31st CBCI Plenary Assembly Study and Discuss Renewal of Church and Society
Palai, Kerala (CBCI News): The 31st Plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) opened here, February 4, with a concelebrated Eucharist presided over by Archbishop Salvatore Pennachio, Apostolic Nuncio to India, and concelebrated by CBCI President Cardinal Oswlad Gracias, vice presidents Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, Archbishop George Valiamattam, Secretary General Archbishop Albert D’Souza, some 185 archbishops, bishops and secretaries of CBCI Offices and directors of national centres lf the CBCI.
The priests of the diocese of Palai, and religious and lay leaders from the diocese joined the inaugural Eucharist and the opening session of the assembly. The weeklong assembly will deliberate on the theme: Renewed Church for a Renewed Society- Responding to the Call of the Vatican II.
The Nuncio in his message underlined the relevance of renewal of the Church as a sure pathway towards greater fidelity to Christ and to the gospel. Quoting frequently from Pope Francis, he said, an ecclesial renewal cannot be deferred and that all renewal must lead the church to the recognition of her missionary vocation.
CBCI President, Cardinal Oswald Gracias in his address outlined the challenges offered by the different documents of the Vatican II and how they should form the source of reflection for the renewal of Church and society in India.
The longest serving Finance Minister of Kerala and Member of the Legislative Assembly of Palai, K. M. Mani was among the dignitaries at the inaugural function. In his message Shri Mani spoke of the need to remain faithful to Christ in order to renew the Church and society.
Archbishop Albert D’Souza presented the bi-annual report of the CBCI, and introduced the newly appointed Bishops during the last two years. The assembly observed a moment of silence for departed Bishops during the period. CBCI Vice President Mar George Valiamattam read out the messages of the President of India, and Prefects of the Evangelization of Peoples, and Oriental Churches. Mgr. Romanus of the Vatican nunicuature read out the message of the Pope to the assembly.
With 185 bishops in attendance, Cardinal Oswald Gracias called the Palai plenary the biggest so far in the history of the CBCI. India, which is the fourth largest bishops’ conference in the world, has 167 dioceses.