Pune Christians to vote on Maundy Thursday

March 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Maharashtra, newsletter-india

District Collector Saurabh Rao

District Collector Saurabh Rao

Pune, March 20, 2014: Father Salvador Pinto, parish priest at City church, Nana Peth, said the district election office is yet to contact them.

Pune district will not change its polling date of April 17, Maundy Thursday, but arrangements will be made to ensure church services go undisturbed, District Collector Saurabh Rao said.

Christians fear that some Church-run schools in the premises of the churches selected as polling stations and their activities would affect the solemn services of Maundy Thursday that commemorates the establishment of Eucharist beginning the three-day long Easter services.

Six churches, including Church of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception (City church), St Joseph’s church, Ghorpuri, St Joseph’s church, Khadki, St Francis de sales church, Shaanwadi, St Anthony’s church at Model Colony and St Sebastian church at Daund, will be affected as schools on their premises will be polling centers.

Diago Almeida, president of the Catholic Association of Poona, has threatened to boycott the general elections if the date is not changed, while the Bishop of Poona, Rt Rev Thomas Dabre, has sent letters challenging the date that clashes with Maundy Thursday to the EC and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

“We have not got any reply yet. We do not think it is fair to hold elections on a day, which is most holy for us. This is the day when Jesus Christ called his disciples, washed their feet, sat with them for supper and gave the command of service. This is the core of the observance of our faith,” said Father Malcolm Sequeira, Vicar General, Diocese of Poona.

Rao said that his team has visited the schools and alternative arrangements will be made, such as putting up special barricades and separate entrance and exits. He said he spoke to the state Election Commissioner and it has been decided to make special arrangements which will not inconvenience the community or the polling process. “We will request the Bishop if they can postpone the mass timings to 6.30 pm or 7 pm,” Rao said.

Father Salvador Pinto, parish priest at City church, Nana Peth, said the district election office is yet to contact them. “There has been an extension in the timings of polling from 5 pm to 6 pm. How can we conduct the mass when there will be no time to prepare the seating arrangements?” he said, adding that they will take up the matter with the state EC again.

– indian express

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