Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA) has announced its annual Journalism Awards for 2014.  ICPA Awards are conferred every year on Christian journalists for their outstanding contributions to different fields of journalism.   Each of these national-level awards consists of Rs 10,000/- in cash, and a Citation. The prestigious awards in different categories are conferred on the recipients at the National Convention of Christian Journalists, held annually. This year, Thozhamai Illam, the Jesuit Retreat Centre, Kanya Kumari, will be the venue of the 2-day national convention scheduled to be held on 24th and 25th, October 2014. Most Rev. George Rajendran, sdb, Bishop of Thucklay, will preside over the award function.

 ICPA’s Fr Luis Carreno Award will be conferred on Reji Joseph, Chief Reporter of  Deepika (Kerala’s premier Catholic  Daily), a seasoned journalist with more than 20 years of experience in reporting. Reji has to his credit already over 50 national and state level awards for his special stories on fisher folk, orphaned children, neglected senior citizens, and the marginalized.  His reports, replete with Christian values and consistently promoting social justice and equality, have often prompted respective governments to take several corrective and remedial measures. The Award was constituted by the ICPA with the support of the Mumbai Province of the Salesians of Don Bosco in fond memory of Fr Luis Carreno, a Salesian missionary who worked in India for several years, himself a renowned Catholic author of his time.

Swami Devanand Chakkungal Award will be conferred on the Hindi Christian Fortnightly, Buland Prajathanthra (Strong Democracy) published from Delhi under the patronage of the Catholic Bishops of North India. Mrs Lucy Gabriel, the present Editor of the Fortnightly, will receive the Award on behalf of the publishers. Devanand Chakkungal Award for Hindi journalists/author or periodical was established in 2001 in memory of Fr Devanand Chakkungal, SVD, a well-known Hindi writer, and a passionate lover and promoter of Hindi Christian literature. ICPA has constituted the Award in association with the Indore Province of the Divine Word Missionaries to which Swami Chakkungal belonged.

SC/BC Special Award 2014, established in association with the CBCI Office for SC/BC, goes to Richard Joseph of Deepka/Rashtra Deepika, Trivandrum Bureau. Richard Joseph has been awarded the SC/BC Special Award taking into account his consistent journalistic efforts in promoting the cause of the people of Schedule Caste/ Backward Class origin. Of special significance is his series of reports published in Deepika about the children from the tribal settlement of Eeyakode in Kerala, who dropped out of schools, which went unnoticed by the education ministry for many years. His reports prompted the then State education minister to order immediate action, and get the children back to school.                      — Fr Alfonso Elengikal


‘Well, actually I am a Catholic,’:Don Aguiar

‘Well, actually I am a Catholic,‘                               Don Aguiar


Over so many years, we’ve learnt from the Bible and Sunday school not to hurt any life – human or otherwise. Killing is not right. Hurting people physically or mentally whether by word or action is wrong. So life should be lived with compassion and non violence, the basic point is, we don’t know where we come from, we also don’t know where we go after death. But you have to raise your voice against injustice. Then if you have hurt someone who has hurt other people, it is justified. But we – our community – are silent even though we have the potential to make a difference as we have not understood the meaning of justice, equality, liberty and fraternity.


In Church we are not told to vote for a specific candidate or party. We are told that we should vote for someone who is secular, believes in freedom of religion, is open to social change and does not impose forced conversion.


We support the secular parties only out of compulsion although we believe that political parties are corrupt. This belief has left the secular parties this time looking like neither fish nor fowl nor even a good red herring and in some serious trouble before this Lok Sabha polls — and that compulsion might soon be over if we are not out there on election day to cast our vote or else the communal/fascist parties will do well at the Lok Sabha polls.


Are we going to allow our country to be devoid of its secular character? Where Minorities will be looked upon as second-class citizens and will be targeted and there will be selective discrimination of minority communities.


Are we this time siding with the fascist and fundamental forces and have lost our power to call ourselves Christians as the greatest sin is our silence on the issue of maintaining our secular nation which has been a betrayal,


We’ve also experienced what St. Paul affirms, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.” Even when we have to address tragic situations, we must search for the seed of the good, true and beautiful. I recall my grandmother prayer – “Oh!!! Lord This Is What I Seek I do not ask to walk smooth paths, nor bear an easy load. I pray for strength and fortitude, to climb the rock-strewn road. Give me such courage I can scale the hardest peaks alone. And transform every stumbling block, Into a Stepping Stone.”


Fridays for us was and is abstinence day from all meats – I recall my mother saying ‘Tomorrow’s Friday.”.And everybody is making faces and then she reminds us of our grandmother’s prayer which gets us to make the difference.  As the years passed we got so used to it that whenever we went out for either lunch or dinner with our friends or colleagues on Fridays we would always abstain from all meats on Fridays while our friends or colleagues had their beef, chicken, pork, etc.  


