In the News for Wrong Reasons: Sacred Heart Church, Andheri (E): III

Ever since this issue has cropped up, we have been wondering as to what could be the reason for Parish authorities to get some youth to write demeaning letters against some Parishioners, call for an emergency PPC meeting, read the letters in the meeting and humiliate them to malign their reputation. If parish authorities do not want any parishioner to be active in the parish, there are better ways to do so. But humiliating a person without giving him an opportunity to put his point forward is certainly not acceptable. Now it is being denied that any such letter exists and what was read in that emergency PPC meeting was  minutes of some Meeting.

Though matter was published in SILENT VOICE, a couple of times, we were looking for motive, which is now found. It is related to MISSING ENVELOPES of Community Contribution, which Parishioners are supposed to pay. Mr. Baptist Fernando has been question VP – PPC about it, supported by other Parishioner, whose reputation also has been maligned using the same method. VP – PPC and Parish authorities remained silent but Baptist’s persistent questioning rattled them. Besides, Parish authority’s support to VP – PPC and assurance to standby him, in case of any eventuality, certainly implies, they too could behand in glove with VP – PPC in MISSING ENVELOPES controversy.  

While on the subject of COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION, paid through envelopes, have been embroiled in controversy in few more parishes too. In some cases, envelopes are found empty while the contributor claims of putting money in it. In one of the major parish, a parishioner was questioned and reprimanded by Parish Priest for sending empty envelop. The Parishioner got furious and blew up the matter, because he has regularly been paying a good amount. Matter  then was suppressed.

This Community Contribution is also used as tool to blackmail Parishioners. when any parishioner goes to register for any Parish given facility, first question is asked of him whether he is contributing to Community Fund. Contribution is not an issue, but is the fund transparent? We do not think so, like other financial matter. Besides, for being a parishioner, does one have to pay Community Contribution? What happens if person does not have money to pay. Can’t he be Catholic? Can’t he be a Parishioner? We need to ponder on this.

Coming back to Sacred Heart Church, We have asked Archbishop to take initiative to douse this flame and put the Parish back on right path. Hope the wiser Counsel Prevails.

GREG

SACRED HEART CHURCH, ANDHERI EAST

LETTER ADDRESSED TO ARCHBISHOP CARDINAL OSWALD GRACIAS

 VOICE OF A SILENT MAJORITY

(CATHOLICS FOR TRUTH TRANSPARENCY AND WEEDING OF CORRUPT PRACTICES AT PARISH LEVEL)

          Constituted under Para 29 of Christifideles Laici

               (Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation of H.H.Late Pope John Paul ll

************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

A/7  Rodrigues Compound, Malwani Village, Malad (W), Mumbai, 400095. Contact No. 98707 19628

E Mail: silentvoice58@gmail.com

========================================================================================================================================================================================================================

(Archdiocese of Bombay)

22nd, November, 2014

To,

Most Rev. Cardinal Oswald Gracias,

Archbishop of Bombay;

SUB:   Matter related to Sacred Heart Church, Andheri, (E)

Your Eminence

This has reference to our telecom on 19th, November, 2014. Thank you for your valuable time. One of the matters of our discussion was related to Sacred Heart Church, Andheri (E).

After your meeting with aggrieved Parishioners, we thought the matter would have been resolved. But it does not seem to be so. Adamant attitude of Parish authorities in shielding one man, who is cause of this reigning chaos, reveals the fact that he is only the front. What could be the reason for former Parish Priest to get some youth to write letters against Other Parishioners, maligning them, who have been active in Parish for over two decades? Obviously, the Parish authorities wanted to silence them for some reason and get them out of their way.

While going through various E Mails, (We term this parish as E Mail efficient Parish, because Parish authorities are communicating with parishioners through E Mails, instead of discussing and resolving the matters across the table) ; have arrived at the conclusion that real issue is financial misappropriation. One of the aggrieved people, Mr. Baptist Fernando has been racking up the issue of missing Community Contribution envelopes, while others were in his support. This we believe is the reason for parish authorities to turn against them. Instead of investigating this on priority, they chose to remain silent.

