Friday, June 30, 2006

GOA: John the Baptist Feast and Excesses

Priests In Goa Condemn Commercialization Of John The Baptist Feast

June 28, 2006

PANAJI, India (UCAN) -- A group of Catholic priests in the former Portuguese enclave of Goa have criticized growing commercialization of the feast day of Saint John the Baptist.

This year, the Goa Tourism Development Corporation made elaborate arrangements to celebrate unique local customs associated with the June 24 feast as observed by Catholics in this western coastal state.

On the feast day, local merrymakers wear a crown of leaves and flowers and jump into rivers and wells full of water from monsoon rains. This ritual, traditionally conducted in the rain, is said to symbolize Saint John's "leap of joy" in his mother Elizabeth's womb when the Blessed Mother visited her.

Revelers also wear cone-shaped hats made of leaves and flowers and go visiting, accompanied by drums. Some perform skits on decorated canoes. The festival also is linked to a marriage custom in which the groom, wearing a crown of palm fronds and flowers, is made to jump into a well after a parade through the village. Symbolism aside, liberal consumption of liquor is a standard feature of the festival.

Although the feast falls during the rainy season, the tourism department connected large pipes to wells to create artificial rain for an open-air dance floor in Dona Paula, a tourist spot near Panaji, the state capital. Panaji is 1,910 kilometers southwest of New Delhi.

Tourism department chairperson Fatima D'Sa told UCA News they arranged for artificial rain in the event that rain did not fall.

The department also organized boat cruises on the Mandovi, a major river in the state. From the boats, divers jumped into the river with cries of "Sao Joao," the Portuguese rendering of Saint John.

While the directorate of information and publicity sponsored "raindrops and music," some hotels organized dance, music, entertainment and magic shows.

Explaining why they organized the "bash," hotel manager Mohan Nair said Goa "is known as a Catholic state and tourists want to know how Catholics celebrate festivities." He added that hotels want to give tourists a chance to experience "San Joao, although it may be not in a traditional way."

Father Heniencio de Souza, a parish priest, is unhappy with this trend. In recent years, the hotel lobby has abused the feast in the name of "Catholic culture," he told UCA News, complaining that such commercialization brings various "unpalatable consequences" for society, sexual immorality among them.

Another priest, Father Eremito Rebelo, also opposes the "gross misuse" of the feast. Materialism has been substituted for spirituality, since "big money" is involved in such transformed feasts, he told UCA News.

The Church, he added, has clarified that customs such as jumping into the river have nothing to do with Christianity.

Before the feast's commercialization, people used to visit houses on the day, singing songs that befit the occasion, recalled Father Joao Roque Gonsalves, another priest. If there had been a death in the family, the visitors would pray for the deceased, and if there had been a marriage, they would indulge in merrymaking. "This fostered unity, but also good neighborly relations," because the singing helped people forget differences, he added.

In the past, Father Gonsalves continued, revelers never took advantage of people, but now they demand money during the house visits and spend it on alcohol and drugs. Some villages where older generations exert a strong influence continue the old customs, but most people now prefer to spend the day drinking while others organize night parties and indulge in "vulgar entertainment," he added.

What upsets Father Britto Furtado of Siolim parish is the wrong image such celebrations project about Christianity. "It is unfortunate that nowadays everything needs to be either commercialized or politicized. The culture today is to make money out of any possible and every thing," he told UCA News.

Goa was a Portuguese colony from 1510 until 1961, when India retook the territory.

Republished by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cardinal Ivan Dias' Farewell Message

Excerpts from Cardinal Ivan Dias' Farewell Message on June 25, 2006

MUMBAI: Cardinal Ivan Dias at the Farewell in Bombay Archdiocese

  • I have a dream : that this wonderful megapolis of Mumbai and the whole Indian sub continent may progress and flourish in human, humane and spiritual values, and that their overall progress which may be gauged, not so much by the economic sensex, but rather by the rise and fall of their civic sense and moral values.

  • MUMBAI: Cardinal Ivan Dias at the Farewell in Bombay Archdiocese

  • I have a dream : that India may have the abundance, not only of political parties and politicians but, above all, of statesmen and women, who are outstanding in moral integrity, who place the well being of the whole nation before their personal, party and petty interests, who are known for the nobility of their intentions and their selfless love for the poor and the marginalised; persons who are ever alert and ready to combat the three evils which pose a constant threat to our beloved Bharat Mata: communalism, casteism and corruption.

  • MUMBAI: Cardinal Ivan Dias at the Farewell in Bombay Archdiocese

  • I have a dream : that the thirst of India's teeming millions who seek to be led " from untruth to truth, from darkness to light, and from death to immorality" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 1.3.28), may be quenched at the divine fountain of living waters, Jesus Christ Our Lord, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and the Light of the World. Yes, Christ loves India and India needs Christ.

  • MUMBAI: Cardinal Ivan Dias at the Farewell in Bombay Archdiocese

    Picture Courtesy: Bombay Archdiocese
    Also See:

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006

    MANGALORE: JY Organizes Worship Evening

    Jesus Youth Get A Pat On the Back from the Bishop at the Worship Evening

    Mangalore Jesus Youth Worship Evening, June 2006
    To see more photos, click on the picture
    MANGALORE, June 28: It was a spiritual treat for the city's young and old alike as a group of Catholic youngsters put up two evenings of praise and worship in gratitude for God's blessings in their lives.

    The lively three-hour charismatic programme organized by the Mangalore Jesus Youth Parish Ministry at the St. Joseph's Seminary premises last Saturday and Sunday, drew in crowds to pack the 500 capacity hall.

    It was singing, music, choreography and action songs that kept the audience on their feet before a more sober time of worship.

    "The most privileged thing for us", was the presence of "the Bishop of Mangalore Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D'Souza", is how Monita Fernandes, a Jesus Youth describes her cherished moment of the programme.

    For his part the Bishop said that he had come to assure Jesus Youth of his continual presence with them. In response the audience broke into loud applause after which the Bishop insisted as he continued, that "all the youth in Mangalore should be Jesus Youth". The Bishop also mentioned having offered during the CBCI General Body Meeting in Bangalore earlier this year, his willingness to take charge of the CBCI's Youth commission.

    One of the main attractions of the programme was a sharing by Mario Joseph (Moulvi Sulaiman), a former Muslim cleric (Mulla) who embraced the Catholic faith upon discovering the wonderful and unique relationship a Christian enjoys with God through Christ. He spoke about the difference between Spiritual Life and Religious Life, a topic also found in his book, In search of You.

    Also present on the occassion was Rev. Fr. Bitaju, the Karnataka Jesus Youth pastor who briefed the gathering about the Jesus Youth lifesyle.

    The praise and worship was led by Robert from Bangalore and Gordon Pereira compered the programme.
    Also See:
  • MANGALORE: Worship Evening 2006 by Jesus Youth (JY)
  • Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    More Trouble at Divine Retreat Centre, Kerala

    INDIA Catholic Retreat Center Unfazed Amid Suicide And Controversies

    June 23, 2006

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India (UCAN) -- Controversies continue to hound Asia's largest Catholic retreat center, but an official says they view the troubles as tests from God.

    The latest controversy to hit the Divine Retreat Center is the suicide of a mentally disturbed Hindu man. Vincentian priests manage the facility in Muringoor, a village in the southern Indian state of Kerala, 2,900 kilometers south of New Delhi.

    According to the center's administrator, Father Mathew Thadathil, Ramaswami Kannan, 36, jumped into a boiler June 15 and suffered burns over 80 percent of his body. The center uses the boiler, measuring 1.5 meters high and 1.5 meters in diameter, to provide hot water to thousands of people attending programs. Security guards who tried to save the man were injured.

    When Kannan was retrieved from the boiler he was taken to a local hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. He had come to the center on June 11 and expressed his desire to participate in the weekly retreat program, Father Thadathil told UCA News June 19.

    A local police official, K.S. Sudarshan, told UCA News the man was mentally ill and had tried to commit suicide previously. But local newspapers and some right-wing Hindu groups highlighted the suicide as further proof of the enter's "misdeeds."

    On March 10, the Kerala High Court asked the state government to set up a special team to probe anonymous allegations against the retreat center including violent crimes and foreign exchange violations. "Three months have passed since the court ordered the probe. The investigation team has not visited the center," Father Thadathil said.

    However, the 43-year-old priest acknowledged that other agencies such as the tax department and revenue intelligence directorate have conducted inquiries into the center's finances. "We have provided all information demanded by the governmental agencies. We have nothing to hide," he added.

