Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated a public meeting organised here on Sunday in connection with the valedictory of the 125 anniversary celebrations of the Archdiocese of Varapuzha.

He spoke of the role played by the archdiocese, often referred to as the mother of archdioceses in Kerala, in the spheres of education, health, social welfare and environmental protection.

“It also played a key role in establishing the shipyard here,” he said, referring to the huge area of land surrendered by the church for establishing the shipyard.

Mr. Chandy exhorted people to uphold the secular spirit, which Indians inculcated much before the coming into vogue of written laws binding secularism.

He also launched ‘Snehasparsham’, a family enrichment programme of the archdiocese.

In his address, Papal Nuncio Salvatore Pennacchio, the chief guest of the function, said this was an opportunity to thank God for all His blessings.

Mission of service

“The occasion must be used by the church members to renew the pledge to fulfil the expectations of the founders of the archdiocese. This celebration is also an example of the determination of the archdiocese to take forward its mission of service.”

Most Rev. Pennachio appealed for spiritual renewal of church members and the necessity of prayer, since this was vital for societal growth. Care should also be given to fight poverty and to usher in sustainable development.

He also exhorted people to help others to think and question.

Archdiocese lauded

He congratulated the archdiocese for taking up environmental protection activities since climate change posed a major threat to living beings.

He said society could not sit idle in the face of developments like climate change, desertification, fall in productivity of farm lands, pollution of water sources and depletion of biodiversity.

The Archbishop of Varapuzha Francis Kallarakkal said steps were afoot to host a synod.

The Archbishop of Triuvananthapuram and president of the Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council Soosa Pakiam released a history volume.

The others who spoke included Union Minister of State K.V. Thomas and Minister for Excise K. Babu.

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