Monday, July 31, 2006

International Charismatic Youth Conference at Korea Concludes

Charismatic Meeting Gifts Youths With Spiritual Inspiration, Solidarity

July 27, 2006

EUMSEONG, Korea (UCAN) -- Young Catholics who recently took part in an international Catholic charismatic conference organized just for young people say they found the experience spiritually energizing and unifying.

"I laughed and laughed for three days, even though there was nothing (to laugh at)," Mary Kim Ji-seon told UCA News on July 23, the last day of the Holy Spirit Conference of World Youth 2006.

"I think that is the power of the Holy Spirit, making us happy and filling us with laughter," added the young Catholic from South Korea's Suwon diocese.

For Emajane Tamon, a participant from the Philippines, the experience was "a good chance to revive the Spirit in my heart." She told UCA News she felt the Holy Spirit in a deeper than usual way during the July 21-23 conference as she prayed, sang and shared "with many friends from all over the world."

The conference, whose theme was "As By A New Pentecost," brought together about 1,500 Catholics aged 18-35 at Kkottongne (flower village) in Eumseong, 100 kilometers southeast of Seoul. Kkottongne is a social-welfare facility for disabled and elderly people founded by Father John Oh Woong-jin of Korea.

According to one organizer, the recent international charismatic meeting was the first one organized anywhere just for young Catholics worldwide. The official, who asked not to be named, told UCA News on July 24 that the meeting aimed to revitalize the charismatic renewal movement among young people.

About 1,000 participants were from Korea, while the rest came from 25 countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Uganda and the United States.

Church leaders who also attended included Archbishop Barry James Hickey of Perth, Australia; Auxiliary Bishop Theotonius Gomes of Dhaka, Bangladesh; Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi, India; Bishop Jesse Mercado of Paranaque, Philippines; and Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm, Sweden.

The first two days were devoted to presentations by Patti Mansfield, leader of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the United States; Mario Capello, founder of the International Catholic Programme of Evangelization (ICPE), and Father Oh.

The attendees also took part in praise-and-worship sessions and heard fellow participants give testimony about how God had been working in their lives.

Mansfield spoke about experiencing the Holy Spirit, and when she urged the young participants to pray in tongues, a charismatic gift, the conference hall reverberated with musical sounds and cries.

Cyril John, who chairs the National Service Team of the Catholic charismatic renewal in India, told the participants that the pentecostal or charismatic movement is the biggest spiritual renewal in the history of Christianity.

"A growth from zero to 120 million Catholic charismatics in 235 countries in about 40 years, and more than 400 million in other churches and Christian communities in 100 years is something remarkable," the Indian man said.

According to John, there have been three distinct outpourings of the Holy Spirit among Christians during the last 100 years. The first in 1906 affected 65 million people. The second outpouring, starting in 1950, touched 175 million and gave birth to the Catholic charismatic movement in 1967. John said the third one in 1981 reached 295 million people from various denominations.

"Pentecost is an ongoing experience," he explained, "and we should start praying fervently and look forward expectantly for a new Pentecost."

The conference's last day was open to the public, and another 1,500 people, mostly Korean senior citizens and housewives, joined the assembly.

What was miraculous about the conference for one Korean participant, who declined to be named, was not the manifestation of charismatic gifts. "I saw a miracle stronger than that," she said. "It was us, people of different races, cultures and languages being united as one in the name of God."

She said she was deeply inspired by how passionately the participants wanted to "know much more about God," and that is why the conference will remain "an unforgettable moment in my life."

Brother James Shin Sang-hyun, superior of the Kkottongne Brothers of Jesus congregation and chairperson of the organizing committee, told UCA News: "The young people are the future of our Church. We should bring them up through the Holy Spirit and accomplish the renewal of the Church."

The organizing committee official cited earlier pointed out, "After evaluating this conference, we hope to hold such a conference biannually with help from the Rome-based International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services."

The event was organized by the Kkottongne Religious Charismatic Prayer Committee, and sponsored by the Association for Charismatic Renewal of Korean Catholic Youth, the ICPE and Korean Youth Charismatic Renewal, a charismatic prayer group of Korean Americans in southern California, United States.
Reproduced by
Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN(

Sunday, July 30, 2006

NEW DELHI: Couples Retreat in English - August 2006

"Healing in Marriage" - Couples Retreat in English - August 2006

An English Catholic Charismatic retreat will be organized for couples at the Diocesan Community Centre in Delhi Archdiocese on the theme, "Healing in Marriage". The retreat will be led by Stephen, Cynthia and Team from Bangalore. The details are as follows:

Retreat Details

Dates: 13-15 August 2006 (Sunday, Monday and Independence Day)

Time: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Venue: Diocesan Community Centre, Goledakkhana, Sacred Heart Cathedral, New Delhi

Fees: Rs 400/- per couple

For further details contact Mathew/Greta at 011-23366092
Courtesy: Piyush/Herman Siquiera, Delhi

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Goa Archdiocese Pastoral Letter 2006


To the Priests, Religious, Lay Faithful and People of good will in the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman

(Approved English version of the Pastoral Letter No. CP-Past/147/2006 written originally in Konkani language)


Dear Sisters and Brothers,

At the onset of another Pastoral Year, a gift from God, I greet you with great love and deep affection in the name of Jesus, Our Lord!


According to the marvellous design of the Father and impelled by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, by his life, suffering, death and resurrection, made us, sinners, heirs of the heavenly Kingdom, and enabled us to become, though our baptism, part of God’s family, the Church. In her earthly pilgrimage, the Church strives to be "the universal sacrament of salvation" (LG 48; AG 1) and Jesus, her Founder, continues to guide her with the never-failing cooperation of the Holy Spirit. According to his design, the Church was given a renewed awareness of her mission through the Vatican Council II, a few decades ago.

It is good to note that Ad Gentes - this important Council document which deals with Christian witness and Evangelization - is completing forty years this year. We also celebrate, this year, the 500th birth anniversary of our great and beloved St. Francis Xavier. May these two jubilees serve as an occasion for the Church in Goa to reflect deeply on her mission of witnessing and presenting Christ to the world as well as to make a critical review of the road already travelled.

With this in mind, for this new Pastoral Year, we have chosen as a theme for our reflection, Christian Witness in the Society: Challenge of the Eucharist. We will certainly remember that, under the inspiration of Pope John Paul II, of revered memory, we had taken up, for the last Pastoral Year, the theme, Families, Enlightened and Strengthened by the Eucharist, Sent to Build a New Society; and, in the previous year, we had reflected on Eucharist and Our Life.

In the last many years, the Church in Goa has been taking various steps towards her renewal. One of the most important steps was the Goa Diocesan Synod 2002. This Synod has challenged us to become the leaven of our society as we go about our mission of witnessing to Christ (cf. SDS 37). The challenge of the Eucharist is the same: the followers of Christ cannot confine the practice of their faith to the walls of their church building; their witness must rather shine out in society. This is also my burning desire. And it is with this hope that I present this Pastoral Letter to you, so that, with the strength and the grace of the Holy Eucharist, we may witness and proclaim Christ with great earnest in our society.

Eucharist and Christian Witness in Society

At the end of the celebration of the Eucharist, the priest sends the people with these words: The Mass is ended, go in the peace of Christ. From there, the world becomes the altar of life where the Eucharist is lived on; the Eucharist thus challenges us to live in the midst of daily life what we have celebrated at the altar and, at the same time, gives us the strength to meet the challenge.

Jesus came to give humankind integral salvation. He brought us true freedom by his cross, death and resurrection (cf. Heb 5:8-10; Rom 6:4; Col 3:1; Eph 1:17). Just as the Father sent him to the world, Jesus sends us forth, in the Eucharist, to be his witnesses (cf. Jn 20:21). "If the Eucharistic Memorial fails to sharpen and deepen our social sensitivity and commitment, it tends to become a mockery of the Lord, who struggled ... for the poor and the voiceless" (SDS 167; cf. DCE 14). Some of the moments of the Mass indicated below encourage us to get more involved in the life of the community:

    a. The Word of God: We need to have a new vision if we are to overcome personal and social evil. The Word of God illumines our hearts and minds and impels us to give witness to Christian values and principles. With the 'fire' and the inspiration of the Word of God, our hearts and minds must be ablaze with social concern, thus making Christ present in our society. Therefore it is important that, in our personal, family and community life, we read, study and internalize the Word of God.

    b. Offering of Life: By reading and meditating on the Word of God, we will become more and more, like Jesus, dedicated to God and to the people. The sacrifice, in which Jesus offered Himself on the cross, is bequeathed to us in the Eucharist under the signs of bread and wine. With Jesus, we too offer ourselves to the Father under the signs of bread and wine. The one who participates in the Holy Eucharist is willing to break his or her life, as Jesus did, for the greater good of the society. Thus the commandment given to us at the Last Supper, "you too do likewise" (Jn 13:15), comes alive in each one of us.

    c. Do Good, Shun Evil: If we are to live up to the offering of ourselves to God and to our neighbour, we must continuously battle with evil and keep doing good, just as Jesus went about doing good (cf. Acts 10:38). At the beginning of the Eucharistic Celebration we confess that 'I have sinned ... in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.' To do good and to avoid evil ought to be the goal of our life. Truly, every human being finds this desire deeply ingrained in his conscience. Would that more and more people cherished it!