    "God is testing us," the priest said, remarking on the succession of troubles. "We have no complaints against anyone. We firmly believe that God will give us the strength to pass this ordeal."

    His confrere, Father George Panackal, who directs the center, says the controversies have not affected their retreat programs. "We are running the weekly retreats in full strength," he told UCA News.

    The center conducts weekly retreats in six Indian languages and English throughout the year. More than 10,000 people from various religions attend the programs. "We will continue to serve the needy in the manner we have done earlier," Father Panackal asserted.

    Shaju John, a Catholic living near the center, believes the controversies are part of a wider conspiracy to defame the center. He recalled the troubles started two years ago when the center dismissed the caretaker of an orphanage it manages.

    "Since then, the local media have painted the center in a bad light. The priests took the matter lightly, and now they are paying for it," John, 35, told UCA News.

    The local press has published a series of negative articles about the center over the past year. Right-wing Hindu groups have led campaigns against it, accusing it of mass conversions of Hindus.

    The "ill-motivated media campaigns" do not affect "our team," Father Thadathil said. "We are servants of God. We don't take anything personally." Many people come to the center "as the last resort," he continued. "We are surrounded with people who live in despair. We don't get time to think about our problems."

    Republished by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (

    Monday, June 26, 2006

    Cardinal Ivan Dias - Teacher of the Faith


    By Bishop Thomas Dabre

    Cardinal Ivan Dias’ consistent defence of the Church doctrine.

    St Paul in his letter to Timothy writes that the Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth. Defending and promoting the divinely revealed truth of God belongs to the very essence of the Catholic Church


    In this mission of the Church, the role of the Bishop is of pivotal significance. The Bishop is called Magister Fidei, the teacher of faith. He has to reverently safeguard and courageously proclaim the truth of divine revelation and the truth contained in the tradition of the Church illumined by the Holy Spirit. There are several expectations from a Bishop. But the duty to teach (munus docendi) is among the primary responsibilities of a Bishop.

    It is a Bishop’s principal duty to teach the Gospel as the Second Vatican Council teaches us. “When they exercise their teaching role, bishops should proclaim the Gospel of Christ to men. This is one of the principal duties of bishops. Fortified by the Spirit they should call on men to believe or should strengthen them when they already have a living faith.” (n.12, Vatican Council II, Christus Dominus, Bishops in the Church).

    The multifaceted personality of Cardinal Dias is in a striking manner characterised by the role of the teacher of the faith and doctrine he has consistently and courageously been playing.

    The 2003 document on the Bishop emphasises his teaching office. “The bishop is ordained and commissioned to teach and preach faith and morals. “At his Episcopal ordination, each Bishop received the fundamental mission of authoritatively proclaiming the Word of God. Indeed, every Bishop, by virtue of sacred ordination, is an authentic teacher who preaches to the people entrusted to his care the faith to be believed and to be put into practice in the moral life.” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis of His Holiness Pope John Paul II on the Bishop, Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World)


    I have been impressed by the Cardinal’s interest in the work of the theologians in India. He always discusses with me theological and doctrinal matters. He has also been sending me material of doctrinal significance for my study and reflection. He has been closely following the theological trends in India.

    The CBCI commission for the doctrine of the faith keeps in regular touch with theologians. As John Paul II says in the apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Asia (n.22) they are to be encouraged in their important work. Sometimes there are problems and controversies with some writings and discourses. To deal with such concerns and promote an authentic and orthodox theology and also to update the bishops in contemporary theology regular theological colloquia are organised by the commission. Cardinal Dias has taken a keen interest in the proceedings of these programmes. I was taken by surprise once when he told me to absent myself from an important historic programme of the diocese and to participate in a theological colloquium which was clashing with it. Such is the importance he attaches to the work of theologians.

    The Bishop is to ensure that there is a concern among the faithful and the teachers of theology and the teachers of ecclesiastical sciences for transmitting and teaching the faith.

    “In carrying out this duty Bishops will derive particular benefit from open dialogue and cooperation with theologians, whose task is to employ an appropriate methodology in the quest for deeper knowledge of the unfathomable richness of the mystery of Christ. Bishops will not fail to encourage and support them and the schools or academic institutions where they work, so that they can carry out their service to the People of God in fidelity to Tradition and with attentiveness to changing historical circumstances.” (Pastores Gregis)


    To be sure theology is a creative enterprise and it has to be relevant to our multiple and complex Indian situation. Our Indian theologians are well poised to make a precious contribution to the universal Church. However, a truly Catholic theology must be in harmony with the Church’s tradition and magisterial teaching. Catholic theology cannot be a pure spontaneous intuition like a piece poetry. Theological creativity and contextualisation must be rooted in and be an actualisation of the faith of the Church. This has been the significance of the theological stance of Cardinal Dias which is in keeping with the spirit of what St. Paul says to Timothy.

    St Paul exhorts Timothy to a proper behaviour in the Church precisely because she is the pillar and bulwark of the truth (1Tm 3:15) and therefore to communicate the sound teaching with a sense of urgency, courage and patience (2Tm 4:2-5).

    A great exponent of the Christian faith and an outstanding theologian all through the last 16 centuries, St Athanasius writes, “... the ancient tradition and the doctrine and the faith of the Catholic Church, which as we know, the Lord handed down, the apostles preached and the fathers preserved. For on this tradition the Church is founded, and if anyone abandons it, he cannot be a Christian nor have any right to the name.” This is the test of authentic Catholic theology.

    Cardinal Dias has consistently been alerting the faithful against the excesses
    and dangers in connection with inculturation, inter-religious dialogue and
    contextualised theology. However, he has always appreciated the genuine, human,
    religious and spiritual values in our Indian cultures and religions. He has
    attended inter-religious programmes in institutions like the Somaiya Sanskrit
    Peetham in Mumbai.

    At a function in Vasai in 2001, held to congratulate him on his elevation to the position of Cardinal, to the delight of the audience among whom there were Muslims and Hindus he declared that we are all children of God in our pilgrimage to him. It is self–evident that all inter-religious activity must be pursued in total fidelity to the Church’s faith and doctrine.

    His criticism of the way inculturation and inter-religious dialogue as is in some cases carried out, is on account of the impression of syncretism and theological relativism that is given. In such pursuits the unity and integrity of the faith has to be preserved. We are all fascinated by the remarkable combination of the faith and creativity achieved by the great Fathers and Doctors of the Church.

    The Fathers of the Church are good models for us because they too in their circumstances faced similar problems and came up with a theology or theologies wholly in harmony with the faith, the doctrine and the tradition of the Church while being open towards other cultures and religions.

    The diocese is not just a portion or part of the Church. Truly the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church is present in the diocese. The unity of the Church should be ensured only by adherence to the truth of Christ. Divergent and contradictory positions on the matters of faith and morals cannot signify unity of the Church.

    “A diocese is a section of the People of God entrusted to a bishop to be guided by him with the assistance of his clergy so that, loyal to its pastor and formed by him into one community in the Holy Spirit through the Gospel and the Eucharist, it constitutes one particular Church in which the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and active.” (Christus Dominus)


    The staff and seminarians in the Bombay seminary will long remember the Cardinal’s regular visits and his direct involvement in the process of formation. The teaching of right doctrine is of the essence in the formation of future priests. The seminarians must know the teaching of the Church which they are called to impart and promote in their priestly ministry.

    In the present climate of relativism, of which the present Pope never tires of warning against relativism, seminarians can be served with a lot of theological views and opinions without proper assessment in the light of the doctrine of the Church. Ultimately the bishop is responsible for the formation of the priests in his diocese. It is necessary that future priests acquire an integral ecclesial vision during their formative period so that in their priestly ministry they may be able to conduct themselves according to the mind and heart of the Church, i.e. sentire cum ecclesia (to think and feel with the Church).


    Evangelisation is not only promoting the values of Christ but the very person of Christ for He is the unique and universal Saviour of all mankind. Such a conviction will help us steer clear of indifferentism, syncretism and relativism.

    Cardinal Ivan affirms quite clearly: The missionary task of the Church is therefore immense, and there is place for every Christian and for all Christians. This challenge, of course, differs from place to place, though its essence remains the same everywhere, viz., not just proclaiming Gospel values, but spreading the sweet fragrance of the sacred person of Jesus Christ, Son of God and unique and universal Saviour of all humankind. It is He who brings to maturity (fulfilment) the seeds of the Word sowed by the Holy Spirit in world religions and cultures all down the ages. This point is particularly important in today’s context of religious pluralism, indifferentism and relativism, which is prevalent even in some theological circles, and of a fundamentalist secularism promoted by well-known secret sects and New Age practices which aim at making God irrelevant to human beings. Our missionary mandate would therefore require, first and foremost, a sincere appreciation of our Christian roots and a bold affirmation of our ethos and identity. Else, we shall be, in Jesus’ own words, like “salt that has lost its savour” or a “light hidden under a bushel” (Mt. 5:7). (The Examiner, January 22, 2005).

