Thursday, December 28, 2006

Goa Christmas Celebrated Amidst Tight Security

Reported Terrorist Threat Fails To Dampen Christmas Vigil Celebrations In Goa

By Bosco de Sousa Eremita

December 28, 2006

PANAJI, India (UCAN) -- Catholics in the western Indian coastal state of Goa celebrated Christmas with traditional devotion and pomp, but amid unprecedented security.

On Dec. 14, Israel issued a terrorism alert, warning of a planned Al Qaeda attack on tourists in Goa during the Christmas and New Year holidays, the peak of the tourist season in the former Portuguese colony. The advisory, issued to Israelis visiting Goa, said information pointed to "a concrete threat." The next day, the issue was raised in the Indian parliament.

Every year some 2.1 million tourists visit Goa. About 60 percent are Britons, Germans and Swedes. An estimated 2,500 Israelis also come each year, the state being a popular stop on their post-military-service tour circuit.

On Dec. 22, Goa Police Director General B.S. Brar told media the administration would deploy additional security forces and hold regular coordination meetings with police officials from neighboring states. Goa, whose capital, Panaji, is 1,910 kilometers southwest of New Delhi, shares borders with Karnataka and Maharashtra.

As Christmas neared, police focused on verification and surveillance of former convicts, rowdies, suspected extremists and recent arrivals to the state. They also met with Church authorities, alerting them of tightened security around churches, especially during Christmas Eve midnight Masses.

Despite the heightened concern, all the state's churches reported that midnight Masses were held without incident. The most popular venue, Don Bosco High School in Panaji, had a record number of visitors.

Journalist Alexandre Barbosa, a Catholic who attended the midnight Mass on the school grounds, said people came as early as 11 p.m. because of the security threat. He found it "odd to see gun-toting security personnel occupying vantage positions."

Nonetheless, Salesian Father Romulo Noronha, main organizer of the ceremony, told UCA News on Dec. 25 that the turnout of 3,000 people was the biggest in recent years. "Night-goers preferred to come here," he said, pointing out that other churches held Mass indoors.

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, also in Panaji, moved its midnight Mass indoors after police asked church officials to request that parishioners not bring bags and said they wanted to install metal detectors at all entry points. Since the church complex has several entry points, explained Father Antimo Gomes, the parish priest, it was easier to hold the Mass indoors and install the metal detectors only at the church doors.

Police visited Our Lady of Hope, in the coastal area of Candolim, thrice before the midnight Mass, reported Father Jesus Rodrigues, the assistant parish priest. The police permitted one entry point and one parking lot, he told UCA News, adding that priests appealed to the parishioners not to confront police, lest it "unnecessarily" lead to "a law-and-order problem."

According to the parish priest, Father George Aguiar, the service went "more smoothly than ever," because the parking was handled more efficiently.

Filipe Dias, who organized the preparations for Christmas services at St. Alex Church in Calangute, a popular Goan beachfront area, told UCA News the terrorist threat did not dampen the Christmas spirit there.

"We had fewer chairs, expecting a smaller crowd because of the security restrictions, but the church courtyard was brimming, with people standing," Dias said, adding that the midnight celebration went on "without a hitch."

Meanwhile, in a Christmas message, Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao of Goa and Daman urged laity to use the occasion to spread the message of peace and to work for genuine human development.

Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Mangalore Bishop's Christmas Message - 2006

Video Christmas Message by Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, Bishop of Mangalore

Monday, December 25, 2006

Goa Archbishop's Christmas Message - 2006

Christmas Message from Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Daman

The following is the full text of the Christmas Message of Most Rev. Philip Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Daman, released by the Diocesan Centre for Social Communications, Goa:


Christmas is a feast of joy, a joy that is today celebrated in various and many forms, ranging from the deeply spiritual to the purely secular. Whatever today's commercial concerns and the media may have made of Christmas, this Feast will always stand for an eminently spiritual reality: God intervening in the history of humankind, being born in a human family and blessing every member of the human race with His Love, Peace and Joy. This reality imposes on us, as human beings, the duty to work for the genuine development of the human person and for the wholesome transformation in our society.

Our Goan society is beset with various problems: greed to make quick money, corruption in almost every sphere of life, unemployment of the youth, a continuous political instability, inter-religious mistrust, destruction of ecology, framing of laws that help destroy land, etc. Such conditions degenerate our people and our place, gradually.

May this Christmas strengthen our resolve to help in the realization of God's dream when he took birth in the cave of Bethlehem: a new world order, wherein people of all hues and colours can join hands with one another and carry on working in a collaborative spirit to re-create the earth into a place where justice, peace, understanding and forgiveness will be the hallmark. Then, every day will be Christmas!

I take this occasion to wish everyone a joyful Christmas, full of divine blessings and peace that only God can give.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Bombay Archbishop's Christmas Message - 2006

Christmas Message from Oswald Gracias , Archbishop of Bombay

The newly installed Archbishop of Bombay, Archbishop Oswald Gracias in his message has wished the faithful a "grace-filled Christmas and the Peace, Joy and Love of Our Loving Saviour all through the coming year."


On the occasion of the Feast of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, together with my Auxiliary Bishops, I wish the Priests, Religious and Lay Faithful of our Archdiocese a grace-filled Christmas and the Peace, Joy and Love of Our Loving Saviour all through the coming year. I wish to specially greet the aged, the sick and the lonely.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus we reflect on the mystery that God took human nature in Jesus of Nazareth to reconcile the world to Himself. The Christmas message thus becomes very much a message about reconciliation and human relationships. The creeping divide because of casteism in our society is one of the biggest blots on our national life today. The widening gap between the rich and the poor, the communal divide, a spirit of intolerance, the reign of terror unleashed by militant groups every now and then in our own country, and often in our own city, are symptoms of forces at work that seek the disintegration of a nation wishing to live in peace, harmony and unity. These are challenges to the very core values of this nation and indeed of our Christian heritage. We urgently need a national programme to combat these divisive forces. This is surely an area where there could be much greater cooperation between the Church, civil society and the State.

But how can we ourselves make a real difference through the experience of the gift of Christmas? How can this precious gift we receive, Jesus the Christ, truly change human relationships?

-Christmas can make a difference if we begin to notice and really see those who should be close to us but whom we keep at a distance because of something that happened long ago.

-Christmas can make a difference if we begin to notice and really see those who are longing to be noticed and valued by us but whom we choose to ignore.

-Christmas can make a difference if we begin to notice and really see those whom everybody else takes for granted and ignores, and whom we ourselves sometimes passed by as too insignificant.

-Christmas can make a difference if we begin to notice and really see those who are hurting and freezing in the cold of the outside and whom we are challenged to welcome into the warmth of our own circle.

-Christmas can make a difference if we begin to notice and really see those of other cultures and other beliefs living in our midst and learn sincerely to appreciate them.

-Christmas can make a difference if we begin to notice and really see Jesus calling us to a deeper relationship of love and trust with Him and with each of our brothers and sisters, especially the least and the most neglected.

-Christmas can make a difference if we pause and look at our own lives and examine whether we have allowed God's gift to take hold of us and change us.

May the gift of the Infant Jesus at Christmas enable us to bring tidings of joy, peace and love to the world through this season and through the coming year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Special Retreats - Divine Retreat Centre - 2007

Special English Retreats - 2006

Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Kerala

Given below is the information on the forthcoming Special Retreats in 2006 - 2007 (in English)

December 3-8: Retreat For Couples

December 10-15: Inner Healing Retreat

December 17-22: Retreat for Couples

December 31, 2006 - January 5, 2007: Inner Healing retreat

January 7-12: Couples retreat

January 14-19: Inner healing retreat

January 21-26: Couples retreat

January 28 - Febuary 2: Inner Healing retreat

Febuary 4-9: Couples retreat

Febuary 11-16: Couples retreat

Febuary 18-23: Inner Healing retreat

Febuary 25 - March 2: Couples retreat

March 4 - 9: Inner healing retreat

April 1 - 6: Passover retreat

Also note:
  • There will be special prayers and sessions for childless couples during this week (December 17 - 22)
  • During the Retreat for the Sick, special accommodation will be provided for bed-ridden patients on prior information. Medical facilities will also be available with Ambulance service upon request to transport the sick & disabled from Divine Nagar Railway Halt to the Retreat Centre.
  • Retreats for children and Bible Nursery for tiny-tots will held as usual every week.
  • Our usual weekly Retreat starts on every Sunday at 10 a.m. & ends on Friday by 2 p.m.*
*The usual weekly retreats will be held during the other weeks not mentioned here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

GOA: 450 Year-old Archdiocese a Metropolitan Again

GOA: 450 Year-old Archdiocese a Metropolitan Again

PANJIM, Goa, November 27, 2006 (KC Blog): The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has created the new Ecclesiastical Province of Goa and Daman, with Sindhudurg as its Suffragan Diocese and appointed Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao as its first Metropolitan Archbishop.

The official announcement was made at the Vatican at noon corresponding to 4.30 p.m. IST on Saturday, 25th November, 2006 which day also happens to be the Feast of St. Catherine, the Patron Saint of the Cathedral of Goa.

A metropolitan archbishop is a bishop who, besides governing his own diocese, presides at the same time over other dioceses - called suffragans - of a well-defined geographical area called ecclesiastical province.

Though the metropolitan has no power of governance in the suffragan dioceses, he is empowered to exercise a limited degree of supervision over them, so that faith and discipline may be carefully observed. He may perform sacred functions in his suffragan dioceses as if he were the local bishop, although this is now rare, and conduct official visits in special cases, such as when suffragans have seriously neglected their duties.

