Cardinal Gracias welcomed delegates of the IDC in Mumbai
Delegates of IDC visited a social community centre in the slums of Mumbai.
Women religious, social workers and deacons work together in the social stations for the good of the inhabitants. In one of the centres, women earn the livelihood of their families working as seamstresses. Now they are also making stoles for deacons.
Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, welcomed the IDC Delegates who had come from all over the world. The Cardinal informed them about the situation of the Church in India, which is constantly confronted with the challenges of inter-religious dialogue. In its minority situation, the Catholic Church is gaining appreciation primarily by means of its social commitment and of the community building that it does through the Small Christian Communities. The delegates were very impressed by the Church’s commitment in the Social Community Centres in which women religious, social workers as well as the first permanent deacons in India offer mostly preventive health care and health assistance. The delegates were welcomed with utmost cordiality and they were introduced to the centre’s work. The difficult life circumstances in the slums are made worse by violence and alcoholism.
A particular interest was aroused by the conversation with the first deacons of India whose commitment in the social field is significant and who associated themselves with the Health Promotion Trust project of the Archdiocese Diocese of Mumbai. In order to be able to participate in their diaconal formation, they had to give up their jobs. Today they see themselves as representatives of the poor, whom they bring into their respective communities, and besides that, they take up tasks having to do with preventive health care.