    The Holy Father in a recent statement to the Indian ambassador to the Holy See has defended conversion on the unimpeachable ground of human dignity and freedom. The government and fundamentalist outfits were irked. I was delighted to hear an Indian voice, i.e. of Cardinal Dias forthrightly supporting the papal statement.

    On January 29, I and some of our priests and faithful were attacked in Mokhada village in Vasai diocese while we were inaugurating a hostel for school children. Cardinal Dias immediately censured the fundamentalist forces for the uncivilised act.

    On several other occasions too he has criticised atrocities against Church personnel. Every bishop must fearlessly uphold the Church’s evangelising mission. The raison de etre for evangelisation is not the instinct to self-perpetuate or any expansionist or colonial tendency but the truth of Christ. St Paul converted to Christ because he was illumined and grasped by the truth of Christ.


    The Church’s moral teaching in general and her teaching on the sanctity of human life in particular is rooted in the Ten Commandments which find their crown and synthesis in love-commandment. The bishop must be deeply concerned about the defence and promotion of this teaching.

    “The Synod Fathers also called the Bishops’ attention to their magisterial responsibilities in the area of morality. The rules that the Church sets forth reflect the divine commandments, which find their crown and synthesis in the Gospel command of love. The end to which every divine rule tends is the greater good of human beings. The exhortation of the Book of Deuteronomy is still valid today: “Walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you” (5:33). Nor must we forget that the Ten Commandments have a firm foundation in human nature itself, and thus the values which they defend have universal validity. This is particularly true of values such as human life, which must be defended from conception until its end in natural death; the freedom of individuals and of nations, social justice and the structures needed to achieve it.” (n.29, pages 80-81, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis of His Holiness Pope John Paul II on the Bishop, Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World)

    The Mumbaites will remember the Cardinal for his pro-life approach. He has not only opposed abortion but launched initiatives to honour the aborted human persons and promoted adoption of unwanted babies. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI are known for their uncompromising insistence on the culture of life.

    The Popes teach that the objective moral truth is that from the moment of conception to its natural end in death human life is an inviolable person. Many of the Cardinal’s pastoral directives have been for the promotion of the culture of life.

    The use of condoms, in vitro fertilisation, test tube babies, surrogate motherhood, embryonic research, medical termination of pregnancy etc. are all serious ethical problems. We have to recognise that life is God’s gift and He is the Creator of life. Presumptuous interference with the sacred processes of life will do harm to individuals, the family and society.

    There is confusion and ignorance regarding the morality of such medical interventions. The faithful should acquaint themselves with the life-affirming teaching of the Church. The Cardinal tersely exhorts the faithful: “I warmly recommend that the faithful be cognizant of the Church’s teaching on modern bio-ethical problems which intimately touch family and pro-life issues. (The Examiner, April 15, 2006)


    Truth is not subjective; truth is not relative; it is not a product of the mind of the thinker; truth is not what you think to be so. Truth is objective. Things are true in themselves and the mind must grasp the truth; truth of human reality, of the Good News, of morality etc. This insistence on objective truth is of the essence for the mission of the Church and salvation of human beings.

    I have personally enjoyed the theology of John Paul II and Benedict XVI because of their unflinching stand in favour of objective truth. They have tirelessly opposed theological relativism. Subjective morality and relativistic theology are incompatible with objective truth and morality. The Church’s life, spirituality and mission are all based ultimately on the objective truth of the faith and doctrine. This is the ultimate foundation for the role of the bishop as teacher of the faith, magister fidei of which the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples’ has been an outstanding witness.


    Bishop Thomas Dabre is Bishop of Vasai Diocese in Thane District of Maharashtra. He is also the Chairman of the doctrinal commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI).

    Sunday, June 25, 2006

    HYDERABAD: Youth Imitates St. Francis

    The Story of a Mangalorean Catholic Youth Seeking to Imitate St. Francis of Assisi

    Catholic Youth Walks In Saint Francis' Footsteps, Hopes To Inspire Others

    By Jose Vincent

    June 22, 2006

    HYDERABAD, India (UCAN) - Two years ago, when Reagan D'Souza resigned his lucrative software job to work in a Catholic center for destitutes, his friends and relatives were surprised.

    The 25-year-old Indian Catholic youth still springs surprises as he tries to imitate his role model, Saint Francis of Assisi. Four months ago, he donned a long jute garment, which he wears even during hot summer days. He keeps only one change of clothing and goes around barefoot.

    When UCA News spoke with D'Souza in late May, he explained he was trying "to do penance for his sins and the sins of his friends." On June 20, however, he spoke of a subsequent revelation that he should discard the "garment of distress" and put on the "garment of righteousness."

    This revelation he interpreted as God telling him he should wear the sackcloth not as a sign of penance but as a sign of joy.

    The eldest son of a businessman, D'Souza confessed that he had been addicted to drugs and drink, which he enjoyed with friends. His parents, three brothers and two sisters live in Hyderabad, capital of Andhra Pradesh state, 1,500 kilometers south of New Delhi. They came from Mangalore, in neighboring Karnataka state, more than two decades ago.

    D'Souza says his attitude began to change after he began observing the activities of members of the Jesus Youth movement. On the advice of his parish priest, he spent a year putting up articles and information about saint's lives on the parish notice board.

    Meanwhile, he started going with Jesus Youth members on Sundays to visit a center for street people. Friends of the Birds of the Air (FBA), a Catholic movement that offers shelter to homeless people, manages the center on the city outskirts. D'Souza began to spend longer periods of time at the center, and in 2004 he decided to resign his job and work there full time.

    The young man said he was impressed by reading a biography about the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, the 12th-century mystic who founded the Franciscan Order. Through his unusual behavior now, D'Souza said, God is making him "a sign" for modern youths, calling them to reflect on the life they lead.

    Several Church workers told UCA News they see God's hand in D'Souza's life.

    "Definitely there is God's intervention in him. Otherwise, he just cannot do what he is doing now," said Father Vincent Arockiadas, archdiocesan youth director. He has known D'Souza a long time and found the youth modest, enterprising and intelligent, "with a sense of commitment to the Church." Still the priest is "amazed at the way God has called and changed him."

    According to Father Paul Gnalian, director of the FBA center, D'Souza had an "inner call" to spend at least 10 percent of his life working with youths. He then joined the Jesus Youth movement and spent one year in his parish reading and encouraging others to read about Saint Francis of Assisi and other saints.

    St. Anne Sister Marina, who works at the center, described D'Souza as committed, cheerful and at ease with the residents. Equally impressed is Lilly Mathew, another volunteer, who said, "Nobody can stop a person from the call of God."

    The young ascetic's father, Reginald D'Souza, says he is at a loss to understand the transformation in his son, who he recalled used to be stylish, particular about his dress and shoes, and insistent on having his own room.

    "Initially, we were upset and sad. We tried to persuade him to work and give the money to the (center)," the elder D'Souza admitted. But the family has now "accepted the will of God for him," he continued. "In fact, we have received a lot of blessings from God."

    D'Souza's mother, Pauline, says she has no problem with her son's ascetic life. "We are happy. Let him do what he wants," she told UCA News. She added, however, that they do not know exactly what his plans are, since he had not contacted them for over a month.

    While she nurses the hope of him returning home after some time, since he has not committed himself to any Religious order, one of her son's friends, Franco Yunus, says D'Souza has made a choice.

    Yunus, who comes from an orthodox Muslim family, also works at the FBA center. He said D'Souza "has found the meaning of life here."

    Republished by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (

    Saturday, June 24, 2006

    MUMBAI: Tribute to Cardinal Ivan Dias

    A Tribute to Cardinal Ivan Dias by Bishop Bosco


    By Bishop Bosco Penha

    Simplicity, humility and a keen sense of the "other" characterise the man who is going to the Vatican.

    Cardinal Ivan Dias has recently been appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. This is a very responsible, challenging and wide ranging assignment in the Universal Church and indicates the great regard the Holy Father has for the knowledge, skills and person of Cardinal Ivan.

    In calling him to this task, the Pope has made Indian Church History because no Indian has thus far held this position. What are the attitudes, characteristics, inner traits of Cardinal Ivan that have made him such an outstanding Prelate of the Catholic Church? Having worked very closely with him over the past nine years I have been privileged to have glimpses into the "inner man".

