Mumbai Catholics fight land acquisition move

They demand the civic body to revoke all land acquisition notices for river and road widening work.

Posted on November 29, 2012, 5:30 PM

Mumbai:Catholics in Mumbai plan to march through the city streets on Dec. 1 to protest Bombay Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) move to take over land from two churches and a Christian school in the city.

The BMC served notices to Our Lady of Assumption Church and St Joseph’s School in Kandivli and St. Anthony’s Church in Malad asking them to surrender portions of their land for development of civic infrastructure.

The Bombay Catholic Sabha along with the Save Our Land Committee (SOUL) would take out the rally and hold a meeting later to discuss their next course of action on Dec. 1.

The groups also demanded the BMC to revoke all land acquisition notices for river and road widening work.

The BMC has asked the Kandivli church to surrender 0.5 metre to 4 metre of width of land at various points along the boundary wall.

“The river is 36 metre wide near the church but at several points, it is 10 metre. Why can’t BMC widen those portions and deepen the river to increase the holding capacity,” said Dolphy D’souza, SOUL spokesperson.




Saturday, 1st December at 4.30pm





Locals protest church, school acquisition notice
BMC serves order on two churches and a school in Kandivli for nullah widening project
DNA Correspondent

Angered by the civic body’s acquisition notices to two churches and a school, Kandivli locals have demanded that they withdraw the notices and have planned a protest rally on December 1.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issued the acquisition notices to St Joseph High School and churches Our Lady of the Assumption and St Anthony’s in Kandivli asking them to handover a stretch of land for its proposed nullah widening projects across the city.
“The civic body wants parts of the cemetery, school ground and the two churches for widening the Poisar river. If we agree, we will loose a playground which nearly 1,700 children use and our ancestors’ graves,” said Dolphy D’Souza, spokesperson of Save Our Land Committee (SOUL).
D’Souza said that the 36m-wide nullah is the widest at the school and the church. Its width varies between 4 and 20 metres at other locations. “At some places, there is no space for the flow of the water as they are encroached by slums, covered with garbage, etc. The civic body now wants to widen the nullah at the churches and the school instead of using alternative methods like clearing the debris or deepening the nullah,” she said.
Godfrey Pimenta of Sahar Citizens Forum, who is supporting SOUL, asked, “A nullah in Marol (east) is being deepened. Then why can’t they do that here?”
St Anthony’s has also been proposed as a Grade II-A structure in the draft heritage list. “So we have asked civic officials to consult the heritage committee first.” Pimenta added.
SOUL also questioned the civic body’s proposed move of widening the Malad-Madh road.
“The area falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone and the No Development Zone beyond St Anthony’s. Defence establishment INS Hamla has also objected to the development due to security reasons in the past. Despite all these, the BMC is going ahead with widening the road,” D’Souza said.
To voice their demands, SOUL has also planned a ‘Peace rally’ on Saturday, December 1 in Kandivli (W).

Published Date:  Nov 29, 2012

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Church must play greater roles in health care: Archbishop

He said India has witnessed remarkable improvement in the health situation of the people.

Posted on November 29, 2012, 5:15 PM


The Church in India has to play greater roles to meet the health care needs of the poor in the changing situations of the country, says Archbishop Bernard Moras, former head of Indian bishops’ health care ministry.

The prelate said this on his return from the 27th International Conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care held in Rome Nov. 15-20.

In his paper presented at the conference on ”Catholic Hospitals in a Challenging World,” he said India has witnessed remarkable improvement in the health situation of the people.

The country has witnessed gradual but steady growth in the personnel, healthcare facilities and the availability of some of the best treatment and healthcare facilities, he said.

However, a vast majority of the people, especially the poor in under-served areas, found basic survival itself as a daily struggle and health a distant dream. Many people did not have access to affordable healthcare or even safe drinking water and sanitation, he said.

