Mangaluru, Jan 27: The Priestly Silver Jubilee of Fr Paul Melwyn D’Souza OFM Cap, vice provincial of Holy Trinity Capuchin Province, Karnataka, episcopal vicar of Mangalore Diocese and Superior of St Anne’s Capuchin Friary, Bejai was celebrated with a solemn thanksgiving Holy Eucharist at the Friary on Wednesday, January 26.
Dr Ignatius D’Souza, the Bishop of Bareilly, the brother of Fr Paul Melwyn, Fr George D’Souza OFM Cap, companion and the Jubilarian, Fr J B Saldanha, parish priest of Bejai, Fr J B Crasta, Fr Vincent Monteiro, dean of Episcopal deanery, Fr Peter Cyprian D’Souza, provincial councillor and more than 70 priests, religious women and nearly 300 people joined Fr Paul Melwyn in thanking the Almighty for the numerous blessings received during the last 25 years of his priesthood.
Fr John Fernandes, preached a befitting homily emphasizing on the gift of priesthood. He said a priest is a mediator between God and His people. He quoted St Francis of Assisi who once said, “In case I meet a priest and an angel together, I would bow before the priest than the angel because the priest holds the Body of Christ in his precious hands during the Eucharist. A priest is chosen from the people. Priestly life isn’t that easy because a priest too is a human who faces problems, difficulties of everyday life. It is our duty to pray for the priests.”
The solemn Eucharistic celebration was followed by a felicitation programme in St Anne’s Mini hall. Fr Richard Quadras anchored the felicitation ceremony. The programme began with a prayer dance by Suzan, niece of Fr Paul Melwyn. Fr Prakash Colaco extended a cordial welcome to all the dignitaries and the guests. Rev Fr Joachim D’Souza OFM Cap, raised the toast. He hailed Fr Paul Melwyn for the qualities of head and heart. St Anne’s Community felicitated Fr Paul Melwyn and Fr George the jubilarians with a shawl and flowers.
Bishop Ignatius in his address said, “A priest is a victim for the sake of the Kingdom of God and the people. He sacrifices his life in order to put into practice the values of Christ and to become another Christ.”
Valerian Sequeira, Divine Mercy Core Committee member said, “Fr Paul Melwyn is a preacher, teacher and a priest, closer to poor people.” Lauding Fr Melwyn’s ministry especially in times of Covid-19, Valerian pointed his initiatives in proclaiming the Word of God through media and reaching out to needy people through various projects like Mercy Kit, Capuchin Manna etc.
Fr Cyprian, provincial Councillor, on behalf of the provincial minister and brothers of the province, thanked his service to the province in various capacities as a formator, superior and vicar provincial.
On this occasion, Divine Mercy Core Committee, choir group members Joe and his team as well as family members of Fr Paul Melwyn felicitated him with a shawl, garland and fruits.
Fr Paul Melwyn in his thanksgiving message said that God has been very kind and generous to him all through his life. He said, "Whatever I am today, it is because of my priesthood. The order and the family has given me the best and I will strive to give the best to the church and the society." He thanked Fr Prem Dsouza, the vicar and community members of St Anne’s Friary for beautifully organizing the event. He also thanked religious brothers and sisters, family members, well-wishers, benefactors and everyone for being the part of the silver jubilee celebration. A delicious agape added joy to the silver jubilee event.