    The first point that strikes me about Cardinal Ivan is that he is a man of God, a man of prayer, a man who places spirituality in the first place and rightly so. One who is close to Christ cannot escape from His Cross which is a sine qua non of following Jesus Who said: "If any man will come after me let him take up his cross daily and follow me". (Mt. 16:24). Cardinal Ivan is not a stranger to the Cross. He has carried crosses of various types. One cross that I have seen at close quarters and which has baffled me is the cross of illness which he has borne patiently for several years! When I see his capacity to be fully alive and active and to go through his heavy schedules, including many international engagements, despite his constant ill health, I am amazed.

    From his prayer life also flows a profound obedience for which Cardinal Ivan is very well-known. "I want obedience not sacrifice. Behold I come to do your will O God" (Ps. 40:6-8). Right from the age of twenty-four, when in answer to the decision of Cardinal Valerian Gracias that he join the diplomatic service, he left home, family, the local church and his country to go into a strange land (Gen. 12:1) in obedience to God's will, he has moved from one corner of the world to the other without any hesitation. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy Word" (Lk. 1:38). The Lord calls and Ivan answers with alacrity: "Here I am, Lord, for you called me" (1 Sam. 3:5).

    Cardinal Ivan seems to have a will of iron. He studies a question in all its aspects and then makes a decision. Once he has made the decision, he holds on to it with firmness and strength. The strength comes from conviction. He will not compromise. I have noticed that he is not in the least concerned with popularity. In fact, a number of his decisions have run the risk of making him unpopular but he is not worried about this. Neither is he eager for reports and write-ups in the newspapers. In fact he seems to shun publicity.

    I have been inspired by his simple lifestyle, his detachment from honours and positions, and his matter-of-fact acceptance of them when they do come, his warm humanness and his concern both for priests and people. There have been times when the bishops' team, as a whole, has experienced difficulties with one or other priest and were tempted to take the hard line. On some such occasions, Cardinal Ivan has intervened to suggest the compassionate approach: "Do not forget", he would say, "that he is sick or disturbed, or struggling, etc." We were happy to be reminded of this and consequently to take the more patient and understanding way. Whilst he could be firm and unyielding with the stubbornly wayward, he would fall over backward to welcome the repentant. In such cases, he played the part of the prodigal father to perfection (Lk. 15:22-23). He would go out of his way to express affection, forgiveness and to reinstate such persons. He has a special love, as is well-known, for the workers in our institutions and during his tenure their allowances were repeatedly raised. He unfailingly attended the meetings of the Justice and Peace Commission which works in favour of the underprivileged.

    He had an especially soft corner for the retired clergy and for the sick priests of any age whatever. He would leave his work in order to visit them as soon as he could. There was no question of stinting on the treatment that was required.

    Once, a priest told me that he had to have a delicate operation near the ear. One type of operation, more risky, cost Rs. 90,000 and the other, more safe, would cost Rs. 2,00,000. The priest wondered whether he could at all suggest the second alternative. I encouraged him to place both the alternatives before Cardinal Ivan. When he did so, Cardinal Ivan immediately insisted on the more expensive one. He did not want to take any risk, money being of no consequence in this context.

    In today's Church there is much talk of team work and Cardinal Ivan has proved himself to have a fine team spirit. Although he was very busy with many activities, he made it a point to be present at all key meetings - the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, the Priests' Council, the Archdiocesan Board of Education, the College of Deans, the College of Consultors, the Bombay Archdiocesan Synod Implementation Committee and the Archdiocesan Consultation to Implement Values in Education.

    At all these meetings he did not speak much but listened to all that was being said and so got a fair idea of what people were thinking and feeling on an issue. Although these bodies are consultative bodies, leaving the archbishop free to make his own decisions, I have hardly known him to go against the thinking of the group. If there is any matter connected with finance, he would make it a point to consult the Financial Administrator. If there was something connected with Small Christian Communities he would always check with the director of SCCs; and if there was some education problem he would talk to the Secretary of the Archdiocesan Board of Education and so on and so forth. He participated enthusiastically in the Archdiocesan Synod 2001 and in the Mid-Term Synodal Assembly 2006 and in both these he accepted "in toto" whatever the House had proposed.

    He has contributed three major documents to the life of the Church in Mumbai which, I believe, will have far reaching effects on this archdiocese in the years to come. The Post Synodal Document, the Mid-Term Synod Assembly Document and the "Vade Mecum" for priests which describes, in detail, the life of the priest and his various privileges, duties and responsibilities.

    In preparing all these documents, he checked the draft with many significant and competent persons and allowed the material to go through several redactions before the documents were finalised. When he wrote the Post Synodal Document, I was astounded at how he so successfully integrated into the text all the important associations, cells and programmes of the archdiocese, some of which even I, with so many years of experience in the archdiocese, would have missed out. He seemed to have an eagle eye and a phenomenal memory to keep track of all that was going on.

    We had bishops' team meetings every week unless, for some reasons, it was not possible and these sessions were most enjoyable. There was a lot of serious work but also fun and camaraderie. On occasions when we had tea together in the afternoons and the fare was "bhelpuri", he would set aside all work and mix, with gusto, the various components of this delectable concoction which he then demolished with obvious relish. That gave us permission to do likewise. He always listened to his auxiliaries and there was no difficulty in communicating any disagreement with him. Most of the time our decisions were consensus decisions. Only on two or three occasions did he make decisions which contradicted ours because he felt very strongly on those issues. In such a situation he excused himself to us and said he would take full responsibility. That was fine with us because he was, after all, the archbishop!

    He was very generous with us auxiliaries. Each time he went to Rome, we had only to tell him what episcopal wear we needed - caps, sashes, mitres - and they were all bought without any charge. He insisted on footing the bill. When we went to visit the Pope in 2003, he took all three of us to Lourdes at his expense. It was a memorable team experience. Often when I reached some function at which he was already present, he would sooner or later weave his way through the crowd in order to shake my hand and tell me how happy he was to see me. It took me time to get used to such warmth and friendliness that was also consistent. Always simple and homely, if sometimes I called him Cardinal Ivan, he would insist "call me Ivan".

    Arrivederci: See You Again Soon

    And so, dear Ivan, I shall miss you very much when you leave us but I hope to remember the many lessons you taught me. Through the glimpses I got of your inner life, I got glimpses of God as well. Thank you for so much warmth, friendliness and generosity. "Ad multos annos".

    And please remember:
    "Midst Vatican Palaces though you may roam,
    Be it ever so humble - still Bombay's your home".

    Hence we won't say "goodbye" but "arrivederci" which means "till we meet again".

    Bishop Bosco Penha is the Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay.

    This tribute appeared in "The Examiner" of June 24, 2006. You can subscribe to the magazine
    Also See:

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    MUMBAI: Nine-Month Bible Course - 2006

    The Catholic Bible Institute's Nine-month Bible Course This Year Begins in July

    Biblical Studies Certificate Course

    The Catholic Bible Institute in Bombay Archdiocese is offering a nine-month BIBLICAL STUDIES Certificate Course open to all, every second Friday of the month, starting on July 14, 2006. The topics to be covered are, The Gospels according to Luke and John and will be taught by Dr. Renu Silvano OCV and Fr. Fio Mascarenhas SJ.

    The Course Programme Details

    Duration: Nine Months
    Begins: July 14, 2006
    Date and Time: Second Fridays, from 6.30 – 8.00 pm.
    Place: 2, Bank of India Building, Hill Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai – 400 050.
    Last date for registration: June 30, 2006.

    For More Details Contact:

    Telephone: +91-22-26427648

    Also See:

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    BANGALORE: Symposium Debunks Da Vinci


    BANGALORE June 22: Over 900 Catholics representing more than 64 congregations and institutions, and including members from several Catholic associations, attended a symposium on The Da Vinci Code organized by the Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA) at the Good Shepherd Auditorium on Museum Road in Bangalore, last Saturday.

    Fr. Adolf Washington, the convenor of the symposium, began with a 45 minute graphic exposition of the false claims and errors of Dan Brown's work. "Brown has cashed in on the innocence of people, by hitting on many subjects where people know little - Art, Ancient Documents, Church Architecture, Pagan Religions, The Grail, Knights Templar, Early Church History", he said.

