october 15: UDUPI DIOCESE FIRST ANNIVERSARY
- Updated: October 11, 2013
Udupi: Udupi Diocese of the 13 Catholic Dioceses in Karnataka but is the third largest after the Archdiocese of Bangalore and the parent Diocese of Mangalore in terms of the number of faithful. It is my privilege to serve as the Bishop of the new Diocese. As the Diocese is getting ready to celebrate its first Anniversary, it is most appropriate to take stock of things, have an overview of the past one year and look ahead for the future with hope and confidence. It would not be an exaggeration if I say my role during the year that has gone by was one being a nursemaid to the step by step growth of a toddler or rather be the shepherd of the 65,000 plus faithful of the infant Diocese.
What can I say about my experience during the last year? I must admit that it was a tough challenge filled with hectic activities, series of meetings, detailed planning and also intense familiarization drive by criss-crossing the entire Diocese, visiting all the 48 parishes – the primary units of the new edifice – and map out comprehensive strategies for growth on a sound and firm foundation.
The next question, therefore, I am sure would be on the achievements of during the first year of existence of the Udupi Diocese. The answer, obviously, is both positive and negative or rather like the glass being half full or empty. Frankly, the achievements or accomplishments cannot really be measured in quantitative terms. However, I must confess of being entirely truthful because quite a lot of work has been done, whose results would be known in the years to come.
For starters, as I have already said I and my fellow priests and sisters have been tirelessly at work in nurturing the new-born Diocese from Day One: The necessary administrative offices have been set up in the premises of the Bishop’s House. In support of the family life in the diocese, a Tribunal has been set up. Society of St Vincent De Paul, Tertiary Franciscan Order, Legion of Mary, Catholic Sabha, Sthree Sanghatan and units of other lay associations have started functioning. As many 17 different commissions, involving the religious and laymen, for pastoral service have come into being. All these are essential and form the foundation of any diocese, especially a new one.
Documents and records related to various parishes have been brought from Mangalore Diocese and rearranged and kept systematically. Four books have been compiled and published to help in teaching Christian Doctrine in the parishes. All these tasks cannot be quantified. But in the Diocesan administration, attention to these details can seldom be overlooked.
Most importantly, socio-economic survey of each and every Catholic family in the Diocese has already been completed to assess the actual position and overall requirements in terms of educational, financial and socio-cultural or healthcare support and on the basis of the analysis of the data, work on preparation and adoption of suitable programmes are being taken up. The question of implementation is and will be a huge challenge and will require the support all sections, especially those in a position to do so. We need to evolve and embark on programmes tailored to cater to the aspirations of the younger generation and meet the special needs of the older people, especially women.
To list some of the urgent needs, it is utmost necessary to establish a full-fledged and well-equipped Pastoral Centre to carry on various programmes; a hospital to cater for the health needs of the poorer sections of our community; institutions of higher education for our youth to shape them as the leaders of the community; and also meet the basic needs of the poor and marginalized.
In order to ensure that the Diocese functions properly and takes up concrete plans to meet the needs it is necessary that the Corpus of the proposed Education Fund needs to be established. To cater to the health needs of poor and destitute a ‘Health Fund’ and to provide basic amenities to those below Poverty line Corpus Funds need to be established. This needs the support and generous contributions from all concerned, especially those who are financially better placed. Those faithful brothers and sisters from the Udupi Diocese, who are serving abroad, can join their hands with the people of Udupi in being part of the people centric projects by contributing whatever they can. Unlike my first 12-year stint as the Bishop of the mission diocese of Shimoga, wherein I had the good fortune of treading the path traversed by my predecessor Most Rev Ignatius Pinto, I had to literally start from the scratch in Udupi. Though the parishes forming part of the Udupi Diocese were well looked after by the Mangalore Diocese, the faithful were certainly and most eagerly awaiting the moment when their long-felt dream being part of an independent ecclesiastical entity of their own for their spiritual fulfillment.
Udupi, known as the “Town of Temples”, especially the Ashta Mutts including the most famous Sri Krishna Mutt, it is perhaps appropriate that as the Bishop of Udupi Diocese I should strive for promoting religious and communal harmony by developing healthy and cordial relations by meeting different religious and community leaders. I have made it a point and matter of principle to visit the places of worship of different religions, to visit places of worship belonging to other religions, meet and hold dialogue with their spiritual pontiffs and community leaders as part of the initiative of fostering
Inter-Religious amity and brotherhood.
Last but not the least, I wish to place on record the wholehearted support and unstinted cooperation extended to me by my fellow Diocesan Clergy Religious Priests, brothers and sisters and most importantly by the Faithful in all my initiatives. I thank everybody, especially the friends of print and electronic media and all other sections for their generous and continued support, which made my task easier. I wish to compliment all our media friends and wish them well. I hope they will continue their support and patronage in future too. In the same way, a number of non-Christian organizations too have shown goodwill and given cooperation in many ways and I am grateful for them. I am sure this will continue in future too.
UDUPI DIOCESE AT A GLANCE:
Population of Udupi 11,77,908
Catholic Population 65,634
Catholic Families 14, 568
Diocesan Priests 67
Relgious Priests 15
Relgious Sisters 256
Women Religious Houses 41
Men Religious Houses 09
Diocesan Nursery Schools 09
Diocesan Primary Schools 43
Diocesan High Schools 15
Junior Colleges 06
Degree Colleges 04
Post graduate Centres 02
Students studying in diocesan
Educational Institutions 33,477
Homes for the Aged 06
Technical Schools 03
– REV.FR.DENIS D’SA, public relations officer, diocese of udupi.