MESSAGE

Bishop’s Message

Dear Fathers, Sisters and Brothers,

Greetings!

It was an enthralling experience personally for me to have spent the afternoon of May 25, Saturday with the children and the animators of the commission for children of our diocese. As declared by Pope Francis on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2023, our diocesan commission for children organized a ‘Children’s Meet with the Bishop’ and around 550 children and animators participated in the first ever World Children’s Day celebrations held in the arena of St. Joseph’s Matriculation School in the Bishop’s House campus. The first part of the celebration was a lively and interactive dialogue with the children. They came out asking me so many interesting and intriguing questions including the role model of my life, the reason why I became a priest, my SSLC and HSS marks, favourite food, what I would be had I not become a priest, whether I am happy of being a bishop and so on to mention a few and I could sense that they also enjoyed my spontaneous responses. To sweeten the celebration further, there were fabulous cultural programmes performed by the children from six vicariates of our diocese. Taking this chance, dear Fathers and Sisters, I sincerely thank all of you for having responded positively to our invitation by sending the children to this memorable celebration. I also hope that you had an engrossing experience of World Children’s Day celebrations in your parishes on May 26, Sunday. Our special thanks goes to Fr. Renjith Kumar, the secretary to the commission for children and his collaborators!

As all of us know, the month of June is dedicated in the Catholic Church to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus simply because the solemnity of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated on the Friday after the second Sunday following Pentecost. The feast dates back to 1673, when Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French nun received repeated visions about the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is said that Jesus appeared to her and revealed ways to venerate his Sacred Heart and explained the immense love he has for the humanity, appearing with his heart visible outside his chest, on fire, and surrounded by a crown of thorns. These visions continued for 18 months.

On June 16, 1675 Jesus told Sr. Margaret Mary to promote a feast that honours his Sacred Heart and gave her 12 promises made to all who venerate and promote the devotion of the Sacred Heart. He said: “I promise you that my heart shall expand itself to shed in abundance the influence of its divine love upon those who shall thus honour it, and cause it to be honoured.” In the beginning, the Vatican was hesitant to declare a feast to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but as the devotion spread throughout France, it granted the feast to France in 1765. In 1856, Pope Pius IX designated the Friday following the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart for the universal Church. Ever since, the month of June, as we know, has been devoted to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus and his unfathomable love for us all. It is worthy to note here that it is a well-established tradition in the Catholic families to have the picture or statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus installed in our homes and the dedication to his Heart annually renewed.

The League of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the active pious associations present in many of the parishes of our diocese having a good number of committed members, both women and men assisted by a diocesan spiritual guide. The mission of the League is known to promote a deeper spiritual life among the people of God through a greater devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Besides this, under the spiritual guidance of the parish priests, they also get engaged in doing countless charitable activities in our parishes resembling the good works of Jesus in the Bible including helping the poor and needy, visiting the sick and the homebound, providing financial assistance to the poor children for education, taking care of the destitute people and the widows, visiting the homes for the elderly and challenged people and so on. Active associations such as this in our parishes having hundreds of members ought to be considered as God’s blessing and a great boon to our parishes. Our regular visits to their meetings, while helping them grow spiritually, will encourage them doing more good to those in need and regular formation programmes conducted will facilitate to read the signs of the time and to involve themselves discreetly in need-bound charitable activities.

This month also reminds us of the reopening of schools after summer vacation and of our responsibility to make sure that all the children of our parishes go to the schools with no dropouts and that those who have completed schooling pursue their higher studies. At this juncture, while appreciating the respective correspondents and headmasters of our schools for the excellent results this year, I wish that, with God’s blessings, your dedication and hard work may lead you to success in the forthcoming academic year.