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Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle urges to ‘Foster, Maintain and Strengthen Communion’

Cardinal Tagle at the Synod of Bishops on October 9, 2015. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, delivered a message urging bishops in India to foster, maintain, and strengthen communion, particularly among the diverse churches in India.

Cardinal Tagle conveyed this special message to the bishops attending the 35th Plenary Assembly of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) in Bangalore, south India.

Emphasizing the importance of true fraternal communion, Cardinal Tagle said, "It is essential to act in the spirit of genuine fraternal communion so that the good news can be effectively and fruitfully preached.

There should not be any room for disharmony or rivalry; the only aim of each church is to give testimony to the life of Christ by being faithful disciples of the Master."

Archbishop George Antonysamy, Vice President of CCBI and the Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, conveyed the message.

The 35th Plenary Assembly commenced with a solemn Eucharistic celebration on January 30, 2024, at the Nursing College Auditorium of St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore.

Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, presided over the celebration. The celebration included special prayers for global peace and the people in Manipur facing hardships.

The inaugural meeting, following the Eucharistic celebration, commenced with a prayer to the Holy Spirit, marked by the chanting of the traditional hymn ‘Veni Creator Spiritus.’ Dignitaries lit the traditional Indian lamp, symbolizing the beginning of the assembly.

Presiding over the meeting was His Eminence Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrão, the President of CCBI and the Archbishop of Goa and Daman. Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the Apostolic Nuncio, inaugurated the Assembly.

Archbishop George Antonysamy, Vice President of CCBI and Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore welcomed the gathering. Archbishop Anil Couto, Secretary General of CCBI, and the Archbishop of Delhi presented the annual report of CCBI.

Father Stephen Alathara, the Deputy Secretary General of CCBI, proposed the vote of thanks.

Cardinal Anthony Poola, the Archbishop of Hyderabad, led a prayer to conclude the inaugural session.

During the Assembly, the Conference welcomed recently appointed bishops as members and observed a moment of silence as a collective gesture of respect and remembrance for departed members.

The Assembly stood together to honor the memory of Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, the esteemed former President of the CCBI, who departed from this world on October 4, 2023. The Assembly stood together to honor Cardinal Toppo's life and contributions, a notable figure whose influence continues to reverberate in the minds and hearts of all who met him.

During the occasion, the organizers globally connected the Indian Catholic community by officially launching 'Catholic Connect,' a mobile app platform. The app offers access to spiritual resources, relevant news information, and Catholic life services such as health insurance, education, jobs, etc., besides emergency assistance.

Additionally, users can find nearby churches and avail of services provided by the churches in India.

Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrão released liturgical books, including the Weekday and Sunday Missals, along with User Guides for Canon Law and Complementary Norms of Canon Law.

The one-day meeting of CCBI dealt with several matters affecting the Latin Catholic Church in India, which comprises 132 dioceses and 196 bishops.

The CCBI, through its 16 commissions, 7 departments, and 4 apostolates, animates the church in India.

The main secretariat is in Bangalore, with extensions in Goa, Delhi, and Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh.

As the Canonical National Episcopal Conference, the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) stands as the largest in Asia and the fourth largest in the world."


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