The month of February invites us to be closer to the sick brethren and accompany them in their suffering as Jesus himself does. St Paul, contemplating the innocence of Jesus and his participation in our reality, says: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). Jesus suffered all that the sinners are destined to suffer and transformed suffering into the means of Redemption. He was “delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Rom 4:24). The entire life of Jesus was donated for our sake so that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who for our sake died and was raised (cf. 2 Cor 5:15). Thus, his life spills into ours and our life spills into that of others. Each person is connected to everyone and everything else in and through Jesus.

Papal Intention for February: Violence against Women: We hear painful stories about the women being raped and murdered in our country, where on the one hand, mothers are venerated as divine and on the other, women are treated in an inhuman way. Selective abortions and female feticide are some of the reasons why the male-female ratio shows alarming figures in different parts of India. We pray for women who are victims of violence that they may be protected by society and have their sufferings considered and their cry heeded. Let us gratefully acknowledge the services women render in our families, in the Church and in the society at large.

Presentation of the Lord and Day of Consecrated Life: February 2 is liturgically special as the day of the Presentation of Our Lord. As the Lord enters into the temple (Malachi 3:1), he begins a new era in the salvation history. People offer themselves freely and totally to God and for the service of his people through a life of consecration. This is an occasion for us to thank God for the presence of consecrated men and women and recognise their services in the Church and society. Indeed, without the consecrated and dedicated men and women, the world would be much poorer.

World Day of the Sick: The Church acknowledged the apparitions of Mary at Lourdes beginning from 11 February 1858 for 18 times. Lourdes invites thousands of sick who find healing of both body and soul brought about by the intervention of the Heavenly Mother. On the occasion of the XXIX World Day of the Sick, we are called to give special attention to the sick and to those who provide them with assistance and care both in health care institutions and within families and communities. The sick are the most vulnerable ones, and Jesus constantly associates with them, and so does his Mother. In the message for this day, Pope Francis says that our closeness to the sick “is a precious balm that provides support and consolation to the sick in their suffering. As Christians, we experience that closeness as a sign of the love of Jesus Christ, the Good Samaritan, who draws near with compassion to every man and woman wounded by sin. United to Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit, we are called to be merciful like the Father and to love in particular our frail, infirm and suffering brothers and sisters (cf. Jn 13: 34-35)”. Our encounter with the sick is a moment of grace for us too. They are God’s instruments to bring him close to us.

Lenten Season: With the Ash Wednesday on February 17, we begin the season of grace granted to us to repent and to believe in the Good News. The Lord accompanies us on our journey as we accompany him to Calvary. The forty days’ fasting, prayer and almsgiving are for us occasions to feel one with those who go hungry and help us towards our own conversion. In his message for the occasion, Pope Francis exhorts: “The path of poverty and self-denial (fasting), concern and loving care for the poor (almsgiving), and childlike dialogue with the Father (prayer) make it possible for us to live lives of sincere faith, living hope and effective charity”. Whatever we save this year, we shall handover to the CODP for taking care of the poor and needy of our Diocese. The envelopes will be sent to the parishes to gather from the families whatever they give out of their own poverty (cf. Lk 21: 4), “a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God” (Phil 4: 18).

Ash Wednesday: The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has sent a note (12 January 2021) to make a particular provision during the time of pandemic in distributing the Ashes: the Priest after the prayer and sprinkling of Holy Water on the Ashes, “only once says the formula as it appears in the Roman Missal, applying it to all in general: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel”, or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. The Priest then cleanses his hands, puts on a face mask and distributes the ashes to those who come to him or, if appropriate, he goes to those who are standing in their places. The Priest takes the ashes and sprinkles them on the head of each one without saying anything”. However, in our context, we can also continue to do what we have been doing, without much change.

The Diocesan Pastoral Council Meeting (DPC): The first meeting of the DPC will be held at the Pastoral Institute on 18 February, 2021 at 9.15 a.m. The Parish Priests are requested to announce this news in the parishes so that all the members participate in this meeting. The participation of the priests, religious and lay faithful in the pastoral and missionary conversion of the local Church will help to focus on our primary duty of proclaiming Christ in deed and word.

Diocesan Pastoral Consultation and Chrism Mass: The College of Consultors have suggested March 25, 2021 as the day of Chrism Mass at the Cathedral and it is confirmed by the Council of Priests held on January 14, 2021. However, March 25 is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. With due respect for the liturgical norms and to facilitate priests to celebrate this day with due honour in their parishes, we have decided to hold the Diocesan Pastoral Consultation and Chrism Mass on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Kindly block March 24 in your calendar for this diocesan event. V. Rev. Fr Joseph Martis, the newly elected Secretary of the Council of Priests, will communicate to you the day’s programme in due time. The Pastoral Consultation will be held in St Joseph’s Seminary, C.M. Hall.

Recollection: On March 24, in the afternoon, we shall have recollection and confessions before the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral. Rev. Fr Charles Serrao, OCD has agreed to be the preacher. The theme is “Patris Corde: Called to love with the father’s heart, as St Joseph”.

Year of St Joseph: In the Council of Priests held on January 14, 2021, it has been decided to hold special programmes in the parishes on May 1, 2021, while solemn Mass be celebrated on March 19 in honour of St Joseph, a day on which Pope Francis will inaugurate the Year of the Amoris Laetitia Family. Kindly promote the devotion to St Joseph in families and in the Church with special prayer already available through the services of Mangala Jyothi, which has published a book on the life and virtues of St Joseph and Prayer and Litany cards. The Litany of St Joseph can be recited on Wednesdays after the Rosary, instead of the Litany of Loreto. In the book, there are other prayers too. We can pray to St Joseph on all occasions as St Theresa of Avila says, “To other Saints, our Lord seems to have given grace to succour men in some special necessity; but to this glorious Saint, I know by experience, to help us in all: and our Lord would have us understand that as He was Himself subject to him upon earth—for St. Joseph having the title of father, and being His guardian, could command Him—so now in heaven He performs all his petitions”.

The Plenary Indulgence is granted to those who fulfil certain conditions in the Year of St Jospeh. You will find the details for obtaining the Indulgence in this Inter Nos.

Clergy Online Retreat: The CCBI Commission for Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious (VSCR), has organised an “Inner Journey Retreat for Jubilarians”. The platform for the online Retreat is Zoom Meeting. The link, Meeting ID and the Passcode are given below:

Resource Person : Fr. Lawrence OFM Cap.
On 8-12 (Monday–Friday), February 2021
Time : 11 am - 12.15 p.m. & 2.45 p.m. - 3.45 p.m.
Meeting ID : 815 7333 2090
Passcode : jubilee
Link : Join Zoom Meeting by clicking on

Coming Back to Normalcy: With the provisions made by the Government regarding the Safety Measures during the pandemic, now we are returning slowly to normalcy. Hereafter, we can hold meetings of the Associations and Basic Ecclesial Communities, following the Standard Operating Procedures given by the Government, with social distancing and wearing masks.

+Peter Paul Saldanha
Bishop of Mangalore



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