“Girls are our Future” – Book Review: Inspiring story of a radical, but practical, Ireland-born nun.

By Somrita Ghosh (IANS) India’s largest Independent Newswire.
Title: Girls Are Our Future — Thoughts of a Practical Radical Nun; Author: Sister Cyril, Neil Farrelly and Greg Dale; Publisher: Konark Publishers; Price: Rs 595; Pages: 283.

An Irish nun came to Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1956 and soon adapted herself to the city. Sister M. Cyril Mooney, fondly called Sister Cyril, is now looked upon as a motherly figure who has not only saved the lives of many but also brought in necessary educative reforms during her tenure as head of one of the most prestigious schools in the city.

Having devoted her life to social welfare programmes in India for more than six decades now, Sister Cyril has a lot to teach — from the need to create awareness on various issues to her ideology and concept of religion.

And it is her experience in different aspects of life that have been brilliantly captured in this book, which is a vivid compilation of Sister Cyril’s thoughts on a wide variety of topics — education, life, sexuality, social issues, religion — that she has tackled throughout her tenure as head of the Loreto Girl’s School, Sealdah.

Sister Cyril has played a major role in reforming the education system in Kolkata, particularly at Loreto Girls School. She fiercely battled the inequality in India’s classrooms and got 50 per cent of the seats reserved for those students who hail from economically struggling families.

She has been a ray of hope for many; she saved the lives of many by turning the school into a shelter for those abandoned and street girl children who would often turn victims of sexual exploitation. She has been the flag bearer of social work in the City of Joy.

The book also highlights Sister Cyril’s thoughts on contemporary issues like the importance and relevance of proper sex education in school, why environmental studies shouldn’t be restricted to only theory but should also include practicals, the need for educating boys to respect women, need for compassion while dealing with children, and empathy for those who cannot even afford two meals a day.

Sister Cyril never wanted to write her autobiography. So this book is a compilation of her thoughts, interviews, experience of her students and other teachers.

“God. Religion. Jesus Christ. Catholicism. Priests. She is only too aware of people’s fears and prejudices when they hear those words, and I think she’s trying to get beyond all of that,” book co-author Neil Farrelly writes in the preface.

Sister Cyril claims herself to be a very practical human. She writes: “Look, I’m practical. Here we’re all practical. A lot of foreigners go out to places like Eastern Bypass (in Kolkata), take one look at the living conditions and say, ‘poor things, poor things’. I say, don’t pity them, do something for them!”

Sister Cyril has always opposed the concept of competition and strongly believes that merit is a myth. “We need to teach children that it is important to know how to accept failure and be able to realise that they’re not going to be on top all of the time,” she says.

Sister Cyril has been the innovative brain behind many of her social work initiatives like “Rainbow Homes”, the “Brickfields Project” and “Barefoot” which helped tremendously in educating children belonging to the poorest sections of the community.

Not just her words of wisdom, but the book has also given space to her students and teachers who have worked under her guidance and fondly remember how Sister Cyril had influenced their lives.

It’s quite an inspiring read. (IANS)

(From left) Anjum Katyal, Neil Farrelly, Shashi Panja, Sister Cyril Mooney and Maina Bhagat of Oxford Bookstores at the book launch. Picture by Gopal Senapati

Fr. Chhagan passed away on Friday, November 18, 2017.

વડોદરા ધર્મપ્રાંતના વડીલ અને Monsignor ફાધર છગન નું શુક્રવાર, ૧૮ નવેમ્બરની સવારે અવસાન. ૯૮ વર્ષની ઉંમરના દક્ષિણ ગુજરાતના ઝરોલી ધર્મવિભાગના પ્રથમ પુરોહિત, લોકલાડીલા અને અંતિમ શ્વાસ સુધી અનેકના પ્રેરણાસ્ત્રોત ફાધર છગનની અંતિમ વિધી સાંજે ૫ વાગે ઝારોલીમાં રાખવામાં આવેલ હતી.

