Indian Catholic bishops recommitted to dialogue, nation building

Bangalore, Feb 13: The Indian Catholic bishops, who are holding the 34th Plenary session of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), in Bengaluru, reaffirmed their keen desire for dialogue and also their commitment to nation-building.

Speaking at the inaugural session at the St John’s Academy of Medical Sciences, Apostolic Nuncio to India Giambattista Diquattro said, “The proclamation of the good news must be carried out through the joyful services.”

He also conveyed to the good wishes and blessings of Pope Francis to the participants while calling for effective and dynamic leadership for better service to the people.
The inaugural session was followed by a Eucharistic Mass presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio to India Giambattista Diquattro along with Cardinals Oswald Gracias, George Alencherry and Baselios Cleemis and other Archbishops, Bishops and office-bearers of the CBCI.

The Theme of the Assembly is Dialogue: The Path to Truth and Charity. As such, all of us are called to walk together in harmony and solidarity to live with one another in harmony and peace.

The Apostolic Nuncio conveyed to the participants the good wishes and the blessings of Pope Francis, and also assured them that he would convey to His Holiness their filial greetings. He appreciated the services rendered by different Catholic Organizations under the leadership of the local bishops.

The Nuncio stressed that ‘the proclamation of the good news must be carried out through the joyful services’.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, President of CBCI, and also one of the advisors to Pope Francis, informed the participants that the CBCI completes 75 years since its inception, and it is also one of the largest Bishops’ Conferences in the world. For better service to the people, he called for effective and dynamic leadership.

The Theme of the Assembly is Dialogue: The Path to Truth and Charity. And as such, all of us are called to walk together in harmony and solidarity to live with one another in harmony and peace.

The Church has been always championing the cause for continuous dialogue and peaceful interaction to build the world community and therefore it was necessary to break down walls of separation and build the bridges of unity, Cardinal Gracias said.

Archbishop George Njaralakatt, CBCI Vice President-II, read out the Congratulatory Messages from the Prefect of the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples, and the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathios, Vice President-I of CBCI, read out the detailed report of the activities of the CBCI during the past two years.

He said the Church in India carried out its dedicated service in spite of hardships, crises, and conflicts in certain parts of the country.

The CBCI through its various commissions has been rendering commendable services to all the people without any discrimination in the fields of education, social work, health care, and ecology.

One of the highlights of the plenary session is three separate meetings specifically related to the three rites – Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches.

The participants will deliberate on the theme extensively with a view to finding out new avenues for dialogue and unity within and outside the Christian community.

The representatives of other religions have been invited to address the participants to share their views on the theme of the assembly.

Archbishops Peter Machado, in his welcome address, said Bengaluru is known for hospitality and goodwill to those who come for various purposes. Undoubtedly, there is an influx of migrants from different parts of the nation who come here for their education and work.

This year the Archdiocese is celebrating the “Year of the Poor” as the primary commitment is to follow the footsteps of Lord Jesus Christ who reached out God’s mercy and compassion, love, and care to the needy and the poor.

He said the Bangalore Archdiocese has initiated 10 action plans: simple lifestyle; avoidance of the culture of waste; education of poor children; feeding the hungry; healing the sick; supporting the imprisoned; welcoming the immigrants; providing shelter to the homeless and concern for specially-abled.

Fr Paul Parathazham, director of St John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, spoke. Fr Jervis D’Souza, deputy secretary-general of CBCI, proposed the vote of thanks.