Indian Catholic News

Church needs conversion, says new IMS head

The indigenous missionary society is committed to the culture of India and the current chapter decided to extend that commitment.

By Ajesh Thomas

The Church in India needs renewed conversion by adapting to the context of the Indian people, says the newly elected head of the Indian Missionary Society Father Mahendra Paul.

"The Church needs renewed conversion to the Lord, to the savior of the world. The Indian Missionary Society (IMS) too accepts this call for conversion," Father Mahendra said after he was elected during the Nov. 15-29 General Chapter of the congregation.

He said his Society, the religious and missionary congregation, "needs to re-dedicate itself to the people of India. She has to adapt herself to the context of the people where her sons labor.”

The chapter with 44 delegates from all across India discussed the theme "commitment to the mission’ and stressed their commitment to pioneer evangelization.

The chapter decided to seek collaboration from other churches, civil and religious organizations and movements for the cause of sharing Jesus’ gospel, protection of the cosmos and in particular mother earth, and for human rights of the poor and the marginalized, said a press release.

The indigenous missionary society is committed to the culture of India and the current chapter decided to extend that commitment also to subaltern cultures so as to reach the Gospel of Christ to the tribals, dalits and the marginalized, it said.

Father Paul, the newly elected Superior General, was born in Mahoba District of Uttar Pradesh. His grandfather belonged to one of the royal Rajputana (warrior) families of Rajasthan and had accepted Catholic faith while studying in a Catholic boarding school.

Father Paul, then known as Stanaley Walter Francis, spent his childhood in Chattarpur district of Madhya Pradesh studying in a government school in Naugaon. He joined the IMS in 1973 and was ordained a priest in 1977. He has been an active missionary working in Gajraula in U.P., Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir, and in parts of Haryana.

He served the Delhi Province of the IMS as Provincial Superior for two consecutive terms and was holding the post of assistant superior general for the last six years. He also was a pastor in the US.

Fr. Praseed, was elected assistant superior general. Frs. Snehanand, Abhshiktanand and Khristdas were elected councilor for formation, mission, and finance respectively.

The Indian Missionary Society was founded in Varanasi in 1941 by Fr. Gaspar A. Pinto. It has at present 202 priests and 11 evangelist brothers and 64 professed students and, more than 128 students in different stages of formation.

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