Wednesday, August 30, 2006

BANGALORE: ICPE School of Missions - September 2006

INDIA: ICPE School of Missions from September 1st, 2006

The Institute for World Evangelizaton (ICPE Mission), an international association of the faithful of Pontifical right, will be conducting its this year's School of Missions from the 1st September in Bangalore.

The ICPE School of Missions is a full-time, six week course in in-depth faith formation including Biblical study and Church teaching and focuses on the individual's relationship with God and with the Church, while offering the missionary lifestyle as a valid option for today's Catholic youth.

Input is received through daily lectures as well as small groups, one-on-one ministry, team work, liturgy and community living. Students receive a hands-on missionary experience through an evangelistic outreach. The course is dynamic and life-changing.


"This is a "not-to-miss" opportunity for all of the young fellows seeking God's will in their lives."
(Joel Fernandes, 2005 Batch)

2006 India ICPE School - Program Details

Dates: 1st September - 6th October, 2006
Primary Location: Bangalore, India
Cost for the School: US$ 700.
Registration fee: US$20 (non refundable) Will be deducted from course fee
Scholarships: Participants from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh will be given scholarships.
Sponsored by: ICPE India
For further information please contact Francis D'Souza at: icpeindia@touchtelindia.net

Friday, August 25, 2006

"Praise Adonai" - Gospel Concert in UAE - September 2006

THE HSI OUTREACH PROGRAM
Praise Adonai: To God Through Music

One of the aims of the Holy Spirit Interactive (HSI) ministry is to draw people closer to God and one other. HSI's Outreach Program tries to achieve this aim using the powerful mediums of dance, drama and music.
Place: Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Venue: St. Francis of Assisi Church, Jebel Ali
Date: September 14, 2006
Time: 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Reg. Fee: FREE
In February and March 2006, HSI's Outreach Ministry in India led by the versatile Alfwold Silveira brought together six of the city's top rock bands to sing gospel music in front of an enthusiastic crowd of five thousand people in Goa! The response to the music was so positive, four more concerts were held in venues across the city over the next six months and a future concert is being planned for Mumbai.

Now for the first time, Praise Adonai comes to the United Arab Emirates, the most modern city in the Middle East. Filipino band Voices join international pop star and jazz musician Glen Perry and HSI's own music ministry (debuting for the first time in public) along with several other singers on stage in St. Francis of Assisi Church hall for what promises to be a three hour gospel music fest. Don't miss it!

HSI founder and respected retreat leader Aneel Aranha will anchor the show.

Admission is FREE

This is a special invitation to Christians all over the UAE, to open your hearts to the Lord and come in large numbers, so that we can praise our Loving and Wonderful God in one voice. Do tell your family and friends about it.

Posted by Alfwold Silveira

Thursday, August 24, 2006

St. Bartholomew's India Connection - Bombay-Mangalore

Legends of St. Bartholomew (August 24) Connecting Bombay and Mangalore in India

By Jesuvera

If the legends on St. Bartholomew about India are to be believed, then we have received the Good News not from one but two of our Lord's Apostles.

According to one tradition, the Apostle Bartholomew (Barthemew) came to India in AD 55 and preached the Gospel in the area near Kalyan (now covered by Bombay Archdiocese) and was martyred in AD 62.

No mention of St. Bartholomew occurs in ecclesiastical literature before Eusebius, who mentions that Pantaenus, the master of Origen, while evangelizing India, was told that the Apostle had preached there before him and had given to his converts the Gospel of St. Matthew written in Hebrew, which was still treasured by the Church. "India" was a name covering a very wide area, including even Arabia Felix. Other traditions represent St. Bartholomew as preaching in Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, Armenia, Lycaonia, Phrygia, and on the shores of the Black Sea and the manner of his death, said to have occurred at Albanopolis in Armenia, is equally uncertain as accounts vary between beheading, flaying alive and crucifixion head downward by order of Astyages, for having converted his brother, Polymius, King of Armenia. His relics are thought by some to be preserved in the church of St. Bartholomew-in-the-Island, at Rome.

A second reference of Jerome says: "Pantaenus, on account of the rumor of his excellent learning, was sent by Demetrius into India, that he might preach Christ among the Brahmins and philosophers of that nation". The mention of Brahmins certainly settles the place as India. The area of his work is thought to be in Konkan in Maharastra.

Kalyanpur-Barkur Claims

Kalyanpur (Indian English or 'Calianpur' in British India English) is a village situated in the Tulunad region, presently a part of the state of Karnataka coming under Mangalore Diocese. Measuring along the present roads, the town of Barkur is less than 10kms away, with both Barkur and Kalyanpur falling within a radius of 5kms from Brahmavar, another Town which either of these places may be twinned with.

Research Historian Mascarenhas (M.A.,Ph.D.,D.D., Goa) in 'Konkanachem Christaunponn'-1929 - [Apostolic Christianity in Konkan] seems to say that Barkur owes its name to the Apostle:

"In Tulunadu, in South Kanara, there is Kallianpur. Here Bartholomew, then popularly known as Bhethal, preached the Gospel... There are many names and places, words and usages in the coastal Konkan region going up to Bombay and beyond which have originated from his name Bhethal and his preaching and that Barkur which is close to Kallianpur sprung after his name Bartholomew i.e. Bar+Thulami+Ooru and so BARKURU"

Wikipedia connects the Bartholomew legends associated with Kalyan in Maharashtra and Kalyanpur in Mangalore another ancient Indian Christian tradition that says that "the Apostle Bartholomeo (or Nathaniel) was reportedly murdered by Hindus in a port city called Kalyan or Kalyanpur in South Asia, just as the Apostle Thomas was murdered by Hindus near Mylapore, near modern Madras or Chennai."

In other words, "Both, the city of Kalyan (British India English "Calian") and the village of Kalyanpur, were at one time port cities, and both vie for the honor of being St. Bartholomeo's place of martyrdom."

Barkur, allegedly derived from the Apostle's name, is a politically famous historic port-town, located 3 kms from Brahmavar and had one (Rosario Church) of the 27 (29) original churches of Tulunadu, which was razed to the ground by Tipu Sultan in the 1780s when he set out to eradicate Christianity. The town also had one of Tipu's palaces.

In their work, "The land called South Kanara" (2000, Image flex Publishers), William Pais and Vincent Mendonca add more background to the Kalyanpur-Barkur claims:

"Christianity has been long established in South Kanara and its adherents are more numerous here, than any other district of India. It is certain that, foreign Christian merchants were visiting the coastal town of Kanara and during that period of commerce some priests also might have accompanied them for evangelical work. According to tradition Kanara had its first missionary the Apostle St. Barthelomew, who landed on the shores of river Swarna at Colombianor Colombo village an ancient maritime port adjacent to Kallianpur, stayed there to preach. He was popularly called Bethel and so the origin of the place Barkur..."

