The road travelled so far and stepping forward with confidence for the future…..

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By Dr. Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle
Bellevision Media Network

Udupi, 13 Oct 2013: As the Udupi Diocese completes one year on October 15 2013 since its constitution as an independent diocese following the bifurcation of the Mangalore Diocese, it would be appropriate to look back and find out how far the aims and objectives of the creation of the new diocese under the its first Bishop, Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo have been met and how far the diocese has moved forward and what are its aspirations and hopes for the future.



Inauguration of the New Udupi Diocese:

Though the new Diocese was erected on 15 October 2012, preparations for this great event had  been in progress since 11 July 2012. In a letter to the Bishop of Mangalore, Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius P. D’Souza, the Vatican informed that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, has erected the new Diocese of Udupi bifurcated from the Diocese of Mangalore, making it suffrgan of the Archdiocese of Bangalore and the Holy Father appointed as first Bishop H.E. Right Rev. Msgr. Gerald Isaac Lobo, till then Bishop of Shimoga.  The letter further mentioned that this ecclesiastical provision will be made public in Rome on Monday 16 July 2012, at noon local time, corresponding to 15:30 hours, Indian Standard Time. Till then this news was to be maintained under seal of the Pontifical Secret.


As directed by the letter from the Vatican, the creation of the new Udupi Diocese and the appointment of Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo as its first Bishop was announced on Monday, 16 July 2012 at 15.30 hours, Indian Standard Time at Vatican Office, Nunciature at New Delhi, Milagres Church-Kallianpur, Udupi by the Bishop of Mangalore Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza and Bishop’s House in Mangalore by Vicar General, Msgr. Denis Moras Prabhu and Chancellor Fr Henry Sequeira. Incidentally, this announcement was made on the day of feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.



It was indeed a moment of great rejoicing for the Catholics spread over 48 parishes in the administrative district of Udupi when the new Udupi Diocese carved out of the original Mangalore Diocese was officially and formally inaugurated and its first Bishop was installed on 15 October 2012 by the Apostolic Nuncio to India- Most Rev. Dr. Salvatore Pennacchio at the Milagres College Grounds at Kallianpur in the presence of 27 Bishops from different parts of India, 375 priests, political and religious leaders of other communities  and over 13,000 people.


Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo speaks to on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Udupi Diocese:

It seems to be just the other day that the new Diocese of Udupi was inaugurated and Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo was installed as the first Bishop of this diocese. However, on 15 October 2013, the diocese will be completing one year of its existence. The experience of the people during the last year regarding the steps taken by the Bishop in establishing a sound administrative system and his rapport with the clergy and people of the diocese, Catholics as well as non-Catholics has been quite appreciated by one and all. Speaking to on the occasion of the first anniversary of the establishment of the Udupi Diocese,  the first Bishop of the diocese spoke about the achievements during the last year and the steps to be taken for the future progress of the diocese.



Being ‘at home’ in Udupi and Rapport with laity and Clergy:

Looking back to the last year and the path that was taken by him, Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo  said that he has been quite at home in the Diocese of Udupi . Since the new diocese was part of the Diocese of Mangalore which he had served in different capacities, the clergy, religious and people of Udupi have not been strangers to him. After taking the charge of the Diocese of Udupi as its first Bishop, he made an attempt to know their hopes and aspirations very closely by visiting all the 48 parishes and having interaction with the clergy and the parishioners. Following this exercise, the Bishop feels quite satisfied that he had taken the right path.  He has already started the three days long pastoral visit to each of the parishes in the Kundapura Deanery which will end in the month of November.


There has been all round appreciation the way Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo has been grooming the diocese. When this fact was pointed out to him, the Bishop in all humility said that he has been making attempts to build the diocese by visiting each and every parish within the diocese, interacting with the parishioners and eliciting their hopes and desires for the new diocese.


Everyone is expected to think about their parish in particular and the diocese in genral. This would help in formulating and implementing pastoral programmes. Since these programmes have been formulated and implemented with the involvement of the people, it is expected that naturally they feel satisfied. This support and goodwill are the assets of the diocese and he hoped that this will continue in future as well.


Speaking further, the Bishop reiterated the fact that the Bishop, clergy, religious and laity are the basic units of the diocese. The development and progress of the diocese would be possible only when all these components work in unity. Since the diocese was formed, all concerned have been working towards the goal with one mind and heart. He has been witnessing the enthusiasm among all concerned to put the infant diocese on the path of progress. This has given him great satisfaction. He said that each one tries to contribute in one way or the other for the development of the diocese and he has been getting full support from the laity, clergy and religious.


