More are Choosing Religious Lives in India

“Despite increased persecution, vocations to the priesthood in the north region of India are continuing to grow. Bishop Anthony Chirayath of Sagar Diocese in the state of Madhya Pradesh reported that the number of candidates to the priesthood in his diocese has been on the rise for the past decade.

“When the diocese started in 1968 as an exarchate there were only 600 Catholics and three priests – now we are (at) 35,” he told the news agency for the pastoral charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

India’s Minister for International Affairs reports that Madhya Pradesh had 654 religious-related violent incidents in 2009, the second-highest in the country.

Bishop Chirayath noted that it has taken courage for young people to step forward to serve in the Church in the face of violence and family circumstances. “They know, after (violence in) Orissa, that there are persecutions and these incidents – the killing of priests and sisters – are all known to every young man or woman.

“But in spite of that they come forward to be priests or sisters.”

“In some cases only – children come forward – it takes courage to proclaim Jesus to the non-Christian world, it is a challenge,” the bishop continued.

He noted that although many religious sisters have been attacked, sexually assaulted, or killed, young women too are answering their vocational calls.

“There are still plenty of vocations, God has blessed us,” commented Bishop Chirayath.” – “Vocations Increase in India Despite Religious Persecution , Catholic Bishop Reports”, Catholic News Agency

This was an article that I saw on Catholic News Agency, and it was sad to read about it first. However, after getting past the religious persecution and hatred that is happening in India, I did realize the general tone of the article was a positive one. It amazes me that they are seeing more people willing to join up and live a religious lifestyle when there is so much hatred going on. I think these men and women heading in the direction of religious lifestyles should be kept in our prayers.

Sister Who Helps the Needy Passes Away

“Sr. Nancy Pereira, foundress of a Fund for the Poor bank to help impoverished clients in Bangalore, India, died on July 14 at the age of 86. Her fellow sisters remembered her for her service to the poor with “joy” and “creative solidarity.”

Sr. Nancy was born at Pudukkruruchy in the state of Kerala on August 14, 1923. She made her first profession as a member of the Daughters of Maria Auxiliatrix (FMA) on January 6, 1945.
She became well-known in the early 1990s when she started the Fund for the Poor, following the example of the Nobel Peace Prize awardee the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. According to CBCI News, clients of Sr. Nancy’s bank had to be poor people from slums or villages who lacked the opportunity to improve their livelihoods.

“She loved all of them and tried to make them aware of their rights as well as their duties and to live their dignity as children of God. She did this with joy, involving many people in her projects for doing good. Forgetful of self, she lived a life of poverty to enrich the poor,” the sisters wrote.” – “Religious Sister Who Ran Bank For India’s Poor Dies at 86” – EWTN, Global Catholic Network

After reading this article I found over on EWTN Global Catholic Network I think that for the next few days Sr. Nancy Pereira should be kept in all of our prayers. This amazing woman led a respectable life helping the poorest of poor in Bangalore, India. She devoted her life to a very wonderful cause and set an example that many Catholics should take example from. Her kindness was extraordinary.

Pope Benedict Will Talk About Religion and Freedom

“Benedict XVI will address religious freedom in his main message to the world political community. The pope will denounce that in some parts of the world religious freedom does not exist and many people are marginalized, persecuted and punished because of their faith.

China is the main example. Despite the Constitution allowing the practice of five religions, they persecute and arrest those who do not follow the government’s orders in matters of faith. Currently 10 priests and two bishops are incarcerated in this country just for being Catholics.

In Pakistan religious minorities, like Christians, are harshly persecuted through the law of anti- blasphemy. This law regulates offenses against Muhammad and the Koran and punishes those who do not comply with penalties reaching life in prison or death. On numerous occasions this law has been used to punish residents who profess another religion.

In India, the most extremist of Hinduism combat religions that come from the outside such as Christianity. In Europe there is also a lack of religious freedom. In the UK the government prohibits religious manifestations in public, such as carrying the cross and Catholics cannot join the royal family.” – “Pope Will Address Religious Freedom in the World Day of Peace”, Rome Reports

This post interested me for two reasons. First, I am glad to see that the Pope will be addressing religious tolerance. This is something that I think Catholics could really learn a lesson in as well as others. This article tends to concentrate more on discrimination against Catholics and Christians, but it doesn’t get into how Catholics and Christians can be intolerant of other people’s lifestyles. I think the Pope is touching on a subject that can really apply to anybody, who follows any religion anywhere. The second reason this interested me is because I did not know of the struggles Christians are facing in India, Pakistan, and China. Even in England there is prejudice against Catholics. Everybody in the world should really just learn to keep to their faith to themselves. If another person does not believe that same things as you, that is not something that should cause you to hold hatred for them. You should be mature enough to accept that you have differences with them, and that they are free to make their own decisions.

Syro-Malankara Catholic Church Comes to the US

“On Wednesday Pope Benedict XVI has erected an Apostolic Exarchate for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in the United States and appointed Father Thomas Naickamparampil as its first bishop. The pope also appointed him Apostolic Visitator for the Syro-Malankara Catholics in Canada and Europe.

The erection of the exarchate and appointments were publicized in Washington, July 14, by Msgr. Jean-François Lantheaume, Chargé d’Affaires, at the apostolic nunciature in the United States.

Father Naickamparampil is a priest of the Major Archiepiscopal Eparchy of Trivandrum, India.

An apostolic exarchate is the Eastern Catholic Church equivalent of an apostolic vicariate. It is not a full-fledged eparchy (diocese), but is established by the Holy See for the pastoral care of Eastern Catholics in an area outside the territory of the Eastern Catholic Church to which they belong. It is headed by a bishop or a priest with the title of Exarch. An apostolic visitator is a papal representative who has been asked to familiarize himself with the situation of a given community and to report on its status to the Holy See.” – “Pope Erects Apostolic Exarchate for Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in US”, Catholic Answers Forum

This post from Catholic Answers Forum was pretty interesting and I thought it was worth sharing. The Syro-Malankara Church is Catholic and is found in India. It has eight different dioceses there called eparchies, and half a million followers. I had no idea that this branch of Catholicism even existed until I read this, and I find it extremely interesting. I didn’t know that there were Catholics in India, but I guess you learn something new every day don’t you. It is good to see that they are branching out and being accepted in the US, where they have a respectable 10,000 followers.