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ISHVANI KENDRA
Institute of Missiology and Communications
Pune – India

June  – 2008

I. REPORT AND DOCUMENTATION

Asia: Taiwan’s 150th Anniversary of Evangelization

Fr. Fernando Sainz of the Santa Rosa Province of the Dominican Order, on an "Evangelization Boat" in the port of Takao (modern-day Kao Hsiung) initiated the festivities commemorating the 150th anniversary of the evangelization of Taiwan on May 17 of this year, in the Diocese of Kao Hsiung. According to a report from Christian Life Weekly, the weekly bulletin for the Archdiocese of Tai Pei, all the Bishops of the island took part in the solemn celebration that was both an ecumenical and interreligious event. The Catholics were joined, in fact, by representatives from various Christian communities (Protestants, Methodists, Presbyterians) and other religions (Buddhists and Daoists), that wished to share in this historical moment for the Church in Taiwan. Bishop Peter Liu of the Diocese of Kao Hsiung, in recalling the beginnings of Christianity in Taiwan, expressed his utmost gratitude to Fr. Fernando Sainz OP, the first Dominican missionary to evangelize the island 150 years ago. Archbishop John Hung, SVD, of Taipei spoke on the response of the Catholic Church in Taiwan to the signs of the times, with a particular attention to social needs (CNUA: Catholic News Update Asia - 274).

Asia: FABC on "Eucharist as Communication

The latest FABC Paper No. 124 contains the presentations and reflections of the 13th annual meeting on the theme "Eucharist as Communication." The Paper starts with texts from Church documents on social communication calling the Eucharist the "summit of every Christian communication." The role of food, meals and celebration in Asian cultures was discussed as well as the communication dimension of liturgical celebrations. The meeting organized by the FABC Office of Social Communication is in preparation for the 9th Plenary Assembly of the FABC in January 2009 on the theme "Living Eucharist in Asia" - www.fabc.org (CNUA 276).

China: Bishop of Hong Kong invited to Olympic Games Inauguration

The Chinese government has invited the coadjutor bishop of Hong Kong, John Tong Hon, to the inaugural ceremony of the upcoming Olympic Games. The bishop has accepted the invitation. Bishop Tong says, “I am honoured by the invitation", and recalls the hopes expressed by the pope for a serene unfolding of the Olympics. Not long ago, the prelate highlights, "the Holy Father expressed his blessings towards China for a successful Olympics. I will follow his good wishes and attend this joyous national event as a witness". The visit - which will take place on August 8 and 9 - will be the first made by Bishop Tong to Beijing as coadjutor bishop. Together with him, there will be Buddhist and Taoist leaders from Hong Kong, and the bishop of Macao, Jose Lai Hung (CNUA - 274).

Europe: Beatification of Second Holy Spirit Sister

The Holy Spirit Sisters were founded in 1889 by St. Arnold Janssen. Inspired with zeal to bring God’s word to the distant countries and colonies, and especially to women, Arnold Janssen together with Helena Stollenwerk and Hendrina Stenmanns and five other women began a mission institute dedicated to the Holy Spirit. The new institute was founded to serve the church in China, Argentina, Africa and Papua New Guinea. Its members soon spread across the world. Arnold was canonised on 5th October 2003 and Helena was beatified on 7th May 1995. In religious life Hendrina Stenmanns took the name Josepha. She will be beatified in Tegelen-Steyl, Holland on 29th June 2008. The main celebrant for the ceremony is Bishop Frans Wiertz of Roermond and Jose Cardinal Saraiva Martins, delegate of the Holy Father will be present for the same. (Arnoldus Nota, April 2008)

India: Minimum Age Recommended for Convent Entry

A government commission in Kerala State in South India has recommended a minimum age for girls joining convents and has sought ways to rehabilitate women who leave Religious life. However, Church leaders in the southern Indian state dismiss the recommendations as unwarranted and born of ignorance. The Kerala Women's Commission recommended to the state government to set a minimum age for girls to enter a convent. It argued they can exercise free will only after turning 18. Commission chairperson D. Sridevi, a retired judge, told UCA News that she submitted the recommendations to the government. It's up to the government to decide and bring legislation in this regard. However, Church people have criticized her recommendations - http://www.ucanews.com (CNUA 271).