The 1981 Milagrian Charles E.G.Lewis has this to say:

"It can be said that it was the knowledge of that early Christianity in Kallianpur that prompted and urged the Portuguese Hierarchy to establish again the Church in Kallianpur when it did in 1678, or they must have found clues or traces of it when they arrived here. The Church at Kallianpur which was rebuilt in 1806, by the Goan priests and which later was demolished in 1940, had icons of St. Thomas the Apostle and that of St. Bartholomew on its fa├žade on either side of the main entrance evidently because of the tradition of St. Bartholomew in the place's. Msgr. Denis Jeromme D'Souza who built the present Church saw to it that the tradition was carried forward. In the main body of the Church where the twelve Apostles of Christ are honoured with their statues all round the walls that of St. Bartholomew is prominently placed at the head of the apostles, nearest to the sanctuary. Opposite to him is St. Paul the apostle of Gentiles and by his side is placed St.Thomas the Apostle of India. These realities speak volumes of un-written tradition"

To help the Barkur claimes, it may be noted that the same Msg. Denis Jeromme D'Souza built the present gothic style Church of Barkur, dedicated to St. Peter where the statue of St. Bartholomew occupies a prominent place among the statues of twelve Apostles placed in the main altar.

None of these claims are well founded and hence be disputed although many of India's historical legends too share a similar fate. The future work of scholars may throw more light on the matter but even without it, the Apostle whose eyes have seen God's Son, whose ears have heard the Eternal Word speak and whose hands have touched the Bread of Life merits our devotion, and his message our credence.

St. Bartholomew, Pray for us!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

CHENNAI: Loy Manohar Fernandes SJ Drowns

Jesuit Scholastic Drowns At Tsunami-Hit Beach In Chennai

August 22, 2006

CHENNAI, India (UCAN) -- For the past 25 years, Jesuit seminarians in a southern Indian city have been going to a nearby beach to take a swim to beat the sultry heat.

But a tragedy on Aug. 18 off a tsunami-battered Chennai beach will change the way students of Sacred Heart College, a Jesuit philosophy college, spend their weekends. Chennai, about 2,095 kilometers south of New Delhi, is the capital of Tamil Nadu state. Teachers and students are in a state of shock after Loy Manohar Fernandez, 25, drowned in the sea off Tiruvanmiyur beach, which had been struck by the tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004.

Fernandez and six other seminarians had bicycled to the beach for a swim after the last of their mid-semester exams. "The sea was slightly rough that evening, but we never expected him to drown," said Xavier Binai, 27, who accompanied Fernandez.

The college's 92 seminarians formed separate teams to search for his body, which was found 24 hours later at another beach 16 kilometers away. He was buried at Jesuit-run Loyola College on Aug. 21.

The college rector, Jesuit Father Maria Vincent Amalanathan, told UCA News that students from the seminary have gone to the beach for the past 25 years. "Until now, nothing happened," he said, but he added that he would no longer permit his students to go to the beach to swim.

The sea off Chennai has become unpredictable after the tsunami, says Vel Murugan, a local fisherman. He told UCA News Aug. 21 that more than 50 people have died in the sea there since the tsunami. Even local fishermen are "sometimes scared of the sea," he added.

Fernandez, eldest of three sons, came from to Mangalore, a Catholic stronghold in the neighboring state of Karnataka. "He was very promising, and very lively," Father Lawrence Fernandez, his teacher, told UCA news. His younger brother also is a Jesuit seminarian.

The deceased seminarian wanted to become a journalist and wrote for a local community newspaper.

His father, Ligoury Fernandez, told the people at the funeral Mass, "God had given him only 25 years, but he lived it fully."

The youth was fond of sending e-mail messages to his friends. His last message on the day of the accident read: "God has opened a window for me and asked me what I want. I told him to bless all the people who read this message."

According to media reports, the 2004 tsunami devastated hundreds of coastal communities in coastal areas of southern India and claimed just under 10,800 lives, with another 5,600 still listed as missing and presumed dead.
END
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (
www.ucanews.com)

Monday, August 21, 2006

POWER 2006 - Youth Retreat - Pictures

Photos of the "Power 2006" Youth Retreat at Divine Retreat Centre, Kerala, India

Pictures of POWER 2006, Youth Retreat at Divine Retreat Centre, Kerala, India - August 2006
(Click the Image for full album containing 111 photos)

A collection of photos brought back Joannes Rodrigues and his friends from their trip to POWER 2006, a Catholic Charismatic youth retreat at Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Chalakudy Kerala, India. Click on the picture to see the full album at the Konkani Catholics Gallery

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Goa Archbishop's Justice Sunday Message - 2006

JUSTICE AND PEACE SUNDAY

20th August, 2006

MESSAGE

(Approved English version of Message No. CP/1662/2006, written originally in Konkani)

"Let us Build a Corruption-free Society"

The Independence Day celebrations last week highlighted repeatedly the rapid development strides taken by our nation, Bharat. While this 'glad' news fills the air, we should be asking a serious question: "does this progress benefit every Indian?" As we reflect on this further, we will realize how unrestrainedly the seeds of corruption are being sown everywhere. Indeed, great is the power of our nation, but great as well is the selfishness in her, making her an easy prey to the demon of Corruption. In such circumstances, we need to ask: "Are the fruits of Development available to everyone? Are the doors of Justice open to all?"

Every year the Church in India observes the third Sunday in August as Justice and Peace Sunday. This year, the Church in India, through her CBCI Commission for Justice, Peace and Development, has given a call for everyone to work ardently to build a corruption- free society. Sharing in this concern, we too need to reflect together on this important issue.

Corruption takes place mainly when one is prepared to give or receive any reward for personal gain in exchange for some official work or even in order to get work done by circumventing the normal procedures. The root of corruption is greed. A bribe is not a donation, it is a social sin! The Old Testament warns us in these words: "You must not accept bribes, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of those who are in the right" (Deut. 16, 19). Corruption hurts the human family and brings loss to nations together.

Wherever corruption is rampant, people lose confidence in the Government, in its institutions and laws; the will to work with honesty is weakened and thus true development is hampered. Corruption decreases investments and slows economic growth and the worst affected in the process are the poor. In our own midst, some officials are found to be shamelessly amassing wealth through unjust practices, their only concern appearing to be to hold on to their chairs, thus bringing disrepute to our State. Bureaucracy should be controlling corruption. But, sad to say, many officials give cause to hopelessness in the citizens and thereby create opportunities for corruption by consistently adopting a ‘come-tomorrow’ tactic. This constitutes a serious assault on democracy.

