A pastoral program to mark the Holy Year of Mercy
While still a young seminarian, Bishop Salvadore Lobo of Baruipur gained deep sympathy for the poor and disabled after meeting Mother Teresa.
This meeting would then prompt him to volunteer in her Kaligat House of the Dying in Calcutta, where he tended to the dying. It was an experience which would remain with him throughout his life.
In Bishop Lobo‘s deeply impoverished diocese, the Holy Year of Mercy, proclaimed by Pope Francis, is being commemorated with exceptional solemnity. This is why the bishop has consecrated a church dedicated to the Divine Mercy. It took him three hours by car and then another hour by boat just to get here – for this church stands on an island in the river. But then, he is rather accustomed to travelling long distances for many places in his diocese are hard to get to.
The concern nearest to his heart, is ensuring that people here truly take to heart the message of God‘s Mercy. He would like to put in place a pastoral program that will not only run the length of this Year of Mercy, but for three years and so help support the people’s development in a spirit of love, peace and mutual forgiveness. A range of different courses, workshops, retreats and days of reflection will be offered to the various different target groups. A main focus will be on work with children for in this part of India, the Church only has a few Catholic schools resulting in insufficient religious support and accompaniment for the children.
Too many children spend their time in front of the television or playing computer games, and fewer and fewer go to church. As a result, the Bishop wants to intensify the work with children and young people in order to root them more profoundly in their faith. Imperative, will be the special programs being developed for women since they often receive very little support and count for little in society – even in their own eyes.
There is also the fact that the Catholics frequently belong to the ethnic minorities who are at the bottom ranks of Indian society. It is precisely for people like these, who suffer exceptional disadvantages, whom the bishop wants to work at reaching with the understanding of God‘s love and mercy for them.
ACN is supporting this project and has promised $43,500 CAD to the implementation of these pastoral programs of the diocese of Baruipur! Would you like to help support a similar project?