Grand Golden Jubilee Celebrations Held
Bengaluru: Archbishops, Bishops, priests, Religious and lay faithful besides people of other faiths including high ranking officials gathered around Archbishop Bernard Moras to celebrate sacerdotal golden jubilee of his priesthood on December 6 at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral here.
Bishop S Singaroyan of Salem diocese in his sermon during a con-celebrated Eucharist called upon all present to render service to humanity with humility. It is the grace of God to live long 50 years and do service to people. He said it is not that every priest gets this opportunity to celebrate this ministry for 50 years. It has become a reality for Archbishop Moras. Bishop Singaroyan joined all to thank God for this great occasion.
Bishop Singaroyan who holds a Doctorate in Theology from Pontifical Lateran University, Rome said service brings value to people. This is the reason the jubilee is golden and Dr Moras served 50 years in various places and his service to Church and humanity as a whole made a mark. His ministry helped people for a change in their personality, attitude and approach to life among others. So it was fruitful, he observed. Bishop Singaroyan said Second Vatican Council calls all the baptized as a priestly class and they participate the priesthood of the High Priest – Jesus Christ.
Referring to the day’s gospel, he said, it was the event of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. The disciples looked at each other in the process. To illustrate the message of the washing of feet, Bishop narrated his experience at a place South of Tamil Nadu. He was preaching to the deacons as their final preparation before ordination. One Deacon approached him and as he talked to the bishop, tears streamed down his face. The Deacon showed him a souvenir and its one side contained a picture of Jesus washing the feet. The other side, the picture was the Deacon himself washing the feet of a young person. The Deacon said he wanted to do like-wise in his life. However, his own parents, friends and companions did not accept and they said it was not for him to do such an act. They tried to forbid him to distribute it to any. They told him it was too low for his status. But the Deacon wanted to be so. Bishop suggested to him to go ahead and do it even if all stood against it. Bishop told him that he would not face more trouble than what Jesus had to confront.
The world sees serving others as different and ‘that is not for me’. The mentality of Jesus was different from the world looked at it. We need to have the same mind set of Jesus. We are called to do priestly service. If we do not have Jesus’ mentality, we cannot serve others. We are called to serve others with humility. The reading mentioned that Jesus got up to wash the feet of disciples. The washing of feet was done by slaves only. He became humble. Serving with command is easier than with humility. Jesus himself encountered the service with love when he visited the home of a Pharisee. A woman entered the house of Simon and washed the feet of Jesus and applied costly oil which Simon did not do. Jesus said to Simon that she did it because of her great love. Jesus loved his disciples and washed their feet. All are called to serve with love, not so much with respect.
Bishop of Salem who also holds M A in Tamil, M.A. in Pub. Admn and M.Sc. In Psychology (all from the University of Madras), said the third aspect of service is to be exemplary. The service one does should bring forth change in people. It was disgusting for Peter to let Jesus wash his feet. But Jesus refused Peter’s request and did it. This brought about a great change in Peter. The disciples had arguments among themselves as to who was the greatest, At Simon’s house, the woman and others got converted with Jesus’ very approach. We also need to bring about fruitful changes in people. Archbishop Moras did exactly this. Many people were touched through his fruitful ministry. He made changes in the lives of many people through his service. Our service should leave an example to others. “If I, a teacher and mater could do it, you also should do it.” So that it touches and changes the lives of others. The Jubilee is to be a moment of what is expected of every one to do.
Earlier, Fr Anthony Swamy welcomed all bishops, dignitaries and others. He thanked God for 50 years of priesthood of Archbishop Moras. He wished Dr Moras good health and fruitful service with good example to all. Fr Anthony Swamy, Chancellor and Parish Priest of Cathedral said Archbishop is a pastor with courage and conviction. His care and concern for the flock is a well-known fact. He is a beacon of light. Archbishop is a consolation to those in trouble and difficulties. Fr Swamy said Archbishop served 50 years faithfully and fruitfully. He also assured him of his prayers and asked all present to pray for the shepherd.
Others present on the occasion included Archbishops of Nagpur, Bhopal, Madras – Mylapur, bishops of Karnataka, Mandya and others.
Ramalinga Reddy, Home Minister of Karnataka, K J George, Bangalore Development Minister, City Commissioner of Police, N A Haris, MLA and scores of others wished and felicitated the Archbishop.
Archbishop Moras, by way of introduction, said he offered the Mass for the intentions of all. He exhorted all to receive mercy, love and kindness from the Lord. He expressed gratitude to God and asked pardon from the Lord during the Mass.
During a felicitation function, Msgr Jayanathan and Msgr C Francis read out messages from Pope, Vatican Prefect of the Congregation of Faith, Cardinals, Governor of Karnataka, president and vice president of CBCI, Methodist Bishop, Bishop of Believers’ church, Malankara Syrian Church and many others.
Msgr Jayanathan also presented a brief background of Archbishop – his studies, academics and other aspects of life. A video clipping depicting Dr Moras’ various stages of life from his younger days and his engagements after ordination was screened for public view.
State Minister, K J George in a brief felicitation called Archbishop a ‘Margadarshi’. George also wished him good health and many more years of service to people. He was full of praise for Archbishop for his tireless and dedicated service to people during the last 50 years. George also wished the Archbishop on behalf of the Chief Minister, Siddharamaiah. CSI Bishop was one among others to extend greetings to Archbishop Moras.
Several felicitations were read out by various language groups. He was presented with gifts and bouquets by several people from morning. Both Vicars General and Chancellor presented him with a citation, garlands and Peta (traditional cap). All the bishops were also honoured with shawls and garlands. Bishop Antony Kariyil felicitating the Archbishop said he had several occasions to interact with Archbishop Moras. Bishop said Archbishop blessed the Bishop’s House and the priests of the archdiocese cooperated with the priests of Mandya diocese in several ways. Archbishop Moras was always helpful and was an inspiration.
Fr Xavier E Manavath, Episcopal Vicar for Religious felicitated Dr Moras on behalf of himself, priests, Religious and the lay faithful. He lauded the development and growth of the Archdiocese under the able leadership of Dr Moras.
Archbishop speaking on the occasion thanked all for the prayers and support for him and the Archdiocese. He specially thanked Msgr Jayanathan, Msgr C Francis, Fr Anthony Swamy and Kantharaj and many others. Kantharaj compered the felicitation function. Dr Moras said Bishop Densil D’Souza (of Silchar diocese, Assam) ordained him. His initial years were very challenging. God was good and kind to him. He showered His blessings on him, he said. The beginning of his career was difficult but now he said he finds joy and fulfillment.
Archbishop released ‘The Pastoral Hand Book. Dr Moras also blessed a foundation stone for St Francis Xavier’s Community Hall.
Various school children performed dances and the singing of the choir was superb. Msgr C Francis proposed a vote of thanks. The splendid function came to an end with a fellowship meal.
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