This weekend (13th – 15th Oct 2017) St Pius X College was the splendid venue where the National Symposium on 'Understanding Amoris Laetitia in the Indian Situation' was held, conducted by the CCBI Commission for Theology and Doctrine, the CCBI Commission for Family and the CBCI Office for Justice Peace and Development in collaboration with the Diocesan Human Life Committee, Mumbai and the FIAMC Bio-Medical Ethics Centre, Goregaon. Fr. Stephen Fernandes was the main coordinator of the Symposium.
This National Symposium was attended by participants from nearly 42 dioceses across India. Cardinal Oswald Gracias gave the Presidential address and the Nuncio was represented by His Excellency Msgr. Henryck Jagodzinski, First Counsellor, Apostolic Nunciature in India. The Symposium began with the Keynote address delivered by Archbishop Anil Couto, Chairperson, Commission for Theology and Doctrine, and Secretary General of the CCBI.
The participants were able to listen to a variety of resource persons, all experts in the field of theology, psychology, sociology, and anthropology, who gave very profound reflections from their perspectives in order to draw out concrete implications of the Hoy Father’s exhortation. The experiences shared by the many witnesses who shared about the inner dynamics of their family interactions in different types of marital situations were very inspiring.
The staff and students of St Pius X College went out of their way to make the participants comfortable, as well as to help out in the running of the Symposium. A few of the seminarians who helped out had this to say:
CPD Roque Lobo
As a coordinator, I learnt about the different areas involved in managing the Symposium such as printing, sending invites, acknowledging the response to invites, building the data required from the emails from the point of view of symposium, hospitality to VIP's, ands collecting articles from the resource persons. With regards to the testimonies of the couples of inter faith marriages, I learnt from them the challenges involved and how to cope with them. This experience will certainly be beneficial for my ministry.
Bro. Bernard Fernandes
The National Symposium was a platform where the representatives of different diocese of India came together to discuss issues and find pastoral responses to problems faced in Indian situations. The text of the encyclical by itself is rich and contemplative, but as the seminar unfolded I received new insights and questions to reflect upon as I proceed in my formation. It is in such gatherings that the future of our church is sculpted. People from different situation and varied walks of life gathered together in these past three days, each contributed opinions and ideas to help the church tend to its flock. The points that were constantly highlighted were that the pastors must accompany their people, and be compassionate and sensitive to their needs. Amidst the sessions the sharing or testimonies of couples were highly appreciated as they whole heartedly shared their lives with the people. Each and every speaker was an expert in their field and they enlighten the congregation with thoughts expressing the mind of the Holy Father. In all, the entire experience was enriching, inspiring and thought provoking.
Bro. Ashwin Castellino
The National Symposium was indeed a very fruitful and enriching experience. To know the views of various theologians of our country and also the pulse of the common man regarding this document was enlightening. The symposium covered various aspects and situations faced by the family, namely religious, cultural, psychological and other social concerns. The session on Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, which has attracted a lot of controversy because of various views was well explained and defended by the speakers. Looking at it from the Indian perspective, which was reinforced by various testimonies, made the document more appreciative and pastoral in its outlook. Overall the symposium was a wonderful experience and truly relevant for our times as it helped us stay connected to the heart of the Church.
Bro. Joseph David
The Apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis is very challenging. The Symposium took off on a positive note. The topics highlighted in the sessions were very apt for the current situation in relation to the apostolate of Families and Marriage in the Indian situation. The panels were well handled by the respective moderator and the discussion was healthy and productive. The contribution of the representatives who shared their testimonies was commendable. The discussion on issues like Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural marriages, Women’s Concerns, Ethical Challenges on Marriage and Family Life, Canonical Implication and Implications of Pastoral Care and Ministry to Different types of families all within the dimension of Amoris Laetitia were very enlightening. The experience gained by me during these three days is certainly something unique. It contributed to my understanding of pastoral care that we are taught, enriching my understanding of certain concepts because of the renowned speakers who came in as resources persons.
Fr. Aniceto Pereira