Pope Invites Syro-Malabar Church to Seek Peace in India

Welcomes News of Vocations to Priesthood, Religious Life

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 18, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is inviting the second largest Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome to continue working with people of good will to achieve peace in India.

The Pope on Monday was visited by Archbishop George Alencherry, 66, who was selected the leader of the Syro-Malabar Church last May. 

This Church is found primarily in Kerala, in southern India, and has more than 3.6 million believers.

"At home, the Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala continues to enjoy the respect of the local community for its work in education and for its social and charitable institutions at the service of the whole community," the Holy Father told the prelate and the members of the permanent synod with him. 

He acknowledged the anti-Christian violence in India, but made the invitation to "continue to work with people of good will of all religions in the area, in order to maintain the peace and harmony of the region, for the good of the Church and that of all citizens."

The Pontiff also noted "encouraging signs of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life which will help you to maintain your pastoral outreach."

He recommended keeping in mind the challenges in formation for religious and clergy and commended the Church for "efforts to maintain the strength of your family structures, the quality of Catholic education and catechesis at every level, and your pastoral work with youth. I also encourage you to continue your good work in fostering vocations among young men and women."

The Pope also asked the archbishop to be "always mindful of the essential need for cooperation with Catholic bishops and pastors of other rites."

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