History in the Making: Erection Ceremony of Udupi Diocese Gets Under Way
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Pics: Dayanand Kukkaje / Brijesh Garodi / Stanley Bantwal / Ivan Mascarenhas
Naveen Menezes / Kevin Rodrigues
Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi
Update: 8.34 pm
Udupi, Oct 15: The grand event has come to an end. Udupi is now a diocese, and Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo its first bishop. It was a fitting ceremony to mark the historic day, a day which the present generation was fortunate to witness.
Update: 8.32 pm
Fr Stany Lobo proposed the vote of thanks. The event was compered by Vincent Alva and Mabel D'Souza.
Bishop of Mangalore Dr Aloysius D'Souza was honoured on the occasion. Fr Fred Mascarenhas read the felicitation letter.
Acknowledging the honour, Dr Aloysius said that when he first came to know that Udupi was going to be a diocese, a dream had come true.
"When Pope Benedict XVI sent the official letter, he said 'your dream has become a reality,'" he said.
"I never felt that Udupi was too heavy a duty for me, but I couldn't look after the social, economical and educational development of Udupi the same way as I did of Mangalore, though I tried my best," he said.
"Today Udupi has got a talented bishop who has 13 years of experience as bishop of Shimoga. I am giving a part of heart (Udupi) to the new bishop," he added.
"My wish is that we do not differentiate between Mangalore and Udupi just because they are different dioceses. Our culture remains the same and we should be as united as before," he urged.
He thanked Valerian D'Souza, who served as episcopal vicar of Udupi for six years and Fr Baptist Menezes who has been the episcopal vicar for the last five years.
He requested the Catholics of Udupi to remember him in their prayers.
Political leaders U R Sabhapathy, Vasanth Salian, Ivan D'Souza and Gopal Bhandary felicitated the new bishop
Fr David Crasta who represented Brahmavar Syrian diocese also honoured him with a garland.
Update: 8.03 PM
Bishop Dr Gerald Lobo in his address said, "God has blessed us with a new diocese and has given me the previlige to serve Him as the first bishop. Udupi has got an enviable legacy of faith. We have lot of challenges in front of us because as it is a new diocese."
He remembered the late bishop Basil D'Souza of Mangalore and said that it was his dream to see Udupi as a diocese. He also thanked Mangalore bishop Dr Aloysius D'Souza for making it possible and said, "I am indebted to both of you."
He thanked Sri Sugunendrateertha Swamiji for gracing the programme and extended his wholehearted support towards fostering peace and communal harmony in the district. "Together we will build a peaceful Udupi district," he said.
"Youth are our strength and our elders are our inspiration and guide," he said, urging people's support in building the new diocese.
Fr Gerald Isaac Lobo, the newly-appointed bishop was formally felicitated by Apostolic Nuncio Dr Salvotore Pennacchio, Dr Bernard Moras, Dr Ignatius Pinto, Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza, bishop of Mangalore, on behalf of the laity Leslie Lewis, vice-president, Milagres Cathedral Pastoral Council, on behalf of the nuns, Sr Shaila AC, superior, St Cecily's Convent, Udupi, on behalf of the priests Fr Lawrence Rodrigues.
Parish priest of Yermal, Fr Felix Noronha, past vicar general of Shimoga Diocese, on behalf of the family, Jessy Lobo, sister of Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo felicitated the bishop of Udupi by garlanding him.
Apostolic Nuncio Dr Salvotore Pennacchio presented blessed candles to the donors who contributed more than Rs 1 lac.
Apolistic Nuncio of India Dr Salvatore Pennacchio said, "I will convey the gratitude to Holy Father. I have experienced hospitality of the people of Udupi and I am moved by the amount of faith among the devotees."
"Do not be afraid, for God is with you," he told the new bishop.
Update: 7.48 pm
Oscar Fernandes in his address thanked bishop of Mangalore Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza for taking care of Udupi people in all their needs. He pledged his support to the new bishop in his new mission. "In Udupi Catholics contribute to temples and Hindus to Churchs. Even Muslim brothers have contributed toward Udupi temple's Lakshadeepotsava . We have to carry on in the same way in future also," he said.
