CBCI CHRISTSMAS CELEBRATIONS 2019
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) organized it’s Annual Christmas Gathering on Monday 9th December, 2019 from 6.00 pm onwards at the Diocesan Community Centre, Sacred Heart Cathedral, New Delhi.
The Chief Guest was Honourable Shri Vincent H. Pala, Member of Parliament. The Guests of Honour were His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias, President, CBCI, Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathios, Interim Secretary General & Vice – President – I, CBCI, Bishop Jacob Mar Barnabas- Bishop of Gurgaon, Archbishop Anil J.T. Couto, Archbishop of Delhi, Bishop Jose Puthenveettil, Auxiliary Bishop of Faridabad. Msgr. Mitja Leskovar, First Counsellor, Apostolic Nunciature, Msgr. Robert Murphy, Counsellor, Apostolic Nunciature. This program was attended by the members of judiciary and government, bureaucrats, diplomats, Priests & Religious and people of different religious faiths. There were about 350 guests.
Ms Adlin Gonsalves, the anchor of the evening started the evening by introducing our guests to the CBCI. She shared about Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) and its mission mentioning that there were 174 dioceses with over 200 active Bishops and 64 retired Bishops. She spoke of CBCI’s contribution in nation building mentioning that there are 54,000 educational institutions which impart education to nearly 6 crore children and youth. There were about 20,000 hospitals, clinics, dispensaries and health care centres. The Catholic Church has involved itself in disaster management and calamity relief as well as social work and assistance to the poor in very remote areas of the country through the selfless services of 60,000 Priests and 90,000 Religious Nuns (Sisters) and thousands of laymen and women.
Melodious Christmas Carols were sung by the students of Convent of Jesus and Mary School, Delhi. It was indeed beautiful to sing along with 20 girls who played the musical instruments and sang in Hindi, English and in the dialect of Our Chief Guest. They sang so melodiously truly setting in the Christmas spirit.
The opening prayer was led by His Grace Anil J.T. Couto, Archbishop of Delhi and the welcome address was delivered by Bishop Joshua, the 1st Vice-President & Interim Secretary General of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
The Chief Guest was felicitated with a shawl and a flower bouquet by Bishop Jose Puthenveetil, the Auxiliary Bishop of Faridabad. That was followed by all other guests of honour being felicitated with shawls and bouquets. His Eminence Cardinal Oswald Gracias in his Christmas message said–“We organize Christmas Gathering to share the joy of Christmas. It is the most transforming event in the history of mankind that took place 2000 years ago in Bethlehem when Jesus Christ came to the world as God in human form forever. Jesus Christ is the dialogue of God. Jesus came to restore relationships. Jesus came to this earth to show the relationship with God and man and man to man. How much we see today that our relationship is broken in India! There is so much of violence and conflict in our society today. He challenged the people present as to how our relationships could be restored once again. Jesus came to restore the relationship. He emphasized our responsibility in this task. We are from different cultures, speak different languages, have different ideologies, different beliefs, etc. Sometimes we seem to be aliens to each other. But we need to love one another as Christ did. Christ lives in and through us. He wished everyone A Very Happy Christmas and A Bright New Year.
Shri Vincent Pala in his Christmas Message congratulated all for organizing the beautiful program. He shared three main ideas. 1. Make Christmas God Oriented and God Centred. 2. The Love that we celebrate at Christmas is to be demonstrated in action.3. Celebration of Christmas is awakening the awareness that God is with us- He is Emmanuel. “Why was there no room for Christ?” he asked. Is Christ with really us? How many times is Jesus in our life, in our thoughts, minds and works? When we celebrate Christmas in our homes and families and work place, God brings His divine life to humanity. He can fill us with His presence, peace and love. God is love and God’s word is almighty. He recognized that the contribution of Indian Christians to the nation and its progress was significant. Though the Christian community was small, its contribution through health care centres, old age homes, rehabilitation centres, education institutions etc. was significant. God is with us and He works in and through us.
Quoting Jn. 3.16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Christmas is characterized by celebrations which begin with family get-togethers, Christmas cribs, Christmas carols, Christmas tree, Christmas Cards and Christmas Cakes because God is with us. Christ became one of us. He is in us and reaches out to others through us. Thus we become part of the divine family. Problems and concerns of our society are also ours. We need to remind ourselves that God loves us and God is in us in all the realities of the world and life. Basic humanity is that journey to serve others must continue. Precious gift of Christmas is peace. Christ who is with us is true peace.
