is a constituent member of OIEC, and AINCAS is become a collaborating member.
Thanksgiving Mass in Honour of St Oscar Romero
Sunday 21st October, 2018 was a red letter day for the priests, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Delhi. The Sacred Heart Cathedral, Gole Dakkhana, New Delhi was packed with people as they gathered for the 11.30am Eucharist to give thanks to God for the gift of St Oscar Romero to the Church.
Exactly, a week ago, the Holy Father Pope Francis canonized seven saints, one of them being St Oscar Romero, former Archbishop of El Salvador.
The solemn Eucharist was celebrated by His Excellency Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, concelebrated by His Lordship Most Rev. Theodore Mascarenhas, the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Msgr. Mitja Leskovar, the first counsellor at Apostolic Nunciature and many other priests. His Excellency in his homily highlighted the important role, the former Archbishop Oscar Romero played in the freedom struggle of his country, El Salvador. Drawing parallels for our own country, India he showed how St. Oscar Romero is relevant for us too.
The Ambassador of El Salvador and Ambassadors, Consuls General of many countries joined in the Eucharistic celebration. It was certainly a moving and a spiritual celebration, reflecting on the life, martyrdom and canonization of St Oscar Romero.
After the mass there was a short program organized by the Embassy of the Republic of El Salvador. Where the Ambassador of El Salvador cordially welcomed the assembly gathered over there and His Excellency Giambattista Diquattro recounted a short life history of Oscar Romero.
We thank God for the gift of St. Oscar Romero to the Universal Church. May we learn from him, to care for the poor, dispossessed, and prompting justice and non-violence from the conception right through the human lifespan, whatever the cost.
October 23, 2018
Demise of Rev. Fr. Kuriakose Kattuthara
It is with deep sadness that we communicate to you that, on the morning of 22nd October 2018, Rev. Fr. Kuriakose Kattuthara, 61 years, and a priest of Jalandhar diocese for 35 years, was found unconscious in his room in the parish of St Mary’s Catholic Church, Dasuya, where he was residing. At 9.00 am that morning, the Sisters staying on the same campus, at the St. Paul’s Convent School, Dasuya, were informed by the driver that Fr. Kuriakose had not got up till then. The driver told them that the cook at the House had told him that Fr. Kuriakose did not have dinner the previous night and did not get up also for breakfast.
Fr. Kuriakose had said Mass, had his lunch, and then went for rest on Sunday October 21st afternoon. He told the cook that he was going to rest and did not want to be disturbed. Though the cook had been told not to disturb him, he knocked at Father’s the door for dinner. Since there was no response, he went away. In the morning again, he had knocked at the door. There was no response. So he presumed that Father had gone out.
When the driver came, the cook told him that he had knocked on Father’s door and since there was no response he thought that the Father must have gone out. The driver replied that Father Kuriakose had not gone out anywhere. It was then that the driver went to inform the sisters. The sisters knocked at Father’s door but there was no response. They then informed the Priest-in-charge of the neighbouring parish, at Mukerian, Fr Libin Kolencherry, and some of the priests in the neighborhood.
Fr. Libin reached Dasuya at about 10.00 am. He ordered the door to be broken open. Fr. Kuriakose was lying down with vomit from his mouth. Immediately he was taken to the Civil Hospital, where he was declared dead.
I was in Amritsar visiting the priests and was informed about the matter. I sent the Vicar General immediately and requested him to inform the Police to conduct an autopsy of the body. Right now, according to information we have received, following our request, the autopsy is being conducted at the Civil Hospital in Dasuya. We got in touch with the family members in Kerala and conveyed the sad news to them.
The Church and the Diocese of Jalandhar assures all support and collaboration to ensure that everything is done in a transparent manner. I offer my heartfelt condolences to all of Fr Kuriakose’s family members and pray that God grant to Fr Kuriakose his eternal reward for all that he has done as a priest of Jalandhar diocese.
Diocese of Jalandhar
Prot. 900/SecGen 2018 (2-c-28 /CBCI - Press) October 19, 2018 PRESS RELEASE
We are deeply shocked and saddened by the news of the tragic railway accident in Amritsar. It is reported that over 58 people were killed and 72 injured after a speeding train mowed down people celebrating Dussehra near Amritsar on Friday evening. The incident took place at Joda Fatak level crossing where Dusshera celebrations were underway. According to reports, the incident took place when a large number of people were watching the Ravan effigy going up in flames while standing along the railway tracks. As the fireworks went off, some people, in order to avoid high flames, started retreating towards the tracks where a huge crowd was already standing to watch the event. However, two trains arrived from the opposite direction at the same time, giving little chance to people to escape.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) condoles the death of our brothers and sisters who met with an untimely death even while they were engaged in celebrating their religious festival. May God grant them eternal rest. Our hearts go out to the many families who are left inconsolable this evening mourning the loss of their dear ones. We participate in their sorrow and pray to the Almighty for comfort and consolation. May God grant complete healing to those injured in the accident.
We assure our prayers and support to all who are engaged in providing relief and succour to the victims and their families. This tragedy once again underlines the need to enhance railway and road safety as well as enforcement of safety norms in the organization of celebrations as every life is precious and should be protected and safe guarded in every way.
Yours sincerely in our Lord,
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India
Port.897/Gen.Sec.2018(3-b-10/CBCI-GC) October 15, 2018
CBCI COLLABORATOR APPOINTED TO RECONSTITUTED PONTIFICAL COUNCIL
It is with great joy that I inform you that on 6th October 2018, it was announced in the Vatican that Mr. Guilherme Vaz has been appointed Consultor on the reconstituted and enlarged Vatican Pontifical Council for the Laity, Family and Life. For 10 years, Mr. Guilherme Vaz was a member of the erstwhile Pontifical Council for the Laity, first appointed by Pope Benedict XVI and continued under Pope Francis.
As you are aware, for many years, Mr. Guilherme Vaz has been a close collaborator of The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. Initially, as Consultor to the Commission for Education and Culture, he was closely involved in the first ever comprehensive survey of Catholic Education in India and in formulating the Catholic Education Policy that followed. For the last 7 years he is a member of the CBCI Finance Committee and has assisted many individual Dioceses. He is also a member of the Governing Board of the CBCI Society for Medical Education, North India.
Mr. Vaz is a member of the Board of Management of Christ University; Hon Treasurer of Indo-Global Social Service Society and is actively involved on the Bombay Archdiocesan Board of Education since its inception 32 years ago serving under 3 successive Archbishops. For almost 25 years, he was Trustee-Secretary of FIAMC Bio-Medical Ethics Centre, Mumbai.
At the last plenary meeting of CBCI, you may recall that, on behalf of the CBCI, Mr. Vaz was felicitated by the then CBCI President, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, on being bestowed the Papal Honour of Knight of the Order of St Gregory the Great, conferred on him in 2016, in recognition of his exemplary and pre-eminent service to the Universal Church and the International Community; for being the first person to address 3 plenary meetings of the CBCI; and for his continued selfless contribution to many Congregations and Dioceses.
We are confident that with his versatile combination of outstanding Corporate, Academic, Government, International, Non-Governmental Organization and Catholic Church Institutional experience, Mr. Vaz who is widely regarded among globally respected individuals in the social sector (Education, Health & Environment) with exceptional experience in Large Scale Transformational Change, spread over 46 countries in all continents with diverse cultures and complexities will, through this new appointment, continue to contribute further to the Universal Church and to the Church in India.
We send our prayerful greetings and best wishes to Mr. Guilherme Vaz assuring him and his family of our prayers as we entrust him and his new assignment to the intercession of Our Blessed Virgin Mary.
Yours Sincerely in our Lord.
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas
Secretary General, CBCI
Joint Conference of Office of Education and Formation and Office of Consecrated Life of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC) at the Mahatai Convention Centre of the Redemptorists in Pattaya, Thailand
Pattaya, 24th-28th Sept. 2018: 4 days’ joint conference by the two offices (Education and Consecrated life) of the FABC, was the first of its kind that brought together representatives from the Bishops, Clergy, Religious and Laity connected with these two offices to study and deliberate on the 4 Papal Documents Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si, Amoris Laetitia, Gaudete et Exultate and the Statement of the XI Plenary Assembly of the FABC. The Conference was attended by representatives from 13 Asian Countries. From India there were 4 participants viz. Fr. Joseph Manipadam, Fr. Arulappan Bensicar, Fr. Benzigar Lution, Fr. Joackim Arulnathan along with Bishop Dr. Yvon Ambrose- Chairman for the FABC Office for Development and Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao- Chairman for the FABC Office for education and Formation. The well prepared and much appreciated Key note presentations on the above mentioned topics by Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao (Chair-Education and Formation) and Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma SJ (Chair- Consecrated Life) were followed by group reflection and discussion and presentations leading to the drawing up of the Conference Statement with country specific and Region specific lines of action. Among the country wise reporting done by the various participating countries, the report from India presented by Fr. Joseph Manipadam was of special interest to all participants. The conference as a whole was extremely useful and well appreciated as it was beautifully organized in an atmosphere of prayer, fellowship and enthusiastic participation. As we await the final draft of the FABC Conference Statement, the country wise lines of action drawn up for India may be of special interest:
nderstanding that education is an essential mission of the Church, it is to be carried out under the guidance of the Local Ordinary through collaboration and cooperation by the diocesan and religious personnel equally.
In every diocese there is to be a Diocesan Education Board which will meet, collaborate and network with the different Diocesan and Religious Education Societies. Each Diocesan education Board will be part of and collaborate and network with the Regional education Board which in turn will report to the Education Office of the National Episcopal Conference.
The national, Regional and diocesan think-tanks consisting of committed educationists and concerned persons will monitor and take timely action as and when contemptuous material or false information or government policies offensive to our religious sentiments and constitutional rights emerge.
The well prepared liturgy and prayer moments, the cheerful fellowship gatherings, the caring and sensitive Thai hospitality and the meticulously planned flow of events were indeed impressive memories that the participants carried back to their own countries.
Interdenominational Consultation on Dalits
A half day consultation was jointly organised by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) Office for Dalits and Backward classes and Christian Institute for the study of Religion (CISRS) on the topic “Dalits in India” at CISRS, New Delhi.
Fr. Devasagayaraj, secretary to the CBCI Office for SC/BC gave introduction to the consultation. Sr. Robancy spoke about the ‘Biblical Understanding of Dalits’. Dr. Ramesh Nathan, NCDHR spoke on the ‘Violation of Constitutional rights of Dalits in India’. Sr. Shalini, Vidya Jyoti spoke about the ‘Dalit Women in India and their plight’. Mr. Franklin Caesar, Advocate in Supreme Court of India spoke about the ‘Religious Freedom of Dalits in India’. Dr. John Dayal, Senior Journalist gave the concluding remarks. Rev. Arvind Peter, coordinator of CISRS proposed the vote of thanks.
Around 70 people from different denominations participated in the program representing different institutions, organisations, churches and seminaries. The participants were moved to hear about the plight of the Dalits and pledged to side with them.
Secretary, CBCI Office for SC/BC
CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF INDIA INAUGURATES “CBCI EDUCATION MASTERMINDS” NATIONAL QUIZ AND MOBILE APP
In house inauguration of the National quiz competition “CBCI EDUCATION MASTERMINDS” took place at the CBCI Centre at 2.30 p.m. today, 20th September 2018. The inauguration was done by His Excellency Theodore Mascarenhas SFX, Secretary General, CBCI in the absence of His Grace Giambattista Diquattro, the Apostolic Nuncio who could not be present due to other pressing engagements. Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas was accompanied at the inaugural ceremony by Rev. Fr. Joseph Manipadam SDB, National Secretary- CBCI Office for Education and Culture, Rev. Fr. Jervis D’Souza- Deputy Secretary General CBCI, Rev. Fr. Fredrick D’Souza, Ex Director- Caritas India and Parish Priest of St. Alphonsa Parish, Delhi and Mr. Adittya Nath Mubayi – the Quiz Master along with Mr. Ranu Francis, managing Director of Franciscan Solutions and others.
After welcoming all the dignitaries and the CBCI Office Secretaries and Staff and the representatives from Caritas India and the CBCI Card and the team from the Franciscan Solutions and others, Fr. J. Manipadam – Secretary for the Office for Education and Culture, emphasized that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India through its Office for Education and Culture, follows up the thousands of Catholic educational institutions in India very closely as the educational institutions are the face of the Church in India in many aspects. The Catholic Church takes the mission of education with utmost seriousness.
That is why we have the “All India Catholic Education Policy 2007” drawn up very carefully after much study, reflection and discussion because having a policy is an indication of proper governance. After drawing up the policy, sufficient measures have been taken to ensure the dissemination of the policy throughout the country, initiating the institutions to move forward towards its systematic implementation. In the last three years a survey, evaluation and certification, regarding its implementation have been done in thousands of institutions across the country, drawing up a graphic analysis of the effectiveness of implementation of the policy in all the fourteen regions of India. It is this systematic effort of ten years of study, reflection and implementation of the Catholic Education Policy and not just the existence of the Catholic Education Policy that we want to commemorate and celebrate through the national quiz, “CBCI Education MasterMinds”. The quiz competition in which thousands of students and institutions will participate, will continue to remind us and nudge us all forward towards an onward awareness that Catholic Education is a commitment and a mission of dedication to educate the young according to the Gospel values teaching moral uprightness, social justice, cultural values and true patriotism going far beyond just academic excellence. Even as we have reached the landmark of ten years of the “All India Catholic Education Policy 2007”, we are also launching the revision and updating of the Catholic Education Policy as well.
After inaugurating the App for the CBCI Website and the “CBCI Education Masterminds”, Bishop Theodore in his short message elaborated the work done by the CBCI Offices and the progress of the work for the Church by the CBCI itself along with all the Office Secretaries and other Fathers of the CBCI. Fr. Manipadam as the conceiver of the idea of the quiz, was picked up for special praise for his efficiency and singleness of purpose in whatever is entrusted to him.
The Prelate also appreciated the participation and full co-operation that he has been receiving from the Franciscan Solutions by way of all technology based assistance. The programme was anchored by Fr. Anthony Fernandes while the vote of thanks was given by Rev. Fr. Jervis D’Souza- the Deputy Secretary General, CBCI. This in-house inauguration was the first of its kind and there would be further launching of the “CBCI Education MasterMinds” national quiz at the forthcoming Annual General meeting of the “All India Association of Catholic Schools (AINACS)” at Lucknow in October and at two other national meetings of Regional and Diocesan Education Secretaries and National and Provincial education co-ordinators of Religious Orders coming up in November, this year.
The Quiz carries attractive prizes for the winners at the School, Regional and National Level and delightful incentives for promoters from among Teachers, Principals and Regional Secretaries. Those interested in the Quiz and introducing it in their school may Contact Fr. Joseph Manipadam at firstname.lastname@example.org
The CBCI Mobile APP can be downloaded free from the Google Play Store (for Android systems) or the APP Store for (iphone and apple users)
Report prepared by Fr. Joseph Manipadam SDB with input from participants
PRESS STATEMENT September 20, 2018
The Holy Father has received the request of Bishop Franco Mulakkal to be temporarily relieved of his pastoral responsibilities in the diocese of Jalandhar.
Having considered all circumstances the Holy Father has accepted this request of Bishop Mulakkal and has appointed Bishop Agnelo Rufino Gracias, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Bombay as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Jalandhar, sede plena et ad mutum Sanctae Sedis with immediate effect.
Our prayers accompany Bishop Gracias as he takes on this responsibility.
+ Oswald Cardinal Gracias
President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India
NEW FIRST COUNSELLOR AT THE APOSTOLIC NUNCIATURE
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India welcomes the New First Counsellor at the Apostolic Nunciature in India, Msgr. Mitja Leskovar.
Monsignor Leskovar arrived in New Delhi on Saturday, 8th September, 2018. His Excellency Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, presented his new collaborator to CBCI the same day.
In the absence of Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General of CBCI, who was in Jaipur addressing Gyanam a Conclave on Social Harmony and Peace, the Apostolic Nuncio and the New First Counsellor were received by Fr. Jervis D’ Souza, Deputy Secretary General of CBCI and the Fathers resident in the House.
Fr. Jervis explained to the Msgr. Mitja the structure of the CBCI, the Offices and the Councils and their functioning. A vivid interaction followed between Resident priests, the Nuncio and the New Counsellor. They were also briefed about the Church’s social outreach programme to the people devastated by the floods in Kerala, by the Executive Director of Caritas Fr. Paul Moonjely. Msgr. Mitja was felicitated with a shawl.
Fr. Jervis welcomed and thanked the Nuncio and the new Counsellor for their visit and sought to work closely with the Nunciature for the good of the Church in India.
Bishop Theodore visited the Apostolic Nunciature on 11th September and personally welcomed Msgr. Mitja. He gifted him a framed picture of Jesus.
Msgr. Leskovar was born on 3rd January, 1970 in the town of Kranj, Slovenia, where he his primary school and gymnasium.
In 1989, after a year of military service, he entered the Seminary of the Archdiocese of Ljubljana and was ordained Priest in 1995.
He served as Assistant Parish Priest for two years. In 1997 the Archbishop of Ljubljana sent him for further studies to Rome. There he completed the study of the Papal Diplomacy at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and obtained his PhD in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in 2001. He was then appointed Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Bangladesh, where he served until 2003. For the following eleven years he worked in the Vatican in different Offices of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See. In 2006 he was made Monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI. During this time, he was also the Vice Chaplain of Saints Peter and Paul Association in the Vatican. In 2014 he was made Prelate of Honour of His Holiness by Pope Francis.
In 2015 he became First Counsellor of the Apostolic Nunciature in Germany, where he has served for the following three years until his recent transfer to the Apostolic Nunciature in India.
In the name of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India we welcome Msgr. Leskovar to India and assure him of our prayers. May his service to the Catholic Church in India and Nepal begun on 8th September, 2018, Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary be blessed and fructified through her intercession before Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Training on Bonded Labour Abolition Act, 1975 at CBCI Centre
CBCI Office for Labour organized a Training on Bonded Labour - Rescue, Relief and Rehabilitation at CBCI Centre, New Delhi on 15th September from 10 am to 6 pm. Fr. Jervis D’souza, Deputy Secretary General of CBCI inaugurated the training. Fr.Jaison Vadassery, Secretary CBCI Office for Labour welcomed the participants. 42 religious and their collaborators from different facilitation centres of CBCI Office Labour Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand attended the training program. Mr. Nirmal Gorana, a social activist from Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), Sr. Kalai Selvi FMM and Sr. Dhanam HC from AMRAT and Adv. Gaurav Tomar from Chetanalaya conducted the sessions. Bonded Labour System Abolition Act of 1976 entails the complete eradication of Bonded Labour from our country. Still we can find at every nook and corner Bonded Labourers.
The identification of a bonded labour is the following: the advance given for labour, forced labour forcing them to stay on for the back wages for the work done, wages given are nominal or paid less than the minimum wages, restriction to leave the present work and join other work and restrictions on movement from the place of work, those are sheer cases of Bonded Labour. Mr. Nirmal Gorana explained in detail the different steps to identify, rescue and rehabilitate the bonded labour. The responsibility of the civil society is to report the case of the bonded labour with evidence to the District Magistrate and to the vigilance committee set up by the District Magistrate to release the bonded labour and rehabilitate them. The vigilance committee formed in every district is a mandatory element in all the process of release of bonded labour. In order to broaden the base of working against the bonded labour the following programs will be organised in different states. In Delhi a public hearing and Adalat will be organised to settle the grievances of the bonded labourers who are released and waiting to get their rehabilitation realised by the District Administration. In Himachal Pradesh a convention of social security and protection will be organised among the taxi drivers. In Patna a workers’ convention on bonded labour, public hearing will be organised in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and a legal consultancy will be organised in Delhi with the help of AMRAT. Two victims of bonded labour from Delhi shared their experience. The Training program came to an end at 6 p.m. with the vote of thanks expressed by Sr.Rani program manager, CBCI Office for Labour.
Inauguration of North East India Regional Pastoral Conference
Guwahati, 10 September: The North East India annual Regional Pastoral Conference got underway at North East Diocesan Social Forum, Guwahati on 10 September.
The 2018 edition of the three-day annual conference was inaugurated by Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong, and the President of the North East Regional Bishop’s Council gave a presidential address inviting the 150 delegates from across North East India and resource persons and observers from around the country to have a honest discussion on the theme “Christian response to the emerging socio-political situation” in India in particular and the North East in general. “We are going through a challenging time that needs a good Christian response”, he said.
The highlight of the annual conference this year is that it is the first time delegates from other church denominations have become part of this regional gathering. Most Rev. Thomas Pullopillil of Bongaigaon Diocese and the regional chairman of the commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue presented the theme and gave a brief introduction on the Christian presence in India and in the North East.
Rev. Fr. G. P. Amalraj, the Deputy Secretary to the Regional Bishops’ welcomed all the delegates and Most Rev. Thomas Menamparampil SDB, Archbishop Emeritus of Guwahati released his new book ‘Stored Anger’ at the backdrop of the event.
Children from Women Development Centre, Guwahati, presented a prayer dance at the inauguration of a three-day event, which will conclude on 13th September with eminent speakers giving national, regional perspective to the theme.
Marathi version of CBCI Dalit Empowerment Policy (DEP) released
Bishop Thomas Dabre promises 100 % support to CBCI for the implementation of Dalit Empowerment Policy
The CBCI Dalit Empowerment Policy in Marathi language was released by Most Rev. Thomas Dabre at Pontifical Seminary, Poona on 11th September 2018. The one day workshop was jointly organised by CBCI Office for SC/BC, Poona Diocese, and Pragat Padvidhar Sanghtana to discuss about the implementation of CBC Dalit Empowerment Policy. Around 100 people from Pune, Aurangabad and Nashik dioceses participated in the program.
Releasing the DEP in Marathi, Bishop Dabre promised that he will be 100 percent with CBCI, in implementing the Policy.
Fr. Bhausaheb Sansare SJ the Rector of the Papal seminary insisted that the Dalit Christians should involve themselves in the civil society especially in politics. He also said that the educated people from the Dalit Christian community who are settled in urban areas should not distance themselves from the rest of their community who are poor and living in rural areas. He said that they should guide them to come up in life.
Fr. Devasagayaraj, secretary to the CBCI Office for SC/BC explained the process by which the Dalit Policy was evolved. He said that the purpose of the Dalit Policy is to create an equitable Church in India. Dr. Patole explained the Policy in Marathi. Dr. Wagmare the Secretary General of National Council of Churches (NCDC) shared with the participants the issue of the Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians and our duty to demand the same from the Government.
The Pragat Padvidhar Sanghtana an organisation of Dalit Christian graduates was started 49 years back by the people who were guided and helped by late Fr. Mathew R. Lederlie SJ, former provincial of Poona- Goa province.
The Purpose Pragat Padvidhar Sanghtana is to guide and help the Dalit Christians to come up in life as its members were helped by a missionary.
The Poona diocese will come out with action plans for the Empowerment of Dalits, based on the suggestions that came from the participants after getting the official approval from the bishop.