During our discussion, you seem to be concerned about the way parish authorities chose to malign the reputation of some of their own parishioners. Surprisingly, parish authorities have conveyed to Mr. Baptist Fernando that “Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias has ordered to put a stop and has sent orders to the new Parish Priest Fr. Lawrence Correa and the clergy not to take up my/our issues” – Baptist Fernando. This is the reason; we again, chose to intervene.

It is amply clear that Parish authorities are trying their best to silence the voice of dissent; Dissent for genuine cause, in the interest of Mother Church. This attitude must be stopped and it can be only done by Parish authorities by acceding to their demands of a public apology from VP – PPC for maligning their name publicly and humiliating them. Parish authorities, we are given to understand, are standing by the culprit VP – PPC and have gone to the extent of supporting him in case of Legal implications, if any. This, your Eminence, clearly implies that VP – PPC is just a front, used by parish authorities, who could be involved in missing community contribution envelopes case.

The only way to douse this fire is for you to issue instructions to parish authorities to:

  • Publicly accept that letters maligning the aggrieved Parishioners were indeed read during Emergency meeting, which was called exclusively for the purpose by VP – PPC, which they now deny, and ask VP – PPC to tender a public apology for doing so.
  • Ask the VP – PPC to tender his resignation from the position he holds. In case he refuses to do so, remove him. PPC is a forum of members elected by Parishioners to help Parish authorities to run Parish within framework of constitution and not to serve their self interest.
  • Ask Parish authorities to be neutral in such cases and resolve them amicably, instead of shielding the arrogant ones. Failure by Authorities to do so will certainly imply that they are hand in hand in any misdeed by corrupt one.

We are sure, your Eminence, you will look into this matter seriously and help close this unsavory chapter as soon as possible.

Yours Always, in Our LORD JESUS CHRIST

 

 

 

GREG R. PEREIRA;

 

 

 

CHAIN OF E MAILS RELATED TO THIS MATTER

 

To,

Fr. Innocent Fernandes,

Respected Fr. Innocent,

Yesterday afternoon, 3rd September 2014,  I met Fr. Wilson, in your absence, to discuss the matter related to the Missing letter, which was handed over to former Parish Priest Fr. Baptist Pais by some of the Animators belonging to my community and read in the Emergency meeting called by VP â PPC just to humiliate me.

I as a person do have sentiments like each human being including you. I am therefore seeking copy of the letter just to understand what sin I have committed for some of my animators to write a maligning letter against me. It is my right to defend myself for which I must have copy of this letter. I appreciate your efforts to douse the flame, with one sweet phrase,â Let us forgive and forgetâ. I have already conveyed to you and others that I am willing to do so. However, is it only for me to follow your instructions? What about my lost Dignity? And more importantly, why should the mischief makers be allowed to go scot free?

Now it is being said that the letter which was read was nothing but a Minutes of some meeting and there is no such letter against me. This should certainly amuse anyone who has fraction of a brain, but I think the VP â PPC does not have even that. How could anyone believe that Minutes of some unknown meeting were read in the meeting which was specifically called to discuss the letter which the Animators have written against me?

It is now established that VP â PPC had instigated some people to write a letter against parishioners, was it at behest of Fr. Baptist Pais, for the reasons best known to him.  Now that he has been cornered he is trying to find a way out. Surprisingly you, the clergy are trying to shield himâ¦Reason for him to do so is obvious.

For last one and half year, I have been raising an issue of Missing envelops (Community Contribution), but VP â PPC did not pay attention to it or never put that up on the agenda of PPC for discussion. What does that imply? You decide.

Unable to contain me, he chose this method to malign me by influencing animators of my community to write against me; or did he himself write it and putting the blame of innocent Animators? To find the truth, the letter which was read in that emergency meeting must be published.  Now that he has been cornered, he is trying to find a way out.

