Delhi CRI welcomes Archbishop Anil Couto

April 20, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

To assure their Pastor cooperation in his ministry, according to their charisms.

The largest gathering of religious in DelhiDelhi, April 17, 2013: The largest gathering of religious in Delhi in recent memory of over 180 consecrated women and men gathered at St. Columbas Hall on 13th evening to welcome the new Archbishop of Delhi, Rev. Anil Couto.

Sr. Shalini, CRI Local President welcomed the Archbishop on behalf of nearly a thousand religious men and women, belonging to different rites, working in the territory of the Archdiocese Delhi and of the new Faridabad Diocese.

In her introduction, Sr. Shalini said, it was the initiative of the Archbishop to meet the religious working in the Archdiocese and share with them his Pastoral concerns. At the same time the religious of Delhi wanted to felicitate their new Archbishop and offer him an assurance of their cooperation in his ministry, according to their charisms.

The Archbishop spoke spontaneously and with simplicity thanking the religious for contributing to the life and growth of the Church in the whole country, and beyond. The Capuchins, he said, laid the early foundations for the establishment of the Church in Delhi, following the early presence of Jesuits in the Mogul court and later the others followed.

The Archbishop said the services to education are of such a unique quality that many seek admission to our educational institutions. But reiterated we must first give admissions to our Catholic boys and girls in our areas. He also mentioned the many health services, like the Holy Family Hospital founded by the Medical Mission Sisters, now entrusted to the diocese. And the intellectual services of Vidyajyoti, the Indian Social Institute and the Don Bosco institutions as well as many works of development and charity like the work of the M.C. sisters.

He said that all the charisms are expressions of universal and self-sacrificing love of Jesus meant for all people. We need to avoid separate agendas: unity is the strength of the Catholic Church and we should not surrender this strength.

Unlike the Church in Punjab and Chotanagpur that have grown out of a local culture, the Church in Delhi is a church of settlers from elsewhere who do not feel culturally committed to this place. Yet, we must work in this situation and foster more communication between the laity the diocesan priest and religious.

A common complaint is that “fathers and sisters do not visit us.” Participation in the Small Christian Communities can give religious a valuable chance to meet and visit especially the poor and simple families. People need to be loved and accepted; otherwise they will leave the church.We need to recover and own the vision and decisions of the 2002 Diocesan Synod and the Diocesan Pastoral Plan and make them our own, integrate them into our charisms, and see how we can enrich the common life from our own traditions.

It is important also that the bishop be informed of new religious coming into the diocese and new undertakings or areas of activity entered into by religious bodies, not so much for control and “permissions” as for an effective coordination of all efforts into the common mission.

Then followed a lively interactive session. Fr TK John SJ spoke about the Year of Faith and the new evangelization, the need to make the Christian community more visibly present and participative in the political and social life of the capital city of India, the need to use the media much more than we do now, to stress specific human and social values that have been devalued with the collapse of religious traditions. He said that, especially in our teaching ministry, the need to own such values if we want to save the country from the law of the jungle into which we seem to be sinking. Next year’s election will be crucial in the life of the nation. Can our voice be heard and true values be proclaimed more loudly?

Sr Jessy proposed a series of programmes that could be implemented especially to give due place to women both in the Church and in the country at large and a much greater presence of women in all the councils, institutions and governing bodies of the diocese.

Brother Mani SG commented on the extraordinary growth of religious institutions now in Delhi as compared to the 1980’s, but expressed doubt whether our influence in the city has improved or been more visible. He rather thought that it has remained static or even diminished because new institutions remain mere affairs of the congregation, with little concern for making an impact on the city.

Sr Claudette DSP proposed that the diocesan clergy at deanery level could celebrate February 2, Day of Consecrated life for the religious, and in return religious could celebrate August 4th for the diocesan priests to acknowledge the presence and appreciate the services of one another and for greater communication and acceptance between the religious and the diocesan clergy.

Sr Veronica BS from Faridabad thought that there was still a sharp division between different ritual churches as they do not participate in CRI meetings.The Archbishop proposed that at the deanery level we should revive the old custom, of having at least once a year a joint meeting of at least some diocesan priests and some representatives of the religious, for mutual understanding, knowledge, and communication of problems in a fraternal/sisterly atmosphere. He promised to work with his priests for this effective step of better communication and understanding.

– claudette miranda dsp

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