1 - Christian Faithful in Society

Jesus dedicated all his life, that is, his teaching and his work, to the integral salvation of humankind. He began his public ministry by invoking the words of the Book of Isaiah (cf. Lk 4:14-18). In the Sermon on the Mount he revealed to us the perspective of his Mission (cf. Mt 5: 3-11). He showed genuine concern towards the poor, the powerless, the marginalized and towards those who are denied their rights.

Jesus invites us, his disciples of today, to continue this important work. He sends us forth to become the 'salt of the earth' and the 'light of the world' (Mt 5:13-16). In this manner we will be known as true followers of Jesus (cf. SDS 172). Each Christian, through Baptism, shares in the triple mission of Jesus and, in the Holy Eucharist, receives the inspiration and the strength to dedicate his or her life for the service to others (cf. DCE 18). As we look around us, we are exposed to different types of people and of situations. In Goa, quite a large number of Christians are committed to witnessing to their faith in their social milieu. They remain true to Christian values and principles and strive to live their faith amidst various social conditions. We rejoice in this!

Compared to the other States in India, Goa is not only an oasis of relative peace, but it also stands out in its economic development. Goans have made a name for themselves throughout the world. Literacy rate in Goa is high, the business of tourism has helped many to improve their economic condition, the State Government renders monthly assistance to the old and the disabled, helps students to acquire technological equipment in their education and provides the indigent with health treatment facilities, etc.

Of course, the above picture should not give the impression that everything is well.
Unfortunately, a number of our young people leave Goa, due to lack of suitable employment. The winds of globalization have been blowing in Goa too, and the impact is clearly felt. It appears that sound values are given less importance in our governance; corruption in our public administration goes unabated; very little seems to move without bribing. Some experiments with western culture seem to threaten what is best in Goan culture. The business of tourism has contributed towards the devaluation of the human person and Goa is being unscrupulously sold in the name of economic development.

Religious, cultural and human principles – respect for the elders, concern for family and neighbour, etc – are slowly eroding. Our educational institutions fail to challenge our students and to fire them with enthusiasm for doing research and for pursuing excellence.

In this context, our prophetic voice must be heard loud and clear. We could take up the following areas as we go about this mission, facing the various challenges that come our way:

    1.1. Education: We ought to develop a critical mind in analyzing the various situations and take up courage to break unjust social structures and to fight against evil. Let us also see that appropriate orientation is given to students in our educational institutions, so that awareness is created for one’s responsibility to engage in public good.

    1.2. Work: It is very important to recognize the dignity of labour. Work is holy, because those who engage in work are holy. It is the responsibility of every one to help create working conditions that promote genuine human progress.

    1.3. Business: The ultimate goal of any development is the human person (cf. EA 33). The development of business as a result of Globalization cannot exclude the development of the human being (cf. EA 39). Let us maintain, at all costs, moral principles in the world of business.

    1.4. Politics: Politics must be the concern and the responsibility of every citizen. All must endeavour to clean up the political establishment for the sake of the greater good of the society. A great challenge before us is to seek upright and truthful leaders, get them elected and, later, to check their performance. For the government that does not follow the law is a government of thieves (St. Augustine).

    1.5. Culture: Amidst the cultures of various tourists and travellers mixing with us, it is important that we work to maintain the uniqueness of our own culture. We must, therefore, promote our culture unabashedly.

    1.6. Tourism: Let us safeguard Goa’s good reputation by promoting a more humane tourism rather than merely a profit-seeking industry.
In summary, it appears that our society is so entangled in corruption, that it is easy for anyone to sink into the mire and be enslaved by it. I pray therefore that good principles be taught in our families, in our schools and in our catechism classes and also efforts be made to put these principles into practice.

2 - Christian Family in Society

Human life normally begins and ends in a family. Family then is the basic cell of our society. We could generally say that whatever one plans and executes is for the benefit of one's family. Members of healthy families rooted in Christian ideals build good families for the future.

Church documents call the family a "Domestic Church" (LG 11) and "a school of deeper humanity" (FC 21). Within the family, a person learns to be more humane and is thus able to spread compassion in the society. If we maintain good family values -- like spending time together as a family, praying together, respecting each other, being kind to the elderly and the sick, living in truth and in peace – society is renewed and God’s presence shines brighter.

Let us thank God that in our Goa we still value family life. To help maintain discipline, various tasks and responsibilities are allocated to the children in a family. Family members live in mutual concern. We reach out to our neighbors in many ways. We are concerned with the welfare of other families. We continue to give genuine respect to our elders. Despite occasional tensions in the family, we remain in close relationship and affection with one another. Our families work hard to avoid wrong-doing and disunity.

All these good assets in our families should not make us complacent. Every reality has two dimensions. And so, our families have also to face various types of storms:

We live in an increasingly competitive society. Our families are slowly being infected by the virus of outdoing their neighbours; oftentimes this trend is noticed within the family itself, slowly leading to a break-up in the family. Parental love is the right of the child; but the equivalent duty is steadily being neglected today. Immodesty is on the increase in direct proportion to the loss of the sense of sacredness of the human body. To seek sexual pleasure in thought and deed is becoming more and more common. Women and children are treated as being of lesser value. Excessive display of wealth and extravagant expenditures are increasingly becoming a mark of social status. Illegal drugs, prostitution, alcoholism, paedophilia, female foeticide – such scourges are slowly taking root in our families.

If our families are to be schools of human and Christian formation, we need to change our ways a lot. In this context, it is extremely important to strongly protest against anti-family trends often promoted by the media. It is our grave concern and responsibility to raise our prophetic voice in order to promote, through our families, Christian principles in our society. To make this work productive, let us focus on some aspects of our family life:

2.1. Respect for life: Life is holy because it comes from God. "Your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 6:19). Let us promote, in these modern times, a culture of life, by respecting our bodies. Let us keep in mind that contraception and abortion are against God's plan. Let us collaborate to protect all life (of the physically challenged, of the mentally ill, of the elderly, etc.).

2.2. Unity in the Family: Unity in the family is fostered by treating everyone with love, forgiving every one with understanding, making oneself available to the other, respecting one another, etc. This unity is strengthened through prayer. It is important that spouses should work together to abandon any competitive spirit existing between them.

2.3. Respect for Women: The Woman has greater stamina for work. If she is educated, the whole family is educated, and it becomes easier to foster greater equality between the spouses in a family. In this context, spouses can address their problems and differences with greater understanding. Our Christian formation must lead us to promote women’s groups that can provide them with the necessary support when needed.

Only when a family embraces good principles, it can possess true joy and happiness. Such families spread their fragrance in their neighbourhood. In this manner, they keep alive the teaching of Jesus, 'love your neighbour as you love yourself' (Lk 10:27b). Let us go in search of the poor and the needy in our surroundings. By keeping first things first, let us strive to model our families after the Holy Family.

3 - Christian Community in a Larger Society

Through Baptism we have entered in the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection and we have become members of his Mystical Body. If this Mystical Body is to be robust, we, its members, must respond to our Christian calling, that is, the call to holiness, in the various spheres of social life (cf. Eph 1:4; 1 Thess 4:3; LG 39-42; CL 16-17). Our life of holiness must be seen also in our small communities. Christ's early disciples tried to live this call to holiness in their small communities. "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42). In this way, they tried to build loving communities and thus shed the light of Christ's Resurrection among their contemporaries.

In the last twenty centuries, the followers of Christ – the sheep and the shepherds – have been engaged in renewing the face of the earth. In our own Archdiocese, the Church has done yeoman work in the areas of education and health. Many parishes have taken concrete steps to assist the poor and the marginalized. Both shepherds and sheep have not hesitated to speak clearly and forcefully on social issues. The Church, exercising vigilance, has taken the lead to alert people about bad laws being adopted by the government, and also provided leadership to fight against them. On the other side, wherever necessary and appropriate, the Church has enthusiastically collaborated with the State government.

On the other side, if we look around, we see people wreaking environmental destruction, driven by the desire to amass quick wealth; we see the media presenting a distorted notion of sex, the condition of the poor being deteriorated, the sick and the elderly being looked at increasingly as a burden, women's dignity being outraged, children being robbed of their innocence, crime and robberies on the rise, and violence and crime even in the name of religion. In one word: the culture of life is under attack!

To change this undesirable condition and usher in a new society depends, in a large measure, on our lay brothers and sisters. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, they share in the priestly, prophetic, kingly/pastoral mission of Christ. And the arena of their work is vast, as it encompasses the worlds of politics, economics, industry, education, the media, the arts and sport (cf. EA 45). By this activity they are to build up a new society. In this way, they fulfill their vocation to promote the Kingdom of God (cf. LG 31).

We probably convinced ourselves that this work of bringing about justice and transformation in society is the responsibility of the government leaders and thus remained aloof. But a closer look will reveal that it also our responsibility. Because social justice is a fundamental aspect of the proclamation of our faith (cf. Justice in the World, Message of the 1971 Synod of Bishops, 7). This is the reason why we all need to work to bring down structures that give rise to injustice and to the trampling of human dignity. By working, then, to renew our society, we live our faith to its fullness.