Identifying Priorities for the Diocese:

When asked about the priorities that he has set for the diocese, Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo said that being the shepherd of the diocese, his first priority is to strengthen the faith of the people. Along with this building up the Small Christian Communities (SCC); providing a sound administrative system for the diocese; promotion of good and harmonious relations with the brothers and sisters of other faiths;  and strengthening the foundation of good future to the youth and children by providing value based education are some of the priorities that he has identified for the diocese. In order to deepen and strengthen the faith of the children and the youth, the Bishop said that already four books have been compiled and published to help in teaching Catechism in the parishes.  Realizing the importance of the participation of the clergy in planning and implementation of pastoral activities, three days long seminar was arranged for all the priests serving in the diocese which had good impact.



Setting up Administrative Machinery:

Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo feels that for the growth and progress of a diocese a mechanism towards smooth functioning of the diocesan administration is very important. During the last year, though the diocese was carved out according to the rules and regulations of the church, it was necessary to get recognition according to the law of the land which the diocese had succeeded in getting legal recognition during the last year.


The Bishop is quite content with the fact that so far the new diocese has the required number of priests and the necessary administrative offices have been set up in the premises of the Bishop’s House. Ecclesiastical Tribunal for strengthening the family life has started functioning. For the pastoral service of the diocese, 17 separate Commissions have been set up and they have started working.


In order to assist him in the administration of the Udupi Diocese, Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo appointed Rev. Dr. Baptist Menezes as the Vicar General who assumed office from 14 December 2012.  The other appointments included: Rev. Fr. Valerian Mendonca, Parish Priest of St. Peter Church at Barkur as the Chancellor;  Rev. Fr. John Mendonca, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Church at Kanajar as the Judicial Vicar of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal ; Rev. Fr. John Baptist Sequeira, OFM Cap, Superior of the Capuchin Friary at Trinity Vihar and Director of Trinity Central School at Perampally  as Episcopal Vicar for Religious in the diocese to represent the Bishop among the Religious;  Rev. Fr. Henry Mascarenhas was to assist the Bishop and the Vicar General in their respective offices in day-to-day responsibilities and ministry till a regular appointment was given to him and Rev. Fr. William Martis was put in charge of Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue in the Udupi Diocese. Rev. Fr. Denis D’Sa-Parish Priest of St. Antony’s Church, Kuntalnagar has been appointed as the Diocesan PRO.


The Bishop formed the Diocesan Finance Committee to assist him in the administration of temporal goods of the diocese and related matters. The followiwng memebrs constitute the Diocesan Finance Committee for a term of five year: Mrs. Mary Sreshta, Manipal Parish (Legal), Mr. Thomas Quadros, Uudpi Parish (Education, Banking), Mr. Grecian Botelho, Udupi Parish (Accounts, Investments), Mr. Rajan D’Souza, Mangalore, Milagres (CA), Mr. Sylvester D’Almeida, Kundapur Parish (Tax, Construction).


The first ever Council of Priests of the newly erected Diocese of Udupi was constituted in the month of April 2013 comprising of ex-officio, elected and nominated members. The ex-officio members are:  Fr. Baptist Menezes, Fr. J.B. Sequeira, Fr. Valerian Mendonca, Fr. Stany Lobo, Fr. Stany Tauro, Fr. Fred Mascarenhas, Fr. Anil D’Souza and Fr. John A. Barboza. The elected members are: Fr. Joswey Fernandes, Fr. John Mendonca, Fr. Charles Noronha, Fr. Walter J. Mendonca, Fr. Fredrick D’Souza, Fr. Roque D’Souza, Fr. Denis D’Sa, Fr. George Santhumayor OCD, Fr. Denis Lobo SFX, Fr. William Martis and the nominated members are: Fr. Anil Cornelio, Fr. Jerome Monteiro, Fr. Vincent Crasta.


Lay Participation in various activities:

Speaking about the lay participation in various activities, the Bishop said that associations of the laity such as the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, Tertiary Franciscan Order, Legion of Mary, Catholic Sabha, Stree Sanghattan and the units of other associations have started functioning in the diocese with new vigour and enthusiasm. These organizations, with the direction and guidance of the diocesan officials have worked hard to produce blueprints of programmes for the next three and ten years. Their contribution at the social, economic and political levels has been quite impressive. All these lay organizations work under the flag of the diocese. The clergy and religious while carrying out their spiritual and religious responsibilities also continue their work in matters related to laity.


Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo feels that the laity may be included in the administration at the diocesan as well as at the parish level.  He said that within the jurisdiction of rules and regulations of the Church, there are possibilities of including laity in the administration.  The Second Vatican Council had prepared sufficient ground to include laity in the service of the Church. Even at the parish level this opportunity can be availed in involving the laity in the service of the Church.  Further, he said that while constituting the Parish Pastoral Council and the Finance Committee, these aspects have been taken into consideration.