Goa, whose physical territory once extended from Calicut in Kerala to Surat in Gujarat had been an outstanding Metropolitan Archdiocese right from its creation in 1557 with its metropolitan supervision extending over the dioceses of Malacca (Malaysia), Macau, Nanking and Peking in China, Funay in Japan, Timor near Indonesia, Mozambique in East Africa as well as Cochin, Cranganore, Mylapore and Daman in India, some of which are now extinct. Over the years, it shrank in size and lost all its suffragans, the last being Macau and Timor, in 1976 at which time Goa lost the status of a metropolitan archdiocese.

Sindhudurg, which has now been made a suffragan of Goa, had been part of this archdiocese from 1557 till 1953, the year when it was attached to the diocese of Pune.

With the present appointment, Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao becomes the first Indian Metropolitan of Goa and Daman. It was only in 1978, that the 450 year old Archdiocese got its first Indian Archbishop in the person of Most Rev. Raul Gonsalves.

The Church in Goa and Daman rejoices that a 30-year-long hiatus has been filled and is grateful to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI for bringing it about while also offering its sincere congratulations and prayerful support to the Archbishop on his new appointment.

Friday, November 24, 2006

BANGALORE: Konkani Retreats at RRC - Nov-Dec 2006

Renewal Retreat Centre (RRC) Bangalore

Programmes in Konkani (Fri-Sun)

Time: 9.15am - 5.30pm

1. November 24-26, 2006 - Inner Healing Growth Retreat

2. December 22-24, 2006 - "Emmanual" Retreat
Co-Ordinator: Mr. Paul D.Almeida Ph: 57744296

Retreat Led by RRC Team.
Main Speakers: Mr. Paul D.Almeida, Mr. Stephan Lobo, Mr. James Rodrigues

Address: Renewal Retreat Center
Post Box No. 2911, Christ School Road
Off Bannerghatta Road
Bangalore - 560 029

Phones: (080) 6683988, 6687674, 6685568


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil on Investigations at Divine Retreat Centre

Statement by His Eminence Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil

Major Archbishop Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese

The Divine Retreat Centre at Muringoor shelters countless distressed people in deep misery who flock together week after week seeking divine help. Held in high esteem both in the Church as well as in society. This Retreat Centre had a humble beginning under the ministries of a few committed Vincentian priests who have fully devoted their lives to be at the service of all men and women who are plunged in deep misery and to preach the Good News of the Gospel. It is a Centre of healing and relief for the mentally sick and those abandoned by their own dear ones. The Good News of the Gospel preached there is the Word of Jesus Christ who came "To proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed."

Observing the change of life effected in the lives of people through this Retreat Centre, people of different walks of life irrespective of caste or creed, are being attracted to Divine. Through the ministry of God's Word preached at this Retreat Centre, countless people addicted to alcohol and narcotics have reformed their lives and have resumed their responsibilities in their homes. Through the witness of these people, the renown of the Divine Retreat Centre has spread throughout Kerala and to the rest of the world. As a result right now, the Ministry of the Word is carried out in Malayalam, English, Kannada, Hindi, Konkani, Telugu, and Tamil languages in Divine Retreat Centre each week.

Divine Retreat Centre is a House of Refuge for the broken, the afflicted, the unwanted mental patients and the AIDS victims ostracized by society. Thousands of patients come here to pray for their healing. A large number of people get healings because of their faith. Listening to God's Word of Love, people give up their evil ways of life and reform themselves - bringing peace and joy to society. Retreat Centres of this kind are lighthouses to those who stray from the right path in the journey of life.

That the powers of evil fight relentlessly against those who do good to society is not an isolated instance in the history of mankind. The unending flow of thousands of people to Divine Retreat Centre for their spiritual awakening is not being relished by a microscopic minority. They conspire and devise plans to malign this Retreat Centre among the public. At the beginning, they brought charges against the priests who serve at this Retreat Centre. Although there were court cases, the doors of the Divine Retreat Centre were left open for all. Anyone could at any time step in. At this Retreat Centre, to my knowledge, nothing is done secretly or under cover of concealment. That is precisely why when the Honourable Court ordered an inquiry, the Director of Divine Retreat Centre boldly declared that they would fully cooperate with the inquiry.

The Police Inquiry in a Centre of Prayer and Worship should have been conducted in a decent and respectable manner. Instead of observing and getting to know the ground realities, it is deplorable that a police investigation trespassing all the limits of decency and respectability was carried out. The media projection of the recent police investigation at the Divine Retreat Centre is itself despicable.

Anybody could at any time visit the quarters of AIDS victims and those thrown out from the mainstream of society. An inquiry moved by prejudices and misleading propaganda is not likely to be impartial and objective. The police action has cut deep wounds in the minds of millions of people who have availed themselves of the service of this Retreat Centre and who hold Divine in high esteem. The Police as well as the Government should have encouraged the works of mercy being carried out by religious groups and voluntary associations of this country. It is also the responsibility of the Government to care for the poor and the sick and to rehabilitate them. To show respect and decency to religious groups is a basic principle of democracy. Those responsible for it should see that justice is done to everybody. Because the Christians are tolerant, it is cruel and inhumane to conclude that anything can be done to them. The Police have dishonoured not only the religious community associated with the Divine Retreat Centre but also all those who devote themselves day and night for the works of mercy at this Retreat Centre. The Government and the Home Minister are urgently called upon to correct the police excesses and to take the necessary steps not to repeat such unwarranted actions in future.

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil
Major Archbishop, Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese
11 October 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fr. Augustine Vallooran on Investigations at Divine Retreat Centre

Truth In The Recent Happenings At Divine

Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.
Director - English & Other Language Retreats, Divine Retreat Centre

Recently, Divine Retreat Centre has been subjected to allegations perpetuated by certain communal forces that have been regularly handing out false news and claims against us to the mass media. I would like to share with everyone who loves us, the truth of what has actually been happening in Divine recently.

On 10 March 2006, the Honourable High Court of Kerala, upon receiving an anonymous letter and 2 CDs containing false allegations against Divine Retreat Centre, took up the case suo motu (on its own initiative) and ordered an inquiry into the affairs of our Retreat Centre. A Special Investigation Team headed by the IG of Police, Winson M. Paul, was formed to find out whether there was any truth in these allegations. We, at Divine Retreat Centre, had wholeheartedly welcomed this investigation and have been giving it our full cooperation. However, it is our firm belief that after carrying out the police investigation for so many months and spending a very huge amount of public money, the Investigation team could not find anything in Divine that was in violation of any laws or justice. Yet, certain things have been happening recently which have made us question whether Divine is being subjected to a violation of our basic rights as citizens of India - where everyone is guaranteed true and unbiased justice.

The humiliating manner in which the police investigation was carried out in the Charitable Homes of Divine Retreat Centre on 30 September and 1 October 2006 seem to strongly indicate that it is in the interest of the Investigation team to find out something incriminating against Divine Retreat Centre. In fact, the High Court had only given the directive to the Special Investigation team to submit a report after the Police inquiry to ascertain if there was any truth in the original allegations made. (Rev. Fr. George Panackal's March 2006 comments in accompanying mail).

Nobody comes to Divine Retreat Centre for medical treatment and we do not run illegal hospitals here. Divine is primarily a Centre of Prayer. Millions of people have come here to have a spiritual experience and get solace for all the problems they face in their lives. We have many volunteers who choose to stay on to serve in Divine Retreat Centre because of the joy of their spiritual experience. However, there are those who come to Divine who have severe alcoholic problems and need to be in a treatment centre. These people are admitted to our De-Addiction Centre. Likewise, Divine runs Care Centres and Homes for AIDS patients, mentally challenged people, abandoned women and their children and terminally ill and elderly people.

We have nothing to hide. We are committed in serving the poor and the needy people irrespective of caste and religion - especially those who are ostracized by their families and societies and who have no other place to live in dignity. Divine Retreat Centre manages a Care Centre for Mentally Challenged people and a Treatment Centre for Alcoholics with federal government recognition. Our Retreat Centre's Emergency Dispensary cares for some of the thousands of people who attend our retreats every week that are held in English and in six Indian languages.

In the past few weeks, after the latest police investigation activity, wrong reports have been published in many major media sources. One allegation is that that there are no qualified medical personnel in Divine Retreat Centre. I would like to reassure all our friends and benefactors of Divine that this is certainly not true. There is 1 resident medical officer, 4 clinical psychiatrists, 1 general physician, 1 Homeopathy doctor, 2 Ayurvedic doctors, registered pharmacists and several qualified nurses serving at the Care Centres and Homes run by our Retreat Centre. Despite our best efforts, the investigating authorities were unwilling to listen to our explanations or to look at any of the available documents.

Many of our mentally challenged residents, AIDS patients and recovering addicts are unable to personally ensure taking the correct amount of medication that are prescribed to them by qualified doctors from surrounding hospitals, Thus, we have undertaken this important care initiative to provide them with the correct daily dosage.

There was no justifiable cause for the rough and insensitive behaviour of the Police Investigation team against the more than 1,000 residents of our Care Centres and Homes. Their basic human rights were violated and they did not get the fair justice that they are entitled to. I would like to share with you some of the many public acts of support that we have received after this recent Police Investigation:

Our Archbishop, His Eminence Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, made a personal visit to our Retreat Centre on 11 October 2006 to provide his unwavering support to all of us in Divine. He also personally addressed our Malayalam retreatants about the recent police investigation. His Eminence Cardinal Varkey declared, "That the powers of evil fight relentlessly against those who do good to society is not an isolated instance in the history of mankind. The unending flow of thousands of people to Divine Retreat Centre for their spiritual awakening is not being relished by a microscopic minority. They conspire and devise plans to malign this Retreat Centre among the public."

