India: Day of thanks for Benedict XVI and his Pontificate

February 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Maharashtra, newsletter-india

Comments Off on India: Day of thanks for Benedict XVI and his Pontificate

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, has launched a special day on 22 February, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, to honour of the pope. In these eight years, the Holy Father has repeatedly identified the challenges facing India and Asia: a dialogue between cultures and religions, secularization, globalization and implementation of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

A day of thanks for Pope Benedict XVI and his PontificateMumbai, February 14, 2013: February 22 next, Christians from all over India will spend the day with Benedict XVI and his pontificate. The initiative is being launched by Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), who chose the feast of the Chair of St. Peter to express the deep gratitude of the Church in India to the Holy Father. That day, at 18:30, every Christian institution, convent and monastery will dedicate an hour of adoration to the pope.

In these eight years of his pontificate, Benedict XVI addressed on several occassions and in different ways issues dear to India and Asia. For example in the encyclicals Deus Caritas Est, Spe Salvi and Caritas in Veritate, which identify some of the most significant challenges of the continent. “In addition to the dialogue between cultures, with the poor and with other religions – said the cardinal, who is secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) – Benedict XVI stressed the need to implement the Church’s social doctrine to the realities of today : the economy, globalization, the gap between rich and poor, ecology, fundamentalism. ” Thus, he stressed, “development is at the heart of human actions, and globalization and progress can serve humanity.”

The pope’s attention to the Asian world was manifested not only through his documents. “Asia – noted Card. Gracias – is home to the largest Muslim population in the world, and the repeated attempts of Benedict XVI to communicate with Muslims was a really important challenge. With intellectual clarity and academic brilliance he has created the basis to understand their differences and call for a united front against secularization. ”

The archbishop of Mumbai, says “the last two days of world peace” were fundamental.  In 2011, “Religious freedom, the path of peace,” the pope said that “religious freedom is an authentic weapon for peace that can change the world and make it better.” In his message for 2012, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Benedict XVI said that “peace is not merely the absence of war,” but more importantly, reiterates Indian cardinal, “it is the universal experience of justice and love, which contrasts with the personal and structural evils of greed, inequality and violence. ”

– asianews

Bajrang Dal activists forcibly wed siblings – Valentine’s Day

February 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Andhra Pradesh, newsletter-india

Comments Off on Bajrang Dal activists forcibly wed siblings – Valentine’s Day

ValentinesAndhra Pradesh, February 15, 2013: In a shocking incident on Valentine’s Day, Hindutva moral police forcibly married off siblings as they mistook them to be ‘couple.’

Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini and Vishwa Hindu Parishad after giving a warning to the couples in Hyderabad against indulging in ‘western and immoral’ culture, made sure that their cadres went on rampage literally on Valentine’s day taking out rally’s near lovers point across the city.

Hyderabad police was forced to shut down all the gardens and parks in the city fearing any attack on couples or any untoward situation from Right wing hooligans. These groups before Valentine’s Day issued warning to couples that if they were seen together around streets or parks they will force to get married according to Hindu tradition.

But the moral policing drive to catch unmarried couples and forcefully solemnizing their marriage by Bajrang Dal and VHP became impediment on their own head, when one of those couples which those groups arranged marriage turned out to be brother and sister.

Rajesh and Gautami were first cousins roaming around a park at Kaushaiguda area of Hyderabad; when right wing moral police got hold of them and forcefully solemnized their marriage at nearby Sai Baba temple. Interestingly those siblings didn’t reveal their relationship to Hindu group activists.

Later when the parents of those cousin siblings got to know about their unholy marriage, they registered a complaint against Bajrang Dal activists in the police station. It also turned out that Gautami was still a minor. While right wing activists maintained that it is not their fault as couples didn’t reveal the same while their forceful marriage was arranged.

According to Hindu Dharmashastra and Mithakshara Hindu law of south India marriage of near siblings like first cousin is immoral and unlawful.

But it was not the first time Bajrang Dal has chased siblings. In 2009 at Ujjain Madhya Pradesh, brother and sister was beaten up badly by Right wing goons when they were travelling on their bike at near their college.

In Hyderabad and its outskirts on Valentine’s Day Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini and VHP activists rounded up four couples and forcefully solemnized their wedding.

