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Work for a better year, says Cardinal

Amid the gaiety that marked the New Year on Tuesday, Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo called upon citizens to take lessons from the prevailing political and social turmoil and work in unison for a better Jharkhand.

“There can be no peace without justice. And there can be no development without peace. Development is another name for peace,” Toppo said in his New Year message.

“Chhattisgarh and Uttaranchal, created with Jharkhand in 2000, have done better than the home state in terms of development and quality of life. Political bickering, extremist violence, growing poverty that forces thousands to migrate in search of a living every year, growing incidents of rapes of even six-year-olds and minors in our own backyards have halted development in Jharkhand,” the Cardinal added.

But he felt that there were lessons to be drawn. “God speaks to us through events. There are lessons to be learned from crisis moments. People should make themselves politically and socially aware and work together to change the situation,” Toppo stressed.

The Cardinal, who held a special mass early Tuesday morning at Ullatu village, 20km from the capital, to mark New Year, however stressed Jharkhand, endowed with nature’s bounty — “forests, rivers, other natural advantages and an abundance of human resources” — had a bright future.

“All that is needed is leaders with vision, proper planning, optimum utilisation of resources to help people and win their confidence,” the Cardinal told The Telegraph, soon after the early morning mass at Ullatu.

Every year-end, the Cardinal takes time off from his busy work schedule to go on a weeklong retreat to the rather secluded Ullatu village. However, with mounting work pressures and frequent travel both within the country and overseas, Toppo this year abandoned his well-deserved break to attend to the many tasks of Catholic Church.

He dashed to Ullatu early morning on Tuesday, led the New Year mass there and returned to Ranchi by afternoon.

Toppo, a workaholic, added that 2013 would be a test of his faith.

“The year will be a challenge to my organisational skills to work out a proper plan for the good of the church. In 2012, I had promised to myself that I would spend more time at my Ranchi archdiocese to spend time with my own people. However, God willed otherwise as my numerous ecclesiastical duties as a Cardinal took me away from Ranchi to various parts of India and abroad,” Toppo said.

But he is raring to get the integrated centre for excellence project — medical college and hospital, a law university, nursing training centre, schools and colleges — moving. “We have some land. But it is my earnest wish to get the project firmly on ground this year,” he stressed.

“He added that neither peace nor justice was obtainable if objective norms of morality expressed in Ten Commandments continue to be rejected. Have faith and trust in God. Have trust in him. Thank him for everything,” he signed off.


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