Fridays being the weekend after a long work week, my colleagues liked relaxing after work and so keeping to my father’s advice – “If you want to walk fast walk alone but if you want to walk far walk together.” Walking together meant joining my colleagues at their usual place for dinner and light funny chit chat. One of my non Catholic colleague who liked to be the joker noticed that I only ordered fish on Fridays and thinks I like fish and so I am having fish. I tell him I like pork chilly very much. “But you ordered prawn chilly fry I heard.” “Today’s Friday,” I say. He asks if I am a Catholic and I say I am.  “So this is what you have to do to get to heaven, eat fish on Friday?”  


The next time too he takes one look at my plate and his eyes light like neon. He wants to know what that is, on my plate. I explained that it is mackerel.  “All in the fish family” he laughs. My neighbor laughs and laughs till I think he is going to fall off his chair – What’s so funny about a guy eating fish on Friday?”


The biggest mistake by most human beings – listen half, understand quarter and telling double –  makes some people just not missing the odd screw but the whole tool box is gone.- This is how my colleague the joker understood  and put it –

He told me – Stan did you hear about the Irishman who went to a restaurant on Friday and asked for some fried Octopus on Friday. He was told that there was no fried Octopus and the Irishman retorted “The Lord knows I tried! Then get me some beef steak.”  “Stan I understand that you Catholics do not eat meat during lent. I heard a guy who ate so much fish that his stomach used to rise and fall with the tide.” Ha ha!!!!!


A few week down the line after all his taunting and jokes on fish and me my colleague the joker tells me that a guy who sticks to his principles is the only kind he thinks is worth having for a friend – It made me sure of two things – I was glad that I stuck out for what I believe in, but also you’ve got to watch out for putting the wrong interpretation on what another person does and says. Most of us have experienced this situation and stick out for what we believe in.


Now, people are happy to say ‘Well, actually I am a Catholic,’ and sometimes they’re quite keen to let themselves be known as a Catholic,” British Cardinal Vincent Nichols said. “And I think that’s the effect of Pope Francis. There is credibility around the Catholic project. BUT it must not be limited to this – We must all walk together and be there on Election Day to cast our vote as we must ensure that we should not sell ourselves to the devil and we should not sell our country to the communal/fascist party.


BJP MP in trouble for posing with Bible in Goa

Naik claimed that the church was located in his constituency and he went to meet voters of the area.

(Photo: The Hindu)


A sitting BJP MP and a candidate for the North Goa seat has attracted controversy for posing with a copy of the Bible in a church while starting his election campaign.

A lawyer activist Sunday filed a complaint to the chief electoral officer in Goa against former union minister for state Shripad Naik for using the religious symbol for election campaign.

“The model code of conduct currently in force strictly bans the use of mosques, churches, temples or other religious places as a forum for election propaganda,” Rodrigues said in his complaint to the election authority, seeking action against Naik.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate started his campaign by visiting the capital’s grandest Immaculate Conception Church Saturday. Naik was also seen posing with a Catholic priest Cleto Pereira during his visit to the church.

Naik claimed that the church was located in his constituency and he went to meet voters of the area. “How can it be wrong to meet your voters?” asked Naik.

Over the last few years, the BJP in Goa has been actively pursuing the Catholic community, which accounts for a third of the state’s population.

The BJP has claimed that the support given by churches was partially responsible for the party’s sweep of the 2012 assembly polls.

However, the relation between the BJP and the churches in Goa have soured with the advent of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on the national scene.


What if Modi becomes premier?::::::Fr. Cedric Prakash, Sj;

Four myths about India’s leading prime ministerial candidate.

By Fr. Cedric Prakash sj

As a Christian and particularly a Jesuit priest, I take stands and believe that while being open to dialogue and reason, one has to be unequivocal about what one stands for. So, I take a stand against politicians or political parties that are sectarian, corrupt, casteist and above all those who indulge in the criminalization of society.

I do not espouse any political party. All have their own drawbacks. A reality check would show that each one has failed the people of India in some way or another, especially the poor and the marginalized, either because of their particular ideology or because they have catered to a particular class or caste.

All this brings to mind the powerful words of Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) in which he condemns “the economy of exclusion and inequality” and “a financial system which rules rather than serves”.

We have to accept that genuine fears and anxieties exist about Narrndra Modi, the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate and three-time chief minister of Gujarat becoming prime minister, after the general election due in May.

However let me clarify some matters about Modi and his rule in Gujarat.

Myth 1: Modi is a development man

This cannot be further from the truth. Gujarat has always been a developed state from the time it was carved out of Bombay state in 1960. Economic indicators clearly show that Gujarat under Modi has been ‘worse off’ than under previous governments (even the BJP one before him).