National Secretary, CBCI Office for SC/BC
SECRETARY GENERAL OF CBCI: RELIGION IS ABOUT LOVE OF GOD AND LOVE OF NEIGHBOUR - CAN NEVER BE ABOUT HATE!
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India participated in the “Festival of Joy and Peace” organized by Gyanam, a Right wing cultural organization in Jaipur on 8th September 2018.
Speaking on the topic the Religion (Dharam) as Faith (Aastha), Behaviour (adhambra) or Pageantry (Aacharan), Bishop Theodore told the audience that Religion is a relationship of Faith and love with your God. This love transforms itself as love and mercy to all other human beings who are our brothers and sisters. Of course there is also some glamour to represent the transcendence of God and therefore, there are also beautiful Churches, Temples, Mosques, Gurudwara where people go to pray.
Swami Sushil Maharaj Goswami came out strongly against those who wished to impose one religion on others and to divide this country on the basis of religion. Bishop Theodore asserted that hatred can never be promoted in the name of Religion. When the Alawar MLA defended cow lynching, Bishop Theodore taking objection to his comments asked him whether out of his respect for the cow, whom he called the mother of Hindus, he would request the Central Government to ban the export of beef. The comment was greeted by thunderous applause. The MLA could not answer his question. He excused himself saying it was out of his jurisdiction and that the Central Government has to take a call.
Dr. Imam Ilyasi speaking about the cow slaughter, said innocent people were being killed in the name of cow slaughter. Dr. Ganesh the anchor accused the Religious Gurus of only preaching and not really speaking about the problems of society the way politicians were doing, Bishop Theodore retorted that the Anchor of the program probably did not know or understand about the work of Christian Gurus who are involved in education and work at the grass root level. His comment was greeted with loud clapping.
The Panel discussion was a great opportunity to put forth to the audience the case for social harmony and to portray the good work of the Catholic Church.
At the end of the show, Bishop Theodore was congratulated by many people for his beautiful delivery and as one person put it, for “his uplifting thoughts”.
Office Secretary to the Secretary General
Catholic Educational Institutions are the only hope and Visible signs of Development and Empowerment of people in the otherwise neglected regions of the North East India:
The Secretary for the CBCI Office for Education and Culture Fr. Joseph Manipadam SDB, visited North East India On 4th and 5th September 2018 and conducted training and evaluation programmes for Catholic schools. Visiting places like Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Amguri, Dimapur, Diphu, Kohima, Doomduma, Sadia, one cannot but escape feeling sad about the condition of the potholed roads and highways, the frequent power cuts, people still living in small huts, congested dusty slow moving traffic jammed towns… ! But the happy children going enthusiastically to our well maintained and academically excellent Catholic Schools and Colleges awaken in us the only reason for hope and happiness. The Church has not abandoned this region. The Christian missionaries with their compassionate heart imparting quality education have always stood for the poor and the marginalized bringing smile on the faces of thousands of young people and placing a rainbow of hope for the future over thousands of families belonging to this most culturally and linguistically varied colourful ethnic multitude. The Missionaries who planted the sense of God and godliness in their hearts, continue to sustain their hope and dedicate their lives of charity committed to bring them life and livelihood for the future. The visit was to tell these institutions that the Catholic Church appreciates the work done.
(clock wise) Don Bosco Schools in Jorhat and Amguri, Dibrugarh, Dimapur – in Assam and Nagaland
And below St.Joseph University in Dimapur by DMI Sisters and Don Bosco College in Nagaland.
6th Sept. 2017: Animation and Training for the heads of Schools and Colleges of Diphu Diocese:
Diphu diocese is in the Karbianglog district of Assam which is probably the poorest and most neglected district of Assam. Some 55 heads of Catholic institutions came for a day’s animation programme conducted by the CBCI Office for Education and Culture. Basically to ensure that we give our best to the last and the least and reach out generously to the poor and the marginalized bringing them value based education and formation of character and convictions. The Bishop of the Diocese, Bishop Paul presided over the programme right through the day and addressed the gathering. The programme was animated by Fr. Joseph Manipadam and Fr. Tommy Palely the Diocesan Education Director. Fr. Manipadam thanked the participants on behalf of the Church for their dedicated service.
7th Sept. 2017: Training programme and AGM for heads of Schools and Colleges of Kohima Diocese:
Kohima diocese is in Nagaland which is mostly Christian and quite neglected hill State. Some 65 heads of Catholic institutions came for a day’s animation programme in Dimapur, the capital of the State. The programme was conducted by the CBCI Office for Education and Culture. The programme was organized to create awareness regarding the many challenges faced in the area of education today and to ensure that we give our best to the tribals and the marginalized and reach out generously to the poor and the differentiated due to language and ethnical differences bringing them value based education and formation of character and convictions. The Bishop of the Diocese, Bishop James Thopil presided over the programme right through the day and addressed the gathering. The programme was animated by Fr. Joseph Manipadam and Fr. Jacob Charlel the Diocesan Education Director. Fr. Manipadam appreciated the dedicated work being done by the participants on behalf of the Church.
On September 6, 2018 the CBCI-OSC Chairman Bishop Most Rev. Salvadore Lobo along with the Member Bishops, Most Rev. Sebastian Kallupura and Most Rev. Anthony Poola, and the CBCI Secretary General Most Rev. Theodore Mascarenhas and Deputy Secretary General Rev. Fr. Jervis D’Souza and the Archbishop of New Delhi, Most Rev. Anil J.T. Couto, and Rev. Fr. J.A. Carvalho, SFX, and the CBCI-OSC Secretary Rev. Fr. Varaprasad Marneni inaugurated the new CBCI-OSC Website. It is a dynamic website and it is accessible at www.cbciosc.com.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh assures Christians all help and assistance
The Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, along with Mr. Conrad Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, called upon Shri Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister at the residence of the Minister on 3 September, 2018.
Bishop Theodore briefed the Home Minister about the various difficulties that the Christian Communities and Organisations were facing in different areas like the FCRA and other organisational matters.
He placed before the Home Minister in a special way the difficult situation through which Christians were going through in Jharkhand where the Christian NGO’s are feeling selectively targeted by the authorities specially through an investigation in the FCRA accounts of 88 NGOs all of which are Christian. The Bishop told the Home Minister that the we were very troubled that investigations were launched into the accounts of these NGOs by Anti Terrorist Squads, the State CID Department and the Income Tax Authorities. Sometimes just 6 or 12 hours were given to present the accounts. He also briefed him about the difficulties faced by the Missionaries of Charity. Mr. Conrad Sangma, also spoke very strongly on the need to attend to the fears and apprehensions of the Christian Community. He described to the Home Minister, the dedicated services of the Mother Teresa Sisters and other Missionaries. He also pointed out that the Sisters and Missionaries sacrifice everything to serve the poor and the marginalised. Mr. Sangma told the Home minister that it was shocking that the Anti terrorist squads were deployed to investigate the missionaries.
Shri Rajnath Singh gave a very patient hearing and assured all help. He said the Christian Community was a peace loving community and he want the Christians to continue their work undisturbed and freely. He spoke of his very beautiful experiences of the Christian Missionaries.
The Secretary General thanked the Home Minister and wished him and his family all God’s blessings on Janmashtami, the Birthday of Lord Krishna.
ODISHA DEVELOPMENT CONCLAVE: TRIBAL SELF-GOVERNANCE
Report by Fr. Nicholas Barla
CBCI Office for Tribal Affiars
Bhubaneswar - August 25th 2018: ‘ODISHA DEVELOPMENT CONCLAVE’ was held from 24th to 26th August 2018, which deliberated on “Tribal Self -Governance” at Schedule Caste- Schedule Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI), at Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Prof. A.B Ota IAS, Special Secretary cum Director of SCSTRTI, Government of Odisha (GoO), Mr. R.Raghu Prasad, Commissioner Cum Secretary, ST/SC Development Department , GoO; Ms. Sumon Jhodia, Former Adviser to Chief Minister, Ex Member of TAC (Tribes Advisory Council); Mr. Pravin Mahajan, Hon Director, National Centre for Advocacy Studies, Pune; Dr. Premanand Panda, Former Director SCSTRTI. Dr. Aurobinda Behera IAS (Retd.) and former member of Board of Revenue, GoO; Mr. Achyut Das, Director, Agragamee; and other Panchayat representatives, social activists, NGOs and government officials participated in the Conclave and had much to contribute.
Fr. Nicholas Barla( Former Advisory Member Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India) the first speaker of the day said ‘out of total 4,19,74,218 population of the State the tribals constitute 95,90,756, which is 22. 86%, which implies that out of every Four of Odiyas, One is a Tribal. There are 7 full Scheduled districts and 6 partial scheduled districts in the state with 62 Scheduled Tribes groups. The situation of the tribals is a sad affair.
To name a few - Malnutrition 45.5% among Tribals and in the State 34.1%; Mortality rate – among Infant Tribal 52 and Odisha 40; under five years -Tribals 66 and State 49. As member of Advisory in the ‘Ministry of Rural Development’ (MoRD), Government of India, he was surprised to learn that Crores of rupees are allotted in the Budget for the tribal development every year, but in reality, not a rupee reaches the needy villages. There are hundreds of schemes; projects and development programmes but the tribal remain the same.
The Best Practice:
Mr. Parimal Singh IAS, former deputy secretary to the Governor, Government of Maharashtra, said, the Governor is exercising the Constitutional Powers, empowered in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. There is ‘Special Tribal Cell’ in the office of the Governor. He said without the “Gram Sabha” there would be No transfer of land from the tribals to Non Tribals. The 5% of ‘Tribal Sub Plan’ (TSP) is going straight to the Gram Sabhas and the Gram Sabhas are having over 70-80 Lakhs for their Gram/ Village development. As there are many Acts and laws, the Secretary Advocates within the government offices and make laws in accordance with Fifth Schedule provisions, PESA Act, Forest Rights Act, and Land Rights Act in the Tribal / Schedule Areas. With that, they can have their own development plans and activities.
Mr. Rakesh Sharma, IAS (Retd.) former Additional Commissioner cum Special Secretary, Government of Himachal Pradesh, said there is “Single line Administration” in Himachal Pradesh. Through ITDA (Integrated Tribal Development Agency) not through District Collector, so that tribals deal with one office. Dr. P. Trinadha Rao, Andrapradesh said, Single Line Administration as well as according to “Samata Judgment 1997” Supreme Court has stated that even State is a Non-Tribal entity; hence it cannot take the Scheduled Area Land without the prior consent of the Gram Sabha.
In his concluding remarks, Prof. Bipin Jojo from TISS said that with all these practices and experiences, we need to start the Governance in Scheduled Areas with a New Structure based on Fifth Schedule, starting with Governor’s Office with Tribal Cell, and strengthening the ‘Tribes Advisory Council’ (TAC), ITDA , District Autonomous Council (DAC) and then Gram Sabha. He also cited on Sami Parliament in Sweden, where the Indigenous Peoples themselves select / elect their representatives and make the plans, take decision and execute them.
With much hope and expectations, the meeting concluded on a very positive tone for the development of the tribals.
Dalit Christians in a State level public meeting in Trichy demand that their legitimate rights be upheld Rights
A state level public meeting was held at Trichy town, Tamil Nadu, jointly organised by Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council ( TNBC) Commission for SC/ST, National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC) in which more than 10,000 people participated. Catholic and Protestant Bishops, Dalit Christian leaders and Christians from many parts of Tamil Nadu participated in the public meeting. Most Rev. Antony Pappusamy, President of TNBC, Most Rev. Neethinathan, Vice President of TNBC, Most Rev. P. Thomas Paulsamy Chairperson for the TNBC Commission for SC/ST, Most Rev. Devadass Ambrose, Administrator of Trichy diocese, Most Rev. Thomas Aquinas, Bishop of Coimbatore, Most Rev. Chinnappa, Archbishop Emeritus of Madras-Mylapore, Protestant bishops, Fr. Devasagayaraj, Secretary to the CBCI Office for SC/BC, Mr. Franklin, Advocate, NCDC leaders and other Dalit Christian leaders addressed the gathering.
The following resolutions were made:
Dr. Mary John the President of NCDC Tamil Nadu chapter presided over the meeting. Fr. Kulandainathan, Secretary to the TNBC Commission for SC/ST, the Diocesan SC/ST commission secretaries, Regional and diocesan SC/ST commission coordinators and Mr. E.D. Charles took care of the logistics of the program. After the Hindus, Christians are the second largest religious community in Tamil Nadu who constitute 6.12% whereas Muslims constitute 5.86% of the population.
25 August 2018
KANDHAMAL TRAGEDY TEN YEARS AFTER:
MASS OF THANKSGIVING, RECONCILIATION AND GRACE IN BHUBANESWAR
Bishops, Priests, Religious and lay faithful gathered together in large numbers on 25th August 2018, in the St. Joseph’s School Compound, Bhubaneswar to celebrate a Solemn Eucharist to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrible and painful tragedy which Kandhamal went through ten years ago. In the last week of August, 2008 following the killing of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four of his disciples, hate filled mobs targeted and attacked Christians. What was heartbreaking was that the massacre of the innocents continued unabated for months.
The attackers snuffed out human lives, destroyed and demolished churches, homes, schools, hospitals, dispensaries, offices, and centers working for the uplift and development of the poor and marginalized people especially the tribals, dalits, OBC and others. Women and young girls were gang raped and thousands had to flee to the jungles in fear and despair.
Ten years later, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar organized a celebration which was characterized by solemnity and sobriety. Most Rev. John Barwa SVD, Archbishop of Cuttack- Bhubaneswar in whose territory Kandhamal falls was the main celebrant at the High Mass in which 13 Bishops concelebrated along with over 90 priests and in which Religious and faithful from all walks of life participated. Bishops from other Christian denominations also attended the celebration.
Archbishop Barwa reminded the people that God works in our lives and in the life of the Church through mysterious ways. The blood of the martyrs of Kandhamal has brought many blessings upon the Church in Odisha and in the Country. Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX, the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops Conference in his Homily told the congregation that like the people of Israel we are very often helpless but the power of God gives us such strength that no human clout can give.
He confessed that we feel the pain but no anger as Christ teaches us to forgive. He said the Mass was being celebrated to thank God for the gift of the faith of our martyrs who show us the way to continue living our faith with courage and conviction. He exhorted the people to pray for those still suffering the pain of the tragedy, for justice for the victims but also for those who indulged in violence that God may convert their hearts and minds. The people were called upon to pray for peace and harmony in our country.The Mass was embellished by beautiful hymns sung by the Parish choir.
On the occasion of this gathering, the Decree of the opening of the Process of Beatification of Fr. Marian Zelazek SVD a Polish Priest who served in India and died peacefully in the Archdiocese of Cuttack- Bhubaneswar on 20th April 2006 was read by Fr. Prasana Pradhan the Vicar General. A book “Flames of Faith in Kandhamal, by Rev. Dr. Udayanath Bishoyi was released after the Holy Mass. Rev. Dr. Udayanath Bishoyi was the Master of Ceremonies and later proposed a vote of thanks.
Report prepared by Rev. Tapan Baliarsingh
Port.814 /Gen.Sec.2018(3-b-10/CBCI-GC 22 August 2018
Rt. Rev. Joseph Minj ,17.10.1932 – 16.08.2018
The Obituary has been prepared by Rev. Ignatius Tete, Vicar General of the Diocese of Simdega.
Most Rev. Joseph Minj was born on 17.10.1932 in Tholkobera village of Rengarih Parish in Simdega District of Jharkhand state. Then Rengarih parish was under Ranchi Catholic Archdiocese and Ranchi was the district headquarters. He was the eldest son of Mr. Leo Minj and Mrs. Julia Salomi Minj. He has two younger brothers and one sister.
His primary Education began in the parish school. He was very good in studies under the guidance of the Belgian Missionaries. He completed his high school studies in St. Mary’s High School Samtoli, Simdega and joined St. Xavier’s College Ranchi for Intermediate of Arts. He completed two years of Intermediate successfully and joined St. Albert’s College Ranchi for priestly formation. He studied Philosophy for three years and achieved Bachelor degree in Philosophy. He was sent to Barve High School, Chainpur now in Gumla Diocese for Regency and after one year he came back to St. Xavier’s College, Ranchi for Bachelor of Arts degree. Brother Joseph then was sent to Leuven University, Belgium for the theological studies. He was ordained priest in Leuven on 10.08.1960 and continued his studies till he achieved the Doctorate in Educational Psychology.
Fr. Joseph Minj came back to India after his ordination and after obtaining the degree of Doctorate in educational Psychology. He was appointed Headmaster of St. Joseph’s High School Torpa now in Khunti Diocese by Archbishop Pius Kerketta S.J. Fr. Joseph Minj spent most of his priestly life in Torpa. He constructed a new high school building in Torpa. He also started St. Joseph’s Intermediate College and Degree College in Torpa. For some time he helped Ranchi Archdiocese as Diocesan Treasurer. The diocese of Khunti and in a very special way the faithful of Torpa are very grateful to him. He will always be remembered for his missionary zeal, and love and for the service he rendered to the people of Torpa.
After retirement from college Fr. Joseph Minj was appointed as the first Bishop of the newly erected diocese of Simdega carved out from Ranchi Catholic Archdiocese on July 1, 1993. He was consecrated as the Bishop of Simdega Catholic Diocese on August 24, 1993 by Most Rev. Telesphore P. Toppo the Archbishop of Ranchi. Most Rev. Joseph Minj had a great responsibility and challenge to form the diocese of Simdega as the body of Christ. “Let Christ Increase” (Jn.3:30) was his motto. The faithful of Simdega had great expectations from their shepherd and accordingly he took the great steps of holistic development of the diocese. Faith formation, Economic development, Health and Education all these areas were focused. He established new parishes in Besrajara, Bhitbuna, Bindhaintoli, Bongera, Dhingurpani, Dumardih, Jaldega etc. He was an Educationist, and in 1994 started the St. Pius X Intermediate College, Rengarih and St. Dominic Intermediate College, Lachragarh in 2001. He started new Catholic schools in many interior places of the diocese in order to light the lamp of education among the poor tribes. He started two apostolic schools one in Rengarih and other in Banki in order to promote youth towards the priesthood. A number of health centers are running in the diocese to provide the primary health care. He established a social development center in Simdega known as Vikas Kendra which is providing plenty of opportunities for the development of the people.
After retirement on 11th February 2008, he spent his time in different hospitals. He had diabetes, Kidney and heart problems. Finally he was admitted in Shanti Bhawan Medical Center, Biru, Simdega on August 3, 2018 where on August 16, 2018 at 7.30 a.m. he breathed his last at the age of 85 years and 10 months. Most Rev. Vincent Barwa the priests and Religious and the faithful of the diocese express their heartfelt gratitude and homage to the beloved shepherd Joseph Minj. May the compassionate Father grant his soul eternal rest in Heaven!
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX.
Arunachal Students dance to raise fund for Kerala
Namphai, 23 August: A group of young students from Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh performed dance numbers and beatbox in the market place to raise fund for the people of Kerala on 22 August.
The students of Newman School Neotan, a village school in Changlang District, gathered at Namphai Bazar and performed various dance numbers and beatbox in the middle of the market place to raise fund for the people of Kerala that has been affected by worst flood in the last 100 years.
Expressing solidarity with the people of Kerala, the students with the guidance of the school Cultural Committee, led by Miss Junnem Mossang and Miss Blessy Mossang, gathered at Market place early in the morning at 6.30am, when the market is at the peak of buying and selling, and drew the attention of the people with well choreographed dance numbers. Having brought the market to a standstill with their performance, the Principal of the School, Fr. Felix Anthony, explained to the people about the devastating flood situation in Kerala and requested everyone to contribute towards helping the people of Kerala. “Your help today will come back to you as a blessing”, he said. “Let us share our little with the people who are in camps without proper food and water for the last two weeks.”
It was very heartening to see the whole market chipping in with small contributions. Some of the parents of the students were so touched by the kind gesture of these young students that they too came forward to go around with the collection box to raise fund, letting the students entertain the bystanders with their beatbox and dance numbers.
The students chose Wednesday for the fundraising at Namphai Bazar as it is the only market day here. They have planned to do similar fundraising events at Miao on Friday, 24 August and at Kharsang on Saturday 26 August, the weekly market days of the two places.
The proceeds of this fundraising by these young students will be forwarded to Seva Kendra Arunachal East that is coordinating the support for Kerala in the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh.
One hopes that the kind gesture of these students will inspire many to come forward to help the people of Kerala during this most difficult time.
HOLY CROSS SISTERS ALONG WITH CBCI REFLECT ON CHALLENGES TO THEIR EDUCATIONAL APOSTOLATE
By Sr. Celine Antony
On 18th and 19th August 2018, a group of 60 Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross (SCSC), North East Province engaged in Education Ministry gathered in Holy Cross Provincial House, Fairfield Colony, Digha Ghat, Patna for a two day workshop under the able guidance of Rt. Rev. Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX.
The Head of the Institutions from different Educational Institutes of the Province were led to reflect upon the meaning and essence of Catholic Education. We as Catholic Educators are called to bring up and bring out the uniqueness of children each of whom is created in the image and likeness of God and who are the faces of God who is versatile. Our education should bring out the divine nature of every child in our care. Everyone is called to perfection. We as Catholic Educators have the responsibility of leading each child to God. Our basic tenor should be to lead our children to God and instill love for their neighbor. A school cannot be Catholic just because it is established by a Catholic, but it should be based on the Gospel values and principles.
The value of compassion, kindness, love and forgiveness should be the characteristic features of our Institutions. Humanitarian values should be explicitly cultivated in each and every person including the management and the administration. Bishop Theodore in his sessions highlighted the need to provide quality education while taking utmost care not to water down the values of Jesus. Our Institutions should also be evaluated from time to time to make sure that we are still in line with objectives for which they were founded.
It was also a time to reflect and re-asess the reality of our life as religious. Bishop spoke in detail on the vows of Poverty, Chastity and obedience. Our work of education is a ministry and not just a profession. Most of the time we begin a ministry but end up in Institutions. While having no discrimination against anyone we ought to remember that as a minority institution we have first duty towards t Catholics for their education and faith formation.
Bishop Theodore dealt in detail with the various aspects of challenges and problems faced by the Catholic institutions in various parts of our country. Bishop also made the participants aware of the ways and means by which we can find a solution for the challenges faced by our Institutions.
These two days workshop under the competent guidance and leadership of Bishop Theodore was a clarion call to each of the participants to grow into the image and likeness of the one who has called us and for whom we are religious – Our Lord and master Jesus Himself. We remain indebted to Bishop Theodore for his benevolence.
RAJASTHAN OR JHARKHAND:
CATHOLIC EDUCATION SEEKS TO REACH OUT TO THE LAST AND THE LEAST TO ENABLE THEM TO SUCCEED
Fr. Joseph Manipadam
Secretary of CBCI Office for Education and Culure
11th August 2018: Self Study Report and Evaluation of Implementation of the All India Catholic Education Policy at Udaipur:
45 fathers and Sisters, all heads and managers of Catholic Schools of Udaipur Diocese had a one day programme animated by Fr. Joseph Manipadam of the CBCI Office for Education and Culture, to study the effectiveness of implementation of the All India Catholic Education Policy 2007. The participants also presented a self study report regarding their institution for evaluation and certification. The programme lasted the whole day. The Bishop of Udaipur, His Excellency Deva Prasad Ganawa was present and presided over the meeting. The programme was held at the St. Paul’s School campus. After the programme some of the Catholic schools were also visited by F. J. Manipadam.
