18 National News

posted Oct 3, 2018, 9:37 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 3, 2018, 9:37 AM ]

Missionaries' contribution to nation building

The Association of Catholic Historians of India (ACHI) has chosen to deliberate on the contribution of missionaries to nation building for its annual conference in Bangalore, next June.

"The work of Christian missionaries is often interpreted negatively. We need to put it in the right perspective," said Fr Rayappan Jesuraj, svd, a member of the Executive Council of ACHI.

Fr Jesuraj, professor of Church History at the Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune, is an author with decades of teaching experience in major seminaries and institutes in India. "We chose the theme on the contribution of missionaries to nation building, because there is a general feeling that either the missionaries did little for Indian culture and language, or destroyed it entirely, which is not the fact," he added.


Kandhamal Vincentians observe Patron's Day

The Vincentian families in Kandhamal, Odisha, celebrated the feast of their patron Saint Vincent De Paul on September 27.

Around 300 children of Kandhamal survivors and lay people joined six priests of the Congregation of the Mission and 20 members of the Daughters of Charity, both founded by the saint, who is the patron of charitable works. The celebrations were at St Catherine's Girls' High School, Raikia, Kandhamal.

"We are glad that God gave us St Vincent as a model of service to humanity. His life is an inspiration to the whole world for charitable work," said Fr Augustine Singh, the main celebrant at the solemn Mass.

Fr Manoranjan, who preached the homily, noted that St Vincent De Paul lived for Christ in this world, championing righteousness and justice, showing mercy, remaining meek and poor in spirit. "He was a true peacemaker who promoted the kingdom of God, reconciling adversaries, quenching hatred, uniting those who are divided, promoting true understanding and spiritual love. He knew the mercy of God and was merciful."


SC: adultery is no crime

The country's Supreme Court on Sept. 27 struck down a 158-year-old British-era law which said it was a crime, punishable with a five-year jail term, for a man to have consensual sex with a woman without the knowledge of her husband. The law, however, did not prescribe any punishment for the woman in the sex act.

The "archaic" law treats women as "property of the husband," the court said. It violates the rights guaranteed in India's Constitution for personal liberty and equality, it added.

But Church leaders said the change does not affect the teachings and belief of the Church that adultery is a sin.


Dalits protest against 'death in the sewers'

"Stop killing us" read a large banner carried by hundreds of Dalits, activists and relatives of sewer workers who died whilst manually cleaning away rubbish and human waste.

Although manual waste collection has been banned, it is still widespread in India. The work is the exclusive obligation of Dalits and women, who perform this degrading task reserved for India's lower castes.

After the latest incident in which one of their own died last week, sewer workers decided to protest in order to stop the deaths and reiterate their right to live with dignity.

The demonstration was organised by Safai Karamchari Andolan (SKA), a national human rights group that has fought against manual waste collection since 1994, and has helped Dalits find decent and fulfilling jobs.


Feast of Confraternity

The feast of Confraternity (Comprichem Festh) was celebrated with traditional joy and gaiety on September 30 at Guardian Angel Church, Angelore. The Eucharistic celebration, with Msgr Maxim Noronha, as the main celebrant; he stressed the importance of having a healthy small Christian community.