16 National News

posted Apr 4, 2019, 9:33 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 9:33 AM ]

North East Catholic Bishops appoint new PRO

In a significant move, the Bishops of North East India have appointed a new Public Relations Officer (PRO). Rev. Fr Felix Anthony, the Social Communication Secretary of Miao Diocese in Arunachal Pradesh, was appointed as the PRO at the recently concluded North East Regional Bishops' Council in Tura, Meghalaya.

The Social Communication in-charge of the North Eastern Bishops' Council, Most Rev. George Pallipparambil, SDB, offered words of wisdom to the new PRO. "While the Church is not keen to be seen in the media limelight, however, at the same time the PRO should play an active role of being the eyes, ears and mouth of the region."

In today's surcharged atmosphere, Bishop George advised extreme caution while disseminating news and views to media and the public at large. "Utmost care should be taken to form a correct assessment and provide the right clarification," he said, urging Fr Felix to draw inspiration from the shepherds who went around sharing the goods news of Jesus' birth.


Polling to go ahead on Maundy Thursday

Voters in 13 Indian states will go to polling stations on Maundy Thursday in Parliamentary elections, after the High Court in Tamil Nadu state dismissed a petition from Church officials to reschedule the date.

The Election Commission of India has scheduled polling in 97 constituencies of 13 states on April 18, when Christians observe Maundy Thursday this year, starting their Easter triduum, leading to Good Friday and Easter.

The 13 states holding polls on Maundy Thursday are Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Puducherry.

Archbishop Antony Pappusamy of Madurai, President of the Tamil Nadu Bishops' Council, had petitioned for rescheduling, arguing that hundreds of Catholic government servants with polling duties will miss prayers.


Extremists attack Catholic school over student's suicide

A crowd of over 200 extremists attacked and devastated a Catholic school in Tamil Nadu, beating up the nuns present. The reason for the attack, which took place on March 26, was the suicide of a 15-year-old Hindu girl, a student of the school. As reported to Agenzia Fides by Fr Arputharaj, diocesan Secretary of the Archdiocese of Pondicherry-Cuddalore, a group of villagers and other militants arrived at 9 am on March 26, and attacked the Catholic secondary school of Little Flower High, in Chinnasalem, where the girl studied.

The young girl took her own life in her village of Kallakurichi, near Chinnasalem, on the afternoon of March 25. The police was informed by her parents. It seems that the girl told her schoolmates that she feared she did not do well in her school exams, and as a consequence, her parents would get angry.


Reject terror of pseudo-nationalism: Church NGO

Urging the electorate to reject the "terror of pseudo-nationalism", the Council for Social Justice and Peace, the social wing of the influential Goa Church, urged voters on March 26 to take on "corrupt defectors" and political opportunists.

The statement by Fr Savio Fernandes, Executive Secretary of the Council, which functions as a Church-backed NGO, comes at a time when the state gears up for Lok Sabha elections.

"Let us also give corrupt defectors and opportunists the due electoral response. Let us not be carried away by petty and trivial issues, but think of the overall interest of the nation and of our state," said Fr Fernandes in a statement.


Grotto vandalism upsets Church in Arunachal Pradesh

The Church in Arunachal Pradesh expressed shock and anguish on March 31, over vandalism of Marian grottos at two different places —Itanagar and Miao, the two dioceses of the state. Statues of Mother Mary were found missing from both places.

The statue from the grotto at Tezu parish of Miao diocese was found missing by Fr Thomas Mani at 6 am, when he went to light candles. The other grotto is under Doimukh parish of Itanagar diocese, some 30 km northeast of Itanagar, and the vandalism was first noticed by the parish catechist.

"What has happened is shocking and unthinkable," said Fr Felix Anthony, the newly appointed PRO of the Catholic Church in northeastern India.

The Miao diocesan priests say both the incidents are "strikingly similar" on many counts.