Saturday, July 28, 2007

Konkani-speaking Catholics Put Bible Online

Konkani-Speaking Catholics Put Bible Online in their own Language

July 27, 2007

MANGALORE, India (UCAN) -- A Catholic community has made the Bible in a southern Indian tongue available online so that people around the world can read Scripture in the Konkani language.

Austine Crasta, who runs the community's website (, initiated the project with the help of friends and Mangalore diocese. The Bible project is part of the website, whose motto is "Uniting Konkani Catholics Worldwide for the Faith."

Crasta explained to UCA News that the online Bible is "for Konkani Catholics in remote corners of the world who do not have access to the Bible in their mother tongue." He said it may also help members in places where religious practices are restricted and the Bible is not permitted.

Some of them in certain nations have to meet secretly to worship, he pointed out, and their "powerful witness inspired me to perform this service."

Many young Konkani people "spend much time on the Internet," he added, so "they may also get an opportunity to meet the Lord" through the online Bible.

Michael Mendonca, a Catholic layman prepared the electronic form of the text, and two other youths designed and developed the site, with the support of Father Francis X. Lewis, public relations officer of Mangalore diocese.

About 1.7 million people in India use Konkani, one of the country's 22 officially recognized languages. Most live on the southwestern coast of India, served by Mangalore and Karwar dioceses and Goa archdiocese.

About 1 million Catholics live in the area. When Bishop Aloysius Paul D'Souza of Mangalore launched the site ( on July 26, he said it can help "all Konkani people come to know God and bear witness to Christ."

Mangalore diocese released its hard-copy Konkani bible in Kannada script during the Catholic Church's Jubilee of the Year 2000. Now that text is available online. Konkani lacks its own script, so it uses Karnataka state's official Kannada-language script or the Roman script.

Konkani Catholics are so called because of the language they use. Many of their forefathers migrated from Goa in the 16th and 17th centuries for socio-political and cultural reasons. They have produced more than 35 bishops and thousands of missioners who serve around the country and beyond. In recent years, many members have migrated to European and West Asian nations.

Reproduced by Konkani Catholics with permission from UCA News (

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