22 National News

posted Mar 8, 2018, 10:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 8, 2018, 10:19 AM ]

New Delhi
Poverty of indigenous people raises questions

Half of India's indigenous people are among the poorest in the country, according to a recent federal government survey, raising questions about the government spending millions on their welfare schemes.

Some 50 per cent of India's 104 million indigenous people, locally called Adivasis or original inhabitants, are in the lowest wealth bracket, the latest National Family Health Survey revealed.

"The findings of the survey do not surprise us," said Fr Nicholas Barla, secretary of the Indian bishops' Commission for Tribal Affairs. "But the bigger question is this: why do adivasis live in poverty despite the government spending millions on their welfare, since India gained independence from the British 70 years ago?"

Wealth brackets are based on the number and kind of consumer goods owned such as bicycles or cars. Markers include sources of drinking water, toilet facilities and flooring materials used in homes.


Caritas India-Misereor Germany’s Lenten campaign

For the first time, Caritas India and Misereor Germany jointly launched a Lenten campaign, which will focus on the ecological teachings of Laudato Sì, the encyclical of Pope Francis on the protection of the environment and human communities from the risks of climate change.

"Caritas India and Misereor have been working together for a long time," said Fr Frederick D'Souza, executive director of Caritas India. The two "have been involved in the development sector for more than 50 years. The success in organising the joint Lenten campaign this year has helped bring forward the benefits of mutual collaboration."

The theme of this year's campaign – 'Have you changed the world today?' – is climate change. The programme was developed with a series of preparatory meetings, attended by young people from the development organisation of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Germany. The first was held in May 2017, then in June and February of this year. On February 17, Fr D'Souza celebrated a solemn Mass in St Lantpert's Catholic Church in Munich, with which he officially launched the programme in Germany to last until Good Friday. 


Slain priest’s mother pardons killer

Kerala witnessed a rare gesture of forgiveness on March 4, when the mother of a slain Catholic priest visited the killer's family to pardon him.

"I forgive him," Thressia Thelakat told media persons after comforting the wife and family members of Johny Vattaparampil, a former church sexton. Pictures of the elderly woman comforting Annie, Vattaparampil's wife, have gone viral on social media.

"Vattaparampil's family was isolated and lived in misery and dejection. The visit has brought great relief to them," reported News Vision, a local TV channel.


Visakhapatnam’s first Archbishop dead

Retired Archbishop Kagithapu Mariadas of Visakhapatnam passed away on February 26, after a brief illness. He was 81. The funeral took place on February 28 at St Peter's Cathedral, Gnanapuram, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

Archbishop Mariadas was born on September 7, 1936, in Gnanapuram. He was ordained a priest in the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales (or Fransalians) in 1961.


Marian shrine draws thousands

More than 15,000 people attended the feast on March 5 of a shrine built at the site of an alleged Marian apparition. Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar led the feast day Mass assisted by about 50 priests at Partama, a substation of Daringbadi parish in the Kandhamal district of Odisha.

In his homily, Archbishop Barwa commended the Kandhamal Christians for their courageous faith in the face of violence. “You have shown the world that neither persecution nor death can separate you from the love of God.” Kandhamal was the epicentre of the worst anti-Christian violence India witnessed in its modern history. About 100 people lost their lives and more than 56,000 became homeless, after Hindu radicals unleashed unprecedented attacks on Christians in the district. Hundreds of churches and Christian institutions were destroyed during the violence that began August 24, 2008, and lasted for months.


Dy CM hails Catholic Education

Arunachal Pradesh’s Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein said Catholic education has made him what he is today. “All that I am today, I owe it to the fathers and brothers at my school,” said the former student of Don Bosco School in Guwahati, Assam on March 3.

He was speaking at the first convocation of Venerable Uktara Bethany College in Namsai, the first Catholic college in the eastern part of Assam. The minister also hailed Catholic contribution to the education sector in the region, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh. According to him, Catholic institutions render yeoman service without looking for profit and without much support from the government.