    On Dan Brown's claim that the Church has silenced people who venerated Mary Magdalene because she had married Jesus, Fr. Washington said "this is the most absurd and stupid allegation the author can make. The scriptures (ironically, that Dan Brown says was concocted by the Church) explains clearly that Mary Magdalene had a pride of a place". He pointed out that "Mary Magdalene, was the beneficiary of exorcism by Christ, a disciple who traveled with Jesus in a group of women and the lady who was honoured by the church with the institution of a feast in her name in the 10th Century."

    On the question of Mary Magdalene's marriage with Jesus, Fr. Washington pointed out that Dan Brown is poorly informed about "the essenes", a sect that remained single in honour of God. "This means, bachelorhood was acceptable during the time of Jesus, quite contrary to what the author says. Furthermore, had Jesus been married he would have chosen to reveal it to his disciples. The painting of the last supper in which the apostle John is alleged to be Mary Magdalene seated next to Jesus, we must know that it is John painted in a effeminate tone as was the style in Florentine painting and art at that time. Young men were often painted with a feminine tone."

    "Even his claim that Jesus' bloodline continued in France's royalty was debunked in 1993 in a French court of law", Fr. Washington added. "Dan Brown has to do a lot of reading of Scripture and History before he makes his next claim about Jesus of the Church."

    Fr. Washington carried the audience through an emotional journey of faith. "The Church has always been under attack and the name of Christ has always been desecrated, yet we will hold firm to the faith that has been handed down to us and that we have been personally convinced of. We know whom we have believed."

    In order to strengthen their belief in the divinity of Christ, the entire gathering recited, slowly and devoutly, the elaborate 325 AD Nicene Creed. It was a moving scene in the auditorium with many seen wiping tears from their eyes as they recited the creed.

    Bernard Moras, the Archbishop of Bangalore, who presided over the Panel of theologians said, "We must do everything possible to resist such books and movies that pervert the minds of people or paint the Church and the name of Christ in bad light. It is our bounden responsibility to uphold our Faith."

    Jose Jacob who compered the symposium noted that "Dan brown in an earlier interview called his work pure fiction, but when money began pouring in, he started calling his novel as factual". Eminent theologians too were invited to share their viewpoints on the movie.

    The symposium organized as part of ICPA's faith initiative for the faithful of the Archdiocese of Bangalore, drew in crowds from as far as Mangalore and Mysore.

    Also See:

    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    HSI Discipleship Program - South India Tour - June-July 2006

    The Holy Spirit Interactive (HSI) Discipleship Program: The South India Tour - Bangalore, Mangalore, Chennai - June-July 2006

    This is the schedule as it currently exists. Please keep checking this page to see additions of more programs as they get arranged.

    Bangalore: June 21 - June 26

    Thursday, June 22, 2006; 10 a.m.

    Ministry to the ICPE Community
    3, Wellington Street

    Thursday, June 22, 2006; 7-8.30 p.m.

    Talk to College Students
    Christ College Campus

    Friday, June 23, 2006; 6 p.m.

    Discipleship Program
    Ascension Church, Cook Town

    Saturday, June 24, 2006; 11 a.m.

    Logos Retreat Center

    Saturday, June 24, 2006; 4.30 - 5.30 p.m.

    Talk to the ICPE Youth Group
    St. Patrick's Church

    Sunday, June 25, 2006; 9.30 to 1.30 p.m.

    Talk to the Bread of Life Prayer Group
    Good Shepherd Convent Hall, Opp. St. Patrick's Church

    Mangalore: June 28 - July 03

    Wed-Thur, June 28-29, 2006; 9.15 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Retreat to College Students
    St Agnes PUC college Bendure

    Fri-Sat, June 30-July 1, 2006; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Retreat to Senior College Students
    St Agnes Degree College

    Wed-Fri, June 28-June 30, 2006; 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    The HSI Discipleship Program
    Milagres Church

    Chennai: July 05 - July 10

    Schedule to be announced shortly

    The HSI Discipleship Program

    To know more about the HSI Discipleship Program go here

    Also See:

    Saturday, June 17, 2006

    MUMBAI: Farewell to Cardinal Ivan Dias

    BOMBAY ARCHDIOCESE: Farewell to Cardinal Ivan Dias


    On the evening of Sunday, June 25, 2006, the archdiocese is organising a farewell in honour of Cardinal Ivan Dias, now appointed Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples. The function will be held at St Stanislaus School Grounds. Each parish is being requested to send a bus load of approximately 40 people. The function will begin at 5.30 p.m. and end at 8.30 p.m. It will include the celebration of the Eucharist.

    On June 22, 2006 there will be a special meeting of the clergy with Cardinal Ivan at St Pius College, Goregaon. It will begin at 10.30 a.m. The Eucharist will be celebrated at 11.00 a.m. Priests who wish to concelebrate should bring with them an alb, cincture and stole.

    Friday, June 16, 2006

    BANGALORE: ICPA Symposium on Da Vinci Code

    BANGALORE: ICPA to hold Symposium on Da Vinci Code

    BANGALORE, June 16: As part of its faith initiative for the faithful of Bangalore Archdiocese, the Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA) will organize a symposium on the Da Vinci Code in the city this Saturday.

    It will begin with an audio visual presentation by Rev. Fr. Adolf Washington, Vice President of the ICPA, critically analyzing Da Vinci Code. This will be followed by a panel discussion presided over by Most Rev. Dr. Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore.

    Members of the panel:

    1. Rev. Fr. S. Jayanathan, Secretary, Commission for Laity Apostolate, President, SIGNIS Karnataka
    2. Rev. Fr. Jose Pulickal, Rector, Carmelaram Theology College
    3. Rev. Fr. Gilbert Choondal, Head Theology, Kristu Jyothi College
    4. Rev. Fr. Udaya Kumar, Head – Moral Theology, St. Peter’s Pontifical Seminary.
    This symposium will be held on 17th June from 6 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. at Good Shepherd Auditorium, Museum Road, Bangalore 560 025.

    All Catholics have been invited.

    Also See:

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    Prayer Service for Fr. Henry Madtha's Recovery on June 18

    Mangalore Service Team to hold "Prayer Service" the speedy recovery of Fr. Henry Madtha

    MANGALORE, June 15: The Mangalore Diocesan Catholic Charismatic Service Team will hold a PRAYER SERVICE for the speedy recovery of Rev. Fr. Henry Madtha at 3pm on Sunday June 18, 2006 at St. Sebastian Church, Bendur, Mangalore.

    The service, expected to last four hours, will include Praise and Worship, Adoration, and Intercessory Prayer and will conclude with the celebration of the Holy Mass by Rev. Fr. Franklin D'souza, a Charismatic retreat preacher and long time associate of Fr. Henry Madtha.

    Fr. Madtha who met with an accident when his jeep collided with a lorry near Channarayapatna on June 3 is receiving medical attention at the St. John's Hospital in Bangalore. With the ventilator support now taken off, his condition is said to be steadily improving. However the Priest is yet to regain complete consciousness.

    For more information regarding the prayer service, contact Naveen Sequeira (9448136946)

    Also See:

    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    Pope's Remarks Within His Competence: Cardinal Dias

    As Christ's Vicar On Earth, Pope Is Fully Competent To Speak On Religious Freedom: Cardinal Dias

    Mumbai, June 14, 2006 (CBCI News):

    Responding to a spate of responses to Pope Benedict XVI's recent remarks on freedom of religion in India, the newly appointed head of Vatican’s Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Ivan Dias asserts - as Christ's Vicar on earth and as the first citizen of Vatican, Pope is fully competent to speak on the issue.

    The following is the statement issued by Cardinal Ivan Dias:


    In some of the reactions to Pope Benedict XVI's recent remarks on freedom of religion in India, he was criticised for intruding into the internal affairs of a sovereign nation and for acting ultra vires as the head of the Vatican City-State. Besides the considerations which have been previously made in The Examiner (May 27, 2006) apropos the subject touched upon by the Holy Father, it would seem wise to clarify - from a Catholic perspective - certain notions about the role he plays in the world at large as Christ's Vicar on earth and as the first citizen of the Vatican.

    Biblical Background

    We must go back to the Sea of Galilee some two thousand years ago when Jesus, who had just finished addressing a multitude of people from the barque of Peter, bade him to launch out into the deep and to lower the nets for a catch. After a moment of curious surprise - at a request coming from a carpenter-preacher to a seasoned fisherman who had toiled all night and caught nothing (was it, perhaps, an unwarranted interference with his competence!) - Peter cast down the nets and, all confused by the big haul he made, fell at Jesus' feet and begged Him to go away from a sinful man. But Jesus reassured him saying: "Do not be afraid; henceforth, you will be a fisher of men" (cf Lk 5:1-10). This change, from fisherman to a fisher of men, is indeed significant. Later on, Jesus would explain the meaning of this new office with another metaphor: "You are Peter, the rock, and on this Rock I shall build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you will bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you will loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Mt 16:13-20). After His resurrection, Jesus confirmed Peter in this office saying: "Feed my lambs.. Feed my sheep" (Jn 21:15-19), notwithstanding the fact that Peter, in a moment of weakness after Jesus' arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, had thrice denied that he ever knew Him. Being God-made-man, Jesus' flock is the whole human race, for whose sake He died on the Cross at Calvary.

