Wednesday, January 31, 2007

BANGALORE: Retreat by Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C. - February 2007

Retreat by Fr. Augustine Vallooran (Potta) at Logos Retreat Centre, Bangalore

There will be an English retreat at Logos Retreat Centre, Bangalore by Rev. Dr. Augustine Vallooran V.C., Director of Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor, Chalakudy Kerala. The retreat details are as given below.

Retreat Information

Dates: February 2-4, 2007
Timing: 9am to 5.30pm
Type: Non-Residential

- No Prior Registration or Registration Fee.
- Bread and Tea will be provided at the retreat.
For More Information, please contact:
Fr. Director,
LOGOS Retreat Center,
29, Logos Nagar,
Babusahip palaya, Bangalore -43

Phone: 080-2545 1252/2545 4748

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Konkani Retreat at Ras Al Khaimah, UAE - February 2007

Inner Healing Konkani Retreat at Ras Al-Khiamah, UAE

There will be an Inner Healing Konkani Retreat/Mission by Fr. Agnel D'Cunha ofm Cap. at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) from February 2-4, 2007.

The timings for the retreat are as follows:

2 February 2007 (Friday): 8:30pm to 10:30pm

3 February 2007 (Saturday): 9:30pm to 10:30pm

4 February 2007 (Sunday): 8:00pm to 10:00pm

Posted by Anicet Florindo and Gaspar Almeida

Monday, January 29, 2007

Konkani Retreat Sharjah - January 2007

Konkani Mission (Retreat) by Fr. Agnel D'Cunha at St. Michael's Church, Sharjah, UAE

People living in UAE (Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, RAK, AL-Ain anywhere and everywhere, are invited to be present for the annual MISSION (RETREAT) in Konkani language.

Venue: St. Michael's Church- Sharjah
Date: 29th Jan to 1st Feb 2007 between 7.30pm - 9.30pm.

The retreat will begin with Mass in Konkani langauge everyday followed by preaching by Fr. Agnel D'Cunha (Mangalore).

Please try to inform as many people as possible and also pray for this annual retreat to be a great success.

For further details please contact:
Deral Menezes
Sharjah, Core Team Member, Konkani Charismatic Team,
Mobile: 050-8432447

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Power of Prayer - Rajesh Rodricks

The Power of Prayer

By Rajesh Rodricks

Konkani Catholics member Rajesh Rodricks, Lucknow, describes the power of prayer.

Prayer like the word 'Love' is a simple term but has powerful and tremendous influences when brought to use. Communication has always played an important factor in bringing humans close to each other and solving complex situations in this world of ours. Prayer is but a 'Superior form of Communication'. We do not only talk to God but thank Him and Praise Him. Furthermore, it is definitely, not a one way line, where one may think all the communications land up like some undelivered letters at the dead end. It is a two way line, when God calls back and answers our call of Prayers in some form or the other, whether in thoughts, incidents, fulfilling our requests or by bringing in us a state of Grace and an inner Peace to relinquish and face the world in a better perspective. God in all His everlasting Glory loves to manifest in and through Us. All we have to do is to keep ourselves in a state befitting for Him by our noble thoughts, words and deeds. This itself is a proof that He is a Loving and Living Lord ready to answer our call, day in and day out, twenty four hours, toll free.

Since time immemorial, God has always lead, loved and protected His people who have blindly followed Him, as we are His own creation, made in His Image and He continues to do so, even today. All we have to do is to Prayer to Him in deep love, faith and understanding. Prayer binds us to God thoroughly and keeps us away from the influences of evil. Its not that we then do not get to face the storms of Life but through prayer, it is sure that we do not succumb to fate, but rather, God in His Mighty Loving arms carries us through the storms to ensure that we are safe and sound, just like a Good Shepherd carries his Lamb.

Prayers can create wonders in our Life and even mountains can be moved but it should not be treated as a theme to test God on trial basis. We have to imbibe that trust and confidence and so in many ways, we see things change for the better and also suddenly which we call 'miracles'. I used to question myself and wonder when and how do miracles occur and whether there is any uniformity or its left to chance? I answered my own question! When God comes to us daily at Mass, through the transformation of ordinary bread to "Himself" in the form of The Blessed Sacrament, revealing openly to us that thousands of miracles are taking place daily throughout the world, whenever the Holy Mass is said. This evidently shows that the Holy Mass itself is the Greatest and Most Powerful of Prayers to the Almighty God who transcends from Heaven to partake in the banquet of His people. That's a Miracle itself, in and through Prayers.

Then when He has come so near to us on earth, surely, Our Prayers can hold Him steadfastly within ourselves to receive all the Graces and Blessings, we seek. So when God is 'in' and 'with' Us, we can be sure of His Promised Words:

"I am the Lord; Fear not, I am with you."

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Konkani Mission at Jebel Ali, UAE - January 2007

Konkani Mission (Retreat) at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Jebel Ali, UAE

A Konkani Mission will be preached by Fr. Agnel D'Cunha on the following days.

Venue: St. Francis of Assisi Church, Jebel Ali, UAE

Date: 27th Jan & 28th Jan 2007 from 8 PM to 930PM.

Konkani Mass on 1st Feb 2007 at 8PM.

Please attend and inform your friends.

For further details please contact:
John M. Monteiro
Mobile: 097150-5940340

Posted by John M. Monteiro and Gaspar Almeida

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

CAMPOUT - Musical Evening at Delhi - February 2006

DELHI: "Campout" - Musical Evening by Jesus Youth Delhi

CAMPOUT - A Musical Evening by Jesus Youth, Delhi

Youth in Delhi can look forward to an evening of vibrant Gospel music, audio-visual & media presentations at "Campout," a musical event to be organized by Jesus Youth, Delhi.

The three-hour program at Jesus and Mary College, Chanakyapuri which will begin at 3pm on 3rd February 2007 is expected to draw hundreds of Campus Youth from colleges around the city.

Entry is free. No registration required.

"Campout" - Programme Details

Venue: Jesus and Mary College, Chanakyapuri, Delhi
Date: February 3, 2007
Time: 3pm-6pm

!!!Get Your Friends Along!!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

INDIA: Anti-Christian Violence Every Third Day in 2006

Anti-Christian Violence in India Reported Every Third Day in 2006

BANGALORE January 19, 2006 ( With an act of violence against Christians being reported every third day in 2006, India, a Constitutional Secular Democratic Republic, doesn't seem to be a very safe place anymore for its tiny Christian minority, a mere 2.3 per cent of the country's 1.20 Billion population.

A total of 127 cases targeting priest, nuns, church workers and believers have been reported in the national or international media during the year according to an unofficial white paper released by Dr. John Dayal, President of the All India Catholic Union (AICU), the largest and oldest lay body of Catholics in the country.

Dr. Dayal believes the number could be much higher as "church workers, nuns, priests, pastors and evangelists, health workers and development NGOs often do not even report acts of violence unless there is grave injury."

The data compiled relies heavily on the work of Christian groups online as the tendency of the "mainline, and specially the Hindi language national media" has been to ignore "acts of violence against minority communities in general, and the Christians in particular," the AICU President noted.

It was in 1996 during the course of his research, when Dr. John Dayal discerned the pattern of violence against the Christian community by the aggressive bands of the Hindutva cadres, that he published the first "Unofficial White Paper on Violence against Christians in India" under the guidance of the late and visionary Archbishop Alan De Lastic of Delhi.

Periodical statistics issued since then have revealed the perpetuation of a disturbing trend that continue to cast a shadow over the secular character of the largest democracy of the world.
Note: This news story may be freely reproduced, provided it is unchanged and duly acknowledgement with a hyperlink.

Also See:
Unofficial White Paper - Anti-Christian Violence in India - 2006

Unofficial White Paper - Anti-Christian Violence in India - 2006

The Unofficial White Paper on Violence Against Christians in India - 2006

An act of violence against Christians every third day in 2006 in India

-Released by Dr. John Dayal, President, AICU

Note: All care has been taken to crosscheck the reported cases with credible newspaper reports and police files. We are unable to persuade state governments to collect information about cases of violence against the Christian community.


1. 12th - Andhra Pradesh: Two radical Hindutva activists were arrested in connection with an attack on Pastor Aaron in Nizamabad. The pastor was distributing pamphlets to publicize a Christian congregation at Polytechnic Grounds. He was severely beaten before police arrived on the scene and saved him. Later authorities learned the attackers had been carrying petrol and planned to take him to an isolated place with an intention to set him on fire. For more, see www. AICCindia. org/news/two_held_for_attacking_pastor_in_andhra_pradesh. htm

2. 16th - Orissa: Local police allowed a makeshift Hindutva temple at Umarkote village but banned Christians from worshipping at a house church nearby. In late December, the two faith communities argued about their right to worship in the small village. Hindutva extremists later attacked four Christians. When police investigated, they refused to file an official complaint from the Christians because they had not registered their conversions. Rev. DB Hrudaya, a local AICC leader, said some believers avoid public declarations of conversion because of complicated procedures required by the state which result in harassment of new believers. For more, see www. AICCindia. org/news/police_in_orissa_village_ban_church_allow_Hindutva_temple. htm

3. 16th - Orissa: A Christian was beaten up and humiliated at Matiapara market on 15 January 2006. Fearing further attack, the community did not report the matter to the local police. But the next morning, a mob armed with lathis and other weapons attacked the houses of the Christian community. They ransacked their houses and then set them on fire. The victims ran for their lives and took shelter at the Bari Police Station. Although police promised compensation and appropriate justice, little has happened since the attacks. For more, see www. AICCindia. org/news/christians_attacked_in_orissa_market. htm

4. 25-28th - Madhya Pradesh: In four days, three major attacks were made against the minority Christian community. One attack was carried out by police against two pastors. Two other attacks against small groups of Christians were conducted by RSS members. For more, see www. AICCindia. org/news/another_Hindutvatva_laboratory_in_the_making_in_madhya_pradesh. htm

