Mumbai (AsiaNews) - For Card. Oswald Gracias, president of the Bishops' Conference of India, the election of India Pranab Mukherjee to president is an opportunity to reaffirm "the values of a culture of life, peace and harmony, dialogue and integrity in public life" in their the country. In a letter of greeting to the 13th President of India, the prelate sets out the key points of the mission of the Catholic Church in the country, and renews the invitation for "ongoing collaboration between Church and government in nation building."
"We welcome the election of Pranab Mukherjee and on behalf of the Church in India we offer him our warmest congratulations to President as being elected as the 13th President of India, We ask God for his Blessings on the new President and on our beloved country.
I have personally met Mr. Mukherjee on a few occasions and was impressed by his leadership qualities and his concern for the country and we pray that Mr Mukherjee will be a Statesman like President.
I would like to reassure our new President of the commitment of the Catholic Church in India towards nation building and we look forward to the continuous collaboration with the Government in nation building.
The Catholic Church in India has always addressed the causes of poverty throughout the country. Our tireless selfless service in Education has been to the neglected remote rural areas, nearly 60% of the Catholic schools situated in rural areas.
The Church tireless services the needs of the girl child and a large percentage are girls' schooling in Indian villages and rural areas, through our social welfare ministrypromotes empowerment of women and girl child and youth to ensure that the poorest of the poor and marginalised live a life of dignity with self reliance.
The Indian Church has decidedly focused on selflessly serving the un-served areas through our Health Ministry especially in remote rural and tribal areas where healthcare needs are the greatest.As a matter of fact, a large number of health care facilities of the Church are located in the inaccessible and underserved areas to serve the poor and marginalised people, and only a small per cent are located in urban areas. This reflects the real meaning of the Christian life and mission: to be at the service of the last, the least and the lost
The Church in India is hopefull that with Mr. Mukherjee as President, the Church will continue to collaborate with the government in the Mission to the poorest and the marginalized.
The Church in India gives emphasis on the dignity and sacredness of the person, the core of the Catholic social teaching and we pray that our beloved Motherland will promote a culture of Life, where the social malaise of female foeticide and female infanticide are completely ended and where the dignity of the unborn and girl child is protected and celebrated.
The range of our health-care services, most of them in rural areas, is immense with 788 hospitals, numerous dispensaries and centres for mental health, leprosy, tuberculosis, and terminally ill. We mention in particular those centres catering to people afflicted with HIV/AIDS. All these centres have been serving people irrespective of creed or caste without any discrimination.
Well known too is the Church's involvement in development and social projects in the country from water harvesting to establishing self-help groups and so on. The Church has also entered, in a big way, into capacity building and empowerment programmes
The Church in India has been particularly concerned with corruption and we hope and pray, that the evil of corruption is addressed under Mr. Mukherjee's Presidency and eradicated.
The Indian Church's commitment to dialogue has seen many initiatives of Inter religious Dialogue at every level of society, beginning from grass roots mohalla committees to high level dialogues. The Church in India prays that with Mr Mukherjee as president, India is strenghtened values of a culture of life; culture of peace and harmony;a culture of dialogue;a culture of integrity in public life.
God Bless Our New President,
God Bless Our Beloved India