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Pope Canonises Sri Lanka’s First Saint Joseph Vaz

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altBALLARI, JAN 14: Pope Francis today canonised 17th Century India born missionary Fr. Joseph Vaz at the sea-front service in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

 

Massive crowds attended the service at Galle Face Green, with many lining up from Tuesday to secure a place.

 

In keeping with his message of unity for Sri Lanka, Pope Francis urged its citizens to follow the example of Joseph Vaz and learn to overcome religious differences.

 

Saint Joseph embodied a challenge to "testify to the gospel message of reconciliation to which he dedicated his life" and showed "the importance of transcending religious divisions in the service of peace", he said.

 

He added: "Religious freedom is a fundamental human right. Each individual must be free alone or in association with others to seek the truth and to openly express his or her religious conviction."

 

The canonised saint, Joseph Vaz, was an Indian-born missionary who served Sri Lanka's Catholic community. He has been credited with re-establishing the Catholic Church on the island.

Joseph Vaz was born on April 21, 1651 in Benovlim, Goa as the third son of Christopher Vaz and Miranda of Goa. He became a priest in 1676 and served in different parishes of Goa till 1681. Later, he was sent to Canara. Fr Joseph Vaz travelled from Goa barefoot. He served in Honnavar, Basrur, Kundapura, Gangoli, Mulky, Mangaluru and Ullal Panir. He was miraculously saved from an attempt on his life in 1684, when he was serving as the parish priest of Panir Church. His ambition was to work as a missionary in Sri Lanka. He entered Sri Lanka in 1687 as a labourer, defying a ban on Catholic priests. He served in various places in Sri Lanka braving all odds, thus rekindling the Christian faith in Sri Lanka.

 

He went to Sri Lanka in 1687 to minister to the scattered faithful. Fr. Vaz traveled from village to village ministering to Catholics from both the Tamil and the majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.

He is credited with caring for smallpox victims abandoned by their families out of fear of contagion.

 

He had to disguise himself as a beggar because the Dutch had banned Catholic priests from the island, and he spent several of his 23 years in Sri Lanka in jail for his work.

 

By the time of his death in 1711 he had largely rebuilt the Catholic Church, earning him the title “Apostle of Sri Lanka”

 

Fr Joseph Vaz was a courageous soldier of Christ, a dedicated Indian missionary and a humble servant of God. Recognizing his missionary work, Pope John Paul II proclaimed him as blessed Joseph Vaz in Colombo on January 21, 1995. He is venerated as the ‘Apostle of Sri Lanka’ and also the ‘Patron of Goa’.

 

Fr. Joseph Vaz was beatified by Pope John Paul II during a brief one-day visit to Sri Lanka in 1995.



 

 

520 Young Artists Perform For Christa Nanama Christmas Programme At Ballari; Religious Leaders Urge

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BALLARI, DEC. 15, 2014: Christa Namana Christmas TV programme which will be telecast live by Doordarshan’s Chandana Channel was held Dec. 14 at Ballari.


Over 3-hour long colourful cultural fiesta involving 520 young artistes was held at Good Shepherd Auditorium.


The event was jointly organized by Doordarshan Kendra Bangalore, All India Radio Ballari-Hosapete, Catholic Diocese of Bellary and United Christian Forum Ballari.


Christa Namana annual event was the ninth in the series was inaugurated by Archbishop Bernard Moras, Archbishop of  Bangalore, Bishop Henry D’Souza of Ballari, Swami Kalyana Mahaswamii, Khaji Ghouse Siddiqui, Brahmakumari Nirmalaji and Ballari MLA Sri Anil Lad.


Dr. Mahesh Joshi, IBS, Additional Director General (South Zone) Doordarshan, Sri N. Chandrashekar, Deputy Director General, DDK Bengaluru, and Sri Arun Prabhakar, Director (Engineering) AIR, Ballari- Hosapete were present.


In his message Archbishop Bernard Moras reminded “the first Christmas took place in a humble, simple and divine manger, ushering in a new era of peace and harmony”.


Archbishop urged “to end all forms of violence and discrimination based on caste, creed and language”.


In his message Bishop Henry D’Souza stated “As child Jesus is the centre of the Christmas crib, all humans and the entire humanity is invited to be God-centred, bringing God to the centre stage of human life”.


Bishop D’Souza observed that excessive craze for material possessions, power and position are taking centre stage, relegating God to periphery, “depriving humanity of meaning in life, peace and joy of living”.


“Of late some are even making gods of their own and worshiping them through intolerance, brutal violence and even inhuman cruelty”, he regretted.


“At Christmas God assumed humanity, raising it to greater honour and dignity. Therefore all human beings should be treated with respect and dignity. All forms of violence, especially violence against women, children, aged and religious intolerance must end”, he added.


