Mangalore, October 20, 2012: A longstanding dream of the Catholic community of Udupi was fulfilled when the Diocese of Udupi was installed and Rev Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo took charge as the First Bishop of the Diocese at a graceful ceremony held at the Milagres Cathedral grounds at Kalianpur on October 15. Thousands of people including Diocesan Clergy, religious priests, brothers, nuns, a host of dignitaries from all faiths as well as a large number of Catholic brethren were witness to this grand ceremony.
Carved out of the Latin rite Mangalore Diocese, which celebrated its post-centenary silver jubilee in February this year, Udupi is the fourth Diocese in the undivided Dakshina Kannada district. The other two Dioceses in the district, apart from the Mangalore Diocese are the Puttur Diocese of the Syro-Malankara rite and Belthangady Diocese of the Syro-Malabar rite. The Udupi Diocese is the 14th in the state and the 166th in India. The Church of Our Lady of Miracles is the Church-Cathedral of the newly-erected diocese.
It was on July 16, 2012 that the Pope Benedict XVI announced the erection of the Diocese of Udupi and appointed Most. Rev. Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, hitherto the Bishop of Shimoga, as its first Bishop, much to the joy of the Catholic community of the region which was hoping for the early formation of the Diocese.
The new Diocese of Udupi has a Catholic population of 1,06,149, and has 58 diocesan priests, 28 religious priests, and 225 Women Religious.
Apolistic Nuncio of India Dr Salvatore Pennacchio Udupi inaugurated the Udupi Diocese which is the ninth Roman Catholic Diocese under the Archdiocese of Bangalore. The inaugural ceremony was followed by a Eucharistic Mass.
Fr Henry Sequeira, Chancellor, Mangalore Diocese read out the letter in Latin from Pope Benedict XVI, while Parish Priest of Milagres Cathedral Fr Stany Lobo read the Konkani translation of the same.
Rev. Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, the new Bishop formally took charge after the Mangalore Bishop Fr Aloysius Paul D’Souza and Archbishop Dr Bernard Moras escorted him to the ‘Cathedra.’ The scepter was presented to the new Bishop by Dr Salvatore Pennacchio.
Year of Faith inaugurated: The new Bishop Rev. Dr Gerald Lobo inaugurated the Year of Faith by lighting the lamp along with Apolistic Nuncio Dr Salvatore Pennacchio in the presence of the representatives of the five deaneries Fr Fred Mascarenhas, Fr Anil, Fr John Barboza, Fr Stany B Lobo and Fr Stany B Tauro and the Mangalore Bishop and the Archbishop. Representatives of the five Deaneries also made their offerings including coconut sapling, banana plant, rice and food grains, fruits and groceries.
A formal felicitation ceremony organized in honour of the new Bishop, was attended by several dignitaries including Sri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji of Puttige Mutt,
Jayaprakash Hegde, MP of Udupi, Chikmagalur and Rev Sadananda, CSI Bishop,
Fr Ignatius Pinto, former Archbishop of Bangalore, Rajya Sabha MP Oscar Fernandes, Kota Srinivas Poojary, Udupi in-charge minister, Raghupathi Bhat, MLA, N B Aboobakker, Chairman, Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation and Sunitha S Poojary, President of Kallianpur gram Panchayat.
The Udupi Diocese which has been inaugurated in the Year of Faith is expected to pave way for alround development of the community, both spiritually as well as in other fields with due co-operation of every member of the community.
A Guiding Light
Most. Rev. Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Udupi is a spiritual leader with a down to earth approach. He considers himself very fortunate to be the Bishop of this Diocese in the Year of Faith and has full confidence of taking the Diocese of Udupi on the path of spiritual progress and development.
Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo’s spiritual career spans over three decades Born in Agrar of Bantwal Taluk on Novermber 14, 1949 to Aloysius and Mary Lobo, he had his early education at SVS High School Bantwal and collegiate studies at St Aloysius College, Mangalore. Rev. Dr Lobo had his Seminary Education at the Jeppu Seminary in Mangalore and was ordained Priest in 1977. He has the experience of serving as Assistant Parish Priest in Urva and Shirva churches. He has served as Parish Priest in Badyar too. Considering his administrative capabilities, he was appointed Director of Canara Organization for Development and Peace (CODP) of Mangalore Diocese and later as Episcopal Vicar of Kasargod District. The Vamanjoor Agricultural School too has benefitted from his services. Further, he even worked as Director of RUSEMP Pakshikere, before being appointed as the Bishop of Shimoga Diocese in March, 2000.