1. May 1st is celebrated as WORKERS’ DAY all over the world. The Pastoral Care of all types of Workers, especially the care of the unorganized and domestic workers, is a serious concern for us all, as we see many instances of violation of human dignity, human rights and spiritual values in our own days. Let us all creatively design new methods in every parish for the pastoral care of these vulnerable people. We have an obligation to make sure that our institutions are example and model in the way we treat them with respect and dignity.

2.Month of May is dedicated to the Popular Devotion to our Blessed Mother Mary. Pastors are requested to encourage different forms of Marian Devotion (tzf;fkhjk;;) in the parishes.

3. Easter Blessing of all the Houses in the Parish is an obligation to the Pastors and a grace to the People. I exhort all the Pastors to take up visiting and blessing of all the Catholic families in the parish during the Paschal Season, provided the present lock down is lifted. This is also an occasion to update the details in the Status Animarum and the Family Cards / Books of the parish.

4. There will be No Clergy Monthly Recollection in the Month of May, 2020. The Next Clergy Monthly Recollection will be on 08.06.2020 Monday with usual schedule.

5. The Fifty seventh World Day of Prayer for Vocations (VOCATION SUNDAY) will be celebrated on the Fifth Sunday of Easter, on 03.05.2020 this year or any convenient Sunday due to lock down. I urge all the Pastors to motivate our people in their duty of Vocation Promotion for Priesthood and Religious Life. It is an occasion to arrange various celebrations, including cultural Programme, on the theme of Vocation involving children. The Message of the Holy Father for the Fifty-seventh World Day of Prayer for Vocations was given in April 2020 newsletter. A SPECIAL COLLECTION IS TO BE TAKEN ON VOCATION SUNDAY in all the Parishes and the proceeds are to be sent to the Diocesan Procurator immediately to forward the Collection to the TNBC Regional Commission for Vocation.

6.VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL (VBS) is a very useful Programme to bring the Word of God close to our children. I exhort all parish priests to organize VBS during summer holidays, if the present lock down is lifted. For necessary material, syllabus and training of animators for VBS, please contact Fr. Benjamin Sandanaraj.

7. Celebration of Confirmation may be arranged in the parishes during May & June 2020, after the present lock down is lifted. Instead of waiting for several years to have a bigger group, even a small group of children can be prepared for Confirmation. The parish priests are requested to confirm your dates early with the Apostolic Administrator.

8.Celebration of Marriage during this lock down period in the Salem Diocese: The celebration of marriage is possible. However, dispensation from the publication of three banns is not possible. The publication of banns can be done through Church’s notice board during this lock down situation. After having done this, I request the parish priests:
i. To get the marriage parties to write on a Rs. 20 Court-fee stamp paper:
ii. that they have not contracted marriage in any form civilly, socially, canonically or secretly.
iii. and to attest the above with the signatures of both the bride and the bride-groom in a separate Court-fee stamp paper.
iv. with the signatures of two witnesses.
This procedure shall be applicable only to the lockdown period.

9.Help to maintain parish/institution: If any priest, in charge of a parish/institution, is urgently in need of financial assistance as a consequence of Covid-19 pandemic, he is requested to get in touch with the Apostolic Administrator and act according to his advice.

10. To the kind attention of the Heads of Catholic Educational Institutions: Admission of all the Catholic children in Catholic Schools is the policy declared by the CBCI and National CRI. It is important all the Catholic Educational Institutions come forward to execute this policy voluntarily. May I remind all the Heads of Catholic Schools in Salem diocese to admit all the Catholic children who seek admission in Catholic Schools, run by the Diocese or by Religious Congregations, even relaxing some of the requirements fixed for other students in the admission process. Priority should be given to Catholic Students in the selection of groups of study and in hostel/ boarding facilities if available.

11. May I appeal to all Priests, Religious, Institutions, Government and other Employees and all people of good will to contribute for the

for Poor Children. We need to help the children going to schools and colleges. The fund collected is managed by the Diocesan Education Fund Committee, which includes members from the Clergy, Religious and Lay people. The details of the disbursement of education help will be given every year in the diocesan Newsletter in July. Please send your collections in cash or by cheque to Fr. Procurator, Bishop’s house, P.O. Box 703, 2, Court Road, Maravaneri, Salem – 636007.

12. Annual Accounts of Salem Diocese Society are closed on 31.03.2020. All Parish Priests, Heads of Diocesan Institutions and all those who are doing any Project through the Diocese are requested to bring to the Diocesan Procurator the accounts with relevant bills and copies of Bank Pass books and copies of deposits, as early as possible for auditing. Please act quickly on this.