Udupi district incharge minister Kota Srinivas Poojary said, "I am grateful to the services rendered by the Catholic community to society. We join in congratulating the community today. Today the Pope has given us a small girl child. I promise on behalf of the Udupi district administration that we will take care of this girl baby."
MLA Raghupati Bhat said, "This day and this wonderful programme will be go into the golden annals of Udupi's history. It is pleasure and good fortune to be part of this wonderful event, which is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So far no untoward incident has crossed Mulky border, this is becuase of the harmony among the people and communities of Udupi."
He further said, "We cannot forget the services rendered by the Catholic community in health and education fields, where they have reached the very last person in society. I am blessed to be the MLA of Udupi constituency which is now under Udupi diocese. I had been on a tour to Rome in 2009, and am blessed to be part of the Eucharist celebration of the Pope."
Addressing the gathering, N B Aboobakker said, "The period of life between birth and death is very important and short. We must reach the last person in the society and do our best to bring them to the mainstream."
On behalf of the 1.25 lac people of Udupi diocese, Veronica Cornelio congratulated Bishop Dr Gerald Lobo and said, "We will be with you in all your missions in the development of Udupi diocese, be it social or religious work."
Update: 6.53 pm
Sri Sugunendrateertha Swamiji of Puttige Math in his address conveyed the message of harmony and peace and said, "Today I see people of all religions gathered here. This occasion has brought all of us together and created communal harmony amongst us."
He further said, "Everybody should follow their own dharma, only then there can be peace. When people go against dharma, violence erupts."
Stressing that Udupi has given space for all religions to exist and grow, he said, "God is omnipresent, no one can claim that God belongs to any one religion."
Conveying Sri Krishna's message, he said that there should be unity among all religions and that inter-faith dialogues are necessary to foster unity and harmony.
"There are various similarities between religions. We should uphold the similarities and forget the differences. When we do that, there will not be any fight in the name of religion."
To stress his point on similarities, he said, "Sripadaru for Hindus and Father for Christians mean the same."
"Today in Udupi we have two Paryayas," he declared, much to the appreciation of the crowd.
Speaking earlier, MP Jayaprakash Hegde appreciated bishop Dr Gerald Lobo's statement 'I swear by faith and development,' and said that there can be no better words than these. He also lauded the bishop for his work and said that he is a humanitarian who had brought school dropouts back to classes and extended financial help to those in need of medical treatment.
He pledged the government's as well as his personal support to the diocese
CSI bishop Rev Sadananda congratulated the new bishop on behalf CSI and wished him luck.
Update: 6.11 pm
Mangalore bishop Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza welcomed the gathering and said, "Today is a day of thanksgiving and celebration as god has given us the opportunity to witness the historic ceremony of the erection of Udupi diocese and installation of the new bishop."
He extended a warm welcome to the dignitaries present on the dias, all the archbishops, bishops, and the priests and the gathering.
Update: 5.33 pm
After a short break, the formal felicitation ceremony of the first Bishop of Udupi diocese is now under way. The stage programme started with a prayer dance by Sudhir Kodavoor and Manasi team. The song was composed by Fr Clement.
Sri Sugunendrateerta Swamiji of Puttige Math, Dr Bernard Moras, Fr Ignatius Pinto, former Archbishop of Bangalore, Udupi bishop Dr Gerald Lobo, Rev Dr John S Sadananda, bishop, CSI, Mangalore, Rajya Sabha MP Oscar Fernandes, Kota Srinivas Poojary, Udupi incharge minister, MP Jayaprakash Hegde, MLA Raghupathi Bhat, N B Aboobakker, chairman, KMDC and Sunitha S Poojary, president of Kallianpur gram panchyath are present.