Many feminists and social activists condemned Hyderabad police of failing to protect couples during Valentine’s Day, and on succumbing to the right wing pressure to close down all the parks for the day.

Many Hindu religious leaders and general public were also disturbed by the acts of right wing Hindu groups of forcefully marrying of couples as in Hindu religion marriage is not a mere contract it is a special religious bonding.

Meanwhile Muslim groups were not far behind in moral and religious policing, activists of Muslim Girls Association, and Girls Islamic organization toured parks and coffee houses to catch Muslim couples or girls in Hijab.

Muslim groups though didn’t forcefully formalize any Nikah, but they distributed books on Islamic principles of chastity and given them lectures on same.

Last year on Valentine’s Day, GIO roamed around lovers points along with Urdu media to catch Muslim youngsters and day after those poor couples became headlines. This must have scared Muslim couples who were not as visible as last year.

– tcn

Catholic groups succeed in getting Shiv Sena banner off

February 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Maharashtra, newsletter-lead

Comments Off on Catholic groups succeed in getting Shiv Sena banner off

Shiv Sena bannerMumbai, February 16, 2013: That unity is strength was demonstrated yet again, when community groups took umbrage to reportedly a hoarding that was put up outside Holy Cross Church in Lower Parel, Mumbai warning of “Shiv Sena Style” tactics, if the pre-primary school admission policy was not changed. The hoarding condemned  the school for admitting students in accordance with the Right to Education (RTE) Act and the Shiv Sena urged preference to locals, in disregard to reservations, which the school was following. The hoarding continued to remain outside the church compound despite much media attention.

However, concerted insistence by community groups, which represented the case with the Additional and Deputy Commissioners of Police ensured the hoarding was taken off. This according to The CSF general secretary, Joseph Dias was necessary because the local police inspector took no action, despite repeated complaints. ‘ The hoarding was objectionable because it demanded that the school violate the provisions of the RTE Act and incited the public, if it did not do so. It also threatened the school of an agitation (andolan), if it failed to fall in line ‘, he said.

Judith Monteiro, an activist of the near-by parish, who assisted the school in the admission process said that since many complaints were given to the police, they ought to have acted promptly, but did not do so. Agnelo Fernandes of the Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum (MCYF) hit out against the Shiv Sena and said it was trying to target the school which was protected as minority institution and only doing its duty. Adv. Joe Sodder of the Catholics for the Preservation of the Faith (CPF) said that such threats and attacks on the community would not be taken lying down and the community needs to rise against it. Archie Sodder of the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) urged the Shiv Sena to reserve a quota for the East Indian Christians and Kolis, who were sons of the soil in Mumbai and demonstrate the party’s concern.

The CSF aims to bring all Christian denominations together and deal with such emergencies, as more such provocations can be expected. Fr Constancio Noronha, manager of the school and Parish Priest of the Church which runs it thanked the community groups for their support. We will keep you informed of developments on this front and will seek your assistance, as the admission process continues. The groups have also urged the Archdiocesan Board of Education to consider collective action as a protest against such threats.

– press release

Earlier Report: Shiv Sena threatens Lower Parel school for following RTE rules

Members of the Shiv Sena have put up a banner outside the Holy Cross School, Lower Parel, threatening to launch a ‘Sena-style’ protest.

Mumbai, February 14, 2013: The school, run by the local  has been following the Right to Education (RTE) rules that mandate a 25% quota for children from economically  weak families. Since the institution is run by a religious minority, the school is also entitled to reserve 50% of its seats for Catholics. However, the local Shiv Sena have objected to this, saying that first preference should be given to those students living in the neighbourhood, who have been unable to apply because of these quotas. The school, currently in the process of deciding admissions to its kindergarten section, has lodged a complaint with the NM Joshi police station.

Father Constancio Noronha, school manager, in a letter to the police, said, “This is to bring to your immediate and urgent notice that a banner with orange flags has been put up outside our church and school gate threatening us regarding our junior KG admission process. …The banner has caused fear among our children and people. There is also fear of damage to our school property. Could you kindly take necessary action and grant us the necessary protection so as to prevent loss to lives and property?”

The school has distributed 500 forms for 60 seats in the open category and 1,000 forms for 60 seats in the RTE category. It also has 120 seats reserved for minority students.

The Sena wants applications to be accepted uniformly. “Locals within a one-kilometer radius of the school should get first preference,” said Nana Ambole, a local Sena leader whose name appears on the banner.

