Vellore Diocese Vellore Diocese -Pastoral Message
Pastoral Message - February 2019
Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters!
May the celebration of the feast of the Presentation of the Lord help us to grow in holiness more and more. We pray that God accepts us as a diocese in his embrace.
We will join our Mother Mary and Joseph in offering ourselves to God the Father, in order to receive our freedom from sin and slavery. It is a symbol of our redemption. It is also a day dedicated to the Religious. It is an invitation to them to renew their dedication and resolve to be close to God and to people. We are all invited to be with God and with people in holiness. Let us all pray for them. The diocese is grateful to their presence and their ministry. We acknowledge their loving ministry and offer our prayers to them.
We have another opportunity to be grateful to the Mother of God under the title ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’ on 11 February. Let us accept her apparitions and believe her words: Prayer and Fasting for the conversion of the world.
The World Youth Day took place in Panama in the last of January 2019. Holy Father went there with the message that the world in general and the Church in particular must see youth as the central portion of the world and the Church. To emphasize this point he took the portion of St. Luke 4: 20-21 where Jesus was found in the temple amidst the elders. Mary and Joseph lost him but after three days found him among the elders.
"The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him, and he began to say to them: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." The young boy Jesus is chosen to proclaim and put into action God’s dream by taking the central portion. Holy Father says this should become the reality. He continues to say: “Jesus reveals the now of God, who comes to meet us and call us to take part in his now of proclaiming good news to the poor, bringing liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, setting at liberty those who are oppressed, announcing the year of the Lord’s favour.” Now our youth is the now of God. At the same time Holy Father remarks that not all were ready to believe neither those who were listening, nor the neighbour. Their question was “Is not this Joseph’s son?” The same thing can happen to us. We may not believe and trust that our young people can make the message of Christ, a reality. We may be like those elders or neighbours. Pope Francis very wittingly says, “we begin to say, those young people, aren’t they the children of Mary, Joseph, aren’t they brothers and sisters of so and so? Are these not the youngsters we saw grown up? That one over there, wasn’t he the one who kept breaking windows with stones and balls? This is our attitude we tranquillize them. We ‘numb’ them into keeping quiet, not asking or questioning and threatening that their time has not come. Hence, the Holy Father went to meet them and listen to them. He requests everyone in the Church to have this attitude towards our young people. We need to realize we need one another. We have to work to create channels and spaces that abolish this isolation and create a common space.
I conclude with the words of Holy Father: “You, dear young people, are not the future but the now of God. He invites you and calls you in your communities and cities to go out and find your grandparents, your elders, to stand up and unite them to speak out and realize the dream that the Lord has dreamed for you”.
May the Presentation of the Lord make us all holy. Yours in Christ Jesus,
+ Most Rev. Dr. P. Soundararaju, SDB
Bishop of Vellore