Dear Fathers, Sisters and Brothers,
Through this issue of KNL and through my May Day circular addressed to all the faithful of our diocese once again I greet and wish all the workers a happy and prosperous life.
The fifteenth of May this year is a holy and historic day for all of us. That is the day when our beloved martyr Devasahayam will be canonized as a Saint by our Holy Father Pope Francis in the Vatican. All of us together glorify and thank God for this heavenly gift of St. Devasahayam to the church at large, to the Indian church and very significantly to the local churches of Kottar and Kuzhithurai. The canonization event is going to be telecast worldwide, thanks to the media technology of our times. All of us are going to witness it live. A good number of our lay persons, priests and religious are making a pilgrimage to Rome to be present and witness it.
On 14 May, the eve of canonization day a solemn Vespers will be held in the Basilica of St. Peter, organized by Fr. Elphinston Joseph, the Postulator along with our priests, religious and laity present in Rome in coordination with me the Bishop of Kottar and the canonization office of our diocese headed by Fr. E. John Kulandai, the vice postulator. I appreciate the earnest efforts taken by our people to make this evening a memorable one.
A big number of Tamils living all over Europe and elsewhere will be gathering there on these two days. Dignitaries representing Tamil Nadu government and the union government of India are expected to be present also. At this juncture, I am deeply indebted to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the central government for having respectfully acknowledged the Martyrdom and Saintliness of Devasahayam. Needless to mention that the layperson-character of Martyr Devasahayam has highly impressed and taken deep roots in the hearts of our people.
At this moment of great joy, I wish to look back and thank my predecessor Bishops, along with their teams of lay and religious people who have, over the years, relentlessly worked for this cause. I admire and appreciate the lay persons in our canonization office who have come forward to put their heart and soul, voluntarily, into matters concerning canonization and the thanksgiving celebrations.
National Thanksgiving Day
The Indian Catholic Church represented by the CCBI has proposed to conduct a National Thanksgiving Day in the location where Martyr Devasahayam laid down his life. Taking a cue from CCBI, the Curiae of Kottar and Kuzhithurai dioceses together have met several times and decided the forthcoming June 5th as the day of thanksgiving at Aral Kurusady. It is a joint celebration of the two dioceses. Several committees have been formed, inviting volunteers from both the dioceses, coordinated by a central committee headed by the curiae of two dioceses.
A large number of lay faithful, priests and religious from all over India are expected to participate. The Nuncio, Cardinals, Archbishops and bishops have expressed their willingness to be present. I invite all of you to take interest and encourage our people to gather in good strength to glorify and thank God for this gift of Saint Devasahayam for us.
When I approached the District Civil Authorities to share the news of Devasahayam, a civil servant in the erstwhile South Travancore kingdom being elevated as a saint in the Catholic Church, they were extremely pleased to hear it and happily assured me to render their full support for conducting the event. I place on record my thanks to them.
I believe and pray that all these efforts are guided by God and we abide by his will.