Cardinal Gracias salutes the core values of Mizoram Catholics – Matters India | Popgen Tech
By Irudhaya Jothi
Aizawl, November 18, 2022: The Catholic Church in Mizoram on November 20 ended the celebration of 75 years of the presence of priests in the northeastern Indian state and Cardinal Oswald Gracias saluted the Mizo society for setting an example for the rest of the country. .
“Your basic values of solidarity, concern for the other, feeling of community, decisions by consensus, kindness, society without caste, and non-discrimination which are the values of Jesus,” the Cardinal, who is the Archbishop of Bombay and the chief guest . said a public reception.
The public meeting concluded the November 18-20 celebrations. It was preceded by a solemn mass presided over by the cardinal at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Kulikawn, Aizawl, the state capital.
Bishops, priests, nuns and lay people participated in the programs.
Holy Cross Bishop Stephen Rotluanga of Aizawl said the three-day celebration was organized because the event was an “important historical milestone for the Catholic Church in Mizoram.”
On the first day, they held a seminar in Mizo in St. Lawrence Parish Hall, Ramthar, Aizawl. Around 200 young people, lay leaders, catechists, priests and religious addressed the topic of the Sacrament of Marriage in a question and answer format at the seminar.
Missionary of Charity Sister Theophany Malsawmi, one of the participants, said it was good and enriching.
The second day was dedicated to a charismatic retreat.
Cardinal Gracias said that he was “so touched by your main values such as solidarity, concern for the other, the feeling of community, decisions by consensus, kindness, castle society, and not discriminating against anyone these are the values of Jesus.”
He commended the Mizo Church for letting its youth build on their values. “Women given equal rights with the rest of India have a lot to learn from the Mizo society,” he added.
The cardinal appreciated the community spirit of the Mizo people, saying, “Even before the Small Christian Communities were formed, you had the small Mizo communities, even before Pope Francis introduced us to Synodality, you lived and practiced Synodality.”
He observed that the Mizo Church depends on its strong laymen. “You need to think about how to deepen this participation and leadership, with faith formation, to enter civil, political and social service actively,” the prelate said.
He asked to transform the society by applying the social teachings of the Church.
“You have an advantage over other parts of the country because most Mizos are people of God,” Cardinal Gracias said. He encouraged Mizo Catholics to work for ecumenism and collective work to transform society in and through active civil society movements.
On the afternoon of the last day, hundreds of Catholics from various parishes joined the Eucharistic procession in the cathedral, the first church where a priest lived permanently 75 years ago. Cardinal Gracias and Bishop Rotluanga led the procession.
The Church in Mizoram was founded with the arrival of Holy Cross Fathers George Breen and Gilbert Boucher in Aizawl on April 15, 1947.
According to Sangkima, a college professor who wrote “History of the Roman Catholic Church in Mizoram,” the church was formed on February 1, 1925, with some people living in Tlangnuam, Aizawl.
Priests from Chittagong, which is now in Bangladesh, visited the Catholics of Mizoram during 1925-1947 braving objections from the provincial government.
The Mizoram Church currently has 24 parishes engaged in education, evangelism, and ecumenism.
However, the first Christian missionary to enter Mizoram was Reverned William Williams on March 20, 1891. He was a Calvinist foreign missionary called the Welsh Presbyterian Foreign Mission.
The Aizawl Diocese of the Catholic Church was initially known as the Silchar Diocese. It was formed with Cachar Hailakandi and Karimganj districts of Assam state along with Tripura and Mizoram states.
On June 26, 1969, Pope Paul VI raised the Prefecture of Haflong to a diocese with headquarters in Silchar with Father Denzil D’Souza as its first bishop.
In December 1983, the northern district of Cachar Hills was detached from the diocese of Silchar and linked with Diphu, a new diocese.
On February 7, 1996, the entire state of Tripura was carved out of Silchar to form the Diocese of Agartala with Holy Cross Father Lumen Monteiro as its first bishop.
The remaining portion of the diocese of Silchar included the districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj (Barak Valley) in the State of Assam and the entire state of Mizoram.
The name of the diocese was changed to Silchar Aizawl on February 7, 1996, and its base was transferred from Silchar to Aizawl.
When Bishop Denzil resigned due to ill health, Bishop Monteiro was appointed his apostolic administrator.
Bishop D’Souza died on October 25, 2002.
Bishop Rotluanga’s episcopal ordination took place on February 2, 2002. He is the first bishop of Mizo.