The Gospel challenges every Christian who lives in a corruption-ridden society (cf. Mt. 5:13-14). By making ours what really belongs to others, by deceiving labourers, cheating in business, 'robbing' the truth through muscle power, behaving irresponsibly towards our eco-systems and destroying the innocence of children, we blemish God’s Kingdom. In such a vitiated environment, we are mandated to spread the values of God’s Kingdom (cf. Mk. 16:15). If we, therefore, do not strive to eradicate the evil in our society by living lives of simplicity and righteousness, we shall fail to satisfy the demands of the Gospel.

"Too often, people seem helpless to defend themselves against corrupt politicians, judiciary officials, administrators and bureaucrats. However, there is a growing awareness throughout Asia of people’s capacity to change unjust structures" (Ecclesia in Asia, 8). Corrupt living distances a person from the God of Righteousness and makes him/her an instrument of injustice, indeed, a slave of sin. Those in power, therefore, should strongly protest against corruption and, with the help of all citizens, create systems to fight this evil effectively. These systems should be based on a few strong resolutions, like: total elimination of bribes, transparency in all dealings and policies, timely payment of just wages, buying and selling through genuine documents only, restraining from exploiting the weaknesses of the poor, striving to live always in justice and truth, being familiar with, teaching and making use of the Right to Information Act.

Priests in Parishes and Superiors of Religious Institutions are encouraged to hold a meaningful Eucharistic Celebration on the Day of Justice and Peace and, besides sharing this Message with those under their care, they could try and organize special programmes in their own areas to create awareness about corruption. Through an ever deepening reflection on these issues, a movement for social transformation can begin through our Small Communities. We would like to renew our call to everyone to help establish Parish Social Apostolate Fora (PSAF) in all our Parishes. Our Christian sisters and brothers should strive to get proper information on corrupt practices in our society and take measures to expose them.

My hope and wish is that all Christ's followers should be in the frontline of any social transformation activity. We must all participate actively in this mission, along with followers of other faiths. The greatness of India is not to be measured by her material wealth, but by the level of the moral life of her citizens. To realize this, Indians - and that is all of us -- must live in a manner that helps do away with corruption and injustice. My fervent prayer is that we, the followers of Christ, may live such lives in the first place and thereby give a shining witness to our Guru and Lord.

Archbishop's House, Panjim, Goa, August 8, 2006.

Sd/-
+ Filipe Neri Ferrao
Archbishop of Goa and Daman

The original version of this Message No. CP/1662/2006 written in the Konkani language can be read in the Konkani Catholics egroup.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Delhi Archbishop Pastoral Letter - 2006

Pastoral Letter of Most Rev. Vincent M. Concessao, Archbishop of Delhi

To

All The Fathers/Sisters/Brothers,

Please read this circular either on 6th or 13th August-06 during after the homily.

"Next to religion, let your care be to promote justice," said Francis Bacon. Religion is the bond of love and justice is a bond of peace, because where religion is, there love resides and where justice is, there peace prevails. Justice is something that every human being must reflect on and see how he/she deals with his/her fellow beings. The earth has enough to fulfil the needs of all beings but manipulation, injustice, violence, selfishness, and greed has devoured all our resources. Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation once said, "Anyone who possesses more than what he needs is a thief." In a way everyone is a thief. He/she someway or the other possess so many un-necessary things. But, if only he/she takes what is necessary and nothing more than that, there would be no one dying of starvation.

The Archdiocesan Synod had given a clear mandate to the Justice and Peace Commission, when the respected members of the synod put forward forcibly that, "Justice should become an essential component in every ministry including formation and education in the Archdiocese." This was once again highlighted by the CBCI General Body Meeting in their theme "Catholic Education and the Church’s concern for the marginalized." In the said meeting it was resolved that every Catholic child should be admitted in our schools.

Jesus had given us the mandate to stand with the poor, the outcast and the marginalized, and support them in any way possible to bring about progress in their lives. The constitution of India demands that the basic requisites of life and their rights be protected. Article 46 says, "The State shall promote with special care the educational and economical interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC) and protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation and indiscrimination." So, there are many ways in which they can be given opportunities to come up in life: like, education, economic aid, social status, and so on. Although numerically our population is 2.3% yet we are called to be the yeast in the dough.

In order to promote justice first and foremost we must practice it in our daily lives.

As we will be celebrating the Justice Sunday on the 20th August, 2006 the Justice and Peace Commission is organizing a seminar on Church and its Social Responsibility from 4.00 - 6.30 on Saturday the 19th August, in the Edmond Rice Hall, St. Columba's School, Ashok Place, Gole Dak Khana, New Delhi-110001.

JPC is bringing out booklets on the social teachings of the Church related to Justice, Peace and Human Rights in a simplified form, for the people to study and draw inspiration from it for their life and apostolate. In order to make the Justice Sunday Celebrations meaningful I would like to bring to your attention some of the practical suggestions that can enhance our social service to promote justice, peace and human rights:

1. The Parish priests can make special effort to focus on the issue of Justice for this year's Justice Sunday Celebration.

2. Parish Priests to send at least five persons from the parish to participate in the seminar on the 19th August.

3. Educate a dalit boy/girl in the parish.

4. Set up a book bank in the parish.

5. Meet the expenses of a sick person.

6. Ensure just wages to domestic worker in the parish.

7. Admit students from the marginalized in our catholic educational institutions.

8. Motivate the students and parents to contribute to the marginalized children's education.

9. Let the catholic schools to take the initiative to conduct seminars, debates, talks, symposia to bring awareness on Justice among people.

10. Encourage the children to draw posters, to write essays etc. on issues related to justice and human rights in the schools.

11. Help the poor dalit/tribal families in the parish.

12. Take care of the sick people in your streets.

13. Help them through prayers.

If we have helped one person to find justice, we will have improved the world. Yes, my dear brothers and sisters, this is what our lord and teacher, Jesus Christ taught us, i.e. to establish the kingdom of God on earth, where there will be peace, justice, equality, love, solidarity and goodness prevail in abundance. This is our mission. Come, let us all work together in order to implement the thrust of the Arch Diocesan synod, i.e. to make justice an essential component in all the ministries of the Archdiocese.

With warm regards and God bless and looking forward to your generous cooperation

Yours Sincerely in Christ

+ Vincent M.Concessao
Archbishop of Delhi.

31 July 2006

Posted by Jose Kaviyil

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Fr Simon R Diniz - Child Counsellor - Goa

Catholic Priest Who Counsels Children Also Works On Their Parents

By Bosco de Souza Eremita

August 16, 2006

PANAJI, India (UCAN) -- In western India's Goa state, concerned parents who bring their children to a Catholic priest for treatment of abnormal behavior find themselves getting "treated" as well.

Chandu Fondekar, a Hindu, is one such parent. He brought his "depressed" daughter to Father Simon R. Diniz on the advice of a friend. Fondekar later told UCA News that his daughter experienced a "metamorphic change" after the priest asked Fondekar to stop comparing her with other children.