5. 29th - Maharashtra: Thomas Dabre, the Catholic Bishop of Vasai, and four priests were attacked and a new hostel was damaged at Mokhada in Mumbai. The Bajrang Dal and Viswa Hindutva Parishad (VHP) warned the Mokhada police station three days prior to the inauguration of the hostel against allowing such a project in the vicinity. The police did nothing about the threats and took two hours to respond to calls during the attacks. Damage is estimated to be 200,000 rupees. For more, see www. AICCindia. org/news/christian_council_condemns_police_lapse_in_attack_on_bishop.htm


6. 5th - Madhya Pradesh: Activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) severely beat two Christian youth for distributing literature in Indore. They also ransacked a portion of a church in Kabeetkhedi area of the city where the youth fled for protection. The police have registered a case and are investigating the matter. For more, see www. AICCindia. org/news/rss_workers_attack_christian_youths_in_madhya_pradesh. htm

7. 26th - Maharashtra: The three priests attached to Social and Evangelical Association for Love (SEAL) were beaten and hospitalized by Bajrang Dal activists in Nere village near Panvel. Over the past two years, since they set up a charity organisation for the destitute and the downtrodden, KM Philip, Biju Samuel and Reggie Thomas have been harassed multiple times. The police haven't registered a formal complaint against the attackers. For more, see www. AICCindia. org/news/three_christian_priests_injured_in_attack. htm

8. 28th - Andhra Pradesh: Unidentified attackers beat Pastor Jacob, 43, with iron rods near his house at Badangpet village. The pastor was conducting a birthday celebration for a member of his church. He was hospitalized with head injuries. His family was also beaten. The police arrested five people. For more, see www. htm and www. htm

MARCH 2006

9. 17th - Madhya Pradesh: A Youth With a Mission (YWAM) centre in Jabalpur was attacked by Bajrang Dal activists. The attackers beat male students of the centre and sexually harassed female students. The attackers broke furniture, damaged computer and TVs, shattered windows and burned Bibles. The police arrested five attackers but also filed a case against YWAMers, accusing them of unlawful conversions. For more, see www. AICCindia. org/news/ywam_centre_attacked_in_jabalpur. htm

10. 19th - Andhra Pradesh: A mob of Hindutva militants attacked and severely beat three pastors in Nellore. Christians were holding a Gospel rally in Pappula Bazaar when the mob of about 30 Hindutva fanatics attacked. The pastors have filed a case with police. For more, see www. htm

11. 20th - Orissa: Hindutva militants burned a church at Nandapur in Koraput district. The pastor was gone at the time and has filed a police complaint with the help of the AICC. For more, see www. AICCindia. org/news/church_set_on_fire_in_orissa. htm

12. 20th - Jharkhand: Sangh Parivar activists attacked 15 believers and missionaries belonging to Friends Missionary Prayer Band in Singhbhuim district near Jamshedpur. They beat them and promised any new believers that they wouldn't have access to water. For more, see www. AICCindia. org/news/christians_attacked_in_jharkhand. htm

APRIL 2006

13. 1st - Gujarat: A leprosarium in Ahmedabad was closed without notification after 60 years of ministry. During a review by the Gujarat state government Health Commissioner, the state ended a 5 year memorandum of understanding. About six Catholic nuns must find a new home because of the closure of the Ave Maria Convent. For more, see http://www. in_jhansi. htm

14. 5th - Madhya Pradesh: Led by a disgruntled staff member, a group of Dharam Jagran Sena (DJS) activists barged into a Christian High School operated by the Methodist Church of India at Naudara Bridge. They accused the school staff of forced conversions. For more, see http://www. AICCindia. org/newsite/0804061910/news/Hindutva extremists attack two Christian schools in Madhya Pradesh 21-04-06. doc

15. 6th - Madhya Pradesh: DJS members stormed Christ Church Boys School at Thaiyavali Chowk saying that the school should be closed to mark Ram Navmi, a Hindutva festival. The attackers assaulted a teacher and threatened principal Ladly Matthew. The school resumed classes after the interruption and chose not to lodge a complaint. For more, see http://www. AICCindia. org/newsite/0804061910/news/Hindutva extremists attack two Christian schools in Madhya Pradesh 21-04-06. doc

16. 7th - Madhya Pradesh: Police stormed a prayer meeting at the home of Nitin Bergman, a member of the local Assemblies of God church. Seven people were accused of forced conversions and arrested. When Rev. Kishan Singh, the AofG pastor, heard of the arrest around midnight, he went to the police station with two dozen church members. As they approached the police station, a crowd of about 80 people shouting anti-Christian slogans blocked their way and beat the Christians with belts as the police looked on. For more, see extremists attack two Christian schools in Madhya Pradesh 21-04-06. doc

17. 7th - Rajasthan: The Rajasthan Assembly passed an anti-conversion bill that gives sweeping powers to put behind bars, even before trial, any person accused of forcing or alluring a person to change his religion. Under the Act, causing an improper conversion is a non-bailable offence that could lead to imprisonment for at least two years. A mid-rank officer can arrest any person who has "converted or attempted to convert a person through force, allurement or fraudulent means. "For more, see

18. 9th - Jharkhand: At a rally near Chhattisgarh, BJP president Rajnath Singh said, "We cannot allow the demographic profile of the country to be changed. We will not let Hindutvas be converted into a minority, as somebody has said they would be by 2060. " He asked the state's chief minister, who joined him on the stage, to enact anti-conversation legislation. For more, see

19. 10th - Andhra Pradesh: BJP state party general secretary K. Lakshman claimed the government ignored BJP's complaints that missionaries were a church at Tirumala. A hilly region with a large temple was declared off limits to evangelism. Supposedly some Christians on a bus from Tirumala to Tirupati tried to distribute pamphlets and Bibles. The police were investigating the incident and promised to take action. For more, see or

20. 14th - Maharashtra: About 500 Christians from the Living Light Fellowship Church who had gathered for a prayer meeting in Khopte Village, Uran, were attacked by 50 members of the VHP. Five leaders were then forcibly dragged to a nearby temple and forced to worship there. When they resisted, they were allegedly mercilessly beaten and have been hospitalized. Police promised to investigate. For more, see

21. 14th - Madhya Pradesh: Two women were arrested in Jabalpur District when they were found distributing pamphlets telling people how they could overcome their problems by following the Bible. Mariamma Mathew and B Godwil were arrested even though police said they were yet to ascertain whether there was anything objectionable in the pamphlets. For more, see

22. 16th - Karnataka: On Easter, Hindutva fanatics attacked two churches near Mangalore. About 30 attackers barged into Balmatta BCM Hall and vandalized the hall and the church's equipment. A group of masked men attacked the Prayer Hall of the B. C. I. Church and beat the pastor and his wife with wooden clubs as well as one woman and two children. The pastor was hospitalized with broken bones and head wounds. Six people were arrested and then released. For more, see

MAY 2006

23. 1st - Mizoram: A church building was destroyed and pastor's quarters burned down at Seikmaijing in Thoubal District. A fortune-teller, Mrs. Ch Memcha, was healed due to the prayers of Pastor Raghumani and became a believer. Her husband and son recruited other villagers and attacked the church facilities. A case was filed against the attackers. For more, see on Church in Manipur condemned 10-05-06.htm

24. 3rd - Andhra Pradesh: Hindutva fanatics attacked Pastor Daveedu after interrupting birthday celebrations of a believer in Nizamabad. Three Hindutva activists, allegedly belonging to the BJP, came to the house and dragged the pastor and other believers to the street and a waiting mob. Villagers and AICC representatives intervened twice. When the pastor filed a case with local police, he was told the Hindutvas radicals had already filed a case against him alleging that he shredded a Bhagavad-Gita. He filed a counter case and police are investigating. For more, see fanatics attack Pastor in Andhra Pradesh 03-05-06.htm

25. 3rd - Andhra Pradesh: A church was demolished near Hyderabad without warning or proper notification. The land management company claimed the structure was built on its property illegally. The church elders said anti-Christian people have been trying to destroy the church. Despite pleas by community leaders and church members, the 12 year old church was demolished. Police are investigating. For more, see

26. 4th - Punjab: Christians in Bathinda were finally allowed to resume their worship meetings which had been suspended since April 16. On Easter, a group of men belonging to RSS and Bajrang Dal came to Pastor Kulwanth Singh's home. Their threats forced all worship services to end. Appeals to local police for help were ignored and although the two attackers were arrested, they were released on bail later the same day. AICC representatives attempted to meet with the Superintendent of Police and finally secured permission for the fellowship to begin meeting again. For more, see extremists stop Christian worship gathering in Punjab 05-05-06. htm

27. 6th - Uttar Pradesh: Pastor Mehboob Masih was threatened by BJP activists with "the same fate as Australian missionary Graham Staines and two of his children", who were burned alive in Orissa a few years ago. The Assemblies of God pastor lives in Fateh Ganj, a suburb of Bareilly. The activists were apparently acting on behalf of a woman upset with the house church for using a government drainage channel that flowed past her door. She told the local newspaper the pastor had tried to convert her and the activists took up her cause. A senior officer of the Fateh Ganj police station then came to the pastor's house and warned him to stop meetings as well. A case was filed against the pastor for forced conversion. For more, see activists issue death threat to Pastor in Uttar Pradesh -14-05-06.htm

28. 15th - Madhya Pradesh: Hindutva extremists vandalized an independent church in Gauri Nadi village near Jabalpur. About 50 members of Dharam Jagran Sena surrounded Anant Jeevan Marg Church after the Sunday worship and destroyed furniture and equipment. The attackers beat up Dinanath Tiwari (age 35), a new believer whose wife was recently healed of cancer after Christians prayed for her. Pastor Munnu Kujur was accused of forced conversions and jailed. He was freed after intervention by a Christian lawyer. According to one source, 15 such incidents have taken place since Jan. 1, 2006, in Jabalpur. For more, see attacked and pastor arrested in Madhya Pradesh - 21-05-06.htm

