Gracias asks Indian Church to emulate Pope
By Matters India Reporter Mumbai: The Catholic Church in India should follow the example of Pope Francis to foster mercy and compassion in the country, says Cardinal Oswald Gracias. “Pope Francis is a Pope of mercy, who draws people to the sacrament of reconciliation. Pope Francis is a Pope of the peripheries, who has a compassionate heart for the poor, and love and concern for the neglected and suffering,” Cardinal Gracias, who works closely with the pontiff as his adviser, told a program in Mumbai. He heads the bishops in Asia as the president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. The cardinal, who also heads both the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and the Conference of Catholic Bishops in India (CCBI), was speaking at a thanksgiving Mass on March 13 to mark the fifth anniversary of the pontificate of Pope Francis. The Mass was part of a joint reflection program organized for Latin rite bishops in the country. The Mass attended also by Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, and 31 participating bishops from various parts of India. They prayed for the Universal Church and the Pope. The bishops also marked the day with 30-minute Eucharistic adoration. The CCBI, the conference of Latin rite bishops in India, is organizing the bishops’ joint reflection program in two batches. The second program will be held July 2-7, also in Mumbai. The cardinal and the nuncio were among several prelates, priests and lay people who animated the reflection program. The program addressed topics such as role of papal representative in the country, bishop’s relationship with priests, religious and laity, formation of seminarians, priests and lay people. The bishops were instructed on office management through archives and documentation, preparing project for funding agencies, conflict management and Problem Solving Skills, Media Management; Public Relations and Press Conference, Ecumenism, Relations with Other Religions and Episcopal Ministry According to Pope Francis. The bishops went on a pilgrimage to Mount Mary Basilica, Bandra, recited the rosary and dedicated all thedioceses in India to the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Mount. The prelates also participated in the novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour at St. Michael’s Church, Mahim. The rector and parish community in Mahim accorded the bishops a traditional welcome. The Nuncio blessed the thousands of the devotees gathered at the Mahim shrine. The bishops celebrated Mass at the Holy Name Cathedral, Mumbai, and prayed for the Church in India. Archbishop Diquattro was the main celebrant at the Eucharist.