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Indian Salesian nun named as delegate to World Council of Churches

Sister Theresa Joseph, FMA

An Indian Salesian nun has been appointed as a Catholic representative to the Commission for World Mission and Evangelization (CWME) of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The World Council of Churches is a global, inter-religious body of Christians that was established in 1948 to advance ecumenism.

On May 29, Cardinal Kurt Koch, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity (DPCU), was appointed Sister Teresa Joseph, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians of the St. Mary Mazzarello Province, Mumbai, India.

Her appointment was made based on the recommendation of the executive secretary of the International Union of Superiors General, an organization of heads of Catholic religious congregations based in Rome.

Sister Joseph's appointment is from 2023 to 2030.

The Commission on World Mission and Evangelism is the organization within the WCC that represents the missionary movement. It provides forums for discussing ideas, observations, concerns, and new understandings regarding the theology, themes, and strategies of contemporary common Christian witness.

CWME, which was founded in 1961, provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, stories, and theological observations regarding the themes and strategies of contemporary Christian witness.

About 35 members, including three Catholics, representing practically all Christian faiths make up the Commission. Smaller thematic groups work between plenary meetings, planning meetings online or in person. The full Commission meets every two years (the first meeting of the current mandate is set for spring 2024).

The fundamental goal of CWME is to make it possible for churches, missionary organizations, and other organizations to work together in the gospel mission. Jesus' request in John 17:21, "that they may all be one, that the world may believe," serves as inspiration for this objective in part.

For the sake of the mission and the unity of all Christians, it encourages conferences, consultations, seminars, study processes, publications, visits, letters, and other forms of communication. Theological training and missionary formation are significant components.

At the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences "Auxilium" in Rome, Sister Joseph earned a master's degree in educational sciences with a focus in catechetics, and at the Gregorian University in Rome, she earned a doctorate in missiology with a concentration on interreligious studies.

The Salesian nun has a strong academic background and served on the editorial board of the national catechetical directory of India. 

She is a core member of the Salesian and Diocesan Catechetical Center in Koregaon Park, Pune, Maharashtra state in south India, as well as a community animator at the Auxilium Welfare Center in Koregaon Park, Pune.

Teressa also serves as the provincial coordinator for evangelization, missions, and catechesis.

Earlier, she was the secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference Office for Dialogue and Desk Ecumenism.

Accepting the appointment, Joseph thanked Cardinal Kurt, the International Union of Superiors General, and the Salesian order to which she belongs for the new responsibility. 

"With the awareness that I am supported by the prayers of our dear Mother Chiara Cazzuola, of the General Council, of my Provincial, Sr. Meenakshi D’Silva, of all the FMA, and of those with whom I am in contact in the mission, I welcome with joy this new task that is entrusted to me," she added. -Santosh Digal


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