Lay group pledges great social action on golden jubilee

October 9, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Kalimpong, October 9, 2016: A Church group in Gurkhaland marked its 50 years of service in the hills with a pledge to greater commitment in political leadership and social action.

Speaking at the concluding ceremony of its golden jubilee celebrations held at St Augustine’s School Kalimpong, September 8, president of Darjeeling Diocesan Catholic Association (DDCA) Patrick Sada recalled St Pope John Paul II’s call to the laity saying, “Every Christian should be involved in politics.”

DDCA is affiliated to All India Catholic Union (AICU) established in 1919 and registered under Societies Registration Act 1860. The AICU with affiliate units across the diocese/districts in India is a non political body, and it seeks to represent and strengthen the Catholic Community and country, in the socio-religious, political, and economic fields.

Sada also informed more than 400 participants including some 40 priests and DDCA members present at the event the three decisions of the AICU national meet held last month in Kolkata.

First decision was a demand of the national of Catholic leaders from across India to press for equal rights for Dalit Christians as enjoyed by Dalit converts to other religions.

Secondly DDCA praised Government of India for sending a delegation to the canonization of St Teresa of Calcutta under the leadership of Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.

Thirdly the Catholic body condemned the malicious allegations leveled against the noble and selfless service St Teresa of Calcutta rendered to the poorest of the poor for over 50 years.

In his presidential address Sada also gave a three word slogan to the members to “Renounce, Pronounce and Denounce.”

Sada explained the slogan saying: “Renounce means self sacrifice in serving the society; Pronounce signified the primary duty of every Christian to proclaim God’s kingdom of justice and brotherhood;” and Denounce meant “to respond to anti-Christian attacks.”

The diocese of Darjeeling established in 1962 comprises of the entire state of Sikkim and parts of North Bengal with its four hill stations of Kurseong, Kalimpong, Mirik and Darjeeling as well as its numerous tea plantations.

According 2014 diocesan statistics, it has 54 parishes, 3 missions, 132 priests (82 diocesan, 50 religious), 455 lay religious (121 brothers, 334 sisters), 40 seminarians. Spread over 9,521 square kilometers, it has a population: 37,109 Catholics (2.6 percent of 1,433,000 total).

The lay leaders and Bishop Stephen Lepcha of Darjeeling recalled the wisdom of Bishop Eric Benjamin the first bishop of Darjeeling who participated at Vatican II and was inspired by its concept of the Church as ‘people of God’ and started DDCA on July 23, 1966.

The jubilee celebrations started with hoisting of jubilee flag with the DDCA motto: For God, Country and Community.” DDCA member from Kurseong Peter Kerr designed it.

The celebrations concluded with the release of a souvenir publication compiled by Thomas Mukhia chronicling the history of DDCA followed by thanksgiving Eucharist presided over by Bishop Stephen Lepcha and fellowship meal for all.

– matters india

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One Response to “Lay group pledges great social action on golden jubilee”
  1. Isaac Gomes says:

    The DDCA must be commended on its three word slogan to the members to “Renounce, Pronounce and Denounce.” Let us hope it is not pious thoughts only and is the slogan is practised every day, especially by the lay leaders.

    However, the first paragraph itself is rather shocking. It says “Kalimpong, October 9, 2016: A Church group in Gurkhaland marked its 50 years of service in the hills with a pledge to greater commitment in political leadership and social action.”

    Since when has Kalimpong or for that matter Darjeeling District has become GURKHALAND? The reporter either lacks knowledge of history and geography or is deliberately trying to get in the good books of Bimal Gurung, an inept leader of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha which as per Wikipedia is a registered unrecognized political party which campaigns for the creation of a separate state Gorkhaland within India, out of districts in the north of West Bengal. The party was launched on 7 October 2007.

    When I was in Duka a few years ago during the inauguration of two kilometer man-made road by Bishop Stephen Lepcha and local councillors, I heard the Bishop when questioned by a reporter from the Statesman, that Gorkhaland would not be a reality as there is nothing exclusively called Gorkhas in the region to merit call for a unified Gorkhaland. The inhabitants of the three districts Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong were from different ethnic backgrounds e.g. Nepalis, Lepchas, Bhutias and adivasis. If Gorkhaland is granted, then immediately there would be separate demands for Lepchaland, Bhutialand, etc.

    Now with Mamata Banerjee’s active promotion and monitoring of separate Development Boards or Lepchas and Tamangs, and with the people getting monetary and benefits, which Bimal Gurung could not get them in spite of his tall talks, Gorkhaland is losing momentum.

    So the heading Gorkhaland is both misplaced, factually and politically incorrect.

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