Pope Francis is Time’s Person of the Year 2013.
What an honor for a Pope elected just 9 months ago! Elected on March 13, 2013, Cardinal Jorgio Mario Bergoglio took the name of Francis of Assisi and then called for a "church of healing". The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is transforming the Church from within in order to transform from outside. Therefore, the Time magazine named him as the person of the year 2013. The iconic title goes each year to the one chosen by prominent magazine time as the individual who had the most influence on the world and news over the year. The editor gave the reason for the choice: "For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world’s largest church to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is TIME's 2013 Person of the Year". While the Church is happy about the choice, it is not puffed up by the designation. “The Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors. But if the choice of Person of the Year helps spread the message of the gospel - a message of God's love for everyone - he will certainly be happy about that" said Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, as cited by “Today”. As well known, following Pope Benedict’s resignation, the first retirement from the holy office in 600 years, Cardinal Jorgio Mario Bergoglio of Argentina became the first Latin American pope in history. He has been at the center of public attention since he took office in March, showing more openness. Since then he has shaped the global conversation on religion, urging the Church to be more welcoming, less cold and dogmatic.
Think Global and act local: Good bye to 2013 and welcome to 2014.
What is new in yet another year? It is the hope of humans for betterment of oneself, society and the world at large! First day of the New Year is celebrated with religious, cultural, and social observances around the world. The liturgy does not place emphasis on New Year’s Day but on the Solemnity of the Mother of God. Yet the traditional practice of ‘thanksgiving services before midnight and also celebrating the Holy Mass' inviting the New Year are observed in many places. It's practices are usually marked by rites and ceremonies that symbolize casting off the old year and rejoicing in the new. Most of the world recognizes January 1 as the start of a new year because the Gregorian calendar, from its papal origin in 1582, has become the international reference for treaties, corporate contracts, and other legal documents. Nevertheless, numerous religious and national calendars have been retained. For example, the Persian calendar, Islamic calendar, the Hindu new year, the Hebrew calendar and the Jewish New Year's Day, the Telugu New year Ugadi and so on. Since the world has become a global village, let us ‘think global and act local’. Ecclesially let us be with the universal Church and act for the Church in Warangal.
Incredible ‘Faith-Walk’ of Warangal Diocese: Dec-2013.
Walking on the Waters by St. Peter was an awesome miracle! Similarly, incredible was a gigantic pilgrimage from all the Parishes to Fatima Cathedral marking the culmination of the ‘Year of Faith’ on November 18-20, 2013. All roads leading to the Cathedral, the Seat of the See of the Diocese of Warangal were flooded with innumerable Catholic faithful lifting the flags of the Year of Faith high in the sky preceded by chariots demonstrating the symbol catholic faith, life size cross. The faithful in thousands from all walks of life and of age marched along with their pastors, religious with prayer, song, and even dance. This was made possible by the hundred percent collaboration of the Clergy and Religious in response to the call given by the shepherd of the See of Warangal. Hats off to your Catholic faith, Team Spirit and the Joy of contributing yourself and your talents and resources like finances, vehicles, structures, etc. The most incredible was the animation of the people by Parish Priests and Heads of Institutions, many of them walked the distance of around 50 kilometers or so. Above all I fail to find words to express my appreciation of the faith of the people, their sacrifice, their time and trouble to come by Pada Yatra for three days braving the distance, the heat and the possible cyclonic weather.
Unheard was its magnitude in the history of Warangal and even in Andhra Pradesh. Very inspiring and witnessing was the participation of faithful of all ages in the mega event of Vishwasa Maha Theertha Yatra. Needless to state that it was a powerful and effective Witness of the Catholic Faith, especially to the non-Christians. For some time, I could not believe my eyes regarding grand finale of year of faith.. The highlight of the Theertha Yatra was the faith walk by the elderly who were instrumental for planting/ nourishing the faith of today’s generation. The light of the Yatra was the cheerful children jumping like lambs in all the routes of the Pada Yatra. And the delight of the entire event was the colorful vibrant Youth raising slogans of Jesus, the Superstar.
The people were the heroes of faith as Chapter 11 of Hebrews praises! Equal credit goes to the leaders of Faith i.e. the Clergy and Religious with the people and with the Bishop in the massive show of the strength of the Catholic Faith. Gratefully we remember the Pioneers of sowing the seeds of Faith in Warangal, none equal to the Missionaries of PIME. Needless to narrate the history but we cannot but bow our heads to pay our deepest sense of tribute to the departed and obeisance to the living. Other missionaries and local pastors, catechists, elders of villages, volunteers and unknown heroes of faith sowed the seeds or fostered the faith in many different ways by sacrificing their lives in the cause of the great treasure of Catholic faith. The mammoth gathering of faith had taken a pledge that together as the Local Church and individually as believers in Jesus Christ, they would do their best to profess and proclaim the faith which God in his mercy gave them. Strengthened by the spectacular and convincing Witness of the diocese, it is hoped that this mega event would remain in the hearts and minds of the people for a long time to come and they would gladly handover their faith to the generation to come.
People spontaneously gave big round of applause every time the Bishop highlighted the salient features of the Catholic faith. Strengthened by the spectacular and convincing and Witness of the diocese, it is hoped that this united witness would remain in the hearts and minds of the people for a long time to come and they would gladly handover their faith to the generation to come. Availing this occasion, the diocese launched the following programs of evangelization: taking up 25 new villages for evangelization, 500 Widows and Aged people’s Assistance scheme and Launching the Website of the diocese i.e. www.warangaldiocese.com.