20 National News

posted Jan 9, 2019, 8:21 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 9, 2019, 8:22 AM ]

Port Blair’s first bishop retires

Pope Francis accepted the resignation on January 6 of Bishop Aleixo Das Neves Dias of Port Blair, which covers the entire Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Bishop Dias, a member of the Pilar Society and the first bishop of Port Blair, would have turned 75, the mandatory retirement age for a prelate, on September 5 this year. The prelate has suffered some health problems in the past, said a source close to Church circles.

Pope John Paul II raised the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a diocese on August 18, 1984. Bishop Dias was ordained as its first prelate on January 20, 1985.


Sibling survivors of pogrom choose consecrated life

Ten years ago, Hindu nationalists persecuted them and destroyed their home during the pogroms in the district of Kandhamal, in Orissa. Today, both have decided to serve the Church in consecrated life.

They are Fr Anand Pradhan and Sr Anjali Pradhan, brother and sister, who survived the violence unleashed against Christians by Hindu radicals in 2008. At that time, they had to escape from their village of origin to save themselves. And it is precisely here, where Hindu families have prevented them from rebuilding their house, that they have returned for a ceremony of reconciliation and thanksgiving. This time though, the whole village has been celebrating.

The ceremony was held in Mundakanga on December 29: two days earlier, Fr Anand was ordained a priest of the Order of Friars Minor by Msgr Sarat Chandra Nayak (bishop of Berhampur, ed.), while Sr Anjali pronounced her final profession in the society of Saint Anne of Lucerna. More than 1,500 people, 15 priests and five nuns were present at the festivities.


Sonu Nigam to raise funds for Karnataka flood victims

Sonu Nigam, a renowned Indian singer, will lead a music event organised by two dioceses in Karnataka to generate funds to build homes for flood victims in the southern Indian state.

A planning meet on January 6 at the Bangalore Archbishop’s House was attended by priests, religious and lay people from the archdiocese and Mysore diocese.

The music event is planned for January 27 in Bengaluru, capital of Karnataka. The event is planned by Olive Hill Media, in collaboration with Bangalore archdiocese and Mysore diocese. Many victims of the August 2018 floods in Mysore diocese are still without homes.


Asir Ebenezer is new NCCI general secretary

Reverend Asir Ebenezer assumed office on January 4 as the general secretary of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI). He succeeds Rev. Roger Gaikwad.

The Nagpur-based NCCI is the ecumenical forum of the Protestant and Orthodox churches and their organisations in India. Some 30 churches and related organisations and agencies are members of the NCCI, founded in 1914.

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Jesuit theologian with an Asian perspective passes away

Jesuit Fr Samuel Rayan — a pioneer of theology with an Asian perspective who had a ‘radical interpretation of the Bible’ — has passed away. He was 98.

Fr Rayan died Jan. 2 in a hospital in Kerala. Kerala Jesuit provincial Fr George Mutholil said that Fr Rayan had been under medical care for age-related illness for the past several years.

“Fr Rayan was a pioneer who theologized from an Asian or third world perspective,” said Fr Mutholil. Fr Rayan was made a professor at the Jesuit theology seminary at Vidyajyoti College, Delhi in 1972. He also served as its principal from 1972 to 1976. After more than three decades of teaching there, he returned to Kerala in 2010.

“Until Fr Rayan’s rise as a theologian, the concerns of the people of India were not found in the theology that originated from Western Europe,” said P. T. Mathew, a fellow theologian who worked with Fr Rayan.


Bishop Jerome to be made Servant of God

Bishop Jerome, the first native bishop of the Kollam diocese of the Catholic Church, will be elevated as Servant of God on February 24 at a function at Infant Jesus Cathedral, Thangassery.

This will be the first step towards beatification and canonisation of the late priest. “Kollam bishop Paul Antony Mullassery received a letter from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican regarding this,” said Fr Baiju Julian, Episcopal Vicar, Kollam diocese, at a press meet on Jan. 5.