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From India

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 Contents - Nov 2008AD2000 November 2008 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: All Saints Day and All Souls Day - Peter Westmore
Victorian abortion law threatens Catholic hospitals - AD2000 Report
News: The Church Around the World
Human rights: Religious persecution in China, India, Vietnam - Fr John Flynn LC
Dissent: Business as usual at South Brisbane's rebel church - Michael Gilchrist
History: Cardinal Stafford on Humanae Vitae: how dissenters tore the Church apart - Cardinal Francis Stafford
Anima Women's Network: giving 'heart' to women of faith - Anna Krohn
Foundations of Faith: God's gift of sex: building a civilisation of life and love - Catherine Sheehan
What happened then: what matters now - Swithun Wells, martyr of England - Rosemary Lucadou-Wells
Letters: Rebel church in South Brisbane - Bob Osmak
Letters: South Brisbane parish - Catholic or not? - Richard Stokes
Letters: Turnaround needed - John Schmid
Letters: Tribute to Bob Ward - Br Con Moloney CFC
Letters: From India - Fr S. John Joseph
Poetry: The Latest Equation - Bruce Dawe
Books: THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD: Essays Catholic and Contemporary, by John Haldane - Tim Cannon (reviewer)
Books: A STORY AND PAINTINGS by Don Gallagher CFC - Michael Gilchrist
Books: Books available from AD Books
Reflection: Purgatory: hope, mercy, love - Bishop Peter J. Elliott

Prayerful greetings from India. May all be well with you. May the Good Lord shower His choicest graces upon you and reward a hundredfold and more your service to humanity. Before I proceed further, I would like to introduce myself.

I am an Indian diocesan priest of the Catholic Diocese of Salem, in Tamil Nadu. I am 66 years old - a priest for 38 years - interested in reading, preaching and uplifting the poor. I am presently the parish priest of Pettai palayam, the farthest parish in the diocese.

Pettai palayam is a remote village parish about 75 kilometres from the diocesan centre, Salem City. There are 200 families in this parish, and all are devout Catholics. They are economically very poor and added to that, they belong to the scheduled or low caste - God forbid this caste system in India! They are daily labourers, working for a low wage. A man is paid two dollars and a woman is paid one dollar per day.

The church is dedicated to St Cecily while St Sebastian is the co- patron. There are three mission stations attached to this parish.

There is a middle school under the management of the diocese of Salem with 220 students along with seven staff members. Only 20 out of the 220 are Catholics. The remaining 200 belong to different religions. But they all have respect and regard towards Christianity.

All of them come from the neighbouring hamlets and in general are really poor and in need of our support for their continued education, for example, writing materials like pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, exercise and note books, medals, rosaries, holy pictures, etc.

Would some good-hearted people among your readers be prepared to lend a helping hand to these poor children and so have a share in their education?

I do promise to keep you all in my daily prayers and Masses. May the Lord bless you abundantly for any kind gesture extended towards these poor children.

St Cecily Church, Pettai palayam PO,
Mohanur - 637 015, Namakkal. DT., Tamil Nadu, India

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 21 No 10 (November 2008), p. 14

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