Bishops John Thomas of Itanagar and George Pallipparambil of Miao Diocese took up crucial issues affecting the Christians in the state and in the country with John Barla, Minister of State for Minority Affairs of Government of India.
The Minister met Bishop John Thomas on Oct 28 and Bishop George on 30 October in their residence in Naharlagun and Miao.
Expressing happiness at the Minister’s visit to the State, Bishop John Thomas said, “The visit of the Minister for Minority Affairs to Arunachal Pradesh is a recognition of the presence of minorities in this State”. The Minister was appraised of the difficulties faced by the minorities, especially Christians, in various states of India.
“We are happy that the Minister gave us a patient hearing and assured us that all our concerns would be addressed”, said Bishop Thomas.
Barla met Bishop George of Miao Diocese on day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Holy Father Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Welcoming the Minister on his maiden visit to the State, Bishop George said, “It is indeed a happy co-incidence that Minister, John Barla, is here with us in Miao Diocese when our Prime Minister is making his maiden visit to the Holy Father”.
Terming it as a rare privilege to have the visit of the central minister to the Diocese, Bishop George thanked him for sparing his time to visit and explain the various schemes available with the Government for the minorities.
“God has chosen you to be his instrument and as you have told how you have experienced God’s help in various stages of your life, we assure you of our continued prayers”, said Bishop George.
The only Catholic in the Council of Ministers, John Barla spoke of his many years of active association with the Church as a Catechist. “I owe to God everything I am today. My life as a Catechist in my village for four years has had a role in shaping my life. I promise to work for the minorities in the country and would do everything within my capacity to stand for the poor as I too come from a humble background and I can relate to their concerns better”, said the minister talking to the Church leaders present at Miao Bishop’s House.
The Minister visited Christ the Light Shrine in Miao and lighted candles and offered prayers for peace and prosperity of the country as it gears up to celebrate the Festival of Light, Deepawali.