Indian Bps. at B’lore  Meet – Bishops invite Pope Francis to visit India

Published on:  March 8, 2016 Story By: Philip Mathew, Matters India reporter – In the pic: The nuncio addressing Catholic bishops

Bangalore: The apex body of the Catholic bishops in India, currently having its plenary assembly in Bangalore, has formally invited Pope Francis to visit India. 

                   (Note: Finally it happened. I was wondering why Indian Bishops didn’t invite Francis. This  wonder increased after the Pakistan’s invitation and acceptance by the Pope.That must have tickled or provoked the Indian bishops. Anyway congrats for imitating    our Pakistani neighbor. Reports about  CBCI  meet appeared in Matters India, Delhi but not in  Indian Currfents(IC) which was originally over 25 years ago started by the then Secretary of CBCI Fr.Vallamattam and entrusted it to the Capuchins (Fr.Xavier Vadakkekara, its first editor) to continue publishing it as the mouth piece, as far as possible, of CBCI. So strange, no  report has appeared in IC. Why has relations souvered between CBCI and IC. And why no report has ever come out, even after closing, about what the very great people like Cardinal of Washington, Chief guest and what keynote speaker, Justice Cyriac Joseph spoke  there? Is it James Kottorthe fault of the reporter or the CBCI-PRO censor who decides what  the public  should and should not know. All know of the tension between CBCI and CCBI the two who reluctantly pull the Plough to prepare the Indian fields for the great harvest. In any case CCV also join the CBCI in welcoming our Pappa Francis. james kottoor, editor)

Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) handed over the letter of invitation to Apostolic Nuncio to India Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, on March 7 to forward to the Pope.

The invitation letter signed by Cardinal Cleemis says: “We, 178 Bishops of India, gathered at St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, from 2 to 9 March, 2016 for the 32nd Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, humbly request Your Holiness that our dear Nation, India, may also be included in the list of Your Holiness’s pastoral visits in 2016/2017.”

“Our Nation was blessed by the visits of Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1964, of Saint Pope John Paul II in 1986 and in 1990. Being the largest democracy in the world, with an age-old tradition of different religions and cultures, India awaits with eagerness to listen to another Apostle of peace and hope,” the invitation letter further adds.

The CBCI president also wrote to the federal Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking help to trace and rescue Indian Salesian priest Tom Uzhunnalil, a missionary who has gone missing after the March 4 attack on an old age home run by the Missionaries of Charity, in Aden, Yemen.Four nuns, including an Indian, were among the 16 people who were killed.

Missionaries of Charity Sister Sali, who escaped the attack has reportedly said that she saw Father Tom being taken away by the rebels. The nun, who is the superior of the convent, hails from Kerala, southern India. Earlier, it was reported she was a native of Chhattisgarh state in central India.

The CBCI letter to the home minister reiterated “our confidence and faith in you, and hope that you would immediately mobilize the government machinery to trace and rescue Father Tom, who is our fellow citizen.”

Tom worked in Hassan in Karnataka before going to Aden. He belongs to the Bangalore province of the Salesians.The CBCI assembly on the theme “The response of the Church in India to the present day challenges” will conclude on March 9.

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