Parishioners seek to nix land deal for state’s oldest Church;

One Name appearing in the Report rings the bell. Father JOHN RUMAO.
He seems to have been involved in the sale of Church lands, belonging to St. John the Baptist Church, Thane; Our Lady of Egypt Church, Kalina, and St. Xavier’s Church, Vile Parle. There could be others too.
It appears that he has been misusing the power as SOLE TRUSTEE, which has been bestowed upon the PARISH PRIESTS by the CHURCH AUTHORITIES. Or has he been assigned the task of disposing off the Church Properties by the Hierarchy?
Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias should fulfill his promise of abolishing the SOLE TRUSTEE powers of the Parish Priests.
Sep 29 2015 : Mirror (Mumbai)

Parishioners of the state’s oldest church have demanded revocation of a controversial sale that saw Hiranandani Constructions bag development rights for 21,000 sq mt of church land for Rs 20 crore.Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy Church at Thane’s Pokhran Road passed a resolution opposing the 2007 sale last month and handed their appeal to the archdiocese, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, on Sunday.

The sale has been opposed on three main grounds: the church, built on a 37,500-sq mt land, is a heritage property; the former priest who struck the deal did not share full details with parishioners; and the plot in question has been reserved as a playground.

“It is a heritage church and parishioners want to ensure that the land is not taken over by builders,“ said Melwyn Fernandes, a member of the church’s property committee that passed the resolution against the sale.

“The cardinal has the authority to revoke sale of any church land. We are hopeful that our appeal will be heard.“

Former priest Father John Rumao, who was previously the sole trustee, had signed the deal for the 21,000 sq mt of church land with Hiranandani Constructions. Mumbai Mirror had reported the sale in 2013.

The developer had apparently planned to hand over the plot the Thane Municipal Commissioner and seek transfer of development rights in exchange. But the deal was stayed by the charity commissioner.

While surrendering development rights, Father Rumao allegedly told officials that the plot had been heavily encroached upon. Church-goers, who learned about his claim recently, say that the plot has always been free of encroachments.

The deal was struck for Rs 20 crore, but parishioners say in 2007, it was easily worth Rs 50 crore.

“Queen Victoria had gifted the land for the church. We obtained the land deed details under the Right to Information Act,“ said CP Georje, a member of the property committee. “The Archaeological Survey of India had asked the civic body to declare the area as a heritage property, but officials have failed to do so.“

Matter related to Our Lady of Nazareth Parish, Bhayandar;

Parish Priest supporting encroachment of Church Properties.


OL of Nazareth, Bhayandar


A Standing example, How the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Nazareth Church, Bhayander supports the encroachment of the church Properties.

On 1 Jan 2015, And Prominent plot which belong to the church, On Which in Reliance Energy Ltd tried to put up and Sub- Station without the permission of the church taking advantages of the New Year day, while almost all of the parishioners are busy in New Year celebrations.

Some of the alert Parishioners alarmed and informed about the situation and within a period of 15 – 20 minutes approx 40 – 50 Parishioners gathered to stop the construction and installation of Substation on the Plot.   Reliance Company tried to put their Weight around with the local authorities try to have their way. However, the determined Parishioners never gave up and ensure that the substation was pull down.

The Parish Priest was given minute-by-minute information about the situation and after the episode was over, we met the Parish Priest and offer him our services that we would construct a compound wall on the Property.

However, as usual the un-interested Parish Priest Fr. Anselm Gonsalves comes up with a lame excuse because he does not want to indulge in any activity, which is other then the routine.  Anything beyond the routine is and Headache for him.

Therefore, He came up with any Idea that the Plot has been sold 5 years ago, but forgets the fact that in last 5 years on 25% amount the builder has paid to the church against the sale and has defaulted in the Transaction.  Still the priest feels that the plot is not under church.   Further he states that he has Authority to spend only Rs 50000/- and he would had to take permission from the Bishop House for additional funds.  Please refer to the Extract from the website of Archdiocese with relate to Expenditure of funds.

Main Objective:  Assist the Archbishop in the administration of finances of the Archdiocese in accordance with Canon Law. 

