American killed on Andaman island ‘not a missionary’

Police and church officials deny reports that John Chau was trying to convert primitive tribal people.

 

New Delhi:
Indian police and church officials have poured cold water on media reports that an American murdered on an isolated island was trying to convert tribal people to Christianity.

John Allen Chau’s body was found on a beach of North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal with arrow wounds on Nov. 17.

Indian laws prohibit visitors to the island to protect the existence and identity of the tribal people, who reportedly have low immunity. The Sentinelese people, one of world’s most primitive tribes, are known to resist outsiders and often attack those who go near their island.

Dependra Pathak, director general of police of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, told the News Minute website that he was told that Chau, 27, lived in the U.S. state of Alabama and was “some kind of paramedic.”

“People thought he was a missionary because he had mentioned his position on God and that he was a believer on social media or somewhere online. But in a strict sense he was not a missionary. He was an adventurer. His intention was to meet the aborigines,” Pathak said.

Chau arrived in Andaman capital Port Blair on a tourist visa. On Nov. 16, he and six fishermen went close to the island on a fishing boat, and he then used a canoe to land on the island.

He was attacked by arrows but continued walking. The fishermen saw the tribal people tying a rope around his neck and dragging his body. They were scared and sped away but returned the next day to find his body on the shore, wire agency AFP said quoting an official source.

Bishop Aleixo das Neves Dias of Port Blair, which covers the area, told ucanews.com that the diocese did not have any accurate information about the victim but confirmed that he was not associated with the Catholic mission in the area.

The bishop said that those who know about the history and geography of the area know “it is suicidal to enter the area. Projecting religious conversion as the motive of the visitor is misplaced.”

“How can anyone imagine going to a place to convert people when you know you will surely be killed upon landing there?”

Father Dharampal Tirkey, financial adviser of the diocese, told ucanews.com that attributing conversion as Chau’s motive “is part of a malicious attempt to link the unfortunate incident with Christian missionary work.”

He said initial information gathered by the diocese showed that the deceased was doing some research and had previously made an aborted attempt to enter the prohibited area.

Christian missionaries and the church had been “unnecessarily dragged into a controversy of conversion,” Father Tirkey said.

Reports said seven people including the six fishermen who took Chau to the island were arrested on charges of culpable homicide amounting to murder, ferrying people on an overloaded vessel and voluntarily causing hurt.

In 2006, the Sentinelese people killed two fishermen whose boat inadvertently drifted onto their island.

Source: UCAN

H. E. OSWALD CARDINAL GRACIAS, WILL HAVE MORE TIME TO DEDICATE TO HIS ARCHDIOCESE

Cardinal Bo replaces Cardinal Gracias as FABC president
He will take charge from January 2019.

Photo credit: cbcpnews.com

Oswald Cardinal Gracias

New Delhi:

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon archdiocese has been elected president of Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), said a message from the federation.

Cardinal Bo was elected at the FABC’s Central Committee meeting held Nov. 16 in Bangkok, the message said. He will take charge from January 2019.

Cardinal Bo succeeds Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay who completes his two terms as FABC president Dec. 31, 2018.

Cardinal Gracias also was FABC Secretary General from January to December 2012.

Cardinal Bo was born in 1948 in Sagaing Region of Myanmar to peasant parents.

He sent to a Salesian-run boarding school in Mandalay and later joined a Salesian seminary in Anisakan village.

Bo was ordained a Salesian priest in 1976 and appointed as prefect of the the Diocese of Lashio in 1986. Four years later, he was consecrated Bishop of Lashio. In 1996, he was transferred to the Diocese of Pathein.

In 2015, Pope Francis named him cardinal. In April 2015 he was appointed a member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Pontifical Council for Culture, and Secretariat of Communication.

Courtesy: UCAN

Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, Venakanni; Damaged in Cyclon Gaja…

Cyclone kills dozens, displaces thousands in southern India
Churches, including a Marian shrine among the thousands of buildings damaged by storm in Tamil Nadu.

 

One of the towers of Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health at Venakanni can be seen without its cross after Cyclone Gaja blew it away Nov. 16. The cyclone also killed at least 45 people and displaced thousands on the coast of southern Tamil Nadu state. (Photo by John Arokiaraj)

New Delhi:
A cyclone killed more than 40 people and displaced hundreds of others at the weekend as it tore a destructive path across southern India, severely damaging farmland and buildings including the region’s most revered Marian shrine.

Catholic Church agencies have joined Tamil Nadu state government in relief efforts to help people affected by Cyclone Gaja in Thanjavur Diocese and Pondicherry-Cuddalore Archdiocese.

