Monday 7 December 2015

The Pastoral Letter of the Archbishop

Year of Mercy Pastoral Letter
(A Pastoral Letter to be read during the Mass on 6/13th Dec, in all the churches and chapels of the Archdiocese of Patna on the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy)

My dear brother and sisters,

I write to you this pastoral letter with the happy news that Pope Francis formally announced on 11 April, 2015, the Vigil of the Sunday of Divine Mercy, “Holy Year of Mercy” to begin on 8th December 2015. This Holy Year is to commemorate both the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, which called the Church to proclaim the Gospel to the world in new ways, bringing God’s mercy to everyone. The Holy Year will conclude on November 20, 2016, on the feast of Christ the King.  The message of mercy and joy has been central to Pope Francis’ pontificate, as it was to Saint John Paul II who inaugurated this Sunday after Easter as Mercy Sunday and who canonized the Polish visionary of God’s mercy, Saint Faustina.

The 28-page bull, titled “Misericordiae Vultus” or “The Face of Mercy” opens with the declaration, “Jesus is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith.” In the document, Pope Francis says the Holy Year is “dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy” which God “constantly extends to all of us.” The Holy Father develops three main themes.

First, Pope Francis elaborates the theological understanding of God’s mercy, explaining the role of mercy in the life of people and of the Church, who are both the beneficiaries and the witnesses to God’s mercy in the world. “The mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality through which he reveals his love as that of a father or a mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child,” the Pope writes. “Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life,” he continues. “The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.” He recalls that the motto of the Holy Year is “Merciful like the Father.” “Wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident,” he writes. “Wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy.”

Secondly, the Pope offers practical ways to live well the Holy Year: go on pilgrimage as an “impetus to conversion”; do not judge or condemn but forgive and give, avoid gossip, envy and jealousy; have a heart open to the fringes of society and bring consolation, mercy and solidarity to people who live in precarious situations; take up the corporal and spiritual acts of mercy with joy; and observe the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative, which encourages prayer and the sacrament of reconciliation, in every diocese during Lent. He also addresses confessors, encouraging them to be “authentic signs of the Father’s mercy.” And, during Lent of the Holy Year, the Pope says he will send out “Missionaries of Mercy”–priests to whom he will grant “the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See.” They will be “living signs of the Father’s readiness to welcome those in search of his pardon,” he writes.

Thirdly, the Pope issues particular calls for justice and conversion, and to change our lives and to embrace God’s mercy. He also notes that both Judaism and Islam “consider mercy to be one of God’s most important attributes.” And he expresses “trust that this Jubilee… will foster an encounter” with these and other religions that will “open us to even more fervent dialogue” toward greater knowledge and understanding, “eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect and drive out every form of violence and discrimination.” He also recalls the relationship between justice and mercy as “two dimensions of a single reality that…culminates in the fullness of love.”“God does not deny justice,” he continues. “He rather envelopes it and surpasses it with an even greater event (mercy) in which we experience love as the foundation of true justice.”

As we prepare for this Holy Year, it is important to remember God’s mercy is his unfailing attitude and actions towards the least deserving, and especially the spiritually poor. Mercy never abandons us in the misery of our sins by pretending sin doesn’t matter. We may easily give up on each other and believe ourselves incapable of the call to holiness; but God never ceases to call us and to offer us his grace which is “the free and undeserved help that God gives to those who respond to his call” (CCC 1996). In the Gospel we see how Christ does not give up on Saint Thomas, despite all of his refusals to accept Divine mercy (Jn 20,19-31). Likewise, Our Lord will never cease to call each of us to rise again from wherever sin has brought us down.

Our Christian life begins with an act of mercy, an act of rescue in Baptism. And this work of rescue becomes the pattern of our life in Christ. Since our Christian lives are always lived at a crossroads, the Catechism describes: “There are two ways: the one of life, the other of death”’ (CCC 1696).  The Church always puts before us the distinction between the way of Christ leading to life and the false path which leads to death. However, God’s mercy does not abandon us even if we follow the lure of the false path. His mercy goes before us; it also follows us, as Saint Augustine taught. This call is compared in the Catechism to ‘Jesus’ look of infinite mercy’ that ‘drew tears of repentance from Peter’. It is this gaze of love that leads each of us through a process of ‘uninterrupted’ conversion as God makes our hearts new (CCC 1428-1432). The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation entrusted to the Church is the merciful means by which we continue to choose life and bring all of our unruly thoughts, words and actions into conformity with Christ. The Father of Mercies continues to rescue us and helps us in our thoughts, our words and our actions to the life of his Son, since it is only in this Divine life that we can ultimately find happiness.

