Priest granted bail in beating case

September 17, 2012 by  
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West Bengal, September 15, 2012: The Salesian priest in West Bengal, who was arrested for beating and injuring students, has been granted bail.

Fr. Subir Mandal, former vice principal of Don Bosco School, Bandel, was released from the Hooghly prison after his court hearing Sept. 13.

School principal C.V. Matthew said the priest was no longer in his community since the Salesian Provincial Father Thomas Ellicherail removed him from his services after the incident.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 20.

The priest was arrested on Sept. 5 after a student’s parents lodged a complaint against him for voluntarily causing grievous hurt using dangerous weapons or means, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

The incident happened when grade 4 students while decorating the room for teacher’s day turned disorderly and started spraying foam from cans.

The accused priest confiscated the foam cans and allegedly hit two of the students with a can.

The students were seriously injured and required 2 stitches each on their heads.

The priest had, however, after his arrest expressed repressed regret over the incident.

All schools in the state have banned all forms of corporal punishment of students after a high court order 2 years ago.

– ucan

Archbishop D’Souza: New evangelization needs love of Mother Teresa

April 25, 2012 by  
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West Bengal, April 21, 2012: Love for God and neighbor must be the hallmark of all missionary efforts, against the difficulties and accusations of proselytism. Archbishop Emeritus of Calcutta and postulator of the cause of canonization of the first Missionary of Charity, remembers the path of the blessed.

Christian missionaries in India are increasingly suffering persecution of various kinds, accused of proselytizing through their charities, schools in more rural areas, hospitals and leper colonies. Archbishop Henry D’Souza, Archbishop Emeritus of Calcutta, reflects on the situation of the mission in India and its difficulties, recalling the example of Mother Teresa, with whom he worked for 35 years and for whom since 1997 he has been postulator for the cause of canonization. What distinguishes the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, says the Archbishop, is love. Below an interview with Msgr. Henry D’Souza.

Excellency, why did Mother Teresa not encounter problems in her missionary work?

Mother Teresa had one overriding thought. “Where love is ,there is God”. in her attempt to respond to the call “Be my light” she brought love. Love God, love your neighbour, especially the poorest of the poor.  Love needs to be the mark in all our missionary efforts.  Many times we hear criticism about our institutions and our social and charitable works- they have become “institutionalized”.

Good works without love may attract outwardly, because of their academic excellence, or professional quality, and their ability to achieve. But this is not real evangelization.

On the other hand, when our work is with the poor and rural sections of people, our good works may be the cause for changing the social structures. That could be threatening to the given society.

Mother Teresa was able to avoid the two issues through her love. In fact her ministry, life and example have changed society- society at large has become more conscious of the poor and the need to help them achieve a better standard of life.

Perhaps love is the key to meet the many suspicions which face Christian institutions, and Christian missionaries. Even when we suffer persecutions, we need to offer love.

Mother Teresa’s Mission was through her multifaceted awareness of mission work. What are your reflections, changes and challenges that have occurred as a result of its impact?

Many were the consequences of the mission of Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa was once told that she should not be concerned about actual poverty. She should address the causes of poverty. Her reply was straight forward, “I only understand the reality. I leave it to others to find the causes.” But in addressing the reality, whether it was actual material poverty or loneliness or lack of love, she drew sharp attention to the causes of poverty.

Even actual poverty has begun to be better understood. When this year the Rs.32/- poverty norm began to be discussed, a spokesperson said, “Poverty is not only about food. It has also to be concerned about home, family education, health and other such realities.”

People began to want to offer more than food and shelter. The start of the physio-therapy section in the MC homes is a concrete example. Qualified people are going forward to offer assistance to the poor.

The leprosy apostolate of Mother Teresa is another good example. Leprosy patients were often branded as untouchables and forced to live in distressing hovels outside the town. Mother Teresa began Shantinagar in Bengal. It is now both a home for leprosy patients and a rehabilitation centre.

Many leprosy patients have their own homes also, and are employed in self-help works. The leprosy colony at Titagarh is another example of the transforming effect to such afflicted persons. The Cuttack leprosy colony and the Puri leprosy colony in Orrisa have been in existence for centuries. They have been radically transformed after the MC Sisters and Brothers began to get involved in there through Fr. Bill Petrie, CSSH and Marianus Zelezek, SVD.

Your reflections on Mother Teresa’s mission to proclaim Christ and spread the Gospel – Mother’s spirit of evangelization.

The message of Mother Teresa is simple. One does not need to do extraordinary things. She wanted her Sisters to do ordinary things with extraordinary love. Her message goes out very strongly in two events narrated by her.”

