Institute of Missiology and Communications
Pune – India
July – 2008
Asia: Women's Contributions to Church
A meeting organized by the Women's Desk of the FABC Office of Laity and Family (OLF) sought to review the status of women's movements in the Church in Asia, and the women theologians' contributions to the life and mission of the Church. Thirteen women, ten bishops and two priests from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand attended this meeting from May 12-16, 2008 in Pattaya, Thailand. The meeting was also aimed at upholding women's dignity by encouraging their role in the life and mission of the Church (FABC News).
Australia: Two Women Ordained Bishops in Anglican Church
After decades of debate, Australian Anglicans have consecrated two female bishops. Supporters of the move described it as a breakthrough for the equality of women in the Church. However, opponents of consecrating women bishops warned, it may further divide Anglicans across Australia (ENI)
Germany: New Website for the Pauline Year
German Catholic Bishops' Conference (DBK) launched a new website for the Pauline Year: "Let's journey with the Apostle Paul!" On the occasion of the Pauline Year announced by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, upon the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Saint Paul, from June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009. During the Pauline Year, all the faithful are invited to discover not only the person of the Apostle of the Gentiles and his many missionary travels, but also his teachings and spirituality. With this in mind, the German Bishops will use the internet site to offer basic information on Saint Paul, his writings, and his theology, as well as to present various themes and initiatives for concrete action (www.fides.org).
India: 500 Youth from India to attend World Youth Day
500 young people, 14 bishops, 80 priests, religious and a few representatives of other religions from India are attending the 23rd World Youth Day to be held in Sydney, Australia from July 15-20. This will be the biggest ever delegation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) Commission for Youth to participate in the World Youth Day so far. The programme is expected not only to enrich the delegates spiritually but also broaden their horizons so that they can contribute towards the development of their motherland. This is a national initiative launched by CBCI Commission for Youth under the Chairmanship of Archbishop Leo Cornelio SVD, of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Pope Benedict XVI will preside over the concluding Mass of the World Youth Day at Randwick Racecourse (CBCI News).
India: “We Love Christianity,” BJP Leader L. K. Advani
On the occasion of the 90th birthday celebrations of Philipose Mar Chrysostom, of the Malankara Mar Thomas Syrian Church, BJP leader L. K. Advani said, “BJP is neither anti-minority nor anti-Christian …We love Christianity …we deeply value the contribution of our Christian brethren…” Bishop Chacko Thottumarical of Jhabua, M.P. responded, “I do not believe in what he said…He expects to be the next prime minister. If that happens, then we can see how his attitude towards us will be. People can always change” (Sathyadeepam).
India: A Film on St. Thomas
St. Thomas the Apostle, the one who first brought the seeds of the Gospel to the Indian subcontinent, will be the main character in an upcoming film being put out by the Catholic Church in India and produced by the growing Indian cinematography industry. Producers of the movie on St. Thomas say that their mega creation depicting the life and works of the apostle in India will hit theaters by 2010. Both Kerala and Tamil Nadu are associated with the apostle’s acclaimed mission in India. The film would try to capture the life and times of St Thomas. The project would involve about 25 foreign and local artistes, as well as actors from Hollywood. The movie would be made in four Indian languages: Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and Hindi, and in other foreign languages (ICNS).
India: First ‘Servant of God’ of Mangalore
Catholics in Mangalore, southern India, rejoiced as a member of their community took the first formal step toward sainthood, for the first time. Hundreds of people attended a special Mass on June 16 at St. Sebastian Church in Bendur, where the Bishop of Mangalore announced the Vatican decision to declare Monsignor Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas a servant of God. Monsignor Mascarenhas, who died in 1960, served for years as Vicar General of the diocese. Born in 1875, he studied at St. Aloysius College, Mangalore and was ordained a priest in 1900. After serving in five remote parishes, he was assigned to Bendur parish. There, in 1921, he started the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany, popularly known as the Bethany Sisters, with four school teachers who wanted to dedicate their life to the Church (www.ucanews.com).
India: From Pilgrimage to Heavenly Abode
Henry Gaikwad popularly known as Prembhai to everyone, died in Colombo on Saturday 28th of June, 2008 with massive heart attack, when he had gone on a pilgrimage to Sri Lanka where the Indian Saint Joseph Vaz was a missionary. Prembhai hailed from Pune, Maharashtra. Though physically short, the high mountains and the deep valleys could not stop him to reach his destiny. The love of Arunachalis was so strong that from here he never looked back. “Through the initiative of Prembhai we, the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) also got involved with this mission. It is in this regard we pay our heartfelt homage to this great Apostle of Arunachal and pray to the Lord that as he continues his journey from this earth to glory may his spirit be alive in the missions of Arunachal Pradesh,” says Fr. John Paul SVD, Director, Media Commission, Delhi Catholic Archdiocese.
India: Government Freezes Convent-reform Proposal
Protests from Church groups have led Kerala's Communist-led Government to put on hold a proposal to make laws on a minimum age for girls joining convents and their property rights. The Southern Indian State Government directed its Women's Commission, which made the proposals, to give the matter further study and consult with Church leaders. "We will make a detailed study on the topic and submit our recommendations later," commission chairperson D. Sreedevi told UCA News on June 12, 2008 (UCAN).