He has gone to the extent of ignoring the constitution of PPC. It has been noticed that the last couple of months, AOB (Any Other Business) has been missing from the agenda of PPC meetings, which is mandatory as per PPC constitution. Obviously he does not want to face uncomfortable questions, lest he be exposed.

I was surprised to hear from Fr. Wilson that Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias has ordered to put a stop and has sent orders to the new Parish Priest Fr. Lawrence Correa and the clergy not to take up my/our issues, which we find hard to digest. Through copy of this letter we shall seek clarification from His Eminence because he had assured us during our meeting with him on 24th of June 2014, that he would be handing over the matter to Fr. Harold Vaz, which so far we havenât heard about.

Sincerely yours,

Baptist Fernando

Copy to:         H. E. Cardinal Oswald Gracias

Your eminence, we are surprised to know that you have issued the orders to close the issue without letting us know about it. We certainly would have acceded to your request. But we know you would not allow injustice to happen to anyone. Therefore you assured us of handing over the matter to Fr. Harold Vaz, to investigate. We are still awaiting a call from Fr. Harold Vaz, or a closure from Your Eminence, as we are still actively involved in the parish.

Would you like us to live with a stigma throughout our life and allow the mischief monger, who is a parishioner like one of us,  to go scot free so that he can play with someone elseâs sentiments. You decide and let us know..

Baptist Fernando

PPC, Community No. 4

9769573020

 

Dear Michael Rodrigues and Members of Ex. Committee

Thank you for accepting Point No. 1 for discussion under AOB in the next PPC meeting. However, your refusal to accept point no. 2 under AOB for discussion has confirmed my suspicion that the Executive committee, together with you is involved in fabricating the letter in the names of innocent Animators to malign my reputation. Maligning someoneâs

name means to make evil, harmful, and often untrue statements about the person; and it is a criminal offence under IPC.

You have exposed your intention for maligning my reputation. The letter episode was fabricated to throttle my voice from speaking about MISSING ENVELOPS, the mess you want to brush under the carpet. Please remember, no amount of your dirty tricks will silence me.

Regards,

Baptist Fernando

PPC, Community No. 4

On Fri, 26 Sep 2014 11:27:49 +0530 Michael Rodrigues wrote

Dear Baptist,

We the Executive Committee members are in receipt of your email dt. September 20, 2014.

The same was discussed at our Ex. Committee meeting and following is our reply:

  1. Only Point no. 1 (1% envelope) will be taken under AOB at the OctoberPPC meeting.
  2. For the second point, please refer to our reply sent to you last month.

On behalf of the Executive Committee,

Michael Rodrigues

VP-PPC

On Saturday, 20 September 2014 12:44 PM, baptist fernando

wrote:

To

VP-PPC/PPCExec. Comm.

This is for your information about what happened at our SCC meeting held on 18th

September 2014, in the presence of our Sp. Director Fr. Wilson, the following points were discussed and an assurance was given by our Sp. Director, that the first point, would be part of the Agenda, for the October meeting. Please also refer to the mail sent on 28th August 2014, which was in reply to theSept. Agenda

sent to me.

1>1% Envelope (kindly note that this a recurring problem).

2> Our Animators are willing to meet with you VP-PPC and clarify the letter/minutes of

the meeting, which was read out at the emergency PPC meeting held on 25th October 2013.

Kindly acknowledge receipt.

Baptist Fernando

PPC Member, Comm. 4

From: “baptist fernando” <bapuvari97@rediffmail.com>To: scc.shc@gmail.comCc: innusvd@gmail.com dflavy@hotmail.com fdsouza@jetairways.com rositatony@hotmail.com rohit1701c@yahoo.comTo

The SCC Project Team,

Thanks for your concern with regard to the name of Coordinator being elected in my

Community. As you may well know that the Secretary – Mrs. Succrine Patole and the

Coordinator – Mrs. Celine Pinto both resigned from their post at the same time, inspite

of my request to continue at least for a month but refused, due to health reason, but

Mrs. Celine Pinto, found it lucrative to head the Women’s Cell by being the Coordinator

at the Parish Level. In my opinion, a parishioner serves his/her community first and

through the community serves the Parish.

