Ballari Christians Pray Fervently For Christian Unity

BALLARI, 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

BALLARI, 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.

President Assures Christian Leaders Action Against Attacks On Christians

NEW DELHI, JANUARY 16: Shri. Pranab Mukerjee, the honourable President of India assured the Christian leaders who met him to express their concern on growing attacks on churches in Delhi and across the country that necessary action would be taken to maintain social peace and religious harmony in the country.

He told the delegation without mincing any words, "What is happening in Delhi and other places in the country is totally unacceptable. It brings bad name and reputation to the country and everyone. The attacks on religious places are to be strongly condemned by one and all as they are dangerous to the country's unity. They must be stopped as early as possible."

He also said that he would speak to the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister regarding this matter.

Archbishop Anil J.T. Couto expressed his satisfaction with the assurance given by the honourable President of India.

"I am glad that the President gave the assurance that he would speak to the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister and necessary actions would be taken to put an end to these attacks, hate campaign and false propaganda", the Archbishop said.

The delegation that met the honourable President of India included Archbishop Anil Couto, the Archbishop of Delhi, Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, Bishop of Faridabad Eparchy, Very.Rev. Fr. Susai Sebastian, the Vicar General, Rev. Fr. Savarimuthu Sankar, Spokesperson/PRO and Rev. Fr. Chetan Machado, Media & Youth Director of Delhi Catholic Archdiocese.

Issued By: Fr. Savarimuthu Sankar, Spokesperson Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, 9968006616/9717906441,

Pope Canonises Sri Lankas First Saint Joseph Vaz

BALLARI, 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.

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