Delhi Archdiocese celebrates National Anthem centenary

January 4, 2012 by  
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Delhi ArchdioceseNew Delhi, January 3, 2012: Delhi archdiocese was perhaps one of the first institutions in the country to celebrate 100 years of our national anthem on New Year’s day.

The national flag was unfurled at the Sacred Heart Cathredal in Delhi on January 1 by chief guest Dheerendra Tyagi, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee vice president.

Leaders of the Catholic Association, priests, religious, the youth from all parishes in large numbers and the laity sung the ‘Jana gana mana…’ on the occasion.

Composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, the anthem in Bengali with a mix of Sanskrit was first sung on December 27, 1911 at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress.

Three years after India became independent, the Constituent Assembly officially adopted it as the country’s national anthem — on Jan 24, 1950.

The song fired patriotism in every Indian during the Independence movement, said the archdiocese’s youth leader, Fr Chetan Machado.

A.C. Michael, member of Delhi minority commission, described the anthem “as a unifying force in a country with a vast diversity”, while Tyagi praised the Christian community “whose deeds have far outnumbered their population”.

Tyagi said that the health and educational institutions of the minority community were rendering yeoman service to the nation.

He disclosed that “impressed by the Christian forms of worship, the Hindus started kirtans, satsangs [mass discourses and prayers] and jagratas or night vigils.

Auxiliary Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was the brain behind this event, said “we will work for the development of our nation.”

He said “we will help implement government schemes and enable larger number of people to capitalize from it. We will spread education and awareness on a large scale.”fr. kulandai samy

– cathnews

CHRISTmas – The birthday of Santa Claus? by Bishop Franco Mulakkal

December 15, 2011 by  
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Birth JesusNew Delhi, December 14, 2011: First of all let me thank Rev. Fr. Babu Joseph who invited me to a give a message for this gathering organized by the staff of the CBCI and the Caritas in Delhi. I humbly consider it as a privilege to say a few words on this occasion. In my Christmas message, I would like to be in line with the Holy Father Benedict XVI who recently said in one of the parishes in the diocese of Rome that during the advent we should focus on Christ the Lord who enters our lives and brings us light and joy, without being distracted by the lights. He also mentioned that we must give things their correct value and fix our inner gaze on Christ.

We are gathered here in the capital and the CBCI being the nerve centre of the Church in India, if I could say so, I think there is a need to feel a kind of sense of responsibility. Let us ask a few questions like, has Christmas become Xmas like ex-minister?: – meaning Christmas without Jesus – Has Jesus been replaced with Santa Claus, thus strategically defeating the occasion itself? Has the preparation for the Christmas tree taken the place of the preparation for the Christmas Eucharist?

Why I say this is because some of the beautiful words of the past like “missionary”, “conversion” etc lost its original meaning and today they have become the hated vocabularies that people avoid. Will that happen to the Holy Name of Jesus? Of course, with a good intention, in order to promote communal harmony, and facilitate inter-religious dialogue there seems to be an emerging trend even at the highest levels to avoid taking the name “Jesus” and replacing it with words like “God, Lord, Ishwar, Bhagwan” etc. with a decent rider that for us these all mean the same thing. In the end, even the use of the name of Jesus might end up as an undesirable practice.

First I thought it was my feeling but later I realized that there are many who share the same feeling. Moreover, surprisingly the number of people thinking that Christmas is the birthday of Santa Claus is on the increase. I don’t know whether we can do something to stop all these dilutions and erosions of reality. Dear friends, certainly, I do not want to be a prophet of doom on a beautiful day like this and therefore I firmly hope and humbly pray that I am wrong. But let me reiterate what Holy Father said, “we should focus on Christ the Lord who enters our lives and brings us light and joy, without being distracted by the lights.” How can we in the CBCI bring Jesus Christ into the focus – not his message, please – that is only a natural consequence! How to preach Jesus Christ and not about Christian values – that is again is only a natural consequence – How to bring the focus on to Jesus Christ in all our missionary activities?

