CRI (Conference of Religious India)
Origin and Development of CRI
“Major Superiors can usefully meet together in conferences and councils, so that by combined effort they may work to achieve more fully the purpose of each institute, while respecting the autonomy, nature and spirit of each. They can also deal with affairs which are common to all, and work to establish suitable coordination and cooperation with Episcopal conferences and individual Bishops”. (Canon 708)
With the coming into existence of an independent nation, the Church in India had to rely on its own sons and daughters for her vitality and mission. God blessed us with numerous vocations to Religious Life. Drawing inspiration from Pope Pius XII, the Major Superiors of Religious Institutes in India met in conference, separately at first as men and women in 1960-61, and then jointly in 1962. In 1963 the Holy See formally erected CRI by approving the Statutes. The same year it became a registered society under the Societies Registration Act of 1860.
Growing along with the “aggiornamento” of Vatican II, CRI Became an effective means of renewal during the 1960’s, as indicated by the themes of the National Conferences :
Chastity in the modern world (1961); Sanctifying Grace (1962); Religious Poverty, Training of Religious (1963); Religious Life and Liturgy (1965); Religious Obedience (1966); Renewal and Adaptation (1967)
The 1970’s and 1980’s saw an effort and effective contribution towards the re-orientation of Apostolate. This was indirectly influenced by the “Church in India Today” Seminar (1969) and the Synod of Bishops on “Justice in the World”. (1972). Based on the experience gained, and the reading of the signs of the time, the Statutes went in for a revision and a new Statute was approved in 1980. With it, structural modifications began. The Brothers became a distinct section. The permanent Secretary system changed to a National Secretary, with a specific term of office, and responsibilities. An independent Secretariat came into existence with additional Religious staff other than the National Secretary. Financial restructuring facilitated more effective functioning of CRI. The theme of the National Assemblies during the 1980’s, and their statements, indicate the prophetic role of religious leadership in the country:
The 1992 National Assembly in Calcutta called for a breakthrough from prophetic animation to prophetic action that can bring people-centred and issue-based dynamics into the organisation. Consequently, the Assembly called for the revitalisation of CRI at all levels. The rationale of the revitalisation was the situation of the poor in our country, and the prophetic voice that speaks within us as Religious. The five-fold thrust of revitalisation was
(1) the cry of My people; (2) proclamation in deed; (3) prophetic – activist leadership; (4) liberation movement thrust; (5) solidarity in networking
The Regional and Local levels were strengthened, with structures and specific objectives, aimed at making the CRI an instrument capable of responding more precisely to the needs of the Religious, of the Christian community and of society as a whole.
Though the CRI is a conference of Major Superiors, it is perceived as a body of 1,15,000 religious leaders spread all over the country, and involved in the lives of every group of people.
Mission & Vision
“Major Superiors can usefully meet together in conferences and council, so that by combined effort they may work to achieve more fully the purose of each institute, while respecting the autonomy, nature and spirit of each. They can also deal with affrairs which are common to all, and work to establish sutable coordination and cooperation with Episcopal conferences and individual Bishops”. (Canon 709)
Goals of CRI
1.To bring together the major superiors of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, So that they share the experiences, challenges and concerns of their religious commitment and get mutually enriched.
2. To make combined effort to achieve more fully the purpose of each Institute, while respecting the autonomy, nature and spirit of each (CIC c. 708).
3. To deal with matters common to all Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, especially those affecting consecrated life in India, and to work to establish suitable co-ordination and co-operation with various Episcopal bodies and with individual bishops (CIC c. 708)
4. To promote fellowship at all levels of the Christian community in a spirit of humble service and in collaboration with all sections of the people of God and all people of good will.
Functions of CRI
The goals of CRI are to be achieved more specifically through the following objectives and corresponding functions.
1. To focus the attention of the religious constantly on their common mission within the Church, according to their own charism and context of the complex Indian reality:
a. By helping its members bear witness to the unique role of the contemplation of the Father in the mission of Christ; and by supporting the emergence of new forms of religious life in harmony with the Indian spiritual reality;
b. By fostering in the religious, both a sense of belonging to the local Church and a genuine concern for and openness to the needs of the universal Church;
c. By developing among the religious, both a sense of belonging to the local Church and a genuine concern for and openness to the needs of the universal Church;
d. Urging them to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, leading people to an explicit acceptance of Christ in the Church if the Spirit so calls them;
e. Bearing witness to Christ’s preferential love for the poor and the marginalized in the choice of their apostolic work and target groups;
f. Calling for a sense of urgency to share their Christ experience with those of other faiths, in a spirit of mutual dialogue, and with non-believers, in a search for common basic values;
g. Involving the process of inculturation in all aspects of life and work: liturgy, spirituality, theology, value systems, lifestyle, etc.
h. Demanding that the religious keep abreast of the Indian situation and assume their duties as citizens of a country beset with many problems, among which stands out the need for national integration; and
i. Furthering research into those spiritual and cultural values, a deeper understanding and assimilation of which is imperative for religious to be more authentic and relevant Christian witnesses in the local context.
2. To pool resources and coordinate efforts:
a. By Enabling its members through regular meetings and timely communications to share common concerns and to set and review goals;
b. By encouraging inter-institutional collaboration in those aspects of the Church’s activities, which call for coordinated efforts.
3. To provide opportunities for consultation and dialogue:
a. With the laity in a spirit of openness and trust, so that common problems can be resolved in a sense of mutual interdependence;
b. With its own members and other groups, including government authorities when needed.
4. To offer service:
a. By Helping the religious to grow in all aspects of religious life and particularly in the convictions that their commitment requires of them: a deep life of prayer and the spirit of contemplation;
b. By assisting its members in their task of formation and in the renewal of religious life;
c. By providing opportunities for major superiors to develop their role as animators and leaders;
d. By fostering the study of those trends and developments within the Church which affect the role of religious and by encouraging the formulation of guidelines for action related to them.
5. To Promote relationship:
a. CRI does not interfere with the legitimate autonomy of each Institute and the responsibility of the respective superiors; however, being a forum for communion among the religious, it can have an inspirational role and be a dynamic element for religious life in India.
b. Relations with bishops: CRI acknowledges the authority of individual bishops as per the provisions of Canon Law and of the various episcopal bodies of India and other episcopal bodies, and works in collaboration with them in matters of common concern for the Church in India.
c. At the level of the universal Church, CRI loyally accepts the unique role of the successor of Peter and readily follows the directives of the Apostolic See.
Conference of Religious India (CRI)
|Address||:||Masihgarh, New Friends Colony P.O.
Okhla, New Delhi – 110 025
|Phone||:||+91 11 2692.3911, 2691.9550|
|Fax||:||+91 11 2691.8932|
The nearest Railway Station is Nizamuddin (NZM).
The landmarks are Holy Family & Escort Hospitals