India’s Catholic bishops have decided to establish a new office for ecological concerns in line with the universal Church’s efforts to pay attention to the works of environmental protection.
The new Commission for Ecology was one of the two officers that Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) decided to establish during their Jan. 4-14 annual meet near Chennai.
The Commission for Small Christian Communities (SCC) was the other new office the bishops started.
The office for Ecology comes as a response Pope Francis’s 2015 Encyclical “Laudato Si”. The Papal letter appeals to the entire Church “to take care of our universe,” said a press note from the conference.
The proposal to establish a Commission for Ecology was discussed at the bishop’s Executive Committee in May 2018, stressing the importance and urgency to respond to the environmental challenges in India.
The new Commission was part of the Church’s attempt to “embark on a new path to care and protect the environment,” the note said.
A Commission for Small Christian Communities was also started to promote the Gospel values at the grass root level and prepare all faithful to witness the compassionate ministry of the Church in their local life situations.
Bishop Alwyn D’Silva, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay was appointed chairman for the Commission for Ecology, while Bishop Ignatius Mascarenhas of Simla-Chandigarh was appointed chairman for the Commission for Small Christian Communities.
Newly elected heads of commissions
Archbishop Neri Ferrão- Commission for Boundary
Bishop Antonysamy Peter Abir–Commission for Bible
Archbishop Thomas Macwan-Commission for Catechetics
Bishop Derek Fernandes-Commission for Canon Law and Other Legislative Texts
Bishop Francis Serrao of Shimoga–Commission for Ecumenism
Co-adjutor Archbishop Sebastian Kallupura of Patna–Commission for Family
Bishop Eugene Joseph of Varanasi–Commission for Laity
Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong–Commission for Liturgy
Archbishop Victor Henry Thakur of Raipur–Commission for Migrants
Bishop Raphy Manjaly of Allahabad–Commission for Proclamation
Archbishop Felix Toppo of Ranchi–Commission for Theology and Doctrine
Bishop Udumala Bala of Warangal–Commission for Vocations
Bishop Francis Kalist of Meerut–Commission for Women
Bishop Nazarene Soosai of Kottar–Commission for Youth.