– hindustan times

CSF for Death Penalty Moratorium. Civil Society memos President

February 16, 2013 by  
Filed under New Delhi, newsletter-india

Comments Off on CSF for Death Penalty Moratorium. Civil Society memos President

CSF wants moratorium on death penalty.
Over 200 eminent civil society members write to President on secretive execution of Afzal Guru

ExecutionNew Delhi, February 14, 2013: A letter written to the President of India and signed by over 200 academics, writers, artists and filmmakers, have in strong words condemned the rejection of Afzal Guru’s mercy petition and the manner in which he was hastily executed denying him the legal rights of judicial review that were available to him.

The eminent members of the civil society that includes Manisha Sethi, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association, senior advocate Vrinda Grover, senior journalist Jawed Naqvi, Ram Puniyani, All India Secular forum, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, Editor Milli Gazette, Nandini Sundar, Professor, Department of Sociology, DU, Anusha Rizvi, film-maker and Mukul Kesavan, writer and historian, among others, have termed it “tragic that the questions about timing and selectivity of Afzal’s hanging are sought to be dispelled by rejecting mercy petitions of others as well.”

Four more mercy petitions of the aides of Veerappan have been rejected, in days following the execution of Afza Guru. The eminent citizens have demanded the abolition of the capital punishment, which according them should have “no place in a civilized society.”

The eminent members of the civil society noted, “We believe that you made a grave error in rejecting the mercy petition. If you had perused the trial records and the lengthy documentation put together over the years by lawyers and civil rights activists, or even the Supreme Court judgement which sentenced Afzal to death, you would have known, that his guilt was never established beyond reasonable doubt.”

They also highlighted the fact that his family was not duly informed, as mandated by the law and sought explanation on “such urgency in executing Afzal before those others whose mercy petitions your office has earlier rejected.”

Below is the full text of the letter

The Hon’ble President of India

Respected Sir,

We write to you in deep anguish, despair but in outrage as well. Afzal Guru was hanged on Saturday (9th February 2013) in secrecy. We have been told – after the hanging – that you rejected the mercy petition filed by Guru’s wife Tabassum, on 3rd February. We believe that you made a grave error in rejecting the mercy petition. If you had perused the trial records and the lengthy documentation put together over the years by lawyers and civil rights activists, or even the Supreme Court judgement which sentenced Afzal to death, you would have known, that his guilt was never established beyond reasonable doubt. The fact that the Court appointed as amicus curiae (friend of the court) a lawyer in whom Afzal had expressed no faith; the fact that he went legally unrepresented from the time of his arrest till his so-called confession, the fact that the court asked him to either accept the lawyer appointed by the Court or cross examine the witness himself should surely have concerned you while considering his mercy petition.

His personal history of being a surrendered militant, of harassment and torture at the hands of STF, as well as his statement in open court that he had indeed helped Mohammad, one of the attackers on the Parliament, find a house and obtain a car, the same car used in the attack, but at the orders of his STF handlers, should have spurred a full-scale investigation into the allegations. The citizens of this country do not know if one was ordered at all.

It is also a fact that the much-hyped investigation of the Parliament attack case and its prosecution resulted in two full acquittals and conviction of another for concealing knowledge of the crime. It was almost as if there was a need to at least ensure one death sentence so that the faith of the public / society in the efficacy of the prosecution and the judiciary and the Legislature which represented the ‘State” would not be shaken. Surely this was not a case where even the government of the day was convinced of the guilt of Afzal; but treated it like a case that was far too important for all accused to be acquitted. We must remind you sir that the Supreme Court threw out the confessions of both Afzal and Shaukat which obviously indicated that the investigation had been far from fair.

As in life, Afzal Guru was denied his legal rights in his death. Sir, every convict whose mercy petition has been rejected by the President, is entitled yet to a last resort. The convict has the constitutional right to file a judicial review or a delay petition, in the High Court and the Supreme Court, to seek commutation of the death sentence. There exists veritable case law to support a condemned convict’s right to appeal on grounds that pendency of death penalty for years causes suffering and torturous anxiety. We only cite the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, which in 1988 held that “Undue long delay in execution of the sentence of death will entitle the condemned person to approach this Court under Article 32”.