Let us therefore take committed steps to promote this work, with the strength of the Holy Spirit. Let us all, particularly the laity, take up the challenges presented to us to fulfill our mission in society:

3.1. Christian Faith Commitment: If we, Christ's followers, are to give witness to Christian values and principles, we must first be deeply rooted in our faith. We need, therefore, to gain a genuine personal as well as communitarian experience of Jesus (cf. CL 57; EA 45).

3.2. Full Understanding of Social Situations: In order to establish the Kingdom of God in our society, we must first have a full grasp of the social situations. Only then shall we be able to shed the light of our faith on individual social issues and thus help towards an effective transformation of our society.

3.3. Building a New Society: The goal and the objective of all social development is the human person. Let us raise our prophetic voice to fight against evil and promote whatever upholds human life. Indeed, for the reasons given above, to fight evil plans and structures is the responsibility of every one of us, but in a particular way, of the lay faithful.

In summary, it depends on us, Christ's followers, to make the presence of Jesus felt in our society. With great diligence, then, let us commit ourselves to bring about change in our social milieux. And, with humility, I ask our lay faithful to commit themselves to this task with unbounded zeal.

4. Christian Life and Relationship with Members of Other Faiths

New refreshing winds have been blowing on the life of the Church since Vatican Council II. The Church recognized the need to be respectful of other religions and to be well disposed towards them; she also acknowledged that Christianity was enriched by its contact with other cultural and religious traditions. This new awareness has led to the opening of fresh avenues of dialogue with followers of other faiths.
In this context, the Church has recognized the presence of the seeds of the Gospel in the other religious traditions (cf. LG 16) and acknowledged that the followers of other faiths have been walking on the path of truth in different ways. Pope John Paul II introduced in the Church a good practice to pray together with the leaders of other religions. Our Diocesan Synod has reminded us that we can promote a dialogue of life, of action, of religious experience and of prayer with the sisters and brothers of other religions (cf. SDS 192).

In reality, children in our schools interact freely with children of various other faiths. At the work place, we relate to each other as sisters and brothers, without discrimination of creed. One aspect of Goa's identity is that here people of different religions have always lived in harmony and mutual understanding.
On the other side, however – we must acknowledge – we do not have sufficient knowledge about other religions. And so, owing to some misunderstandings here and there, inter-religious relationships sometimes deteriorate. On such occasions, political parties, in their craving for votes and for political supremacy, often take undue advantage of this our shortcoming and weakness. We have thus made our own lives difficult, by living in doubt and fear of one another. Such negative attitudes have even led to direct confrontations among us.

We must strive to move away from such unhealthy situations and strengthen inter-religious dialogue. May I suggest the following steps for your consideration:

4.1 Deepening mutual understanding: The wealth of each religion lies in its uniqueness. The more we understand the uniqueness of each religion, the more will we be able to respect and understand those who follow other religious traditions. If we were more knowledgeable about other religions, we would be able to defeat the plottings of those with vested interests who use religion to divide and rule.

4.2. Strengthening Dialogue: We should first establish dialogue with those who accept Jesus as their Saviour, but are not members of the Catholic Church. And, with those who do not believe in Christ and even with atheists, we need to strengthen the dialogue of life, of action and of prayer and thus dispel the clouds of mutual suspicion and fear.

4.3. Celebrating Feasts: We need to hold common celebrations of various national holidays and common feasts and have, on these occasions, inter-religious prayer services. All should collaborate in some manner or the other in the preparation and actual celebration of these events.

4.4. Building of Human Communities: As we go about proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God, through the example of our life, we face yet another challenge of building small human communities. Let everyone work towards building such communities on the bedrock of peace and justice. All should strive together to protect such communities from communal disharmony and to restore peace wherever needed. Such common action should be eagerly promoted in our village wards.

Let us then work together, regardless of creed or religion and as citizens of the same nation, for the greater good of our society.


Beloved sisters and brothers, the Holy Eucharist constantly poses to us challenges to live our faith in our social milieu. I am writing this Pastoral Letter to you with affection, so that you may be encouraged, with the strength and grace of the Holy Eucharist, to face these challenges daily.

Our Council for Social Justice and Peace organizes a number of programmes to help us give out our Christian witness enthusiastically. This Council is working in earnest to pay due attention to the issues of young women and children, workers, environment and tourism, etc. I would like to express my genuine satisfaction over the work done by this our diocesan body.

The 1971 Synod of Bishops, in its Message, Justice in the World, clearly taught us that to work for justice and to bring about social transformation is an important part of our Christian witness. Consequently, the work of renewing our society is not an appendage to our faith, but is rather fundamental to it. Our Diocesan Synod 2002 had echoed this concern in the following words: "the promotion of social justice is yet to become an integral part of the expression of our faith" (SDS 177).

I warmly congratulate all our sisters and brothers who are engaged in promoting justice in our society! I would like to warn everyone about the attempts being made to malign the good work being done in this field by creating unnecessary conflicts and misunderstandings. It is indeed my desire that the members of the Church may always be in the frontline of the struggle against social injustice.

Let us make a special place in our hearts for those who are marginalized and oppressed. Let us show, in our various pastoral programmes, special concern towards the poor and the distressed. I desire ardently that our Christian faithful, particularly the laity, may contribute to sanctify the various spheres of our society by being involved in them.

In order to further this work of witnessing to Christ in our society, let everyone show concern and interest in establishing a Parish Social Apostolate Forum in each village. In parishes where this Forum is not yet set up, I urge you to take it upon yourselves as a personal responsibility to establish it as soon as possible.

May the Church in our Archdiocese respond, with enthusiasm and seriousness, to the challenges posed by the Holy Eucharist, by being alert to the various situations emerging in our society, registering protests wherever needed, doing away with unjust structures and even initiating public demonstrations. We shall be able, in this way, to live our faith in its fullness and to celebrate the Eucharist with joy and enthusiasm. This is also my great desire and my dream.

To help fulfill this dream I pray to our Blessed Mother, that she may accompany us on our pilgrimage of faith. St. Francis Xavier, the Patron of the Missions and Blessed Joseph Vaz, the Patron of our Archdiocese, have cherished in their hearts a special concern for the needy, the suffering, the abandoned and those of other faiths. Inspired by their life-example, may we too be courageous witnesses of the Church’s concern in the society today.

May the abundant blessings of the Holy Eucharist descend upon you all.
Archbishop’s House, Panjim, Goa, May 25, 2006.

(+ Filipe Neri Ferrão)
Archbishop of Goa and Daman


A.G. Ad Gentes
C.L. Christifideles Laici
D.C.E. Deus Caritas Est
E.A. Ecclesia in Asia
F.C. Familiaris Consortio
L.G. Lumen Gentium
S.D.S. Statement of the Diocesan Synod 2002

The original version of this Pastoral Letter No. CP-Past/147/2006 written in the Konkani language can be read in the Konkani Catholics egroup.

Also See:

Friday, July 28, 2006

Blessed Alphonsa of India - July 28

On Blessed Alphonsa Muttathupadathu of Bharananganam (Memorial: July 28)

Pope John Paul II

The Church throughout the world rejoices with the Church in India as Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception are raised to the ranks of the Blessed in the great Communion of Saints. This man and this woman, both members of the Syro-Malabar Church here in Kerala, advanced to great heights of holiness through their wholehearted co-operation with the grace of God. Each possessed an ardent love of God, yet each followed a distinct spiritual path.

Sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception, born a century after Father Kuriakose Elias, would gladly have served the Lord with similar apostolic projects. And indeed, she possessed a personal devotion to Father Kuriakose from early in her religious life. But the path to holiness for Sister Alphonsa was clearly a different one. It was the way of the Cross, the way of sickness and suffering.

Already at a very young age, Sister Alphonsa desired to serve the Lord as a religious, but it was not without enduring trials that she was finally able to pursue this goal. When it became possible, she joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation. Throughout her life, which was a brief thirty-six years, she continually gave thanks to God for the joy and privilege of her religious vocation, for the grace of her vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.

From early in her life, Sister Alphonsa experienced great suffering. With the passing of the years, the heavenly Father gave her an ever fuller share in the Passion of his beloved Son. We recall how she experienced not only physical pain of great intensity, but also the spiritual suffering of being misunderstood and misjudged by others. But she constantly accepted all her sufferings with serenity and trust in God, being firmly convinced that they would purify her motives, help her to overcome all selfishness, and unite her more closely with her beloved divine Spouse. She wrote to her spiritual director: "Dear Father, as my good Lord Jesus loves me so very much, I sincerely desire to remain on this sick bed and suffer not only this, but anything else besides, even to the end of the world. I feel now that God has intended my life to be an oblation, a sacrifice of suffering" (20 November 1944). She came to love suffering because she loved the suffering Christ. She learned to love the Cross through her love of the crucified Lord.

Sister Alphonsa knew that by her sufferings she shared in the Church's apostolate; she found joy in them by offering them all to Christ. In this way, she seemed to have made her own the words of Saint Paul: "I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church" . She was endowed by God with an affectionate and happy disposition, with the ability to take delight in ordinary and simple things. The weight of human suffering, even the misunderstanding or jealousy of others, could not extinguish the joy of the Lord which filled her heart. In a letter written shortly before she died, at time of intense physical and mental suffering, she said: "I have given myself up completely to Jesus. Let him please himself in his dealings with me. My only desire in this world is to suffer for love of God and to rejoice in doing it" (February 1946).

Both Father Kuriakose and Sister Alphonsa bear witness to the beauty and greatness of the religious vocation. And I would like to take this occasion to direct my thoughts particularly to the men and women religious who are present here and to all the religious in India.

Truly extraordinary is this day in the history of the Church and Christianity on Indian soil. It is important, too, in the history of the pastoral ministry of the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter. It is the first time that he has had the joy or raising to the glory of the altars a son and a daughter of the Church in India, in their native land.

-Taken from the Homily of His Holiness John Paul II at the Mass of the beatification of Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conceptionon 8 February, 1986 at Nehru Stadium, Kottayam during his Apostolic Pilgrimage to India.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Reliving the Duquesne Experience

Catholic Charismatic Renewal's Beginning - A First Hand Account


"As I made my preparation for the retreat, I found myself wondering why as a Catholic I did not experience more of the power of the Holy Spirit in my life."
It is a widely accepted fact that the beginnings of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal were at a retreat for college students at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in February 1967. The students who spent much of the weekend in prayer, asking God to allow them to experience the grace of both baptism and confirmation, had a powerful and transforming experience of God, which came to be known as 'baptism in the Spirit'. Thus began the story of the Charismatic renewal in the Catholic Church.

In this rare three-part interview, Ms. Patti Mansfield, one of the first students part of the historic "DUQUESNE WEEKEND", reveals to Dr. Edward Edezhath, the great experience and the countless fruits of the work of the Spirit that since then became manifest in the worldwide Church.

Q: The Duquesne Experience is today well known as the starting point of the Charismatic Renewal. Can you lead us through the experience of those eventful days?

A: I was part of a Scripture Study group of about 20-25 students from the Duquesne University. In February 1967 this group made their annual retreat based on the theme of the Acts of the Apostles. To prepare for the retreat, we read the first four chapters of the Acts and the book 'The Cross & the Switchblade'. As I made my preparation for the retreat, I found myself wondering why as a Catholic I did not experience more of the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. And so before leaving for the retreat, I knelt down in my room (I was a third year University student) and I prayed a very simple prayer. I was alone and I said, "Lord as a Catholic I believe I have already received Your Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation. But if it is possible for Your Spirit to do more in my life than He has done until now, I want it." And I am sure now 40 years later that God did hear my prayer.

It was interesting that each time we left for a session we used the ancient hymn of the Catholic Church, 'Veni Creator Spiritus' to invoke the Holy Spirit. We began our retreat in an upper room chapel of a retreat house in the outskirts of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And the first event of the retreat was the meditation on our Lady. The Professor who presented it was someone I had as teacher in class. That night he seemed different. What none of us students knew at that moment was that this professor and three others (professors from Duquesne University and one of their wives) for months had been praying that they could experience the Holy Spirit in a deeper way. They were praying and hoping that something would happen to us during our weekend retreat. Well in fact it did. On Saturday, one of the young men, David Mangion had a wonderful suggestion. He said, "Each year we Catholics renew our Baptismal promises at the Paschal vigil. Why don't we close this retreat by having a ceremony where we renew our confirmation? Now that we are young adults, we can make real these graces we received when we were young people." But before even we could get to that point, the Holy Spirit intervened in a very sovereign way. Saturday later in the afternoon I wandered into the Chapel; there were just a few students there. I didn't have any intention to pray. I was just going to tell any students up there to come down for a birthday party we were having that night.

And when I entered the Chapel that particular night, February 18th 1967, for the first time in my life I knew why we Catholics call Jesus in the tabernacle 'the real presence'. Because I really began to tremble with the sense of the majesty of God and His greatness. I remember thinking "If I stay here in the presence of Jesus, something is going to happen to me". I felt somewhat afraid and wanting to kind of run and hide myself. Much greater than my fear of a total surrender to Jesus was the need that I had to do just that. I just prayed a prayer like this - "Father I give my life to you and whatever you ask of me - I accept it. And if it means suffering, I accept that too. Teach me to follow Your Son Jesus and to love the way Jesus loved." The next moment I found myself prostrate before Jesus in the tabernacle. And I was flooded, from my fingertips down to my toes, with the incredible mercy of God's love. I remember only one word of prayer that came to my mind, "Stay, stay, don't ever leave me!". I tasted and I saw for myself the sweetness of the Lord. I didn't know then that David had been into the Chapel a few hours before me and had an identical experience.

Q. At that point did any of your realize that the experience would radically revive the spirituality of the Church in the coming years?

A. Neither of us knew that what had happened to us that night February 18th 1967 would begin a movement in the Catholic Church called the Charismatic Renewal. All we knew was that we wanted to renew our Confirmation, we wanted to accept Jesus as our Lord, Master and Saviour. After my experience there was a sovereign outpouring of the Spirit. Not all but half the students wound up in the Chapel before the tabernacle. Some were weeping, some were laughing. Some others said they wanted to pray but they knew it wasn't going to come out in English. We all prayed in tongues but we did not know it was the gift of tongues. Some, like myself, found their arms tingling and burning. One of the professors walked in, and witnessing this scene he said, "What's the Bishop going to say when he hears that all of these kids have been baptized in the Holy Spirit?" I heard those words 'Baptized in the Holy Spirit' for the first time. I still had no idea that what was happening would be a grace that would transform millions in the coming years. It took some time for us to kind of stumble into the Charismatic gifts like healing, discernment of spirits, prophesy and the like. We did not have any teachers; only these brothers and sisters from different denominations. They were helping us but of course there were no Pentecost Gatherings in Rome with the Holy Father! It was really just a matter of being led by the Holy Spirit day by day. As I commented in the presence of the Holy Father at the Vigil of Pentecost, my immediate reaction after the experience was to take up the documents of Vatican II and seek references to the Holy Spirit and Charismatic gifts. I said to myself, "What if the Church does not approve of such a thing? "And I knew that I would sooner deny my personal experience than ever think of leaving the Church. So it was with great joy that I read in Lumen Gentium that "Charismatic gifts are the tools that are exceedingly useful for Catholics of every rank". And so there was the Church in its documents giving me the assurance that I should open myself up to the Holy Spirit along with these wonderful surprises, which were the Charismatic gifts.

Q: I was also wondering, did you receive any help or have any plan for formation to help this renewal of the Spirit grow? Tell me, was there anything specific you planned as a community or in a prayer meeting?

A: There were prayer meetings that existed prior to the outbreak of the Charismatic Renewal and many young people who made it to the weekend were part of it. They had group reunions where they gathered for reviewing how their week went, praying with one another. But once we were baptized in the Holy Spirit, it was natural to want to be with one another - not to discuss but to be with one another to pray. And as I was saying, the gifts of the Spirit were just beginning to blossom, we didn't even know that they were the gifts of prophecy, praying in tongues, interpretation and the like. So we were just going to begin a mode of discovery of these wonderful things. Some of the marvellous leaders like Ralph Martin and Steve Clark who experienced the Charismatic Renewal put together a short course which came to be known as the 'Life in the Spirit Seminar', an experience of 7 weeks where there were very basic presentations on the love of God, salvation in Jesus, the gift of the Spirit, receiving the Charismatic gifts. There was a week when people were prayed with, that they might commit their lives to Jesus as Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to baptize them. The last topic was ongoing transformation, about how the Lord uses trials, difficulties, sufferings of this life to really conform us more and more to His image. So it was a very basic course called the 'Life in the Spirit Seminar' which has been adapted in different locales, cultures, gone by different names but that has been a vehicle for millions and millions of people being baptized in the Holy Spirit. In many places it happens spontaneously, I know in our area we give weekend Holy Spirit retreats - many people have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. There was also this desire from the very earlier days to form ecumenical relationships in community. And these communities have been formed in different ways all over the world. There are some here in my country - sometimes called covenant communities. There have been others like the Emmanuel community in France which alone I think, has given birth to 130 priestly vocations.
(End of Part I)


From the early days of the Renewal Patti Gallagher Mansfield has served as a leader through teaching, writing and pastoral ministry. Patti is married to Al Mansfield, Co-ordinator of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of New Orleans, Louisiana, and has four children.

Taken from the Jesus Youth International Newsletter, July 2006 - Download

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Father Santan Pinto, SOLT Ministries

Rev. Fr. Santan Pinto, SOLT

Rev. Fr. Santan Pinto, SOLT - A Goan Priest who went on to start the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) Ministries

About Father Santan Pinto, SOLT

Fr. Santan Pinto, a Konkani Catholic was born in Surendranagar, in the Northern state of Gujrat on September 13th 1948. He spent his early childhood in Goa, situated on the southwestern coast of India. Goa is the place where the body of St. Francis Xavier lies for public veneration. His father Ignatius died in 1957 when Fr. Pinto was only 9 years old.

His Mother Annie lives in Belgaum. He has only one sister, Patsy. She with her husband Angus Vaz live in Velim, Goa. After completing high school in Belgaum, he joined the Jesuits in 1966. He received a Master's degree in Social Work in 1975. He was ordained to the priesthood on April 30th, 1977.

After his ordination, Fr. Pinto heard this call: "Go to America. I want you to serve there." After leaving the Jesuits in 1982, he tried for the next five years to visit America. During a Catholic charismatic conference in 1987, his mother handed him to the care of our Blessed Mother by saying: "From today onwards, I offer you to Mary. She will be your Mother."

