Messages

Cir. July, 2021

13-Jul-2021

Archdiocese of Bhopal

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Post Box, 8.

Bhopal-462001

12 - 07 - 2021

 

Cir. July, 2021

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings of peace and joy!

After the prolonged lockdowns in many States of India including Madhya Pradesh, the situation is gradually coming to normalcy. However many doctors and experts warn us to not let our guards off since a third wave could be a results of our own carelessness.

Now, though most of the business and economic hubs are functioning almost normally there are still restrictions on places of worship for reasons you yourselves can deduce. Hence, kindly use your reason and discretion in providing religious services and spiritual support to our faithful.

Prayer Hour for those who Suffer/ed from Covid-19: The CCBI President, through a circular has proposed that the Church in India organise an HOUR of special ‘prayer for the departed souls, express solidarity with the grieving families and communities; and pray for the health of the world on 07 August 2021 from 8.30 to 9.30 p.m.’ I hereby encourage all to mark this day and keep this particular time free from other engagements. Further details on the above proposed event will follow in due time.

 The custodial death of the 84 year old priest and religious, Fr. Stan Swamy SJ, who stood for basic human rights and social justice for the tribal and down trodden rural people, has shaken the whole world! No civilized country can tolerate or justify this kind of treatment of a sick and ailing octogenarian. After repeated bail applications fell on deaf years of the Judiciary, God, the Just Judge himself judged him worthy to be received into His kingdom, having freed him from these earthly shackles! This has evoked a spontaneous outcry from people all over the world against the injustice meted out to him as well as to those who try to bear witness to ‘truth’. But it is sad to realize that often dissenting voices that cause discomfort to those in power are systematically stifled and many of them are branded as anti National; and that too in a country which we are proud to acknowledge as the largest democracy in the world! Father Stan Swamy has become a beacon of light for all who struggle for human dignity. While praying for the change of hearts and minds of those responsible for such cruel tactics, and a judiciary that often becomes subjective, may we be inspired by the example of Fr. Stan Swamy’s committed life and be more Christ-like through our own commitment to the cause of the poor as well as those who suffer injustice. Our P.R. Office will continue to organize some meetings to pay homage to Fr. Stan Swami at given times and places.

Day of Grandparents and the Elderly: Our Pope Francis has declared July 25, Sunday, as ‘World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly’, with the theme “I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS” (28/20). The Pope, directly addressing the Grandparents and the Elderly says that “I am with you” is a promise made by the Lord to his disciples before he ascended into heaven, and these are the word which the pope, an elderly person himself, would like to address to them in the first ‘World Day of Grandparents and Elderly’. He assures them that the whole Church is close to them, cares for them, loves them and does not want to leave them alone.

Despite the prevailing situation of the pandemic, I would like to encourage all, especially our Parish Priests, to celebrate this day meaningfully while honouring the elderly people of your respective parish and/or institution.

New Academic Year: Since there is still much uncertainty regarding question of effective control over the Covid- 19 pandemic our education institutions have once again commenced their academic year with off-line classes. No one is in a position to predict as to how things might shape up in the near future. Yes, it is still a challenge for many to conduct classes off line. Let us be sensitive to the struggles of our staff in our education institutions.

Seminary Reopening: Our major seminaries and minor seminary have reopened and will be functioning with strict observations of Covid-19 protocol. While appreciating the active cooperation of all, the Rectors and the staff are duly encouraged to be attentive and respond to the situation according to the need. Above all, let us rely on the providential care of our heavenly Father through constant prayers and intercessions.

Proposed Hospital Project: Those who were present at the meeting on June 19 know that a number of you made positive comments on the proposed project the Archdiocese is planning to venture into. This proposal, to some extent, is the consequence of the experiences of a number of our priests in the context of the second wave of the pandemic. Of course, every new venture has certain risks too. All the same, let us trust in God and move ahead with the realistic plan and realizable goals. We have already put in place a small team of priests to discuss and plan every stage of the project before actualizing the same.

Our Next Recollection and Feast of St. John Mary Vianney: As per our usual practice, we shall have our next common recollection on Tuesday August 3rd, together with the feast of St. John Mary Vianney, the patron of priests, especially the parish priests. Wishing you the very best and praying for God’s protecting hand on all of us,

Fraternally in the Lord,


Leo Cornelio svd

Archbishop of Bhopal 

Circular 05/2021

26-May-2021

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal -462 001

24 May 2021

Circular 05/2021

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Holy Spirit!

Well, we have just celebrated the feast of Pentecost. With it the Season of Easter comes to an end.  However, this Feast has a lasting message for us believers. It challenges us even today, as it did the early Church (Ref. Acts of the Apostles), to break the boundaries of caste, culture, creed, class, etc., created by human greed and selfishness.  Perhaps this Covid 19 pandemic has been teaching us this valuable lesson, for we know that the whole humanity has been drawn emotionally if not physically,  closer to each other in its pains, sufferings and struggles. May this lessen sink deep into us, especially into the political and religious leadership of our Country so that all of us may be led by the law of love towards our brothers and sisters with greater awareness of our being part of the one ‘family of God’ (‘Vasudaivakutumbakam’).

Our Pope Francis in one of his addresses says:

“As on that day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is poured out constantly even today on the Church and on each one of us so we may step outside of our mediocrity and communicate to the entire world the merciful love of the Lord. Communicating the merciful love of the Lord: this is our mission! We too have been given the gift of the "tongue" of the Gospel and the "fire" of the Holy Spirit, so that while we proclaim Jesus risen, living and present in our midst, we may warm our heart and also the heart of the peoples drawing near to Him, the way, truth and life”. (Pope Francis)

 

The second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, as we well know, has brought much suffering and pain to the whole of humanity all over the world; but more specially to the people of our country. We have all experienced this pain in different degrees. I extend my heartfelt condolences to all, – our priests, religious and lay faithful as well as our collaborators and friends, who have lost their loved ones. A considerable number of priests, religious and faithful in our Archdiocese too were affected by the virus. We thank God that most of them have recovered and are healthy again. Of course, we are saddened by the untimely departure of our Fr. Arul Samy and some religious as well as a considerable number of faithful from our Archdiocese. We continue to remember them in our prayers. May God grant them eternal rest in His heavenly abode!

Added to this, some coastal areas of southern States of India have faced considerable devastation due to the cyclone ‘Tauktae’.  Yet another somewhat milder cyclone is expected to hit the coasts of Bengal and Orissa within a few days.  Let us remember the suffering people of these states in our prayers!   

 

Transfers and Appointments:

I wish to note here that though several of our Archdiocesan priests are due for transfer, on account of the Covid-19 situation I request them to continue for this academic year except for the few which I consider essential.  Hence, here below are the transfers/appointments as finalized after due consultation with the priests concerned:

1.      Fr. Isaac Ekka              Station in Charge and Finance Administrator, Bankhedi

2.      Fr. Reboni Asir            Campus in charge and Accounts of farm, Tara Sevania

3.      Fr. Hermon Kujur        Parish in Charge  – Holy Cross Church, Lambakheda

4.      Fr. Paul Raj                  Parish in Charge  - St. Antony of Padua Church, Dwarka Nagar

5.      Fr. Ashok Amarlapudi Assistant and Teacher, Khirkiya

6.      Fr. Sahaya Santosh      Staff Member, St. Theresa’s Minor Seminary, Budgery

7.      Fr. Arokia Sudan          Secretary and House Master, Archbishop’s House

8.      Br. Baskar Mathias     Regency Year, Fatehpur

9.      New Priests                 Fr.  Francis Jakalu, Fr. Alfred D’Souza; and Fr. John Wilson will proceed to Mandla, Jabalpur, for a Year of mission pastoral.

I hereby express my appreciation to the above Fathers for their openness in willingly accepting the above transfer/assignments and wish them God’s abundant blessings.

The above transfers/appointments will take effect latest from June 15, 2021. Hence, the Deans of respective deaneries will kindly ensure that the handing and taking over of parish/station is supervised and completed prior to that date.

As I mentioned above, the transfers for this year are just the most essential ones. However, all those who already have or will have completed 5 years or more of their ministry/service in a given parish/station/institution will continue in their respective offices for one more year, but be open for a change in 2022.

Dean for Bhopal Deanery: With the untimely demise of Fr. Arul Samy the Office of the Dean for Bhopal Deanery has become vacant. With due deliberation, I hereby appoint Fr. Michael Sebastian as Dean of Bhopal Deanery until the completion of the current term.

Surely all of us are aware of the devastation caused by the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic! We have been hoping that our parishes and educational institutions would resume functioning by June/July 2021. But that too is uncertain now. All the same, let us keep hoping for the best and carry on with our mission, actively committing ourselves to our given responsibility while, at the same time, taking care of our own safety and with due observance of Covid-19 protocol.

Above all, let us trust in the providential care of our heavenly Father and continue to pray, along with our Pope Francis, the Head of the Universal Church, who has exhorted us to plead with our Mother Mary and St. Joseph to intercede with the Lord to heal the world.

Wishing you joy in the Holy Spirit and abundant blessings of the Blessed Trinity,

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Circular Easter and Corona Caution

23-Apr-2021

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal -462 001

 

20 April 2021

My dear Fathers, Sisters and Brothers,

Peace and Joy of the Easter Season!

Well, unlike last year we were hoping for a more solemn celebration of the Holy Week and Easter this year. However, that was not to be, since the Corona -19 pandemic struck us with renewed vengeance. Hence, we had to recede to the safety of our homes and institutions. All the same, most of us did celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord in a simple but meaningful manner keeping the spirit of the guidelines prescribed by the civil administration. Thanks for your cooperation!

We all are certainly sad that in the current wave of Corona-19 pandemic many of our faithful, religious and priests too have been affected. What could be the reason? Have we been complacent, self-confident or careless? Whatever is the reason, we know that Covid-19 does not make any distinction as to who we are.  It strikes anyone and at any time if we are off-guard.  Hence, while expressing our solidarity with all who have been affected, let us pray for their speedy recovery; and for all who have succumbed to this pandemic we pray for God’s mercy. And now, may I encourage all, to be on guard and make a more conscious effort to observe the basic norms to protect ourselves by observing the following:

1.   Use of masks, keeping social distance, washing/sanitizing of hands, etc. are some of the basic rules we know but may need to more strictly follow.

2.   Those who go out for shopping, functions, meeting, etc., while observing the above norms, should kindly ensure that they join their family/community only after they have showered and changed their clothes.

3.   Similarly, those who have used public transport like train, flight, bus, rickshaw, etc. should take the same above mentioned precautions.

4.   Items purchased from markets and shops may be kept separate for a time or be washed (fruits, vegetables, etc.) with special detergent mix.

5.   Visitors may kindly be met at a common place like parlour, visitors lounge, etc.

6.   News papers and magazines may be kept away or exposed to the sun for a time before they are put in the reading room/library.

7.   From many reports we hear that ‘steam inhalation’ is an effective prevention against infection of lungs and nasal cavities which are said to be the most vulnerable organs for Corona virus attack. Community/family should ensure the availability of such facilities.

8.   Strengthening our immunity system by nutritious food, sufficient sleep and physical exercise, should be given due attention.

9.   Those who plan celebrations like jubilees, professions or function may either postpone them for a later date or celebrate them with very limited number of participants as per the guidelines issued by the administration.

10.     In case of symptoms like fever/breathlessness, body pain, etc., kindly consult doctors as early as possible!

11.     Above all, and very importantly, my dear Fathers, Sisters and Brothers, let us present our humble supplications to the Lord and to our heavenly mother Mary as well as to her spouse St. Joseph, to keep us safe and to dispel the gloom being experienced by the humanity due to this pandemic, so that we may once again enjoy peace and normalcy of life.

12.     Finally, I invite all of you to spend the next Friday, April 23, as a day of fasting and prayers for God’s mercy and charity toward us and our whole humanity.

Thanking all of you for your charity and service to the sick and suffering, especially through our hospitals, and charitable institutions,

 

Sincerely in the Risen Lord,

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal 

Pastoral Letter Lent - 2021

22-Feb-2021

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal -462 001

 

 

Pastoral Letter

Lent - 2021

Dear Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, & Lay faithful,

            With the message of repentance and interior change, we are entering once again into the season of Lent. Lent is a season that calls upon each of us to examine, evaluate and make necessary amendments, if needed, in all those areas and aspects of life that need change for better so that we may become new beings (Cf. 2 Cor.5:17). This Lent, in fact, is different from all the past Lents we have observed, as we are facing with and trying to overcome perhaps the deadliest pandemic to humanity known in past one century. This pandemic has made us to realise our helplessness in front of the tiny invisible virus, the uncertainty of our life with regard to our future and the need to depend on the Lord, the source of all goodness, love and mercy. Hence our Holy Father during this season of Lent invites us ‘to renew our faith, draw from the “living water” of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God, who makes us brothers and sisters in Christ’ (cf. Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for Lent 2021).

The book of Genesis tells us that ‘God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good’ (Gen.1:31). This shows God’s attitude to as well as his expectation of his creation. However, sin disturbed this basic goodness and consequently humans not only lost the security of the Paradise, but also got alienated themselves from God and from one another (Gen.3), leading even to the murder of one’s own brother (Gen.4). Harmony and love of the Paradise is now replaced by rivalry, competition and hate. So God himself in his mercy and love intervened through his prophets and holy men to take us back to Him. But the sin in the humans made them to oppose and reject those holy men and their advice as well as exhortations. Jesus, however, defeated the power of sin and death through his self-giving love and his relationship with God, thus making us again children of God. We experience the salvation brought by Jesus in the Church through the Word and Sacraments. 

However, the tendency to oppose Jesus and his teachings is ever active and strong in the humans. We tend to be due to our selfishness, indifference to spirituality, over attachment to material things etc., creating thereby unhappiness in one’s personal life and frictions and problems in our family and social life. Lent is a time to control such disastrous inclinations of humans and reconcile themselves with God and with one another. It is a year or more since humanity has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. This pandemic need not be interpreted as signs of God’s punishment or anger, as some do, rather, it is an occasion to examine and rectify, if needed, our personal, familial and public life in the light of the teachings of Jesus, our Lord.

I wish to suggest the following so as to enable us to make this holy season, a time for transformation:

1.      Let us become aware from deep within that only God can save us from all our problems and difficulties, and so change our attitudes and perspectives accordingly.

2.      As the ‘word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword,… and is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart’ (Heb.4:12), let us become more familiar with the Word of God (Bible) by reading and reflecting on it.

3.      In the midst of our busy schedule, let us become aware that human life is like a ‘mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes’ (Jas 4:14), and so let us take some time daily to pray together, be it Office of the Church, Rosary, Divine Mercy chaplets or Way of the Cross, with all the members of the family/Community.

4.      Let us try to attend the Holy Mass as frequently as possible, and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation as many times as we need.

5.      Let us cultivate the habit of praying for others, especially for those who are sick and for the world to be free of the Covid-19 virus.

6.      Let us strive to make some sacrifices and help our poor and marginalized brothers and sisters in their basic needs.

As the Holy Father says in his Lenten Message (of 2021), ‘every moment of our lives is a time for believing, hoping and loving. The call to experience Lent as a journey of conversion, prayer and sharing of our goods, helps us as communities and as individuals to revive the faith that comes from the living Christ, the hope inspired by the breath of the Holy Spirit and the love flowing from the merciful heart of the Father’.

‘May Mary, Mother of the Saviour, ever faithful at the foot of the cross and in the heart of the Church, sustain us with her loving presence. May the blessing of the risen Lord accompany all of us on our journey towards the light of Easter’!

Yours in our Lord!


+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Circular 01/21

16-Feb-2021

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal -462 001

 

12 February 2021

Circular 0121 

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings and peace of the Lord! May this Year 29021 usher in peace, joy and security to all as the world continues its fight against Covid 19 pandemic and as our Country likewise continues to face many other challenges!

 

During these past more than ten months we have been living a semi secluded life. Certain safety norms like social distancing, use of face masks, etc., have been preventing us from normal social and spiritual/sacramental life inthe parish context. As a consequence,‘Domestic Churches’ became a reality. However, precisely because of this our challenges too further increased. We had to devise new and creative ways to keep in touch with our people in their homes and in their concrete situation. This is what Christ himself did – reaching out to his sheep in a spirit of love and service.

 

Unity Octave and UCPI: Like every year the Church observed Unity Octave from 18 to 25 January. The Catholic Church, through the initiative of Fr. Jose Prakash, The Secretary for Ecumenism and Dialogue and Fr. Maria Stephen, PRO, together with their collaborators, joined with several protestant denominations organizing prayer sessions in several Churches, and praying for unity of all Christians. Scripture tells is that Jesus himself intensely prayed for unity (ref. Jn Ch. 17). Though some of our priests and religious joined these prayer meetings, more needs to be done in order to share our common faith by praying for unity and fraternity of all Christians of good will. Similarly the organizers of UCPI (United Christian Prayer for India) have now invited us to join in a ‘gift of Easter’ Project to pray for our Country. All the Parish Priests, Archdiocesan Commission Secretaries and all those interested are invited to join a virtual/zoom meeting to be held at 5 p.m., February 16. A separate communication about it has already been dispatched to you.

‘Freedom of Religion’ (Anti Conversion) Law: All may well know that the M.P. Government has enacted more stringent norms against conversion and interfaith marriages. Though the law itself is said to be applicable to all religious conversions we know well that the minority, especially the Christian minority is going to be targeted by fanatical groups. Of course, most legal experts agree that the law itself is unjust and unconstitutional. Any kind of charity can be construed as inducement and anti social; and fanatical elements can incite the mob to create violence. There have been instances of this kind in the past and now the harassment could increase further. I hereby wish to draw the attention of our priests, religious and faithful to this new reality so that we all can become aware of the possible pitfalls;  without , of course, shrinking from our responsibility to follow the command of the Lord to reach out to our poor and marginalized brothers and sisters in a spirit of love and compassion.

‘Communio India’: Kindly refer to my previous circular wherein I had mentioned about a‘collection’to be made for CCBI ‘Communio India’. If some parishes and institutions have not yet made this collection kindly do so until the end of this month and submit the entire collection to the office of the procurator.

Diaconate Ordinations: You may know that we have three Deacons this year. Dn John Wilson was ordained a deacon on 03 September at Varanasi Seminary and the two Dn Alfred D’Souza and Dn Francis Jacalu were ordained Deacons at Ashta on Dec. 28, 2020. They are now doing their diaconate ministry in Khandwa and Jabalpur. We wish them fruitful pastoral ministry until their priestly ordination.

Ash Wednesday 2021: We have received guideline from the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship regarding the blessing and distribution of Ashes on Ash Wednesday. It says:“The Priest says the prayer for the blessing of the ashes with holy water. Then he addresses all those present and only once says the formula as it appears in the Roman Missal, applying it to all in general: “Repent and believe in the Gospel”, or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. The Priest then cleanses his hands, puts on the face mask and distributes the ashes to those who come to him or, if appropriate, he goes to those who are standing in their places. The Priest takes the ashes and sprinkles them on the head of each one without saying anything”. You may kindly note the above and follow what is appropriate in the given circumstances.

Ongoing Formation Seminar for Priests: All Priests Ordained between 2000 and 2006 are expected to participate in this seminar which is being organized  from 23 to 25 February, 2021 at Seva Sadan. The communication has been given to individual priests as well.

Remember the Deceased and the Sick:In the past few months we have lost several parishioners religious and, of course, our own senior-most priest Fr. Lulu Menezes. We have given him a fitting farewell too. I hereby express my appreciation for the presence and prayers of most of you on February 07, 2021.  We shall continue to keep him and all our deceased in our prayers.

Wishing you a fruitful Year 2021 and God’s abundant blessings,

Devotedly in the Lord,

+Leo Cornelio, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

 

Cir. 1220

18-Dec-2020

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal -462 001

17 December 2020

Cir. 1220

My dear Fathers, Brothers, Sisters,

Christmas is close at hand! But the dilemma for many of us is how to celebrate it in the context of the current pandemic! Though the external celebrations may not be as hilarious as it traditionally used to be in past years, our spiritual fervour and enthusiasm from within should not diminish our joy.

Christmas Carol Singing, Vigil Mass and Christmas Celebrations: As a result of our discussions and deliberations during our meeting on Dec. 12 at the Pastoral Centre, I hereby share/communicate the following which you may in turn pass on to your parishes and communities:

i.                    We shall avoid the traditional practice of house-to-house visits for carol singing.

ii.                  Instead, you may organize carol singing session at a specific time in your respective parishes/institutions in the coming days and on 24th, prior to the vigil mass.

iii.                The Vigil Mass on 24th December may be celebrated sometime in late evening, say, at around 7.00 or 7.30 p.m., so that the faithful can return  home until 10.00 p.m. Hence, kindly avoid mid-night Mass and celebrations thereafter.

iv.                On Christmas Day you could have one or more Masses celebrated, depending on the number of parishioner in your respective parishes.

v.                  Our Annual Christmas gathering for Priests and Religious as well as felicitating/honouring our ‘Jubilarian’ Priests and Religious will be on Monday, Dec. 28, at 10.00 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Co-ed Primary School Auditorium, Arera Colony. All are cordially invited to join the event.

vi.                On New Year Day too you may kindly avoid the mid-night mass and organise thanksgiving mass sometime late in the evening on Dec.31. Of course, January 01 is a day of Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

 

‘Year of St. Joseph’:  To mark the 150th Anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, our Pope Francis with his Apostolic Letter ‘Patris Corde’ (With a ‘Father’s Heart’) has declared Dec. 08, 2020 to Dec. 08, 2021 as the Year of St. Joseph. A special ‘prayer to St. Joseph’ which is being distributed, may kindly be recited in your respective parishes/institutions/communities.

 

New/Revised Hindi Missal: We already have received copies of the New Revised Hindi Missal. Though it was expected to be used from the beginning of Advent, this could not materialize due to the late arrival of the Missals. Hence, you may start using it from Christmas Vigil Mass onwards. Kindly prepare the faithful with   information on the specific changes to be followed in the new Hindi Missal.

 

 ‘Communio India’: It is a special initiative of the CCBI to help the financially needy mission dioceses in India through a gesture of solidarity by the better off dioceses. I hereby encourage all our parishes and institutions to make a collection at masses on January 10, 2021 (second Sunday) and send the amount to the Procure Office.

 

Discontinuing the use of the word ‘One’ at Collect Prayer: The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments has instructed us that the word ‘one’ is to be avoided because it is in variance with the Latin text which reads ‘Deus, per omnia secula seculorum’. (.....God, forever and ever).

 

Family Praying for 20 People: This proposal to gather the 20 people at Christmas for whom our parish families have been praying (Ref. UCPI - United Christian Prayer for India) is postponed for a later date due to covid-19 pandemic.

 

FIAT Mission:  It is organizing a three-month training program for Catechists in Hindi. If there are some young Catholics who are interested in committing their lives to evangelization you may give their names to Fr. Mathew V.C, Vicar General, after obtaining consent from them.

 

Seminar on ‘Fraterlli Tutti’: This Encyclical following the previous one ‘Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis is being widely discussed in many quarters because it deals with relevant issues of interest in the context of our present world scenario. The Archdiocese of Bhopal will organise a special seminar on ‘Fratelli Tutti’ from 23rd to 25th of February 202 for all our diocesan priests ordained after 2010. Hence, all those ordained within the past ten years, may kindly keep themselves free to attend this seminar as a part of their ongoing formation.  More information will follow.

 

 Safe Environment Guidelines: As per the directives from the Vatican every diocese is expected to prepare and submit Norms/Guidelines in order to deal with the safety of minors and vulnerable adults in our Churches and institutions. I have already presented to you the summary of these guidelines during our meeting on December 12. The core contents of these guidelines are:

a.       To have zero tolerance to sexual harassment of minors and vulnerable adults;

b.      To address the critical component of its prevention;

c.       To take necessary ecclesiastical disciplinary action against offenders;

d.      To report sexual offenses against minors to civil authorities as required by law;

e.       To respond to the victim/s of sexual offences with care and compassion;

f.       To ensure an appropriate mechanism with necessary infrastructure and time bound procedures to deal with the cases of sexual offences.

We shall have another discussion on the mechanisms for the implementation of the above points on some convenient day toward the end of January 2021.

 

Wishing all of you a very Happy Christmas and a peace filled New Year 2021,

 

With prayers and blessings,

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

 

Pastoral Letter – Christmas 2020

11-Dec-2020

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal -462 001

 

07 December 2020

Pastoral Letter – Christmas 2020

Dear Fathers, Sisters, Brothers & people,

Once again we are in the season of advent and waiting eagerly for the day of Christmas, which reminds us of that holy night that the Almighty Father chose for his Son to be born as a human being on earth.  A night in which the angels sang the song of hope and joy over the sorrows, pains, disappointments and discouragements of humans. The Saviour was born in a situation of uncertainties and hopelessness – the promise of the Saviour was almost becoming a proverb, long years of waiting for a saviour was slowly reaching a point of despair. The religious leaders were more concerned for their own vested interests than for the poor common people, the anarchical days of king Herod and his family had created days of lawlessness in the country, pain and disappointment of Joseph and May on being rejected by the innkeepers and at the shame of giving birth to their beloved son in a cattle shed was unfathomable. In the midst of these, the angel comes with the message of hope and joy, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people; to you born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11). Hence, of all the messages of Christmas, perhaps, the most comforting one is that our God does not close his eyes at the sufferings and cries of His people; rather he comes to us as Immanuel, to be with us, to console us, and to share our grieves and sorrows.

Mother Mary echoes this unshakable belief when she sang, “He has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy” (Lk 1:54). Hence, it is also an assurance and sign that the mercy of God will lead us, In spite of our waywardness and sinfulness. Again, it is in this atmosphere of ‘darkness’ of poverty, exploitation and ‘hopelessness’, the angels sang to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours” (LK 2:14), signalling thereby that the new born child will wipe everyone’s tears away, for he is our Saviour.

Dear brothers and sisters, we too are in an almost similar situation due to Covid-19 pandemic as we approach Christmas this year. This pandemic has affected humanity in an unprecedented way and never before has the humanity faced such a global catastrophe. Of the 67 million affected people, about 43 million have recovered, while 1.54 million have died. What is much more, many have been made jobless, causing thereby much suffering and pushing into poverty many more millions. It’s here that the message of Christmas should become meaningful. The first Christmas changed the situations and perceptions of Joseph, Mary, and of the shepherds, because they believed in a divine plan. This is what should happen to each of us if we to believe in and surrender ourselves to God. Humanity survived many epidemics and pandemics by their belief in and surrendering themselves to God. Hence the challenge of this year’s Christmas to our humanity that is steeped in selfishness and ego is to look beyond their material existence to the divine dimension. The psalmist expresses this unfailing trust in God when he states, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. … Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me” (Ps 23:1,4a). This is the type of trust that we need to have during these testing times. Let us open ourselves to the examples of Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. Let us remember always that our boat of life may be threatened by winds and waves, but the Lord who is Emmanuel, is with us always in the boat.

Looking for the silver linings in the pandemic, Pope Francis advises the humanity in ‘Fratelli Tutti’ that ‘no one can face life in isolation’ and so the time has come ‘to dream … as a single human family … [as] brothers and sisters all’ (FT 8) to build a better, more just and peaceful world through fraternity and friendship. This was the purpose of Christmas; - the Lord’s coming into this world. May our Saviour born to us a babe enable each one of us to realise his mission of establishing the Kingdom of his Father here on earth.

Let the light of Christmas fill us all, let its hope, strengthen us to face all eventualities of life, and, let us prepare ourselves so that Jesus be born in our hearts.

With the blessings of Christmas and a grace filled 2021,

Yours in our Lord,

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Cir. Spl.2/1120

04-Dec-2020

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal -462 001

 

30 November 2020

Cir. Spl2/1120

To

All Priests, Brothers and Sisters,

Archdiocese of Bhopal

 

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Lord and wishes for a blessed Season of Advent, a time to  prepare for historical incarnation to be with humans. Hence, it is a time of expectation and hope. In the present times of Covid 19 pandemic, we certainly need the qualities of mind and heart to understand and accept what God wants to communicate to each one of us and to the world at large.  In practical terms this Advent and coming Christmas could be quite different from the traditional ones. All the same, let our spiritual preparations and the consequent effects on us should be positive. 