Under the law, Afzal Guru may have lived still despite your rejection of the mercy petition, had he, his family and lawyers been informed of the rejection of the mercy petition. But perhaps fearing precisely this, the state whose head you are, Sir, chose to execute him in secrecy. The killing was not a fait accompli– a natural culmination of the course of law, as it is being made out to be by the government and the media. In fact, Afzal Guru was cynically, callously and calculatedly denied access to judicial remedy that was due to him. His family was not informed, not only because our state has become unrecognizably cruel—which it has, but also because it did not want Afzal Guru to exercise his legal rights and possibly avert the execution. Informing the wife that her mercy petition had been rejected through speed post is a joke. What the state has done is not simply kill a convict. It has committed a fraud on the people by invalidating an entire body of jurisprudence and a category of rights inhering in our Constitution.

And finally, the Indian state must explain why it displayed such urgency in executing Afzal before those others whose mercy petitions your office has earlier rejected.

Catholic forum calls for moratorium on death penalty

The forum said Christians are against death penalty for well-known religious reasons, as it defends the sanctity of life.

Death PenaltyMumbai, February 13, 2013: In the wake of the execution of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, a Catholic forum has called for a moratorium on the death penalty in the country.

“India should consider a moratorium against all executions, pending a review and a comprehensive review of the death penalty,” said Joseph Dias, president of Catholic Secular Forum (CSF).

Dias said that in a recent vote at the UN General Assembly, 110 countries called for the abolition of the death penalty, while India was among the 39 countries that sustained it.

According to the UN, about 150 countries have abolished the death penalty or have established a moratorium, he said.

Dias said that Christians are against death penalty for well-known religious reasons, as it defends the sanctity of life.

CSF said that death penalty does not necessarily heal the wounds of the victims or their families and it is an inhumane penalty, which makes society less civil and more cruel.

Studies indicate that life imprisonment has major value as a deterrent; the death penalty, finally, also represents a waste of resources, which wastes the courts time and energy and worsens the criminal justice system, it said.

Guru, who was the mastermind of the parliament attack, was executed in the Tihar jail on Feb. 9 after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy petition.

His body was buried in the jail premises.

– agenzia fides


Muslim forum to put 15 point charter of demands to Sonia G

February 16, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india, Uttar Pradesh

Comments Off on Muslim forum to put 15 point charter of demands to Sonia G

Aligarh muslim universityUttar Pradesh, February 14, 2013: Forum for Muslim studies & Analysis (FMSA) Aligarh is gearing up to welcome UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on February 16 while she will be in AMU campus to attend 60th Convocation of the university.

Jasim Mohammad, Secretary General of FMSA said that FMSA will put before Mrs Gandhi 15 point charter of demands based on the problems faced by the Muslims in community.

Member of AMU Executive Council, Dr. Mohammad Shahid, FMSA President Prof. Razaullah Khan, Ex Member of AMU Court Prof. Humayun Murad and Vice –President N. Jamal Ansari will address the media on February 15 to highlight the problems of the Muslims.

The 15 charter of demands are:

1. National Commission for Minorities (NCM) must be granted Constitutional status.
2. Make ‘Scheduled Caste’ definition religion-neutral, amend 1950 order.
3. Evolve a procedure to nominate Muslims in public positions.
4. Create special component plans for Muslims for skill development programs and other economic opportunities.
5. Enhance outlay for 15 Point Programme to 19% of total plan allocation.
6. Declare AMU a minority institution by amending Article 30 of the Constitution of India.
7. Grant the Jamia Urdu Aligarh, an Open University status by centre legislation and establish equivalence between Madarsa and other institutions.
8. Central Urdu Teachers Scheme: Follow up implementation in states.
9. Concentrate on benefiting Muslim community, not individuals.
10. Dereserve Muslim dominated constituencies.
11. Make the village and ward (and not the district or block) as units of planning for infrastructure schemes and their implementation, to benefit poor Muslims.
12. Establish ‘facilitation centers’ at block and district levels, run by Muslim youth, to act as information dissemination and guidance facilities on schemes and entitlements;
13. Include Sachar and JPC recommendation in Wakf Bill.
14. Publicize Madarsa Scheme (SPQEM) in Urdu & other languages.
15. Involve Muslim beneficiary groups in planning & implementation of projects.

FMSA has also written a letter to the Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University urging him to use the opportunity and raise the issues concerning the Muslim community.

