1. Mother Teresa Film Festival
The fourth Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF) will be held in 2016 around the time of her canonisation. No saint or blessed in the Catholic Church’s history has had an international festival of films dedicated to him/her. Some 10 films screened in the past included her biographies like the very first one – “Something Beautiful for God” by (1969) by Malcolm Muggeridge for the BBC. Also shown were two-time Emmy Award winner Anne Petrie’s “Mother Teresa-Her Legacy”, as well as Japanese director Shigeki Chiba’s “Mother Teresa And Her World” (1979), Anna & Folco Terzani’s “Mother Teresa’s First Love” (1997), an Eternal Word TV networks’ “Total Surrender” documentary (1998), and Dominique Lapierre’s feature film “In The Name of God’s Poor” (1997), and several others. This time talks and seminars by experts will also be a feature of the fest.
2. Musical Warriors
Members of the ‘Musical Warriors’ gave an hour-long performance, remembering the group’s founder, Bismarque Dias who was found dead in November. He is said to be murdered for his campaign opposing mega projects that had the potential to destroy Goa’s beaches and farmlands. Dias’ friends and supporters have delayed his burial, pressing for a high-level inquiry into the suspected murder. In the pouring rain they performed with the aim to “galvanize the people to preserve the fast depleting nature of whatever remains of our green Goa.” “It was music with meaning. They were singing about Goa, our nature, and about my dreams that had gone awry,” said Vivek Dabolkar, one of the listeners. In the gospel isnpired songs mostly composed by Dias, a village elder talks to a youngster on the need to conserve nature and its beauty.
3. Memorial for Martyrs
Cuttack-Bhubaneswar diocese is planning a memorial to be built in honour of the Kandhamal martyrs – nearly 100. Kandhamal in Odisha state was the scene of unprecedented attacks on Christians in 2007 and 2008. The proposed memorial is likely to come up at Divya Jyoti Pastoral Centre, K. Nuagam. Hindu nationalist groups had ransacked and torched the centre during the 2008 riot. The attackers brutally attacked its Director Fr. Thomas Chellan and gang raped a nun employee. Meanwhile, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai has said that he wants the Church in India to initiate a process to declare as martyrs those killed during an anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal. A group of priests and laity is preparing a list of the martyrs – their dates of death, denomination etc.
4. Christians Spurn RSS ‘reachout’
Indresh Kumar, the national executive member of the RSS told local media that the 17 Dec. meeting with Christian leaders in New Delhi was the first step towards setting up a Christian organization within the RSS. Abp. Kuriakose Bharanikulangara of Faridabad, who attended the meeting along with Bp. Jacob Mar Barnabas of Gurgaon said, “There was absolutely no talk about such an organization at that gathering. It was not a meeting but a Christmas celebration.” Christian leaders say the RSS claim is baseless, politically motivated and aimed at dividing Christians. Media reports said 40 bishops attended the meeting while only 3 were actually present. Fr Ajay Kumar Singh said Kumar was instrumental in fomenting anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal would do nothing good for Christians.
5. War Relief Parish
Salesians of Kolkata handed over to the Archdiocese a 77-year-old St Joseph’s Church Choyghoria, Bongaon parish that played a major role in the relief and rehabilitation works post Bangladesh war of 1971. Bl. Mother Teresa was among the leading relief workers. The church, situated on the Kolkata-Dhaka International Highway is 1 k.m from the Petropole-Benapole International border. It is the only land port in South Bengal and the largest land customs station in Asia. The presence of Mother Teresa seated in the front seat of the lead truck and her sisters in each other trucks, made it easy to cross the boarders in those days. The parish was set up in 1938 by Italian Salesian missionary Fr. Vincent Lazzaro and had 34 substations, served zealously by the Salesians led by Fr.Paul Valiaveetil sdb.