20 National News

posted Sep 6, 2017, 10:42 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 6, 2017, 10:43 PM ]

Historic Commemoration of Lutheran Reformation


August 11, 2017 was a day of historic Importance in the city of Pune when the Ecumenical Seminar 'Revisiting Reformation: Looking Back, Looking Forward' was held in Union Biblical Seminary (UBS), Pune. This high quality academic programme brought on a common platform eminent speakers from different Christian churches for an Ecumenical Dialogue – the first of its kind in India, and probably in Asia.

This programme, conceived by Bishop Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Poona was nurtured and executed by him, along with the Ecumenical Committee comprising members from different Christian churches in Pune.

The Poona Musicale's Choir conducted by Ms Jasmine Irani opened the ecumenical programme by singing The Lord's Prayer (Gregorian Chant), followed by Lighting of the Lamp, giving a pleasant native tinge.

Rev. Dr Renthlei, Principal of UBS, welcomed the audience and expressed the privilege of hosting this Ecumenical Seminar, which he said was a move to promote Unity amongst all Christian denominations. In his inaugural keynote address, 'Promoting Integral Christ Experience in the Church,' Bishop Thomas Dabre highlighted some significant aspects of Martin Luther's Christological and ecclesial concerns in 1517. The Doctrine of Justification is the Guiding Rule which orients all practices and teachings of our Churches to Christ. This Commemorative Year presents us with two Challenges: the purification and healing of memories, and restoration of Christian Unity, according to the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Eph 4:4-6).

Bishop Thomas Dabre focused on Pope Francis' inspiring and touching leadership in the Ecumenical Commemoration of the Lutheran Reformation, and quoted his words in Sweden in 2016:

1. The Reformation "has led us to recognise honestly that without Jesus, we can do nothing."


New Delhi
CBCI honours Arjuna awardees of Dalit origin

The CBCI office for the Dalit and indigenous people felicitated the Arjuna awardees belonging to the Dalit Christian community.

Anthony Amalraj, a table tennis player, and Rajiv Arokia, an athlete, were lauded for their achievements during a programme on Aug. 31, attended by Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, CBCI Secretary General, Fr Devasagayaraj, Secretary to the CBCI Office for Dalit and indigenous people, Church leaders, Dalit and civil society organisations and children.

The two, along with 15 other sportspersons, were awarded the Arjuna awards on Aug. 29 by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.


Mother Teresa's congregation continues to grow

The Missionaries of Charity congregation that St Mother Teresa of Kolkata founded continues to grow, even in difficult areas, said its present superior, as they celebrated the 107th birth anniversary of the saint, the first such celebration after her canonisation.

The congregation opened three more houses in May, said Sr Mary Prema, the second successor of Mother Teresa and its superior general. The nuns opened a house in Kandhamal, in Odisha state, where nine years ago, Christians witnessed a fierce attack from Hindu extremists. Christian leaders say their people were scattered since the attack, and those in the region continue to live in fear.

The Missionaries of Charity also started a house in Motijhil, in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, where Mother Teresa first began to serve the "poorest of the poor." The congregation has its headquarters in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), where the nun died in 1997.


Church plans interfaith alliance

After releasing its fact-finding report on the desecration of Crosses, the committee, comprising members of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman's social work wing – the Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP) and the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), Mumbai, will be setting up an interfaith alliance to propagate secularism.

"Releasing the social fact finding report wasn't the only objective of setting up the fact finding committee; we also want to carry forward the mission of secularism," said executive secretary of CSJP, Fr Savio Fernandes.


Role of laity stressed

The Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church has called for finding solutions to the problems faced by families and the larger society by taking into consideration the perspectives of the laity. It was observed that the progress made by laymen significantly influenced the multifarious activities of the Church. Priests and Church officials should try to understand the sentiments of the laity regarding issues such as unemployment, housing, diseases, alcoholism, consumption of addictive substances and friction in families. The Church attached critical importance to renewal of families. The priests and the Church officials should constantly communicate with the laity for the comprehensive understanding of problems faced by families and the society which called for novel solutions.