India: First Indian Woman to become a Saint

Bl. Alphonsa, a Franciscan Clarist sister from Kerala, is set to become the first Indian woman to become a saint; with Pope Benedict XVI scheduled to canonize her at the Vatican on 12th October 2008. Around 300 FCC sisters from around the world including India, relatives of Bl. Alphonsa and the local boy whose cure the Vatican accepted as a miracle will attend the canonization will attend the canonization. In Kerala on the canonization day, Mass and special prayers will be conducted at Bl. Alphonsa's tomb at Bharananganam in Palai diocese. Meanwhile, the Indian Government plans to issue memorial coins and postal stamps to mark the occasion, according to Oommen Chandy, opposition leader of Kerala State. Uday Balakrishnan, who heads the postal department in Kerala, told UCA News his department would honor the new saint by releasing commemorative stamps on the occasion. Meanwhile, the state government has started repairing and widening roads in Bharananganam and in Kudamaloor, Blessed Alphonsa's native village. Mons Joseph, public roads minister, said it plans to declare Bharananganam a pilgrim center and that Kerala's Communist-led coalition government will send a delegation to the Vatican to attend the canonization ceremony.

India: Open-minded Dialogue

On the occasion of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Mgr Thomas Dabre, the Indian bishop of Vasai reiterated the need for a "dialogue between religions" that is "truly open-minded." Mother Teresa and Pope Benedict XVI are examples to follow in order to advance inter-faith "harmony." New Delhi (AsiaNews 06/06/2008) "India is a society with a non-Christian majority, where Christians are but 2.5 per cent. For this reason the various religions must engage in a dialogue that is truly open-minded,' said Bishop Dabre on the occasion of the Council's 10th assembly, whose theme is "Dialogue in Truth and Charity," currently underway in Rome - www.asianews.it (CNUA 276).

India: BJP Chief-minister seeks Blessing from Bangalore Archbishop

Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore told UCA News on June 10 that Chief Minister Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa and five of his ministers had visited the Bangalore archbishop's house the previous day. The prelate said he first led the ministers to the chapel, where he prayed over the chief minister. Bangalore, 2,060 kilometers south of New Delhi, is the Karnataka capital. Archbishop Moras is chairman of the Karnataka Regional Bishops' Council, which comprises Bangalore archdiocese and the eight other dioceses in the state. Archbishop Moras said that he had sought an appointment to meet the chief minister to offer the Church's support to his new government following state assembly election in May, "but he opted to visit me here." Archbishop Moras said that he read a passage from St. Matthew's Gospel on a citizen's civil responsibilities: "Very well, pay Caesar what belongs to Caesar -- and God what belongs to God." He then explained to the visitors that Christians are true nationalists who have no conflict in serving "both God and the state with full devotion." Archbishop Moras presented Yeddyurappa a copy of the Bible, which he said the chief minister received with reverence and respect, before hosting a tea party for his guests. www.ucanews.com

India: Justice Cyriac Joseph to be Elevated as SC Judge Soon

Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court Cyriac Joseph will soon be made Judge of the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court has recommended to the Centre to elevate Justice Cyriac Joseph as the Judge of the Apex Court. Born in Kerala, Justice Cyriac Joseph has been the judge of the Kerala High Court and later Delhi High Court for seven years. Later he was appointed Chief Justice of the Uttarkhand High Court, based in Nainital, Justice Cyriac has been all along known for his erudition and for his much appreciated judgments. Justice P.D. Dinakaran a judge of the Madras High Court will succeed Justice Cyriac as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court. (CBCI)

Pakistan: First Diocesan Mission Congress

Revival of Mission was stressed at the first diocesan Mission Congress on 6th June 2008 at Multan in Pakistan (UCAN). 120 priests, nuns, youth leaders and other laypeople from Multan diocese's 18 parishes attended Pakistan Church's first Diocesan Mission Congress (DMC). Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad told them, "People of other faiths want to know about Jesus." With "Telling the Story of Jesus in the Southern Punjab" as its theme, the congress took place from May 7-10 at Boland Hall next to Cathedral of the Holy Redeemer in Multan. During the DMC, Church leaders discussed new ways of being Church, past missioners' contributions in telling the story of Jesus, and measures to revive the missionary zeal of clergy and laity alike. According to Father Shakeel John, the DMC coordinator and the cathedral's parish priest, the diocesan congress was held in response to the Asian Mission Congress that took place in Thailand from October 18-22, 2006, under the theme, "The Story of Jesus in Asia: A Celebration of Faith and Life." He pointed out that a national congress is to be held from December 18-22 in Karachi and its theme is "Telling the Story of Jesus in Pakistan" - www.ucanews.com (CNUA 276).

Vatican: Fruits of Ecumenical Dialogue

Pope Benedict XVI received members of the joint working group of the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches in Vatican City on 25th January 2008. Addressing them, the Holy Father pointed out how "the World Council of Churches and the Catholic Church have enjoyed a fruitful ecumenical relationship dating back to the time of Vatican Council II. The Joint Working Group, which began in 1965, has worked assiduously to strengthen the 'dialogue of life' which my predecessor, Pope John Paul II, called the 'dialogue of charity'. This co-operation has given vivid expression to the communion already existing between Christians and has advanced the cause of ecumenical dialogue and understanding. "The centenary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity", he added, "offers us an opportunity to thank Almighty God for the fruits of the ecumenical movement, in which we can discern the presence of the Holy Spirit fostering the growth of all Christ's followers in unity of faith, hope and love.” The Holy Father concluded his address by saying that "the reception of those fruits is itself an important step in the process of promoting Christian unity and the Joint Working Group is particularly suited to studying and encouraging that process" – VIS (CNUA 168).

Vatican: WCC Head Hopes Christians can Share Communion

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Samuel Kobia, hopes that by the middle of the 21st century Christians will have reached a level of unity that they can share Holy Communion together. Kobia said this in a front page interview published in the official Vatican daily newspaper l' Osservatore Romano dated 25 January, the day the WCC leader will pray together with Pope Benedict XVI at a ceremony to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Rev. Kobia, a Methodist from Kenya became the first African to head the WCC in 2004. The WCC brings together 347 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing more than 560 million Christians and includes most of the world's Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches - www.eni.ch (CNUA 168).

Vatican: Key to Re-evangelization

Living an "exemplary life" is key to re-evangelizing lands that have forgotten their Christian roots, Pope Benedict XVI said. St. Columbanus, a sixth-century Irish monk, was "one of the fathers of Europe" who helped re-evangelize a region that had succumbed to a resurgence of paganism, the pope said during his June 11 general audience in St. Peter's Square. "He expended all his energy to nourish the budding Christian roots of Europe and with his spiritual energy, his faith, his love of God and his neighbor ... he was one of the fathers of Europe and even shows us today where those roots are and from where our Europe can be reborn," he said - (CNUA 276).

II. BOOKS

Amaladoss, Michael, Beyond Dialogue: Pilgrims to the Absolute, Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 2008.

The practice of dialogue is evolving beyond dialogue. It is becoming more intra-personal a search for integrity, seeking harmony through syncretism. It is a dialogue beyond dialogue.

Valiamangalam, Joseph, Community in Mission: Mission Consciousness of Christian Communities A Contextual Missiological Study, Delhi: ISPCK, 2008. (available at Ishvani Kendra)

This book is a sociological study of the Kheda Christian Community in Gujarat. The author has posed starkly the challenge facing the Christian Community. How can the Christians mission when they are not treated as equals? The Christians also refuse to accept themselves as dalits and so how can they associate themselves to the dalit movements?

Dr. Joy Thomas, SVD (Director)

ISHVANI KENDRA
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E-mail: ishvani@dataone.in
Website:
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