In a statement, Archbishop Jacob Thoomkuzhy of Thrissur, strongly criticized the recent Police investigation. "The Church in India is shocked by the police investigation at the Divine Retreat Centre, that has been helping millions of people spiritually and through medical care and various humanitarian activities. This Centre has given refuge and care to many helpless and destitute sick people. It was atrocious on the part of the police to deal with them in an unbecoming manner."

Most Rev. James Pazhayattil, Bishop of Irinjalakuda stated, "The Government should have encouraged and helped the many charitable works carried out by Divine Retreat Centre. What has happened has caused great grief to the Christian community and all men of goodwill."

Mr. K. M. Mani, the State's ex-Revenue Minister, who is currently Member of Legislative Assembly for Palai Constituency and Chairman of the Kerala Congress Party, visited our Centre on 3 October 2006. He stated, "Divine Retreat Centre has become an oasis for the poor, sick people abandoned by medical science and a home of refuge for the mentally challenged people. I always come here with a sense of awe for the magnificent works of compassion and mercy. It is indeed a sacred place where the poor and sick are taken care of - we see the Face of God in them. The Police should have respected the sanctity and holiness of this House of God."

Mr. John Kachiramattam, President of Kerala Catholics Federation stated, "Certain fundamental and communal forces have been working against the Divine Retreat Centre for some time now. The Police should have been aware of this and should have given full protection and encouragement to the manifold works of mercy carried out by the Retreat Centre. I want to assure the Fathers of Divine Retreat Centre that the Christian community of Kerala stand firmly by them."

Mr. Thomas Kandathil, Mr. Sebastian Vadassery, Adv. Charly Paul and Adv Jacob Mundackal, leaders of the All Kerala Catholic Congress, issued a joint statement. "The orphan children picked up from the street gutters and the poor widows despised by families, AIDS patients ostracized by society, and the mental patients who are considered a threat and burden to their families are accepted with open arms and cared for by Divine Retreat Centre. There is the Hindu and Muslim people of all caste and communities who are also cared for without any discrimination. In fact, the Police should have provided protection for all these helpless people instead of frightening them."

We, the Fathers at Divine Retreat Centre, hope that such an untoward incident will never be repeated again. Divine is a House of God and we will continue to love and care for all the poor and needy people who have turned to us for help. We are extremely grateful and thankful for the prompt and strong support of our Archbishop, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, other Bishops and Church authorities, Political leaders, people of high moral standing in our society and Divine's numerous friends and benefactors - in India and all over the world - who have contacted us and visited our Centre. Many have spoken up publicly for all the works of Divine and are calling for a fair and impartial police investigation. We ask for your fervent prayers for truth and justice to prevail. If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.
Director - English & Other Language Retreats
Divine Retreat Centre
23 October 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fr. George Panackal on Investigations at Divine Retreat Centre

Million Hearts Retain the true picture of Divine Retreat Centre

By Rev. Fr. George Panackal V.C., Director, Divine Retreat Centre

I write this in exceptional circumstances. On the 10th of March 2006, the Honourable High Court of Kerala authorized a police officer to make a detailed probe into the activities of Divine Retreat Centre based on certain allegations levelled against the Centre. You might have come to know of it from the newspapers. I too came to know about this through the media. The 10 million people who have been to Divine Retreat Centre for prayers and retreats over the past eighteen years retain in their hearts a very vivid picture of the Centre's spiritual integrity. However, the picture projected by certain biased sections of the media was very different and it pains me very deeply - just as it pains the heart of all those who have been to this Centre and have undoubtedly been spiritually blessed.

The question arising in the minds of the people is why the true picture of Divine Retreat Centre was not presented in the media as well as before the Honourable High Court. The answer to this is that we did not have the fair opportunity to enjoy the right of an Indian citizen to present the real image of the Divine Retreat Centre before the court. The court took up the case suo motu (on its own initiative) and has issued the order without prior notice. Nevertheless, we have complete confidence and faith in all the judicial proceedings of the court and we welcome this inquiry with open arms.

All the 10 million people who have been to the Retreat Centre are fully aware of what the Retreat Centre is all about and of the spiritual integrity of the priests here. We have about 2000 permanent inmates in the Divine Retreat Centre who found shelter in our Centre when they were faced with abandonment, homelessness and dire financial crisis. Besides, we have about 100 AIDS patients, about 100 aged and destitute people, 500 mentally challenged, and 300 orphan children cared for by the Centre with love and compassion.

My brethren, Divine Retreat Centre was the first in Kerala to take the initiative to accept, provide shelter, and care for AIDS patients till the very end of their lives. I recall in the early days of our AIDS Home how the court itself in one of its rulings, requested our assistance, and sent an AIDS patient to be cared for at the Divine Retreat Centre. Unfortunately, it is not the true picture of these meritorious works of mercy carried out in Divine that was portrayed in the newspapers last Saturday (11 March 2006). We are saddened at this. Despite the wrong image given by certain sections of the media, we firmly believe that it cannot erase the true picture from the hearts of the 10 million people. We are very sure of that. I know you have great pain in your hearts. I gratefully remember all those who have telephoned us and visited us to express their support and solidarity and all those who prayed for us during this time of trial. Along with this, I would like to mention a few more things.

For quite some time, certain misguided people have been trying to tarnish the good name of Fr. Mathew Thadathil . He is a holy and devout priest with outstanding capabilities and has been serving along with me in this centre for the last seven years. Father Mathew Thadathil belongs to the Vincentian Congregation and is entrusted with the administrative responsibility in Divine Retreat Centre, solely due to his integrity. His preaching and prayers have led many to a true conversion of their hearts.In fact the Circle Inspector of Chalakudy, known for his investigative ability and impeccable character had investigated the same charge that has been raised by the media now and had arrived at the conclusion that there was no truth at all in the allegations against Fr. Mathew and that the complaint was false. We do not have any grievance against the court for ordering a fresh investigation of this case. We welcome this inquiry hoping once and for all to prove the innocence of this priest. Therefore, even though there is a court order, I know, there will be no doubts about the integrity of the Centre and its activities in the hearts of those who have made retreats here and those who are close to us. I assure the general public and all the 10 million people who have been to our Centre, and also to those who are planning to come to our Retreat Centre - Fr. Mathew is absolutely innocent.

My brethren, some people may wonder how such extensive works of charity can be undertaken in our State of Kerala without foreign funding. However, the Centre took the initiative and set an example for the world to undertake charitable works without any foreign funds. The work that is done here is possible because many ordinary people from all walks of life share their limited resources with us through individual contributions. I am sure that anyone who has attended retreats in our Centre will not have any misunderstanding on this issue. Funding is a problem but our dependence is on God, and the very truth is that right now we have a debt of about 30 million rupees with the banks. Our accounts are open and transparent and we welcome any person to come and check them to clear any doubts they may have on this matter.

Many government officials have attended retreats in our Centre. After the retreats, several of them have joined hands with us to pray for and fight against bribery, corruption and all forms of injustice. They receive inspiration for this from the Centre and have gone on to do a lot of good in our society and they encourage each other by coming together in prayer fellowships. You would have learnt about this from factual newspaper reports. The gates of Divine Retreat Centre are always open to anyone wanting to attend the retreats. All are welcome even if they are not able to pay the registration fees. For the past eighteen years, Divine Retreat Centre has established itself as a haven of solace and hope for all those who are hurting and for many who were even contemplating suicide. Dr. Sukumar Azhikode, the renowned writer, has stated this fact publicly after having visited this centre.

We are aware of the fact that when we work against the evils in society and engage ourselves in good works, it is normal to have many enemies. We do not consider anyone as an enemy. The reason is that in the past, those who were initially against us have eventually become allies and co-workers of Divine Retreat Centre. Therefore, we do not see those who are working against us presently as our enemies; Instead, we believe that they are the future allies and benefactors of this House of God. We pray and have this great expectation and hope in our hearts that we will, one day, be working together with them for the betterment of the poor, the downtrodden and the under-privileged.

The Divine Retreat Centre has been a home for the 10 million people who have made weekly residential retreats here and it will continue to be a home to them. We warmly welcome all those who were exposed to the recent media reports, to visit the Centre to experience the same Divine consolation and strength which more than 10 million of people have already experienced.

I sincerely request that those who have been to the Retreat Centre will continue to treasure in their hearts the real and true image of the Divine Retreat Centre.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Goa Archbishop's Communications Day Message - 2006

World Communications Day - Message by Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Filipe Neri Ferrao

PANJIM, Goa 19 November, 2006 (KC Blog): Following is the full text of the message of Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Daman, for the World Communications Day on 19th November, 2006.

The Media: A Network for Communication, Communion and Cooperation

Pope Benedict XVI ends his Message for this year's World Communication Day with a poignant call: "Let us together break down the dividing walls of hostility and build up the communion of love according to the designs of the Creator made known through his Son." It is a good place to begin our reflection on Media as a Network of Communication, Communion and Cooperation, as we celebrate World Communication Day in our Archdiocese.

With the proliferation of information and communication technologies, we are experiencing a conflicting reality: on the one side, the world is coming together with a global sharing of information; on the other, we are fragmenting ourselves and being segmented into tribes brought together by some very narrow interests. While some walls are being broken down with the media of communication, we are erecting, with the help of newer media, newer walls, which create insularity, disconnect us with people around us and, sometimes, create downright hostility toward one another.

To build and live in a communion of love is a holy longing of every human being, regardless of his or her religion, creed or socio-economic status. It is a fundamental task every human finds himself or herself engaged in. We may approach it differently; we may have different understandings and expectations of this longing for communion; these differences, at times, could be even sources of tension and conflict; nonetheless, the desire to commune with the other is common to all.

Despite all its fanfare, the media of mass communication, particularly the electronic media, are of dubious value as vehicles of social communication. Not all mass communication produces or engenders a healthy social communication. St. Paul warns us: "Do not be deceived, for bad communicators ruin good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33). Healthy communication, then, is a product of a network of thoughtful and strategic cooperation, which can blossom into communities of communion.

It is an easy temptation to consider the mass media as the only vehicles of social communication. Communication is inherently about communion. Communication, by its nature, builds communities. But the communities that communication builds are not always and necessarily healthy and productive communities. A network of communication is used, very often, to establish "communities," which engage in nefarious activities. To build a communion of love, and communities of compassion and understanding, it demands from us that we develop networks of thoughtful and genuine communication.

In a pluralistic society such as ours in Goa and India, building networks of communication leading to communion through cooperation is a special task we must commit ourselves to. The call for such a task is urgent. While we demand from the professionals in mass and electronic media that they be "the protagonists of truth and the promoters of the peace" (cf. Pope's Message, No. 3), we, individual consumers of the media, must take greater responsibility to establish networks of human communication, built with cooperation across social and religious barriers; this kind of social communication will build a fruitful communion of communities. In fact, the multi-centennial and rich tradition of the Village 'Comunidade' in Goa has served us so well to live in harmony with one another, by making use of its unique network of cooperation, communication and communion. And we should be proud we had this legacy, which, unfortunately today, has lost much of its community-orientedness.

The new media of communication, particularly the mobile telephones and the internet, have the potential to be vehicles of a productive network of cooperative communication, which can bring about communion at the service of a civilization of love.

For us, Christians, communication is a means to holiness. The Church, by virtue of being the People of God (1 Pet. 2:10), lives in perennial communication as the Mystical Body of Christ, bound to establish networks of communion through cooperation. "Do not neglect to do good and to communicate with each other, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God" (Heb. 13:16).

The media of mass communication provide us bits of information, albeit not always helpful, which in turn should stir us to seek further information and knowledge of one another and to find ways of cooperating to build bridges of understanding, compassion and mutual service, thus enabling us to “break down the walls of hostility and build up the communion of love according to the designs of the Creator.”

Archbishop's House, Panjim, Goa, October 24, 2006.
(+ Filipe Neri Ferrao)
Archbishop of Goa and Daman

Friday, November 17, 2006

KUWAIT: Stations of the Cross by YACF - 17th Nov 2006

KUWAIT: YACF to Conduct Stations of the Cross on 17th November, 2006

KUWAIT, November 17, 2006 (KC Blog): The Young Adults in Christ Fellowship (YACF), Kuwait, will be conducting a special 'Stations of the Cross' session in remembrance of the Holy souls in Purgatory this evening.

The session will be held at 7 p.m. in Room #9 in the Kuwait Holy Family Cathedral premises.

Be there to join in on a walk with Christ, from Pilate's condemnation up to Golgotha.

BANGALORE: "Become More Catholic" - Audio-Visual Presentation

BANGALORE: "Become More Catholic"

Audio Visual Presentation by Fr. Adolf Washington

BANGALORE, November 17, 2006 (KC Blog): The Immaculate Heart of Mary Prayer Group (Kammanahalli) is organising "Become More Catholic," a two-hour audio-visual presentation by Fr. Adolf Washington, Vice President of the ICPA, on why you should love your Church. The programme will be held at Navaspoorthi Kendra (NSK) next to Holy Ghost Church, Bangalore at 6pm on 18th November, 2006.

All Catholics are invited to attend the same. Entry is free.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pope Welcomes India's "Jesus Youth"

Pope Welcomes "Jesus Youth" Members from India during General Audience

Jesus Youth International
Members of Jesus Youth International in Rome, Italy

November 16, 2006 (KC Blog): At the end of the general audience yesterday where he reflected on St. Paul's teaching on the Holy Spirit, the Holy Father greeted 55 members of 'Jesus Youth International' from India who were on a pilgrimage to Rome.

"I welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims here today, including members of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations and members of 'Jesus Youth International' from India," the Pope said.

Greeting the 15,000 people who had gathered in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI blessed the pilgrims visit to Rome. "May your visit to Rome be a time of joyful spiritual enrichment. Upon all of you, I invoke God's abundant Blessings!"

"Jesus Youth," a Catholic youth movement of Charismatic spirituality, had its beginnings in South Indian state of Kerala from where its activites spread to a few other countries. Youth reaching out to youth, missionary commitment, fellowship, faith formation and ecumenism have been some its special charisms in answering the challenges of today's world in the power of the Spirit and putting itself at the service of the Church.

Being a network of small fellowship groups of young people, "Jesus Youth" is co-ordinated by service teams at various levels, the international team of which met from 5-11 November, 2006 at Rome in Italy. A retreat was also organized on 11th and 12th giving the members of the movement a chance to be present at this week's general audience.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

BANGALORE: "XULT" - Evening of Celebration

uXULT - Together in Exultation

An Evening of Celebration by the Saturday Night Vigil Group, Bangalore

XULT: Together in Exultation - An Evening of Celebration by the Saturday Night Vigil Group, Bangalore at DVK Hall, Dharmaram

Spirit filled moments of Worship
Amazing time of fellowship
Coming together as the one body of Christ in the Holy Eucharist
Ending the day with a hearty meal...

Rejoicing and thanksgiving we gather, in Exultation

Programme Information

Venue: DVK Hall, Dharmaram, Hosur Road
Date: 19th November 2006
Time: 4.00 pm to 8.30 pm
For More Information, please contact: 9845214905, 9886895638

Please do bring your friends along.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

GOA: Sri Lankan Bishop's Retreat on Bl. Joseph Vaz

INDIA Sri Lankan Bishop Helps Goan Priests Gain New Insights On Blessed Vaz

November 13, 2006

PANAJI, India (UCAN) -- A Sri Lankan prelate's retreats on Blessed Joseph Vaz are inspiring priests of Goa archdiocese in India with their forebear's progressive approach to evangelization.

Some priests told UCA News that retreats conducted by Bishop Vianney Fernando of Kandy have helped them appreciate better the 17th-century Goan missioner's far-sighted vision.

Blessed Vaz, named patron of Goa in 2000, is known as the Apostle of Sri Lanka. He went to the island in 1687, at a time when Dutch colonizers persecuted Catholics. By the time he died in 1711 at age 60 in Kandy, capital of the central Sinhalese kingdom the Dutch failed to conquer, 17 Catholic churches and 300 chapels reportedly were in use with 70,000 people openly professing their Catholic faith.

Bishop Fernando directed two six-day retreats on Blessed Vaz's spirituality during his Oct. 6-22 visit to Goa, a western Indian state. The bishop credited Blessed Vaz with implementing revolutionary pastoral methods centuries before the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) made way for similar ideas.

During the retreats, Bishop Fernando presented Blessed Vaz as an Asian model for modern priests. The Sri Lankan Church leader told priests they need to open themselves to God experience, for which they need to be men of prayer and asceticism. He urged them to renounce power, prestige and positions in favor of the humility and simplicity that Asians value in a man of God.

Blessed Vaz, a priest with brown skin, built a Church "from the ashes" without political, civil or religious support, Bishop Fernando reminded the retreatants. "We cannot allow such a personality, who has deeply inspired us by his unparalleled missionary labor and burning zeal, to be forgotten."

Bishop Fernando, chairman of the Joseph Vaz National Secretariat, has a primary role in the cause for Blessed Vaz's canonization. He maintains that the missioner's foresight helped the laity keep Christianity alive in Sri Lanka without priests.

This happened centuries before people started talking about a greater role for the laity in the Church, the bishop told UCA News. Blessed Vaz reposed "great trust" in the laity, he said.

Father Leonardo Morais, a parish priest who attended one of the retreats, found himself "pleasantly surprised" when the prelate presented Blessed Vaz as someone who anticipated and implemented the thinking of Vatican Council II. He told UCA News the retreat reminded him of the need for priests to become like Blessed Vaz "in all spheres of our life."

Another retreatant, Father Eremito Rebelo, said he was fascinated when he realized that Blessed Vaz promoted inculturation in the 17th century. Vice postulator for the canonization of Blessed Vaz, he also said he was amazed to learn how "the simple man from Goa" had built a small but powerful Catholic community in Sri Lanka that withstood persecution.

Archbishop Raul Gonsalves, retired head of Goa and Daman archdiocese, attended the retreats in 2001 as well as this year. He told UCA News on Nov. 9 that Bishop Fernando's programs are "very inspiring," which he attributed to the Sri Lankan prelate's "personal touch and closeness to Blessed Vaz through his personal knowledge and devotion."

The archbishop said priests in Goa have found the retreats "very relevant and meaningful," with the spiritual exercises inspiring and encouraging them "to look at themselves and at their ministry in evangelization of Asia."