The father said he made the comparison hoping to help his daughter excel in examinations, "but I never dreamed it could have an opposite effect."

Father Diniz, 48, told UCA News many other children suffer from comparable psychological disorders because their parents fail to understand them.

Ever since he seriously took up counseling in 2004, he has met students in 53 Goa schools, and the number of depressed students keeps growing, he said. He maintains that eating disorders, constipation, thumb sucking, nail biting, insomnia and nightmares indicate children require psychological attention.

About 15 percent of those he sees suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, which keeps them from sitting and concentrating for long periods and affects their studies. When parents and teachers bring children to him, Father Diniz also pointed out, he sends the parents away after the initial interview, and then talks to the child alone and treats them through various therapies.

"In most cases," he said, the root cause of the problem is "the house is without a home," and children grow up without emotional and spiritual support. Three students aged 14-16 killed themselves in Goa this year, and Father Diniz confirmed that "suicidal tendencies are rising even among school children."

Children develop problems if they see their parents quarreling or when they abuse the child, he said, yet the key problem is parental pressure to excel in exams. Teenagers want "to enjoy life" and often opt for humanities, "where the pressure of studies is less," but many become addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Father Diniz said most parents realize "their folly" after he warns them not to demand too much from their children lest the children suffer mental stress.

In the counseling sessions, he encourages Catholic children to recite the rosary, read the Bible and say other prayers to overcome their problems. He also urges them to seek the blessing of their parents in all their activities, and to watch and discuss television programs with their parents.

Father Diniz also tackles the problem while visiting archdiocesan parishes in his family mission program. His talks to parents and children in 73 parishes always focused on parent-child relationships and children's problems.

Willie Gonsalves, who heard one of those talks, said Father Diniz gave him "a new insight" about children's needs. "More than good marks, I want my daughter to be happy with all-around growth," Gonsalves told UCA News.

Maria Sapeco, a Catholic businesswoman, said the priest's talks prepared her to deal with her 4-year-old son when he began behaving strangely upon learning that the maid was leaving. "He kept asking who would bathe him, dress him and play with him," she told UCA News. She closed her business until her son was able to live without the maid.

According to Shreen Dabolkar, who has also attended the talks, Catholics are "lucky" to have these Church-organized programs. The Hindu woman told UCA News her religion and its leaders have yet to address such problems.

The priest has inspired others to work with children. In 2005, the Salesians opened Childline, a distress group for children, in Panaji, Goa's capital, 1,910 kilometers southwest of New Delhi. "Most help is sought before and during exams," Father Arvind Severes, the assistant director, told UCA News.

The archdiocese of Goa-Daman now coordinates the counseling through its Family Service Centre. Father Socorro Mendes, who heads the center, claims the counseling has helped families to realize their worth, parents to give their children time, and couples to stick together and strengthen family bonding.

"Families are being empowered to become what they should be and grow in the presence of God. This is happening, and I am happy for it," he told UCA News."
END
Reproduced by
Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN(www.ucanews.com)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

BUSY - Being Under Satan's Yoke

From an email forward

Satan called a worldwide convention of demons. In his opening address he said,

"We can't keep Christians from going to church."

"We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth."

"We can't even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their saviour."

"Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken."

"So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, BUT steal their time, so they don't have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.."

"This is what I want you to do," said the devil:

"Distract them from gaining hold of their Saviour and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!"

"How shall we do this?" his demons shouted.

"Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds," he answered.

"Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow."

"Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles."

"Keep them from spending time with their children."

"As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!"

"Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice."

"Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive." To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly."

"This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ."

"Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers."

"Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day."

"Invade their driving moments with billboards."

"Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.."

"Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what's important, and they'll become dissatisfied with their wives."

"Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night."

"Give them headaches too!"

"If they don't give their husbands the love they need, they will begin to look elsewhere."

"That will fragment their families quickly!"

"Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their
children the real meaning of Christmas."

"Give them an Easter bunny so they won't talk about his resurrection and power over sin and death."

"Even in their recreation, let them be excessive."

"Have them return from their recreation exhausted."

"Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God's creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead."

"Keep them busy, busy, busy!"

"And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences."

"Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus."

"Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause."

"It will work!"

"It will work!"

It was quite a plan!

The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there.

Having little time for their God or their families.

Having no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives.

I guess the question is, has the devil been successful in his schemes?

You be the judge!!!!!

Does "BUSY" mean: B-eing U-nder S-atan's Y-oke?

Posted by Jose Kaviyil

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Assumption is a Day of Obligation - August 15

REMINDER: Solemnity of Our Lady's Assumption, a Day of Obligation

Salvador Fernandes, a Konkani Catholics member, gently reminds Catholics about their obligation on the day of our Lady's Assumption into heaven.

The 15th of August is a Day of Obligation, but where people do not even bother to go for Sunday Mass, these other days have lost their importance. I dabbled in a bit of jingle writing to write these lines for my friends, which on this opportunity, I share with you.

O! if you observe the Sabbath as your day of Obligation!
Brother, are you aware of other Holy days in Apostolic tradition?
Let us observe the days devoted by Church as Holy to God
Its Nativity, Epiphany, Corpus Christi and the Ascension of our Lord
God's mother - The Feast of Mary, Her Immaculate Conception
And into Heaven our Mother's Glorious Assumption
The Feast of Saint Joseph, the Foster Father who heeded God's call
In the apostles Honor the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
One day that's for God's people, all the Saints in Heaven
Now these are the days that the Church has chosen.

Due to certain reasons the bishops may abolish or transfer a day
And with the Holy See's approval celebrate as a feast on a Sunday.
Yet the days, that are not so approved for change, remain Holy and
Should, therefore, be observed accordingly for God's glory.

The Sunday Celebration of the Lord's day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. "Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the Universal Church."

"Also to be observed are the day of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, The Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the feast of Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of Saint Joseph, the feast of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints." (#2177 CCC, 1246 CCL)

The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: "On Sundays and other Holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass." "The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day." (#2180 CCC, 1247-1248 CCL)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

English Youth Retreat at RRC Bangalore - August 2006

Residential Youth Retreat in English by Fritz Mascarenhas at Renewal Retreat Centre, Bangalore

Residential Youth Retreat in English by Fritz Mascarenhas at Renewal Retreat Centre (RRC), Bangalore - August 24-27, 2006


Youth Retreat Information

Language: English
Type: Residential (In-house)
Dates: 6pm, August 24 (Thursday) - 5pm August 27 (Sunday)
Venue: Renewal Retreat Centre RRC
Preacher: Br. Fritz Mascarenhas and the ICPE team.
Registration: Mail your details to jybangalore@gmail.com (Limited Seats)
Go over to the JY Bangalore Blog for a personal invitation.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

MUMBAI: "Charisindia Musical Nite" - September 30, 2006

Renewal to Organize Musical Nite promoting "Charisindia"

MUMBAI, August 9, 2006 (KC Blog): "Charisindia Musical Nite", a musical extravaganza for the promotion of "Charisindia", the National Magazine for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in India will be held on September 30, 2006 from 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm at St. Andrew's Auditorium, Bandra for all the subscribers of the magazine.

