Gerald Isaac Lobo installed as the first bishop

The new Catholic Diocese of Udupi came into being with Most Rev. Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo being installed as its first bishop at a function held at the Milagres Cathedral Grounds here on Monday. Nearly 15,000 people including 30 bishops and 200 priests witnessed the event.

Udupi district has been a part of Mangalore Diocese since 1887. The new Diocese of Udupi consists of 48 parishes belonging to Karkala, Udupi and Kundapur taluks. There are 1.25 lakh Catholics, 58 Diocesan priests, 20 Religious Priests/Brothers and 225 Religious Sisters in the Udupi Diocese.

Earlier, the Bishop-designate Dr. Gerald Lobo, the Bishop of Mangalore Diocese, Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza and Apostolic Nuncio Most Rev Dr. Salvotore Pennacchio were given a reception at the entrance of the Milagres Cathedral at 2 p.m. All the three of them went into the cathedral and offered prayers there.

The celebrations began with a holy mass at the Cathedral Grounds at 2.30 p.m., where the formation of Udupi Diocese and installation of Dr. Lobo as Bishop of Udupi Diocese took place. Dr. Pennacchio was the principal prelate along with Dr. Lobo as the main celebrant of the mass.

The decree of the Pope Benedict XVI on the formation of Udupi Diocese and installation of Dr. Lobo as Bishop of the Diocese were read first in Latin by the Chancellor of Mangalore Diocese Henry Sequeira and then in Konkani language by parish priest of Milagres Cathedral Stany B. Lobo.

Then Dr. Lobo was escorted to the Cathedra (or sacred seat) by Dr. Pennacchio and Dr D’Souza. Dr. Lobo then ascended the Cathedra. Dr. Pennachhio handed over the scepter or sacred rod to Dr. Lobo.

Speaking at the public function, Dr. Gerald Lobo said that all religions preached peace and harmony. All religious leaders had the duty to work to maintain peace and harmony in the society.

‘I am humbled’

He said that he felt sentiments of joy, gratitude and humility at the formation of the new diocese. It was a great privilege to be the first Bishop of the new diocese. “We have tremendous opportunities and challenges before us. I am humbled by the confidence placed in me by the Pope Benedict XVI”, Dr. Lobo said.

Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji of Puttige Math said if people of religions followed their faiths in a proper manner, there would be peace in the world.

It was when people did not follow their religion properly, there was disturbance. It was essential to find similarities between the religions.

“The function to mark the formation of the new diocese and installation of the bishop is like a second Paryaya festival in Udupi”, the seer said.

Oscar Fernandes, AICC general secretary and Rajya Sabha member, Most Rev. Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore, Rt. Rev. J.S. Sadananda, Bishop of CSI Mangalore, Kota Srinivas Poojary, Minister for Ports and Muzrai, K. Jayaprakash Hegde, MP, Raghupati Bhat, MLA, and N.B. Aboobakkar, Chairman of Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation were present.

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