About 70 priests attended the retreats this year. Bishop Fernando started the retreat series on the spirituality of Blessed Vaz in 2001, when Goa archdiocese invited him to conduct a retreat for its priests in preparation for its synod.

The Sri Lankan bishop said that after accepting the invitation, he was uncertain whether he would do justice to the assignment. "I was scared to preach a retreat, that too for priests, and that too on a subject like spirituality of Blessed Vaz," the prelate told UCA News on Oct. 22.

However, he felt encouraged by theologians' call for identification of Asian missioners relevant to Asian context as the region's "real evangelizers."
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (

Monday, November 13, 2006

GOA: Cardinal Paul Poupard to preside at Catholic Cultural Centres Meet

GOA: Cardinal Paul Poupard to preside at Catholic Cultural Centres Meet

Cardinal Paul Poupard - Meeting of Catholic Cultural Centres at Pilar Theological College, Goa (November 21-23, 2006)

PANJIM, Goa, November 13, 2006 (KC Blog): The President of the Vatican's Pontifical Council of Culture, Cardinal Paul Poupard will preside at the meeting of the Catholic Cultural Centres of India to be organized by the same council at the Pilar Theological College, Pilar, Goa, from November 21st to 24th, 2006.

The meeting, which will be hosted for the first time by the Church in Goa, will have for its theme: "Catholic Cultural Centres: Cultural Resources for Living the Christian Faith in Dialogue with the Traditional Cultures in the Context of Evolving Cultures," and will be attended by over forty Cultural Centres from all over India, nearly 30 of which are based in the South Indian state of Kerala.

Catholic cultural centres are public forums that help develop a dialogue between faith and cultures.

In his address of 14 March 1997, the late Pope John Paul II who created the Pontifical Council for Culture in 1982, underscored the "tragedy for culture, which is undergoing a deep crisis because of the rupture with the faith" and called upon the Pontifical Council of Culture "to help the Church achieve a new synthesis of faith and culture for the greatest benefit of all."

In an interview with Catholic News Service, March 13, 2006, the 76 year old French Cardinal who has headed the dicastery from its inception in 1988, described culture as being key to interreligious dialogue and said that the Council for Culture has already been promoting interreligious dialogue on a local level through Catholic cultural centers.

Around the same time, on March 11 this year, the Vatican announced Pope Benedict XVI's decision to temporarily merge the Pontifical Council for Culture with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue "in order to favour a more intense dialogue between men of culture and exponents of the various religions." The Pope retained Cardinal Poupard at its helm.

Over the years, the role of the Council for Interreligious Dialogue has gained in importance, and especially so after some misunderstood references from the Pope's Speech at the Regensburg University during his home visit trip to Germany last September sparked off angry reactions in some parts of the Muslim world.

The Cardinal who arrives at the Dabolim Airport on the 19th, will preside at the Solemn High Mass on the Death Anniversary of Fr. Agnelo de Sousa, at Pilar on 20th morning. He is also scheduled to visit the Bom Jesus Basilica and inaugurate a Christian Art Gallery, promoted by the Archdiocese, in the old Archbishop's Palace at Old Goa, that evening.

On 23rd afternoon, the Church dignitary will preside over a Special Symposium on "Globalisation and Indian Cultures: towards Harmony among Peoples," organised by the Pilar Theological College. He will also be present at the evening's special cultural programme organised by the Society of Pilar with the Governor of Goa as the Chief Guest.

Accompanying the Cardinal to Goa will be his Secretary, Fr. Bernard Ardura and the Official for the Asia Desk, Dr. Theodore Mascarenhas, a priest of the Society of Pilar who also teaches at various Universities in Rome.

Apostolic Nuncio to India, Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, will also be attending the three-day cultural centres meet.

The Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao and the Superior General of the Society of Pilar, V. Rev. Fr. Tony Lopes, will accompany the distinguished guest during his six-day stay in Goa before his departure to Rome on the 24th to be part of the entourage accompanying the Pope to Turkey on November 26.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

BANGALORE: Holy Ghost Youth Organize Shackles Off My Feet - Photos

BANGALORE: "Shackles Off My Feet" - Musical Evening by Holy Ghost Youth

Shackles Off My Feet... So I Can Dance - A Musical Evening presented by Holy Ghost Youth, Bangalore
(Click on picture to see exclusive 73-photo album)

BANGALORE, November 12, 2006 (KC Blog): "Take the Shackless Off My Feet So I Can Dance" went the choreography number that rocked the city's Redemptorist Seminary grounds Saturday and Sunday evening last.

The musical evening of "Praise and Worship in Song, Dance and Skit" was initiated by the "Holy Ghost Youth" with active help from the "Hosanna Youth" and the ICPE Mission.

The lively song performances by the choir and musicians saw a good portion of the 2000 strong crowd on either days, up on their feet and dancing.

Fr. Joseph Roy CSsR, the youth animator of "Holy Ghost Youth" delivered a message. The group's co-ordinator, Fr. Dominic Savio CSsR while lauding the initiative appealed to the generosity of the people to help spread God's Word.

The programme was compered by Kimberly D'Mello.

Shackles Off My Feet - Exclusive Photo Album at the Konkani Catholics Gallery

Shackles Off My Feet - Musical Evening at Bangalore

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pune Convention by Potta Team - November 2006

Catholic Charismatic Retreats at Poona (Pune)

This is for all those Catholics residing in Pune, PCMC area.

Please make a note of the following retreat

3 days convention by Rev. Fr. Augustine Vallooran and Team (Potta)

Venue: St. Patrick's School Ground, Pune 1
Date: 10th to 12th Nov. 2006,
Time: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

2] Special prayer meetings werein Gifted Preachers will share their testimonies.

Venue: St. Anne's Church, Solapur Bazar, Camp.

Date: 9th Nov. 2006
Time: 7.00 pm to 8.45 pm
By: Romeo Fernando – (International Preacher from Vasai, Mumbai)

Date: 16th Nov. 2006
Time: 5.00 pm to 8.45 pm
By: Aneel Aranha (Founder of Catholic Website – Holy Spirit Interactive)

Organised by Pune Service team and St. Anne's Parish Prayer Group.

Posted by Mina Fernandes

Monday, November 06, 2006

BANGALORE: Shackles Off My Feet - Musical Evening

Shackles off my feet.. so I can dance!

A Musical Evening of Praise and Worship in Song, Dance and Skit

Programme Details

Date: 11th and 12th of November 2006 (sat & sun)
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Place: The Redemptorist Seminary Grounds
(Adjacent to Holy Ghost Church, Davis Road, Bangalore-84)
For More Information Contact: Sujith (9886090790), Leslie (9945694979).

Entrance is free!

Shackles Off My Feet - Musical Evening by Holy Ghost Youth

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Holy Rosary - A Wealth of Sanctification

The Holy Rosary - A Wealth of Sanctification

by Rohan F. Britto

Konkani Catholics member and Jesus the Answer website owner, Rohan F. Britto describes how the Holy Rosary is a great means of sanctification.

The word Rosary means "Crown of Roses" that is to say that every time a person says the Rosary devoutly they place a crown of two hundred and three Red Roses and twenty one white roses upon the heads of Jesus and Mary. Being heavenly flowers these roses will never fade their exquisite beauty.

NEVER WILL ANYONE really be able to understand the marvellous riches of sanctification which are contained in the prayers and mysteries of The Holy Rosary. This meditation o­n the mysteries of the life and death of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the source of the most wonderful fruits for those who use it.

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

REVIVAL '06 - Retreat at Bangalore - November 2006

BANGALORE: Revival '06 - Retreat by Br. Edmund and Team from Goa

Revival '06 - Retreat at Renewal Retreat Centre (RRC) Bangalore. A Jesus Youth Initiative

Date: (6pm) 23rd - 26th (4pm) November 2006

Venue: Renewal Retreat Centre (RRC), Bangalore

Revival '06 - Retreat at Renewal Retreat Centre (RRC) Bangalore. A Jesus Youth Initiative

To Register:

Click Here to Register Now!!!

OR Email your Name and Contact Number to

For more information call 9845051626 or visit here.

Hurry! Limited Seats Only!!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Agra Archbishop Emeritus Cecil de Sa Passes Away

Archbishop Emeritus of Agra Cecil D'Sa Passes Away

30 October, 2006 (KC Blog): Archbishop Emeritus of Agra, Cecil de Sa passed away at 11.30 PM on Friday, Oct. 27, 2006, the CBCI has informed. He was 84. His funeral was held at the Agra Cathedral at 2.30 PM on Sunday, Oct. 29.

Most Rev. Cecil D'Sa who hails from Mapusa in Goa was ordained Bishop of Lucknow in 1971 before being appointed Archbishop to the Metropolitan See of Agra in 1983.

Upon his retirement in 1998, he was succeeded by Vincent Concessao hailing from Puttur in Mangalore, who two years later was appointed to the Metropolitan See of Delhi to succeed Archbishop Alan de Lastic who died in a tragic car accident in Poland.

Archbishop Oswald Gracias hailing from Orlim in Goa, who ruled Agra for six years since, has recently taken up his new appointment as Archbishop of Bombay. The Vacant See at Agra currently awaits the appointment of a new Archbishop.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

BOOK: Spurred By the Spirit by Cyril John

Spurred by the Spirit - By Cyril John

Reflections on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at the beginning of the New Millenium

Spurred by the Spirit by Cyril John - Reflections on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at the beginning of the New Millenium

"Spurred by the Spirit," a new publication authored by Cyril John, Chairman of the National Service Team (NST) is being offered at a pre release offer price of Rs. 100 (Cover price Rs. 120/-). The book which offers reflections on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at the beginning of the third millenium can be ordered from 'The NCO Publications', BA-274, Tagore Garden, New Delhi 110027. Postal charges will be extra and and bulk orders of 10 copies or more the unit price will be Rs. 90/-

The book will be released by the Most Rev. Valerian D'Souza, Bishop of Poona and Episcopal Advisor of the Charismatic Renewal in India, in the presence of His Emminence Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, on 27th December 2006 during the 13th National Catholic Charismatic Convention to be held at Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Kerala.