29. 16th - New Delhi: Pressure by Christian groups forced the Indian Censor Board to put a disclaimer at the beginning of the Da Vinci Code movie that it is fiction. Also, government representatives viewed the movie along with Christian representatives before its release. Some Christian leaders, especially Catholics, had expressed worries that the inaccurate portrayal of Christianity could lead to anti-Christian feelings among people who would become disgusted with the Christian faith. In the past, people eager to inflame communal violence have used inaccurate "facts" about Christians to cause tensions. For more, see multiple stories at

JUNE 2006

30. 1st - Punjab: Pastor Harbans Lal of Happy Life Prosperity Church from Pangila village in Kaputhala district was severely beaten. A group of 15 to 20 people abducted him. AICC representatives were informed and contacted local police who then rescued the pastor and took him to be admitted in a local hospital. For more, see

31. 5th - Madhya Pradesh: A member of the State Minority Commission held a press conference to highlight the case of two tribal women from Khargone who were allegedly raped by Hindutva activists on May 28 for converting to Christianity. There are many allegations of other persecution against Christians in the state and even the press conference was interrupted by radical Hindutvas making threats. For more, see

32. 8th - Karnataka: Hindutva extremists threatened believers and chased away two pastors from a prayer meeting at Thovaracare village in Tumkur district. About seven Bajarag Dal members came to the venue and threatened to kill the pastors. The meeting was canceled. For more, see

33. 8th - Andhra Pradesh: A Church of South India pastor was killed. A young man reportedly approached Pastor Prem Kumar, age 67, and asked him to visit a village to conduct a prayer meeting. The pastor's son reported his father missing that evening and the body was soon discovered in Nizamabad. Mr. Kumar's family believes Hindutva fanatics were behind the attack and AICC is investigating. For more, see

34. 9th - Karnataka: Hindutva militants demolished a church at Bethumangala in KGF. They also beat up the Pastor, Aaron, for refusing to vacate the premises. AICC representatives are trying to intervene. For more, see

35. 15th - Maharashtra: Police beat four tribals after they filed a complaint following an attack by radical Hindutvas on June 8th. "Ask Jesus to call me on my mobile phone," a policeman told 20-year-old Kalpana Chaudhry when she and three other Christians asked about progress on a complaint they had filed at the Kasa Police Station, Thane Rural. The police asked them to demonstrate how they pray and when they knelt down, several police then kicked and abused them. Senior officers have promised an investigation of the incident after advocacy by Dr. Abraham Mathai, the state AICC representative. For more, see

36. 15th - Madhya Pradesh: Hindutva activists belonging to Darma Raksha Sena forcibly entered St. John Lutheran Church at Jabalpur to stop a training session for believers. The Christians were taken to the police station along with the attackers and were eventually released. For more, see

37. 18th - Chhattisgarh: About 25 radical Hindutvas interrupted a church meeting in Kosa Nala of Bhilai and assaulted the pastor and his wife. The attackers allegedly belong to Dharam Sena and put a tire around Pastor D David Raj of Hossana Church while threatening to burn him alive. Police broke protocol and arrested both the pastor and wife on charges of conversion. Three attackers were arrested and charged. For more, see

38. 25th - Punjab: Several Christian families in Bothli village were beaten after their house church was attacked. Over a dozen Hindutva fanatics from Dharam Sena surrounded the house, shouting anti-Christian slogans and interrupted the meeting. The Christians had previously reported threats by the group but the police didn't act. For more, see

39. 25th - Andhra Pradesh: Four nuns were arrested for visiting patients weekly and praying for them at Ruya Hospital in Tirupati. A BJP activist had led a protest demanding their arrest. The local bishop intervened and the police released the nuns after several hours. AICC sent a fact finding team and offered assistance. For more, see and

JULY 2006

40. 2nd - Punjab: About 20 attackers interrupted a church service and beat up one member who was hospitalized. Pastor Bagh, leader of the Good Shepherd Community Church in Duggalwala village of the Tarn Taran district, filed a complaint with police. Due to previous threats, the High Court had directed police of Chandigarh to provide protection. The attack took place in the presence of police personnel. For more, see

41. 4th - Andhra Pradesh: Two prisoners accused jailers of forcing them to convert in Kadapa Prison. Perhaps inspired by a recent spate of false accusations against Christian workers in hospitals, these are likely to be unfounded. Yet a bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court directed the secretary of the Home Department to file a fact-finding report within 10 days on the allegations made by T. Sanjeeva Rayudu and A. Manohar. For more, see

42. 14th - Uttar Pradesh: Om Prakash Pandey, a lay pastor and formerly an upper caste member, was taken to Kurebhar Police Station in Sultanpur district and beaten by Hindutva activists and police. A pastor and several Christians secured Mr. Pandey's release the next morning and tried to file a case of abuse. Police refused to register the case. For more, see

43. 17th - Karnataka: Three Bible college students were arrested for visiting a hospital in Shivamoga and distributing Christian literature. About 20 people belonging to Hindutva Sena and BJP arrived and took them to the local police station and accused the students of entering the hospital without permission and forced conversion. The police immediately jailed the students. AICC representatives were working to release the students. For more, see

44. 17th - Karnataka: Four students from the Gospel for Asia Bible College in Bijapur were visiting houses in Bagalkote and distributed copies of the Bible. Rama Sena members took them and their materials to the police station. The students were jailed for two days on accusations of forced conversions and were only freed with help from local pastors. For more, see

45. 18th - Rajasthan: A Catholic bishop has initiated dialogue with a pro-Hindutvatva party in Rajasthan, a state where several anti-Christian attacks have erupted in recent months. Bishop Oswald Lewis of Jaipur met Mahesh Sharma, president of the state's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The meeting took place after Christians tried unsuccessfully to meet Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje several times. For more, see

46. 29th - Tamil Nadu: A media team of four girls belonging Good Shepherd Community Church was verbally abused and then taken to a police station. They had shown a film on Christ at Chinnamalpuram village in the Erode district. Known RSS members led the attack. For more, see


47. 4th - Karnataka: A Christian businessman living in Mudubidrai was falsely accused of murder and then attacked in jail by about 15 Hindutva fanatics. The attack left him badly injured. Jail officials refused to come to Mr. Rajan's aid. A respected man in the community, Rajan has helped to start a Dalit Education Center sponsored by AICC.

48. 6th - Karnataka: Hindutva fanatics tried to recruit Dalit leaders to attack a church in Belur near Chikkamangalore. They told the Dalits that Christians were planning to replace a portrait of Dr. Ambedkar in the town center with a picture of Christ. AICC and other Christian leaders met with Dalits and the attack was prevented.

49. 7th - New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India ruled that police can arrest those engaged in "proselytisation". Previously, a government official - from the central government, state government or a district magistrate - was required to first lodge a complaint against people involved in witnessing. Christians are concerned that pro-Hindutva police could use this to squash ministries to non-Christians.

50. 7th - Gujarat: In a strange and subtle discrimination, a state-administered test for homeopathic (Ayurvedic) medical officers asked questions with communal and political overtones. About 14 of the 100 questions - which normally cover math, history and geography - were inappropriate. The Times of India reported that one dealt with Chief Minister Modi's record while others required knowledge about a cow-slaughter ban or politicians' positions on conversion.

51. 14th - Madhya Pradesh: Pastors Vinod Karsal and Sekhar Kashav of Assembly of God Church in Jabalpur were arrested on conversion charges. While praying at a church member's home, neighbors notified Bajrang Dal and Siva Sena activists. Over 100 gathered at the house until police arrived. The pastors were released on bail the next day.

52. 20th - Karnataka: A Good Shepherd Community Church pastor in Hosur, Kolar district, was attacked by Hindutva fanatics. Interrupting a service held in a garage, RSS activists beat the pastor and another church member. The attackers warned them not to conduct more worship services. AICC is advising the pastor on how to proceed legally.

53. 20th - Manipur: A local militia opened fire on attendees of Evangelical Baptist Church in Vengnuam, New Lamka. The son of a pastor, S. Thawngkhanlian (35), was killed. The incident left five others seriously injured. The state government ordered an inquiry into the incident.

54. 20th - Madhya Pradesh: Pastor K. K. Jwala was attacked during a worship service in Sheopur. He and three others were beaten by 15 attackers. The criminals also stole offering money and women's purses. A BJP activist met the group at the police station and forced police to arrest the Christians under the anti-conversion law. That night police illegally detailed Jwala's wife and son for questioning. Jwala works with Team India. Everyone was released the next day on bail and AICC representatives continue to advise him on the legal process.

55. 22nd - Rajasthan: The police allegedly conducted a survey of Christian institutions in southern Rajasthan. Catholics said they were asked about their background and had pictures taken of their ministries. Local Christians are terrified in light of recent anti-Christian violence. They feel the data could be used to target them at any time.

56. 22nd - New Delhi: K. S. Sudarshan, leader of the RSS, said the CIA and the entire Bush administration "want to convert India to Christianity with the help of non-governmental organizations". AICC spokespeople publicly rebuffed Sudarshan. They also worked with the Dalit Freedom Network to oppose a September visit by former RSS spokesman Ram Madhav to the US State Department in Washington, DC.

57. 22nd - Karnataka: A pastor with Blessing Youth Mission was attacked by about 50 members of the RSS in Mundagod near Dharwar. After the worship service, the pastor was accused of forced conversions and jailed for two days. AICC helped him get bail.

58. 22nd - Karnataka: Mr. Raghunad, a regional YWAM coordinator in Mundagod in Dharwar district was forced to flee his home by extremist Hindutvas. Attackers chanted, "Wipe out all Christians and Christian workers from our area". Police refused protect him and sub-inspector Prem Kumar Nayak demanded he leave the town permanently. This followed an attack the previous day by the same activists on the home of Joseph, a YWAM worker in nearby Kadambi village. Joseph also was forced to move after 80 people invaded his house and destroyed furniture while verbally abusing him and his family.


