Sunday, January 2, 2011


UCAN REPORT: Residents of a home for the aged managed by a Hindu radical group in Bhopal, central India, yesterday thanked a Christian group for sharing a Christmas lunch with them.

“I am grateful to you for the sumptuous lunch,” A. Banerjee, a 78-year-old resident of Anand Dham (abode of happiness), told a delegation of the Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh (confederation of Christians).

Banerjee said she has six children but none wanted to look after her and “dumped” her in the aged persons’ home 15 years ago.

Christians break down barriers with Hindus thumbnail
Archbishop Leo Cornelio cuts a Christmas cake with residents of the RSS-run old age home in Bhopal on Dec. 30
Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal led the 15-member group that had lunch with the residents on Dec. 30.

The prelate, who heads the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh state, told the residents, all Hindus, that Christ loves everyone regardless of their religion, caste or color.

Harendra Verma, another resident, said he was delighted to be in the company of Christians. The 83-year-old man said he came to the center after his children abandoned him.

Sheela Santiago, who heads the women’s wing of the ecumenical forum, said they organized the lunch to share “our love and concern for abandoned old people.”

Such gestures will convince others that Christian love has no boundary, she told

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS, national volunteers’ corps), the umbrella body of Hindu radical groups, manages the home.

R. P. Mishra, its president, welcomed the Christian gesture, which he said would help dispel misunderstanding between Christians and RSS.

RSS-affiliated groups are blamed for attacks on Christians and Muslims in India.

Mishra denied his organization harbors ill feeling toward Christians. “On the contrary, (RSS) believes that the whole universe is a home that has no room for hatred but where everyone lives in harmony,” he told

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