Officials say at least 46 people were killed and more than 100,000 displaced when their thatched homes were blown way by strong winds and driving rain that hit coastal areas early on Nov. 16, when the Gaja made landfall.

“More than 122,000 people have been evacuated and are in 351 relief camps, while rescue teams are helping others in villages, cut off by the storm,” said John Arokiaraj of Caritas India, the Catholic Church’s social action arm in the region.

He said at least 10,120 houses were destroyed and another 5,770 partially damaged, while 1,300 fishing boats and other fishing gear were damaged. Livestock, crops and coconut trees were badly affected were also destroyed, he said.

The worst-hit areas were in Tanjavur Diocese.

“The livelihoods of our people are destroyed when their fishing equipment or livestock and farmlands were destroyed,” diocesan chancellor John Zachariah said.

More than 30 churches, including the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health at Venakanni, some 60 chapels and 15 schools were also damaged in the cyclone, he said.

Rector of the Marian Shrine, Father Maria Anotony Prabhakar, said the storm blew away a cross atop one of shrine’s two towers.

“Another building in the compound also suffered damage,” he told ucanews.com. The hands of a 20-meter-high statue of Jesus Christ also suffered damaged.

“There was no loss of life or injury at the shrine,” he added.

The shrine, a pilgrim center since the 16th century, attracts some 20 million people a year. Church officials said some 3 million of them come during a 11-day long annual festival that concludes on Sept. 8, which Catholic celebrate as Mary’s birthday.

Despite the damage, hundreds of people were taking shelter in the buildings within the shrine compound, while 15 other Catholic parishes were also providing shelter and assisting people, church officials said.

The bishops’ conference vowed to help as many people as it could irrespective of religion.

“Caritas India is assessing the damage and will begin immediate relief intervention as soon as possible,” Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, the conference secretary-general said in a statement.

Source: UCAN

Vatican greets Sikhs on Guru Nanak Diwas

The Council’s secretary Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot wanted Christians and Sikhs work together to nurture “a culture of tenderness” in the world.

New Delhi:
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue felicitated Sikh people on Guru Nanak Prakash Diwas, which this year falls on Nov. 23.

“May your festivities marking this feast renew and reinvigorate the bonds of mutual respect and love in your families and communities” and enhance happiness, harmony and peace, said the Vatican message.

The Council’s secretary Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot in a message said Christians and Sikhs should work together to nurture “a culture of tenderness” in the world.

It drew attention to “alarming rise” in the number of people in our neighborhoods and townships who feel unloved and uncared for and said it was “indicative of a tenderness index at an all-time low across the globe.”

Tenderness, it said, is the ability “of the humans to feel with and feel for others. The foundation of ‘tenderness’ is, undoubtedly, God Himself, it said.

The greater ‘tenderness’ manifests itself in our words and deeds, the better can the culture of tenderness spread its roots far and wide, it said.

The formation in ‘tenderness’ evidently must begin in the families themselves where children, led by the example of parents and elders learn to show love, care and concern for others, particularly the weak and the needy, serving them and being of support to them.

Nurturing the ‘culture of tenderness’ can thus be the new model even for interreligious engagements and joint achievements, and for building a better world through a shared vision and a common action, the message said.

It wanted Christians and Sikhs to join hands with believers of other religious traditions to “do all we can, in humility and human solidarity to promote a ‘culture of tenderness’ for betterment of humanity.

Courtesy: UCAN

THE ROT BEGINS HERE…….Part lV of DEDICATED SERIES….

 

B R A K I N G  N E W S

Property committee has been dissolved and a new one been formed.

(Watch This Space)

 

 

VOICE OF THE SILENT MAJORITY

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

 

Dear Parishioners of St. Anthony’s Church, Malwani.

Actually, this was supposed to be the last post, in the series of CORRUPTION. However, while reviewing all the posts, we realized that while ending the story, the beginning has been missed out. Under such circumstances, The entire exercise would be futile, without proper beginning to the story. Hence, here is the beginning.

We appreciate, vigilant mind of our parishioners, When the work of renovation of the ground began, they smelt rat and started discussing in hushed up voices. I made a fool of myself by reprimanding them and defending the person at the center of this gossip, when the matter came to my knowledge

The matter was brought up by me, at Property Committee meeting, with good intention, and all the hell broke. Thereafter, I wrote a letter to the gentleman and what followed, has been revealed to you through various posts, under caption ” DEDICATED TO THE PARISHIONERS OF ST, ANTHONY’S CHURCH; MALWANI.

