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Our Support to Workers : In 1955, Pope Pius XII established on May 1 the feast of St Joseph the Worker to signify the Catholic Church’s commitment to the dignity of labour. St. Joseph cared for Mary and Jesus through his work as a carpenter, representing for us the ideal of dignified work and faithful contribution to the common good. His example reminds all workers to participate in God’s continuing creation every day through their own labour. The working class is the engine that runs the world. When workers are on strike, everything gets paralysed. Think of the strike of the transportation or the sanitation workers! Should we not promote the dignity of labour and express gratitude towards those who serve the society, risking their life? We have seen the hardship of the migrant labourers, and again this year, with the second wave of Covid-19, the situation of the daily wage earners and casual labourers is becoming pathetic. Like last year, we must seriously think how best we can address the issues of the poor and come to their help.

Our Lady of Fatima and a Call to Prayer and Penance : During the First World War, Mother Mary appeared to the three children of Fatima in 1917 and gave a call to repentance and return to God. She asked the children to “pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war” (Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, vol. I, 176). We are in the middle of great tragedy; a warlike situation has come about, and helplessness is rampant. We are worried as darkness covers the horizon but as people who believe in the Risen Jesus, we are challenged to have recourse to Jesus our Saviour, through Mother Mary, who incessantly intercedes for us. To save the world from the great tragedy of pandemic, let us pray the Rosary with great devotion.

We can also pray the prayer, the Angel of Peace taught to the three children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. Sister Lucia recounts in her Memoirs of the appearance of the Angel of Peace in 1916. During the second apparition, he taught them a prayer.

Kneeling on the ground, he bowed down until his forehead touched the ground and he made the children to repeat three times: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You”, and then rising he said: “Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications”.

During the third apparition, “He was holding a chalice in his left hand, with the Host suspended above it, from which some drops of blood fell into the chalice. Leaving the chalice suspended in the air, the Angel knelt down beside us and made us repeat three times: ‘Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners’” (Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, vol. I, 78-79). Let us pray these prayers before the Blessed Sacrament, for the renewal of our life, that of others and for the healing of the world from all maladies. If we are unable to go to the Church, at least facing the Crucifix at home, we shall beseech God. In these difficult times, heaven beckons us to put our trust in God and make a firm decision for conversion from sin and renewal towards a holy life. Let us fast and pray that the Lord may save us.

CBCI President Calls for a Day of Fasting and Prayer : Archbishop of Bombay, Oswald Cardinal Gracias has sent a circular dated 22 April 2021, asking all the dioceses, religious houses and monasteries to dedicate 7 May as a day of Prayer and Fasting for the relief from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Christians from other denominations will also join in prayer on this day. He has invited the cloistered sisters to have a special hour of praying for an end to the pandemic. I invite all to respond to the call of Cardinal Gracias to set this day apart for fasting and prayer so that the Lord may come to our assistance and make haste to help us.

Congratulations to the New Priests : I heartily congratulate the new priests, Fr Ivan Ashwin D’Souza, Fr Kevin Lawrence D’Souza, Fr Suraj Joseph Lobo, Fr Ronson Pinto, and Fr Jovin Vishwas Sequeira. I sincerely thank their Parents, Parish Priests, Formators, Ministry Guides and all those involved in their formation. I request everyone to pray for our priests so that they may give their best in the work of the Lord and for the Church.

Vocation Promotion for the Diocese : I call upon the Parish Priests to organise activities to promote vocations for the Diocese. Kindly invite the Vocation Promotor of the Diocese, Fr Anil Ivan Fernandes, to meet the students from VIII to PUC and keep in touch with them and their families. It is the mission of the Church ‘to care for the birth, discernment and fostering of vocations, particularly those to the priesthood’. By the very fact that ‘the lack of priests is certainly a sad thing for any Church’, pastoral work for vocations needs especially today, to be taken up with a new vigour and more decisive commitment by all the members of the Church’” (Pastores Dabo Vobis, n. 34). I encourage active cooperation among priests, consecrated persons and laity, especially parents and teachers. I request groups, movements and associations of the lay faithful to cooperate with the Commission for Formation of Seminarians and Religious Life within the Pastoral Plan of our Diocese in this noble task.

Training for the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) on the Execution of the Pastoral Plan : During the recent meeting of the Vicars Forane, the Coordinator of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan, Rev. Fr Joseph Martis requested them to organise the training programmes for the PPCs at the deanery level. In larger deaneries, it could be held in more than one place. The Coordinator is ready to make the resource persons available for the training programmes. If everything goes well, we can organise these programmes for all the parishes in the months of May and June.

Blood Donation : Blood will be in short supply in these days of the pandemic. I call upon the Parish Priests to motivate the Health Commission of the Parish to encourage youngsters above 18 to donate blood before they go for vaccination, rolled out from 1 May. You may contact the concerned department of the Hospitals to organise the blood donation camps. Donate Blood, Save Life!

Decree of the Erection of the Parish : Along with the documents called for by the Auditor for the renewal of 12A/ 12AA, kindly furnish a copy of the Decree of Erection of the Parish, which may be required just in case it is called for by the Income Tax Department. Submitting the Parish Mobile Number and email ID is mandatory. Please complete the process of submission at least by 15 May 2021.

+ Peter Paul Saldanha
Bishop of Mangalore

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