59. 1st - Jharkhand: A tribal family was humiliated and driven out of Dubalia village for becoming Christians. Formerly animists, their land was taken by a socio-religious committee, the wife's head was shaved, and they were banned from the village according to Compass Direct.

60. 3rd - Jammu & Kashmir: Two pastors were falsely accused of forcing conversions in Katuwa. Police arrived at a Bible college and arrested the pastors and five students. After being released on August 31, they were beaten in broad daylight by over 40 Bajrang Dal activists while leaving a prayer meeting in the presence of media.

61. 3rd - Karnataka: Pastors Santhosh George and Madhu Mohan, part of the Marthoma Mission, were arrested for alleged forced conversions near Akkiallur town in Hangal taluk, Haveri district. About 150 RSS activists arrived with local media and police. They made the pastors kneel down beside children, took a picture and published in the local dailies as proof. The pastors were released on Sept. 5 and a court hearing was scheduled for Sept. 16.

62. 6th - Andhra Pradesh: Countering ongoing rumors about forced conversions at one of Hindutvaism's holiest temples, the chairman of the Tirumala-Tirupati facility said Christian missionaries weren't active on the grounds and Christians weren't working in temple kitchens.

63. 6th - Jharkhand: About 24 tribal Christians were allegedly reconverted by a militant animist group near Ranchi. Catholic leaders were considering legal action since it appeared to be a forced conversion.

64. 10th - Madhya Pradesh: Radical Hindutvas simultaneously attacked two Christian communities. In Barghat, a home was invaded by 40 activists and police. They arrested a pastor and his family who were engaged in their nightly prayers. In Balaghat, 50 Bajrang Dal activists and police forcibly entered Jeevan Jyothi Ashram, beat up all those praying, and arrested two people. All the Christians in both incidents are being held without bail. AICC was attempting to help release the accused.

65. 10th - Uttar Pradesh: Akhil Bhartiya Yuva Morcha activists attacked the prestigious Loreto Convent in Lucknow. A local daily had reported the school held an "occult" session on September 6. Attackers burnt an effigy of the school principal, shouted slogans against the authorities, and verbally abused nuns. Police arrived and ended the incident.

66. 11th - Jammu & Kashmir: Good Shepherd Mission School in Pulwama district was vandalized allegedly by a few Muslim teachers. The dispute apparently started when a Muslim teacher was fired for blackmailing an 11th standard student. Authorities are investigating.

67. 13th - Punjab: Unknown persons destroyed historic and religious items including a Bible in the 200-year-old St. Paul's Church of Amritsar. Bishop Samantaroy expressed concern at the slowness of the police investigation on September 19 and said several jailed culprits weren't presented before the court.

68. 14th - Orissa: A disgruntled church member recruited RSS men to demolish the house of Pastor Karnel Nayak of Good Shepherd Community Church in Manikeswari near Raikia. Then, the church member accused the pastor of rape. When the medical report was released, the allegation was proven false. 19 people have been arrested. The pastor remains in jail for his own protection, according to police.

69. 15th - Karnataka: Parents filed a police complaint against a private school which hosted a "Book of Hope" presentation in Bangalore. Agitated parents met the principle of Ryan International at Whitefield the day after the 'religious' function, in which foreigners were invited to speak about Christianity and Christ to the children.

70. 15th - Madhya Pradesh: A mob of around 40 people attacked Pastors Kapsingh and Ray Singh alleging forced conversions. They had held an afternoon prayer service at Kapsingh's home in Jhabua district. Both the pastors were seriously injured and later arrested by police.

71. 19th - Madhya Pradesh: Due to police mistakes in filing papers, a court could only reschedule a hearing to Oct. 9 for four abused Christians. Pastor Jwala and three other people of Sheopur were attacked by Hindutva fundamentalists on August 20. They were released on bail but are trying to clear their names. AICC is actively helping the group.

72. 20th - Gujarat: Pastor A. Arul Daniel of Indian Missionary Society and his team were attacked at Divya village in Dahod district. After leaving a special prayer meeting in a believer's house, criminals beat the group with bamboo sticks, stole personal belonging, and then ran to police and filed a case against the men. Police arrested the pastor and team.

73. 22nd - Madhya Pradesh: Two believers who had gone to pray at Khedligaon village in Betul were attacked by Hindutva activists. Police arrested the Christians and released them on bail after four days. AICC is actively involved in the case.

74. 24th - Uttaranachal: In Kasipur, two missionaries from Full Gospel Pentecost were dragged out of a prayer gathering by Bajrang Dal members and beaten. No culprits have been arrested.

75. 27th - Jharkhand: A gang of unknown men attacked two churches in the diocese of Daltenganj and stole money earmarked for tribal education. The robbers injured clergymen and volunteers who tried to halt the heist. Fr. Gyan Prasad said these robberies were the latest in a series; in the last two months there were five robberies in the diocese. He believes it is connected to anti-Christian elements.

76. 30th - Gujarat: Tension prevailed in Hindolia village of Bardoli with VHP members alleging that an Italian along with an NRI, Bipin Mehta, was holding a religious meeting to convert the villagers.


77. 1st - Andhra Pradesh: A church of Armor Mandal in Nizamabad was attacked by Hindutva fanatics during an all-night prayer meeting on Sept. 29th. The attackers said the church was disturbing the community. When the accused met AICC representatives at the police station, they asked the Christians not to file charges. Pastor Kavalla Shadrak agreed.

78. 4th - Uttar Pradesh: Angad Singh alleged Hindutvas were forcibly converted by Christian missionaries. According to the Hindutvastan Times, he submitted a complaint, but not an FIR, at Baksha police station against the missionaries involved in the "forced" conversions of 350 people in Baksha area of Jaunpur.

79. 2nd - Orissa: Ranjan, a Christian man, was beaten, had his head shaved, and was paraded in his village for refusing to take part in the re-conversion program organized by RSS activists. The activists later kept him confined inside a temple. Police are now searching for the culprits and have promised increased protection for Christians in the area.

80. 10th - Maharashtra: Christian schools in Panvel Taluk of Raigad District were accused of 'psychological exploitation of Hindutva students' with an aim to convert. According to International Christian Concern, the campaign by Hindutva extremists started after one school gave a gift for a Hindutva festival to Hindutva Janajagruti Samiti. The Hindutvas were insulted by the small donation. Three Christians were attacked by radical Hindutvas in this district in Feb. 2006.

81. 10th - Madhya Pradesh: An annual convention at the Pentecostal Church in Khamaria of Jabalpur district was disrupted by radical Hindutvas. Around 350 Christian attendees were threatened by about 80 Dharam Sena activists who entered the premises. Police stopped the activists who were carrying weapons and shouting abusive slogans.

82. 14th - Karnataka: Eight evangelists were arrested for alleged conversion activities in Sagar near Shimoga, although the official police charge was for selling the kidneys of inmates. The arrested had been serving at a new orphanage for handicapped people.

83. 16th - Gujarat: Police arrested those involved in an attack against Pastor Arul of Indian Missionary Society and his team. The Christians were beaten after a prayer meeting at Divya village in mid-September.

84. 19th - Mizoram: Satan-worshipping groups in the Christian-majority state of Mizoram are waging an anti-Christian campaign. Several people were arrested by police for burning copies of the Bible, vandalising churches and defiling cemeteries.

85. 27th - Orissa: Pastor Karnel Nayak of Good Shepherd Community Church was finally released from jail. Earlier, he was proven innocent of rape charges but courts refused to grant bail. Apparently, the charges were an attempt to protect attackers who destroyed his home and church in mid-Sept. The 19 attackers were also released from jail.

86. 28th - Orissa: Copies of a book on Ambedkar were seized by Hindutvatva activists and given to local police. The book seller was arrested and AICC representatives are seeking to free him. He is from a bookshop in Cuttack and had sold the book at a conference in G Udayagiri.


87. 1st - Gujarat: The High Court of Gujarat warned local authorities who allegedly fabricated a case against a Christian pastor in Divya village of Dahod district. Arul Daniel and other Christian workers were attacked in late September and police refused to accept their FIR. Then police accused the Christians of shooting at policemen and arrested them.

88. 6th - Karnataka: Hindutva extremists forced Christians in a remote village of Bevainahalli in Chitradurga district to bow before Hindutva deities and put a vermilion mark on their foreheads. Two Hindutva priests and a group of 25 RSS and Bajrang Dal activists forced Christians out of their homes, slapped them, and urged them to reconvert. AICC is appealing to the state government for action.

89. 9th - Andhra Pradesh: Pastor Praharsi, an independent pastor, was forced to flee for his life. Earlier, he was beaten by a mob at Nachupally village in Birkur mandal of Nizamabad district while conducting a prayer meeting in a home. He and two other Christians notified police which provoked the attackers to return and threaten to burn down the pastor's home. The pastor fled from the village. AICC is attempting to help the pastor in the matter.

90. 10th - Rajasthan: Police refused to respond to a pastor's report about a recent attack. Hindutva fanatics beat Pastor Prakash, of Good Shepherd Community Church, and his father at Berapuda village on October 29, 2006 and forbid any prayer gathering in the village. The pastor filed a case at Bhamol Police Station, but no arrests have been made.

91. 12th - Jammu & Kashmir: A Good Shepherd Community Church pastor in Kathua was harassed by activists of Bajrang Dal. About 25 men carrying swords and knives interrupted the church service. When police took the pastor to the police station, they refused to file an FIR on his behalf. AICC is assisting the pastor.

92. 13th - Gujarat: The High Court of Gujarat will hear a complaint by tribal Christians of Surat district against their village head. The village leader had ordered them to demolish their house church after an ongoing dispute. AICC representatives are involved in the legalities and say that police have harassed tribal Christians since late September.

93. 13th - Gujarat: A state court sentenced a businessman to life imprisonment - in reality, a maximum of 14 years - and fined him 1,000 Rs. ($22) for killing his Catholic driver. On December 24, 2004, the driver, Robinson Joseph Swami, asked for an advance to celebrate Christmas. The boss was so angry that he poured petrol on Swami and lit a match. Swami died six weeks later and the accused still hadn't been arrested. AICC then took up the case.

