All India Press Release
14 January, 2019
Chennai: The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) established two new Commissions, for Ecology and Small Christian Communities (SCC). The members of the 31st Plenary Assembly of the CCBI held from 7 to 14 January 2019, at Joe Animation Centre, Mahabalipuram, Chennai, Tamilnadu voted in favour of establishing the two Commissions.
The Bishops decided to establish a special department for Ecology, as a response to the appeal of Pope Francis in his Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si” published in 2015, in which the Pope urges all people of good will to take care of our universe.
The proposal to establish a Commission for Ecology was discussed in the 79th Executive Committee meeting of the CCBI held on 1 May 2018, at St John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore. Being aware of the importance and urgency to respond to the environmental challenges in India and trying to embark on a new path to care and protect the environment, the Bishops felt the need to establish a Commission deal with.
A Commission for Small Christian Communities was also started to promote the Gospel values at the grass root level and prepare all faithful to witness the compassionate ministry of the Church in their local life situations.
New Chairmen for CCBI Commissions
(1) Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrão, Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Chairman, Commission for Boundary (2) Most Rev. Antonysamy Peter Abir, Bishop of Sultanpet, Kerala, Chairman, Commission for Bible; (3) Most Rev. Thomas Macwan, Archbishop of Gandhinagar, Gujarat, Chairman, Commission for Catechetics; (4) Most Rev. Derek Fernandes, Bishop of Karwar, Karnataka, Chairman, Commission for Canon Law and Other Legislative Texts;
(5) Most Rev. Alwyn D’Silva, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, Maharashtra, Chairman, Commission for Ecology; (6) Most Rev. Francis Serrao, S.J., Bishop of Shimoga, Karnataka, Chairman, Commission for Ecumenism; (7) Most Rev. Sebastian Kallupura, Co-adjutor Archbishop of Patna, Bihar, Chairman, Commission for Family; (8) Most Rev. Eugene Joseph, Bishop of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Chairman, Commission for Laity; (9) Most Rev. Dominic Jala, S.D.B., Archbishop of Shillong, Meghalaya, Chairman, Commission for Liturgy; (10) Most Rev. Victor Henry Thakur, Archbishop of Raipur, Chhattisgarh, Chairman, Commission for Migrants;
(11) Most Rev. Bishop Raphy Manjaly, Bishop of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, Chairman, Commission for Proclamation; (12) Most Rev. Ignatius Mascarenhas, Bishop of Simla-Chandigarh, Chandigarh, Chairman, Commission for Small Christian Communities; (13) Most Rev. Felix Toppo, S.J., Archbishop of Ranchi, Jharkhand, Chairman, Commission for Theology and Doctrine; (14) Most Rev. Udumala Bala, Bishop of Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, Chairman, Commission for Vocations; (15) Most Rev. Francis Kalist, Bishop of Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, Chairman, Commission for Women and (16) Most Rev. Nazarene Soosai, Bishop of Kottar, Tamilnadu, Chairman, Commission for Youth.
Conclusion of the Assembly
The Bishops were accorded with warm and affectionate welcome at solemn public reception in the Diocese of Chingelput on Sunday, 13 January 2019. The Holy Mass was celebrated in Tamil at the Bishop’s House Campus ground and was presided by His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias.
At a thanksgiving Holy Eucharist, on Monday, 14 January, presided by the newly elected President, Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão, the shepherds entrusted themselves and their dioceses to the divine assistance and prayed for the people of India.
The 31st Plenary Assembly came to a conclusion on Monday, 14 January with a Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction by Archbishop George Antonysamy, the newly re-elected Vice President. 143 Bishops from 132 Dioceses participated in the Assembly.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) is canonically the Episcopal Conference for the Latin Catholics in India. It is the largest Bishops Conference in Asia and the fourth largest in the world. It consists of 132 dioceses with 189 Bishops.
Rev. Dr. Stephen Alathara
Deputy Secretary General, CCBI