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India: Delhi Archbishop calls for unity to build up church better

Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto of Delhi

An Indian archbishop has called on the priests, religious, and laity to build up the church together in a spirit of unity.

"Upholding and promoting unity in the Church is essential; we are all ultimately joined in Christ, the Anointed One, with those of other religions and all of God's children at different levels,” said Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto of Delhi.

He said this while celebrating the Chrism Mass at New Delhi’s Sacred Heart Cathedral on March 27. 

According to Archbishop Couto, Chrism Mass is a manifestation and celebration of unity—a quality that unites the diocesan bishop and the diocese's clergy inseparably. 

During Chrism Mass, the bishop traditionally blesses oils for use in Sacred Chrism, for anointing the sick, and for application to catechumens. Archbishop Couto has blessed the oils used in the archdiocese's sacrament celebrations.

Many other cultures also follow the well-known Jewish custom of anointing someone with oil on a momentous occasion. The name "Christ" refers to the anointed one, Jesus.

Anointing with oil is an essential part of living a Christian life; baptism signifies the start of one's spiritual journey, and the anointing of the sick signifies the end of it. Believers in blessed oils hold that they continuously strengthen and nourish themselves as they advance in their spiritual journey.

Archbishop Couto explained the significance of anointing in the lives of Christians in his homily, emphasizing how it is a call to follow Christ and serve in the likeness of the Lord, who came to serve rather than to be served.

He emphasized the importance of understanding the biblical text that anoints one to "proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord, to bring good tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and to let the oppressed go free." He said, "The Nazareth Manifesto is relevant, and we need to understand its implications."

Catholics from all over Delhi, including those from the south, west coast, northeast, and central India, flocked to the Chrism Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Christian faiths like Lutherans and Anglicans also celebrate the Chrism Mass.

Most Indian churches observe the Chrism Mass during Holy Week, either on Monday or Tuesday or at a different time that works best for the clergy and the congregation.

Priests' reaffirmation of their vows when they were ordained to the priesthood is a core aspect of the Church.

Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Nuncio to India, joined the Chrism Mass alongside clergymen from the Latin and Syro-Malabar churches. 

During Holy Week, the principal celebrant of the liturgical service was Archbishop Couto. 

Along with the nuncio, other attendees included Auxiliary Bishop Deepak Tauro and Archbishop Emeritus Vincent Concessao from the Delhi Latin diocese, as well as Bishop Jose Puthenveetil and Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara from the Faridabad Syro-Malabar Church. 

Along with several hundred religious and two hundred priests, Monsignor Kevin Kimtis and Father Alberto Napolitano from the nunciature participated in the yearly liturgical event. 


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.