Indian Chaplaincy’s Palm Saturday in Holy Land

April 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Church, newsletter-1page, Persecution, World

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Indian Chaplaincy's Palm Saturday in Holy LandIndian Community in Israel celebrated   the PALM SATURDAY today (31st March 2012) at Bethphage, Mount of Olives, Jerusalem.  It   was a colourful and a joyful a spectacular demonstration of their faith in Jesus Christ   acknowledging him as their Saviour and the Lord and King of the universe and their lives.  They were very proud to rejoice and to recall and to re-enact the Gospel event that took place at very spot in that village called Bethpage on the Mount of Olives two thousand years ago.    As Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Pascua , he  entered  this  village which is in between Bethany  and   the Mount of Olives, at the side of the city of  Jerusalem,  he  sat on a donkey  and the  people of the village run out to spread their cloaks and Olive branches  on the road shouting “Hosanna to son of David”,  “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”  etc.(Mark11:1-10).   As the they were celebrating  this important historical  event at the beginning of the Holy Week, the Indian Community experienced  themselves as  the New Israel  who came to thank God for  Jesus of Nazareth  and to celebrate  his kingship all over the universe.

The Palms & Olive leaves were blessed by His Paternity V.Rev. Fr.Pier battista Pizzaballa ofm, The Custos of the Holy Land. After Reading the Gospel,  he  preached a brief homely, in that he appreciated  the valuable Christian presence of Indian Community in the Holy Land and he  pointed  out the great pre-village and god-given opportunities  of this Community to celebrate the  this feast of the Palm Sunday,  and other feasts and the events of  the Gospel on the  very spot it all occurred at  the time of Jesus. His Paternity urged them to be a Model Community of Faith-living Community for other Christian communities who live in the Holy Land   and encouraged their evangelical Christian presence among the brothers and sisters of other faiths in the state of Israel.

The CSFThe procession of nearly a thousand Indians of men and women and little infants with their young mothers,  went through the streets of Mount of olives to Gethsemane  in the traditional routes of the Palm Sunday,  singing  hymns in Konkani, Kanada, Malayalam and English and shouting “Hosanna” etc.,  When they reached the Basilica of Agony (also known as the Basilica of  All Nations) at Gethsemane, they stood on the steps of Basilica facing the Golden Gate of old City of Jerusalem, through which the Messiah (Jesus)  entered the City of Jerusalem, they sang hymns of praise and thanks giving in a loud voice at times shouting   “Hosanna in the Highest”.  They all entered the Basilica to celebrate the Holy Eucharist of the Passion Sunday. The Holy Mass was presided over by Rev.Fr.Praveen H. D’souza OFM, the Assistant pastor of the Indian Chaplaincy and a Student at the Franciscan Biblical Institute in Jerusalem, and concelebrated by Guest Priest Rev.Fr.Vinod Wilfred Mascarenhas OFM Cap.  The director of the Social Welfare Centre of Capuchins in Mangalore. The Indian Chaplaincy which cares for the Pastoral needs of the Indian Community in the Holy Land organized this procession on Palm Saturday as vast majority of its members are migrant-workers in Israel and get their week off only on Sabbath (Saturday-Day of Rest) Thus these migrant Christian community opens up a new reality of Pastoral Care and dimensions of Christian presence in the Holy Land.

Reported by  Fr.Jayaseelan  OFM  
Photos by Jossy and Jessy Pinto  

The CSF Intercessors would be praying for you (our collaborators & partners) this holy week

The CSF

Kolkotta: Another Anglo Indian family in dire straits

March 17, 2012 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-1page, Persecution, West Bengal

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What does a Christian do in a situation like this?
 
Here is another Anglo Indian family in dire straits

The CSFAfter the recent case of the Anglo-Indian raped in West Bengal, The CSF has been approached by a family, who is literally living on the streets, thanks to the authorities turning a Nelson’s eye and deaf ear to their travails. Here are excerpts of the a widow, Mrs. Patsy Rixon, whose life and that of her children and grand-children, are threatened by anti-social elements, with political patronage.

We are taking up the issue with those concerned, but given the long history, which is shocking, The CSF is confident, we need you to pitch in by copying the request below and emailing it to those, who need to investigate and act. And of course pray for Mrs. Rixon and family too.
 

The CSF Appeal to the Authorities

To : governor-wb@nic.in, secy-gov-wb@nic.in, cm@wb.gov.in, cm@wb.nic.in, mamata.sansad@sansad.nic.in, whabibullah@nic.in, ncw@nic.in, chairnhrc@nic.in, ro-ncm@nic.in, chairperson@wbcw.org, wbhrc@cal3.vsnl.net.in, shows@derek.co.in, cmcmayor@vsnl.net, mayor@kmcgov.in, wbhrc8@bsnl.in, csfpost@gmail.com, carltonarixon@gmail.com, aitmc@aitmc.org, youth_students@aitmc.org, abhishek@aitmc.org, governance@aitmc.org 
 
Dear Decision-maker,
 
Our attention has been drawn by The Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF) to the persecution of Mrs. Patsy Rixon, an Anglo-Indian widow senior citizen, her children and grand children by anti-social elements, which is shocking – to say the least. The Rixon family is contactable at No. 2 Waliullah Lane of Ward # 62 (PS – Taltala) of Kolkata – 16. Mobile No. 9331447182 Email: patsyrixon999@hotmail.com
 
India prides itself for upkeeping basic human rights and rule of law, besides constitutional freedoms. We would therefore urge you to urgently intervene in this case and help the victims on humanitarian grounds, if nothing else. The CSF has contacted your office or is contactable at csfpost@gmail.com
 
Thanking you, with regards,
 
Yours Sincerely,
 
(YOUR NAME)

Mrs. Rixon, an Anglo Indian Widow and Her Family’s Request for Help

Dear Joseph Dias,

Please read this letter in full as lives are at stake! My name is Ms. Patsy Rixon, a widow, and I & my children and grandchildren reside at No. 2 Waliullah Lane of Ward # 62 (PS – Taltala) of Kolkata – 16. We are an Anglo-Indian Christian family—full citizens of our beloved India. As a matter of fact, we are the only such family in the area living among lakhs of Muslims. My family has lived here for nearly 100 years with over three generations, always peacefully until now. Since 2003, Zubair Safvi, his son Ibrahim Safvi alias Bablu and others have repeatedly persecuted my family and me. They have used local politics, as well as religion, along with might and manipulative maneuvering to try and evict us unlawfully and forcefully from our home, so they can use the property for themselves illegally.
 
At one time, back in 1991, the aforementioned son, Ibrahim Safvi alias Bablu, was driven out of the area by the local people because of his nefarious deeds. He travelled abroad to many places including Pakistan and the US. He returned with lots of money and began his campaign to take our property by any means necessary. It was reported that he was deported because of some illegal activities on his part, and he was forced to return to India.

We have faithfully paid rent and are up-to-date and current on the property as we always have been. We have also paid taxes for the property directly to the KMC as a letter requesting all undue taxes be paid was left at our entrance. Yet these people have refused to allow us to fix our roof which has been leaking and now only one room has any roof portion left on it! As for all the other rooms, the roof has completely collapsed and is gone – open to the sky. That one room is in danger of collapsing now too causing possible death and certain harm to my family and the neighbours, if the walls should go as well this monsoons. We are trying to hold the place together with bamboos and plastics. The parapet walls are in peril of collapsing first doing untold harm to the vicinity. Who would be responsible if someone got seriously hurt or something more worse happened?
 
