7 September 2011
Saint Mary’s Port Church in Kollom, Kerala, India, one of the eight founded by St. Thomas, features a mural of Christ and St. Thomas. (photo: Sean Sprague)
Journalist Sean Sprague explored St. Thomas’s influence on southern India's Christians in the March 2010 story, In the Footsteps of St. Thomas.
Culled from the communities he founded, Thomas ordained priests and deacons to minister to their spiritual and temporal needs. Eventually, the heirs of St. Thomas became dependent on the Church of the East — an Eastern Syriac church founded by Thomas and centered in the Persian Empire. The catholicos-patriarch of the Church of the East regularly sent bishops to southern India to ordain priests and deacons and regulate ecclesial life.
Check out more of Sean Sprague’s photos from St. Thomas’s path in the image gallery from the same story, St Thomas’s Influence.
Over the weekend two dozen Indian bishops visited the Vatican and had “heart-to-heart” talks with Pope Benedict XVI regarding, the religious nature of Indian people, discrimination against Catholics, interreligious dialogue and evangelization, as reported by the Catholic News Service today:
“The Holy Father was particularly interested in our efforts at interreligious dialogue,” [Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai] said. While there have been acts of intimidation and violence against Christians in India, the church is building bridges with members of other religions and “collaborating together to build peace, to build a better India, to see how we could bring God back into society.”
Read the rest of this story in the “News” section of our web site.
1 September 2011
Tags: India Pope Benedict XVI Interreligious Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Children pray during liturgy in the small village of Santhithadam, Kerala, India.
(photo: Sean Sprague)
Santhithadam means “Valley of Peace” in Malayalam, the language of Kerala.
Not far from the border with Tamil Nadu and set on the high Attapaddy plateau, the area was thinly populated by scattered tribes for centuries. Then, about 30 years ago, 76 families settled in Santhithadam from the crowded south, including 40 Syro-Malabar Catholic families from Kottayam, Kerala’s Christian heartland.
Journalist Sean Sprague reported about this small village in Kerala back in 2003 in the July-August edition of ONE (which was then known as CNEWA WORLD).
Today the Catholic News Service reported on a parish in Kerala offering financial incentives to large Catholic families, in the midst of worries over the shrinking Catholic population:
The plan to increase family size runs counter to a previous initiative by the federal government, which encouraged residents to make two children the norm for families.
Read more of this story on the CatholicNews.com
24 August 2011
Tags: India Children Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Locals living near Kerala’s Idukki Dam, the largest of its kind in Asia, collect water at a well. (photo: Peter Lemieux)
“In Kerala, poor management of natural resources, shortsighted agricultural practices and political inaction are pushing the limits. How is it possible that Kerala — which receives an annual average rainfall of more than ten feet, nearly three times higher than the national average — has the lowest per capita water availability in India, even lower than the northwestern state of Rajasthan, home of the Thar Desert?”
Peter Lemieux’s article, Rain Rich, Water Poor from the May 2010 edition of ONE, was also a part of a package that won a 2nd place Catholic Press Association Award for “Best Multiple Picture Package” among other awards.
To gain even more insight into the water scarcity issue in Kerala, check out our multimedia feature, Water Woes.
16 August 2011
Tags: India Kerala Water
Sister Kirti Lawrence tutors children at the Anugraha home with a battery–powered floodlight.
(photo: Peter Lemieux)
In this audio clip from my interview with writer Peter Lemieux for the July edition of ONE, he discusses Sister Kirti Lawrence and her dedication to the
children of Mumbai’s slums.
Check out the multimedia feature “A
Quick Walk With Sister Leema Rose” and the story by Peter Lemieux, ‘Slumdog’
Sisters in the July edition of ONE.
Tags: India Children Sisters Women in India