Therefore, Let us be proud of Jesus – Let us be proud of His birth. Because, there is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved. (Acts 412) You know, that’s why in that cold night the angels told the fear stricken shepherds, “Today in the city of David a saviour has been born for you”. (Lk 211)- Yes, dear all, a Savior is born for us too and we too are celebrating Christmas, the birth of Jesus’. Let our celebration too “bring Glory to God in the highest and peace to all on whom rests his favour”. (Lk 214). Once again I wish you all a very happy Christmas –

– franco mulakkal

Christians, Jains have much in common: Cardinal Tauran

November 15, 2011 by  
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Christians, Jains have much in common: Cardinal TauranNew Delhi, November 14, 2011: Christians and Jains need to join hands together to preserve and promote life with dignity and freedom, said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of Pontifical Council for inter-religious dialogue.

He was speaking at an inter-religious seminar in New Delhi on November 13 that highlighted the similarities between the two communities.

“Christians and Jains have many things in common. As Christians, we believe that life is very precious and the Jain religion too upholds the sanctity of life and urges its promotion and proection,” said the cardinal.

He said that “our vocation to promote respect for life, non-violence, peace and harmony in today’s world brings us together with the common bond of mutual affection for each other.’

The cardinal called on all the protagonists of politics, economic and social communications to do everything in their power to “promote a culture which respects human life.”

The seminar was part of the cardinal’s 10-day visit to the country during which he held deliberations with leaders of different faiths. He met with the Hindu delegation in Pune and the Sikhs in Amritsar.

Sadhvi Sadhna from the Jain community said that a person has to believe in his/her religious scriptures as no religion teaches hatred or non-violence.

“We have to shun violence, ego, hatred from within ourselves, only then we will be able to bring a change in the world,” she said.

She said that the world will not have to conduct such conferences to promote peace and harmony if “we bring a change in ourselves.’

Father Vincent Sekhar, associate professor of Philosophy, marked out areas where the two communities could “seek to do something jointly with their religious and other assets in mind.”

Some of the areas he specified were protection, preservation and promotion of life, work of the betterment of ecology and environment and preparing religious texts on major themes like family, social life, diversity and equality.

The seminar was organized by the pontifical council for inter-religious dialogue, Archdiocese of Delhi, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and world fellowship of religions.

– ritu sharma

New Syro Malabar diocese for Delhi soon?

October 31, 2011 by  
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New Syro Malabar diocese for Delhi soonDelhi, October 31, 2011: Syro Malabar Major Archbishop George Alencherry has urged his people to do penance and pray for a new Oriental diocese in the Indian capital.

The head of Syro Malabar Church (SMC) made the appeal yesterday at the 12th convention of SMC Catholics in Delhi.

More than 10,000 people attended the convention. The dignitaries included Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, who indicated the possibility of a new SMC diocese in Delhi in near future.

Major Archbishop Alencherry said the new SMC diocese ‘is possible in Delhi but it is up to Rome to decide about the establishment.’

The Syro Malabar Catholics living in Delhi and surrounding areas have for years demanded a separate diocese to help their spiritual growth.

Although SMC is a sui juris (self governing) Church, its jurisdiction is restricted to Kerala state in southern India.

The Latin rite bishops, who are the majority in the country, oppose new Oriental dioceses outside Kerala saying such structures would give counter witness to Christian unity and affect works of evangelization.

The SMC Catholics living outside Kerala come uder Latin rite dioceses. Delhi archdiocese has created 23 personal parishes for SMC Catholics.

The major archishop, who took over the SMC in May, lauded the unity and harmony among the three ritual Churches in India. He urged the gathering to “protect and cherish” their distinct culture and tradition while continuing to “spread love and unity.”

The apostolic nuncio told the gathering that “your dream of a new diocese may realize soon,” and offered to pray for it.

He also asserted that every Catholic has a right “to live his rite wherever he lives” and every bishop is called to be the minister of their community. He said that all Christians are called to evangelize and all should work in peace and harmony.

Auxiliary Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Delhi, who represented the Latin-rite, did not mention anything about the new diocese. He called the faithful to be the “ambassadors of peace, love and unity.”

The convention started with a solemn concelebrated Mass led by Major Archbishop and assisted by Bishops Gratian Mundadan and Mulakkal and some 30 priests.

– Jessy Joseph

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