The fact is that foreign direct investment in Gujarat has taken a severe beating in the last few years and even local investment is far below what is being flaunted. Regarding social indicators, Gujarat fares poorly.

A UNICEF report published in 2013 says social development in the state has not kept pace witheconomic development; almost every second child in Gujarat under five years old is undernourished, while three quarters are anemic.

Myth 2: The Gujarat carnage is a thing of the past and Modi has been given a “clean chit”

Many believe the courts exonerated Modi of involvement in the Gujarat anti-Muslim riots in 2002. The hard facts are, however, very different. First of all, no court has given Modi a clean chit.

True, there is a Special Investigation Team (SIT) report that says there is not enough evidence against Modi.

But this has been challenged, with the petitioner Zakhia Jafri being given leave by Ahmadabad magistrates to question the merits of the SIT report in a higher court.

Raju Ramchandran, appointed by the Supreme Court as amicus curiae for many of the Gujarat riot cases, asserts that there is enough evidence to prosecute Modi on several counts with regard to the violence in 2002, in which more than 1,000 people died.

Modi has neither shown any remorse nor taken responsibility for the killing of innocent people under his watch. The least a chief minister could have been expected to do was to enforce lawand order and protect the life and property of every citizen in his state. That he ignored this responsibility, there is no doubt among many. That he has denigrated minorities has been documented by the print and the electronic media.

Myth 3: Modi has “made up” with the minorities

There are some claiming to be representatives of minority Christian and Muslim communities who sing Modi’s praises.

A careful analysis indicates these people have vested interests, especially in business, and are not really interested in their community or what is happening to minorities in the country.

In 2003 Modi introduced an anti-conversion law and established rules to govern the implementation of this law in 2008.

It is perhaps one of the most draconian laws in the history of democratic India. It forbids a citizen from converting to another faith unless she/he has permission from civil authorities.

Even now, police and intelligence officers constantly visit Christian institutions and Christians in general, making all kinds of inquiries and demanding to check baptism registers and other records.

Myth 4: Modi is not corrupt

In May 2012, anti-corruption campaigners Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal visited Gujarat. They came away declaring it the most corrupt state in the country. Why they have not continued to highlight corruption in Gujarat is anyone’s guess.

Several years ago, the Tata Motor Company was allowed to establish a plant to build the “world’s cheapest car” in Gujarat with surprising ease, flouting every rule in the book and even the state’s industrial policy.

It is alleged that the Adani Company controls the price of compressed natural gas, amassing huge profits. In addition, the role of the Ambanis in mega projects in Gujarat is being questioned. The way environmental laws are flouted and the terrible ecological degradation that is taking place all over the state, all point to the fact that corruption is alive and kicking in Gujarat.

Another indicator is the way land has been handed to big corporations, displacing thousands of small farmers across the state. There have been huge protest rallies, but they were not covered by a media, which by and large seems to have been muzzled in Gujarat.

These four myths provide an insight into the grim reality in Gujarat under the leadership of Modi. No one really knows if he will become prime minister. But India deserves better leaders. Indian politics revolves around regional parties. As of now, the BJP has practically no allies from several states. Most regional parties are obviously waiting to see which party will emerge as the single largest party in the 2014 elections.

Fr Cedric Prakash SJ is the director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace.

Source: ucanews.com

What If Modi Becomes Premier?

Modi to meet bishops during Kerala rally


BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is moving closer to some sections of Christians in Kerala as general elections are fast approaching.

A few noted Christian organizations have invited Modi to their headquarters, when he is in Kerala for two public rallies on Feb 9. However, to avoid antagonizing other Christian bodies, Modi will be meeting the bishops separately at an alternative venue, reported Deccan Chronicle.

Though the state BJP is maintaining that it is too early to reveal more on the matter, it is being said that they will take part in the public rally in Marine Drive, Kochi.

Modi, the divisive BJP leader and three time chief minister of Gujarat, is coming to Kochi to take part in the centenary celebrations of the Lake Agitation, organized by Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha.

“Though I don’t want to reveal the identity of the Christian organizations at this juncture, they have invited Modi to their headquarters. But Modi will not be going there. However, he will meet them at a different venue,” said BJP state chief, V. Muraleedharan.

Prior to the Kochi rally, Modi will be taking part in another rally at Shanghumugham beach in state capital Thiruvanthapuram at 4 pm.

Muraleedharan had also held talks with Modi prior to the National Council meet on finalizing the procedures of the two rallies. BJP national president Rajnath Singh will also be attending both the public rallies.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Thiruvananthapuram ,Narendra Modi ,BJP ,Kerala Bishops ,Kerala Rally 

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: