By: Fr Richard D Souza
Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha began his Episcopal ministry as the bishop of Mangalore with the phrase “to the Praise of His Glorious Grace” (Eph 1:6), on 15 September 2018, today completes one year. He made a humble beginning in the diocese that is 133 years old, with 1 75 820 Catholics in 124 parishes, geographically spread in the area of 5924.26 Sq.Kms covering Dakshina Kannada and Kasargod Districts.
Bishop Peter Paul as I see is a man of faith with strong Scripture and theological base, a person who loves the poor , sick and needy, a man of prayer and reflection, radical in his thoughts prophetic in preaching, simple in his life style. He is bold in his decisions, humane in his dealings, intolerant about sexual abuses and financial mismanagement. He is professional in administration, approachable, available for his flock. He is Missionary in nature, ready to give his life for truth and faith. He is known for his good communication skills, leadership qualities.
He is an intellectual, a professor and research guide who has a strong hold on the subject. He has good command over many languages that can be observed in his discourses and speeches. He is a lover of nature, committed to the cause of environment. He has special quality of listening to the people/ priests, a good counselor indeed.
Bishop Peter Paul made a solid beginning with his vision in the diocese, continuing the good work done by Most Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D Souza, Bishop Emeritus.
- Bishop Peter Paul took diocesan priests, religious, and lay faithful into confidence as he began his ministry by participating in the deanery meeting, interacting with religious and lay faithful in different platforms.
- Initiated the process of preparing a pastoral plan by undertaking the socio – religious survey of the diocese.
- Strengthened the diocesan administrative structures; Diocesan curia, diocesan pastoral perished, diocesan offices and councils etc
- Through Laudato Si campaign bishop created awareness in the society that nature protection is our responsibility and distributed 80996 saplings of 42 varieties to 124 parishes, through the Laudato Si committee, in collaboration with Forest department.
- Gave preference for Extraordinary Missionary month, mission symposiums etc and visited Same Africa mission to promote missionary activities of the diocese overseas.
- Issued stringent norms concerning sexual abuses and financial accountability.
- The renewal of the constitution of Parish Pastoral Parishad which will come into effect soon.
- The efforts were made to settle various issues, problems in the diocese through dialogue and other problem solving methods.
- The efforts are made make the diocese financially self sufficient through income generating plans and projects.
- Involved in civic activities, built good rapport with government officials, politicians, religious leaders and like minded people who have common concerns though visits and participation in the programs.
To be a bishop of Mangalore diocese is not an easy task. It requires divine wisdom and Grace to carry out the same.
As our bishop is completing one year of his Episcopate we the clergy, religious and lay faithful pray, that God may grant him good health and wisdom to become a good shepherd after the model of Jesus the Good Shepherd.