The Conference of Religious India has come up with a five-part action plan to carry out concrete works of mercy wherever they live. Its members plan to meet before the end of the Jubilee to take stock of their work. The latter includes avoiding gossip, respecting employees, and keeping the Church simple and poor.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Conference of Religious India (CRI), a body of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, has a 40-rules plan that includes prayers and seminars, as well as concrete actions for everyday life and social outreach.
This comes in response to Pope Francis’ many appeals to Catholics to promote initiatives, engage in works, and bear witness during the Jubilee Year. For the Conference, “We need to have a new heart, and do works of mercy.”
India’s consecrated men and women have made a commitment to work individually and as communities, agreeing to meet before the end of the Jubilee (20 November 2016) to take stock of the results obtained.
There are five areas of action. They include personal conversion, reconciliation between communities, corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and a loving, responsible and poor Church.
The first area, personal conversion, includes avoiding “habits that cause pain and division”, like “gossip, bigotry, exclusion of those who differ from you”. If people want to give them something, the consecrated should “ask for things for the poor or for the mission, rather than personal gifts”.
Faced with a social situation increasingly characterised by intolerance and hatred, men and women religious should urge Catholics to act as witnesses of mercy and overcome divisions under all circumstances, even in the workplace.
“Treat employees with love and respect,” the plan says. “Check their working conditions, salary, health condition, etc.” Likewise, keep your eyes on the “Mission, not money”, making “sure that our schools and hospitals are not run like a profitmaking business”.
As for corporal works of mercy, the plan calls first of all for helping the poor in lieu of celebrating one’s birthday or buying unnecessary personal items. “Keep family functions (weddings, first communion, etc.) simple to help the poor.”
Another way to help is through blood and organ donation, which are rare in India, visits to poor areas and prisons, and providing help to the sick, the disabled and migrants.
Educating children and fighting drug abuse are activities that belong to spiritual works of mercy. Citing Pope Francis, the Conference notes, “We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And these little monsters mould the People of God.”
Finally, the plan calls on the Church’s institutions to act with exemplary simplicity, fighting child abuse, and living close to the poor. (NC)