Want to uphold idea of India: Bishop Mascarenhas
Ranchi, March 3, 2020: The Church believes in an inclusive society, said Auxiliary Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas of Ranchi archdiocese.
He was also the secretary-general of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).
Bishop Mascarenhas told The Telegraph, “The present chief minister (of Jharkhand) is a nice person and we are hopeful that the Church would be able to continue its services in the state smoothly. There’s a lot of work to be done.”
He added that everyone, irrespective of religion, acknowledges the “contributions of the Church in the fields of education, health care and social transformation” and hoped it would continue.
Christians go back a long way in Ranchi. Though a small band of Christian missionaries belonging to the Protestant Church had reached Ranchi in 1845, the Roman Catholic Church started functioning in the region three decades later in 1885.
Christian organisations have since been running educational institutions and medical facilities in the state.
Bishop Mascarenhas said there were some Church-run institutions that were famous. “But there are also many small ones in rural areas, especially those that spread education among rural children and youths irrespective of religion,” he pointed out. “They do excellent work.”
He said the Church believed pluralism was the hallmark of Indian society. “India has always been a mosaic of many religions, cultures and languages with a strong Indian identity,” the Bishop said. “We want to uphold it.”
Asked about the proposed medical college and hospital that the Church had announced in Mandar, 30km from Ranchi, some years ago, Bishop Mascarenhas said a hospital has to run for five years before a medical college can be opened. “Also, there’s a bottleneck in acquiring extra land,” he said.
The proposed Constant Lievens Hospital and Research Centre, with a 350-bed hospital and a nursing school, was proposed as the CBCI’s initiative. In Mandar, the Holy Family Hospital is already being run by the Medical Mission Sisters’ Congregation since 1947.
The renovation and extension of the existing 100-bed hospital has started and new facilities are being added to it.
Bishop Anand Jojo of Hazaribagh is entrusted with the responsibility of pursuing the project, Bishop Mascarenhas said.