Since you are heading the SCC Team and are a part of the Exec. Comm. I would appreciate if you could send her a mail, asking her why & how she had resigned ? like you have sent me. I too would like to know how she took up this post as Coordinator in the Women’s Cell.

As soon as we have a coordinator for our Community, I will let you know of the same.

Surprisingly Fr. Wilson who is our Sp. Director, and attends all our meetings, did not

pursue this.

Thank you

On Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:34:13 +0530 SCC Project Team wrote

>Dear Baptist,

Kindly forward the name, contact number and email ID,  if the SCC Coordinator has been nominated for your community.

Thanks & Regards

SCC TeamSacred Heart ParishAndheri East

Flavy – 9819414804, Rosita – 9820634589, Rohit – 9820897047

 

Baptist Fernando

PPC, Community No. 4

 

 

Dear PPC Members,
This is with reference to the PPC meeting held on 4th September 2014, where AOB point was raised, not featuring in the Agenda since June, inspite of me sending a mail to the Exec. Comm. to include the same, as I had so many queries to clarify, Writing to the Exec. Comm. was like throwing water on duck’s back and so thought if at the PPC meeting, under AOB, I would get your attention. But it was not to be. Subsequently I have now received a mail from Jessie (Bombay Catholic Sabha Member) accusing the PPC Exec. Comm. for maligning her name at the emergency PPC meeting held on 25th October 2013, where I too was made a victim and humiliated by all PPC members present. I have made innumerous efforts asking for the copy of the letter that was read out at this emergency meeting and I have not received it yet for reasons best known.

I now stand before you, PPC members, as a victim and a criminal which the VP-PPC, is solely to be blamed, as the true picture is not told to you all besides I, just, like Jessie and many more have been maligned and are hurt, as we too are human like you. The VP-PPCâs attitude, arrogance and high handedness is unpardonable, and should step down from his post before further damage is done to the parish and parishioners. There are many issues and emails/letters written to the PPC Exec. Comm. which is not addressed to the sender or made known to you Parish Councilors.

Let us all be strong in our decision and objections where the parish activities are concerned. I do not know if you have noticed but VP-PPC repeatedly said this at least 5 times “We the Exec. Comm. Decided”. This is not the functioning of the PPC. As per the constitution, everything has to be discussed with all 34 PPC members and then go forward with the plan /activities. Remember PPC members this humiliation that I received from the Exec. Comm. Members in your presence has in many ways affected me. TODAY IT IS ME, TOMORROW IT MAY BE YOU.

Regards
Baptist Fernando
PPC – Community No.4
 

Laity Speaks on : People will forgive a weak priest, but not a greedy one: Pope Francis

People will forgive a weak priest, but not a greedy one: Pope Francis

 The above mentioned Post, has received relevant comments. SILENT VOICE, perceives that they be highlighted for wider audience, instead of remaining as comments on the post. Therefore, putting them up as main post for benefit of valuable patrons of SILENT VOICE. It is our endeavor that comments get maximum exposure.

