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Indian Church to let go institutional approach



Panaji, India, 28 Nov 2013: The Indian Church is considering a paradigm shift from an institutional approach to a Church of communion with people following the successful completion of the first national convention of the small Christian communities (SCC).

"This is the beauty of SCCs, as the church is experienced more as a communion than hierarchy. And that is the paradigm shift we want to make from an institution to church of communion," said Fr. Anthony Fernandes, a Goa diocesan organizing team (GDOT) member.

The event held from Nov. 19 to 21 in Goa brought together the country's cultural diversity in a unique bonding exercise over faith and other things when a 2,000 outstation delegates participated with about 5,000 local ones.

"Many of the bishops came back with a sense of joy after their personal encounters with people as a result of their visits to the parishes and even parishioners’ homes," Fr. Fernandes said. Taking stock of the three-day event, church leaders said the occasion and organization of event was a journey of growth and learning.

Fr Leonardo Souza, GDOT convener, said the presence of Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, CBCI president Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishops and bishops, hundreds of priests and sisters and over 7,000 active lay animators, affirm that SCCs now occupy a central place for a new way of being the Church and that the Church in India intends to promote SCCs as home and school of communion for the 21st century. It was also a rich cultural interaction as the guests stayed with Goan families and enjoyed their hospitality.

Church leaders said an event of this magnitude with representatives from 140 dioceses from the length and breadth of the country was held for the first time. "Goa had the privilege of hosting it and it is a big achievement in itself that we were up to the mark," Fernandes said.

"We carry with us happy memories of gathering all over Goa, celebrating the Eucharist joyfully with people, visiting families, participating in the gospel sharing and exchange of experiences and partaking of a meal with them," Fr. Souza said.

National services team (NST), which was responsible for the organization of the event, has expressed satisfaction after a post-event evaluation. "We will have a similar program soon at the regional level," said NST secretary Fr. Vijay Thomas.Source: Times of India




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