    The Holy See

    It is gratifying to note that, in a world where human, moral and ethical values are being constantly tossed high and low on the stormy seas of life, Jesus wished that Peter be, like a lighthouse on a rock, His authoritative spokesman - His Vicar on earth - enlightening the course of humanity. And so it has been all down the centuries till today through Peter's successors, the Popes. The moral and spiritual authority vested in the Pope is normally referred to as The Holy See: the term "see" (which means seat) symbolically signifies the chair from which teaching is officially imparted, laws are promulgated and judgements pronounced, something akin to the stools of the tribal chiefs in Africa, the thrones of the kings in Europe and the peets from where Indian gurus teach their disciples with authority.

    Strictly speaking, the Holy See or the Apostolic See is the ministry of the Pope who has a double sovereignty: as Pastor of the universal Church and as Head of the Vatican City-State. In a broad sense, the Holy See includes the departments (dicasteries) of the Roman Curia which collaborate with the Pope in the governance of the Church (can. 361 in the Code of Canon Law). The Holy See is thus the central governing body of the Catholic Church, whose head is the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, and it is precisely in the exercise of this function that it enjoys international recognition. The Holy See is also the supreme authority of the Vatican City-State, as will be explained further below. The Pope has a special place in the comity of nations, and he is universally acknowledged as an authoritative point of reference when he speaks on dogmatic, spiritual, moral and ethical issues: these statements are not always infallible, except when he speaks ex cathedra. He commands the respect of all the nations, even of those who disagree with his views. In this he represents the Holy See, and not the Vatican City-State. His pronouncements are mainly on human rights, life and death issues, morality in and out of marriage, questions of justice, truth and peace.

    The Holy See, not the Vatican City, maintains diplomatic relations with 174 nations and participates in various international organizations. Foreign embassies are accredited to the Holy See, not to the Vatican City, and it is the Holy See that establishes treaties and concordats with other sovereign entities and, when necessary, even on behalf of the Vatican City. Due to the very limited territory of the Vatican, embassies to the Holy See are located outside that City-State in the Italian part of Rome. Italy too has its own Embassy to the Holy See. While the Vatican is a subject of international law and is a member of some international organisations, like the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Holy See participates in many entities, both governmental and non-governmental, as a member, observer or permanent representative, e.g. United Nations Organization (UNO), The European Council, United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IEAE), etc.

    As the Holy See does not have any political or commercial ambitions to further, it is much appreciated by everyone for its supra-national approach and its substantial contribution to the international community's quest for world peace and security, especially since there are matters and values which transcend national boundaries and which concern the world body of nations as a whole. Among these are human rights issues, wars and consequent refugee problems, terrorism, child labour, drug trafficking, air-flight safety, maritime fishing, etc. Common policies on these matters are often drawn up in declarations and statements having a universal character: e.g. the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 1948) wherein it is stated: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance" (Art.18). It is for this reason that the Holy See is held in high esteem all over the world. It is noteworthy that Article 16 of the international Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (18 April 1961), while stipulating that the Heads of Diplomatic Missions (Ambassadors) in a given State should be given precedence according to the order of their presentation of credentials to the Head of that State, has a clause which makes a unique exception for the Pope's Ambassador (Apostolic Nuncio), stating that "this article is without prejudice to any practice accepted by the receiving State regarding the precedence of the representative of the Holy See".

    The Vatican City-State

    The place where the Pope resides at present is a very small territory in Rome, called the Vatican. Rome has always been the normal residence of the Popes, albeit in various locations, because the tomb of Peter, the first Pope, lies there on Vatican Hill. In times past, when the Italian peninsula was made up of many feudal states, some of them paid allegiance to the Pope as their temporal sovereign. But, when the Papal States were suppressed after the invasion of Rome by the troops of the King of Piedmont in 1870, the Pope was "confined" to the Vatican Palace. It was then that some uncertainty arose among jurists as to whether the Holy See, without territorial sovereignty, could continue to act as an independent personality in international affairs. The State of the Vatican City was therefore created with the signing of the Lateran Pact between the Holy See and the Italian Authorities on February 11, 1929 to "ensure the absolute and visible independence of the Holy See" and "to guarantee to it an indisputable sovereignty in international affairs" (quotes from the treaty). Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Holy See's former Secretary for Relations with States, said that the Vatican City is a "miniscule support-state that guarantees the spiritual freedom of the Pope with the minimum territory".

    The Pope is the head of the tiny Vatican City-State, which covers an area of 44 hectares (108.7 acres) and hosts some world-renowned sites: among them, St. Peter's Basilica, The Apostolic Palace, Vatican Museums with the Library and Secret Archives, Paul VI Audience Hall, The Governor's Palace. Providing a territorial identity for the Holy See, the Vatican City-State is a recognized national territory under international law, with its own flag, anthem, postal stamps, coins, security (famous Swiss Guards), health services, bank, tribunal, railway station and administrative offices.

    The Vatican City is, therefore, a purely technical entity of a juridical nature, to be understood in the context of the permanent international recognition which the Holy See has always enjoyed, both before the creation of the Pontifical States and even after they ceased in 1870. At that time, the Vatican City-State did not exist. This permanent international recognition of the Holy See is proof enough that States and Governments looked at the Holy See, not primarily as a territorial entity, but as an international juridical reality, whose foundation was the spiritual sovereignty of the Church exercised through the ministry of the Pope. The basis of this sovereignty is to be found in valid juridical and social arguments concerning an organism that has existed through many centuries as a real juridical sovereignty analogous, but not identical to, that of a State: for it is an association of people with its own special organization (i.e. based on spiritual values and with a hierarchical structure), which follows an independent goal and can freely adopt the ways and means it considers necessary for its mission and unity. In short, the Church is an entity sui generis, and is recognized as such by international agreements.

    The Catholic Perspective

    To summarise the Catholic perspective exposed above: The Holy See has existed ever since Peter was mandated by Christ to take care of His flock, which is the whole human race. The Vatican City-State exists only since 1929. It would, therefore, be wrong to attribute to the Pope as head of the Vatican City-State the statements he makes in virtue of his authority as Christ's Vicar on earth (Holy See): just as if, in the case of Peter cited above, one would confuse the fisherman and the fisher of men in him. People everywhere are normally quite aware that the Pope's role as head of the Church (Holy See) is quite distinct from that of first citizen of the Vatican: for instance, when they listen to the Pope's speeches or when they react to various papal events, such as the sight of the hundreds of thousands of persons who come to Rome from the five continents wishing to attend a papal audience; the anxiety of the millions around the globe who followed the radio and television bulletins for over a week as Pope John Paul II's life was slowly ebbing away and the sadness which prevailed all over the world when he died and at his funeral service; the enthusiasm with which countless of persons witnessed the election and inaugural ceremonies of his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

    Re-reading Pope Benedict XVI's remarks on religious freedom in India - which were made within the context of a speech filled with appreciation of and praises for the Indian nation - one cannot but sense the Holy Father's deep concern at the negative attitude taken by certain politico-religious groups vis-à-vis the innate fundamental rights of the Indian people, which are also enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are guaranteed in the Indian Constitution and reflect the spirit of India's founding fathers. This is fully within the competence of the Pope (Holy See). His observations, however, are all the more relevant when one considers the deep yearning of the Indian soul as expressed in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: "from untruth lead me to the truth, from darkness lead me to the light, and from death lead me to immortality" (1.3.28). While sincerely appreciating the "seeds of the truth" which are found in all religious traditions and which await their full blossoming, Christians believe that only Jesus Christ can fully satisfy the inner longing of the human heart to pass "from untruth to truth" because He is the Truth; "from darkness to the light" because He is the Way and the Light of the World, and "from death to immortality" because He is Life in abundance. In fact, in reply to a question posed by the Apostle Thomas at the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" (Jn 14:6). And it was precisely Thomas who, in God's providence, would later bring this Good News of Jesus Christ to the Indian sub-continent.