 At the same time the Church teaches us how the gift of the Holy Spirit sets before us a well-established path so we may unite ourselves to Christ and follow this way of mercy: the path is called the ‘works of mercy.’ The works of mercy help us respond to the generous mercy of God. Many of us will have been taught them from our earliest years and we will return to them in the Holy Year ahead. The seven corporal works of mercy are: 1. Feed the hungry. 2. Give drink to the thirsty. 3. Clothe the naked. 4. Shelter the homeless. 5. Visit the sick. 6. Visit the imprisoned. 7. Bury the dead. And the seven spiritual works of mercy are: 1. Counsel the doubtful. 2. Instruct the ignorant. 3.Admonish sinners. 4. Comfort the afflicted. 5. Forgive offences. 6. Bear wrongs patiently.7. Pray for the living and the dead. These works mark-out the path by which we must each seek to be merciful ‘as our Father is merciful’ (Lk 6,36).

The Holy Father requested that every diocese in the world open a “Door of Mercy” to mark the Year of Mercy. A Holy Door (porta sancta in Latin) has been used since the 15th Century as a ritual expression of conversion. The Pilgrims pass through it as a gestures of leaving the past behind and crossing the threshold from sin, from slavery to freedom, and from darkness to light. In the words of Pope Francis, “There is only one way that opens wide the entrance into the life of communion with God: this is Jesus, the one and absolute way to salvation”. During Jubilee year, when pilgrims enter through those doors to gain the plenary indulgence connected with the Jubilee. I will open the Holy Door at St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral (13th Dec), the Church of the Queen of the Apostles at Kurji (20th Dec), The Church of the Visitation of BVM, at Patna City and the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Grace at Mokama.

·         I encourage during the Year 2016, every parish to organize pilgrimages to the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Grace at Mokama for Krus Veer, Youth, Parish Council, Mahila Sangh, Village groups, etc. Encourage them to take part in the Shrine feast in the beginning of February 2016.
·         Pilgrimages aloes could be undertaken to the parishes with the Holy Doors for special indulgences.
·         Please consider the possibility of an Adoration Chapel in the parish for the Adoration of the Eucharistic Lord. The Priests, Religious, and the Laity can spend time before the Lord.
·         4th March, 2016 will be a day of “24 Hours Adoration” in the parishes in the Archdiocese along with the Universal Church.
·         Reciting the Divine Rosary in the parishes either before or after the Holy Mass and in the family during the evening prayers.
·         Pope’s message on the Year of Mercy and the Pictures of Divine Mercy will be made available to the families.
·         I encourage all the parishes to organize parish retreat during the year 2016, with emphasis on God’ Mercy.

In this Jubilee Year, let us remember that God is slow to anger abundant in Mercy and Love (Ex 34,6). At times we may easily give up on each other and believe ourselves incapable of the call to holiness; but God never ceases to call us and to offer us his grace which is ‘the free and undeserved help that God gives to those who respond to his call. Let us echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid, and love. May we never tire of extending mercy, and be ever patient in offering compassion and comfort. May we become the voice of every man and woman, and repeat confidently without end: “Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old” (Ps 25,6).

Yours in the Service of the Lord,

+William D’souza, S.J.
Archbishop of Patna

Thursday 16 July 2015

Archbishop’s Programme


1-4                   Jubilarians at Mokama
5                      Installation at Barh
                        SIGNIS, Patna
6                      Inauguration at Chakaram
12                    CRI at Gaya
16        AM      Carmel Jwala Mass
22-25               RBC Meeting at Ranchi

2          Fairfield Mass
4          Recollection and Vianney Feast
15        Independence Day
23-24   Msgr. Eugene Joseph Episcopal
 Ordination at Varanasi
25        Archdiocesan pastoral Council
26        Celebration of Consecrated Life
27        Archdiocesan Day, Jubilee

Archbishop’s Europe visit
Archbishop William D’Souza, S.J. landed in Rome on 25th May 2015. He was invited by the Superior General of the Josephites of Murialdo for the breakfast-chat on 26th May. Then rushed to the office of the Propaganda Fide where he met the General Secretaries of the Holy Childhood, St. Peter the Apostle, and the Propagation of the Faith; and finally he also met Mons. Protasio Rwamba, the President of the Pontifical Mission Societies. In the afternoon he also visited the Peter Clever Sisters to thank them for their support in the past. Having had an invitation from Fr. Manuel Cortés, the Superior General of the Society of Mary (Marianists) for dinner on the same day, he spent few hours with the Superior General along with few of the Marianists who had worked in Patna Archdiocese. 

27th May was a special day for our Archbishop as he met Pope Francis for the first time at the General Audience which takes place every Wednesday. As soon as the General Audience had ended, he went to the office of the Italian Bishops’ Conference where he had an appointment with Mrs. Lucia, the responsible person for the projects. In the afternoon, he visited the Jesuit organization Gruppo India and interacted with Mr. Marco Petrini, the Director, and Mrs. Liliana Norcia.

