Dalit priests and nuns pledge at the tomb of St. Teresa of Kolkata

November 15, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Kolkata, November 12, 2016:

PET-Pilgrimage, Exposure and Training.  A National Level workshop from 8-10th November 2016 at Seva Kendra, Kolkata by the CBCI Office for Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes

PET the National level workshop was organized by for the Dalit religious and priests from different parts of the country. The aim of the program was to bring the Dalit priests and religious come together at the National level, know the reality of Dalit Christians and plan to work towards the empowerment of the Dalit Christians. The theme was “Mercy to the Marginalized” which connects both the year of Mercy and the canonization of St. Teresa of Kolkata. This Training and workshop aimed at enhancing the leadership skills of the Dalit religious and priests to be more effective ministers in their respective ministry. The workshop was inaugurated by Most Rev. Neethinathan, Chairperson for CBCI Office for SC/BC and the presidential address was given by Most Rev. Thomas D’Souza, Archbishop of Calcutta.

In the Inaugural session while inviting all the participants Most Rev. A Neethinathan of Chingleput, chairperson  of the office, said, “If a priest, bishop or religious doesn’t work for the poor, the downtrodden then he or she doesn’t fulfil his or her vocation.” He also exhorted, “It is the time to refocus our call to work for our poor people, Dalit and marginalised.” He continued, “If you don’t, who will?”

Fr. Devasagayaraj shared that God chose Moses a Jew from among the Israelites to liberate them from the slavery from Pharaoh. In the same way He has called us from the Dalit Community to work with them for their empowerment. Moses had to make a hard decision to leave the comfort zone, the palace of Pharaoh. It is a great call for each one us to recommit ourselves for the great mission of the empowerment of the marginalised Dalits. Mercy and Justice are the two sides of the same coin. Mercy and love shown by St. Teresa of Kolkata to the poor and the marginalised is an inspiration for each one of us to renew our call for the mission for which we are called for.

The training program consisted of input sessions of the present scenario, experiential sharing, discussions, deliberations and the way forward worked out to empower the Dalits especially the Dalit Christians.

Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta has urged the priests and religious to become sensitive to the needs of Dalits, express solidarity with the poor and marginalised and empower them through skill training and educational support.

Sr. Maria Goreti, a Fatima sister and Fr. Poulraj from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry shared the challenges in their call and mission.

Resource person Fr. Irudaya Jothi SJ in his talk said “Be at the side of the poor as Jesus was.”

The priests and the Religious, who attended the deliberations through 3 days appreciated the gifts, talents, rich culture and the history of the Dalit community.  They challenged the unjust practices of untouchability and caste discriminations, against the Dalits. They shared their success stories in their respective ministry areas.

Fr. Boobathy Louduswamy the former Executive Secretary for the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BCexplained the draft of CBCI Dalit policy which may be released in December 2016 . Fr. Cosmon Arockiaraj the former National secretary shared his views on Dr. Ambedkar ideology.

Mass was celebrated by Most Rev. Neethinathan at the tomb of St. Teresa of Kolkata where the priests and nuns took pledge to work for the marginalized especially the Dalits.

– sr. robancy amal m.id
cbci office for sc/bc

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