The CSFThrough local influence and arm twisting, this group has managed to prevent us from making any repairs to the house thus its present deteriorated condition, in hopes we would leave due to the destitute conditions. On the 3rd of September 2009, they illegally entered into my home by force backed by a multitude of people which they stirred up as a mob, through lies and deceit in order to terrorize my family and me. On that day, they completely destroyed one room of my home. This is not the first time they have stormed our home and stirred up mobs against us with their many lies, trying to scare our family into forcing us to move out of fear. Many times as often as 3-4 times a year they have come trying to evict us from our home in such a manner.
 
We have all the proper documents from the Building Commission to proceed with the necessary work on our home. We have been to all the authorities for many years seeking help in this matter, yet no one has come to explain to us why we cannot fix our roof nor has anyone come to aid us against the aggression of these people. We have the permission to make the repairs, but these individuals refuse to allow us to do so. Our landlord whom we pay rent to has agreed in full along with many family members for us to make the repairs and to continue to live in peace here. By using politics, religion and corrupt power, these people have managed to along with many other sources prevent us from getting any kind of justice whatsoever. We are ignored as we are a family in the minority who is minimalized and marginalized in both religion and politics as they have used both greatly to their favor. We do not have the money to buy our way through the system as they are doing nor do we desire to do any violence or harm to anyone. We just want peace, and we want our basic fundamental human rights of a roof over our heads. 
 
The CSFWe have gone to the courts, been to the Writer’s Building, Police Headquarters, the Governor’s Mansion, the KMC, and contacted our MLA and MP as well so many times. Hundreds of letters, emails, documents, pictures, videos, and any media we could have used, has been sent to every authority we knew. Yet no one has come to help us nor to explain why we cannot just fix our roof and live peaceably in our home. Only these persons stand in our way. Many phone calls have been made and we have been to see many authorities, but only the reply that we ever got was that someone will look into it. We have had no response to date after so many years of writing, calling, and visiting offices…
 
All the powers-that-be we have contacted are safe in their offices and sleep nicely in their homes, at night while we struggle to live and battle the monsoon floods, with very little respite to even hope for some rest at times. We are simply forgotten as if we do not exist.
 
No one enters into a home illegally and tears down the walls, especially in the sight of small children who just moments prior were sleeping in the spot where the attacks took place. It is against the law, yet when we contacted the police many times, there was no response. When these people come with their mobs, their iron bars, etc. by force and hurt us, even causing some members of our family to the hospital – all that the authorities say is that someone would look into the matter. Who can stop such a mob as thousands stormed the streets thinking they were honoring their God and their community.
 
We have gone out in the streets many times marching with banners even to the Governor’s Mansion. We have gathered hundreds of signatures. We have appealed to the Minorities Commission as well as the Human Rights Commission. Recently, we took our story online over the internet too, as the media has ignored us as well.
 
Where do we turn to and find justice? Who do we look to? We are inspired by our nation’s rich heritage of non-violent protests against such aggression, yet we can hardly believe that such aggression can still plague the common people of our nation today! And we have learnt we are not alone. This happens all the time. We are just peacefully trying to take a stand, while continuously being ignored by the system meant to protect us. We are trying to set a precedent of change to stop this evil aggression against the common citizens, who are left to fall through the cracks of our justice system.
 
Please help us in any way you can! We do not know where else to turn, so we turned to you! As you can imagine and see for yourself by just making a visit to our home to see for yourself its present condition. We just desire that we live in peace in the home of our ancestors. We just want a roof over our heads. Is that too much to ask for?  We just want peace! Someone please help us! We pray to God for help!
 
The Patsy Rixon Family

Heroic Kashmiri testimonies of keeping the faith – 3

March 16, 2012 by  
Filed under India, Jammu and Kashmir, newsletter-1page, Persecution

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Thank God for His Mercies & Love – Justice Saldanha getting better

Stop Press: The Lord has heard our continous prayers for the speedy recovery of Justice Michael Saldanha from the major surgery, he underwent. Visitors are as yet Not Allowed and he is advised much rest. He is healing slowly but steadily. Today, his wife, Marie and BG Koshy informs that he was started orally on clear liquid diet and it will be some time, before he is completely well. Do keep the prayers going – It is the only reason, we have Justice Saldanha still with us. May God bless The CSF intercessors and prayer warriors.