”The costs of medical care have risen to such prohibitive levels making facilities unavailable to many and leading to medical systems becoming unsustainable. High technology has an inhuman face leading to people feeling isolated and fragmented,” he said.

Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x.

The Church runs some 3,300 health care institutions in India, including large, medium and small hospitals, health centers and diocesan social service societies. The country also enjoys the services of 600 nun-doctors, 25,000 nun-nurses and 10,000 plus Religious para-professionals with roughly 21 million accessing Catholic healthcare facilities annually.

Though Catholics constitute barely 2 % of the country’s total population, the Catholic health facilities account for around 20 % of the healthcare provided in India, Archbishop Moras said.

The Church also runs 165 leprosy treatment centers, 416 healthcare centers for the aged, 62 centers for tuberculosis treatment and the terminally ill, 67 community care centers for people with HIV/AIDS and 60 counseling centers.


Bangalore ,Health Care ,Archbishop Bernard Moras ,Health Pastoral Care
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When silence is deafening

It is time to speak out but India’s Church appears to be tongue tied.

Posted on November 26, 2012, 5:27 PM

New Delhi:In one of the more traumatic recent weeks in India, the media – electronic and print – exposed their bigotry and their blood thirst in ample measure.

The issues were the tragic death in Ireland of an Indian dentist, Savita Halappanavar of Karnataka state, of septicemia following a miscarriage, and the execution by hanging of Ajmal Kasab, a 25-year-old Pakistani citizen who was part of a terrorist commando group that killed over 160 persons in Mumbai four years ago.

Both issues were also marked by a deafening silence from the official Church in the country.

A response in the first case could have pre-empted a very focused attack on Catholic social teachings and the second would have brought the Church in consonance with the vast civil society that opposed the ghoulish ranting in the media.

There is no doubt but that these are polarizing issues in India, where hyper-nationalism and identity have become critically important in the face of an economic slowdown at home and a perceived isolation abroad.

It does not help that President Barack Obama in his re-election rhetoric repeatedly called for an end to outsourcing services to India, whose economy has become increasingly dependent on remittances from migrant labor in the Gulf region, the engineers in North America and Europe, and the call centers in metropolitan cities and even in some small towns.

But the Church, apart from affirming its continuing faith in its own doctrine and social teachings, also has to show that it is a part of that component of rational civil society which keeps the lunatics, the extremists and the fringe elements at bay, and effectively prevents them from usurping public space in the media and the political discourse.

Above all, it would show that the Church has the courage to go against the grain, to oppose what it perceives to be wrong.

In the case of Halappanavar’s tragic death in a Galway hospital, India’s pro-choice lobby made common cause with its western sister groups in demanding that India intervene to force Ireland to change its “Catholic” laws on abortion, which had led to the medical “murder”.

The media, especially television, led a hysterical propaganda tsunami, pillorying the Church.

It did not help that the few Catholics invited to participate in the studio debates assumed positions of wounded faith and emerged as ogres of a monstrous religion.

The hanging of the Pakistani terrorist was “celebrated” in India, even in some official circles, as a victory of our judicial system, as a “closure” for the victims, and in the crude language of the Home Minister of the state of Maharashtra, “justice” for the victims.

Sections of the media even have us believe it was a victory over Pakistan.

The community must be clear on the Church’s social teachings on the death penalty and abortion.

In a position paper in 2007 during the World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Paris, the Vatican said that the death penalty “is not only a refusal of the right to life, but it also is an affront to human dignity.”

Governments have an obligation to protect their citizens, the paper added. “Today it truly is difficult to justify” using capital punishment when other means of protection, such as life in prison, are possible.

It carries numerous risks, including the danger of punishing innocent people, contributes to a “culture of violence” and shows “a contempt for the Gospel teaching on forgiveness.”

The statement on the Irish issue touching on sanctioning abortion when the life of the mother is in danger came too late, and diluted under the umbrella of the National United Christian Forum, which includes mainline Protestant denominations as well as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

A statement at the beginning of the controversy would have put the Church in a warmer light.