Stages of approval for parish expenditure for projects ranging:

  1. Between Rs 50,000 to Rs 4, 00,000- require Parish Finance Committee’s approval.
  2. between Rs 4,00,000 to Rs 10,00,000 and above – require PFC recommendation and Archbishop’s approval
  3. exceeding Rs 10,00,000 – The Archbishop consults the Archdiocesan Finance Committee and the College of Consultors before granting his approval of a project recommended by the PFC.


The Expense for the compound wall was within the sum of Rs 1.5 lac Rupees, but the Parish Priest feels that it is not necessary to trouble the Parish Finance Committee and Prefer to expose the church properties for loot and nuisance.

Such are deeds and irresponsibleness of the Parish Priest where there are in the parish for Pleasure and leisure and not for service.  Various Church properties in Bhayander has been have been encroached and misused but the Parish Priest is become a spectator to it and every request to protect and guard the properties is fallen unto deaf ears.

The same was the situation in Goria Parish during his tenure, as Building the School project was delayed for more than 6 years, and was completed with 2 years after he was transferred.  It is the sad situation in Bhayander Parish and no hopes any form until the Parish Priest is in Bhayander. Lord Save our Parish from such Parish Priest.


Noel Corriea

CC:  Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Bombay Catholics Saba President, Greg Pereira, Hurbert Baretto, Mobai Gaothan Panchayat, Bishop Percival J Fernanadez, Adv Godfrey Pimenta, Silent Voice website, Mrs Leela D’souza. Bhayander East Indian  Association.

Full text of the Pope’s speech at the White House;

 When it comes to the care of our “common home”, we are living at a critical moment of history.  We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about “a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change” —Pope Francis.


Mr. President,
I am deeply grateful for your welcome in the name of all Americans.  As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families.  I look forward to these days of encounter and dialogue, in which I hope to listen to, and share, many of the hopes and dreams of the American people.
During my visit I will have the honor of addressing Congress, where I hope, as a brother of this country, to offer words of encouragement to those called to guide the nation’s political future in fidelity to its founding principles.  I will also travel to Philadelphia for the Eighth World Meeting of Families, to celebrate and support the institutions of marriage and the family at this, a critical moment in the history of our civilization.
Mr. President, together with their fellow citizens, American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination.  With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty.  That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions.  And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.
Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution.  Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.  When it comes to the care of our “common home”, we are living at a critical moment of history.  We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about “a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change” (Laudato Si’, 13).  Such change demands on our part a serious and responsible recognition not only of the kind of world we may be leaving to our children, but also to the millions of people living under a system which has overlooked them.  Our common home has been part of this group of the excluded which cries out to heaven and which today powerfully strikes our homes, our cities and our societies.  To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.
We know by faith that “the Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us.  Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home” (Laudato Si’, 13).  As Christians inspired by this certainty, we wish to commit ourselves to the conscious and responsible care of our common home.
The efforts which were recently made to mend broken relationships and to open new doors to cooperation within our human family represent positive steps along the path of reconciliation, justice and freedom.  I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development, so that our brothers and sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children.
Mr. President, once again I thank you for your welcome, and I look forward to these days in your country.  God bless America!

Pope Francis arrives in U.S. for historic visit;



Washington (CNN)Pope Francis landed on U.S. soil for the first time just before 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, launching a six-day visit that will highlight his love for the poor and his willingness to tackle the nation’s most significant political, social and economic controversies.

In an unprecedented welcome for a foreign dignitary, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, along with Vice President Joe Biden and his family, traveled to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington to greet the pontiff, who arrived from Cuba.

The flags of the United States and the Vatican flapped from the cockpit windows of the pope’s chartered Italian jet as it rolled to a stop near a line of priests in black and red robes and a group of children from local Catholic schools.

The crowd chanted “Ho Ho, Hey, Hey Hey, Welcome to the U.S.A.” as Francis became the fourth head of the Catholic Church to visit the United States, nearly 50 years after Paul VI made the first visit by a pontiff to the country in October 1965.

