New Ranchi auxiliary bishop: “Evangelisation will remain the priority of my life”

July 11, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Father Theodore MascarenhasRanchi, July 10, 2014: “I take this Episcopal nomination as a call for service, humility and further dedication to the work of the Lord,” said Father Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX, a friend of AsiaNews who spoke about the pope’s decision to appoint him auxiliary bishop of Ranchi.

“I am a priest of the Pilar Society, the ‘Missionary Society of St Francis Xavier (Society of Pilar)’. My belonging to the Pilar Society remains the cardinal point of my priestly and missionary vocation.

“Evangelisation will remain the priority of my life and I will continue to give my all to God in this regard. I am grateful to the society of Pilar because, to a large extent after my family, it is the Society of Pilar that has made me what I am today.

“The society has been giving much to the Church in India. My desire is that we can and should do even more for Christ and for our country.

“Families will be the thrust of my ministry, to form Christian families.  My family has been the bedrock of my life and vocation, the cradle of my upbringing.

“I am grateful to God for the gift of this family, which showered me with affection, a saintly mother who inspired the love for God and his Word, a devoted Father who taught us the meaning of honesty and dedication and brothers and sister and their families who have stood by me at every moment.

“My family’s experience has taught me that one dos not need to be rich or wealthy to have a good family. What we all need is God’s love and concern for each other. This year, when the focus is on the family, my heart is full of gratitude.”

The BJP government is in power both at central and state levels. How challenging will this be for the Church’s mission?

“The mission of the Church is always a challenge, irrespective of what government we have. It is our duty to proclaim the Gospel and we should go ahead proclaiming it, knowing that the power of God is greater than any human power.

“After all Jesus said, ‘I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.'”

Ranchi is a diocese with a vibrant tribal population, with a tribal culture. How can this tribal culture be integrated into the Church?

“First and foremost, it is the experience of the Church – and most missionaries here will agree with me – that indigenous peoples, because of their basically simple uncomplicated lifestyle, are the most open to the Gospel and the progress that evangelisation is making in tribal areas is concrete evidence in this regard.

“Today we have millions of Christians from tribal groups in Asia, hundreds of priests and religious, dozens of bishops and a cardinal, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, who now will be my first superior.

“At an anthropological level, indigenous peoples take us back thousands of years. In their pristine cultures, we find the features and characteristics that could provide us guidance and inspiration on how to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing modern world.

“As far as the Biblical aspect is concerned, we are well aware, that the tribes have a place of pride in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament.

“Yet, even the New Testament has many references to tribes. Revelation 14:6 is an indication of how indigenous peoples are part of the biblical story, for it says, ‘Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, with everlasting good news to announce to those who dwell on earth, to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.”

– asianews

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