News : Ivan Saldanha Shet
Photos : Stanly Bantwal
Mangaluru, Jan 5 : As per annual practice the Catholic diocese of Mangalore, marked in its unique manner, annual Eucharistic Procession and Inauguration of the 'Year 2020 Year of Pro-Life' was held with solemn declaration. The diocesan level procession, from Milagres church to Rosario Cathedral on Sunday, January 5, 2020 was the 53rd in Diocesan history. Thousands of Catholics, a good part the youth, about 230 priests of several congregations, large number of nuns participated in a devout manner praying and singing in honour of the Eucharistic Christ. Bishop Rev Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha gave the lead as head of the diocese of Mangalore, Emeritus Bishop Rev Dr. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, walked the entire route and participated in spite of his age along with the fervent participants.
The solemn occasion commenced with Eucharistic Celebration, Bishop Rev Peter Paul Saldanha presided over with former bishop Rev A P D'Souza and more than 200 priests, held at Milagres Church in the afternoon.
At the solemn mass in Milagres Church , delivering an official homily, the bishop said, "We will today declare the year 2020 as the Year for Life - 'Pro Life' in our diocese. Jesus Christ taught us to love one another as ourselves, every human life is a special plan of God and has its individual vital importance. It is our duty to value and respect human lives fully. Killing humans, especially infants due to gender discrimination is very common. We are becoming inhuman, anti-life and merciless to our fellow humans. The need for immediate transformation is urgent. Right to life, pro-life is universal as per God's teaching and plan."
Further the bishop stressed on the need to protect nature and that without nature life is impossible. "All for our lives come from nature. It is our duty and bounden responsibility to protect the nature and environment around us. Deforestation will only cause havoc and negativity in our life. Nature, plants, trees also have life, proved sufficiently by science too. We must care for plants as our own because our life is supported by nature. Jesus Christ gave us salvation from a wooden cross prepared from a tree , and that is also a matter to consider in our Catholic life and we have to protect them with greatest consideration".
"Internationally, this year 2020 is marked in favour of nurses and doctors. Nurses play an important role in saving the lives of humans, especially infants. They are the image of God on earth as are older people. They deserve all value, respect and prayers. We have to remember them in action and prayers," he added.
Over to Rosario Cathedral :
Thereafter the Eucharistic Procession set out to Rosario Cathedral along Nehru Maidaan road , was an orderly and prayerful walk in which thousands of faithful of Mangalore Diocese disposed their dedication and devotion in an edifying manner. Around 5000 people walked in front of the all central Blessed Eucharist carried in a sun like monstrance on a flower bedecked jeep by Bishop of Mangalore Rev Dr. Peter Paul Saldanha flanked by priests and leaders present.
'Araadhana' , adoration was conducted at the over-crowded front yard of the Rosario Cathedral commencing at 6 PM on a decorated platform, after all participants reached there on foot. The main banner had the words " The Fruit of the Holy Eucharist, Strength for Human Dignity". This session commenced with a reflection talk by Rev Wilfred Rodrigues, a well known Carmelite and director of Infant Jesus Shrine Bikarnakatte.
Fr. Wilfred in a stirring reflection to pin-drop silence , pointed to the Pope's recent general letter on the Eucharist in which His Holiness pointed out that Christ the Lord was born - God made Man - and laid in a lowly manger from which cattle eat their food. "The Babe God was laid in such manger, to become the sustenance of man from eternal damnation and be saved. Thus HE is the human food that saved human kind, He gives himself for people. We must only look at all humans and life around us thorough the eyes of Jesus Christ in total harmony in peace and humility with complete equality - that is the "Bandhutva ", we here aim for, by virtue of our God. Care, Love all others around as yourself - that is the essence of Christ's teaching. It is not words that count but actions".
"As the new year is set out to 'protect and promote Life' we need to use all the human senses towards this end. Our food must be clean and in our own traditions, partaken in harmony with our own family and folk with love and full attention and togetherness. The old values are being lost due to new innovations and lack of depth - while we adopt good things we must never forget our roots and ancestral culture in all forms. More simple the understanding more the knowledge and blessings. More the basic senses are involved in day to day doings for more benefit and progress with the help of the supreme. Every human must protect and promote life in it's fullness every where", said Fr Wilfred.
This reflection was followed by a sacramental benediction bestowed on all by the Bishop, who later expressed his gratitude and thanks to all present.
After the adoration, the bishop unveiled the logo of Year of Life 2020 of the diocese. At the same time, he marked the conclusion of the Year of Youth 2019. Leon Lyod Saldanha, president, ICYM central committee briefed on the activities conducted in Year of Youth 2019.
Fr J B Crasta, parish priest, Rosario Cathedral, priests from various parishes and religious congregations, and religious sisters and brothers attended the procession in large numbers.