On the plane en route to the United States, Francis told reporters, including CNN’s Rosa Flores, that he was happy to make his first U.S. visit. He dismissed suggestions that he was a socialist or a “lefty,” saying that despite his warnings of the inequities in the global economic system, his beliefs were consistent with the established social doctrine of the Church.

After a brief private meeting with Obama in a VIP suite, the pope climbed into a black Fiat hatchback car with the number plate SCV 1, which was much smaller than the limousine foreign visitors normally take in Washington — in keeping with his rejection of much of the pageantry that accompanies the papacy and his desire to live a humble life. After a busy few days in Cuba, Francis has no scheduled events on Tuesday night and will remain at the residence of the Apostolic Nuncio or Vatican ambassador to the United States.

Obama will roll out an official welcoming ceremony for Francis on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday. The pope will then parade through downtown Washington in his Popemobile, with thousands of people expected to line the sidewalks. He’ll hold a canonization later in the day at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The highly anticipated visit is triggering one of the largest security mobilizations in U.S. history, jointly run by the U.S. Secret Service and the F.B.I. and involving federal, state and city law enforcement. Officials have said, however, that they have not detected any specific terrorist threat to the pope while he is in the United States.

READ: Pope Francis brings tough love to America

While he is certain of a warm welcome, Francis’ trip will include uncomfortable moments — as is typical of a pontiff who has disrupted the status quo and questioned the morality of modern society.

He is certain to emphasize one of the central themes of his papacy — that the unfettered capitalism practiced in the United States and the West is fostering income inequality and creating an economic culture where the poor are simply discarded.

In a highly symbolic moment, Francis will pass on lunch with lawmakers after addressing Congress and will dine instead with homeless people in Washington.

The role of Pope Francis in 2016 politics

 The role of Pope Francis in 2016 politics 01:54

While he is expected to praise U.S. founding ideals of democracy and freedom, Francis could also wade onto dangerous political ground. He told reporters traveling with him that he would likely not raise the issue of the U.S. embargo on Cuba, which is still in place despite Obama’s lifting of some restrictions on U.S. contacts with the communist island.

READ: What the Pope and Obama will talk about

Francis’ past calls for migrants to be respected could draw him into the heated debate on illegal immigration that is roiling the 2016 presidential campaign. Warnings by Francis of the need to tackle climate change have angered some Republicans. The Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion meanwhile puts him at odds with many Democrats and the Obama administration.

Papal experts say that rather than openly rebuking the U.S. way of life, Francis will seek to persuade America that its great wealth confers special responsibility.

Francis, 78, has never visited the United States before. He will encounter a nation where Catholic church attendance is on the decline, fallout over abuse scandals continues and longtime religious institutions erode amid an increasingly secular way of life.

Still, Catholicism is gaining ground among Hispanic immigrants to the United States — a community for which his calls for humane treatment of migrants are especially significant.

Francis landed in Washington as a new CNN/ORC poll found that nearly half of Americans and 78% of Catholics were looking forward to his visit.

READ: The Pope vs. the GOP

Francis made only veiled criticisms of the regime in Cuba during his stay, perhaps in an attempt to preserve the opening he helped broker between the United States and the communist island after more than half a century of estrangement.

But he did tell Catholics during an open air Mass on Monday that religion requires “missionary activity” and service, a subtle nod to the many restrictions his communist host country places on church activity.

The humility with which which Francis has lived his faith is key to his popularity in the United States and around the world and is firing up anticipation for his visit.

“He is my hero. He lives the Gospel in the way I want to live it myself … he tries to make sure that people all feel they are included,” said Monsignor John Enzler, CEO of Washington Catholic Charities, on CNN’s “Wolf.” “When I have a chance to meet him, and frankly just be with him, I am going to be lifted up myself. I am really psyched.”