 

I write these notes in continuation with my last communication to you (ref. Cir.Spl/1120 dated 26 November 2020). Here I wish to notify to all of you, but especially our parish priests and institutional heads to be aware and make others aware of the points of instructions contained in the letter of Dismissal in Poenam inflicted by the Vatican on Anand Muttungal. Kindly note that the Decree of Dismissal in Poenam has the following instructions:

Along with the ‘Dismissal in Poenam’ of Anand Muttungal (Joseph M.T) the Supreme Pontiff also “graciously grants the dispensation from all obligations arising from the Sacred Ordination according to the following conditions:

The dismissal and dispensation take effect from the moment of the decision by the Holy Father” (from 22 October 2020 in this case). It is to be noted that:

 

a.     A dismissed cleric automatically loses the right proper to the clerical state, as well as ecclesiastical dignities and offices: he is no longer bound by the other obligations connected with the clerical state;

b.     He remains excluded from the exercise of sacred ministry, with the exception of those circumstances mentioned in canons 976 and 986 #2 and therefore, he should not give homilies, nor discharge any leadership functions in the pastoral field;

c.      Similarly, he should not carry out any function in seminaries or equivalent institutions of higher education that are in any way dependent upon ecclesiastical authority;

d.     He should not teach any discipline which is properly theological or closely connected with it in any institute of higher education, whether it be dependent upon ecclesiastical authority or not.

e.     He cannot function as lector or acolyte, nor distribute communion anywhere.

At the same time, the dismissed cleric is earnestly exhorted to take part in the life of the People of God in a manner consonant with his new state of life, to give good example to others, and thus to show himself a proven son of the Church.

 

I note these above points so that you may communicate/announce the pertinent ones to the faithful of your parish/institution in order for the faithful to take cognizance of the same.

 

As in the first communication, here too I, hereby, request everyone to pray for our brother Anand Muttungal so that he may make a positive decision to amend his ways and recommit himself to serve the Lord in the light of truth uprightness.

 

Wishing you blessing of the Lord for a meaningful Advent Season,

 

Sincerely in the Lord,

+Leo Cornelio SVD,

Archbishop of Bhopal

 

 

Cir. Spl/1120

01-Dec-2020

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal -462 001

 

Cir. Spl/1120

26 November 2020

My Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

In the Gospel of St. Mathew (18/15-17) Jesus tells us: “if your brother sins again you, go to him and show him his fault. But do it privately, just between yourselves. If he listens to you, you have won your brother back. But if he will not listen to you, take one or two other persons with you so that every accusation may be upheld by the testimony of two or more witnesses, as the scripture says. And if he will not listen to them, then tell the whole thing to the church. Finally, if he will not listen to the church, treat him as though he were a ..... .”

Now, with regret and pain I wish to formally communicate to everyone that by an official decree from our Supreme Pontiff Pope Francis, dated 22 October 2020, Anand Muttungal (Joseph M.T) of the Archdiocese of Bhopal, has been “dismissed in poenam from the clerical state and dispensed from all his clerical obligations, including that of celibacy.”

It is to be noted that the decision is final and there is no appeal against this ‘decision of the Holy Father’.

Most of you are well aware that for the past ten years or more I/we have made every effort to win/bring him back and reintegrate him into our priestly communion, which turned to be an ‘exercise in futility’. Let us earnestly pray that he may gracefully accept this decision of our Supreme Pontiff and make a positive turn in order to begin a new chapter in his life.

With appreciation for your prayerful support and imploring God’s blessings on all of you,

Devotedly in the Lord,

 

+Leo Cornelio SVD,

Archbishop of Bhopal

World Mission Sunday – Sunday, 18 October

14-Oct-2020

 

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal -462 001

 

13 October 2020

World Mission Sunday – Sunday, 18 October

Dear Fathers, Sisters, Brothers & Faithful,

As I mentioned in my last letter of 30 September, 2020, in spite of the financial constraints faced by all of us due to Covid-19 pandemic, let us celebrate this year’s Mission Sunday on the scheduled day itself, that is, on Sunday, 18 October. In fact, this can be more meaningful as we share for others from whatever little we have.

Since the posters, calendars and envelopes from the National Pontifical Office have not yet arrived due to the irregular transport system, we have ourselves printed envelopes which will be distributed to the parishes and institutions. You can give them to each family ‘so that they can make whatever offerings they are able to’ and hand it over to the respective Parish Priests/ Superiors until 25 October 2020. The said envelops are given to the Parish Priests  and religious communities as well so that everyone can be part of this mission.

Choosing the theme, ‘Here am I, send me’ (Is 6:8) for this year’s Mission Sunday, Holy Father Pope Francis, well aware of the ‘suffering and challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic’, reflects that ‘the missionary journey of the whole Church [should] continue in the light of the words found in the account of the calling of the prophet Isaiah: “Here am I, send me” (6:8). Although the Church and the whole humanity is ‘caught off guard’ by this pandemic like the apostles on the boat (Mk 4:35-41), let us not forget that the Lord is ever present with us. Pope Francis tells us that we may be ‘frightened, disoriented and afraid. Pain and death make us experience our human frailty, but at the same time [these should] remind us of our deep desire for life and liberation from evil. In this context, the call to mission, the invitation to step out of ourselves for love of God and neighbour presents itself as an opportunity for sharing, service and intercessory prayer. The mission that God entrusts to each one of us leads us from fear and introspection to a renewed realization that we find ourselves in precisely when we give ourselves to others.’

He concludes that ‘the celebration of World Mission Day is also an occasion for reaffirming how prayer, reflection and the material help of your offerings are so many opportunities to participate actively in the mission of Jesus in his Church. The charity expressed in the collections … is aimed at supporting the missionary works being carried out in my name by the Pontifical Mission Societies, in order to meet the spiritual and material needs of peoples and Churches throughout the world, for the salvation of all.’

Hence my dear Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and our faithful people of God, let us make the coming Mission Sunday as day to reflect and pray for the World mission as well as our mission in the world starting with our own neighbourhood. Let us be generous to share from the little we may have and be sure God will be tenfold generous with us. I would like to invite each one of you to be part of this Mission Sunday in your own unique way and be instrumental in spreading the message of peace and joy among all.

With every good wish and God’s abundant blessings,

Yours in our Lord,

 

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

 

 

 

 

Archbishop's Circular -30/09/2020

08-Oct-2020

Archbishop's House, 33 Ahmedabad Palace road, Kohefiza, Bhopal

 
30 September 2020 

To All priests, Religious and Faithful, Archdiocese of Bhopal 

Dear Fathers, Sisters, Brothers and faithful, 

We are well aware of the current situation around us. The pandemic, Covid -19, despite the all-out efforts of the governments and other agencies, is spreading fast. What is more alarming is that the majority of cases are asymptomatic which makes it more alarming and uncontrollable. Hence, after having deliberated on the present reality and having discussed the same with a few others responsible to organize our programs in the Archdiocese, I wish to communicate the following:

1. Annual Retreat for Priests:  It was scheduled to be held during Diwali Vacations but is now differed for a later date, - not earlier than beginning of 2021. Hence, I ask all of you, whatever is your schedule, to join any on-line retreat according to your convenience until the end of 2020. 

2. Laity Retreat, which was tentatively planned to be organized during Dussera vacations will be rescheduled. If time becomes suitable we shall have it during the advent season in preparation for Christmas
3. Mission Sunday, which is scheduled for October 18, should be celebrated as meaningfully as possible, while taking into consideration the present economic situation of the people. You could send envelopes to families, communities and individuals, so that they can make whatever offerings they are able to, even from the little they have (Ref.Lk.21/3). Surely, God looks into our hearts and adequately rewards our generosity! 

4. Chrism Mass: As several parishes are already in need of Holy Oils, we shall celebrate the Chrism Mass on November 04, 2020 at 5.30 p.m. at the Assumption Church. The participation by the religious and laity in this celebration will depend on the circumstances of that time. 

I Count on your understanding and would like to ask you to share the related matters with our religious and faithful in the Archdiocese. 

Thanking you and with assurance of my prayers for God's blessings on each one of you, Sincerely in the Lord, 

+Leo Cornelio SVD
Archbishop of Bhopal 

Circular July

16-Jul-2020

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal -462 001

July 14, 2020

Cir. Jl.

My dear Fathers, Sisters and Brothers,

Greetings and peace!

Much of our discussions conversations today seem to be centred around three issues, namely, Covid19 pandemic which still continues to cause colossal damage to many countries, including India, the growing economic crisis with loss of jobs of millions, and political games our politicians play when they should be concentrating on efforts to relieve the pain and misery of the poor suffering people. In the face of the above preoccupations faith and religion seem to have taken a back seat due to prolonged Lockdowns and places of worship are still out of bounds for most; while for Catholics/Christians the families have become domestic churches that receive spiritual nourishment on-line!

Corona Virus/Covid-19 Effect:Seven years agoPope Francis during a Mass in Lampedusa, an island in Southern tip of Europe, spoke of a “Church that goes forth”, thus affirming that ‘reality can be seen better from the peripheries than from the centre.’ This saying became factual when the abrupt ‘lockdown’ order in the country created a huge ‘exodus’ of millions of migrants as they journeyed to their native land by whatever means they could afford.  Many charitable groups and individuals, including our institutions religious personnel reached out to them in charity remembering the Lord’s saying “Whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers/‘sisters’ of mine, you did it for me” (Mt. 25/31).

Church’s Involvement in relief work – During the critical time of the lockdown the whole Church in India, so also the Archdiocese of Bhopal with her priests, religious and lay volunteers were very much involved in social and medical support to the needy as well as with the distribution of food packets and provisions to the poor, especially the migrants workers moving to their homes. I wish to acknowledge the services as well as financial contribution made by the religious and lay faithful to support the above cause.

‘Places of Worship’ and Eucharistic Celebration in our Churches: Although the churches and places of worship have been open from June 14, 2020, there has been a mixed response from our parishioners and priests as well.  However, things have been gradually moving to normalcy. All are hereby encouraged to strictly adhere to the norms prescribed by the government and local authorities. For the Eucharistic celebrations too, I would advise our priests to strictly observe the rules of social distancing and celebrate with due caution. Now we face a new norm like ‘Sunday Lockdowns’! Though there are valid reasons for it, the Christians are adversely affected by it. I shall clarify this issue with our civil authorities. 

Challenges forour Education Apostolate: One of our seriously affected apostolate due to Corona 19 pandemic education. We are not sure how soon the situation would normalize. Our Education Secretary Fr. Varghese Shiju and I have already sent specific circulars to the Managers and Principals of our education institutions. Kindly follow those directives and make every effort to facilitate the studies of the students on line, videos/apps, etc. Do observe the government norms for collection of fees. The archdiocese has taken the responsibility of extending financial support to the needy schools for the first few months beginning with April 2020. However, if the present situation continues we will have to plan afresh, for which I have already proposed a meeting before the end of August 2020. Let us hope and pray that the pandemic will subside soon and that classes will resume once again!

Appointments/Transfers:

Fr. Arockia Jerald -     P.P., St. Peter’s Church & Teacher at St. Mary’s School

Fr. Roshin Anthony                Asst. P.P. St. Francis Cathedral, Jahangirabad

Fr. Julius Kullu                        Asst P. Priest, St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Barkhera

Fr. Vipin Tigga                        Rector,St. Theresa’s Minor Seminary, Budgery

Fr. Shellmon Antony                      Spiritual Director, K.P.R.P Bhopal (2020-2021)

Fr. Johnny Kannikatt                          Interim Director, Divine Retreat Centre, Kolar

Fr. Alexander Yesudasan       Programme Coordinator, Divine Retreat Centre, Kolar

Fr. Suresh Xalxo                     Asst Priest, Infant Jesus Parish, Vrindavan Nagar &                                                                        Youth (ICYM) Director, Archdiocese of Bhopal

*Fr. Ashok K. Amarlapudi Asst Priest, Bankhedi Station

*Fr. Arockia Suthan                Campus Ministry and Village Apostolate, Tara Sevania

*Fr. Sahaya Santosh   Asst Priest, Fatehpur

 

Note: While congratulating our above three (*)new priests on their being Ordained in the Archdiocese itself due to Covid 19 restrictions, they are being appointed to the respective above mentioned stations for the duration of this academic year. In the forthcoming academic year, if the situation normalizes, they can opt/be sent to a mission where they will have better opportunity for pastoral and sacramental ministry, either within the Archdiocese or in another diocese.

 

RIP Fr. Cyriac James:June 19, 2020 was a sad day for our Archdiocese as we suffered a painful blow by the untimely demise of our priest Fr. Cyriac James, following a short illness. The details on his life and mission are in the obituary read on the 9th Day Eucharistic Celebration held onJune 27 at the Assumption Church. Let’s continue to pray for him!

We also remember in our prayers the following Sisters who have left for their heavenly reward in Year 2020: Sr. Anastasia CSJ on March 06, Sr. Ann Charlotte CSJ on May 29, Sr. Maria Francis FCC on May 29 and Sr. Luke CSJ on June 04. May their souls rest in peace!

Our Sincere Thanks: To Fr. Clement Reymonds who served in our Archdiocese as Formator and Rector at our St. Theresa’s Minor Seminary, Budgery for the past seven years and to Fr. Atul Tirkey who was Asst. PP. Barkhera for over two years. In the name of the Archdiocese of Bhopal I wish to express my deep and sincere appreciation to their congregation and to them for their committed service to this local Church, especially in the area of formation.

Revision of Allowances:  The Finance Committee in the month of March 2020 had proposed revised allowances for our fathers and religious personnel serving in the Archdiocese, as is our triennial practice. However, being sensitive to the present economic crisis faced by our poorand in solidarity with them, especially with our employees/collaborators, after due discussion with the Priests’ Council, the Finance Committee and the College of Consulters,it is decided that we will differ the implementation of it until the end of March 2021.

Thanking you and inviting as well as joining you in prayer so that the Holy Spirit may anoint us with His power during these challenging times,

Fraternally in the Lord,

 

+Leo Cornelio SVD,

Archbishop of Bhopal

Special circular for May 2020

19-May-2020

 

May 09, 2020

To

All Priests/Parish Priests and Religious

Archdiocese of Bhopal      

 

Dear and Rev. Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

 

Greetings of peace and blessings of the Lord!


We started the month of May with the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker or ‘May Day’ as it is popularly known. Normally it is a day of great celebrations all over the world, except this year, in order to bring home the value and dignity of human labour, especially the ordinary labour that sustains the world.    

For our Catholic Church the month of May has further significance since it is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us live this month with gratitude to God for having sustained us with His grace during these days of uncertainty, fear and confusion caused by the Covid -19 pandemic, resulting in the ‘lockdown’ of the whole country and social distancing. In the month of May let us remember to pray the Rosary daily and at the end of the Rosary recite the prayer which our Pope Francis himself has presented to us. Let us beg our Blessed Mother to intercede for us with her Son Jesus, for it is the Lord “who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of. (Eph. 3:20), and who assures us “I have heard you and I will preserve you” (Isaiah 49: 8).

Thomas Halik, a renowned Czeck Intellectual and former Communist dissident, has warned that the temporary closure of Churches due to the ‘corona-virus’ should actually be seen as a ‘wake-up’ call for the very future of Catholicism. In an article for the Christ &Welt supplement of Die Zeit, a major German national weekly, he said that more and more churches would be closed for good in the not-too-distant future, - not because of outside forces like the current pandemic, but because of our unwillingness to reform.

Well, we are quite aware of the pain and suffering of millions of people in India and world over due to the fast spreading ‘Corona-19’ pandemic. But this is also a time where we see the world united to fight against this epidemic. In India we are faced with another crisis, - the plight of the poor, jobless and migrant workers.

In this regard I wish to reiterate my appreciation for the commitment of our religious (CRI), our priests and many lay faithful who have been extending their support to the needy. Many of our institutions and religious congregations have been feeding the hungry, providing food provisions to families, distributing face masks/medical support and cooperating with the governmental and non-governmental social service groups. A huge ‘thanks’ to all of you!

In my previous circular I had encouraged all, especially our parish priests, to keep in touch with our faithful and their families during these days of ‘Lockdown’ and social distancing. With this 3rd round of Lockdown it will be close to two months since we are confined to our homes! We can’t reasonably guess as to when we will be able to come together again as a parish community to pray and celebrate the Eucharist like in former days. However, until then it is imperative for our pastors and pastoral teams to accompany our flocks in their spiritual as well as material needs. While the Pastors should make every effort to keep communicating with their parish families and help them with spiritual nourishment, they should also know about their economic situation and arrange for their basic needs for sustenance. The well-off families may be encouraged to share a little with their poor neighbours. Where this is not possible the pastor should contact one of the members of our relief team – Fr. John P.J. Principal BSSS and Coordinator of the team, Fr. Maria Stephen PRO, and Mr. Shaji Chacko, Director ANWC, who will do the necessary to provide the essential food provisions to the parish from where it can be handed over to the needy. In distant places the pastors themselves may make such arrangement after consultation with one of the above named team members and present the bills for reimbursement.

The CBCI has encouraged every diocese/archdiocese to prepare brief reports of the various ways our Local Churches have reached out to our faithful in their spiritual and material needs within our ecclesiastical confines. Hence, I hereby request you, the parish priests and institutional heads, to prepare a brief report of your activities during this lock-down period, accompanied with some documents, photographs, captions, etc. and send them to the Archdiocesan office until June end. The general details could be as below:

-          Name of the Parish  

-          Name of the Parish Priest & Assistant P.P,  if any

-          Number of families in the parish and number of Religious Communities

-          Number of families reached out by telephone/You-tube/WhatsApp... with spiritual support/sharing, counselling, etc.,

-          Number of families assisted with food, provisions, medical help, etc.

-          Responsibilities shared by the parish council/members in keeping the communication channels active between the Parish Priest, communities of Sisters/Brothers and laity.

-          Ways how pastorally you made use of your time during this ‘lockdown’ period.

Dear Fathers, I wish that you consider the above points as help for your own pastoral and spiritual enhancement and reflect on them as well.

Our Pope Francis has invited all the faithful to recite the Rosary during the month of May and recite the prayer as well. In the same vein he has also recommended and invited believers of every Religion to unite spiritually on May 14, 2020, for a day of prayer, fasting, and works of charity, to implore God’s help for humanity to overcome the corona virus pandemic. I request all our priests, religious, faithful and all our friends to be a part of this special mission on May 14.

Devotedly in the Risen Lord Jesus,

+Leo Cornelio SVD,

Archbishop of Bhopal

Easter Circular - April 2020

24-Apr-2020

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal -462 001

 

Easter Circular - April 2020

Dear Fathers, Sisters and Brothers,                                                                   

Greetings of peace in the Risen Lord and Joy of the Season of Easter!

We realize that the Holy Week and Easter 2020 will go down in history as unique with so many plusses and minuses that each of us can deduce from our individual experiences. However, we would surely agree that such experiences ‘should’ be rarest of the rare!

I came across a WhatsApp conversation between a devil and God in the context of Covid-19.  The Devil says: “Look, I closed all your big Churches!” and God smilingly responds: “Well, I opened numerous small (Domestic) Churches.” How true! Most of our faithful, I am sure, have had opportunities to participate in the Holy Week and Easter celebrations of their choice which were telecast live-stream through different channels and you-tubes. This could be a new way of being Church going back to the apostolic times. Acts 2/46 says; “Day after day they met as a group in the Temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts, praising God, and enjoying the goodwill of all the people.”

Yes, the ‘Lockdown’ experience has provided many of our Catholic families the opportunity to spend time with their own families, to pray, to ‘break bread’ together and to share the Word of God, narrate their own stories and laugh and joke read and study. For many this could have been a rare and unique opportunity to experience closer family bonds. Of course, the challenge might have been the monotony and boredom which could well be overcome through creative and innovative activities, taking interest in hobbies. andsharing prime time with the loved ones. It is certainly important to stay positive!

Corona Virus – Covid-19 has, according to many experts, changed our mindset drastically.  Some wonder if the future world would be same again. But human beings learn to adapt themselves the new situation quickly enough if only they are rightly motivation. The Lord helps those who are willing to stand the test. Of course, while this prolonged Lockdown has resulted in deepening of family ties and improvement of nature or environment, one of the serious challenges being faced in our country is on the economic front. This certainly needs to be addressed urgently.

Our Christian Response:In the above context I would like to invite all our Parish specially parish priests as well as religious and faithful to reach out to the poor/needy people/families in your parishes and people in your neighbourhood in a spirit of charity. The Parish Priests should kindly keep in touch with their parish family through all available means of communication even though there is no possibility of direct contact with them.They should be encouraged to spend time usefully while setting aside a part of the day for family prayer, reading of the Bible, catechism for children etc., besides keeping in touch with their studies on line and making use of the time in a constructive manner.

Collaboration with the Government: On the request of responsible government officials entrusted with the responsibility I contacted Sr. Regis CSJ, the President of the CRI in Bhopal and together with our MPSS we were able to mobilize a volunteer group of over 65 religious, priests, also lay faithful to carry out a survey work in containment areas. I wish to appreciate the enthusiasm of so many of you who, without counting the potential risks involved came forward to assist in the efforts of the government.

Equally serious and challenging for India is the situation of millions of labour class people and/or migrant workers. I am well aware that many of our institutions and religious communities are going out of their way to assist the needy people with food/provisions, masks, medical help, etc. This certainly is the essential basic service we as followers of Christ are expected to offer. I would ask our parish priests to make sure that as long as the Lockdown lasts no family goes hungry or lacks its basic need. If there is need for finances and/or provisions kindly contact the Mr. Shaji Director of ANWC or Fr. Maria Stephen our PRO. Kindly call them on their mobiles

For you to Realize!:Kindly allow me now to divert your attention from the above. While the whole world is fighting against ‘Covid-19, many of you, especially priests seem to have been receiving ‘WhatsApp’ messages and communications from two fence sitting ‘Knights in arms’like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza (whatever you name them!).They seemingly operate in tandem through electronic media and, very likely... through anonymous letters as well! Kindly be aware of these highly frustrated individuals who rant and try to spread their ‘viruses’ through cleverly invented post-truths (lies and more lies!). They seem to have mastered this art from the secular/political world. Most surely know their background!Interestingly enough, as Kahlil Jibran writes: Each of them behaves like ‘two men’; “one is awake in the darkness, the other is asleep in the light”.

Hence, let us sympathize with them. In spite of all my/our efforts I/we could not bring them to the ‘fold’. Yes, as shepherds we are commanded by our Lord to go after the lost sheep; but then, we know well that people are not sheep that could be shepherded easily! Even Jesus could not save Judas from perdition! However, while continuing with our limited human efforts we shall pray for the intervention of the Risen Lord, the true ‘light of the world’. May He open their eyes and minds so that they may perceive the truth and that‘truth would make them free’ from the clutches of evil! Kindly don’t be worried if they continue to mail further ‘post-truths’ should they persist in their stubbornness and,as a consequence,face further frustration. Kindly also pray for me that I may continue to love them even when they are unlovable! For now let us“forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”- writing! (Lk 23/34).

Wishing you peace and joy of the Easter Season and blessings of the Risen Lord,

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Cir. - April 2.2020

03-Apr-2020

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

Koh-e-fiza, Bhopal -462 001

April 02, 2020

My dear Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and Faithful,

Greetings of peace and mercy of the Lord!

In continuation with the first part of my last circular of March 30, I wish to clarify the direction for the forthcoming Palm Sunday and Holy Week celebrations. 

In the long history of world the humanity perhaps,has never experienced something similar to what the world is experiencing today. It is probably the first instance in the long history of the Church that our Holy Father Pope Francis delivered the ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing in front of an empty St. Peter’s Square. The same Square whichhad always been teeming with life and drew thousands of visitors/pilgrims,as I myself have witnessed many a time, was near empty now! The Pope must have felt so lonely and all alone! This feeling is well echoed by his own reflection as he said: “Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities. It has taken over our lives, filling everything with deafening silence and a distressing void that stops everything as it passes by. We feel it in the air, we notice it in people’s gestures; their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost.” Then he added: “The disciples too felt fear... but “the antidote lies in Christ and the promise of the resurrection as Easter approaches.” Well, yes, let us in all earnest pray and hope that the Feast of the Resurrection and the Easter joy may fill us with renewed hope and divine lightdispelling the darkness that now envelops our country and the world.

Now, without circumventing the ‘Lockdown’ norms prescribed by our civil administration,here is how we can meaningfully celebrate the coming festivals in compliance with the directives issued by the “Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments”(Ref. Prot 153/2020 and 154/2020 dated 19.03.2020 and 15.03.2020 respectively) and the same as further elaborated by the President of the CCBI, Most. Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Daman.

As per the decree from the above Congregation, the Easter Triduum, – the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord,- is celebrated in sequence with the completion ofLent, culminating with the feast of the Pentecost. This chain of celebrations cannot be transferred to a later date. The only change would be that we shall have the Chrism Mass (blessing of the Oils)on a later convenient date.

Given the present critical situation in the countryand keeping in mind the government guidelines on social distancing, sanitation, etc., our celebrations this year should be simple and without physical presence of our faithful. Our Priests, however, are encouraged to celebrate these feasts in respective churches making every effort to observe the dignity of the occasion and following the liturgical forms the Church has prescribed. The timing too could be followed as faithfully as possible.

The Parish Priest should communicate to their faithful and religious communities within their parishes that they should participate in the liturgical celebrations and other devotional acts from their homes through the live-streaming of these celebrations on line. They should come together as a family/community in their homes/convents at the given hours, switch off all other gadgets that might disturb them and switch on the on-line celebration on Internet, television or even radio (where other communication means are not available), and thus join in the celebration with faith and devotion. The faithful may recite the prayers and responses and join in the singing of hymns as well. May our faithful have a rich experience of the Domestic Church, being close to each other within their family and home environments!

Here below are brief guidelines for our priests regarding each celebration:

1.     Palm Sunday: No solemn procession with Palms! The second form given in the Roman Missal is to be adopted in the Cathedral Church and the third form is to be used in our Parish churches and chapels.

 

2.     Chrism Mass:As suggested by some of our priests, we shall postpone this celebration for a later suitable date. If any parish is short of holy oils kindly collect some from your neighbouring parish.

 

3.     The Mass of the Lord’s Supper: The washing of the feet is omitted. The Mass as in the Roman Missal is celebrated by priests in their parishes or, if inconvenient, in any other suitable place, but without many faithful. Priests who are unable to celebrate Mass should pray Vespers of the day.

 

4.     Good Friday: During the liturgical celebration of the Passion of the Lord the universal prayer should specially include the sick and the deceased (from covid-19 specially!). The adoration of the Holy Cross is done by the main celebrant by kissing the cross and then by raising the Cross high for other, if any, to adore it by bowing!

 

5.     Easter Sunday: Easter Vigil Liturgy is to be celebrated (it could be late evening too) in parishes as far as possible, but without many faithful. Pascal candle is lit without blessing of the fire and procession. ‘Exultet’ is sung or recited immediately after. Readings may be reduced as in the Roman Missal.Renewal of baptismal Promises” takes place as in Roman Missal. This is followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

 

Some Important Notes:

 

1. Spirit of the Celebration: Although all these celebrations are held without the usual large congregation we should not miss or minimize the importance of these celebrations. Hence, the faithful are to be reminded of significance of these celebrations, especially the Easter Vigil which is the highlight of all vigils leading us to look ahead with great hope and joy to unite ourselves with the Risen Lord who conquered sin and death. 

 

2. Seminaries/Monasteries and Convents: With small number of members these may be considered as families or units and there can be simple celebrations but keeping in mind the norms of social distancing and avoiding any physical contact.

 

3.  Sacrament of Reconciliation: There is a special directive in this regard from the Apostolic Penitentiary issued on March 19, 2020 which says: Priests are kindly to note that according to Can. 960 individual confession is the ordinary way of celebrating the sacrament. However, grave necessity like imminent danger of death of a large number of faithful would justify general or collective absolution. Our situation is something unique. Imposition of Section 144 by the administration prevents people from coming to the Church and so also for confession. Hence, I suggest to the Parish Priests and all our Priests that you be available to the faithful and religious on all coming days and at any time of the day for individual confession if and when they approach you by visiting the church or make prior appointment with you by telephone.Since our churches are big you can keep a fair distance from the person. Kindly disseminate this information to all in your parish.

 

In spite of these above provisions when the faithful are not able to make their individual confession kindly read well and follow the below paragraph and clarify the same to the faithful of your parish and communities.

 

The Apostolic Penitentiary on the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the current pandemic, after explaining various options states:

Where the individual faithful find themselves in the painful impossibility of  receiving sacramental absolution, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God, beloved above  all things, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (which the penitent is at present able to express) and accompanied by ‘votum confessionis’, that is, by the firm resolution to have recourse, as soon as possible, to sacramental confession, obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (CCC. Nr. 1452).”