Socio-Economic Survey:

The major project undertaken by the Bishop soon after assuming the charge of the Udupi Diocese was the Socio-economic survey of each and every Catholic family in the diocese. After a lot of brainstorming and planning the socio-economic survey has been completed and on the basis of the analysis of the data the work of adopting different programmes for the benefit of the people is in progress. Documents and records related to various parishes have been brought from Mangalore Diocese and they are rearranged and kept systematically.


Shrine of St. Antony at Kerekatte declared as Pilgrim Centre:

The Bishop was quite pleased to inform that in the first year of the formation of the New Diocese of Udupi, one more shrine is being declared as a pilgrimage centre. In June 2013, the Shrine of St. Antony at Kerekatte joined the Shrine of St. Lawrence at Atthur-Karkala and the Shrine of Vailankani at Kalmady as the pilgrimage centre.


Relation with other communities:

Regarding his relation with other communities, the Bishop maintained that Udupi being known as the “Town of Temples”, he has been trying to promote religious and communal harmony by developing healthy relations by meeting different religious and community leaders as well as visiting their places of worship. He has also directed each of the parish to set up ‘Souhardha Samitis’ to promote communal harmony and cooperation.


Relation with Media:

When asked about his relation with the media and its role in promoting the Udupi Diocese, the Bishop said that he is quite happy with the good relation that he has been maintaining with both print and electronic media. Speaking further, the Bishop said that the diocese has been receiving a lot of support and cooperation from both print and electronic media. Friends in media organizations, both print and electronic, have been allotting considerable amount of space in their respective media for the diocesan programmes and activities. A number of diocesan programmes have been prominently projected in visual media as well as posted in print media. Appreciating the service of the media to the diocese, the Bishop said that the media persons have rendered their service without expecting anything in return and he complement the media friends and wished them well in their profession. Continuing further, the Bishop said that a number of non-Christian organizations have shown goodwill and given cooperation in many ways and he was grateful for them.


Youth and Higher Education:

When asked about his views about the role of the diocese in promoting education among children and youth, the Bishop said that children and youth are the future of the diocese. The diocese has set priority in their progress and development. It is the hope and endeavour of the diocese that every youth should continue his or her education till the degree level. A provision for this effect has been included in the diocesan pastoral programme. Already there are some institutions of higher education in the diocese. The Diocesan Educational Commission has been finding ways to provide opportunities to the youth to acquire higher education and professional degrees. Further he said that there is a plan to create a fund for supporting the higher education of the children and youth coming from poorer families.


Speaking about the drain of talent from the diocese, the Bishop opined that most youth have been forced to go to other countries and cities within India in search of employment due to the poor financial condition of their families. There are also a number of youth who show lack of interest in higher education and take up some kind of employment just for sustenance. The reason for this has been lack of awareness about the necessity of higher education in modern times. The diocese has already undertaken certain steps to spread awareness regarding the need for higher education among  the children and the youth. Through Catholic Sabha and Youth Organizations, an awareness campaign has been set in motion regarding the need to acquire government jobs through competitive examinations and steps to train such candidates have been taken. So far seven youngsters are being trained to face the competitive examination.


Comparison between Shimoga and Udupi:

While quizzed about his experience in Shimoga and Udupi Dioceses, Bishop Gerald said that both these dioceses are special in their own ways and it would be improper to compare them. However, he agreed about one fact that people from both the dioceses are of affectionate heart and open mind. Citing the differences between the two dioceses, the Bishop said that the people of Shimoga are not as much educated as the people of Udupi. Shimoga is one of the recently constituted mission diocese, but Udupi had been a part of the Mangalore Diocese for the last 175 years. For this reason Shimoga Diocese cannot be compared with Udupi Diocese. However, he said that he was receiving the similar type of cooperation from the laity, clergy and religious in Udupi as he had received in Shimoga and appreciated the fact that everyone in Udupi Diocese has been contributing in his or her own way in building the diocese.


Relation with the Diocese of Mangalore:

When asked about the relationship between the newly formed Udupi Diocese and the Diocese of Mangalore, the Bishop said that the reason for creating any new diocese is for better and efficient administration and provision of efficient pastoral service to the faithful. The reasons for carving out the new Udupi Diocese from the original Mangalore Diocese were also the same. The Bishop appreciated the fact that the mother diocese (Mangalore) has been helping him since the formation of the new diocese last year. The Bishop, clergy, religious and faithful of both the dioceses have been helping and cooperating with each other without any distinction. There is unity in the Catholic Church and all faithful are her children and Udupi Diocese is ever grateful to Mangalore Diocese for the goodwill and support.