But it was a good and tempered statement and clearly set out the social teachings of the Church in which primacy is for a respect of life as a gift from God, which is not for man to tamper with, just to pander to some exigency of the day.

As important, the statement cautioned against bowing to peer pressure, social trends or lobbies with a vested interest.

The silence in recent decades on issues of human dignity, development and gender has rapidly marginalized the mainline Church, especially the Catholic Church.

Jesuit scholars have been pioneers in documenting displacement and the ecological havoc from big dams and nuclear plants.

The “commissions” of the CBCI dealing with justice, peace and development have attended workshops and tried to educate bishops and protesters.

Similarly, the Indian Catholic Church has been among the first in organized religion to come out with an official gender policy and an education code.

Not only have both these revolutionary documents not contributed to the national discourse, they are not even fully known within the Church.

It hardly needs repeating that the average parish priest and the layperson do not have a clue of the Church’s position on these issues.

Was the Church frightened it would be pilloried as being anti-national if it spoke its mind on the issue of capital punishment in general and the hanging of Kasab in particular, that it would be misunderstood, or that there would be some kind of violent reaction against it, specially in hinterland areas where it is already a victim of violent persecution?

If this were so, it is high time the Church came out of its fear complex, and showed the maturity of standing in the face of obscene and extremist nationalism.

This will earn it the respect of the better elements in the country.

The Church needs to realize that while it ought not be as arrogant as to presume it is the repository of all that is moral, its interventions are important in shaping the national, social, political and development discourse as it stands up for all that is true and honorable and nurturing for the common people of the country whose voice is carried but feebly in forums that matter.

John Dayal is the general secretary of the All India Christian Council and a member of the Indian government’s National Integration Council


When Silence Is Deafening
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Goa church to hold Spanish Mass during Xavier feast


The saint, who hailed from Navarre, in the Basque region of Spain, heralded Christianity in Goa.


Posted on November 26, 2012, 6:36 PM



The Goa Catholic Church would for the first time have a prayer service in Spanish next month during the annual feast of St. Francis Xavier.

“We have so many brethren who come to pray in honor of St. Francis Xavier. Several of them come from Spain, where the saint hails from. The Mass in Spanish is for them to feel at home,” said Fr. Savio Baretto, the church priest.

He said that prayers are also held in Malayalam, Kannada and Tamil as “we have thousands of worshipers coming from states where those languages are spoken.”

English: Vestaments of St. Francis Xavier on d...

Vestaments of St. Francis Xavier on display in Bom Jesus Basilica, Velha Goa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The annual feast, which is held every year from Nov. 24 to Dec. 3, is attended by over a million devotees from India and across the world.

The saint, who hailed from Navarre, in the Basque region of Spain, heralded Christianity in Goa.

After his death in 1552 in Shangchuan in China, his body was first ferried to Malacca in Malaysia and in 1553 stored in the grand Basilica of Bom Jesus, one of the oldest churches in the Indian state.

St. Francis Xavier, incidentally, was among the first Christian missionaries to travel in Japan and Borneo.

The Vision of St Francis Xavier

Vision of St Francis Xavier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Believers regard it as a miracle that the body has not decomposed for nearly five hundred years.

Sceptics point out that the saint’s mortal remains were embalmed to prevent decomposition.

Every year, more than a million believers throng the church complex in Old Goa, located a short distance from the state capital.

Once in a decade, the devotees multiplies manifold, when the church exposes the saint’s remains in a glass-topped silver casket to devotees, in an event known as the “exposition”.

The last such exposition occurred in 2004.

