Wednesday, October 1, 2008

BIS # 1129 NATIONAL CONSULTATION FOR ‘ACTION WITH VISION’

Isaac Arackaparambil sdb KAPADVANJ, OCTOBER 1, 2008: The Universal Solidarity Movement (USM) is an organization which has been promoting Peace Education, Solidarity and Inter-religious harmony all over India since the last 15 years. Based in Indore, this organization convened a ‘National Consultation For Action With Vision’ against the background of the tragic attacks on Christian Institutions which are still continuing and is spiraling out of proportions in various parts of India today. The consultation was held at the USM office in Indore on September 23-24, 2008 at the initiative and under the leadership of Fr. Varghese Alengaden the founder and mentor of this movement, and his USM Team. An important reason why this meeting was called was because of the failure of the hierarchy and the official organs of the Church in India to have responded in effective ways to express their regrets, pains and discontentment in the light of the unabated violence against Christians all over the country. Having waited thus long for a resolute and determined effort on the part of the Church Leaders, and with no impact generating strategies forthcoming, USM decided to take the initiative and address the issue at hand so that it could eventually provide the National Representative Bodies like the CBCI, and CRI some suggestions to alleviate the deplorable situation we find ourselves in as a Christian community. There were 60 participants, out of which four of us were Salesians from the Mumbai Province. Fr. Varghese Alengaden and Fr. Jacob, CMI oriented the participants with input sessions on the Church's role in Society; How it's influence has gradually declined; Why there is today an anti-Xtian sentiment; How the Church is called to respond in newer ways; What are the myths and facts related to anti-Christian attacks; What are the strategies that we could look forward to. In the light of these inputs he constructed questions for the consultation. This consultation has generated a set of concrete, practical and in some cases radical recommendations which will be sent as ‘Proposals for Action to the National Representative Bodies, Bishops and Provincials, Religious Heads All Over India.’ We await that report. As part of the renewal of the church Fr. Alengaden has conducted seminars on ‘Paradigm Shift in Evangelization’, based on the teachings of Jesus ‘Put the new wine in the new wine skins’ for over 200 religious congregations and dioceses all over India. It is a movement that is gradually picking ground and one that proposes a new paradigm of being a relevant, acceptable and meaningful Church to God’s people cutting across all religious and cultural affiliations.

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