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As we are stepping into the month of December, our thoughts immediately go to the Christmas celebration. The whole world celebrates Christmas irrespective of caste, creed and religion. The commercial world is so much engrossed in the celebration in their own way. Since our society is consumeristic, every shop throws an attraction to the buyers in Christmas season.

But we Christians have a spiritual preparation through the Holy Season of Advent. This year Advent starts from the first vespers of first Sunday of Advent. I earnestly exhort you to go through the instructions given in Ordo from Page 18. If you refer to Ordo you will have no doubts and queries on liturgy during this Advent. Let us make efforts to prepare our faithful spiritually. Let our instructions make our faithful in the neighbourhood of the church to attend daily mass, keep up daily family rosary, singing Advent oriented hymns after night prayer, and confessions for all faithful on a convenient day. It is a good custom in our Diocese that every deanery fixes the day for confessions and all the deanery priests assist at the confessional in the parishes. Since it is a mutual help all should participate in this exercise and people should be informed about availability of the priests of the varado.

There are many important feasts in the month of December. Please announce them to the faithful. The present generation does not know the feast day or solemnity.

I have advised the senate as well as Diocesan Pastoral Parishad to put up decorations, flickering lights and hoardings during Christmas season on roadside all over for people to know that it is Christmas. The hoardings should have Christmas pictures and suitable inscriptions. This would remind the people passing through the church that Christ came into the world bringing peace and communal harmony. Please prepare a crib making it as natural as possible without much technical arrangements and which attracts the people seeing the crib as the place of the birth of Jesus. Now there are large statues available at competitive prices. The Rector of Cathedral and Director of St Antony’s have purchased from outstations at an affordable price. You may consult them right now.

I am making a strong point in this para. We have annual Diocesan Eucharistic procession. We have to make it as grand as possible. Our grandeur will consist mainly by the presence of the faithful participating in the procession. Last year the procession was well attended by people. It was remarked that last year number of priests and religious were less. The attendance of faithful largely depends on the parish clergy who should explain well to the people, the importance of celebration like this. In the two deaneries of the Mangalore Corporation, there are nearly 100 thousand Catholics. If the announcement is made thus - ಯೆಂವ್ಚಾ ಆಯ್ತಾರಾ ದಿಯೆಸೆಜಿಚೊ ಪುಶ್ರ್ಯಾಂವ್ ಆಸಾ. ತುಮ್ಕಾ ಅಪೊವ್ಣೆ ಆಸಾ. With this kind of announcement do you think that people will be motivated to attend it? Many could, if bus arrangement is made so that they could attend the procession and you priests also come along with them. There is a bus owners association in Mangalore. Many of the owners are Catholics. If you approach the office they would also provide you buses free of cost. Besides this, several schools and colleges have got buses, please approach the Police Officers to convey people for a religious purpose. The schools and colleges readily make the buses available. Hence make all efforts to get more and more people to this Eucharistic procession on 7-1-2018. This mammoth congregation of people will bring our faithful close to each other with our own identity and also spiritually motivated devotion to the Eucharist.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Let Christmas and New Year usher in many blessings to individuals and the entire Diocese. On 7-1-2018 we will declare the year 2018 as the Year of the Rosary. The first Chapel was built by Portuguese in the vicinity of the present Rosario Cathedral Church. This has been the beginning of our Christian presence since 450 years. I will inaugurate the Jubilee year of the Cathedral and Catholic presence in this coastal Diocese. I, on behalf of the entire Diocese, wish the Rector, the clergy and parishioners of Rosario Cathedral a happy Jubilee with lot of spiritual activities during the year to enliven the faith of our Fathers who handed down the faith to us.

We have celebrated the Sunday of Poor. It should not remain as a mere celebration of liturgy and cultural activities but every parish and the religious unit strive to find out in your vicinity, the genuinely poor people whom you should help. If they have their own land, assistance to be given to put up a house, if they are in a rented house, minimum good conditions of living should be provided. The church and we in particular should stand by the poor people. Let us not question how they became poor, that would provide us many excuses from helping the poor. Let us see the present situations of the poor and help them and come out of this as did in the recent by Blessed Sr Rani Therese Maria in Northern Region.

May the New Year be of blessings in abundance. May God bless you and keep you.

+ Aloysius Paul D’Souza
Bishop of Mangalore

 

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