Bangalore (Agenzia Fides) – “There is need for on-going formation for the laity to enable them to understand and to live their role in the Church. In today’s socio-political scenario, it is fundamental to recognise the dignity of lay Catholics and the importance of their participation in the Church. Moreover Christian testimony in a pluralistic society means commitment to fruitful dialogue among persons of different beliefs, religions and cultures”: said Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Nuncio Apostolic to India and Nepal, when he addressed the Plenary Assembly of the Latin Catholic Bishops of India, taking place in Bangalore 2 to 9 March.
Fides learned that Archbishop Pennacchio told the gathering that “in the context of India, relations between the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches is improving. Nevertheless various factors still separate us. In a time of growing secularisation and religious discrimination, Christians must be united and offer the nation a common testimony of unity and fidelity to Christ”.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, President of the Conference of Latin Catholic Bishops in India (CCBI), made an appeal for prayers for persecuted Christians in the world, especially Christians in the Middle East, mentioning the four Sisters killed in the recent massacre in Yemen: “They all – he said – sought to live the charisma of Mother Teresa, of total giving of self, and in this service they lost their lives. This was senseless murder but it will bear fruit. Let us pray that the blood shed may bring peace to a lacerated region”.
The Bishops called on the authorities to adopt immediate measures to obtain the release of Indian Salesian priest Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, from Kerala, abducted by terrorists in Yemen.
The Conference of the Latin Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), with some 180 bishops, is the most numerous Bishops’ Conference in Asia and the fourth largest in the world. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 8/3/2016)