With Theme ‘ಕ್ರಿಸ್ತಾಕ್ ನೆಸ್ಯಾಂ, ಪವಿತ್ರ್ ಜಾವ್ಯಾo’ (Put On Christ and Be Holy) the Annual Feast of Infant Jesus-Carmel Hill celebrated in Pomp & Fervour at Carmel Hill, Bikkarnakatte, Mangaluru on 14 January 2019 at 6 pm
- O Miraculous Infant Jesus, look upon us, as we, turn to you, imploring your assistance in our needs and anxieties. Let your compassionate heart be moved to pity by our supplications and grant us the favour which we ardently implore you. Free us from all afflictions and despair, all trials and misfortunes and give us your support and consolation so that we may praise you and the Father and the Holy Spirit now and forever, Amen.
Mangaluru: The vicinity of Carmel Hill, Bikarnakatte-Mangaluru, in the “Rome of the East”- Mangaluru City, was in a festive mood from the first week of January every year till 14th Jan, being the Annual Feast of Infant Jesus at the Infant Jesus Shrine-Carmel Hill. Thousands of people from nearby and faraway places visited the shrine during the Novena days which commenced from 5 January and ended on 13th January- and on Festival day January 14th. In preparation. And this year too, the tradition has continued with a sea of devotees converging at the Shrine to participate in the Mega Feast.
Year after year, the crowd of devotees gets bigger and bigger- and just today, on the Feast day since morning over 50,000 people had visited the Shrine, and for the Festal Mass, which was held on 14 January 2019 at 6 pm, nearly 15,000 people had joined in the Eucharistic celebrations. With the assurance of Infant Jesus to Devotees saying that ” ‘The More You Honor Me, The More Will I Bless You’, year after year devotees increase in number just to get the blessings and favour from infant Jesus- and this year was no exception. This year the Feast was celebrated with the theme ” Put On Christ and Become Holy”.
People in large crowds came to pay their homage to the Infant Jesus at each of the morning masses and thronged the church during today’s evening celebration. The music and the excellent performance of the choir was intended to enkindle the mind of the faithful and raised their hearts to the throne of the Infant Jesus. The Solemn Festal Mass was concelebrated by Main celebrants namely Most Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’souza, Bishop Emeritus-Mangaluru Diocese, along with Rev Fr Charles Serrao (Provincial OCD), , joined by Rev Fr Wilfred Rodrigues -OCD Superior-and Rev Fr Prakash D’Cunha–Director at the Shrine-along with a bevy of other clergy, to name a few- Mnsgr Denis Moras Prabhu, Fr Pius James D’souza OCD-Episcopal Vicar for the Religious in the Diocese of Mangalore, among many Capuchin Fathers.
In his Homily, Fr Pius James D’souza OCD said, “Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato Si,’” meaning “Praise be to You,” praises God through elements of creation like Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and “our sister Mother Earth. The encyclical covers a variety of topics and has been one of the most highly anticipated papal documents in recent history. In addition to wading into controversial topics, Pope Francis gave beautiful reflections on life, humanity and our call to care for the world in which we live. We live under the guidance of God, and during the past nine days, we all have gathered here believing in our faith, and adoring Infant Jesus with devotion. We all have the gift and blessings of God, to live in joy and happiness. We need to practice our faith in the family and among relatives and Catholic faithful”.
“Holiness is Wholeness- just like the theme today, there is a meaning in our attire. There is a dress code in every institution and firms, schools, post office, Mescom etc, where the persons are recognized through their dress/uniforms. As a priest, if I go out in different attire other than the cassock, no one will recognize me and respect me. A person’s identity and character is recognized through his perfect attire. You can tell a lot about people from the clothes they wear. The clothes that we choose to wear often reflect our status, our values, and even our priorities. In the ancient world, clothing had a similar significance. It could reflect a person’s socioeconomic status, mood, or even their character” added Fr Pius.
“Second, clothing imagery vividly portrays the transformation that results from our relationship with Jesus Christ. In contrast to living a life of disobedience to God and his ways (Rom 13:13), Paul instructs believers to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Rom 13:14). Sometimes the command is to “put on” certain godly characteristics that are a reflection of Christ himself: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Col 3:12). Thus the call to “put on” these godly characteristics is rooted in our status as those who are holy, chosen and loved by God”.
“Third, clothing imagery describes the transformation of our bodies that will take place when we are resurrected from the dead. Paul explains that “this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Cor 15:53). In the meantime, as we await that day, “we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor 5:2-4)”.
“Thus, in summary, every believer has put on Christ by virtue of trusting in who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Yet we are also called to put on the character qualities and virtues that reflect our identity as children of God. We pursue this lofty goal in anticipation of the day when we will take off our mortal bodies and put on resurrected bodies that fully reflect Christ’s own resurrection body. And today’s theme during this Festal is quite appropriate that we should all follow and believe in Jesus Christ” concluded Fr Pius D’souza, with his elaborate Homily.
Sweets were distributed to all the devotees that attended the Festal mass. At the end of the mass, Fr Prakash D’cunha-Director of Infant Jesus shrine thanked all the donors and benefactors, and also Mangalorean.com for the live coverage given during the festal mass, and also for the elaborate reports during the past few days, and also today and tomorrow, during another festal mass celebrated by Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha- Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese.
Finally, a message from the Shrine director Fr Prakash D’Cunha to the people who believe in Infant Jesus is ” Dear devotees and Friends of Infant Jesus, God the ultimate reality from whom the world and all of us have been created has still concern for us all. He does not compel but guides us to be what he wanted us to be and he does it in many and varied ways. Jesus Christ for us Christians is the definitive embodiment of that God’s reality understood as the emanation or real presence of God in human form, who shows us the way to God and the means of selfless love as the ladder to that end. He upheld even to the point of extreme form of suffering and death, the selfless kindness or love as a supreme meaning of this life, instead of being a slave to comforts, pleasures and power. That is why there is a universal appeal to Jesus Christ, God in our humble human form”.
“We celebrate the Infancy of Jesus Christ combines in a symphony of a prince child his immense divine love and creative healing in the form of kindness and human childlike openness and acceptance to all human beings. Jesus is what we all want to be one day – a new humanity of love and kindness where there is selfless love that results in respect for the dignity of every person, equality of opportunities to all and a basic unity of the entire human race, without space for hatred, jealousy and discrimination and narrow domestic walls of affiliation. We welcome one and all to join us in this wonderful experience of celebrating the love and unity of mankind and God Closeness amidst us even as a child as we celebrate His feast on 14th January”.
On 15 January, there will be a Solemn Thanksgiving Mass at 10.30 am celebrated by Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha-Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese, along with the other clergy. At 6.30 am/7.30 am/9.00 am there will be masses in Konkani; at 12 noon Mass in Kannada; 5.00 pm Inner Healing Prayer; and at 6.00 pm Mass in Konkani. In the morning at 7.15 am there will be a Eucharistic procession.
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