Missionary bishops pray for unity, plead for peace

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Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil

Guwahati, July 14, 2019: Guwahati, July 14, 2019: Bishops along with priests and religious from the Syro-Malabar Church working as missionaries in in northeast India have decided to pray for peace and unity in their Mother Church and urge others of the same background to do the same.

The appeal was made on July 12 at the gathering of bishops, priests, and religious working in northeastern India.

They met at Guwahati, the commercial capital of Assam, under the guidance of Father Gilbert Aranha, secretary of the Office for Ecumenism under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India to address the causes of historical divisions in the Church.

The participants said they could see clearly how each division in the Church could have been avoided with a bit of sensitivity and farsightedness on the part of those who made the decisions. “A 2000-year-old Church cannot afford to make such mistakes,” said Bishop Thomas Pulloppillil of Bongaigaon, one of the participants.

They have also decided to appeal to every section of the Syro-Malabar Church, hierarchy, clergy, religious and faithful to forget differences, whatever they be, and sincerely work for peace and unity among the children of St. Thomas.

The participants said they were proud of the heritage of the great Apostle of India, their common Father, and of the immense contribution the Syro-Malabar Church’s sons and daughters have made to the growth of God’s Kingdom, especially in recent years. They said they also rejoiced at the recent recognition the Church has received at the world level.

However, they said, they were greatly pained at the recent incidents that threaten the unity of the Church which they love so much, and whose missionary zeal they would like to see growing daily.

“Human needs are growing and Christian anxieties are multiplying over the face of the earth,” Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati said. “This is not the time to allow little differences to divide us and make our work ineffective.” He foresees common enemies taking advantage of their lack of unity.

They pointed out that they did not want to be judgemental about differences of opinion prevailing in the Church.

“All we want,” explained Thomas Menamparampil, the Archbishop Emeritus of Guwahati, “is that the Church that gave spiritual nourishment and missionary motivation to us in our young days should lose none of its glory, nor miss any opportunity for making further contribution to the common future of the Universal Church.”

The gathering suggested that while official bodies would play their own role, every member of the Church should contribute his or her share towards the emotional integration of all the faithful who belong to the St. Thomas tradition.

They also appealed to all the missionaries of Syro-Malabar origin scattered throughout the world to join them in prayer for the speedy healing of all hurt sentiments related to the recent painful happenings in their Church that kept the entire body of the faithful in agonizing anxiety.

They voiced optimism about the future, having inherited the spirituality of the one who said, “Let us go and die with him,” and affirmed his faith in absolute surrender exclaiming , “ My Lord and my God.”

The missionaries concluded saying that they would continue to pray until they have the good news that all difficulties have been resolved and that perfect unity has been established among the children of St. Thomas.

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2 thoughts on “Missionary bishops pray for unity, plead for peace

  1. 1000 years ago the Great Schism of the East took place because of a power struggle, not because of theological differences. Is history repeating itself in Kerala? God forbid.

  2. 50 years ago the word “missionary” was used to describe missionary zeal. Now circumspect reference is made to missionary schools, and derisively about missionary activity – read conversions. This word is now redundant.

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