Archbishop began the morning of 28th May with an immense joy of concelebrating the Holy Eucharist with Pope Francis in the chapel of St. Martha, and of spending few minutes sharing with him about Patna Archdiocese. It was a wonderful moment when the Pope sent his apostolic blessing to the people of Patna through our Archbishop. He, then also met H.E. Cardinal Filoni, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples at 12 pm., in his office near Spanish Steps. He  visited the Generalate community of the Sisters of the Notre Dame in the evening and dinned with them. He also visited the Superior General of the CJ Sisters and her Councilors on 29th May, and had lunch with them. Finally before his departure for north Italy on 30th morning, he met the Superior General of the Society of Jesus. In the evening, having had reached the parish of Caerano, near Padova, he celebrated the Holy Mass there. On 31st morning visited Sr. Amelia who had been his great benefactor for many years. Then he left for Pavia to meet some of his personal friends and benefactors.

On 2nd June, he flew from Milan to Madrid with his project proposals to Manos Unidas. The community of the Work of the Church were very generous to accommodate him in the house during his three days stay in Madrid and to accompany him on his pilgrimage to Avila (on 4th June) on the occasion of the 5th Birth Centenary of St. Teresa of Avila. He left Madrid for Zurich on 5th in order to meet the Jesuit Missions Procurator. Ingenbohl, the place of the Generalate of the Holy Cross Sisters, being closer to Zurich, he could make a short visit there, and could meet the Superior General and her Councilors, one of whom is Sr. Elsit from Patna Province, and had lunch with them on 6th June.

The same night he left for Vienna where he was accommodated by the Jeusits for two nights. On 7th June, he visited the Generalate of the Sisters of the Queen of the Apostles, and had lunch with them. On 8th morning he met Dr. Othmar Kolar of MISSIO in Vienna and then went to meet Eva Wallensteiner of DKA regarding certain project proposals of the Archdiocese. At the request of the staff of MISSIO, he celebrated the Holy Eucharist for them in the evening at the MISSIO chapel. On 9th June, he proceeded to Lambach where he had an appointment with MIVA, Austria organization which helps for purchasing of vehicles for pastoral needs. On the same day, he travelled to Landshut in Germany to stay with the family of Agnes and Reinhard Krisch who brought him to MISSIO Office in Munich on 10th June. Having met Mrs. Branka Begic in MISSIO, he left for Nürnberg to meet the Jesuit Missions Procurator on 11th June. On 13th morning took train from Nürnberg in order to go to Waldniel, the place of Fr. George Panna who had arranged for his two days of accommodation there. Fr. Panna also accompanied Archbishop on 15th June to meet various funding agencies in Aachen, namely Missio, Kindermissionswerk and Misereor. 16th June being a free day, Fr. Panna brought Archbishop to Cologne for the sightseeing. Archbishop’s health was very fit to climb the 533 steps of the tower of Cathedral of Cologne. Again Fr. Panna accompanied Archbishop to Frankfurt on 17th June to the Jesuit community there, where Fr. Bernd Günther, S.J., had organized a small meeting with some of parishioners of the Jesuit parish there. Then Dr. Claus brought Archbishop from Frankfurt to his place, Runkel, on 18th June. He was a guest there till 21st June. During his stay in Runkel, Archbishop also met the families of Dr. Christoph and Mr. Hans Escher. On 22nd, Dr. Claus and his wife, Andrea, accompanied Archbishop to Königstein to meet Véronique Vogel, In-charge for Asia Desk at Aid to the Church in Need. Having met Mrs. Vogel, Dr. Claus was kind enough to bring Archbishop to Heuchlingen which was Archbishop’s final phase of Europe visit. During his 5 days of stay in Erika and Alois Waidmann’s family at Heuchlingen, he also visited the Mayor of Aalen town who had twice in the past partially supported two projects of Patna. Archbishop also met the Fr. Bernhard Weiss, the Parish Priest of Heuchlingen and concelebrated the Holy Eucharist with him. The ASHA group in Heuchlingen had organized a fund raising event on 24th June on the occasion of Archbishop’s arrival. The relentless service of the volunteers of ASHA and their creative ways and efforts of raising funds for the support of our poor children in Patna Archdiocese are praiseworthy. On 26th June, Archbishop visited Christine Pfisterer in her parish, Rechberg, where he concelebrated the Holy Eucharist with the Parish Priest, Fr. Stegmaier. Finally on 27th June noon, Jutta and Thomas Klotz accompanied Archbishop to the Munich airport from where he left for India at 10.25 pm. On 28th June, at 20.45 (IST), the Archbishop landed Jai Prakash International Airport, Patna. The Samachar expresses its gratitude Fr. Gyan Prakash, who accompanied the Archbishop all through the journey. Thanks to Rev. Dr. G. Panna for his hospitality. Big thanks to our Archbishop for making all the efforts to meet and request financial aid from the Benefactors, and Agencies.  

