Indian Priest Given Media Award

By Zygmunt Gutowski

An Indian awarded Media Award

The first and current festival presidents listen to Fr Paul’s brief words on receiving the award at the end of the solemn inaugural Eucharist of 25th International Catholic Film Festival, 27 May.

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NIEPOKALANOW, Warsaw, Poland – An Indian priest was given the “Multimedia in the Service of the Gospel Award 2010” at the solemn Eucharistic celebration inaugurating the silver jubilee of the longest running International Catholic Film Festival at Niepokalanow, 27 May.

The first president of the festival Mr. Zygmunt Gutowski and the current president Ms Danuta Stachyra presented St Maxmillain Kolbe statuette with the inscription “Fr C.M. Paul, Multimedia in the Service of the Gospel” honorary prize of Julian Kluenty, Catholic Film association (CFA), Poland 2010.”

Calcutta province Salesian Fr. C. M. Paul is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Social Communications at the Salesian University, Rome.

Two prizes are offered in this category “for outstanding achievements both in Poland and abroad in the area of evangelization through multimedia.”

This is the seventh year of the award dedicated to Polish film director, cameraman, author of over 100 films, as well as president for the Warsaw Branch of Polish Association of Scientific Film, Julian Kulenty (1922 – 2000).

The first year overseas award went to film director Mel Gibson of the Passion of Christ fame. The second year award went to Mother Angelica of the EWTN, the third to Sr Angela Ann Zukowski president of Unda-World and founder director of the Centre for Religious Telecommunications, university of Dayton, Ohio.

“I am totally floored with this award,” says 56 year old Fr Paul in his brief presentation on receiving the award.

Besides being the last president of Unda/OCIC India, Fr Paul was also the first president of Signis-India and first priest to serve on Government of India’s Central Board of Film Certification.

The Niepokalanow festival is holding its 25th uninterrupted screening, May 27 to 30, some 45 km west of Warsaw, capital of Poland.

Last June, Fr Paul won Fr Horace Rosario SJ Journalism Award, Calcutta and in 2008 Fr John Barrett Award for best SAR News reporter given by Indian Catholic Press Association, Bangalore.

The Niepokalanow (City of the Immaculate) film festival had its genesis in the heydays of “Solidarnosc” (Solidarity) the national resistance movement against the Polish Communist Regime, in 1985. A group of activists formed the Catholic Film Association of Poland as a cultural forum.

The festival started in the Franciscan (OFM Conv.) monastery at Niepokalanow, the national shrine of Mary Immaculate and the headquarters of the “Militia Immaculate” (Army of the Immaculate). Fr. Maxmilliam Kolbe founded the Franciscan monastery at Niepokalanow in 1927. After the fall of Communism, Poland had its first democratically elected government in 1989. The president of Poland, who recently died in airplane crash was patron of the festival along with the polish primate cardinal Josef Glemp.

Six Indian Films by Five Indian Directors at Catholic Film Festival

C. M. Paul

25th Film Festival

Jury of the 25th International Catholic Film Festival

WARSAW, Poland – The International Catholic Film Festival beginning Thursday in Warsaw will have six entries from India, two of them selected for the opening session of the three-day event. Download Image

The 25th festival will screen 172 films will films and 40 Radio programs from 20 countries,” including China, says festival vice-president and one of the founding members of the festival Zygmunt Gutowsky.

Women are protagonists of all the six Indian entries, with three of them narrating the lives of women religious.

Of the six Indian films, four are directed and produced by three Salesians from Tripura, Tamilnadu and Kerala.

The 90-minute Kokbork film Yarwng (Roots) by Salesian Joseph Pulinthanath of Agartala has already bagged several awards in some 40 film festivals it has participated.

Salesian Father A. Raj of Trichy has submitted three short productions (15-minute) on AIDS awareness entitled Life, Love, and Hope.

The last two Salesian entries come from Kochi entitled Beloved Teacher and Yours My Life Entire, both by Salesian Father Jiji Kalavanal, who directs Don Bosco’s IMAGE (Institute of Media, Animation, Graphics and Efx) Vennala.