Who is responsible for –
Kashmiri Christians Reverting to Islam?
The Suffering Kashmiri Christian Families?
Clergy & Christians Existing as Fugitives & Refugees?

The CSFIn the earlier part of this series, I quoted from the Bible, in what was known as the ‘Acts of the Holy Spirit’, how the early Christians lived in love and fellowship. In Acts 4:36, we saw how “Joseph, a Levite born in Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means One who Encourages) sold a field he owned, brought the money, and turned it over to the apostles”. Again in Acts 4:46, we saw how – “Day after day they met as a group in the Temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts, praising God, and enjoying the good will of all the people. And every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved“.
 
Our lesser fortunate fellow sisters and brothers in Christ, beckon us to help them do just that. Won’t it be great to have an exclusively Kashmiri Christian fellowship or church – praising and thanking God in their own indigenous way?!. 

Help care for and build the persecuted body of Christ in Kashmir, as the disciples contributed to meet the needs of the early local Corinthian, Galatian, Ephesian, Philipian, Colossian, Thessalonian and other churches. And we are sure, if we are faithful to respond to His call, we will not only be a blessing to children of the same Father, but will also reap a great harvest, added to our own account in heaven.
 
All that the 50 Kashmiri Christian families are asking for is to “Shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, care for the orphans, love thy neighbour, especially those of our own faith”… Is it too much for us to give them – a church, houses, education, employment, etc.? To give two more examples of how, those who helped others were blessed by God and great was their reward:

In Joppa there was a woman named Tabitha, who was a believer. She spent all her time doing good and helping the poor. At that time she got sick and died. Her body was washed and laid in a room upstairs. Joppa was not very far from Lydda, and when the believers in Joppa heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him with the message – Please hurry and come to us. So Peter got ready and went with them. When he arrived, he was taken to the room upstairs, where all the widows crowded around him, crying and showing him all the shirts and coats that Tabitha had made while she was alive. Peter put them all out of the room, and knelt down and prayed; then he turned to the body and said, Tabitha, get up ! She opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
– Acts 9:36-40
 
There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, who was a captain in the Roman army regiment called The Italian Regiment. He was a religious man; he and his whole family worshiped God. He also did much to help the Jewish poor people and was constantly praying to God. It was about three o’clock one afternoon when he had a vision, in which he clearly saw an angel of God come in and say to him, Cornelius !. He stared at the angel in fear and said, What is it, sir? The angel answered, God is pleased with your prayers and works of charity, and is ready to answer you.
– Acts 10:1-4

The CSFWe close this series of persecuted Kashmiri Christian families with just two more testimonies, as the torture – physical and mental – is similar and Churches, Christians and NGOs interested in providing assistance can get in touch with us at csfpost@gmail.com for more details. Also we could go on, as reports of more families reach us and we cannot do much other than channel any assistance, we receive.

What is even more shocking is the plight of the families of CNI clergymen, like Rev. CM Khanna, Rev. Gayur Masih, Fr. Jim Borst, a Dutch Catholic priest and dozens of lay missionaries – Catholic and Christian, whose lives are also in danger. Why should they not be allowed to return to Kashmir and profess and propagate their faith? This is evidence that there is no religious liberty in Kashmir.
 
Here are persecution stories of the victims – in the words of the head of the family…
 
Kashmiri Christian Family # 5
 
Me and my wife, come from a Muslim background and converted  to Christianity almost ten years back. We are convinced that Jesus is our Lord and Master and our faith is a personal choice, which fulfills us and the Word helps us grow spiritually. Ever since we converted, we have had to face persecution, as news spread like wild fire throughout the city, with announcements in mosques. In order that I do not put my family into trouble and also to save my life, I had no option but to leave my village and move to another area. We thought that the Indian army being there would help, but it was only a little respite. The local fundamentalists created a lot of hurdles and attacked us many times.
 