Indonesia: Catholic University holds Programme on Multiculturalism
A Catholic university has started a series of training programmes on multiculturalism to promote respect for the country's ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. The Center for the Study of Human Rights and Democracy of Atma Jaya Catholic University conducted its first programme from June 14-15 with the theme "Multiculturalism as a Challenge to the Struggle of Human Rights Enforcement." About 100 lecturers, teachers, university students, religious leaders, priests and sisters attended the program at the university in Yogyakarta, 430 kilometers South-East of Jakarta (UCAN).
Italy: Pope calls Music Organ an Evangelization Tool
Benedict XVI says that musical instruments can proclaim the Gospel in a way, recalling a concert during which the Pope said he and the other listeners were able to experience that God is joy. A choral group from Regensburg, Germany, visited the Holy Father at Castel Gandolfo. In his visit to that city in 2006, the Pontiff had blessed the music organ of the "Alte Kapelle" [Old Chapel] there and said how pleased he was that this organ "continues to play and to help people perceive something of the splendor of our faith -- a splendor kindled by the Holy Spirit himself. With it, the organ carries out an evangelizing function, proclaims the Gospel in its own way" (Zenit.org).
Latin America: Belief in Creator Basis for Dialogue, say Latin Americans
Interreligious dialogue is an integral part of creating a culture of peace, said delegates to an international conference in Jerusalem organized by a Brazilian-based group. 100 religious and political leaders from 14 Latin American countries took part in the Jerusalem International Conference organized by AMISRAEL, a Latin American group that is Christian in nature, and is supportive of Israel (ENI).
Nepal: Christians Hail Transition to Secular Republic
Christians in Nepal have joined in celebrations to mark the transition of the Himalayan Hindu kingdom of Nepal into a secular republic after a decision by the nation’s newly elected constituent assembly to abolish the monarchy. “This is a victory for people and bodies well for freedom of religion,” Simon Pandey, the general secretary of the National Churches Fellowship of Nepal, told Ecumenical News International. He also said that the churches had been eagerly looking forward to this day since a pro-democracy movement began two years ago. “This is a historic occasion. The people are very excited,” The Rev. Pius Perumana, Vicar General of the Roman Catholic Church in Nepal told ENI.
USA: A New Faith Foundation to Promote Interfaith Initiatives
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has launched a new Faith Foundation to promote interfaith initiatives to tackle global poverty and conflict, and promote understanding between the world’s major religions. “Globalization is pushing people together. Interdependence is reality. Peaceful co-existence is essential,” Blair said at the launch of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation at the Time Warner Media Center in New York. In an interview with Time magazine that coincided with his foundation’s launch Blair said of the new initiative’s work, “This is how I want to spend the rest of my life” (ENI).
Vatican: Anglican Yes to Women Bishops an ‘Obstacle’
Vatican affirmed that the Church of England decision to pave the way for the episcopal ordination of women is an obstacle to union with the Catholic Church. The General Synod of the Church of England affirmed that "the wish of the majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate." A statement from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity responded to the vote in a communiqué, "We have regretfully learned the news of the Church of England vote that paves the way for the introduction of legislation that will lead to the ordination of women to the episcopacy. Such a decision signifies a break with the apostolic tradition maintained by all the Churches since the first millennium and is, therefore, a further obstacle to reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England" (Zenit.org).
Asia: Priests' Seminars for 2008
The FABC-Office of Clergy is organizing two seminars this year for bishops and priests. "Caring for Priests - A Need of the Hour" will be held from September 8-14, 2008 at Assumption University, Bangkok. The second seminar with the theme "The Catholic Priesthood - A Challenge of the Modern World" will be held from November 17-23, 2008 also at Assumption University, Bangkok. The aim of both the seminars are to help priests "rediscover their identity in the Asian context, lead them to a deeper awareness of God in their ministry and recapture the joy of priesthood amid the challenges of the modern world" (FABC News).
India: Seminar on ‘Cultural Challenges in Christian Mission’
CBCI Commission for Education and Culture is holding an important reflection on Culture for the Church in India at Ishvani Kendra (Institute of Missiology and Communications) in Pune, India from 2-4 August 2008. In his letter of invitation the Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil writes that the topic really is “Culture and its Relationship to every Activity of the Church: Evangelization, Education, Health Services, Social Work, Justice and Peace, Formation. The Pontifical Council for Culture is taking keen interest in the Pune meeting and is sending a special representative for it” (Ishvani News).
Gaillardetz, Richard R., Ecclesiology for a Global Church: A People Called and Sent, Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2008.
A strong case for global ecclesiological mission where it must be understood as a fundamental dimension of the Church’s catholicity. It is not the search for conversions but dialogue with cultures and religions, a point repeatedly made by Asian Churches and theologians, a gateway to the 21st century.
M. T. Joseph SVD, The Eco-Vision of the Earth Community: Biblical and Theological Perspectives, Bangalore: BTESSC/SATHRI, 2008.
This book is an outcome of Dr. M. T. Joseph’s post-doctoral research under SATHRI. It has 141 pages.
Saldanha, Julian, Mission Today: Themes and Issues, Bangalore: Claretian Publications, 2006.
This book analyzes some important Church Documents, highlighting the valuable insights contained therein, while also indicating areas in which further development seems necessary. The Second Part takes up particular issues and themes of special relevance to India/Asia.
Dr. Joy Thomas, SVD (Director)
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