Friday, October 27, 2006

St Jude Shrine Pakshikere - 2006 Feast Schedule

St. Jude Shrine, Pakshikere, Mangalore

Situated 25kms from Mangalore at Pakshikere and dedicated to the patron of desperate cases, St. Jude's Shrine is a very popular place of pilgrimage attracting pilgrims from near and far.

The details for the 2006 festal celebrations follow.

St. Jude's Feast Celebration - 2006 Programme Schedule

Novena from 19th-23rd October mornings at 8:45 a.m.

20th October 2006

"Jesus Speaks" - Youth Retreat

Time: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

22nd October 2006

Free Medical Camp

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Venue: South Canara Jilla Panchayath School, Koikude.

Eucharistic Day

Time: 5:00 p.m.
Offetory procession from bus stand to Church.

Eucharistic procession & Homily

Time: 6:00 p.m.
Main Celebrant: Rev. Fr. Baptist Menezes, Professor, St. Joseph Seminary.

24th October 2006

Community Wedding Celebration

Time: 10:30 a.m.
Main Celebrant: Rev. Fr. Vincent Montero, Director, Pastoral Centre, Mangalore.
8 couples will receive the Sacrament of Marriage.

Community meal

Time:12:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

25th October 2006

Prayer for Children

Time: 5:00 p.m
Main celebrant: Rev. Fr. Anil D'Souza.

26th October 2006

Seminar on Information about Various Departments

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Adoration, Vespers and Eucharistic Celebration

Time: 6:00 p.m.
Main Celebrant: Very Rev. Patrick Rodrigues, Vicar Forane, Kinnigoli.

27th October 2006

Prayers for the Sick

Time: 5:00 p.m.
Main Celebrant: Very Rev Fr. Basil Vas, Vicar Forane Kasaragod.

28th October 2006

Ordinary Mass

Time: 8:00 a.m.


Time: 9:30 a.m.

Solemn Feast Mass

Time:10:00 a.m
Presided by: Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, Bishop of Mangalore.

Contact Information

Parish Priest: Rev. Fr. Alban D'Souza

Address:St. Jude Thaddeues Church,
Pakshikere, Kemral P.O.,
Via Haleangady 576146

Tel: +91-824-2283156

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Goa Archbishop Sends Eid ul-Fitr Greetings

Archbishop Ferrao Sends Eid ul-Fitr Greetings

PANJIM, 25 October 2006: The Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao has sent his wishes to the Muslim brethren celebrating their festivity of Eid ul-Fitr, after a month of prayer and fasting.

"May this festivity, that reinforces values like peace, self-control, sacrifice and charity, help them and all of us to appreciate and thank God for all his bountiful gifts, celebrate our mutual fellowship and promote inter-cultural and inter-religious understanding," the Archbishop said in a note released by the Diocesan communications centre.

"This," the Archbishop said, "will enable us to join hands together for the construction of a new society in Goa, characterized by a general spirit of sincere collaboration and harmonious living."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Asian Mission Congress 2006 - Statement

'Telling The Story Of Jesus In Asia'

October 23, 2006

CHIANG MAI, Thailand (UCAN) -- More than 1,000 Religious and lay people who attended the first Asian Mission Congress (AMC) have committed themselves to helping others know about Jesus in an "Asian way" through stories and symbols.

The participants' pledge, reflected in a message issued at the end of the Oct. 18-22 gathering in Thailand, affirms the power of story telling as an "authentic path" of dialogue. "When God opens the door," their message says, they will "not be timid" to explicitly proclaim Jesus Christ as Savior.

Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, Philippines, secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), presented the message to the assembly on Oct. 22. The text, which he said is addressed to the People of God in Asia, reports on the content and mood of sharing, reflections, and celebrations throughout the AMC, whose theme was "The Story of Jesus in Asia: A Celebration of Faith and Life."

The text compares the gathering of lay people in mission work, catechists, family members, Church ministry workers and indigenous people with bishops, priests and Religious to the first disciples who were assembled on Pentecost.

"A spacious, sprawling hotel in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, became the New Upper Room," Archbishop Quevedo read from the message at ceremonies ending the congress, which was sponsored by the FABC's Office of Evangelization.

He noted that Asians can retell Jesus' story in words and deeds as the first disciples did, and said this "witnessing through action" can be done through service, compassion, community building, tolerance and sacrifice.

The message cites stories of various religious perspectives on conflicts and tensions, and also lists social conditions that challenge the mission of evangelization in the continent.

Copies of the message were given to participants who came from countries in which the local bishops' conference belongs to the FABC -- Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Other Asian countries and territories with no bishops' conference also sent delegates -- East Timor, Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Joining them were priests and other observers from beyond Asia.

As part of the closing ceremonies, former strangers embraced and exchanged gifts before the closing Mass, led by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples, Italy. Pope Benedict XVI had sent Cardinal Sepe as his envoy to the AMC.

More than 800 local men, women and children came for the closing Mass, which coincided with World Mission Sunday. Some wore national or tribal traditional dress, just as many AMC participants did.

The full text of the message follows:


The Message of the First Asian Mission Congress

Chiang Mai, Thailand, October 18-22, 2006

Jesus lives! Christ is Risen! Our Savior is with us; his life is our life. These affirmations capture our sentiments as the participants of the 2006 Asian Mission Congress. Gathered in Thailand, October 18-22, 2006, we express the same joyful faith as Christ's first disciples, who proclaimed: "I have seen the Lord" (Jn. 20:18); "It is the Lord" (Jn. 21:7); "It is true: The Lord has risen" (Lk. 24:34); "My Lord and my God" (Jn. 20:28). The first disciples rejoiced: their friend, their teacher, their prophet, their compassionate healer, their beloved was miraculously - mysteriously - alive. Fear and disappointment, trauma and devastation became faith and rejoicing. Who could have expected? Who would have dreamed?

Jesus comes personally to his followers. He calls them by name: Mary of Magdala, Thomas, Peter, James, John. They recognize him. He speaks words of peace and reconciliation. The disbelieving disciples are transformed. Yet, Jesus, the Crucified-Risen One, expands the dimensions of their faith. He challenges them further. He sends them on mission: "Go forth to every part of the world, and proclaim the Good News to the whole of creation" (Mk. 16:15); "Go forth and make all nations my disciples" (Mt. 28:19); "You are witnesses to all this" (Lk. 24:48); "As the Father sent me, so I send you" (Jn. 20:21). And so the disciples set out to tell the Jesus story. They go to places, near and far: James to Jerusalem, Peter and Paul to Rome, Thomas to India. Indeed, to encounter the Risen Lord is to be sent on mission.

In God's gracious providence, over 1,000 of us contemporary disciples of Jesus assembled for the first-ever Asian Mission Congress. A spacious, sprawling hotel in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, became the New Upper Room. We gathered to share our experience, to tell our stories, to meet other disciples from across the vast Asian continent, from Lebanon to Japan, from Kazakhstan and Mongolia to Indonesia. We heard inspiring stories, too numerous to count, stories of life, faith, heroism, service, prayer, dialogue, and proclamation. An infectious mood of joy pervaded us. No one doubted the active presence of the befriending Spirit of God. Together we celebrated our faith and our life as disciples of Jesus through sharing, listening, praying, celebrating the Eucharist. The multiplicity of cultures and languages added light and color to the celebration of our one common faith.

This pastoral-catechetical congress explored a unique methodology of evangelizing: story-telling or faith-sharing. We listened to narratives about the elderly, families, youth, children and women, BECs. We heard perspectives from Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and the Tribals. Contemporary contexts were highlighted: Consumerism, Media, Migrants, and Interfaith Dialogue. How significant these are to the mission of evangelization in the present context of ethnic conflicts and religious tensions!

The Story of Jesus was the unique thread, weaving all these life experiences into one grand narrative. All the colors, peoples, languages, cultures, values, religions, and arts of Asia's peoples formed one grand tapestry. Lord, how marvelous are your ways! How deep your designs!

The world is full of stories. Human life is unimaginable without stories. Stories tell us who we are and they link us with other peoples, all across Asia and even throughout the world. Through them we explore life's deeper dimensions, including the mystery of our own being. Stories impact our life and our faith. They transform perspectives and values. They form community. Stories contain a hidden dynamism and transforming power, incalculably so when they emerge from experience. They are remembered much longer than lessons learned in school or books that are read.

Jesus was known as a story-teller. As a rabbi, a teacher, his favorite method of instruction was telling parables, insightful vignettes that revealed the depths of God's Reign. Who does not know the parable of the Good Samaritan or the Prodigal Son? Jesus' parables challenge us with new possibilities in our relations with God and all our brothers and sisters. Many might think of Jesus, who was born in Asia, as merely akin to the great Asian wisdom teachers, such as Confucius, Lao Tzu, and Gandhi. But more marvelously, we Christians believe that Jesus is the God who became Man, sent by the Father. He is God's love story in the flesh - God's Incarnate Story.

