20 National News

posted Jun 6, 2018, 9:44 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 6, 2018, 9:45 AM ]


Call to make India Christian-free 

A video being circulated on social media since May 25 shows controversial Hindu leader Om Swami Maharaj with a group of about 20 people carrying placards and banners with pictures of Pope Francis, not far from Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi. During his speech, Maharaj accused Indian Christians of promoting terrorism and Maoism in the country, and demanded they should leave India. If Christians don't leave India, Maharaj said, they will use force to expel them. He spread a banner with a picture of the Pope on the road, and then, with several others, stamped on it. Slogans of "Pope Francis murdabad" (Down with Pope Francis) were raised.

The video has caught the attention of Christian groups in central India, prompting them to approach the police to stop the video's circulation.

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Catholic food bank grows

A Catholic salesman who kept wondering how leftover food could best be used is now feeding thousands of people through 28 food banks across Goa in India. The initiative called Street Providence completed its first year on May 18, and has six salaried staff as well as 160 volunteers in the western state.

Donald Fernandes, previously a supplier of butter and margarine, witnessed huge quantities of food being discarded at up-market hotels, as well as at various confectioneries, bakeries and restaurants. Fernandes, incidentally a 1996 world record holder for cycling 40 kilometres while playing a violin, began supplying cooked food from his home to some 50 individuals, on advice from his spiritual guide after he recovered from a serious ailment. Soon, he began feeding people sleeping on the streets.


Sr Jacintha Noronha on postal stamp

Releasing a postal stamp in honour of a person is a rare incident, that too when the person is alive. This honour has come from the BJP Government in Himachal Pradesh. The postal department of Shimla recently felicitated Sr Jacintha Noronha by issuing a 'my stamp' in recognition of her service to education.

Sr Jacintha Noronha came to Shimla in the year 1994, and since then, she has been serving the people of Himachal Pradesh tirelessly. Having headed Sacred Heart Tara Hall for fifteen long years, her farsightedness bore fruit, as she opened the portals of Sacred Heart Dhalli, giving the people of Sanjauli, Dhalli and the neighbouring colonies a co-ed school for their wards.

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Church joins anti-Nipah campaign

In the wake of the Nipah outbreak, the Thamarassery diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church issued a circular to the parish priests to serve communion during Mass only on the hand. The custom of serving communion on the tongue by priests will be discouraged as part of the efforts to support the Health Department's drive against the viral disease.

Priests in nearly 120 parishes under the Thamarassery diocese will heed the bishop's advisory issued on June 1. Nearly 20 parishes in Malappuram district too will follow suit.


Compensation for nun

A court in Tamil Nadu has allowed a Catholic women religious congregation to claim compensation for the death of a nun who died in a road accident.

Justice A M Basheer Ahamed of the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court recently dismissed an appeal from the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation that contested the order of compensation that the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal passed in 2009.

The case revolves around the death of Sr Alangara Mary, a member of Auxilium congregation, on March 1, 2002. She was riding a two-wheeler scooter with Sr Roseline Joseph as pillion rider in Trichy, a major town in Tamil Nadu. A speeding bus of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation knocked them down on Trichy-Dindigul road. Sr Alangara died on the way to the hospital, while her companion survived with severe injuries.


Medical college, hospital soon

The Catholic Church's dream project of a medical college and hospital in Ranchi is on its way to becoming a reality. Church officials said work is currently on in full swing to set up a 350-bed medical college and hospital - Constant Lievens Hospital and Research Centre at Mandar, 30 km from Ranchi.

The proposed medical college and hospital is the first of its kind in the private sector in the state. The state currently has three state government medical colleges at Ranchi, Dhanbad and Jamshedpur.

The General body meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India had given the go ahead to the dream project of Cardinal Telesphore P Toppo in 2008, to create a healthcare hub in Ranchi for poor people. However, problems in getting the required land for the medical college and hospital resulted in inordinate delays in starting the project. The Medical Council of India norms specify that a new medical college should be "housed in a unitary campus of not less than 25 acres of land."