One of the main responsibilities of a Bishop’s ministries is a pastoral visit to all parishes in the diocese. He combines business with an opportunity of a special kind to feel the pulse of the parish. He met with the team of priests and representatives of different parish groups to help him ascertain the liturgical-sacramental-socio-economic, cultural well-being of the parish. Bishop John Rodrigues, a young Bishop visited the parish of St. Andrew on Monday, November 13, 2017, as a representative of our Cardinal Oswald Gracias.

He met with our Parish Priest, Fr. Caesar D’mello and his team of priests at 4:00 pm and over high tea touched on different areas of welfare of the priests and parishioners. Bishop John considered it an important part of his pastoral ministry to call on the aged and sick. He first visited centenarian Kate Lobo and honoured her with his episcopal blessings and prayers. He spent some time with three of our parishioners who are sick and house bound. His loving compassion and prayers assured them of God’s healing power.

At 7:00 pm, he met with the Parish Pastoral Council and animators of the Small Christian Communities. He was all smiles to see the 50 strong committed representatives warmly greet him. Describing his visit, he said it was to represent the episcopal council of Bishops comprising the Cardinal and the four auxiliary bishops.  He appreciated the work the members are doing in spite of their own careers and other commitments. He took back suggestions for better interaction between priests and the cells and associations.

He informed the group that after the synod of Bishops on the Family in 2014-2015, Pope Francis’ choice of topic for the next assembly of Bishops, which will be held in Rome in October 2018, is Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment. It is an “expression of the church’s concern for the young”. It will provide a continuity to the synod on the family in keeping with Pope Francis’ document, Amoris Laetitia.

The Pastoral Councillors aired their concerns of the parish, which His Lordship noted. He also extended an invitation to those who could not be vocal, to give it to him in writing at the Basilica.

Bishop John next met with the youth of the Parish and it was definitely an enjoyable session. Their pleasure at being very involved in the life of the parish this year came out very strongly. The youth culture pertaining to their interests, styles, beliefs were clearly visible signs of being happy to belong to St. Andrew parish. It was a sure sign of the vibrant spirit of the parish in keeping with the Vision and Mission statements of the parish.

By Maria D’souza