June 18, 2013

“AN EVENT OF GRACE” – His Lordship Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Ponniah’s Pastoral Visit

[Fr. Peduru Jeevaraj]
As outlined in the first Diocesan Pastoral Convention and also in his Letter for the Year of Faith, His Lordship Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Ponniah is on his Pastoral Visits to each of the parishes in the Diocese. Evangelization is the main reason for his visit. Since the Bishop of the Diocese is the “True Pastor” with the parish priest as his representative, he mingles with the people of God, listening to their spiritual concerns as well their personal and daily concerns.
His Lordship Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Ponniah, made his Pastoral Visit to Sacred Heart Church, Iruthayapuram on Sunday, February 24, 2013. His Lordship was received by Rev Fr Stanislaus the Parish Priest and the Parishioners.
This was an opportunity for the Parishioners to meet our “Chief Shepherd” personally. “APOSTOLORUM SUCCESSORES” states: “A Bishop is obliged to visit the Diocese annually, entire in whole, or in part, so that he visits the entire Diocese every five years… The “Pastoral Visit” is a century old ritual through which the Bishop maintains personal contact with his Clergy and with other members of the people of God. It is an occasion to rejuvenate the energies of those engaged in evangelization; to praise, encourage, and reassure them. It is also an opportunity to invite the faithful to a Renewal of Christian Life and also to an ever more intense apostolic activity.” The Bishop esteems the Pastoral Visit as quasi anima episcopalis regiminis, an extension of his spiritual presence among his people. (Pastores Gregis, 46).
It is fitting that His Lordship’s visit on the 2nd Sunday of Lent, made it possible for the Parishioners, to experience their journey to the Cross and also for His Resurrection.

“APOSTOLORUM SUCCESSORES” continues: “The Pastoral Visit is an Apostolic Activity to be carried out by the Bishop in true pastoral charity, which reveals him to be the principle and visible foundation of the unity of the particular church. For the communities or institutions visited by the Bishop, it is an event of grace, reflecting in some measure that great visit with which ‘chief Shepherd and Guardian of our souls,’ Jesus Christ, has visited and redeemed his people.” We are more than an individual parish. Our Diocese does not stand alone but is in communion with the Catholic Dioceses of the world in union with the Bishop of Rome, Our Holy Father.

His Lordship’s visit reminded us of the love Jesus has for each of us who belong to His flock.

I hope that His Lordship Bishop Joseph found Sacred Heart Parish a hospitable and holy place, where God’s grace is alive and His presence felt.

One of the highlights of His Lordship’s visit was the Eucharistic Celebration wherein His Lordship delivered an inspiring, challenging sermon to take our faith seriously and to bring our friends and family to the faith. His Lordship also emphasized the great importance of “Stewardship” and giving of our talents to the service of the church and society. His Lordship also suggested some activities by which many people in the Parish could get involved for the growth and strength of the social life of the community and the Church.
After Holy Mass His Lordship met the Parishioners and commended the faithful for their commitment and faith, encouraging them to spread their faith, and make use of the gifts that God has given them. His Lordship expressed his gratitude extended to him for the warm welcome, which is indicative of the people’s unity under the guidance of Fr. Stanislaus.

Rev. Fr. Stanislaus, the Members of the Parish Pastoral Council, heads of the various institutions, office bearers of the various Associations in the Parish, along with the parishioners, felicitated His Lordship for his loving visit to their Parish.

We all join hands in praying for the success of our beloved Bishop Dr. Joseph Ponniah’s Pastoral Visits to his flock.