News & Events

Apostolic Nuncio Confers Pallium on Shillong Archbishop

Shillong, 16 October: Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal conferred the Pallium on Archbishop Victor Lyngdoh in a solemn Eucharistic celebration held at Mary Help of Christians Cathedral, Laitumkhrah, Shillong on 15 October. Making his maiden visit to North East India, Archbishop Leopoldo Grielli presented the Pallium to the newly appointed Archbishop of Shillong in a concelebrated Holy Mass attended by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Health Minister James Sangma, Member of Parliament Vincent Pala, Archbishop John Moolachira, the President of North East India Regional Bishop’s Council and dignitaries and Bishops from across the region. Pallium is a woolen vestment traditionally conferred by the Pope on Archbishops at the celebration of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul in Rome. Pope Francis modified the ritual in 2015; the pallia would be blessed on the same feast at St. Peter’s Basilica and the Archbishops would receive it in a separate ceremony within their home dioceses from the hands of the Apostolic Nuncio. Speaking on the occasion, the Nuncio said, “I am pleased to be here on my first visit to the region and to the State of Meghalaya. I see here a vibrant and participatory Church, which is at the heart of the Holy Father’s synod on synodality”. The Nuncio arrived at Meghalaya for a three-day visit to a warm welcome by the faithful led by the Chief Minister of the State on 14 October. Presenting the Pallium to Archbishop Victor, the Nuncio said, “You represent our Lord who is a Prophet, Priest and King, to preach the good news on every condition, favourable and unfavourable with gentleness and firmness”. He also spoke to the Priests and Women Religious present at the ceremony to keep service at the core of their life. “Remember that we have become Priests to serve the people and not to rule them. We must follow the example of Jesus Christ to lead the people in humility without any distinction on the basis of language, race or tribe.” To the Women Religious he said, “You are a consecrated people, a reminder for all the people to be obedient, chaste and poor and to remind us that we are here as pilgrims. You are called to express the care of the church to the marginalised and the poor and to uphold the dignity of the women by giving them education and a sense of dignity as human being”. Compliance with the government protocols, the ceremony was restricted to limited number of invitees. The ceremony was telecast live for people to witness it from their homes. Addressing the laity present at the ceremony, the Nuncio highlighted the beginning of the two-year Synod on Synodality by Pope Francis on 10 October. “We are in the beginning g of the journey we call synod. We need to learn to listen to create communion to understand others with a different opinion and to share our support to the church”, the Nuncio said. Taking to his microblogging site, Chief Minister Sangma said, “We are blessed to have Most Reverend Leoplodo Girelli, the Apostolic Nuncio to India in our midst today. The Church has stood by us in times of triumphs and hardships and we will always stand by it as it continues to make a difference to people’s lives”. Father Jose Varikaseril,...

read more

Indigenous Day calls for reviving traditional values says Bishop George

Miao, 10 August: Indigenous Day is a reminder to revive the age-old traditional values of the indigenous people said Bishop George Pallipparambil of Miao Diocese in east Arunachal Pradesh. “It is not about some important events to mark the day, but it is a call to revive the golden values of our traditional societies, respecting the elders, values of family life, and to understand the importance of our communion with nature and caring for the earth”, said Bishop George at the backdrop of a small function held at Newman School Neotan to mark the World Indigenous Day 2021. The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is observed every year on 9 August to raise awareness and to protect the rights of the indigenous people. Reminding the students on the importance of learning the mother tongues and being proud of their tribal identity, the Salesian prelate said, “It is sad that many of our youth and children these days try to imitate K-Pop culture. Indigenous Day is a significant occasion to get back to our roots to preserve our unique tribal identity.” According to the latest census of India, Arunachal Pradesh has a population of 1.4 million. Indigenous people constitute more than 70% of the total population, with 26 major tribes and more than 100 sub tribes. Congratulating the school management for encouraging the students to wear their traditional attire for the school, the Bishop said, “Let us not lose our rich tribal identity due to modern technical advancements or to outside invasion. Each of us should not only preserve it but also promote it.” Kohman Ngemu, an indigenous leader from Changlang district, said, “The humble effort to mark the day with the school children today will go a long way in encouraging these kids to be proud of their indigenous identity”. Commenting on the day, Wanglung Mossang, a local dialect promoter of Arunachal Pradesh said, “As indigenous people, we must mark this day and celebrate it every year in order to cling on to our own inherited qualities of love and brotherhood and sharing and caring at is used to be in the days of the old”. In the context of most of the younger generation not being able to speak their local dialects and losing sight of their traditional cultural values, International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is a wakeup call to become aware of the rich values of the the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh, remarked Bishop...