The Asian Mission Congress sought to enflesh many of the challenges found in Pope John Paul II's Ecclesia in Asia (EA): "narrative methods akin to Asian cultural forms are to be preferred. In fact, the proclamation of Jesus Christ can most effectively be made by narrating his story, as the Gospels do" (EA 20f). Pope John Paul II recommends following "an evocative pedagogy, using stories, parables and symbols so characteristic of Asian methodology in teaching" (EA 20g).

The local Churches in Asia can be faithful to Christ's mission mandate by telling and retelling the Jesus story both in words and effective deeds of service. Repeatedly, the Church communicates its faith that originates in its experience of Jesus. The Holy Spirit, the Great Storyteller, guides the Church in all situations to tell, especially through the witness of a transformed life: "what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and touched with our hands"; it is none other than "the Word of Life" (cf. 1 Jn. 1:1). Mission means keeping the story of Jesus alive, forming community, showing compassion, befriending the "other," carrying the Cross, witnessing to the living person of Jesus.

The disciples on the road to Emmaus observed: "Did we not feel our hearts on fire as he talked with us on the road and explained the scriptures to us (Lk. 24:32)?" For us, the way to Chiang Mai has become our Emmaus road. At the Mission Congress we shared our experiences of faith. Stories from Bangladesh and Hong Kong, from Thailand and China, from Japan and Nepal - from all across the Asian continent - set our hearts on fire. Echoes of Ecclesia in Asia resounded loudly: "A fire can only be lit by something that is itself on fire" (EA 23b). The Church in Asia is to be "a community aflame with missionary zeal to make Jesus known, loved and followed" (EA 19a). Jesus casts fire on the earth and prays that it be ablaze (cf. Lk. 12:49). "The Church in Asia shares his zeal that this fire be re-kindled now" (EA 18c). We know that our 2006 Mission Congress, sponsored by the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences and its Office of Evangelization, thanks to the Holy Spirit, was able to set many hearts ablaze.

The Asian Mission Congress, particularly the exchange of our faith-stories, has provided new perspectives for our task of dialoguing with the peoples (especially the poor), the religions, and the cultures of Asia (cf. FABC V: 3.1.2). The stories of Asia's poor today (beggars, people living with AIDS, migrants, the outcasts) must be read within Jesus' story and his Paschal Mystery. Asia's many venerable religions may be seen within God's universal design of salvation - that all would be saved (I Tm. 2:4). The riches of Asian cultures can be a most suitable vehicle for communicating the Jesus story. This task has "a special urgency today in the multi-ethnic, multireligious and multi-cultural situation of Asia" (EA 21b). The insightful "triple dialogue" promoted by the FABC for over three decades can be accomplished in "new and surprising ways" (EA 20f) - one of which is in the exchange of gifts through the sharing of our life's story.

At this First Asian Mission Congress we rediscovered the "joy of evangelization," Pope Paul VI's words ring true; effective mission is to be done "with ever increasing love, zeal and joy" (Evangelii Nuntiandi, EN 1). Jesus' disciples must "proclaim with joy the Good News which one has come to know through the Lord's mercy" (EN 80).

We, the Congress participants, commit ourselves to carry home to our own communities new insights into the story of Jesus, particularly its Asian dimensions. We seek to be on fire, ready to bring home vivid and inspiring stories, which could light the flame of mission in young hearts. We wish to follow Jesus' words to the possessed person (the scriptural passage we adopted at the Congress): "Go home to your own people and tell them what the Lord in his mercy has done for you" (Mk. 5:19).

We seek to approach evangelization in an Asian way, an evocative way through stories, parables and symbols, a method so characteristic of Asian pedagogy, as Pope John Paul II has so perceptively noted. It is, therefore, a way of sharing our faith with others, an authentic path of dialogue. Still we who believe in this distinctive approach to evangelization, will also "not be timid when God opens the door for us to proclaim explicitly the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior and the answer to the fundamental questions of human existence" (FABC V: 4.3). On this World Mission Sunday we thank the Lord of the harvest for the countless missionaries who have come to serve in Asia through the centuries. We prayerfully commend to the Lord's love and protection the thousands from Asia who now serve in various parts of the globe.

We beseech Mary, our Mother and the Star of Evangelization, to intercede for us that our hearts may remain on fire with love of Jesus her Son, whose story we shall tell and retell through words, deeds and the witness of our lives.
Reproduced by
Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN(

Monday, October 23, 2006

Goa Archbishop's Greetings on Deepavali

Archbishop Ferrao Sends Diwali Greetings

PANJIM, October 23, 2006: The Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao has sent greetings to the Hindu brethren on the occasion of Deepavali, the Hindu feast of lights.

"This ancient feast reminds us of the victory of light over darkness, truth over untruth, good over evil and life over death," the Archbishop said. "In brief, it signifies renewal of life."

"May this "festival of lights" illumine our life to acknowledge and experience the beauty of this world, enlighten us to acquire knowledge, truth and wisdom, in order to dispel the darkness of wickedness, violence, greed, fear, injustice, oppression, etc. and usher in Love, to illuminate a world that has grown dim through the darkness of hatred."

"May the lighting of the lamps be a joyful experience in and around our homes, as we celebrate this festive season. May the radiance of our life full of love, compassion, understanding, solidarity and unity, light up the horizon of our beautiful land of Goa."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

MANGALORE: 3-Day Couples Retreat (English) - November 2006

Praise the Lord!

Believe in Jesus Christ
You and your family will be saved (Acts 16:31)

Healing in Marriage and Family
(A Retreat for Couples)

Preached by: World renowned preacher Bro. Thomas Paul and Team
Place: Bejai Church Hall, Bejai, Mangalore
Date: 10, 11 and 12 November 2006 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 8.30 am to 5 pm
Language: English
Registration fee: Rs 200 per person (tea and lunch provided)
Organised by: Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR), Mangalore

Inaugural address by Rt Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza, Bishop of Mangalore Diocese

A golden opportunity for all couples in and around Mangalore.
Married singles and those who are preparing for marriage also welcome.
Children of the participants below 5 years will be taken care of at the venue

Registration at:
1. Bejai Church office Tel: 2217050
2. Bendur Church office Tel: 2218762
3. Milagres (M'lore) Church office Tel: 2423522
4. Cordel Church Office Tel: 2231238
5. Infant Jesus Shrine, Bikarnakatta Tel: 2211124
6. Fatima Retreat House, Jeppu (Jesu Rai office)
7. Gem & Co., Opp Milagres Church Tel: 2423448
For further details contact: 9845114717, 9448136946, 9886078030

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"Overcoming Hatred with Love" - Diwali Wishes

Cardinal Paul Poupard Sends Diwali Wishes to Hindus

Following is the text of the message written by Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, to Hindus for the Feast of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, which falls this year on October 21.

Overcoming hatred with love

Dear Hindu Friends,

1. As people seeking for the Absolute you will pause for a short while on your spiritual journey and celebrate joyfully Deepavali, your ancient religious feast, which for you signifies the victory of truth over untruth, light over darkness, good over evil and life over death. On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue I wish Hindus all over the world a happy feast of Diwali.

2. The reality of love is closely connected to truth, light, goodness and life. I would like to reflect on this theme of love, through which believers of different religions are invited to overcome the evil of hatred and distrust in contemporary society. The recent terrorist bomb attacks in Mumbai, India, are yet another example of these phenomena which so often end in brutal violence. I am sure that, enriched in the light of our particular religious traditions, our resolve to invite all believers to overcome hatred by love will benefit society at large. My own reflection is inspired by the first Encyclical letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Deus caritas est (God is Love). The Pope wrote this letter, convinced that his message is both timely and significant "in a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence " (n. 1).

3. The importance and demands of love can be best learned from God who, the Christian faith professes, is Himself Love, and whose eternal Son, for love of us, became incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ. God is the source and fullness of all love. Our love for one another becomes worthy of its name only when it has its source in God and is nourished by our union with the same God. Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta, for example, constantly renewed her love of neighbour and her selfless service to the poor in her encounter with God in incessant daily prayer.

4. God loves us all without exception and his love is unconditional. Our human response to God's love must be spelt out in concrete stewardship of God's creatures, especially to human beings. It is urgent and necessary that believers of different religions manifest jointly to the world that hatred can be overcome by love. In today's complex societies, is it not possible for us to join hands and collaborate in seeking justice for all, working together on common projects, for the development of the downtrodden, the marginalised, the destitute, the orphan and the weak? "Despite the great advances made in science and technology, each day we see how much suffering there is in the world on account of different kinds of poverty, both material and spiritual" (Deus caritas est, n. 30). Moral and spiritual poverty, which are caused by breeding hatred in one’s heart, can be eradicated by believers who are filled with love and compassion. Love creates trust, which in turn, promotes genuine relationships among believers of different religions.

5. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI ends his letter, Deus caritas est, with the following words: "Love is the light - and in the end, the only light - that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working" (n. 39). The Pope's words obviously refer to Jesus Christ who is the Light of the world. However, these words can also draw your attention since for you the meaning of your feast, Diwali, is symbolized by light. May our love finally overcome the darkness of hatred in the world! Happy Diwali to you, my dear Hindu friends!

Paul Cardinal Poupard,


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Oswald Gracias - Archbishop of Bombay

Goa Archbishop Wishes Bishop Oswald Gracias on New Appointment

PANJIM, October 15, 2006: The Archbishop of Goa, Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao, along with the Clergy, Religious and Faithful of this Archdiocese, has offered hearty congratulations to Most Rev. Oswald Gracias on his appointment as the new Archbishop of Bombay.

