Vellore Diocese Vellore Diocese -Pastoral Message
Pastoral Message

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

May the holiness of this season of Lent fill us with grace and righteousness. May our Mother at the Calvary lead us to the fount of life.

We are already deep into the mystery of death and resurrection of Christ. All the parishes and institutions are leading the people into this spirit through various planned pious activities. Many parishes are conducting retreats. This will certainly lead people close to the Cross and its Salvation. On Sunday 18 March 2018 the diocese will gather at Madha Hill, Chetpet for our Annual Diocesan Way of the Cross. We invite and encourage all our priests and people to come and celebrate this Way of the Cross. This will help us to enter the Holy Week well prepared. The Palm Sunday, the Chrism Mass on Tuesday 27 March 2018, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday will certainly help us to re-live our faith.

Repent and believe in the Gospel is the invitation and message of this Holy Season of Lent. The Ash that we received on Ash Wednesday reminded us of this conversion. Here we must ask what is the conversion that the Gospel of Mathew demand? The book of Isaiah describes it very clearly in chapters 58 and 59. The Lord says “declare to my people their transgression” (58:1). They (the people) seek me daily and diligent to know my ways as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God. Behold in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure and oppress all your workers. You fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Is not this fast that I choose to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free? Is not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house, when you see the naked to cover him and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness; no one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly…..(Isaiah chapter 58 & 59).

This is the repentance and conversion the Lord demands of us. The Lord does not stop with this conversion but insists that we believe in Good News. What is this Good News? Isaiah himself gives us the reply. In chapter 61 he speaks thus: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, to bring good news to the poor, to build up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound….in their land they shall posses a double portion, they shall have everlasting joy.

This is the invitation that is offered by the Lord both to the Shepherd and the Sheep. We are a chosen people and this blessing will flow to others through our faith. Our Blessed Mother is a perfect example of this conversion, believing and the channel of flow. As we march towards the hill of our Lady at Chetpet let us carry these iniquities and get liberated. We become perfect witnesses of liberation that Christ offers to humanity.

May all of us enjoy this purification and blessings of the Lord.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

†Most Rev. Dr. P. Soundararaju, SDB., DD.
Bishop of Vellore