Nirkan Church Celebrates the Appointment of Most Rev Dr Joachim Walder as Auxiliary Bishop of Aizawl Diocese
St Thomas the Apostle Church, Nirkan witnessed a day of grand celebration on July 15, 2023, as parishioners came together to honour Most Rev. Dr Joachim Walder on his appointment as the Auxiliary Bishop of Aizawl Diocese. The parishioners extended their warm wishes and support for his upcoming missions during the event.
The day commenced at 9:30 am when Rev. Fr Leo William Lobo, the Parish Priest, and Mr Vincent Bennis, the Vice President and Mrs Shanthi Veigas, the Secretary of the Parish Pastoral Council, Mr Peter Walder, brother of Bishop Joachim Walder, along with the parishioners, accorded a floral welcome to Most Rev. Dr Joachim Walder with great reverence. Soon after the welcome, the faithful gathered together for a Solemn Thanksgiving Eucharist, presided over by Bishop Joachim Walder and concelebrated by several other priests, who rejoiced in God’s work among the faithful of the parish. At the Eucharistic Celebration, the congregation was graced with a heartfelt homily delivered by Very Rev. Fr Walter D’mello, Vicar Forane of Belthangady Deanery, who also happens to be Bishop Joachim Walder’s classmate from their time at the Minor Seminary. The divine ceremony invoked a sense of reverence and gratitude as the church resounded with joyful hymns and prayers.
Following the Mass, at 11:30 am, the Bishop was escorted to the hall in a grand procession accompanied by a lively band, further accentuating the honour accorded to him. The Felicitation Programme began with a beautiful prayer song performed by the Nirkan Parish Choir, setting the tone for the day’s celebrations.
Rev. Fr Leo William Lobo, the Parish Priest, welcomed the gathering and members of the Parish Pastoral Council offered a floral welcome to the esteemed guests. Adding to the joyous atmosphere, the children of Nirkan Church presented a captivating welcome dance, capturing the spirit of the occasion.
With great dignity, Bishop Joachim Walder inaugurated the felicitation programme by lighting the ceremonial lamp, alongside Very Rev. Msgr Maxim L. Noronha, Vicar General of the Diocese of Mangalore; Very Rev. Fr Valerian D’Souza, Vicar Forane of Bantwal Deanery; Rev. Fr Leo William Lobo, the Parish Priest; Mr Vincent Bennis, Vice President of the Parish Pastoral Council; Mrs Shanthi Veigas, Secretary of the Parish Pastoral Council; and Sr Celine Vas, Superior of Holy Family Convent Nirkan. The Vicar Forane of Bantwal Deanery delivered the inaugural message, followed by a delightful western dance performance by the talented children of the Parish.
The celebration witnessed a series of special events dedicated to honouring Bishop Joachim Walder on behalf of Nirkan Parish. The parish choir presented a heartfelt song of good wishes to the Bishop, accompanied by applause and admiration from the audience. Teachers from St Thomas School, Nirkan, came forward to felicitate the Bishop, and the students showcased their talents through an exuberant dance performance.
In a gesture of profound respect and admiration, the Gurkar and members of the St Thomas Ward, the Bishop’s own ward, felicitated him for his esteemed appointment. The felicitation extended to include Bishop’s family members, who were present to witness the joyous occasion. Bishop Joachim Walder’s primary school classmates also took the opportunity to felicitate him on this momentous occasion.
In his address to the gathering, Bishop Joachim Walder shared his inspiring life story, filled with dedication and faith, expressing his gratitude for the overwhelming support and love received from the parishioners. The Vicar General also delivered a speech, commending the Bishop’s appointment and highlighting the significance of the occasion. Mr Alphonse Fernandes, Immediate Past Vice President of the Parish Pastoral Council, conveyed a heartfelt vote of thanks to all those who contributed to the success of the event. Mr Arun Walder, representing Bishop Joachim Walder’s family members, took a moment to express their sentiments of gratitude to the Parish Priest and all the parishioners of Nirkan Church for the warm welcome, support and love shown to Bishop Joachim Walder on this auspicious occasion.
After the felicitation program, Rev. Fr Naveen Pinto, Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Mangalore and a cherished member of Nirkan Parish led the gathering in offering a grace before meals. The celebration continued with a warm and joyous fellowship meal, where all the attendees gathered to share a meal together. Mr Austin Lobo, the convenor of Commissions, skilfully compered the entire program, ensuring a smooth and engaging flow of events.
The celebration in honour of Most Rev. Dr Joachim Walder’s appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Aizawl Diocese left a lasting impression, as the parishioners of Nirkan Church expressed their unity, support, and prayers for his fruitful endeavours in his new role.
Photography: Leston Lobo, Nirkan