Pune: Finally heading to the several pleas from the Catholic community of Pune, the district administration of Pune has decided to make special arrangements at the schools run by Pune Catholic Diocese that were designated as polling centres.
The polling date i.e. April 17 coincides with Maundy Thursday, important in the Christian calendar, as it precedes Good Friday, and the churches at these schools see huge number of parishioners who come to offer special prayers during the holy week.
Members of Catholic Association of Pune has earlier showed disappointment as the date of voting for Pune was clashing with that of Maundy Thursday. Six schools of the city that have churches in their premises which were allotted for voting purpose.
Bishop of Poona, Rt Rev Thomas Dabre as well as president of the Catholic Association of Pune had written letters to Pune district collector to change the voting date for the Pune. Some of the members of Catholic community had even threatened to boycott the polls if the dates are not changed.
On Tuesday, district collector Saurabh Rao held a meeting with the members of Pune Catholic Association to find out a solution. In the meeting, it was decided that the voting centre from one of the schools located at Ganesh Peth will be shifted to the other venue while special arrangements for the devotees will be made at the other churches for the mass.
Father Malcolm Sequeira, Vicar General of the Dicossee told dna, “We had a successful meeting with the district administration where they have assured to cooperate with the Catholic community and make sure that the mass is not affected due to polling. The administration will be installing additional barricades and they will be keeping one gate open for the voters while one gate will be open exclusively for the members of the church coming for the special mass on April 17,” Sequerria said.
The Bishop of Pune, Rt Rev Thomas Dabre, said, “We were in a fix and were contemplating changing the timings of the service. The administration have assured that they will be making necessary changes, so that the service can be held as per the time. On behalf of the Pune catholic association, I welcome the decision made by the administration.”