13.I wholeheartedly thank and appreciate all the Priests and the volunteers, who have taken creative measures during this dreadful situation and all the teachers working in our diocesan schools in Salem and Namakkal districts, who have generously contributed their one day salary towards COVID 19 relief measures in Salem diocese. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). God bless you all!

14. After a priest is transferred from a parish / institution and goes to a new office, it is not proper for him to interfere in any way with the affairs of the previous parish / institution. That will negatively impact the ministry of the incoming priest in his administration. Let us all observe it.

15. Mr. T. A. Joseph, aged 74, F/o Rev. Fr. J. Jude Nirmal Dass passed away on 26.03.2020 at Udayapatti. His funeral was held on 27.03.2020 at Suramangalam Cemetery. The Diocese of Salem offers its heartfelt condolences and prayers to Fr. J. Jude Nirmal Dass and his family members. May his soul rest in peace!

16.For Reflection and Action about Temporal Goods of the Parish / Institution:
i. The temporal goods of the parish are administered by the parish priest or by the Head of the Institution, as the case may be, under the supervision of the Apostolic Administrator.
ii. All legal transactions (lease deeds, renting out assets, such as land, building, shops) with regard to the temporal goods of the parish / institution shall be done only in concurrence with the diocesan Financial Administrator. All official rent / lease deeds have to be signed by the Treasurer of the Salem Diocese Society.
iii. All the valuable documents concerning the temporal goods of the parish should be submitted in original to the office of the diocesan Financial Administrator for safe custody and the copies of the same should be preserved in the parish archives.
iv. The book of Inventory is to be updated and maintained by the parish priest / Head of the institution regularly. The Secretary of the Parish Finance Committee can help the parish priest in updating the Inventory.
v. No priest is permitted to take any loan for parish / institution from any person or financial institution. No priest is permitted to lend money to anyone from the funds of the parish / institution without prior written permission of the Apostolic Administrator.
vi. No priest is permitted to invest personal money by way of advance or loan for the works of the parish / institution without the prior written permission of the Apostolic Administrator. The amount thus invested without permission will be treated as a gift by the priest to the parish / institution.

17. Instructions to the priests on Transfer in Salem Diocese. Please take note of the following:
i. All Parish Priests and Priests in charge of diocesan Institutions, who are on transfer, please invite the Incoming Priest and your Vicar Forane to your place earlier to study and scrutinize the official Records, Accounts and Inventory of the Parish or Institution and clear all doubts well in advance. Do not wait for the last moment.
ii. The Final Statement of Accounts before the transfer has to be signed by the members of the Parish or Institution Finance Committee, before it is signed by the Vicar Forane.
iii. The handing over of the charges should take place in the presence of the Vicar Forane who will sign the Record of Accounts in the presence of both the out-going and the in-coming priests.
iv. The fact of the handing over and taking charge of the parish / Institution should be recorded in the Chronicle Register of the Parish or Institution and signed by both priests concerned and the Vicar Forane.
v. The Vicar Forane is requested to verify the state of affairs of the Parish or Institution in every detail at the time of the handing over of the charges. The Vicar Forane, who signed the registers, will be personally responsible to settle any discrepancy that surfaces later.
vi. When the Vicar Forane is on transfer and for the transfer of the Secretaries of Diocesan Commissions, the Vicar General will do all that is to be done by the Vicar Forane at the moment of transfer. Please fix the time with him early.
vii. No large payment or expenditure is to be done after the announcement of the transfer.
viii. No one is to leave a debit balance or any other form of loan or liabilities for the Parish or Institution at the moment of transfer, as no one can spend if there is no credit.
ix. As you move out of the parish / Institution kindly prepare a Statement about the parish / Institution indicating all the activities, pending works and balances of various accounts including deposits and liabilities if any. Please have it signed by the V.F. and by the incoming priest and send one copy of it to the Bishop for files. This provision is new. Please cooperate.
x. When the transfer of the President or Secretary of a Society / Trust (like SSSS, SDS, NSSS or LRRC) takes place, the handing over of the charges will be done during the meeting of the members of the Governing Body of the concerned Society.

18.Urbi et Orbi Message of His Holiness Pope Francis on Easter 2020 is given at the end of this News Letter. Kindly read and meditate.

+ Most Rev. Dr. Lawrence Pius
Apostolic Administrator