Mangaluru, Jan 04, 2016: On Jan 3, Sunday the Konkani Catholics of this diocese observed as done every year, a solemn Eucharistic procession with thousands participating.
It is a unique celebration every year when Religious and Faithful of all surrounding parish churches and institutions join together, as one body to honour CHRIST under the guiding leadership of the Bishop of Mangalore Rev.Dr.Aloysius.Paul.D’Souza, Diocesan and community leaders. They prayed for all for a good year 2016 that has just begun.
At 3.30 pm hundreds of people gathered at Milagres Church in the heart of the City, and participated in a con celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The observance of the ’Jubilee year of Mercy’ commenced on Dec 8, 2015 and ends a year later in 2016. Marking a reiteration and renewal of faith in the light of God’s mercy to man.
Immediately thereafter a prayerful orderly congregation walked in a solemn procession to Rosario Cathedral. The focus of the thousands of faithful was the Sacred Blessed Sacrament borne reverently by the Bishop assisted by many Priests, on a decorated vehicle. Playing of bands,singing of hymns and reciting of prayers was an inspiring sight of grace throughout the procession route which was tastefully marked. Passing the Town hall, the Mini vidhana souda, The Forum Mall; the procession took one hour to culminate at the Rosario cathedral grounds. The thousands of devotees were seated in an orderly manner with volunteers from Rosario Parish actively arranging all matters guided by leaders, nuns and priests. The whole ground was a sea of humanity.
The procession culminated on the large Grounds of Rosario Cathedral ( the first catholic church of the area set up in 1568) the official seat of the diocese of Mangalore and its Bishop. An open air alter erected for the occasion, beautifully lit and decorated. The venue was well arranged and volunteers guided the participants all along the route and at both the ends. Police security and medical emergency were well deployed and the volunteers maintained order. It is estimated that more than 13,000 participated actively.
The Bishop of Mangalore Rev.Dr.A.P.D’Souza in his concluding remarks said that the number of Priests,Religious,Nuns,Novices,Associations and Laity had increased this year.The arrangements were better and faith was apparently deeper.He called for giving witness when faith came under test. He expressed gratitude and thanks to GOD and all concerned.
The message of the event was preached by Rev. Boniface Pinto, a professor at St.Joseph’s seminary Mangalore. This powerful speaker quoted extensively from the gospel of Luke. He stressed on the mercy of Christ assured in His word; he exhorted his people not to worry about material things as God has promised all food for body and soul. Christ has again and again worked miracles for the good of people.....he fed thousands from just a "few loaves and fish" and had baskets to spare. The apostles spread a culture of "gifts par excellence" to the whole world and Christianity lives on with the roots intact and with great development and promise. They got strength from Christ, to fill others with strength. The holy year that Pope Francis has declared for 2016, hughlights "mercy" of God. It is given focus with the Bible quote "Be merciful just as your Father is Mercyful" (Luke 6:36)
A book on the history of Mangaluru diocese, in two volumes, authored by Fr Devadutt Kamath S J and Fr Pius Fidelis Pinto was released by bishop Dr Aloysius on the occasion. The only earlier history of the dioceses by Rev Moore was published in 1904. The bishop congraltulating Rev Devdutt Kamath SJ and Rev Fidelis Pinto on the book on history of Mangaluru diocese, thanked both the priests and felicitated them.
The bishop also blessed the statues of St Joseph Vaz and St Mariam Baouardy that recently arrived at Rosario Cathedral. These statues will be duly erected at 9 am on Jan 10.
Parishes of Cordel, Milagres and Bejai were given mementoes for making the highest collections for Mangaluru diocese during Mission Sunday. Msgr Denis Moras Prabhu, vicar general, Fr J B Crasta, parish priest of Rosario Cathedral, Fr Valerian D’Souza, Milagres parish priest, MLA J R Lobo, MLC Ivan D’souza, Dolphy D’Souza, Dolphy D’Souza, John D’Silva and others were present.
The mega gathering, a proof of the strong commitment of Konkani Catholics of Mangalore, came to a satisfying conclusion with a prayer of dedication, led by the Bishop and solemn blessing of the Sacrament amidst singing of hymns. The event was a renewed beginning to the NEW YEAR 2016, in a spirit of harmony, unity and mercy!