Bengaluru: The “so called” Christian persecutions allegedly taking place in India are only “fragmented and provisional” and reports on them are exaggerated, says the head of the Syro-Malankara Church, one of the three ritual Churches in India.
“We have to acknowledge that India’s vast majority of Hindus has protected us from the time Christianity arrived in India,” Major Archbishop Baselios Mar Cleemis told the opening session of Mission Congress the Conference of Religious India organized at Bangalore. Few states in the country such as Orissa, Karnataka and Gujarat have witnessed Christian persecution in the past.
Some 300 priests, brothers and nuns are taking part in the April 17-18 event that has chosen the theme, “Let your light shine brighter.”
Major Archbishop Cleemis in his keynote urged the Indian Christians to become open minded and respectful to Hindus and not to view them as a threat to the Christian community in India.
Major Archbishop Cleemis, who has a doctorate in ecumenical theology, said Catholic Church is grounded on the vocation of evangelization. “The gift of faith is free and so we must share it freely,” he told the participants. He noted that witnessing to an ‘’authentic Christian faith’’ is evangelization.
The Major Archbishop highlighted preaching, verbal proclamation, Christian worship, multiple means of communication and utilization of Church institutions such as educational and healthcare institutions as the best means to spread the gospel message.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, who opened the congress at Dharmaram College campus, underscored the need to begin evangelization from "ourselves." The Church needs to be evangelized and then evangelization must happen among those who believe and those who do not by telling the story of Jesus, he said. He noted culture, economy, civics and politics need to be based on ethical and gospel values if they have to benefit people. Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore, who attended the opening session, regretted that secularization of Church institutions has become a major hurdle in promoting Christian values and evangelization. He called the church to involve and engage in the neighborhood and cultivate a sense of belonging among people to strengthen the ecclesiastical communion in India. President of the CRI priests section Carmelite of Mary Immaculate Father Jose Panthaplamthottiyil, said that “our light must shine brighter among the poor and the marginalized” if Christ’s message is to take roots in India. A message from Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, was also read at the meeting. The inaugural meeting was followed by Holy Mass in Latin.
Three presentations, including the one on “Evangelization through youth ministry,” were made in the afternoon. The Congress will conclude with five presentations, a Mission Congress Message and planting of Mission Tree.
Courtesy : http://www.ucanindia.in