Tag Archives: The Times of India

NEWLY WED COUPLE ERIC & MERLIN DONATES 50 BEDS TO COVID CARE CENTER

NEWLY WED COUPLE ERIC & MERLIN DONATES 50 BEDS TO COVID CARE CENTER.

MUMBAI: After dating for eight years, Eric Lobo, 28, and Merlin Tuscano, 27, decided early this year they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. They decided on a winter wedding with a guest list of 2,000. Then the pandemic struck and things changed.

On Saturday, June 20, 2020 the couple exchanged vows in a simple ceremony with 22 guests, including family members, at the St Gonsalo Garcia church at Vasai. Instead of proceeding for a reception, the couple headed to the Satpala isolation centre where they donated 50 beds with mattresses and pillows and oxygen cylinders.

“With the pandemic raging, a covid care centre is the need of the hour. We are glad the money saved from our wedding has been put to good use,” said Eric. The couple, who are partners in an event management company, pared down expenses to bare minimum. They decided to skip all the pre-wedding functions. The couple did not accept gifts and Merlin’s wedding gown, too, was taken on rent.

Scaling down their wedding plans came naturally to the couple who has been at the forefront of voluntary work as soon as the pandemic struck.

“From community kitchens to arranging trains for migrants, we pitched in wherever we could. When it came to making a personal contribution, a proper Covid centre for rural Vasai seemed the best decision,” said Merlin.

For now there is no honeymoon either. The couple is busy overseeing work at the centre, which likely to open soon. Local MLA Kshitij Thakur has issued a letter of appreciation to the couple.

Indore’s martyr nun Rani Maria beatified – The Times of India

•Beatification is one step away from Canonisation, and Sister Maria is the first nun from north India to be Beatified. (From The Times of India)

(News from “The Times of India:)INDORE: “Blessed Rani Maria, pray for us,” proclaimed Vatican ambassador Cardinal Angelo Amato on Saturday. And 15,000 Christians repeated the words after him at a local school in Indore, marking the beatification of Sister Rani Maria Vattalil as a martyr.

In the audience, was seated her killer Samandar Singh. Next to him sat the Blessed Maria’s sister, Sr Selmi. “I cannot undo what happened. That was also God’s call. This, too, is God’s call. She was a saint, and now she’ll be declared one too,” said Samandar who had stabbed her viciously 22 years ago. He was sentenced to life but was released in 2002 after Sister Selmi visited him in jail and asked that he be pardoned.

Bishops attend a ceremony for beatification of Rani Maria in Indore on Saturday.

Beatification is one step away from Canonisation, and Sister Maria is the first nun from north India to be Beatified and the seventh Indian to be beatified after Sister Alphonsa, Fr Kuriakose Chavara, Mother Euphrasia, Fr Joseph Vaz, Fr Gonsalo Garcia and Mother Teresa. The ceremony was held St. Paul’s HS School in the presence of Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for Cause of Saints (Vatican), and 45 bishops and five cardinals from India.

Just before Gloria (singing praises of God), Cardinal Amato read out the apostolic letter in Latin, announcing Pope Francis’s declaration that Sr Rani Maria be called Blessed and her feast may be celebrated every year on February 25 — the day she was martyred in 1995. The Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops arrived in the form of a procession.

•Her killer Samandar Singh, who was in the audience, said “I cannot undo what happened. That was also God’s call. This, too, is God’s call. She was a saint, and now she’ll be declared one too”.

Right after the announcement, a relic and a large portrait of Sister Maria were brought to the altar by the family members, representatives from the church in Kerala and representatives of Sr Rani Maria’s Franciscan Clarist Congregation. Cardinal Angelo Amato said, “She’s not just an inspiration to Udainagar church but to Catholics across the globe. Her sacrifice has become a beacon of light for missionaries. “

Please click here to watch a full five hours ceremony video.

91-year-old priest who fought 38 years for Indian citizenship, passes away. – News from The Times of India.

