Roman Catholic Diocese of Chingleput

Bishop's Speaks

Dear Fathers / Brothers / Sisters and my dear lay Brethren,

 Greetings of Peace and Solidarity to all of you in the name of Jesus our Lord!

I continue to pray that the Lord keeps you safe and healthy during these challenging times. After five long months, when we were starved of regular community worship, we are now able to go back to our Churches and have at least some restricted forms of worship. As we thank God for this grace we need also to keep in mind that we must strictly adhere to the directives of the Government. Wearing masks, using sanitizers and maintaining social and physical distancing are things that we cannot afford to ignore. The media keeps warning us that the spread of corona virus is still on the increase. I am happy that our priests are taking due precautions and organizing masses with systematic planning that more people can participate and benefit. May God bless all our endeavors in this regard.

The extraordinary Missionary month which we celebrated in October 2019, with zeal and enthusiasm, is still fresh in our minds. The Holy Father had exhorted us to become aware of our call to be missionaries and to have a missionary convention. We were reminded over and over again that ‘We are baptized and sent to be the Church of Christ on Mission in the world’. This year, ironically, we are forced to celebrate Mission Sunday in an extraordinary situation, namely, in the midst of sufferings and challenges created by Covid-19 pandemic.

Pope Francis points out that though the pain and death caused by the Pandemic makes us experience our human frailty it also reminds us of our deep desire for life and liberation from evil. With social distancing and safeguarding ourselves from the deadly virus taking centre-stage, we may be tempted to cocoon ourselves from the ‘real world’ and become self-centered.

In this context the Holy Father wants us to realize that we are called to step out of ourselves for love of God and love of neighbour. He proposes that we can step out of ourselves through sharing, service and intercessory prayer. It is only when we give ourselves to others that we will truly find ourselves.

This month of October invites us to grow in our filial devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary. The present Covid-19 pandemic situation offers us ample opportunities to pray the rosary meaningfully and invoke the maternal protection of our Mother of Mercy. Our blessed mother can empathise with our sufferings and pain because she stood at the foot of the cross and shared the sufferings of her son - the savior of the world.

 

+ Most Rev Dr A Neethinathan
   
Bishop of Chingleput

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