94. 14th - Assam: Nine tribal Christian families in four villages of Kokrajhar district were evicted by members of Bodo Religious Bathou (an indigenous tribal religion). Several people were arrested and the families have been welcomed back by most villagers.

95. 15th - Karnataka: Subash Kalappa Chougle, a worker for Pioneer Ministries in Karnataka state was taken into police custody on false charges of rape. A co-worker said that Subash had stopped to pray for four girls who were used by a local Hindutva fanatic group to frame him. Subash is in prison and suffering from police beatings, said EFI reports.

96. 15th - Andhra Pradesh: A group of Hindutva activists harassed foreign visitors at a hotel in Rajahmundry. They accused the visitors of converting Hindutvas to Christianity. They also sought details about their visa status and the purpose of their prolonged stay. Several Christian meetings were canceled as a result.

97. 16th - Andhra Pradesh: Around 30 people vandalised St. Ann's School in Armor of Nizamabad district and threatened the nuns. Vehicles parked on the campus and furniture in the classrooms was damaged. Radical Hindutvas appeared upset that a student had been told he had to wear his uniform instead of black clothes after taking ayyappa diksha. No arrests have been made and AICC is monitoring the situation.

98. 19th - Andhra Pradesh: The High Court in Chennai ruled that Christian Dalits are not entitled to the special benefits provided under the Constitution for Scheduled Castes. According to media reports, the court was ruling on a case of a Dalit born to Hindutva parents who had converted to Christianity and later re-converted to Hindutvaism.

99. 17th - Andhra Pradesh: Two churches were burned by Hindutva fanatics in different parts of Andhra Pradesh. The wooden doors of a church in Dubbaka village of Nizamabad district were torched. Police are investigating. A month earlier, the Jesus Worship church was completely destroyed in Roadduvalasa village in Vijayanagaram district. One person has been arrested and charged.

100. 20th - Andhra Pradesh: The distribution of Bibles and other Christian literature at a Government Junior College by members of a church-based group, including a visiting American, triggered an argument between the college principal and VHP and Hindutva Dharma Prachara Samiti leaders at Buttaigudem village in West Godavari district. Police are investigating since both sides filed FIRs and held protests.

101. 23rd - Andhra Pradesh: Australian evangelist John Carter and his team called off a prayer meeting scheduled to be held at a stadium in Visakhapatnam. VHP activists had earlier asked police to stop the visiting Australians from conducting religious meetings since they were here on tourist visas, said The Hindutva newspaper.

102. 22nd - Jammu & Kashmir: Bashir Ahmed Tantray, a 50-year-old engineer, was killed by two unidentified militants in Mamoosa village, Barmullah district. Bashir became a Christian about a decade ago and worked with various Christian organizations. Since he was a prominent Christian activist and was accused in media reports of performing conversions, people believe he was killed because of his religion.

103. 26th - Chhattisgarh: The state High Court stopped the government from taking over a welfare project entrusted to a church agency more than a decade ago. The Raigarh-Ambikapur Health Association, a Catholic endeavor, manages the Integrated Child Development Service. Letters from state authorities in October and November said the Government was taking over the project but didn't give any reason.

104. 29th - Gujarat: The state's High Court ordered government authorities and Western Gujarat Electricity Co. Ltd. not to destroy a Catholic school. The school's administration was given a notice to leave in late October. Then the High Court intervened. The next hearing is December 11, 2006. The court came down heavily on the company for plotting to demolish Shri Sacchidananda Gurukul Vidhyalaya. AICC is helping litigate the case.

105. 29th - Bihar: A pastor's wife was raped in Elha village in Rohtas district. Hindutva extremists allegedly encouraged the attacker in order to disrupt the Christian activity in the village. Police are searching for the criminal, according to Compass Direct.

106. 30th - Madhya Pradesh: Pastor Hatey Singh Gundiya and Pastor Gokul Gundiya were beaten by RSS activists while waiting at a bus stand. The men have filed an FIR against their attackers, said Compass Direct.


107. 1st - Andhra Pradesh: A church burned down in Pedda Demili village of Srikakulam district. Pastor B Vijay Kumar built the church on government land about six years ago. Recently he'd been threatened by Hindutva fanatics and arson is suspected. AICC is advising the pastor.

108. 1st - Maharashtra: Hindutva radicals stopped a healing service at Kalidas Theatre in Mulund, Mumbai, and another scheduled for the 3rd. Activists of Hindutva Janajagruti Samiti accused the Christian missionaries of converting Hindutvas.

109. 4th - Andhra Pradesh: A Christian media team member was slapped by a police officer at Malkapur village in Sangareddy while showing a film about Jesus. The team had permission from the village head but police forced them to stop the screening. The next morning, the team fled the village due to continuing threats. AICC has asked for police to discipline the concerned officer.

110. 5th - Tamil Nadu: Hindutva radicals stopped a Christian worship service and closed a prayer hall at Vellamody village in Kanyakumari district. BJP leaders demanded that police remove the church from the village.

111. 8th - Jharkhand: A Christian family chased out of their village had justice postponed amidst a new tragedy. A court hearing was delayed due to the death of the family's son. The boy drowned in a well. Recently, the family had all their possession stolen. AICC is assisting.

112. 10th - Karnataka: A leading Hindutva swami stated, "Conversion and terrorism are two major threats to the country. " According to The Hindutva newspaper, Sri Vishwesha Tirtha Swamiji spoke at a gathering in Karnataka to celebrate one of the founders of the RSS.

113. 14th - Karnataka: Hindutva extremists attacked three young women in Guruparahalli who converted to Christianity. They broke into the house of the sisters and beat them in an attempt to "reconvert" them. The victims attend the Assembly of God church, said Compass Direct.

114. 17th - Chhattisgarh: Members of Dharam Raksha Sena beat an independent pastor. The pastor, Philip Jagdalla, was attacked as he returned home after teaching Sunday School. The mob dragged him to a police station and accused him of forced conversions. Police filed an FIR against both sides and sent the pastor to the hospital for treatment, according to a statement released by the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum.

115. 19th - Karnataka: Residents of Revadihal village, near Bangalore, pelted stones at a group of Christian missionaries and accused them of converting Hindutvas. The Christians took shelter in a van and then fled the village, said Indo-Asian News Service and Compass Direct report.

116. 21st - Andhra Pradesh: A school held on the grounds of Christ Church of Ramkote, Hyderabad was vandalized, and the pastor and manager of the school was harassed by Ayappa devotees upset because a boy wasn't allowed to wear traditional devotee clothing during class.

117. 21st - Chhattisgarh: Police arrested a Christian schoolteacher for giving copies of the New Testament to 10th graders. They reportedly acted on a complaint from the members of Dharam Sena who demonstrated at the school and condemned the "conversion" of students.

118. 22nd - Orissa: Handbills distributed by VHP's Tihidi Branch called for a gathering on the afternoon of December 25th to protest the arrest of five people who allegedly tonsured and beat a young Christian man for his faith in Gopaldohora village. The scheduled speaker was a famous Swami known for making anti-Christian statements. Local AICC officials appealed to authorities to keep the peace between communities.

119. 23rd - Orissa: Hindutva extremists burned down a thatched church at Boriguma in Koraput district.

120. 23rd - Haryana: Police summoned several Christians, including the pastor of a Good Shepherd Community Church, and interrogated them in Agroha, Hisar district. They were released after the village head intervened, and permitted to hold Christmas services only after the Christian Association of India spoke with local authorities.

121. 23rd - Manipur: Villagers of Waithou Trongloubi threatened local Christians in a written document. They declared Christians would not be allowed to celebrate Christmas in the village. Police intervened and arrested troublemakers, according to an AICC report by Madhu Chandra.

122. 24th - Chhattisgarh: Police arrested a pastor of the Church of God and other Christians in Dhamtari for caroling and distributing literature. Separately, members Bajrang Dal attacked about 20 Christians who had gathered in a church in Jalampur. They beat some of the Christians and destroyed hymn books and Bibles. Five Christians were injured in the attack, one of them suffering loss of hearing due to a blow on his head.

123. 24th - Maharashtra: Hindutva extremists from Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad prevented tribal Christians in Tilonda village, Thane district, from holding a prayer service on Christmas Eve. Over 400 Christians had gathered for the event, but a large mob interrupted. Fearing violence, church officials cancelled the event. According to Dr. Abraham Mathai, AICC state leader, there were three other incidents of violence against tribal Christians in Thane district in the week before Christmas.

124. 25th - Chhattisgarh: Many Christians didn't attend Christmas programs fearing harassment by right-wing Hindutva groups. On Christmas Eve, jeeps full of Dharma Sena members drove around Raipur, the state capital, announcing they would halt church services held on Christmas Day, said Compass Direct. The BJP government cancelled the Christmas holiday for students and even conducted semi-annual examinations before and after Christmas. One BJP politician led a "re-conversion" ceremony on Christmas Eve, said the Indian Catholic.

125. 26th - Andhra Pradesh: A statue of Mother Mary and the Infant Jesus near Christ the King Church at Ramanthapur in Hyderabad was vandalized. No arrests have been made.

126. 27th - Haryana: About 50 Bajrang Dal extremists attacked a Christian couple in their home at Lakarpur, Faridabad district. The attackers were upset at the couple for regularly allowing New Life Fellowship church to meet in their home for Sunday worship, reported AICC's Madhu Chandra. Police filed a complaint against the attackers.

127. 31st - Madhya Pradesh: Franklin Masih and eight friends were beaten by VHP's Dharma Sena activists while visiting a Christian family at Devera village near Waidhan. Attackers invaded the house and accused the visitors of forced conversions. Police filed an FIR against the attackers, said an AICC report by Madhu Chandra.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bangalore: REFRESH 2007 - Youth Retreat

BANGALORE: "Refresh 2007" - Youth Retreat by Hosanna Youth

Hosanna Youth, a Catholic Youth group based in the city of Banglaore, is organizing REFRESH 2007, a three-day live-in retreat from 26-28 January, 2007 for youth from Catholic Colleges and Parishes.