TNN | Jan 27, 2017, 11.33 PM IST – Printed from The Times of India. 

NAVI MUMBAI: The affable Jesuit priest of Spanish origin, Father Federico Sopena Gusi, who had struggled for 38 years to become a naturalized Indian citizen last year, passed away due to old age related ailments on Wednesday. He was 91.
Raigad-based activists and social workers have expressed sorrow at the passing away of Fr Sopena, since he had actively worked for the welfare of the poor Katkari tribals in the region for several years.
Talking to TOI, the Pen based activist Vaishali Patil said: “We are all very sad to hear about the demise of Fr Sopena, who was a phenomenal human being working for the downtrodden. I knew him for over 25 years while closely working for the welfare of the poor adivasis (tribals) in Raigad. Born in Barcelona (Spain), Fr Sopena had been living in India since 1948, but he got the Indian citizenship only in April 2016 and he was so happy that he shouted ‘Bharat Mata ki jai!’, while we were in the office of Mumbai suburban district collectorate last year.”
Patil had personally intervened and helped the Jesuit priest acquire the Indian citizenship by writing several letters to the government department concerned, and painstakingly collating all the required documents, since the original file with all the certificates of Fr Sopena was earlier misplaced and declared as missing by the government bureaucrats.
A member of Society of Jesus, Fr Sopena was “in love” with India and had a good command over the Hindi language. 
Fr Sopena had in last April said “I can now die peacefully in my India. I love India, as I have spent over 67 years here.” He had further elaborated: “The great Indian poet, Kabir, had once said that you will be at peace if you have repaid all your loans and died in your motherland. That is why i am ‘bahut khush’ (very happy) to become a naturalized Indian!”
Patil recalled: “Two decades ago, Fr Sopena had lost one leg in a motorcycle accident while he was going from Pen to Panvel on the Mumbai-Goa highway. Despite living with an artificial Jaipur foot, he was always enthusiastic about life and his work. All the people and activists in Raigad have fond memories of him. May his soul rest in peace.”

The Immaculate Conception Church, Pune often known as the mother church of the Deccan, is set to celebrate 225 years of its existence.

Article from The Times of India

Oldest church to celebrate 225 years of service

TNN | Dec 8, 2016, 12.37 AM IST

PUNE: The Immaculate Conception Church, often known as the mother church of the Deccan, is set to celebrate 225 years of its existence from Thursday. The year-long festivities would begin on Thursday with a tableau and a live hymn band.

A look through the city’s history books reveals a fascinating array of land deals that went through before the church was constructed in the early 1790s.

Unlike most churches in the city Catholic or Protestant the City Church, of the Catholic sect, was thought of by Portuguese officer Dom Minguel de Noronha in the army of Peshwa Madhavrao.

Historians believe Dom Minguel de Noronha was possibly hired by Madhavrao Peshwa to strengthen his army. To show his appreciation for the Portuguese servicemen in his army, Madhavrao gave a parcel of land in the Quarter Gate area of the city, right at the edge of the Pune Cantonment, in 1791.

The church’s first services began on December 8, 1792. Today, the church offers services in English, Konkani, and Marathi, and most of its congregation are ethnic Goan or Mangalorean Catholics. The structure itself has gone through many changes over the years, including the addition of a school almost a century after the church congregated. Quite a lot of the original structure, however, is still standing tall.

“The inner halls and altar have mostly changed since the church’s establishment. But about half the building is probably 225 years old, which is the age of this church. We manage to keep this structure up using donations from our parishioners,” Rev Fr Salvador Pinto, the parish priest at the City Church, said.

The celebrations will be on till December 8, 2017. During this period, the church authorities have planned various charitable activities and feasts. The statue of Mother Mary is scheduled to go to various localities across the city and will return to the church only on November 28 next year.

“For Thursday, we have organised a tableau, where children will perform and depict the forming of the church over the years. There will also be a live band to sing hymns,” parishioner Elizabeth Coutinho said.