ASIA/INDIA - The Bishops of Northeast India: "In the Year of Faith, by the side of the poor"

Agartala - "There is an unbreakable bond between our faith and the poor": the Bishops of Northeast India - a region troubled by social conflicts and inhabited by tribal people who often lack basic services - reaffirm their commitment in favor of the poor and marginalized. As reported in a note sent to Fides Agency, the Bishops of the region met in recent days to take stock of the situation of the Church and issued a joint Pastoral Letter on the Year of Faith, appreciating and echoing the predilection for the poor that Pope Francis expressed at the beginning of his pontificate.His Exc. Mgr. Dominc Jala, Archbishop of Shillong and President of the Council of Bishops of the Northeast, explained that "our educational and social services are an expression of the faith of the Church. For this reason the Church in North East India - as across the nation - will go ahead with conviction in this commitment." The biannual assembly, held in the diocese of Agartala, was attended by 18 Bishops who expressed a desire for unity and collaboration that "the pastoral care and evangelization in northeast India will benefit a great deal from."The Pastoral Letter for the Year of Faith is addressed to the priests, religious and laity, and contains recommendations "to make the Year of Faith fruitful ", in the multiethnic, multireligious and multicultural contest of the region, where there are tensions among communities, social unrest , illegal immigration, poverty, underdevelopment, corruption. In addition, the Bishops note moral deterioration, decline of the family and traditional values, consumerism and materialism as well as fundamentalism and the proliferation of religious sects. The Letter indicates "renewed and relevant ways of proclaiming the Gospel" and recommends pilgrimages, youth activities, study of the documents of the II Vatican Council, ecumenical initiatives. The aim is to translate some of the documents of II Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in local languages, and launch a more dynamic use of the mass media for the proclamation of the Gospel. What is very important, the Bishops say is "the evangelization of the evangelizer."