BRBC meeting at Archbishop’s House, Patna: The first meeting of Bihar Bishops and Regional Secretaries took place at Archbishops House, Patna on the 29th April, 2015. The meeting was presided over by Archbishop William D Souza, S.J, the Chairman of Bihar Regional Bishops’ Council, and Bishop Sebastian Kallupura, the Secretary General of the BRBC. Since it was the first meeting of the Region, Bishop Sebastian Kallupura explained the meaning, roles and functioning of Ecclesiastical units in India. He called upon all the Regional Secretaries to be vibrant in their ministries. Later discussions were held on topics like; The Region response towards Earthquake victims in Nepal & India, Organization of Bihar Regional Secretariat, setting up of various Commissions at Diocesan levels, role of Navjyoti Niketan & Ravi Bharati, Regional PRO, restructuring of CCI at Regional Level and preparation for July & November meetings. The floor decided that each Diocese will mobilize its resources and collect it in the form of cash. And after pooling together all the resources send it through Caritas to its Nepal Unit. Archbishop William thanked all the participants for their active participation and called upon all to maintain the same spirit in the coming years.

Major Seminarians’ Get-together:  The Patna Archdiocese Major Seminarians’ get-together was held in St. Mary’s Minor Seminary, Chakaram from 24th to 26th May, 2015. Fr. Prem Prakash, the Vicar General with Fr. Satya Prakash and Br. Jayakumar and Sanjay had organized the get-together. The get-together began with an ice-breaking session in which the brothers were divided into four groups. Rev. Fr. Devasia T. Chirayil, the golden Jubilarian, mentioned that we have to accept, accommodate and face the world. On the second day, Fr. Peter Ladis spoke on the legal matters. Second session was taken by Fr. Anup Pius, the Principal of St. Joseph’s School, Nawada. On 26th May, all the brothers along with Frs. Prem, Satya and Kuldeep had gone to Rajgir, Nalanda and Harnaut Parish for a day of outing. Thanks to Fr. Jose Edavazhy, the Parish Priest of Harnaut for providing a delicious lunch. A special thanks to Fr. Prem for organizing the get-together for Patna major Seminarians.   
Pilgrimage to Vailankanni Shrine from Gaya Parish: together with Frs. Andrews Thambi and Andrews Raja, a group of 80 pilgrims from Gaya parish started their journey to Vailankanni via Chennai from Patna Junction on 4th June, 2015. In Chennai, Fr. Andrews Raja had arranged buses for pilgrims to visit St. Thomas Mount, Little Mount and St. Thomas Cathedral.  From Chennai the group reached to Vailankanni and stayed there for two days to have Dharshan of Vailankanni Mata, spending time in prayers, attending Masses, participating in rosary procession and devotedly praying to Mother of Jesus. The pilgrims started their journey back to Patna on 8, June and reached to Gaya safely on 12 June, 2015. Congratulations to Fr. Andrews Thambi for his leadership and interest for motivating so many people.

FSAG Sister at Basauni: Basauni Parish welcomed the Sisters of St. Aloysius de Gonzaga from Puducherry. Two Gonzaga Sisters arrived Patna on 20th June to work in the Vineyard of Lord at Basauni, and two more will join the community at the end of this month. On 21st June, Rev. Fr. Prem Prakash the Vicar General of Patna Archdiocese accompanied them along with Sr.  L.C. Maria, the former Superior General of the Congregation, and Fr. Christuraj. Rev. Fr. Jose Chirackal had made all the arrangements for the Sisters. They were welcomed by the people of Basauni with traditional dance and custom. The Sisters were led in a procession on the Feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga for the Eucharistic Celebration. Rev. Fr. Prem presided over the Eucharistic Celebration. Fr. Christuraj gave message based on the Gospel. Frs. Augustine and Kuldeep were present. Congratulations to Fr. Jose, the Parish Priest for making all the necessary arrangement for their stay and welcoming the Sisters. We wish the Sisters a fruitful ministry and render our prayers and support.

Bihar AICUF Women Commission Camp: Patna Youth Commission organized a four days of Bihar AICUF Women Commission Camp for the College going girls on the theme “Women a mere word or more” from 26-29th June, 2015, at youth center Chakkaram. College girls from Patna Women's College, St. Xavier College, Barh and other parishes of Patna as well as from Muzaffarpur and Purnea dioceses took part in the camp. There were 80 participants. Rev. Fr. Prem Prakash, the Vicar General offered the inaugural Mass and also was the chief guest for the inaugural ceremony. Different topic like social analysis on women, women empowerment, women and their rights, women and media, women and health were taken by the expert resource persons. Fr. Jose Vadassery S.J the provincial was the chief guest for the concluding programme. He distributed the certificates to all the participants. Congratulations to Fr. Sabu, the Youth Director, Fr. Asit Lakra and team members.
Golden Jubilee: The Archbishop enters into to the 50th golden year of his religious life. He along with six batch mates from Patna and Delhi Provinces met in Mokama from 1-4th of July. They spent in fruitful sharing, prayer and reflection. The communities at Jyoti Bhavan and Catholic Church Mokama extended warm hospitality. The Jubilarions are extremely grateful to Frs. Thomas Olikathotty, Andrews Raja, Anselem and Bro. Sanjay.