St Francis Xavier

St Francis Xavier (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)



Goa Church ,Spanish Mass ,Xavier Feast ,Panaji.Goa ,Jesuit Saint




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25 Thousand Dedicated Viewers ! – “Generosity is not how much we give, but how much does it cost us.+

 A Year Gone By with Yet.!  + Another Milestone –

“ In the Love and Service of the “Voice” of  “

The Silent Majority “

 With Your Respected Will and Support we can keep doing this in a Million other Ways because, “ Love Isn’t A Big Thing, It’s A Million Little Things”

 Jesus summed up the commandments into one commandment of  “love- love of God and love of our neighbor as ourselves.”  Certainly many of us have our own ways of listening and fulfilling this commandment. Some of us went to a mission or voluntary works. Some lived this out by being a loving and caring mother or father of the family. Still, some have carried this out by being there- personally touching the lives of many people by our presence, by our witness and by our example. +

If I am called to be one of the two witnesses, am I ready?

Prayer:  Lord, grant me the power to be called one of your witnesses and give me the strength to persevere in your church to the end.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

From: Mudita Sodder <>
Date: Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Subject: Re: Maximum views on SILENT VOICE.

My dear greg,

Thank you for your is the fruit of your good work.Our Mother is rewarding you for your labour of love.may your tribe grow.
Mudita rscj

PS enclosing an article for your perusal.

On Thu, 22 Nov 2012 10:51:26 +0530 wrote
>Dear Sr. I hope this mail will find you in pink of health. This mail is to inform you that your article, MOTHER OF PERPECTUAL SUCCOUR : THE MAHIM PHENOMENON, on SILENT VOICE, has been inviting a lot of hits. It has reached to the top. Everyday someone, at least a couple of hits it receive, unlike other posts, which are forgotten after sometime. Will try and repost it at an appropriate time.
Congratulations…. Regards GREG

Dr. (Sr) Mudita Menona Sodder RSCJ

Tarumitra Ashram and Bio-Reserve Centre,
Digha Ghat P.O, Patna 800011, Bihar, India.

Landline: (0612)2261344

Organic certification

Organic certification (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Aamir Khan’s TV Programme, Satyameva Jayate – Episode 8 was captioned, “Toxic Food-Poison On Our Plate”. This was an eye-opener which sent shivers down the spine of many. Everything we eat has more poison by way of artificial manures and chemical pesticides than acceptable norms. Even mother’s milk which is sacred and considered safe and best for the baby is contaminated 800% more than approved or permissible limits, by the food she eats. Every item of food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and even our soil is polluted with deadly chemicals and pesticides. Cancer, miscarriages, cerebral palsy are some of the common results of such slow poisoning. At least 67 banned pesticides are still being used clandestinely in India today.  “400% more than permissible limits of this cocktail of pesticides is going into our bodies. What do we do in such a situation?” queried septuagenarian Mrs. Vaze.

Tarumitra Students’ Forum for the Environment, at Digha Ghat, Patna, Bihar started an experiment in Organic Farming in collaboration with St Xavier’s College at XTTI in January 2012. Four students from the Zamorano University in Central America together with Ms Margaret, Mr Kanchan and team from Tarumitra experimented by planting onions. This was a big failure. Undaunted, realising that the land was fallow, their effort was to make the land fertile by using mulching with dry leaves and old newspaper. Mulching protects the top soil from direct sunlight and heavy rain. It increases the fertility of the land as well as controls weeds. Students from St. Xavier’s College helped out. Delhi Public School and Don Bosco Academy students joined the enthusiastic gang. Potatoes grew well and the first harvest was encouraging. Two Belgian students from Ghent University chipped in with their expertise of Pit, Pile and Vermi composting together with Solid Waste Management for organic farming. They planted green gram and got a bumper crop which was harvested and threshed by students from Bettiah.

At the end of summer, four A.N College interns experimented by planting three rare traditional local heirloom rice varieties of Bihar-Mirchaiya from Champaran, Sonapiya and Kalinga from Latehar which are almost extinct. These local varieties have resistance against diseases, adapt to climate changes, and need less water and less time for maturing. They used the SRI (System of Rice Intensive i.e. One seedling per foot) Method for transplantation and organic manure. Integrated Pest Management was followed. Sticks were planted to attract birds like Drongos to eat the insects on the rice crop.

