By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, October 17, 2018: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) has expressed “great joy” over the appointment of Guilherme Vaz, a leading layman from the country, as a consulter to the reconstituted Pontifical Council for the Laity, Family and Life.
Vaz was for ten years a member of the erstwhile Pontifical Council for the Laity, first appointed by Pope Benedict XVI and continued under Pope Francis, says a press statement from CBCI secretary general Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas.
Vaz has been a close collaborator of the CBCI, first as consulter to the Commission for Education and Culture. He was closely involved in the first comprehensive survey of Catholic Education in India and in formulating the Catholic Education Policy that followed, the October 15 press note says.
The Catholic layman from Mumbai has been a member of the CBCI Finance Committee for the past seven years and has assisted many dioceses. He is also a member of the governing board of the CBCI Society for Medical Education, North India.
Vaz is a member of the Board of Management of Christ University; honorable treasurer of Indo-Global Social Service Society. He has been part of the Bombay Archdiocesan Board of Education since its inception 32 years ago serving under three archbishops. For almost 25 years, he was trustee-secretary of FIAMC (World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations) Bio-Medical Ethics Centre, Mumbai.
The CBCI had felicitated Vaz at its last plenary meeting for being conferred the papal honor of Knight of the Order of St Gregory the Great in 2016 for his exemplary and pre-eminent service to the Universal Church and the International Community.
Vaz is the first lay person to address three CBCI plenary meetings.
Bishop Mascarenhas also expressed confidence that Vaz would draw from his vast experience to continue to contribute further to the Universal Church.
Pope Francis created the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life on August 15, 2016, effective from September 1 that year. It took over the functions and responsibilities of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family.
It has responsibility “for the promotion of the life and apostolate of the lay faithful, for the pastoral care of the family and its mission according to God’s plan and for the protection and support of human life.”