Often our luggage and belongings were either burnt or thrown out on the streets. I even had to go to jail, under framed up charges, but I willingly suffered the ordeal, knowing it was because I would not deny Christ, that I was being persecuted. It also gave me an opportunity to witness Christ to the non-Christians and pray for the persecutors, which silently moved many of them. The current round of persecution is torture because there is no way we can run away from it, as it involves all concerned – the community, authorities and religious – all at the same time. There is no escape and no one to help.
 
Inspite of running away, we receive threats on the phone. Our relatives and friends are targetted, being told to get us to revert to Islam or face the consequences. We are now worse than refugees, because even in refugee camps you get some food and shelter. Here we are at the mercy of those who will help us. We can’t see many around, because even the Church and Christians are afraid. We understand, it will affect their other interests, like schools and institutions. We are prepared to take up a job, but we need a house first. We have exhausted all our savings, living as good as on the streets, over the last few months.
 
These days, we spend our time, praying and waiting on the Lord, since we do not want to move away from where the LORD has planted us. We believe we are called to bear fruit here in J & K, being answerable to the God for doing so. The Spirit is willing and the flesh has taken a beating, but we have faith that there will be a resurrection of Christianity, as the faithful servants of the Lord obey His Word…. There are many times that we get suicidal, especially when our frightening and bleak future comes up before us. Please convey to some of our better-off Christian brothers and sisters to empathise with us and do something to help us.
 
Kashmiri Christian Family # 6
 
The CSFI am young and came to know Jesus when I was a college student, through friends and decided to follow Him, but my family would not allow me to convert. Finally, since I was insistent and said I would leave the house, my family chased me away, disowning me. Persecution came from many fronts thereafter, including threats and attacks to kill me. My education got disrupted as I had to run away to a distant place and live as an underground Christian for quite some time. My Lord knows how I survived, because HE managed me to do it. I discontinued college, as I did not have money to live and was on my own, doing odd jobs. But all this suffering did not weaken my faith in Jesus, rather it strengthened my and my faith only grew stronger. So I was able to bear all that came along.
 
I lived in a very simple way, telling many people the Good News, especially since there are very few Christians who are Kashmiris here, though the harvest is plentiful. Over the years, playing hide and seek with the fanatics, I managed to collect some money to put up a small shop and earn some money. However, all my hope was shattered as persecution increased and I was accused of putting up the shop only as a front for my conversion activities. The fundamentalists alleged that I was getting Christian funds to convert Muslims, with inducement.
 
The scenario was unbearable after the video of Rev. Khanna baptising neo-converts raised a furore, as my shop was targetted, which was my only source of livlihood. I was to get married and my fiancée, is also a Christian convert, but there was no way this could now happen. Rather, we both had to flee Kashmir and even thought of committing suicide. But then the Lord showed us the state of other Kashmiri sisters and brothers, whose state was worse than ours. And we became even more determined not to give up, but to stay and fight the good fight of faith.
 
Presently, we are dazed and don’t know where or how the Lord will lead us. The persecution by the Maulvis (clerics) and the extents they go with our family and friends is unbelievable. There is no one to hear our cries for help. But we know God is watching and our faith will be rewarded, at least in heaven – where sooner or later, we will be. We ask you to get people to help us after praying about our desperate situation….

persecuted christians in kashmir

Calling for Your Faith in Action – Your feedback & response to this challenge

The Church, Christians and Christian NGOs are known to respond sympathetically to needs of non-Christians, in case of natural or man-made calamities, like floods, famines, droughts, earthquakes… Can we each adopt a Kashmiri Christian family? And help the Lord grow a vibrant Kashmiri Christian vineyard there, which will bear great fruit.
Please pray about it. Faith without works is dead.
 

Your brother in Christ – Joseph Dias