Registration charges for the retreat would be Rs. 400/- which would cover food, lodging and transport expenses for all three days.

To register yourself call: 9900685078 OR 9880659833

REFRESH - 2007 Youth Retreat by Hosanna Youth, Bangalore

Monday, January 15, 2007

CCBI Office Bearers - January, 2007

Newly Elected Office Bearers of the Latin Conference of Bishops

Office Bearers' Of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India - January, 2007

President: Archbishop Oswald Gracias.

Vice-President: Archbishop Vincent Concessao.

Secretary General: Bishop Prakash Mallavarapu.

Commission Chairpersons - January, 2007

1. Bible: Archbishop Soosa Pakiam.

2. Catechetics: Bishop Antony Devotta.

3. Proclamation: Bishop Isidore Fernandis.

4. Laity: Bishop Bosco Penha.

5. Liturgy: Bishop Dominic Jala.

6. Theology and Doctrine: Bishop Thomas Dabre.

7. Canon Law and other Legislative Texts: Bishop Anandrayar.

8. Ecumenism: Bishop Anil Couto.

9. Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious: Bishop Albert D'Souza.

10. Family: Bishop Agnelo Gracias.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

XIX CCBI Plenary Assembly Moments

Ruminating on the Memories of XIX Plenary Assembly: Concluding Statements

By Sr. Benigna Menezes

January 12, 2007 (CCBI News):

The XIX Plenary Assembly that was held in Alwaye from January 4-9, 2007 was indeed a great success. 123 bishops from India attended the national meeting held in the St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary, Carmelgiri, Alwaye. Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil, Archbishop of the diocese of Verapoly welcoming the bishops from all over India to his archdiocese described the history of Kerala Church, which had its first origin in 1657.

He said, "In the chequered history of the Church in Kerala, the Archdiocese of Verapoly occupies an important place. It had its origin in 1657, with the arrival of the Carmelite Missionaries sent by Pope Alexander VII."

The Catholics of Latin and Syro-Malabar rites of the present Kerala state and beyond were under its jurisdiction.

Originally known as the Vicariate of Malabar, when the Hierarchy of India was established, it was raised to the status of Archdiocese of Verapoly in 1886.

In 1887, the Syro-Malabar Church was separated from the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Verapoly.

Indeed, during the six days of the Plenary Assembly in the diocese of Verapoly, in Alwaye, the participants felt the special unction of the Hoy Spirit that was present in this ancient, mother of all the Churches of India. The encounter was highlighted especially when the bishops, archbishops and cardinals each were received at Vallarpadam Sanctuary at the public reception ceremony.

An individual family of Verapoly diocese had adopted a bishop each. After months of prayer and sacrifice, they had come to receive him with a gift and flowers. Holding hands of the bishop in welcome and taking him down the aisles of the assembly to dress up for the mass was a moving sight, a reminder of the early Christian family Eucharist.

There was a powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit in the Assembly. The President, Archbishop Oswald appealed to the members of the CCBI to heed to the cry of anguish of the laity to give them the right place in the Church. The bishops felt that it was Christ himself who having brought them together was asking them to empower the laity to make the Church vibrant and functioning in our country.

"What can we do and what more can we do for our laity", asked the Secretary General in his homily giving emphasis to the question by repetition, on the last day of the plenary. The Apostolic Nuncio stressed that the vocation of the laity is within them and will surface when they meet Christ and are transformed by this God experience.

At the end of the Plenary Assembly, a concluding statement was prepared based on the yearlong nationwide study conducted through the questionnaire on a random-sample basis on the theme "The Role and Vocation of the laity in the mission of the Church in India."

The hierarchy of the nation said in one voice that the question about the role and mission of laity is vital in importance to the Church as well to the society. Through faith and Baptism the lay faithful are united to Christ as members of His body, becoming, "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people" (1 Pt. 2:9).

The Plenary Assembly felt that the prime and fundamental vocation of the lay faithful is the call to holiness. According to Pope John Paul II, the universal call to holiness is the basic charge entrusted to all sons and daughters of the Church, they said. "Come closer to Christ," said the Apostolic Nuncio in his opening message during the Plenary Assembly.

The lay faithful not only belong to the Church but they are the Church stated the Holy Father in Christi fidelis laici.(CL No 9), he said. The Plenary Assembly also stressed the missionary call of the faithful as missionaries in the temporal world.

The inputs, panel presentations, and group discussions enabled the prelates to note the following factors: The vast communication network and globalization has affected the moral and cultural values of people.

As a result, their hunger for the Word of God and for a God-experience has increased among them.

They need a solid formation in faith and theology because there is so much to be learnt in the Christian life on a daily basis and the faith content is difficult for the common man to grasp, the bishops discussed.

There is also the most neglected part of the humanity: the women: consecrated and the laity all are non-ordained and are part of the laity.

They also paid attention to the mushrooming of the many ecclesial movements and associations who out of their inner call have grouped themselves to carry out specific charitable or missionary activities in the church.

As the bishops discussed further they understood that each region in India is different and every region is a continent that needs specific answers.

The ancient Church of Kerala, Goa, Mangalore and so on is different than that of the Church in North East or Andhra where new people are entering the Church on an everyday basis. So every region was asked to jot down their specificities and work out a pastoral plan to form and empower the laity to have the rightful place in the Church.

The region wise committees decided to train the clergy and religious right at the formation period to consider laypersons as responsible collaborators of their apostolate. They also decided within two years to prepare participatory structures envisaged in Canon Law such as pastoral councils and finance committees both at the Parish level and the Diocesan levels wherever they do not exist.

Promoting the small Christian communities would make the Church truly participatory said the various committee reports.

Establishing a comprehensive catechesis is the need of the hour, they felt.

Teaching the Word of God and the Bible wherever possible is the felt need of those who have just returned from the Charismatic retreats or living among the other denominations, or those who have a high spiritual thirst.

Every Parish would set up a certain amount of funds for the formation of the laity to be competent as collaborators in the Parish ministry, the bishops decided.

Spirituality of the laity is another aspect that emerged because in the midst of mundane affairs there is no guidance in societies where Christianity is only a minority and does not have a dominant role in the political and social sphere.

However, encouraging and empowering the lay ministries in liturgical sphere is very much needed. Preparing lay leaders as deacons, communion ministers, preachers, prayer group leaders, acolytes and other minor functions in the liturgical services of the Church is very much part of sanctifying the laity in the ambit of the Church.

The bishops also decided to have an evaluative and monitoring system suited to the region/diocese to express their earnestness in ensuing implementation of the decisions taken at the Plenary Assembly.

The planting of a sapling in the garden of Carmelgiri by every individual bishop was a symbolic gesture of earth connectedness and an investment for a better environment. The Church in India is eco-sensitive the bishops affirmed as they happily planted the trees in celebration of life at the banks of the river Periyar thus making the XIX immortal in the annals of history.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

CCBI 19th Plenary Assembly - Statement - January 2007

Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI)

XIX Plenary Assembly, Aluva Kerala

Following is the complete text of the statement issued by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), the Latin-rite Bishops Conference at their 19th Plenary Assembly held from 4-9 January 2007 at St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary at Aluva, Kerala on the theme "The Vocation and the Role of the Laity in the Life and Mission of the Church."

Final Statement

The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) met for its 19th Plenary Assembly in St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary, Carmelgiri, Aluva, Kerala, from 4th to 9th January 2007. Aware of the vital role of the laity in the Church and society, the bishops, at their meeting, focused on the theme: 'The Vocation and the Role of the Laity in the Life and Mission of the Church'.

2. By way of preparation, a survey was done on all-India level on a random-sample basis. The survey confirmed that on the part of the bishops, priests, religious and laity there was unanimity with regard to the laity's participatory role in the evangelical and pastoral mission of the Church.

3. The Second Vatican Council, the 1985 Synod of Bishops on the Laity and Church Documents view the Church not only as an institution, but also as a communion symbolized and realized in the Eucharist. Through faith and baptism, the lay faithful are united to Christ as members of His body, becoming "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people" (1 Pt. 2:9).

4. Christ's lay faithful are called to holiness of life. That is their prime and fundamental 'vocation'. Vatican II's document on the Church states: "It is ... quite clear that all Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of love, and by this holiness a more human manner of life is fostered also in earthly society" (Lumen Gentium, no. 40). Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation on the Laity, adds that this universal call to holiness is "the basic charge entrusted to all sons and daughters of the Church by a Council which intended to bring a renewal of Christian life based on the gospel" (Christifideles Laici, no. 16).

5. All the members of the People of God enjoy a fundamental equality and dignity. All share in three-fold office of Christ as priest, prophet and king. After stating that the lay faithful find themselves on the front lines of the Church's life, Christifideles Laici, states: "Therefore, they in particular, ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the Church, but of being the Church" (C.L., no. 9).

6. The Church as communion is not inward-looking, but is directed to building up the reign of God in the world. The Church, as "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" (Matt. 5:13-14), is sent to transform and sanctify the world. Vatican II affirms in its document on the Missions: "The Church on earth is by its very nature missionary" (Ad Gentes, no. 2). The lay faithful share in the mission of the Church. In particular, they have a special role in the Church's mission to the world. The Vatican Council's Decree on the Apostolate of Laypeople states: "Laymen ought to take on themselves as their distinctive task this renewal of the temporal order" (Apostolicam Actuositatem, no. 7; Cf. Lumen Gentium no. 31).

7. During the Plenary Assembly, the inputs, panel presentations and group discussions drew the attention of the bishops especially to the following factors:

7.1. Globalization affecting the cultural and moral values of people, and in particular having an adverse effect on the day-to-day life of the poor.

