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The month of August brings to our mind the happy memories of our Independence day on the 15th. That day is also dear to us; it is a day of obligation to us to attend mass, being the Feast of the Assumption of our Lady to Heaven. We do celebrate both the days with lot of joyful feelings. Let us pray earnestly God our Father through the intercession of our heavenly Mother to save our country from all dangers from within and from without. Let this country be a comfortable home for people of all religions, the freedom to practice and propagate their religion. As a result of such a secular mindedness, we will be able to build bridges between various religions in this land.

We are proud of our country because it has been a cradle of various religions and religions have played a great role in making this country a better one every day especially when violence in our country and more specially in our coastal district of Dakshina Kannada has created lot of disturbances due to the intolerance of people towards religions. The fundamentalists are becoming a prey in the hands of the politicians whom they use as a vote bank. We, Christians and especially leaders of our religion have a big role of bringing peace in our own areas. The Christians should take leadership to unite our parishioners to preach, speak and act for the cause of peace. It is the right time that we have to play a mediator’s role between the two major religions who fight and kill one another. Let us pray for peace everyday during our family rosary. This will be a good preparation for the forthcoming feasts.

Our Diocese was one of the first dioceses to introduce the distribution of Holy Communion by trained lay persons. Such persons had not only training but also a recollection periodically. This has been done well by the Directors, Mangala Jyothi. We appreciate their services. During the ongoing formation of the priests of our diocese, the following guidelines are taken up. Lay persons should be chosen at the age of 40 and initially the service is entrusted to them for 3 years, renewable. At the age of 70, the service of distribution of communion ends. This is applicable to lay faithful. We highly appreciate their earnestness and generosity to do the service to the faithful. Since they are handling the most sacred mystery, they are expected to imitate what they do. The parish priests will not assign to them to open and close the tabernacle or distribute species in various sacred vessels. They shall not open the tabernacle for the exposition of the monstrance. For all these, the parish priest should obtain special permission from the Bishop. All these rules we impose so that all take care of the important sacred service.

The ongoing formation for priests will be held in this month. I wish that every priest attends one or the other seminar. If you are not able to attend the one scheduled for your varado, then attend the other; but please inform the Director of Pastoral Institute to make suitable arrangements.

The Vicars Vara are requested to hold their priests meetings of the deanery and propose the topics of importance to discuss for the next three years in the meetings of the senate of priests as requested by the Secretary of the senate. The Varas are requested to send them to the Secretary of the senate.

By now you have the names and telephone numbers of the members of the senate and Diocesan Pastoral Parishad. The conveners of various committees are requested to hold the meetings of the committee members and send the report to the coordinator of the DPP, the Vicar General. The conveners are also obliged to give the report of their activities during the meeting of the DPP. Those who need the constitution 2010 may collect from the reception of the Bishop’s House.

The catholic charismatic movement was started 50 years back in the Catholic Church. To mark this event there will be a regional celebration in Mangalore. It will be on 9, 10, 11 & 12 November, organized by 14 dioceses of Karnataka. The venue of the convention will be the Rosario Cathedral Church grounds. We expect nearly 500 delegates from different dioceses of the state. The morning session the leaders training will take place. In the afternoon the session will be for the general public. Fr Onil D’Souza, Director, St Antony’s is incharge of this organization and you will be given more information later on. It will be good for you to attend these sessions and therefore, please keep these dates free to attend this convention in big numbers. I request you to announce in the churches about this convention and pray for its success.

When there are meetings orgnaised by the Panchayats for communal harmony please tell the people to attend the meetings. The priests and religious also participate in the meetings. If nobody organises please take the leadership and organise peace meetings in your neighbourhood. This is the need of the hour. Let our prayer campaign bring about peace not only in our district or country but all over the world specially where Christians are targeted and persecuted. Let us show sympathy and our cooperation to those victims who had been targeted these days in our neighbourhoods.

I thank you for your leadership and hard work in the parishes specially in getting various government aid to the people as well as the parish churches. Our MLA and MLC deserve our thanks for their great support. Please make use of the associations such as ICYM, Catholic Sabha, Women’s groups to learn and teach our people, the ways and means of obtaining government grants which are not utilized by our community. Please help the poor and the needy. God has given us rain, we thank Him, we need more, let us intensify our prayers. May I also request to plant trees wherever possible and protect ecology. I wish you success, I pray for you, please pray for me too.

+ Aloysius Paul D’Souza
Bishop of Mangalore

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