On Saturday, July 22, 2023, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur welcomed to Cincinnati, Ohio, Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mangalore, India.
Our guest was a close friend of Dancy and Harold D’Souza who originally immigrated to the USA from the same area. Unfortunately, this wonderful couple and their two little boys were duped by a family friend who invited them to come to Cincinnati and work in his restaurant. What should have been the beginning of a wonderful life turned nightmarish as they became victims of labor trafficking, and denied basic human needs and dignity. The Sisters befriended and assisted the family as they were freed from human bondage.
Bishop Saldanha cited as the cause of poverty among his people: lack of jobs and migration of families, lands left fallow and not producing crops to feed the people, and tribal warfare between two ethnic groups resulting in torture, death, and the burning of many churches. Another factor of great concern is the growth of fundamentalism in religion which has become a political issue. The magistrate has passed an “anti-conversion” law which basically suppresses the conversion and baptism of new Catholics. Many institutions and schools have closed as a result of this hatred.
|Bishop Saldanha, Harold & Dancy D'Souza, and several parishioners from Mangalore, India, visited Mount Notre Dame.|
The GOOD NEWS in Mangalore is the grass-roots participation of parishioners in Pope Francis’ call for Synodality which is developing a new vision for the Church by the establishment of many small Christian communities which listen to the nudging of the Holy Spirit as well as the needs of the people and spur good works to meet these many needs.
The Diocese of Mangalore is thriving after 450 years of faith. There are 124 parishes, 17,000 Christians, 281 diocesan priests, 170 religious priests, and 1700 sisters who are promoting the faith and developing many schools.
The audience promised to keep him and all his people in their thoughts and prayers. When the presentation concluded, Bishop Saldanha and a core from the audience gathered in the sisters’ dining room to share conversation and soft-serve ice cream!
Written by Sister Therese DelGenio, SNDdeN