Clergy union elects leaders
By Matters India Reporter
Jalandhar: The Apostolic Union of Clergy (AUC) has elected its new office bearers.
The election took place at the union’s national assembly held August 1-4 at the Jalandhar Bishop’s House. Fr. Donald De Souza of Lucknow Diocese was re-elected as national president while Father Lawrence Rayappan of Meerut diocese was elected as the national treasurer. Fr. Anthony Thuruthiyil of Jalandhar was nominated as the national secretary.
The assembly also elected five vice presidents for the 6 AUC zones in the country for better co-ordination and effective. They are as Father Lawrence D’Souza (Bombay) for west, Francis Swaminathan (Delhi) for north, Christudas (Neyyantikara) south, Bipin Pani (Jamshedpur) for east and Fr. Vincent Suares (Gwalior) for center.
The North East vice president would be nominated later, as the Diocesan Directors from the North East could not attend the assembly.
The Voting members were the diocesan directors or their nominated delegates as proxy. As many as 26 people from all over India attended the assembly. They have decided to spread the union to neighboring dioceses.
Among those present were Bishop Franco Mulackal of Jalandhar and Mons. Giuseppe Magrin, the union’s international president, who had specially flown in from Rome.
The AUC is an International Confederation of National Directorates and Diocesan Unions of Diocesan Priests from all over the world, existing in about 70 countries.
It was founded about 150 years ago in a few countries of Europe. One of its members was Pope Benedict XVI, who joined the union as a young priest and continued until he was elected the pontiff.
In India the union is present in more than 70 dioceses, belonging to the three sui juris Churches.
The Indian president said the assembly did not issue a statement since “is a priestly-brotherly spirituality oriented association.”
The participants spoke of “concrete life situations of diocesan priests, often managing alone the parish or an institution, with their many difficulties, both internal difficulties and external threats to fruitful pastoral care of the Christian communities, especially the increasing attacks on the Church in the country,” Father De Souza told Matters India.