The Musical Nite organized by the National Service of team (NST) of the National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (NCCRS) will feature three well known gospel music groups - "By Grace" (Malad), "Grace Ministries" (Vasai) and "Jesus the Real Vine" (Andheri).

Bishop Bosco Penha, the Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, will be the chief guest of the evening.

In a recent survey conducted by "Indian Currents", a National News Weekly, "Charisindia", the magazine of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in India, ranked among the seven best among thousands other Catholic magazines and periodicals in the country.

The magazine has been subsidized to make it affordable enough to find a place in every home and anyone interested in supporting its cause is welcome to make contribution by cash or by cheque drawn in favour of "Charisindia" to The Circulation Manager, Charisindia, C/o Bombay Charismatic Office, II Floor, Salvation Seva Kendra, Gokhale Road, Dadar (W), Mumbai-400 028. Contributions of Rs. 1,000/- and above will be acknowledged on the programme brochure.

Subscribers, sponsors and well-wishers are also specially remembered in prayer during the 24-hours Perpetual Adoration & Intercession at the Renewal's National Intercession Centre in New Delhi.

Current subscribers of Charisindia will be notified about their free entry passes in the September 2006 issue of the magazine.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil - Pastoral Letter - 2006

Pastoral letter issued by Cardinal Vithayathil, Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar rite Catholic Church

PASTORAL LETTER

Dearly beloved in the Lord,

The year 2006 is being celebrated in many of our eparchies as the year of the family. As part of the celebration, already there must have been many awareness-building programmes organised in some of these eparchies. Nevertheless, we still have to go a long way in this regard in order to generate abundant fruits of the Renewal Year in the personal, family and societal levels of our life. Family is the basic unit of the Church and Society. Family and its mission is always a subject man ought to study deeply. The changes affecting human life today in its various spheres raise new challenges regarding family life. On the one hand we have increasing un-employment, job-environments that are not conducive to good family life and the migration of people to foreign countries while on the other hand there are ever-increasing anti-life outlook, uncontrolled selfishness and pleasure seeking. The evil effects of the destruction of the family arena which fosters the formation of new individuals will be far-reaching, resulting in a situation endangering even the very existence of humankind.

It is in the family that the transmission of the ancestral values and life-styles and the initiation of good education ought to take place. But the onslaught of the communication media and globalisation and the resulting distorted outlook on life and the culture of consumerism have affected our families very negatively and weaken family bonds. While social evils like alcoholism and drug addiction destroy the foundations of family life, other evils like abortion, suicide and family strife erode its very essence like cancer.

Today at least in 25 countries of Europe sufficient number of children to maintain the present level of population are not born. They are slowly becoming countries of old people. In 2004, there was one person out of five who could not work. But by the year 2050, latest calculations indicate that the number of persons who would not be able to work will be shockingly more - one person out of two, i.e., half the population. It is not the lack of economic resources or good health that has caused a lower birth rate in these countries. The reason for this appalling situation is the culture of death severely criticised by Pope John Paul II and the lack of love pointed out by Pope Benedict XVI.

These influences do find their way into our society too. It is in this context that the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church requested the Major Archbishop to issue a pastoral letter for all our eparchies concerning the sanctity of marriage and family life. Marriage is a holy sacrament instituted by God. The world and every one of us within it are created by God. God made Man a collaborator in His work of creation through sexuality which is the power of sincere love.

The Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI basing on the words from St. John's epistle "God is Love" (1 Jn 4:10) deals with the sanctification of sexuality. The Pope likens sexuality as an exodus of Man from the prison of his selfishness to a state of deliverance through self-giving. It is in the self-giving of love that sexuality becomes divine. It is only through the path of discipline and self-control sexuality can be sanctified. Otherwise sexuality will degenerate into mere pleasures of the flesh and an indefatigable craving for such momentary pleasures.

We can observe the tendency today of making the other as our prey for satisfying our desires and means for our pleasures. Many do not even recognise the grave problems this tendency creates in families. The Father and the Husband who cannot provide better comforts to his family become worthless. The wife who cannot give pleasure loses her worth. Children become hindrance to a life of pleasure. Persons who are driven by excessive desire end up in the hell of selfishness. In pursuit of their selfish joys, even those who can afford to bring up children, do not want them. Those who have the means should come forward to have more children and bring them up. Responsible fatherhood and motherhood demand this. The impact of a market mentality that has eaten into human relationships is visible on all levels of society.

Relationships outside marriage, the tendency to dissolve marriages even on flimsy grounds, entering into family life after having had pre-marital relationships - all these destroy the very foundations of family life and its flavour. Jesus taught: "Everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away" (Mt 5:28-29). Jesus did not teach us to suppress our emotions. They are like fire. If fire is not controlled, it will destroy everything. Just like a mother in her kitchen controls the fire and uses it as the heat to cook food, so children should be trained to make use of their emotions in a mature manner. The primary responsibility of forming children in this regard lies on their parents.

The Church teaches about responsible motherhood and fatherhood. God has united love and procreation of children in sexuality. There should be a responsible correlation between procreation of children and their upbringing. But today the tendency to avoid having children is on the increase among the couples who are motivated by selfishness to seek their own enjoyment. There is sin and injustice to society behind the decision of not having children by those parents who have the means and normal health. Children who have received life should become parents by imparting life. The future of the husband and wife is to be realised through their children. It is the love that is learnt in families that will flow into one's neighbours and the society.

Today there is also the tendency to spend extravagantly to obtain prestige and positions in the society. Often celebrations of marriage, betrothal, wedding anniversary, birthday celebrations, baptism, first holy communion, etc. become celebrations of extravagance. This is an indication of the wrong priorities of values. The hopeless debt trap into which many families have fallen after such celebrations is also a problem to be seriously considered. Even when it is said that family life is faced with many problems, it is not meant that all families are victims of such problems. It is to be noted that there are many families which lead lives of exemplary husband - wife and parents - children relationships.

In order to counter effectively the challenges that affect families adversely, there are very effective means such as the Holy Eucharist, family prayer, meditation of the Word of God, and reception of sacraments. It is by taking part in the Eucharist that the couples can renew their love and unity. It is by remembering in the Eucharist the great mysteries of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus that they are empowered to overcome the sufferings, temptations, disappointments and failures in their lives. The sufferings and sorrows in the families will provide to them in the context of their love, the true peace and joy of the Resurrection. It is through the participation in the Eucharist and the reception of the sacraments that the couples become capable of self-sacrificing love. Let us not forget the words of Jesus: "I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing" (Jn 15:5).

