Bengaluru, 2 January, 2019: The 31st Plenary Assembly of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) is scheduled to be held from 7 to 14 January 2018, at the Joe Animation Centre, Mahabalipuram, Chennai. The Assembly will deliberate on the theme “The Joy of the Gospel” and will chalk out detailed programmes and action plans to revitalize the ministry of love and compassion of the Church at the diocesan and parish levels.
The Assembly begins on Tuesday, 8th January, 2018, with the solemn Eucharistic celebration with His Excellency Giambattista Diquattro, the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal as the chief celebrant. His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias, the President of the CCBI and the Archbishop of Mumbai will preside over the inaugural meeting.
His Excellency Most Rev. Raphy Manjaly, Bishop of Allahabad, His Excellency Most Rev. Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Poona, His Excellency Most Rev. George Palliparambil, Bishop of Miao, Rev. Dr. Rudolf Heredia, S.J. from Delhi, Rev. Fr. Panneer Selvam from Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rev. Fr. Nigel Barret from Mumbai, Rev. Fr. Rudolf Rodrigues from Bareilly, Mr. Jayaprakasham from Salem and Sr. Nirmala S.J.C. from Coimbatore will address the Bishops on various aspects and ways to promote the Joy of the Gospel in the Church by upholding the ministry of love and compassion.
The Secretaries of the fourteen Commissions and the three Departments of the CCBI will present the biennial reports of the activities for the year 2017 and 2018. The Bishops will evaluate the programmes and plan-out future activities of the CCBI Commissions of Bible, Catechetics, Canon Law and Other Legislative Texts, Ecumenism, Family, Laity, Liturgy, Migration, Proclamation, Theology and Doctrine, Vocations, Women and Youth and the Departments of Pontifical Mission Organisations (PMO), Conference of Diocesan Priests of India (CDPI) and the Association of Rectors of Major Seminaries (ARMS). The member Bishops will elect new office bearers and commission chairmen for the CCBI. The meeting will also look into the present situation of the Church in India.
A one day recollection for the member Bishops, directed by the well-known theologian, Rev. Dr. Anil Dev, IMS from Varanasi is also organized. A pilgrimage for the Bishops is also planned and the participants will visit the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle of India and Marian Shrines and dedicate the Church in India and the dioceses to the patronage of St. Thomas and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Bishops will be accorded with a solemn public reception in the Diocese of Chingelput on Sunday 13 January, 2019 where they will celebrate Holy Mass at the Bishop’s House Campus ground in Chingelput in the Tamil language. His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias will be the main celebrant for the Eucharistic celebration.
The official closing of the 31st Plenary Assembly will be on Monday, 14 January, 2019. During the Plenary Assembly elections will be held for new Office Bearers of the Conference and the newly elected President of the CCBI will preside over the concluding liturgical ceremonies. The Assembly is being hosted by the Diocese of Chingelput under the leadership of its Bishop Most Rev. Anthonysamy Neethinathan and Rev. Fr. Arul Raj, the founder of DMI, MMI and AMI.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) is canonically the National Episcopal Conference for the Latin rite Catholics. 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