    + Cardinal Ivan Dias

    Also See:

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    UDUPI: "Make sacrifices for the faith", Bishop says

    "Make sacrifices for the faith", Bishop says

    Udupi, June 13: Having received faith as a gift from the Church, one must "make sacrifices for the faith", Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, the Bishop of Mangalore said in his homily here this morning.

    The Bishop was speaking to the couple of thousand pilgrims at the St. Anthony's Shrine at Kerekatte who came to take part in the grand festal Mass concelebrated by a dozen Priests and led by the Bishop himself.

    "Though called Anthony of Padua on account of his tomb being in Padua in Italy, the saint is originally from Portugal", the Bishop noted. "Yet it was his enormous popularity among the Italians that made them accept him as their very own."

    Recounting the life of St.Anthony the Bishop said, "His virtuous upbringing made the saint join, despite being rich, the Canons Regular of St. Augustine while still young. However when he saw the bodies of the first Franciscan Martyrs being brought back from Morocco, he too became inflamed with a desire for martyrdom and with this intention joined the Franciscans. In Morocco where he was sent as a missionary, St. Anthony fell sick and was brought back to Italy. God had other plans for St. Anthony."

    St. Anthony who saw St. Francis at the general chapter in Assisi, "concealed his own learning and was assigned work in the kitchen at the monastery where he stayed. It was at an ordination ceremony that having found no one else, Anthony was called upon to preach the sermon and his astounding gift of preaching was discovered. The tongue of the saint is a relic today."

    Speaking to the pilgrims who had turned up at the shrine in larger numbers than the previous years, he asked, "Is this merely a trip? Is it only to offer thanksgiving and votive masses, to put garlands on the saint's statue, to light candles and to take back articles from the stalls? You must come here to increase in faith and in devotion, to make confession and to receive communion. Don't come here to see but to experience and cultivate the gift of faith that you received from the Church."

    For the profession of faith, the Bishop led the faithful to recite the more explicit and more detailed Nicene Creed instead of the usually recited Apostles Creed.

    The Mass, celebrated in Konkani, concluded with a novena to St. Anthony led by Rev. Fr. Xavier Pinto, the Parish Priest of St. Philip Neri Church Basrur, followed by a blessing the Bishop gave with the relic of the Saint.


    Also See:

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    BANGALORE: CBCI GBM 2006 Souvenir Available

    27th CBCI General Body Meeting Souvenir Now Available for Sale

    Bangalore, June 12: The final copy of CBCI General Body Meeting (GBM) 2006 Souvenir released during the public function on 12 February 2006 is now available for purchase, the Archbishop of Bangalore announced.

    Edited by Dr. Sr. Elizabeth C.S. sjt, Vice Principal of the Jyothi Nivas Autonomous College Bangalore, the 250 page plus souvenir printed on quality paper and dedicated to the memory of late Pope John Paul II, collects together the messages, addresses, homilies, papers and presentations made at the CBCI GBM. It is also replete with photos and additional sections on outreach initatives, Karnataka's popular places of devotion and a mini-directory of the Indian Bishops.

    The copy of the Souvenir may be obtained from the Archbishop’s House at Benson Town or from the following parishes of the Bangalore Archdiocese : St. Patrick's Church (Brigade Road), Infant Jesus Church (Viveknagar), St. Mary's Basilica (Shivajinagar), Ascension Church (St. Mary's Town), Assumption Church (Rajajinagar), St. Francis Xavier (Coles Park Cathedral), Christ the King Church (Malleswaram), Sacred Heart Church (Richmond Town), Good Shepherd Church (Murphy Town), Holy Ghost Church (Richards Town), St. Anthony's Church (Madivala). The cost of the souvenir is Rs. 150/-

    160 Bishops of India, had gathered at St. Peter’s Pontifical Seminary, Bangalore, for the 27th General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), from 8th - 15th February 2006 to pray, reflect and discuss on the theme, "Catholic Education and the Church’s Concern for the Marginalized".

    Also See:

    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    St Antony's Shrine, Kerekatte - 2006 Feast Schedule

    St. Antony's Shrine, Kerekatte
    (Mangalore Diocese)

    Feast Schedule

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Mass Celebrations

    9 am: Mass in Kannada
    Main Celebrant: Rev. Fr. Vijay Machado, Asst. Parish Priest, Ranipura

    10.30am: Festal Mass in Konkani
    Main Celebrant:
    Rt. Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, Bishop of Mangalore

    3.30pm: Mass in Konkani
    Main Celebrant:
    V. Rev. Fr. Antony Lobo, Vicar Forane, Kudapur Varado (Deanery)


    Pirjeant: Rs. 1,000
    Mordom: Rs. 100
    Mass: Rs. 100
    • Priests will be available for confession on the feast day.
    • There will be Mass and novena at 10.30am every Tuesday.

    For Further Information Contact:
    Rev. Fr. Xavier Pinto
    Parish Priest, St. Philip Neri Church, Basrur - 576211
    Kudapur Taluk, Udupi District, Karnataka, INDIA.

    Tel.: +91-8254-237248
    Also See:

    Friday, June 09, 2006

    MANGALORE: Worship Evening 2006 by Jesus Youth (JY)

    Mangalore Jesus Youth Prepare to Present Worship Evening 2006 on June 24-25

    Worship Evening 2006 by Jesus Youth (JY) Mangalore

    Worship Evening 2006 - Programme Details

    Venue: St. Joseph's Seminary Hall, Jeppu, Mangalore.
    Dates: 24th & 25th June, 2006.
    Times: 5:00PM to 8:00PM

    For More Information Contact:

    Mobile: 9845157774 (Gordon), 9880129838 (Neil)

    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    PETRUS - Catholic Monthly from St Pauls

    Konkani Catholics recommends "Petrus", a monthly of Catholic Information and News from St. Pauls.


    A Monthly of Catholic Information and News

    Edited, printed and published by Fr. Anselm Poovathani, on behalf of Bombay Pauline Periodicals Society.

    Subscription Charges
    Yearly : Rs. 150.00
    Air Mail : Rs. 800.00

    Contact Information:
    Address: PETRUS
    P.B.9814, 58/23rd Road, TPS III
    Bandra (W), Mumbai 400 050, India.

    Tel.: 2640 3312, 2640 8557

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006

    St. Antony's Shrine at Kerekatte, Mangalore Diocese

    The Story of St. Antony's Shrine at Kerekatte

    Kerekatte is a small hindu village in Kundapur Taluk of Udupi District located between the towns of Hosangadi and Siddapur.

    The story goes that an image of St. Antony of Padua was found here while digging a field many years ago. From then on the people of that place began venerating the image of the "miracle worker".

    Around 1684, the Blessed Joseph Vaz installed this image in a small thatched roof hut. People of the surrounding areas would come there to pray and make offerings. Even bullock carts passing that area stopped to make an offering. It is said that the bulls would refuse to pull carts if no offering was made or if they did it would results in mishaps. Even today some of the buses plying along that route, stop in front of the shrine to make an offering while pilgrims in others throw their offerings from the running bus.

    With the increase of devotion over time, the then Bishop of Mangalore, Victor Fernandes (1931-1955) constructed a little "gudi", a shrine, at the place where the later Bishop Basil Salvadore (1965-1996) erected a 13 foot tall image of St. Antony carved from stone.

    Now has been added, a chapel, a few rooms and a kitchen. There aren't any Christian families nearby. So the chapel is cared for from the Basrur Parish 28 kms away, of which it is a sub-station.

    Requests for Masses by pilgrims, arrangement of rooms for staying, and thanksgiving offertories may be addressed to the Parish Priest of Basrur.

    Grand festal masses at the shrine are celebrated twice a year, on 15th February and on 13 June. People of other faiths too visit the shrine during the feast days. Buses ply along this route all day and streams of pilgrims visit here to go for confessions, receive communion, make offerings, and offer masses.

    Also See:

    Monday, June 05, 2006

    GOA Archbishop: Live in Accordance with the Word of God


    Herald Correspondent

    OLD Goa JUNE 4 - Archbishop Patriarch Filipe Neri Ferrao on Sunday exhorted the Catholic community to live their lives in accordance with the Living Word of God and work to foster peace, justice and to spread the Good News of Salvation, which Jesus Christ brought to mankind here on earth.

    The Archbishop was speaking as the main celebrant at the Pontifical Mass in the Se Cathedral at Old Goa organised to mark the release of the Bible (Old and New Testament) in the Roman script Konkani. It was also a day of rejoicing because of the feast of the Pentecost. Archbishop Emeritus Raul Gonsalves, Archbishop of Gandhi Nagar Gujarat, Stanislau Fernandes, Bishop of Simla Chandigarh, Gerald Mathias and several priests from different parishes of Goa also concelebrated at the mass.