16th August 2018: Animation of Personnel involved in catholic Education in the diocese of Daltonganj:
50 participants both fathers and Sisters, all heads and managers of Catholic Schools of Daltonganj Diocese attended a one day programme animated by Fr. Joseph Manipadam of the CBCI Office for Education and Culture, and convened and presided over by Bishop Anand Jojo to study the effectiveness of implementation of the All India Catholic Education Policy 2007. The participants had three fruitful interactive sessions after which they also presented a self-study report regarding their institution for evaluation and certification. The programme lasted the whole day. Bishop Anand Jojo was present during the entire programme encouraging the participants. The programme was held at the Bishop’s House itself. After the programme Fr. J. Manipadam informally interacted with the heads of schools.
17th August 2018: Interactive one day programme at Gumla Bishop’s House for heads of schools:
150 participants running the educational institutions of Gumla Diocese, Fathers and Sisters and laity participated at the programme organized by Fr. J. Manipadam of the CBCI Education Office and the Diocesan Director of School Education. The programme was presided over by the Victor General of the Diocese as the Bishop had to be away for the funeral of one of the retired Bishops of Simdega. The participants had three fruitful interactive sessions after which they also presented a self study report regarding their institution for evaluation and certification. The programme was intended to create awareness and evaluate the extent and effectiveness of implementation of the catholic Education Policy. The programme was intended to insist that the Catholic and Tribal children should get 100% access in our schools and they should be enabled to succeed.
20th Aug 2018: Programme to Ensure Quality education for Tribal Children at Hazaribag Diocese:
140 participants running the educational institutions in the diocese of Hazaribag was visited for a one day animation programme to ensure that the Catholic Church extends the best to the last and the least. The tribal population in Hazaribag distrct and diocese is involved basically in the mining works as the entire region is dotted with a number of coal mines and the people are much neglected and deprived. The Fathers and Sisters and laity participated at the programme organized by Fr. J. Manipadam of the CBCI Education Office and the Diocesan Director of School Education, Fr. Cyriac. The programme was presided over by the Bishop Anand Jojo and retired Bishop Charles Soreng. The participants made a self study report as to the effectiveness of the implementation of the catholic Education policy so as to benefit over 80% of the Tribal children attending the schools. The programme was intended to create awareness and evaluate the extent and effectiveness of implementation of the Catholic Education Policy. The programme was intended to insist that the Catholic and Tribal children should get 100% access in our schools and they should be the very best quality education from us nourishing their Faith life and forming their character.
CARITAS HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE TO KERALA FLOODS 2018
Fr. Paul Moonjely
Executive Director – Caritas India
It's being called the flood of the century. Torrential rains & strong winds over three weeks have devastated God's own country, Kerala. It has already received 30% more rain than its annual average; rains in the state often last till November.
34 dams are spewing water, 44 rivers are in spate. 12 of the state's 14 districts are submerged. 36 locations are battling landslides. Such devastation was last seen in 1924, long before Indian Independence.
Till date, 389 people have died, 38 are missing & 133 have been hospitalized. 21,000 houses have been damaged, 46,016 cattle, 200,000 poultry & 40,000 hectares of crops have been lost. Total loss to agriculture has been estimated at Rs. 1,500 crore.
98, 000 kilometres of roads & 134 bridges have been damaged. Transport via road, rail & air is seriously affected. Out of 1,553 villages in Kerala, 1,287 have been affected. 14,21,000 people have been displaced and are currently living in 8,877 relief camps. In many districts, access to clean drinking water has completely broken down. All this has added up to a total economic loss of
Rs. 20, 000 crore to the state. (*All figures estimated, on date of release)
Farmers, daily wage workers & agricultural labourers won't earn anything for the next 2-3 months. Thousands have no homes to go back to. Lakhs need food, clothes, beds, mosquito nets, medicines, drinking water supplies and temporary shelters. Sanitation & hygiene has been severely compromised, the risk of epidemics is at an all-time high.
After all these needs are met, there is a need for longer term rehabilitation, reconstruction and livelihood support for affected families.
Scheduled caste and tribal dominated areas in Wayanad & Idukki are completely cut off. Caste biases often lead these groups to be ignored even during relief efforts, something not always reflected in media reports. Women, children & the aged too are extremely vulnerable in such situations.
Impact of the Situation
Caritas India plans on reaching 20,000 families with its response and relief interventions.
The Response Plan is as follows:
Food Support: Immediate food support to 20,000 most deserving tribal households in Wayanad, Pathanamthitha, Thrissur & Ernak
“Cash for Work” scheme to clean Debris: Immediate “Cash for Work” scheme to support 10,000 households from tribal & low earning communities.
WASH (water, hygiene, sanitation) support: WaSH kits will be supplied to 10,000 tribal women & girls. Awareness about the importance of clean water, hygiene & sanitation will also be provided.
Shelter support in the long term: A special design will be done based on the locally available materials. The estimated cost per shelter is Rs. 100,000 / house.
Caritas India makes every effort to verify the information contained in its Situation Reports. As the ground situation changes rapidly in emergency situations, users should check with concerned agencies before making any decisions based on the information provided in this report.
THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE REPRESENTED AT THE FUNERAL OF THE FORMER PRIME MINISTER ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India was represented at late Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee's funeral by Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General, CBCI and Fr. Jervis D'Souza, Deputy Secretary General, CBCI.
The two delegates from the Apex Body of the Church were accommodated in the VVIP gallery and participated in the funeral function from a very vantage point.
In a very touching ceremony wreaths were laid in honour of the departed leader by the President, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, the Prime Minister,Shri Narendra Modi, the Former Prime Minister Shri Manmohan Singh, Leaders of our neighbouring countries and others.
Amidst sanskrit chants, the body was laid to rest on the funeral pyre. Vajpayee’s foster daughter Namita Kaul Bhattacharya lit the pyre as cries of "Atal Bihari Amar Rahe" reverberated and the Army performed the 21-gun salute. The tricolour draping Vajpayee was folded and handed over to his granddaughter Niharika.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, LK Advani, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were among the thousands of people from across the political and social spectrum who attended the funeral at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal on the banks of the Yamuna.
Several foreign dignitaries, including the king of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuckand, Bangladesh foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai were also present at the event to pay their last respects to Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Earlier in the morning, Bishop Theodore and Fr. Jervis attempted to pay respects to the late Mr. Vajpayee at eh BJP Head Office in Delhi. But though special arrangements for entry had been made for the two ecclesiastics for a special entry, the teeming crowds outside the Office made it impossible for the two to approach the designated gate. However, Bishop Theodore speaking to a number of TV Channels outside the venue expressed the gratitude of the Church to Mr. Vajpayee for being attentive to the concerns of the Christian community. He also called Vajpayee the man who really was loved across all sections of Society .
Fr Jervis D'Souza
Deputy Secretary General
FROM THE FRONTLINE OF THE FLOODS IN KERALA
From Mar Andrews Thazhath, Archbishop of Trichur
Kerala Witnesses the Worst Flood Situation in Hundred Years
The state of Kerala has its worst flood situation since 1924. This small southern state of India had unusually heavy monsoon rains since July, which resulted in landslides in the hill districts and waterlogs in many districts of Kerala. Already by mid-July rescue teams have been operative and relief camps have been opened in several districts. For the first time in the history of Kerala all the 37 reservoirs /dams of Kerala had to be opened to release the excess water, which caused overflowing of rivers. Many rivers began to flow with thrice or more than their usual breadth, resulting in widespread flood in many rural as well as urban areas of the state. The Indian Meteorological Department declared Red Alert in all districts.
The flood has been literally devastating to the state, even to the extent of changing the very geographical configuration of the region. Rivers are not only overflowing; some of them have changed their direction. There were several landslides that washed away the entire families with their houses. In the district of Trichur, 19 people (out of which 15 Catholics of the Archdiocese of Trichur) from four families were washed away. An entire hill rushed over to their houses in few seconds. The transport and communication systems of the state are also ruthlessly affected. The Airport of Cochin had to be closed down, since it was filled with waters. It will take some more days to resume ordinary functions.
There were flash flooding in several regions for the first time in the lives of the inhabitants and hence, least prepared for such eventualities. People had to either flee from their houses bear-handed or had to climb up to higher planes or roof-tops. Many relief camps were opened, mostly in the schools and church premises. Many of the churches, presbyteries and schools run by the Church or other communities were converted to relief camps. The presbytery of a church (at Kuthiathode, Ernakulam) became the shelter for many and could not withstand the heavy current and was partially destroyed taking the lives of six people. The coastal belt of Central Kerala is still under water. Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam and Trichur are the worst hit areas now. Before one week, the affected areas were Wynad, Idukky, Kannur, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, and Thiruvananthapuram, Palghat districts.
The government is doing its best to tackle the rescue and relief operations. Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard are deployed to assist the state in rescue operations. People of Kerala have flocked together to do their best part in the rescue operations. There were spontaneous overflow of helps at every nook and corner of Kerala. People have joined hands with each other irrespective of their religious and socio-political differences. The spontaneous initiative of the fishermen groups to reach out rescue operations in areas where coastal guards could not access.
The Catholic Church is fully involved in overcoming the present crisis. The dioceses, Religious, parishes and church organizations are fully engaged in the relief operations day and night. Many of the priests and the religious sisters are leading several camps along with people's representatives and government officials. The church agencies and the faithful at large provide food, clothing and shelter to the people in the relief camps. We are very happy to report that the relief camps and helps conducted by the Church is much appreciated by the affected people, although, as usual, much publicity is not given in media for the Church activities.
On 20 August, most of the rescue operations are to be completed. However, the western regions of Kerala are still affected by flood due to the slow intake of water to the sea. As a result, some rivers have even changed its direction, causing widespread damage to several villages and thousands of people displaced. Many villages in the central district of Trichur and southern region of Chengannoor are still flooded. The greatest challenge for Kerala would be to provide infra-structural facilities to the people affected when they go back to their own houses, either ravaged or wiped out. The government, NGOs and the Church have began preparing long-term plans for rehabilitation with the help of the local and international agencies.
The Archdiocese of Trichur, as most of the other dioceses, is in the forefront with relief works. About 10 days back, relief materials from the Archdiocese were sent in trucks to Kuttanad and Wynad area. At that time Trichur was not heavily hit. But during last week, all the low areas were flooded. Many bridges were overblown. Many houses were sunk or destroyed due to heavy water flow. Flood affected also some churches to the extend that we could not celebrate Mass there even on last Sunday. Most of our parish halls, and schools and some presbyteries are still relief camps. Auxiliary Bishop Tony Neelankavil and myself personally visited several relief camps. I am happy to report that priests, sisters, seminarians and lay church leaders are in the forefront in the rescue works and relief activities. People, irrespective of caste and creed are helping us. Now we are distributing food items, clothes and other essentials to relief camps, families in affected areas. The Archbishop’s house Trichur, today, is like a market with food and other essentials where many volunteers are working day and night preparing kits which are being distributed.
I had sent a letter to Apostolic See, Nunciature and all bishops in India briefly narrating the situation in Kerala. I am happy to note that at the request of our Cardinals and Nuncio, Pope Francis has given a beautiful consoling message with prayers, on last Sunday, 19th Aug.
Please continue to pray for our State Kerala and do whatever help is possible for the rehabilitation of affected people.
ALL INDIA CATHOLIC UNION OFFICE BEARERS, DELHI UNIT PROMISE COLLABORATION AND SUPPORT TO THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE
On Monday August 13, 2018, Office Bearers of the All India Catholic Union (AICU), Archdiocese of Delhi called on Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX, Secretary General, CBCI and Fr Jervis D’Souza, Deputy Secretary General, CBCI for a brief meeting. The meeting was eventful as the AICU, Delhi had just conducted their elections. The former Office Bearers shared about their experience in the AICU, while the New Office Bearers shared their expectations and enthusiasm.
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX encouraged the New Office Bearers to work wholeheartedly for the Church. The laity form the major portion of the Church. They can be the ‘salt of the earth and the light of the world’ by consciously engaging themselves in the issues faced by society today. While recognizing the immense talent, time and treasure of the lay faithful, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas hoped that there would be a greater collaboration in the Church between the laity and the clergy. The members pledged their loyalty, support and commitment to the Church and to make that difference in the Church and in the world. The newly elected Office Bearers of AICU, Delhi unit are M.S.Stanislaus, President, Catherine Toppo, Vice President, Mario Noronha, Secretary, Joseph Ambrose, Joint Secretary, Anthony Joseph, Treasurer. They were accompanied by Jenis Francis, Former President & Spokesperson, Daisy Panna, Former Vice President and A. Chinnappan Secretary General of the AICU.
Fr Jervis D’Souza
Deputy Secretary General, CBCI
Farewell to Mr. Tony
10th August 2018: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) bade farewell to Mr. Tony Castleman and family as they leave India for United States of America. Mr. Tony was the Asia Representative of Catholic Relief Services (CRS). It is a humanitarian aid organization which helps the poor and vulnerable peoples overseas by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease etc. The CRS under Mr. Tony Castleman, has been a great support for the CBCI specially in the communications department of the Secretariat. Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General CBCI, speaking at a simple dinner hosted for Mr. Tony and his wife acknowledged his contributions and support. He also expressed his sincere thanks for all that he has been to the CBCI. The CBCI appreciates the services he has rendered to us. Mr. Tony is a great lover of India, its people and its culture. Having married an Indian woman, he has mastered Hindi and has acquired much knowledge about Indian Culture. We express our gratitude and love for his concerns and care for the Church in India. As he and his family leave for America, the CBCI wishes them happy stay in America. We pray that God bless him and his family and give him courage to carry forward the task of helping the poor and the marginalised for his new assignment with CRS in the United States.
Office Secretary of CBCI Secretariat
By couresty of Vatican News
At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis prayed for victims of the flooding in the Indian state of Kerala. “In recent days,” he noted, “the inhabitants of Kerala have been harshly struck by intense rains, which have caused flooding and landslides, with heavy loss of human life, with many people missing and displaced, with extensive damage to crops and homes.”
The Holy Father voiced his hopes that “these brothers and sisters” would always be supported by our solidarity, and by concrete support from the international community. In that regard, he expressed his closeness to the Church in Kerala, “which is at the forefront of efforts to bring aid to the population.”
Pope Francis than led the crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square in prayer for those suffering from “this great calamity.”
Th Link is given below
THE SAD DEMISE OF OUR BELOVED FORMER PRIME MINISTER ATAL
The Catholic Bishops' Conference is deeply saddened by the passing away of our beloved former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In his death, India has lost one of its tallest leaders and the world bids good bye to one of its greatest Statesmen. The Christian Community has lost a friend who was attentive to its needs and gave a patient hearing to its concerns.
We will remember him as a great orator who charmed the Indian public for decades with a wonderful mixture of poetry and prose, of quotes and shayris, delivered with humour, wit and a well-modulated voice. What marked him out was his graceful dealings with all. He will be remembered as a person who cultivated warm human relationships cutting across religious, political or regional divides.
The nation will remember him as a leader who yearned for a country where everyone lived in peace and harmony. I recall the words he spoke in his last Independence Day Speech as Prime minister, “India is a multi-religious nation. It is against both its nature and culture to practice discrimination or to do injustice to anybody on the grounds of faith. We should always care for the minorities and be attentive towards their welfare."
I met our late Prime Minister on several occasions. Every meeting was a delight because of the warmth of his person, his sharp intellect and his passion for the country. He wanted an India where no was one was excluded, no one suffered want, and everyone enjoyed the benefits of progress. In my various meetings with the great man, I always had the feeling of being in the presence of a gracious gentlemen full of warmth, most reasonable in our discussions, and always eager to find a way forward.
I remember with joy and nostalgia the meeting between Mr. Vajpayjee and Pope St. John Paul II during the Holy Father's visit to India in 1999. He thanked the Pope for being in India on the happy occasion of Deepavali, the festival of lights which signifies the victory of good over evil. He observed that perhaps the papal visit added more light to the festival.
The Catholic Church also remembers with affection the very special admiration Mr. Vajpayee had for St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Mr Vajpayee said about the Saintly mother: "At a time when humankind is being increasingly driven by selfish motives, she gave selflessly to those whom society has forsaken and forgotten. In the age of cynicism she was a symbol of understanding faith."
We mourn the demise of a leader who could dream for India with these words: "I have a vision of India: an India free of hunger and fear, an India free of illiteracy and want. I dream of an India that is prosperous, strong and caring. An India, that regains a place of honour in the comity of great nations," We thank God for sending among us such a great soul, a gentleman to the core, a kind hearted person in word and action, one who had friends and admirers across the political and ideological spectrum. May God grant him Eternal Rest.
+Cardinal Oswald Gracias
President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India
FEARFUL RAGING WATERS RAMPAGE KERALA
Appeal for Solidarity
Your Eminence/Your Beatitude/Your Grace/Your Lordship,
Dear Fathers/Brothers/Sisters/Collaborators of Caritas India
Sub: Appeal for Solidarity and Contribution towards National Disaster victims of floods and landslides in Kerala
The Catholic Church in India expresses her solidarity with the people of Kerala and offers condolences to all those families who have lost their dear ones. We pray for the repose of the souls of those who have lost their lives. We are distressed by the extensive damage to the life and property through a disaster of this magnitude.
The State of Kerala is being battered by torrential rains, overflowing rivers, release of dam waters and a series of landslides. This unprecedented havoc caused by floods has wrought immeasurable misery and devastation. Declared as the worst flood in a century, the people of Kerala have never faced such a terrifying deluge before. Thousands of people are rendered homeless, as houses and roads are collapsing due to floods and landslides. 35 of the 36 dams have been forced open, releasing nearly 7 lakh liters of water per second. This has ingrained fear and panic amongst the communities. While the official death toll is 106 as on date, the figures are still rising. More than 200,000 people are homeless and taking refuge in the around 718 Relief Camps. The whole State has become like a huge lake and the water level continues to rise. To make matters worse, occurrence of a series of cloudbursts and heavy landslides has made the situation even more grave.
Caritas India, the Catholic Church’s social arm for humanitarian aid, has already placed an 8-member Team in different parts of Kerala to assess the needs of the local communities and help the Social Development Diocesan Partners of Kerala in conducting the relief operations. Caritas India is supporting 24 affected Dioceses with immediate relief kits with food, drinking water, clothes, utensils and other requirements.
There is a strong urgency to reach out to more communities who are stranded and isolated in the most remote and unreached villages. Our timely assistance will help meet the needs of the affected and reduce the sufferings of our brothers and sisters of Kerala. There is a huge need emerging to rebuild the lives of the people and communities with rehabilitation and restoration of livelihoods.
On behalf of the Catholic Church in India, I am making this fervent appeal to you, my brothers Bishop and to all in Church leadership, to come together in solidarity and encourage the community of faithful, institutions and people of goodwill to contribute generously to this humanitarian call and express our solidarity at this crucial moment.
The funds mobilized to this cause from the Dioceses and institutions may please be sent to Account Title CARITAS INDIA, SB Account number: 0153053000007238, Bank name: The South Indian Bank Ltd, IFSC Code: SIBL0000153, 22 REGAL BUILDING, CONNAUGHT PLACE, NEW DELHI - 110001
With kind regards and best wishes,
Yours fraternally in Christ,
+ Oswald Cardinal Gracias
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India
MASS FOR RECONCILIATION, THANKSGIVING AND GRACE
St Joseph Convent School ground, Bhubaneswar at 10.00 am, August 25, 2018
Ten years ago, what happened in Kandhamal, Odisha should have never happened and should never ever happen again. We recall with greatest pain and agony the barbaric events that occurred particularly in 2008. The inhuman attack on innocent people caught unaware in the middle of the night of August 25, 2008 will always remain a black spot in the history of the traditionally peace loving people of Odisha and Independent India. What was heartbreaking that the massacre of the innocents continued unabated for months. The attackers snuffed out human lives, destroyed and demolished churches, homes, schools, hospitals, dispensaries, offices, and centers working for the uplift and development of the poor and marginalized people especially the tribals, dalits, OBC and others. Women and young girls were gang raped and thousands had to flee to the jungles in fear and despair.
The people of Odisha however want to turn over a new leaf and want a renewed society filled with peace and social harmony. The Christian community believes in a God who is the God of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. We remember even after ten years how much harm hatred and anger can do to our society. We wish to remember what happened so that it never happens again. We have no enmity with anyone. We believe like the Apostle St. Paul that “trials of every sort come to us, but we are not discouraged, we are left without answer, but not abandoned, knocked down but not crushed”, (2Cor. 4: 8-9).
Over the past one decade, the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar has remained close to the victims, and has been the prime driving force for the legal processes to seek justice for the victims and relief for those who have suffered. For the purpose we organized several rallies, submitted memorandums and are still fighting in the courts for justice. Today more than ever before we wish to surrender everything to our God in prayer and supplication believing as the Bible tells us that “for humans it may seem impossible, but for God all things are possible” (Mt. 19:26).
The Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar in collaboration with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) is organizing a Solemn Holy Mass for Reconciliation that there might be genuine feeling of goodwill, Thanksgiving for those who witnessed the faith with their heroic life, and Grace that the Church may further be strengthened to live its faith, on August 25, 2018 at St Joseph Convent School ground, Bhubaneswar at 10.00 A.M. We want to pray for true forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.
We take this opportunity to thank the Government of Odisha which has shown commitment to work for the growth and progress of everyone irrespective of caste, creed and color. We hope and pray that complete relief be granted to those who are still seeking it. The Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar and CBCI are organizing the Holy Mass for RECONCILIATION, THANKSGIVIING & GRACE with a humanitarian and clarion call to everyone of good will, especially those who believe in secularism, democracy, justice and peace and brotherhood.
We implore God’s blessings on all men and women of good will.
Archbishop John Barwa SVD
Prot.813/GenSec2018 (3-b-10/CBCI-GC) 15 August 2018
PRESS RELEASE ON THE UNPRECEDENTED FLOODS IN KERALA
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) expresses its profound grief and sorrow at the unprecedented floods affecting Kerala, causing heavy loss of lives and damage to crops, houses, cattle and property. Over 50 people are reported to have lost their lives and thousands of people have been evacuated and moved to rehabilitation camps. Economic and collateral losses to people and their livelihood are huge though still to be effectively calculated. We share the anguish of the people affected by this huge natural disaster and we wish to express our closeness to them.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference appreciates the quick and efficient relief work undertaken by the local and State Government authorities. We also appreciate the strong and immediate support being provided by the Union government in the relief operations.
The solidarity manifested and the help being provided cutting across political divides and religious or class belongingness is exemplary. We salute the noble spirit of the people of Kerala as they valiantly battle the challenges faced by them in this critical and difficult time. The Catholic Church condoles the death of our brothers and sisters who were caught unaware as nature’s fury took hold of large parts of Kerala. We express our solidarity with the injured and the suffering.