– tcn

Sunday services disturbed by Muslim leaders in Balanagar, Secunderabad

February 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Andhra Pradesh, newsletter-india

Comments Off on Sunday services disturbed by Muslim leaders in Balanagar, Secunderabad

Andhra PradeshAndhra Pradesh, February 12, 2012: Pastor B.Rakshanandam aged 39 years residing in Balanagar Industrial slums doing his ministry since 1995. Pastor Rakshananadam is having a gathering of around 100 believers having a worship place above his house. He had given recently given Baptism to 10 believers on last Friday. Angered by the baptism, the Muslim neighbours in the locality forced Pastor to stop his Sunday worship for the last 2 Sundays. The Pastor reported the harassment to the owner of his house. The owner in turn called those who were asking the Pastor to stop the service and said that all that they are doing is only prayer and good works and they should not trouble them. Thus an amicable settlement was reached.

A police case was about to be registered against him, however the intervention of the house owner brought the matter to a peaceful conclusion. Please pray for Pastor Rakshananadam and his congregation.



We’ll live and let Valentines live: VHP

February 15, 2013 by  
Filed under New Delhi, newsletter-india

Comments Off on We’ll live and let Valentines live: VHP

Happy ValentinesNew Delhi, February 13, 2013: Right-wing groups who have been known to play spoilsport each Valentine’s Day have said that this year they will let Feb 14 pass and only launch a helpline for women in distress from Wednesday.

“There will be no protests or demonstrations against Valentine’s Day. At the same time, youngsters should behave decently. As a new initiative this year, we have started a new helpline 011-23616372 to help women in distress. We will provide all support to such women,” Vinod Bansal, spokesperson, Viswa Hind Parishad (VHP), told IANS.

“The helpline is available round the clock. Durga Vahini and Bajrang Dal, youth wings of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, will attend to calls. If an untoward incident is reported, we will alert the nearest police station,” Bansal said.

The right-wing groups said they had no objections to the celebrations of Valentine’s Day. “We used to tell young couples to get married, otherwise we would hand them over to police or parents. For the past few years, we have suppressed our opposition to Valentine’s Day celebrations. We don’t want our young people to ape the West and bring disgrace on our culture,” Ravindra Negi, a Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena (RSS) activist told IANS, as he handed out flyers at Connaught Place, asking young people to refrain from celebrating Valentine’s Day.

In the past, Hindu radicals usually kept vigil at parks, restaurants and other places on the day, and occasionally went on the rampage, attacking pubs and greeting card shops to prevent young people from celebrating the special day dedicated to love.

“We are not going for any demonstrations. What is the use of protesting when our protests won’t stop celebrations? We just end up getting a bad reputation,” Sanjay Sharma, a Shiv Sena member, said.

“It’s not as if we are doing any moral policing. We urge pubs, restaurants and hotel managements not to organise special events on Feb 14, and to prevent vulgar dances in their premises,” Bansal said.

Jai Bhagwan Goyal of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh said that Valentine’s Day was used as an occasion for loot by multinational companies: “Valentine’s Day is just a gimmick. Multi-national companies loot money from young consumers, and encourage expensive gifting. People buy cards, flowers, jewellery, chocolates or mobile phones, and young people spend lakhs on this particular day,” Goyal told IANS.

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), the expenditure during Valentine’s week in India is a whopping at $27 million (Rs.15,000 crore). The estimate was based on a survey of 800 executives in major metropolitan cities and 1,000 students from 150 educational institutions.

– ians

Mizo Church panel appeals for Godly candidate

February 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Mizoram, newsletter-india

Comments Off on Mizo Church panel appeals for Godly candidate

Of the 29 polling stations, 13 stations in the Chalfilh constituency were declared sensitive.

Mizo Church panel appeals for Godly candidateMizarom, February 13, 2013: A church panel in Mizoram has appealed to the people to pray fervently so that a candidate “chosen by God” is elected in the upcoming assembly bye-elections in Chalfilh constituency of the state.

The Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), a committee comprising leaders of the 13 major churches of the state, has issued the appeal.

The MKHC appealed to all candidates and political parties to ensure a free and fair election by refraining from using militant groups, weapons, intimidation, and money and muscle power.

The conglomerate of church leaders also urged the campaigners not to canvass in such a way as to create enmity among the ethnic Mizos and among different church denominations.

