11 Message of the 31st CCBI Plenary Assembly to the Church in India

posted Feb 6, 2019, 7:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 6, 2019, 7:05 AM ]
The Latin rite bishops of India reflected on the theme - 'The Joy of the Gospel'.

We, 133 bishops of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), assembled at the Joe Animation Centre, Chingleput, Tamil Nadu, from January 7 to 14, 2019, for our 31st Plenary Assembly to reflect upon, pray, discern and respond to the theme: 'The Joy of the Gospel'. This theme — which is the title of Pope Francis' Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG)—urges us to reflect more deeply on the demands of Christian discipleship.
Impelled by Jesus' promise: "I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete" (Jn 15:11), we go forth to joyfully and enthusiastically proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Our Joys and Hopes

We see so much that fills us with joy, consolation and hope. The fidelity, fervour and enthusiasm of so many Christians, lay groups and associations in different parts of India to make Christ known, loved and followed is truly exemplary and encouraging. The heroic witness to the faith of our Christian brothers and sisters — even to the extent of laying down their life for Christ, as seen in places like Kandhamal and elsewhere — is a sublime testimony of courage and sacrifice. The silent witness of so many lay faithful, consecrated persons and priests who live their Christian commitment by walking the path of love, service and sacrifice is truly the effect of an outpouring of grace, expressed so beautifully by Pope Francis in Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and be glad) on the call to holiness in today's world.
We see the urgent need to further strengthen our faith, and we hope to continue extending our loving service to all people — in particular, the Dalits, tribals, women, migrants and refugees — so as to remove all traces of injustice, exploitation and oppression in our society and in the Church.

Challenges to Sharing the Joy of the Gospel
Many challenges, both internal and external, confront us in our mission. Among the internal ones is the need for: (a) a continuous spiritual renewal of bishops, priests, consecrated and lay faithful to inspire us to more joyfully proclaim the Good News; (b) to instill in ourselves a confidence to overcome any fear generated by some incidents of opposition and violence; (c) to find means to reveal more effectively the 'merciful face' of Jesus;(d) to go forth to the peripheries, instead of seeking security in institutions; (e) to take more decisive measures for promoting the welfare of Christians who suffer from various forms of discrimination.