Monday, November 27, 2006

GOA: 450 Year-old Archdiocese a Metropolitan Again

GOA: 450 Year-old Archdiocese a Metropolitan Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 24, 2006

BANGALORE: Konkani Retreats at RRC - Nov-Dec 2006

Renewal Retreat Centre (RRC) Bangalore

Programmes in Konkani (Fri-Sun)

Time: 9.15am - 5.30pm

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

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

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

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

Phones: (080) 6683988, 6687674, 6685568


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil on Investigations at Divine Retreat Centre

Statement by His Eminence Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil

Major Archbishop Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fr. Augustine Vallooran on Investigations at Divine Retreat Centre

Truth In The Recent Happenings At Divine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fr. George Panackal on Investigations at Divine Retreat Centre

Million Hearts Retain the true picture of Divine Retreat Centre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Goa Archbishop's Communications Day Message - 2006

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

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

The Media: A Network for Communication, Communion and Cooperation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 17, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

BANGALORE: "Become More Catholic"

Audio Visual Presentation by Fr. Adolf Washington

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

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

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pope Welcomes India's "Jesus Youth"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

BANGALORE: "XULT" - Evening of Celebration

uXULT - Together in Exultation

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

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

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

Rejoicing and thanksgiving we gather, in Exultation

Programme Information

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

Please do bring your friends along.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

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

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

November 13, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 13, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 12, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The programme was compered by Kimberly D'Mello.

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

Shackles Off My Feet - Musical Evening at Bangalore

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pune Convention by Potta Team - November 2006

Catholic Charismatic Retreats at Poona (Pune)

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

Please make a note of the following retreat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Mina Fernandes

Monday, November 06, 2006

BANGALORE: Shackles Off My Feet - Musical Evening

Shackles off my feet.. so I can dance!

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

Programme Details

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

Entrance is free!

Shackles Off My Feet - Musical Evening by Holy Ghost Youth

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Holy Rosary - A Wealth of Sanctification

The Holy Rosary - A Wealth of Sanctification

by Rohan F. Britto

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

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

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

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