ગુજરાતી કેથલિક સમાજ ઓફ યુએસએ ના મંત્રી શ્રી.એલેક્ષ (અશોક) રાઠોડ હાલમાં વતનની મુલાકાત પર ગયેલા છે. તેઓ વલસાડ ખાતે રહેતા હોવાથી ફાધર છગનની ફ્યુનરલ સર્વિસમાં હાજર રહી શક્યા હતા. તેમણે લખેલો ટૂંકો અહેવાલ:

સ્વ.પૂજ્ય ફાધર છગન ના ફ્યુનરલ માં વલસાડ તાબાના લોકો ફાધર પોલ સાથે ગયા હતા. આર્ચબિશપ શ્રી સ્ટેનિસ્લાઉસ દ્વારા ખ્રિસ્તયજ્ઞ અર્પણ કરવામાં આવ્યો હતો. સાથે લગભગ ૬૦ ફાધરો હતા. આશરે ૪૦૦૦ જેટલા ધર્મજનો એ તેમની ફ્યુનરલ માસ અને દફનક્રિયામાં ભાગ લીધો હતો. આર્ચબિશપશ્રી એ તેમને પયગંબર તરીકે ઓળખાવ્યા હતા. ખરેખર એક ઉમદા વ્યક્તિત્વનો અંત પણ પ્રભુએ એમના આત્માને પરમ શાંતિ આપીજ દીધી છે એવી ખાતરી છે. આવા સેવાભાવી ઉમદા વ્યતિત્વને નમન.

Please watch his interview in below video from “Gurjarvani” 

Christmas 2017 – Indian Christian Federation of Midwest in coordination with UTCC, and Indo-pak Christian Community.

a time of reflection,
a time for good cheer,
a time for friends and family, during a special time of the year!!!
Indian Christian Federation of Midwest in coordination with United Telugu Christian Community, and Indo-pak Christian Community would like to invite you and your family at the Christmas celebration program.
Croatian Cultural Center Banquets 
2845 W. Devon, Chicago, IL 60659
Saturday, December 9, 2017 @6:00pm onwards.

THE ORCHESTRA OF ST. PETER BY THE SEA opens its Christmas Season in concert at the Church of the Sacred Heart, South Plainfield, NJ on Sunday, November 26, 2017 at 3:00PM.

THE ORCHESTRA OF ST. PETER BY THE SEA opens its Christmas Season in concert at the Church of the Sacred Heart, South Plainfield, NJ on Sunday, November 26, 2017 at 3:00PM. Conducted by Rev. Alphonse Stephenson, allow this world-class orchestra to lift your spirits and leave you singing.

List of all Christmas Concerts-2017

Sunday, November 26, 3:00 PM – Sacred Heart Church, 149 South Plainfield Ave. South Plainfield, NJ 07080 (908)-756-0633

Friday, December 1, 8:00 PM – Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Ave. West Long Branch, NJ 07764 – (732)-571-6889

Saturday, December 2, 8:00 PM – Union County Performing Arts Center, 1601 Irving Street, Rahway, NJ 07765 – (732)-499-8226

Sunday, December 3, 3:00 PM – Dominican College, 495 Western Highway, Orangeburg, NY 10962 (845)-848-7406

Tuesday, December 5, 7:30 PM – Corpus Christi RC Church, 234 Southern Blvd, Chatham, NJ 07928 (973)-635-0070 ex 710

Friday, December 8, 7:30 PM – St. Dominic’s RC Church, 250 Old Squan Road, Brick, NJ 08724 (732)-840-1410

Saturday, December 9, 7:00 PM – St. Raphael Church, 346 East Mount Pleasant Ave., Livingston, NJ 07039 (973)-992-9490

Sunday, December 10, 3:00 PM – Immaculate Conception Church, 316 Old Allerton Road, Annandale, NJ 088801 (908)-735-7319

Thursday, December 14, 7:30 PM – Church of the Immaculate Conception, 540 Chestnut Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08611 (609)-586-3705 ex 135

Friday, December 15, 7:30 PM – St. Mary of the Pines Church, 100 Bishop Lane, Manahawkin, NJ 08005 (609)-698-4242

Saturday, December 16, 7:00 PM – The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theater, 54 Journal Square Plaza, Jersey City, NJ 07306

Sunday, December 17, 2:00 PM – Somerset County Vocational School, 14 Vogt Drive, Bridgewater, NJ 08807 (908)-725-1008 ex 104

Sunday, December 17, 7:30 PM – Notre Dame Church, 359 Central Avenue, North Caldwell, NJ 07006 (973)-226-0979

Mumbai church among seven Indian sites awarded by UNESCO – News from MIG

News from MIG – Media India Group

Seven Indian sites awarded by UNESCO 
Encouraging conservation through PPP

By Sonal Agarwal Posted On : November 6, 2017 in Tourism ,  Kolkata

Byculla’s Christ Church

Indian receives seven out of 16 awards in 2017 Source- UNESCO

While the award for merit was given to three Indian historical sites, the others four sites were given honourable mentions in the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Asia Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation was announced on November 1, 2017, and India bagged the highest number of awards among all the participant nations.

