Mangalore diocese hailed for its yeoman contributions to faith and society *Shining edifice of growing faith
Karnataka, February 13, 2012: Nearly 50,000 people, including 25 prelates and 300 priests, took part in the centenary silver jubilee celebrations of Mangalore diocese, known as the Vatican of the east.
Addressing a sea of humanity at the Nehru Maidan Sunday evening, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), lauded the efforts of the diocese for taking up many novel projects.
The cardinal, who is also the Archbishop of Bombay, said that the nation as well as the universe is proud of Mangalore diocese.
Presiding over the programme, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio praised its efforts in starting medical and engineering colleges, educational institutions and other projects for welfare of the needy.
Earlier, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, Secretary for Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, a special guest from the Vatican, said that he could testify that Jesus is amidst the huge crowd of people.
Terming the 125 years celebrations as a huge ‘success,’ he said “success is a journey and it’s not a destination.”
Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said the state government would provide a sum of 500 million rupees for the welfare of the Christians and promised more later.
Paying rich tributes, Union Minister M Veerappa Moily said “Wherever I go, be it North India or South India, I find a priest working for the poor.”
Earlier, a concelebrated Mass was held.
Archbishop Hon Tai-Fai felicitated 24 bishops and archbishops who had come from different parts of the country to take part in the celebrations. They included Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi who hails from Mangalore.
The diocese has produced 42 bishops and nearly 4,000 priests and religious since its institution.
‘Chaithanyodaya,’ a dance, drama was performed by 300 artistes which introduced the rich history of the diocese to mark the close of the centennial silver jubilee celebrations.
- deccan herald
Shining edifice of growing faith
Karnataka, February 11, 2012: The 125-year old Mangalore diocese is rich in history and faith
From battling legendary emperor Tipu Sultan’s allegations of supporting British colonials in the 18th century to present-day proselytization charges, the Mangalore diocese has weathered many a storm in its 125 years of existence.
Over the years, the diocese has also ushered in many generational changes. As an acknowledgment of its achievements, Vatican officials will be present during the concluding celebrations of its centennial jubilee on Feb 11-12.
The diocese boasts of having sent more than 4,000 laborers into the Lord’s vineyard.
“According to recent diocese survey, more than 4000 priests and nuns of Mangalorean origin serve various dioceses and religious congregations,” said Father Onil D’Souza, director of NGO Canara Organisation of Development and Peace.
Till now 42 of its prelates have served different dioceses in India and abroad.
Present nuncio of Ivory Coast, Archbishop Ambroze Madtha hails from Mangalore’s Belthangady village. Retired nuncio of Zimbabwe, Archbishop Peter Paul Prabhu Pinto as well as Archbishop Emeritus Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore-Pakistan hail from Mangalore.
“On September 1, 1886, Pope Leo XIII established the Indian Hierarchy by virtue of which Mangalore became an independent diocese with Italian Jesuit Maria Pagani being its first bishop,” said Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza of Mangalore Diocese.
“The new diocese brought in the feeling of ‘our own church’ amidst the Catholics giving openings to multilevel growth and opportunities. Priests and nuns established number of primary schools in remote villages,” he added.
In 1982, the diocese adopted Bidar missions near Hyderabad around 900 km from Mangalore. After 23 years , an independent diocese of Gulbarga was also set up.
“St Joseph’s Inter-diocesan Seminary of Mangalore established in 1879 has so far formed 1998 priests,” said Fr Joseph Martis, the Rector.
Four religious congregations for women were originated in Mangalore. The Apostolic Carmel (1870), the 125-year- old Ursuline Franciscan Sisters (UFS), Bethany Sisters (B.S.) (1921) and Helpers of Mount Rosary (1990).
According to Kranti Farias, a socio-historian, St Agnes College established by the AC nuns in 1921 was the first Catholic college exclusively for women.
The diocese of Mangalore runs 35 orphanages, houses for poor children, old age homes, leprosy asylums, dispensaries and the like.
The diocesan NGO has implemented watershed and water harvesting programs besides many others and has been playing the role of a social transforming agent since last 35 years, said Fr D’Souza.
To mark the centenial jubilee celebration, the diocese would sponsor education of poor Christian boys and girls up to the pre-university level, he said.
While the church of Mangalore has been attacked continuously by pro-Hindu fundamentalist groups since 2008, it has also experienced harassment at hands of Muslim emperor Tippu Sultan in 1784.
His soldiers on Ash Wednesday that year held Christians captive in Srirangapattanam, around 270 km from Mangalore.
“The available records point to the history of around 35,000 Christians being taken into captivity,” according to a researcher and historian Fr. Pius Fidelis Pinto.
“Our forefathers have passed through the challenge of captivity and lately we too faced anti-Christian violence. Over the years we have grown in our faith and religious practice. Now the lay people have become co-workers with the priests and the religious in many spheres,” said Sushil Noronha, a Catholic lay leader.
- francis rodrigues