Bengaluru: A sea of humanity of Catholics including people from various religious Faiths gathered on January 14th evening for the feast of Infant Jesus at the concluding celebrations at the Infant Jesus Shrine (established in 1971) in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru about 1,317 miles from New Delhi, the Capital city of India.
Archbishop Dr. Bernard who heads a Catholic population of Roman Catholics in the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Bangalore spoke emphatically on the need for “pastoral care for youth who are becoming victims to a sweeping wave of substance abuse that endanger their spiritual life and the very quality of their existence”.
The Prelate who has been shepherding the Archdiocese for over a decade expressed great concern “for all Youth from various Faiths” saying “Our Youth need to be protected and guided”. The Archbishop urged the State dignitaries who graced the occasion “to do everything in their capacity to save youth heading into perils of chemical substances in various forms, including internet pornography which is demonically surging across the world”. Several Media personnel from across the State were also present. Carmelite Priest Father Anastasio Roggero from the Archdiocese of Prague (where the devotion originated over 700 years ago) who heads the Missions and promotions to Devotions to Infant Jesus joined in the festivities and Holy Mass and was enlightened by Archbishop Moras on the people’s devotion to Infant Jesus in the Archdiocese.
Earlier during the day, The Archbishop presided over the Tamil and Kannada Language masses. The designated-Preacher during his mass Fr. Arokia Swamy said," this child Jesus is the one who created the world and human persons. First time in the history the mother looked like the child. Mary saw the heavenly world on earth in the person of Christ. The kings of the world knelt and worshiped before the child. Therefore, learn to be humble to win the world”. Kannada Language Preacher Fr Francis Xavier said “Jesus brings the News of Peace in a world ridden by violence”. He enumerated the 5 features of a child: Innocent, humble, believing, forgetful and dependent, as an element of spiritual growth.
The Archbishop’s Secretary Fr. Paneer Selva Kumar, and priests Joseph Abraham, Jaikumar, Micheal.Y, James Prabhu, Arul Raj were present for the masses through the day among many others. Over 50 priests were present for the concluding function which marked the blessing and flagging-off of the sacred car carrying the image of Infant Jesus which swerves through an at least 5 mile road-route culminating back to the Shrine. En-route, people are seen rendering various forms of homage and devotion seeking favors from God.
The Archbishop was felicitated by the Parish Priest and Rector Fr. Balraj. Assistant Fr.Vinay and Manager and Correspondent of Infant Jesus School Fr. Sudeep joined in greeting and thanking the Archbishop.
A touching moment during the public address in the evening event was when the Mayor of the City, Lady Padmavathi a Hindu, declared to the multitude “I have been coming to this Shrine and praying to Infant Jesus. My becoming a Mayor of this city is also an answer to the many prayers that have already been answered over the years”. Member of the State Legislature N. A. Harris was also present on the dais and received the blessings of the Archbishop.
The health minister of Karnataka state, Ramesh also applauded the tremendous contributions of Christians to the society saying “ “I have been coming to this Shrine for over three decades and praying to Infant Jesus. Now, I have come to this shrine not as a health minister but as a devotee of Miraculous Infant Jesus. I have great regard for Christians and their commitment to the society”. He added “I too have been an ardent devotee of Infant Jesus and have been visiting this shrine for blessings for many years”.
A crib in the Shrine campus attracted the attention of hundreds of pilgrims till midnight while priests stayed on to bless catholic devotees and people of other Faiths who visited the Shrine.
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