Mangaluru, Dec 11, 207 : "I was in 6th standard when the then Bishop Rev Basil Peres asked whether anybody would like to become a priest. I raised my hand instantly, knowingly or unknowingly..." recalled Archbishop Rev Dr Bernard Blasius Moras.
"Subsequently, it was the then Hospet Parish Priest Rev Fr John G Pinto who taught me catechism and sowed me the seeds of Jesus Christ and priesthood," he reminded further.
Speaking during a grand felicitation organised by his family members on the occasion of the golden jubilee of his priesthood, he went down memory lane and recalled his early days as a school boy and life as a priest. The programme was at his ancestral place, where he was born and raised, near the Kuppepadav church.
"When I was in SSLC, I expressed my desire to become a priest to my father, who was then undergoing treatment at Fr Muller hospital. He asked me to get the opinion of our then parish priest Fr Pinto, who, in turn, gave a letter to the then Bishop and the rest is history," he recalled.
Incidentally, his second posting after ordination was at Fr Muller hospital as assistant director from 1970 to 1975. He also served as the financial administrator of St John’s hospital for 11 years (1980-1991) and again as director of Fr Muller hospital between 1991 and 1996, when he was appointed as the Bishop of Belagavi diocese. He was appointed as Archbishop in August 2004.
"All important celebrations such as ordination, silver jubilee of priesthood, appointment as Bishop, as Archbishop and the 75th birthday celebrations were held at my home itself and so does the golden jubilee of priesthood," he said and added that on this day, 50 years ago (December 10, 1967), he had offered his first mass in his native parish in Kuppepadav and hence he wanted to celebrate the golden jubilee on the same day (December 10, 2017), although it was a Sunday and would cause an inconvenience to priests and nuns.
The 76-year-old pontiff also thanked his parents, brothers, sisters and family members. He profusely thanked all the bishops, priests and nuns for joining him in his golden jubilee celebrations. In fact, most of the villagers from Kuppepadav and surrounding areas took part in the programme.
Earlier, delivering the felicitation speech, Pontifical Mission Organisation national director Rev Fr Faustine Lobo said that the Archbishop had taken many steps to transform society. Terming him as very tough and firm, depending on the situations, but also down to Earth and humble, Fr Lobo said anybody can, at anytime, approach the Archbishop, who is a workaholic, simple-living and high-thinking. He also recalled an incident when the Archbishop took former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to task soon after the attack on churches in 2008.
Message from Pope
Bangalore Archdiocese Vicar General Fr S Jayanathan translated and read the message sent by Pope Francis in Latin.
Mangalore Diocese secretary M P Noronha recalled the services rendered by the Archbishop.
Presiding over the programme, Mangalore Diocese Bishop Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza recalled their seminary days, when they were together for 9 years. He said that he was privileged to have gotten an opportunity to inform the announcement of the Archbishop’s appointment as Bishop (1996) and Archbishop (2004).
Kuppepadav Parish Priest Rev Fr Valerian D’Souza felicitated the Archbishop and said that whenever the Archbishop visits his home town, he makes it a point to visit the Kuppepadav church.
Besides the priests, nuns and family members, Kuppepadav Gram Panchayat and MLA Mohiuddin Bava too felicitated the Archbishop.
Earlier, the Archbishop offered a thanksgiving holy mass at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church at Kuppepadavu. A large number of priests, nuns and lay people offered the mass.
Bellary Bishop Rev Henry D’Souza, Udupi Bishop Rev Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, Puttur Bishop Divannasios, Vicar General Msgn Denis Moras Prabhu (Mangaluru), Vicar General C Francis (Bengaluru) and Kodagu Deputy Commissioner Dr Richard Vincent D’Souza, who is also the son-in-law of the Archbishop’s elder brother, were present.