The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), which is celebrating its Silver Jubilee at Velankanni, has elected new office-bearers. Cardinal Telesphore Toppo completed his term as the president of the Episcopal Body.

The current Plenary Assembly now gathered at the Velankanni elected Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, as the new president. Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao of Goa and Bishop Varghese Chakkalakkal of Calicut were both re-elected as vice-president and secretary respectively. . The 126 Bishops reflected and deliberated on “Pastoral Plan for the Church in India” on the occasion.

Pope delegate's visit

Pope Benedict XVI is sending a special envoy and the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni from Vatican, Rome, to solemnise the silver jubilee of the CCBI and the golden jubilee of the declaration of the Marian Shrine as a Minor Basilica (1962).

Cardinal Filoni, in the presence of Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops of India on Sunday (February 10), will inaugurate and dedicate the newly constructed Morning Star Church. On Sunday morning, the special guest of honour and keynote speaker, Cardinal Filoni, would address the CCBI Member-Bishops. Then he would visit the Extension Basilica Churches and institutions of the Shrine. On Sunday evening, he would preside over the Blessing Ceremony of the Morning Star Church and high mass . A public function is organised for the chief guest Cardinal Filoni inside the Morning Star Church followed by a ‘Fellowship Meal’ for dignitaries and devotees.