Natural insect repellents and bio-pesticides were made from neem, custard apple and Karanj leaves together with water and fresh cow dung and sprayed on the rice crop to combat pests. Many students joined to weed the fields as the crops flourished. Kalinga rice sprouted grains and matured in 60 days. Mr George and Ms Margaret (TM staff) counted 140 grains for every ear of rice. This was harvested by Gyan Jyoti Public School and threshed by AVN High School students. Both were well organized and were a happy and memorable life time experience for many. Student farmers took turns to thresh by beating the sheaves of grain. Great slogans, jingles and songs were composed on the spot, extempore and shouted by all.

On 21st November 2012, thirty-five students from Hartmann School and 19 students from St. Joseph’s harvested the Sonapiya crop of rice under the guidance of two interns who worked in the field for three months. However, both Sonapiya and Mirchaiya took 120 days to mature. With sickle in hand , singing Magahi harvesting songs and slogans, the slushy fields upholding the golden ears of grain came alive and transformed itself into a festival gathering. On 22nd and 23rd November 142 B.Ed and M.Ed students and a few staff from St Xavier’s College harvested the Mirchaiya rice crop.

The co-ordinator of the Cultivation Programme Ms Margaret Molomoo and Mr Kanchan Pathak exclaimed, “We are thrilled that the Mirchaiya variety has yielded over 250 grains on each ear of rice.” “This is one of the best I have seen in my life,” said veteran farmer Fr Cherubim Sah, while Ghatta and Vikas from A. N College remarked, “It has been exciting and memorable to think that we have grown rice in the middle of a metro!” Anjali of class VIII from Hartmann School said that it was her first experience of actual harvesting in a rice field. “I enjoyed harvesting the Mirchaiya rice crop. The aroma was tempting”, said B.Ed student Malhar of St Xavier’s B.Ed College.

Sanjita and Kiran from St Joseph’s, who got a few cuts and bruises on their hands, commented that they would bargain anytime for another occasion to harvest rice with students of various schools. “Our concern for Bio-diversity is the sole reason for us to get involved” said Sanjita. “Of the 20,000 varieties of rice we had in the country, today we cultivate less than a 100 in the whole state. This is certainly alarming,” said Ms Molomoo who was trained under Master Fukuoka in Japan in organic farming. “Students from other schools will continue the harvest festival. Several schools have promised to send their students for the fun-filled threshing as soon as the sheaves are dry,” said Mr D.N Prasad.

Organic farming is the need of the hour and the signs of the times. Pesticides are necessary because of monocultures. Two lakh fifty thousand farmers have committed suicide, as a result of hybrid breeds of rice and other crops, the use of chemical fertilizers and too much of pesticides. Pests have become resistant to pesticides thereby demanding the need for stronger pesticides. Repeated applications of chemical manures and pesticides has degraded fertility and poisoned (slow poisoning) the land to such an extent that it can yield no more despite ever increasing amounts of chemical fertilizers and insecticides. Natural allies like earthworms, red wrigglers and even non- vegetarian pests have disappeared, cultivation becomes expensive and suicide is often the only way out to escape the large debts these farmers incur.

The state of Sikkim is a model for a pest free state. It is an organic state. Political will can bring about immense change. If Sikkim can do it, the whole of India can follow suit. Government subsidies must increase for organic farming. Let us heighten awareness about the dangers of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, promote organic farming and diversity and buy organic food despite the fact that it may be little more expensive. Only then can farmers growing organic crops survive! Only when the demand is great will the supply of organic food increase. Can we give organic farming a chance?

Dr (Sr) Mudita Sodder RSCJ (With inputs from Dr (Fr) Robert Athickal SJ-Co-ordinator, Tarumitra Ashram and Bio-Reserve Centre).

23nd Nov 2012

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