11/07/2022, 15.55
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India’s Catholic bishops meet in Bengaluru for their General Assembly

by Nirmala Carvalho

More than 200 prelates are meeting until next Friday to reflect on the ways to live synodality in a large country with 22 million Catholics. “Dialogue is not an option, but a necessity for the Church in India,” said Card Gracias. “The Church in India is aiming to be a builder of peace and bring people together”, starting with the last and marginalised.

Bengaluru (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) is holding its 35th General Assembly at the St John's National Academy of Health Sciences in Bengaluru.

More than 200 prelates will meet until 11 November to discuss “Synodality: the call to be a synodal Church”. For this very reason, Card Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, is present.

Every Catholic diocese in India has taken part in the path Pope Francis requested from all of the world’s Churches. Following the publication a few weeks ago of the document for the continental phase, a new phase began in this direction.

India’s dioceses discussed new ways to involve all the people of God in the path for the Church’s unique mission. To this end, Card Felix Machado, CBCI Secretary General and Archbishop of Bombay (Mumbai), presented some significant data.

Indian Catholics are estimated to be around 22 million. In India the Catholic Church runs some 54,000 educational institutions open to all Indians, attended by about 60 million children and youth, as well as 20,000 hospitals, clinics, and dispensaries.

Given the country’s nature, “Dialogue is not an option, but a necessity for the Church in India,” said Card Machado at a press conference last night. “The Church in India is aiming to be a builder of peace and bring people together.”

Indeed, “The Church wants to be close to migrants, the LGBTQ community, the marginalised, people who have left the Church, youth, and women, and in this context every member of the Church is called to play an active role.”

This morning the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli led the Eucharistic celebration along with the Indian bishops.

In his homily, he urged Indian bishops to join the prayer intention suggested by Pope Francis for the month of November, which is addressed to children who suffer, especially those who are homeless, orphans, and victims of war.

Furthermore, quoting a passage in the liturgy from the Letter of St Paul to Titus, he noted some of the traits that must be present in bishops.

The latter must be “faithful, trustworthy, and above reproach as God's stewards”, as well as “hospitable, lover of goodness, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching of the Church”.

Quoting Saint Paul VI, he added that they must “proclaim the Gospel to the people of today,” performing “a service rendered to the Christian community and also to the whole of humanity.”

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