Family is the arena where heavenly mysteries are lived out. Family meals in our homes should become similar to the commemoration of the Last Supper of our Lord. Family life is a life of sacrifice. I pray that family life become a holy celebration where one's own body and blood is shared with the others. Praying for the blessing of God and the true joy and peace of family life upon every father and mother, husband and wife, the youth and children in our families, I bless you in the name of + the Father and + the Son and + the Holy Spirit.

Given at Kakkanad from the Major Archiepiscopal Curia of the Syro-Malabar Church at Mount St Thomas on 10 July 2006.

+Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil
Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church

N.B: This pastoral letter is to be read out during the Holy Mass on Sunday, 13 August 2006 in all churches and chapels of the Syro-Malabar Church where there is Sunday Mass for the public.
Coutesy: ICNS

Monday, August 07, 2006

Statement of the Fourth Asian Youth Day - 2006

Fourth AYD Urges Local Churches To Support Youths In Faith

August 4, 2006

HONG KONG (UCAN) -- Young Asians attending the Fourth Asian Youth Day in Hong Kong have urged every local Church to support young people in their faith and prayer life, and to develop friendly parishes to help youths strengthen family relationships.

In the final statement read out during the closing Mass on Aug. 4, the youths also urged the Church to utilize the Internet to provide assistance and guidance to youth who search for "answers" in life while surfing the Internet.

They also called on local Churches to simplify Church social teachings so as to make them more readable and widely known to young people.

On their meeting's theme "Youth, Hope of Asian Families," the young people concluded: "We see great possibilities for our youth to become a source of hope to help uplift their family," even as they struggle with challenges.

For some participants, the gathering that began on July 29 and closes on Aug. 5 included staying July 28-30 in the homes of Hong Kong parishioners.

In all, about 800 Catholic youth people from 25 countries and regions in Asia, Africa and other continents took part in the Fourth Asian Youth Day.

The full text of the final statement follows:

STATEMENT OF THE ASIAN YOUTH DAY IV

"Youth, Hope of Asian Families"

YMCA Youth Village, Hong Kong,
30th July - 5th August, 2006

Introduction

Asia is home to about 60% of the world's young people. Youth are not only the future of the world but are the present precious treasures of the Church. The gathering of youth at the Federation of Asian Bishop Conference (FABC) Asian Youth Day IV (AYD IV), to reflect on the theme "Youth, Hope of Asian Families", is an affirmation of their gifts of youthfulness, strength and enthusiasm to aspire to a higher dimension as living symbols of hope. The theme of Asian Youth Day IV was inspired by the 8th FABC Plenary Assembly in Daejeon, Korea in August 2004 which had as its theme "The Asian Family - Toward a Culture of Integral Life".

Coming from Bangladesh, Cambodia, (mainland) China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Taiwan, Turkmenistan, Vietnam, with guests from Belgium, France, Germany, Kenya and Tanzania and The Netherlands, the youth with their bishops, youth directors/animators immersed themselves wholeheartedly into the process of the meeting from 30th July to 5th August, 2006.

Experiences

  • The process of reflection started with sessions in the home country on the theme and the symbol of "rice" chosen to be the symbol of AYD IV. Rice being the staple food for most Asian countries is a reminder of the gathering around for a family meal and of God's blessings.

  • On arrival in Hong Kong, youth coming from foreign countries were treated to a few days stay with a host family to help them experience life in a family/parish in Hong Kong. The experience of family hospitality helped the youth to embark on a journey of faith, cultural exchange and widen their vision of Asian people.

  • Each morning the day started with prayer and the 'rice ceremony' where delegates poured a handful of rice brought from their own country into a big container as a sign of sharing the joy and blessings of their families with each other.

  • The explanation of the working paper of the 8th Plenary Assembly of FABC presented the reality of the Asian family and the vision of the Church for the family. The national reports and the 'walk' through the exhibition halls of different countries helped deepen the experience of the reality of the Asian family, to share and feel their lights and shadows. It also helped the young people appreciate the diversity of cultures in Asia.

  • "The Youth Walk", was an experience of prayer and reflection on various areas which helped to challenge the youth to be the hope of Asian families. Each group functioned as a quasi family becoming an instrument of bonding, love and care for each other.

  • Lively animation at the start of each plenary session through action songs/hymns, kept the atmosphere charged with energy and enthusiasm.

  • Thematic workshops and testimonies dealt with different areas of family life and faith helped the young people to get an insight into how they could become signs of hope in their own family.

  • The sharing of inter-religious delegates helped the youth to know more about family life in other religious traditions

  • The Taize prayer session provided a good environment for meditation and deep personal prayer.

  • After a week of reflection, sharing, praying and communion during AYD IV, we realized that the young people can play an important role in the family so that relationships of love and harmony can be cultivated. The daily celebration of the Eucharist reminded them of the importance of living the paschal mystery daily to becoming life giving to their families.

Insights

  • A family is a sanctuary of life. In Asian family children are cherished as gifts from God. Parents make a lot of sacrifices to provide for their children's welfare and education.

  • The Asian family is struggling in the face of different kinds of difficulties like poverty, migration, political instability and environmental degradation in the context of economic globalization. Yet we believe that the source of our strength continues to be the family.

  • The family is not simply the object of the Church's pastoral care, it is on the front line of the Church's efforts to bring the Good News to people.

  • Families hold a very important place in Asian cultures. Family values like filial respect, love and care for the aged, the weak, love for children and harmony are held in high esteem in all Asian cultures and religious traditions.

  • In urban areas, families do not seem to have time to spend together, to communicate and to care for each other today.

  • No family can be said to be hopeless in the eyes of God.

  • Marriage is a life long commitment and family is a sacred institution in which God is involved.

  • Young people should not lose hope when they experience conflict and failure in their family journey towards renewal, their faith and prayer as well as the community can sustain them.

  • Forgetting the presence of God in their lives, youth can experience much loneliness and hopelessness during family crises.

  • A family must be united in their relationships and rooted in prayer.

  • When the family is strengthened and nourished hopefully the common good is promoted and enhanced.

Challenges

  • To bring reconciliation and hope back to the family.

  • To help initiate dialogue and communication in the family to enhance understanding.

  • To cultivate the practice of family members spending quality time talking, listening to each other and in prayer.

  • Promote gender equality in families.

  • Motivate all youth to be instruments of peace and the seed of love in their family.

  • To make the family a sanctuary of love, life and communion where every member feels accepted, cared for and appreciated.

  • There is a need for families to network in Small Christian Communities, for formation, support, and mission proper to the family and to build a more just society.

  • Asian families are called to witness to the Good News of Jesus in difficult times and circumstances, when the family itself is threatened by an array of evil forces.

