The Month of December is dedicated by Pope Francis to pray for the Volunteer not-for profit Organisations. These are committed to the development of people, seeking the common good and forging international cooperation. These volunteer organisations enkindle hope in many who are abandoned, poor and marginalised. The Pope addressing the volunteer Organisations says that they are the face of the mercy of God for the orphans, sick, migrants, and elderly. May they find the strength to reach out to the needy who seek their assistance.
Clergy Retreat: The second batch of Clergy Retreat will be held at St Joseph’s Seminary from 4th to 9th December. Bishop Raja Rao of Vijayawada is the preacher. I request the Priests who have not made their Annual Retreat to register at the earliest with the Rector of the Seminary, Fr Ronald Serrao or the Administrator, Fr Naveen Pinto. In addition, the participants are requested to bring along with them their Personal Mass Diary and submit it to the Bishop.
Golden Jubilee of the Diocesan Pastoral Council: As it has already been announced, the celebrations will begin at 9.00 a.m. on 10 December, with the Holy Eucharist at the Convention Centre, Father Muller Medical College Hospital. Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrão, Archbishop of Goa and Daman, is the Main Celebrant, and Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore Archdiocese will concelebrate. A hearty welcome to all the Chief Guests and participants.
Diamond Jubilee of the Mangalore Christian Council (MCC): On 14 December 2022 we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the MCC at the Cathedral Cultural Hall. For the past sixty years, a friendly atmosphere has been nurtured by this Council, thanks to which Catholics and the brethren of the Church of South India (CSI) work hand in hand towards Christian unity. It has membership drawn from the various Christian denominations in Mangalore, calling people to give a united witness to Christ. MCC has paved the way for better collaboration and understanding between these Churches. We thank God for the graces poured upon us in these sixty years. The short event will begin at 4.30 pm with the refreshment and continue with the Jubilee and Sauharda Christmas celebration.
Prayer for Christian Unity and Ecumenical Sunday: The Church has dedicated the days from January 18 to 25 to offer a special prayer for Christian unity. In his address during the Second Vespers of the solemnity of the Conversion of St Paul (25 January 2022), Pope Francis said “Let us not fear to put our brothers and sisters ahead of our own fears! The Lord wants us to trust one another and to journey together, despite our failings and our sins, despite the errors of the past and our mutual wounds.” The Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity has published the materials prepared for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023. You will find useful resources here at: http:// www.christianunity.va
So far, in our Diocese, the Prayer Octave was mostly restricted to seminaries, theological institutes and perhaps a few Parishes. However, now in view of a wider scope for this thrust among our people, we shall celebrate the Ecumenical Sunday in our Diocese on 29 January 2023, and we shall continue to celebrate it on the last Sunday of January every year hereafter. The Secretary of the Diocesan Commission for Ecumenism has prepared the liturgy and points for the homily for that day. Besides this, I urge all the Parishes to conduct a prayer service along with the other Mainline Churches in your vicinity wherever possible. This Commission has also prepared a list of Churches present in our Diocese. You may also invite Syro-Malabar (Diocese of Belthangady) and Syro-Malankara (Diocese of Puttur) Churches present nearby to join the prayers. For any material for the liturgy and Prayer Service, kindly contact Fr Rupesh Madtha.
The New Pastoral Council and Finance Council: As the process of election is going on in the Parishes to elect representatives, I remind you to instruct the faithful about their responsibility towards missionary outreach. Those who are to be elected should primarily have the Gospel of Jesus as their focus and not on themselves. They should be urged to collaborate earnestly to make the Diocesan Pastoral Plan bear fruit so that more and more people participate in the mission of the Church in a synodal way. No selfish motive should drive them towards any activity that generates ill will and an unhealthy competitive spirit. The Lord said of Mary of Bethany that she had chosen the better part because she was a listening disciple. The members of the Parish Pastoral Council and Parish Finance Council should have the noble disposition to sit at the feet of the Master and learn from him to go out to the peripheries, bearing the Good News of salvation. Accordingly, they should be told to take the ongoing formation towards actualising the Pastoral Plan seriously.
A New Contact Number: The Chancery has a new Contact number. Those who want to make appointments with me can use this number, instead of calling me directly. The Secretary will answer the Phone and note down the details of the information.
A Joy-filled Christmas to each and every one. May the Babe of Bethlehem, who has shared our humanity, raise us to his divine nature. Happy Christmas to all.
Peter Paul Saldanha
Bishop of Mangalore