The remaining two films, both are stories of nuns. The first one entitled: The Last Appeal (33- minute) is a film on the life of St. Faustina, apostle of the Divine Mercy directed by Father Bala Udumala of Vijayawada diocese, Andhra Pradesh.

The second is a Malayalam telefilm entitled Nurunguvettangal (pieces of light) by lay Catholic Leo Thaddeus from Kerala.

The opening films at the festival are The Last Appeal and Nurunguvettangal.

The oldest running International Catholic Film and Multimedia Festival venue is the hallowed City of the Immaculate (Niepokalanow) originally set up by St Maxmilian Kolbe, a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz in Poland.


Indian Jurist Enlightens UK & Ireland Canon Law Meet

Pudumai Doss

Photo caption: Prof. Jesu Pudumaidoss presents a paper at the Annual Conference of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

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DERRY, Ireland – An Indian Church Law specialist presented a paper at the Annual Conference of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland at a five day meeting held in Derry, Ireland, 3-7 May. A Lecturer in Canon Law at the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome (UPS), Prof. Jesu Pudumaidoss spoke on Freedom of Enquiry & Expression of Theologians – Some Juridical Considerations. Over 100 canon lawyers participated.

“Freedom of Enquiry and Expression, one of the recognised rights present in various «Bills of Rights», continues to be a hot topic for the mass media. It has consumed reams of paper, hours of court cases and has succeeded in catching the attention of innumerable people everywhere and from all walks of life. When such rights are taken up for consideration within the Church, the discussions seem to work up into a state of frenzy, as different instances have gone to show,” says 43 year old Salesian priest from Chennai province.

Prof Pudumaidoss further states, “Invariably, in such situations, the following question springs to our mind: «Is there freedom of enquiry and expression within the Church?». The prejudiced often take a negative reply for granted. Admittedly, there may, at times, seem to be a certain veneer of truth in this uninformed reply. Nevertheless, a deeper analysis into the ecclesiastical legislation and reality could bring to the fore the articulation of various facets of this freedom, inasmuch as it forms part of the «duties and rights of the Christian faithful».”

Later, as member of panel discussion, he fielded questions on Catholic education of children and the duty of the parents; incardination of priests and incorporation of religious.

Besides his PhD degree in Canon Law, Dr Pudumaidoss holds two Masters degrees in Canon Law (JCL & JCOL) and has completed Bachelors degree in Indian Civil Law. Author of four books on Church Law he has published several scholarly articles in reputed Canon law Journals.Dr Pudumaidoss is professor and Secretary of the Canon Law faculty, UPS Rome.

He is also External Examiner for doctoral thesis at Madras University as well as visiting professor at the Salesian Theologate in Chennai.

Chavara Institute Holds Symposium on “Priesthood in World Religions”

CM Paul

Photo caption – L to R: Prof Scialpi, Prof Chunkapura, Mr Agnihothri, Mr. Jawed and Prof. Aykara at the “Priesthood in World Religions” symposium Rome, 22 May 2010.

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ROME, Italy – An Indian Salesian was moderator of an inter-religious symposium marking the year of priests. Saleisan Father Jose Chunkapura, a professor at the Salesin University Rome and Rector of one of the six student communities – Don Rua Community, which has over 60 international priest students, moderated the two hour session held at Chavara Institute of Indian and Interreligious Studies (CIIS), Rome, 22 May 2010.
“Prof. Chunkapura is the best person suited to moderate the sessions as he is a specialist on God consciousness in Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, not only, he is also the president of the Indian Priests, Sisters and Brothers Union in Rome which has over 1,500 members,” said the director of CIIS, Prof Isaac Arickappalil CMI, the organizer of the symposium.
Mr Rajesh Kumar Agnihothri, first secretary in-charge of the Cultural and Communications Department at the Indian Embassy Rome was the chief guest. Besides, inaugurating the session, he also spoke on the need of religious people working for peace and harmony in society.
Three eminent and knowledgeable persons presented papers on Hindu, Christian and Muslim concept of priesthood.
Prof Fabio Scialpi a specialist on Hinduism from the University of La Sapienza Rome spoke on the notion of priesthood in Hinduism.
Prof Thomas Aykara CMI spoke on the Christian understanding of priesthood while Pakistan born Italian national Mr. Jawed Q Khan, member of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Italy, Rome presented the concept of priesthood in Islam.
While the role of priests in Hinduism and Christianity is to mediate between God and man, Islam does not have any priesthood nor do they have any intermediary between God and man. Each individual believer is directly responsible to God for his behaviour.
The priesthood in Hinduism is by birth and heredity, while priesthood in Christianity is by a divine call to represent Christ, an invitation by God to which man responds. While in Islam, there is no priesthood per se to mediate between God and man.
Over 40 scholars and doctoral students and well-wishers participated at the symposium.
Fr Bobby was the master of ceremonies and Mr Chandi Plammoottil gave the vote of thanks.

