Catholics in northern India see Christian witness as essential
Bishop Ignatius Mascarenhas
Bishop Ignatius Mascarenhas

.- A survey of Catholics in a northern India diocese reports that, despite recent attacks against their fellow believers, they see authentic Christian witness as a top priority and as key to outreach to the poor. The local bishop has also committed himself to this goal.

Bishop Ignatius Mascarenhas of the Diocese of Simla-Chandigarh commissioned the investigating survey soon after taking office last year. He discussed the findings in a recent interview with the pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

The bishop told ACN he would redouble efforts to make Christian outreach a priority through schools, preaching and service, “telling people it is Christ’s love we are sharing, and not being too afraid.”

He said Christian institutions must remember they exist “to bring Christ’s love.”

Survey respondents listed education as their second priority, voicing a particular commitment to giving more poor children places in Catholic schools. They named support for youth as their third priority.

Bishop Mascarenhas told ACN that India currently has the largest number of young people in the world and it is normal for families to have three to four children. He said the Church would focus on increasing young people’s faith and on promoting ways of Christian living in contrast to contrary messages in the media.

The fourth priority of respondents was social development, such as helping poor people become independent. The bishop said there was a special need to emphasize the rights of women and girls. They are perceived as a drain on the family, which is required to pay a dowry when the women are married.

Because of this view, women are frequently neglected and many die. However, the Church has been caring for unwanted girls in hostels run by religious sisters. The perception of girls is slowly changing but the bishop said change will take time.

The final priority named in the survey was the expansion of health care.

The bishop told ACN that Christians in India are “well known” for social development and teams have been established to implement these priorities as part of the Church’s mission.

The territory of the Diocese of Simla-Chandigarh is four times the size of Belgium. There are only about 20,000 Christians in its population of 20 million people.

Recent violence against Christians in India has moved ACN to make it a priority country. In 2009 it gave more than $4.8 million to projects to help the Church there. Its aid includes Mass stipends for priests, distribution of ACN Child’s Bibles and other religious education literature, training for seminarians and novices, building churches, and providing vehicles for clergy ministering in remote regions.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:1-15


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Gospel:: Jn 13:1-15

Homily of the Day

Jn 13:1-15


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: