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Indian cardinal urges priests to be Synodal shepherds

Archbishop Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrão, Archbishop of Goa and Daman and Bishop Alex Dias Sfx, bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Port Blair, released the Pastoral Diary 2024–2025. (Photo: Fr. Barry Cardozo)

Archbishop Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrão of Goa and Daman urged the priest to become synodal shepherds during his homily at the Chrism Mass on March 21 held at Se Cathedral Church in Old Goa, India.

"Let us become Synodal  shepherds, following the example of Jesus, who was a Synodal Shepherd," said Cardinal Ferrão. 

Cardinal Ferrão, who also serves as the President of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), presided over the Eucharistic celebration, which included Bishop Alex Dias Sfx, Bishop Emeritus of the diocese of Port Blair, priests serving in the archdiocese, and diocesan deacons.

Cardinal Ferrão, also President-elect of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC), said, "Jesus, as a synodal shepherd, understood his flock, refrained from condemnation and withheld judgment. By embodying the essence of a synodal shepherd, Jesus leads us on the path to becoming Synodal shepherds ourselves." 

"Jesus, as a discerning shepherd, consistently acted by the will of His Father, exemplifying humility in his ministry. He guides us, as priests, to embrace humility," added the prelate.

He insisted the priests mirror Jesus, who serves as a "model" for their priests to adopt synodality in their lives and ministries.

"Let us shepherd the flock entrusted to us, remembering that we are trustees and stewards, not bosses but humble shepherds," said the cardinal. 

The cardinal invited the priests to exercise their priesthood with freedom, not out of compulsions, and to become listening,  discerning shepherds,  always seeking to know what God wants of them.

Priests who concelebrated renewed their priestly promises during mass.

During the Mass, the cardinal also blessed the Holy Oils (Oil of the Catechumens—Oleum Catechumenorum, the Oil of the Sick—Oleum infirmorum, and the Holy Chrism Oil—Sacrum Chrisma).

The Chrism mass is celebrated to express more clearly the Presbyterian communion of the priests with their bishop.

Fr. Norbert D’silva, Spiritual Director at the Seminary of Our Lady, Saligão, was the liturgical commentator, while Fr. Afonso Mendonca animated the liturgy.  Fr. Seby Vaz, Assistant to the Parish Priest of Se Cathedral Church, led the liturgical singing.

The Chrism Mass concluded with Archbishop Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrão and Bishop Alex Dias, Emeritus Bishop of Port Blair Diocese, unveiling the Pastoral Diary for the pastoral year 2024–2025. The Pastoral Secretariat of the Archdiocese meticulously prepared this diary, outlining major events. - Br. Malvino Alfonso OCD 


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