Bangalore, Feb 3, 2015 – Inaugurating the week-long Assembly of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) in Bangalore on February 3, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, has exhorted the Church in India to promote harmony and to fight discrimination.
“A true God experience will lead the clergy and the faithful to the engagement in and solidarity with the marginalized and exploited in the Society” said Archbishop Pennacchio after inaugurating the February 3–9 CCBI 27th Plenary Assembly attended by 140 Bishops at St John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore.
“Liturgy is the glorification of God and sanctification of his people. Moreover, it is also the font from which all power flows, and it is the summit towards which the entire activity of the Church is directed,” pointed out the Nuncio on the theme of the Conference: ‘Liturgy and Life”.
“Christian witness must always be given in a spirit of sincere and respectful dialogue, harmony and appreciation with all our brothers and sisters of different religions, in order to build bridges and ties of mutual fraternity and peaceful solidarity for a better society,” reminded the Nuncio.
He also called upon them “to work hand in hand to establish a more effective communion and brotherhood among all the faithful in the Church and – more widely – among all members of civil society, without discriminations or partialities.”
“The Church in India has to reaffirm her solidarity with the Dalits in India. You have to be united in the commitment to eradicate all forms of discrimination within the Church and ensure equal prospects to our Dalits and other faithful” urged the Nuncio.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, CCBI President in his Address, called for making the liturgy ‘relevant, participative, inculturated and transformative rather than ritualistic and materialistic’. “This should lead to greater enthusiasm and greater dedication to carry on the mission of the Church,” said Cardinal Gracias.
“The challenge before us is to promote an active, conscious and meaningful participation of our people in the liturgical celebrations” said Archbishop Filipe Ferrao Neri of Goa, CCBI Vice President. “Active involvement in the liturgy will empower them to witness to the faith in all the spheres of their day-to-day life” emphasized Archbishop Neri.
“Liturgy is the heart and soul, not only of the universal Church but also of the local Church,” pointed out Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore in his welcome address. Further, Archbishop Moras said that “burning issues facing the Church in India today are saffronisation, Ghar Wapsi, increasing attacks on Christians and denial of civil and political rights.” “Systematic efforts are being made to reconvert those who have already embraced Christianity,” lamented Archbishop Moras.
Three Books titled ‘Catechetical Directory’, ‘Homiletics Directory’ and ‘Eucharistic Prayers for Children’s Mass’ were released at the inaugural session.
Rev. Dr. Stephen Alathara Rev. Dr. Laurence Culas
Deputy Secretary General, CCBI Convener, PR Committee