Catholic priest lauds Churches’ focus on mission
By Matters India Reporter
Yangon: A Catholic priest from India has extolled the Churches’ focus on mission in Asia at an ecumenical gathering in Myanmar.
Carmelite Father Mathew Chandrankunnel says the ongoing Asia Mission Congress (AMC) is “a big celebration of ecumenism, with Churches from all over the world coming together expressing the call of Jesus.”
Father Chandrankunnel, director of the Ecumenical Christian Centre in Bengaluru, southern India, was among 600 participants of the AMC at Yangon, a city in Myanmar, a Buddhist majority country in South East Asia.
The seven-day congress concluded on October 17. It was jointly organized by Myanmar Baptist Convention and Myanmar Council of Churches. The participants came from all over the world.
Father Chandrankunnel applauded the initiative to bring member Churches, faith organizations and partners together to revive mission. “It shows that we are a communion of churches. This conference is a global activity expressing the urge of coming together. We express the call of unity by Jesus: One flock and one shepherd,” he added.
“Mission is a call to witness Jesus and his life. It is a conversion of heart and proclaiming Jesus through action. When that happens people will follow,” said the priest who belongs to India’s first indigenous Catholic religious congregation for men.
Chandrankunnel, a member of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, is the first Catholic to direct the center managed by Protestant Churches in India.
Father Chandrankunnel is at present professor of philosophy of science at Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram and Christ University, Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore.) After completing studies in physics and philosophy in various Indian Universities, he received a doctorate from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Leuven, Belgium. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Leuven, Faculty of Philosophy.
He is also a trained journalist, worked as the science editor of Deepika daily newspaper, its Chennai and Bangalore correspondent and published more than 500 articles in refereed journals, newspapers and magazines. He belongs to the Carmelites’ Kottayam province.
Speaking about AMC, he said, “And that is not only about Christians, but all religions. It highlights togetherness of the whole humanity.”
The liberating perspective of Christianity is important to him and he clearly feels that his own convictions are being reinforced by what he is hearing at the AMC, he added.
“Jesus humanized, supported and liberated people. He gave himself to the vulnerable and fragile, and empowered them. Again, that is what mission is about; to inspire and empower. This conference surely inspires people,” Father Chandrankunnel added.