Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kandhamal girls rescued

Kandhamal girls rescued from Mumbai bondage

The nuns learnt that these girls were not allowed to come out of the company as their agent has taken their salary and escaped.

Nine girls from Odihsa's riot-hit Khandamal district, who were forced into bounded labor in a Mumbai fish processing firm, were rescued with the help of Catholic nuns and voluntary agencies.

The attempts started July 14 when Holy Spirit Sister Julie of Streevani in Pune called up Bethany Sister Violet in Panvel, Mumbai, and said that some girls who are trafficked from Kandhamal are working in a fishing company at Taloja, Panvel.

The nuns learnt that these girls were not allowed to come out of the company and their agent has taken their salary and escaped.

Sister Violet and a MSFS priest at Taloja visited the factory in person without revealing our identity but the tight security at the gate did not allow them inside.

The nuns said they did not want to inform the police fearing that local police may help the factory owners move the girls to other places over night since trafficking is a big racket in Mumbai city.

They also contacted child helpline but were not satisfied with their directions, Sister Violet said in a note circulated to press. On July 16 they contacted a voluntary organization called Indian Rescue Mission.

The mission team worked out the strategy to raid the factory. On Friday with the help of Panvel Police commissioner and Labor commissioner, the organization members raided the place and found out that there are above 200 girls working and among them 97 are minors.

The four managers are arrested and in Jail and they are in search of the agents who brought these minors to work. The FIR under child labor has been filed against the Managers. The minors are shifted to remand home at Mumbai for further investigation and care of the children.

The 9 girls from Kandhamal received their three months salary that they were deprived of and have been sent back home with two social workers from Kandhamal.

The minors are from Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

St Ignatius of Loyola

By Cecil  Azzopardi, S.J.


My Dear Brothers and Friends,
I would like to share with you four dimensions from the life of St. Ignatius that forcefully come across to me in my exposure to this man, namely, his relationship to God / to Christ / to the Church / and to the World.
!gnatius is a man taken up with God,, and this comes across more forcefully because it was not always so. He was 31 years old when because of the experience he had at the river Cardoner, his whole life is projected in a dynamic movement towards God. And from then on there was no looking back for Ignatius.
There was only one reality he searched for with every fiber of his being, GOD. Only God, solely God, God alone are phrases we keep constantly bumping into in his writings. This
why Ignatian Spirituality can be summarized in just two words, ‘SEEK GOD’ — Seek God everywhere, seek God anytime, seek God anywhere, seek God in all things. And just living out these two words is a whole way of life.

But for Ignatius God is not only to be sought. God can also be found.
The whole of the Spiritual Exercises is founded on this
be tangibly experienced,
“Let God deal directly and personally with the retreatant,” Ignatius tells the Director of the Spiritual Exercises.
This means we are not chasing a dream, or running after a cloud. God can be met and tangibly experienced.
Ignatius was touched by this God.

— He shed tears that really spoilt his eyes because of his encounter with God.
— We find in his personal diary that his hair stood on end when his whole being was flooded by.God.
Hence Ignatius would dare say in his autobiography that towards the end of his life,
“each time and hour that he wanted to find God he found him.”
My Dear Brothers, I find this statement frightening in its boldness — and yet inspiring in its honesty.
It is in Christ that Ignatius finds his way to God. From early in his conversion lgnatius comes to discover that Jesus can take a hold of his heart as intensely and passionately as the lady of his dreams.
And so initially in remorse, but later out of gratitude and wonder Ignatius turns to ‘Christ our Lord hanging on the Cross and asks of himself:

“What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought Ito do for Christ?”
These questions well up from a heart moved with profound gratitude and love, for when eh was on the brink of despair because of guilt, he finds himself embraced in God’s mercy. This experience of God’s mercy is the foundation grace that links lgnatius and every Jesuit to Jesus.
Later on his pilgrimage through life we find a prayer of longing arising from the depth of his soul, an anguishing 

Prayer, “Mary place me with your Son Jesus)’ ignatius knew that Jesus, and Jesus poor, had become the most precious love of his life. This he had no doubt. But has the Lord accepted him in the intimate circle of his friends? — “like the apostles” is often fond of repeating.
And so he asks Mary to intercede for him with her Son.
I would like to place here the deep-felt request we find Ignatius making later on in his spiritual journal, when he pleads.
“Eternal Father confirm me, Eternal Son confirm me,
Eternal Spirit confirm me, My only God confirm me.”
16 years after Pamplona Ignatius is confirmed, when at La Storta on his way to Rome, God the Father places Ignatius with His Son carrying the Cross.

                         Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me

There the Father binds lgnatius to Jesus by making him the servant of the same mission He entrusted to the Son.
— It is as servant of this mission that Ignatius is placed with Christ.
— It is as servant of this mission that Christ places him in the heart of the Trinity.
In his personal diary Ignatius will note down:
“I felt Jesus presenting me, or placing me, or simply being the means of union in the midst of the most Holy Trinity.” (February 27th, 1544)

This is why Ignatian mysticism is a mysticism of service. Union through service — Service out of loving union. Every human person is on a journey into the heart of the Divine. But for us Jesuits it is only as servants of Christ’s mission that we can find ourselves placed with Christ In the heart of God.
Ignatius’ relationship with the Church is intriguing and challenging.
He launches out as a free-lancer in the Church.
Touched by God he wants to converse with anyone willing
To listen about what is burning in his heart. However while doing this, he gradually finds himself coming in confrontation with the authorities of the Church.
While Ignatius nourishes his conversion experience in the arms of the Church, his first public encounters with Church authority seem to be one of opposition. For him at this stage, the Church seems to keep coming in the way of what he wants to do.