Expectations from the People of Udupi Diocese:

Having asked what are his expectations from the people of Udupi Diocese and how those people working abroad can help the diocese, the bishop said that the people of the Udupi Diocese have rendered a lot of cooperation during the last year when preparatory work was in progress regarding the socio-economic survey of parish-wise families. He complimented all the priests and people for the success of the survey. He expressed hope that as many people as possible would come forward and involve themselves in the programmes and work of the diocese. Realizing that the lay organizations are like the ‘face of the society’, he made an appeal to all the laity to be members of one or the other lay association such as Catholic Sabha, Stree Sanghattan, etc. and strengthen them. The Bishop stressed on the need for involvement of the Catholic laity in the affairs of civil administration right from the lowest level such as the Ward Assembly till the higher forums and become instruments of change. He hoped that in coming years these things would be possible.


Pointing out the future needs of the diocese, the Bishop said that the needs and requirements of the diocese have been already reflected in the detailed survey that was undertaken. The diocese requires a Pastoral Centre to carry on various programmes; a hospital to cater for the health needs of the poorer sections of the community; institutions of higher education for the youth to shape them as the leaders of the community; and many such facilities are required to meet the basic needs of the poor and marginalized. Besides, even after one year of the establishment of the Udupi Diocese, the Bishop and all offices of pastoral work are situated in the school building in the premises of Mother of Sorrows, Church in Udupi. In order to see to it that the diocese functions properly, these needs are to be fulfilled. Those faithful brothers and sisters from the Udupi Diocese who are serving abroad can join their hands with the people of Udupi in being part of the people centric projects by contributing whatever they could for the progress of the diocese.



Thus, the Bishop, Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo threw sufficient light on the road travelled during the last year and manifested his determination of  stepping forward with confidence for the future…..


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Comments on this Article
Maurice Menezes, Udupi Tue, October-22-2013, 7:10
Dear Dr Eugene,congratulations on full appraisal on our Udupi Diocese first anniversary. My hearty congratulations to our Bishop Gerald Lobo on several achievements within the first year and wish him every success.My earnest hope and prayer for betterment and protection every laity and the temporal resources. May God bless us all. Maurice Menezes.
Francis Lobo, Moodubelle Wed, October-16-2013, 2:15
Nice to know Udupi Diocese has completed the socio-economic survey of parish-wise families.Let us know what is the outcome of the survey and what actions are in place to tackle the issues.Let me put a straight question whether he is aware about the case happened in 1991 in Moodubelle wherein Udupi Church Parish Priest Peter Norohana took over the property of poor catholic family without the knowledge of children and without showing any attempts to unite parents and children and now not even bothered to take care of the aged parents.I will be happy if the Bishop involves and resolves such social issues of catholic families happened in past and happening now to maintain harmony rather than concentrating and accumulating funds and properties for the Diocese.
Philip Mudartha, Ashville, NC, USA Tue, October-15-2013, 11:45
I read my own analysis on the even of erection of this diocese: type=162 I am not sure any of the concerns referred there-in are addressed in administrative reforms during the first year. I look forward to the details of the socio-economic household survey. And what next?
Benedict Noronha, Udupi Sun, October-13-2013, 10:28
It is indeed a great pride to se the First Anniversary of Udupi Diocese. May God bless and guide the Rev. Bishop for a transparent fair and just administration for all concerned. Let him not only side the clergy. Without the support of the Laity cannot carry out the mission bestowed upon him. His main mission is to take care of the sheep, take them together and bring back those who have gone out. Conduct a study why such things have happended in Jesus vie-yard. Is it because of some adament Priests who think Church is thir property? Secondly on this occasion I would like to advert the attention of the Bishop to take the message of Pope Francis and draw a good and amenable constitution of Church Administration which is now due and let it be very fair just and respecting the Law of the Land and without giving scope for partisan involvement segregation of the well informed and honest and enthusiastic laity and not going with the psychophans only. Money is a source essential element for any administration and it must be controled and not that it ll control the administrator. Lure for mony is the root cause for all eveil. Let it not rule our Bishop. May Good Bless our DIOCESE.
Fr Denis Castelino, Boliye Sat, October-12-2013, 12:35

Dear Dr.Eugine, Thank you for the report of first ever press conference of the Diocese of Udupi on the occasion of its first anniversary. wishing the function success and much more for what the concerned are proposing, planning and executing. I am proud of my Diocese, its first Bishop and all the office bearers and the host of commissions.

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