  • Family members, especially youth, are challenged to live their daily life in the family with extraordinary love.

  • With the power of faith and prayer, Asian youth have to rediscover their place and role in the family and society.

Recommendations

We urge the local Church:
  • To help and support our young people in their faith journey and prayer life.

  • Conduct echo programmes on the theme of "Youth, HOPE of Asian Families" to help youth become "hope givers" in their families.

  • To develop youth friendly parishes utilizing appropriate processes for reflection and inputs to inspire young people to strengthen family relationships.

  • To use the internet effectively to provide assistance and guidance to young people who look for 'answers' while surfing the net.

  • To simplify the social teachings of the Church so as to make them more readable and widely known to the youth.

Conclusion

We believe that there are seeds of faith in Asian youth. If this faith is nurtured well, they can truly be the hope of the Asian family. The youth present here return fired with zeal and determination to take up the challenge of becoming 'hope givers'. Even though our families in Asia struggle with a culture of death we see great possibilities for our youth to become a source of HOPE to help uplift their family. We commend our Youth in Asia to Mary our Mother, and pray that she be their refuge in times of trial.

We sincerely thank our hosts, the Diocese of Hong Kong for assisting the FABC Youth Desk with the organizing of this AYD IV, efficiently attending to the day to day smooth running of all the programmes. We pray that God bless the enthusiastic young people who volunteered to help with the organization by sacrificing their time, and offering their talents and skills for arranging the programmes of AYD IV. May God bless them abundantly for their generosity
END
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (www.ucanews.com)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

AP: Gunadala Marian Shrine Pictures

Photos of Gunadala Lourdu Matha in the Konkani Catholics Gallery

Konkani Catholics (KC) member Lawrence Monteiro shares some pictures of Marian Shrine of 'Gunadala Lourdu Matha' in Vijayawada diocese in the South Indian State of Andhra Pradesh on the Konkani Catholics Gallery.

Gunadala Lourdu Matha - Marian Shrine in Vijayavada Diocese of Andhra Pradesh, India
(Click on the picture to see more photos)

To know more about the Shrine of Gunadala Lourdu Matha, follow the links below (Courtesy Eustace D'Sa):

Gunadala, India's Lourdes

The diocese of Vijayawada, in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh, is home to the Shrine of Gunadala Lourdu Matha, one of the most important Marian places of worship in the Indian subcontinent. Its history is rooted in the Marian tradition of Fatima, Lourdes, and Velankanni. Read more...

Sick Hindus and Hindu students join Christians in prayer before the statue of Mary by Dario Salvi

Interview with Father George Puthenpura, PIME India Read the Interview

Saturday, August 05, 2006

GOA: 2006 Archdiocesan Directory Released

GOA: Archbishop Releases New Archdiocesan Directory on Pastors Day

Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao releasing the New God Archdiocesan Directory 2006, at the Archbishop's House on 4th August on the occasion of Pastors day

PANJIM, August 5, 2006 (KC Blog): The new Directory of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman was released yesterday, Pastors day, by Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao at a simple ceremony held last evening at the Archbishop's House, Panjim, in the presence of Archbishop Raul Gonsalves, Heads of various Diocesan Bodies, and the Staff of Archbishop's House.

The Directory, published by the Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media (DCSCM) and printed at the New Age Printers, the diocesan press at Verna, comes in a neat shrink-wrapping of two volumes.

The first, a 298 page hard bound volume, contains information about the history and pastoral organization of the archdiocese, details and photographs of every parish church, territorial maps, information on the various religious congregations and church institutions, and an additional photo gallery of some diocesan institutions and events. The second is a 126 page paperback volume providing changing information like personnel in the diocesan councils and bodies as well as institutions, names and addresses of the clergy, etc.

The archdiocese plans to bring out an updated verison of the second volume every year.

The two-volume packet costing Rs. 100/- will be made available from 10th instant,at the Archbishop's House, Institute Piedade, St. Paul Sisters (18th June Road) in Panjim, Grace Church and Lighthouse in Margao, St. Andrew's Church and Treasure House in Vasco, Pastoral Institute and Bom Jesus Basilica, Old Goa and St. Jerome's Church, Mapusa.

Friday, August 04, 2006

DELHI: National Communication Conference - Final Statement

Final Statement of the National Conference of Catholic Communication, New Delhi (August 1-3, 2006)

A national conference of Catholic communication officials organized by the CBCI Commission for Social Communications was held at the Don Bosco Provincial House in New Delhi from August 1-3, 2006. The following is the full text of the the statement issued at the end of the conference:

We, Bishops and secretaries of the Regional Bishops' Commissions for Social Communications and Presidents of All India Catholic Union (AICU), Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA), SIGNIS India, and national secretary, Conference of Religious of India (CRI) assembled for the national conference organized by Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) Commission for Social Communications in New Delhi August 01-03, 2006, on the theme "A Communicating Church Looking Ahead" reiterate our commitment to make the Church in India a more communicating one.

We wish to redeem this pledge on social communications made at the CBCI General Body Meeting held in Trichur in January 2004. The mandate given at that meeting needs to be put in practice at every level (Bishops, parish priests/councils/laity) and be made an integral component in all the Church's programmes within a given time frame (December 2006).

We commit to implement more vigorously the Pastoral Plan for Social Communications at the National, Regional and Diocesan levels immediately. The communications structures should include Diocesan Social Communication Commission having in it talented trained youth, women, and Public Relations personnel from among Clergy, Religious and Laity. Care should be taken to be gender sensitive. They should produce software/ material for publications on issues affecting the society at large for the Print and Broadcast Media and the Internet.

We appreciate the effort of the CBCI Commission for Social Communications in undertaking the herculean task of conducting the "Indian Communication Survey 2005". The scientific rigor which has been applied to this survey is pioneering indeed and provides us with deep insights and significant benchmarks for the way ahead in social communications for the Church in India.

The Catholic Church is an inalienable and a significant constituent of Civil Society should become a more 'Listening Church ', sensitive to the hopes, aspirations and angst of the common man, woman and child, particularly the struggles of the Dalits, Tribals, Other Backward Classes, the landless peasantry and other marginalized groups.

The contemporary Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Media and professional skills are not an end in themselves. In fact, unmonitored, ill-mentored and exploitative "progress" in recent years has let lose forces of evil, moral degeneration and communal hate. The vacuity and the malice have to be challenged effectively. This can only be done when we have trained personnel to generate software and content with Christian values and priorities, our commitment for justice, peace and communal harmony to meet the ever growing insatiable hunger of the media.

In this context, we appreciate the Government of India for enacting legislation on the Right to Information (RTI), and demand that nothing be done to dilute any of its provisions. This will also help restoring internal communications, transparency and accountability in governance.

