By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi: Pope Francis has chosen 13 Indians to attend the Synod of Bishops on Youth in October together with other Catholic leaders from around the world.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, president of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), will lead the Indian delegation composed of three cardinals, two archbishops, four bishops, two priests and two youth.
The pope has approved the members elected by the three individual sui juris (Ritual) Churches that have their respective episcopal bodies, which constitute CBCI, to represent the Indian Church at the synod.
The Syro-Malabar Bishops’ Synod is represented by Cardinal George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Pandarasseril of Kottayam, president of the Youth Commission, and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Pamplany of Tellicherry.
Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum -Malankaras, will represent the Synod for the Syro-Malankara Church.
The Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) for the Latin Church will include Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop George Antonysamy of Madras and Mylapore, (Tamil Nadu), Bishop Sebastian Thekethecheril of Vijayapuram (Kerala), Bishop Henry D’Souza of Bellary (Karnataka) and Archbishop John Barwa, of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar (Odisha).
The two youth representatives are Percival Holt, national president of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement under CCBI, and Cherylanne Menezes from Focolare Movement in Mumbai, India.
Other participants are Father Thomas Kallikat, Chancellor and Judicial Vicar from the diocese of Belthangady, Karnataka and Father Joseph Kochappillil. Both will serve as the assistants.
The synod will meet at the Vatican on October 3 to 28 to discuss “young people, faith and vocational discernment.”
The synod will address various issues on sexuality and gender, the role of women, and the desire for a Church which knows how to listen.
In March this year, more than 300 young adult delegates, including a few Indians, gathered in Rome, where Pope Francis convened a pre-synod meeting to listen directly to the voice of young people from around the world.
The gathering produced the “instrumentum laboris” or the working document for the upcoming synod.
The synod comes at a critical moment in Pope Francis’ papacy as the crisis over clergy sex abuse continues to roil the Catholic Church.