    Delivering his 15-minute homily in Konkani, Archbishop Ferrao reminded the congregation that Jesus established the Kingdom of God on earth which signifies service towards the poorest of the poor. "Jesus brought peace, brotherhood and justice amongst all the people and therefore we must all work hand-in-hand to accomplish the task He has set before us," he said. Archbishop Ferrao said the disciples began spreading the Good News and their faith was strengthened only after they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Speaking further he said, "Today is a great day of rejoicing for the Church in Goa since all of us will in future be able to read the Word of God in our maim bhas. Let us strengthen our faith, renew ourselves by constantly reading the Bible and walk in the Light which Jesus brought to us", added the Archbishop.

    The theme for the occasion was, "Word of God written under inspiration of the Holy Spirit becomes for us the Life giving spirit".

    During the offertory procession three faithful placed the Bible, bread and wine in the hands of the main celebrant.

    Nuns from different congregations were also present. Agassaim parish choir led by Fr Andrew Mascarenhas assisted the congregation in singing the hymns during the Mass.

    Towards the end of the Eucharistic celebration, Archbishop Ferrao formally released the Bible and kissed it to the thunderous applause of the congregation.

    He then handed over a copy of the Bible to each of the representatives of North, South and Central Zone in Goa. Speaking briefly, he said, "We are happy today because with the release of the Bible, the dream of the Church in Goa comes true. Several people worked in various capacities making innumerable sacrifices in order to accomplish the task that was entrusted to them. I sincerely thank them all and hope that the Konkani edition of the bible will now become a part of every household," concluded Archbishop Ferrao

    Fr Manuel Gomes and Fr Cristovao Caldeira also spoke. Faithful attended the ceremony in large number.


    Sunday, June 04, 2006

    GOA: First Complete Konkani Bible Released

    "POVITR PUSTOK adlo ani novo korar" released

    By Godfrey J I Gonsalves, Margao, Goa

    June 4: At the stroke of 1200 noon today 4th June, 2006 the Feast of the Holy Spirit; for Goa and Goans it turned out to be a red letter day, in the anals of its history, when the first "POVITR PUSTOK- ADLO ani NOVO KORAR" -- in our mother tongue KONKANI (written in Roman script) was released at the hands of His Grace Archbishop of Goa and Daman Filipe Neri Ferrao in the presence of Bishop Emeritius Most Rev Raul Gonsalves and two other Bishops who are presently in Goa, Most Rev. Stanislaus Fernandes, s.j. Bishop of Gandhinagar (a native from S. Matias Divar) and Rev Gerald John Mathew of Chattisgarh (a native of Mangalore) at the St Catherina Church - Se Cathedral following a Eucharist Mass with the participation of over 45 priests from the Diocese.

    Releasing the hard bound "Povitr Pustok" the Archbishop expressed a fervent desire to the gathering of over 800 people partaking in the event to ensure that "this Holy Bible now available in our mother tongue becomes a valuable possession in our Homes".

    At today's meet only a few "complimentary copies" were distributed at the hands of the Archbishop to those from the Biblical committee headed by Fr Manuel Gomes and others. As a symbolic gesture to ensure the spread of the "Povitr Pustok" to the entire state, lay persons representing the Central, North, and South Episcopal Centres were given a copy of the "Povitr Pustok".

    In honouring the first offer order of 40,000 copies, and the additional difficulty of obtaining hard bound cover print orders in large numbers, the newly released "Povitr Pustok" was not available for immediate sale.

    According to Fr.Loila Pereira Secretary to the Archbishop who spoke briefly to this writer it was made known that the books costing Rs 300/- would be made available for sale at the Pastoral Institute Office at Old Goa Tiswadi Ilhas Goa India +91 0832 2285347.

    Earlier on a bright sunny morning spared of the onset of the monsoon showers that lashed the State three days ago, the St Lourenco, Agacaim, Choral Group led by Rev Fr Andrew Mascarenhas presented a beautiful rendition of hymns befitting the solemn ocassion. The devotees clapped in appreciation of those that constituted the Biblical committee for the task they performed when momentos were being handed to them.

    The "Povitr Pustok" is a handy book with a cover depicting symbols of the Pascal candle, the empty sepulchre, the ten commandments, and the Red Sea.

    At the end of the function which lasted well over two and half hours, snacks and refreshments were distributed at the entrance to all the participants.

    Several nuns and priests attended the ocassion.

    Mr Jess Fernandes and some other Konkani writers were also presented a copy of the Bible. Mr Tomazinho Cardozo, and Mr Octavio Rodrigues were amongst those present.

    Saturday, June 03, 2006

    HASSAN: Fr. Henry Madtha Critical following Accident

    HASSAN: Fr. Henry Madtha Meets With Accident, Condition Reported Critical

    June 3: Fr. Henry Madtha, priest of Chikmaglur diocese and director of the Jeevan Jyothi retreat team, is in critical condition after having met with a fatal accident this morning.

    The accident is said to have occured near Channarayapatna on the Bangalore-Hassan highway when the Priest was returning to his parish by Jeep. He has been admitted to the ICU of St. John's Hospital at Bangalore.

    Doctors have given up hopes, a distressed relative informed saying that only God could intervene in Fr. Henry's case.

    Family members have made an earnest appeal for prayers even as round-the-clock intercession for Fr. Madtha's recovery is being made.

    Friday, June 02, 2006

    BANGALORE: Archdiocesan Education Policy Must Be Follwed, says Archbishop

    Bangalore: Archbishop Bernard Moras Reiterates Archdiocesan Education Policy, Calls for Co-operation from Catholic Schools


    All the Managers/Correspondents/Heads of the Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese are hereby requested to follow strictly the Archdiocesan Education Policy released last year and reiterated by the CBCI in its Final Statement of its General Body Meeting held in February 2006 in Bangalore. The same policies were also emphasized by the Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops in their Pastoral letter in February 2006.

    It was brought to my notice that in spite of clear-cut instructions, some of the schools are refusing admissions to Catholic children saying that either they are not up to the mark or they do not have enough money to pay their fees. While understanding the problems for admissions to higher education in Professional Colleges and/or Institutions, I fail to understand why our Catholic children are refused admissions to our own Catholic schools. Government has been refusing minority benefits to our schools stating that we do not have sufficient Catholic children in our schools. Is it not our responsibility to admit as many Catholic children as possible and even encourage children attending Govt. or other schools to come to our schools so that they can also get Catholic education? Kindly give a serious thought to this my earnest appeal.

    +Bernard Moras
    Archbishop of Bangalore

    (Excerpted from the Archbishop's circular dated June 1, 2006)

    Also See:

    Thursday, June 01, 2006

    Fr Thomas Sequeira - New CBCI Deputy Secretary General

    Goan Priest Appointed CBCI Deputy Secretary General

    Fr Thomas Sequeira Takes Charge As CBCI Dy Secretary General, Fr Donald De Souza Completes His Term

    New Delhi, June 01, 2006 (CBCI News):

    Fr Thomas Aquinas Sequeira of the Archdiocese of Goa assumed office as Deputy Secretary General of CBCI in the presence of the Secretary General Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes this morning at CBCI Centre, New Delhi.

    The present incumbent, Fr Donald De Souza who served as Deputy Secretary General laid down office after serving the organisation for nearly seven years.

    Fr Thomas is the former Rector of the nearly four hundred year old Rachol Seminary in Goa and holds a doctorate in Sacred Scriptures. He has been on the team which translated the Holy Bible into Konkani in Roman script.

    Fr Donald served CBCI, earlier as Assistant to Deputy Secretary General and later as the Deputy Secretary General. Coming from the diocese of Lucknow, he is an expert in Sacred Liturgy and has been a professor of Liturgy in St Joseph’s Seminary, Allahabad.

    He will be returning to his diocese of Lucknow and will be residing at the diocesan St Paul’s Seminary.

    As Deputy Secretary General, Fr Donald has been in charge of running the day-to-day activities of the CBCI and taking care of the CBCI Centre as its Director.

    The Deputy Secretary General, under the guidance of the Secretary General, coordinates the activities of the Conference and facilitates the preparation and actual running of the General Body Meetings and Standing Committee Meetings.

    The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) is a supra-ritual body “primarily called to interest itself in national affairs” affecting the Catholic community and also, all sections of the society.

    CBCI is an umbrella organisation of all the Catholic Bishops of India, belonging to the Latin Rite, the Syro-Malabar Rite and the Syro-Malankara Rite. In all there are 159 dioceses belonging to the three rites united in the CBCI fold.