Sunday, June 20, 2010

Closing up for Renewal

Dear All,

In my prayers over the past few days, I have had a breakthrough of massive proportions. To most of you who have come across this blog, it might not sound impressive or innovative at all; nevertheless, for me it has been life altering. In my blog, in my various comments in both friendly and hostile blogs, in my readings on the subject... everywhere I have been focused on the earthly state of affairs. I have focussed on which religious extremists are bombing where, which demographics are immigrating to Christian nations, who is building what.. I have been streessing on what I thought were the most important things of the world. I have been so focused on these that I had lost myself to the Truth. The strength of Christians are not the GDP of Western nations or the educational institutions across the world or the grand Churches in all the countries. At the surface, yes, all these seem to be what makes up Christianity and over the ages this worldly aspect of Christianity has come to shadow the spiritual facet. And I too had succumbed to this mistake.

The strength of Christianity is the Jesus. And the key to that strength is Prayer.

Upon this revealation I understood that that if I was to serve God through His Church, then I smust renew myself. Even while I championed the cause of Christianity in blogosphere, I was dead to sin. I was guilty of the cardinal sins of Pride, Envy, Lust, Covetousness etc... I was living in sin and holding on to the earthly side of Christianity, forgetting all about the spiritual side. I was holding on to the earthly Church while letting go the God for whom it was built. I understand my mistake now, and have decided to come back to this webpage only after I have renewed myself. Thank you all for your support. Keep praying, and may God bless you.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Non-stop prayers begin as year of priests ends

MANGALORE: As a mark of the conclusion of the year dedicated to the Christian priests of the world, a 40-hour non-stop prayer and adoration to the Blessed Sacrament has commenced at Our Lady of Dolores Chapel, situated in the Bishop's House here on Thursday at 6.45 am. The prayer was inaugurated by Rev Aloysius Paul D'Souza, the Bishop of the Diocese of Mangalore, with the Eucharistic celebrations. The Bishop invited all the faithful to thank God for the great gift of the priesthood and requested them to pray continuously for the priests so that they may be true to their vocation. The chancellor of the Diocese, Rev Henry Sequeira shared in the homily on the occasion. Many priests and lay representatives were present for the inaugural mass. There are 337 diocesan priests and 120 religious priests serving in the Diocese of Mangalore. The prayers will go on till midnight of Friday. Different prayer groups are partaking in the non-stop prayer series by turns. The Sister Disciples of the Divine Master are animating the 40-hour long prayer session. Background: Pope Benedict the 16th had dedicated a whole year (June 19, 2009 to June 19, 2010) to the priests of the world with the motto `Faithfulness of Christ and Faithfulness of Priests' on the occasion of the 150th Death Anniversary of St John Maria Vianney, the Patron of the priests. Throughout the year, different socio-spiritual activities were organized as to grow in the true vocation of priesthood. As a mark of the conclusion of the year of the priesthood, a three-day International Convention of Priests was organized in Vatican from June 9 to 11, for which every Catholic priest of the world was invited. More than 10,000 priests had participated in the convention. There were more than 15,000 priests from all the corners of the world to celebrate with the Pope in the concluding mass that was held on June 11, on the occasion of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Lay forum seeks more effective volunteers

A laity ecumenical forum in Madhya Pradesh has stressed the need for more effective volunteers among lay people to provide a better impact by the Church in a hostile social environment.The Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh (Madhya Pradesh grand assembly of Christians) said it teaches its volunteers to be more forthright and effective in serving society.
The forum held a training program on June 14 for its 50 active members in Bhopal, the state capital.
“Lay people have easier access to the public than a religious person and this can be nurtured,” Manish Mathew, state office-bearer of the forum told on June 17.
Father Anand Muttungal, one of the founders of the forum, said, “Unless we become more generous in our social contributions and spend some time away from family and friends we make no contribution to making life better for others.”
“There can be no better charity than helping someone in need,” said Richard D’Silva, another forum member.