The Catholic Church is already out in the field through her Wing of Mercy and Charity, Caritas India. Our local Bishops, Clergy, Religious Sisters and lay volunteers are also involved in relief and succour operations. In different dioceses, Church authorities have opened church schools and other institutions to the displaced people, and are distributing food, clothes and other relief materials. Many parishes, schools and other Church institutions have become the centres of aid and assistance to people in need.
While trying to help people in the affected areas without discrimination of faith, or class, wherever it is possible for us to reach out, we appeal to people of good will all across the country and elsewhere to come to the aid of our suffering brethren. We are also concerned about the health situation in the affected areas. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India expresses its ardent desire to work with the Government and all like-minded agencies to provide relief and help in all possible ways to the suffering people.
When the fury and rampage of the floods and unbridled water flow goes away, it would be desirable to analyse the causes of the floods, and take urgent steps to preserve our environment and prevent further ecological damage to our Common Home, Mother Earth, destruction often brought about by our human actions.
We pray for all those affected and also for all who are actively or through contributions helping the people in dire distress.
May the Almighty bless us with his abundant graces and mercies.
Yours Sincerely in Our Lord
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX
Secretary General, CBCI
15 August 2018: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) celebrated the 72nd Independence Day at CBCI Centre, New Delhi with due solemnity. Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, the Secretary General of CBCI, with one of the CBCI employee’s son Alan Richard Xalxo hoisted the flag. Earlier at the Holy Mass celebrated in the Chapel of the CBCI Centre, Bishop Theodore presiding over the Eucharist said that Independence Day was also the day of assumption of the nation, from slavery to freedom. He also remarked that India Independence day reminds us of the respect for the equal freedom of Speech, religion and cultural expressions. He prayed that conditions may be created in the country so that every citizen would have a sense of respect for one another. The prelate placed the country and its people under the mantle of our Blessed Mother Mary, whose feast of Assumption we celebrate today.
Fr. Nicholas Barla in his speech after the flag hoisting and the salute, recalled the past history of the freedom struggle movement and said that Independence Day was the day of pride for every Indian citizen. The nation pays homage to all freedom fighters and salutes those unscripted people who sacrificed their lives for the nation.
This day we need to remember that India is a secular country with peoples of diverse religions, languages and cultures living together. Diversity is the heart of India, therefore, every citizen of India must strive to respect the people and preserve the historical heritage of the Country. Speaking on the present challenges of the country, he exhorted that we must be united and raise our voices against all those forces that divide and destroy the great heritage of the country. The residential priests and staff of CBCI Centre participated in the Holy Mass and attended the flag hoisting ceremony.
God bless our Beloved Country!
KARNATAKA REGION CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ COUNCIL
Minutes of the meeting held on August 8 2018
The meeting commenced at 9.30 am at Regional Pastoral Centre, Bangalore on August 8, 2018 with a prayer, scripture reading and a hymn. After this Fr. Eugene Lobo SJ, PRO, invited Archbishop Peter Machado, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX, Fr. Chetan Lobo OFM, Fr Victor Vijay Lobo and Fr Sebastian Fernandes to light the lamp.
Welcome: Fr Eugene Lobo SJ Regional PRO welcomed Archbishop Peter Machado, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX and all the diocesan PROs to the First PRO meeting held at KROSS, Bangalore.
He said the Archbishop of Bangalore who took charge recently of the Archdiocese, has been active and supportive of each of the commissions. Introducing him to the members, he spoke of his simplicity, availability and commitment. Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX has done much as PRO of CBCI and Secretary General in Delhi to CBCI. He is needed at every emergency and he deals with every situation concerning the church efficiently. He is a scholar, administrator, workaholic and linguist and is here with us to share the importance and effectiveness of the Public Relations in the church of India.
Welcoming the diocesan PROs he said that every person has been committed to his task. In fact most PROs in Karnataka have more than one job given to them and yet they have been able to do justice and have given a good image of the PRO post. Out of 14 PROs of Karnataka 12 were present. The other two had given prior information regarding their inability to attend. Fr Eugene Lobo asked each one to introduce themselves and their work.
Archbishop’s message: Fr. Eugene Lobo invited the Archbishop Dr Peter Machado to address the gathering. In his address the Archbishop appreciated he coming together of officials from every diocese. He said every PRO is a professional with three activities namely Pro-ecclesia - that is for the church; Pro -verita – for the truth; and Pro - carita - that is for charity. He added that our work is urgent and specific. We are the conscience of the church and gave the example of the letters of the three Archbishops in the recent past and the reactions to the same. He then explained the meaning of PRO as one who establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationship between an organization and public. Its vision is to prepare and to give active communication of truth and present the gospel values. In this context a PRO has to study, do research and express it to others. He should go beyond the religion to speak the right and support the voiceless. He should always be thinker and act carefully to express the thinking of the church. He has to speak the truth and become the voice of the church he added. At the same time a PRO should be an all rounder being constantly in touch with reality. In conclusion he expressed his happiness over the presence of the CBCI secretary General who has done plenty on this line and all the PROs of Karnataka for the first time and wished full success for the work of PRO in our State.
Message of Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX:- Bishop Theodore, currently Secretary General of CBCI and PRO spoke about the practical and real situation in India and how to handle such in the context of the Church. We have many difficulties including an aggressive media. He said that as PROs we need to know when to speak, what to speak and how to speak. We cannot be reactive but proactive. We have to sharp and quick and by the time we react it cannot be too late. What we communicate must be responsible and simple.
As PROs we are the face of the Church he said. We have to think of the name of the Church, diocese and people and cannot afford to create extra damage to the situations. We have to speak truth for the sake of the Church he added. We have problems such as the religious attacks, spoiling the name and in a subtle way dividing the community to their advantage. Yet a PRO can never bring politics into the church nor can he speak against anyone. He cannot give entry to the press and politics into the religious matters yet must be close to them. He explained how we can deal with the media and how we can use it to our advantage. First of all it is necessary to know that media is a powerful weapon and we as a church must strengthen our websites, update it regularly and give the necessary matters much publicity. The use of social media such as photos, whatsApp, face book and twitter are now matter of common use. He said it is essential to avoid jokes and light matters in our communication. Whatever we forward to others must be verified because fake news can damage our image.
The Secretary General stressed that as PROs we have to be prepared to spread right word and win over people both Catholics and others through our messages. We can have two accounts in our communications: one as PRO where we give the theme of the church, papal, festival and other messages. At the same time we have a private account where we give our personal opinion. We also have to be united with the ecumenical and inter religious groups. Through them we can communicate to all but we use minimum words. He added that it is important to write and publish in newspaper columns providing good image of the church. Problems will always be there but we have to decide when to speak and what to speak regarding the issues. When the press challenges us in complicated matters and demands response, our answers should be guarded, such as we are investigating and a commission has been formed or something similar. A PRO should never fall into a trap set by the Press. The Bishop suggested that we must have good training programmes for the PROs in communication skills, writing, press note, press conference and such. He insisted that our constant coming together is important in our PRO setup. Bishop Theodore said that the Karnataka has perhaps the strongest social communication setup which is a stepping stone for the future growth.
In the next session the 12 PROs present from the dioceses shared their functioning as PRO and expressed their vision of communication in the dioceses. Most of the dioceses have good relationships with the press, the public and the religious groups. For most festivals and important events or calamities they come together and share with each other ideas, views and solutions. Some dioceses have their own websites and are using the support of the youth who are well versed in the communication media. At the same time there have been facing political and social challenges in the dioceses. Our schools have been a great support in building public relations. The Archbishop suggested that our meetings should be held often and it is necessary to have training programmes.
Fr Eugene Lobo, PRO KRCBC proposed the vote of thanks. The meeting ended with lunch at 1.30 pm.
Fr. Nicholas Barla with Dr. Annabel Benjamin Bara
It was a special occasion for fifteen tribal youth as they were publicly recognized by the Catholic Church for their hard work, brilliance and enthusiasm in achieving standards of excellence.
In a first of its kind, the CBCI Office for Tribals organized a special event to congratulate, encourage and felicitate 15 young tribals for their achievements. At a function held at the CBCI Centre, New Delhi, on 10th August, 2018 on the occasion of 24th International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, tribal youth from different streams such as music, singing, acting, scholarship, airplane pilot, body building, writers, publishers were publicly acclaimed.
The program was organized by Fr. Nicholas Barla (SVD), Secretary, Tribal Affairs, CBCI which was well coordinated by Fr. Jervis Deputy Secretary General, CBCI, Fr. Anthony administrator CBCI, and Fr. Ashit Toppo Secretary to Bishop Theodore.
Most Rev. Theodore Mascarenhas who was the chief guest felicitated the young tribals with a rose flower, a memento and a Certificate of Excellence. In his speech he exhorted the youth, “You are not simply the pride of your tribal communities but the pride of whole humanity because you have had the courage and the perseverance to break through barriers and shine forth”. He reminded them that it was very important that the tribals preserve their zamin (land), sanskriti (culture) bhasha (language) and ekta (unity). Otherwise they will be swamped out of their existence. While congratulating them for their achievements, he pleaded with them to help other tribal children and youth to come up and be able to succeed in society. Bishop Mascarenhas assured the gathering that the Catholic Church would always stand with the tribals and would work for their uplift as it has always done in the past. Earlier Fr. Jervis welcomed the gathering and spoke of the enrichment that the tribal communities brought to our society. Fr. Barla explained that this was just a small function to encourage our tribal youth and that more such functions would be held. Fr. Ashit Toppo emphasized the need for tribal youth to devote themselves to studies and hard work and not to be distracted.
In a beautifully synchronized and elucidative interaction, Fr. Anthony coaxed the participants to speak out their thoughts. Ms Garima Ekka who stars in the Chatisgarhiya movie Bhai-Bahen ka atut rishta to be released on 24th August, gave a heart rending description of how she grew up in a small unknown village with the encouragement of the Church to come up to where she was today. Pilots Divya Nancy Tirkey, Joyce Tirkey, and Neha Tirkey explained their own struggles before they could fly high.
Mr. Hepuni Kajikho a Body Builder from Manipur at the State Level and the International level spoke of his efforts not only at building his body but also his character and career. Praveen Felix Kujur a composer, singer and musician told the audience that his journey began in the Church choir and from a shy boy in the Church he gained courage to stand on his own. Anjali Lakra narrated the story of her striving to become a human resources manager and underlined that she would like to encourage others to follow in her footsteps. Aditya Baxla, who scored 97% in the 10th Standard was full of regret that he could not score more which he felt he could if he had concentrated a little more. The audience was touched as he explained that he was able to achieve the percentage because he cut off from socializing, from his mobile phone and other entertainment from the month of December till his exams to pursue his dream of success. Anabel Benjamin Bara, a Doctor in Management and Marketing from XLRI, Jamshedpur expressed his gratitude to the Church Institution from which he studied but hoped that more tribal students could be accommodated in XLRI. Ms Rimi Tadu from Arunachal Pradesh not only got her doctorate from TISS, Mumbai but also undertook a post doctorate fellowship in Germany. She said her march showed that coming from a small village and difficulties do not matter when you have the drive to do well. Mr. Albert Ganreipou from Manipur who has just cleared the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) recounted how hard work had paid in the long run and credited “the beautiful woman”, his mother for what he had achieved. Santhali Girl Ruby Hembrom spoke of how she felt excluded in school because she was dark but fought her feelings and pain to open up avenues for other excluded tribals and founded a publishing firm adivaani to publish works by indigenous peoples. She herself is the creator of Santal Creation stories for children. Mr. Nitin Kujur, Praveen Gauri Toppo and Lovina Ekka could not make it to the function and their parents received the awards.
Ms Guang Chunlui Gangmei proposed a vote of thanks.
The program concluded with a short prayer followed by lunch at CBCI Centre.
I RESPECT YOU
CBCI OFFICE FOR JUSTICE, PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT
St. Pius College, Aarey Road, Goregaon East, Mumbai 400063, INDIA
Tel: +91-9820332965 Email: email@example.com
Office for Justice, Peace and Development
Catholic Bishops' Conference of India
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,
We are experiencing a lot of unrest in society today. We constantly hear of communal tensions, gender violence, hate crimes and suicides. The very fabric of society is unravelling in this present culture of intolerance and indifference. A particularly gruesome incident was the abduction, rape and murder of Asifa Bano, an eight-year old child, in January this year. Society failed little Asifa in various ways. She was part of a nomadic minority community. The perpetrators used Asifa in order to force her community to move out of the area. They chose to teach a nomadic tribe a lesson by confining, drugging, brutalising, strangulating to death and defiling a mere, innocent child. Society failed Asifa again when certain groups protested the arrest of the offenders.
Yet hope was not lost. Society worked together, to show solidarity with Asifa and others wronged like her, to come up with the slogan “I Respect You”. Several campaigns were held in protest against gender crimes, and called for justice to be delivered. This Justice Sunday, the Church in India would like to take up the “I Respect You” slogan in a larger context, and use it to combat the intolerance and indifference that plagues us today. Respect can be used both as a defensive shield and as a vanguard in the war against sin, which now manifests its destructive power, as Pope Francis states, in wars, various forms of violence and abuse, abandonment of the most vulnerable, and in attacks on nature (Laudato Si’ #66).
Respect is grounded in Scripture
Here are a few select incidents where God, the very Lord of all, demonstrated the value of respect. God respects life, as manifest in the commandment: “You shall not murder” (Deuteronomy 5:17). The Lord also called for the land be respected by ordering that it should rest and lie fallow every seventh year (cf. Exodus 23:10). Jesus treated a woman married multiple times with respect, a person of dubious morals by most standards, and it was through her that many in the town she inhabited came to believe in Christ (cf. John 4:7-40). Paul did not depart from Jesus’ “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's” (cf. Mark 12:17) when he instructed that everyone must be given what is due to them, including “respect to whom respect is owed” (cf. Romans 13:7). Apart from mercy, did Jesus not accord respect to those who crucified Him, when He asked the Heavenly Father to forgive them (cf. Luke 23:34)?
Four layers of respect
How then can we emulate God, and how is “Respect” applicable in the present world? We must first and foremost have respect for God – our Creator, Redeemer, Comforter and Advocate. We respect God when are reverent while receiving the Eucharist. We respect God, as we ought to, when we accord the Lord the primary place in our lives. In today’s difficult times, it is imperative that we carve out the proper space for God, and spend time in daily prayer.
Secondly, we must respect others in their capacity as fellow humans and children of God. We are instructed to respect everyone (cf. 1 Peter 2:17). Respect cannot be conditional on someone’s gender, caste or religion, for all are equal in the sight of God and everyone is created in God’s likeness. In our quest to be Christ-like, it would do us well to remember that our Lord and Master kept “questionable” company – tax payers, prostitutes, Samaritans; and extended his healing touch to the Romans who were sovereign over Israel. We have to respect the human dignity we all have in common, regardless of how different we perceive each other to be. Thus, disrespecting and marginalizing certain communities on account of their beliefs cannot be condoned. Just as God causes the sun to rise on the evil as well as the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust (cf. Matthew 5:45), our Christian values must be demonstrated to everyone, regardless of their caste or religion.
Gender crimes are not violence against women, but violence against humanity. We need to identify and overcome the influence of misogyny in our consciousness. A start can be made by recognising the different standards we find “normal” and acting to counter these. In the words of the American TV personality, Jon Stewart, “Nobody says hey, men should not drink. It’s all about women must dress differently, women must walk differently, women must drink differently. Why are we not able to hold men to account for this behavior?” At this point, it would be prudent to reiterate that humans despite their differences in gender, are created in the image and likeness of God, so all humans, including the third gender have to be respected equally. On the same note, others must be duly respected whether they are older or younger, in a position of authority or in one of servitude, without considering their place in society or their wealth. The beggar on the street is as human as the owner of a conglomerate, and equally meriting of respect.
Third, we must respect ourselves. In respecting God and in respecting others, we cannot forget that we can do so in our full capacity only when we value ourselves. Self-care cannot be neglected. In our fast-paced lives, it is easy for us to stress ourselves to the point of burn-out. So let us also make an effort to take care of, and respect, ourselves. We must not give in to the temptations of suicide or self-disparagement. The Lord did not die fr us to demean ourselves; furthermore, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19).
Fourthly, we must respect Creation that is akin to us human beings in being the handiwork of God. As stewards of Creation, we should strive to nurture it, rather than destroy Creation by our resource-intensive lives that trade the bounty of nature for transient human convenience. Even a small step in nurturing Creation will set us on the path of universal reconciliation with every creature, as experienced by Saint Francis of Assisi (Laudato Si’ #66).
The Gospel of today invites us to share in the meal the Eucharist: Jesus says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” The life that Jesus offers us is fullness of life, or in other words, abundance of life (cf. John 10:10). The wise are the ones who partake in the meal that the Lord offers us. This life that is given to us at the Eucharist is the life each one of us is called to respect. It is in respecting the other, caring for, and loving the Creation that God has created and entrusted to us, that we share in His fullness of life. The letter to the Ephesians calls us to: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise”. The wisdom lies in doing the will of our Heavenly Father, i.e., to treat the other with RESPECT.
Respect flows from love – and to love is the essence of all of God’s commandments. Bishop Michael Curry of the American Episcopal Church, preached on the power of love in May 2018, asking us to imagine a world where love - unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive – is the way. He said, “When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all, and we are brothers and sisters, children of God… that's a new heaven, a new earth, a new world, a new human family.” May the grace of Christ enable us to love, respect and transform humanity.
I Respect You.
Bishop Allwyn D’Silva
Member, Office for Justice, Peace and Development
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI)
FOR THE EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION OF JUSTICE SUNDAY:
19 AUGUST 2018
(Prepared by Fr. Lancy Pinto, Chairperson, Commission for Justice and Peace of
The Archdiocese of Bombay. Graceful Thanks)
Introduction: Genesis, the first book of the Bible reveals, each one of us is created in God’s image. Each one of us is unique—a very special creation of God. Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si (No.155) says “ Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology” Therefore each one of us should not only value ourselves highly, but should be able to respect one another. One should not limit ourselves to respecting one another but move ahead to respect the whole of creation. The readings of today invites us to the banquet. Let us therefore pray at this Eucharist that as we partake of the one bread and one cup we may grow in respect for life.
1st Reading: Prov 9:1-6
2nd Reading: Eph 5:15-20
Gospel: John 6:51-58
Prayer of the Faithful
Celebrant: God our loving father you created us in your own image and likeness. We your children today humbly place before you our needs and petitions trusting that you will grant us what we truly deserve.
Response: God, you who love and respect all life, hear us!
We pray for Pope Francis that by his example of respect to whole of creation and his clarion call to all nations to protect nature and respect to all human beings may be able to bring transformation in the world. For this we pray to the Lord. R. God, you who love and respect all life, hear us!
For all people: May God grant us strength and courage to embrace his precious gift of life, even in the most difficult of situations. For this we pray to the Lord. R. God, you who love and respect all life, hear us!
For all Catholics: May the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist strengthen us to take proactive role in preserving life; for this we pray to the Lord: R. God, you who love and respect all life, hear us!
For the marginalized and those deprived of their human needs and rights: that they may be given the dignity, which God confers, on all his people; for this we pray to the Lord: R. God, you who love and respect all life, hear us!
That the government and those involved in political life, and every citizen as well, may grow in the awareness that any behavior that does not respect life and creation destroys the very foundation of peace; for this we pray to the Lord R. God, you who love and respect all life, hear us!
Let us pray for personal and local needs R. God, you who love and respect all life, hear us!
Celebrant: O gracious God, giver of all that is good, grant us our prayers through Christ our Lord.
It was 4th of July 2018, just a day after the collapse of the Andheri Bridge, I had to attend a matter in the city civil court in town. As I entered Mahim station around 9am, I noticed that platform No.2 was over crowded. The trains were half an hour late because of the repair work undertaken on the Andheri bridge. After I waited 20 minutes the Churchgate bound train arrived and since it was over crowded, I did not attempt to board the train. As I stood watching the hustle and bustle, I noticed an elderly man trying to push himself, in an attempt to board the train that was already moving. He got hold of the handle and managed to get one foot on board, but those standing on the doorway pushed him out. Fortunately, he managed to balance himself as he was pushed off the running train and control his fall. I guess this is not an uncommon sight these days as people grow in selfishness and apathy towards others. Some years ago the same situation would be a totally different scenario. Those standing on the doorway would extend their hands help to people get in, making sure they did not miss their train and get to work on time. They gently reprimanded them once safely inside saying “ Aare bhai aise mat chado, aur ek gadi aa jayegi , lekhin jaan chale jayegi to kaya karoge?. (Don’t do this again brother, there are plenty of trains. If you lose your life then what ???)
The world is changing so fast, values seem to be diminishing. As individuals we are becoming more self centred as result of which one tends to be growing in total disrespect for persons or life in general. We have moved into a techno savvy world. We seem to be more involved with technological gadgets and disconnected with human persons. The human person is losing its essence. In our world today we are treated as commodities, or as a machine and hence if we lack productivity then we are worthless and the society fails to respect us. It perceives you more as a liability than as an asset. Passive euthanasia manifests this type of thinking, that a person who is non- productive is not needed in the society. The person himself feels he / she is worthless and therefore may choose passive euthanasia.
This loss of respect for human person has led to loss of life. When a person begins thinking that s/he is unwanted and feels worthless and realizes that nobody respects him/her anymore it is more likely that such a person may attempt to put an end to his own life or may want others to kill him/her. According to Wikipedia about 800,000 people commit suicide worldwide every year, and of these 135,000 (17%) are residents of India. If one has noted, suicidal tendencies are on the rise due to loss of respect for life.
‘I Respect You’ is a campaign that needs to be continued and consistent not restricting itself only to human life but considering everything that promotes life. Similarly, caring for creation is precisely a way of saying we respect God’s creation. When we do this and promote and uphold human rights, moreover the rights of the marginalised and the downtrodden, we are inclusive in our respect for all creation.
In the ‘I Respect You’ campaign ... The “you “ could stand for any person male or female, poor and the rich, the young and the elderly, the sick, the physically challenged, differentially abled persons or our natural surroundings comprising of the flora, fauna, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans, the mountains or valleys, the minerals or the mangroves. When one begins to respect the other then one begins to love and care. The respect for the other creates sense of gratitude and responsibility to serve others.
Today’s first reading tells us about the banquet that wisdom offers us and is in partaking of this feast that leads us to life. In the gospel Jesus also speaks of life when he says “ I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) Consequently therefore those who do not eat and drink have no life, for they have no intimacy with the "Son of Man." Jesus also said we must drink his blood. In Jewish thought the blood stands for the life. When a person having a serious injury loses a lot of blood, very often on admission to a hospital the patient is given blood and upon receiving blood he receives new life. Therefore when Jesus said we must drink his blood he meant that we must take His life into the very core of our hearts. The Eucharist we partake in brings us new life. It is this new life that we are called to share in. Wisdom comes as a gift from God himself, it is His spirit of life that He gives us. The book of Ephesians calls us to live as “wise” people.
Who is a wise wo/man? According to the letter to Ephesians a wise wo/man is the one who understands what the Lord’s will is and does it . As the psalmist says “Blest is he who delights in the law of the Lord” (Ps 1:1) Jesus fulfilled His Father’s will He remained obedient to the father till the point of His death on the cross.
Jesus showed respect to every human person especially to the sinners the lepers, the prostitutes and tax collectors who were considered as the scum of the society. Women and children were never taken into account and yet we find Jesus showing great respect to the Samaritan woman, the woman caught in adultery and to the children, Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Mt 19:14). Though he was the master Jesus washed the feet of his disciples thus showing his great respect to every human person.
Respect to human person and to creation is deeply rooted in our Indian culture. The Indian national pledge composed by Pydimarri Venkata Subha Rao noted author in Telugu and a bureaucrat was introduced in many schools in 1963.
India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage.
I shall always strive to be worthy of it.
I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders respect and treat everyone with courtesy.
To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion.
In their well being and prosperity, alone lies my happiness.
This pledge reminds us that we need to respect and treat everyone with courtesy. We fail to be the children of God when show disrespect to human beings and at the same time disrespect God when we fail to respect his creation.
Port.804/Gen.Sec.2018(3-b-10/CBCI-GC 7 August 2018
PRESS RELEASE ON THE SAD DEMISE OF DR M KARUNANIDHI
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India is deeply saddened by the passing away of Kalaignar Dr M Karunanidhi, on August 7, 2018. It places on record its appreciation for the immense contribution made by M Karunanidhi, to the state of Tamil Nadu and to the country. This towering Dravidian icon with great intellectual prowess and pragmatism shaped the political narrative in Tamil Nadu over the past few decades and worked hard to uplift the common man.
We will remember with affection this tall personality, who with his work especially as the Chief Minister of the state of Tamil Nadu, for five separate terms, during the 1969 –2011 period has carved a special place for himself in the hearts of millions of people.
We mourn his loss and express our gratitude for all the support and encouragement he gave the Christian community and its activities.
We pray to God to reward all his endeavors on earth especially the attention he bestowed on the poor, the marginalized and underprivileged.
May the Almighty grant him eternal rest and comfort all his family members and those to whom he was dear.
Miao Diocese rejoices at the Ordination of its Auxiliary Bishop
Borduria (Khonsa), 3 August: Most Rev. Dennis Panipitchai SDB was ordained as the Auxiliary Bishop of Miao Diocese during a solemn and joyful ceremony at Borduria village on 2 August 2018.
Borduria village hosted around 4000 guests from all around the country as it celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the visit of St. Mother Teresa of Kolkata and that of the blessing of the first Church in Arunachal Pradesh with the Episcopal Ordination of the Auxiliary Bishop of Miao Diocese in east Arunachal Pradesh.
Bishop Dennis (60) born in Colachel Parish of Kottar Diocese in Tamil Nadu on 27 July 1958, will assist Most Rev. George Pallipparambil in serving the people of Miao Diocese that covers eight civil districts of east Arunachal Pradesh – Tirap, Longding, Changlang, Namsai, Lohit, Anjaw, Dibang Valley and Lower Dibang Valley districts.
Ordained Priest on 27 December 1991, Bishop Dennis has served in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur in various capacities for the last 27 years.
Pope Francis appointed him as the Auxiliary Bishop of Miao Diocese on 8 June 2018 at the request of Bishop George to cater more to the spiritual, medical, educational and developmental needs of the people of east Arunachal Pradesh.
The Principal Consecrator, Most. Rev. Thomas Menamparampil SDB, the Archbishop Emeritus of Guwahati, highlighted how a small event, the baptism of Mr. Wanglat Lowangcha and his family, became a turning point in the life of the Church in Arunachal Pradesh. “God always uses small ways, takes humble steps and chooses simple beginning to bring fulfillment a great plan”, he said addressing a large audience of Bishops, political leaders, public servants, Priests, Nuns, youth and elders from across the country. “What we see today is nothing short of a miracle. A humble seed has become a huge tree. Today with the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Dennis, we can see the Church is still growing and God’s plan is at work among us.
Bishop George, speaking at the ceremony invited everyone to pray for the new Auxiliary Bishop and for the Diocese to do more service to the people in east Arunachal Pradesh. He also thanked Mr. Wanglat Lowangcha and all others who were both instrumental and supported the growth of the Church in Arunachal Pradesh. He also congratulated the organizing committee, the village leaders and youth of Borduria for their hardwork toward the success the event.
Mr. Wanglin Lowangdong, the Chief of Borduria and Hon’ble MLA and adviser to the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh greeted everyone on this solemn occasion and appreciated the role of the Church in the field of education, healthcare and development of the people of Arunachal Pradesh. He promised to help the Church to further its efforts to serve people better.
The first person who received Baptism in Arunachal Pradesh, Mr. Wanglat Lowangcha, foremer Home Minister of Arunachal Pradesh too spoke on the occasion. He recollected all the difficulties he and his family faced because he received Baptism and how difficult it was to bring Mother Teresa to Arunachal to bless the first Catholic Church on August 2, 1993.
Mr. Tirong Aboh, Hon’ble MLA Khonsa West, Mr. Techu Aran, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Tirap District, Mr. Taw Tebin, President of Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association, Archbishops of Shillong, Guwahati and Bishops from Itanagar, Dibrugarh, Kohima, Meerut, Jowai, Bongaigaon, Tezpur, Diphu, Tura, Agartala, and Kottar were also present.
The event concluded with felicitation to the newly Ordained Auxiliary Bishop and the dignitaries and short skit on the visit of Mother Teresa to Borduria village 25 years ago.
Mamata Banerjee sets hearts on fire at the National Level Christian Conclave “love your Neighbour”
An unprecedented and exceptional Programme, a National Level Christian Conclave “love your Neighbour the Christian community poured forth its appreciation for the nation, its commitment to love and service and its determination to stand by the poorest of the poor, the deprived and the marginalized.
The conclave was organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) Office for Education and Culture and the Pilar Fathers (Delhi Province) on Tuesday July 31, 2018 at the constitutional club. The Conclave was planned with the intention of giving expression to the Christian witness of the gospel message of love through its various activities of education, health care, social work and empowerment.
The Chief Guest Ms Mamata Banerjee, Honourable Chief Minister of Bengal was the chief Guest and Archbishop Thomas D’Souza, Archbishop of Calcutta and Chairman of the CBCI Office for Education and Culture and Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas the Secretary General of the Catholic bishops’ Conference were the guests of Honour.
A number of Members of Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic corps, priests, religious, people of different faiths, and youth attended the programme. The Constitution Club Hall was packed to its capacity of 700. So huge was the public response that many returned home disappointed, as they could not be accommodated due to lack of space.
Fr Jervis D’Souza, Deputy Secretary General, CBCI led the gathering in prayer. Fr John Fernandes, Provincial Superior, Delhi Province, Pilar Society delivered the welcome Address.
As Mr Julio Ribeiro retired Police Commissioner and civil servant, could not make it to Delhi due to his age, a video was played out of an interview conducted a few days ago on the theme of “Love your neighbor”. He was loud and clear, “We Christians must speak out against injustice”.
Ms Sunetra Choudhury, a journalist and anchor with the Indian news channel NDTV 24x7 conducted a lively discussion in which she interviewed a panel of eminent Christian Panelists: Most Rev. Thomas D’Souza, Archbishop of Calcutta, Dr Michael V Williams, Dean, Mount Carmel Schools, Mr Franklin Caesar Thomas, Advocate, Supreme Court, Dr A Benjamin Bara, Professor, XLRI, Jamshedpur and Dr Vijayesh Lal, Evangelical Fellowship of India.
The animated panel discussion brought to light very clearly and simply the true meaning of Christ’s command to Love one another. The panelists also shared how in spite of many difficulties, they carry on living and sharing the gospel values. The true Christian convictions of the all the panelists were brought to the fore, when they did not hesitate to quote Scripture so beautifully.
Bishop Theodore in his speech as the Guest of Honour traced the rich tradition Christianity has had in this country. He paid glowing tributes to missionaries of all faiths, who not counting the costs work selflessly for the needy and the underprivileged in society. He shared with the audience the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus was led to share this parable as a rich young man wanting to test Jesus, came up and asked him, “Who is my neighbor?”
In a Statesman like speech, Bishop Theodore praised the leaders of various governments in cluding the present one who have helped the Christian Community in time of need. He struck a very personal note by citing an incident at the Dubai airport, where Ms Mamata Banerjee met Ms Sushma Swaraj while on their way for Mother Teresa’s canonization, both women embraced each other and spoke warmly for some time. This was certainly a good sign and a classic example of loving your neighbor. He received a thunderous applause when he told the audience that the wanted to convert them to love, to kindness, to generosity and to tolerance. Our mission of building God’s Kingdom will continue- to care for the sick, poor and the marginalized and we will continue doing it no matter, what the costs, he said. His speech was well embellished with quotes by Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa.
Ms Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Guest paid rich tributes to the Christian community and even went to the extent of saying that she wished she was born a Christian. She highlighted the contribution of the Christian community in the field of education, by quoting figures which really ripples of joy in the gathering. Spelling out the recent developments in the country she asked very rhetorically the audience really loving your neighbor was remaining silent when you are lynched, beaten up, trolled, harassed and persecuted for no fault of yours. She challenged her hearers to stands up against isolation of minorities, dalits, tribals and the marginalized. She encouraged all to come together to work for a better tomorrow and a better country.
Fr Joseph Manipadam, Secretary, Office for Education and Culture proposed the Vote of Thanks. He won Didi’s heart by speaking a sentence in Bengali. The programme was ably compered by Mr Andrew Scolt. The programme concluded with the National Anthem.
Our special thanks to Fr Anthony Fernandes sfx, Minister, CBCI Centre, Fr. John Fernandes, Provincial, Pilar Fathers and Mr Shane Baptista and their teams who did all the ground work for this successful programme.
Deputy Secretary General
For live streaming visit the you tube channel 1 towards the bottom of the website www.cbci.in *Live Streaming begins at 2 PM on 31st July*
The Shepherds Leading the flock:
Meeting of the Heads of Educational Institutions in Gujarat and Jhansi
Annual General Body Meeting at Nadiad in Gujarat, 21st July, 2018:
All the four Bishops of Gujarat were present at the day-long Annual General Body meeting of the Gujarat Educational Board of Catholic Institutions (GEBCI) on the 21st July 2018 at the Pastoral Centre at Nadiad. Archbishop Thomas Macwan of Gandhinagar presided over the meeting and gave the Presidential address, while Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes of Baroda gave the summing up message at the conclusion of the day’s programme and Bishops C.C. Jose of Rajkot and Bishop Athanasius Rethna Swamy of Ahmedabad addressed the gathering giving valuable inputs as well. After two input sessions on Effectiveness in Education by Education specialists, Fr. Joseph Manipadam intervened regarding the importance of making our institutions compliant with the All India Catholic Education Policy and made the participants do a self study report on the effectiveness of implementation of the Catholic Education Policy in each of their institutions showing indicators of implementation. Bro. Thomas Thannickal, National Secretary of AINACS also spoke to them about the AINACS and invited the institutions to become members of this Association affiliated to the CBCI Office for Education and Culture. In the Business session that followed the various regional issues were also taken up for discussion. The main organization of the AGM was done by Fr. Teles Fernandes, the Regional CBCI Secretary for Gujarat. Some 135 participants were there at the Annual General Body Meeting which was concluded by 4.30 p.m.
Meeting of the Heads of Educational Institutions of Jhansi Diocese, 27th July 2018:
Most Rev. Peter Parapullil presided over the day-long meeting of all the heads of educational institutions of the Diocese of Jhansi. 30 participants were there in all from the far and near areas of the diocese. The programme was initiated by His Excellency Most Rev. Peter parapullil with introductory words and a prayer after which the CBCI Diocesan Education Secretary Fr. Frederick Mendoca introduced Fr. J. Manipadam, the National Secretary of he CBCI Office for Education and Culture and the reason for the day long gathering that would be held. Fr. Manipadam in course of his sessions acquainted the participants about the challenges faced by the various Educational institutions and in spite of the challenging situation, to fulfil the mission of education implementing the All India Catholic Education Policy. He further went on to explain the content of the All India Catholic Education Policy and the method of implementing it in a systematic way showing indicators of implementation. Following which he led the participants to do a self study report on implementation of the policy and present the same for evaluation and certification. The last session was dealing with financial matters and it was animated by the Auditors of the institutions of the Diocese. The programme was concluded at 2.00 p.m.
Port. 799/ Pres.2018(3-b-10/ CBCI-GC) July 27, 2018
Sub: Press Release from Cardinal Oswald Gracias, President, CBCI on the interference into the Christian religious practice of Confession.
I was shocked to read in the press about the demand from the National Commission for Women for a ban on the Christian Sacrament of Confession. This demand by the Commission betrays a total lack of understanding of the nature, meaning, sanctity and importance of this Sacrament for our people; and also an ignorance of the strict laws of the Church to prevent any abuse.
Such a ban will be a direct infringement on our freedom of religion guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Millions of people from all over the world, over the centuries, have testified to the spiritual benefit of this Sacrament and to the grace, pardon and peace they have experienced as a result of receiving this Sacrament. I am confident the Government will totally ignore this absurd demand from the Commission.
There are very many issues concerning women that the Commission should pay attention to: empowerment of women, their capacity building, prevention of domestic violence, organizing rescue systems, and so on, instead of dabbling in religious matters about which it understands nothing. The Church wishes to promote even more the advancement of women in society and is ready to collaborate with the National Commission for Women for this, as it does with other agencies.
+ Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay and
President, Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI)
Kerala Bishops’ Council Press Release 27.7.2018
KCBC Protests the Unconstitutional Recommendation
of the National Women’s Commission
The news that the National Women’s Commission Chairperson Ms. Rekha Sharma has made a recommendation to the Union Home Ministry to ban the Sacrament of Confession among Christians in India is shocking not only to the Christians but to all who believe in the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution of India. The recommendation is supposed to be based on the Chairperson’s investigation in two separate incidents of allegation of atrocity against women in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of India. Instead of reporting the findings of the Commission, the Chairperson has ventured into something which is totally out of her prerogative, and without any consultation with the Christian Churches and communities, and without considering the moral, theological or psychological aspects of the centuries old spiritual practice of confession among the Christians. The Chairperson has crossed the boundaries of her constitutional powers. It is an attack on the Christian faith and spiritual practice. We strongly feel that the recommendation is unwarranted and violates the honor and credibility of the Christian community. We suspect communal and political motives behind this unconstitutional interference into the internal spiritual affairs of the Church.
Confession, according to the Christian faith, is a Sacrament. It is a way to spiritual progress and salvation. It is a practice inherited from the early Christian communities. The sanctity of the seal of confession was held so high in the history of the Church that there are instances of priests having sacrificed their lives to protect it. An allegation that decades ago a priest of the Orthodox Syrian Church misused the information he got from the confession of a girl to sexually abuse her along with two of his priest friends for several years even after her marriage is now being investigated by the local police. The National Women’s Commission based on this incident conducted its own inquiries and has come up with the strange recommendation to ban the Holy Sacrament of Confession among all Christian denominations and communities of India. We believe that motive of the Commission is to spread tension and religious unrest among the minorities and to create division and polarization among people for political gains. We strongly protest this unbecoming move from the part of a person in a responsible position of the Government.
Fr. Varghese Vallikkatt
and Spokesperson, KCBC
Farewell to Msgr Henryk Jagodzinski, First Counsellor, Apostolic Nunciature, Delhi
Sunday July 15, 2018 was a special day, as on that day His Excellency Giambattista Diquattro, Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General, CBCI, Bishop Kuriakose B, Bishop of Faridabad, priests and religious felicitated Msgr Henryk Jagodzinski at the CBCI Centre.
Msgr Henryk Jagodzinski is presently the first Counsellor at the Apostolic Nunciature, Delhi. He has been transferred to Montenego. Montenego is a sovereign state in Southeastern Europe. He has been entrusted with a very important responsibility of opening the Apostolic Nunciature in that country.
Msgr Henryk served for many years at the Apostolic Nunciature, Delhi. He was very helpful, kind and extended every assistance and guidance whenever his help was sought.
At the farewell lunch hosted for Msgr Henryk J, Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro and Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas paid rich tributes to the many qualities of Msgr Henryk. While thanking him profusely, they were sure he would do a very good job in montenego. Fr. Jervis D’Souza, the Deputy Secretary General proposed a vote of thanks.
Monday July 16, 2018 at the Nunciature, a few bishops, priests, religious, the staff of the Nunciature and some friends of Msgr Henryk gathered to wish him a fond farewell. The dinner hosted by Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro was a very touching farewell for Msgr Henryk, as many recollected his pleasant personality, his helpful nature and the vast knowledge, which Msgr Henryk possessed.
Msgr Henryk in his reply said that we must never lose our focus of Jesus. Wherever we go we build His kingdom. While assuring us of his prayers, he asked those present for their prayers.
Fr. Jervis D’Souza
Deputy Secretary General, CBCI
TO ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE HIERARCHY
Your Eminence, Your Beatitude, Your Grace, Your Excellency,
In the light of the Communication received from the Apostolic Nunciature, I wish to inform you that the Holy Father Pope Francis has transferred the Right Reverend Monsignor Henryk Jagodzinski, Counsellor of Nunciature, to the Apostolic Nunciature in Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro.
Msgr. Jagodzinski has been requested to prepare a new permanent Pontifical Representation in Podgoriza, Montenegro.
With this special and delicate commitment, Msgr. Jagodzinski will leave New Delhi on Wednesday, 25th July, 2018, after having offered a generous, dedicated and very competent service to the Apostolic Nunciature, in favour of the Church in India.
To cooperate with the activities of the Apostolic Nunciature in India, the Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed the Right Reverend Monsignor Mitja Leskovar, who from the Apostolic Nunciature in Germany, will reach Delhi after the first week of September. Mons. Leskovar, at the beginning of his service, had offered his Ministry in the Apostolic Nunciature in Bangladesh.
The Apostolic Nuncio requests all the Archbishops and Bishops to pray Our Lord Jesus Christ for Msgr. Jagodzinski and Msgr. Leskovar, both called to serve better the Vineyard of the Lord in holiness of life.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India is grateful to Msgr. Jagodzinski for all the services he has rendered to the Church in India and especially for all of us, whenever we sought any assistance and guidance from him. While thanking Msgr. Jagodzinski for his love and concern for our beloved Country, India, we wish him all the best for his new assignment in Montenegro. At the same time, we accord a hearty welcome to Msgr. Leskovar to the Church in India and we wish him all success for his services at the Apostolic Nunciature in India.
Assuring you of my prayers,
Yours Sincerely in Our Lord,
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX
Secretary General, CBCI
Report of the Western Region Labour Commission Meet
Two days meeting of Western Region Labour Commission held at Atmadharshan,Gyan Ashram, Anderi East, Mumbai on 9 & 10, July 2018. 32 participants from the diocesan labour commission
of the region and members of domestic workers’ fraternity attended the meeting and discussed the issues of the domestic workers and the overseas migration specifically to GCC Countries with ECR notification. Bishop Jose Chittuparambil, Bishop of Rajkot and Vice Chairperson CBCI Office for Labour and Chairman Western Region Labour Commission inaugurated the meeting. He expressed his happiness of the progress the Western Region Labour Commission achieved over the years with more enthusiastic participation from the members of the dioceses and the religious congregations. He highlighted the need to focus more attention on migrants, displaced people, traditional workers and the most vulnerable sections of workers like domestic and other women labourers. Dr. Christine Nathan, a consultant to ILO and ICMC from Mumbai delivered the keynote address where she emphasised that the activities of the Church for the workers and the poor need to be more visible and professionally articulated. She said, “The false propaganda of the capitalists and media can be overthrown through the good work of the Church”. The countries like India keep unemployment to some level as a strategy for the rich to exploit the cheap labour of the poor which is surplus in the market. Why India should take pride in sending the labour to other countries instead it should create jobs for her citizen within. Followed by that Sr. Rani HCM, Program Manager, CBCI Office for Labour elaborated on the issues of the overseas migrants to GCC Countries. She said pre departure training should be an appropriate strategy to safeguard the unskilled workers of the country from exploitation and danger in view of their migration for job abroad. Fr. Jaison, Secretary CBCI Office for Labour explained about the functioning of CBCI Office for Labour and International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) of which he has been elected recently as the secretary. The labour commission secretaries and the sisters working with domestic workers explained their perspectives on the issues of the unorganised workers and the economic migration to abroad. He said, the need to organise the unorganised to claim their rights is the need of the hour. He reiterated the words of Pope Leo XIII on ‘Rerum Novarum’ - Conditions of Labour. The vision expounded by the encyclical emphasizes the duties and obligations that bind the employers and workers to each other particularly on their wages. Social Teachings of the Church directs the employer to pay just wage to their worker be it skilled or unskilled.
Participants appreciated the well organised seminar and Fr. Thomas took leadership for the meticulous arrangement of the meeting. The meeting conclude the with the following action plan.
Appoint LR Secretaries in all the Dioceses
Minimum wages to all the employees including Priests and Religious
Conduct training in Diocesan level
Reporting to the Bishops after the meeting
Implementation of H. R. Guidelines I every Diocese
Regional Meeting Yearly
Join peoples movements
Network the dioceses
Care for migrants
Pre departure training
Ad hoc committee
Sr. Natty – Konkan
Fr. Manuel - Marathy
Sr. Binu -Vidharbha
Fr. Jagdish - Gujrat
CBCI Centre New Delhi
Western Regional Labour Commission meeting
CBCI Office for Education and Culture:
Reaches out to every Nook and Corner of India
1st - 2nd July 2018: Teachers’ Training at St. Anthoney’s H.S. School, Fategarh:
About 80 teaching staff of St. Anthoney’s Senior Secondary School at Fategarh in Farukhabad had aninteractive training programme conducted by Fr. Joseph Manipadam, Secretary CBCI Office for Education and Culture on Positive disciplining of students without the use punishments. The training also touched upon the importance of activity based pre-schooling and effective teaching technics. St Anthoney’s HS School at Fategarh is in the Cantonement area of this apparently peaceful district in Utter Pradesh where the Country witnessed the First War of Independence called the Sepoy Mutiny. The All Souls’ Church and the Museum remain on to tell the story to all visitors. This institution is one of the 12 educational institutions of the Etawa Mission which is an outreach programme of the Syro Malabar Archdiocese of Changanacherry and falls within the Archdiocese of Agra. Most of the Teachers in the institution had relocated from Kerala to this town to impart education to the students of this school under the able leadership of Fr. Jimmy James.
5th- 6th July 2018: Evaluation of Implementation of the All India Catholic Education Policy at Trissur:
75 heads of Aided Schools of the Archdiocese of Trissur had a day’s programme Programme regarding the present day challenges regarding Catholic Education and how to gear up to continue imparting education to empower the youth of this country to grow up as upright citizens and men and women of Character and conviction. The programme also included a survey and evaluation of the implementation of the All India Catholic Education Policy through a self-study report the participants were asked to prepare and present for evaluation and certification. The programme was convened by the Archdiocesan Coordinator for Education, Fr. Antoney Chempakassery and animated by Fr. Joseph Manipadam, CBCI Secretary for Education and Cuture.
