Bishop’s Message – FEBRUARY 2024

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01. Season of Lent: This year the Holy Season of Lent begins on 14.02.2024 with Ash Wednesday. I wish the clergy, Religious, and Lay people of Salem Diocese, a Prayerful Season of Lent. Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Forty days is a period often mentioned in the Bible and it represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, where Satan tempted him as He was preparing for his ministry. Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the celebration of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. Let us focus on our relationship with God and with our neighbors. Let us make every effort to spend this season of God’s grace meaningfully.

02. The Clergy Monthly Recollection for February 2024 will be held at the Vicariate level. It is a good occasion to plan for the Lenten programs. I request the Vicars Forane to convene the vicariate meetings in February 2024 according to their convenient time and date and make a pastoral plan for the whole year for their respective vicariates.

03. The Feast of the Presentation of our Lord is celebrated on 02.02.2024 as a Day of Consecrated Life in the Church. The Parish Priests and the Heads of the Institutions are earnestly requested to celebrate this day meaningfully encouraging all the Religious in your parishes/institutions.

04 The Day of Consecrated Life will be celebrated in the Diocese on 04.02.2024 at Notre Dame CBSE School Auditorium, Salem, from 09.00 a.m. onwards. The program for the day is given at the end. I wish and thank all the religious for their tremendous contributions to the faithful according to the Charisms of their respective Congregations.

05. It is time to submit all the accounts up to December 2023 from all Parishes and Institutions to the Procurator for entries and eventual auditing. Kindly submit your accounts with proper receipt vouchers and payment bills along with copies of Bank Passbooks and Fixed Deposits. Those in charge of Institutions please send your accounts with relevant receipts for School Fees, Bus Fees, Books, and other materials. The last date to submit a monthly Account is the 10th of every month.

06. Extracts from the Registers of Baptism and Marriage are to be sent to the Bishop’s House immediately with entries up to December 2023.

07. The Pontifical Society for the HOLY CHILDHOOD is the Association to motivate children below 14 years of age for missionary activities. This year Holy Childhood Day is celebrated on 11.02.2024. All the parishes and Institutions (Schools and Boarding Houses) are urged to celebrate this day meaningfully. A special collection for Holy Childhood Society is to be taken on this day and the proceeds are to be sent to the Procurator for the onward transmission to Pontifical Mission Society of Holy Childhood, Rome.

08. Our Lady of Lourdes Feast at Agraharam Parish (Malaikoil): Grotto Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes at Agraharam will be held on 10.02.2024 (Saturday). The Feast Mass will be celebrated at 7.30 a.m. at the Grotto. Because of the pilgrimage to Agraharam, all Catholic Schools in Salem are encouraged to declare , 10.02.2024 (Saturday) a holiday to facilitate the teachers and the students to participate in the pilgrimage.

09. All Universal Collections made in 2023 are to be remitted to the Procurator immediately to enable him to transmit them to the respective Dicasteries in Rome.

10. Pope’s special message for the 32nd World Day for the sick is given at the end of this Newsletter.

11. Jubilee 2025 Preparation Seminar: The Preparation Seminar for the Jubilee 2025 will be held on 24th February 2024 at Annai Illam, Arisipalayam. All are encouraged to participate in the seminar to plan and prepare for the meaningful celebration of the Jubilee 2025. Kindly follow the instructions of Fr. V. Jai Bernard Joseph, the Contact Person for the preparation of Jubilee 2025.

+ Most Rev. Dr. Arulselvam Rayappan
Bishop of Salem