GREG 

Pope Francis

  1. November 22, 2014 at 11:58 pm · Edit

    If you type ‘Mira Road’ in the ‘search box’ or (https://silentmaj.wordpress.com/?s=mira+road ),
    you will realize the effort that is gone for the past 3 plus years in exposing the greed, corruption, cheating (the Law of the land, parishioners and Archdiocese), embezzlement of funds by the Carmelite priests here in St. Joseph Church, Mira Road. The involvement of some of the office bearers of the PPC and the Finance Committee members stands thoroughly exposed.
    The Financial Statement for the year 2013-14 which is supposed to be submitted to the Charity Commissioner by 30th September 2014, has not yet been submitted and as per the confession of the Auditor’ only TDS has been paid. According to him such delaying tactics are adopted when finances are not handled properly.
    We have been silent for a while since April this year. We wanted financial clarifications from the previous parish priest Fr. Dominic Vas OCD, after we found lots of financial irregularities in the Audit statements submitted to the Office of the Charity Commissioner for the years 2009-10; 10-11; 11-12 and later after much effort 2012-13 from the present Parish Priest. We got the statements through RTI from the Office of the Charity Commissioner, Thane. Fr. Dominic Vas not only dodged us and ran away without answering us but by the end of May all the priests (5 of them) of the parish but one, were transferred. The Provincial claiming it as a routine transfer is understandable. The happenings of the last week of May 2014 will be revealed in another installment which will come soon.
    Monies running into lakhs and lakhs of rupees remain unaccounted and untraceable and this has been authenticated by the statement given by the Auditor, Mr. V.N. Khandekar in his remarks. The copy of the same has been procured by us from the present Parish Priest. We are awaiting more information (if given) which will expose their misdeeds in much greater depth and detail. We have given a notice period of 15 days failing which, we will be forced to approach the Charity Commissioner and Income Tax authorities. We have informed the Archbishop of our decision to approach the Charity Commissioner.

    So now, what do we make of this and what is the role of the Archdiocesan authorities in all this?
    Before I answer and which refers to the homily of Pope Francis in which he mentions that two things cannot be forgiven:
    1. A priest attached to money
    2. A priest who mistreats people.
    What the earlier PP has done is much more than this. You can see the letter in Mira Road section, which was given to Oswald Cardinal Gracias on 13th Jan 2014, summing up the contents of the discussion at the meeting with him on 3rd Jan 2014. The letter to him asking for his appointment on urgent matters facing our parish was given to him on 26 July 2013, (a full 5+months for just a meeting). We wished the authorities had intervened earlier when we approached the Dean giving him a letter dated 7th March 2013.
    It’s sad and frustrating and disappointing, the response (or the lack of it) from the Archdiocesan authorities. They haven’t kept a single promise made to us to deal with the issues. Of course some changes have taken place but these are peanuts in comparison to the much more serious issues. This is more painful and goes to show the attitude and the importance given to the Laity. Designing programs and holding discussions is good but when the same agreements’ coming out of this discussions are violated and when we approach them for redressal our experience is far far from good.
    So many questions come to mind when things so serious in nature are not addressed quickly even when evidence is so stark and visible. Then the parishioners who come knocking on the door for justice are made to run from one office to the other only goes to show how much we are ‘made in the image and likeness of God’. This sentence from the pulpit sounds good to the ears but means nothing. We wonder, what is the difference between the church and other corrupt systems that we face every day? Or are these people hand in gloves to protect their clan? It seems so, for us from our experience; after all our pleas have fallen on deaf ears so far.
    If there is slightest iota of respect and obedience to the Bishop of Rome from the authorities, we have not witnessed it so far. Otherwise situations would not have come thus far. Much more muck is on the way……
    We don’t deserve this! My sincere appeal to the Archdiocesan authorities: For Papa Francis’ sake, please shift them on top of Mt. Carmel. This is better than the prescription meted out by Jesus, “….better be thrown into the sea”

    Like

  2. November 23, 2014 at 4:52 am · Edit

    I sincerely hope ALL the secular/diocesan clergy in India have not only heard but understand what the Pope has said — As I keep saying this fatal & deadly disease / epidemic we have in our Catholic clergy system must be abolished immediately — these clergy are a terrible shame to all those who believe in JESUS CHRIST and HIS teachings.
    I would really like to see even ONE of this ilk who is truly a shepherd in life — I do not think anyone of us can even find one.

    November 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm · Edit

    My dear friends it is useless pleading to the the deaf dumb and blind hierarchy of the church in mumbai. its better to seek justice from the law of the land. GOD is really with us as time is passing by more and more skeletons are coming out of the cupboard. PRAISE AND THANK GOD.

    November 24, 2014 at 8:24 am · Edit

    Robert, unfortunate part is pope is in opinion of many as in all corporate is symbolic to lay followers & amp; kept in place of disciple PETER. But institution of church is not controlled by him & amp; totally controlled by most corrupt charity on planet by roman curia (based on sicilian/malta methodology) whose founder is paul(saul) & not any disciple of jesus. instead saul was jewish noble in ROMAN EMPIRE of those days & switched over his loyalty to JESUS TEACHINGS for questionable reasons…!???