We believe that Christian Social Communications is enabling and ennobling. Hence, all Church personnel – catechists, health, educational, pastoral workers are an interface with Civil Society. They should be sensitized to recognize the grumble from the grass-roots and other issues affecting society from time to time and provide the appropriate, effective responses and rejoinders.

Recognizing the arrival of the Community/Campus FM Radio, we need to explore the possibility of starting broadcasting to promote education, health care and socio-religious amity.

We recognize a felt need to preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of India, especially the low cost/alternative media/traditional media like performing arts and encourage talented artistes. This should be done "systematically and purposefully."

In the light of the above, each Diocese should take up the following key responsibilities immediately on a priority basis whenever they are non existent:

    1. Establish a Diocesan Commission for Social Communication.

    2. Designate/Establish a Media Office with a full time/part time Director/ Spokesperson.

    3. Network with mainstream media professionals in print, electronic, Internet and alternative/low cost media.

    4. Identify and train talented youth, including women, and support them to pursue university degree/diploma programmes in journalism and mass communication.


August 03, 2006

Most Rev Oswald Gracias
Archbishop of Agra &
Chairman, CBCI Commission for S. Communications

Fr Henry D'Souza
Secretary, CBCI Commission for Social Communications
New Delhi 110 001

Thursday, August 03, 2006

KERALA: 2000 Youth at "Power 2006" - Divine Retreat Centre

Young Catholics On Retreat Celebrate Life, Mystery Of The Church

August 3, 2006

MURINGOOR, India (UCAN) -- About 2,000 young Catholics from India and other countries are taking part in a spiritual retreat aimed at helping one another experience the power of God and escape the power of evil.

The "Power 2006" retreat is running July 30-Aug. 4 at Divine Retreat Center, based in Muringoor, a village in Kerala, about 2,560 kilometers south of New Delhi. The participants, aged 15-40, are mainly Indians, but the others are 500 youths from Persian Gulf nations, 400 from Sri Lanka, 60 from Canada, 25 from Germany and 50 from the United States. The organizers say most expatriate retreatants are children of Indians who settled in those nations.

The center, managed by the Vincentian Congregation, claims to be the world's largest Catholic retreat center. About 20,000 people take part in every six-day retreat at the center, totaling about 1 million or so during a single year.

According to Vincentian Father Augustine Vallooran, the retreat leader, the organizers planned the event to celebrate youth, to experience "the great mystery of the Church" and to find personal fulfillment after a long search.

The priest told UCA News young people, the Church's hope and life, are often misguided and forced to lead a life without conviction. "Here, we give them an opportunity to transform themselves" and create "a world of love and respect," he said. He added that the program aims to build a worldwide network of youths to "experience the power of God and help them escape the power of evil."

At the opening session, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil of Ernakulam-Angamaly urged the retreatants to "combine faith and reason" while seeking God. He criticized modern media for pushing consumerism and materialistic ideologies, asserting, "Media have great influence on young people, but they are not helping young people make a positive change." During the six-day program, he said, they will pray, sing and share their experiences of God.

According to Raphy Francis Vazhapilly, the international coordinator of the program, the retreat grew out of a global network that connects thousands of youths to "God and His Word." Vazhapilly, 36, lives in the Black Forest region of Germany, but he attended a retreat at the Divine Retreat Center in 1994 and thereafter helped set up Divine Youth, the retreat center's youth ministry.

He told UCA News that the 1994 retreat helped him experience God and changed his priorities. He shared his experiences with some friends who attended other retreats at the center. "We decided to tell other youths about our experiences," he said, and in 12 years, the ministry has spread to most continents.

"Yes, it's God's work and we were only tools," declared Vazhapilly, who says he is a former student leader once fascinated by communist ideologies.

Father Vallooran said the youth retreat, drawing participants from all over the world, is the first of its kind conducted by his 29-year-old center.

Maria Sangeetha, national coordinator of Divine Youth, told UCA News that the ministry has organized youth retreats at the national level and the number of retreats has been increasing each year along with the network.

"We have never advertised or campaigned for it," said the 29-year-old communication specialist, who is based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, 700 kilometers northeast of Muringoor. "People who attended the retreat spread our message by word of mouth. They brought new people to us and they started the ministry in their own towns and villages when they went back. So we decided to organize at the international level."

Preparations for "Power 2006" began six months ago. Each participant from abroad registered online by paying 1,000 rupees (around US$22), while Indian participants each paid a registration fee of 300 rupees (around US$6).

Since 1990, the center has conducted six-day retreats in seven languages every week, and about 10 million people from all over the world have attended them. The center also conducted a retreat for young people from Asia in 1999.
END
Reproduced by
Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN(www.ucanews.com)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

DELHI: National Conference Of Catholic Communicators - August 2006

Delhi To Host National Conference Of Catholic Communicators

New Delhi, Aug. 01, 2006 (CBCI News):

A national conference of Catholic communication officials will be held August 1-3, 2006 at Don Bosco Provincial House in New Delhi. It is being organized by the CBCI Commission for Social Communications.

The theme of the two-day conference would be: A Communicating Church Looking Ahead.

Chairman of the CBCI Commission, Archbishop Oswald Gracias, member bishop Godfrey de Rozario, bishop chairmen of the regional commissions, regional secretaries for communications, presidents of Signis India, Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA), All India Catholic Union and some media experts will be participating in the conference.

Archbishop of Agra Oswald Gracias will open the meet and give the inaugural address.

"In the light of the nation-wide 'India Communications Survey' conducted the make an assessment of the effectiveness of the Catholic communications ministry, the meet will evolve specific strategies to make the Catholic Church in India truly a communicating community," said executive secretary of the CBCI Commission, Fr Henry D'Souza.

"The conference will chalk out programmes to implement the recently prepared National and regional Pastoral Plans for Social Communications," he added.

Source: CBCIsite.com

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

MUMBAI: Couples Retreat in English - August 2006

"Healing in Marriage and Family" - Couples Retreat in English at Mumbai

The Bombay Service Team (BST) of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Bombay Archdiocese is organizing, "Healing in Marriage and Family," an open retreat for couples by Bro Thomas Paul of Kingdom Ministries, from August 4-6 at St Joseph the Worker Church, Bandra (E). More Information below.

Programme Details

Dates: 4th - 6th August 2006 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
Time: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm (Includes Holy Eucharistic Celebration).
Venue: St. Joseph the Worker Church or Cardinal gracious high School, Subash nagar, Bandra East, Mumbai.
Registration Fees: Rs 50/- per couple.
Lunch: Coupons are available per day at Rs. 25 each per person.
Retreat Led by: Thomas Paul (Kingdom Ministries)
For registration details contact Roweena at 56083524 / 9833414411
Mario - Bombay Charismatic Office - 24303626 / 24210881

Posted by Mariza Ferrao