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1. Solemnity of St Joseph and Inauguration of Amoris Laetitia Family: On the day of the Solemnity of St Joseph, 19 March 2021, Pope Francis inaugurates the Year of Amoris Laetitia Family. We shall inaugurate it at St Joseph’s Seminary on the same day. The Diocesan Family Commission has prepared a programme for the whole year. A few salient points were presented during the Meeting of Council of Priests held on 13 January 2021. Every Parish Pastoral Council is hereby earnestly requested to inaugurate the special year on 21 March 2021 and organise programmes for the benefit of the families, especially to understand the divine plan by drawing inspiration from the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. The Year of St Joseph with the document Patris Corde is a precious tool to value the role of the father in the life of children. We can combine the insights from both the documents to plan adequately to celebrate the joy of the family.

2. Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis: 19 March is the Anniversary of the installation of Pope Francis. We specially pray for him and for his intentions, particularly during the Liturgy. The Lord has been gracious to grant us the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, as a sign of unity and communion.

3. World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly: Pope Francis has decided to institute a Church-wide celebration of a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. Starting this year, it will be held on the fourth Sunday of July, close to the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, grandparents of Jesus. This year, it will be celebrated on 25 July 2021. The pastoral care of the elderly is a priority that can no longer be postponed by any Christian community. In the encyclical Fratelli Tutti, the Holy Father reminds us that no one is saved alone. The role of grandparents and the elderly is precious to us as they bind us with the past generation and
lead us to the future. They make the wisdom of the ancients available to us. The African saying goes like this: “What the elders see while sitting, the young ones standing on their toes won’t see”. Thanks to the knowledge they have accumulated, elders can easily perceive things that younger people can’t, no matter how hard they try, according to this proverb. May this day help us consider the worth of the elderly and save them from the “throw away” culture.

4. The Pastoral Consultation, Recollection and Chrism Mass: As it has been already announced in the Inter Nos of February, the Pastoral Consultation will be held on 24 March 2021 in the C.M. Hall, St Joseph’s Seminary and in the afternoon, the clergy will have the recollection at the Cathedral, guided by Fr Charles Serrao OCD. Confessions will be arranged. The papal intention of this month is about the Sacrament of Reconciliation that facilitates the experience of the mercy of God. We have a wonderful opportunity to experience the merciful love of God towards each one of us, however weak and sinful we are. The Chrism Mass will follow, which provides us with the opportunity to express the unity of the presbyterate.

5. Care during the Holy Week Celebrations: The whole humanity is suffering and the Holy Week is a precious occasion to connect our sufferings with that of Christ. The pandemic is not under control yet. Everyday the news tells us about the new cases of contagion. The new wave of the mutated virus is threatening the lives of many in different parts of the world. Let us constantly remind the faithful to wear the masks and keep the social distance, especially during the Holy Week Ceremonies. Adequate provision must be made so that our people are protected from the contagion. Wish you all a fruitful Lenten season and a wonderful Holy Week and Blessed Easter. May the Risen Lord guide and bless all the families on the earth.

6. Silver Jubilee of the Episcopal Ordination of Emeritus Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza: This year, on 15 May, Bishop Emeritus is completing 25 years of his episcopal ordination. We have been blessed by his episcopal ministry as the Auxiliary Bishop for nearly 6 months, and as the Bishop of the Local Church for about 22 years. We have a great reason and occasion to rejoice with him. Kindly mark the date in your diary so that we have the celebration of the Silver Jubilee to rejoice with him and to thank God for the gift of Bishop Aloysius. The place and time of the Holy Eucharist and Felicitation will be made known in the next month’s Inter Nos.

7. Lenten Campaign and Housing Needs: One of our constant preoccupations is helping the poor families repair their houses before the onset of the rainy season. The Diocesan Bodies have been discussing to finalise a way to attend to the housing needs in a systematic way for a long term solution. However, to attend to the immediate need, quite a few Parish Priests, Religious and Lay faithful have been coordinating, offering Shramadhan, collecting funds, and offering one’s own resources to help the brethren in need. Their service is worthy of imitation. This year, the collection of the Lenten campaign could be utilised primarily for this need. However, other needs cannot be neglected. I request the Parish Priests to inspire our people to join hands to attend to the poor in the Parishes by helping them repair the houses. We are aware that the resources are depleting in the hands of the people. However, whatever the faithful give, we shall share it with the needy to alleviate their suffering.

I wish each and every one a fruitful Lenten Season and Joyful Easter.

+Peter Paul Saldanha
Bishop of Mangalore

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