"To this third Son of Goa, chosen to lead the Church in Bombay, we offer the support of our prayer and best wishes in the discharge of this new and most important service to his new Diocese," the Archbishop said in a note.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Oswald Gracias New Bombay Archbishop

Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Agra appointed New Archbishop of Bombay


14th, October 2006


We have just received the news that the Holy Father, Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop Oswald Gracias as the new Archbishop to the Metropolitan See of Bombay left vacant by the appointment of Cardinal Ivan Dias to head the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples, Rome.

Archbishop Oswald Gracias, New Archbishop of Bombay Archdiocese

Archbishop Oswald Gracias was born in Mahim, Mumbai, on December 24, 1944 and he did his school studies at St. Michael’s, Mahim. He completed his seminary studies at St. Pius College, Goregaon and was ordained a priest on December 20, 1970. After a short stint as Chancellor to the Diocese of Jamshedpur and Secretary to its bishop, he returned to Mumbai. From 1977 to 1981, he was in Rome where he obtained the Doctorate in Canon Law and a Diploma in Jurisprudence. He returned to Mumbai where he was first appointed Secretary to the Archbishop of Bombay and Chancellor of the Archdiocese. In 1997, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay. He was ordained a bishop on 16th September 1997 at St. Michael’s, Mahim taking as his motto, “To Reconcile All Things in Christ”. Archbishop Ivan Dias was the chief consecrator. On that occasion, two Cardinals, twenty four Archbishops and Bishops from different parts of the country and over three hundred priests concelebrated at the Eucharist. In the year 2000, he was appointed Archbishop of Agra.

As the Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, Archbishop Oswald Gracias was Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI). Currently, he is the President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI). His appointment is truly a joyous homecoming, and the Archdiocese welcomes back a son of the city, a Mumbaikar!


Fr. Anthony Charanghat
Official Spokesperson
Catholic Church
Archdiocese of Bombay

Friday, October 13, 2006

Stop Police Harassment: Retreat Center

October 11, 2006

Retreat Center Asks Kerala State To Stop Police Harassment

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India (UCAN) -- Representatives of the Divine Retreat Center have asked the Kerala state government to take steps to end what they describe as police harassment of the center staff and its residents.

"The police are harassing the inmates in the name of investigation," Peter Pattarmadom of the center declared at a press conference Oct. 10 in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.

For the past year, controversies have dogged the facility in Muringoor, a village about 2,560 kilometers south of New Delhi. Vincentian priests manage the popular center, where weekly retreats it runs throughout the year each attract more than 10,000 people from various religions.

Pattarmadom said that early this month a large team of police officials created a fearful atmosphere in the center, which also houses hundreds of mentally ill and destitute people. A 70-member team including police and state health officials visited, questioned people and examined documents on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, spending seven hours at the center each day.

The investigation team "created a panic and scare among the inmates," Pattarmadom later told UCA News. He said the police acted illegally, searching even the living quarters and bathrooms of women and questioning mentally unsound people.

Media, he charged, "unfortunately" have projected the center as a place of "crime or persecution." The misinformation campaign is "part of a conspiracy aimed at destroying the credibility of the center," he added.

Twelve people representing the center addressed the press conference.

Lawyer Philip Joseph said police who raided the center violated norms and directives of India's Supreme Court. "We don't keep our doors closed to anyone. Thousands of people are living at the center irrespective of caste or religion," he told the media gathering.

The spokespeople explained that the center offers shelter for more than 10,000 people in different houses meant for people who are mentally ill, orphaned, sick, destitute and drug-addicted. They insisted it does not run a hospital but houses these people because they have no place to go.

The investigation started following a March 10 directive of the Kerala High Court. The court was acting on an anonymous letter and two compact discs it reportedly received that implicated the center in a series of crimes and irregularities including murder, rape, foreign exchange violations and running a hospital without a proper license.

Last year a woman claiming to be a former employee of the retreat center told a magistrate that a priest official of the center raped and impregnated her. The woman, Mini Varghese, was in police custody in a theft case when she made the complaint.

The priest willingly underwent a DNA test and it proved the allegation of the woman "baseless," Pattarmadom told the press conference. He cited such inquiries as part of a plan to harass the center.

However, Inspector General of Police Vincent M. Paul, who is in charge of the probe ordered by the High Court, denied the allegations of police harassment. He said it was conducted following the court directions. "We will be submitting our report soon," Paul told UCA News on Oct. 10.

Except for one uniformed police officer, all others who entered the center for investigation were in civilian dress, he said. "The inspection team was accompanied by a medical team. We never harassed anybody there. We checked the facilities and talked to people and examined the medical care offered at the center," Paul explained.

Meanwhile, opposition leader and former state chief minister Oomman Chandy, an Orthodox Christian, released to the media an Oct. 10 letter in which he demanded an explanation from the government. The letter said police made the investigation "a big show." He requested the home minister of the ruling communist alliance to visit the center to understand the "ground realities."

"I've visited the center and have great appreciation for its services," Chandy told UCA News Oct. 10.

That same day about 200 people held a prayer meeting for the center's cause in front of the state legislature. Auxiliary Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathiose of Trivandrum Syro-Malankara archdiocese addressed the group.

The Syro-Malankara Church, like the larger Syro-Malabar Church, is an Oriental Catholic rite based in Kerala. They and the Latin-rite, largest of the three, make up the Indian Catholic Church.
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (

Thursday, October 12, 2006

UAE: One-day Retreat at Jebel Ali - October 2006

One-day Catholic Charismatic Retreat at Jebel Ali, UAE

A one day Catholic Charismatic retreat will be organised by the Good Shepherd Prayer Group at the St. Francis of Assisi Church hall in Jebel Ali on 20th or 21st October. Those who would like to participate are requested to confirm their attendance in advance by calling Mr. Godffrey at +971-50-6950059

The retreat will commence at 9am and end by 5PM. Free catering will be arranged.

Kindly forward the information to all your friends in the UAE using the email link below.

Posted by Joel Godwin Fernandes

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

MANGALORE: Catholics Pray for Peace

October 9, 2006

Catholics Pray For Peace As Riot-hit Mangalore Remains Under Curfew

MANGALORE, India (UCAN) -- Catholic churches in Mangalore recently organized special prayers for harmony after Hindu-Muslim riots disrupted life in the southern Indian city.

"We are facing a very bad and sad situation," Bishop Aloysius Paul D'Souza of Mangalore told UCA News on Oct. 8, after attending a peace meeting along with Hindu and Muslim religious leaders. Mangalore, a coastal city in Karnataka state, has been the scene of Hindu-Muslim rioting since Oct. 1.

At the meeting, Bishop D'Souza related that he has urged people to view everyone as children of the same God, to "live and let live," compromise with one another, and adopt a forgiving attitude.

He earlier used electronic mail to issue a peace message to the public and also sent a circular to all parishes to "pray for peace" in the city where "communal harmony has existed for several centuries."

Clashes between groups in various parts of the city have resulted in the deaths of two Muslims, including a cleric, and the wounding of more than 80 people. On Oct. 7, the administration imposed a curfew and a shoot-on-sight order for curfew violators in the city.

A Hindu group blocked a vehicle that Muslims were using to transport cattle to a slaughtering house in the city on Oct. 4. Eating beef has been banned in Mangalore following opposition from Hindus, who consider the cow sacred.

The city witnessed Hindu-Muslim riots three days earlier when Muslims protested against a tableau in a Hindu procession that portrayed a Muslim worshipping Durga, a Hindu goddess.

The police have arrested more than 300 people in 97 cases registered in connection with violence and group clashes. State Home Minister M.P. Prakash, who visited the city on Oct. 9, said that damage to public property amounting to 10 million rupees (about US$220,480) has been reported.

Bishop D'Souza said Sunday Masses on Oct. 8 had no problems at parishes in rural areas, but the curfew made it difficult for city-dwelling parishioners to attend Mass. Father Peter Noronha of St. Sebastian's parish told UCA News on Oct. 8 that only a few people turned up for the Masses due to the curfew. He added that the parish organized special prayers for peace and harmony.

According to Father Noronha, some Catholics attended the services when the administration relaxed the curfew between 9 and 11 in the morning. "Instead of queuing up in provision stores, they opted to come to the church," he noted.

He also said that people came using side roads to avoid main roads where the police and paramilitary forces patrolled, and that his church conducted all five of its Sunday Masses, even if attendance was less than normal.

However, Father Walter D'Mello, parish priest of a downtown church, told UCA News that people came only during the curfew relaxation hours. People were not allowed to leave their houses otherwise, he pointed out, and the only vehicles seen on the main roads were police vehicles.

Roshan D'Souza, a Catholic youth leader, said Hindu fundamentalists did not spare Catholics. Two months ago, a group of Bajrang Dal (party of the strong and stout) activists attacked several Christian-owned shops for allegedly selling beef. About 2,000 people joined a rally Christians organized soon after the attacks, but the rally "went unnoticed as we did not resort to any violence," D'Souza said. As for the current violence, the youth leader lamented that "a handful" of criminals "have taken the city for a ride."

Father John Fernandez, convener of Dharma Samanwaya (religious equality), said his interreligious harmony movement plans to organize prayer and peace meetings in schools and colleges once life returns to normal in the city.

Members of the movement believe harmony is best achieved through education, so they reach out only to students, Father Fernandez said. "Once our children are properly educated and motivated to respect every religion, such violence could be prevented in future," he said.
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (