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I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name,
O Most High. – (Psalm 9 : 1-2)
My Dear Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and My Dear People,
We echo the sentiments of the Psalmist as we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the birth of the Diocese of Chingleput. With the psalmist we gratefully remember and recount all the wonderful deeds the Lord has done for us in the past twenty years. We want to thank the merciful God for his enduring love and ever abiding presence in our lives. The Lord has journeyed with us and guided our every step in these twenty years. All of us have indeed contributed in some measure to the growth, the building up of our diocese, but always recognizing that “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain” (Ps 127-1) How true are the words of St.Paul. “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Cor : 3:7).

What shall we render to the Lord, my dear Brothers and Sisters, for all his benefits to us? Let us lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. (Ps. 116 : 12-13). Our gratitude for the manifold graces and blessings of the Lord in the past twenty years must be manifested in our re-commitment to the task of building up God’s Kingdom in our local church – in our diocese. While we are happy and proud of the many achievements that our merciful Lord has made possible for us, we are at the same time challenged to address the dark areas where we need radical change and growth.

Let us remember, my dear friends, that no change or growth is possible unless there is sincere and serious commitment. The twentieth anniversary, then, is a standing invitation to deepen our commitment to the Lord and to the cause of the Kingdom. Needless to say that the cause of the Kingdom implies the cause of the poor and the marginalized. As we celebrate the birth of our blessed mother who magnifies the Lord for exalting the lowly (Lk1 : 52) be with us and assist us in our humanizing ministry, helping people to live with respect and human dignity.

On a personal note, I would like to appeal to you to contribute generously towards the construction of our Senior Priests’ Home. This home for our senior priests will certainly be a fitting memorial at the completion of twenty years as an independent diocese.

May God continue to bless all of us!

Yours in Christ,

+ Most Rev Dr A Neethinathan
Bishop of Chingleput