“We should not indulge in mudslinging on individuals and opposing political parties, which could result in a law and order problem,” the message said.

Of the 29 polling stations, 13 stations in the Chalfilh constituency were declared sensitive and elaborate security arrangements were made, while security was beefed up in the border areas with Myanmar and Manipur.

C. Zorammuana, deputy inspector general (Northern Range), said that Assam Rifles, deployed along the northeastern border areas, have already been alerted to seal the border so that unwanted elements cannot enter the state.

– times of india

Hindu radicals attack Christians, injure 30, police apathetic

February 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Chhattisgarh, newsletter-india

Comments Off on Hindu radicals attack Christians, injure 30, police apathetic

Hindu radicals attack ChristiansChhattisgarh, February 08, 2013: A mob of about 100 RSS, Bajrang Dal and VHP viciously attacked a peaceful gathering of Christian believers, injuring 30 of them, in Rajnandgaon village, about 70 kms from Raipur City, capital of Chattisgarh state on Friday, 8 February. The Rajnandgaon City Police Station seemed complicit in the attack and has now registered a case against the believers and the church.

A three-day meeting had been organized from the 7th to 9th February by the ICM (Indian Christian Mission) church under the leadership of Pastor Thomas Abraham. On Friday, the 8th of February, around 250 believers were in attendance at 2:25 p.m. when about 100 RSS, Bajrang Dal and VHP activists barged into the ICM Church hall with rods and sticks in hand and started abusing the people and accusing them of conversion.

They started breaking the doors, windows and attacked all the bikes and cars parked outside. There was a big commotion as the people ran helter-skelter trying to move to safety. 30 believers were injured as their hands and legs were broken and a few suffered injuries to their head. One believer called the City Police Station in Rajnandgaon, 200 meters from the Rajnandgaon Railway Station. The police arrived at 3:15 p.m., took a report from several believers and took the injured to the government hospital in Rajnandgaon. Soon after the injured received medical attention, they were told by the police to leave the hospital before the mob came and attacked them there too. When the believers left the hospital all the records of them having been treated there were destroyed. In fact rather than registering a case against the Hindu radicals, the police registered a case against the church and believers who were attacked.

The believers and pastors of the area are planning to appeal to the governor and other authorities reporting the incident and the treatment meted out to them by the local police during and after the ordeal.


CCBI’s mega Silver Jubilee meet at Vailankanni

February 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Karnataka, newsletter-india

Comments Off on CCBI’s mega Silver Jubilee meet at Vailankanni

Towards a Pastoral Plan for the Church in India

CCBI’s Mega Silver JubileeKarnataka, February 04, 2013: With a project of “Pastoral Plan for the Church in India”, the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), which is the Episcopal Body of the Roman Catholic Latin Rite Church in India, is gearing up for a meaningful celebration of 25 years of its establishment from 5-10 February, 2013. It was established on 22nd April 1988 following the directive of the letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the Bishops of India on 28th May 1987. The fourth largest Episcopal Body in the world, the CCBI is the largest Episcopal Conference in Asia, put in charge of the Faithful of the Latin Church.

The silver turns even gold because the celebrations have been planned together with the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of the declaration of the Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Health, Vailankanni as a Minor Basilica in 1963. The celebrations acquire importance as the Pope, Benedict the XVI is sending an emissary in the person of Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Prefect of the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples. The Silver Jubilee of the CCBI and the Golden Jubilee of the Vailankanni Basilica are to be soleminised at the same solemn Concelebration together with all the Bishops and the Apostolic Nuncio for India Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, on Sunday 10th of   February 2013.

The CCBI wishes that the celebration would not only be a historical and a grand type of event but it is an opportune time for aggiornamento with a pastoral plan for the Church in India, which has diverse needs and challenges but also some commonalities. Thus, the 120 shepherds expected, would deliberate on the need of a pastoral plan with priorities and concrete Action plan for a decade or so. It would bring about a Catholic renaissance in the Church in India for the cause of ‘New Evangelization’. The plan is hoped for deepening the faith of the practicing Catholics, inviting the lapsed and proclaiming good news to the non-Christians.  It is a great hope in the Year of Faith for the Latin Church in India. And the three sui juris Churches would share their faith, programs of faith and projects of service to make a better India promoting God’s reign in this rich religious land of India.

– fr udumala bala

« Previous PageNext Page »