Apostolic Nuncio urges to Promote Relations with Other Religions
Bangalore (CCBI): Inaugurating the 33rd Plenary Assembly of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) of the Latin Church, in Bangalore on Friday 11 November 2022, His Excellency Most Rev. Leopoldo Girelli, the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, exhorted the Bishops to promote relations with other religions with the Gandhian spirit.
The Papal Ambassador said, “All Christians must be committed to dialogue with others so that moral values are protected and God is praised in all creation.” He also encouraged the Bishops to take concrete steps to promote inter-religious dialogue and promote relations among people to foster a culture of peace.
His Eminence Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrão, the President of the CCBI and the Archbishop of Goa and Daman, presided over the inaugural function.
Recalling the Pandemic, Cardinal Filipe Neri said that “it was an opportunity to prepare our collective future.” He emphasized the need to reconnect with our real surroundings, contemplate the natural world, rethink our priorities and eliminate inequalities.
The inaugural meeting began with the prayer to the Holy Spirit by chanting the traditional hymn ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’. Then the dignitaries lighted the traditional Indian lamp as a symbolic sign of the beginning of the Assembly, while the choir chanted the Shanti Mantra (Asato mā Sadgamaya – Mantra of Peace).
Most Rev. George Antonysamy, Vice President of the CCBI and Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, welcomed the gathering. The triennial report of the CCBI was presented by Most Rev. Anil Couto, Secretary General, CCBI and the Archbishop of Delhi. Rev. Dr Stephen Alathara, the Deputy Secretary General of the CCBI, proposed the vote of thanks. The inaugural session concluded with the prayer led by His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Poola, Archbishop of Hyderabad.
The Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, Abp. Leopoldo Girelli was felicitated as it was the first time he participated at the Plenary Assembly of the CCBI. Cardinal Oswald Gracias honoured him with an Indian shawl, Cardinal Filipe garlanded him with the traditional sandalwood garland and Abp. George Antonysamy gifted him the Book of Gospels
The two new Cardinals were also felicitated by the Assembly. Wooden statues of St. Philp Neri and St. Antony were given to Cardinal Filipe Neri and Cardinal Anthony Poola respectively, by Abp. Leopoldo Girelli. Both new Cardinals were offered sandalwood garlands by Cardinal Oswald Gracias.
The recently appointed Bishops were welcomed as members of the Conference. The deceased members of the Conference were gratefully remembered. A moment of silence was observed in their memory.
The message of His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Pro-Prefect, Dicastery for Evangelization, was read by Abp. George Antonysamy.
The Indian edition of the “Document for the Continental Stage of the Synod” was released by the Apostolic Nuncio. The document is the fruit of the syntheses resulting from the consultation of the People of God in the first phase of the synodal process and will be the focus of the synodal journey of listening, dialogue and discernment in preparation for the
Continental Synodal Assemblies.
His Excellency Most Rev. Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, is the main celebrant and the homilist for the Inaugural Holy Mass of the 33rd Plenary Assembly of the CCBI.
The one-day meeting of the CCBI will discuss various matters affecting the Latin Catholic Church in India, which consists of 132 dioceses and 190 Bishops. The CCBI animates the Church in India through its 16 Commissions, 6 Departments and 4 Apostolates. Its main Secretariat is in Bangalore with extensions in Goa, Delhi and Pachmarhi (MP). The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), which is the Canonical National Episcopal Conference, is the largest in Asia and the fourth largest in the world.
Rev. Dr Stephen Alathara
Deputy Secretary General, CCBI
Photo Matter: Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli is inaugurating the 33rd Plenary Assembly of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India.