Following is my letter to the gentleman, explaining the sequence of events, and more importantly, a communique between Ms. Audrey D’souza, the Architect who first submitted proposal to renovate the ground and Fr. Agnelo Fernandes, the SOLE TRUSTEE. It will be revealed to you, how she was snubbed by this gentleman and the proposal rejected, without even putting it up for discussion, to the committee. You may draw your own conclusion here.

This is where I failed to smell a rat, but the vigilant parishioners of St. Anthony’s Church, didn’t.

GREG

 

MY LETTER TO MARIUS D’LIMA, WRITTEN UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES MENTIONED ABOVE.

 

13th, January, 2018;

Hello Marius,

I am writing this under compulsion to clear the air about my disclosure in the Property Committee meeting. You don’t seem to have taken it in right spirit. I am trying to reproduce the same here, VERBATIM, in order to make the matter clear.

“I do not want someone’s reputation to be tarnished by anyone, and that is the reason I need to reveal, what I have been hearing”. Thereafter, I questioned Fr. Agnelo, “Father, have you given contract of renovating the ground to Marius?” Then I explained that, “People are talking about it, but I have been defending you, saying that it is not true. He is just overlooking the project and even I am part of it.” Even Patrick affirmed that he too has heard people talking about it, lending credence to my revelation.

Marius, the property committees of all the parishes, in the Archdiocese, are notorious about the members taking up Church jobs; in spite of guidelines, prohibiting the members from doing so. Even here, similar situation prevailed earlier and the committee had been receiving flak from parishioners, which you could not be unaware of. I certainly would not like this committee to be bracketed with them, and that is my concern. Hence I revealed, what is being talked about, in the meeting, for the sake of transparency. Positive effect of my revelation was Father Agnelo’s clarification from the Pulpit, on Christmas Night and I thanked him for that.

But looking at your changed behavior towards me, and it was noticed in the following meeting, when you tried to give me a snub, when I spoke on couple of occasions. To me, it doesn’t make a difference. I have experienced snubs from parishioners earlier, which didn’t deter me. I did not retaliate and remained calm, just to maintain my dignity. Under such circumstances, it doesn’t seem that a face to face dialogue is possible; hence I am putting up my points, here.

In the beginning, when the work started, I did not take people’s talk seriously, but it was mentioned to Joan, in lighter vein and asked her not to refer it to you, lest it would hurt you. You may check with her. When I heard a senior and prominent person from Parish stating in anger, “he is the paid employee”, I took the matter seriously and brought it up in the meeting.

Surprisingly, you preferred to look at it from a different angle, as if I am accusing you. I must tell you, I have experienced the concern of your family, particularly Joan, towards me and my family, in our adversity, like no one else has ever shown.  So there is no way, I could do something to tarnish your image. Your gesture at Bandra Gymkhana towards me, will always linger in my memory, for a long time to come. Alas! With a stroke of impulsiveness and without proper application of mind, you have erased it all, and destroyed a good relationship, which had flowered, despite a vast difference in our status.

It’s about time now, I perceive, to highlight the chronology of events preceding the ground work, just to put things in right perspective.  After one of the meetings, where the issue of renovation of the ground was discussed, I persisted with Fr. Agnelo, to do something about it. He asked me to go ahead with it, and get someone, who could do it. One of the known architects, Audrey D’souza-Baptista, agreed to help and sent Mr. Kamlesh Gohil, who was in the business. We, father and me, met him and explained our requirements to him. I felt then, and I always do; any Church work should be done collectively, in order to bring in Transparency. Hence, recognizing your potential, I decided to rope you in, with father’s permission, at the second meeting with Mr. Gohil, if you remember; where you explained, how professionally and effectively, you would like to utilize available space, with separate areas for Hockey, Basket ball and Badminton etc., apart from the ground for Football; and use of proper soil suitable for the ground. I, being novice at it, didn’t mind, you taking up reigns.

At this juncture, Audrey D’souza herself came in and we both met her. Unfortunately, Fr. Agnelo was not available then. As per your professional requirement, she sent her professional quotation. Sadly, you rebuked her, before even putting it up to the committee. She countered you in the same tone but in dignified manner. Thereafter, you did not pursue the matter further. Only Fr. Agnelo and I was aware of this communication.

I could have taken offence, but avoided for the simple reason. I didn’t want to create an impression that I am keen on handing over the job to the person of my choice. Getting the job started, as soon as possible, was my priority. No matter, who did it.

Thereafter, the contractor, who is doing the school building repair, was assigned the task, approved by the committee. Surprisingly, one fine morning Eapen Varghese team landed on the scene. I remember having questioned you about this and you averred that he (The Contractor) will not be able to carry out the job properly. On this, I would like to question you now. How can one pass a judgment on someone’s ability, and cast him off, untested, unilaterally, when the job was already assigned. He is the one, who carried out the job, worth Rupees 30+ Lakhs, quite satisfactorily.

