Sr. Ancy John fsp, Provincial
The National Secretariat in Delhi had been working hard toward this Assembly by planning the entire programme meticulously together with AP CRI (CRI Andhra Pradesh).
The Theme was: INNOVATION in Consecrated Life for Greater Effectiveness.
From the Major Superiors 558 were present out of 865 in India for this National Assembly. It was in the Grand Hall of Leonia Holistic Destination at Hyderabad. I combined this assembly together with my visit to the community of Secunderabad.
The National Assembly was officially inaugurated with a Solemn Eucharist and a welcome dance by the students of Nirmala school of Nursing. The dignitaries on the inaugural day evening were Most Rev. Thumma Bala, Arch Bishop of Hyderabad, Indian Administrative Officer of AP & Chief Commissioner of Land Administration an IAS Officer Mrs. Mini Mathew, and the Telegu Film actress and MLA of the Secunderabad Constituency, Mrs. Jayasudha, who is also a zealous follower of Christ.
The Archbishop of Hyderabad in his speech highlighted how the CRI has always been a special honour to the Church and especially to the diocese of Hyderabad, and he underlined powerfully the role of Religious in India today. As a disciple of Christ, he invited the religious Major Superiors present to opt for the poor and challenged Religious to see the face of Christ in the poor and downtrodden.
Mrs. Mini Mathew in her address brought home to us the contribution of the Catholic Church and in the development of the people. She said that the problems we encounter today are different than the ones a decade ago. She highlighting the problems we face in families, schools and society at large recommended us to uphold the values and bring a strong revival in the Christian Faith.
Mrs. Jayasudha, MLA applauding all the educational institutions and health care services in the country run by the Religious said, that the conferences like CRI will bring change in our system, and thanked all the Religious for the selfless service to the country.
There was the keynote address by Dr. P.M. Bhargava, a Hindu, who has got the award Padma Bhushan and a great Visionary of Science. He, in his address highlighted three points; Innovations, Building our standing Institutions and the Problems we face in running higher educational Institutions. He also gave emphasis about having in mind always the 5 Cs, Commitment to the institutions, Commitment to the objective, Courage to act, Concern for People, Compassion and readiness to Change. He also stressed upon the Principles of being a good leader; Perseverance, Forgiveness, Openness, Transparency, Accountability etc.
On the following day we had three talks on Innovation in our Mission, Life-style and Formation. What I felt personally was that we had been reflecting on Redesigning of our presences, it can go in line these three talks. For some the expressions are re-founding, for others it is innovation etc.
Two concerns were also pointed out:
1. Our invisibility on the media: We have not sufficiently come in the forefront of media, therefore the need to be seen, heard and read.
2. Need for Inter-congregational Collaboration and Networking: We need to work together in collaboration with other Congregations in the area of the mission, sharing the mission with other Congregations.
They also stressed on the need for us to work in the Government offices, hospitals, schools, Editorial board etc. I can say that the stress was that “Religious must revision their lifestyle, mission and formation to remain authentic to their calling and relevant to the local Church and to one’s own Congregation.
As regards to mission, the thrust was to ensure that members move out of their “comfort zone,” shake off any “stagnancy” and allow the context to shape the content of mission. “Innovation in mission is a challenge of being a disciple of Jesus creating a community of prophetic people in order to be close to the poor and under privileged.
In order that this is done, the invitation was to be even daring to close down ministries that are irrelevant in the given context.” About formation of members, formative structures of their communities should be defined by particular contexts. However, “formation in mission for the mission” must continue to be the primary process.
The CRI has a total of 334 congregations and 822 major superiors representing more than 125,000 Catholic Religious brothers, priests and sisters in India.