At the end of the programme, the Chief Guest was presented with a memento by Cardinal Oswald Gracias. Fr. Jervis D’Souza, the Deputy Secretary, CBCI in his own humorous way proposed the vote of thanks in which he thanked the dignitaries on Stage, the guests and participants as well as the organizing team and volunteers who closely collaborated with him and others who extended services by way of catering, decorations and security. At the end of the vote of thanks, His Eminence presented a token of gratitude to Ms Adlin Gonsalves for so very professionally anchoring the evening.
The Formal Christmas Gathering concluded with the National Anthem and the Christmas Festive dinner. It was a happy occasion which also served to facilitate further meaningful interactive fellowship and exchange of greetings in an informal way.
(Reported by Sr. Lalitha and Fr. J. Manipadam SDB)
30 participants attended the Executive Board meeting of the Xavier Board of Higher Education in India at St. John’s Medical College Bangalore. The meeting was held on the 23rd and 24th of November 2019. It was a meeting to plan and proceed with the role of the Association to guide, animate and strengthen the Catholic Higher Education in India. The presence of the Secretary, CBCI Office for Education and Culture as ex officio member is to guide the association as it is affiliated to the CBCI Education Office. Among the many topics dealt with was the “New National Education Policy 2019” regarding which Fr. J. Manipadam presented the Statement regarding the same from the CBCI Education Office which was followed by discussion and decisions. A presentation to be made to the National Commission for Educational Institutions was also drafted on the sidelines of the two days meeting. The Board members of the Xavier Board also recognised the contributions of the CBCI Office towards the Xavier Board through Fr. J. Manipadam in the course of the 7 past years as he was finishing his term of service with the CBCI.
20th October 2019
Your Eminence, Your Excellency, Your Grace, Your Lordship,
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) thanks Shri K J Alphons, BJP, Rajya Sabha, for facilitating the process so that prayers could be offered to the mortal remains of Archbishop Dominic Jala, Archbishop of Shillong, Meghalaya at the Cargo Terminal, Delhi.
Shri Vincent Pala, Congress, Lok Sabha Shillong and three priests accompanied the body of the Archbishop from San Francisco, USA to Shillong, via Delhi and Guwahati.
The body of Archbishop Dominc Jala reached Delhi International Airport by 5.30 am on 20th October Sunday 2019. Fr Jervis D'Souza, Deputy Secretary General, CBCI and Fr Ajeet Kumar, Secretary, Archbishop of Delhi Archdiocese (deputed by Archbishop Anil Couto) welcomed the body at the Cargo Terminal, Delhi and briefly offered prayers for the repose of the soul our dearly departed Archbishop on behalf of the CBCI and the Delhi Archdiocese. Two wreaths were placed near the coffin. It was a touching and a very moving scene as all the security and cargo terminal staff present joined in this moment of sadness, prayer and grief.
On behalf of the CBCI, we thank Shri KJ Alphons, the airport authorities consisting of the Civil Aviation personnel, Cargo Terminal staff and CISF personnel for all the help in making this possible.
We also thank Shri Vincent Pala, for flying to USA to make all the arrangements and to accompany the body. We thank all the Church and Civil authorities in USA for all the help rendered in this tragic moment.
The body was taken to Guwahati where a Requiem Mass was offered by Archbishop John Moolachira, Archbishop of Guwahati Archdiocese at St Joseph's Cathedral at 4.00 pm.
The mortal remains will be taken then to Bymihat, Nongpoh, Umsning and Mawlai Parishes. They will be kept in Archbishop's parental home, Mawlai Phudmuri for the night.
From 21st to 23rd October, the mortal remains will be kept in Mary Help of Christians Cathedral, Laitumkhrah, Shillong for the faithful to pay their homage. The funeral mass will be on 23rd October at 1.00 pm at the Cathedral, Shillong,
Eternal rest grant unto his soul O Lord and Let perpetual light shine upon him.
Fr Jervis D'Souza
Deputy Secretary General, CBCI.