Pope Francis to address U. N. General Assembly;

Pope’s UN address comes on the foundation of his predecessors

Francis set to deliver fifth papal speech to world body on Sept. 25

<p>U.N. headquarters in New York City. Pope Francis will give a speech at the U.N. during his Sept. 22-27 visit to the United States. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)</p>

U.N. headquarters in New York City.  (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

  • Dennis Sadowski for Catholic News Service

Pope Francis’ address to the U.N. General Assembly Sept. 25 will mark the fifth papal speech delivered directly to representatives of the world’s governments.

His address will come almost 50 years to the day — Oct. 4, 1965 — when Blessed Paul VI became the first pontiff to speak to the General Assembly in what has become a hallmark of recent papal history.

While the exact content of Pope Francis’ message will not be revealed until he delivers his address, it’s almost assured that topics revolving around human dignity that form the foundation of Christian life — concern for poor and marginalized people, migrants seeking security, care for the environment — will be prominent themes in his speech.

Pope Francis’ three predecessors who spoke to the General Assembly — Blessed Paul VI, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI — addressed issues reflecting the great social and political challenges of their era. There is no reason to believe Pope Francis will change course, especially at a time when the world is confronting serious challenges to the well-being of humanity.

Blessed Paul VI made history in 1965, as the Second Vatican Council was ending, when he became the first pope to address the U.N. Outside of the significant changes that were about to remake the Catholic Church, the world was in the midst of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war formed the backdrop of Blessed Paul’s concerns.

Pointing to the U.N.’s charter, which identified the unification of countries for the betterment of humanity as a primary purpose of the world body, Blessed Paul urged the world leaders to “make yourselves equal” in an attempt to overcome pride, which leads to conflict and even war.

“Let no one as a member of your organization be superior to others; not one over the other. This is the formula for equality…. Not that you are all equal, but here you make yourselves equal. And it may well be that for a number of you this calls for an act of great virtue,” Blessed Paul said.

From there, quoting President John F. Kennedy, Blessed Paul urged the world representatives to put an end to war: “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.”

Human rights

At the 34th U.N. General Assembly on Oct. 2, 1979, St. John Paul held up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the basis for all action by the world body. He argued that each man and woman is “endowed with dignity as a human person, with his or her own culture, experiences and aspirations, tensions and sufferings and legitimate expectations.”

Referencing the declaration, he said, “This document is a milestone on the long and difficult path of the human race. The progress of humanity must be measured not only by the progress of science and technology, which shows man’s uniqueness with regard to nature, but also and chiefly by the primacy given to spiritual values and by the progress of moral life.”

He also questioned the morality of the arms race involving both conventional and nuclear weapons. He said the willingness of nations to seek new and more sophisticated weapons shows “that there is a desire to be ready for war and being ready means being able to start it.”

In St. John Paul’s way of thinking, war was an affront to human dignity and infringed upon basic human rights.

Addressing the General Assembly a second time, Oct. 5, 1995, on its 50th anniversary, St. John Paul had seen that the nuclear tensions of the Cold War-era had eased. However, ethnic tensions in places such as the Balkans and Central Africa as well as the rise of armed insurgencies seeking to impose strict Islamic law throughout the Middle East had emerged.

Acceptance of differences among people and cultures became one of St. John Paul’s key messages to the U.N. He again held up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the guide for world action. Stressing the “fundamental commonality” among people, St. John Paul called for a sense of solidarity with persecuted people to emerge in U.N. deliberations.

He also issued a call for the world body to build a “family of nations” that would lead to “mutual trust, mutual support and sincere respect.”


Pope Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict, addressed the U.N. April 18, 2008, during his only trip to the United States. Pope Benedict took the themes of early papal addresses and reiterated the call for the respect of human dignity, religious freedom and the just distribution of goods to build the human family.

Concern for the lack of “integral development” of African and other unspecified nations as globalization swept the world was the first major concern Pope Benedict discussed in his address. He said many nations were “at risk of experiencing only the negative effects of globalization”.

He said religious freedom in particular must be upheld because of the great contribution of religious belief to humanity and history.

He also called for the U.N. to promote human rights as “the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups and for increasing security”.

As a priest from the developing world, Pope Francis will likely build on these themes and offer his own views on contemporary concerns based on his experiences with the poor and vulnerable in his native Argentina.

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