Exit Fr James D’Souza, Enter Fr Roque D’Sa! Valencia Church Has a New Parish Priest

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Exit Fr James D’souza, Enter Fr Roque D’Sa! Valencia Church Has a New Parish Priest

Mangaluru: In the Catholic Church, a parish priest (also known as a pastor) is a priest appointed by the Bishop to represent him to the local parish, which is a collection of neighborhoods.The life of a priest is never stationed at a single place. His missionary work takes him to different parishes and requires of him to acquaint himself with all people around him. The success of a parish reflects the hard work that a Parish Priest has put in his missionary work. And for that matter, Fr James D’souza, who was the parish Priest of St Vincent Ferrer Church, Valencia, for six years, had done a marvellous job undertaking various activities of the Church, and now he handed over the responsibility to the incoming Parish Priest, Fr Roque D’Sa.

People waiting for the new parish priest have a certain look. Many times it’s a look of: “Who are you replacing our beloved parish priest?” Or it can be a look of: “Finally, now maybe this new parish priest will ….” Arriving at the new parish, the new parish priest gets a rousing welcome by a group of parishioners waiting for him, and it will be a pleasant surprise for the incoming priest. The first surge of parishioners in a new parish can often be challenging because often they have “beaten a path” to the new parish priest’s door either wanting something the former parish priest would not give them or with a suggestion.

The stability of the Church is a gift from God. When one parish priest leaves, another comes. (Please pray for vocations, encourage young men to become priests so this gift continues! What a wonderful life it is!) Coming to a new parish for a priest is barraged with newness: new parish, new family community, new surroundings, new church building, new faces, new names, and in many ways, a new job. Taking the place of a parish priest is daunting. Compare, Competition and Complaining are the three cancers for a priest. You want to be yourself, but you can’t help but compare yourself to what you perceive the other priest to be. Sometimes you replace a parish priest who seemed to walk on water in your eyes, only not to give you a map detailing where the rocks are beneath the surface. Or you replace a parish priest who had to make some difficult and unpopular decisions. Then you can catch yourself trying to be everyone’s friend, not wanting to offend anyone and wanting to be known as “THE NICE PARISH PRIEST”.And these will be the days ahead, for the new parish priest of Valencia Church!

On Monday, 27 July 2020, St Vincent Ferrer Church-Valencia was all set to accord a warm welcome to its new Parish Priest Rev. Fr Roque D’Sa. The new Parish Priest was formally welcomed at the entrance of the church and then a procession followed into the church. The entire ceremony was carried out in a solemn manner, following all the guidelines due to the pandemic. Outgoing parish priest Fr James D’Souza welcomed Fr Roque, following which he handed over the Stole to the new Parish Priest Fr Roque D’Sa. The new Parish Priest is supposed to profess his faith in front of the Representative of the Bishop. The Profession of faith was done by Fr Roque in the presence of Dean of Episcopal City Deanery Fr J.B. Crasta, who was representing the Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese.

What followed next was Juramentum i.e the newly appointed Parish priest takes an oath of relentless service towards the parish with a hand on the Holy Gospel. Fr James D’Souza then formally handed over the file that contained the names of the parishioners and their details to Fr Roque D’Sa. The Vice President of Parish Council David Pais handed over the accounts file to the new parish priest. Fr J B Crasta then entrusted the keys of the Blessed Sacrament to Fr Roque, and Fr Roque then lit the candles on either side of the Sacrament and passed on the flame to all the members of the Parish Pastoral Council. Jesus is the light of the world and this light that was spread around was a symbolic gesture of the commitment that each member of the Parish Pastoral Council had towards the Church. The parishioners too have to share the responsibility of supporting a church. A concluding prayer was said and a hymn was sung in praise to the Almighty.

A short welcome program was organised by the parish council. Speaking on this occasion Fr James D’Souza, shared his views as to how one could reflect Christ in their day to day life, and he wished Fr Roque all success. Fr Roque D’Sa also spoke, and assured the parishioners that he will do his best as their new parish priest, and requested them to lend their support in carrying out his work for the Church. Well-wishers, priests and parishioners came forward to seek his blessings. Episcopal city Deanery dean Fr J B Crasta, Seminary Rector Fr Ronald Serrao, Asst Parish Priest of Valencia Church Fr Joswin D’Souza, Parish Council vice-president David Pais, Father Muller Medical College Hospital Administrator Fr Rudolf Ravi D’Sa (brother of Fr Roque), the priest’s from Jeppu seminary and parishioners were present for the ceremony. Dolphy Saldanha compered by the program.

Outgoing parish priest Fr James D’Souza will take charge of The Joseph The Worker Church-Vamanjoor, Mnagaluru, while incoming parish priest Fr Roque D’Sa was at St Joseph’s Seminary, Jeppu, Mangaluru for 17 years, wherein he served as parish priest of Modankap parish, and also 4 years as Vicar Vara in Bantwal. Hailing from Shirthady, Fr Roque had done his Psychology in Rome.

I end this column with a prayer to the New Parish Priest Fr Roque D’Sa of Valencia Church on behalf of family members and the Parishioners :

Gracious and loving God, we thank You
for the gift of our Priest Fr Roque D’sa. Through Him,
we experience Your presence in the sacraments.

Help our priest to be strong in His vocation.
Set His soul on fire with love for Your people.

Grant Him the wisdom, understanding, and
strength He needs to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Inspire Him with the vision of your Kingdom.

Give Him the words He needs to spread the Gospel.
Allow Him to experience joy in their ministry. Help Him
to become an instrument of Your divine grace.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives
and reigns as Our Eternal Priest.


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