Denial to hold Good Friday services *Holy Land: Prayers for The CSF collaborators from Indian Chaplaincy

The CSF takes up denial of permission to hold Good Friday services
Memorandum to Chief Minister and Minorities Affairs Minister
Future Course of Action on Monday
The CSF, the activist community NGO, takes strong exception to denial of permission to hold Good Friday worship at August Kranti Maidan by Mr. AB Kulkarni, the Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Secretary, the competent authority. The Good Friday religious services on the grounds, have been held by Saint Stephen’s Catholic Church on Cumballa Hill Road and is attended by thousands for the last 55 years with no interruption. Similarly, this year also applications for permission was sent out. However, Mr. AB Kulkarni denied the permission, despite repeated attempts by prominent community members.
The state’s Cultural Secretary’s rationale is that it is his prerogative as per 2005 High Court judgement, to decide whom to give permission or not. And he had exercised his authority. The CSF general secretary, Joseph Dias said that ” until last year, The Saint Stephen’s Catholic Church had received permission and had been holding the services. The permission for the last 2 years was reportedly given by Mr. AB Kulkarni himself and hence his behavior is suspicious. If at all there is such a HC restriction, how was permission granted post 2005 and hence, this denial is a clear violation of our fundamental rights and an encroachment on the freedom of religion”.
The CSF has presented memorandums seeking the intervention of Mr. Prithviraj Chavan, the Chief Minister and Mr. Naseem Khan, the Minorities Affairs Minister, who assured The CSF delegation that the issue was being looked into. However, the community is panicky as there are barely a few days left and arrangements for the service have to be made. The CSF has decided that failing a resolution by Monday, the community organisation would be compelled to consider other options. 

Holy Week: Indian Chaplaincy in the Holy Land


Israel, March 31, 2012: There are a number of Indian chaplaincies all over the world, in countries where a number of Christians from India live, but the Holy Land Chaplaincy is something very special and unique. It is the place, the geography, the politics, the faith-communities around, in the Holy Land that make the Indian chaplaincy here quite important. As the place is the very place of foundation and origin of our faith and the Church of Jerusalem is the mother of all churches on the earth. Hence, it is vital to have Christians around our shrines and churches. But unfortunately, the Christian presence is fast diminishing here, with thousands of Christians migrating to Europe, Canada, Australia, Latin America, etc. for better pasture or as some say to escape harassment from other communities.
The migrant communities in the Holy Land, like the Indians add to the missing elements among Christians and through their presence add zeal and vigour the Christian presence in the Holy Land. It is the migrant communities, such as these, who live and practise their faith with much enthusiasm.  Through their simplicity and piety, they carry the message of the Gospel to the families of Jews and local others in the Holy Land. Those of Indian origin, live and witness their Christian faith in a visible and effective way amidst these communities, also the other varieties of Christians here.
Though Holy Land has so many chaplaincies (communities), but the Indian Chaplaincy seems to be the most visible and effective Christian community around. In the Holy Land, it has the largest number of participants for a single liturgical celebration. eg. Way of the Cross the number will be around 1500 and for Easter, it would cross the 2000 mark, which is huge. No churches in the Holy Land have such large numbers gathering for a single liturgical celebration. Besides, in the Indian liturgical meets, there is more life, more piety, faith and more colour and life, attracting more spectators.
Thank you for your service and we assure of our prayer for you all.
– fr. jay ofm

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