Tuesday, June 13, 2006

UDUPI: "Make sacrifices for the faith", Bishop says

"Make sacrifices for the faith", Bishop says

Udupi, June 13: Having received faith as a gift from the Church, one must "make sacrifices for the faith", Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, the Bishop of Mangalore said in his homily here this morning.

The Bishop was speaking to the couple of thousand pilgrims at the St. Anthony's Shrine at Kerekatte who came to take part in the grand festal Mass concelebrated by a dozen Priests and led by the Bishop himself.

"Though called Anthony of Padua on account of his tomb being in Padua in Italy, the saint is originally from Portugal", the Bishop noted. "Yet it was his enormous popularity among the Italians that made them accept him as their very own."

Recounting the life of St.Anthony the Bishop said, "His virtuous upbringing made the saint join, despite being rich, the Canons Regular of St. Augustine while still young. However when he saw the bodies of the first Franciscan Martyrs being brought back from Morocco, he too became inflamed with a desire for martyrdom and with this intention joined the Franciscans. In Morocco where he was sent as a missionary, St. Anthony fell sick and was brought back to Italy. God had other plans for St. Anthony."

St. Anthony who saw St. Francis at the general chapter in Assisi, "concealed his own learning and was assigned work in the kitchen at the monastery where he stayed. It was at an ordination ceremony that having found no one else, Anthony was called upon to preach the sermon and his astounding gift of preaching was discovered. The tongue of the saint is a relic today."

Speaking to the pilgrims who had turned up at the shrine in larger numbers than the previous years, he asked, "Is this merely a trip? Is it only to offer thanksgiving and votive masses, to put garlands on the saint's statue, to light candles and to take back articles from the stalls? You must come here to increase in faith and in devotion, to make confession and to receive communion. Don't come here to see but to experience and cultivate the gift of faith that you received from the Church."

For the profession of faith, the Bishop led the faithful to recite the more explicit and more detailed Nicene Creed instead of the usually recited Apostles Creed.

The Mass, celebrated in Konkani, concluded with a novena to St. Anthony led by Rev. Fr. Xavier Pinto, the Parish Priest of St. Philip Neri Church Basrur, followed by a blessing the Bishop gave with the relic of the Saint.


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