The month of October has two related devotions in the Church: (a) the Holy Rosary and (b) the Missions of the Church. Most fittingly, the month begins with the Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus on October 1st. She is the Patroness of the Missions alongside St. Francis Xavier, SJ. Together these two great saints show us the two fold dimension of all missionary spirituality: 1) contemplative prayer and sacrifice 2) active missionary apostolate.

All the baptized are called to participate in the love for our neighbour and the mission of Christ’s redemption suffering for the salvation of the world. We cannot neglect to pray and sacrifice for the conversion of souls and for the missionaries in the field. Similarly, we cannot casually set aside the task of making Christ known to others through the witness of our lives, and the preaching of the Gospel according to our state of life.

The Church honours Our Lady of Rosary on October 7 and consecrates the month especially as the month of the Rosary. We are also invited to recall Our Lady of Fatima’s final message and great miracle of the sun on October 13, 1917. Her maternal teaching to the faithful has always been to pray for peace by praying the Rosary. Let us consider this beautiful prayer of the Rosary as a means that we can use in order to draw closer to Jesus and Mary by meditating on the great mysteries of our salvation.

The Rosary is primarily a scriptural prayer. This can be summarized by the traditional phrase used by Pope Pius XII that the Rosary is “a compendium of the entire Gospel”. The Rosary draws its mysteries from the New Testament and is centred on the great events of the Incarnation and Redemption. St John Paul II so often reminded us: “the Rosary is a Christocentric prayer.”

The Missionary Rosary invites us to pray for various parts of the world as we pass through the five mysteries of any given day. Learn more about the Missionary Rosary directly, in which we meditate with Mary upon the mysteries which she as a mother meditated on in her heart (Lk. 2:19). Here is the proposed structure of praying the Missionary Rosary: Announce the mystery; Read the missionary prayer intention; Read the Gospel or another part of the Sacred Scriptures; Read a Mission testimony OR read a patristic spiritual text OR read a reflection on the Mystery being prayed or on the missionary intention; Pray the Our Father; Ten Hail Marys; Glory Be; and Pray for the Dead (Fatima Prayer).

I thank all of you for your good wishes on the occasion of the First Anniversary of my Episcopal Ordination and Installation as Bishop of Mangalore. I am grateful to you for accompanying me with your prayers for my first ad limina visit. I met the Holy Father and I have offered him greetings and prayers on behalf the diocese. He has blessed all of you. The ad limina visit was good. Praying at the tomb of the Holy Apostles and meeting with Pope Francis were spiritual key moments of the visit. The important “pastoral dimension” of the visit was being able to be with the Pope together with other brother bishops of the southern region, which is a manifestation of the Bishops’ link to the Bishop of Rome by the bond of episcopal communion (cum Petro) while, at the same time of the hierarchical subjection to him as head of the college (sub Petro). I have had also the opportunity to meet the heads of dicasteries and discuss with them matters pertinent to our diocese.

During Dasara Holidays in October, we have an illustrious tradition of organizing Jeevan Jyothi Camps in almost all the deaneries of the diocese or at the inter-parish level. These camps assist the high-school students to use their time to deepen their knowledge about religion, faith, social issues, personality development,

and focus on their future education, career and vocation. I appreciate the efforts of priests and their collaborators, the involvement of youth and lay persons in conducting the camp with great zeal. The camp should create a great impact on the young high-school students at a deeper level of personal motivation. It should not just end up as a fun or play time.

October 1 is celebrated as the International Day of Older Persons. The day is acknowledged to raise awareness about the factors and issues affecting older people, such as deterioration with age and to examine issues that affect their lives such as abuse of elderly people. It is also a day to recognize and appreciate the contributions that older people make to society. The theme of this year is: “The Journey to Age Equality”.

“Elderly people help us to see human affairs with greater wisdom, because life’s vicissitudes have brought them knowledge and maturity. They are the guardians of our collective memory, and thus the privileged interpreters of that body of ideals and common values which support and guide life in society. To exclude the elderly is in a sense to deny the past, in which the present is firmly rooted, in the name of a modernity without memory. Precisely because of their mature experience, the elderly are able to offer young people precious advice and guidance” (Letter of Pope John Paul II to the Elderly, October 1, 1999).

We remember and appreciate our senior priests who are no longer able to remain in active ministry; they have persevered in their vocation for many years. It is not really accurate, therefore, to say priests are “retired”, as they have only retired from full-time ministry, not their vocation. They remain priests forever. They demonstrate faith and trust in Jesus during difficult circumstances in their old age such as serious health problems. But they continue to serve the Church by a life of prayer, by offering up their suffering, and by ministering to people in other ways, such as being available to listen and provide spiritual counsel.

Before the next issue of Internos reaches you, we will be celebrating the Solemnity of All Saints on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2. These paired feasts encourage us to hope for heaven while remembering those who have passed away and are in need of our prayers. Catholics can gain special indulgences for the faithful departed during the first eight days of November. Among the many customs, the tolling of church bells from noon of All Saints Day reminds the faithful to pray for the souls in purgatory.

The latest edition of the Enchiridion of Indulgences states: 1. A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who (a) on any and each day from November 1 to 8, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the departed; (b) on All Souls’ Day (or, according to the judgment of the ordinary, on the Sunday preceding or following it, or on the solemnity of All Saints), devoutly visit a church or an oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed. The conditions for gaining the indulgence are: (a) do the work while in the state of grace; (b) make a sacramental confession within 20 days; (c) receive Communion (d) pray for the Pope’s intentions; (e) have no attachment to sin, even venial sin (this can involve resolving to love God and reject sin).

“On the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day), all Priests may celebrate or concelebrate three Masses, provided that the celebrations take place at different times, and with due regard for what has been laid down regarding the application of second and third Masses” (GIRM 204d). Concerning the norms on the application, it must be kept in mind that “while Priests may at their preference apply one of the Masses in favour of any person/ intention and accept for that Mass a stipend, they may not accept a stipend for the second or for the third Mass, the second of which they are bound to apply respectively for all the faithful departed and the third for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

” May the Extraordinary Missionary Month and the Mission Sunday we celebrate during this month be for us an intense and fruitful occasion of grace, and an occasion to promote initiatives, advance the preaching of the Gospel, biblical and theological reflection on the Church’s mission, works of Christian charity, and practical works of cooperation and solidarity between Churches, and above all prayer, the soul of all missionary activity.

+ Peter Paul Saldanha
Bishop of Mangalore

 

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