 

Keeping the above in mind we should be sensitive to the conscience of our people andencourage them to participate in the Holy Week liturgy with serenity, trusting fully in the compassionate love and mercy of our heavenly Father, about which our Holy Father Pope Francis has so often become very eloquent.

 

Hence, my dear Fathers, I hereby appeal to you, try your best to be close to your faithful. Be available to them through different means of communications, encourage them to keep in touch with the Lord through the reading of the Word of God, recitation of Rosary and other popular devotions. This closeness to the Lord will enhance confidence, the mutual love and understanding in the family. We continue to entrust ourselves to the care of our Blessed Mother who will surely intercede for us with her Son.

 

4. Spiritual Communion: It has been our Catholic tradition that when circumstances prevented one from receiving Holy Communion, one makes an act of Spiritual Communion. It thus increases our desire to receive Jesus in the Sacramental Communion and helps us to be close to him.

 

5.Plenary Indulgence: It has been the tradition in the Catholic Church that Plenary Indulgences were granted to the faithful who, due to no fault of theirs, found themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing and the Viaticum. The present crisis situation is something similar. Hence, the Church prays for such faithful entrusting them to the divine mercy of the Lord by virtue of the communion of saints and grants plenary indulgence to the faithful who are on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited prayers like reading of the Holy Scripture or recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the Way of the Cross, or recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to implore for relief to the world from this epidemic. (Ref. Enchiridion indulgentiarum Nr. 12)

 

May we entrust ourselves to the mercy and compassion of our Heavenly Father who knows the present crisis situation in the World and in our own country. During this forthcoming Holy Week and Easter let us  specially pray for the healing of the world.

 

Wishing all of you abundant blessing of the Lord for a meaningful Holy Week and a joy filled Easter,

 

Devotedly in the Lord,

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

 

 

 

 

Cir. - March 30.2020

03-Apr-2020

Cir. - March 30.2020:  

Our Christian Social Responsibility in Time of Crisis:

My dear Fathers, Sisters and Brothers,

Though the present critical situation, brought about by the ‘Coronavirus’ or ‘Covid-19’, does not permit us the joy of meeting and sharing as in former times, there are so many other channels of communication through which we can share our views and concerns, our joys and hopes. The fact that the whole country is under lockdown until April 14, was the best option for such a populous country to ‘break the chain’ so to say, in order to contain the fast spreading virus. Certainly, the leaders of all political parties as well as all the religious leaders have fully subscribed to this decision for the protection of our people.

However, as we look ahead to the Holy Week and Easter, we realize that the Christians are seriously affected by this total ‘shutdown’ since the forthcoming most significant religious practices/celebrations, namely, the Palm Sunday, the Holy Week and Easter cannot be celebrated with the usual ceremonial solemnity and devotion in churches or open places. Well, while we have to accept this reality as the will of God, this is perhaps the first instance when we can participate in these celebrations in a different way but with renewed spirit and enthusiasm. Hence, I hereby invite all our priests, religious and faithful to celebrate these historical events by making each of our home a ‘Domestic Church’ and participate wholeheartedly in the mysteries of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection together with your families/communities in solidarity and in communion with the universal Church. Also let us remember the poor and suffering people of our Country and those of the whole world.  

I shall explain in detail about it in my next communication that will follow soon and transmit to you the guidelines as given by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments.

In the meanwhile, let us continue and intensify our prayers for God’s intervention in preventing further spread of Covid-19 so that people may once again experience security and peace which are certainly ‘gifts’ from the Lord.

I now wish to draw your attention to the consequences of total ‘Lockdown’ which have directly impacted the poor daily wage earners and labour force in our country. Loss of job and lack of earning has resulted in mass exodus of migrant workers from cities to their native places.  Most of you have perhaps seen images of hundreds of thousands of these people facing serious hardships while moving out to their villages. Perhaps this was not anticipated and as a consequence the crisis situation has aggravated which needs our urgent attention.

As one economist has pointed out, India is now fighting two big battles simultaneously, - the battle against Covid-19 and the economic battle. Though the Finance Minister has announced certain relief measures, how it will eventually ease the situation is anybody’s guess

I have been approached by responsible authorities to support the efforts of the government. Yes, we shall extend our support through our Archdiocesan social arm, the ANWC. I have already discussed the details with ANWC Director Mr. Shaji Chacko and our PRO Fr. Maria Stephen on the methodology for the immediate relief to the deserving poor people who have no means of livelihood. They will coordinate our services to those in dire need.

Hence, in consultation with our Archdiocesan finance committee I have earmarked an initial sum of Rs. 1000000- (Rupees one million) for providing immediate relief to the poorest who have no means of livelihood. I invite likewise all of you, our priests, our institutions, our religious congregations/communities, our staff/employees in schools and colleges, our parishes and parishioners, to contribute whatever amount you wish towards the above cause in a spirit of Lenten charity/sacrifice. The contribution can be made in the name of either ‘Archdiocese of Bhopal’ or ‘Asha Niketan Welfare Centre’. For further information kindly contact Mr. Shaji Chacko (Dir. ANWC)–tel. 75897 0697 or Fr. Edward Francis (Archdiocesan Treasurer) Ph. 94074 6750; or Fr. Maria Stephen(Archdioesan PRO) Ph. 94251 92954.   Kindly take a receipt as well! May this be the generous gesture of our Lenten sacrifice for the poor! In them we are invited to see Jesus himself who has taught us: “What you do to the least of my brothers or sisters you have done it unto me.”(Mt. 25/40)

May we continue to live through the remaining Lenten days and celebrate the forthcoming Holy Week and Easter in a spirit of quiet confidence, believing firmly that the Lord is our Shepherd and we will lack nothing (Ps.23/1-4)!

Fraternally in the Lord, 

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop's Circ. reg. CoronaVirus

19-Mar-2020

To: All Fathers, Sisters, Brothers and our Faithful,

Greetings and God's blessings on this Feast Day of St. Joseph, the foster father of our Lord! Most are aware that the Coronavirus' pandemic has already spread into 145 countries and has infected more than 200,000 people causing death to over 8000 people. Although in India and Madhya Pradesh we are relatively safe, thanks to the strict government monitoring, the coming days could be crucial unless we take serious preventive measures. In a number of dioceses the ecclesiastical authorities have already given certain instructions to their faithful.

Here I wish to officially communicate certain measures you should pay serious attention to:

1. All our faithful are urged to avoid gathering in large numbers for whatsoever reason.

2. Try your best to keep reasonable distances while meeting/conversing and communicating with each other. Preferably greet each other with a polite "Namaste", also at mass!

 3. Kindly pay special attention to your personal hygiene, your homes and cleanliness of your surroundings

4. Till the end of this month, in keeping with the directions of civil authorities, I exempt the Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese of Bhopal from the obligation of attending Sunday Eucharist. Masses could be celebrated in small groups with due care and sensitivity.

5. Parish Priests may increase Mass frequency for the faithful to participate in small groups.

6. Eucharistic celebrations may be simple with less singing and short homilies, if any.

7. Senior citizens and those suffering with cold, cough or week medical conditions are advised to stay away from these spiritual celebrations.

 8. Instead, they should spend time in prayer, Bible reading, reciting of Rosary etc. in their homes together with their families.

 9. Those who stay home may, if possible, follow the Eucharist on You-tube or Television.

10. A special prayer is being prepared for use in our communities, parishes and institutions.

 11. In addition to Bible reading, personal prayers and reflection you could pray the very meaningful psalms 23, 91 and 18,

The above instructions are to be observed until March 31, after which you will receive further information.

While we continue with our Lenten observances of prayer, fasting, penance, and charity, let us raise our hearts, minds to God in a spirit of self surrender so that the Lord may relent and bring healing to all, especially the poor, the sick and the suffering. With my prayers and blessings to all of you and entrusting myself to your valuable prayers,

Fraternally in the Lord, 

LE0 CORNELIO SVD 

Archbishop of Bhopal

CHRISTMAS - 2019

07-Dec-2019

CHRISTMAS - 2019

Dear Fathers, Sisters  & Faithful in Christ,

With the greetings of ‘glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours’ (Lk 2:14), the feast of Christmas, the birth of our Lord as a human being, is once again fast approaching. Christmas brings to our mind many things such as crib, Carrols, greeting friends and relatives whom we might not have contacted for some time, and coming together of families.

Jesus came into this world as a sign and source of blessing for us (Cf. Eph. 1:3-14). Hence in this holy season I encourage you to reflect on and actualise how I can be a blessing to others. For this I wish to suggest the following: 

1.   The easiest way would be by praying for others, especially during the Mass, or by visiting the Blessed Sacrament whenever possible, and if both are not possible, by taking some time off during the day to say a small prayer for others. The Holy Mass is the best means to relate ourselves to God, and to receive abundant blessings for us and for others as we encounter Jesus in the Holy Eucharist in a special way. Hence let us make special efforts to participate in the Holy Mass in the remaining days of this holy season of Advent.   

2.   The Catholic tradition has always recommended the virtue of mortification as a worthy discipline for our spiritual growth. Mortification is voluntarily ‘putting to death’ our vices, sinful inclinations and habits, and self-centred tendencies in order to become holy and innocent. It is expressed visibly by denying ourselves of certain desirable things, especially some food items, that we like most and helping the poor with what we have saved. As Pope Benedict reminds us “freely chosen detachment from the pleasure of food and other material goods helps the disciple of Christ to control the appetites of nature, weakened by original sin, whose negative effects impact the entire human person.” (Lenten message, 2009).

3.   By becoming more eco-conscious. We are at the verge of an ecological crisis. Unless all of us put our hands and heads together, the day is not far when we will have to face an ecological catastrophe. The truth is that each of us can do something like deciding to not use non-renewable plastic, to save energy, not to waste food etc. In order to avert such a human made disaster.

4.   By spending more qualitative time with our family and friends. If our parents or brothers or sisters are staying far away from us, let us visit them, and if that is not possible, invite them to our homes and share with them our joys and sorrows, dreams and aspirations. Let us remember always that what really matters is not what we have amassed but how deeply and intimately we have shared or related with others, especially with our dear and near ones.

5.   Let us become aware that it is not having but being - who really we are - that really matters. Hence instead of making ourselves slaves of things ‘that exist today and disappear tomorrow’ (Cf. Ps 103:15), let us gather up things that will never fade (Cf. Mt 6:19-20).

In this manner, let us become a sign of blessings to others and build our own little cribs in our hearts and families and pray to the Baby of Bethlehem to be born in them. Let us resolve to reach out to as many people as possible, be they our relatives or neighbours or strangers or, be they people in orphanages or old age homes, and share with them the joy that our Lord has come to give us life and to share with us his love, peace, compassion and forgiveness. And ‘may the God who is the giver of true peace make you completely his, and keep your whole being, -spirit, soul, mind, and body,- free from all faults, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Thess. 5:23). 

With my prayers and Christmas wishes,

+ Leo Cornelio, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Archbishop's circular regarding Evangelization

04-Sep-2019

Dear Rev. Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and Faithful of Archdiocese of Bhopal,

Praise the Lord!

The Universal Catholic Church celebrates October 2019 as the Special Missionary Month. Our Pope Francis has called on all the Baptized to be sent to evangelize, to share the message of love, mercy and compassion of Jesus Christ.

The Archdiocese of Bhopal has been motivating the priests and religious and the faithful to take the mission of sharing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ in a more focussed and tangible manner. There have been two rounds of seminar on Evangelization in all the four deaneries of Archdiocese to drive home the need and importance of evangelizing the people with whom we live. I am glad to note that there was a growing interest among the priests and religious towards evangelization in these seminars.  The sessions were lively with many questions, clarifications, group discussions and reporting.

These sessions culminated with a three-day seminar on Evangelization in collaboration with CMI St. Paul Province, Bhopal at Pastoral Centre in which six resource persons who are grass roots level Evangelizers shared their enriching and challenging experiences of sharing the message of Jesus with those who do not know the Lord.

All our Commissions in the Archdiocese have taken up Evangelization as its theme for this year. They with their efforts in all the parishes and communities should further prepare themselves to celebrate October as Special Missionary Month with various activities aimed at sharing the Gospel message of Jesus in the society at large. 

The Commission for Evangelization has come up with a few valuable suggestions which could be tried out at different levels to spread the good news of Jesus Christ among the teaming millions of India.

The Archdiocese shall appoint catechists in rural parishes and mission centres to give further impetus to the mission work. In those mission centres where there are no catholic families, it shall be the endeavour of the Archdiocese to appoint two or three catholic families to live there. These will be financially supported by the archdiocese involved in the mission of sharing the message of Jesus.

There will be at least on one Sunday in a month in all the parishes should have healing prayer session either before or after the Sunday mass. The faithful should themselves participate in it and invite their neighbours, friends or acquaintances for these healing sessions.  These sessions can last for any adoration as per the availability of time and need of the group that participates.

One of the components of the ‘Action Plan’ that emerged after the three-day Seminar at the Pastoral Centre, was that each Parish / Community shall make a contextualized concrete action plan for evangelization in their area and execute them. The Commission for Evangelization has shown its readiness to assist the parishes / communities to formulate a contextualized concrete action plan of the parish / community for evangelization. I strongly recommend the members of the Commission for Evangelization to visit the parishes / communities to assist them to come up with a workable concrete plan for evangelization.

Needless to say, evangelization has to start with oneself. Without being a person of prayer and interiority, which is reflected in one’s behaviour and dealings with others, we cannot become effective messenger of Jesus Christ. Our changed socio-political situation calls for a mission strategy based on prayer and healing; and mutual sharing of as well as living the message of Jesus Christ. Let us acknowledge that it is ultimately the Holy Spirit who is the agent of evangelization. We are only effective instruments in his hands.

With Fraternal Blessings

Yours in Our Lord Jesus Christ,

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Pastoral Letter for M.P. Region

08-Jul-2019

Pastoral Letter for M.P. Region
Extraordinary Missionary Month - October 2019

Your Excellencies, Rev. Major Superiors, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, and faithful, Greetings of Peace !

Responding positively to the call of the Holy Father Pope Francis to celebrate the month of October 2019 as an Extraordinary Missionary Month (EMM) to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV's Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, let us make this month a memorable one in our region. The call of the Holy Father is a response to Jesus' command to his disciples to "go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to whole creation" (Mk 16:15). This mandate of the Lord is not an option for the Church, but it is her 'essential task', for, the Church 'exists in order to evangelise' (LG 48, AG 2). Hence the Holy Father has aptly phrased the theme for the month as 'Baptized and sent: The Church of Christ on mission in the world'. Convinced that 'missionary outreach is paradigmatic for all the Church's activity' (EG 15), he exhorts us to place 'the mission of Jesus at the heart of the Church, making it the criterion for measuring the effectiveness of her structures, the result of her labours, and the fruitfulness of her ministers'.

To help us in the preparation for and in the celebration of the EMM, the Holy Father specifies four important dimensions that we need to focus upon: 1. A personal encounter with Jesus living in his Church in the Eucharist and sacraments, in the Word of God, and in personal and common prayer; 2. Testimony of missionary saints and martyrs, sharing of our personal experience of Jesus with others, and proclaiming the love of Jesus to others; 3. Missionary formation by forming and empowering laity for evangelization, emphasis , on mission at all levels of seminary formation, ongoing formation of priests and religious with missionary focus, and engaging laity in direct mission; 4. Missionary charity by giving missionary animation to all categories and groups in the Church, by renewing the missionary fervour of the Church and for pastoral activities, and by making our institutions as centres of proclamation. Although the above dimensions are self explanatory, I wish to suggest a few points so as to make our preparations and celebration of EMM more effective. Let us devote the first four weeks of October by reflecting upon and putting into practice the four dimensions that the Holy Father has suggested. In the first week, starting from Sunday, 29th of September, let us strive to meet and experience personally Jesus present in the Church by attending regularly/daily the Eucharist, by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation more frequently, by reading and meditating daily the Word of God individually and in our families, and by spending every day a few minutes in prayer. In these ways lets us meet and experience the Lord who is with us always (Mt 28:20). In the second week, starting from Sunday, the 6th of October, let us familiarise ourselves with those thousands of saintly men and women, especially those of India like St Thomas, the apostle, St Francis Xavier, St John Britto, St Alphonsa, St Chavara, St Mother Teresa, Blessed Rani Maria etc., to see how they witnessed Jesus in and through their lives and what we can learn from them. Let us know for certain that the best way to witness our faith is by our life itself. The saints too tell us the same. Besides, the identifying mark of a Christian is love —`Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples'. On 13:34-35). Let us then make this great command of the Lord real' in our lives and share it with others, and become thereby his true disciples. As the Holy Father put it, "in virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt 28:19). All the baptised, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelisation, and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelisation to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients. 

The new evangelisation calls for personal involvement on the part of the each of the baptised" (EG, 120) Hence in the third week of the month, let us catechise and reflect on our call to be a missionary, and seek ways and means to realise it in our life context. In the fourth week, the Holy Father asks us to reflect on the very purpose of Church's existence. The Church is the 'universal sacrament of salvation' (LG 48) and so 'by its very nature the Church is missionary' (AG 2). Hence all the activities of the Church, whatever they are, must realise this inherent nature of the Church. We are involved in many activities, but are they really means of realising the end of the Church for which our Lord founded it? If not, how can we make them so that we become true to the intention of the Lord. If yes, how can we make them even more effective so that there might be formed one people who would acknowledge Jesus and serve him in holiness? (LG 9) In this regard, I wish to call upon all those who are entrusted with the care of our people through various missionary apostolates to be innovative in preparing and motivating all. After having reflected and celebrated the month in our respective communities, institutions, parishes, deaneries, and dioceses, let us come together in Indore on Sunday, 27th October, representing our respective ecclesiastical units as true disciples of the Lord to bear witness to him. May Mary, the Star of Evangelisation, help and accompany us in our endeavour.

 

+ LEO CORNELIO, SVD

 Archbishop of Bhopal

 

Cir. 03/74

27-Apr-2019

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL

 

  April 25, 2019

        Cir. 03/74

 

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

 

Christ is Risen, Alleluya! Let us rejoice and be glad!

I wish all of you a very happy Easter and abundant blessings of the Risen Lord! Christ’s message after he rose from the dead was, “Peace be with you!” Yes, this is an invaluable gift we can pray and work hard for. Another tragedy has struck humanity in the form of terror attack on people in Churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. While the Bible reminds us that God created us in His image we see, at the same time, that Human meanness has no limit. Some misled elements stoop so low that upright or right thinking people have to bury their heads in shame. We pray for the victims of this terror act. We also pray, in a Christian spirit, for conversion, of hearts and minds, of the perpetrators of such heinous acts.

 

Prayer for the Victims of Terror Attack: The President of the CCBI, Most Rev. Philipe Neri Ferrao, the Archbishop of Goa and Daman has, on behalf of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, proposed to all our Arch/dioceses to observe forthcoming Sunday, 28th April 2019, which is Divine Mercy Sunday, “to pledge our closeness and solidarity with the victims of the multiple bomb blasts that took place in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.”  Let us, in all our Churches and institutions reserve a time for adoration and special prayers for peace and harmony among all people. Where possible, you may organize inter-religious meetings and candle-lit processions.   

 

Parliamentary Elections: Now, as our whole country is in the election mode we must pray hard that the electioneering as well elections themselves will take place in a peaceful atmosphere without serious tensions or conflicts of any kind. We know well how some of the candidates try to polarize people on the basis of caste, class and religion. We need to earnestly pray that the Lord would inspire all our citizens to make effort to caste our valuable votes; and vote for the candidate who stands for the unity, equality, fraternally and peace as well as progress of our country in the true spirit of our Constitution.

 

Priestly Ordination: On May 04 our deacon Roshin Antony will be ordained to the Priesthood in his home parish St. Antony’s Forane Church, Valiyathura, Kerala. We from the Archdiocese congratulate him and pray for him.

 

Transfers: Here is the much awaited list of transfers and appointment. Of course, practically all of you have been consulted in this matter, though all of you may not have received exactly what you have wished for. All the same, be assured that the Lord will bless you and make you happy in the place and position that has been assigned to you. I certainly appreciate your openness in dialoguing and your willingness to accept the respective assignment.

 

Transfers  and Assignments  --   2019

                                                            

Fr. Arul Samy                                                 P.P, H.Cross Ch.,&  Mngr School                                     Fr. Abraham Michael                                     P.P, Christ the King Ch.,Bairagarh

Fr. Cyriac James                                            P.P, St. Peter’s Ch. & Mngr Schools: Pipariya & Sohagpur

Fr. Francis Scaria                                           P.P, Lourde Mata Ch. & Mngr Sc. Sehore

Fr. Joy Thomas                                              Seoni Malwa,Stn in-Charge

Fr. Tomy Joseph                                             Avalikheda, Stn in-Charge

Fr. Thomas Panackal                                      Abp House - Land, Audit, Commissions. in-ch.

Fr. Ajay Ekka                                                  Sohankheda, Stn in-Charge

Fr. Antonius Toppo                                          Fathepur, Stn in-Charge & Mngr School

Fr. Silbirus Tigga                                             P.P, Assump. Ch.,& Mngr H.Med.

 Fr. Parmanand Xalxo                                     Handiya, Stn. In Charge  

Fr. Ronald Cardoza                                         P.P, Q. of the Univ. Kolar & Mngr School

Fr. Michael Sebastian                                     Director, Pastoral Centre & Mngr Co-Ed

Fr. Jonedius Toppo                                         Jawar, Stn in Charge & Mngr School

Fr. Siby Joseph,                                              P.P. Infant Jesus Church, Ayodhya B.pass

Fr. Saiju Antony                                              Icchawar Stn In-charge & School Mngr

Fr. Varghese Shiju                                          Principal, St. Xavier’s H.S.School, Berkhera.

 Fr. Melvin C.J                                                Principal, St. Joseph Co-Ed. & Asst P.P 

Fr. Irudayaraj                                                  Asst. Director, Retreat Centre, Kolar

Fr. Ronald Vaughan                                       Principal, St. Joseph’s Hr. S.Sc.Piparia

Fr. Soosai P.                                                   Principal St. Patrick’s Hr.S.Sc.Sohagpur

Fr. Jomi Panitas                                             P.P, Holy Fam. Hbj & Mngr St. Francis School, Barrai

Fr. Julius Kullu                                                Asst. Bankhedi Mission

Fr. Suresh Xalxo                                            Asst. Inf. Jesus Church, Ayodhya B.pass

Fr. Antony Samy                                             P.P, Sacred Heart Church, Ratanpur

Fr. Paul Raj                                                    Staff, Budgery & Asst ICYM/Youth

Fr. Vipin Tigga                                                Study - Diploma in Formation!

Fr. Kulandai Samy                                          Ratanpur, Assoc. Priest

Fr. Justin OCD                                                P.P, St. Joseph’s Church, Idgah

Fr. Carmel Alexander                                     Studies –Rome (Res.until then S.Sadan)

Rev. Fr. Mathew V.C.                                      Seva Sadan, Director 

Fr. Dilip Minj                                                    P.P, St. Francis Cathedral, J.bad

Fr. Silbirius Tigga                                            P.P. Assumption Ch. Asha Niketan

Fr. Gerald A.                                                   Asst P. St. Francis Cathedral, J. bad

Fr. Jeevan Kishore                                          P.P, Budgery Mission Stn In-charge

Fr. Soundara Rajan                                         P.P, O.L. Lourdes Church, Seva Sadan 

Fr. Naresh Chabathina                                    Asst Priest, Sohankheda Stn

Dn. (Fr).Roshin Antony                                   Mission Pastoral Jabalpur

 

Kindly note: All the transfers/appointments are to be actualized Latest until June 15, 2019! As per our usual practice, the signing of inventory and official handing over/taking over of the Station/Parish/ School should be carried out in the presence of respective Deans and one of the Consulters. When the consulter himself is one of the transferee then the Vicar General and the Dean of that particular deanery should be present. You may kindly decide mutually on the date well ahead of time and consult the Dean and Consulter so that they would be present on the spot at the appointed time.

 

Soon many of you will be proceeding on your well deserved home vacations. I appeal to all our Fathers, both diocesan and religious, to pay due attention to the pastoral need in your respective parish/station and arrange for necessary substitution.

 

Once again, wishing you a joy filled Season of Easter,

 

Devotedly in the Lord,

+Leo Cornelio, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Cir. 03/2019 (73)

04-Apr-2019

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL

April 03, 2019

Cir. 03/2019 (73)

My dear Fathers, Sisters and Brothers, Greetings of the Lenten Season and peace in the Lord!

We have journeyed together during these past weeks of the Lenten Season. These have been days of God's special grace to respond to the invitation of the Lord in order to grow in holiness through the threefold means of prayer, fasting and alms giving/charity. Soon we will enter into the Paschal Mystery through the `Triduum' of our Lord's suffering, death and resurrection.

Here are a few events for the comings weeks and matters of importance to share:

Recollection and Priests' Meeting will be on Tuesday, April 16, at the Pastoral Center.

Chrism Mass will be celebrated at the Assumption Church at 6.00 p.m followed by an agape in the Auditorium of St. Joseph's Co-ed School.

Blessing and Inauguration of the New Seva Sadan Building, Tulsi Nagar, will take place on Easter Monday, April 22, 2019. All are hereby invited for the celebration.

Transfers and Assignments: The priests of the Archdiocese may remember my information during the last recollection regarding the possibility of change/transfer for those who have completed 5 years or more in a given place of assignment. Accordingly, I have already spoken to most of the Fathers who are due for transfer. The finalization of the same will be done in due time. Thanks to all of you for your openness and flexibility in this regard.

Matters to Remember: This concerns the system or order in our institutions, particularly our schools! I wish to clarify that when the Principals/Managers or Parish Priests are on transfer they should not carry out major changes such as making temporary teachers permanent, changing/raising the grade of teachers, raising the salary of the employees, taking new employees except the most necessary ones, etc. Kindly ensure financial and office transparency in your office so that the new person who takes over from you may not face undue pressure or tension due to such acts.

Summer Vacations: Soon after Easter many of you may get into vacation mood. Kindly ensure that the basic pastoral needs of the parish/station are attended to while adjusting your vacation time. Let there be no serious inconvenience to the faithful who wish to participate in the Eucharist and other spiritual exercises in the parish/station.

I take this occasion to wish all of you a very happy Easter and abundant blessings of the Risen Lord, Yours sincerely,   

 

+LEO CORNELIO, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Lent 2019

23-Mar-2019

Lent – 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On Ash Wednesday by applying ash on our forehead, which reminds of our nothingness in the eyes of the Lord, we entered into the holy season of Lent. The basis for these forty days of Lent is the time that our Lord Jesus spent in prayer, fasting and penance before he began his ministry of teaching and healing which culminated in his death on the cross. Hence the focus of this season is the life, suffering and death of our Lord.

The purpose of Jesus’ coming into this world was to redeem humanity from the clutches of sin. As St John puts it, ‘God did not send the Son into the World to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him’ (Jn 3:17). Jesus was always conscious of this mission whichHis Father entrusted to him. Hence, he begins his ministry with the exhortation ‘the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has come near, repent, and believe in the good news’ (Mk 1:15). John the Baptist, the Lord’s precursor, also had similar message of ‘repentance for the forgiveness of sins’ (Lk 3:2) as he began his ministry.

For Jesus, sin was the greatest evil that affected humanity and which alienated humans from God. So he first forgives the sins of the paralytic – ‘son, your sins are forgiven’ (Mk 2:5) – before he heals him of his physical infirmity. To his critics who found fault with him for mingling with sinners and publicans, the Lord’s response was, ‘those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners’ (Mk 2:17). Jesus came to call sinners to repentance, and the Gospels testify his love for sinners, which finds its finest expression on the cross in his words to the repentant thief ‘today you will be with me in paradise’ (Lk 23:43).

The Lord establishedthe Church as a means for saving humanity from the slavery of sin, and her mission is same as that of her Lord. Hence, the call of the Church has always been to reject sin and evil ways. More than seven decades ago in 1946, in his message to the participants of the National Catechetical Congress in Boston, Pope Pius XII had warned the world that ‘the greatest sin in the world today is that men have begun to lose the sense of sin’. Continuing with the same legacy, Pope Francis too cautioned the people when he said ‘when the Lord is absent among men, they ‘lose the sense of sin’ and risk falling victim to ‘Christian mediocrity’. So it is important that we enter into this holy season knowingwhat sin is.

