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Marian Month: The month of May, dedicated to Mother Mary, has a number of commemorations: Our Lady of Pompeii (May 8), Our Lady of Fatima (May 13), Our Lady of Vladimir (May 21), Mary, Help of Christians (May 24), and Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (May 31), make this month special. Mary’s invitation at Fatima to consecrate the whole of humanity and especially Russia to her Immaculate Heart has been once again heeded by Pope Francis, and the Bishops of the whole world joined him on 25 March 2022 in consecrating Russia and Ukraine. Our Mother’s ears are very attentive to our supplications. Let us continue to pray for these warring countries either in the morning or in the evening, in front of the statue of Mary or near the Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes, by reciting Rosary and singing Marian hymns. I request the Parish Priests and Chaplains to recommend the May devotion in the parishes and families strongly.

World Day of Prayer for Vocations: The Good Shepherd Sunday (May 8, 2022) is a day to publicly fulfil the Lord’s instruction to, “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). Vocation is God’s gift, and the Lord wants that we receive it by asking for it. The Church’s continuous prayer for this gift affirms the primacy of faith and grace in all that concerns vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life. Please encourage the families to pray that young men and women hear and respond generously to the Lord’s call to the priesthood, religious life, societies of apostolic life, secular institutes and to missionary life. I request the Parish Priests to involve themselves in vocation promotion actively. This intention should be explained to the faithful in the homily and be the object of intercessions in the Prayer of the Faithful. While you recommend boys and girls to different congregations and dioceses, please do not forget to send some boys coming from faith-filled families to our Diocese. The Papal Intention for this month too invites us to pray for all young people, that they may follow Mother Mary’s way in listening, discerning, and acting with courage for dedicated service.

New Priests as God’s Gift: We are blessed with five young men who have generously responded to the call of the Lord and have undergone formation towards Priesthood in St Joseph’s Inter-diocesan Seminary. While I congratulate the newly ordained Priests, Frs. Ivan Peter Cordeiro, Vijay Monteiro, Vivek Deepak Pinto, Johnson Denzil Pereira, and Vivian Nishanth Rodrigues, for their generous self-offering, I invite all to pray for them that they may remain faithful to the Lord all through their life. Furthermore, I sincerely thank their Parents, Parish Priests who accompanied them in their life’s journey, the Formators in the Seminary and all the benefactors who have contributed towards their formation.

Transfer of Priests and New Commission: This month, Priests’ transfers are taking place. It is a grace-filled moment for the Priests to recall all the good the Lord has done through them in the particular parish they have been serving, and now they are called to serve in another portion of the Diocese. Dear Brother Priests, the transfers do bring emotion-filled moments because the People of God have trusted you, and they have opened their conscience to you, and you have been the channel of God’s grace for them. You have also received their affection, and there has been mutual spiritual enrichment. As you receive the new commission, offer your cares and concerns in the hands of the Lord who called you and of Mother Mary, the Mother of Priests, to experience God’s providential care even in the new place. Do not forget to pray for the Parish Priest who succeeds you and for the people under his care. Thank you for your wholehearted collaboration in the past years. Kindly cooperate with your successors in case they need your assistance.

Faith Formation and Adult Catechesis: Though a majority of people frequents the Sunday services in our Diocese, many have only minimal knowledge of the tenets of our faith and they feel inadequate to explain when they are questioned. The adult catechesis is the need of the hour in these challenging times so that they stand firm in their faith and answer the questions posed to them. Therefore, I request the Parish Priests to organise adult catechesis with the help of the Commission for Catechesis. You may choose for this year, the articles of faith, that is, the first part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and use creative methods to bring home the content of faith.

A Word of Gratitude: On April 7, 2022, we had the ongoing formation of the Clergy, Recollection and Chrism Mass. It was indeed a rich experience of Unum Presbyterium with large number of Priests participating in the events. I thank the Secretary of the Council of Priests for organising the whole event of the morning session at St Joseph’s Inter-diocesan Seminary. My thanks go to the Rector and the Administrator of the Seminary for the arrangements, the resource persons and all those who contributed in the study session. I am indebted to the Vicar General, the Rector of the Holy Rosary Cathedral, the Preacher of the Recollection, and the Confessors. In former years, the days of Pastoral Consultations were organised with study sessions on the first day morning, and after that, the pastoral issues were discussed in the afternoon and on the following day. Many priests stayed overnight, and there were lighter moments after dinner on the first day. All these have value in building up good relationships and fraternity among the clergy and facilitating better collaboration in the pastoral ministry.

May Mother Mary intercede for us.

+Peter Paul Saldanha
Bishop of Mangalore

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