Patriotic Love for Manipur is Terribly Missing

By: Madhu Chandra

Patriotic love is the inspirational factor of any motherland; it is terribly missing in Manipur. Unity in diversity is the beauty of India, but it is terribly messed in Manipur, probably messed one another equally and must fix it together. When love is missing among the society, hatred begins, distances from one another, opinions form into ideological differences. The ideological differences many a time become ideological clashes among the societies that moved further into nerves and muscles. We have seen it enough within the communities of Manipur and the current crisis is this reality.Manipur has range of love among own clans, ethnic, tribe, village, town, district and it limits and does not cross border. Collective love for the state of Manipur is missing very badly. Until the love for own state and land mounts up in every nerve, sadly, Manipur will suffer now and then like the way the state is facing now.Where has gone the love, peace, friendship and harmony that bound Manipur among all section of society? Definitely, undoubtedly, some forces have destroyed it. Forces of fascism, fanatic, communalism and sectarian visible and invisible, most dangerous of every society must be eliminated sooner than later, otherwise, forever will destroy the love, peace, friendship and harmony in state. Love, peace, friendship and harmony are strong social fabric. Unwanted communal politic and communal forces time and again took different forms and take birth to attempt to show the seeds hatred among the society and the state. Manipur and its people are reaping its consequences today.Predicted by Jawaharlal Nehru once, “When fascism comes to India, it will come in a form of communalism,” in deed, Manipur is infected by this virus for long enough and should have confronted long ago. Unfortunately neither state government nor central seem less care about it.America mourned 9/11 attacked, whole nation stood. India stood united during Kargil war. When “Hey mere watan ke logo” was sung in central Parliamentary hall on August 15, 1996, marking 50th Indian Independent day, it moved every Indian with love for the nation. It was more with the additional emotional speech delivered by then the President K R Narayan, remembering those Heros guarding the Indian boundaries at frontal line of Kargil.What made whole American to stand together and Indians for the nation? It was the love for the nation. There was love for Manipur but it is terribly missing for last few decades. Prevailing situation in the state, lack of development, lack of opportunity and defectiveness of educational atmosphere, might lead people far away from loving owns state. Love for other human beings must maintain in Manipur. Patriotic love for Manipur can not be possible without the love for one another. Harm is done beyond irreparable but need a miracle to heal the hurt, forgive to love.

Bible talks about it powerfully, it must be seen in church and every Christians, hopefully those who do not believe in Bible might able to see the power of love that commanded by Jesus to follow. One among many Heros in Bible is John the brother of Jesus, who talks about love. It is the principle that every Christian holds on. He says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” Every Christian is believed to be child of God and it is made out of God’s love. He further says, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” Last quote but never the least, rather a warning for every Christians, John says, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.”Who should move first to express this love to all humanity? Saying as a Christian and ordained minister, church and every Christian has this mandate to step out first! Accepted or rejected is altogether different issue on part of the receptive. Patriotic love can not miss the love among brotherhood and other human beings.“Itao” is word for Friendship in Manipuri. It has its own contextual strong meaning and application. If one says, “I have my Ukhrul Itao or Imphal Itao” it means a bound beyond ones own communities. It breaks all social barriers except caste instinct that played important role in destroying social peace and harmony among the society of Manipur.What is mandate for Government in order to nurture patriotic love for the state? It is late to work on but better late than never! Making Manipur a livable place on planet is a must, if one and all want co-existence of all inhabitants of Manipur. Inability of Manipur government to make Manipur a choice of living by failing to bring socio-economic and educational development is the root cause. Public outrage, intolerance, constant public disturbances and failure to keep the law and order of the state has led to loose the patriotic love for the state. Every parent prefers effort sending their children for education outside Manipur and continues to work there after study.Attempt to solve the militancy of Manipur through increasing the security forces is seen failure to solve the problem for last 50 years and it should never emphasis on it again. Development, work opportunity, good governance, sincerity, transparency and economic developmental initiative are missing. Absence of these, Manipur will continue to suffer and citizen of Manipur will lack the patriotic love that badly needed for Manipur.Majority community of Manipur, referring to Meiteis, have bigger role. Pluralistic is the society of Manipur. Majority community can not act as solemn representative of the state. Every tribe or community is part of larger society. Inclusive thinking, consideration, equal affirmative action, equal opportunity, equal rights and equal justice must extend to all communities irrespective or tribe, religion, sect, race and ethnic. When equality is protected, chances of more patriotic love for the state arise.

Madhu Chandra is research scholar and social activist base based at New Delhi. He works as Regional Secretary for All India Christian Council and Spokes Person of North East Support Centre & Helpline.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Young Jesuits inspired by Afghan mission

Three young Indian Jesuits seminarians are all set to proceed to war-ravaged Afghanistan on a mission to provide education to the people there and make their religious commitment more meaningful.
David Raj, 28, Lancy Dias, 27, and Alex Yagoo, 28, volunteered to work in Afghanistan to recapture their congregation’s original spirit of going to new and dangerous places to spread Christ’s message.
Dias will go to Herat, Raj will go either to Herat or Kabul, while Yagoo will go to Bamiyan, where Jesuits have been working for the past five years.
The three, who come from the Karnataka, Hazaribagh and Madurai Jesuit provinces, will leave for Afghanistan June 18.
“I am excited about going there because first we are going to help a country which is facing lots of challenges and problems, and second, there is personal satisfaction that we are going to do something that gives meaning to our vocation,” Raj said.
Religious life is very secure in India and “I want to face some challenges as otherwise there is no point in choosing this life,” he said.
The Jesuits said that they are not afraid of going to a county where there is threat to life, especially for the Indians.
“I have heard from returning Jesuits that common people there are very good to Indians. If we go with prejudices, it will be difficult for us to remain there. All through our formation, we are fed with ideas about taking challenges, risky missions,” Dias said.

Experts praise Jesuit’s Indian film theory book

A Jesuit priest has made a “significant contribution” to the film industry with a new book on Indian film theory.
Father Gaston Roberge was praised by film makers, critics and scholars at the launch of his book The Indian Film Theory: Flames of Sholay, Notes and Beyond, on June 15.
“Father Roberge shows us there is an Indian film theory that can form the cornerstone of our film ethos,” said Ashok Vishwanathan, a Bengali film maker and scholar.
“I had been asking myself since the 1980s why we do not have a new theory of popular film,” said Father Roberge. “It was only recently that I got an answer after studying a 2000-year old Indian treatise of drama and dance, Natya Sastra - The Science Of Drama.”
The result is a 100 page book that offers a new perspective on the theories underlying Indian commercial cinema. It has been described as “easily readable” and “radical in its content.”
Father Roberge is author of more than 25 books on cinema and spirituality and founder of Chitrabani the first media center in eastern India. Although he admits some decline in the first decade of the century, Father Roberge has said that cinema will continue to be relevant even in the age of the iPod.

Salesian priest fights for cause of poor workers

A Salesian priest in Gujarat has taken up the cause of hundreds of poor workers who have not got wages of the work allotted to them under a job guarantee scheme.
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), which came into force in August 2005, provides a legal guarantee for one hundred days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household at a minimum wage of rupees 100 per day (some US$ 2).
As per the act, the workers should be paid within a span of 15 days under any circumstances.
Father Mayank Parmar of NGO Drishti Shramik Sangathan (workers vision forum), operated by the Don Bosco Trust, along with the workers June 14 held a day-long sit-in outside the office of a government official S Murali Krishnan in Kheda district.
They demanded timely payment of wages and punishment for the government officials responsible for the delay. They also submitted a memorandum to Krishnan in this regard.
“When we came to know that hundreds of workers have not received wages, we held a day-long sit-in outside the collector’s office,” Father Parmar told on June 16.
The NGO, which has been working among the NREGA workers for the last one year, reveals that 400 workers from 11 villages of Kapadvanj block in the state have not received their wages for as along as three months.
“Due to lack of awareness, they become victims of official indifference and apathy,” Father Parmar said.
He said most of the workers are illiterate and hail from dalit and other backward communities.
The priest said his organization held four days of training for NREGA workers in March this year to make them aware of various provisions under the scheme.
Meanwhile, Krishnan said he has ordered the local authorities to ensure that all the workers be paid wages on time.