The new Office-Bearers of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) namely, His Eminence Cardinal Baselios Cleemis (President), His Grace Archbishop Andrews Thazhath (Vice-President I), His Grace Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao (Vice-President II), His Grace Archbishop Albert D’Souza (Secretary General), were at the CBCI Centre, New Delhi, on 3rd and 4th April for various Consultations and Meetings.
On Thursday, 3rd April, the new team of CBCI Office-Bearers called on the Apostolic Nuncio, His Grace Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, at the Nunciature. The three Councilors of the Nunciature also joined in the get-together.
The visit coincided with the glad news received from the Vatican that the Holy Father has approved the miracles attributed to Blessed Kuriakose Chavara and Blessed Euphrasia, a definite step prior to the Canonization of these two Blesseds from India. Cardinal Baselios Cleemis expressed the feelings of joy and jubilation of the entire Church in India and requested the Apostolic Nuncio to convey the sentiments of gratitude to the Holy Father for this great blessing and recognition for the Church in India.
Cardinal Baselios Cleemis thanked the Apostolic Nuncio for the paternal care and solicitude he is having for the Church in India and appreciated the vibrant and cordial relationship that the Apostolic Nuncio keeps with each individual Bishops and with the Episcopal Conference as a Body. The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, extended a warm welcome to the new team of CBCI Office-Bearers and said that as the representative of the Holy Father in India, he looks forward to working in close collaboration with the new CBCI Office-Bearers.
On Friday, 4th April, the Office-Bearers were received in private audience by Hon’ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Cardinal Baselios Cleemis offered best wishes and greetings to Rashtrapati, on behalf of the new Office-Bearers of CBCI and said that we are happy and fortunate to have a seasoned and highly respected statesman as the President of our great nation. Cardinal Baselios Cleemis also said that the Catholic Church in India is praying in a very special way for the peaceful conduct of the forthcoming General Elections to Parliament.
Shri Pranab Mukherjee appreciated the kind gesture from the part of the CBCI Office-Bearers and spoke at length about the services the Church is rendering to the people of India in various fields, especially in the field of Education and Health care sectors. The Hon’ble President of India expressed his appreciation for the total and life-long dedication of the spiritual leaders of the Catholic Church for the betterment of the lives of the people of India, and for the cause of peace and harmony of our great nation. The Hon’ble President took note with satisfaction the initiative of the Catholic Church to observe a day of Prayer for the peaceful conduct of the elections to Parliament, and added that election to Parliament is important, but also equally important is the smooth functioning of the Parliament. Shri Pranab Mukherjee recalled his long record of 43 years as a Parliamentarian in different capacities and said that he felt sorry and dismayed when in recent times, the Parliament was not allowed to function, which is a great threat to the democratic system of our country. The Hon’ble President expressed his hope that the new Members will ensure the smooth functioning of the Parliament for the best interest of the nation and for the welfare of the people of India.
Cardinal Baselios Cleemis at the end of the audience assured the Hon’ble President of the prayers and best wishes of the Catholic Community of India for his health and well-being, a wish that was promptly and gracefully accepted by the Hon’ble President with kind words of gratitude.
Fr. Joseph Chinnayyan, Deputy Secretary General and Spokesperson of CBCI, accompanied the CBCI Office-Bearers on both the visits to the Rashtrapati and the Apostolic Nuncio.
Fr. Joseph Chinnayyan
Deputy Secretary General, CBCI