By Ivan Fernandes
Church and lay leaders have called on superiors general, provincials of various congregations to rethink their leadership roles by setting and achieving new goals.
About 550 of them are taking part in the Oct 28-31 meeting at the Leonia Holistic Destination in Hyderabad for the triennial meeting of the Conference of Religious India (CRI). Approximately 80 percent of those attending are women.
The Religious superiors who began their meeting yesterday evening are to deliberate on “Innovations in consecrated life for greater effectiveness.”
Ms Mini Mathews, chief secretary for the Government of Andhra Pradesh called on them to use their resources, institutions and network to put right the “value confusion” present in today’s society.
Ms Mathews, a Catholic who was chief guest at the welcoming ceremony said Religious superiors “need to have a rethinking of their leadership roles of yesteryears” and to responsibly “manage leadership to avert disasters.”
This can be done by “respecting dissent, responding to change (and) fostering mature creativity by thinking out of the box.”
Ms Jaya Sudha, the Catholic member of the Andhra Pradesh state legislative assembly said the gathering must be more than just an opportunity to celebrate what was already achieved and set out to achieve new goals.
Archbishop Thumma Bala of Hyderabad described the gathering as a “mega event” that gives “special honour to the Church.” He expressed the hope that Religious would share in the mission of the Church in a radical way, not just by their call through baptism.”
He called on the assembly to keep in mind the “radicalization of mission to bring about the kingdom of God.”
The archbishop however reminded the superiors present of their “prophetic presence in Religious life” even as they “find new ways to put forward our faith.”
Carmelite Fr. Gorantla Johannes, president of the Andhra Pradesh regional unit called for those present to “embrace courageously the modern challenges” faced in today’s India.
“I hope we will learn to work together in a new way to be authentic in our calling as Religious in an ever evolving world,” said Sister Sherly Chako, provincial of the Guwahati Province of the Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod who is participating in the assembly.
Sister Chako expects the meeting to “search together to bring about change.”
The CRI has a total of 334 congregations and 822 major superiors. It represents more than 125,000 Catholic Religious brothers, priests and nuns in India.
Most of the schools, hospitals, social service centers and other institutions of the Catholic Church are managed by this group.
The last national assembly was held at Delhi three years ago.