Bengaluru: Over one hundred and fifty Indian Church leaders comprising the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops besides a huge gathering witnessed the hoisting of the National Flag marking the 74th Republic Day at St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences and singing unanimously in one voice the National Anthem. The Chief Guest on the occasion was His Eminence Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrão, Archbishop of Goa and Daman and President of CCBI.
In his address on occasion, he said that this day Jan 26, is of singular importance in the history of modern India. Republic Day, the day when the Indian Constitution came into effect, brings out in every one of us a true sense of patriotism that is not seen every day.
His Eminence said, “The Indian Constitution was promulgated on Jan 26 1950, two years and five months after India attained independence from British rule. The values assured in the Constitution to all the citizens are Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, ensuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation.
In his message, Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrão called upon the gathering to introspect “How am I living out my Christian calling in this land of my forefathers which I call my home? In what ways am I contributing to making tomorrow better than today, for my country, for my Church, and for the world? This is the time for us to deeply reflect on our role as Christians engaged in the work of nation-building.”
He went on to encourage the people to realize that “We need to be proud that the Church has always been on the vanguard in the matter of caring for the underprivileged and the marginalized. It continues to lead the way, even to a heroic degree. We are all standing on the campus of a Catholic medical institution that has for its Vision “a world where quality healthcare is accessible and affordable even to the poorest.” You, doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel, are committed to serving, especially the underprivileged, with integrity and compassion, in the spirit of Christ. This is the day to recommit yourselves to this noble mission.”
Finally, he led the gathering to take a pledge. “On this day let us make a promise to strive for justice, freedom and equal rights for every Indian and for peace and unity among all our fellow citizens. Let us promise that we will do everything to preserve and enrich our heritage, our ethos and, above all, our unity in our diversity.”
The Republic Day program was organized on the sprawling campus of St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, which added colour to the celebration.