Mangalore, May 15: Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza, the bishop of Mangalore Diocese, who successfully completed 15 years as the bishop, celebrated the occasion at the Bishop’s House in Kodialbail.
He celebrated the thanksgiving Mass at Our Lady of Dolours Chapel at Bishop’s House with Dr. Vincent Concesao, the archbishop of Delhi Archdiocese and 100 priests concelebrating. A large number lay people were also present. Fr. Joseph Martis, the rector of St. Joseph’s Inter Diocesan Seminary at Jeppu, delivered the homily.
The thanksgiving Mass was followed by a brief felicitation programme during which Gerald D’Costa, the secretary of the Mangalore Diocesan Pastoral Council, spoke about the achievements of the bishop during the past 15 years. He said that the bishop has inspired the upgrading of a large number of high schools into Pre University and Degree Colleges to provide opportunities to innumerable youth to get a higher education. The bishop has also motivated and guided a number of socio economic programmes to empower the poor and help them get an education, renovate and build houses for the economically backward communities, and provide medical assistance to poor patients through the Decennial Medical Fund, and so on. Besides being the motivating force behind the establishment of several engineering and medical colleges in the diocese, the bishop has animated a number of inter-religious and inter-denominational activities, the chief of which was a mega rally that was organized in Mangalore to protest against the final report of Justice B. K. Somashekar Commission.
Honoring the bishop, Archbishop Vincent Concesao said that people appreciate the Mangalore Diocese chiefly because of the leadership of Bishop Rev. Fr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza.
In response to the felicitation, Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza said that the Medical Relief Fund was established when he had completed his 10th year as the bishop of Mangalore. He said that the fund is now worth Rs. 1 crore and 70 lacks, adding that Rs. 50 lakh has already been paid to 427 people suffering of major illnesses. Regarding the fund, which was started two years back to build and renovate the houses for poor people, he said that it is now worth Rs. 15 lakh and that 9 lakhs has already been given away to 111 families. He also said that the social welfare projects undertaken in the diocese under his leadership was because of the goodwill of the lay people, religious leaders, and priests.
Msgr. Denis Prabhu, the vicar general, welcomed the gathering; and Fr. Henry Sequeira, the chancellor, proposed the vote of thanks. Fr. Prakash Monteiro was the MC of the event.
Fr. J. B. Crasta, the secretary of the Senate; Sr. Cecilia Mendonca, the president of the Catholic Religious of India (Mangalore CRI); M. P. Noronha, the president of the Catholic Lawyers’ Guild; Fr. William Menezes, the PRO; Fr. Maxim Noronha, the procurator; Fr. Baptist Menezes, the Episcopal vicar of Udupi; provincials; vicar foranes; and several lay leaders were also present.