After that day, God provided Fr. Pinto with the means to visit the USA, and on May 15, 1987, Fr. Pinto arrived in New York. Later that year, he joined the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). He went through the novitiate in 1988. Since that time, he was the formation director of the SOLT community, forming priests, seminarians, brothers, sisters and lay persons in their respective vocations. He was assisted by religious sisters and lay apostles.

The Lord called Fr. Pinto to his service as a little child. His only desire was to remain close to the Lord. It is this love of God that burns in his heart for all. Fr. Pinto worked for some time with Mother Theresa. It was Mother Theresa who taught Fr. Pinto, in 1971 to recognize Jesus in the poor. Mother Theresa once said to him: "Remember father, that it is the humility of God that made you a priest. Now never forget that!" And his Mother often reminds him: "Be humble, kind and remember you were ordained a priest to serve the poor!" As of July 2003 Fr. Pinto was elected as the Second Assistant to the "Geneneral Priest Council" of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. His new responsibilities are to visit the SOLT Missions throughout the world.

In 1992, Fr. Pinto began SOLT Ministries for the purpose of:
  • Supporting SOLT world-wide Missions.
  • Supporting seminarians, sisters, and laity in their formation and training.
  • Producing and distributing various relevant training materials, audios, videos, and books for spiritual development.
  • Providing a prayer line for interested persons where they can send in their prayer requests.
  • Providing healing services and missions to cities in the U.S. when requested by local Bishops and pastors.
  • Attending conferences and conducting pilgrimages.
  • Praying for the souls in purgatory.
  • Conducting retreats and training programs for all interested in developing spiritually.
  • Giving spiritual direction and guidance whenever possible.
On March 18th, 2005 Fr. Pinto was sworn in as an American citizen.

Ancestors of Father Santan Pinto, SOLT

Completed on February 9th 1999


About the year 1840
Do not have record of parents. Children are: Phyllis, Camil, Cosmas, Andrew

Camil married Anne Phyllis
Children: Minguel, Albin Paul, Sebastian (Bostiao), Duke Xavier, Pelegrina, Natalina, Anna Clara

Albin Paul (born 1857 died January 16th 1942) married Laticia DeSouza (born 1874 died August 11th 1944).

Children: Peter, Christalina (Fr. Pinto's grandmother), Roufin, Cosmas, Sebastian, Anna Concesion, and Thomas.

1. Peter Mendonca (born March 6th 1897 died February 9th 1989) married Santanna D'Souza (born February 2nd 1909 died June 1st 1971).
  • Sr. Theresa Mendonca(Philis) born October 28th 1927
  • Fr. Francis Mendonca S.J. born December 1st 1929
  • Bruno Mendonca (born February 11th, 1934) married Bella Cordeiro (born July 4th 1946). Their children: Mable (born November 23rd, 1963; Vincent (born September 27th, 1971); Deepak (born February 26th, 1973); and Anita (born July 22nd 1975)
  • Sr. Philomena (born August 14th 1938)
  • Julie (born September 2nd, 1942) married Robert Dabhi (born May 25th 1944. Their children: Edward (born October 3rd, 1982 died September 17th 1987; and Urmila.
  • Dr. Albin Paul (October 19th 1946/48?)married Dr. Maria Coutinho (born 1952). Their children: Angelo and Joyels
2. Christalina Mendonca, by marriage Saldanha (born 1889 died September 9, 1965) married Michael Joseph Saldana. Children:
  • Maria Agusta(born October 5th, 1912) married Santan Rodrigues
  • Children: Luis; Theresa married Dawny Brewty; children - Anslem, Desmond, Anthony, Tili (died); Cruz(died); Cecilia married Francis Vaz; children - Jennifer, Agnelo; Xavier married Jaya; child Terance; and Tony.
  • Anna Detosa (born July 20th 1918) married Ignatius Pinto (born February 7th 1905 died August 16th 1957). Their children:
    • Patsy (November 15th, 1946) married Angus Vaz (born November 22nd, 1943) their children: Ashwin (April 10th, 1975); Preeti (April 16th, 1977) and Aditya (April 2nd 1980)
    • Fr. Santan Pinto (born September 13th, 1948)

3. Roufin married Xavier Creido
Children: Anthony, Annie, Rocky, Mary, Benedict (died)

4. Cosmas married Estella Mendis (born July 8th, 1910)

5. Sebastian (born December 12th, 1910 died October 7th 1965) married Carolina Alvares (born April 20th, 1917)
  • Robert (born June 7th 1937)
  • Andrew (November 28th, 1938) married Ravina (born November 23rd, 1947 died March 8th, 1982)
    Their children - Gloria (born September 17th, 1968) and Avinash (born October 8th, 1972)
  • John (died)
  • Lilly (July 10th, 1942) married Eric Barlo (born April 26th, 1932)
    Their children - Carol (born October 5th 1964) married Mark; Audrey (born May 4th, 1967) married Rishi Khushwa (born April 25th, 1966); and Sophia (born July 27th, 1968) married Utpal Rao.
  • Laticia (born January 29th, 1946) married Ignatius Furtado (born November 6th, 1944 died July 31st, 1993)
    Their children: Christina (born October 4th, 1976); Lina (born February 6th, 1978) and Betsy (born October 3rd, 1979)
  • Vincent Paul (born July 19th, 1948 died July 19th, 1974)
  • Cecilia (February 8th, 1959) married Bertie Kelson (born December 3rd, 1948)
    Their children: Natasha (born September 3rd, 1980) and Rebecca (born September 8th 1984)
  • John Francis (born June 19th, 1954)

6. Anna Concesion married Claude Cordeiro; their children - Rosario Paul, Dolly (Fr. Santan Pinto's Godmother) and Anthony.

7. Thomas (born February 5th, 1918 died Aprl 17h, 1977) married Yohannha Parmar (born September 11th 1933)- their child Bibianna.


Sebastian Pinto and Isabel(maiden surname unknown)

Children are: Rosy, Sister married in Corjuem (Goa-India), Sister from Kakeri (India), Jack's Mother, Santan (Fr. Pinto's Grandfather), Casmil and Luis

Santan Pinto (Fr. Pinto's grandfather)

Married first wife Rosy; their children are

1. Carmeline Pinto married Francis Pinto. Their children
  • Salvador & Rosemary Pinto: their children are Julie (married to D'Cruz; children - Fr. Alex D'Cruz, two Brothers), Carmeline (married Milgarine: their children Janet & Brother) and Francis (married has two sons living in Gokak)
  • Baptist (Bachelor)
  • Thomas & Esperanza: their children are:
    • Agnes married Anthony:(died)child - Gracy (married George)
    • Theresa married Agnelo: children - Rex, Sharon, and Sabrina
    • Elizabeth married Hilary: children - Richard, Regina, and Jimmy
    • Salvador married Emelda: children - Charlotte and Conrad
    • Sr. Lucy: Ambala, Haryana (India) Jesus and Mary sisters
    • Santan (Bachelor)
    • Anthony married Jascinta: child - Allan
2. Marie-Angel married Sebastian Carvalho
3. Piedad married Costas D'Souza: their children
  • Francis D'Souza married Josephine
  • Pasqual D'Souza first wife Esperanza (died): children
    • Francis (married Luisa), children: Lawrence, Lina and Rocky
    • Daniel (married Theresa), children: Pasqual, Sabina, and Oscar
    • Cyril (married Cecilia), children: Sheetal, Shamal, Salvador, and Rohan
  • Archange married Salvador Mascarenhas: son Lawrence died 1968
4.Caitan married Caroline: their children
  • Rosy
  • Leo (born December 1st 1920, died February 24th 1993) married Muriel (born April 14th 1929) : their children
    • Gerard (born July 24th 1957) married Caryl (born March 24th 1961), their children - Nicole (born December 8th 1989; Nadine (born October 16th ?)
    • Marietta (born February 2nd 1959) married on January 6th 1983 Eddie DeSouza (November 24th 1954), their children - Christopher (December 8th, Graig (February 19th)
    • Melanie (born June 5th 1961) married on April 26th 1992 Bill; their children Garrin (born June 11th and Skye Marie (born December 18th)
    • Gregory (born August 9th 1964)
    • Melinda (born November 3rd 1966) married on February 10th 1993 Ajay: their child Lianne (born October 30th 1995)
  • Victor
  • Sr. Connnie
  • George & Lydia
  • Saluzin & Claudine
  • Joseph & Linda: children Darryl and Kenneth
  • Eddie & Jennifer: children Dwayne and Naomi
  • Juliet & Anthony Ramsinh
5. Thomas married Philomena
  • Irene
  • Bernard
  • Fr. Joe Pinto SJ
  • Felix married Mina; their children Darryl and Joy
  • John married Alice
    Second wife Petronilla Andrade. Their child Ignatius Pinto married Annie Saladana; children:

  • Patsy married Angus Vaz; their children: Ashwin, Preeti and Aditya
  • Fr. Santan Pinto SOLT.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Konkani Bible Not Church, Hope of Romi-Script Lobby

Roman-Script Lobby Finds Hope In Konkani Bible, Not In Church Stance

By Bosco de Souza Eremita

July 20, 2006

PANAJI, India (UCAN) -- The popularity of the newly published Konkani language Bible using Roman script has encouraged people who want it to become the official script for the language.