Photo caption – L to R: Prof Scialpi, Prof Chunkapura, Mr Agnihothri, Mr. Jawed and Prof. Aykara at the “Priesthood in World Religions” symposium Rome, 22 May 2010.

NE Inida Rome Gathering

Abp Jala Joins NE India Rome Fest
By Francis Hembrom, SDB

Photo: Salesian Abp Jala of Shillong with a section of participants at the NE India Rome gathering, 16 May. Photo by C. M. Paul

ROME, Italy – International, May. 16. Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong joined Northeast India celebrations held at Salesian University, Rome (UPS), 16 May. Over 40 priests, sisters and brothers from northeast India studying or working in Rome participated. Besides keeping Easter, the fest also served to bid farewell to members returning to India after their studies. The Chief guest at the celebrations were Mr. S.L. Vaiphei IFS (and family) an official at the Indian Embassy, Rome. Bishop Joseph Aind of Dibrugarh, Fr. Joaquim D`Souza, the Superior of the UPS-Rome vice-province and Fr. Carlo Nanni, the Vice-Chancellor of UPS and Fr. Tone Presern and Fr. Cyril D`Souza also made brief visits at the fest.
From earlier hours of the day Fathers, Brothers and Sisters coming from around Rome started cooking traditional Naga, Khasi, and Manipuri delicacies. At noon, they joined archbishop Jala at the solemn concelebrated Eucharist at UPS Don Bosco chapel. Archbishop Jala visiting Italy for the gathering of Salesian Bishops for the feast of Mary Help of Christians in Turin (24 May) exhorted NE India faithful in diaspora to pray for the success of India government`s “Look East policy“ as well as pray for immediate restoration of peace in the on-going violence caused by the current Manipur-Nagaland & Assam-Meghalaya border disputes.
Priests, brothers and Sisters from North East India, studying in various Pontifical Universities of Rome will be a great asset to the mission of the Church in North East India. The various studies they are carrying out will help the Church work for the transformation of society in the region where the Church has grown visibly in the past 100 years.
President of the NE India Rome Association, Fr Peter Salew SDB was ably assisted by the Secretary Sr Rani Mathew MSMHC and the Vice-president Fr Isaac Honsan. Fr Francis Hembrom conducted the social gathering where the members present had chance to introduce themselves and share news about each other. Fr Sanjay Aind SDB, the newly ordained priest and Fr Sojan Xavier of Kohima diocese who brilliantly defended his doctoral thesis in Catechesis at UPS were felicitated. Among those given farewell were Frs. Sanjay Aind, Paul Rabha, Paul Breson, Wilbert Marwein, Brother Justin Narzary (to be ordained Deacon on 29 May), Br. David Kujur (CMSF) and Sr Molly Kaniampady FMA who completed her two-year spirituality studies. Earlier Sr. Irene Lyngdoh fma left for home because of the illness of her mother.

Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift

 Sam Miller on Catholics

Excerpts of an article written by non-Catholic Sam Miller – a prominent Cleveland Jewish businessman:

“Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the   United States  , namely the Catholic Church?

Do you know – the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to that Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. The graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%.

The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the   U.S.  with an enrollment of 700,000 students.

The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people – not just Catholics – in the   United States  today

But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage.

Let me give you some figures that Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the  United   Methodist   Church  , 41.8% of clergy women reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed.

Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic Problem.

A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.

The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now.

Walk with your shoulders high and you head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the   United States . Then remember what Jeremiah said: ‘Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls’.  Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions.