Saturday, August 19, 2006

Delhi Archbishop Pastoral Letter - 2006

Pastoral Letter of Most Rev. Vincent M. Concessao, Archbishop of Delhi


All The Fathers/Sisters/Brothers,

Please read this circular either on 6th or 13th August-06 during after the homily.

"Next to religion, let your care be to promote justice," said Francis Bacon. Religion is the bond of love and justice is a bond of peace, because where religion is, there love resides and where justice is, there peace prevails. Justice is something that every human being must reflect on and see how he/she deals with his/her fellow beings. The earth has enough to fulfil the needs of all beings but manipulation, injustice, violence, selfishness, and greed has devoured all our resources. Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation once said, "Anyone who possesses more than what he needs is a thief." In a way everyone is a thief. He/she someway or the other possess so many un-necessary things. But, if only he/she takes what is necessary and nothing more than that, there would be no one dying of starvation.

The Archdiocesan Synod had given a clear mandate to the Justice and Peace Commission, when the respected members of the synod put forward forcibly that, "Justice should become an essential component in every ministry including formation and education in the Archdiocese." This was once again highlighted by the CBCI General Body Meeting in their theme "Catholic Education and the Church’s concern for the marginalized." In the said meeting it was resolved that every Catholic child should be admitted in our schools.

Jesus had given us the mandate to stand with the poor, the outcast and the marginalized, and support them in any way possible to bring about progress in their lives. The constitution of India demands that the basic requisites of life and their rights be protected. Article 46 says, "The State shall promote with special care the educational and economical interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC) and protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation and indiscrimination." So, there are many ways in which they can be given opportunities to come up in life: like, education, economic aid, social status, and so on. Although numerically our population is 2.3% yet we are called to be the yeast in the dough.

In order to promote justice first and foremost we must practice it in our daily lives.

As we will be celebrating the Justice Sunday on the 20th August, 2006 the Justice and Peace Commission is organizing a seminar on Church and its Social Responsibility from 4.00 - 6.30 on Saturday the 19th August, in the Edmond Rice Hall, St. Columba's School, Ashok Place, Gole Dak Khana, New Delhi-110001.

JPC is bringing out booklets on the social teachings of the Church related to Justice, Peace and Human Rights in a simplified form, for the people to study and draw inspiration from it for their life and apostolate. In order to make the Justice Sunday Celebrations meaningful I would like to bring to your attention some of the practical suggestions that can enhance our social service to promote justice, peace and human rights:

1. The Parish priests can make special effort to focus on the issue of Justice for this year's Justice Sunday Celebration.

2. Parish Priests to send at least five persons from the parish to participate in the seminar on the 19th August.

3. Educate a dalit boy/girl in the parish.

4. Set up a book bank in the parish.

5. Meet the expenses of a sick person.

6. Ensure just wages to domestic worker in the parish.

7. Admit students from the marginalized in our catholic educational institutions.

8. Motivate the students and parents to contribute to the marginalized children's education.

9. Let the catholic schools to take the initiative to conduct seminars, debates, talks, symposia to bring awareness on Justice among people.

10. Encourage the children to draw posters, to write essays etc. on issues related to justice and human rights in the schools.

11. Help the poor dalit/tribal families in the parish.

12. Take care of the sick people in your streets.

13. Help them through prayers.

If we have helped one person to find justice, we will have improved the world. Yes, my dear brothers and sisters, this is what our lord and teacher, Jesus Christ taught us, i.e. to establish the kingdom of God on earth, where there will be peace, justice, equality, love, solidarity and goodness prevail in abundance. This is our mission. Come, let us all work together in order to implement the thrust of the Arch Diocesan synod, i.e. to make justice an essential component in all the ministries of the Archdiocese.

With warm regards and God bless and looking forward to your generous cooperation

Yours Sincerely in Christ

+ Vincent M.Concessao
Archbishop of Delhi.

31 July 2006

Posted by Jose Kaviyil

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