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Cir. No. 001/2018

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, Peace and Joy!

We are entering into the new liturgical year. On 1st December we start the liturgical season of Annunciation when we contemplate the great mystery of Incarnation. Let us whole heartedly welcome our Redeemer, Christ Jesus, who was born at Bethlehem. He has come to give us life in its fullness (Jn 10/10). “Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the door to Christ – and you will find true life” (Pope Benedict XVI). For Jesus wants our complete happiness (Jn 15/11).

It is our spiritual tradition which is very beneficial to us that we avoid all celebrations during the season of Annunciation. We shall prepare ourselves for the great feast of Christmas through special prayers and fasting.

Christmas Celebrations in parishes/mission stations

Jesus Christ is the Saviour of humankind. As missionaries we are all called to bring this good news of Salvation to our brothers and sisters of other faiths. Apart from the usual Christmas celebrations within the parish/mission centre/institution, I urge you all to have some meaningful programmes for the people around us that will convey the joy and the significance of Christmas to them. Please do plan it in advance and make it a graceful event.

Conclusion of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations

By the grace of God we could celebrate well the finale of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Syromalabar mission in Sagar. His beatitude Mar George Cardinal Alencherry and all others appreciated our programmes, arrangements and good organization. The credit goes to all missionary personnel of the diocese and in a special way to the members of the various committees headed by Rev. Fr Biju Thottankara who organized everything meticulously. The success was the result of prayers, hard work and dedication. I thank all of you especially the members of the various committees headed by convenors.

We have one more important matter to do in connection with the Golden Jubilee. Soon we have to build one house each to a deserving family in each zone of our diocese. It was great that we could contribute Rs 28,00,000/- for the relief of the flood victims of Kerala. This too was an act of great solidarity and charity. Let me sincerely thank all the persons and institutions who in one way or other contributed to it.

Annual Retreat for Priests

The annual spiritual retreat for the priests will commence early morning on 4th December and end by noon on 8th December 2018. Hence the priests have to reach on 3rd night at Divine Mercy, Khajooria. Annual retreat is obligatory and all the priests are expected to participate in it without fail.

Diaconate and Minor Orders

Brother Nijo(Antony) Kudiyirikal will receive the order of M’Samsanusa and Brothers Edwin Kundukulam, Sijo (Antony) Chathely and Sinto (Vareed) Mangalan will be conferred Heupadiaknusa, and Brother Naveen (Thomas) Brahmakulam will receive Karoyusa on 20th December in their respective seminaries. Deacon Braint (Antony) Thekkath has completed his seminary studies and his priestly ordination will be after Easter. Kindly keep them in your prayers.

Syro-Malabar Synod of Bishops in January 2019

XXVII Synod of the Bishops of the Syro-Malaba Church will be held at the Major Archiepiscopal Curia, Mount St Thomas, Kakkanad from 7 January 2019 to 18 January 2019. Let me recommend the synod for your valuable prayers. I will be leaving for Kerala on 26th December to confer priestly ordinations and to participate in the Synod and will be back on 21st January 2019.

Syro-Malabar Mission Week

The Syro-Malabar Church is celebrating from 6th to 12th January 2019 as Mission Week. It is a special occasion to pray for the ‘ad gentes mission’ of the Church and to contribute financially for the support of the missionary activities. We shall also join our Church celebrating the whole week as ‘Mission Week’.

In advance may I wish Year.

you all A Very Happy Christmas and A Bright New

James Athikalam

Bishop of Sagar