7.2. The hunger for the Word of God and for a God-experience on the part of so many, a hunger which has to be satisfied.

7.3. Need for a solid formation on the theological and spiritual basis for the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church.

7.4. The basic contribution of women to the enrichment of Church communion and the discrimination suffered by them.

7.5. The numerous Associations of the Faithful and Ecclesial Movements in the Church - a sign and fruit of the working of the Spirit.

8. Even though much has been done in the way of empowering the laity, the bishops realize that more has to be done. Hence, in drawing up plans for their Regions, the bishops felt the need of a renewed pastoral approach. In particular, they committed themselves:

8.1. To work for a change in the attitude and practices of the clergy and religious, wherever needed. Right from their formation period, future priests and religious should be oriented towards regarding laypeople as responsible collaborators. Priests and religious must encourage the laity to exercise their rightful place in the Church.

8.2. To establish in every diocese, within two years, the participatory structures envisaged in Canon Law such as Pastoral Councils and Finance Committees both at the diocesan and parish levels, wherever these do not exist. So also to promote even more the Small Christian Communities which make the Church truly participatory.

8.3 To create urgently a system of accountability in every diocese where it does not exist.

8.4. To organize a comprehensive catechesis for the laity around the three hinges of Christian life: Word, Sacraments and Community. In particular, given the hunger for the Word of God, to concentrate especially on opening the riches of the Bible, understood within the tradition of the Catholic Church.

8.5. To allocate sufficient resources specifically for lay formation so as to equip the laity to be competent and responsible collaborators.

8.6. To invite theologians, in constant dialogue with committed lay faithful, to formulate a meaningful lay spirituality geared to action. Since transforming the temporal order is the specific domain of the lay faithful, they must be empowered, through a critical socio-political awareness, to transform the existing unjust situation.

8.7. To open avenues for the lay faithful to exercise their charisms and to establish new ministries in the Church according to the needs of the time.

9. The bishops decided that in every Region/Diocese, an evaluative and monitoring mechanism, suited to the Region/Diocese, would be devised as an expression of their earnestness and seriousness in ensuring implementation of the decisions taken at the Plenary Assembly.

10. Moved by the Spirit, the bishops felt the need of an authentic dialogue and a firm commitment to create mutual understanding and trust between the clergy and the laity. We are confident that with the effective functioning of participatory structures, the laity will assume its rightful place in the life and mission of the Church. May Mary who gathered the early Church together in the Upper Room, keep us one in mind and heart as we prayerfully await a fresh outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 1:14).

Monday, January 08, 2007

2 Indians Among 24 Catholics Killed in 2006

2 Indians Among 24 Catholic Missionaries Killed In 2006

India, January 8, 2006 ( 2 Indians figure among the names of 24 Catholic men and women pastoral workers who lost their lives in a violent manner during 2006 according to the information released by Fides.

The list which includes priests, religious and lay pastoral workers comprises not only the names of missionaries ad gentes in the strict sense but also local church personnel who died a violent death, preferring to offer their lives rather than give up their witness and apostolate.

Some, judging from the state of the bodies of found hours or days later, were victims of attacks, aggressions, robberies etc., in particularly violent social contexts of poverty and degradation which these "builders of peace" sought to alleviate with their presence and work.

Fides avoids the use of the term 'martyr' leaving this for an eventual official judgement on the part of the Church and also because of the scarcity of information on the respective lives and circumstances of death.

Africa was the continent where most of the missionaries were killed: 9 priests, 1 woman religious and one lay woman missionary. The country with the highest number was Kenya, 3 Catholic priests died a violent death, followed by Nigeria, where 2 priests were killed. The only woman religious killed in Africa in 2006 was Italian Consolata Missionary Sr Leonella Sgorbati who died in Mogadishu, Somalia; the only lay woman missionary, Ms Idalina Neto Gomes from Portugal, died in Mozambique.

The second continent for number of church personnel killed in 2006 was America, where 6 priests, 1 Brother and 1 lay man, a Salesian Cooperator, died a violent death. In Brazil the local Church paid a double tribute of blood. Among those killed in America, a Catholic nun from the United States involved in promoting social rehabilitation of former prisoners and killed by one of the latter and layman Salesian Cooperator killed in Guatemala, most probably because he refused a bribe.

Asia was bathed in the blood of 2 priests, one woman religious and one Catholic layman. A parish priest and a lay man were killed in India and a woman religious was killed in Ambon, in the Moluccas, in recent years the scene of conflict and violence. An Italian missionary priest, from the diocese of Rome, Rev. Andrea Santoro, was killed in Turkey while kneeling in prayer after Mass.

The Church in Oceania also paid a tribute of blood with a St John of God Brother killed in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Names of Catholic Missionaries Killed in 2006

Fr Elie Koma, Society of Jesus (SJ), a Burundian aged 59, killed in the capital Bujumbura, in the evening of Saturday 4 February. The priest was shot dead while driving in his car in central Bujumbura, after a group of armed men opened fire on Major Ruguraguza of the Burundian army and his wife. It appears that Fr Koma was eliminated because he was a potential witness of the crime. The bandits shot the tires of his car and then shot him five times in the back. Fr Koma was held in high esteem by all and he was very active in pastoral care and as a spiritual director and retreat master for women religious and members of Marian movements. He was ordained in 1980, and for the past 3 years in charge of the Jesuit church in Kamengem one of Bujumbura's poorest districts.

Fr Andrea Santoro, Fidei Revum priest from the diocese of Rome, killed in Trabzon, Turkey on 5 February while praying after Mass in Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Kilisesi. Rev Santoro was born in Priverno, 7 September 1945 and ordained on 18 October 1970. After serving in various parishes in Rome in 2000 he went to Turkey to serve as a Fidei Revum missionary, in Trabzon, on the coast of the Black Sea, where he was entrusted with St Mary's Catholic Church, Kilisesi. In 2003 he started an association "Finestra per il Medio Oriente": a group for study, prayer and dialogue between the western world and the Middle East. Rev Andrea was killed only days after returning to Turkey having made his usual annual week's visit to Italy to lead days of study and prayer.

Fr José Alfonso Moreira, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), of Portuguese nationality, killed on 9 February at his home in Bailundo, Angola. The 80 year old missionary, (40 years spent on mission in Bailundo), died of seven gun wounds shot at close range. The missionary had just gone to bed when about 15 armed men broke into his room and shot him dead without even giving him time to get out of bed and then sacked the modest dwelling. Fr. Moreira was loved by all for his witness of service and love for mission even in times of difficulty. During the long years of civil war 1975-2002. Bailundo was occupied by the UNITA rebel forces (National Union for Total Independence of Angola) and then by the regular army. Fr Moreira always remained neutral, refusing any comprise so he could continue to announce the Gospel and serve others in the freedom of the children of God.

Fr Michael Gajere, Nigerian priest, killed by a gang of armed men in Maiduguri, capital of the Nigerian state of Borno, on 18 February, during violence which erupted following a peaceful demonstration. At least 15 people were killed in the violence, four Catholic churches were torched, the Bishops' residence, homes and structures belonging to other Christian denominations. Only last month the priest, ordained 14 years ago, had been appointed parish priest at Santa Rita parish in the Bulunkutu district of Maiduguri. Before being shot Fr Michael helped the leaders of the parish youth group to reach safety.

Sr Maria Yermine Yamlean, aged 33, a member of the congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred (DNDSC), born in Arui Das-Ambon (InRevesia) and living at a convent in Jalan Pattimura, Ambon, capital of the Moluccas Islands, was killed on 10 March 2006. The nun caught an intruder in the convent who reacted violently stabbing her with a knife. When the other Sisters found her she was in a serious condition. She was rushed to hospital where she died.

Sr Yermine was very active in pastoral care and the local Catholic Charismatic Renewal group, she was a member of the Provincial Council of her Congregation, Vice superior of the DNDSC Community in Ambon and guide for the formation of aspirants.

Fr Eusebio Ferrao, aged 61, parish priest at St Francis, Macasana, southern Goa, India, killed during the night of 17 March. When the priest failed to appear for morning Mass, a few of the parishioners went to look for him and found him dead in his room, apparently suffocated with a pillow. According to the people Fr Ferrao was a man of peace and had no enemies. He was a member of the diocesan Commission for liturgy and served his parish community of about 3,200 faithful with zeal and humility.

Mgr Bruno Baldacci, Fidei Revum priest from the diocese of La Spezia Italy, aged 63, was found dead on 30 March in his room at the parish of Nossa Senhora das Candeias where he served as parish priest, at Vitória da Conquista, Bahia State, Brazil. His secretary and housekeeper found him on his bed with evident signs of beating and the room was in a shambles. Mgr Baldacci spent 42 years on mission in Brazil, where he came following a missionary bishop and where he was ordained in 1968. In recent years he dedicated himself to caring for the poor and rehabilitating young drug addicts.

Fr Luis Montenegro, aged 77, more than 30 years as parish priest at Nuestra Senora del Rosario a La Calera, near Cordoba, Argentina, found dead early on 12 April. He had been stabbed to death in his sleep. Police charged and arrested a young man a previous offender.

Sr Karen Klimczak, 62, a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph (SSJ), was killed Buffalo, state of New York (USA), on Good Friday, 14 April . The nun had dedicated her life to helping the poor. Sr Klimczak was a member of the staff at Bissonette House for the rehabilitation of former prisoners. One of the inmates wanted to rob her and killed her and hid her body in an empty house a few miles from Bissonette House, where it was found on Easter Sunday. Sister Klimczak was known in Buffalo for her work to help the poor and promote peace.

Rev Galgalo Boru, A Kenyan priest from the parish of Bulesa, apostolic Vicariate of Isolo, Kenya, killed in the month of April in Lososia, Samburu district by bandits who attacked his car opening fire on both sides of the road. A passenger in the car was also killed.

