18 National News

posted Feb 20, 2019, 8:45 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 20, 2019, 8:45 AM ]

New Delhi
Catholic Church mourns victims of Kashmir terrorist attack

India's Catholic Church has condemned the deadly terrorist attack on the country's paramilitary police in Kashmir on Thursday, Feb. 14 that killed 44 soldiers, and expressed its pain for the families who lost their loved ones.

Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), denounced the Feb. 14 attack as "mindless violence". "It's a very sad day for us here in India. It's a sad day for those 44 and more families who have lost their very young sons, as well as for those who are injured," he said in an interview to Vatican News. The Indian bishops feel the pain of the country, as the nation is "feeling pained at what should have never happened."


Indian Church gets another Saint

Pope Francis green-lighted on February 13, the canonisation of Blessed Maria Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan of India. Blessed Thresia (also known as Mariam Thresia) was the founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family under the Syro-Malabar Church. She was born on April 26, 1876, and died on June 8, 1926.

Mariam Thresia became known for receiving frequent visions and ecstasies, as well as even receiving the stigmata which she kept well-guarded. She had been involved in apostolic work her entire life, and pushed for strict adherence to the rule of her order among her fellow religious.


Nun builds 100 homes for the poor in Kochi in five years

Five years ago, Sr Lizzy Chakkalakkal, principal of a school in Kochi, Kerala, discovered that one of her students was homeless. This prompted the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary nun and some students of Our Lady's Convent Girls Higher Secondary School, Thoppumpady, to take up the 'House Challenge Project.' They raised money and constructed a house for the child and her family. That was only the beginning.

An inspired Sr Lizzy, as she is popularly known, decided to continue with the initiative. Since then, 99 houses have been constructed for the poor and homeless. On February 21, the project will hit a significant landmark – finish constructing its 100th house and hand over the keys to a homeless family from Chellanam, a suburb of Kochi. The children are students at the school.


Missionaries of Charity nun languishes in prison

"It was an emotional heartbreaking visit to jail," said Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX, Secretary General of the Catholic Indian Bishops' Conference. After a long wait, Msgr Mascarenhas was able to visit Sr Concelia Baxla, a nun of Mother Teresa's congregation, who together with Anima Indwar, an employee of the Nirmal Hriday Home, was arrested 222 days ago on charges of child trafficking.

"The misuse of the police force, the manipulations by political authorities, the apathy of our justice system in the story of this poor, naive and innocent woman who has devoted all her life to the selfless service of the poor and marginalised, is a story of many poor prisoners in our country. Many like her are languishing in jail as undertrials, waiting for the slow churning of the wheels of justice, which often appear to be spun by money power, political clout, massive media propaganda and even blatant manipulation of evidence," the Bishop told Agenzia Fides.


Protests against German missionary's statue

The tribal cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Feb. 13 petitioned police to remove the bust of Fr John Baptist Hoffmann from the compound of Sarwada parish in Khunti district, about 55 km from Ranchi, the state capital of Jharkhand.

The petition called on police to remove the statue, as it insults local tribal leaders like Birsa Munda, who fought foreigners for tribal rights, BJP tribal cell leader Ram Kumar Pahan told media.

Church leaders say the BJP has deliberately made unfair claims against the missionary to create a controversy to divide tribal people, a major voting bloc in Jharkhand. Dividing tribal votes on religious lines could help the BJP garner non-Christian tribal votes, they say.