New Parish Priest at Barh: on 5th July, Fr. Andrews Thambi was installed as the Parish Priest of Barh, by Archbishop William D’souza, S.J., in the presence of Jesuits Golden Jubilarians Priests, Sisters and faithful. Earlier he was given a warm farewell by the faithful of Gaya, who reached him to Barh. On his arrival, he was led in a procession o the Church by the School Band. The Samachar wishes Fr. Andrews Thambi a fruitful ministry.

Meanwhile Fr. Mariam Lal, has taken charge of Gandharmatt. On 12th July, Fr. Anthony Osta will be installed as parish priest of Gaya. Wishes to all the pastors, may the Good Shepherd help us to care for the faithful.

Reminder Please:
A Day of Recollection: On the occasion of the Feast of John Mary Vianney, the Patron Saint of the Priests, a day of Recollection for all the Archdiocesan clergy, and parish priests is organized on 4th August, 2015, at Archbishop’s House, Bankpur, Patna. You are requested to celebrate the Feast of St. John Mary Vianney on 2nd August, 2015 (Sunday), in your respective Parishes with the faithful, and the Sunday Collection to be sent to the Priests’ Fund.
Patna Archdiocesan Pastoral Council: The Patna Archdiocesan Pastoral Council Meeting will take place at Novjyoti Niketan, Patna, on 25th and 26th August, 2015. Detailed information will be sent by Rev. Fr. Andrews Thambi, the Secretary of Patna Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.
Archdiocesan days: The ‘Archdiocesan days’ will be held at Novjyoti Niketan, Patna on 27 August, 2015, soon after the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council Meeting. May I request you to send your agenda and suggestions to Rev. Fr. Jose Edavazhy, the President of CDPI (Patna) by 15th August, 2015. On the same day there will be Sacerdotal Silver Jubilee celebration of Frs. Anup Pius, Rakesh Roshan and Joachim Thakur. Silver Jubilee celebration will begin with Thanksgiving Mass at St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral, Bankipur, Patna, at 5 pm.
Archdiocesan Clergy Annual Retreat: This year the annual retreat for the clergy of Patna Archdiocese is scheduled to be held in Sewa Dham, Buxar from 20th September to 25th September, 2015. Please contact Fr. Vicar General at the earliest for travel arrangement.
Recollection for the Brothers in Regency: The Recollection for the Regents will eb held at Minor Seminary Chakaram om 28-29th August, 2015. The Regents are expected to attend Brothers those who are doing Regency, for them recollection is scheduled to be held on 28th -29th August, 2015, at Minor seminary, Chakaram, Patna. Kindly send them for recollection on time.
Patna Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre, Mokama: Three months training for men Catechists will be held at Patna Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre, Jyoti Bhawan, Mokama from 1st August to 30th October, 2015. Registration fee Rs. 700.00 and for board and lodge for three months Rs. 1800.00.Total amount can be paid  on the day of arrival. For more information you can contact Rev. Fr. Thomas Olikathotty on mob: 09431056086, the Director of Patna Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre, Jyoti Bhawan, Mokama.  
Sr. Mala, SND, died on 15th June, 2015. Fr. Prem Prakash, the Vicar General presided over the funeral Mass at Notre Dame Chapel, Patliputra on 16th June at 9 am, and her mortal remains were laid to rest in Notre Dame Cemetery, Patliputra.
Sr. Ann Roberta, SCN, died on 27th June, 2015, at Mokama. Bishop Sebastian Kallupura, Bishop of Buxar Diocese presided over the funeral Mass at Mokama on 28th June at 3pm and the funeral service was done by Fr. Prem Prakash (V.G.). She was laid to rest at the Mokama Parish Cemetery.       

Monday 11 May 2015

Archbishop William D’souza, S.J., will be travelling to Europe from 18th May to 28th June, to meet our Benefactors. The Samachar wishes him safe and fruitful journey. It requests all the readers to keep the Archbishop and his intentions in your prayers.

Appointment: Fr. Christuraj is appointed to Biharsharif Parish. He will help out in teaching and extracurricular activities in the school and assist the Parish Priest in the pastoral activities of the parish.

Patna Archdiocese Reflects on the National Catechetical Directory
Patna, April 18:-The Archdiocese of Patna organized two day seminar on National Catechetical Directory at Navjyoti Niketan, Regional Pastoral Centre, Patna from 16th to 17th April, 2015. The seminar was attended by 52 priests, both diocesans and religious – 40 priests from Patna Archdiocese and 12 priests from the dioceses of Buxar, Muzaffarpur and Purnea. The main objectives of the seminar were to introduce the National Catechetical Directory, to know the context of the region, its heritage and challenges and to have recommendations to implement the Directory and to initiate catechetical renewal. Inaugurating the seminar Archbishop William D’Souza SJ said, “If we, priests, understand the National Catechetical Directory we will become good pastors, because the Directory calls the priest ‘to be pastor, friend, leader, guide, shepherd, animator, healer, source of inspiration and encouragement (no. 236).” He further reminded the assembly, “The fundamental ministry of the pastor is to catechize the faithful.”
Fr Laurence Culas, Executive Secretary, CCBI Commission for Catechetics introduced the Directory in seven elaborate sessions: Process of Formation and General Introduction, The Context (part 1), The Mission (part 2), The Message (part 3), The Pedagogy (part 4), The Pilgrim People (part 5) and Our Organization (part 6). The interaction and group discussion of the participants brought in an awareness of the context and challenges of catechesis in the region in general and dioceses in particular and significant recommendations to implement the Directory and to initiate catechetical renewal in the region as well as in the dioceses.
The assembly felt that the region of Bihar poses a lot of challenges to catechesis: the tendency of dividing the people on the basis of caste, the presence of communal oppression, absolute poverty, illiteracy, poor political administration and economic imbalance. Moreover, our catechists are not properly educated and trained; they show the inability to cope up with social, moral, political and economic issues. In the midst of these challenges, the participants shared that, to foster the faith of our pilgrim people, they involve in the ministry of catechesis. The children are catechized through school and parish catechism, Bible reading programmes, teaching basic prayers, involving them actively in the liturgical celebrations and presenting biblical themes through drama. The young people are given faith formation through meaningful liturgical celebration, especially, the Holy Eucharist, youth gatherings, seminars, catechism classes, biblical competitions, youth retreats and youth pilgrimage. The adults are catechized through faith renewal courses, biblical festivals, holy mass, retreats and regular family visits.

To further strengthen the catechetical ministry, the assembly came forward with the following recommendations:
1.      Formation and strengthening of catechetical team in the regional level and making it visible through various catechetical activities of regional centre, Patna
2.      Constituting Commission for Catechetics in the dioceses of Bihar Region and making it functional through coordination with other commissions
3.      Training young priests, pastoral sisters and catechists through short-term catechetical courses to engage them effectively in the Pastoral Ministry of the diocese
4.      Translating the National Catechetical Directory into Hindi and contextualizing the content of the directory in the dioceses of Bihar Region
5.      Conducting study sessions on the National Catechetical Directory for the diocesan catechetical secretaries and to their collaborators
6.      Having a short-term and long term plan for catechesis in the diocesan-denary-parish level
7.      Providing resource materials for catechesis in the regional and diocesan level, in collaboration with biblical, liturgical, youth, family and media commissions
8.      Making liturgical celebrations, especially the Holy Eucharist, more meaningful through liturgy catechesis
9.      Strengthening the Basic Christian Communities, Bible Study Groups and Lay Movements to become true venues and occasions of adult catechesis
10.  Training and engaging the catechists in real catechetical and pastoral work and showing them due dignity and respect as lay missionaries

The priests lauded the initiative of Archbishop William to have a seminar on Catechetical Directory. The participants appreciated the scholarly presentation of Fr Laurence Culas who opened the treasures of National Catechetical Directory. Fr Prem Prakash, Vicar General, Fr James Shekhar, Secretary to the Archbishop and Fr Rajendran Francis SJ, Regional Secretary for Catechetics, took the lead in organizing the seminar.

