Pastoral Message

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


May our Mother assumed into heaven shower God’s blessings and protection upon all of us. May the freedom to humanity to which assumption is a symbol and guarantee, be assured to India as we celebrate our freedom. We pray that the Lord blesses our Country and all our leaders. We welcome the new President and Vice President of our Country and pray that they will protect the rights of our Constitution and ensure peace and unity of our Nation.


Once again it is our privilege to pray and celebrate the gift of priesthood on August 4, the feast of St. John Maria Vianney. We will remember and thank the Lord for their wonderful call of Priesthood. As we accept this call, let us be faithful to this call and make it a saving mission for our people.


TNBC meeting held at Velankanni went on well. All the commissions gave their reports and were received well. On the first day there was the gathering  of TPPCL (Tamil Nadu – Pondicherry Pastoral Council). At the end of the day three recommendations were placed.

 

  1. .மறைமாவட்ட அளவில் இளைஞர்களுக்கு அரசியல் விழிப்புணர்வு, கருத்தரங்குகள் நடத்தி இளைஞர்களை ஒருங்கிணைக்கவும், சிறந்த தலைவர்களை உருவாக்கவும், மறைமாவட்ட அளவிலும், பங்கு அளவிலும் இளைஞர்களை முன்னிறுத்தி சமூகப்பணிகளிலும், திருச்சபை வாழ்விலும், ஆர்வமுடன் ஈடுபாடு கொள்ள செய்ய வழிவகைகளைக் கண்டுபிடித்து செயல்படுத்த பரிந்துரைக்கிறது.
  2.  
  3. இன்றைய மாறிவரும் அரசியல் கலாச்சார சூழலில் நமக்குள் உள்ள வேறுபாடுகளைக் களைந்து சாதியம் கடந்த சமத்துவம் நிறைந்த திருச்சபையை உருவாக்க முன்வரவும், CBCI பிரகனப்படுத்திய Dalit Empowerment Policy  -யை மறைமாட்ட அளவில், கொண்டு செல்ல ஆவணச் செய்யவும் பரிந்துரைக்கிறது.
  4.  
  5. மறைமாவட்ட அளவில், உரிமை பாதுகாப்பு குழு, சிந்தனைக்குழு, சட்ட ஆலோசனைக்குழு, சட்ட விழிப்புணர்வு குழு அமைக்க வழி வகை காண பரிந்துரைக்கிறது.


It was joyfully announced that the Dicastery of Divine Worship has approved our New Tamil Missal with minor corrections. So it will be printed and given by the end of November. We need to thank the Lord for it. With this certain practical guide lines are given to be followed during Liturgy.

 

  1. New Tamil Missal

New Tamil Missal is ready for usage. Hence, the old Tamil Missal will be stopped from usage soon. Those who are using Tamil Missal, Kindly get New  one for your community and give the order today itself to CPC director for the number of copies you want.

 


2
Anjali or Kumba Arathi: should be talken only once; not twice at the beginning of the mass.
 

3.Ponnaadai:
Honoring celebrants or guests with ponnaadai during the mass in the sanctuary is strictly forbidden. However, it can be done after the mass but not in the sanctuary.
 

4.Adayala Kanikkai (Symbolic Offertory):
is strictly forbidden in the mass.
 

5.Alleluia:
After the reading that immediately precedes the Gospel, the person one who recites or sings the acclamation, should not pronounce Alleluia.To understand better I asked Fr. Maria Antony to write a few words about Assumption.
 

Catholic Teachings on Assumption


The term Assumption in Catholic Theology connotes three distinct things, viz., the death of the Blessed Virgin; her resurrection soon after death; and her entrance, body and soul, into heaven. In Christian antiquity, the terms used to signify the Feast of the Assumption – dormitio (sleeping), pausatio (pause), transitus(passing to eternity), depositio(placing in the grave) – emphasized particularly the fact of the Blessed Virgin’s death, and also implicitly designated her resurrection and assumption.In a nutshell, Catholic Church believes and teaches that Blessed Mother met natural death, experienced resurrection, and was taken to heaven with her body and soul.


Historical Roots

  • The first trace of belief in the Virgin's Assumption can be found in the 2nd century apocryphal accounts entitled TransitusMariae (“The Crossing Over of Mary”). It narrates the story of the apostles being transported by white clouds to the deathbed of Mary, each from the town where he was preaching at the hour.
  • In 377 AD, St Epiphanius, who devoted himself to the study of Mary's death and affirmed the assumption saying: “Whether Blessed Mother died or was buried we do not know … she fell asleep in glory, and departed in purity, and received the crown of her virginity.”

 

  • In the 5thCentury, Eastern orthodox Catholics commemorated the assumption as the "Dormitionof Our Lady" on 15thAugust.The church of Dormition, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, where the Tomb of Mary is venerated, remains a witness to this historical fact.
  • Saint Gregory of Tours (+593) writes, “The Lord had the most holy body (of the Virgin) taken into heaven, where, reunited to her soul… Mary, the glorious Mother of Christ, was taken up into heaven by the Lord, whilst the angelic choirs sang hymns of joy.”

 

  • St. John of Damascus (676 -749 AD), the Doctor of Church, was the first church authority to speak on the Assumption of Mary. He narrates the historical event as follows:“St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and his wife Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven."
  • Further, the feast was introduced to Rome in 701 ADby Pope Sergius I with other the Feasts of the Nativity and the Annunciation. In 785, Pope Hadrian Igave the Feast Day its official name as the Assumption of Mary.


Assumption is the assurance to all who lead an impeachable life like Mother Mary that they would experience resurrection and be taken into heaven. Assumption also invites us to give utmost care to our ‘Body’, the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Some dualistic Christian spiritualities speak that soul has to be preserved and body has to be shunned. But in this so-called ‘evil body’ only, God’s grace works and dwells. Hence, in this instantaneous modern era, this dogma demands to nourish our body with proper nourishment, proper care and rest..


On August 24, I will be completing my 11 years of Episcopal Ordination. The Celebration of last year is still fresh in my mind. Please do pray for me.


May our Mother Assumed into heaven protect and guide all of us.

May God bless you!


Yours in Christ Jesus,
† Most Rev. Dr. P. Soundararju, SDB., DD.,
Bishop of Vellore