Sin is not just breaking a rule or a law. St John explains it in several ways. First of all, ‘sin is lawlessness’ (1 Jn 3:4).To the question of the scribe,‘which is the first of all thecommandments’,the Lord’s answer was ‘Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ ... and ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself’.(Mk 12:30-31).In other words, sin is refusing to keep the commandment of love of God and of brothers and sisters. Sin, therefore, is hatred, revenge, unforgiving attitude etc.Secondly, sin isrefusing to accept or believe in Jesus as the Saviour – ‘He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him’ (Jn 1:11).Thirdly, sin is refusing to accept Jesus, ‘the true light’ (Jn 1:9), and preferring darkness. Similarly, sin is also being ungrateful to God for the innumerable blessings received from him (Lk 17:11). Sin causes triple injury to a person. It alienates him/her from God, others and from oneself. This is candidly described in the first account of sin in Genesis 3, where after sin Adam hides from God (3:10), on being challenged he disowns his partner (3:12), and both of them do not accept their responsibility (3:13). Hence starting with John the Baptist who presents Jesus as ‘the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (Jn 1:29), the Gospels and the Apostles present Jesus as the Saviour who can forgive sins. (Mk 2:5; Mt 9:2: Lk 7:48)

        Hence, the Holy Father Pope Francis is asking each of us ‘to focus on what is essential’, and ‘to rediscover the direction of life’. (March 6, 2019 – Ash Wednesday Homily). Let us turn to the Lord by trying to understand what sin really does to us. It is the time to put away the old self and be renewed in the Sprit by clothing ourselves with the new self, created in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Cf. Eph. 4:22-24) After listening to Peter, people were truly repentant and when asked what they should do, he tells them to ‘repent, and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven’. (Acts 2:38). During this holy season, let us repent of our sins by listening to the voice of the Lord and return to him by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation. We must also be prepared to ‘bear fruit worthy of repentance’ (Mt 3:8) like Zacchaeus who told the Lord, ‘half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much’. And the Lord rewards him with salvation. (Lk 19:8-9). Likewise, we too must be prepared to make restitution. May the means of prayer, fasting and penance during this Lenten season help us to meet the Lord just the way the Samaritan woman, Saul and scores of others met him and became his followers. Let us reach out to our brothers and sisters especially those who live in the peripheries of our society. Let us open ourselves to the working of the Spirit by constancy of prayer, by reading the Word of God, participating in the Holy Mass, and by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation, and thus become more loving, compassionate, and forgiving.

        Mary was a true disciple of the Lord. May she teach us to be attentive to the will of God by turning away from sin and becoming more open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

With my Easter greetings

 

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

       

 

 

 

Pastoral Letter - Advent 2018

29-Nov-2018

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

P.B. 88, Bhopal -462 001

 

 

Pastoral Letter – Advent 2018

Dear Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and faithful,

Greetings of Peace!

          We have just entered into the holy season of Advent, a time of special preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus as a human. All of us are in need of preparing ourselves to receive the Lord. The more we prepare ourselves, the more we will grow in love and knowledge of him.

          As the Book of Ecclesiastes chapter 3 reminds us God has a ‘time set for everything’. In his time, God sent his Son into the world. He sent his angel Gabriel to Mary to prepare her to be the mother of his son. Similarly, he also prepared Joseph to be his son’s foster father. In other words, their willingness to abide by God’s will and plan made them ‘Holy Family’. The birth of the Lord was a moment of happiness and Good News for all beings in both heaven and earth – ‘glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those he favours’. (Lk 2:14)

          We have four Sundays in the season of advent. In the readings of these Sundays, especially in the Gospel, the ever caring Church presents for our reflection and meditation persons and events that are closely connected with the Christ Event. If on the first Sunday it is a call by the Lord himself to ‘stay awake’, the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist, in the second Sunday is an invitation to us to see and experience a God who is compassionate and who blesses an elderly couple – Zachariah and Elizabeth – who were eagerly longing for a child of their own. This event tells us that if we faithfully persevere in prayer God will fulfil our desire. All the same, coming on to the third Sunday, John tells us that in order to receive the Lord and his blessings we must be ready to make a lot of changes in our behaviour and life. Similarly, on the fourth Sunday, - the visitation to Elizabeth - Mother Mary is presented as the epitome of humility, self-surrender, and, charity for our imitation. In other words, Zachariah, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, and Mother Mary are presented to us as models and guides in our preparation for Christmas.  

          Mother Mary’s fiat or yes to bear him in her womb made the birth of the Saviour possible. Similarly, Jesus wants our fiat to be born in us and in our families. As the Vatican Council reminds us we are the sacraments of Jesus. Hence let’s make ourselves - our hearts, mind, and intellect - as fit instruments for Jesus to be born in us and make ourselves as means of his birth in others.

          How do we prepare ourselves? There are many ways of doing it. Mary was ‘full of grace’ when God chose her to be the mother of his son. Let us also dwell ‘in grace’ by purifying ourselves of every stain of sin through our personal efforts to keep away from sin and by regularly receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation. As our Holy Father Pope Francis once said as we need air to sustain our physical life, so we need prayer to sustain our faith/spiritual life. So during this holy season, let us spend some time in prayer. Let us make our family prayer regular. Let us daily pray other prayers like the Our Father, rosary etc. Yet another way is by attending Mass daily during this holy season. Holy Mass is the most precious gift given to us by Jesus in which he himself comes to us. If all the members of a family cannot attend Mass every day, at least some from the family could participate in it. Millions of people have profited immensely from the Holy Mass. In the gospel of John 15:3 we read Jesus telling his apostles, ‘you have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you’. The Word of God has power to purify us, to make us new creatures, and to help us to change our hearts. The Word is none other than Jesus himself – ‘in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. (Jn 1:1) Let us find time to read and meditate on the Word of God to purify ourselves and to listen to God who wants to speak to us.  

          The Word became a man ‘to take our infirmities and bear our diseases’. (Mt 8:17). We know that there are many around us who are sick, and lonely.  Let us find ways to help and console them during this holy season. As fragile and weak beings we are always targeted by evil. As St Paul himself testified, ‘I do not understand my actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate’. (Rom. 7:15). Hence, we need to overcome, first and foremost, our own evil inclinations and sinful habits within us like drinking, smoking, addiction to drugs, internet etc.

          In short, the more earnestly we prepare ourselves for the advent of the Lord, the more we will grow into the grace and love of God. Let this season of Advent be a time of great happiness and fulfilment for us. May the Lord with his Spirit help all of us to prepare well for this historical event. May our heavenly Mother be at our side with her intercessions. May the Lord be born in our hearts and families and fill us with his love and peace.   

With my Christmas wishes and paternal blessings,

 

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal                                    

Cir. 05/69

19-Sep-2018

 

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL

Sept 14, 2018

Cir. 05/69

 

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings of peace in the Lord!

 

History surely records many events and happenings, Some of these fill us with happiness while others sadden and even shock us. We assess these events to the extent that we are directly or indirectly affected by them. We have just celebrated the feast of the Nativity of our Blessed Mother Mary. Usually it is a solemn and grand feast. However, this year it was celebrated in a modest way in our country because of an unprecedented disaster in our southern state, Kerala.

Floods in Kerala: The floods in Kerala last month, as estimated by experts, were of such magnitude that according to some experts such devastation had not occurred in the past five decades or more. The enormity of the disaster was such that the losses to life and property are still to be assessed. It has attracted much sympathy and support from the people of whole country and even those from all over the world, with the exception of a few fanatics who tried to attribute stupid reasons for such a calamity, thus trying to divide the people on communal grounds. However, the tremendous cooperation and support experienced by the affected people showed that given the challenges, we Indians can rise above the narrow religious, caste and communal divide.

Expression of solidarity through messages as well as material and financial help has been pouring in from many places. We in the Archdiocese too should do something concrete in this regard. I have already dispatched a letter to our parishes and institutions for your financial contribution. Kindly see that you make your contribution latest until the end of this month. It would be advisable that you prepare a draft or cheque for the total amount in favour of either ‘The Archdiocese of Bhopal’ or ‘Asha Niketan Welfare Centre, Bhopal’ and hand it over either to Fr. Edward Francis or to Fr. Jonedius Toppo. Detailed information of the collection will be communicated to you eventually.

Jericho Prayer: In the present context of our country which is passing through difficult times where peace is disturbed due to economic hardships, ‘hate’ campaigns, lynching, atrocities against children and weaker section of people, religious extremism, etc., the Catholic Charismatic group has proposed a systematic prayer campaign to counter this negative culture. The term selected has its source from Joshua Ch. 6/1-21, in which we read the account of the collapse of the walls of Jericho, a strongly fortified city, which the Israelites conquered. So also, this prayer campaign, the Jericho Prayer, is aimed at countering this negative culture creeping in our country resulting in the diminishing of mutual trust among humans. India has been always known for the unity of her people in the diversity of its cultures, religions, languages, traditions, etc. But certain fanatical elements try to break the bridges of harmony and create walls among different segments of people. This tendency has to be countered. The Jericho prayer campaign is meant to break the walls of hatred and spread love and fraternity among all so that the forthcoming elections in the country may be held peacefully and only those leaders be elected who will commit themselves for the progress and welfare of all people in the country, especially the poor and marginalized ones, irrespective of their religion, caste or culture.

The Jericho Prayer journey around all the dioceses in MP will be concluded on September 23 with a day-long adoration concluded with a solemn Eucharistic celebration at 5.00 p.m. All are cordially invited to participate.

Retreat for Laity: On October 19, 20 and 21, there will be a retreat for all lay faithful of our Archdiocese at Assumption Parish grounds, Arera Colony. It will be preached by well known Preacher Fr. Anil Dev IMS and Team. Our parish priests and institutional heads should kindly communicate this information to all, not once but several times, so that maximum number of faithful may participate and draw spiritual benefits. Of course, priests and religious too are welcome to join in or at least frequent the venue as and whenever possible.

For more details regarding the above kindly contact any of these:  Fr. Mathew VC, (94244 55260); Fr. Shelmon Anthony (94254 58077); Fr. Varghese Shibu (89898 14318); Fr. Carmel Alexander (84610 49082).

Mission Sunday: Kindly note that as per our liturgical calendar October 21 is Mission Sunday. However, since that will be the concluding day of the retreat, we shall celebrate Mission Sunday in our Archdiocese on the following Sunday, i.e. October 28. All parish priests and institutional heads are herby requested to inform this to our faithful and communities.

A Saddening Incident:  You must have heard or read in newspapers about the arrest of Fr. George Jacob, who until then, was the parish priest of St. Joseph’s Parish, Idgah. He was bailed out within a few days. However, on account of certain prima facie circumstances I have temporarily suspended him from his priestly ministry and have sent him to a quiet place for prayer and peace. In the meantime a Committee has been instituted in order to make the necessary inquiries about the circumstances as well as background for this incident. Kindly keep him in your prayers.

Pastoral Council Meeting: The next meeting of the pastoral Council is fixed for November 23 and 24, for two full days so that it will help us to get a better and more comprehensive awareness of the pastoral, missionary, social and charitable activities being carried out in the Archdiocese. This occasion will also offer us opportunity for closer interaction and sharing among our laity, religious and priests. There will also be reporting by Archdiocesan Commissions and Deaneries.

Annual Retreat for our Archdiocesan Priests: This year our Archdiocesan Fathers will make their annual retreat in two groups. The first group will go to Attapady and join the retreat there on September 16-21. The second group will have their retreat in Indore on October 14-19. A few have opted out and in from one group to the other due to certain valid reasons. They will ensure that next year they would join the ‘other’ group retreat. As we wish each other a fruitful retreat and much spiritual benefit, we request for the support of prayers from all of you.

Finance Committee: As our Finance Committee has completed its term I had asked you to suggest names for the new finance committee. From the suggested names and viewing the competency of the persons and having obtained their consent I hereby appoint the following team to be the members of the new Finance committee:

Ex Officio: Archbishop, Vicar General, Procurator

Appointed: Fr. Thomas Panackal (convener) Fr. Ronald Cardoza, Fr. Leo Babu; Fr. Jonedius Toppo, Mr. James Mathew (Infant Jesus Parish, Bhopal), Mrs. Mangalmani Xalxo (Holy Family Parish)

(Can. 492 explicitly recommends that expert lay people be involved in the financial and legal matters).

 

Wishing each and every one of you, belatedly though, a very happy feast of the Nativity of our Blessed Mother Mary together with her motherly blessings,

 

Sincerely in the Lord,

+Leo Cornelio svd,

Archbishop of Bhopal

 

Cir. 04/68

26-Jul-2018

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL

 

July 20, 2018

Cir. 04/68

 

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sister,

Greetings of peace in the Lord!

 

June and July are months when the schools and colleges resume their new academic sessions. We are well aware that the Catholic Church is a prominent player in the field of Education. Of course, our aim is to provide quality education. This, in reality, means not exam or result oriented teaching/study but rather, the Character building of our students that takes precedence. The rush in our schools, in fact, is not because of our quality infra-structure but the attention we pay in forming our students to be responsible citizens of tomorrow.

 

But sadly enough, in the current socio-political scenario of our country the freedom and creativity of people is being drastically curtailed by the hurdles placed by civil authorities as well as by the ‘fanatical and extremist’ forces. Every area of our involvement is being perceived with suspicion - be it education, health care, socio development or in the living and practicing of our faith. Today religion is becoming tool for politicians and opportunists grab political leverage by donning religious garbs which is highly deplorable.

 

New Academic Session and Results:

Despite the adverse situation our schools face it is important for us realized that it is the Lord through His grace assists us in our missionary service. The year-long efforts of the staff and students have been amply rewarded. I am informed that most of our schools have obtained very good results. On behalf of the Archdiocese I congratulate the students, staff, parents and management for their single minded efforts which have been amply rewarded.

 

Jericho Prayer and Nationwide Intercession for India:

Though at an opportune time in the near future I intend to send a pastoral letter to the whole Catholic Community, at this juncture I wish to bring to your attention the initiative of our Catholic Charismatic Renewal Team which has called for “One Year of Nationwide Intercession for our Country” together with regular recitation of “Jericho Prayer for India”.

Now, this prayer campaign is directed:

1.      For all people in authority – National, State, District and Village level – that they may understand the will of God and act accordingly.

2.      For the political, spiritual and financial stability of our country.

3.      That corruption, terrorism and all anti-social activities be wiped out from our nation.

4.      That citizens may discern wisely while electing their leaders so that the elected members may practice the virtues of love, peace, tolerance and justice by faithfully adhering to the constitutions of India.

5.      For the spiritual uplift of our Church – that the clergy, religious and the laity, especially the teenagers and youth may become powerful witnesses of the good news by striving for holiness and mission.

 

You will also receive copies of the Jericho prayer which you should kindly pray in every parish and community from now on until June 2019.

 

 

 

Prayer for Priests, Religious and Families:

Some days ago I invited some of priests from Bhopal for an open sharing on how to enhance our spiritual bond with God and with each other, especially in our own respective groups, namely, as priestly presbyterium, religious communities and Christ centred families. Several concrete suggestions were put forth. All agreed that we should prepare a suitable prayer which should be daily recited in our parishes and communities.

 

Extended Archdiocesan Pastoral Council:

Furthermore the group felt that we should enhance this kind of sharing in enlarged group/s. Hence, it was suggested by the participants and later on by the members of our College of Consulters that sometime in the near future, possibly in the month of November 2018, we should organize an Extended archdiocesan Pastoral Council, of priests and representatives of religious as well as lay faithful for a duration of at least two full days and deliberate on various issues concerning the Church as a whole and our own concrete reality as Local Church (Archdiocese). I feel such reflection very meaningful especially from what we experience in our Society in general and the Indian Church in particular. The concrete plan will be chalked out and shared with you in due time.

 

Teaching/Studying of Indian Constitutions:

The CBCI recommends that our students in schools are taught the Indian Constitutions, especially the preamble, so that they become more conscious of their rights as well as duties at all levels to be responsible future citizens of this country. All our Catholic Schools may kindly note this and implement this recommendation.

 

Retreats, Renewal, Recollections and Seminars in 2018-19: 

Like in the previous year our Archdiocesan Commission heads will creatively organize specific programs during the course of the year. All Fathers, Sisters and faithful are encouraged to cooperate by participating in the relevant ones and encourage each other to do so.

 

Annual Retreats for Archdiocesan Priests: As per our understanding about one half of our priests (31+) will be making their retreat at Attappadi (Sept. 16 - 21) and the other half at the Pastoral Centre, Indore (Oct. 14-19). I recommend everyone to pray very specially for our Archdiocesan priests in a very special way during the retreat

 

Psycho-Spiritual Renewal/Seminar:

As a provision for some ongoing personal and spiritual renewal for our Archdiocesan priests we have organized a Psycho-spiritual Course/Seminar of two and a half days each in three batches according to their age/ordination. The first one of this seminar/course was held in June (25-27) for the senior-most group. The same course/seminar for the next two groups is planned for August (27-29) for the middle group and Sept. (06-08) for the junior group. All Archdiocesan priests are expected to participate in the said course/seminar.

 

Educational Assistance to the Poor Catholic Children:

This year we are again delayed in providing financial assistance to our deserving poor catholic children. Kindly collect the names and other required details and send the same to the Archdiocesan office at the earliest.

 

Appointments (in continuation of my previous circular)

Fr. Jeevan Kishore                  Budgery Seminary (name missed by oversight!)

Fr.  Suresh Xalxo                    Fatehpur (to reside at Bankhedi)

 

 

Regents:

Br. Sabin Sahaya                     Karuna Sadan, Idgah

Br. Pankaj Kispota                  Fatehpur

Br. Ajit A.                               Icchavar(For a time!)

 

Karuna Sadan Home for the Destitute:

This is to inform everyone that Karuna Sadan Home for the destitute at Idgah, is now entrusted to the care and administration of the Parish Priest, Fr. George Jacob. We are most grateful to the MST Congregation, especially Fr. Scaria MST, who from its inception handled this Centre and put it on a firm base in his three years of service. Thanks also to Fr. Jose MST for his year-long service thereafter.

 

Finance Committee:

With the month of July 2018 Our Finance Committee, led by the efficient Convener Fr. Ronald Cardoza, completes its term of 5 Years. I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the committed service of all the members to the Archdiocese. Before the College of Consulters deliberate on forming of a new team if you have some names to suggest from among our priests you are most welcome to do so in writing within the next two weeks.

 

New Congregation of Sisters at Babai:

Most of you are aware that since some years the Sisters of the Congregation of PHJC (Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ) were in charge of the School at Babai. Last year they pleaded their inability to continue their services in Babai due to lack of personnel in their newly erected province. After much effort the Sisters of Visitation Congregation (SVC), accepted our invitation and three Sisters, Sr. Anchila (Principal), Sr. Gracious, and Sr. Helen are assigned in Babai. On behalf of the Archdiocese of Bhopal I thank the PHJC Sisters for their 7 years of service to this Local Church and I welcome the SVC Sisters into the Archdiocese.

 

Remember our Sick:

Your prayers are requested for Fr. Siby Joseph who is in the hospital; and for the father of Fr. Jeevan Kishore who is suffering with prolonged illness.

 

Remember the Deceased:

Fr. Sylvanus Tirkey SJ.

Sr. Magdalene CSJ

Sr. Jeromita OSF

Sr. Stacy Francis CSJ

Mr. Cyril Babu, brother of Fr. Shaji Stanislaus

Mr. John, father of Sr. Soumya CMC. We pray for them! RIP

 

With every good wish,

+ Leo Cornelio, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Cir. 03/67

25-May-2018

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL

 

April 28, 2018

Cir. 03/67

 

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sister,

 

It’s already over four weeks since we celebrated Easter. However, the joy of the Lord’s Resurrection does and should continue to fill us with hope, no matter what challenges come our way. This is the true Christian spirit! A few days ago I happened to read a short reflection on Easter as “rejoicing with the Lord in his Resurrection”. It says: “Resurrection is about entering the fire of our passion and letting it burn brightly. It is about what enlivens us and makes us feel vital – releasing fear and anxiety over what is to come, and embracing this moment here and now. Resurrection calls us to experience the full weight and lightness of our physical being, to claim the beauty of our embodied selves, and to let gratitude for these vessels of aliveness overflow”.

This is the fire that all followers of Christ, should continue with in order to experience the true joy of the Resurrection. The new evangelization theme teaches us the threefold method as Pope St. John Paul the II in Evangelii Nuntiandi affirms by stating that the content of the Gospel is the same always but difference should be in the fervour and method which should appeal to the modern human being.

May Day: Soon we are going to celebrate another important event – The ‘May Day’ which is celebrated all over the world as the ‘Workers’ Day’. The Church’s teaching on the dignity of human labour derives from the dignity of human person. In the context of India we see the importance of ‘Labour Day’ from the point of the prevailing plight of the unorganized Workers and unemployment situation which is one of the major cause of crime and disorder in the Society.

World Communication Sunday:  Like every year, this year too, the Church celebrates May 13 as ‘World Communication Sunday’. Our Pope Francis has communicated a message with the theme: “The truth will set you free (Jn. 8/32) with particular stress on “Fake News and Journalism for peace”. The Pope refers back to the theme of communication day message of Pope Paul VI: “Social Communication at the Service of Truth” and explains how fake news distorts truth and misleads people.

Now, Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal, Bishop of Indore and Chairman of the M.P. Regional Commission for Social Communication has suggested certain activities to be conducted on parish level for different age groups a week before the Communication Sunday, i.e., between 7th to 12th of May 2018. Kindly cooperate with our Secretary for Communication and P.R.Office.

Jericho Prayer for India – National Charismatic Office, Delhi, has written a circular bringing to our attention the last CBCI General Body Meeting held in Bangalore on Feb. 07 suggesting that a Nation-wide intercession for the country from May 2018 to May 2019. In this spirit the National Charismatic Service team recommends that in all Dioceses and Regions the “Jericho Prayer” for India, covering all the 174 dioceses be organized with the prayer theme: ABBA, BLESS OUR LAND (ref. 2 Chron. 7/14). More details of the execution of this program will be provided to you in due time. I earnestly invite the cooperation of all the priests, religious and faithful of the Archdiocese in it. Similarly United Christian Prayer for India (UCPI) too is being encouraged so that our country may become more peaceful and harmonious.

Annual Budget Proposals: Our institutions were asked to present, till the end of March, their proposed budget for the forthcoming financial year. Those who have still not presented them are hereby reminded to do so at the earliest, but not later than mid-May, so that the finance committee can duly go through and approve them. Similarly, all our principals, managers and/or institutional heads are reminded that all remunerations/ payments should be contributed towards the Archdiocesan Fund for the Sick and Aged.

Appointments and Transfers: Some seem to have spread the word that there would be no transfers this year! In fact, that was my wish too! However, the need or for one two adjustment of personnel sets in motion a chain movement.  Hence, here are a few necessary appointments and transfers:

Fr. Naresh Cherbattiina           Mission Experience – Jabalpur

Fr. Paul Raj                             Sohankeda – Asst Stn In-charge

Fr. Suresh Xalxo                     Fatehpur  -    Asst Stn In-Charge

Fr. George Stephen                 Sohagpur -  Parish Priest St. Patrick’s Church

Fr. George K. Vazhakala        Shahgunj  - Stn In-charge (New Station)

Fr. Leo Babu                           Harda - Principal St. Mary’s Hr. Sec. School

Fr. Carmel Alexander             Icchavar -  Stn In-charge & Manager Vishwa Jyothi Sc.

Fr. Hermon Kujur                   Kolar - Asst. P. Priest Queen of the Univ. Church

Fr. Stanlin Jerry                       Bankhedi – Stn-In-charge and Manager St. Mary’s School

Fr. Dennis Tigga                     Babai  - Stn-In-charge and Manager, St. John’s Sch.

Fr. Thomas Philip                    USA    Pastoral Work and Studies

Fr. Ishwardas Minj                  Change of Residence to Icchavar Mission

Fr. Sounder Rajan                   Pipariya – Teaching and Assisting the Administration

 

As per our common norm/understanding, the above appointments and/or transfers become effective latest by June 15, 2018, unless specified otherwise in particular cases. The Priest concerned should contact the Vicar General Fr. Mathew V.C and the Dean of the said district at least two weeks before the actual date of handing over and taking over.

 

Notification from the Vatican: We have received a special communication from His Em. Robert Card. Sarah, the Prefect of the ‘Cogregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum’ on the ‘Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. This contains certain directions for the celebration of this memorial on Monday after Pentecost. All parish priests are to take special note of it. A copy of this letter is hereby enclosed for your information and necessary follow up.

Remember our Deceased

·         Most Rev. Abraham Viruthakulangara, Archbishop of Nagpur: Many of us were surely shocked and saddened by his unexpectedly sudden departure. After the Episcopal Ordination in Sagar he had travelled to Delhi for the meeting of the Bishops of Hindi Region. He died by a cardiac in the early morning of April 19.

·         Mrs Lilly Therese, the mother of Fr. Leo Babu

·         Br. Sebastian Azhiyakunnel, SG

 

Wishing all of you peace, joy and blessing of the Risen Lord,

Sincerely in the Lord,

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Lent-2018

12-Mar-2018

Archdiocese of Bhopal

Archbishop’s House

33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

P.B. 88, Bhopal -462 001

Pastoral Letter - Lent – 2018

Dear Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Faithful in Christ,

Much before Alan Menken and Glen Slater made ‘Mother Knows Best’ famous through their song, everyone knew it to be true. Surprisingly, how she does it is also reflected in another popular song which says, ‘with love, with patience, and with faith she'll make her way’ (Natalie Merchant). Nevertheless we are well aware that there are exceptions to it as we are humans. But there is a Mother who knows always what is best for her children. This mother is none other than our Mother Church.

Church is the Sacrament of Christ - His visible presence in the world. So She wishes that all her children be truly the children of God, our Father. Hence, besides the daily nourishments that She provides for her children through Sacraments and other means, she also sets apart seasons, such as Lent, Advent etc - for a deep interior reflection on one’s life here on earth and its purpose as intended by the Creator. Recently we came across the so called ‘untimely’ death of a few celebrities. In the discussions that followed in the media almost everyone was analysing the cause of death as if death was the after-effect of some mistakes committed by them forgetting thereby the fact that one who is born must die one day. Hence what is needed is to become aware of the perishableness and brevity of our life in a context that somehow eulogises material prosperity as the purpose of human life. 

So the question – what are we to do? Holy Father Pope Francis in his Lenten message for this year speaks that ‘the Church, our Mother and Teacher, along with the often bitter medicine of the truth, offers us in the Lenten season the soothing remedy of prayer, almsgiving and fasting’ as means to rediscover our lost self and set right our relationship with God, with one another, and with oneself. Many years ago, St John Paul II called these as “infallible and indispensable” means for growth in the spiritual life. What I notice is that we often have a limited understanding of these means of our spiritual nourishment, which we need to change in order to grasp better the mind of the Church and to help ourselves. These means, understood correctly, are to set right our relationship with God, others and oneself.

Prayer is to do with our relationship with God. More than saying or reciting a few lines or sentences that we have heard or learned, prayer is becoming aware of our creatureliness and our dependence on God. It is   realising within us what St Augustine expressed centuries ago, ‘thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in thee.’ Or living by what the Lord has said, ‘... apart from me, you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5b). The fact is that this way of approach makes lots of demands on us – to change our attitudes and outlooks, our behaviour and life styles. It requires being at the feet of the Lord like Mary (Lk 10:39) and listening to him. It is letting God to take control of ourselves. As Pope Benedict says let us ‘let ourselves be led by Jesus’. Instead, we often settle for what is convenient and comfortable. As a result although we comfort ourselves by thinking that we have prayed much, we do not see the desired effect in our relationship with God. Instead let us surrender ourselves to the Spirit who alone can teach us to pray. (Rom. 8:26). As the Holy Father Pope Francis reminds us, ‘by devoting more time to prayer, we enable our hearts to root out our secret lies and forms of self-deception, and then to find the consolation God offers. He is our Father and he wants us to live life well.’