Konkani, one of India's 22 official languages, has no script of its own. It is the official state language of Goa, where a 1987 law adopted Devanagari as its script, but Devanagari, used by several languages in northern India, is unfamiliar to Catholics in Goa.

Goan Catholics, who comprise 26 percent of the state's 1.3 million people, use the Roman script that Portuguese missioners introduced centuries ago.

On July 4, the Roman script lobby sent India's President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam several documents, including a copy of the new Bible, to press its case.

The archdiocese of Goa and Daman released the Konkani Bible in Roman script on June 3 in Panaji, capital of Goa, 1,910 kilometers southwest of New Delhi, and the book reportedly became a bestseller in Goa within a month.

According to the publishers, the Konkani Bible's initial run of 60,000 copies was sold out during its pre-publication sale. The archdiocese plans to print another 40,000 copies by the end of this year.

"The fact that this book in Roman script has the highest print run in Konkani proves the Roman script is the language of the masses," Ulhas Buyao, a Hindu supporter of the Roman script, told UCA News.

The Roman-script lobby has also sent the Indian president a memorandum signed by 56,310 people seeking recognition of the script. Their dispatch to the president includes a map of Goa showing the network of 159 parishes, 462 chapels, 171 Catholic social institutions and 278 schools and colleges, "where Konkani written in Roman script is used for all purposes."

The package also contains a 15-minute video clip showing Catholic ceremonies conducted with texts in Roman script, such as celebrations of the Feast of Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier, who based his Asian mission work in Goa.

The All Goa Citizen's Committee for Social Justice and Action (AGCCSJA), a civil rights group, launched the signature campaign and dispatched the memorandum to the president. Following the success of the Roman-script Bible, several political parties, including the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, Indian people's party), have rallied behind the AGCCSJA.

The Nationalist Congress Party, a partner of the ruling coalition, has promised to move an amendment in the state legislature. "The amendment will not interfere with the status of any language, but only grant recognition to the Roman script," party spokesperson Surendra Furtado told UCA News.

Manohar Parrikar, Goa's BJP leader and former chief minister, told UCA News his party "definitely" will do something for the Roman script's recognition. "I am all for it when nearly 400,000 use" the Roman script, he explained.

M.K. Jos, AGCCSJA's spokesperson, claims that the data sent to the president will convince him a "substantial number of Goans" use the Roman script.

A Roman-script delegation raised the same issue with the president when he visited Goa in October 2005. The president told the delegation he sympathizes with their requests and promised to study the issue.

The current law also recognizes Marathi, a language spoken in neighboring Maharashtra state. Hindus in Goa use Marathi in their religious rites, but both Marathi and Devanagiri are alien to Catholics. The Roman-script lobby alleges this has helped Hindus corner government jobs and official grants.

About 50 Church schools now teach the Devanagari script so as to qualify themselves for government grants.

The Roman-script lobby, though euphoric over the success of the Roman-script Konkani Bible, is dismayed by the Church's official stance on the issue.

Father Joaquim Loiola Pereira, secretary to the archbishop of Goa-Daman, told a local newspaper on July 8 that the Church is "all for the advancement of Konkani," but it wants to be "above the controversy of scripts."

The Church official was quoted as saying Konkani is the official language of the state of Goa and the official language of the Church of Goa. "It is the language of our ministry," he said. "All our churches have Konkani Masses. All our books are in Konkani. But the Church is above the controversy of scripts."

UCA News tried but failed several times to contact Father Pereira for comment. Archdiocesan spokesperson Father Raymond Antao was contacted but he declined to comment.

Father Pereira's remarks have upset the Roman-script lobby. Jos maintains that the few priests who oppose the Roman script are "delinquents" who contradict Church practices and precepts. "The bishop should defrock them," the AGCCSJA spokesperson asserted. "They should not be permitted to offer Mass using Roman-script text for religious rites."

Jesuit Father Pratap Naik, who spearheads the Roman-script movement, told UCA News that the archbishop's secretary was expressing his "personal views" and that the Church has yet to take an official position on the issue.
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (

Also See:

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Catholic Casualties in Mumbai Blasts 7/11

Names and details of Catholic Casualties in the Mumbai (Bombay) explosions

Last Update: 1943hrs IST, 23 July 2006.


Francis Lewis (55)

Francis Lewis (55) from Sasthan/Brahmavar - Victim of the 7/11 Mumbai Blasts

Son of late John Lewis and Stella Lewis of Balkudru near Sastan in Udupi District, Karnataka. He was an employee of the Voltas Company and had settled in Mumbai along with his wife Precilla (nee Barnes from Matpady, Brahmavar) and children Joyal and Shaila. The funeral has been re-sheduled and will be held at 3.00 pm on July 13, 2006 at Our Lady of Nazareth Church, Bhayander, Mumbai. (Courtesy:

Francis Lobo (48)

Francis Lobo (48), Mahim, Mumbai.

Francis who was appears under the injured list of the Mumbai Police is no more. He is survived by his wife Evelyn (Judy) and daughter Jessica. Francis is a native of Morjim in Goa and is the son of Late Joseph Lobo and Mrs. Concessao Lobo. He is the brother of Anna Francisca (married to Michael), Anna Maria (married to Rosario), Casino (married to Carmelil), and Sebastian (married to Emilia). Born on 3 December 1958, Francis joined the Datamatics Group on 15 October 1979. He was Senior General Manager in Datamatics Staffing Services. Throughout his career, he has been an outstanding performer and last year, he walked away with the Group's Outstanding Award. Francis was also the highest revenue earner for Datamatics Staffing. His funeral took place at 10.00 am on Friday, 14 July 2006, at Our Lady of Victories Church, Mahim. All his colleagues at Datamatics extend to the family their deepest condolences and hope that God gives them the strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss. (Courtesy: Anita Mascarenhas, Wincilla, Wilma, Mumbai)

Jerry Fernandes (45)

Married with small children. The funeral was held at St Micheal Church, Manikpur on 12th July 2006. (Courtesy: Vasai Diocese)

Joseph Robert Noronha (56)

Joseph Robert Noronha, Kallianpur/Mumabi.

The body of Joseph Noronha ("Joy") was found in Sion hospital at 3-30 pm on Thursday. It was identified by the clothes and on the basis of the scar of a heart operation he had undergone a few years ago. His Visa credit card and diary were picked by a lady from the railway station and were handed over to Noronha's wife after tracking down her address. "Joy" was an officer in Bank of Baroda and a part-time lecturer in Goregaon Night College. Joy is the son of the late Xavier and Matilda Noronha, behind Milagres College, Kallianpur, husband of Nancy, brother of Austine, the late Herold, Celine and Irene, uncle of Don, Ron, Clifford, Rendal, Darel, Carl, Veena, Corinne and Jeniffer, brother-in-law of Valerian, Joe, Cinthia and Jacintha. Funeral cortege leaves residence at Malad, at 5 pm for Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Orlem, Malad, on Friday July 14, 2006. Contact numbers of family members: Nancy Noronha (9819688494/28078101), Corinne Noronha (9820689265), Ron Crasto (9820071656). (Courtesy:, Basil Serrao, Kenya.)

Manvel K. D'Souza (36)

From Vagholi. Married with small children. His body was recovered from K.E.M Hospital. The funeral was held at Our Lady of Velankani Church, Merdes on 12th July 2006. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police, Vasai Diocese)

Micheal Dabre (51)

Married with small children. The funeral was held at Holy Cross Church, Nirmal on 12th July 2006. (Courtesy: Vasai Diocese)

Richard DMonte (37)

Married with small children. The funeral was held at St Gonsalo Garcia Church, Gass on 12th July 2006. (Courtesy: Vasai Diocese)

Sandford DeSales (40)

Sandford DeSales (40), Victim of the Mumbai Blasts

Sandford DeSales, a Goan Catholic born and brought up in Bandra and an employee with the Bank of India was among the victims of the Tuesday's explosions. It was only a week ago that the second class traveller switched to first class. Quite unusually on this occassion he sat next to the window instead of at the footboard where he generally stood, said Claudius, a national hockey referee suggesting that Sandford had no way of jumping out like some of the survivors. His body, robbed of his gold chain, wallet and mobile, was found at the KEM Hospital morgue. He is remembered as a very fine hockey player and football goalkeeper. Stanford is survived by his wife Janet and daughter Alicia (11). He is the son of Anthony and Marie DeSales; brother of Francisco, Claudius/Sharon, Romulos and Father Savio (St. Andrew's, Bandra); uncle of Amanda and Shaniya. The funeral was held at 5:30 p.m on 17th July 2006 at Mt. Carmel Church, Bandra. (Courtesy: Christabel Mendes, Mumbai)


Alwyn Daniel?