Pope Francis meets with pilgrims from India

In his remarks, he made special mention of the Church in the Indian state of Kerala, thanking them for their “apostolic zeal”.

Pope Francis meets with Indian pilgrims on Monday in St. Peter’s Basilica – OSS_ROM

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday greeted pilgrims from India who came to Romeforthe canonization ofFatherKuriakoseEliasChavara and Sister EuphrasiaEluvathingal.“Father Kuriakose Elias was a religious, both active and contemplative, who generously gave his life for theSyro-Malabar Church, putting into action the maxim ‘sanctification of oneself andthe salvation of others’,”  Pope Francis said. “For her part, Sister Euphrasia lived in profound union with God so much so that her life of holiness was an example and an encouragement to the people, who called her ‘Praying Mother’.”In his remarks, he made special mention of the Church in the Indian state of Kerala, thanking them for their “apostolic zeal”.

Below is the full text of the Pope’s address to the pilgrims from India

I am pleased to join you in giving thanks to the Lord for the canonization of two new Indian saints, both from the State of Kerala. I take this opportunity to thank the Church in India, the Church in Kerala, for all its apostolic vigour and for your witness to the Faith! My heartfelt gratitude! Keep up the good work! Kerala is rich in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Continue on this path, working through your witness. I thank Cardinal George Alencherry, the Bishops, priests, men and women religious, and each of you, dear brothers and sisters of the Syro-Malabar rite. I remember in a special way the Cardinal of the Syro- Malankara rite: thank you! Did you know that your Syro-Malankar Cardinal is the youngest member of the College of Cardinals?
You have come to Rome in great numbers on this very important occasion, and have been able to live days of faith and ecclesial communion, praying also at the tombs of the Apostles. May this time of celebration and intense spirituality help you to contemplate the marvellous works accomplished by the Lord in the lives and deeds of these new saints.
Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia Eluvathingal, who was a member of the religious Institute founded by him, remind each of us that God’s love is the source, the support and the goal of all holiness, while love of neighbour is the clearest manifestation of love for God. Father Kuriakose Elias was a religious, both active and contemplative, who generously gave his life for the Syro-Malabar Church, putting into action the maxim “sanctification of oneself and the salvation of others”. For her part, Sister Euphrasia lived in profound union with God so much so that her life of holiness was an example and an encouragement to the people, who called her “Praying Mother”. There are many consecrated religious here today, especially consecrated women. May you also may be known as “Praying Sisters”.
Dear brothers and sisters, may these new saints help you to treasure their lessons of evangelical living. Follow in their footsteps and imitate them, in a particular way, through love of Jesus in the Eucharist and love of the Church. Thus you will advance along the path to holiness. With this hope and the assurance of my prayers, I impart to each of you and to all your loved ones my Apostolic Blessing. Thank you!

 

Courtesy: Vatican Radio

People will forgive a weak priest, but not a greedy one: Pope Francis

In his Friday morning Mass, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel reading where Jesus pushes merchants from the Temple because they turned the house of prayer into a den of thieves. The Pope said, even nowadays, Christians make those same mistakes.
POPE FRANCIS
“When those who are in the Temple – be they priests, lay people, secretaries, who manage the ministry of the Temple…when they become business people the community is scandalized. And we are responsible for this. The laity is too! Everyone. Because if I see this happening in my parish, I need to have courage and tell it directly the pastor.”
The Pope then added that there are two sins that a community cannot forgive. One is a priest who is obsessed with money. The other, a priest who disrespects people. He also explained that Salvation is free.
SUMMARY OF POPE’S MASS
(Source: Vatican Radio)
“People will forgive a weak priest or pastoral minister, but they will not forgive a greedy one or one who mistreats people, said Pope Francis at Mass Friday morning as he marked the feast of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a prayer that she help us keep the Lord’s Temple clean.
 
