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CCBI - Bishops Reflect on Synodality with Neighbour Religions and Mother Earth

Bengaluru, January 25, 2023: The second day of the ongoing 34th Plenary Assembly of the CBCI started with the solemn Holy Eucharist celebrated by His Excellency Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, and other concelebrants.


Addressing the prelates of India in his homily, Archbishop Girelli invited their attention to the day’s feast: Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle. Further, delineating on St. Paul’s experience, he emphasized that St. Paul’s conversion was to take the focus away from himself and put it onto Christ.


“As Catholics, we are called to act as catalysts for the transformation of the world in accordance with God's plan. Our reading of the signs of the times, on the one hand, and fidelity to the Gospel, on the other, impel us not to be comfortable with the status quo, but to pattern a new way that is in tune with the active presence of God in history,” said the Apostolic Nuncio, urging the bishops to further grow closer to the Gospel.


“We, the CCBI Bishops, must not forget our task of being a headlight called to lead the Indian society to higher levels of justice, equality, inclusivity, solidarity and unity, based on the Gospel's values,” Archbishop Girelli added.

Day 2 – Session 3

Monsignor Joseph Sayer, Former Director of Misereor, dwelt on the topic “Predicate Evangelium and its Implications for the Life and Leadership in the Church.” Archbishop Elias Joseph Gonsalves was the moderator of the session.


Msgr. Sayer, while developing the topic, highlighted the aspects of inculturation, cultural diversity and multiplicity of worship in India. Proclamation of the Gospel, he said, should not fail due to barriers of language and cultural diversity.


Msgr. Joseph Sayer, who was also a professor of theology, explained the preamble and governing principles in understanding the Curia, that it can no longer stand in between the Pope and the Bishops, but has to serve both as a connecting link.


“Unity of the Church should be built on cultural diversity,” he remarked.


Archbishop Anil Thomas Couto presided over the next session as he spoke on the topic: Synodal Relationship with other Christians.” He quoted St. Paul extensively to accentuate Church as one Body with many parts contributing to the overall functioning of the Universal Church.


“The Church lived on and expressed herself through synodal ways of oneness, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity. Synodality challenges us to be open to others’ point of view, to be listeners more than talkers,” the prelate added.


Day 2 – Session 4

The next session was on two topics: A) Synodal Relationship with Neighbour Religions, and B) Synodal Relationship with Mother Earth.


The first topic was presented by Most Rev. Dr. Felix Machado, Archbishop-Bishop of Vasai, who dealt at length with the crying needs for engaging in cordial relationship with the neighbour religions for a harmonious living. He outlined three important challenges to maintain a good relationship, challenges connected with three words: complexity, ambiguity and responsibility. He also laid down some key points on how to build concretely a viable and lasting relationship with the other religions.


The talk on the next topic that is Synodal Relationship with Mother Earth was delivered by Most Rev. Dr. Alwyn D’Silva, Chairman, CCBI Commission for Ecology. He outlined the importance of discerning Synodality with creation, significance of ecological Synodality and conversion for ecological Synodality.


Discerning what the Holy Spirit wants us to understand, he underlined that we are not here to debate but to listen and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation. To proclaim the Word, we need to first foster holistic relationship with all His Creation. He quoted Pope Francis as saying “We must therefore encourage and support ecological conversion which in recent decades has made humanity more sensitive to the catastrophe, to which it has been heading to a disaster,” He concluded his talk by referring to the Romero Prayer composed by Bishop Ken Untener.


In the afternoon, the bishops gathered in their respective regions to discuss and deliberate on the theme of the Plenary Assembly.


Later in the evening, the bishops commenced their recollection to be spiritually enriched with moments of prayerful silence and solitude. Fr. Joseph CSsR, is the recollection preacher to the Bishops. This recollection will end on 26th January 2023 by Eucharistic adoration and Confession.



Rev. Dr. Stephen Alathara

Deputy Secretary General, CCBI


Taken from CCBI website.

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