By Franklin Rex
New Delhi, Oct. 27, 2018: Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi has lauded a Jesuit theological institute in the national capital for taking theology to the frontiers.
“The need of the hour is to equip the laity in theology, so everyone should try to take theology to people in great strength,” the archbishop told the first annual seminar and convocation of the Distance Education Program in Theology of Vidyajyoti College of Theology.
The program was held in the college in collaboration with the Commission for Theology and Doctrine of Archdiocese of Delhi.
Archbishop Couto, the college’s patron who was the chief guest at the program, invited the faithful to discover their own vocation as laity. He said that the laity sanctify the earth and thereby live out their discipleship in the Church. He pointed out that the motto of the distance education program is to take “theology to the frontiers.”
The keynote speaker of the program was renowned Asian theologian Father Felix Wilfred, founder-director of the Asian Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies, Chennai.
Father Wilfred began his talk by questioning the term “laity,” which he said did not do justice to reality. He proposed the term “Christian Faithful” and went on to explain adult faith.
Faith, he explained, is an extrovert movement towards truth, witness and beauty. “It is a journey of all and moving away from absolutism to inner freedom and openness,” he explained.
Father Wilfred, a supporter of liberation theology, asserted faith as the privilege of the poor, the crux of the Sermon on the Mount. “Jesus is the model of faith to both the laity and the clergy,” he added.
He urged the hierarchy to respond to events in society and take crucial decisions in times of crises, even if it involves risks.
Jesuit Father Raj Kumar Joseph, the program director, stressed the importance of the laity in the Church by referring to Pope Pius XII, who said, “Lay people are not outside the Church.” He further cited Vatican II saying, “The Church can never exist without lay apostolate and it is derived from the layperson’s very vocation as a Christian.”
“In order to grow in their vocation and participate in the church and in the world, our faithful need to have clear consciousness and become well informed community of enlightened people through ongoing faith formation, discussion and continual critical learning,” Father Joseph added.
Father Joseph along with Father T J Jose, secretary of the archdiocese’s Commission for Theology and Doctrine, welcome the large turnout of Catholics from various parishes of Delhi for the October 2 program, which included a seminar titled, “Theology to the Laity and Laity in the Church.”
The institute honored five learners as graduates of theology on the occasion. Archbishop Couto gave away the certificates and Jesuit Father Keith Abranches encouraged them with gifts.