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Catholic Council of India (CCI)
The 14th General Body Meeting of the Catholic Council of India was held at St. John’s National Academy of Medical Sciences, Bangalore, from the 17th to the 19th November 2017. The General Body Meeting was attended by 178 delegates including 2 Cardinals, 8 Bishops, 18 Priests and 3 Religious Sisters from 53 Dioceses of India with the Theme of the General Body Meeting “United in Diversity for a Mission of Mercy and Witness”.
The theme was introduced by His Beatitude Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, President CBCI and CCI. His Eminence Baselios Cardinal Cleemis highlighted that the CCI is not just the Pastoral Council of the Catholic Church India but it is the whole Catholic Church in Council (Acts 15) and invited the participants to prayerfully reflect and propose suggestions for the forthcoming Plenary Assembly of Bishops who will reflect on the same theme. The theme, was further developed and placed` in the context of the present day challenges by His Eminence George Cardinal Alencherry who presided over the inaugural function and emphasised that the Church was both missionary and pastoral and has always been involved in eradicating poverty and empowering people through education and healthcare. Archbishop Bernard Moras further welcomed the CCI delegates and invited all to experience the rich cultural heritage and the rich religious and spiritual wealth of Bangalore. His Grace invited everyone to heed to the clarion call of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to love the poor, not just in words but in deeds as the Church celebrates the First Universal Celebration of the World Day of the poor.
HIGHLIGHTS: The Key-note address by Mr. Jacob Punnoose (IPS Retd.) Formerly DGP and State Police Chief, Kerala stated that Diversity is the reality of India, Unity its magic. The optimistic acceptance of united pluralism led to the Idea of India. This diversity has been successfully sustained by democratic Governance from the Panchayat to the Parliament. The Church in India today is called upon to make a Christ-like response to address the diverse problems so that those who guide the nation are helped to preserve the unity of the country to ensure dignity, justice, peace, progress and prosperity to half a billion of the world’s poorest who are our fellow citizens. Our democracy is based on the trust and expectation that the majority group will allow the minority group to exercise their rights to the full, through mutual acceptance of differences. Vigilantism, attitude of ‘mine’ and ‘thine’, contempt of the minority as less Indian, terrorism that hijacks religions and the fury of fanaticism must be rejected. The sessions by Bishop Dabre, Bishop of Pune, the Panel Discussion and the workshop, covered the theme with its challenges confronted, action plan, Social reach out, Christian witnessing of Mercy, evangelisation thrust and the strategy to reorient the Catholic ministry. The final statement released after three days of consultation and debate asked the Christians to become the instruments of change as individuals and to Be Good Samaritans by loving, sharing and caring unconditionally, reflecting the early Christian community being unselfish. The community must fearlessly practice, proclaim and propagate the word of God. The Final Statement of the 14th GBM will be placed before the President of CBCI and very soon sent to all the dioceses in India.
The 14th GBM of CCI elected two prominent and dynamic Catholic Leaders of the city, Bangalore, as its Vice President: namely, Dr. Antose Antoney and Mrs. Clara Fernandes. Another eminent figure of the city, Mr. P. K Cherian was elected as its Treasurer. Rev Fr. A E Raju Alex from the Archdiocese of Hyderabad was re-elected as its Secretary.
- Fr. Aloysius Ephrem Raju Alex