            It is also seen often that we limit the aspect of almsgiving to material things only, and comfort ourselves thinking that I am not rich to give. Although the aspect of material things is there very much, what is implied is much more - it is giving of oneself for the other. Its purpose is to reflect upon and amend, if needed, our relationship with others. One thing that we need to be painfully aware of is that our salvation is inextricably related to others. It is not the question ‘who is my neighbour’ (Lk 10:29) that is relevant but ‘where is your brother’ (Gen. 4:9). This question will haunt us not only during our life here on earth but hereafter as well as the criteria of Final Judgement tell us (Mt 25:31-46). The intent is to free us from greed and self-centeredness and help us to regard our neighbour as a brother or sister. What we possess, be it our wealth or talents or abilities, they are never ours but others’. It is sharing with others what God has given us out of his generosity. As St Paul tells us ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ (2Cor.9:7), and ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35). If through us God helps someone today, will he not provide for our own needs tomorrow? For, no one is more generous than God.

Fasting is to set oneself right in the proper perspective. It is not so much giving up or abstaining from food as it is often understood, but becoming aware of oneself. More than allowing us to experience what the destitute and the starving have to endure, it is expressing our own spiritual hunger and thirst for life in God. It is foregoing everything that prevents us from coming closer to God and to others. It is discovering our true self, our true worth. Consequently, it would weaken our tendency to violence motivating us to grow through what we go through. It would help us to be more attentive to God and our neighbour. It would revive our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger. It is, as St Paul tells us, ‘crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires, and living by and be guided by the Spirit (Gal.5:24-25). In the question by God ‘where are you’ (Gen. 3:9), do I see my own nothingness and accept my responsibility for my present state or do I blame others for it? Let us become conscious that God graciously seeks, confronts, and offers reconciliation to the sinner (Ez. 33:11), and waits for the return of every child of his (Lk 15:11-32).  

Hence I appeal to all of you my brothers and sisters, to reflect a little more deeply on the means of prayer, almsgiving and fasting that our Mother Church offers us as effective means of our spiritual nourishment during this holy Season of Lent so as to discover our true relationship with God, others and ourselves so that we too may die to self and rise with Jesus, our Saviour and Lord, so that we may be with him always.        

May Mary, our Mother and Mother of the Church, who stood by the Cross of Jesus accompany us.

With Easter blessings,

+ Leo Cornelio svd,

Archbishop of Bhopal

Cir. 01/66

01-Feb-2018

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL

 

January 27, 2018

Cir. 01/66

 

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

Experience tells us that time waits for no one. The busier we are the faster the time runs! We are already a month through the New Year 2018! Let us wish and pray that the current year would bring greater peace, more joy and success for us.

 

On the day of the feast of St. Francis Xavier, Dec. 03, 2017, the Prefect of the ‘Congregatio pro Gentium Evangelizatione’ wrote to the Ecclesiastical Heads of the Catholic Church referring to a letter by Pope Francis reminding us of the promulgation of an Apostolic Letter “Maximum Illud” of Pope Benedict XV on the missionary activities being carried out in the world. The said letter of Pope Francis recommends the celebration of an Extraordinary Missionary Month in October 2019 to mark the hundredth anniversary of the promulgation of “Maximum Illud”.

 

Pope Francis indicates four dimensions or ways to prepare for and live out the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019.

1.      A personal encounter with Jesus Christ alive in His Church: Eucharist, Word of God, personal and communal prayer.

2.      The witness of the Saints, the Missionary Martyrs and the Confessors of Faith, who are unique expressions of the Church throughout the world.

3.      Biblical, catechetical, spiritual and theological formation regarding the ‘missio ad gentes’.

4.      Missionary charity as a material support for the immense work of evangelization, especially the ‘missio ad gentes’ and Christian formation in Church that are most in need.

 

Well, many of you may wonder what we are to prepare for this so called ‘Extraordinary Missionary Month’ which is still so far off! This, in fact is our normally expected mindset. But then, let us touch on the above ‘four dimensions’ to which our Pope points out. Without going too far let us reflect on these in the context of our Local church, - the Archdiocese of Bhopal. All of us, especially priests and religious should ask ourselves some hard questions. At this point I would suggest that we reflect on just three of the important questions: 1. How do I realize my personal encounter with Jesus through the Eucharist, the Word of God and personal as well as communal prayers? 2. How do I bear witness and share this experience with my parishioners/community members? 3. How much interest do I take in my own formation and the formation of my faithful/community entrusted to my care? The Church provides us all the means sanctification. But it depends on each one of us how we make the maximum use of them. In the present context of increasing intolerance in our country we ought to be more conscious of our responsibilities towards ourselves as well as towards those entrusted to our care.

 

Unity Octave:

We appreciate the efforts of Fr. Jose Prakash, Fr. Alexander and their respective teams together with the pastors of several Churches, for successfully organizing the Unity Octave from January 18 to 25. The participation was reportedly better this year. Let us continue to pray for the unity of all followers of Christ as he himself prayed so intensely.

 

Archdiocesan Commissions, Events and Activities:

It is worth mentioning here that several of our Archdiocesan Commissions have been organizing events and seminars at different intervals. Within the past few weeks several events and activities were organized by different commissions through the initiative of our Commission heads; just to mention a few, - Catechism Teacher’s Day - Fr. Michael; Holy Childhood (‘Nanhe Prerit’) live in Seminar, - Fr. Stanlin,- animated by the Christine youth group from Delhi; Women’s Day (Mata Maria Samiti) - Sr. Catherine CHF and Sr. Matilda SJS; Parish level dance competitions jointly organized by Assumption Parish and Diocesan ICYM, Courtesy Parish Priest Fr. Antonius Toppo and youth animator Fr. Alexander. In so far as it was possible I have been trying to encourage them with my personal presence. However it has been often expressed by the parishioners of respective parishes that they would highly appreciate the active presence or at least a visit by their pastors and/or heads of institutions. I hope that our parish priests and heads of institutions will take note of it and make effort to encourage their faithful through their presence.

My thanks and appreciations go to our commission heads and Fr.Mathew V.C., the Coordinator of our Archdiocesan commissions.

 

New Bishop of Sagar Diocese:

Most of us may know that Most Rev. James Athikalam MST has been appointed as the new bishop of Sagar. He was until now the Priest in Charge of Syro Malabar Rite faithful here in Bhopal. We extend our hearty congratulations and good wishes to the Bishop elect. The Episcopal Ordination is fixed for April 17 at the Cathedral of Sagar.   

 

Incidents of Violence/Religious Intolerance:

In past couple of month the Catholic Church has witnessed several incidents of harassment against our institutions by the extremist elements. The most bizarre one took place in Satna when almost 30 Seminarians along with a couple of priests who went to a nearby village for Christmas carol singing, were rounded up by the extremists and detained in the Police Station. What was worse, right in front of the police station a vehicle of the Fathers was set on fire. We have expressed our shock and strong protest with the chief minister and other responsible officials in the government. We have demanded immediate action against the culprits and compensation for the damages caused.

 

Need for Greater Unity among ourselves:

In the above context of growing polarization the just concluded Unity Octave, emphasized so much by Pope Francis and his predecessors, has great significance. It is vital for us to realize that our own disunity can be easily exploited by those who nurse ill-will against Christians. We need to not only find but even create occasions to reach out to others, even those who are hostile towards us. As Pope Francis often mentions, we should try our best to break wall that separate us and build bridges that can unite us.

 

Let us remember in our prayers Sr. Stacia Francis CSJ, who left for her heavenly home on December 31 of last year.

 

Once again, I wish all of you a promising Year 2018 and abundant blessings from God for the success of your ministry.

 

Sincerely in the Lord,

+ Leo Cornelio, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Pastoral Letter-Advent 2017

21-Dec-2017

Pastoral Letter – Advent 2017

          The last two chapters of the Book of Revelation speak of the restoration of the whole of creation to God under the imageries of ‘new heaven and new earth (Rev.21:1-4) and a declaration by God himself that he makes ‘all things new’ (Rev. 21:5). The characteristics of this newness are the ever presence of God among the people, and the consequent removal of all pain and suffering from the life of all and the resulting perfect happiness for all. In other words, it is returning to that Garden from where we were evicted on account of our rebelliousness.   

          We have just entered into the season of Advent once again. Advent is not just the commemoration of the birth of Jesus in history, but an annual reminder and celebration of the loving attempt of God to restore his creation, especially the humanity, back to himself. However, the hitch is that in the restoration we are invited to be active players, as St Augustine had expressed some 15 centuries ago saying, ‘God who created you without you will not save you without you’. In other words, our response is a necessary prerequisite to God’s loving gesture of saving us. Being aware of it, the Church through the liturgical readings of the Season exhorts us to become mindful of our role in the act of our redemption.  

An important aspect of this response to God is that it needs to be carried out in and through our behaviour, interaction and encounter with others. It is in this context that the Holy Father Pope Francis asks us ‘to become aware of the tears and needs of our neighbours’ and ‘counteract the indifference and cruelty of the world’ by our commitment to Jesus. Often we think of developing or discovering by ourselves, forgetting the fact that genuine self discovery and growth needs a strong and deep relationship with the Divine. That is, as created beings we discover the meaning of our existence only when we are in contact with our Creator. Incarnation of Jesus is all about making us realise and rediscover that original relationship which was lost in the Garden of Eden.

For an adequate response to renew our contact with God we need to be of correct frame of mind. As a poem by an unknown poet titled, ‘Why did Jews miss Jesus?’ says, ‘they were looking for a lion but he came as a lamb; they were looking for a warrior but he came as a peacemaker; they were looking for a king but he came as a servant; and, they were looking for a liberator from the Romans but he submitted himself to the Roman cross’. What or whom do I really look for? As if to answer this question, the poem continues to say, ‘when we submit to the lamb, we will meet the lion; when we join with the peacemaker, we will meet the warrior; when we work with the servant, we will meet the king; when we walk with the submitted we will meet the liberator, and when we concern ourselves with the eternal, we will have the temporal as well’.   

Yet another question I wish all to ponder upon is, how do we need to prepare ourselves? Here I suggest a few simple things such as spending some time daily in his presence (‘could you not watch with me an hour’ - Mt 26:40), reading the Word of God (‘ .. the Word was with God, and the Word was God - Jn 1:1), doing some good deeds or being charitable to others especially to those who need it most (‘whatever you did it to one of the least of my brethren you did it to me ‘ – Mt 25:40), and, opening ourselves to God (‘I stand at the door, knock; ... – Rev. 3:20).

Dear Brothers and Sisters let us strive sincerely and earnestly during this holy season of Advent in order to meet Jesus as we celebrate his coming to us in history. Let me conclude with a question that was posed by the 18th century English poet Alexander Pope, ‘What does it profit me if Jesus is born in thousands of cribs all over the world and He is not born in my heart?’

Let us allow Jesus to be reborn in our hearts and lives, not only during Christmas but every day of our life, so that He may radiate the light of his presence from within us. May we all experience the abundance of His love and compassion always.  

+ Leo Cornelio SVD,

Archbishop of Bhopal

Cir. 6/65

20-Nov-2017

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL

 

November 12, 2017

Cir. 6/65

 

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

 

It is after a rather long spell of time that I write this circular. Of course, the necessary communication has been kept up through emails and electronic messages all the while.

 

“In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans (7:18 ff) we read: “though the will to do what is good is in me, the power to do it is not; the good things I want to do, I never do; the evil things which I do not want, – that is what I do!” Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?” Then, he answers: “God – thanks be to Him, through Jesus Christ our Lord”. Well, a true realization of such a state one needs a well formed conscience and deep faith in God. On a different tone Pope St. John Paul II says: “A man who has a hardened heart and a degenerate conscience is spiritually a sick man, even though he may enjoy the fullness of his powers and physical capacities.” Everything must be done to bring him back to having a healthy soul”. But the question is: How could such people be made to realize their state? Certainly, prayers can do marvels.  

 

Beatification of ‘Servant of God’ Sr. Rani Maria FCC: An important event in the history of the Central and Northern India, the beatification of Sr. Rani Maria took place on November 04 at Indore. I believe that many of our priests, religious and lay faithful participated in this unforgettable event. The gathering was really large which included many Church dignitaries and prominent people. We congratulate the Diocese of Indore, particularly Bishop Chacko T.J. svd, and the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, particularly the FCC Amla Province of Bhopal, for their untiring effort in following up with the whole process and for organizing the beautiful event. May Blessed Rani Maria intercede for us!

 

Events and Programs in the Archdiocese: We should indeed be happy that our various commissions in the Archdiocese are actively organizing seminars, courses and events during the course of the year. These certainly reflect the life of the Church. You may remember that during the Diwali week and the weeks that followed, several important events were organized for priests, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese, depending on the target group. I appreciate the fact that many participate in and draw spiritual strength from them. A special mention of appreciation is to be made about our common annual retreat in which most of our priests participated with greater spirit of earnestness. Having said this, I also wish to bring to the attention of our priests, especially the parish Priests, that when they receive information about certain events in which people are expected to participate, the necessary information should be communicated to the faithful in good time. It would be great source of encouragement to them if the parish priests too join them on such occasions.

 

All Souls’ Day Celebration: Those who participated in the Eucharistic celebrations on All Souls Day in one of both our cemeteries might have witnessed the faith and devotion of our people as well as their respect for the deceased. There was a large gathering indeed. However, it is reported to me that many more would have liked to join the celebration but for the smoke and air pollution that we witness each year due to burning of ‘agarbatti’, which for many becomes a health hazard. I would like to ask the parish priests to advice our faithful that in future they should desist from burning any smoky substance except lighting of some candles and placing flowers at the grave of their dear deceased. Let us make a sincere effort to reduce environmental hazards.

Archdiocesan College of Consulters: As Fr. Richard Couto sfx and Fr. Louis Malieckel cmi are transferred out of Bhopal by their respective superiors, I, after due deliberation with the College of Consulters, have appointed Fr. Godwin Viegas svd, the Rector of KPRP and F. James M.L. cmi, Manager of St. Pauls Hr. Sec. School, as members of the College of Consulters for the remaining duration of the term.

Maintenance of Cemeteries: During the last Archdiocesan Pastoral Council Meeting an earlier decision was reiterated and reaffirmed. Accordingly, I would hereby ask the parish priests to announce to the parishioners the following and the same be put on the parish bulletin board, namely: 1. The Cemetery Committee that has been already formed will be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the two cemeteries. 2. That all families of every parish are to contribute Rs. 10/- per month, or Rs. 100 per year (if given together in the beginning of the year) towards the maintenance of the two cemeteries. 3. That the amount thus collected would be deposited at the Archdiocesan Office and separate account will be maintained by this Office as it was being done in the past.

Readings for the Eucharistic Celebrations on Special Occasions:  On festive occasions or events in our parishes/institutions when I am to preside over the Eucharist, I would ask the organizers to provide me with the full text of the readings which they select, provided it is liturgically permissible.

Celebration of the Eucharist in Homes: This is to draw the attention of all our communities, especially the religious communities, that they should follow the norms of the Archdiocese regarding the liturgical celebrations, such as use of appropriate liturgical vestments, adaptations, place/location of the celebration, etc. However, for the celebration of the Eucharist in houses or work places, permission needs to be obtained from the Local Ordinary (me), having obtained due recommendation of the Parish Priests who must first ascertain the importance of the occasion and the suitability of the place where the Holy Eucharist would be celebrated. Suitable ambience and decorum would be a necessary requirement for such celebrations.

Office Bearers of the Pastoral Council: You may remember that during the last Archdiocesan Pastoral Council Meeting we had completed the election process for the post of secretary and joint secretary. Accordingly, Mr. James Varghese and Mrs Bency George, both from Queen of the Universe Parish, Kolar, are duly elected Secretary and joint Secretary respectively. However, for better functioning and in view of organizing the pastoral council more effectively, I consider it proper to include two more members who received the next highest votes to be the members of the committee. And these are: Mr. Boniface Ekka of St. Joseph’s Parish, Idhagh Hills and Mrs Maya George of Sacred Heart Parish, Ratanpur. This group, together with the President and Vice President is to discuss and organize all matters related to the pastoral council.

Birth Centenary of Most Rev. Eugene D’Souza: This is the Birth Centenary Year of our first Archbishop Most Rev. Eugene D’Souza msfs. As he has made valuable contribution to the growth and development of the Archdiocese during his tenure of 31 long years, we shall have a special Eucharistic celebration on November 15, his Centennial Birthday,… at 5.30 p.m, at St. Francis Cathedral Church Jahangirabad, to remember and pray for him. All priests, religious and three representatives of faithful from every parish are invited to participate in the Eucharistic celebration.

Kindly remember in your prayers Mr. Joseph, the father of Fr. Melvin C.J., who went to his eternal abode on Oct. 24.  

 

With greetings and best of wishes

 

Fraternally in the Lord,

+ Leo Cornelio SVD,

Archbishop of Bhopal

Cir 5/2017 (64)

09-Jul-2017

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL

Cir 5/2017 (64)

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,                                                                                         July 03, 2016

 

We are surely familiar with the advice of Jesus to his followers: "Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves" (Mt. 10/16). Similarly, he lauds the foresight of the five wise virgins (Mt/25/2). In the present scenario of our Country we need to give particular heed this advice of Jesus. You might have heard of the recent incident of harassment of a religious Sister and five ladies at Satna Railway Station by a radical/extremist group. Of course, it is a gross violation of their fundamental rights as citizens of India. But this is not an isolated incident. There has been a marked increase of similar incidents during the past three year. These, without doubt, are deliberate attempts to terrorise and intimidate the minorities, Christians in particular. The civil authorities do precious little to contain these extremist forces who act as moral police. The legal machinery becomes ineffective because they are protected by those who wield power. Having said this, it is essential that we also become more responsible, alert and proactive in our activities, dealings as well as relationships. All recognise that we render yeoman service to humanity through our many schools, hospitals and human/socio developmental institutions. While our basic goal in running these is love, compassion and mercy, we need to have greater consistency, transparency and professionalism in administering them. Let us avoid repeating the mistakes of the past so that we don't give occasions to the extremists to disrupt our mission of love.

Fresh Beginning: Our Educational Institutions have already reopened after summer vacations. Here I wish to express my appreciation for the good results obtained by most of our missionary schools and laud the efforts of the Management, Staff and students as well as the cooperation of the parents. In the current changing environment of our Country I wish to urge our Principals and Managers to be better prepared to face the realities by sharpening their administrative skills and by being alert to every situation. Kindly see that any untoward incident taking place in any institution, whether due to forces from within or without, should be promptly attended to and communicated to those who may be able to help. Kindly keep your line of communication with the proper authorities - Church as well as civil, so that timely assistance can be provided. When there is delay in reporting, the situation becomes serious and so also solutions become complicated. Seminar on Legal and Fundamental Rights: In order to better equip and acquaint ourselves with our rights as well as responsibilities, the Secretary of our regional Education Commission, Sr. Noreen A.C. in liaison with our PR Office ref Fr. Maria Stephen, will organize a seminar on August 4 and 5, guided by a competent legal expert, Sr.Jessy Kurian, who a Supreme Court Advocate. Kindly participate in this seminar for being more effective in your 'mission'.

Study Fund for the Poor Students: Information has already been sent to our parishes, inviting applications for financial assistance to poor deserving Catholic students. Parish Priests are expected to play a key role in arranging for and submitting the applications within the specified time span. Also, the school principals of our missionary schools should help our Catholic students to apply for aid from Government fund for the minorities. The PR Office will assist you in this regard, provided you approach their office.

Forthcoming CCMP, CRI and CBMP Meeting: All Bishops, Major Superiors and Representatives of lay faithful from the State of M.P are informed that we will have our annual/biannual meeting on 11, 12 and 13 of August 2017. Detailed information on the theme and time schedule will soon follow. Our new Apostolic Nuncio, Most Rev. Giambattista Diquattro is also expected to join us at 'some' meetings on those days and address the participants.

Pastoral Visits: In my last circular I had mentioned about the pastoral visits I planned to make at our established parishes. I have already initiated it but in a limited way. To some parish priests I have already orally communicated this matter. However, here is tentative schedule for the coming few weekend:

August 05-06 St. John M. Vianney Parish, N. Nagar; Sept. 31-, Oct. 01 Rosary Parish, Ashta; Oct. 07-08 - St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Barkhera; Oct. 14-15 - Inf. Jesus Parish, Ayodhya Bypass; Oct. 21-22 - Sacred Heart Parish, Ratanpur; The above dates may be confirmed or changed, if necessary, with due and mutual consultation.

Land and Property: With the new rules and regulations that are being brought in by the government on land and property, it is imperative that we put our documents/records in order. While this is by way of information to all, a separate letter regarding this matter will be issued to our diocesan priests shortly.

GST and Its Implications: Beginning from July 1, 2017 the whole country has come under the GST (Goods and Services Tax). Even though its full implications are not yet very clear, it is going to affect all sales & purchases and financial transactions. It is good for us to have better understanding of the full implications of GST. Hence, we shall arrange for a short seminar with the assistance of some of our financial experts and accountants.

Wishing you a very happy Feast of St. Thomas, the Apostle to India and a fruitful Academic Year 2017-18.

Devotedly in the Lord,

 

+LEO CORNELIO, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Cir 04/2017 (67)

04-May-2017

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL
April 28, 2017 
Cir 04/2017 (67) 


Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,
We just celebrated the Divine Mercy Sunday on April 23rd, with a 24-hour chain adoration concluded with Eucharistic celebration at our Assumption Church, Arera Colony. The Divine Mercy devotion itself dates back to 1930s with the writings of St. Faustina Kowalska, a simple Polish Nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of over 600 pages recording the revelations she received on God's mercy. Her writings focus on the idea that God's mercy is beyond human comprehension and is available to everyone, even to the greatest of sinners. The said devotion really grew during the papacy of St. John Paul II who is known for his merciful and compassionate nature, especially in his act of forgiveness to the one who had shot him. Mercy and compassion have always been the strength of the Church from her very inception, no matter how much her detractors have tried to deface the Church and her followers. Mother Teresa, in our own times has been a relentless champion of God's mercy. So also Pope Francis, who had declared the Jubilee Year of Mercy, is himself a testimony to the mercy of God through his life and action. We, the followers of Christ could well remember the simple ABC of Divine Mercy, namely, 1. Ask for God's mercy, 2. Be Merciful, 3. Completely trust in Jesus who is mercy and compassion personified.

Transfers and Appointments 2017


Here are a few 'Transfers and Appointments' which have been finalized at our last
meeting of the College concerned: of Consulters, after due consultation with the priests

1. Fr. George Stephen                   Year of Sabbatical Leave

2. Fr. lrudayaraj                             Continue at Suwartha' for two more years

3. Fr. Tobias Minj                           Farm and Spiritual In-charge, Tara Sevania

4. Fr. Edward Francis                     Bursar, Archdiocese

5. Fr. Vincent Suares                     P.P. Nagpurkala & Manager St. Mary's 'tarsi

 6. Fr. Prabhudas Tirkey                 Stn In Charge & Manager, Nasrullaganj

 7. Fr. Arokia Jerald                       Assistant Awalikheda

 8. Fr. Sebastian Tigga                   Spiritual Dir., KPRT, Ashta

9. Fr.Ronald Vaughan                     Manager St. Joseph Hr. S. School, Pipariya

10. Fr. Shijo John                           Stn Incharge, Timerni, with Res. at Harda

11. Fr.Clement HGN                       Rector, St. Theresa Minor Senn., Budgery

12. Fr. Vipin Tigga                          Prefect of Seminarians, Budgery

13. Fr Lancy Fernandes                  In-charge Constructions, Timerni (Additional charge)
14. Fr. Saiju Kollarackal                   Project in charge, Abp's House (Additional charge)

15. Fr Johney Kannikatt                 Asst. Retreat Centre, Gehukheda

16. Fr. Jeevan Kishore                   P.G. Studies in Bangalore

17. Fr.Dilip Minj                             Asst. St. Francis Cathedral

18. Fr. Hermon Khujur                   Stn in-charge & Manager, Babai

19. Fr. Soundara Rajan                  Sohagpur, School Staff

20. Fr. Parmanand Xalxo               Stn In-charge Sohankheda

21. Fr. Julius Kullu                        Asst. Infant Jesus Church

22. Fr. Dennis Tigga                      Asst. Sohagpur

23. Fr. Jose Kurian MST               Director, Karuna Sadan

 

I wish to express my appreciation and thanks to all above named priests for gracefully accepting the said Transfers and Assignments. These will become effective latest from June 15, 2017. Kindly remember that according to our accepted norms and common practice the formal 'handing over and taking over' should be carried out in the presence of the Deans of respective district together with a member from the College of Consulters or the Vicar General himself. Hence, the date and time of the handing over/taking over should be agreed upon by all concerned. The one to take up the assignment should initiate the process in consultation with Rev. Fr. Mathew V.C. the Vicar General.

Association for Men:

I am happy to inform you that after repeated efforts the idea of forming an Association for Men is showing positive results. In the meeting held on 18th April, 2017, our parishes were divided into six groups with certain members in each group entrusted with the responsibility to visit these parishes to talk to men of the need and purpose of such an association. Each group has a convener who would contact the Parish Priests for an appointment to meet men parishioners. Hence the Parish Priests may allow them to talk to men in their respective parishes as per their convenience and request of the group convener. Here below is the list of men:

S. No

Names

Parishes

01

Mr Raymond Minj, Mr Baby M.S., Mr Rajesh Selvaraj, Mr Alexander Vaughan

Mata Maria, Patel Nagar; Infant Jesus', Vrindavan Nagar; St Joseph's, Barkheda; St Francis' Cathedral, Jehangirabad

 

02

Mr John Arlund, Mr Ajay Nicolson,

 Mr John David

 

Assumption Church, Arera Colony; Holy Family Church, Habibganj; Sacred Heart Church, Ratanpur, St Campion Church, Arera Colony

 

03

Mr James Varghese, Mr Sabu Thomas, Mr ML Lakra

 

Queen of the Universe, Gehukheda; Our Lady of Lourdes, Tulsi Nagar; St Joh Vianney Church, Nehru Nagar

04

Mr Habil Lakra, Mr Abisai Tigga, Mr Egimius Kujur

 

St Francis Xavier, Beresia; Lurd Mata, Sehore; St Teresa's, Ashta

 

05

Mr Herbert Joseph, Mr Anil S., Mr Joseph Kujur

 

Infant Jesus', Hoshangabad; Fatima Church, Nagpurkala; Sacred Heart, Itarsi; St Mary's Harda; St Patrick's, Sohagpur

06

Members yet to be identified

St Joseph's Idgah Hills; Christ the King, Bairagarh; Holy Cross, Lambakheda; St Anthony's, Dwaraka Nagar.

 

 

Archdiocesan Properties:

Most of us are probably aware of the new regulations on lands and properties that are coming into effect. We need to be prepared to comply with the requirements. Hence, I have asked Mr. Neelesh Banthia, C/o Banthia & Co and his team to help us in organizing all our files and records. All Fathers who are responsible to administer the properties in their respective parishes/stations/missions are requested to cooperate in this effort of ours by providing all necessary papers/documents which you may have in your possession. Kindly search and check in your files. Besides, all those who have properties of the Archdiocese registered in their personal names, due to circumstances perhaps, should kindly follow the direction given by our experts so that we can rectify matters in good time. Do kindly cooperate in this effort since the matter is important and urgent.

Kindly pray

for Fr. Dilip Minj who developed a complication and is just out of the intensive care, for the mother of Fr. Shellmon who is in serious condition. May the Lord grant them a speedy recovery!

Vacations: Here again you are reminded that when you leave for your summer vacation you are expected to make adequate arrangements for the minimum spiritual care for the faithful of your respective parish/station. Also kindly note that the duration of vacation in 4 weeks, including journey.

I wish refreshingly fruitful vacations and abundant blessings of the Risen Lord on all of you and all your dear ones in the family.

Yours devotedly,

 

LEO CORN ELIO, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Cir 03/2017 (66)

17-Apr-2017

 

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL               

                                                                                                                                           April 12, 2017

Cir 03/2017 (66)

 

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

 

Sometime ago I came across a short article in one of the magazines titled ‘Post-truth’. I read it with interest and realized that the idea discussed in that article is fast becoming a reality. Now, what is this ‘post-truth’? We are living in an age in which media plays an important role. We are constantly bombarded with lots of information. How much of this information is objectively true or matches the reality? Our society is full of manipulative people who use media to spread the ideology that suits their agenda. This is so common in politics and business. Gossip, rumors and propaganda had been the bane of society in the past too. But the harm being done by these was containable. But the modern communication technology and media can change fast the mindset of people and the society at large to an extent where lies and fiction, repeated time and time again, becomes ‘post-truth’ and people begin to believe it as ‘truth’. This is certainly dangerous to humanity because our moral and ethical fabric or value system becomes relative. It is so common in our present age to believe that ‘end justifies the means’.