And yet, it is precisely in facing this authority in freedom that he finds the way where God is mysteriously leading him to.
In his Autobiography we do find, that whenever he feels that the Church closes the door to what he thinks he should be doing, Ignatius asks himself, “What must I do now?”
In this question we discover that Ignatius does respect the authorities of the Church. He takes seriously what is asked of him. And at the same time the very question reveals that he is not stifled. He keeps searching. lgnatius keeps that freedom of spirit not by fighting back, not by confronting, but by constantly searching.
Ignatius by integrating in a very delicate balance, obedience to the authorities of the Church without surrendering his liberty of spirit and his availability for the service of God’s people, he comes to discover his apostolic vocation within the Church. He is  more a free-lancer in the Church but an apostle sent by Christ through the Church.
Placed with Christ as servant of the mission entrusted by the Father, Ignatius finds himself sent through the Church into the whole world.

The Spiritual Exercises open with the Principle and Foundation and it is here that we can find a basis for understanding Ignatius relation to the world.
His search for God, his openness to the beyond, his quest for the more, takes place in the very context of the world. There is only one path for lgnatius to journey to God, and this 32 .IGNIS — 1999/3
is in and through the rest of creation’ as he puts it in the Principle and Foundation.
Because at the Cardoner Experience God is encountered at the center of everything, for Ignatius discovering God is simultaneously affirming the whole universe.
Hence after the Cardoner Experience there is a total re-orientation that takes place in his life:


— from a penitential to an apostolic spirituality;
— from imitating Christ, to serving him;
— from renouncing the world to getting involved in the world.
If Ignatius asks us to seek and find God in all things, it is because God is at work in all things, even in the sinful situations of our world and the brokennes of humanity.
And so my Dear Brothers, without the slightest hesitation we can invest the whole of ourselves in the service of the world, seeking God, where God is not only just present but is also labouring in the world.
It is precisely because God is already at work in the world before we are sent, our Last General Congregation dares to affirm that for us Jesuits there is a level of consciousness of God that is only accessible in and through our apostolic commitments. (GC. 34, No. 252)
This is the core of an apostolic spirituality.
My Dear Brothers,
Touched by God, embraced in His mercy, sent with his Son into the world, may we be found to be men ablaze with God, who wish to give greater proof of their love and distinguish ourselves in the service of the Lord.



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Audio Album from Gurjarvani, Ahmedabad, India, to be released soon.

This album of songs in Gujarati is inspire young people to come forward to serve needy people in the world. Young people can serve others wherever they are, in whatever capacity according to their generosity. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Silencing dissent and sowing hate in India

Silencing dissent and sowing hate in India

New government policies are stoking the fires of tribal conflict.

By John Dayal
New Delhi: 
A recent report from India’s Intelligence Bureau demonizing non-government organizations (NGOs) and several activists including a Catholic priest -- the late Father Thomas Kocherry -- was a precursor of more direct action to come.

All were accused of working against Indian national interests.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government took immediate action, ordering Greenpeace, which it had targeted as the prime culprit in delaying if not preventing big money projects in tribal areas, to obtain permission before trying to seek any funding from overseas.

That is not to say that the previous Congress government did not use the notorious Foreign Contribution Act to punish NGOs in Tamil Nadu.

The initiatives that suffered included a Catholic diocese, for supporting a local people’s movement against a nuclear power plant at Koodamakulam.

Critics said the federal and state governments wanted the plant not so much for the electricity it would produce but for the political gains it could bring Congress and the AIDMK party that ruled the state.

The risks posed by the Russian-made reactor could be overlooked in the name of development.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government in New Delhi differs in a critical area from its Congress predecessor.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government led by Manmohan Singh was pilloried for its inertia, its corruption and its inability to control inflation.

But it had a human face that changed the lives of the rural poor through a slew of welfare programs that did reduce the pain of poverty a little.

Above all, it did not seek to divide people along the lines of religion or egg them on into violence.

Modi’s government carries a deadly political baggage that seeks to do just that, polarize communities, pitting the majority faith against religions that it brands as alien.

In the mineral rich and heavily forested tribal belt that extends from Jharkhand to Madhya Pradesh and beyond, including much of Chhattisgarh and Odisha, this polarization has almost totally wrecked unity among people against exploitative and environmentally destructive industrial and mining projects.

By attacking ethical NGOs empowering people on the one hand and unity in people’s movements on the other, the government has opened the doors for exploitation by crony capitalists.

This can be seen in a move in June by several village councils in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region to ban entry of Christian workers, and prevent Christian worship, in their areas.

It was prompted by the hardline Hindu groups such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram.

The village council diktat is that only Hindu religious workers will be allowed into village areas in the tribal belt. This is of course entirely illegal, and violates the constitutional provisions of freedom of expression and movement.

The coercive methodology of branding every tribal as a Hindu, and make him or her oppose Christians, injures the secular nature of society and the peace that has existed there for such a long time.

Such bans on a particular faith and the frictions they breed can so easily lead to violence against religious minorities.

Memories of the extreme violence in Kandhamal in 2007 and 2008, which had its roots through such indoctrination and communalisation, are still fresh, and the struggle for justice for the victims still continues in the courts.

The state government of Chhattisgarh and the federal authorities in New Delhi must therefore act urgently to stem this explosive evil while there is still time.

John Dayal is the general secretary of the All India Christian Council and a member of the Indian government's National Integration Council.

TJP and Fr. General: Full Interview, Directors Cut