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“Jesus Christ through his life and message of love, service and forgiveness belongs not merely to Christians but to the entire humanity”, declared Swami Kallyanji.


Ballari City MLA Sri Anil Lad lauded the community for “such an impressive Christa Namana programme and appreciated the dedicated service rendered by the Christian community”.


In his introductory words Dr. Mahesh Joshi recalled “the Christian missionaries gave Kannada dictionary, published the first Kannada periodical and contributed immensely to the cultural and spiritual heritage of Karnataka”.


Madhu and party from Bengaluru, Ballari city institutions such as St. Philomena’s School, St. Mary’s School, St. Joseph’s Co-Ed School, St. Joseph’s Boys School, Holy Cross School Laxminagar Camp, St. Anthony Cathedral Choir, Cantonment Church Choir, Bandihatti Church Choir, Nava Jeevana Centre for Physically Challenged, Trinity Church Choir, CSI Churches, and many other organizations contributed programmes to Christa Namana.


Vicar General of Ballari Diocese Fr. Paul Raj welcomed the large audience and Fr. Maxim Dias, co-coordinator of the programme proposed the vote of thanks.


The colourful programme ended with many in the audience including the dignitaries joining the Santa Klaus dancing to the tune of “Jingle Bells...”.


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The programme will be telecast on Doordrshan’s Chandana Channel at 9.30 am on Dec. 24 and 9.30 pm on Dec. 25.

 

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Loyola School Building Opened At Jagir Pannur

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BELLARY, DEC. 12: It was a dream come true for the people of Pannur to have their own school in the village. The new school building was blessed and inaugurated Dec. 12 to the accompaniment of thunderous applause of hundreds of children and local villagers.

Bishop of Bellary Henry D’Souza blessed the building in the presence of Fr Stany D’Souza, the Jesuit Provincial and Rev Fr Francis D’Souza, the mission superior on a rain soaked day.

In his inaugural address Bishop stressed on the need of providing quality education to the rural children to usher in a social transformation.

Bishop D’Souza lauded the work being done by the Jesuits and thanked them for giving them three important services for their overall development as human beings and as Christians; namely the spiritual formation through the church, the health centre and now the school.

Fr Stany D’Souza the provincial dedicated the school for the people of Pannur and requested the people to benefit from the school for their children.

Mrs Dinah and Peter Findlay (England) cut the ribbon declaring the new building open and Ms Lenka (Slovakia) unveiled the plaque.

Both Dinah and Lenka are the generous contributors for the building along with staff and students of Heath Mount School, London.

Several deanery priests, the religious and hundreds of people from the neighboring villages made it to the function.

To respond to the menace of rampant child labour, school drop outs and child marriage the Jesuits began evening tuition centres and remedial coaching centres in several villages in the area.

The cattle grazing children began to benefit from these centres in the villages to learn some basic education.  Once they got the taste of education they began to request more.

The people in Pannur had been requesting for a school in their village. The Jesuits began the formal school in Pannur in 2012 in a small shed.

Encouraged by the response from the children and the parents the Jesuits thought of a new building. Foundation stone was laid in 2013 by the then Provincial Fr Francis Serrao in the presence of Fr Vijay Prabhu, the former superior.

Encouraged by the response from the villages, Arrupe hostel was also begun so that the children from the villages could be housed and taken care of. About 50 children from the villages stay in the hostel.

This year the Loyola Kapepalady School has reached 3rd standard and there are 270 students from 13 villages from in and around Pannur. Sr. Ida is the active headmistress of the school. 

 

Vatican Seeks Input On The Family From Catholics Worldwide

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BALLARI,alt DEC. 12: For the second time in two years, the Vatican has asked national bishops' conferences around the world to seek input from Catholics at "all levels" about how the church should respond to sometimes difficult questions of modern family life, such as divorce and remarriage.

Issuing a document in preparation for a second worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops on family life next year, the Vatican has also stressed the need for mercy in responding to such difficult situations.

The call for input came Tuesday in a document released by the Vatican's Office for the Synod of Bishops, which in October 2015 will host the second of two global bishops' meetings called by Pope Francis for 2014 and 2015.

The document is partly a summary of the last meeting in October and partly a series of 46 questions meant to help prepare for the next synod. The Vatican synod office is sending the document in coming days to bishops' conferences around the world.

In its preface, Dec. 9's document states that the questions are aimed "an in-depth examination of the work initiated" at the last synod.

"The proposed questions which follow ... are intended to assist the bishops' conferences in their reflection and to avoid, in their responses, a formulation of pastoral care based simply on an application of doctrine, which would not respect the conclusions of the Extraordinary Synodal Assembly and would lead their reflection far from the path already indicated," the document states. 

 
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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