A Get-together of the Senior Priests and Religious of Patna Archdiocese was held in the main hall of Navjyoti Niketan on 11 April 2015. Sixty of the senior Sisters, Brothers and Priests in the age group of seventy plus participated in the gathering. Most of them were from Patna itself while a couple of them were from outstations like Barauni and Jamalpur. The program began at 9:00 am with a Bhajan led by Fr. Kuldeep, as the Archbishop William D’Souza SJ and representatives lit the lamp. In the introductory talk the Archbishop acknowledged the sacrifice and contribution of the seniors as he welcomed the great missionaries of the Archdiocese to the first ever such gathering in the Archdiocese. Later five of the participants – Fr. Joseph Mattathilani, Sr. Anima SND, Sr. Lydia CJ, Sr. Amanda AC and Fr. Philip Manthara SJ – shared their personal experience as missionaries in Bihar. The session concluded with Sr. Sharan SND and her group of Notre Dame Seniors leading the group into singing two songs titled “My Favorite things” and “I have got that Joy down in my heart”. After the tea break, there was sharing in small groups. The Archbishop was the main celebrant for the Holy Eucharistic Celebration, and expressed his gratitude to all the seniors for their invaluable contribution to the growth of the Church in Bihar. Fr. Devasia Mattathilani thanked the Archbishop for organizing this event, the organizing committee. The participants gratefully acknowledge and appreciated the initiative and thoughtfulness of the Archbishop in organizing such a memorable experience for them. The program concluded at 1:15 p.m. with a fellowship meal for all the participants at Sewa Kendra. Thanks to Fr. Amal Raj for the delicious lunch, keeping in mind the taste of the Seniors.
Catholic Church, Barbigha: The month of March and April were a time of spiritual renewal for the Parish. They had three days of healing charismatic retreat guided by Rev. Fr. Irudayaraj.  Almost 250 parishioners actively participated in this spiritual journey.  Most of them have experienced the healing power, love and forgiveness of Jesus.  Thanks to Fr. Irudayaraj for his availability and generosity.  The community too had a wonderful prayer experience.  This retreat has helped the faithful to prepare themselves to witness the passion, the crucifixion and the resurrection of our Lord. The church was full with the faithful during the holy week services. They were blessed with the gracious presence of Archbishop Willian D’souza, S.J and Mrs. Christine, a donor from Germany. The new academic year has begun in the school with a new spirit and vigour. The school building construction is progressing smoothly.  Congratulations to Fr. Pradeep kumar, S.J, the Parish Priest, all the Fathers and Sacred Heart Sisters for their hard work.
Celebration of Catholic Women’s Day in Gaya Deanery: Under the able-leadership and thoughtful initiative of Fr. Anthony Osta, the Dean of Gaya Deanery, the Catholic Women’s Day was celebrated  in a grand way on 12th April, Sunday in Jehanabad Catholic Church premises. 100 women from Gaya Deanery participated in this significant celebration. Sr. Scholastica HC, of Masaurhi Parish with her animation skills made the participants feel proud of the fact that as mothers they are all co-creators with God Almighty, with games and skits filled with fun and laughter. Fr. S. Lawrence S.J. from Bodhgaya shared the liberating aspects of our Catholic Faith and urged them to practice them so that their children can receive Faith-Education through mothers’ life-examples. Sr. Monica SSH dealt with Health and Cleanliness. Fr. Prem Prakash, the VG, in the concluding Mass inspired all women to be active in their respective Parishes. Congrats to the Dean, Fr. Anthony Osta and Fr. Robert the Parish Priest of Jehanabad. 
Presbytery Blessing at Bariarpur parish: Newly constructed Presbytery at Bariarpur Parish was blessed by Archbishop William D’ Souza, SJ on 25th April, 2015. 36 children and adults received the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Parishioners had organized a fellowship meal for all. Congratulations to Fr. Raksh Roshan, and SRA Sisters.
Church Blessing at Harnaut Parish: On 1st May, 2015 the historical event took place in the history of Nalanda with the blessing and dedication of newly erected St. Joseph’s Church at Harnaut. The blessing and dedication ceremony was presided over by Archbishop William D’ Souza,S.J in the presence of Bishop Kurian of Bhagalpur Diocese, Bishop Sebastian of Buxar Diocese and Bishop Cajetan of Muzaffarpur Diocese. 42 priests concelebrated with the Archbishop. The ceremony began with a magnificent reception of Bishops with the Band. The whole ceremony of blessing and dedication of the Church was a kind of admiration and marvel for the people, for majority of them witnessed it for the first time in their life so far. During the ceremony Archbishop declared Harnaut Mission as the full fledged Parish and Fr. Jose Edavazhy, as the first Parish Priest of Harnaut Parish. There was also blessing of the newly built Boys’ Hostel in the same campus by the Archbishop together with other three Bishops. Thanks to Fr. Josef Renner, and his friends in Germany who sponsored the construction. Congratulations and big thanks to Fr. Jose Edavazhy and his Team for their hard work to complete the Church construction within two years.       
The foundation stone laying ceremony at Rajauli, Nawada: A new chapter has been added to the progress of Patna Archdiocese at Rajauli, a part of Nawada Parish till now, but which will gradually emerge as a new mission station in Magadh deanery. On 2nd May, 2015 at 10.30am, Most Rev. William D’ Souza, in  the presence of 3 priests from Nawada, 2 priests from Roh, the religious, the school teachers and supportive staff of St. Joseph’s School, Nawada, a few parishioners, Mukhiya of Rajauli, Mr. Vinay Singh (who gave us his own land  and  encouraged others to do so), other dignitaries friends and well-wishers, performed the “Bhoomi pooja” and laid the foundation of the primary  school.

On the foundation blessing day, in the presence of the august gathering, the Archbishop very systematically and beautifully explained the background of the strategic Rajauli mission land at Bihar-Jharkhand border in the Naxal affected area and dwelt on the significance and necessity of the Christian presence in the rural area to establish human community, to touch the lives of the simple and common people. Other speakers on the occasion were Rajauli Mukhiya, Rajauli forester and District Parshad, thanked the Archbishop, the priests, who worked tirelessly with others in procuring the land and expressed the hope that the long awaited dream of this area will be fulfilled in the form of a school at the national level. They assured the Archbishop, the priests and the builder Mr. Sabir, of all their support and help for a smooth and speedy work which was welcomed with big applause from all those present. A sumptuous meal was sponsored, prepared and served to all by the builder-contractor, Mr. Sabir. The Samachar thanks the Nawada Parish Team and School Team for this memorable day and wishes them all the best.