Among many protests at the end of March, the parliament lowered the poverty line from 32 rupees a day (about 46 cents) to 28 rupees a day (about 40 cents).

– asianews

Karnataka: Maundy Thursday service stoned *Good Friday Song:

April 7, 2012 by  
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Karnataka, Apr 05, 2012: A group of miscreants pelted stones at the devotees who had gathered to observe Maundy Thursday at St Sebastian Church.

Though initial reports stated that they had entered the premises of the Church, it is now learnt that they threw stones from outside the Church compound.

The incident occured at on Thursday April 5 at around 8.30 pm. A large number of parishioners were present at the time.

Claret Pinto (46), a resident of Bendorewell and one of the worshippers, was hurt on the head and has been admitted to a hospital.

Kadri police arrived at the spot and brought the situation under control.

The premises were vacated only later after the prayers, as a few of the people at the church kept guard at the entrance.

Rajya Sabha MP Oscar Fernandes and his wife Blossom visited Claret at the hospital.
– fwd: gregory peres

Good Friday Song:


Must watch the video with speakers on: Deeply touching song of Love of Jesus for us…

Click below
Down the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem that day
The soldiers tried to clear the narrow street
But the crowd pressed in to see
The Man condemned to die on Calvary

He was bleeding from a beating, there were stripes upon His back
And He wore a crown of thorns upon His head
And He bore with every step
The scorn of those who cried out for His death

Down the Via Dolorosa called the way of suffering
Like a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the King,
But He chose to walk that road out of
His love for you and me.
Down the Via Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary.

By Sandi Patti

– fwd: samuel massey

Christmas festivities cancelled after fire deaths

December 13, 2011 by  
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CancelKalkata, December 12, 2011: Christians in Kolkata have canceled Christmas festivities due to start Monday in order to pray for victims of Friday’s hospital blaze which killed 92 people.

“We had planned week-long Christmas festivities, the first such program to be held in the city,” said Father Dominic Gomes, public relations officer of Calcutta archdiocese.

Father Gomes said the archdiocese had invited state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to open the festivities along with Coadjutor Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta.

“We decided to forgo the festivities to remember the fire victims,” he added.

The archdiocese has also canceled the lighting of a huge Christmas tree at the event. Instead, organizers plan to hold an inter-faith prayer meet in a park later Monday.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the fire at the Advanced Medical Research Centre rose to 92 when another patient died Sunday.

The chief minister has ordered a judicial probe into the tragedy. The government had earlier revoked the license of the private hospital.

The dead included two nurses, one a Catholic, who died while trying to rescue patients. Other staff members reportedly fled after the fire broke out.

During Sunday Mass, churches in Kolkata prayed for the victims. Several Catholic priests had also attended an interfaith prayer meeting to remember the victims the previous day.

On Saturday, students from the Don Bosco School at Park Circus began their annual sports day after observing one-minute’s silence.

– ucan

Dalai Lama offers key to happiness

December 3, 2011 by  
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Dalai LamaWest Bengal, December 2, 2011: Long-term happiness comes from a sense of service to others’ well-being and everyone has the potential to be like Blessed Teresa, according to the Dalai Lama.

In a lecture on Blessed Teresa in Kolkata yesterday, he said a genuine sense of concern for others and “warm heartedness” comes not from prayer but through “analysis and removal of negative feelings allowing no room for lies or cheating.”

Therefore it is essential that all major religions emphasize self-discipline, forgiveness, love, compassion and well-being of others, especially for the poor and downtrodden.

Noting that Blessed Teresa practiced and implemented what Jesus Christ taught, he said everyone has the same potential.

Dalai Lama said he has visited Missionaries of Charity centers and was very impressed by the sisters’ work.

“Although Mother Teresa was not physically there, her spirit was very much alive,” he told the gathering.

Calling himself a “son of the soil”, he said since 1959 he had made India his home which taught him religious harmony.

West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayan, addressing the gathering, said: “Humanity craves for peace and the world is fortunate to have such great apostles like Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther-King, Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama.

“We are rich to still have the Dalai Lama with us,” Narayan said.

Responding to China’s objection to his visit, the Dalai Lama said: “It is a routine thing. Anywhere in the world I go to deliver a lecture, I receive this kind of special blessing from the Chinese.”

The lecture was organized by Missionaries of Charity co-worker, Sunita Kumar, a renowned artist, and her husband, former tennis player Naresh Kumar.

MC Superior General Sister Prema was the chief guest.

– ucan

A new church initiative in Maoist area

November 21, 2011 by  
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CRI meet in West BengalWest Bengal, November 16, 2011: A joint initiative of Regional Bishops and Major Superiors is to be grounded in the poor areas of West Bengal which is traditional considered as Maoists stronghold.

A study commission headed by the Claretian Father Michael presented a report to the assembly of Bishops and Major Superiors who deliberated it and came to the conclusion to take practical measures for the church presence in developmental activities.

Led by the Claretian congregation a new joint project is being created by various congregations and the Diocese. The success of this can be multiplied in other parts of India to break the compulsions of congregational boundaries and ownership system.

86 participants of the Regional CBCI-CRI Assembly for 2011 met at Bandel Basilica. In his address, Coadjutor Archbishop Thomas D’Souza introduced the theme “Working towards justice, peace, reconciliation/ harmony in the context of the people in West Bengal and Sikkim”.

He invited the participants to recognize and respect the identity of various cultural and ethnic communities, reduce anger and prejudice, interpret events and processes by plain, intelligent and fact-based method, identify the persons behind the movement instead of accusing the activists, be close to the people, and to join hands with like-minded organizations for common good in the context of the world, India and West Bengal situation.

Archbishop Thomas Menamparambil of Guwahati, urged the participants to make practical proposals and initiate the process of implementing them.We expressed our respect for different cultural and ethnic groups as follows:

Learning and speaking in the local languages, appreciating the culture, symbols, rituals, faith, joining their festivals and celebrations including birth, death, etc and adapting their culture in our liturgical celebrations.Recognize the local leadership and their unique identity.Having cordial attitude and helping the children and the vulnerable.

Motivating them and slowly building up a small group of peace-minded influential people at all levels – network with NGOs.

Have an inclusive outlook, inter-religious dialogue, festivals together, identify trouble makers and try to get them around, be credible in our actions and attitudes.

Influence the system and the people involved in the area through Christian workers who can provide good lay leadership…

Jesuit priest, Joe Victor presented the proposal of the CRI Commission on Tea Garden Initiative. He presented the report under the three areas of Protection issues of the community, Human Rights issues, and Substance Abuse.

The religious leaders decided to accompany the tea workers’ community through activities.

The meeting of the Bishops and Religious also produced tangible results on internal problems and mutual concerns:

Welfare of religious working in Diocesan centres as well as lay staff, domestic workers and teachers by paying just wages/ salaries.

To have a regional coordinating body to look after migrant, domestic workers, child labour and human trafficking issues.

To initiate awareness programme to reduce prejudice and anger; promote peace, witnessing, justice in the community, in the schools and formation houses.

To prepare diocesan perspective planning on justice and peace, involving religious as being done for social concerns and issues.

– regional cri

Church center helps Muslim, Hindu couples

November 7, 2011 by  
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CoupleWest Bengal, November 2, 2011: A Church-based center in an eastern Indian diocese is helping people of other religions to lead a happy married life.

The Paribar Jyoti (light of the family) uses workshops, seminars and retreats to help couples remain faithful to each other.

Mohammad Golam Rasul Haldar, a Muslim who attended a weekend workshop, said it helped him “go deep into my relations with my wife.”

Haldar, a philosophy lecturer, and his wife joined three Hindu couples for the October 29-30 workshop at Dhyan Ashram, in Konchowki near Kolkata.

He said couple’s failure to openly discuss personal and other problems affect family stability.

Chandana Mondal, a Hindu woman, noted that marriages after long courtship break soon because the couples do not dare to clear misunderstanding with the other.

According to her open discussion would help couples to resolve their problems and live a happy married life.

Rupchand Baidya, a “fairly educated” Catholic said the workshops saved his family life that was on the verge of  collapse after two years of marriage. “The workshop helped us understand what caused the problems and strengthen our bond,” he told

Baidya said most marital problems crop up because spousal relationship, infidelity and misunderstanding but they could be resolved if the couples discuss them and challenge each other.

Baidya now helps organize the Christian Life Communities in his parish.

Father Pradeep Roy, who directs the center, said marriages now break down at slightest provocations, and the center tries to strengthen the bond of union between couples.

Started in 2001, the center coordinates the activities of the diocesan family commission.

It helps some 100 couples in a month through week-end workshops, couples’ retreat, and recollections for people of all faiths, the priest said.

He said the center draws more couples from other religions. The Catholic, he noted, are slow to respond to these issues.

The 66-year-old priest blamed family problems for domestic violence and human trafficking.

Father Roy told that he was inspired to take up the mission when he saw broken families at a juvenile home that he visited as a seminarian.

He gave his first retreat for couples in 1970.

– julian s das, konchowki