Happy New Year 2020 to you all! New Year brings new challenges and opens up new horizons; one makes new resolutions and finds new ways of facing the difficulties of everyday life. May this year provide ample opportunities to find new ways of commitment to the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ in our diocese!

Year of Youth: We have completed 2019 with special focus on the youth and their involvement in the Church’s life. We are proud of our young men and women who have done a lot to enhance the quality of parish life. My sincere gratitude to Fr Ronald D’Souza, Fr Ashwin Cardoza, Fr Rupesh Madtha and all the office bearers and Members of ICYM, YCS, Jesus Youth, Youth for Christ, AICUF and all the Priests, Religious and Lay faithful of our diocese.

Follow-Up of the Youth Year: The youth have shown immense amount of social concern and participation in ecclesial life. They need our support. The Council of Priests has recommended that we launch a fund to support the youth, especially for their growth and development. Therefore, we establish Catholic Youth Welfare Fund. I invite all the priests and religious to motivate the People of God to give generously to build up this fund. The youth should also involve themselves in this drive by strengthening it. The fund will be operated from the Bishop’s House. The rules and regulations will be drawn in due course of time.

Two special activities are organized as a continuation of Year of Youth: You-Meet at St Aloysius College for the migrant youth working or studying in Mangaluru on 26 January and an Inter-ritual Youth Convention at Madanthyar Grounds on 2 February 2020. The youth of the dioceses of Belthangady, Puttur and Mangalore are invited to participate to reflect on the youth reality. Catholic Sabha, DCCW and ICYM are jointly organizing it. A separate write-up is in this Internos for details. Parish Priests, please announce these activities to the People of God and encourage the youth to participate.

Formation of the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) Members: The new PPCs are being formed and so also the Finance Councils. Many of the members are new and many Gurkars have newly taken up the mission. Therefore, a training programme is the need of the hour to facilitate them to play their role effectively. The Council of Priests desired that they be trained, keeping in mind the nature and mission of the Church. As it is given in the introduction to the Constitution, the Church is not a democracy, yet She follows democratic principles in many of her activities. The Church is divine and human. She came forth thanks to the divine will of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Parish Pastoral Councils and Finance Councils are participatory forms in a synodal Church; they help the Parish Priests and Bishop to strengthen the faith of the people and to witness to the resurrected Christ spreading the Good News of salvation.

The Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of the Bishops, Apostolorum Successores says: “The Bishop should keep clearly in mind that these structures of participation do not take their inspiration from criteria of parliamentary democracy, because they are consultative rather than deliberative. Fruitful dialogue between a Pastor and his faithful will unite them ‘a priori in all that is essential, and… [lead] them to pondered agreement in matters open to discussion’. In promoting the participation of the faithful in the life of the Church, the Bishop will recall the rights and duties of governance to which he is personally bound. These include not only witnessing, nurturing and caring for the faith, but also cherishing, defending and proposing it rightly” (n. 165). Keeping this in mind, the directives are given in the Constitution on the Parish Assembly, PPC and Parish Finance Council. Thus, the pastoral and evangelical focus must be kept in mind in all the discussions. A team of priests chosen from the Senate will be the resource persons to train the PPCs. The list is found in this Internos.

Training of the Clergy in the Liturgy according to the New Konkani Missal: The Holy See has already granted permission to print and use the new Missal in Konkani. However, a concerted effort must be made to train the People of God to participate effectively according to the norms of the new Missal. Two days (13 and 14 January) are allotted for the formation of the clergy, both religious and diocesan so that they in turn train the People of God in their respective parishes and religious communities. The participation in this training programme is obligatory. For women religious, a separate training programme will be organized.

Training Programme for the Junior Clergy: On 21 January, a training programme is organized in the Pastoral Institute for the Junior Clergy of 1-10 years of ordination. There are quite a few things that one has to keep in mind to render pastoral and priestly service effectively. The younger Clergy needs to be informed regarding essential documentation. There will be a moment of interaction in common with the Bishop to share the experiences and deliberate on pastoral problems if any.

Dedication of Year 2020: Human life is the invaluable treasure God has placed on this earth. Every human person is unique and irreplaceable gift of God amid us. Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God and the incarnation of Word of God makes it all the more clear that God, if he wants to become other than himself, he would become man and nothing else. This life has to be respected, protected, conserved and ennobled from its earliest stages of development till its end. We witness tremendous amount of abuse against human life in its most vulnerable phases and situations. The Council of Priests has recommended that we dedicate the year 2020 for creating greater awareness about the preciousness of life. We are the handiwork of God. Indeed, Job prays: “Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? You clothed me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit” (Job 10: 10-12). The Psalmist prays: “you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Ps 139: 13-14).

Keeping these thoughts in mind, we shall dedicate the Year 2020 for creating greater awareness regarding respecting life, protecting it and ennobling it. St Irenaeus wrote: “The glory of God is a living man; and the life of man consists in beholding God” (Against Heresies, Book 4, 20:7). Every human being wants to be truly alive and discover ways of living more truly and fully. However, many experience ‘alienation’ and ‘absurdity’ because of awareness that there is something essential that is missing in life, something to be looked for beyond or rather in place of the instant ‘satisfactions’ proposed in today’s consumption-oriented societies. We are invited to share in a life that is simply the love God longs to share with all. Let this year bring greater glory to God by our efforts in helping human beings become fully alive. To help us in this direction, kindly read: “2020 - Year of Life: Respect life, protect it and ennoble it!”. I urge the Parish Priests and Heads of Institutions to take up this theme for profound discussions and carry out suitable activities during this year.

Wish you once again many blessings of the Lord in this New Year.

+ Peter Paul Saldanha
Bishop of Mangalore

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