Rev Jorge Piñango Mascareño, under secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Venezuela, è found dead on Monday 24 April in Caracas. A Conference statement said: "The human and priestly life of Fr Piñango was marked by over 20 years of priestly ministry, a spirit of the Beatitudes and a clear vocation to serve. The competent authorities will investigate the cause of his death which happened under strange circumstances. For our part we are ready to cooperate if necessary and to guarantee that truth and justice are respected". Fr Jorge Pining Macarena was born in 1959 in Barquisimeto and ordained a priest on 10 August 1985. He studied for the priesthood at the Javeriana University Colombia and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He had been a docent at a number of universities and Seminaries. He was appointed under secretary of the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference in 2002.

Rev Josè Carlos Cearense, Brazilian diocesan priest aged 44, was found dead on 9 May in his room in the parish house next to Santa Maria dos Anjos church in Delta, Minas Gerais state, Brazil where he was parish priest. The priest had died of stab wounds and his hands were tied behind his back. His body was discovered by the cleaning woman. The murder reportedly took place around 10pm on 8 May. Some days later the police arrested a man on charges of several murders in late April and early May.

Rev Jude Kimeli Kibor, Kenyan priest aged 57, activity, prison pastoral care. He was found dead on 11 May near Eldoret, probably killed by thieves while on his way to say Mass. The priest's car was found ten kilometres away from his body and his briefcase was missing. Fr Kibor studied in Springfield (USA) while ministering in various parishes. Aware of the risks and dangers, he had returned to Kenya to help his own people.

Friar Luis Alfonso Herrera Moreno, Franciscan (OFM) Colombian aged 46, stoned to death in a place called Bonda, Colombia. Friar Moreno was bursar at San Luis Beltran College, run by the Franciscan community of Santa Marta. On 28 June he went by car to do some errands. The next day he was found dead. The police suspect he was killed by robbers.

Rev John Mutiso Kivaya, 35, Kenyan priest assistant at Masinga Catholic parish, Kenya, was murdered at Tala, diocese of Machakos, during the night of 31 July by bandits who assaulted a restaurant where Fr Kivaya and two other priests were eating a meal. The priest was in his home two Tala to visit his family. The bandits took money and mobile telephones before killing the priest and two other persons and wounding three.

Rev Chidi Okorie, a Nigerian priest aged 31, killed during the night of 4 August in his room at the priests house adjacent to St Mary's Catholic parish church at Afikpo, Ebonyi State, Nigeria. The priest, stabbed by the aggressors, probably robbers since money and other objects were taken, died of his wounds in hospital. Father Okorie had only been a priest for two years, having been ordained in 2004.

Brother Augustine Taiwa, aged 40, a member of the St John of God Brothers Hospitaller Brothers, was murdered in the evening of Monday 28 August, near Port Moresby. capital Papua New Guinea. He was attacked near the Xavier Institute at Bomana, where he had been attached as co-ordinator for pastoral courses at the institute for the past three years. Brother Taiwa, originally from New East Britain was known and loved by the local people and was probably driving at low speed to avoid the many street vendors. Three apparently drunken youths were throwing stones and other objects at passing cars and one threw a spear at Brother Taiwa's car. The spear went through the head of the Religious killing him instantly. The police intervened immediately rushing the Brother to hospital, but all the doctors there could do was to confirm his death.

Sr Leonella Sgorbati, Italian Consolata Missionary aged 66, murdered on 17 September in Mogadishu, Somalia, by two gunmen hidden behind a car waiting for her as she made her way to the hospital where she worked. Sr Sgorbati first went on mission to Kenya where she served between 1970 and 1983 at three Consolata Hospitals in Mathari, Nyeri and Nazareth outer districts of Nairobi. In 1985 she became head teacher at the nursing school at Consolata Hospital in Meru, Nkubu. On 26 November 1993 she was elected regional superior of the Consolata Missionary Sisters in Kenya, a position which she held for 6 years. In 2001 Sr Leonella spent several months in Mogadishu in view of opening a School for Nurses at a local hospital run by an NGO. The first course started on 18 April 2002 and the first nurses received their diplomas in 2006. In August after struggling with endless red tape, Sr Lonella succeeded in obtaining World Health Organisation recognition for her courses and new nurses.

Rev Ricardo Antonio Romero, aged 53, Salvadorian, beaten and stoned to death and abandoned in the early hours of 25 September on the road which goes from Acajutia to Sonsonate, El Salvador. The priest's lifeless body was found close to his jeep. The police suspect one of the many youth gangs in the area. Rev Romero, parish priest at Santa Catalina Masthead, diocese of Consonant, was known for his tireless work to evangelise and to assist the poor.

Rev Pascal Kane Noonan, aged 51, of the diocese of Callao, Peru, was killed on 31 October at Divo, Cote d'Ivoire, where he had been on mission since 2003. He was attacked by robbers at Holy Family Parish, Divo. The priest was about to go to bed when he heard some noise in the living room and went to investigate. He found himself face to face with the thieves who did not hesitate to open fire. Taken by his confreres to hospital, the priest died of his wounds. Born in Bouake Cote d'Ivoire to Animist parents, at the age of twelve he asked to be baptised. At 25 he joined the New Catechumen Way and discovered his calling to the priesthood. In 1990, he was sent to Peru to study for the priesthood at Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Callao. In 1999 he was ordained for the diocese of Callao and served in various parishes distinguishing himself for his generous spirit of service. In 2003, at the request of the Bishop of Gagnoa, Rev Pascal was sent to minister at Holy Family parish Divo, in Cote d'Ivoire. He was esteemed by all for his simple manner and commitment for human promotion. He spent much time helping school drop outs to specialise in a trade and find a job.

Fr Waldyr dos Santos, Brazilian Jesuit, aged 69, lay volunteer Ms Idalina Neto Gomes, aged 30, were killed and other persons were wounded in an attack on Angone Residence in Tete Province in Mozambique on Monday 6 November. The bandits escaped with the community vehicle. Idalina Neto Gomes a lawyer and a member of the Portuguese association Laity for Development, was staying other members of the Association at the Jesuit community. Tete province which borders with Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, is a zone of bandits and attacks on Catholic missions and religious community houses are frequent. The Jesuits have a long history of service in this area in the fields of evangelisation, education, healthcare and development programmes.

Jacob Fernandez, a lay Catholic, who worked in a Religious Bookshop at the Shrine of Mount St Thomas in Chennai, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu was murdered last November 26. He was attacked and killed for no reason in front of a crowd of terrified eyewitnesses present in the bookshop. Reportedly the assailant, in a state of violent excitement, demanded to see the parish priest and loudly claimed the Shrine area as Hindu property. The police said the suspect arrested was "mentally instable", but local Catholics know the man as a fanatical extremist in contact with anti-social groups. Mr Fernandez was known as a devout Catholic who attended daily Mass at the Shrine and lived his life as a mission.

Johnny Morales, aged 34, Salesian Cooperator in Guatemala was killed on 8 December in an ambush. The vehicle in which he was travelling was sprayed with bullets and Mr Morales dies instantly. Johnny Morales and his wife, also a Salesian Cooperator, helped at the Fr Sergio Checchi Salesian Centre. They had been married for a year. Mr Morales was employed by the local Tax office and two days earlier had accepted to work at the Tecún Umám border with Mexico where there is a problem of drug trafficking and smuggling . It seems the man was killed because of his honesty. He refused to be involved in illegal activity and was a fervent upholder of honesty and justice.

Also See:

Friday, January 05, 2007

XIII National Catholic Charismatic Convention, India - December 2006

Greater Charismatic Participation Shows Growth Of Movement, Leaders Say

January 4, 2007

MURINGOOR, India (UCAN) -- About 20,000 Catholics from across India recently attended a national charismatic convention that, according to many, shows the movement is growing in the country.

New Delhi-based National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services organized the 13th national event. The convention, whose theme was "Building the Body of Christ," took place Dec. 27-30 at Divine Retreat Center in Muringoor village in Kerala state. The center, 2,560 kilometers south of New Delhi, attracts about 10,000 people for its weekly retreats.

Cyril John, chairperson of the National Charismatic Service Team, told UCA News that only 12 percent of India's 17 million Catholics have joined the 35-year-old movement, but "more and more youths and women are joining."

According to the 52-year-old lay charismatic leader, the program's highlight was the presence of more than 15 bishops. John, the event's general convener, said the participants reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the Catholic community and "want the movement to spread to the entire Church."

Father Augustine Vallooran, director of the center's English section, told UCA News more laypeople and bishops came than ever before and even more wanted to attend, but "we could not offer them space to sleep." There is "renewed interest" among young people and women to join prayer groups in parishes and neighborhoods, he said, and "I feel happy our movement is growing."

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil of Ernakulam-Angamaly, one of the bishops and lay leaders who addressed the convention's 11 sessions, opened the event. He said the charismatic movement's commitment to the poor and needy "is making a difference in daily life" of Catholics in the country. He also applauded the Divine Retreat Centre for serving HIV/AIDS-affected people shunned by society.

The convention boosted spiritual growth, several participants told UCA News. One of them, Constantine Fernandez, 64, said praying together and sharing "our experience and listening to the word of God" had been a "unique experience." The retired college professor said he has been with the movement since 1976.

Lowre Mendonca said the event gave him and others in his 50-member group from Maharashtra state, western India, "an opportunity" to understand their "mission in the world." Belinda Coutinho from Goa state, western India, came with 12 friends and said the four days were "the happiest moments in my life."

Alphonsa Francis, a 36-year-old Kerala housewife, found the convention "a fascinating experience." She joined the movement in 1989 after going through a life crisis. Her prayers reformed her alcoholic husband. Since then, she said, "we have built a new house, and my children are doing well in their studies."

What impressed Sister Florie Maria was seeing people speak various languages interacting as one big family. "We smile at each other and we feel united as a community, because Jesus binds us together," the Franciscan nun told UCA News.

Jismon John, a 21-year-old volunteer, said he heard no complaints about the convention's limited resources, because "people came here to share and not to grab." He also pointed out that about 2,000 volunteers, mostly young people like himself, worked "day and night" to ensure the convention's success.
Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (