Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The month of February passed by with some important events and messages we received. The Priestly Ordination in Vijayanagar on Sunday 15th February of Fr. Laxman Koted was the highlight of the month. On 16th Monday, our new Priest celebrated his First Mass under a well decorated mandap in front of his home in Gathia village. The JVK Seminarians’ choir under the baton of Bro. Roydan Patil was in attendance! The Archdiocese is grateful to the Pilar Sisters and Jesuit Fathers of Vijayanagar for organizing the event that gave birth to one more Priest for the Archdiocese.
During his visit to the Archdiocese last November, Deacon Moiz appealed to some of the Priests to opt for ministry in the Archdiocese of Auch, France. Fr. Savariraj accepted the appeal and has offered to return to Auch. He is presently polishing his French to bring to it the elegance proper of the French language.
I have appointed Fr. Malarazhagan as Parish Priest in Mehsana. Fr. Siby Mathew has taken up the secretarial work in Dharmacharya Nivas.
On Sunday 1st February, the center at Bileshwarpura rejoiced at the blessing of the Hall that will be used as a Chapel to cater to the spiritual needs especially of the Catholic migrants working in the factories around. The computer center will bring another dimension to the activities of the Dominican Sisters and the Fransalian Fathers working there. The presence of their Provincials brought joy and encouragement to continue building up the mission.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India met in Bangalore, 3-9 February, The theme of the meeting was Liturgy and Life. The Eucharistic Liturgy is the source and summit of our Christian Life. The Bishops ‘considering the relationship between liturgy and life, could not ignore that our Country is going through challenging times’. These words from the Message of the CCBI reflected the ‘episcopal’ march that was taken out in Bangalore to protest the spate of attacks on Christian Churches and Institutions in Delhi.
Priests and Religious met on 17th Tuesday to celebrate the Day of Consecrated Life. Fr. Alex Clement animated the discussions on our religious and priestly consecration during the morning. In the afternoon, Fr. Franco Cardozo shared some information about the CRI that could play a more active role in the Archdiocese. Fr. Stany Pinto then spoke on the present socio-political scenario that calls for a concerted and common response for action. Another matter taken up was the renewal of permission for the FCRA. Mr. Emiliano Rodrigues shared some information that he had. Recently Fr. Victor Pais has received more documents from our auditors which he will send to you.
Fr. Isudas Cueli was with the community at Sadhana Sadan Jesuit Novitiate since its inception in 1984. Superiors decided to shift him to Jeevan Darshan, Vadodara, where he will receive the medical attention he now requires. The community and many of the Jesuits who during their formation years received his benevolent yet firm guidance and developed a Guru-Shishya relation with him, gave him a fond farewell on the evening of 23rd February. His lasting contribution to the Church in Gujarat will be the translation of the Bible in Gujarati, the Liturgical Missal and Lectionaries, and many more books that sustain the Faith of the local Catholic community. The Archbishop, VG Fr. Victor Pais and our Gujarati course Director Fr. Siby Mathew joined the SS community to wish Fr. Isudas a peaceful, prayerful stay in Jeevan Darshan. And we accompany him with our prayers.
The Gujarat Jesuits lost two companions : Bro. Paul Macwan who died in an accident on Christmas evening. Fr. Charlie Dias who was suffering from cancer went to his heavenly home on Jan 27th night. Pray for the repose of their souls.
Pray also for Sr. Socorro of the Hospitaller Sisters of Mount Mary, Bandra, who died in an accident as she jumped out of a moving train. She had spent many years teaching in their schools in South Gujarat.
The elder brother of Fr. Girish (Unteshwari) passed away recently. Pray for his eternal rest.
I began this letter mentioning the ordination of Fr. Laxman Koted. It will be some years later that there will be another ordination to the priesthood from our missions for the Archdiocese. Do pray for vocations; and also promote vocations from among our Catholic students.
United in prayer for all our Lenten ministries,
Devotedly in Christ Jesus,
Archbishop of Gandhinagar