07 National Seminar on Post-500 Years of the Reformation - Ecumenical Imperative

posted Jan 4, 2018, 7:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 7:51 AM ]
The Catholic Conference of Bishops of India (CCBI)'s Commission for Ecumenism held its National Seminar during the annual visit to India of Most Rev. Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) on December 14-15, 2017 at Vimalagiri Pastoral Center, Kottayam. Bishop Farrell comes to India every December for the dialogue of the Roman Catholic Church with the Orthodox Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

This was also an occasion to reflect upon the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's attempt to reform the Church, whose commemoration was just completed. CCBI Ecumenical Commission members Bishop Selvister Ponnumuthan of Punalur Diocese and Bishop M.D. Prakasam of Nellore Diocese were present for the Seminar, although its Chairperson, Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado of Vasai Diocese could not make it. From among the Regional Chairpersons of the Commission, Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi Archdiocese and Bishop T. Joseph Raja Rao of Vijayawada Diocese attended. About 11 Regional Secretaries of Ecumenism, 10 Diocesan Secretaries, 8 Professors of Ecumenism and 20 special invitees, including the Major Superiors and Officials of the dioceses participated in the National Seminar.

The programme began on Dec. 14, 2017 with the introductory words and welcome by the Local Ordinary, Bishop Sebastian Thekethecheril of Vijayapuram Diocese. The opening prayer was led by Fr Dr Anthoniraj Thumma, Regional Secretary of Telugu Region, and the welcome address was delivered by Bishop Selvister Ponnumuthan. After the lighting of the lamp by the dignitaries, Bishop Brian Farrell gave the inaugural address, laying stress on purification of memories through forgiveness of each other. Differences between the Churches cannot be excuses to meet or work together, he underlined. The purpose of the Seminar and the Annual Report of the National Commission was offered by Fr Gilbert Aranha, National Secretary of CCBI Commission for Ecumenism. Archbishop Anil Couto, an expert in Ecumenical Studies, delivered the keynote address titled 'From Conflict to Communion' highlighting the ecumenical issues of post-500th year of Reformation.