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Bishops Urge To Value And Experience The Beauty, Splendor And Majesty Of The Liturgy Of The Church

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altBANGALORE, FEB 9, 2015: The Plenary Assembly of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) in it’s message has urged to “value and experience the beauty, splendor and majesty of the liturgy of the Church”. The following is the text of the message of the Bishops who met Feb. 3-9, at St. John’s National Institute for Health Sciences in Bengaluru:

MESSAGE OF THE 27th PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) HELD AT BENGALURU, FROM 3-9 FEBRUARY, 2015

I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10)

We, the 130 members of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India gathered for the 27th Plenary Assembly at St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bengaluru from 3-9 February, 2015, wish to convey our greetings of joy, peace and love of Our Lord Jesus Christ to our Priests, Religious, Lay Faithful and all People of Good Will.

In the light of the theme of the Plenary Assembly, “Liturgy and Life”, we deliberated upon liturgical renewal in the Church in India and reflected on the intrinsic relationship of liturgy to the life of the People of God.  We were encouraged and inspired by the message of the Holy Father, Pope Francis to our Conference in which, quoting Evangelii Gaudium 24, he invites us to reflect that “the Church evangelizes and is herself evangelized through the beauty of the liturgy, which is both a celebration of the task of evangelization and the source of her renewed self-giving”.

Thanks to the Second Vatican Council, liturgical renewal has enabled us to value and experience the beauty, splendor and majesty of the liturgy of the Church.

While considering the relationship between liturgy and life, we could not ignore the fact that our country is going through challenging times. Even as the Country has progressed economically, the benefits have not reached the poor and the marginalized, and at times have even worsened their situation. We are anxious about the increasing marginalization of the poor, the Dalits and the Tribals often in the name of development. 

Rising fundamentalism and communalism threatens to tear the social fabric and the secular nature of our beloved Country. We feel sad that the law abiding Christian community appears to be especially targeted. It was in this spirit that we bishops took part in a “Peace and Harmony March” in order to express our solidarity with Christians in different parts of our country who are affected by these atrocities, especially with the Church in Delhi where recently several churches have been vandalized and desecrated.

We were conscious of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council that “the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 10). In the light of this Conciliar vision, many suggestions and recommendations were proposed for a liturgy that is celebrated in a proper, effective and relevant manner. Accordingly the National Liturgical Commission has been entrusted with the task of bringing out comprehensive liturgical guidelines. However, at this juncture, we would like to state:

1.            In order to promote a full, conscious and active participation in the liturgical celebrations of the Paschal Mystery, we urge all ministers and faithful to celebrate the liturgy, with due sense of the sacred and of beauty and with joyfulness, leading to a personal and communitarian encounter with God and transformation of life. Care should be taken to observe the prescribed norms in order to maintain the dignity and decorum of the celebrations. The holiness of the priest is the leaven of the liturgical celebration.

 

2.            At the National, Regional, Diocesan and Parish levels, and in the Formation and Religious Houses, well planned measures have to be undertaken to help the communities to celebrate the liturgy in all its richness.

 

3.            An extensive and regular liturgical catechesis will prepare the faithful to participate actively in the liturgy and allow the transforming power of the liturgy to flow into their lives.

4.             We are convinced that inculturation is demanded by faith in accordance with the exigencies of human nature (Sacrosanctum Concilium 37-40). At the same time, given the multi-cultured nature of our society and keeping in mind that cultures are ever evolving and transforming, the sensitivities of the people and of various groups are to be addressed when efforts are made to promote inculturation.

5.            Heeding the Holy Father’s exhortation that sometimes there is “an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people and the concrete needs of the present time” (Evangelii Gaudium #77), we shall strive to make the liturgical celebrations also opportunities for catechesis on our missionary and social responsibilities, especially through Homilies and Prayers of the Faithful.

