Ballari Christians Hold Rally Protesting Attacks on Christians and Women

BALLARI, 27 MARCH 2015: Hundreds of Christians from all Christian denominations, institutions and women groups held a protest rally condemning attacks on Christians and women in India.

Peaceful protest rally commenced from Moti Circle in the city, went through the main streets of Ballari and marched to Deputy Commissioner's Office to submit a memorandum.

Addressing to the crowd that gathered for the rally, Bishop Henry D'Souza, Bishop of Ballari stated, "Recent attacks on churches and church personnel have caused an atmosphere of fear among Christians and women. We demand that the government of India must ensure that that the attackers are a brought to justice and all sections of the society, especially the minorities, dalits and women are allowed to live in peace and harmony".

Shri Sameer Sukula IAS, Deputy Commissioner of Ballari, receiving the memorandum assured that the District Administration has taken all measures to ensure that all sections of the society will live without fear. He requested to contact immediately the District Administration regarding any attacks and untoward incidents.

He also assured to forward the memoranda to the respective authorities.

Vicar General Fr. Paul Raj read the memoranda and thanked the District Administration for the peaceful atmosphere prevalent in the society.

The Bishop thanked all those participated in the peaceful protest rally and the priests and pastors for organizing it.

New Block of Senior Priests Home Blessed And Inaugurated

BALLARI, 26 MARCH 2015: New block for BETHAY, senior priests home was blessed and inaugurated by Bishop Henry D'Souza, Bishop of Bellary on 26 March, 2015. The new block is named after the first Bishop of Ballari - Bishop Hogan.

Senior priests Fathers Paul Fernandes, Henry Fernandes, Thomas D'Souza, Denis Menezes and Archibald Corea opened the new block by cutting the ribbon and Fr. Paul Raj, Vicar General unveiled the plaque.

The diocese already has a 6 unit for senior priests' block named after Bishop Ambrose Yeddanapalli, the second Bishop of Ballari.

Bishop Hogan served in Bellary Mission for 34 years (1928-1962). He became the first Bishop of Bellary Diocese in 1949.

Presently there are 6 senior priests in Bethany. As there are more senior priests retiring, construction of the new block was a necessitated.

"The senior priests residence allows to have our own private quarters, yet live close to other priests. So there is a sense of fraternity and when we need one another, for whatever reason, we are there to help and assist each other," Fr Henry Fernandes said. "With God and each other, we are never really alone."

There are 78 priests serving in the diocese.

Bishop felicitated Fr. Yagappa, Frs. Anthonyraj, Fr. Sam Nalan, Fr. Francis Bashyam, Mr. Balaswamy (Architect & Engineer), Arogyadas (civil contractor) and others who dreamt of the new block come true.

International Womens Day Held in Bellary: Theme: Make

BALLARI, March 21, 2015 (Sr. Marie Christine): International Women's Day was celebrated in Mathe Maria Mahila Pragathi Dhama, Bellary to encourage effective leadership and recognize the greater role of women among local women.

It was jointly organized by Diocesan Women Commission and Mathe Maria Mahila Pragathi Dhama (Women's Development Center).

Fr. Paulraj, Vicar General, Sr. Margaret RGS, Joint Secretary, KRCBC Women's Commission, Sr. Thangamma, FS, Smt. Susheela, Asst. Professor, VVV Sangha B. Ed. College, Ballari were the resource persons of the day.

"Self empowerment of women is a powerful tool to free women from the clutches of traditional and social beliefs and repressive forces" noted Sr. Margaret RGS.

"To foster responsible womanhood, education is the best tool" insisted Sr. Thangamma, FS.

The need to form Women cells in all the parishes to avail Government and other benefits was emphasized Fr. Denis Menezes, Parish Priest, Christ the King Church.

"Women should usher in a new civilization of respect for all, human dignity, love and cooperation. That will ensure empowerment of women within families and society", stated Bishop Henry D'Souza.

60 women participated in the daylong programme.

Mathe Maria Mahila Pragathi Dhama, Diocesan Women's Development Center which was started in 1991 by Bishop Ambrose of happy memory empowered hundreds of rural and economically poor women. As the institution was beginning it's silver jubilee year, Bishop Henry D'Souza, appreciated the dedicated service offered by the center for the deprived women to empower themselves particularly through education.

Sr. Marie Christy, Secretary, Women's Commission thanked Miss Sugantha Director, Mathe Maria Mahila Pragathi Dhama and Former Regional Secretary, KRCBC Women's Commission for organizing so meaningfully and hosting the program.

DPC Meeting Held, Bishop Urges To Promote Vocations to Consecrated Life

BALLARI, MARCH 21, 2015: "Consecrated Life is a precious gift of God to the Church and humanity. We need to promote vocations to religious life among young boys and girls", declared Bishop Henry D'Souza, Bishop of Ballari. He was addressing the members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council at its meeting held at the Bishop's House today.

"The families and lay faithful are invited to foster love for Jesus in the hearts of their children and that would bear fruit desiring to consecrate their lives to God" Bishop stated.

"The Consecrated persons to rethink, renew with freshness and enthusiasm their consecrated lives, to be attractive witness for the growth of the church", insisted the Bishop.

Also, quoting Pope Francis, the Bishop said "Joy is the remarkable sign of a consecrated person."

The resource person of the day was Fr. Joe Francis ofm cap, Superior & Rector of Pothanal Franciscan Community.

He said that consecrated lives must be joyful, witness to the Good News, prophetic and evangelizing.

In order to sensitize the people regarding the upcoming Karnataka Caste Census from April 11- 30. Fr. Chowrappa, Director, BDDS & Secretary for KRCBC, Regional Commission for SC/ST/BC Commission and Alphonse Kennedy, Bangalore enlightened the members.

The gathering also condemned the recent attacks on churches, women religious and Christian institutions. To show our solidarity with the victims it was decided to have a peaceful protest rally on 27th March in Bellary and thereafter to submit a Memorandum to the Prime Minister.

The Bishop also informed about the completion of term of Parish Pastoral Councils and Parish Finance Councils by June, 2015 and thereafter election of new members be held in July, 2015.

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