News & Events

North East India Bishops issue guidelines to contain Coronavirus

In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak across India, the North East India Regional Bishops’ Council (NEIRBC) has issued guidelines for all the general public, Parishes and Institutions to take necessary safety precautions to contain the spread of the virus. At the conclusion of the two-day meeting of NEIRBC at the Pastoral Centre, Dibrugarh, on 18 March, the Archbishop of Guwahati and the Council’s President, John Moolachira, speaking on behalf of all the Bishops of North East India said, “We advise the people to follow the guidelines and instructions of their respective States to contain the spread of the pandemic novel coronavirus.”  Advising the people to avoid large public gatherings, a note from the Archbishop read, “Catholics are dispensed from Sunday and other obligatory day obligations till further notice. The Church may be left open for individuals to come and pray.” In the light of the looming threat of the virus and with no respite in sight, the guideline from the Bishops advises the people to avoid panic, as fear is more dangerous than the virus itself. The Apex Body of the North East Bishops has advised the people to receive Holy Communion in the hand, instead of the tongue and to avoid handshakes to greet. The guideline further advises to keep the Holy Water stoops dry and to use disposable wipes, instead of towels, to clean the feet after the feet washing ceremony on Maundy Thursday and it discourages people to kiss the Cross on Good Friday. It advises a deep bow instead. The guideline advises the clergy to refrain from any physical contact while praying over the sick or while receiving offerings. Calling on people to take appropriate measures, the guidelines advises the health experts to conduct instruction and awareness programme for the people about the signs and symptoms of the virus and ways and means to prevent its spread. In the light of the recent attack on two female students from the North East near Delhi University’s North Campus, by six men who called them ‘coronavirus’, the Bishops appeal for peace and to end all discrimination meted out to the people from the region during this critical time. The advisory note concludes with a request for earnest prayers to God to help come out of this deadly virus affecting the whole...

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

Miao Diocese wishes everyone a very Happy New Year...

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Bishop George appointed Chairman for Evangelization in Asia

The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC) has appointed Bishop George Pallipparambil of Miao Diocese, Arunachal Pradesh, to lead the Office of Evangelization in Asia for a period of three years starting from 1 January 2020. The appointment of Bishop PK, as he is fondly called by the people around the North East Region, comes close on the heels of the appointment of Cardinal Tagle of Manila Philippines as Prefect of Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples by Pope Francis in the first week of this month. The Church in North East region has received the news with joy and much hope for the future. Archbishop Emeritus and former Chairman for the Office of Evangelization of FABC, Thomas Menamparampil expressed happiness joy over the appointment Bishop George for the same office. “Having had an intense experience in the field of Evangelization over several decades in a sensitive corner of Asia, he will be able to make a major contribution to the office entrusted to him”, he said. Bishop George, 65, is also the Chairman Bishop of Youth Commission and Evangelization Commission in the North East Regional Bishops’ Council.  Charged with great enthusiasm to spread the message of the Gospel and deep love for the people in the North East Region, Bishop PK is the right person to lead the Church’s work of Evangelization in Asia, said Fr. Johnson Parackal, the President of SIGNIS India North East. As Chairman, Bishop George has his job cut out for the Church during these troubled times across Asia. Upon assuming Office, the new Chairman will be working with Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, Simon Poh Hoon Seng, Archbishop of Kuching, Josheph Son Sam-seok, Bishop of Busan and Dr. Camillus Fernando from the Colombo Catholic Press, to oversee the work of Evangelization in 19 Member Bishops’ and eight Associate Member Bishops’ Conferences across Asia. The appointment of Cardinal Tagle as Prefect of Congregation for the Evangelization across the world and Bishop George’s for the same Office in Asia augur well for the Church in Asia in general and for India in...

