…And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”3Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” – The Leper’s Prayer.
Mangaluru: St Joseph’s Leprosy Hospital, the second oldest leprosy hospital in India, is an integral part of the Father Muller Charitable Institutions, which completes 125 years of its service to the most downtrodden section of the society-the leprosy patients. St Joseph’s Leprosy Hospital started in the year 1890 by Father Augustus Muller,is one of the first Leprosy Hospitals in South India. The modern scientific treatment and the concept of Leprosy control was not existing during those day’s when Leprosy was considered as the most dreaded one , without any specific treatment and was associated with social stigma and the patients were being ostracised from society.
The Post-Centenary Silver Jubilee-125 Years of St Joseph Leprosy Hospital; and Golden Jubilee of Rehabilitation Unit-50 Years celebrations commenced with the Solemn Eucharistic Mass at 8am on Saturday, 11 April 2015 at St Joseph Chapel-Father Muller Campus. The main celebrant of the Eucharistic celebration was be Most Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’souza-Bishop of Mangaluru, who was also joined in con-celebrating the Mass by Rev Fr Denzil Lobo- Rector, St Aloysius College-Mangaluru; Rev Fr Richard Coelho- Administrator, FMMCH/Convener; Rev Fr Rudolph Ravi D’Sa- Administrator, FMMC; Rev Fr Roshan Crasta- Asst. Administrator; Rev Fr Patrick Rodrigues-Director, FMCI; Rev Fr Denis Moras-Vicar General, Mangalore Diocese, Rev Fr Santhosh Kamath- Fatima Retreat House; and many other clergy.
Sr. Aileen Mathias- Chief Nursing Officer/Organizing Secretary briefed about St Joseph Leprosy Hospital and its 125 years of journey caring and serving the leprosy patients. Priests, nuns, doctors, nurses and students belonging to Fr Muller Charitable Institution attended in large numbers for the Solemn Eucharistic Celebrations.
Rev Dr Aloysius P D’Souza quoting Easter as his Homily topic said, “The resurrection of Jesus is important for several reasons. First, it witnesses to the immense power of God Himself. To believe in the resurrection is to believe in God. If God exists, and if He created the universe and has power over it, He has power to raise the dead. If He does not have such power, He is not a God worthy of our faith and worship. Only He who created life can resurrect it after death, only He can reverse the hideousness that is death itself, and only He can remove the sting that is death and the victory that is the grave’s (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). In resurrecting Jesus from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death”.
“Second, the resurrection of Jesus is a testimony to the resurrection of human beings, which is a basic tenet of the Christian faith. Unlike all other religions, Christianity alone possesses a founder who transcends death and who promises that His followers will do the same. All other religions were founded by men and prophets whose end was the grave. As Christians, we take comfort in the fact that our God became man, died for our sins, and was resurrected the third day. The grave could not hold Him. He lives, and He sits today at the right hand of God the Father in heaven”.
“The resurrection is the triumphant and glorious victory for every believer. Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose the third day according to the Scripture. And, He is coming again! The dead in Christ will be raised up, and those who remain and are alive at His coming will be changed and receive new, glorified bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ important to salvation? It demonstrated that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. It proves that God has the power to raise us from the dead. It guarantees that those who believe in Christ will not remain dead, but will be resurrected unto eternal life. That is our blessed hope!” the Bishop added.
Bishop further said, ” While we celebrate the joy of Easter, we should also get closer to Jesus, believe firm in our Faith, have faith in Jesus, and take Jesus as our companion to help us in our problems and daily needs. We should also appreciate the work done by Mother Teresa who took care of the destitute, poor, downtrodden, and especially the lepers. In the same way, we should appreciate the tremendous and dedicated work done by the Sisters/nurses/staff of st Joseph Leprosy Hospital towards the lepers. Like Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, these Sisters wash the feet/fingers of these lepers without any hesitation or fear of getting sick. Long live these dedicated, sincere and hard working crew of St Joseph Leprosy Hospital”.
In the evening today, ( 11 April 2015) the formal grand celebrations will be held at the Academy Hall at 5.30pm on the same day, with State minister U T Khader as the Chief Guest. Guests of honor will be Smt Vimala Patel- Joint Director, State Leprosy Officer, Karnataka; Rev Sr Prescilla D’Mello-Superior General of Helpers of Mount Rosary; Rev Stany D’Souza Sj- Provincial superior of Jesuits-Karnataka; and Rev Dr Sr Matilda Monteiro- Provincial Superior of Sisters of Charity-Mangalore Province. Bishop of Mangalore, Rev Dr Aloysius P D’souza will preside over the function.
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