By Stephen Alathara
Chennai, Jan. 9, 2019: Apostolic nuncio to India Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro has urged the Church in India to pay greater attention to the needs of humanity.
“There is a need for the Church to attend to the needs of humanity, which is the joy of the Church in living the Gospel,” the nuncio said on January 8 while opening the 31st plenary assembly of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India of the Latin Church in Chennai, southern India.
“This assembly is not the gathering of the higherarchies of the Church in India; rather it is a gathering for the witness to the nation. Our unity, collaboration and oneness should prove to the nation that we witness the Joy of the Gospel by our life,” the Italian prelate asserted.
Cardinal Oswald Gracious, in his presidential address, appealed to the Church in India to revitalize evangelization making it full of life and love for mission.
Archbishop Anil Cuoto, secretary general of the conference, read the annual report of the conference. He introduced the new members of the Conference. He also informed the assembly about the retiring members.
Archbishop George Antonysamy of Madras-Mylapore, vice president of the conference, read the messages of Pope Francis and Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. India needs the Church and the Church needs India, he added.
The Inaugural session began with the lighting of lamp by the dignitaries. Bishop A. Neethinathan of Chingleput in his welcome address listed out the reasons why Chingleput is the right place for the assembly, as it is the land of St. Thomas the Apostle, the Apostle of India.
The seven-day assembly will discuss the theme “The Joy of the Gospel” and will look at the new forms of evangelization and the ways and means. The assembly will also discuss the matters affecting the Latin Catholic Church in India.
The Latin rite Church in India has 132 dioceses and 189 bishops. The conference is the largest episcopal conference in Asia and fourth in the world.