Admitted at Bhagvati Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Alwyn Dena

Hospital not named. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Alwyn D'Cunha (32)

Admitted at Lilavati Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Amrit Coutinho (45)

Admitted at K.E.M Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

B.M. Vaz (52)

Admitted at Hindjua Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. Some sources say Sion hospital. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Dominic Demonte? (40)

Admitted at Hindjua Hospital. Some sources say Sion hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Edward Wagh

Admitted at Hindjua Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

George D'Mello

Admitted at Karuna Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

George D'Mello

Admitted at Bhagvati Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Jacob Mathew

Admitted at Nanavati Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Jackson Gomes (29)

Admitted at Bhagvati Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

P. C. Varghese (49)

Admitted at Hinduja Hospital. Some sources say Sion hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Praveen Rodricks/Rodrigues (30)

Admitted at Hinduja Hospital. Some sources say Sion hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Preston Fernandes (18)

Preston is the son of Peter Fernandes' the Eucharistic Minister in Salmiya Chapel, Kuwait. He is currently admitted in Bombay Hospital, Mumbai, and his family is with him. A foreign particle has penetrated his head and the family has made an earnest appeal for prayers for this young boy. (Courtesy: Sophia Rodrigues, Kuwait)

R. Miranda (44)

Admitted at Hinduja Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

R. N. Fernandes (30)

Also given as "M. R. Fernandes" by some sources. Admitted at Hinduja Hospital. Some sources say Sion hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Rajstat/Rochester D'Mello (28)

Admitted at Hinduja Hospital. Some sources say Sion hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Robinson (Robin Sen?) (40)

Admitted at Hindjua Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. Some sources say Sion hospital. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Rohan Crasto (34)

Rohan Crasta, S/o Late Elias Crasto and Olga Crasto, Kannada Kudru (Kundapur/Udupi, Karnataka) and an employee of Indian Airlines working at the Santa Cruz Airport was travelling in the compartment of the blast at Bhayander. He sustained injuries in one of his ears causing a hole in the ear drum and damaging the nerves. He is still under treatment but has been resuming duties after a couple of days treatment leave. Rohan is the brother of Kiran (and Anne) and Lovely Crasto. (Courtesy: Kiran Crasto, Kannada Kudru)

Ronald D'Souza

Admitted at Bhagvati Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Royston D'Mello (28)

Admitted at Lilavati Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Source: Mumbai Police)

Septin Darryl

Admitted at Hinduja Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Vinod Mendonca

Admitted at Hinduja Hospital. Name may not be accurately given. (Courtesy: Mumbai Police)

Wilfred Crasta (51)

Wilfy is the son of of late Rosario Crasta and late Cecilia Crasta, Kannada Kudru, Kundapur Taluk, Udupi District, Karnataka. Currently settled in Bhayander along with wife Teresa (from Uppoor in Udupi District) and children Clarita and Clemy. He was travelling in the compartment of the blast and was injured with the entry of a foreign particle in his left arm. He is receiving treatment at Holy Spirit Hospital, Andheri and was succesfully operated on 12th July for the removal of the foreign body. He however suffers ear damage/hearing loss and is in a state of shock. Wilfy is the brother of Frederick (Feddy), John (Johnie), Lucy, Fr. Patrick (Capuchin), Alexander (Halsu), Edward (Eddu), Fr. Rudolf (SVD) and Godfrey. (Courtesy: John Crasta, Kannada Kudru)

Report Information About Catholic Casualties in the Mumbai Blasts

If you know of or have any updates of Catholics killed, injured or missing after the blasts, kindly drop us a line at konkanicatholics(at)gmail(dot)com OR post it in the comments. Kindly provide the victims name, age, location, native, names of spouse, children, parents, siblings and in case of deaths, the funeral details. Do remember to include YOUR full contact information.

    Catholic Casualties in Mumbai Blasts 7/11

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

GOA: Archdiocese to Observe Day of Prayer and Penance

GOA: Archbishop Calls for Day of Prayer and Penance for Middle-East Crisis; Includes Prayer Request for Peace in India

PANJIM, July 22, 2006 (KC Blog): Responding to the call of the Holy Father, the Archbishop of Goa has asked pastors and heads of church institutions to organize appropriate prayer services in the Archdiocese for the middle-east crisis.

In a statement released by the Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media, the Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao, appealed to "priests, religious and lay people of the Archdiocese, as well as to members of other believing communities, to join the rest of the world in observing a day of prayer and penance", on Sunday 23rd July, for the restoration of peace in the war-torn middle-east.

Along with offering prayers for the war-torn area in the middle-east, the Archbishop has also called for prayers to be offered for peace "in our own land".

"Aware that even in our own country we have to sometimes stand up to forces that work against peace, as it happened in Mumbai this very month, the Archbishop would like this to be also an occasion for us to pray, with one mind and heart, for all those who were affected by the recent bomb blasts in that city and to join hands in working for peace in our own land."

Earlier on Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI expressed great concern at the worsening situation in the Middle East and proclaimed this Sunday, July 23, as "a special day of prayer and penance, inviting the pastors and faithful of all the particular Churches, and all believers of the world, to implore from God the precious gift of peace."

In particular, the Supreme Pontiff asked that prayers be raised to the Lord "for an immediate cease-fire between the sides, for humanitarian corridors to be opened in order to bring help to the suffering peoples, and for reasonable and responsible negotiations to begin to put an end to objective situations of injustice that exist in that region".

In conclusion, the Holy See's press note affirmed the right of the Lebanese "to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected", of the Israelis, "to live in peace in their state", and of the Palestinians "to have their own free and sovereign homeland".

Thursday, July 20, 2006

"Christ's Church is to be found only in the Catholic Church": Cardinal Kasper

ASIA Cardinal Kasper Reiterates Catholic Church's Unique Place In Ecumenism

July 20, 2006

UIWANG, Korea (UCAN) -- The head of the Vatican organization in charge of ecumenism has reminded bishops of Asia that the Second Vatican Council taught Christ's Church is to be found only in the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, acknowledged that the Second Vatican Council left room for dialogue, but "it also wants to maintain that the Church of Christ has its concrete location in the Catholic Church. It is there that it is found."

He presented his remarks to 35 bishops, priests, Religious and lay persons attending a seminar July 18-20 in Uiwang, 25 kilometers south of Seoul.

Cardinal Kaspar's council jointly organized the seminar, The Search for Christian Unity: Where We Stand Today, with the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC). The participants, representing eight national episcopal conferences in Asia, came from Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Macau, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

When he addressed the participants on July 18, the cardinal noted that "oneness" and "unity" are key terms in the New Testament and the Creed, where "we confess our belief in the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church."

Even so, he said, divisions have arisen all through Church history, such as the division of the pre-Chalcedonian Churches in the fifth century, the separation of the Eastern and the Western Churches in the second millennium, and the Reformation led by Martin Luther in the 16th century.

Questions about where the true Church can be found, he said, are answered in the Second Vatican Council document Lumen Gentium ("Dogmatic Constitution on the Church"), which states that the "Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him."

Church unity, he said, is not an accidental reality but at the very center of God's will and the Catholic faith. Conversely, he asserted, division in the Church is against God's will and Christ's intention, so it is a sin.

He stressed that full communion as the goal of ecumenical efforts must not be understood as the simple "return" of separated Christians and Churches to the bosom of the mother Catholic Church. Rather, he insisted, "The ecumenical movement is a common pilgrimage to the fullness of catholicity (that) Jesus Christ wants for his Church. The closer we come to Christ in this way, the closer we come to each other in order, ultimately, to be fully one in Christ."

"What we need primarily is a spirituality of communion," he said. He also pointed out that the Second Vatican Council deepened the concept of ecumenism by using the term communio (communion) and fostering the ecclesiology of communion. Unless everyone follows this spiritual path, the German prelate said, external structures of communion would serve very little purpose.

Responding to Cardinal Kasper, Carmelite Bishop Herman Joseph Sahadat Pandoyoputro of Malang, Indonesia, said that though he agrees with the spirit of ecumenism, evangelical Churches in his diocese have caused much harm to the faith life of his Catholics. "Some evangelical Churches are inclined to apply a kind of superstition culture," the bishop reported, "so some of our parish priests refuse to promote dialogue and ecumenism with them."

Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao, Philippines, chairperson of the FABC Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, reminded the seminar that his office has been promoting dialogue with the Christian Conference of Asia. He said that Catholics need not view Pentecostal, Evangelical and Charismatic Churches only as "separated brothers" but also as "dialogue partners."

Before the seminar began, Cardinal Kasper told a press conference in Seoul that on July 23 he would witness the Methodist Churches signing the agreement on the doctrine of justification that the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church had signed in 1999. The signing will be in Seoul, where the World Methodist Conference of the World Methodist Council meets July 20-24.

"It will be a historic moment for me to testify to the ceremony here in Seoul on the pope's behalf," the cardinal commented. The 73-year-old cardinal also noted that, ever since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Catholic Church has promoted ecumenism by establishing 16 official dialogues with different Christian Churches, including the Lutheran Church.

According to traditional Catholic teaching, as reconfirmed in the Tridentine Council, two conditions are necessary for human salvation: God's grace and good deeds. However, Martin Luther taught that only God's grace is needed. The Catholic-Lutheran agreement reconciles those views by saying human salvation is possible with God's grace, while God's grace asks people to do good deeds.
Reproduced by
Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mumbai Blasts Victims - Memorial Services

Memorial Services In Mumbai Honor And Pray For Victims of Rail Bombings

July 19, 2006

MUMBAI, India (UCAN) -- Mumbai, India's most populated city, came to a stop for two minutes on July 18. Sirens blared across this urban city in western India as people stood silently in homage to victims of the recent bomb blasts.

At 6:25 p.m. on July 11, seven blasts rocked the financial capital of India, killing about 200 people and injuring more than 700 others.

India's President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam joined the people of Mumbai in remembering the dead by placing a wreath at the spruced-up Mahim station, one of the blast sites. A memorial has also been erected at the station.

