(AsiaNews) - The Catholic Church today celebrates the Solemnity of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus. For the occasion, Mgr Henry D'Souza, bishop of the Diocese
of Bellary (Karnataka), spoke to AsiaNews
about the "love and compassion of Christ" the local Church shows through its
apostolate of education and health care, especially to women and children.
The love and compassion of Christ entreat us to
serve the poorest of the poor, Dalits, the illiterate, the jobless and the
homeless, abused women and girls, who live in the Diocese of Bellary. All of
them are close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The latter's love helped the diocese make great stride
towards the empowerment and development of people who are mostly Dalits. Three of our
districts (Bellary, Koppal and Raichur) are among the poorest in Karnataka.
has many challenges. Its actions seek to promote the health of women and children,
eliminate child labour, empower women, raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, eliminate
poverty and promote education.
are especially involved with women living with HIV-AIDS, helping them in their
medical treatment and social reintegration.
population is extremely backward from and an economic standpoint. Women and
children are the most vulnerable groups, from a social point of view as well.
of mining,** often in violation of the law, has made matters worse.
a drought has hit the region, creating even more
dangerous health conditions.
of education is the most important thing for the Church in Bellary. It helps
empower the poor, especially children, and brings changes to their live. As part
of its action, the diocese offers vocational training and skill development
courses. This increases self-esteem and the helps youth find dignity and
always been close to the Sacred Heart of Christ. Last month, in the parish of Hirenaganoor,
21 couples got married in a mass ceremony. When the families are poor, the
diocese pays for the cost.
This was the
parish's second mass wedding. More than 5,000 people joined in the celebration
and banquet. The generous contribution by some donors helped meet the expenses.
districts, the need for interreligious dialogue is felt very much. As religious
leaders, we must work together to promote respect for one another's beliefs and
places of worship.
There is no
place for violence in the name of religion. Only an India that is at peace with
itself can guarantee dignity and prosperity to all its citizens. Violence and
hatred can only drain our energy and reduce our resources.
must therefore go to sustain the country's religious pluralism, its unity in diversity.
May God, the Father of all, bless this great nation and its people!
(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article)
of the Diocese of Bellary.
Rights Watch report found that mining companies have a poor tract record
when it comes to respect for environmental laws, indifferent to water pollution
and labour exploitation. The situation is especially bad in Karnataka and Goa.