7th-8thJuly 2018: Self Study Report and Evaluation of Implementation of the All India Catholic Education Policy at Chenganacherry:
St. Berchman’s High School at Chenganacherry is one of the oldest Catholic Boarding and day school in this coastal town of Chenganacherry in Kerala, in the heart of the Archdiocese of Chenganacherry, a Syro Malabar Catholic Archdiocese. The programme convened by Fr. Manoj Alex Karukayil, the Archdiocesan Education Coordinator, was attended by about 120 heads of the Aided schools of the Archdiocese. The programme was facilitated by Fr. Joseph Manipadam from the CBCI Office for Education and Culture.The programme included a survey and evaluation of the implementation of the All India Catholic Education Policy through a self-study report the participants were asked to prepare and present for evaluation and certification. The programme was well attended and discussed also regarding some of the present day challenges in the field of education in the country. Fr. Joseph Manipadam also visited the Boarding premises and a few of the Catholic Educational Institutions of Chenganacherry.
PRESS RELEASE ON THE RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AT NIRMAL HRIDAY, MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY HOME AT
EAST JAIL ROAD, RANCHI.
(Missionaries of Charity, Mother House, Kolkata - July 17, 2018)
We are deeply saddened and grieved by the recent developments at Missionaries of Charity Home - Nirmal Hriday at East Jail Road, Ranchi. Even while we place our full trust in the Judicial process that is underway, we wish to express regret and sorrow for what happened and desire to express in unequivocal terms our condemnation of individual actions which have nothing to do with the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity . We are fully cooperating with the investigations and are open to any free, fair and just inquiry. In this context, specially in view of many myths being spread, information distorted and false news being diffused and baseless innuendos being thrown about regarding the Mother Teresa Sisters, it is expedient to lay down the turn of events as they actually transpired .
Sr. Concelia MC was appointed as the sister-in-charge of the 'unwed mothers' section at Nirmal Hriday East Jail Road. Ranchi on June 06, 2017. She was responsible for admission, hospitalization, counseling record keeping, accompanying mothers and babies to CWC, when necessary and for discharge of the unwed mothers from the Home.
Mrs. Anima Indwar began working at Nirmal Hriday from January 2012. Initially she worked as a ward helper and then as a staff member to care for the unwed mothers. She learnt the work very well and ably assisted Sr. Concelia MC. Mrs. Anima lndwar thus, came to enjoy the trust of the Sisters at Nirmal Hriday. As and when Sr. Concelia MC got engaged in pressing responsibilities, Mrs. Anima Indwar would escort the unwed mothers, their babies and their guardians to Sadar Hospital, RIMS and CWC office as was required, by herself.
On June 29, 2018, at around 12.30 pm, the Child Protection Officer, Ms. Seema and other Social Welfare officers, about five of them, came to Nirmal Hriday. They called for the admission and attendance registers containing information about the inmates at the Home. They seized the registers and records maintained by Nirmal Hriday without providing the receipt for such seizure to the Home.
From the records maintained for ‘unwed mothers', the said officials particularly enquired about Ms. Karishma Toppo and her baby. Ms. Karishma Toppo had taken admission in Nirmal Hriday on March 19, 2018 and had delivered her baby on May 01, 2018. After her delivery, Ms. Karishma Toppo had declared in the Home's register that she would surrender her child to CWC. Mrs. Anima Indwar, Ms. Karishma Toppo and her guardian thus, took the baby from Nirmal Hriday to surrender the child. Neither Nirmal Hriday nor the Sisters had any way to ascertain whether the child was actually surrendered to CWC. This is so because CWC as matter of practice did not give any acknowledgement to the Home after obtaining custody of a child from an unwed mother.
On July 03, 2018, Mrs. Anima Indwar when summoned by CWC admitted that Ms. Karishma Toppo's child was not surrendered to CWC. Upon such admission, she was handed over to the police by CWC. Ms. Karishma Toppo’s child too was surrendered to CWC by Mrs. Anima Indwar and Ms. Karishma Toppo on the same day.
On July 04, 2018 Sr. Concelia MC and Sr. Marie Deanne MC, Superior of Nirmal Hriday were also questioned by the police. Sr. Concelia was arrested by the police while Sr. Marie Deanne MC after being kept in police custody till 7pm the next day, was finally let off.
On the evening of July 04, 2018, CWC along with Child Protection Officer, Ms. Seema without serving any notice to Nirmal Hriday, carried away the 11 unwed mothers, one unwed mother along with her baby and one guardian from the Home. The said women were subjected to utmost humiliation and public embarrassment by the officials as they were carried in full view of the media.
For reasons unknown, our Shishu Bhawan Home at Hinoo was raided by CWC with a police force consisting about 7 members on July 06, 2018. 22 children lodged in the said Home were carried away by CWC, which included a one month old baby. One such baby took very ill in the custody of CWC and was admitted in the ICU at Rani Hospital. The records and registers of this Home too were carried away by the officials without providing the Home a receipt of such seizure. It is distressing that CWC has meted out such treatment to a Home which its officials themselves had described as having an “Excellent environment for the care of children'' only about two weeks before.
The Missionaries of Charity following the footsteps of our foundress St. Mother Teresa is caring for the poor, destitute and the afflicted since 1950. Today, there are 5,167 sisters, both active and contemplative, with 760 houses in 139 countries. The Missionaries of Charity have 244 houses in India including those in Jharkhand. Our works include running homes for leprosy patients, TB patients, AIDS patients, physically and mentally challenged children and adults, night shelters, indoor primary healthcare facilities, homes for women in distress, girls in danger, abandoned pregnant women, and for women whom poverty and starvation have driven into the streets.
The Congregation of Missionaries of Charity vows to continue their whole- hearted and free service to the poorest of the poor, by serving the needy and vulnerable even in the middle of the unprecedented and unfounded criticism that it faces today. We have full faith in the courts of law and the investigating authorities and are confident that justice shall prevail.
We pray for all those who have been hurt by the recent developments and we ask God to bless all those who are standing by us in these painful and difficult moments, and we lift up to God in prayer all people of goodwill.
May our Mother, St. Teresa of Calcutta intercede for us before our Almighty Father.
Sr. M. Prema MC
Ref: CBCI-Gen/Cir-22/2018 14th July, 2018
In the light of the Communication received from the Congregation for the Evangelization of people has communicated to Apostolic Nunciature, I wish to inform you that His Holiness, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation from the Pastoral Ministry of the Bishop of Tiruchirapallli, Rt. Rev. Antony Devotta, presented to the Holy Father Francis.
To provide for the pastoral care of the Diocese of Tiruchirapalli, until the appointment and installation of his Successor, the Holy Father Francis has appointed His Lordship Rt. Rev. Devdass Ambrose Mariadoss, Bishop of Thanjavur as Apostolic Administrator Sede Vacante of Tiruchirapalli.
This ecclesiastical provision was made public in Rome on Saturday, 14th July, 2018, at noon local time, corresponding to 15:30 hours, Indian Standard Time.
We send our prayerful greetings and best wishes to Bishop Devdass Ambrose Mariadoss, assure him of our prayers and we entrust him to the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles.
Assuring you of my prayers,
Yours Sincerely in Our Lord,
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX
Secretary General, CBCI
Prot. 758/Pres/2018(3-b-10/CBCI-GC) July 7, 2018
We are shocked and deeply saddened by the demise of Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran. In him the world has lost a great leader who could build bridges and a diplomat of rare quality who could speak the truth with charity, grace and compassion. He was much appreciated by State and Government officials around the world
Cardinal Tauran was appointed as President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on 25 June 2007 and took over this position on 1 September 2007. In this post, he was also responsible for Religious Relations with Muslims.
In addition to his duties as President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, he was a member of the Secretariat of State (Second Section); the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and many other Congregations in Rome. Earlier he held very responsible duties in the Secretariat of State for many years.
To me he was a brother Cardinal but even more a personal friend with whom I could share many of my concerns about the Church and about peace and harmony in the world. He was a special friend of India and in my various meetings with him, he manifested to me his deep love for our country. He visited India several times and most memorably led the Vatican delegation for inter- religious dialogue with very senior representatives of Hinduism at a two day Colloquim in Mumbai, a Colloquim that was a major step forward in fostering inter-religious dialogue in India. He knew how to respect every religion and understood the dignity and values that different expressions of faith contributed to the wellbeing in the world.
In the death of Cardinal Tauran not simply the Church in India and the world has lost a great leader, but India itself has lost one of its great admirers and lovers of our religions and cultures. We deeply mourn his death and pray to God to reward him for all his endeavours on earth and especially his efforts to bring people of all faiths, religions and cultures together.
+ Cardinal Oswald Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay and
President- CBCI & CCBI
UNION HEALTH MINISTER ASSURES CBCI DELEGATION ALL HELP IN THE MATTER OF ST. JOHN’S MEDICAL COLLEGE SEATS
A delegation led by Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX, Secretary General, of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and comprising of Fr Paul Parathazham, Director, Mr. George D’Souza, Dean, St John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore and Fr Jervis D’Souza, Deputy Secretary General, CBCI met Mr. Jagat Prakash Nadda, Union Minister for Family and Health at Nirman Bhavan, New Delhi, on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 in connection with the reduction of seats at St John’s, Bangalore.
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas after introducing the team to Union Health Minister, thanked him and the Government for the initiatives taken by the Government to improve health care in the country. He told the Minister that the poor, the dalits and the tribals are especially close to the heart of the Catholic Church. In this regard, the Secretary General pointed out to the Minister that St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences specially had reserved seats for these categories. He also highlighted the fact that St. John’s was the first Medical Institution in the country that had begun the practice of compulsory rural bond of two years for its students. He then conveyed the distress of the Catholic Bishops about the recent reduction of the seats for MBBS courses at the St. John’s Medical College.
Mr. George D’Souza and Fr. Paul Parathazham explained to the Minister that for the past 2 years St. John’s had been allotted 150 seats for MBBS. In the third year, the Medical Council of India (MCI) conducted inspections last year. Two inspections took place on the same day of the same hospital, one by a team for MBBS and another by a team for Post Graduate Courses. While both MCI team inspections found all facilities at St. John’s to be excellent, there was a discrepancy in the two reports about the bed occupancy at the Hospital, with both teams inspecting the same areas of the hospital contemporarily. St. John’s had immediately raised the red flag about this discrepancy to the Health Ministry and the MCI had sent a repetition of the Inspection immediately and found everything was in order. However, St. John’s was not allowed the usual 150 seats open for admission. The College was given permission for only 60 seats.
The Minister was fully aware of the situation. He praised St. John’s for its admirable services and said the Government was very interested to help the Institution. However, the resolution of the matter was a little complicated because it had become a judicial matter as there were a number of colleges involved and the matter was in the Supreme Court. But he assured that his Ministry would do everything possible within the law in the given situation to help. He further explained that there were 7 more colleges which were not granted the due permission. The matter was with the Supreme Court and a settlement was sought to arrive in the near future.
Shri Nadda asked the delegation to meet Mr. Arun Singhal, IAS, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, for all the technical details. In the meeting it was learnt that the Government had asked the MCI to review about 50 medical colleges. From that only 15 were chosen at random. Permission for 8 colleges were not considered while 7 (including St John’s, Bangalore) was permitted by the MCI.
Meanwhile two colleges had appealed to the Supreme Court and the hearing was scheduled to be held shortly. The Government had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court. Mr Singhal assured that if and when the Court would give its verdict, the Government would make a decision for all the 7 colleges and not just one college.
The Minister and the Additional Secretary commended the great work the Christian Community was doing in the area of health for the whole nation. It was informed that the entire Health Ministry was very positive and optimistic that this permission should be granted quickly so as not to deprive the poor, the tribals, the dalits and the minorities from benefiting from the good education provided at St John’s.
Bishop Theodore while thanking the Minister and the Additional Secretary once again placed before them the urgency of reinstating the 150 seats of St. John’s.
THE CHIEF MINISTER AND GOVERNMENT OF ODISHA OFFERS ALL SUPPORT TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
This year we complete a decade of the sad happenings in Kandhamal. The Archdiocese of CuttackBhubaneswar has decided to celebrate a Solemn Holy Mass of thanksgiving, reconciliation and Grace on 25 August, 2018: Thanksgiving for those who witnessed the faith with their sufferings and life,
Reconciliation that there might be genuine feeling of goodwill among all peoples and Grace that the Church may be further strengthened to live its faith.
Kandhamal has become a symbol of faith, hope and perseverance for the Indian Church and the Church in India has received abundant blessings from the sacrifices of the martyrs and the poor suffering victims of Kandhamal.
Over these ten years, the Archdiocese of CuttackBhubaneswar has remained close to the victims, and has been the prime driving force behind the legal processes to seek justice for the victims and relief for those who have suffered.
The Government of Odisha has been very helpful and positive towards the Christian Community in the State. In this regard, the Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik met with Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX, Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and Most Rev. John Barwa, SVD Archbishop of CuttackBhubaneswar on 2nd July 2018. They were accompanied by Advocate Fr.Dibakar Parichha, Secretary for the Diocesan Commission for Justice Peace and Development and Mr. Devasis Samantaray, General Secretary of the ruling Biju Janata Dal.
In the meeting, Bishop Theodore thanked the Chief Minister for his support and benevolence towards the Christian community in the state and assured him the prayers of the Christian community. He also offered the Chief Minister total cooperation of the Catholic Church in the developmental programmes of the Government with special focus on health, education, and community development and offered him partnership in the good work his government was doing specially with the PPP (Public Private Partnership) model. While thanking him for taking interest in resolving the issues related to the Kandhamal incidents ten years ago, he requested his help in dealing with the remaining issues. The Chief Minister thanked the prelates and assured them his full and continued support in the future also.
Earlier in the day, the Secretary General of the CBCI along with Archbishop Barwa, Fr.Prasan Kumar Pradhan, Vicar General, Fr. Pradosh Chandra Nayak Vicar General. Fr. Vijay Nayak, Dean of Cuttack, Fr. Manoranjan Dean of Raikia and number of priests from the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhbuaneswar met Mr. Devasis Samantaray, General.
Secretary of the ruling Biju Janata Dal and discussed with him various issues in which the Church needed the support and assistance of the Government. The Church support and collaboration was offered specially through the PPP (Public Private Partnership) model.
Mr Samantray also expressed the support of the Government to the Church and sought the cooperation of the Church in various issues at the grassroots level.
After meeting the Chief Minister, the Bishops met Shri Dhirendra Sambhaji Kutte, IPS, OSD, O/O Chief Minister. Thanking him for his support and work especially in dealing with the Kandhamal matters, Bishop Theodore placed before him three issues which are partly pending: The Secretary General requested him to expedite the payment of the enhanced compensation extended by the judgment of 02/08/2016 of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India passed in W.P. (C) No. 404/2008 (Raphael Cheenath v/s State of Odisha & Others). Advocate Fr. Dibakar explained that while 60% had been paid, 40 % were still pending. Mr. Kutte asked Advocate Fr. Dibakar to provide the lists of those who have not yet received the enhanced compensation and assured that action would be taken at the earliest. Bishop Theodore also referred the matter of the of the 7 innocent people who are languishing in jail for the last ten years and whose cause the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar is fighting in the courts. Mr. Kutte promised that he would immediately look into the matter and see if relief can be provided. Bishop Theodore also took up the issue of churches and religious structures damaged in the violence that still remain unrepaired. It was revealed that the Government is working on measures to remedy this question.
The Bishops also met Mr. Shri. Pratap Jena, Health Minister Government of Odisha. While expressing the gratitude of the Christian Community to the Health Minister, Bishop Theodore also spoke to him about the need for more health services especially in the Kandhamal area. He offered the partnership of the Catholic Church in the Health sector especially in the Kandhamal area with a view of serving every person of the place without any distinction. Mr. Jena revealed that the Government of Odisha has a plan for a super speciality hospital in Kandhamal and invited a PPP proposal for the Catholic Church. He suggested that the Government could provide the full infrastructure, full remuneration for the staff and handover the hospital to the Church for running. Mr. Jena also provided an alternate proposal in which the government would provide the required land free of cost for hospital construction in case the Catholic Church was willing to construct the Hospital and run it in Kandhamal or anywhere else.
The Government officials were full of praise for the Christian Community for its peaceful way of living and for being leaders in nation building.
Most Rev. John Barwa, SVD
Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar
Sub: Rev. Fr. Peter Paul Saldanha appointed as the new Bishop of Mangalore
In the light of the Communication received from the Apostolic Nunciature, I wish to inform you that His Holiness Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of His Lordship Rt. Rev. Aloysius Paul D’Souza from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Mangalore, according to Canon Law 401 § 1, and has appointed Rev. Fr. Peter Paul Saldanha, of the clergy of Mangalore, until now Professor at the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome, as the new Bishop of Mangalore.
This ecclesiastical provision was made public in Rome on Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, at noon local time, corresponding to 15:30 hours, Indian Standard Time.
Rev. Fr. Peter Paul Saldanha was born in Kinnigoli, Diocese of Mangalore, on 27th April, 1964. After his primary and secondary education in his village, he did his philosophy and theology at St. Joseph’s Interdiocesan Seminary, Jeppu, Mangalore, and obtained a diploma in Depth Psychology and Formation, from the Institute for Formators, Bangalore, in 1994. He was ordained Priest on 6th May, 1991, for the Diocese of Mangalore. He also obtained a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, in 2005.
He served the Diocese in the following ministries: Assistant Parish Priest at St. Lawrence’s Church, Moodubelle (1991-1992); Assistant Parish Priest at Our Lady of Miracles Church, Milagres (1992-1994); Assistant Parish Priest at Our Lady of Dolours Church, Vittal (1994-1996); Teacher and Formator at St. Joseph’s Interdiocesan Seminary, Jeppu (1996-1999) and at the same time, Vice Rector of the same Seminary (1997-1999). From 1999 to 2005 he did his studies in Rome, and on his return he was appointed Professor at St. Joseph’s Interdiocesan Seminary, Jeppu (2005-2010), and from 2008-2010 also Vice Rector of the same Seminary. Since 2010 he is Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome. From 2011-2015, he was Spiritual Father at the Pontificio Collegio Urbano De Propaganda Fide, Rome. On 14.03.2015 the Holy Father appointed him as Consultor of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, and in July 2015 he was appointed as Adiutor Secretarii Specialis of the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
While thanking the Lord, for the dedicated services which Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza has rendered to the Church in Mangalore and in India, let us entrust to the intercession of the Virgin Mary the episcopal ministry of the new Bishop.
We send our prayerful greetings and best wishes to Bishop-elect Peter Paul Saldanha and assure him of our prayers.
Yours Sincerely in Our Lord,
Secretary General, CBCI
Glowing tributes paid to Prem Bhai, Apostle of Arunachal, on his 10th death anniversary
Itanagar – Hundreds of Christians came down even from remote mountain villages of Arunachal Pradesh for a four day retreat that ended with a solemn mass and public meeting on June 28 to mark the 10th death anniversary of Prem Bhai, a lay Catholic missionary who is known as the ‘Apostle of Arunachal’.
The memorial service led by nine bishops from the north-east region and the public meeting chaired by state chief minister Pema Khandu and former chief minister Nabam Tuki was held at the Holy Trinity Ashram at Banderdewa, at the entry point to Arunachal Pradesh, where Prem Bhai is buried.
Henry Gaikwad hailing from Pune, ventured into Arunachal Pradesh in 1981 as ‘Prem Bhai’. Since ban on Christian missionaries was strictly enforced in the state at the time, he used to enter it under the guise of carpenter or butcher, and trekked the scattered mountainous villages baptising many along his path.
Prem Bhai who played a pivotal role in Christianity spreading like wildfire in the state, died in 2008 of heart attack at the age of 55 while on a visit to Sri Lanka. With the consent of his relatives, his body was brought to Arunachal Pradesh and was buried at the Banderdewa Ashram he had set up 1991 when ban on missionaries was eased unofficially amid thousands embracing Christianity, including prominent state politicians.
According to the census of 2011, ratio of Christians in the state had reached 30.6 percent of its population of 1.4 million.
“The tribals of Arunachal Pradesh are obsessed with revenge. They believe in ‘eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth’. But Prem Bhai has changed our attitude,” Takam Sanjay, president of the Congress party in the state said at the public meeting.
Besides being a zealous missionary, Sanjay who had accompanied Prem Bhai to remote mountain villages bordering China pointed out that Prem Bhai was a ‘great social transformer of the Arunachal society’ and facilitated the education of the youth by sending them to centres outside the state.
“Prem Bhai preached forgiveness and understanding to everyone who came in contact with him. The change in the society giving up revenge has to be credited to him,” added Sanjay, former Lok Sabha member from Itanagar.
“Prem Bhai taught us about not only religion (Christianity) but also humanity. Earlier we could hardly forgive and were bent on taking revenge cutting even people into pieces,” recounted Nabam Rebia, minister for environment and forests.
“Because of him, our people have changed. He opened the eyes of our society. He is surely an inspiration for the entire humanity,” remarked Rebia, describing himself as a ‘non-baptised Christian’.
“If you love Prem Bhai, you must follow what he has taught us,” urged Rebia.
The finest of the tributes to Prem Bhai came from Pema Khandu, the Buddhist chief minister heading the BJP government in the state.
Hailing Prem Bhai as 'not less than a saint', the Buddhist chief minister announced even a donation of Rs one million from his family foundation for the development of the Prem Bhai shrine where he has been buried.
After placing a floral bouquet at Prem Bhai’s tomb, the BJP chief minister was the chief guest at the two hour long public meeting during which he paid glowing tributes to the missionary describing him a ‘bother of love’ who was respected by all - local animists Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims for the harmony and the 'love' he preached.
Hailing the ‘dedicated service to the people of Arunachal for over 25 years,’ the chief minister pointed out that “wearing tire slipper Prem Bhai travelled to village after village with love for the people and with message of harmony and good relations.”
“Prem Bhai brought about change in the attitude of the people. He told them to give up revenge and avoid clashes between different tribal groups,” exclaimed the chief minister before he surprised 2,000 Catholic gathering declaring that he will repeal the Freedom of Religion Act, enacted in 1978 “in the next session of the (Legislative) Assembly.”
Pointing out that the anti-conversion law “could undermine secularism and is probably targeted towards Christians”, Khandu even cautioned that “Any misuse of the law leading to torture of people could trigger large-scale violence in the state and could break Arunachal into pieces.”
The Act prohibits “conversion from one religious faith to any other religious faith by use of force or inducement or by fraudulent means and for matters connected therewith” and provides for imprisonment up to two years and fine up to 10,000 rupees.
“Though I have been told that the law has been never implemented (in 40 years),” said Khandu that if it remained in force, “In future, it could be misused by a Chief Minister, chief secretary or DGP (director general police).”
It was fitting that the chief minister made the declaration to repeal the four decades old law at the 10th death anniversary of the missionary who had faced highest number of arrests – as many as 8 times – and was even beaten up for his evangelisation work.
Saju Thayam, who attended the four day program at the Ashram, recounted how Prem Bhai had been beaten up before his eyes in 1985 when the lay missionary was in his village of Veo near Seppa in East Kameng district.
On learning that Prem Bhai was in the village, student leaders barged into his house where Prem Bhai was staying and took him to government guest house, recalled Thayam.