In spite of this entire Hunky dory, not only I but the entire committee stood by you and co operated. To me, it was the GOOD JOB that mattered, No matter who carried it out. With pride, I say the job on playing area has been done well. With pride; because, it was with my initiative, the process began, which you have also accepted, during our casual conversation.

The contract to Eapen Varghese was approved by the committee   to renovate/ Level the playing area together with the passage from gate to the ground, and not the periphery of the ground. The periphery is done well too, but without following proper procedure. The amount spent on it, I believe, is more than the amount of contract for the ground. However, what has happened to the idea of professionalism, where you wanted to put up separate area for Hockey, Basket ball Badminton etc?

Another matter, out of this context, but within purview of the committee, is renovation of the Kitchen of parochial house. Though it was discussed and approved by the committee, was it wise to spend such a large amount, Rupees 3.50 Lakhs, when it is likely to bear BMC’s hammer, anytime? No doubt, the kitchen needed to be renovated, but it could have been done with bare minimum amount. Just for your information, I questioned Fr. Agnelo about it. I would not like to reveal his answer here. He can reveal it himself, if and when, he desires to do so.

Whatever is people’s perception, while talking about it; I don’t have an iota of doubt in mind that you would have financial interest; NEVER. But unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about your ego. I experienced it, in your reply to Audrey’s E mail, and again, when you yelled at me over telephone. I perceived then, you wanted to go solo on the job and not in unison with anyone, as it should be.

I am compelled to reveal something here, which only Fr. Agnelo is aware of. On the very first day, when he arrived at the parish, we met for about forty five minutes, where I assured him of my co operation, in whatever way he wished to seek. Towards the end, I requested him or rather insisted, to co-opt you in Finance Committee and persisted, a couple of times more. I am sure, he will vouch for it.

Twice I had an occasion to meet Cardinal, with delegation; and both the times, you were the first person on my mind. You were informed about it. I am sure, you will remember this. However, you did not join on both the occasions, is a different matter. So much regard we have for you. No, it is not diminished, and it will never. A small incident can’t change a strong mindset; not mine, at least.

As an advocate of transparency in Parish affairs, this information will be shared with members of Property and Finance Committee.

GREG

COMMUNICATION BETWEEN AUDREY D’SOUZA AND FR. AGNELO FERNANDES, SOLE TRUSTEE

 

to: “fragnelo_01@yahoo.com”

cc: “mariusdlima@gmail.com” ,
“pereiragreg1611@gmail.com”

date: Jul 31, 2017, 3:06 PM
subject: Renovation of ground

Respected Rev. Fr. Agnelo Fernandes,

I am Ar. Audrey D’souza. This mail is regarding the renovation of the school ground of St. Anthony’s Church. Malvani. As per the meeting conducted with Mr. Greg Pereira and Mr. Marius D’lima on Friday 28th July 2017, the requirements were discussed and as per the discussion, I suggest that a surveyor should be appointed to give us the proper area and the nature of the ground. His quotation for the same is attached.
After the survey is completed, a landscape architect has to be appointed to design the entire ground. The requirements were given to me on Friday at the meeting. I have consulted a landscape architect whose company profile is attached for your reference.
Kindly discuss the above mentioned details with the committee.
Anticipating your reply.
Thanking you.

 

Marius D’lima to Audrey D’souza. Aug. 1st, 2017′

Hi :
Please be informed, we are not making a resort in the church compound. We are looking at resurfacing the play ground area & putting the other open spaces for other sports. e.g. Football, Volley ball, Basket ball, Badminton, Rink Hockey etc in that order depending on the available space. We seek your advice on the restructuring of the open space & the material to be used for the respective sport.
You can call me for any clarifications if required.

Regards – Marius

 

Audrey D’souza to Marius D’lima; Aug. 5th, 2018;

Dear Sir,
This is with response to your mail and our telephone conversation on Wednesday.
We are fully aware of the fact that its not going to be a resort on the ground.
As i had mentioned to you that if we have to carry out the job in a professional way, we have to get a survey done first. then comes the designing and finally the execution and supervision. We are professionally qualified Architects and not merely contractors.
If you are convinced with these terms you can revert back to us, we would be happy to carry out the project.
thanking you,
Audrey.

 

 

WE ARE COMMITTED TO VOICE OUR CONCERN, AGAINST ANY UNDESIRABLE ACTIONS WITHIN THE CHURCH, 

(To Be Continued)

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