Holy Week and Easter: We are celebrating the Holy Week, commemorating the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord who lived and died in order to liberate us from the bondage of sin. He taught that ‘truth will make you free’. But the fact is that lies and falsehood are ruling the roost today. Falsehood has many hues, colors and appearances, while truth is alone, naked and plain. We, the followers of Christ are called to be different. But how many are willing to resist the tremendous attraction to ‘flow with the currents’ of our modern world? The celebration of the Holy Week, the suffering and death of Jesus on the Cross culminating in Easter joy gives is a source of positive hope to the followers of Christ who strengthens our endurance (cf. 2 Tim.2/12).

Elections to the Priests’ Council:

In the elections held at the Pastoral Center on April 11, 2017, the following eleven priests, classified in three groups according to Ordination/age, have been elected to the Priests’ Council for the coming triennium. 

1.    Fr. Luis Malieckal CMI, Fr. Tomy Joseph. Fr. Francis Scaria , Fr. Solomon S.

2.    Fr. Johney P.J., Fr. Maria Stephen. Fr. Lancy Fernandes. Fr. Ronald Cardoza.

3.    Fr. Melvin C.J. Fr. Shellmon Anthony. Fr. Jomy Panithas.

Congratulations and welcome to the newly elected members and sincere thanks to the outgoing members who served in the Priest’s Council for the past years! My special thanks to Fr. Solomon S., who served as Secretary to the Priests’ Council.

Revision of Station and Personal Allowances:

This is to inform all the concerned that, as per the general practice in the Archdiocese, the Station allowances and pocket money for our priests and religious serving in the Archdiocese have been revised and will become effective from the current financial year. The details will be communicated to you by our finance office.

‘Easter Mahotsav’:

On Easter evening from 7.00 p.m. the Christian communities in Bhopal will join together for the ‘Easter Utsav’ at the BSSS College grounds. All are invited to the celebration.

New Apostolic Nuncio:

We have a new Apostolic Nuncio in the person of Most Rev. Giambattista di Quattro, titular Bishop of Giromonte and, until now, the Apostolic Nuncio to Bolivia, S. America. Though his name had been announced on Jan. 21, 2017 and he was even expected to join us here in Bhopal at the CCBI Plenary Assembly, certain unforeseen circumstances delayed his actual arrival in India. He conveys his greetings to all of us in Bhopal.

Adoration Chapel:

Most of you may remember that our new Assumption Church at St. Joseph’s Co-ed Campus was constructed with provision for an Adoration Chapel which was officially inaugurated just prior to our CCBI Plenary Assembly we hosted at our Pastoral Center from Jan 31 to Feb. 08, 2017. Under the guidance of Fr. Alexander J. and the youth of our Archdiocese (ICYM) we had continuous adorations there during those days. Now, beginning from April 23rd, which is Divine Mercy Sunday, the ‘Divya Vani Sangh’ Sisters of Fr. Jose Prakash will take up the responsibility of organizing daily adoration from 7.00 a.m. (following morning mass) till around 6.00 pm. Kindly communicate this information in all our parishes and institutions; and encourage the faithful to visit and pray in the Adoration Chapel as and when time permits them so that they can obtain Divine blessing as well as favors for themselves, their families and this Archdiocese.

Beatification Cause of Sr. Rani Maria:

It is a matter of joy that the beatification cause of Sr. Rani Maria FCC as a martyr has been approved by Pope Francis. Congratulations to FCC Sisters and Indore Diocese!

Study Fund for the Poor Students:

Our principals and managers are again reminded that the Catholic Church, and so also the Archdiocese of Bhopal, strongly recommends that our Catholic children should be educated as well as catechized in our Catholic Institutions. No child should be prevented from studying in our institution due to financial constraints. Kindly see that our missionary schools give all necessary financial support/concessions to our Catholic Children. Like in past years, this year too, the Archdiocese will help the deserving Catholic children with financial support from the available resources. But much of this help may go for our youth who seek help for higher studies as the requests are on the increase each year. Kindly assist the students to seek other available sources as well.

Kindly pray for the deceased Sister-in-law of Fr. Arul Samy.

Thanks and Appreciation: We are aware of many events that have taken place during this past academic and financial Year. I wish to say ‘thanks’ to God and all of you for the  cooperation, support and initiatives taken by many of our priests, religious, laity and well wishers for the growth and progress of our Local Church. May the Lord always accompany us so that we continue to ‘walk in the light of the Lord’! (Is. 2/5).

I wish all of you meaningful Holy Week celebrations and a joyful Easter and abundant blessings from the Risen Lord.

Devotedly in Christ,

+ Leo Cornelio svd,

Archbishop of Bhopal

Cir 02/2017 (65)

15-Mar-2017

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL

March 03, 2017

Cir 02/2017 (65)

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

It is already about three weeks since we successfully hosted the 29th CCBI Plenary Assembly here in Bhopal. All the participants, - Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops as well as the Commission Secretaries and Resource Persons, having returned to their respective dioceses have been unanimous in expressing their high appreciation for the excellent arrangements and great hospitality they experienced during their stay of over nine days in Bhopal. They were impressed with the efficiency, - even more, - the dedication, with which every committee worked hard to make their stay very comfortable. I, on my part, express my grateful thanks to the team work of our priests, religious, lay faithful and friends who left no stone unturned in order to make the participants 'feel at home'. My special thanks go to V. Rev. Fr. Mathew V.C., our Vicar General who coordinated the whole event, and so also my thanks to the heads of Committees for their full involvement in the proximate as well as remote preparations.

The Theme of the Plenary Assembly, - "Promoting the Joy of Love in our Families", was chosen in order to emphasize the importance of 'love' as the foundation for a happy family life (Amoris Laetitzia'). It goes without saying that the same is true for religious communities. The organizers had invited several couples from different walks of life to share their own experiences and to interact with the participants. The Assembly has communicated a message to the Church of India, in particular to the families in India. I enclose a copy of this message to all of you. The Parish Priests are encouraged to communicate the main contents of the message.

Expenses for the Event: Organizing such a mega event certainly involves a lot of finances. Having discussed this issue at the last Pastoral Council I had recommended that all our Parishes make a collection on a particular Sunday and financially well placed institutions contribute 1% of their gross income towards the expenses for this event. I am happy and grateful to all the Parishes and institutions which have generously contributed their share already, even if in many instances it was far below the recommended amount. At the same time, I would expect the remaining parishes and institutions for a similar spirit of generosity and make their contribution at the earliest so that we can finalize the account and close the files.

Forthcoming Synod: Pope Francis has proposed that the next Synod of Bishops will focus on 'YOUTH'. In his introductory address he states that proclaiming the joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium') is the mission entrusted by the Lord to the Church. He also mentions that the past Synods, - on New Evangelization and the two synods on family followed by the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia' — Joy of Love, focused on the compassionate love of God in the context of joy in the proclamation of the Gospel and joy in families. Now for the next Synod it is the young people who would be the center of the Church's mission of communicating and sharing the joy of the Gospel and their role in bringing joy in families.

Pastoral Visit: During the Lenten Season I intend to make pastoral visits to a few of our city parishes in Bhopal. The visit will start on Saturday afternoon/evening with the meeting with the priest's, parish council, Parishioners, religious community and will conclude with the Eucharistic celebration on Sunday. The Parish Priests are expected to update all the parish records and financial accounts.

Spirit of Lent: 'Rend your hearts and not your clothing (Joel 2/13) is a familiar call of the prophet to the Israelites whenever they distanced themselves from God. It is a call for 'metanoia' which is true always but more specifically at Lenten time. It is a time of grace and an invitation to all. But ultimately it depends on the disposition of each one to make Lent a time that is 'now' and a time that is acceptable' in every way. Let us all be led by the spirit of the Lord.

Chrism Mass and the Presbyterial General Body Meeting cum Elections: Our Chrism mass will be celebrated on April 11, Tuesday preceded by a recollection commencing on the previous evening. I hereby notify to all, that at around 12.00 in the noon we shall have the General Body Meeting of our Archdiocesan Presbyterium. There will be elections to the Priest's Council. All the priests of the Archdiocese as well as all other priests, - Religious or Diocesan, assigned for a specific apostolate in this Archdiocese by virtue of their appointment by the Ecclesiastical Head, are members of this General Body and have an active and passive vote in the election to the Priests' Council. We combine these two occasions so that maximum number of members would participate.

School for Excellence — Inauguration and Blessing: Our long awaited dream project, the 'School for Excellence' has taken shape and will begin to function from the coming academic year, - June 12, to be exact. The inauguration and blessing of the buildings and campus will take place on Sunday, April 02, 2017. The formal invitation with more particulars will follow in due time. I, hereby, extend a personal and cordial invitation to each one of you to this inaugural function.

The Academic Year 2017-18: As the current academic year comes to a close soon and the new academic year begins, parents are usually filled with anxiety for their children's admissions and fees. In this context our principals and managers are here again reminded that the Catholic Church, and so also the Archdiocese of Bhopal, strongly recommends that our Catholic children be admitted, educated and also catechized in our Catholic schools. No child should be prevented from seeking admission and studying in our institution due to financial constraints.

Hence, I would like to ask all our school managers and principals to objectively consider the economic constraints of the parents and help our children with the possibility of studying in our Catholic schools. They should be helped to seeking government subsidy that is available for minority students. Our PR Office will assist you in this regard.

The Archdiocese too, provides some financial help to the economically weak Catholic students. Their applications should come to this office through the respective parish priests at least till the end of April so that we can distribute the funds towards the beginning of the session following summer vacations. The methodology to apply for these funds is same as in previous years. In this context, while encouraging our principals and managers to be more sensitive to situation of the poor students they are reminded of their responsibility for the annual contribution toward the 'Education Fund' for our poor students. While a good number schools have been very regular in this regard others, sadly though, need to be reminded of it!

Remember our deceased in your Prayers:

Sr. Xaveria CSJ, Ashata,Tanmaya Province

Mrs. Theresammal, mother of Sr. Selvi OSM

Mrs. Prashanti Lakra, mother of Sr. Lilly SJS

Wishing you and fruitful Lenten Season and God's many blessings,

Devotedly in the Lord,

LEO CORNELIO, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Cir 01/2017 (64)

24-Jan-2017

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL

January 20, 2016

 

 Cir 01/2017 (64)

 

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

 

‘Ring out the old and ring in the new’ is a popular expression which not only refers to the bygone Year and the arrival of a New Year, but it has become a sort of attitude. There is a growing tendency in the society to do away with the old and set in the new. The adage old is gold is no more tenable. Ours is a fast forward age. ‘Start up India, Digital India, cashless India, clean India,…are some of the attractive and explosive slogans. But the fact is that no positive outcome is possible without one’s active commitment and sacrifice. This attitudinal change can only be the result of right motivation, deep conviction and strong faith.

 

The bygone year was certainly an eventful one, especially the last part of the year, for reasons that we all know well! Does the New Year make any great promise? While this too, once again, depends on our attitude, we certainly should hope for the best. Given the human nature and our Christian faith we tend to be people of hope which motivates us to move on, because hope does not disappoint us ((Rom.5/5) since we believe in Him (Jn 14/1). Our Pope Francis, since some time now, has been imparting series of catechesis on hope with such conviction that he has been leading the Church by example. A certain Hick Nhat Hanh writes: Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear the hardships of Today. But our Christian hope goes far beyond. All the same, ultimately what is necessary that we work assiduously to create a better tomorrow, taking a lesson from todays yesterday.

 

Forthcoming CCBI General Assembly in Bhopal:

With the above thought of positive outlook I wish to focus my/our attention on the coming mega event, namely, the hosting of the 29th General Assembly of the CCBI (Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India) and to share relevant information so that you too could become actively involved in the program. We have already been praying and preparing for this event since several months. We have had meetings and discussions as well as remote preparations to welcome all ‘Shepherds’ of the CCBI.

The program, as visualized and planned is as follows:  

All the Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and Commission Secretaries are expected to arrive in Bhopal by the evening of January 30.

Most of them will be accommodated at the Pastoral Center and at the Institutions within the campus.

About 25 of them will be accommodated at the Campion Campus and a few at the CMI Provincial House.

The CCBI General Assembly will commence with the inaugural function on January 31 with a solemn Eucharistic Celebration at the Assumption Church, Arera Colony. Priests and Religious from our Archdiocese are welcome to join the inaugural Holy Mass and the short inaugural program thereafter.

From then on the sessions and discussions will continue for the days until February 08, with four sessions of 90 minutes each day.

While the participants will start departing from the afternoon of February 08, a group of Archbishops/Bishops and Commission Secretaries will travel to Pachmarhi on the following day (Feb. 9), to visit Suvartha Kendra and will return on the same evening. 

The program of each day will begin with the Eucharistic Celebration at 6.45 a.m. at our Assumption Church. Priests, religious and lay faithful are welcome to participate in the Eucharistic celebration whenever they wish. Different parishes/Formation Houses are entrusted with the responsibility of conducting choir on specific days.

During these days of the Assembly four special programs have been planned:

-On February 01, at 7.00 p.m. there will be a cultural event to welcome the CCBI Participants and also to accord a special welcome to our ‘guests’ from the Vatican and the Nunciature. 

-On February 03 evening at 7.00 p.m. the BSSS College will host a cultural evening at the College Auditorium

-On the afternoon of February 05 at 3.30 p.m. we shall have a Solemn Eucharistic Celebration at our Assumption Church, presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Oswald Gracious, Archbishop of Bombay and President of the CCBI. This will be followed by a public function at which our Chief Minister Hon.Shivraj Singh Chauhan has consented to be the Chief Guest. All Priests, Religious and a sizable representation of faithful are welcome to join both the events of the afternoon. Parish Priests will be informed about this matter in detail.

-On February 06 afternoon the participants will be taken on a guided visit to some places of interest relating to mission, culture, history etc., which may be of interest to the participants.

More details about the programs, time table, etc. could be enquired from the organizers, - Fr. Mathew V.C and Fr. Ronald Cardoza.  I encourage and request all of you to cooperate with the organizers in order to make these days and events as successful as possible. While continuing with our prayers, now is the time for us to cooperate with each other by extending a helping hand and by joining different teams of volunteers in active support as well as to join the celebrations as and when you can. Parish Priest may kindly communicate this information to all our priests, religious and faithful.

Inauguration and Blessing:

On January 28 at 4.30 p.m. we intend to inaugurate and bless the new Adoration Chapel, the Parish House, the Archdiocesan Social Service Centre and the  Extended  School Building cum Auditorium of St. Josephs Co-ed. You are welcome to join this special event. Do consider this as an invitation, in case you don’t get one separately.   

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity:

We well know that every year January 18 to 24 is observed as a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  In Bhopal too, our Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue, under the leadership of Fr. Jose Prakash organises prayer sessions in different Churches of Bhopal. The information about the same is communicated to all through leaflets and SMS. I would, highly encourage our Parish Priests, Religious and Heads of our Institutions to take more interest by joining these prayer sessions in a spirit of solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters. It is also desirable that our parishes and religious communities organize such prayer sessions in parishes and communities during the octave and pray for unity and harmony among the different groups of Christians.

And finally, may the presence of all our Shepherds in Bhopal bring us many blessings from our heavenly Father and may our blessed Mother Mary intercede for us with her Son, Jesus!

Praying for God s blessing on all of us,

Sincerely in the Lord,

+ Leo Cornelio SVD,

Archbishop of Bhopal

 

Cir 5/2016 (63)

24-Jan-2017

ARCHDIOCESE OF BHOPAL

Dec. 18, 2016

 

Cir 5/2016 (63)

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

 

We are people of hope “and hope does not disappoints us” (Rom. 5/5). As we are nearing yet another Christmas, we ought to note the marked difference in the tone of the readings of the Advent days from those of the week before Advent, namely, the last week of the Liturgical Year, which predicted doom, destruction and end of the world. Advent renews our hope and Christmas, — the birth of Christ-child, fill us with the assurance that God has not lost hope in human beings.

 

This is where the real meaning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy which we just concluded, becomes so pronounced. God's mercy is beyond human imagination. That is why the Psalmist can cry out, “If you requite justice Lord who would survive? But with you is mercy and full of compassion. Pope Francis has started a new series of catecheses about hope. First off, the pope warned that it should not be mistaken for optimism. He says: This is very important, because hope doesn't delude. Optimism does, but hope

doesn’t. When we are in the dark, in difficulty, a smile doesn’t come to us. It is hope that teaches us to smile in that path to find God. ...Christian hope helps us face the challenges of life decisively, because he who believes knows that God is by his side.

 

At the end of his catechesis, the pope underlined that fighting against corruption and protecting human rights goes hand in hand. Incidentally, December 9 was celebrated as the International Anticorruption Day, and December 10 as the ‘World Day of Human Rights.

 

Concluding of the Jubilee Year of Mercy and Canonization of Mother St. Theresa:

The celebration of the event on November 13 at the 8883 grounds was certainly a memorable one. Much preparations and organizing skills went into the whole afternoon program of two events, namely, the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration to conclude the Jubilee Year of Mercy and Canonization of Mother St. Teresa. My appreciation as well as heartfelt thanks to all those who have actively collaborated in making this event a successful one! Though the attendance was not as large as was expected there were

certain avoidable and perhaps some avoidable reasons for it, as far as the organizers reflected on the events ‘post factum’. All the same, I appreciate all the parish priests, principals, Heads of our Institutions and Well-wishers of Mother St. Teresa who actively cooperated in making the day. Let us continue to savor the significance of these events for our daily Christian life. '

 

Hindi Belt Bishops’ Meeting:

 

On Nov. 23 the Bishops of Hindi speaking Regions met at Agra with main objective of Revising and finalizing of the Hind Missal in compliance with the directives of Liturgical Commission, Rome. This has been already completed. The next step would be to get the text with the proposed changes approved by CCBI General Body which will meet in Bhopal in January-February 2017. Then we have to await the final approval from Rome for printing and distribution of the new Hindi Missal.

 

Christmas Gathering/Get-together and Chief Ministers lnvitation:

 

After due consultation with those concerned, I wish to inform all our priests and religious that our Christmas Party/Get-together this year will be held on Monday, December 26, 2016 at the Archbishops House between 10.00 hrs to 14.00 hrs. All our priests and religious in the Archdiocese of Bhopal are cordially invited to join the celebration. Our Jubilarians - Priesthood and/or Religious Profession, will be honored during this occasion. Hence, the Superiors/Heads of all our Religious institutions are requested to give the names of their Jubilarian members to Fr. Mathew VC, the Vicar General or to Fr. Reboni Asir, my Office Secretary.

 

On that same evening our Chief Minister, Hon. Shivraj Singh Chauhan, is organizing a Christmas Party and has extended an invitation to all the Christians of Madhya Pradesh. You are most welcome to join the celebration at the residence of the Chief Minister. More details will available from our PR Office- C/o Fr. Maria Stephen.

 

Meeting in Preparation for the forthcoming CCBI General Body Meeting:

In view of our preparations for the forthcoming CCBI General Body Meeting I hereby invite all major superiors of the Religious Congregations, having their Office in the Archdiocese, all Parish Priests along with the Secretaries of respective Parish Councils as well as those specially invited, for a meeting to be held on January 05, 2017 at 10.30 am at the Pastoral Center, Arera Colony. This is going to be an important meeting to discuss the organizational modalities that need to be considered for hosting this all important Conference of Bishops of India. While we prepare for this mega event, let us keep praying for its success.

 

Let us remember the Deceased:

Father of Fr. Francis Scaria; Father of Fr. Antony Shellmon; Sr. Basir CSSJ;

Mother of Sr. Roberta DSS, Ashta; Mother of Fr. Seby CMl, (Principal of St. Paul);

Nephew of Fr. Hermon Kujur.

 

Wishing each one of you a joyful Christmas and a promising New Year 2017!

Sincerely in the Lord,

 

  + LEO CORNELIO, SVD

  Archbishop of Bhopal

 

 

Cir. 04/2016 <62>

22-Sep-2016

                                                                BHOPAL ARCHDIOCESE                                

                                                                                                                                                Archbishop’s House

                                                                                                                                            33, Ahmedabad Palace Road

                                                                                                                                                Bhopal 462001

                                                                                                                                                Sept. 08, 2016

Cir. 04/2016 <62>            

 

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

 

May I wish all of you a very happy feast of the nativity of our Blessed Mother Mary! Well, this feast has assumed ever greater significance with the passing of years and the devotion to Mother Mary is ever on the increase, not only among Catholics but among the believers of other religions as well.  With increasing challenges which the modern world is facing the ‘miracles’ keep happening. Consequently there is a growing number of petitions and increase in devotion to Mother Mary, invoked under many different names! May she continue to fill us with her spirit of ‘faithfulness’ to the word and intercede for us with her son Jesus!


Canonization of Mother Theresa of Calcutta: The highly anticipated event, has just taken place in Rome in the presence of tens of thousands of people. Millions might have viewed it live on television. Certainly St. Teresa of Calcutta is a world renowned figure, recipient of many awards but greatly appreciated by all for her compassion/mercy to the ‘poorest of the poor’. She reached out of these with so much abandon and devotion that history has few such shining examples. Pope Francis at the canonization Liturgy in Rome on Sunday, September 04, said: “Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life those unborn and those abandoned discarded…… Today I pass on this emblematic figure of womanhood and of consecrated life to the whole world of volunteers. May she be our model of holiness!”

Celebration in Bhopal – A public function in honor of ‘Mother’ St. Theresa of Calcutta and the celebration of year of mercy on Archdiocesan level is being planned to be for November 12 and 13, 2016 at Dussera Maidan and Carmel School grounds respectively. The committee for the public celebration includes well-Known personalities from the city as well. All of you are invited as well as encouraged to pitch in so that we can together celebrate this events with appropriate spirit of solemnity and devotion.

 

Liturgical Matters: It is important that from time to time we review our liturgical practices lest they become routine. Here are a few notes:  a. Prayers of the Faithfull: Parish Priest or the presiding liturgist should kindly see that ‘Prayer of the Faithful’ should be short, - like in our Breviary and Missal-, and are limited in number (5 or 6 maximum!). b.Singing/Choir: It is desirable that there is maximum participation by the faithful in singing. Since most parishes have your own hymnals kindly select/sing mostly hymns which can be sung by the whole community. c. Consecrating Hosts: Parish Priest should be responsible to ensure that at each Eucharistic celebration sufficient number of hosts would be consecrated so that they would suffice for the particular celebration and what remained could be preserved in the Tabernacle which too should not contain too much at a given time. d. Mass Intentions: I have observed that our faithful book Mass Intentions and offer prescribed amount of stipend. ‘Box Intentions’

Apart, all the other masses should be celebrated individually and not just by celebrating one mass for all them by announcing their names. The celebrant is entitled for only one stipend for the mass he celebrates. Rest of the intentions should be passed on, along with the stipend, to the Archdiocese which will ensure the celebration of these Masses by individual priests. In case of doubt kindly discuss this matter with me.

Finance:

Co-signatories: Although it may be a repetition, I would once again remind all our parish priests and heads of institutions to have two signatories for every bank account that is operated or opened. While for schools the co-signatories should be the manager and principal, for parishes these should be Parish Priest and Parish Council Secretary or Treasurer. Kindly follow this norm at your earliest if this not yet done.

CCBI General Assembly:  We are already moving ahead with the preparations to host the forthcoming CCBI General Body Meeting at our Pastoral Centre and Campus toward the beginning of February 2017. The Core Committee is already at work. You are welcome to join any of the committees/subcommittees of your choice and so, let us together contribute to the successful hosting of this important. A short prayer too has been prepared by Fr. Jose Prakash, to be recited daily, beginning from September 20, 2016 until the completion of the General Body Meet.

Imposition of Censure:

This is notify to all that Fr. P. Chinnappan, a priest incardinated into the Archdiocese of Bhopal, ordained to the priesthood in the year 1991, has been officially served with the canonical “imposition of censures” by me on August 27, 2016. He is prohibited from exercising all acts of the power of Order and functions as a Catholic Priest. Consequently, he is prohibited from administering Sacraments and Sacramentals which need the power of Order. Any act by him contrary to the above order, will be invalid as long as this suspension stands.

Points following the consultation in Priests Council:

Jubilee … Year of Mercy and Reaching out to our poor Catholic Families: This point has its context in the Golden Jubilee Year of our Archdiocese. Most of you may remember that we had several discussions regarding our concern for the poor Catholics and the proposal to build 50 houses for the homeless Catholic Families. However, Parish Priest could not come to a consensus as to who should be considered for such benefits. At the last Priest Council meeting, this issue was discussed once again and the members felt that we should review this concern. I would, therefore, ask all our Parish Priests to identify all families which are below poverty line. They could take the help of our ICYM and Parish Councils. I invite all our Parish Priests for a meeting on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, at 3.00 pm at the Pastoral Centre to discuss various pastoral issues. Kindly be prepared to share certain general pastoral concerns of your parish.

Some more points which were discussed will be shared at our Assembly on Sept. 10.

Regional Education Secretary: Following decisions at the recent CDES as well as CBMP Annual meetings Sr. Nora AC has been appointed the new Education Secretary for the Region as well as for CDES. Fr. Thomas Attumel, who served the Region until now, has received a fresh assignment in his home diocese of Sagar. On behalf of the CBMP, CRI and CDES I express our sentiments of appreciation and thanks to Fr. Attumel for his dedication and service to our Education Apostolate in the region.

Let us remember the deceased: Sr. James, SMMI; mother of Sr. Jancy, SSpS, father of Fr. Biju T, Dy Secretary of CBMP.

Wishing you peace and joy and blessings from the Lord,

 

+Leo Cornelio, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

                                                                                                                                                                                              

Cir. 03/2016 <61>

04-Jul-2016

BHOPAL ARCHDIOCESE

 

Archbishop’s House

33,Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal 462 001

June 25, 2016

Cir. 03/2016 <61>

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

 

Probably as children many of us have read stories. Most of these stories begin with “Once upon a time…” and end with “lived happily ever after”…! Well, in reality hardly anyone has a perfect life whether in the ‘beginning’ or at the ‘end’. Our life, as a wise man has said, begins with “welcome to the struggle” and ends with “You are lucky to have survived the journey”. If you wait for happy moments you will wait forever; but if you start believing that you are happy, you will make success of your life. Well, happiness, ultimately, is God’s gift.  A great thinker was once asked, “What is the meaning of life?” He replied, “Life itself has no meaning. Life is an opportunity to create/make meaning”. I was recently asked at a TV interview what I thought about our Governments proposal to constitute a sort of ‘commission’ called in Hindi “Khushi Mantralaya”. My response to the question was something similar to what I have noted above. For a Christian to be happy, first and foremost, we need to cultivate a balanced vertical and horizontal relationship – relationship with God and our fellow human beings. Love is the glue for this relationship. Of course, it is easier said than done! Needs deep faith and clean conscience!

 

Resumption of Academic Activities: After this exceptionally warm summer break most of you, I believe, are relaxed and refreshed; and are back to your assigned responsibilities, including those who have been transferred or newly assigned. Welcome to another year of toil in the vineyard of the Lord, Welcome also and very specially, to our priests and religious who have been assigned to some ‘mission’ in this Archdiocese.

 

As most of the schools have reopened, I, hereby, wish to express a word of appreciation to all our academic institutions for their good performance and excellent results. It is not so much the success, name or fame that our schools are known for, which is the ultimate measure in the eyes of God, but the dedication with which we commit ourselves to the given mission. Whether we are engaged in a parish, institution or mission, let us assume our responsibility with renewed enthusiasm, and commit ourselves to the task wholeheartedly, but always trusting in God’s plan for us (Jer. 29/11) and doing our best by utilizing to the fullest our God-given talents.

 

Education Mission:

Our Education Mission has relevance only as long as we make it our ‘mission’ with true missionary zeal. Commitment and dedication is the hallmark of so called ‘Missionary Schools’. Our School Managers and Principals, with particular reference to those of our Archdiocesan Schools, have to ensure that our schools comply with the basic norms and directions of Education Board but, at the same time, be conscious to implement the recommendations of “All India Catholic Education Policy 2007” formulated by the CBCI.  There are also practical guidelines as given by our Education Manuel. All our Archdiocesan school managers and Principals in their respective schools are expected to consult the Office of the Education Board (Chairman and/or Secretary) before taking any major decision that could significantly effect the institution, such as fee structure, revision of pay for staff, CBSE Affiliation, computer programs and package for accounts, etc. Kindly do not arbitrarily introduce or decide on anything that has a long term implication on personnel infra-structure and finances without first consulting the lawful local authorities in the Church.  

