(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent a letter on Oct. 10 to all the bishops of India, making provisions for the Syro-Malabar Church, headquartered in Kerala state, to be able to provide pastoral care to its faithful who have migrated to other parts of the nation.
Pope Francis thus announced the erection of two new Syro-Malabar dioceses -Shamshabad in Telangana state and Hosur in Tamil Nadu. The Pope also extended the jurisdiction of Ramanathapuram and Thuckalay Dioceses.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) is the apex body of the Catholic Church in India, comprising three Churches: the Latin rite and two eastern rites – the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches, which claim their origin from St. Thomas the Apostle. Of India's 180 dioceses, 132 belong to the Latin rite. Syro-Malabar Church now has 34 dioceses, while the Syro-Malankara has 14.
Well, to know about the provision of the Holy Father for the Syro-Malabar Church and the Pope’s letter to India’s bishops, we talked to Cardinal George Alencherry, Major Archbishop or head of the Syro-Malabar Church. The cardinal was in Rome to mark the centenary of the foundation of the Pontifical Oriental Institute and the Congregation for Eastern Churches. Speaking on the phone, he briefly explained the Holy Father’s latest move regarding the Indian Church:
The Syro-Malankara Church already has the provision to provide pastoral care to its faithful throughout the territory of India. Pope Francis has now granted the provision to the Syro-Malabar Church.
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, CBCI secretary general said the papal letter stressed the unity bishops needed to show. "The bishops are of course happy because it is all done for the growth and mission of the Church," he added.
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