“After asking him to stop preaching, they slapped him, pulled his beard and even banged his head on the table,” Thayam recounted. “With a warning to leave the place in (hours), they let him accompany us. Even after the beating, he was not complaining but cheerful.”
Taw Tebin, president of Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association, that organized the memorial service, said that “Most of those 700 who took part in the three-day preparatory retreat were closely associated with Prem Bhai.”
“Everyone wanted this event to be a big one and made generous donation and took up different responsibilities voluntarily,” said Tebin himself, a convert and school headmaster in Itanagar.
Bishop John Thomas Kattrukudiyil of Itanagar was surprised by the ‘tremendous enthusiasm’ shown by the lay association to organise the Prem Bhai memorial.
“They did not ask for a penny from the diocese and managed everything by donations. Certainly, Prem Bhai is alive in their hearts and minds,” bishop Kattrukudiyil remarked.
Sub: Appointment of Apostolic Administrator sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the Diocese of Palayamkottai.
In the light of the Communication received from the Apostolic Nunciature, I wish to inform you that His Holiness, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of His Lordship Rt. Rev. Jude Gerald Paulraj A. as Bishop of Palayamkottai and has appointed His Grace Most Rev. Antony Pappusamy as Apostolic Administrator sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the Diocese of Palayamkottai.
Let us entrust to the intercession of the Virgin Mary the Episcopal ministry of the Apostolic Administrator.
We thank Bishop Jude Gerald Paulraj for his dedicated services to the Church in Palayamkottai and the Church in India, and we entrust him to the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles.
Assuring you of my prayers,
Yours Sincerely in Our Lord,
Secretary General, CBCI
Sub: Most Rev. Sebastian Kallupura appointed as the Coadjutor Bishop of Patna
In the light of the Communication received from the Apostolic Nunciature, I wish to inform you that His Holiness, Pope Francis has appointed His Lordship Rt. Rev. Sebastian Kallupura, until now Bishop of Buxar, as Coadjutor Bishop of the Archdiocese of Patna.
This ecclesiastical provision was made public in Rome on Friday, 29th June, 2018, at noon local time, corresponding to 15:30 hours, Indian Standard Time.
His Lordship, Rt. Rev. Sebastian Kallupura, was born on 14th July, 1952 at Teekoy, in the Diocese of Palai, Kerala. In 1971 he joined the Minor Seminary in Palai for Patna Diocese, and was ordained Priest on 14th May, 1984. He holds a Bachelor of Education from Bombay University. He served the Archdiocese of Patna as Parish Priest in various parishes, as Assistant Treasurer, Director of the Archdiocesan Social Apostolate and Director of the Bihar Social Forum. He was elected Bishop of Buxar on 7th April, 2009 and consecrated on 21st June, 2009.
We send our prayerful greetings and best wishes to Bishop Sebastian Kallupura, assure him of our prayers and we entrust him to the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles.
Yours Sincerely in Our Lord,
Caritas India rolling out the humanitarian response for flood
North East India is no stranger to torrential rains and floods. In fact, this has become an annual suffering feature for the people of Assam, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura in particular. This cycle repeats itself every year and Government departments along with civil society organisations and NGOs respond to this humanitarian crisis.
Assam is prone to annual flooding in the districts adjoining Brahmaputra and Barak valleys. Caritas India was among the first NGOs to have responded to multiple disaster affecting the state of Tripura in the month of May 2018.
In its report released by Ministry of Home Affairs, Disaster Management Division, National Emergency Response Centre (NERC) on June 18, 2018 mentioned the deaths of 69 people in Manipur, Tripura, Assam and Kerala. Impact of Climate change followed by encroachments in the riverine areas, as well as infrastructural development activities in the fragile areas have resulted in major devastations.
In Assam, Hojai, Golaghat, Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj are among the worst hit districts, in Manipur Thoubal, Imphal East, Imphal West, Kakchin and Bishnupur, in Mizoram Lunglei, Aizawl and Kolasib, and in Tripura all eight districts have been hit by the floods.
Down south in the state of Kerala, the south-west monsoons arrived at the end of May, which was earlier than the usual. Poor land use planning coupled with heavy rains has left the state deluged resulting in widespread damage to property and crop, and loss of life. The districts of Allapuzha, Kozikhode, Mallapuram, Wayanad, Kannur, Kasaragod and Palakkad were the worst hit.
Caritas India, the Official Humanitarian Wing of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India started its Response in the state of Tripura in May, and has now extended her support to Assam and Manipur as well as the State of Kerala. Caritas India with its partner Jan Unnayan Samiti Tripura (JUST) has been distributing relief materials including blankets, cloth, utensils and mosquito nets to the most affected. More than 23,000 people have been displaced because of the floods. In the weeks ahead, Caritas will be working in the areas of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH), and Health, distributing hygiene kits containing bathing soap, detergent, savlon, buckets, mug and markin cloth, and setting up health camps supported by doctors and paramedics from the Camillian Task Force and the Franciscan Clarist Congregation from Bengaluru and Bhopal respectively, to treat patients based on diagnosis and prevent outbreak of water borne diseases. Food and Nutrition kits containing rice, dal and baby food will also be provided to families in need.
Caritas India through her response plan has so far managed to reach 3,925 families so far, and will now extend support to 15,425 more flood affected families. In Assam, Caritas India will reach out to 3,700 families in the WaSH sector, 1,400 families with food and nutrition kits and organize 35 health camps in the affected villages of Karimganj and Hailakandi district with support from its local partner Seva Kendra Silchar.
In Manipur, with its local partner Diocesan Social Service Society, Imphal Caritas India will reach to 2,400 families in the area of WaSH, 600 families with food and nutrition support and organize 15 health camps in the affected villages of Bishnupur and West Imphal districts.
In Mizoram, Caritas India in partnership with Zoram Entu Pawl had organised health camp for 14 flood affected villages. Cases of diarrhoea, skin rusk, stomach infection and weakness were treated through the health camp.
In Kerala, Caritas India will support 400 families with nutritional kit distribution, organize will 20 health camps and provide support to the victim families of flood and landslides in Alleppy, Thamarassery, Tellichery, Battery and Palghat Dioceses.
Ref:CBCI-Gen/Cir-17/2018 24th June, 2018
Sub: Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ, Bishop of Jamshedpur, appointed as the new Archbishop of Ranchi.
In the light of the Communication received from the Apostolic Nunciature, I wish to inform you that His Holiness Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of His Eminence Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Ranchi, according to Canon Law 401 § 1, and has appointed His Lordship Rt. Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ, until now Bishop of Jamshedpur, as the new Archbishop of Ranchi.
This ecclesiastical provision was made public in Rome on Sunday, 24th June, 2018, at noon local time, corresponding to 15:30 hours, Indian Standard Time.
His Lordship, Rt. Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ, was born on 21st November, 1947, in Tongo, Diocese of Gumla. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1968 and was ordained Priest on 14th April, 1982. He obtained a Masters in Psychology from the Gregorian University, Rome, in 1990. After serving the Jesuit Congregation in various capacities, as Director of Pre-Novices, Novice Master and Superior, he was elected Bishop of Jamshedpur on 14th June, 1997 and was consecrated on 27th September, 1997.
As Bishop, he was the Chairman of the CBCI Office for Clergy and Religious for four years, and of the National Vocation Service Centre, Pune, for four years. At present he is the Governing Body Chairman of the CBCI Society for Medical Education, North India; Chairman of the JHAAN Regional Bishops’ Council and of two Regional Commissions; Vice-Chancellor of St. Albert’s College, Ranchi.
While thanking the Lord, for the dedicated services which Cardinal Telesphore Toppo has rendered to the Church in Ranchi and in India, let us entrust to the intercession of the Virgin Mary the episcopal ministry of the new Archbishop.
We send our prayerful greetings and best wishes to Archbishop-elect Felix Toppo and assure him of our prayers.
Yours Sincerely in Our Lord,
Secretary General, CBCI
Sub: Appointment of Apostolic Administrator sede plena of the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly.
In the light of the Communication received from the Apostolic Nunciature, I wish to inform you that the Congregation for the Oriental Churches communicates that the Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed His Lordship Rt. Rev. Jacob Manathodath, Bishop of Palghat, as Apostolic Administrator sede plena of the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly.
This ecclesiastical provision was made public in Rome on Friday, 22nd June, 2018, at noon local time, corresponding to 15:30 hours, Indian Standard Time.
Yours Sincerely in Our Lord,
Secretary General, CBCI
The News Displayed on Two Newspapers Asian age & Deccan Chronicle
What our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi told us on November 26, 2015 must be respected and lived, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas said.
It would be nice for all of us to go back in time to our early primary school days to recall to ourselves a typical morning ‘school assembly pledge’ that we used to recite: ‘India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters...” We knew it by-heart. Parents used to recall and recite it proudly to their children and grandchildren. Patriotism, love for the country and nationalism with a feeling of spontaneous mutual trust were in every nerve and sinew of our body. Everyone was considered nationalistic and patriotic.
Today, however, there is an altogether new trend emerging in our society. Some people think and claim they are more nationalist than others. We have TV anchors shouting hoarse declaring everyone who does not agree with them as anti-nationals. This better-than-thou attitude creates barriers and divisions in society, triggering in people a sense of insecurity and alienation. Such divisive mindsets, be it of religious or cultural or political origin, are themselves wrong and can pose a very serious threat to the very nationhood of India. The Indian constitution is undoubtedly one of the best in the world. It alone has the power to unite, integrate and carry forward such a multi-faceted nation as ours, ironing out differences, healing wounds and uniting the diversities. Hence this recently emerging divisive thinking that highlights religious or ethnic or cultural or linguistic differences poses a threat to the nation, a menace that needs to be arrested with urgency. This recent situation is disturbing the majority of well-intentioned citizens, intellectuals, religious leaders, teachers and parents who feel they have an important responsibility towards those entrusted to their care. They are convinced that the situation calls for exercising their social and national responsibility to teach, to heal, to integrate, to unite so that all of us may be able to safeguard for the generation next a nation “that has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls”. They feel a compelling need to revisit the Constitution of India and imbibe the necessary strength from the constitutional values enshrined therein that has the ability to keep this nation protect its unity in diversity.
And hence we are ready to sound the bugle: we have a concern, not necessarily political, that needs to be addressed without sweeping it under the carpet and without burying our head in the sand. It would also be good to affirm that TV channels, journalists and others who try to communalise and try to shoot the messenger make everyone lose their credibility and are in fact are doing a disservice to the nation. It is this genuine concern for the country that prompted the members of the general body meeting of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India to include constitutional literacy as one crucial part of the 20-point final statement that emerged from the 33rd plenary assembly of Indian bishops held in early February this year at Bangalore. It is this genuine concern for the country that prompted Archbishop Maria Calist Soosa Pakiam of Thiruvananthapuram, president of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) to ask all Christian schools in the country to include the study of the Constitution in their curriculum.
As a follow up, the office for education and culture under the CBCI issued an advisory and release a 9-page module to teach the Preamble of the Constitution in church-managed schools on June 11, 2018. The move is part of the Church’s efforts to help teach young generations the constitutional values. The module on the Preamble consists of a detailed study of the 85-word treatise in four stages. In the first stage, the students are encouraged to memorise the preamble, use it in assembly, recite in primary classes and prepare speeches on the topic in the secondary classes. The second stage stresses the significance of the Preamble and suggests activities like group discussions, quiz contests, essay writing and poster competition. The third stage focuses on the enacting words ‘We the people of India’ and prompts the students to stage skits on celebrating unity in diversity enacting various life situations.
The words ‘We Indians’ are drilled into the minds to check divisiveness. In this stage, senior students are encouraged to interact with juniors on inclusivity. In the fourth stage, the students familiarise with key words in the preamble: sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republic. The Constitution promises justice, liberty, equality and fraternity to all citizens without discrimination. The module leads the senior students to review how far the country has achieved these ideals and find out the way forward in the form of an assignment.
It should be reiterated that in 1947 as we shook off the shackles of British imperialism, two countries were born. One called itself Pakistan and decided to be a nation based on a religion Islam. Amidst bloodshed and riots hundreds of thousands of people crossed over only based on religion. A small minority of Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and other minorities decided to stay back in Pakistan amidst a massive Muslim majority in a country founded for Islam and on the law of Islam. Over the years, those who could from among these minorities have left the country as the comfort level became lesser. Thousands of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains and other smaller minorities remained back in India.
(The writer is the secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India)
International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) elected Indian Priest
Rev. Jaison Vadassery as the Secretary to ICMC in Rome
Rev. Fr. Jaison Vadassery has been elected as the secretary of International Catholic Migrants Commission (ICMC) by its Governing Council meeting concluded in Rome last week (6 – 8 June, 2018). He is currently holding the office of Secretary to the CBCI office of Labour and Director of Workers India Federation a nationwide labour organization. Dr. Anne Therese Gallagher AO (Australia) had been elected as the President during the General Council meeting held in Rome in March 2018. The Council also elected Bishop Giorgio Bertin (Djibouti/Somalia) as Vice President and Sr. Maryanne Loughry (Australia) as Treasurer. And ratified the appointment of Msgr. Robert Vittillo as its General Secretary.
Initiated by the joint efforts of Pope Pius XII, Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini (Vatican Secretary for Relations with States and future Pope Paul VI) and layman James J. Norris, ICMC was precisely created to support Catholic organizations in responding to the needs of the displaced persons and refugees. Following the conflict, the efforts of Monsignor Montini and James Norris for the displaced victims of war assumed an even greater urgency with the growing exodus of refugees fleeing to the West from the Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe. Shortly after its creation, the ICMC Secretariat was established in Geneva, Switzerland, with the aim of collaborating closely with the newly created United Nations bodies on migration and refugee issues. In 1952, ICMC was granted consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In its early years, the work of ICMC focused on the administration of migrant travel loan funds. ICMC soon gained comprehensive expertise in assisting the migrants and increased its network of member organizations and local partners, thus becoming a worldwide movement.
In 2008, ICMC was officially granted public juridical status by the Holy See. In 2011, ICMC was selected as the leading organization in charge of coordinating the civil society network of the Global Forum for Migration and Development, which gathers more than 700 organizations globally; it has maintained this role to date. Today ICMC continues to respond to the needs of uprooted people and their communities by implementing and advocating for rights-based policies and sustainable solutions through its worldwide membership of Catholic Bishops' Conferences, and alongside governmental and non-governmental partners. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, ICMC has affiliated entities in Brussels (ICMC Europe), Washington D.C. and Boston (ICMC Inc.), and operational offices in Greece, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Malaysia, and Pakistan.
CBCI Office for Labour/ WIF
CBCI Centre, New Delhi
CBCI Office for Education and Culture
Reaches out to the Remote North Eastern Tribal Region of India
The Catholic Church cares for and appreciates the education mission being accomplished through the numerous schools in the North Eastern Meghalaya and Assam States and that too in the very inaccessible rural areas of the State. That was the message given through the week long programme conducted by Fr. Joseph Manipadam, the CBCI National Secretary for Education and his Regional Counterpart Fr. G. Amalraj and the three Diocesan Education Directors – Fr. Alex Kalayathinal of Guwahati, Fr. Roland Lyngdow of Nongstoin and Fr. Richard Majaw of Shillong. Catholic Church’s mission is inclusive education, education for the poorer children and education that appreciates and promotes languages and cultures.
The programme in Guwahati on 5th June 2018, was presided over by His Grace Archbishop John Moolachira and attended by over 90 priests and sisters involved in the education mission of the Church. The day long interactive sessions focussed on the importance of implementing the All India catholic Education Policy so that the mission of education is oriented to the poorer children and that we form in the children true values and enable them to become men and women of character and conviction. Reaching out to the neighbourhood, care of the environment and promoting the rights of children and educating the girl child were all topics discussed. Being prepared to face the increasing challenges in imparting value based education through proactive action plan was also part of the day long study and reflection. A self study report as to how effectively they are implementing the Catholic Education Policy was also submitted by the participants by the end of the day’s programme.
The programme in the very remote Nongstoin Diocese on 7th June 2018, was attended by just 25 Fathers and Sisters who are the education coordinators of a number of clusters of schools looked after by each of them. In fact some of them have as many as 35 to 40 schools – primary and middle schools – to look after in very remote and inaccessible rural areas of the diocese. The Chancellor of the Diocese Fr. Eugene and the Education Co-ordinator Fr. Roland were the ones who saw to the logistics of the day’s programme. Imparting value education, faith formation of Catholic students and reaching our to the very poor children were the focus of study. Fr. Joseph Manipadam in his concluding message said, ”Although you do not have a resident Bishop temporarily, the Church wants to tell you that we accompany you and appreciate the very challenging mission that is being carried out by you by educating the rural and tribal children living in this very beautiful and culturally rich part of our country.”
The programme in Shillong on 8th June 2018, was presided over by His Grace Archbishop Dominic Jala SDB and attended by the Vicar General, the Chancellor and over 35 priests and sisters involved in the education mission. The day long programme focussed on fulfilling this compelling mission of education for the poorer children forming in them true values and enabling them to become men and women of character and conviction. Reaching out to the neighbourhood, care of the environment and promoting the rights of children, educating the girl child were all topics discussed as the participants were nudged to move from maintenance to mission mode and rising above just the academic excellence and campus glory alone. Being prepared to face the increasing challenges in imparting value based education through proactive action plan was also part of the day long study and reflection. How effectively are we implementing the Catholic Education Policy, was the main concern of the self study report presented by the participants by the end of the day. The programme was locally coordinated by Fr. Richard Majaw, the Education Coordinator of the Archdiocese and the parish priest of the Cathedral parish.
CBCI Office for Labour – TNBC Regional Labour Commission Meet
7- 8 June, 2018
St. Theodore Sanatorium, Coonur, Ooty, Tamilnadu
Tamilnadu Bishops Council urges the Govt. authorities to pay heed to the cry of the under privileged Traditional Occupational Groups in Tamilnadu. This concern was raised at a seminar held at St. Theodore Sanatorium, Coonur, Oooty on 7th & 8th June organised by CBCI Office for Labour in collaboration with Tamil Nadu Bishops Council. 35 Representatives from 9 Catholic Diocese and few movements working for the cause of the workers discussed extensively the issues and challenges of the unorganised workers of Tamilnadu.
Archbishop Anandarayar, Chaiman, TNBC Regional Labour Commission exhorted the participants to be at the side of the poor workers and help them to avail the social security schemes allocated for them, respect the workers and give them dignity of the work they are doing particularly the women workers. The legislations on Sexual harassment against women must be implemented in all the Church institutions he reminded. His Grace condemned the uncivilised and inhuman behaviour of the police officials on the poor Labourers at Sterlite Copper factory in Thoothukudi. His Grace along the participants observed 2 minutes silent prayer for the martyrs and victims of police attack at Thoothukudi. Two days seminar threw light on the issues of migrants and refugees. Representative from the Dioceses and movements sought recourse to the key issues of Tamil Nadu such as Migration, ,Unorganised Workers social security, need to form trade unions, political exploitation etc. The diocese will assist the migrants to register the migrants in the web portal www.wifmdm.com of CBCI Office for Labour for safe migration and help at the destination if required. Seminar helped the participants to take steps towards creation of awareness among the unorganised workers. Organising the unoraganised workers is an urgent need in Tamil Nadu observed the group. Keeping in mind the need of the unorganised workers the participants worked out a plan of action for the stakeholders which includes Sensitisation of Directors and core team members, Dissolving internal conflicts and differences, Voicing for Humanitarian concerns, Focusing on the Govt. Schemes and Social security.
Topics discussed were:
Traditional Communities in Search of Identity – Dr. Maria Susai Director, Kolping Kottar
Traditions occupational Groups – Fr. Albert Regional Director, TASSOS
Issues of Traditional Occupational Groups in Search of a collective identity of
Urban Communities - Dr. John Arokiaraj, South Zonal Manager, Caritas India,
Problems of Present Agriculture - Fr. Antonyraj Director, Kolping India
Interventions of CBCI Office for Labour – Sr. Rani HCM
The dioceses will implement the steps taken for Rescue, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. All the resource persons emphasized on the social teaching of the Catholic Church Beginning with Pope Leo’s 1891 landmark social encyclical, Rerum Novarum ‘On Capital and Labour’) & continuing today the Church has had much to say about the rights & duties of the worker & of business. On this occasion Archbishop Anadarayar, Bishop Amalraj, Dr. Mariasusai, Fr. Albert, Fr. Antony, Dr. John Arokyam, Sr. Rani, CBCI Office for Labour and Fr. Jayakumar addressed the participants.
Sr. Rani HCM
CBCI Office for SC/BC shows Solidarity with Kevin’s family
Kevin a Dalit Christian S/O Mr. Joseph and Mary in Kottayam, Kerala was allegedly murdered in the name of honour killing for marrying Neenu who is a Syrian Christian. Fr. Devasagayaraj, Secretary to the CBCI Office for SC/BC along with Fr. Shaj Kumar, Regional Secretary to the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC), Fr. Albert, Vijayapuram diocesan SC/ST commission secretary, Mr. James, State president of Dalit Catholic Maha Sabha (DCMS) and Mr. Shibu Joseph, Vijayapuram diocesan DCMS president. Fr. Devasagayaraj conveyed the condolences to the family members from Most Rev. Sarat Chandra Nayak, Chairperson for CBCI Office for SC/BC and Most Rev. Theodore, Secretary General of CBCI and expressed solidarity of the Christian community at the time of the great loss of Kevin. He also endorsed the demand of KCBC for CBI enquiry and financial support to the family by the Government. The family members felt consoled by the visit from CBCI and KCBC. The delegation from the Catholic Church prayed with the family for the repose of the soul of Kevin and for the consolation of the bereaved family. Kevin’s parents Mr. Joseph and Mrs. Mary, his sister Ms. Kripa and his wife Neenu thanked the delegation for the visit.
KCBC Commission for SC/ST/BC organised Oath taking ceremony for the Dalit Christian MahaSabha (DCMS) Sate level leaders.
An Oath taking ceremony of the State level leaders of DCMS took place on 6th June 2018 at Pastoral Animation Centre (POC), Cochin. The program was organised by Rev. Fr. Shaj Kumar, Regional secretary to the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) Commission for SC/ST/BC. Most Rev. Soosai Packiam the President of KCBC presided over the program.
The oath taking ceremony took place in the presence of Most Rev. Jacob Murickan, Chairperson for the KCBC Commission for SC/ST/BC, and Most Rev. Ponnumuthan, and Most Rev. Sebastian Vice chairpersons of KCBC Commission for SC/ST/BC.
Fr. Devasagayaraj, National Secretary for the CBCI Office for SC/BC explained different programs and activities that are undertaken by the National Office. He also clarified the queries of the participants regarding the CBCI Dalit Empowerment Policy. Annual plan for the DCMS was prepared by the participants in consultation with Fr. Shaj Kumar the Director of DCMS. DCMS is officially recognised by the KCBC and all the activities of the KCBC Commission for SC/ST/BC are executed through DCMS and thus encouraging the lay leadership.
Theme: UNITED IN DIVERSITY FOR THE MISSION OF WITNESS AND MERCY.
Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Council (KCBC) and Keral Conference of Major Superios (KCMS) gathering was addresses by CBCI Secretary General Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX.
We the Church move “united in diversity for the mission of witness and mercy.” It is experienced in the creation of the world. The book of Genesis shows us how the world was created with diversity and towards the end the creation story it is the whole ‘universe’ that unites the individual creations. Even the crown of creation was created differently, male and female, and was called to the unity of ‘man.’ The Old Testament shows how different languages were born; the New Testament witness how the ‘unity’ of the message of God was understood in different languages. Thus the ‘unity in diversity’ stands the underlining principle in the Bible. The Catholic Church, similarly, witnesses this principle. The same faith is expressed in different liturgies; through different charisms of the Religious Congregations and through the different offices of the Church.
In the present scenario of India, where the diversity of India is questioned, we have received a divine call to stand united in diversity to be the living witness of Christ and his mercy. In the present challenging situation makes the following appeals.
The three Rites of the Catholic Church in India stand together in the nation building.
The Religious Congregations, with their different charisms, stand together with the hierarchy in the nation building.
The Laity come forward, in the diverse and critical situations, and help the Church and the Nation.
Inter-religious and Ecumenical dialogues are to be seriously promoted in India.
His Excellency concluded by underling the fact that Christ and His Mission should be the primary focus - the most important duty - wherever we are, wherever we go and whatever we do!
Sub: Rev. Fr. Dennis Panipitchai, SDB, appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of Miao
In the light of the Communication received from the Apostolic Nunciature, I wish to inform you that His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Fr. Dennis Panipitchai, SDB, as Auxiliary Bishop of Miao.
This ecclesiastical provision was made public in Rome on Friday, 8th June, 2018, at noon local time, corresponding to 15:30 hours, Indian Standard Time.
Rev. Fr. Dennis Panipitchai, SDB, was born in Colachel, in the Diocese of Kottar (Tamil Nadu), on 27th July, 1958. After attending St. Mary’s Parish School in Colachel, in 1976 he entered the pre-novitiate of the Salesians in Shillong, and there he did his novitiate in 1979. On 24th May, 1980, he made his first profession as a simple brother. Later he felt the call to priesthood and did his philosophy formation at Divyadaan Salesian Institute of Philosophy, Nashik. He continued with theology at Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong. He obtained a Master’s degree in Theology and in a civil subject. After making his solemn profession, on the same day he was ordained Priest, on 27th December, 1991. He served in the following ministries: Dean of Studies, Salesian pre-novitiate, Rua Home, Jorhat, Dibrugarh (1992-1995); Administrator of Don Bosco Bible School, Tinsukia, Diocese of Dibrugarh (1995-1997); In-charge of Don Bosco School, Borduria, now in the Diocese of Miao (1998-2000); Principal of Don Bosco School, Miao and Assistant Priest in the same Parish, Archdiocese of Imphal (2001-2004); Parish Priest at Mary Help of Christians Church, Borduria, now in the Diocese of Miao (2004-2009); Principal of Don Bosco School, Kohima (2009-2015). Since 2015 he is Parish Priest of Mary Immaculate Parish, Chingmeirong, in the Archdiocese of Imphal. Since 2012 he is also Provincial Counsellor.
We send our prayerful greetings and best wishes to Bishop-elect Dennis Panipitchai, welcome him to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and assure him of our prayers.
Yours Sincerely in Our Lord,
Sub: Rev. Fr. Fulgence Aloysius Tigga appointed as new Bishop of Raiganj
In the light of the Communication received from the Apostolic Nunciature, I wish to inform you that His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Fr. Fulgence Aloysius Tigga, as new Bishop of Raiganj.
Rev. Fr. Fulgence Aloysius Tigga was born on 3rd March, 1965 at Katkathi village in the Diocese of Gumla. He attended the Minor Seminary at Muzaffarpur, the Philosophy at Vishwa Jyoti Gurukul, Varanasi, and Theology at Bhopal Regional Seminary. He was ordained Priest on 3rd May, 1997 for the Diocese of Muzaffarpur. At the bifurcation of the Diocese in 1998, he opted for the Diocese of Bettiah.
Fr. Fulgence Aloysius Tigga held the following Ministries and Offices: 1997-2000: Assistant Priest at Chuhari, 2000-2004: Parish Priest at Chanpatia, 2004-2009: Parish Priest at Dussaiya and Rector of St. Peter’s Minor Seminary, 2009-2015: Parish Priest at Chakhni, since 2015, Parish Priest at Ramnagar, since 2017, Vicar General of Bettiah. He is also Dean of West Champaran, Member of the Priests Council, Diocesan Consultor, In-charge of Liturgy and Vocation Commission and Vocation promoter.
We send our prayerful greetings and best wishes to Bishop-elect Fulgence Aloysius Tigga, welcome him to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and assure him of our prayers.
Yours Sincerely in Our Lord,
Secretary General, CBCI
CBCI Education Office reaches out to the Dioceses of the Oriental Churches with the “All India Catholic Education Policy 2007” Implementation
15th May 2018: Orientation for the Correspondents and Heads of Schools of Thukalay Diocese:
To the very small group of 18 heads of educational institutions of Thukalay diocese, a day’s programme was held animated by Fr. Joseph Manipadam, Secretary, CBCI Education Office, regarding the evaluation of implementation of the Catholic Education Policy in order ensure taking care of the poor children and imparting faith formation and Value Education as it is the Church’s main concern. The present challenges in the field of education in India were also taken up. Thukalay is a Syro Malabar diocese in Tamil Nadu and it has very few educational institutions.
16th May 2018: Animation Programme for the 600 Teachers of Schools of Thukalay Diocese:
The animation and orientation programme conducted by Fr. J. Manipadam, Secretary of the CBCI Office for Education was about Positive disciplining without the use of punishment at all, on prevention of any type of abuse and ensuring the safety of children, on giving value education and faith formation, and looking after the poorer and the marginalized and taking care of the environment. The programme attended by more than 600 teachers also dealt with the importance of education for Peace, educating the children on Constitutional values and promotion of peace and harmony and national integration.
26th May 2018: 400 Heads of Schools and Teachers study the “All India Catholic Education Policy”:
Fr. Joseph Manipadam in his orientation programme for 400 teachers and Heads of schools of Ramnathpuram Diocese in Coimbatore, made them study the “All India catholic Education Policy 2007” in the context of our present day and led them to make a self study report on the possible ways they are implementing it in their own educational institutions. Fr. J. Manipadam, Secretary. CBCI Office for Education and Culture, made them understand how such implementation of the Church’s Education Policy can lead them to care for the poor and the marginalized, ensure rendering holistic education, care for the value education of all students and build the faith and conviction among the Christian students, care for the rights of children, safeguard the environment, maintain academic excellence and reach out to the needy neighbourhood. The day long programme was attended by his Excellency Mar Paul Alappatt and the Vicar General Fr. George Narikuzhi. Ramnathpuram Diocese is a Syro Malabar diocese.
On the sidelines of his interaction with the teachers and heads of educational institutions of these dioceses of the Oriental Churches, he also had one on one interaction with the Bishops of the Oriental as well as Latin dioceses: Most Rev. George Rajendran SDB of Thukalay, Most Rev. Nazarene Soosai of Kottar, Most Rev. Jerome Varuvel SDB of Kuzhithurai, Most Rev. Paul Mar Alappatt of Ramnathpuram and Most Rev. Vincent Mar Paulos of Marthandom.
By Fr. Felix Anthony –
Miao, 19 May: In an effort to reduce the infant mortality and morbidity in Arunachal Pradesh, Seva Kendra Arunachal East (SKAE) conducted a fortnight-long refresher course for its nurses from 15-30 May at Krick and Bourry Memorial Hospital (KBMH), Injan, Changlang District.
Arunachal Pradesh, the largest north eastern state, ranks fourth in highest mortality rate in North East India, according to NITI Ayog updated data. SKAE, the social service wing of the Diocese of Miao, brought together its nurses serving in 17 Primary Health centres in the 160 interior villages of eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh to tackle the issue.
Bishop George inaugurating the refresher course appreciated the nurses and Rev. Sr. Rincy, the Director of SKAE for their selfless service in the last villages of Arunachal Pradesh. “You render your service in places where roads and electricity have not yet reached. That you work without expecting to be appreciated makes your service a true service to humanity” he said to the 15 nurses from the eight districts of eastern part of Arunachal.
Dr. Rose Tom, the Gynecologist and Sr. Elizabeth, the Chief Nurses at KBMH, the main resource persons for the course, explained to the nurses that a proper and guided ante-natal care to the expectant mothers would mean a healthy mother and child, and that it would bring down the infant mortality rate in the State.
Sr. Reema, a Nurse working in Tissa, in Longding district, took a session on homeopathic medicine to tackle the contagious diseases in the villages.
The refresher course came to an end with a session on report writing and basic tips on photography by Fr. Felix Anthony, the Director of Social Communication in East Arunachal Pradesh.
Caritas India invites applications for the 49th Development Dynamics Course. Date: July 15 to August 10. Venue: Ishopanthi Ashram, Puri, Orissa.
To apply, download form from this weblink. http://caritasindia.org/application-invited-for-the-49th-development-dynamics-course/
This News is by courtesy of https://www.boomlive.in/malicious-fake-email-asks-bangalores-archbishop-to-convert-karnatakas-lingayats/
A malicious and fake email designed to create communal tension is circulating on social media 48-hours before Karnataka votes.
Barely 48 hours ahead of voting in the assembly elections in Karnataka, a fake email purported to be from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India to Bangalore’s archbishop asking him to convert Lingayats in the state to Catholicism, has gone viral on social media and WhatsApp.
The fake email claims that on December 21, 2013 representatives of the Holy See (the Pope) in Delhi held their first meeting with Karnataka’s ruling political leadership to convince them to grant a separate religion status to Lingayats. The email alleges that since then, subsequent meetings have taken place with the state government to convince them on the issue.
The fake email also lists nine diabolical steps to go about converting Lingayats to Catholicism. These include sponsoring 100 Lingayat scholars to develop material which could prove “spiritual supremacy of Lingayats over other Hindus.” The fake email also lists a goal of evangelizing at least 5% of Lingayats by 2043 and by 2020 building “emotional bridges” with Lingayat saints and Mutts. This can be achieved through European Union’s developmental schemes and through funds exploited through the “Embassy of the Holy See”, the fake email claims.
The fake email has been shared by many including a Twitter handle named Swami Nischalanand, who later deleted his tweet. (Click here to view an archived version of it)
V LN BHUVARAHAN@bhulskings
Replying to @archigt and 20 others
If u think like you would be surprised , bcoz they want to convert every Hindu into chrislamic bootlickers
If u think like you would be surprised , bcoz they want to convert every Hindu into chrislamic bootlickers
I know their conversion propaganda very well..
They are trying everything to convert hindus into Christianity.
In Karnataka they played their game to separate lingayat from hindus..every one should keep in mind Christianity and Islam both are disastrous for our country. pic.twitter.com/ZWOSTix4wt
5:40 PM - May 9, 2018
See @rchi's other Tweets
I know their conversion propaganda very well..
They are trying everything to convert hindus into Christianity.
In Karnataka they played their game to separate lingayat from hindus..every one should keep in mind Christianity and Islam both are disastrous for our country. pic.twitter.com/ZWOSTix4wt
CALLING OUT THE FAKE
The email spins a convenient narrative and gives unnecessary background for a supposedly internal mail between bishops who are alleged to be co-conspirators.
The email stands out as peculiar because of the way it reads. Skipping articles such as ‘the’ in several places suggesting it was written by a non-native speaker of English. The reference of “harvesting of souls” is almost exclusively used as a sarcastic and derogatory reference by the Hindutva right-wing while speaking about so called forced religious conversions in India. The word ‘reap’ has been misspelt as ‘rip’. Even the apostrophe in the name of the organisation (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India) has been placed incorrectly.
Furthermore, the email was purported to be sent by His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias to Dr. Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore. However, the signatory of the email is supposedly the ‘Secretary General’ whereas Oswald Gracias is the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
In a strongly-worded clarification, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India called the email a fake and said that it reserved the right to take legal action against those involved in making and promoting the letter. The letter signed by Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, the actual secretary general of the religious organisation also questioned the timing of the letter on the eve of elections in Karnataka and called the document a “disgraceful mischievous ploy”.
“The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India nor Cardinal Gracias will never ever indulge in divisive tactics as indicated in that letter. The language mistakes in that letter point out that it could not have originated from our Office.” – Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
“Cardinal Oswald Gracias is the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. He is not the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, as alleged by those who are circulating the letter. The circulation of this letter just before the Karnataka elections is a disgraceful mischievous ploy.”
“The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India nor Cardinal Gracias will never ever indulge in divisive tactics as indicated in that letter. The language mistakes in that letter point out that it could not have originated from our Office.” – Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
“Cardinal Oswald Gracias is the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. He is not the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, as alleged by those who are circulating the letter. The circulation of this letter just before the Karnataka elections is a disgraceful mischievous ploy.”
it is an absolute lie- malifide, malicious and dangerous fake. https://twitter.com/jvidyasagar/status/994190475107106817 …
it is an absolute lie- malifide, malicious and dangerous fake. https://twitter.com/jvidyasagar/status/994190475107106817 …
6:46 PM - May 9, 2018
28 people are talking about this
The issue of granting a separate religious identity to the numerically significant and politically decisive community has become a hot potato in poll-bound Karnataka.
ALSO READ – Who Are The Lingayats? All You Need To Know About The Lingayat-Veerashaiva Debate
Prot. 613/GenSec2018 (3-b-10/CBCI-GC) 9th May, 2018
It has been brought to our notice by many people that a very malicious fake letter is being circulated in the social media and in Karnataka on the eve of the elections.
The purported fake letter is falsely attributed to Cardinal Oswald Gracias and as having been written by him to Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore. The false letter makes wild allegations about the Church involvement in the Lingayat issue.
In this regard we wish to state:
1. We can assure you that this is a fake and malafide letter.
2. It will be noticed that the letter is not written on a letterhead.
3. The letter carries no signature.
4. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India nor Cardinal Gracias will never ever
indulge in divisive tactics as indicated in that letter.
5. The language mistakes in that letter point out that it could not have originated from our Office.
6. Cardinal Oswald Gracias is the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. He is not the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, as alleged by those who are circulating the letter.
The circulation of this letter just before the Karnataka elections is a disgraceful mischievous ploy. We reserve the right to take legal action against those involved in making and promoting that letter.
We request our well-wishers to respond to the letter if it comes to them with this official clarification.
May God bless Karnataka and May God bless our beloved Country, India.
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India
A group of Pilgrims from the Yeraguntila Parish in the Diocese of Kurnool visited the CBCI Headquarters. They were received by Bishop Theodore Mascararenhas, the Secretary General of the CBCI and Fr. David Xalxo. Bishop Theodore speaking to the Pilgrims through the help of a translation by Fr. John Devdas Avula, the Parish Priest encouraged the people to live their Christian faith even amidst challenges and difficulties. He blessed them and requested them to pray for the Bishops.
Prot. 605/GenSec2018 (3-b-10/CBCI-PR) 05th May, 2018
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India expresses its profound grief and sorrow at the terrible and unimaginable havoc wrecked by the severe dust storm that has ravaged parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. It is reported that more than 150 people have lost their lives and hundreds others are injured and thousands left without shelter. The damage has been the worst seen in 20 years, according to officials with India's Meteorological department. They have also issued warnings that more bad weather is to come, with severe thunderstorms expected in several places in northern India over the next few days.
The Catholic Church condoles the death of our brothers and sisters who were caught unaware as nature’s fury took hold of large parts of North India. We express our solidarity with the injured and the suffering.
The Catholic Church is already out in the field through her Wing of Mercy and Charity, Caritas India. While trying to help people without discrimination of faith, or class, wherever it is possible for us to reach out, Caritas India, for more precise operations, is specially concentrating on the districts of Agra in Uttar Pradesh and Jayour in Rajasthan. We appreciate the efforts being put in by the Government and its agencies to provide immediate help and relief to the affected and extend our hand of partnership to the Government. Even as people are trying to build up their lives, we are concerned about the health situation in the areas affected. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference expresses its ardent desire to work with the Government and all like-minded agencies to provide relief and help in all possible ways to the suffering people.
This is also an occasion for all of us to think and reflect seriously on the issue of climate change, as indicated by Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si and which is more and more manifesting itself through natural Disasters. According to experts, while dust storms are quite common in North India, the extraordinary dust and thunderstorms are connected to the rapid rate of desertification in several Indian states. The environment ministry says a quarter of the country's land is undergoing desertification - while independent experts put the figure much higher. Increasing desertification would mean more intense and damaging dust storms. Environmentalists have predicted that droughts will become more severe in this part of South Asia with climatic changes.
The Catholic Church invites men and women of good will everywhere to join it and others in providing succour and assistance wherever needed. If you wish to join us you may get in touch with Caritas India at firstname.lastname@example.org or our person in the field Mr. Anjan Bag at 9831065890.
We pray for all those affected and also for all who are actively or through contributions helping the people in dire distress. May the Almighty bless us with his abundant graces and mercies.
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India
Save the Boys to Save the Girls
Do to others whatever you would have them to do to you. This is the Law and the prophets
These days we are so disturbed with the heartbreaking news of inhuman and heinous acts at Unnao and Kathua and other parts of India. Jesus has given us the Law to prevent all kinds of atrocities against fellow beings which is known as the Golden Rule. Within the wider scenario of the “Golden Rule” a genuine question pops up: does anyone of these perpetrators be tolerant, silent or could accept if his mother, sister, daughter or even any relative had undergone such hideous experience? If ever they were aware of their relations within family, would they inflict such violence to any other daughter/sister/mother? Sexual objectification proliferates within our society and men, even boys are viscerally prone to criminally quench their hankering for sex.
It is heartening to know that an ordinance has been passed to allow the courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping girls under 12 years. How far this would prevent the crimes against innocent children, one has to wait and see. The lawyers of Kathua district court had come out in to the streets in defense of one of the culprits. This is what would make an ordinary citizen skeptical about new ordinances and laws. Most cases of child abuse take place within our homes and in our neighbourhoods. Many cases are not reported because the rapists are often close relatives. The victims grow up with fear and shame if the parents are not reaching out to them.
After the Nirbhaya case, Laws have been changed. But mindsets have not. New laws have come in. But not implemented. In other words, nothing has changed. The diologue of Mr Amithab Bachchan in the movie PINK is most relevant in today’s Indian Society: “We should save our boys not our girls; because if we save our boys, our girls will also be saved”. From childhood itself boys are made stronger and girls weaker. Boys are brought up with superior nature and girls with inferiority. This has to be changed. Manhood is also about sensitivity and empathy. This is not possible without teaching boys decent social behaviour. It is not enough to save a girl at birth and educate her. Boys have to be taught the lessons of equality, that birth does not provide privileges for domination. We need to develop a consciousness in boys that the girls are not just their opposite gender. They are their sisters who are born with as much intellectual and emotional qualities as they are.
There are 3.8 billion men in the world and there is almost same number of women in the world. When we keep this statistic in mind then we have to wonder how effective can be the slogan Beti padhao Beti bachao, because our focus is only half of the world's population. The other half is young boys, young men, middle aged men and old men who are not being directly educated. In other words working only with girls and women and trying to educate them solves only half the problem. To aggravate the matter, the women population are deprived of proportionate distribution of wealth. When men form the half of the total population and indulge on the three quarters of wealth, they need to be educated the values of proper conducting and social empathy.
It is impossible to barter dignity for dignity, respect for respect and rights for rights unless one is able to switch from privileged gender discriminations to impartial rights. Only education can bring in the desired effect of a shifting from suppression to mutual encouragement. Beta Pathavo - the lessons of respect and dignity, is a strong means of fostering the grandeur of women. The basic human respect for one another should be inculcated in both boys and girls.
They should realize that women liberated shall contribute towards the flourishing of the world. Can our girl-children and women ever enjoy basic human rights unless we have gender-sensitized boys/men society? Our home should be the ground of learning the Golden Rule of egalitarian values, social sensitivity and empathy.
Sr. Talisha Nadukkudiyil SD
Secretary, CBCI Council for Women
CBCI Office for Labour May Day Celebration
CBCI Office for Labour honoured 110 supporting staff of the nearby institutions on the occasion of the International Workers Day/ May Day Celebration, at Convent of Jesus and Mary School Hall, Gole Dakkhana, New Delhi, on 1st May, 2018. Guests of honour of the celebration were Rev. Msgr. Susai Sebastian VG Archdiocese of Delhi, Rev. Msgr. Joseph Chinnayan Deputy Secretary, CBCI, Rev. Fr. Victor, Director, Clergy Home, Rev. Lawrence, Parish Priest Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rev. Fr. John Britto, Director, Chetanalaya, Rev. Sr. Antonet Superior CJM, and Mrs. Nisha Yohannan Joint Secretary, Workers India Federation.
On this occasion Rev. Msgr. Joseph Chinnayan, Dept. Secretary CBCI and Rev. Msgr. Susai Sebastian were the main speakers. Sr. Rani HCM, Prorgamme Manager, CBCI Office for Labour apprised the gathering on the purpose of the day’s celebration was to recognise and appreciate them for their selfless service to the nation through their respective institutions. CBCI Office for Labour has programmes for the unorganised workers of the country which are promoted through its official organ ‘Workers India Federation’ (WIF). CBCI - Labour upholds the importance of Employer – Employee relationship and a labour friendly outlook of the institutions. Fr. Jaison Vadassery Secretary CBCI Office for Labour welcomed everyone to the celebration and assured them that CBCI Office for Labour is committed to the welfare of the unorganised workers of the country.
As a token of appreciation for their contribution, CBCI Office for Labour honoured each worker with a gift. Workers were overwhelmed with the celebration and expressed their gratitude.
State Level Consultation on Dalit Children’s Nutrition and Education
Children from Mahadalit (Rishidev, Saday and Manjhi) communities in Purnea, Rohtas, Madhubani and Munger districts of Bihar under the Roshni programme attended the 2-days state level consultation on Dalit children’s Education and Nutrition at Patna organized by Caritas India. The event witnessed the members of children’s collective namely ‘Roshni ki Toli’ educators, animators and co-ordinators of the Mahadalit communities speaking out their experiences of transcending and overcoming caste barriers and emerging as role models for their communities. The consultation identified concrete areas of intervention for strengthening and promoting the equitable and holistic development of Dalit children including Pasmanda (Dalit) Muslims.
Combating Human Trafficking: Need for networking is imperative
Caritas India has recently steered a consultation to combat human trafficking issue at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on March 13, 2018, with the likeminded NGOs in India & Nepal to strengthen advocacy initiatives of civil society against Human Trafficking. The consultation proposed wide-ranging suggestions including strengthening of coordination and collaboration of civil society Organisations (CSOs) with the existing Govt institutions like CWC, Child Line, NCPC, SCPC, AHTU, BDO, CDO, law enforcement agencies, Judiciary, Media houses etc.., and Promote Convergence for better services. The consultation was a significant step towards combatting human trafficking when Union Cabinet has approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection, and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018.
Let not the Vision waver from Eradication to Reduction of Child Labour