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‘Ambassador of Peace’ calls for the ‘Ability to Listen’

The secret of success of any peace effort is the ability to listen, says the retired Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati. He was speaking on the occasion of receiving the “Ambassador for Peace” award for 2019 from the International Human Rights Council in a glittering ceremony held at India Islamic Centre Auditorium, New Delhi on December 9. “Many think that volubility and vocabulary, a cute approach and a persuasive tongue will convince the parties in conflict. But far more important is a contextual understanding of their more serious anxieties in their complexity and depth. But ultimately, a ‘sympathetic listening’ to their inner agonies alone will open the doors for dialogue,” said the 83-old Church leader. “What we need to acquire most of all is an “ability to listen,” he says. When discussions are rushed through and dictated decisions are pressed hard on the combatants by authorities, peace negotiations stumble, and dialogue makes little headway. But if concern for the anxieties of the affected parties and attention to their eagerness to shape a realistic future dominates the conversation, the horizon brightens up, hearts open out, interactions become fruitful, and realistic conclusions can be reached. Archbishop Menamparampil with his Joint Peace Team had come to the rescue of two and a half lakh refugees in 42 relief camps around Kokrajhar in 1996 after an inter-ethnic conflict that had carried away hundreds of lives and destroyed thousands of houses. More than 400 volunteers from places as far as Mumbai and Pune, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, had come to help, and had worked side by side with those from the Northeast itself for months on end, in close collaboration with the state government, providing food, drink, medicine, clothes and other necessities. Peace work was a continuation of this mighty effort, that came after prolonged negotiations and long eliciting of good will. The Governor and the Chief Minister had lauded this mighty contribution. After that, the Peace Team was called to several places of conflict: Churachandpur, Imphal, Haflong, Diphu, Udalguri, Mendipathar, and Sarupathar in Assam and even Khandmal in Odisha, where major tragedies had caused the loss of hundreds of lives, and a very great loss of houses and enormous amount of property. Asked why these events had not won national attention and international sympathy, the Archbishop said, “Unfortunately, when the affected communities belong to smaller ethnic groups and weaker sections of people, they fail to win the attention they deserve.”  “This is the greatest tragedy,” he lamented. But the misfortunes were not any less grievous for that. Apart from direct involvement on peace issues, the Archbishop has written several books and articles on the theme of peace, reconciliation, forgiveness; respect for cultures, defense of traditional value-systems, etc. He has been present at conferences with such themes in the Universities of Wuhan, Nankai, and Hubei in China; Nairobi and Kampala in Africa, recently in Cairo in Egypt, Izmir in Turkey, and several universities in India itself. Apart from sympathetic listening, the Archbishop insists on the importance of being sensitive to the memories of historic injuries that still may be harassing the communities concerned, in-built prejudices, and cultural distances. “In India we are suffering too much from these,” he says. “And in addition, let your opponent know that you respect him, even when you differ from...

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Arunachal Children run for the safety of women in India

In the wake of recent crimes against women across India, a group of children in the last village of Arunachal Pradesh ran for the safety of women in India to conclude their annual sports day celebrations on 4 December 2019. The number crime against women has been on the rise in the recent past. Every day morning greets us with depressing news about atrocities against women. Just when the country was recovering from the Nirbhaya incident in Delhi, similar incidents have started happening across the country in the recent past. The murder of the young veterinary Doctor in Hyderabad and the killing of a school child in Rajasthan in the past week have left us wondering if our country has become unsafe for women and children  to live any more, said the Principal of Newman School in Neotan village of Changlang District. Inaugurating the event, he said, “Your running today may not solve this problem. However, your act will spread awareness among yourselves to work towards building up a safer society for women in India”. A group of 200 children participated in the 3 Kilometer mini marathon that began from Government Higher Secondary School in Namphai I and ended at Newman School Neotan. Students from class four to class ten participated in the running that began at 5.30 am and everyone showed enthusiasm to be part of the early running for an important cause. “I woke up at 4am today to be in time for this running today”, said Wangthan Chithan, a tenth grader who won the marathon. “The purpose this running motivated me”. I would grow up to build a better country for the women to live in, said Gideon Khimhun, the youngest participant at the end of the...

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