Basing his homily on the Gospel of the Day in which Jesus drives the merchants from the Temple because they had turned the house of prayer into a den of thieves, Pope Francis said in doing so Jesus was purifying the Temple of God because it had been profaned and with it the People of God.  The Temple had been defiled with the gravest of sins: scandal.
 
“People are good – continued Pope Francis- people went to the Temple and did not look at these things, they sought God and prayed … but they had to change their money into coins to make offers”. The people of God did not go to the Temple for these people, for those who were selling things, they went because it was the Temple of God” and “there was corruption that scandalized the people”.  Pope Francis recalled the biblical story of Anna, a humble woman, mother of Samuel, who goes to the temple to ask for the grace of a child: “she whispered her prayers silently” while the priest and his two sons were corrupt, they exploited the pilgrims, they scandalized the people. “I think of how our attitude can scandalize people – said Pope Francis – with unpriestly habits in the Temple: the scandal of doing business, the scandal of worldliness … How often when we enter a church do we see  – even today – do we see a price list hanging there “for baptism, blessings, Mass intentions”. And people are scandalized”.
 

Thousands to attend Indian canonizations at Vatican

 

Bl Fr Chavara Elias Kuriakose and Bl Sr Euphraisa of Sacred Heart of Jesus to be canonized November 23.

Kochi: At least 4,000 Indians are expected at the Vatican this weekend to see Pope Francis officially declare two Indians — a mystic nun and a social reformer priest — as saints.

Blessed Father Chavara Elias Kuriakose (1805-1871) and Blessed Sister Euphraisa of Sacred Heart of Jesus (1877-1952), both from the Syro-Malabar Church based in southern Kerala state, are set be canonized on November 23.

The canonizations come six years after the canonization of India’s first woman saint, Sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception, said Cardinal George Alenecherry, the Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar Church.

Both the future saints are credited with spearheading a better spiritual and social awareness that have become the foundations of present-day Catholic life in Kerala, the cardinal told ucanews.com.

“We expect some 4,000 people from India at the Vatican. Also, hundreds of our priests and nuns working in Europe and other parts of Asia should be attending it,” said Father Robin Kannanchira, public relations officer for the congregation Blessed Chavara founded — the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI).

Social thinkers and historians say Blessed Chavara was a leading social reformer in 19th century Kerala, which was beset with social ills such as the caste system, discrimination and pervasive superstition.

Blessed Chavara was instrumental in establishing modern secular education along with parish churches to provide education to all people irrespective of caste and religion, said KS Radhakrishnan, former vice chancellor of Kerala’s Sanskrit University.

The priest established a Sanskrit school in 1846, when Sanskrit was considered the language of affluent classes and learning it was reserved only for upper-caste people.

“Sanskrit at that time was not a language alone, it was the abode of wealth, power, position and fame in society,” Radhakrishnan said.

By opening his Sanskrit school to all, “this visionary … was pioneering a revolution, making low caste people enjoy wealth, power and position”, he said.

In 1829 he established the CMI, the first indigenous religious institute for men in the Kerala Church, becoming its first prior-general.

Almost four decades later, in 1866, along with Carmelite missionary Leopold Beccaro, Blessed Chavara began the first Carmelite convent, the first indigenous order for women in the Syro Malabar Church, today known as the Congregation of Mother Carmel.

Sister Euphrasia, the nun who will be canonized with him at the weekend, is one of the congregation’s pioneers, according to Sister Sancta Kolath, the order’s present superior-general.

“She was not known for building up anything or social reform. She led an intense life of prayer. She was known as the ‘praying mother’,” said Sister Kolath who also described her as a “mystic”.

During her lifetime “people flocked to her, seeking … counseling and inspiration, and that was her way of helping people,” she said.

Soon after her death people began to pray at her tomb and many claim to have received favors through her. Her saintly nature was accepted as a fact even during her lifetime.

Her inspiration helps the congregation engage in the fields of education, social work and healing across India and Europe, Sister Kolath said.

Source: ucanews.com

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