The Quasquicentenial (125th) anniversary celebrations of the Roman Catholic Church concluded on a grand note at the Saint Francis De sales cathedral grounds on Sunday evening.
The diocese of Nagpur was carved out of the of Visakhapatnam in 1887 and was elevated to an archdiocese in 1953. For the religious and laity participating in the celebrations out there, there was much to rejoice about and rededicate oneself to.
Choosing Sunday as the day to conclude the celebrations found it coinciding with the feast of Christ the king . the celebrations are also being held in the year of faith (Oct 11 2012-Nov 24-2013) declared by Pope Benedict XVI the head of universal church. the holy father has reminded the faithful that this year will be propitious occasion for the faithful to understand more profoundly that the foundation of the christian faith is” the encounter with an event, a person which gives life a new horizon and decisive direction”
The church had also conducted a 40-hour adoration that ended by a candle light procession. There was also a special concert performed by the Gospel group from Delhi “Acts of the apostles”. The Sunday celebrations was witnessed and graced by the apostolic nuncio to India his Excellency Salvatore Pennacchio, the representative of the Pope, vicar general of the church of Nagpur Fr. Jerome Pinto.
The Catholic Church is whole heartedly devoted in building the nation irrespective of caste, creed and colour, said Apostolic Nuncio to India, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio (representative of the pope), and during his address at the valedictory function organised to mark completion of 125 years of Archdiocese of Nagpur.
An elaborate programme was organised at the Cathedral ground here on Sunday. MLA Sudhakar Deshmukh, mayor Anil Sole and former MP Banwarilal Purohit were present on the occasion as special guests.Archbishop Pennacchio and Italian by birth has been Apostolic Nuncio to a number of countries including Australia, Ireland, Ethopia etc. During his maiden visit to the city he addressed a massive gathering here.
Commencing his speech with chant of Jai Yesu, Archbishop Pennachhio expressed his gladness for being able to participate in the programme. ‘Love your neighbours’, echoing the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ he said that these words of the lord are more important than anything else for a Christian. Archbishop Pennachhio said that the year round celebrations organised by the Archdiocese have predominantly been spiritual, therefore would certainly strengthen and revitalise the belief in Christ.
He said that the church has always been committed to development may it be the field of education or health. Programmes for the poor have changed the lives of lakhs of people in the country. Archbishop Pennachhio on the occasion expressed his concern over the spread of terrorism and violence. However, he hoped that India would prevail over these problems to become a vibrant nation.
In conclusion, I wish to place your ecclesial community under the protection of the Mother of the Church, Mary Most Holy, which you Venerate under the title of Our Lady of Lourdes, Patroness of the Archdiocese. To her- united to her son on Calvary and assumed as Queen at his Right Hand in Glory- I entrust all of you, committed to sowing in the community of Nagpur. Christ’s Kingdom, the Lord of Life and King of Peace. Amen
Banwarilal Purohit also addressed the gathering later and said that the contribution of the Catholic Church to the education and health is indispensable. He said that the quality of education provided in mission schools is par excellence. Not only secondary education but a lot has been done by the church in higher and technical education as well. Purohit thanked Archbishop Viruthakulangara and hoped that he would soon be promoted as Cardinal. Mayor Sole and Archbishop Pennachhio gave away keys of houses built under scheme of the Nagpur Archdiocese under which 125 houses would be distributed to the needy.
While speaking on the occasion mayor Anil Sole said that he was happy to hear Archbishop Pennachhio say that Nagpur is a beautiful city. Informing Archbishop Pennachhio about the city Sole said that Nagpur was one of the best cities to reside in as it does not face the threat of any natural calamity and has no communal violence. He said that people of Nagpur are unified and are working for the cause of development together.
Earlier, president of Catholic Association of Nagpur Peter Gadge, Secretary Joseph Rao and Nelson Francis greeted the chief guest Archbishop Pennachhio.
A well orchestrated cultural programme was also organised on the occasion. Students from St Peter’s School Bhandara presented an inspiring tribute to the martyrs of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. A group of handicapped children also presented a mesmerizing dance performance on the tunes of Vande Matram. Students of several other schools of the city made the programme an unforgettable event for the audience. The choir that sang for the mass consisted of parishioners from all the parishes coming under the Nagpur diocese. The entire was managed by the hands of Jerry D’souza and his team along with the coordination and hard work of the youth of the SFS Church. The event then ended as the people present were given packets of dinner.