Archbishop Moras Lays Foundation Stone For Archdiocesan Retreat Centre

Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bengaluru laid the foundation stone for ‘Divine Mercy Retreat Centre’ at Our Lady of Lourdes Church campus in Bengaluruon Saturday (February 25) in the presence of six other bishops of Karnataka. Bishop Mar Lawrence Mukkuzhy of Belthangady who preached the homily during the Mass felicitated the Archbishop and asked the congregation to give him (Dr. Moras) a ‘big hand’ on the occasion of his 20th anniversary of episcopal ordination. He said Archbishop Moras is a gift of God to people of the State, particularly to the Archdiocese. As per the bible and established tradition bishops are the foundation to send and spread the word of God. The bishops are the shepherds of people and we are fortunate about it unlike many places where they do not have shepherds to look after the people.

The retreat centre that comes up in the premises of Lourdes Church is a great blessing as Mary is an icon of the Church. Mother Mary is a role model. She would be called blessed from generation to generation. Mary advocated to imitate Christ as St. Paul said ‘be imitators of me, as I am of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). Evil and wickedness began to increase in the world (Gen. 6:5) and the relevance of Christ has become all the more necessary in the context. God found all have gone astray and no one is good (Psalm 14: 2,3). Bishop Mukkuzhy also made a mention of God’s intervention in Jesus’ mission, in his baptism (Mt 3:16) and in his transfiguration on Mount Tabor (17: 1-8; Mk 9: 1-8; Lk 9: 28-36; 2Pet 1: 16-18 and Jn 1:14). The Transfiguration of Christ is the culminating point of His public life, as His Baptism is its starting point and His Ascension its end. Bishop exhorted the faithful to look at Him, imitate Him and to obey His word.

Quoting John, he said ‘I speak the word that I heard from the Father (Jn 12:49 and Jesus came to fulfill the will of God (Jn 4:34). The followers of Christ are on earth to obey His word as the mystery is revealed to us. In 2003, at Ad limina (bishops meeting the Pope), Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI) said Jesus is completely a different person with a unique personality. St Paul had the audacity to say “to obey me as I obey Jesus (God). Jesus worked wonders, miracles and did healing service in his life time. Fathers of the Church gave Jesus (the word)to the world. They gave their processions and life itself. Bishop Polycarp was asked to curse Jesus instead of the ruler of the time to save his life.’During my 86 years’, He (Jesus) never failed me and why should I curse Him.’ He was set on fire but bishop Polycarp came out safe from the surging fire.

As a parting message, Bishop Lawrence said Jesus is Lord of all. He will take care of us. He will keep His promises. He will make us new persons and to give the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the model and the planned Retreat Centre is to help everyone to reach the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Bishop Mukkuzhy congratulated Archbishop Bernard Moras for having taken the leap for the new Archdiocesan Retreat Centre. Earlier, Fr Norman Bernard, Parish priest, introduced the topic of twin celebrations of the day. He also spoke of the great work and mission the Archbishop carries out in the Archdiocese. He said every first Monday of the month intercessory prayers were offered for the Retreat Centre to become a reality.

The Bangalore Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (BCCRS) and the Archdiocesan Commission for Proclamation and Evangelization, in collaboration with the Parish Priest and Parishioners organized a one day convention in which Fr Jose Vetiangal, Director, Logos Retreat Centre, Bangalore, Fr. Jacob Britto, Spiritual Director, BCCRS and Fr Dominic preached the word of God and conducted adoration and healing service. Brother Simon, former chairman, BCCRS, appealed to all for financial support. Brother Cherian Ramapuram, chairman, BCCRS, and his team are a force behind to help implement the plan. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Verghese Joseph, vice chairman, BCCRS, said ‘today is a memorable day in the history of the Archdiocese of Bengaluru as the Retreat Centre is to be established is meant for the spiritual renewal and holistic growth of the priests, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese. It is a happy coincidence that it happened to be the 20th Episcopal Ordination Anniversary of ‘our beloved Archbishop, Most Rev. Dr Bernard Moras.’ “We are also blessed with the presence of half a dozen bishops of Karnataka region. Let us faithfully and devoutely seek the blessing of God on what we do so that the purpose for which this Retreat Centre will be established may come to its fruition and benefit one and all in the Archdiocese.

Six Representatives took in procession six Bricks, representing Six Civil Districts of the Archdiocese, and handed them over to the Archbishop. The Bricks are covered with the Scriptural Verses: Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together (Isaiah 48:13). Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27). For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation (Romans 15:20) According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. (1 Corinthians 3:10)

Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness (2 Timothy 2:19). The Foundation Stone Tablet was unveiled by the Archbishop. The Archbishop sprinkled holy water on the Stone Tablet and the six Bricks. The Six Bricks were carried in procession to the place marked for the Retreat Centre. The Archbishop was accompanied by the Bishops, Priests, CRI Representatives, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Core Team Members of the BCCRS, and the PPC and PFC Members of the Parish.

Archbishop blessed the Foundation Stone at the place of the Centre planned to come up, Fr S. Jayanathan, Vicar General, explained the significance of Time Capsule and the contents placed in it. Capsule contained among other things, currency note, photo of Archbishop and various other details. It will be opened after 50 years and replace some items with the relevant matters and materials of that time.

The foundation stone-laying ceremony ended with the Choir singing the Hymn: “There shall be showers of Blessings.” During the Mass Sharom and team conducted the choir. Other choir teams also sang during the convention. A camera attached helicopter was an added attraction and the outdoor function was video-graphed supported by the flying device.