05/17/2013, 00.00
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Bishop John Rodrigues: "Building the Body of Christ in the Year of Faith"

by Nirmala Carvalho
The new auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Mumbai speaks to AsiaNews: "My appointment by Pope Francis a joy and an honor. I will try to be an instrument of the divine ministry with ever greater strength”. Growing religious intolerance in India "witnessing to the values of the Gospel is not only a right but a necessity."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Building the Body of Christ. This will be the Episcopal motto of Msgr. John Rodrigues, appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Mumbai on May 15 by the Pope. In an interview with AsiaNews, the bishop speaks of the challenges and hopes for this new mission: "I am happy and I thank God for this gift, which allows me to carry on His ministry with greater force."

Msgr. Rodrigues is currently the coordinator of the Archdiocese for the Year of Faith: "This is a happy moment for everyone, because the appointment of a bishop is also an opportunity to renew their faith in God. It's also a time to trust in God and I trust that God will give me the strength, with faith I take up this responsibility. I haven't really thought about my motto but I think it will be to build up the body of Christ in the work of service.  The whole church is called to be the body of Christ and continue to do the work of Jesus inspired by his spirit. "

In Mumbai the Year of Faith is lived with particular spirit: "The Church in this year of faith needs to get back to its roots. Faith is a personal aspect of each person and it is also shared in the community. As we share our faith experiences we strengthen each other's faith. In Mumbai there is a need for adult faith formation. There are many who want to know more about the faith and have a great interest also in the scriptures and church's teaching".

For this, the Archdiocese has chosen a particular road: "Instead of having a centralized system, each commission plans something. For this month there is a vigil for the parishes planned by the liturgical centre, for June there is a Triduum, in August it is faith in the Indian context. In September we have the children's novena at the cathecatical centre. In October we will focus on missions. "

But one of the most important moments will undoubtedly June 2: "The festival of Corpus Christi we will have Eucharistic adoration in communion with that of the Holy Father in St. Peter's. It is significant that we will be in  union with the universal church as it is also a sign of our union with Pope Francis and with all the other churches of the world, each going through different situations, some are struggling, some moving forward. To remind us that Christ is here with us, that we form the body of Christ in the world. The sense of unity which comes through this prayer is very important".

Corpus Christi and the Year of Faith have a particular relevance in India, where religious intolerance is on the rise: "It's a joy that we share the good news of Christ with others. We have the right to do it and we continue doing it. While we pray for the people who are intolerant towards the Good News - either because of misinformation, suspicion or any other false propaganda - we continue to share the Joy of the Gospel with our lives, our service and through preaching the Word of God.  While we continue to pray and work with Spirit of Truth and Faith to build the Body of Christ, we also speak up for the right of religious freedom. "


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