Archbishop Moras Celebrates Feast of His Patron Saint – St Bernard
Bengaluru: Archbishop Dr Bernard Moras celebrated the feast of his patron saint – St Bernard of Clairvaux, with solemnity, religious fervour and spiritual discipline in Bengaluru on Saturday, August 20.
Archbishop presided over a con-celebrated Mass which Vicar Generals, Fr S Jayanathan and C Francis besides the Chancellor and scores of priests attended.
During a homily, Fr Eugene Lobo made a comparison of Archbishop Moras with St Bernard, his patron. His feast day is August 20. By his life, St Bernard showed how deeply he cared about God and God’s people. And so is the case with Archbishop Moras. We are fortunate to be under his wings. Bernard was recognized as the most eloquent and influential man of his age. St Bernard of Clairvaux, is a Doctor of the Church thanks to his writings and sermons which greatly influenced Europe during the 12th century, and his efforts which helped to avoid a schism in the Church in 1130. Bernard was born in Burgundy, France in the year 1090 at Fontaines-les-Dijon – the castle of the Fontaines.
Bernard spent his early years near Dijon, France before leaving to joining the Cistercians at the age of 22. He was well educated and so passionate about his faith that he convinced his brothers, his uncle, and many of his friends to join him at the abbey.
This saintly man was gradually drawn into world affairs as church leaders came to seek his advice. Even the pope’s legates sought his counsel. A prolific writer, Bernard led much of the discussion and dialogue on reforms and restructuring of the church as it passed through its first millennium. Archbishop Moras has similar trends and gives attention to many spiritual matters and temporal needs of the Church.
Bernard died in his monastery at Clairvaux in 1153, at the age of 63. His case for sainthood was organized early on – it was in 1121 when Bernard performed his first miracle, restoring speech to a mute and allowing him to make his first confession. By making the Sign of the Cross, he was credited with curing many people over his lifetime. He was canonized a saint by Pope Alexander III in 1174 and named a doctor of the church by Pope Pius VII in 1830.
Fr Eugene also touched upon the day’s readings for his reflections. He said God is everywhere. The Word of God is to be given importance. He exhorted all to follow the mandate given by God in each person’s life. God has plans for everyone. He takes care of us. God calls a few to build the Church and Archbishop Moras is one of such kind. As God sent him to reach out to all, so also each person is called to do the same. Jesus sent out his disciples two by two to preach the good news, thereby to preach repentance, to heal the sick, to make the blind see and give the message of love and even all the miracles should make it clear and carry the message Jesus entrusted with each person.
Speaking about vocation Fr Eugene said a call is personal, individual, special and specific. A true disciple is one who reaches out to people, contributing towards building up the Church from the given situation. God gives the required energy to do His work. If a person is called to be a bishop or a priest is to be a disciple to preach the good news. “Our Bishop has been doing this marvelous work and we all can see the presence Christ in him.” Dr Moras has been doing only this in his life.
A presbyter or a priest is to give out and to work along with a bishop in teaching and sacerdotal functions besides various other areas of work. God dwells in us. All about the ministry is to support, spread the good news and build relationship towards establishing peace, joy and harmony.
A priest is also called to go to people through Eucharist. Eucharist is the central part of our life, it gives strength, blessings and healing. A priest’s life is challenging and a bishop’s is much more. Fr Lobo exhorted all to pray for the Archbishop as he faces many a challenge and goes through difficult situations. Dr Moras is a man of God, dedicated to the core for the cause of the Church. Fr Lobo concluded saying “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.”
Responding to the good gestures shown towards him, the Archbishop thanked profusely the priests, nuns and lay faithful who were present in large numbers. Sr Maria Goretti, speaking on behalf of the religious thanked Archbishop for all what he does for the Archdiocese and various congregations and their institutions. She also felicitated him.
Earlier, Fr Edward Thomas sdb, president, CRI, Karnataka, welcoming the Archbishop, the gathering and all others, said, “we thank God for this holy saint who loved God without any self-interest. He loved God just for the joy and thrill of loving Him. He wished Archbishop ‘a very Happy Feast’ on behalf of the priests, religious, the faithful and collaborators of the diocese. He said ‘may your patron saint bless you abundantly on this beautiful day.’
Quoting St Bernard, Fr Edward said, “Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It has its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love. Love is a great thing, so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source.
Another thing all admire in St Bernard is that though he was a Cistercian given to contemplative life, he worked tirelessly for removing serious divisions and disunity in the Church of his time. The Church was greatly divided then in Europe. His priority was to be an apostle of reconciliation and peace among the members of the Church. He travelled all over Europe, wherever the Church was divided.
Fr Edward who was appointed earlier by Govt of Karnataka in the department of Child labour and child – related matters, said “we see something of your patron in you. You have a deep and pure love for God and you live and you work hard and tirelessly for the good of diocese with a lot of concern for all of us. Many times we used to wonder where you get this energy to work. He also narrated a personal experience with Archbishop and his reply when pointed out to a difficult situation … But someone has to do it… however difficult a situation is… That someone had been you, our beloved Archbishop, you stood the ground like your patron…”
Elaborating, Fr Edward said people admire DrMoras’ love for the Church, the Church stood firm in times of adversities and he demonstrated the same courage and audacity in times of hardships. And “you as shepherd of the Church, realized that any compromise you make or succumb to any pressure is betrayal of the Church and you will not tolerate anything that causes damage to the magisterium of the Church. We salute you and admire you for your great love for the Church. When we go deep in to the life of St Bernanrd we know who is directing you.”
The welcome address also pointed out Archbishop Moras’ availability for all and his re-visiting and follow-up of the programmes he has begun. He always wanted the Church organizations to work together. Archbishop also introduced a number of innovative ideas and projects for the diocese. Dr. Moras has rendered yeoman’s service to the diocese and the Church as a whole and Karnataka in particular.
“You must have started off with great expectations but time and people might have betrayed you, might have experienced loneliness and tremendous pressure but Jesus and Mary besides your holy patron St. Bernard had been guiding and directing you,” Fr Edward said. Dear Archbishop, on this festive day, we are really grateful to you for all that you have been to each of us in this archdiocese.”
Archbishop Bernard Moras also cut a cake on the occasion. Vicar General S Jayanathan and VG C Francis also felicitated the Archbishop on their personal behalf and representing all priests of the diocese.Fr Anthony Swamy, Chancellor and PRO and parish priest of Cathedral felicitated the Archbishop. Fr Anthony Mahendran G, the secretary, thanked the Archbishop on behalf of all staff of the Archbishop’s House. He also thanked the Cathedral community for all the arrangements made for the function.Some of Archbishop’s relatives were also present on the occasion.