read more

Arunachal Christians mourn the death of Father Stan Swamy

Kharsang, 7 July 2021: The Christian community in Arunachal Pradesh mourned the death of Father Stan Swamy with candle light condolence prayer service across the State on 6 July. “It is a sad day for all Indians. We have failed, our judiciary has failed and our country has failed”, said Bishop George Pallipparambil of Miao Diocese in east Arunachal Pradesh. Organising a condolence prayer service at Kharsang market area in Changlang district, Bishop George said, “The death of Father Stan calls for introspection on our judicial system. Father Stan’s death reminds us of how Jesus was unjustly condemned by the Pilot.” Adding that the death of Father Stan is a manifestation current legal system in our country the Bishop requested everyone to work towards building a just society. The timing of the hour-long condolence prayer service at Kharsang market coincided with the funeral service for Father Stan at St. Peter’s Church, Bandra, Mumbai. The prayer service was attended by youth, men and women groups and religious sisters from Namphai and Kharsang circles of Changlang district. Speaking at the backdrop of a prayer service held at Bishop’s House, Naharlagun, Bishop John Thomas of Itangar diocese in west Arunachal Pradesh said, “Every Indian voter shares the shame of this institutional murder of Father Stan Swamy.” Commenting that the condemnation from all sections of the society on the death of Father Stan is an indication that the world has not yet sold its conscience to the powerbrokers, Bishop Thomas said, “A country that boasts of its armed capability to take on nuclear powers like China and Pakistan is afraid of an 84 year-old Parkinson patient who needs help to perform his basic bodily functions.” Calling Father Stan’s arrest and his subsequent death as acts of anarchy, Bishop Thomas said, “This frail old man has to be incarcerated until death because he was a symbol of the voice of the poor dalits and tribals. This is how fascists cling on to power in the name of saving the country from anarchy. If this is not anarchy, what else!” The President of the Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association, Taw Tebin, too condemned the “institutional murder” of Father Stan. “Father Stan’s blood is on our hand. Is this the reward we give to a person who has dedicated all his for the service of humanity?” Tebin asked. Father Stan was arrested on 8 October 2020 by the National Investigation Agency for his alleged nexus with naxals to destabilise the Government. He was kept in Taloja Central Jail near Mumbai without trail. His bail plea was rejected twice. He was shifted to Holy Family Hospital, Mumbai on 29 May on the orders of Bombay High Court and he passed away on 5 July, awaiting...

read more

Miao Diocese launches ‘Earth is Gold’ campaign on World Environment Day

Miao, 5 June: Miao Diocese launched Mitthi Sona Hai (Earth is Gold) campaign to mark the World Environment Day at a small event held at Christ the Light Minor Seminary, Miao on 5 June 2021. Aimed at making people self sufficient, the campaign is for encouraging people to cultivate and produce their own food, said Bishop George Pallipparambil of Miao Diocese. Celebrating the World Environment Day 2021 with the diocesan minor seminarians, the Salesian prelate said, “Mitthi Sona Hai. The Earth is gold and it has everything for everyone. We only need to till it and discover it.” The campaign aims at making every parish in the diocese to produce its own vegetables and fruits. Quoting the creation story of the Bible, the Bishop said, “God asks us to subdue the earth and not subjugate it. It calls for free and equal coexistence with the nature. We are to be friends to the mother earth and not its master.” To implement the campaign in every Parish, Bishop has appointed Father Kanjirathamkunnel Peter, the administrator of the minor seminary. He and his team will organize workshops and awareness campaigns on Mitthi Sona Hai for different groups of the diocese to give them useful tips to put the earth to maximum use to become self sufficient. Terming the campaign a great step forward, Father Peter said “Every parish and centre has huge plots of land lying waste. We need to discover the gold in it by tilling and planting our own foods”. The launch of the campaign was responded by the youth groups of the parishes across the diocese. Nearly 150 youth from Injan village in Changlang district planted 700 fruit plants around the village. “We are happy to be part of this great initiative of the diocese. We have planted fruit plants today and in the coming days we will make kitchen gardens around our houses”, said Junem Langching, a youth leader of the diocese. Launched today, the Mitthi Sona Hai campaign will run for a year till next World Environment...

read more

NE Catholic Church forms Core Team to respond to Covid crisis in the region

Guwahati, 18 May 2021: In the wake of rising number of Covid cases in North East India, the Catholic Church of the region has formed a Core Team to respond to the crisis, over an online meeting held on 18 May 2021. The primary task of this core team is to coordinate the various activities carried out by the Catholic Church of the region to be more effective during this critical period of our life time, said Father G.P. Amalraj, the convener of the meeting and the Deputy Secretary of North East India Regional Bishops’ Council (NEIRBC). The core team will form various task forces with each assigned with a particular area of focus, like finding hospital beds for the Covid patients, supplying food and relief materials to the patients and to their relatives, counseling and monetary assistance to those in need. Appreciating the initiative, Archbishop John Moolachira, the President of NEIRBC said, “Having a core team will help us avoid duplicating our efforts and also to reach out to more people in our region”.    A total of 27 participants attended the hour-long online meeting Expressing concern over a huge number of deaths of priests and women religious across India, Bishop James Thoppil, the Secretary of NEIRBC advised everyone to take all safety measures while carrying out relief efforts. “It is sad we have lost more than 150 priests and much more number of women religious in our country. NE Region too has lost some very young priests to the pandemic. It is important that we take care of ourselves while going about serving the people”, said the Kohima Bishop. A letter of advice to be followed by all priests and women religious while on covid duty will be sent to all the Bishops of the region, said Bishop Thoppil. The people in the tea garden villages across the region are the most affected. Formation of core team will help us reach out to them in the last villages, said Father Sebastian Ouseparampil, the Director of North East Diocesan Social Service Society, who will head this core team. The team consists of Father Melvil Pereira, the Provincial Superior of Guwahati Region, Brother Varghese Mandapam, Provincial of Montfort Brothers, Sister Escociana Vaz, the Regional Secretary of Catholic Religious in India, Father Jayaprakash, Director of Bosco Reachout, Father Tom Mangattuthazhe, Regional Secretary of Ecumenism, Father Roy George, Director of AIDA, Dimapur, and Jonas Lakra, the Zonal Director of Caritas...

read more