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Blessings for church project

- Vatican official’s visit

A high-ranking Vatican official, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect, Propoganda Fide, will arrive in Ranchi on February 12 to “bless” the composite university project, which includes a 500-bed hospital and a medical college in Khunti.

Though Roman Catholic Church officials said they had not yet got the requisite 300 acres, Cardinal Filoni would give his blessings so that construction could start on whatever land is available.

“We have got a piece of plot along Ranchi-Khunti road. Though it falls far short of our total requirements, it is time that we begin construction so that we can kick-start the ambitious project. We are already behind schedule,” said Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo, who left for Bangalore on Sunday to attend the plenary session of the Conference of Catholics Bishops of India. The session is slated to commence from Monday and continue till February 11.

However, Cardinal Toppo declined to divulge details about the land they had procured.

“I had mooted this project in 2004 when I was first chosen to head the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, the highest policy-making body of the Roman Catholic Church in the country. I was re-elected for the second term in 2006. Many wanted the varsity to come up in Patna, Delhi or the Northeast. It was after a lot of persuasion that a consensus was reached to set up the composite project in Ranchi,” he said.

The project comprises a medical college, a 500-bed hospital, school, undergraduate and postgraduate colleges, law university, nurses’ training centre, accommodation for church officials et al.

Cardinal Toppo further said that they had been trying to get a suitable plot for the past eight years. “Initially we scouted for land along Ranchi-Tata NH-33 but in vain. Later, we shifted our attention to Ranchi-Khunti road. However, we are yet to lay our hands on the total acres that we require,” he added.

The Cardinal has invited governor Syed Ahmed to lay the foundation stone for the project on February 13.

According to schedule, Cardinal Filoni will arrive in Ranchi on February 12. He will address church officials at St Albert’s College the same day. On February 13, Cardinal Filoni will hold a mass at Loyola Grounds, Ranchi, at 7am and proceed to Khunti for foundation ceremony of the varsity. He will return to Delhi late in the evening.