Triennial Conference of the CBCI affiliated Xavier Board of Higher Education in India,
an Association of Catholic Higher Education Institutes, held at DBI Guwahati
The three days’ Triennial conference of the Xavier Board of Higher Education in India, held from the 13th to 16th September among the many relevant topics discussed took up the issue of the Draft NEP 2019 as well. Archbishop Thomas D’Souza, the Chairman of the CBCI Office for Education and Culture presided at the inaugural Holy Mass and inaugurated the Conference while Fr. Joseph Manipadam SDB made a presentation of the various concerns regarding education and stressed on the importance of being proactive and repositioning ourselves to be able to effectively fulfill the educational mission of the Church. The final statement drawn up at the end of the conference had the recommendations to the MHRD as given below:
Recommendations to MHRD from Xavier Board of Higher Education in India
Xavier Board of Higher Education is a registered body which represents the interests of the Institutions of Catholic Higher Education. It is the official organ of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, which has over 500 Catholic Colleges in India.
We, the members of the Xavier Board of Higher Education in India numbering 175 from member institutions, from all over India, came together in solidarity from 13th September to 15th September 2019 to deliberate on “Revisioning Higher Education in India: Challenges and Strategies for Catholic Institutions” in Don Bosco Institute, Guwahati, Assam on the occasion of the 23rd Triennial Conference of Xavier Board of Higher Education.
We deliberated on “Democracy, Secularism and Education “, “A Critique of the National Education Policy – A Brief Too Far”, “The Church in the Face of the National Education Policy” and “Getting People to Think and Develop a Sense of Social Responsibility” among others. We also looked at the Academic and Administrative Audit, Net Working Among College, Universities and Use of ICT in Teaching Learning. Based on the deliberations and realizing our responsibility to the nation, we suggest the following.
We feel that the present political dispensation has been indifferent to the sentiments of the minorities and their needs. Hence, we feel it our obligation to suggest the following to the MHRD and similar institutions involved in higher education.
1) Though the Christians minorities have done yeomen service to the cause of education in India, we feel that the government could consider and respect our contribution and commitment to education. We request the government to include members of the Christian community also in their deliberations affecting educational policies and systems in India.
2) We feel concerned that the government is slowly centralizing most of the decision making, while the State governments are denied of their due rights. Education being in the concurrent list, we urge the government to respect the federal structure enshrined in the Constitution.
3) Education is a fundamental right of every citizen. We are concerned that the government is increasingly privatizing education and reducing the grants that are rightfully ours. We urge the government to release the funds that are the right of the institutions and make quality secondary education free for all.
4) We note with concern the attempt of the government to centralize all decision-making power, in all matters related to education and move towards a uniform system of education. We urge the government to respect the diversity and multicultural plurality of the country and desist from any move towards a uniform educational system in the whole of India.
5)These were discussed and approved by all the members present, in the triennial, unanimously.
Catholic Schools in Krishnagar and Bandel in W.Bengal study the Draft NEP 2019
Some 150 heads of schools and teachers from the various schools of the Krishnagar diocese had a day’s programme studying the Draft NEP 2019 on 23rd August 2019 at the Bishop Morrow School, Krishnagar. The programme was organized by Fr. Sanjoy and Sr. Reena, Principal of BMS school. The interactive session dealt with the content of the NEP draft and a critical review of the same. The programme was animated by FR. Joseph Manipadam SDB, Secretary, CBCI Office for Education and Culture. Fr. K.J. Raphael SDB, the Vicar General of Krishnagar diocese was present presiding over the day long programme.
25 heads of schools from the Salesian Province of Kolkata, presided over by Fr. Nirmol Gomes, Provincial had a day’s programme studying the Draft NEP 2019 on 24th August 2019 at the Don Bosco School, in Bandel. The programme was organized by Fr. Bikash Mondol and Fr. George Thadathil looking after the Education ministry of the province. The interactive session dealt with the content of the NEP draft and a critical review of the same considering also the impact it will have on the education mission of the Church in India. The programme was animated by FR. Joseph Manipadam SDB, Secretary, CBCI Office for Education and Culture.
125 heads of schools from the Auxilium Schools of Bengal both sisters and teachers attended the programme to study the Draft NEP 2019 The day’s programme was held in the afternoon of the 24th of August 2019 at the Auxilium Convent School, in Bandel. The programme was organized by Sr. Stella and Sr. Clara looking after the Education ministry of the province. The interactive session dealt with the content of the NEP draft and a critical review of the same considering also the impact it will have on the education mission of the Church in India. The programme was animated by FR. Joseph Manipadam SDB, Secretary, CBCI Office for Education and Culture.
Archbishop Anil Couto,Archbishop of Delhi and Fr Jervis D''Souza, Deputy Secretary General, CBCI paying their last respects to the mortal remains of Shri Arun Jaitley today,25th August Sunday at the BJP Headquarters, Deen Dayal Road,New Delhi.