 

Ordinations & Assignments: I had the privilege of ordaining to the priesthood our three deacons, Dennis Tigga, Julius Kullu and Paramanand Xalxo, in their respective places/parishes. We extend our congratulations to them and also our appreciation to their parents as well all those who have contributed in their long journey to the priesthood.   They are assigned for a year-long pastoral work in rural missions in the dioceses of Jabalpur and Khandwa.

 

Celebrations Linked with the Year of Mercy and Canonization of Mother Theresa:

While the Catholic Church awaits the official canonization of Blessed Mother Theresa in Rome on Sept 04 followed by a National level celebration by the Catholic Church at Kolkota on October 02, we in Bhopal too propose to have a moderate celebration in honor of Mother (Saint) Theresa on convenient days following the above two events. The proposal is to have a spiritual event on the level of the Church which could be joined with event of the ‘Year of Mercy, and social/civic events/functions involving all people of good will including dignitaries from all walks of life.  More information will be shared with you after the core committee has met and discussed the details. Kindly be willing to join one of the committees and contribute with your active involvement as well as with your prayers towards the success of all that may be planned.

 

CCBI General Body Meet 2017:

As I had already informed, it is now decided that the next CCBI General Body Meet will be held Bhopal at our Asha Niketan Campus, Arera Colony. The approximate dates are January 31 to February 08, 2017. Of course, that would mean much planning and preparation. I appeal to all our priests, religious and faithful to cooperate and actively get involved in making this event a success.

 

Home Mission – A Pastoral Initiative in the Jubilee Year of Mercy:

After having experienced, even if in a few parishes, the positive response of the our faithful to the pastoral effectiveness of the ‘Home Mission”, about which I had already briefed you in my last circular, I now believe that we must carry it out in all our parishes in the Archdiocese. Hence, our Vicar General, Fr. Mathew V.C, will contact the parish priests of remaining parishes to discuss the ways and modalities for Home Mission in their parishes so that this pastoral outreach could be completed before the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Parish Priests are highly encouraged to extend their full cooperation to him and the team.

 

Committees to Manage our Two Cemeteries:

In accordance with the proposal and suggestion of our last Pastoral Council, a meeting of a few Parish Priests and Secretaries of parish councils was held on June 14 at the Pastoral Center. The participants decided to constitute two committees of eight members each to be responsible for our two cemeteries with the Vicar General, Fr. Mathew V.C., as the over all Convener and Fr. Tobias Minj as the Finance In-Charge. The Committees will present their findings and proposals at the next Pastoral Council Meeting for further deliberations and guidance. All were of the conviction that we owe a debt to our deceased faithful and we need to take better care of our two Cemeteries. 

 

Kindly note that I will be away for a few weeks from end of June, during which time Fr. Mathew will attend to the required official responsibilities while being in regular communication with me.

 

Remember the Deceased: Brother of Sr. Maggie CMC

 

Wishing you the very best and God’s blessing on your mission,

+ Leo Cornelio SVD,

Archbishop of Bhopal

 

Archbishops Christmas Message

06-Jan-2016

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

 

Greetings of joy and blessings of the Lord!

 

Christmas is the celebration of a unique historical event. It is not just an echo of a long past ‘Holy Night’. Rather, it is the fulfillment of a promise of God coming down and living among us human beings!  It is a celebration of God’s self communication with the intent to build communion with us human beings. So, it is both a challenge and a responsibility for us to communicate this love and build communion with our brothers and sisters. In short, it is a feast of joy, love, fraternity and peace.

 

Christ lived and preached the path of love, non violence and tolerance towards all. This, in fact, is the path the leaders of other religions too have taught. The father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, followed this path in his struggle for the freedom of our Country. This is the spirit in which Pope Francis in his Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ has reminded humanity of our responsibility towards each other and towards the whole creation and has declared the Jubilee Year – the Year of Mercy.  In this Jubilee year of Mercy, let us live our life accepting our community members with their gifts and limitations. May the mercy of God be with us and enhance us to love everyone and share the joy and happiness with one another.

 

I wish to express my sincere appreciation to each one of you for the mission you are carrying out in the Archdiocese of Bhopal and spreading the values of God’s Kingdom. May you as well as your dear ones be abundantly blessed by the Lord born in a Manger for us!

 

A very happy feast of Christmas, a blessed Season of joy and a promising New Year 2016!

 

Fraternally in the Lord,

+Leo Cornelio SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Circular 03/2014 <48>

09-May-2014

BHOPAL ARCHDIOCESE

Archbishop’s House

33,Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal 462 001

April 22, 2014

 

 

Cir. 03/2014 <48>

 

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

As we have just entered into the Easter Season of joy I take this occasion to convey my greetings to each one of you and wish lots of blessings of the Risen Lord. Yes, we have lived through the Lenten season, a time of fasting, penance and sacrifices; and thus uniting ourselves with the Lord, more in spirit than by the letter of the law. The Resurrection of the Lord is an assurance and encouragement for Christ’s believers to continue in hope, in spite of the many trials and misunderstandings we may constantly face. As St. Paul writes: “We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed”(2 Co. 4/8-10). The ‘Times of India’ newspaper of April 19, in the ‘Sacred Space’, quoting Basil Hume writes: “The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope, which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.” Furthermore in the same page “The Speaking Tree” encourages us not to fear death but to begin to live, since Christ has said ‘whoever looses his life for my sake will find it’ (Mt. 16/25). Easter, thus, is a feast of hope, love, light and life.  

 

Transfers and Appointments:

Following a long but systematic process in which the whole College of Consulters were also much involved, I officially communicate here below the list of Transfers/Appointments which will become effective latest by June 15, 2014. Since practically all of you have been already consulted this may not come as a surprise. However, with this list all uncertainties would be cleared.

 

 Names                                                                  Transferred/Appointed to:

 

Fr. Abraham Michael                                            P.P, Infant Jesus Church & Part-time teach. BSSS

Fr. Abraham V.P                                                  Stn in Charge & Principal St. Jude’s, Khirkiya  

Fr. Ajay Ekka                                                       P.P, & Manager, Lourd Mata, Sehore

Fr. Antony Samy                                                  Stn in Charge, Handia

Fr. Antonius Toppo                                               P.P, Assumption Church & Manager St. Joseph                                                                                                                           Hindi Medium School, Arera Colony

Fr. Arokia Gerald                                                  Asst, Sohankheda Stn

Fr. Arul Samy                                                       P.P, Christ the King Church, Bairagarh

Fr. Cyriac James                                                  P.P, Holy Family Church & Finance Administrator BSSS, Habibgunj

Fr. Dilip Minj                                                        Fatehpur Village Mission, Res.Fatehpur Presbytery

Fr. Francis Maria                                                  Stn in Charge, Seoni-Malwa

Fr. George Vazhakala                                          Stn in Charge & Manager V. Jyoti School, Icchawar

Fr. George Jacob                                                  P.P, St. Joseph’s Church, Idgah

Fr. Hermon Kujur                                                   Asst Director, Pastoral Center, Arera Colony

Fr. J. Alexander                                                    Youth & Communication, Res. Archbishop’s House

                                                                            Part time Secretary to Archbishop

Fr. Jeevan Tirkey                                                   Asst P.P, Infant Jesus Church, Ayodhya Nagar

Fr. Johney P.J.                                           .          Director, BSSS College, Habibgunj

Fr. Jonedius Toppo                                               Director ANWC, Res. Pastoral Center

Fr. Jose Prakash                                                  Program Coordinator, Retreat Center (adnl Charge)

Fr. Joseph P.P.                                             Cont. as Principal of BSSS for another Year, with special charge of College expansion at Ratibad

Fr. Joseph Thannipilly                                           Stn in Charge, Rehti with res. at Nasrullagunj          

Fr. Joy Thomas                                                      P.P, St Patrick’s Church and Principal

Fr. Lancy Fernandes                                             Principal, St. Mary’s School, Harda

Fr. Leo Babu                                                        Stn in Charge & Manager, St. Joseph’s School, Pipariya

Fr. Maria Stephen                                                 Principal St. Theresa’s School, Ashta; Stn in Charge Namonia

Fr. Michael Sebastian                                            P.P, St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral, Jahangirabd

Fr. Reboni Asir                                                     Stn In Charge Babai and Manger St. John’s School

Fr. Ronald Cordoza                                              Director Pastoral Center & Manager St. Joseph’s Co-Ed School, Arera Colony

Fr. Ronald Vaugan                                               Stn in Charge, Nadan (Res. Icchawar)

Fr. S. Solomon                                                 Cont. as Principal, St. Joseph’s Co-Ed Kolar for another year & PRO and to assist in our Edu. Office

Fr. Saiju Kolarikkal                                               P.P, Holy Cross Church, Lambakheda

Fr. Sebastian Tigga                                              Co-pastor, St. Francis Assisi Cathdral, Jahangirabad

Fr. Shaji Stanislaus                                               Asst. PRO, Res. at Seva Sadan

Fr. Shellmon Antony                                            P.P, Infant Jesus Church, Hoshangabad

Fr. Sibi Joseph                                                     P.P, Queen of the Universal Church, Kolar

Fr. Soosai P.                                                       Principal, St. Joseph’s School, Pipariya

Fr. Stanlin A.                                                        Asst. St. Patrick’s Church and School, Sohagpur

Fr. Suman K. Tirkey                                             Res. and Assist at Divine Retreat Center, Kolar

Fr. Tobias Minj                                                     Bursar, Abp’s House & Asst. St. J.Church, Idgah

Fr. Tomy Joseph                                                   P.P, Sacred Heart Ch., Ratanpur, & Manager, Barrai

Fr. Varghese Shiju                                               Principal, St. Joseph’s Co-ed, Arera Colony

Fr. Antony Akkanath                                            Doctoral Studies, Rome

Fr. Vipin Tigga                                                     Mission Pastoral, Mandla, Jabalpur Diocese

Fr. Carmel Alexander                                           Mission Pastoral, Mandla, Jabalpur Diocese

 

I appreciate and thank the members of the College of Consulters for their active collaboration in this process, Of course, even the best of efforts cannot give total satisfaction to everyone. All the same, most have gracefully accepted this change/transfer in good spirit. My sincere thanks to all you! Surely, the Lord will help everyone to live up to His call (cf Jn. 15/16)

 

The modalities of the transfers/appointments are as follows:

 

1.      You may kindly assume your new responsibility/office latest by June 15, 2014.

2.      Since we do not have Deans appointed as yet, the responsibility of facilitating the ‘handing over’ and ‘taking over’ the charge is assigned to the members of the College of Consulters. They are: i. Hoshangabad-Harda Deanery: Fr. Tomy Joseph and Fr. John Benito ii. Sehore and Part Bhopal Deaneries: Fr. Davidson V.M and Fr. Ishwardas Minj; Bhopal Deanery: Fr. Mathew V.C. and Fr. Richard Couto  

3.      You may mutually agree on the date of assuming your new Office and communicate the same to the ‘Facilitator’ regarding the day and time when this handing/taking over can be conveniently carried out. I recommend that the whole process, as far as possible, may be completed between the 5th and 15th of June 2014. Thanks to all of you for your cooperation.

4.      If there are serious reasons for being not able to keep to the above date and mutually decide to go beyond the deadline of June 15, kindly inform me about the same.

 

Our Missionary Outreach: All, I am sure, are aware that we have been speaking about the need to reach out to the rural missions with the Gospel message. It is certainly a great challenge, especially in the present times when the idea of ‘mission’ is being interpreted according to our convenience. But the real meaning of ‘mission’ has to be seen from the point of Christ’s mission and what St. Paul time and again reminds us through his own life mission. Hence, it is for us, those who are ‘sent’, to respond to the challenges of our times. The message of the good news has to be proclaimed ‘whether the time is right or not’ (2 Tim 4/2).

 

Letter from the Congregation for the Evangelization of People: Following up the ‘Apostolic Visitation’ suggested by the above mentioned Congregation and undertaken by Most Rev. Thomas Menamparambil, the emeritus Archbishop of Guwahati, we have received two letters from the Prefect of the “Congregatio pro Gentium Evangelizatione’, Rome, of which one is personal. Of the other letter, which is addressed to all of us (Archbishop and Brother Priests of the Archdiocese of Bhopal), I am enclosing a copy to all the priests of this Archdiocese. I would recommend that each one attentively read it and meditate upon it. Though the letter is short, the contents are important for our reflection and follow up. The letter, while appreciating the “ecclesial sense and priestly communion that you displayed during the Visit,” also mentions that “disunity within the clergy as well controversies between the bishop and the clergy, and within the clergy itself, have disfigured the face of the Church with lasting consequences”.

 

Now, we have gone through a lengthy, even if rather painful, process and have come to the understanding as well as acceptance of the problems being faced by this Archdiocese since long. The challenge for all of us is to accept the responsibility and make a serious effort to repair the damage by “giving common testimony to the Gospel values, as well as to the Gospel message of universal love and brotherhood” before all, especially before our religious and faithful who have suffered the most. Let us realize that maintaining and building up our presbyterial unity should be the top priority and a God given responsibility for every member in the Archdiocese. The lawful ecclesial authorities can only facilitate the occasion, just as a horse can be led to the water but cannot be made to drink. The spiritual thirst cannot be induced or forced from elsewhere, much less by the authorities. It should be felt by everyone from deep within; and that is the basis of our call (Ref. Jn. 15/16) which we have freely and voluntarily accepted. Our response to this call too should be sufficiently adequate if not intense. The Church has a clear hierarchical structure around which the communion should be built and realized. “Indeed, there can be no genuine priestly ministry except in communion with the supreme pontiff and the Episcopal college, especially with one’s own diocesan bishop, who deserves that filial respect and obedience promised during the rite of Ordination.” (Bl. Pope John Paul II in his Ap. Exhortation ‘Formation of Priests’,1992). The Word of God and Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, are the most effective sources of our sanctification. Priests are called to be the ministers of these sacraments for the sanctification of the faithful. Hence, we as pastors should give high priority to these as well as to our pastoral and missionary outreach.

 

Ordinations to Priesthood: We are happy that the Archdiocese is blessed with two deacons this year, who will be ordained to the Priesthood in their respective native parishes in the next month.  Dn. Carmel Alexander will be ordained on May 06 at Mount Carmel Church Eleyanganny, Tamilnadu,  and Dn. Vipin Tigga on May 11 at Bedaag Ish Mata Church, Ambikapur, CG. Let us accompany them with our prayers as they prepare for the great day and wish God’s blessings on them.

 

Logos Magazine: Indore Diocese has taken the responsibility of publishing a quarterly magazine which contains good informative Biblical and catechetical material. The price is Rs. 15 per copy. Those wish to subscribe for this magazine may contact Fr. Joby Anand, (Mob. 9425945190) or Fr. Babu Chirayath (Mob. 9414101640).

 

CMI School and Hostel Facilities to the Physically Challenged Children: The director of the newly established “Integrated” School (Christ School) at Patel Nagar has invited applications for admissions of physically challenged children. These will receive free education with hostel facilities.

 

Visitator for the Syro-Malabar Rite Catholics – His Excellency, Bp Mar Raphael Thattil, the Auxiliary Bishop of Trichur has been officially appointed by the Vatican as the Apostolic Visitator for the Syro-Malabar Rite Catholics residing outside the “territorium proprium” in India. In this official capacity he is planning to visit our Archdiocese within the next couple of months. We welcome His Excellency to the Archdiocese at a suitable opportunity.

 

Ordination Silver Jubilees: Three of our priests, Fr. Solomon S. Fr. Soosai P and Fr. Francis Scaria are in the ‘Silver Year’ (25th Year) of their Priestly Ordination. While we extend our felicitations and thank God for their years of service to the people of God, we shall specially remember them in our prayers as we pray regularly for the priests of our Archdiocese.

 

Kindly pray for the Deceased: Sr. Delphine CSSJ, Sr. Francis Xavier CSSJ, -both from Tanmaya province; Br. Joseph MMB, Brother of Fr. Vincent Suares, Uncle of Fr. Mathew V.C. We pray for the dear departed. RIP

    

Once again, a very happy Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord! May the Risen Lord continue to inspire you and guide all your missionary endeavours.

 

 

Devotedly in the Lord,

+Leo Cornelio SVD,

Archbishop of Bhopal

 

Circular 04 <43>

22-Jul-2013

BHOPAL ARCHDIOCESE

Archbishop’s House

33,Ahmedabad Palace Road

Bhopal 462 001

June 29, 2013

Cir. 04 <43>

 

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

St. Augustine, after much search and varied ‘experiences’ had said “Our hearts are restless O Lord, until they rest in you”. Yes, today our world offers us many and exciting experiences. God has endowed human beings with an insatiable desire to acquire/achieve. Many crave for these so called ‘desirable goods’– money, pleasure, name and fame. People, especially the youth, seek opportunities to build their career and fulfill their ambitions. The truth is that one’s ‘needs’ can be satisfied but not the ‘greed’ and ambition! For such people ‘end justifies the means’ - fair or unfair, just or unjust! Often this attitude, coupled with absence of God in their life leads to discontentment and rebelliousness. Even priests and religious are not free from this contagion of the modern world. It is in this context that Pope Francis, at the 65th Assembly of the Italian Bishops’ Conference on May 24, encouraged the Church leaders, - bishops, priests and religious to be on guard against “temptations towards distraction, laziness and, above all, careerism!”

 

Meeting of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant People: It was held in Rome from May 22 - 26 of May in which I too participated. While it is true that the reasons for migration of people are many, the volume of migrants in general, as statistics clearly show, is on the increase. A good portion of these are led by the lure of ‘greener pastures’ and to make their carreer/future. At the same time, it is also a fact that ‘forced migration’ which was the principal theme of this meeting, has become one of the serious concerns in our age due to the disturbances and calamities, natural or induced, which occur more frequently. But when people, especially women and children, are forced to migrate, they become vulnerable to the greedy and ambitious people who take advantage of these situations for their selfish end. The Church makes every effort to stand by the side of these ‘marginalized’ and tries to alleviate their pain through direct support as well as through advocacy with the respective government.

 

At the end of the meeting we had a special Papal Audience where Pope Francis addressed the participants voicing his great concern for the hardships of the migrant people, especially the ‘refugees and forcibly displaced persons’. Some photos of my meeting with the Pope are available for those who wish to have one!

 

Disaster in Uttarakhand: Since a number of days we have been flooded with news about the nightmarish situation of millions of suffering people due to rains, floods and landslides in Uttarakhand. There have been many horror stories of death and destruction as well as miraculous escapes. While we extend our prayerful support to the suffering, we should also do something in action. Your suggestions, together with concrete steps in this direction, are most welcome.

 

Transfers and Appointments: As mentioned in my earlier circular here are just a few essential transfers/appointments done after due consultation with the fathers concerned. These will become effective before Mid July 2013:

Fr. George Stepen                                         - Proclamation Center (residing at Abp’s House for now)

Fr. Thomas Panackal                                     - P. Priest Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Seva Sadan

Fr. Antony Akkanath                                    - P. Priest & Manager, Lourd Mata Church, Sehore

Fr. Shellmon Antony                                    - A Year of Spiritual Renewal & Updating

Fr. George Payattikkatt svd                          - Station-in-Charge, Shyampur

Fr. Hans Puthiakulangara mst                       - Co-pastor, O. L. Lourdes Church, Seva Sadan and

                                                                         Priest in Charge of the Syro Malabar Catholics

Fr. Jonney Kannikatt                                   - P. Priest & Manager, Nasrullagunj

Fr. Jomi Panitas                                            - Studies in Rome

Fr. Tobias Minj                                             - A Year of Pastoral Mission in Mandla Dist.

Fr. Arokia Jerald                                          - A Year of Pastoral Mission in Mandla Dist.

Fr. Alexander Jesudasan                              - In-charge, Navdeep Communications& Bhopal Link

Regent:                                  

Br. Roshin Antony                                       - Fatehpur

Kindly assume your office till the end of the first week of July with mutual understanding.

 

SSC and Higher Secondary School Results: I am informed that most of our Schools have obtained ‘good to very good’ results in SSC and Higher Secondary Board Examinations. We appreciate the hard work put in by the Principals, management, staff and students as well as the cooperation extended by the parents for their contribution and involvements.

 

Inclusion of the name of ‘St. Joseph’ in the Canon of the Mass: It is officially communicated through our Apostolic Nunciature that the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments, by virtue of the faculties granted by Pope Francis, has decreed that in the Eucharistic Prayers II, III and IV of the Roman Missal after the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the name of ‘St. Joseph, her Spouse’ should be included. Kindly follow this instruction and announce the same to the faithful of your respective parishes (enclosed is a copy of the decree in English).

 

New Initiatives: I am happy to welcome to the Archdiocese the congregation of Ursuline Franciscan Sisters (UFS) from Lucknow Province, who will join the teaching mission at Lambakheda. The CMI Province, Bhopal has initiated a mission in Budhni and SVD Central province has pitched in to develop the mission at Shyampur. We welcome the initiatives of the respective congregations and view it as part of God’s plan in this Golden Jubilee Year.

 

Feast of St. Thomas – July 03: India is specially privileged to have been evangelized by Jesus’ own disciple – St. Thomas! We specially felicitate our Syro Malabar brothers and sisters who celebrate this day with great solemnity due to their rich historical link with St. Thomas.

 

Autonomous Status to BSSS: You may perhaps know that our BSSS College already had A grade NAAC accredited status. But due to questions of academic standard, timings of examinations and other inconveniences, it was found preferable to apply for an autonomous status to the BSSS. After much effort, paper work and an elaborate inspection from the UGC, the State govt. and University, the BSSS has been approved the autonomous status from the Year 2013 onwards. It is certainly a major step forward for our college. On behalf of the Archdiocese of Bhopal I extend our hearty congratulations to the Principal, Fr. Joseph P.P, and his whole staff as well as students for the team work and the hard work they have put in. We wish the College much progress and blessings of the Lord. 

 

Prison Ministry: Sunday August 11 will be observed as Prison Ministry Sunday by the Church in India. As described by Most Rev. Peter Remigius, the Bishop of Kottar and Patron of Prison Ministry, India, the sorry state of Indian prisons is that there are almost twice as many ‘under trials’ as there are convicted prisoners in 1382 prisons of India!  The following Sunday, Aug. 18, will be observed as “Justice Sunday” with the theme ‘Peace on Earth in Justice’.

 

Remember the Deceased: mother of Fr. Antony Akkanath and Father of Fr. Sylbirius Tigga.

Remember the Sick: Fr. George Stephen, undergoing treatment for stomach ailment; mother of Fr. Johny Kannikatt and Sr. Smitha MSMI, Bankhedi Community.

 

Wishing you God’s blessings, inspiration of His Spirit and intercession of Sts Peter and Paul,

Sincerely in the Lord,

 

+LEO CORNELIO, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Archbishops Easter Message

04-Apr-2013

CHRIST HAS RISEN INDEED.... ALLELUIA!

 

My dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

We are in the Easter Week! We have observed the Lenten Days of prayer and various penitential as well as charitable acts in our own ways, keeping in mind the spirit and recommendations of the Church as per the tradition of our Catholic faith. At the Easter Vigil service the priest lights the candle from the new fire, saying: “May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds”. Rightly so, as followers of Christ we believe that the Risen Lord is our light and he alone can dispel the darkness of sin/evil from every human heart and mind. Hence, the Word of God should always be a ‘guide to our feet and a light to our path’ (Ps. 119/105). I wish all of you as well as those under your care, a very HAPPY EASTER Season, and abundant blessings of the Risen Lord!

 

Our New Pope - Francis: Generally the idea of ‘new’ signifies some difference or change which, in turn, fills human beings with fresh hope, expectation, demands, etc., even to the extent of belying reality! These have become common attitudes of human beings in our seemingly ‘restless’ modem world. By and large, people tend to look at the past more with regret than with appreciation; and look to the future with hope and expectation. More often than not, we tend to forget that what really matters is the present!

 

Well, we are happy and grateful to God that we have a new Pontiff, 266th in line in the history of the Catholic Church. There are a number of ‘firsts’ in him — he is the first Latin American, though his roots are in Italy, he is the first Pope who has taken the name of Francis after the great Saint Francis of Assisi, who, incidentally, is the patron our Cathedral Parish as well as that of our Archdiocese. He is the first Jesuit in the history of the Church. He hit the head lines in the world news media by his small breaks from tradition that attracted the attention of many all over the world. He celebrated the Maundy Thursday by ‘washing of the feet’ of prisoners. But the question is: Will he, or can he live up to the expectations of the world in an enduring manner? At this juncture it may be premature to speculate. All the same, our faith should teach us that God chooses the right person at the right moment for the right responsibility. Pope Francis is the need of the time for us today and let us hope and pray earnestly that through the instrumentality of our newly elected Pope the Spirit of the Risen Lord would continue to guide the Bark of Peter in spite of the many ups and downs of our present age even as the Church has faced many similar situations all through the History. Let us trust in God and entrust ourselves to him in faith.

 

Let us also pray for Pope Benedict XVI who surprised the world by freely relinquishing his office. Only those with faith would understand that an office in the Church is a call to service and not an office to be craved for out of one’s selfish ambition. Hence, when one has done “all those things which are commanded you, say, we are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Lk 17/10). Pope Benedict has felt that he has done his lot for the Church as long as his health and energy permitted him and now has said like Simeon: “Now, Lord, you may let your servant go in peace (Lk. 2/29). Let us all continue to support the outgoing Pope Benedict XVI and our newly elected Pope Francis through our prayers and intercessions.

 

Visit of the Ist Councilor from the Nunciature:

In the context of the prevailing confusion and ‘complaints’ in this Local Church I happy that Mons. Romanus Mbena, the First Councilor from the Nunciature visited us and stayed with us for some days. He not only heard many of you, including our lay people, but he also gave us a recollection conference and joined us at the Chrism Mass as a sign of solidarity and communion with this Local Church. On behalf of our Archdiocese I sincerely thank our Apostolic Nuncio, the Most Rev. Salvatore Pennacchio, for his concern and interest in us.

 

Priestly Ordinations: Following the proposal of the Archdiocesan Golden Jubilee Committee, we plan to organize the celebration of Sacraments in different churches on different occasion. Now, on Sunday, April 21, two of our deacons — Dn. Tobias Minj and Dn. K. Arockia Gerald, -will be Ordained to the Priesthood at the Infant Jesus Church, Ayodhya Bypass, All are cordially invited to participate in the celebration. I wish to express my appreciation to our two deacons for consenting to be Ordained in the Archdiocese in our Golden Jubilee Year.

 

Regarding the Transfer and Appointments:

During our last consulter’ s meeting it was proposed by some consulters that in view of the Golden Jubilee Year of the Archdiocese we could think of minimum changes or transfers in the Archdiocese. Hence, taking this suggestion into consideration as well as viewing the present situation of the Archdiocese, I may as well inform you that only essential transfers/appointments will be affected for this year.

 

Vacations and Absence from the Archdiocese: While wishing you refreshing vacations in May-June 2013, you are highly encouraged to kindly see, as per our usual norm, that you arrange your vacations, taking the pastoral good of the faithful as well as the well being of the institutions into due consideration.

 

Remember the Deceased and the Sick:

Father of Fr. Johney P.J,

Fr. Jose Paul, CMI, former Provincial Superior of this CMI Province,

We shall pray for the above departed and all the souls of those we want to remember.

 

Once again, wishing you a joyful season of Easter and peace as blessing of the Risen Lord,

 

• +LEO CORNELIO, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Archbishops Lenten Message

02-Mar-2013

Dear Fathers, Sisters, Brothers & Faithful,

Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Once again we are in the holy season of Lent wherein the Mother Church reminds us in a special way of the Paschal Mysteries of our Lord and our need to respond to it adequately. Coincidently, this Lent is remarkable in more than one way – the universal Church celebrates this year as the Year of Faith, while for us this is a year of the Golden Jubilee of our Archdiocese. Hence it is opportune that we make a short reflection on these two events and their implications on us as disciples of Jesus.

1. Year of Faith: The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI through his apostolic letter ‘Porta Fidei’ (Door of Faith) has asked all Catholics to prepare for the ‘Year of Faith that began in October 2012 and will conclude in November 2013, with the Feast of Christ the King. The Holy Father invites us all ‘to set out on a journey of faith that lasts for a lifetime’. In fact, the ‘Year of faith’ marks the end of 50 years of another journey that began with the Vatican Council II which resulted in the opening of the doors of the Church to the modern world. Hence it is fitting that we, as individual followers of Jesus, and as families as well as  communities open our lives to reflect on what we must be, and do in our context during this ‘pilgrimage of faith’.

Faith is a personal relationship with the Son of God, Jesus who ‘came down’ to be with us so that we can rise up from every failure, sin and pessimism. Jesus is ever present with us as our friend and co-pilgrim. It is also the certainty that God loves us unconditionally as unique persons with name, face, vocation and destiny. Hence faith in Christ should make us new people with a renewed perception of everybody and everything, and enable us to see everything with the eyes of Jesus. This would shape our attitudes and results in behaviour that is truly Christian (Phil. 2:5). Consequently, we come to recognize Jesus in our neighbour and that makes all the difference in our life as we keep on encountering Jesus in our daily lives. Once we ‘meet Jesus’, our life would never be the same. We would be transformed by having in us a ‘holy restlessness’. That is, deep down in our hearts we will feel ‘sent’ to proclaim the ‘good news’. In other words, we become ‘missionaries’ in the true sense of the word.

Like a pilgrim preparing oneself before the pilgrimage, a life of faith too requires preparation and perseverance. Although faith is a gift’ from God, (‘No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father’ Jn 6:44), a gift is no gift unless one opens it and makes use of it. So faith is both a task and a responsibility; for, God neither forces anyone to convert, nor compels anyone to be his friend. Hence it is necessary not only to persevere in faith but also to grow in it and bear fruit. This growth in faith, which is indispensable for a happy and healthy life, is possible only if we meet Jesus daily in Word (Scripture) and in the Eucharist. These two ‘sources of nourishment’ must never be neglected. A person deepens one’s faith by talking to Jesus (prayer), by listening to him (scripture), by being nourished by his body and blood (Eucharist) and by finding him in one’s neighbour and in all that takes place around the world.

It is true that it is not that easy to live a life of faith in today’s materialistic and consumerist world that denies the existence of God and seeks to destroy all religious expressions. A person of faith must take a stand against godlessness, materialism, consumerism, corruption and irreligiousness in one’s own home and family, in one’s workplace, neighbourhood, school, college, etc. This is where groups like BCC, Jesus Youth, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Neo-catechumenal way, St Vincent de Paul societies, Mata Maria Samiti etc. are of great help and value. Such groups provide a forum to reach out to others in faith, hope and love to others. 

2. Archdiocesan Golden Jubilee: Jubilee, in the Christian understanding, is more than a looking back to the past with the intention of taking stock of one’s achievements and failures or a celebration of a milestone. It expresses the idea of God’s intervention in the every day human affairs and our response to his intervention. So, Jubilee is a time to reflect on the will (law) of God so as to ensure that his will is freely followed within the community, bringing about thereby the ‘God’s Kingdom’ in our midst. Hence, Jubilee is, primarily, a spiritual exercise that seeks to include every aspect of one’s existence so that one may refresh, and, if needed, reform, oneself under the continuous providence of God.

Leviticus (cha. 25) stipulates that in the Jubilee year those who are held in bondage like slaves and debtors be liberated, the land be left fallow, and the ancestral property be returned to those who were forced to sell it because of their poverty. These demands are aimed at restoring the rights of the poor which are often overlooked in every socio-economic order devised by humans. This biblical concept of a God who intervenes is an excellent model that can be used as a pattern for life in every community. Because, there is a need to extend liberation to those in bondage of every kind as they have a right to experience freedom at some point in their lives which is derived directly from God. In the Old Testament, ownership of land was a manifestation of God’s generosity and every Israelite had a right to ownership of a part of that land. Jubilee therefore becomes a response to the conditions of landlessness and seeks to reverse these conditions.

Again, Prophet Isaiah’s notion of Jubilee proclamation in 61:1-2 speaks of the total salvation of God’s people: bodily, spiritual individual and social. Therefore the call for Jubilee is a call for a change in social conditions. This is the context in which Jesus’ proclamation, yet again of a Jubilee, in Luke 4:18-19 must be understood. It indicates his ministry as an experience of Jubilee: a breaking in of the kingdom of God – that is, justice and righteousness in the face of oppression and hopelessness. So, throughout Luke’s gospel, we see Jesus constantly intervening in the lives of the poor and drawing them into the experience of the Kingdom of God as part of his ministry. This treatment to the poor and outcast by Jesus becomes their experience of Jubilee, a foretaste of the experience in the Kingdom of God.

Now, here in our Archdiocese our resolve to provide a pilgrim centre, a shelter for the abandoned and the homeless, to educate the less privileged etc., in the Jubilee Year is nothing but the continuation of its biblical understanding and an appropriation of it in our context. However, the question is how shall we make them a reality? Certainly, everything is possible if all of us put our hands and hearts together. In this context I wish to draw your attention to the OT concept of ‘tithing’. Tithing as it is traditionally understood as giving of the one/tenth of one’s income is an expression of one’s solidarity with the work of the Kingdom by supporting it financially or sharing by those who have received from the Lord with those who haven’t. Hence the attitude in tithing is not ‘I give that I may receive’, but ‘all that I have is from the Lord and it belongs to the Lord’. And certainly God will bless a cheerful giver (2Cor.9:7). I would like to communicate to all that at our last Pastoral Council meeting it was proposed and has been agreed upon that in this Jubilee year at least we will contribute our tithes twice – once for the Jubilee celebration and once for the construction of our new Church at the Asha Niketan campus. So invite all of you priests, religious and faithful to be generous towards these noble ventures.

Hence during this Year of Faith and of the Golden Jubilee of our Archdiocese, each of us must ask oneself: how deep is my faith? Do I know-love-serve Jesus? How do I give witness to the ‘good news’ of Jesus? Would anybody who meets me feel that I am a follower of Jesus? What more can I do to deepen my faith (personal level) and to spread the ‘good news’ to all people (communitarian dimension)? 

You may be aware of some unfortunate incidents taking place in the Church in Bhopal. A true believer should not get affected by such happening instead they should strengthen our faith. As Jesus became transfigured while in prayer (cf Mt 17:1-8), in times of difficulties we too need to approach God in prayer for consolation and strength. As Christians we may have to face many trials and misunderstanding in the world but we must follow the path of the Lord abiding by the teachings of the Gospel and laws of the country. In this way, they can become means to strengthen our faith and experience the presence of the Lord in our lives in this year of Jubilee and of Faith.

A sublime model of faith is Mary, our Mother, who said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Let us make Mother Mary’s prayer our own as we surrender to the will of God in our lives. Wishing all of you a meaningful Lenten Season culminating in Easter Joy.

Yours in the Lord,

+ Leo Cornelio SVD,

Archbishop, Bhopal

 

Circular- Jan 18,2013

21-Jan-2013

My dear Brothers and Sisters,                                                                                               Cir. 01 <40> Jan 18,2013

Peace and joy in the New Year 2013 !

Yes, we have welcomed a New Year with joy and new expectations! The past year has certainly been eventful and we can count our blessings from not just what we have experienced but what we have accepted as God’s gift in a spirit of faith. The Year 2012 ended with rather sad note, that of the gang rape incident in Delhi and yet earlier, that of the massacre of school children in the United States, Both of which, and many similar atrocities against humanity cannot be condemned by every right thinking person. The Delhi incident evoked a spontaneous but massive reaction of indignation resulting in widespread protests from all. In Bhopal too many of us joined our ICYM youth to protest such atrocities and to pray for the repose of the victims and peace for their parents and dear ones.

But then, as human as human beings we are generally more concerned about the visible and ‘outside’ events than what is inside of us that permit or cause such events to happen. As the Lord said, “it is what comes from within that makes us unclean” (Mt 15/11). The pain that human beings inflict on others is indicative of the frustrations and disappointment of their unfulfilled cravings. We have certainly heard of oft times that only by transforming ourselves we can hope to transform others and the world around us. But it is ultimately the grace of God that can bring about this transformation. The Christmas event that we celebrated a few weeks ago is a reminder as well as an invitation to every one of us to break the ‘walls’ that separate us and to reach out in love our brothers and sisters and recognize them as such even when there is ‘darkness’ around us.

Christmas program at CMs Residence: A word of appreciation is due – to the CM of M.P. Shri Shivraj Singh, for the invitation extended to the Christians to celebrate Christmas at his residene; and to all those who organized the program and participated actively. You may remember that the CM has declared to avail subsidies to senior citizens for pilgrimages to Goa and Vailankini. Kindly communicate this information to our people!

World Day of Peace: Pope Benedict XVI, in his message on the World Day of Peace states that “… our times, marked by globalization with its positive and negative aspects as well as the continuation of violent conflicts and threats of war demand a new, shared commitment in pursuit of the common good and the development of all”,-the whole person. He reiterated the fact that while peace is certainly God’s gift, it is the fruit of human effort. Hence, all of us are to become authentic peacemakers, for which it is fundamental to keep in mind our ‘transcendent dimension and to enter into constant dialogue with God, the father of mercy, whereby we implore the redemption achieved for us by his only begotten son. In this way mankind can overcome that progressive dimming and rejection of peace which is sin in all its forms: selfish and violence, greed and the will to power and dominion, intolerance, hatred and unjust structures. The attainment of peace depends above all on recognizing that we are in God, one family as taught in the Encyclical Pacem in Terris.”

Yes, only when we become aware of our vertical as well as horizontal relationships, - with God and with each other, - we can overcome the tendency to exploit, dominate, overpower, subjugate and use people for our pleasure just as we are inclined to do with things.

Christian Unity Octave: Like every year the Universal Church observes Unity Octave all over the world from 18 to 25 January, 2013. All are encouraged to organize and celebrate these days meaningfully along with the collaboration of our brothers and sisters from other Christian denomination, whether in parishes, schools or institutions. Fr. Jose Prakash, our Secretary for Ecumenism and Dialogue has proposed programs for the Unity Octave.

Return of Fr. A. Akkanath: we welcome Fr Antony Akkanath, who returned to us after successfully completing his studies in Rome. Soon after returning from Rome he had a short vacation/break at home to be with his ailing mother and is now appointed to Budgery to help in teaching the seminarians and carrying out some other specific work.

Transfer of Jhabua Bishop: - Our hearty congratulations to Most Rev. Devprasad Ganawa, the Bishop of Jhabua, who has been transferred and appointed as Bishop of Udaipur Diocese, in Rajasthan State. His installation is planned for February 18. We shall keep him and the retired Bishop, Most Rev. Joseph Pathalil in Our prayers.

Elections of New Provincial Teams: - we know that several congregations, having their Provincial or Regional Centers in Bhopal and/or Madhya Pradesh have or are celebrating their ‘chapters and new administrative teams have been elected. Without naming any of them, I express, on behalf  of the Archdiocese of Bhopal, our hearty congratulations to the newly elected teams and thanks as well as ‘God be with you’ to the members of the outgoing teams.

Golden Jubilee Year of the Archdiocese:

a.       Celebration of Sacraments: As per our earlier discussion we intend to celebrate different sacraments in various Churches of the Archdiocese, particularly in Bhopal. Since our two deacons to plan their Ordinations in order that some of their relatives too can participate, we have tentatively fixed the Afternoon of Sunday, April 21st as the possible date for their Ordinations. The celebration of other Sacraments will be spaced in the next academic year.

b.      Jubilee Projects: In view of certain clarity required for the execution of project visualized as well as for some relevant pastoral matters to be discussed, I have sent a letter to all the parish priests and Stations in charge, inviting them for a meeting on January 25 at 10 am. Though it is the eve of the Republic Day we had to squeeze in this meeting. All who have received my letter may kindly make an effort to be present and contribute through your valuable suggestions.

 

Kindly remember in your Prayers: Fr George Stephen who is hospitalized a second time, and the deceased uncle of Fr Mathew VC.

I will be away from the Archdiocese on- Jan 19-21: Episcopal Ordination/Installation; Jan 31-Feb 02: National Youth Meetings; Feb 03-12: CCBI General Body Meet; Feb 18-20: Ep. Installation.

 

With every good wish and united in prayers, Devotedly in the Lord..,

+Leo Cornelio, SVD

Archbishop of Bhopal

Archbishops Christmas Message

26-Dec-2012

Christmas Message - MUSING 2012

 

Dear Brothers, Sisters, and Friends,

I feel privileged to wish all of you a very happy Christmas filled with much joy, peace and blessings, as well as a New Year equally blessed. As this is the “Year of Faith” declared by our Supreme Pontiff Pope Benedict XVI, our faith tells us that God became a human being and lived among us (ref. Jn. 1/14), thus becoming a ‘divine gift’ to humanity  in order that those who believed in him may have life, and life in its fullness (ref. Jn. 10/10). This is a long awaited promise that was fulfilled by God in the fullness of time (ref. Gal.4/4)  

John the Baptist, the precursor of Jesus practically repeats the words of the prophet Isaiah from Ch. 40/3-5 spoken almost 750 years before Christ!

A voice cries out, “Prepare in the wilderness a road for the Lord.

Clear the way in the desert for our God!

Fill every valley; level every mountain.

The hills will become a plain,

And the rough country will be made smooth...

Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed.              (Lk. 3/4-6)

Apparently this exhortation and preaching of John did make an effect on the people as a later passage indicates:

 People asked John: What must we do then?

His answer was: “Anyone who has two tunics must share with the one who has none. Those who have something to eat must do the same.” To the Tax Collectors he said: “charge no more than the appointed rate” To Soldiers: “Don’t take money by force or accuse anyone falsely”! Be content with your pay! (Lk. 3/10-14). Hence, objectively and effectively it means that every one should have a concern for the other. There should be no no cheating, no intimidation, no exploitation, no corruption!

Is this exhortation relevant to the world we live in today? Most of us would certainly respond with a vehement “yes”. Most of us know and believe that the above evils do exist in our world, perhaps to a greater degree than in those ages. But then, the question is: How are these exhortations to be applied to the so called ‘modern generation’? What is our attitude to such exhortations? Certainly we do see and experience evil around us. At the same time, we are conscious of moral and ethical principles that we are taught from our childhood.

But far too often than not, we tend to apply these principles selectively, namely, on others than on ourselves! Our subjective judgments lead us to set standards and/or categorize human behavior. We are much too tolerant about our own behavior and that of our friends, while we are highly critical and negative towards those who are distant from us, particularly towards those we do not love or those who apparently harm our interests. Thus, more often than not, we fail to apply the moral and ethical principles fairly and equally to all.

The Christmas event challenges us to turn and look into ourselves first, rather than making an assessment about others and about the society we live in. We need to set our heart mind and conscience right.

Christ came into the world and lived among us in order to transform us and to restore us to our pristine state that God had created us. He emptied himself and was born in a manger as a poor helpless babe to teach us lessons in humility and simplicity. He reached out in love those neglected people who were in the margin of the society. And he said:  “What you have done to these least of my brothers or sisters, you have done it unto me”. That is the root and basis of Christian Charity. Many have lived up to the challenge that Christ presented to us. For our modern times Mother Theresa was one of such a great examples who imitated Christ’s love to the fullest. She did not look for name, fame or success but her only wish was to be ‘faithful’ to the call of Christ.

Jesus, by becoming fully human taught us to look deep into ourselves so that we could level the ‘mountains’ and/or break down the ‘walls’ we have built in our hearts and minds in order to reach out with our helping hand those who suffer and are in pain; that the valleys of our hearts and minds would be filled up in order to see beyond ourselves to reach out to our brothers and sisters in their needs in a spirit of solidarity and partnership.  

We have heard the Scripture saying “Sabbath is for man and not man for Sabbath”. So also, religion is for man and not man for religion.  But far too often human beings make religion an instrument of their own selfish designs and try to accomplish their own personal agenda. Our religious faith should inspire us to build healthy and positive relationships with our fellow human beings. But this faith has to be nurtured through constant communion with God through prayer. Incidentally, this Year of Faith declared by our Pope Benedict the 16th that coincides with the 50th Year of the Historical Vatican Council II as well as the Golden Jubilee Year of our Archdiocese. May this year, therefore, be a special YEAR of grace and blessing to all of us!

The need of the hour for us - whether politicians, government authorities, or religious persons, - is that we become conscious of our existence in God as His special creation. We are vessels of clay in His hands and have our existence only in and through Him. When we stray away, it is He who can lead us to the right path. As human beings we need continuous conversion of heart and mind. Our prayer, then, should be directed to God in the true spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of our Archdiocese:

“Lord make me an instrument” of your love and peace, so that all darkness of evil – greed, envy, jealousy, corruption, violence against the weaker section of people, especially against women and children, may vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace and may the heart of Jesus born to BE with us live in our hearts and in the hearts of all people.

 

The message of Christmas, therefore, is that we listen to the voice of the Lord and follow His direction so that we live our earthly life in peace and harmony as human beings, in love, simplicity and humility and thus became pleasing in the eyes of our Creator.

 

May we experience abundant joy and blessing of the Child Jesus, born for us!

Cir.04, OCt.08, 2012

17-Dec-2012
My dear Brothers and Sisters, In our last CBCI and CCBI Standing Committee Meetings held at Bangalore in the last week of September, the Bishop Participants focused on the forthcoming important events in the Church, namely, the Synod of Bishops on New Evangelization and the official declaration of the ‘Year of Faith’ by Pope Benedict XVI. 
 The significance of the “Year of Faith” and Re/New Evangelization
       This, in reality, means that all the faithful through our Baptismal call are to be filled with a new fervor for the evangelizing mission. Of course, that would also mean that we are to renew ourselves in order to use our God given gifts and talents for the well being of the people in the context of the Church. This we could do in many and different ways with particular attention to revitalizing the faith of our existing Christian communities and launching out into the unexplored areas! We are also reminded to become aware of the need for a ‘New Way of Being Church’ through the small Christian Communities whose aim should be to “live the Gospel in a spirit of fraternal love and thus be a solid starting point for building a New Society’. With the Apostolic Letter of 11 October 2011, “Porta Fidei’, Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year of Faith which will begin on October 11, 2012 and will conclude on November 24, 2013,- the Feast of the Solemnity of Lord Jesus Christ, the Universal King”. The beginning of the Year of Faith coincides with the anniversaries of two other important events which have a significant impact on the life of the Church today, namely, the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth Anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church”. I am enclosing a separate paper as a summarized extract of the “Pastoral Recommendations for the Year of Faith” as given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. It is indeed a happy co-incidence that the Golden Jubilee Year of our Archdiocese is being celebrated in this same year. Hence, the efforts towards our spiritual renewal and that of the whole Archdiocese can be well focused and effectively carried out with the help of the very practical recommendations as contained in the enclosed extract. 
 Inaugural Program of the Jubilee Year
       You must have already received in your hand the official invitation for the Inaugural Function of the Archdiocesan Golden Jubilee YEAR on October 21 in the newly constructed BSSS Indoor Sports Complex/Auditorium, which too will be blessed and inaugurated on the same occasion. You will have received also the brochure and the accompanying letter as well as Jubilee prayer, the latter two in Hindi and English. The parish priests and institutional heads are to kindly encourage the faithful/communities to use the Jubilee prayer daily. Let us actively cooperate by being part of the various programs and celebrations so that the true spirit of the Jubilee Year would pervade the whole Archdiocesan family. In view of the above celebration on October 21st the Sunday Masses in parishes on that day may be cancelled and people may be exhorted to participate in the solemn Eucharistic Celebration presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio. Note: All the Fathers may kindly bring along/wear your cassocks since this is a formal function/ celebration and will add to the solemnity of the occasion.
Mission Sunday: 
      On account of the above program the ‘Mission Sunday’ could be postponed by a week and may duly be celebrated on the following Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. 
Diaconate Ordinations: 
       Br. Arockia K. Jerald and Br. Tobias Minj will be Ordained Deacons at Ashta on October 28, 2012 by Bishop Sebastian Durairaj. Our congratulations and assurance of prayers for both! 
Annual Retreat: 
      I had proposed that the Annual Retreat for the Priests of the Archdiocese of Bhopal could be arranged in three or four groups away from Bhopal, and Fr. Philip K.P. was entrusted with the responsibility of contacting places and persons, and thus organizing the groups. While he did that with great effort and communicated to the Priests, it was found that there weren’t many takers! Hence, we revert to the usual annual retreat at the Pastoral Center which is fixed for December 02 to 07 (Sunday to Friday). Hence, kindly join this retreat and may this too become a part of the Golden Jubilee renewal program! 
A point of Caution: 
      I wish to draw your attention to some newspaper reports related to some statements and opinions regarding Christian properties. The background for this was the ‘proposal’ by a Christian member of the Minority Commission to constitute a ‘Board’ to manage/administer Christian properties under the supervision of the Minority Commission. Kindly be informed that the opinions expressed by some individuals do not represent the official views of the Catholic Church. When some representatives of the minority commission spoke to me on this issue I had clearly expressed to them that the properties of the Catholic Church and Religious Institutes are well managed and are in accordance with the guidelines of the Church Laws as well as civil laws. Now, apart from the above issue, I wish to caution all regarding some baseless rumors, allegations, accusations being spread against some Catholic Church personnel and Religious. These should not disturb your peace and wellness. If you have any question or doubt about any issue, you can always seek clarifications from those responsible for the spiritual and/or temporal care/administration of the Archdiocese. 
Information
     Most Rev. Peter Fernando, the Archbishop of Madurai invites all Priests, and Religious, hailing from Madurai Archdiocese, who may now be working in this Archdiocese, for a get-together on December 28, 2012, at the Archbishop’s House, K. Pudur, Madurai 625007, as a part of the Platinum Jubilee celebration of the Archdiocese. Contact: cell ph. 09443386761; 09884779936. Email: abssecretarymdu@gmail.com 
Remember the Deceased: 
     Elder brother of Fr. Maria Stephen, Sister of Sr. Prov. Flavia SJC, Mother of Sr. Prov. Starly FCC; the father of Fr. Prabodh SFX 
My Schedule: 
     As of now, I will be away from Bhopal on the following days: October 23 – 24; November 05 -12; Wishing all of you a very fruitful beginning of the Golden Jubilee Year of our Archdiocese and invoking His divine Blessing on all of us – the Priests, Religious and Faithful of the Archdiocese of Bhopal, Sincerely in the Lord, + Leo Cornelio SVD, Archbishop of Bhopal

BHOPAL ARCHDIOCESE 2

17-Aug-2012


Cir. 06 <26>

 

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

Just a few days ago most of our countrymen/women were apprehensive about the outcome of the Ayodhya verdict that was to be pronounced by the Allahabad Court. Many were praying for a peaceful resolution to this issue. The postponement of the impending verdict from September 24 to 30 only increased the anxiety. Finally, when the verdict did come, it was welcomed, by and large, with a sigh of relief, though many felt the verdict itself rather ‘unusual’. The reactions, if any, were rather mild and rational. This is an indication, as many felt, of our Nations stride towards a more tolerant and mature approach to issues. We thank God for His guiding hand and pray that such spirit of tolerance and understanding may be a common experience among people of all religions here in our country which is such a rich mosaic of people with so many faiths, cultures, languages, races and philosophies of life.

 

Popes Visit to England and Scotland: This historic visit of Pope Benedict XVI was yet another positive chapter in the relationship between different churches. The Pope’s messages and discourse were well received. He also confronted the problems faced by the Church on account of certain moral issues linked with Church personnel, especially the Priests and religious, and apologized for the same as Head of the Catholic Church.  

 

Year of the Youth and National Youth Day (NYD), Shillong: From October 14 – 17 the National Youth Day will be held in Shillong, North East. It is expected to be a mega event and a unique experience for the participants. On the principal day close to 75000 youth are expected to gather together. Let us keep this event in our prayers while, at the same time, focusing our attention on our youth in parishes, schools and institutions in this ‘Year of the Youth’ for Bhopal Archdiocese and the whole of Madhya Pradesh.

 

CBCI Standing Committee meeting: This meeting, held at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore in the last week of September, discussed several matters of which a couple of them may need attention:  

New Missal: After much discussion and prolonged deliberations the new English Missal is already published. It will be officially available for use from Advent 2011.  

Reorganization of the CBCI The reorganization of the CBCI has taken shape gradually and after many prolonged deliberations. The noteworthy points are that 1. The Commissions at the CBCI level are now streamlined. 2. Most of the full fledged commissions functioning at the CBCI level will be those which are of supra-ritual concerns, matters of National Interests and those which present the common face of the Churches. 3. The Sui-Juris Churches will take up the responsibilities for the concerns of their particular Churches by strengthening the present commissions or restructuring the necessary commissions. 4. Regional Commissions, and so also Diocesan Commissions, are expected to be strengthened so as to network with the National Commissions and among themselves.

 

Commonwealth Games: After lots of charges against the organizers negative publicity about the shoddy preparedness of our Country to host Commonwealth Games, a good beginning seems to have been made as far as the Opening Ceremony is concerned. India certainly hopes to perform better than ever since she is the host country and the expectations as well as good wishes of more than a billion people accompany our participants. Let us wish and pray that the Mega Event will conclude peacefully and successfully.

Bible Mahotsav: The Bible Convention (Pavitr Bible Mahotsav), organized for the faithful of the whole of Madhya Pradesh Region was held at St. Paul’s School Ground, Indore, between October 01 -03. Though a large crowd was expected for this Mahotsav, there was initial uncertainty due to the Ayodhya verdict to be pronounced on September 30th. Consequently, the attendance on the first day was rather thin. But on the 2nd and 3rd day the crowd swelled to 5000 to 6000. While quite a number from Indore and the neighboring dioceses participated in the convention the participation from our Archdiocese was rather thin. Lost opportunities never return!

 

Legal Cell of Bhopal Archdiocese: On Saturday afternoon the Legal Cell of Bhopal was officially started at a small function held at the Pastoral Center. Right now it consists of several Cathlic practicing lawyers under the Chairman of the Archbishop of Bhopal. Right now it has a limited number and limited scope too. Of course, in time it may broaden its membership and scope as well. The aim of the legal cell is to make legal aid accessible and available to all deserving poor and needy, especially the Christians in the present context of the harassment and atrocities being witnessed against the minority community.    

 

Archdiocesan Golden Jubilee Committee: Kindly note the ‘Preparatory Committee’ of representatives to think and plan the programs for the forthcoming Archdiocesan Golden Jubilee will have its next meeting on October 22, 2010 at 4.30 p.m. at the Pastoral Center. This is a general information while the members will receive individual SMS or telephonic information. You are expected to attend this meeting since we may discuss concrete programs to be carried out and also form different committees to see to the implementation of the proposed programs.

 

Pray for the Deceased:

Mr Bartholomeo, the father of Fr. Isaac Ekka, Mr. Estelisav, the brother of Fr. Marian Miranda OFM Cap., Mr. Simon, the father of Fr. Hans, MST, Mr. George, the Father of Sr. Joshna CTS. – We remember them in our prayers. We also pray for all our sick and those recovering.

 

My Schedule:

Oct. 07 – 08  – Delhi

09                   -  Eve: Lambakheda – Confirmation and Feast

10                   -  Tanmaya – 400th Birth Anniversary of the Founder of SJC Congregation

        12–17 –  Shillong – National Youth Day Convention

        --   22 -   Pastoral Center – Retreat; Eve:Meeting of Golden Jubilee Prep. Committee

        23 -     -   Morn: Idgah School Function: Eve: Blessing of New Construction at Divya Vani

        24 -     -   Kolar Parish Feast  - Confirmation and 1st Communion

        27 -     -   Ashirbhavan Piory – Election of Prioress General

Oct. 28 -          Seva Sadan – Feast of St. Jude

        29 -        - Morn: Bagmugalia Sil. Jubilee of CMC Sisters; Eve: Fatehpur  - School Day

        30 -       -  Morn:Fatehpur -Parish Feast; Eve: Seva Sadan - Silver Jubilee of PSOL Sister

Nov. 02 -      -  All Souls Day – Eve: Mass at the Cemetery (4.30 pm)

        03 -      -   Morn: PACNI Meeting;  Eve: FCC Provincialate – Investiture  

        04- 05  -   Gwalior – Meeeting of the MP Bishops

        06 -           Indore – SVD Jubilarians’ Celebration

        07 -      -   St. Peter’s Mar Thoma Church - World Sunday School Program

        09 –18 -   Visit to and meeting with friends in Italy and Switzerland.

        20 -          St. Mary’s Seva Sadan, School Day

        21 -          Bairagarh – Christ the King Feast; - Confirmation and 1st Communion

 

With all well wishes and God’s blessing,

Fraternally in the Lord,