Mangalore: New Bishop of Udupi Favours Inter-religious Dialogue, Joint Celebration of All Feasts

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By Violet Pereira,
Pics by Flavin D’Souza and Michael Rodrigues
Team Mangalorean


Mangalore: His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has erected the new Diocese of Udupi taken from the territory of the diocese of Mangalore, making it a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Bangalore.   Most Rev Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo,  who is the Bishop of Shimoga, has appointed as First Bishop of the new Diocese.


Bishop Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo was born on 12, November 1949 and in 1977 he was ordained as a priest. He was ordained as a Bishop on March 20, 2000.


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The new Diocese of Udupi is comprised of 48 parishes belonging to Karkal, Shirva, Udupi, Kallianpur and Kundapur deaneries. According to the canonist and Chancellor Fr Henry Sequeira the new Bishop will have to take charge of the new Diocese within next two months. According to Most Rev. Dr Aloysius Paul D?Souza, the Bishop of Mangalore there is huge potential and leadership in diocese of Udupi towards the pastoral and social growth because there was a demand for separate diocese. 


The new Diocese of Udupi has a (Catholic) population of 1,06,149 out of the total population of 14,45,240, it extends to a total area of 3500.75 sq. kms. The new Diocese of Udupi is comprised of 48 parishes belonging to Karkal, Shirva, Udupi, Kallianpur and Kundapur deaneries. it has 48 Parishes, 58 Diocesan Priests, 28 Religious Priests and 225 Women Religious.


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1. Congratulations for being the first Bishop of the diocese of Udupi. mangalorean.com wishes you all the best in your future endeavors. Tell me how do you feel about it?


The Catholic Faithful of Udupi have been praying and waiting since long for the creation of the new diocese Udupi. Today, with a heart full of gratitude, they thank God for the gift of the new diocese. In some way, their long cherished dream has been realized with the creation of the new diocese. I too rejoice with them for this great gift of God. I humbly accept the responsibility entrusted to me as ?God?s Will? and commit myself totally for the service of God and his people.


2. There is no proper infrastructure in the Diocesan level. How do you respond to the challenges?


A new diocese always begins from scratch. Moreover, I would consider the good will and generosity of the people as the greatest of resources we have. As the diocese grows up, I am sure adequate infrastructure will be ready. With the help of God, I am sure, we will be able to respond to all the possible challenges in an effective manner.


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3. There are not many colleges or any Catholic institutions in the Udupi Diocese. Mangalore Diocese has lot of Institutions if we compare to Udupi. What is your opinion in this regard?


Udupi does have many educational institutions starting from primary schools reaching up to post graduate level. There are already 4 first grade colleges of which 2 are of post graduate level. The creation of a new diocese will give a new impetus to the educational activities in the region. The people of the diocese are intelligent and good natured. In consultation with the clergy, religious and the faithful of the diocese, steps will be taken to explore new avenues in education, social, health and pastoral fields to proceed further.


4. What would be the relationship between the religious, priest and laity?


The Church is one and every member of the Church has a particular role to play in the building of the Church. As St Paul says, ?we have different gifts, according to the grace given to us.? Various charisms and gifts will be utilized in building the Kingdom of God. All are collaborators in the one Mission of Jesus Christ. Church is the people of God. The talents and charisms of the priests, religious and laity will be made use in building the new diocese.


5. What would be the involvement in the Church?


In the Post-Vatican Church, the involvement of the Laity is given prominence, in particular. The Church has indeed taken great strides towards this. They are involved even in the decision-making and consultative bodies of the church. These bodies will be strengthened as per the regulations laid down by the Church. The talents of the Laity would be duly acknowledged and utilized in the building of a vibrant diocese. There are already various Associations functioning in the diocese. They will be encouraged and motivated further, to serve the church and to build a spirit-filled society.


6. There are lot of misunderstandings and disputes in the churches of Udupi Diocese. How will you solve it?


As of now, I am not aware of any misunderstandings and disputes. Even if there are any, at the beginning of a new diocese, I am sure, they will forgive and forget in a true Christian spirit to make a new beginning. The people of the diocese are good natured, and hence I don?t consider this as a great barrier to overcome.


7. What will be the future of the Diocese? What are your future plans?


I firmly believe that the future lies in the firm and reliable hands of God who has given us this diocese. I do not have any readymade plans for the diocese. I shall meet the priests, religious and faithful of the diocese and after due consultation we shall draw up plans for the diocese as per the aspirations and needs of the people. Surely, given the present situation, we need to plan, in order to govern the diocese in the local level and also to make known our existence at the national level. We will strive for excellence in all fields.


8. What should be the role of women in the churches and how women can actively take part in the churches as well as in the Holy Mass?


Both men and women are collaborators in the mission of the Church. Already women are involved in various consultative bodies and also in governance. This will be further encouraged. There is already a strong Catholic Shree Sanghatan in Udupi. They have been already taking active part in the activities of the Church such as liturgy, catechesis, SCC, etc. In the future, women will be encouraged to play greater role in the diocese and suitable opportunities will be provided.


9. How will you bring unity in the churches and the people?


In the state level, there is All Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights doing excellent service in this field. This has its units in almost all the dioceses. We shall have its units in the local and the diocesan levels. This forum comprises of main-line churches and other Christian denominations to work under a common minimum program. Unity among various Christian groups will be strengthened through regular meetings, common activities and discussing common issues affecting the churches. As regards the people of other faiths, through dialogue of life, dialogue of action, and inter-religious dialogue a cordial relationship will be maintained. So also through celebrations of important feasts like Deepavali, Christmas, Ramzan, a healthy relationship will be established.


10. How will you include people to involve actively in the Diocesan activities?


In the Church, everyone has his/her role to play. The youth are the hope of the Church. They are full of energy and enthusiasm. They will be encouraged to play greater role in the life of the Church. Even more, they will be encouraged to widen their area of activity beyond the Church campus to the Society. Going beyond the minimum, they should be salt, light and leaven in the secular society. By doing this they support church. They will be motivated to excel in the educational, social, political and economic fields.


Already there are several associations functioning in the diocese. People are actively participating in the Parish Pastoral Council, Diocesan Pastoral Council, Catholic Sabha, etc. These will be further strengthened and more opportunities will be provided to transform the Church and the Society


11. Thank you Bishop for your precious time and once again congratulations.


Mangalorean.com has been doing excellent service in the field of mass media and communications and covering vital aspects of the society. I congratulate and wish all the best to team mangalorean.


 

Author: Violet Pereira- Team Mangalorean


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