Mokama: Rev. Fr. Andrews Raja was installed as Parish Priest of Mokama by Most Rev. William D’souza, S.J.,. The Samachar thanks Patna Jesuits Province for their wiliness to render their services. It wishes all the best for Frs. Andrews Raja, Irudyaraj, and Anselam.

High School Boys’ Hostel at Maner was blessed and formally inaugurated by Archbishop William D’Souza, SJ in the evening on 6th May 2015 during the Holy Eucharist with Vicar General Fr. Prem Prakash, the Parish Priest Fr. Augustine Kadukanmakal, the Hostel in charge Fr. Dinesh Kumar and Fr. Amalraj as concelebrants. The 14 boys who are the first entrants of the hostel and the two Religious communities of Sisters participated in the celebrations which were concluded with a fellow-ship meal.

Summer camp for matric girls was organized by Sewa Kendra, Patna, from 26th April to 16th May 2015. Forty three girls from different parishes of Patna and Buxar dioceses attended the program. The camp provided them holistic development, along with Spoken English skills. The intensive program began with the Holy Mass presided by Archbishop of Patna Most Rev. William D’souza along with two concelebrants Fr. Amal Raj, the director of Sewa Kendra and Fr. Mariam Lal. The Archbishop in his sermon encouraged girls to make best use of opportunity given to them. He further inspired them to work hard with one goal and one mind then no one can stop them from speaking, reading and writing English. The students welcomed the Archbishop by a singing welcome song and with a bouquet of flowers.
On the same day, after the lunch Sr. Valsha, H.C. conducted an orientation program which was full of games, activities, and interactive sessions. The ice-breaking session helped the students to come to know each other. They had daily mass, prayers and singing in English which enhanced their faith formation. They also had the opportunity to visit important institutions, churches, and historical places in Patna on Patna Darshan.. On the final day all the students worked hard to exhibit their hidden talents through the colorful cultural program. Congratulations to Fr. Amal Raj, the Director of Sewa Kendra for organizing this summer camp for the girls. Thanks to Fr. Mariam Lal and all the Sisters who guided our girls during this summer camp.
 Fr. Michael Ignatius was admitted in Ruben Memorial Hospital, Patna on16 April to undergo prostate gland surgery. Surgery was successful. Please pray for his speedy recovery. He has gone back to Ranchi and then home for his holidays.

RIP: Mrs. Anna Packiam, the mother of Fr. Alex V., passed away on 10th May. Fr. Alex was at home for his holidays. Let’s pray for the departed soul.

Your Attention:
An Appeal: Together with the Church in India, expressing our solidarity with the people of Nepal and offering our prayers and condolences to all those who lost their lives and property in the recent devastating earthquake, Archbishop William D’Souza SJ on behalf of the Catholic Church in Bihar appeals to all the members of the hierarchy and the leadership to encourage the community of faithful, institutions and people of goodwill to generously contribute to this humanitarian call and support the people in Nepal in time of this disaster. Keeping in mind the urgency of the need, you may send your contribution to ‘Sewa Kendra A/C no.18950100001625 (UCO Bank, Digha Ghat, Patna). A detailed letter dated 29 April 2015 with this appeal has been dispatched to all the people concerned including the parish priests/heads of institutions etc.

Jyoti Bhawan, Mokama is organizing a Catechetical Camp for the children of class Seven, from 23 May to 28 May, 2015. Parish Priests are requested to take initiative to send Catholic children from your parish. The Archbishop expects the boys and girls of every parish to attend this camp. The Samcahar requests the Parish Priests to encourage the boys and girls.
Youth Commission announces the forth coming Deanery level programs and requests all the parish priests of Gaya, Nalanda and Magadh Deaneries to send the catholic boys and girls to attend the seminar. While the program of Gaya Deanery will be at Catholic Church, Jehanabad from 12 May (4:00 p.m.) to 14 May (1:00 p.m) 2015, the program for Nalanda Deanery is scheduled for 22 May (4:00 p.m.) to 24 May (1:00 p.m.) at Catholic Church, Harnaut. Magadh Deanery will have the program at Catholic Church, Nawada from 12 June (4:00 p.m.) to 14 June (1:00 p.m.) 2015.
Navjyoti Nikatan, Patna is conducting the Scripture Course from 5 June to 12 June, 2015. This course will follow a 5 year cycle covering the whole Bible. This course is very useful to the lay people, especially to catechists, teachers and youth. Encourage your people to join the course. For further details contact the office by phone-9122744927 or email: or
Admission Forms are available for Bachelor of Engineering (BE), Diploma and Master in Computer Application (MCA) at St. Aloysius Institute of Technology, Jabalpur. For further details feel free to contact at: Website:, or Email: or  

Archdiocesan Pastoral Council Meeting: The Archbishop is calling for the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council meeting on 24-25th August 2015 to commemorate the Year of the Consecrated Life and prepare for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. On 26th we will have the “Archdiocesan Days 2015”. More information will follow.