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Homily for the Episcopal Ordination of Msgr.

Ivan Pereira
Bishop of Jammu-Srinagar 21 February 2015
Is 51,1-3a; 1 Cor 12,12-26; Lc 4,14-21
Your Grace Anil Couto, Metropolitan Archbishop of Delhi,
Your Grace Felix Machado, Archbishop-Bishop of Vasai,
Dear brother Bishops, dear Msgr. Ivan Pereira,
Reverend Fathers and the Religious men and women of Jammu-Srinagar,
Distinguished Guests, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
With deep joy I have accepted the invitation to be among you in Jammu to
preside over the Episcopal Ordination of Rev. Msgr. Ivan Pereira and to address to
him on this auspicious occasion my fraternal reflection and exhortation.
At the outset, I wish to greet fraternally the co-consecrating Bishops: His
Grace Most Rev. Anil Couto, Metropolitan Archbishop of Delhi, and his Grace
Felix Machado, Archbishop-Bishop of Vasai, the Diocese where Msgr. Ivan was
born and grew up in his earlier years. I address also a word of sincere gratitude to
Bishop Peter Celestine, who is not here because of his health conditions: he has
been the Shepherd of this growing local Church for more than sixteen years as a
Father in faith and good Shepherd, strengthening the faith of the people through his
faithful ministry. We all thank him for his valuable service to the Lord and His
people in Jammu-Srinagar and wish him good health and many years to come!
I also greet the other brother Bishops here present, the numerous priests,
religious men and women, and all of you, my dear people of God of JammuSrinagar. As the Representative of our beloved Pope Francis in India, I assure you
that he is spiritually joining us on this special day and I convey to all of you his
Apostolic Blessing as a sign of his prayers and paternal concern for the Church in
Jammu and Kashmir.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins before God
and entrust ourselves with confidence to His merciful love.
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Dear brothers and sisters in Christ
In the reading of the Gospel we have just heard that Jesus rolled up the
scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the
synagogue were fixed on him.
My dear friends, we too, at the beginning of this Mass, have just seen a
scroll unrolled, and we have listened as it was read, informing us that His Holiness

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Pope Francis has named Msgr. Ivan as Bishop of the Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar.
And now the eyes of all of us are fixed with sympathy and expectation on Fr.
Ivan, sitting here with us, just as the eyes of all in the synagogue of Nazareth that
day were fixed on Jesus.
And the words of the prophet Isaiah, read in our first reading and repeated by
the Lord in the synagogue, as recounted in the Gospel, apply as well to him: The
Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me. Indeed, the Spirit of God,
working in and through the Church, as discerned in prayer by the Holy Father, has
chosen him for this mission.
For that reason, today is a day of immense joy for the Diocese of JammuSrinagar and indeed for the Catholic Church in all of India. The ordination of a new
Bishop is the one of the most sacred actions accomplished in the Church and this is
because the Church herself is formed and constituted by followers of Jesus Christ
gathered around a Bishop, united by the Holy Eucharist and in communion with the
Bishop of Rome.
There are different roles and vocations in the Church and, as we have heard in
the second reading, taken from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians, no
member of the Church is more a member than any other, because we are all
baptised into one Body (1 Cor 12,13). All of us are called to holiness, and that is
the most important thing. But in the multiplicity and variety of the vocations which
make up the Church, that of a Bishop is central, because it is he who is for all, in a
preeminent way, a visible alter Cristus, a living icon of Christ.
This reality is expressed in a powerful way in the Rite of Ordination by the
anointing of the Bishops head with Holy Chrism; he shares in the high priesthood
of Christ. Indeed, this is reflected in the way we use the term Church. A Diocese,
like the Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar, is not just any gathering of Christians, a group
of faithful, but it can be called a local Church because of the presence of the
Bishop. That is why it is a day of immeasurable joy when a new Bishop is
ordained for a Diocese!
And what does the Church ask of a Bishop? There are many images given in
the tradition of the Church, all of which derive from that central reality of the Bishop
as the icon of Christ. A Bishop is to be a teacher whose words are anointed by the
Holy Spirit to preach the constant Catholic faith, the faith of St. Thomas and of St.
Francis Xavier, of blessed Mother Theresa and of St. Joseph Vaz, the faith of the
simple people of God here in Jammu-Srinagar as in all over the world.
A Bishop is to be shepherd whose crosier symbolizes his shepherding role of
keeping the wolves of division away, and of going out in search of the lost members
of his flock. A Bishop is a guardian whose ring symbolizes his commitment to

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preserve the Churchs purity of faith, to serve and protect the Spouse of God, as
Joseph served and protected Our Lady, the Mother of God. A Bishop is to be a
father who sanctifies the family of God in the path of holiness and truth, a true
leader whose mitre symbolises the authority which comes from holiness, not an
authority of domination and power, but an authority which flows from the holiness
of life. That is the authority of Christ, and that is the authority of a Bishop.
Therefore I warmly encourage you, dear Msgr. Ivan, to live your episcopal
service to the people of God with great confidence as a living Icon of Christ,
governing them meekly and wisely, teaching them the loving truth of the Gospel,
sanctifying them by the sacraments and the example of your life, as a good
shepherd and father to all your faithful, without any partiality or preference
among your children, so that your service in love, spirit of unity and communion
may cover of blessing everybody and bring about harmony and collaboration in the
whole diocese.
The Motto you have chosen as the synthesis of your Episcopal
programme of life, is Pax nuntiata est, which means Peace is announced,
inspired by the same page of the Gospel of today: Jesus came to announce and bring
us the true peace. He is our peace! Pope Francis, recently, said that peace is not
simply the absence of war, but a condition in which the human person is in harmony
with him/herself, in harmony with nature and in harmony with others; and he
exhorted: Are you in disaccord with this person? Make peace!; At home? Make
peace! In your community? Make peace!; At your place of work? Make peace!
Work for peace, for reconciliation and fraternity! (Angelus, 4 February 2015)
I entrust to you, Msgr. Ivan, and to all of you, clergy, religious and faithful of
Jammu-Srinagar these clear and inspiring words of Pope Francis. Make peace!
Build harmony and reconciliation inside and outside the Church, everywhere!
On behalf of the Holy Father, I also fraternally recommend you to pay special
attention to the priests; live in communion with them, guide them by your example,
be available to listen to them with fatherly kindness. At the same time, foster good
relations with Religious men and women, encouraging them to ensure their positive
contribution to the life of the local Church. Above all, look at the people entrusted
to your care by the Good Shepherd with pastoral charity.
In this light, I address also a paternal word of encouragement to the dear
Priests of this Diocese: I exhort you and encourage you to cooperate with your
Pastor, in spirit of evangelical obedience and ecclesial communion. Not less
important is the role of the Religious men and women in the diocese: dear
Religious, work zealously, in accordance with your respective charism, to support
the mission of the Bishop with loving respect and fidelity. Finally, let me address

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you, dear lay faithful of Jammu and Srinagar: be ready to follow the guidance of
your Bishop in your task of making the Gospel the source of life for your families
and for the society at large.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me. Brothers and
sisters, let us ask the Spirit of God to bless and sustain Bishop Ivan in his service to
the People of God in the Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar.
I entrust all of you to the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Patroness of this Diocese and to whom your beautiful Cathedral is entitled. May our
Mother Mary obtain from her divine Son unceasing protection, blessings and graces
for this beloved local Church, its Shepherds and its people! Amen.