Flowers, wreaths, candles and placards denouncing terrorism adorned the stations on Mumbai's Western railway line. The bombs were placed aboard commuter cars along that line.

Bombay Catholic Sabha (forum) organized memorial services at four of the affected stations -- Borivili, Chembur, Jogeshwari, Matunga -- and at Wellingdon Catholic Gymkhana, a Catholic center near Khar station, which was also bombed.

About 200 people from various communities prayed at Wellingdon Catholic Gymkhana for the blast victims, and pledged to work for unity and peace.

Priya Dutt, a Member of Parliament, led the short service at the Catholic center, beginning with two minutes of silence. In her prayer, Dutt, a Hindu, remembered the victims and pledged to work for peace and harmony among all people irrespective of caste, creed or community.

She later told UCA News that the people's determination to maintain peace in the city had overwhelmed her. The "strength" to continue in peace and harmony despite adversaries, she said, "lies with the people, not the politicians."

Merck D'Silva said the prayer meeting he attended was a "symbolic gesture" that "will go a long way in showing that the people of Mumbai are united."

"Just a week after the terrible blasts, the city is back on its feet," he observed. "We saw people rising to the occasion and helping the victims get to hospitals. One didn't see policemen or officials, but the common people were coming with bedsheets, water and food ... their work is commendable."

Another participant, Felix Dias, said he was "surprised to see" how the city behaved the day after the blast. "People were going about their work as usual, and my daughter was going to college like any other day," he recalled. "Nothing can dampen such determination to move on."

Office work paused and drivers halted in traffic during the two-minute silence. At some places, people parked their vehicles and stood outside to mourn the blast victims.

Prayers for the victims were also offered by Cardinal Ivan Dias, a native of Mumbai (previously called Bombay). He led Bombay archdiocese until June, when he was named prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

In a message he sent for the occasion, Cardinal Dias assured prayers for the dead and those affected by the blasts. He also expressed "solidarity with all the God-fearing and peace-loving citizens of our beloved city of Mumbai in their sorrow and anxiety."

Meanwhile, Vasai diocese, a suffragan of Bombay archdiocese, conducted an all-religions prayer service on July 14 at the bishops' house. Bishop Thomas Dabre of Vasai also visited bereaved families of Hindus and Christians in his diocese and offered prayers for the deceased.

In a statement issued on his behalf, the bishop said he regrets "innocent citizens" made victims of "mindless violence and terrorist acts." He added that religious leaders must educate their people "in human and spiritual values that will create a society free of violence, cruelty and hatred."

Investigations blame Islamic terrorists for the blasts. Nine days after the blasts, however, no Islamic group have claimed responsibility.
Reproduced by
Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (

Monday, July 17, 2006

Catholics Pray For Mumbai Blast Victims

Catholics Pray For Blast Victims As Mumbai Limps Back To Normal

July 17, 2006

MUMBAI, India (UCAN) -- Catholic parishes in Mumbai prayed at Sunday Masses on July 16 for all the victims of the recent bomb blasts.

About 200 people were killed and hundreds more wounded on July 11 when bombs exploded at seven local railway stations in the western Indian city.

Soon after the blasts, Auxiliary Bishop Bosco Penha of Bombay, currently administrator of the archdiocese, asked all archdiocesan parishes to conduct special prayers July 15-16 for the victims and their families.

Bombay, 1,410 kilometers southwest of New Delhi, is the old name of Mumbai, India's commercial capital and the political capital of Maharashtra state.

Priests in several parishes began their Sunday services by remembering the blast victims in the introduction to the Mass. The parishes also prayed for the victims and their families in the Prayers of the Faithful.

Meanwhile, members of Bombay Catholic Sabha (council) have visited several hospitals in the city where people wounded in the blasts are being treated. Dolphy D'Souza, the council's president, said he is glad that the monetary compensation announced by the government has already reached many people.

Vilasrao Deshmukh, the state's chief minister, announced that compensation of 100,000 rupees (about US$2,175) would be given to families for each member killed and half that amount to each person wounded in the blasts.

"The government has speeded up the process to provide monetary relief to the victims and their families," D'Souza told UCA News, "but more than that, the families need to be consoled."

The Catholic lay leader also reported that his organization has conducted memorial services for the victims, and its members have made rounds of hospitals and assisted the wounded wherever possible.

"We are happy with the arrangements in hospitals," D'Souza said. "Doctors and medical staff have been working round the clock to treat the injured. Volunteers are making rounds to see where more help may be needed."

His council's members are visiting victims' families of various religious communities. "We visit the bereaved families to comfort them," he said.

According to D'Souza, the council will conduct memorial services at five places in the city on July 18, the eighth day after the blasts.

Maharashtra's chief minister has asked people to observe two minutes of silence that day at 6.25 p.m., the time of the first blast. India's President A.P.J. Kalam is to join a memorial service at a train station that day, too.

Following the blasts, the administration has beefed up security at Mumbai's railway stations. Closed-circuit TV sets have been installed at Churchgate, Mumbai Central, Dadar, Andheri, Borivli and Bandra stations on the local rail service's Western line, where the blasts occurred. The administration also has deployed policemen in railway stations on all three local lines -- Central, Harbour and Western.

The city was in a panic again on July 15 night after a caller to the police control room said a bomb had been planted at a railway station. "The entire platform was evacuated, trains stopped and sniffer dogs were called in," said Deepa Rajan, a journalist who ran out of the station with other passengers.

She told UCA News that she did not stay back to find out why train services had been suspended. When she reached her newspaper office, she saw TV channels flashing reports of the bomb hoax. "People are on edge, and these incidents only add fuel to their fear," she remarked.

Manju Desai, who traveled with her daughter to Churchgate two days after the blasts, told UCA News that Mumbai's people are on their feet again, "but the scars will be there." The handful of people who boarded the nearly empty train with her that day checked the train coach for suspicious-looking objects.

Bombay Catholic Sabha plans to launch a program to avoid sectarian tension. According to D'Souza, the program aims "to keep the communities united in these times of tribulation."
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN(

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Testimony of Stanley Fernandes, Mangalore

Testimony of Stanley Fernandes

By Monita Fernandes

On Tuesday July 4, 2006, a prayer request was posted in the Konkani Catholics group for one Stanley Fernandes from Mangalore whose loaded petroleum tanker went off the road and fell into a low lying area. It was the second time in a span of one week that the same vehicle had met with an accident and Fernandes who was not even in a position to pay up the insurance premium now feared the worst considering that the tanker was loaded. As the tensed Fernandes who had stopped talking upon getting the shocking news was just getting ready to leave home to inspect the damages, the family greatly feared his health given that he already suffered from a heart problem and a mild paralytic stroke. The desperate family had appealed to KC for prayers.

A week later on July 11, 2006 Monita Fernandes, a Konkani Catholics member and the daughter of Stanley Fernandes sent this letter testifying to a miralce and the power of prayer.

Praise God!

Dear KC Family,

Thanks a bunch for all the prayers offered for my dad (Mr. Stanley Fernandes) and my family. Thanks to all of your prayers, there was a miracle!

I find no words to express gratitude to my Jesus who has been so good to me all the time. The load of petroleum in the tank is not lost, only about 1000 ltrs (costing Rs. 40,000/-) was lost. If all of the load was lost then we would have had to shell out about Rs. 7.5 lakhs. Perhaps the only way we could arrange that money was by selling our house, which was built just 2 years ago with lots of hopes and dreams. The Lord has been graceful to us.

The insurance people, Bharat Petroleum officers and others who inspected the spot said that the vehicle actually rolled over three times and fell 37 mtrs down and so it should have been broken into pieces and all the load of petroleum should have been lost but it's really a miracle that neither the vehicle suffered much damage nor was the load of petroleum lost. Even the driver and cleaner were safe.

When my dad initially heard about the accident, he was very shattered and he seemed to be totally broken. At first I was a bit shaken too and I asked the Lord what was happening. We were having ever so many problems coming in one after the other. When we were just recovering from one blow there was another. But immediately I asked the Lord's pardon and stopped complaining. We all started praising and thanking Him because strongly within myself I felt that something good was going to happen and that Jesus was still in control.

I also prayed that this might be a witness to others and so it happened. The people who surveyed the accident scene began asking my dad, "Are you a devotee of God?" Some of my dad's friends who accompanied him to the spot too were wonder-struck and had their faith lifted when they saw clearly the hand of God in the situation. When I called up Clifford uncle (dad's friend) who had accompanied dad to the accindent spot, he said, "I am sure it is only the prayers of so many that everything is fine." When he returned home he was calling up and telling others also about it. (I had earlier informed them that the Konkani Catholics group members and others were praying for us).

On the 2nd day after the accident (though nothing was fine yet), at the time of my personal prayer, I felt a kind of joy in my soul despite all the tension and worries in my mind. I knew that after this storm there would be a great calm because Jesus was in the boat.

Dad is not able to travel much or go for long without sleep but on this occassion he had to travel to the accident spot which was a few hours journey. And despite the pouring rains and the bad weather he was absolutely fine when he returned home 3 days later. This again was a miracle I should say.

As brother Arun said, "In times of hardship and tension, our faith in Him deepens." And truly due to this trial our faith in Him has deepened.

"He's still working on me,
to make me what I ought to be"
Thank you Jesus, truly our God is an Awesome God!

Luv in Christ
Monita Fernandes.