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05 July 2011

Indian Church in Abu Dhabi: care of young and sick, but only in India

0000009.jpgFinancial support to 40 seriously ill patients, cataract surgeries already paid for 400 elderly people, scholarships to 40 poor students: this is the charity program of the

Marthoma Church. Launched for the 40th anniversary of the church, the program can not take place in the UAE, because of accusations of proselytism.

Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews) - "We are very happy to celebrate 40 years of our church with works of charity, for the next year," says Rev. George Oommen, bishop-designate of the Marthoma Church, an Anglican Indian church in Abu Dhabi. The community has launched a charity drive for one year, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its founding. However, the plan can only be carried out in India, not in Abu Dhabi: in the UAE, the Church is only allowed freedom of religious worship, not other activities, otherwise it could be charged of proselytizing.

In particular, the plan provides financial assistance to 40 patients, without discrimination of caste or religion. In addition, 40 poor students will receive scholarships to attend professional courses. In the second stage, financial support will be extended to 400 patients, mostly elderly, for cataract surgeries.

Although this program will be implemented only in India, Rev. George is confident that "in the future we can make everyone participate in celebrations like these. The divisions must be overcome and the Church is called to transcend any barrier of caste, colour and religion. God the Father is God of all mankind. "

Also Fr. Paul Thelakat, spokesman for the Catholic Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church, said he was "happy" for this initiative, and added: "Usually, the celebrations end up with excessive spending and few useful initiatives. Instead, the Marthoma Church is ready to reach out to those who suffer, wherever possible to alleviate the pain of the people and share their burden" (N.C.)

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