6.            As the Universal Church prepares herself for the Synod on the Family in October 2015, we recognize the importance of the communion of families in neighborhoods which are the Small Christian Communities (SCC) that always relate liturgy to life and vice versa. It is through the communion of families in the neighborhood, that the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church becomes Eucharistic like the early apostolic communities (Acts, chapters 2 and 4). We therefore pledge ourselves to strengthen the SCC as the true way of being the living Church.

May this Year dedicated to Consecrated Life be also a time of liturgical renewal in the Communities of the consecrated persons.

This Plenary Assembly was celebrated in a year full of grace with the recent canonization of three more Indian saints: St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara, St. Euphrasia Eluvathingal and St. Joseph Vaz.  We are grateful to the Church for giving us saints as models for imitation and as our intercessors in heaven.

May Mary, the Mother of the Word Incarnate, be our guide and our protector.

  

 

Government Urged To Uphold The Secular Nature Of India

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altNEW DELHI, JANUARY 21, 2015: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India urged the Government to uphold the Secular nature of India. A Special Consultation was organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India at the CBCI Centre, New Delhi, on Monday, January 20, 2015.

The Constitution of India guarantees that all the citizens of our country can profess, practice and propagate a religion of one’s choice. India is a land where different religious faiths have long since flourished and our founding fathers made special efforts to ensure that the rights of all are safeguarded, irrespective of our religious beliefs, gender or caste. Christianity has its roots in Indian soil for more than 2000 years. The Christians of India believe in God and believe in the goodness of people and have been selflessly serving the people of this country in the fields of education, health care, etc. without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed or religion.

The unfortunate incidents that happened in the past few months in various parts of our country have hurt the sentiments of the Christian community and has shaken the faith in the secular fabric of our Nation. The shocking incidents that have taken place against Churches, clergy and laity in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi have caused great concern for the Christian community. The recent controversies in the name of religious reconversions portray a negative image about India. Communal polarization and the bid to homogenize India are posing threat to all minorities – women, dalits, and all linguistic, cultural and religious minorities.

The Ghar Wapsi programmes, the saffranisation of education and culture, and the demands for a Hindu Rashtra are again posing challenges to the secular ethos of our beloved country. Conversions of a religious nature are an exercise of one’s free will and one’s constitutional/fundamental rights and freedom of conscience and of religion. Ghar Wapsi is a political process, carried out by the powerful exponents of religious nationalism – much against the principle of Secularism. It does not even have the legitimacy of freedom of political expression.

The Christians of this country need assurance from the Government that we are protected and secure and safe in our motherland. We express our strong concern on the aforementioned issues. Putting an end to such dangerous tendencies is inevitable for the growth and progress of our great nation. This great secular nation has to remain as a place where people of all religions and of different cultural backgrounds should live freely, practicing their faith without fear or threat and in harmony.  While we recommit ourselves for the progress and development of our nation, we strongly urge the Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, to urgently intervene and take appropriate action to stop incidents that pose big threat to the unity of this secular nation.

The CBCI Special Consultation was presided over by the CBCI President, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Catholicos and attended by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, Cardinal George Alencherry, the CBCI Office-Bearers, representatives of Conference of Religious India (CRI), Catholic Council of India (CCI), All India Catholic Union (AICU), Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM), Legal experts, Human Rights and Social activists, CBCI Core Team and Secretaries.

 Fr. Joseph Chinnayyan, Deputy Secretary General &, Spokesperson, CBCI

 

 

Bellary Christians Pray Fervently For Christian Unity

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altBALLARI, JAN 18: Christians of various denominations fervently prayed for Christian unity as they began the Prayer Octave for Christian Unity at CSI John Hands Memorial Church today in Bellary.

As a sign of unity, leaders of various Christian communities poured water into a vessel which symbolized Jacob’s Well where Jesus held conversation with the Samaritan woman.

The ecumenical prayer meetings are held under the auspices of United Christian Forum, Ballari (UCF).

Bishop of Ballari and President of UCF Henry D’Souza presided over the common worship on the theme, “give me to drink”. Pastor of John Hands Memorial Church Rev. Samuel Prasad led the service and Pastor Manohar preached on the theme.Frs. Chourappa and Yagappa assisted at the service.

In his message Bishop D’Souza urged all Christians to be aware of the need of all Christians “to pray for unity and to work for unity, as unity is the destiny of all”. “Christians have remained divided for too long and the pain of division is making it even insensitive. This division and brokenness of the mystical body of Christ are a sin and a scandal”, he stated.

 

He also emphasized on the need of reaching out to one another and to work together to fight the common enemies such as communalism, poverty and violence”.

 

The theme of the day highlighted the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman inviting all Christians to try water from a different well and also to offer a little of their own. In diversity, we enrich each other.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a privileged moment for prayer, encounter and dialogue. It is an opportunity to recognize the richness and value that are present in the other, the different, and to ask God for the gift of unity. 

 

Villagers Rejoice At Opening of New Building For Loyola College At Manvi

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altBALLARI, JAN 18: Newly built four floor Loyola College building was declared open by Member of Parliament Oscar Fernandes Jan. 17 at Manvi in Raichur district.

Earlier Bishop of Bellary Henry D’Souza blessed the ne building. MLC Bosuraj and MLA Hanmpayya Naik unveiled the plaques.

In his message Bishop D’Souza lauded the work of the Karnataka Jesuits in imparting education to the much backward area of Manvi and surrounding villages. “Loyola College” will be an agent of social transformation of the district of Raichur”, declared Bishop of Ballari.

“Education should empower and transform the students belonging to backward communities, fostering leadership among the students”, Bishop stated.   

In his speech Oscar Fernandes stressed on the need of promoting social justice and bringing the fruits of development to the rural masses.

Provincial superior of Karnataka Jesuit Province Fr. Stany D’Souza sj,  superior of the Jesuit community at Manvi Fr. Francis and Raichur Member of Parliament Mr. Naik along with many priests, nuns and dignitaries were present o the occasion.

Jesuits are running two English Medium schools, a pre-university college and a senior college at Manvi. They are also providing pastoral care, running a school and a dispensary at Jagir Pannur.

The Loyola educational institutions at Manvi and Pannur are run by the Centre For no-Formal and Continuing Education for the education of Catholic youth, which has also been at the service of others without any distinction of caste or creed.

“Success in Loyola  is not defined just in terms of academic excellence, but in directing its educational efforts to make future leaders, with a holistic combination of intellectual prowess, social concern, personal and moral values, with the leaders marching towards building a just and equitable society”, stated Provincial Fr. Stany.

“Loyola College offers a wide range of course combinations for education and promises exciting and rewarding opportunities that ensure holistic development in a student”, said Principal Fr. Elvis.

“Jesuits of Karnataka Province are working in North Karnataka where a lot of exploitation has been taking place against dalits, the marginalized, and the devadasis. They chose to work among these people with the sole objective of liberating them from exploitation, so that they take their rightful place in society with dignity and self-respect. In order to achieve this goal they have adopted a multi-pronged approach: conscientizing the rural adults about their living conditions and exploitation by others; socio-economic schemes to empower them economically; and formal education”, said Fr. Francis, superior of the Manvi Jesuit community. 

Over 2000 students are being educated in these institutions. 

 
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Bellary Arogya Mathe Shrine

Bellary-Mathe-small The Shrine of Bellary Arogya Mathe was blessed and dedicated on 8th September 2000 on the feast of the Nativity of our Blessed Mother Mary in memory of the great jubilee 2000 and the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese of Bellary

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Diocesan Diamond Jubilee

This year is Diamond Jubilee of our Bellary Diocese.  It is completing 60 years in the service to God and His people.

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Loss of Life and Property due to Flash Floods in Bellary Diocese

 Number of people affected : 151,934
Loss of life : 72
Villages affected : 1,296
Houses destroyed/damaged : 118,833
Relief being distributed to : 3,500 families
No. Catholic houses lost: 560
Number of medical camps held : 22