Update: 4.33 pm
Offerings were made by the five deaneries under Udupi diocese. Kundapur deanery offered coconut sapling, Shirva deanery offered banana plant, Udupi deanery rice and food grains, and Kallianpur deanery offered fruits and groceries. The representatives of these deaneries made the offerings.
Update: 4.24 pm
The Year of Faith was inaugurated in the diocese by bishop Dr Gerald Lobo by lighting the lamp along with Apolistic Nuncio Dr Salvatore Pennacchio in the presence of Archbishop Dr Bernard Moras and Mangalore Bishop Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza, and the representatives of the five deaneries Fr Fred Mascarenhas, Fr Anil, Fr John Barboza, Fr Stany B Lobo and Fr Stany B Tauro.
During the Mass, Archbishop Dr Bernard Moras in his sermon said that for the diocese to grow and progress smoothly, there is need for love, prayer and support.
Urging the people to support and work towards unity in the diocese, he said, "Obedience towards bishop is obeidience towards Church."
"The bishop is the supervisor of the diocese," he said, asking the priests and the laity to build the diocese and the Church with faith.
Stressing on the importance of unity in the diocese, the archbishop asked the devotees to spread the love and faith of Christ, and thereby support the bishop, the prophet of Jesus.
Update: 3.23 pm
Apolistic Nuncio Dr Salvatore Pennacchio asked Fr Gerald Issac Lobo to serve the diocese according to the gospel, proclaiming the life of Christ. He called upon all the priests and nuns of Udupi to assist the first bishop of Udupi in all his endeavours.
He said, "Do not forget your duty, cooperate with the bishop's mission, be faithful and assist him with the examples of Christ." He also asked the laymen and women to listen to the bishop follow the path of Christ.
He thanked Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza for looking after the Udupi parishoners for so many years.
Update: 2.59 pm
Bishop Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo has officially taken the charge of Udupi diocese. Mangalore Bishop Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza and Archbishop Dr Bernard Moras escorted Dr Gerald Lobo to the 'cathedra' and Dr Salvatore Pennacchio sprinkled holy water on the Chair and presented the sceptre.
Update: 2.52 pm
Bishop of Mangalore Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza welcomed the Apolistic Nuncio of India Dr Salvatore Pennacchio, and also the archbishop, bishops and priests and the gathering.
Fr Henry Sequeira, chancellor, Mangalore diocese read the letter in Latin from Pope Benedict XVI. Parish priest of Milagres Cathedral Fr Stany Lobo read the translation.
Update: 2.20 pm
The Udupi diocese has been inaugurated by Apolistic Nuncio of India Dr Salvatore Pennacchio. The inauguration will be followed by the Eucharistic Mass.
Earlier, parish priest of Milagres Church Kallianpur Fr Stany Lobo welcomed Dr Pennacchio, Bangalore Archibishop Dr Bernard Moras and new bishop of Udupi diocese Dr Gerald Lobo at the entrance. They were taken in a grand procession towards the church.
As many as 28 bishops from all over India, including 14 from Karnataka and over 400 priests have joined in the celebration.
First Update: 2 pm
The long-awaited moment is here. History is in the making as the erection ceremony of Udupi diocese is about to get under way. The dignitaries have already arrived and the stage is set. Scores of people have gathered at the venue to witness and be part of the historic day.
Tight security arrangements have been made at the venue, with ambulance and fire engines on alert.
Udupi will officially be the ninth Roman Catholic diocese under the Archdiocese of Bangalore. The last time such a ceremony was witnessed in coastal Karnataka was when Mangalore became a diocese way back in 1886.
Udupi Diocese which has been carved out from the Mangalore diocese consists of 48 parishes spread across five deaneries of Karkala, Shirva, Udupi, Kallianpur and Kundapur. The total Catholic population of the new diocese is estimated to be around 1.25 lac who will be served by 58 diocesan clergy, 20 religious priests and brothers and 225 nuns.
Daijiworld will bring live pictorial updates from the venue every few minutes. Live streaming of the ceremony will begin from 2 pm.