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1. Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary: The month of September makes us bubble with joy as we celebrate the birth of our Blessed Mother. The whole nature sparkles with greenery and is resplendent with colourful flowers. The children are in the limelight, and they teach us how to love Mother Mary. Indeed, they are models par excellence to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Mary, conceived immaculately, maintained her single-minded devotion towards God and loved him with an undivided heart. The childlike innocence of Mary nurtured throughout her life is reflected on the children’s faces and signified through flowers. With Mary, everything is new. The family bond gets renewed, the blessed new corn comes into our homes, and all blessings of prosperity come along with it. A girl child who is the hope of the future of our families is honoured and protected. On this occasion, we must firmly resolve to pay attention to the wholesome health of our families. As we are living through the Year of Amoris Laetitia Family, we have a wonderful opportunity to attend to the needs of the family in the various vicissitudes of life. I request the Parish Priests and the Commission for the Family to make extra efforts to visit the families in the Parish to support and empower them wherever needed. The Vicars Forane, in consultation with Deanery Council, can plan to have counselling centres in the deaneries to help the families and couples undergoing trauma and struggling to resolve their difficulties. In this way, we can concretely honour Mother Mary, who certainly desires that our families be healthy.

2. With Grateful Hearts: We remember with gratitude Late Bishop Basil Salvadore D’Souza for what he had been to our Diocese and to each one of us who were touched by him in one way or another. He gave a new direction to our Diocese during the 31 years of his episcopal ministry. Not only in Mangalore but also in Bidar Mission, he left his lasting footprints. Even the Konkani Region owes much to him in getting the Roman Missal, Lectionary, and the New Testament translated into Konkani. As we remember his 25th death anniversary on 5 September 2021 and join the Memorial Mass on 9 September at 9.30 a.m. at the Holy Rosary Cathedral, let us thank God for giving him to us. He ordained many of us, and he helped us change our life’s direction by his fatherly and fraternal corrections. A book will be released with 50 short articles written by those who experienced his impact in close circles. May the Lord grant eternal reward to Bishop Basil.

3. A Big Thanks: On 15 September, I complete three years of my episcopal ministry on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. These three years were really a great period of learning both in terms of pastoral ministry and administration. Many have accompanied me to accomplish what is demanded of a Bishop and patiently borne with me in my weaknesses. Episcopal ministry is indeed a heavy and responsible task, and every day it brings new challenges. I am grateful to the Lord for his graces, for Mother Mary and St Joseph for their love and intercession, for my immediate collaborators in the Bishop’s House, and everyone who helps in one way or the other in carrying forward the mission of the Diocese. I have learnt much, and certainly, there is more to learn everyday. I count on your love and support in the coming years too. May the Lord reward you for whatever you did for our Diocese and for me personally.

4. New Candidates for the Priesthood: This year, 7 candidates have joined the Diocese of Mangalore after their SSLC. I thank the Parish Priests and Vocation Promoters for inspiring young boys to join the formation towards Priesthood. Likewise, I am grateful to the parents who have nurtured the seed of vocation in their children. May the Lord reward them.

5. Register for Clergy Retreat: As it is announced in the Internos of August 2021, we shall have Clergy Retreat in two batches (Batch I: 28 Nov. to 3 Dec.; Batch II: 12 to 17 Dec.). The Retreat will be held at the Pastoral Institute. Kindly register your names well in advance so that adequate preparations could be made. The Auxiliary Bishop of Tellicherry Archdiocese, Bishop Joseph Pamplany, will be the preacher for both batches. The Bishop is a well-known theologian and retreat preacher. He is the Founder of ALFA Institute of Theology and Science at Tellicherry and a visiting Professor of many theological institutes. He has many books and articles to his credit.

6. Preparing for the Forthcoming Synod October 2021 to October 2023: On 9-10 October 2021, Pope Francis will inaugurate the activities of the XVI General Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican. He has asked the Bishops to solemnly inaugurate the same in each Diocese on Sunday, 17 October 2021. According to the Instructions given, the Bishop of the Diocese will celebrate the Holy Mass with a representative team and proceed with the “Opening session” of the synodal theme: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”. This will be the beginning of the two-year synodal journey with three phases (diocesan, continental, universal) with consultations and discernment. It will be for the first time a “decentralised” synod, where Pope Francis wants to involve the entire body of the local churches in the process, keeping in mind the corresponsibility of every baptised person with regard to the mission of the Church, to discern what the Spirit says “to the churches” (Rev 2: 7). The Spirit of Truth (cf. Jn 14: 17) speaks in the Church, and we need to lend our ears to him through listening to the inner voice of the faithful or common conscience (sensus fidei) of the baptised concerning the faith and mission of the Church. Therefore, each Diocese will establish a “team” and a contact person and hold a pre-synodal meeting with the emphasis on discernment to find out where God is calling the Church today to.

7. 50th Anniversary of the Diocesan Pastoral Council: This year, we complete 50 years after the formation of the Diocesan Pastoral Council. The Raknno of 20-26 August already carries the article with the basic information. The Diocesan Pastoral Council gathered on 19 August suggested celebrating the event on 21 October 2021, and a team is formed to propose the modalities of celebration.

I wish you all a Happy Monthi Feast, and I invoke upon you many blessings of our Heavenly Mother.

+Peter Paul Saldanha
Bishop of Mangalore

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