News: Fr Anil Fernandes
Photos: Stanly Bantwal
Mangalore, July 23, 2020 : As the re-imposed lockdown was lifted in the state, Most Rev. Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, the bishop of Mangalore ordained three deacons to the order of priesthood on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at St Joseph Church, Jeppu observing all safety precautions for the entire congregation.
Rev. Lancy D’Souza, Manela, Rev. Steevan Joel Coutinho, Pakshikere and Rev. William D’Souza, Indubettu were the newly ordained priests for the diocese of Mangalore.
The ceremony was very different from normal, in that, only very few clergy, friends and family were able to gather to celebrate with them due to restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, many others joined in the celebration via Divine Word TV and Mangalore Diocese YouTube Channel, which live-streamed the ordination.
The ceremonies were postponed previously when the government imposed a lockdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The diocese proceeded with the program, while enforcing health protocols. Instead of the traditional embrace, the veteran priests welcomed their newly ordained priests by bowing to them.
“Vocation to priesthood is a call from God himself and not from any human person. Through priesthood, one is called to have the mind of God, and not of human. Every ordained priest is another Christ. A priest is a man, taken from among men, who is consecrated by God for the sacred action of sanctification. He continues the mission of Jesus the High priest, who instituted the Catholic Priesthood at the Last Supper,” said Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha in his homily.
“Today, we need holy, honest and model priests, totally committed to build the Church and serve the people with dedication and love. We need priests who build God’s kingdom on earth and not his own. We look forward to those priests who do not lead a counter-witness to the teachings of Jesus and the Church,” the bishop said. “Therefore, we shall pray for priests, cooperate in their ministry, respect and value their presence,” he added.
Due to Covid-19 situation and the restrictions in view of health and safety of all, entry to the Jeppu church for the ordination ceremony was limited and regulated. Rev. Dr Ronald Serrao, Rector of the seminary and chief coordinator of the ceremony said, “Only those priests, religious and lay faithful with an entry coupon were allowed to participate in the event. The diocese limited the number of participants to 110. Each deacon was allowed to bring a maximum of 30 guests into the church.”
Rev. Steevan, one among the ordained said, “I feel overjoyed at this moment. Being ordained during these difficult days of pandemic, it reminds me of my calling to serve the suffering humanity and my responsibility towards poor and needy.”
Msgr Maxim L Noronha, Vicar General, V. Rev. Victor George DSouza, Chancellor, Very Rev. Dr Ronald Serrao, Rector of the semianary, Very Rev. Fr J. B. Crasta, Dean of Episcopal City Deanery and few priests were present. Choir was led by few seminarians. The ceremony was animated by Rev. Fr Vijay Machado, Director, DBCLC, Bajjodi.
Fr Lancy Dsouza hails from Christ the King Church, Manela, Vittal. He is the son of Daniel Dsouza and Ermis Cutinha. He completed a year of regency at St Philomena College, Puttur.
Fr William D Souza hails from St Francis Xavier Church, Indubettu, Belthangady. He is the son of Joseph D’Souza and Emiliyana D’Souza. He did his regency at St Antony church, Naravi.
Both of them completed their theological studies at St Joseph Interocean seminary, Jeppu, Mangaluru.
Fr Steevan Joel Coutinho hails from St Jude Church, Pakshikere. He is the son of Mark and Stella Coutinho. He did his regency in Same, Tanzania (Africa). He completed his theological studies at Pius X Seminary, Mumbai.