The award recognises work done by individuals and organisations to restore adapt and conserve structures and buildings of heritage value. Recognizing this, UNESCO seeks to encourage private sector involvement and public-private collaboration in conserving the region’s cultural heritage for the benefit of current and future generations.

The Awards of Merit were given to Byculla’s Christ Church, the Royal Bombay Opera House and Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. Honourable mentions were given to the Bomanjee Hormarjee Wadia Fountain and Clock Tower, the Wellington Fountain, Gateways of Gohad Fort and Haveli Dharampura.

“The Jury was impressed by the heroic nature of the conservation projects, especially those that underscore the importance of protecting the heritage that is rooted in the least powerful segments of society,” said Duong Bich Hanh, Chair of the Jury and Chief of UNESCO Bangkok’s Culture Unit.

For a country whose heritage is under constant threat in the name of development, these new set of awards might bring a wind of change. Seven Indian cultural landmarks were among the 16 winners from six countries; Australia, China, India, Iran, New Zealand and Singapore thus, making India the highest scorer in the game. The sites that have been awarded might now attract a large number of footfalls from India and around the world.

The Awards of Merit

Byculla’s Christ Church – Please click here to read the history and restoration process done. 

The church opened to worship in 1833. This Neo-Classical church structure was restored in two phases. According to the UNESCO report, the church had suffered from earlier inappropriate repair works that disguised and diminished its cultural value. The panel appreciated the fact that Artisan skills were revived during the renewal of the elegant interior with its gilded columns, memorial stained glass windows and lath and plaster ceiling.

Royal Bombay Opera House

Opera house was restored from a near-derelict state. It opened in 1916 and was called the finest theatre in the East; the century-old building was shut down over two decades ago. The panel acknowledged the extensive restoration of its decorative features using expert knowledge and research, to ensure that India’s only surviving opera house could make its mark again.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Tiruchirappalli

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple has revived through a major public-private initiative. It is said that the use of traditional methods in renovating temple structures and re-establishment of rainwater harvesting and historic drainage system, to augment water and prevent flooding, were the main reasons for the temple to achieve the award.

The Honourable mention

Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia Fountain and Clock Tower, Mumbai

The 19th-century drinking water fountain and the clock tower was built in memory of the benevolent Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia. It was restored by Vikas Dilawari Architects(VDA) in association with the Kala Ghoda Association and the local Zoroastrian community. The initiative saved the landmark by strengthening structure’s features and also repair the vandalised clock, thereby bringing this civic landmark back to life.

Gateways of Gohad Fort, Bhind

The fort was built in the 16th century. Jat Kings ruled over this place for several years. The conservation of Hathai Paur (Elephant Gate) and Sankal Darwaja (Chain Gate) has reinstated a significant feature of the 15th -century Gohad Fort and enhanced the surrounding townscape. The gateways are still daily used by the local residents.

Haveli Dharampura, Delhi

This accommodation, located in the cramped lanes of Chandni Chowk recently experienced a complete renovation; the site was restored by a father-son duo; Vijayant and Siddhant Goel. The duo has converted a crumbling haveli into a boutique hotel, where kathak dance performances punctuate the night and tablaartistes come to play.

Wellington Fountain, Colaba

Built in 1865, Wellington Fountain is the only functional ornamental fountain in the city. It is an example of Neo-Classical structure. The restoration of this landmark was supported Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. The UNESCO report appreciated the use of rigorous methodology and scientific technology for preserving the monumental building and the ornamental fountain.

મારું જીવન…મારાં સ્વજન…મારો સમાજ…મારું જગત…૨૦૦૪ થી આ જાળું ગૂંથી રહ્યો છું…