Bengaluru: Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bengaluru said Christmas is an opportunity to share God’s peace and joy. He was addressing a gathering of people at the annual Christmas get-together, including special invitees, friends and well-wishers of the Archdiocese and Archbishop at St. Germain’s institutions, here on Tuesday, December 22.
“The celebration of Christmas is meaningless if we do not share God’s peace and joy with one another, especially with those who hurt us and made our lives miserable, Archbishop pointed out. It is also an opportune time to share God’s love with our less fortunate brothers and sisters who are in need of our affection, care and concern. We should see God in them and reach out our help to the needy and the poor. By doing this, we can make the Christmas celebration more relevant and meaningful,” said the Archbishop.
He also said that Christmas is celebrated not only to manifest the joy of Christ’s birth, but this feast invites all to reflect on the deep spiritual meaning of Christ’s Incarnation and its effects upon the whole creation. This feast is essentially a feast of hope, love, peace, joy and mercy of God.
Christmas is also an invitation to put the whole creation in order, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bengaluru observed. He said Pope Francis on May 24 published a beautiful and comprehensive Document: LAUDATO SI’, “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Pope reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.
Pope Francis’ revolutionary new encyclical calls for a “broad cultural revolution” to confront the environmental crisis. “Laudato Si” is also quite a lengthy, informative, challenging and action-filled document. Talking to some mediapersons, he said that at any programmes of the Archdiocese, one item will be on the environment. He also attended a function a couple of days back which devoted two hours for “Laudato Si”, considering its importance and value.
Archbishop Moras appealed to everyone present to play a role in preserving the environment from its destruction, by not wasting food, water, electricity and, above all, to preserve the earth for the future generation. “Following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi and the call given by Pope Francis, may we praise and serve God by respecting the beauty and goodness of creation. He called upon everyone to be responsible guardians of creation, working together to protect our common home. The Archdiocese of Bangalore has initiated plans to conscientise children, youth and adults of their responsibilities in this task and proposed some concrete action plans that are being implemented in our families and institutions,” he added.
Archbishop Moras who is known for his good relations with people of all religions and cultural backgrounds said Christmas is the Celebration of God’s Mercy as well.
Pope Francis announced the Year of Mercy on March 13 this year in these words: “Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought about how the Church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy. It is a journey that begins with a spiritual conversion. For this reason, I have decided to call an extraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its centre. It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord’s words: ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful’ (cf. Lk 6:36).”
This Holy Year began on December 8 and will end on November 20, 2016, the feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe and living face of the Father’s mercy.
Moras, a tireless and hard worker, said “I am convinced that all of us in the city of Bangalore and Karnataka will find in this Jubilee, the joy needed to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God, with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time.”
“Blessed are the merciful because they shall receive mercy” (Mt. 5:7). We are also called to show mercy like our heavenly Father who loves us in spite of our shortcomings, sins and failures. The Pope invites us to become the ambassadors of God’s mercy and compassion, especially in this Jubilee year of Mercy.
During the celebration, baby Jesus was also honoured and the dignitaries visited the crib.
At the outset of the programme, Archbishop Moras welcomed all with immense joy and great love to the annual Christmas Celebration organized by the Archdiocese of Bangalore “to share the joy of Christmas with all of you. We are greatly honoured to have you at this function,” he said.
Archbishop Bernard Moras on the occasion wished everyone present, the people of the city of Bengaluru and Karnataka, a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. He also imparted cordial blessings to everyone.
Earlier, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who looked tired and was unwell, cut a cake on the occasion. He spent less than ten minutes at the celebration, wished the Archbishop and all others before leaving the venue. Cabinet Ministers, K J George and Roshan Baig were also present on the occasion. Among others present included Margaret Alva – former Governor of Rajasthan, the City Police Commissioner, his deputy, the former city police commissioner, MLAs, former MLA Ivan Nigli, other top ranking police officials, former Justice P V Pinto and several others. All were honoured with shawls, bouquets and garlands.
The Archbishop was felicitated by both Vicar Generals with a shawl, garland, bouquet and a traditional cap and in turn Archbishop also felicitated Msgr S Jayanathan and Msgr C Francis.
The celebration began with an invocation and prayer dance by Fusco School, Indiranagar. Mary Immaculate School presented Parisara Namagagi, Christmas Carols by visually challenged kids. Archbishop felicitated a number of dignitaries. Religious heads of other faiths were present on the occasion. Two books were also released on the occasion – one on LAUDATO SI’ (Environment) and another on Psalms, prepared by the Council of Bishops of Karnataka. Fr Martin Kumar, Procurator of the Archdiocese, proposed the vote of thanks. Fr Francis, Asst. Parish Priest, Resurrection Church, Indiranagar, was the master of ceremony. The celebration ended with a blessing by Archbishop and a fellowship dinner for all.
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