Press Release 06-02-2014
The second day of the 31st CBCI Plenary Assembly, February 6 2014 began with the Holy Mass presided over by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, CBCI President. Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Salvatore Penacchio, Cardinal TelesphoreToppo, Cardinal George Alencherry, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, Bishop Jacob Muricken, were the main co-celebrants. The other delegate Bishops, Priests and Nuns participated in the Holy Mass.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias in his homely stressed the role of the Bishops in the life and activities of the Church in the dioceses. Cardinal based his homely on the scripture reading where Jesus sending out the disciples were read and on the Vatican document on Bishops. Cardinal Oswald stressed the role of Bishops as Father and Shepherd. He concluded his homely by recalling the advice of Pope John XXIII to the Bishops before the commencement of II Vatican Council. The Pope exhorted the Bishops to be holy, so that the priests will be holy and in turn, the faithful will also be lead to holiness.
The theme of the 31st CBCI Plenary Assembly at Palai is A Renewed Church for a Renewed Society. The Church is always in need of renewal and since this is the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, the Bishops chose to study the Vatican Council Documents and they decided to focus on 4 Council documents: The Church (Lumen Gentium), her announcing of the Good News (Ad Gentes), the Church and her outreach to the World (Gaudium etSpes) and finally the Laity (ApostolicamActuositatem). We studied the first two documents yesterday.
Today, on the second day of the Plenary, the bishops continued their study of Council documents. The one who guided the bishops in their reflection on the third document, the Church’s outreach to the World was Fr. Stephen Fernandes, a professor from St. Pius College, Goregaon, Mumbai. He summarized the Vatican Council Document under 5 heads: Solidarity as a reaching out in love to all, especially the poor; Respect for the dignity of every person; stewardship of creation; engaging in dialogue; promoting a Civilization of Love.
The fourth document, on the role of the Laity in the Church was presented in a novel way by Alexander Jacob, the Director General of Police. He used his vast knowledge and experience to show what a committed layperson can do in society. The bishops listened with rapt attention as he gave examples of his lived witness as a Christian.
This was followed by a Panel presentation by all four speakers: yesterday’s two – Fr. Dominic Velliath and Sr. Evelyn Monteiro – and today’s two - Fr. Stephen Fernandes and Alexander Jacob. They very skillfully blended together the main points of their presentations and answered the questions of the Bishops.
Fr. Joseph Chinnayyan
Deputy Secretary General &