Golden laurels for Archbishop Vincent Concessao
The Capital of India celebrates the Golden Jubilee of its Religious Leader
Looking for a role model of catholic priesthood? You have arrived on the scene where you can find one to your satisfaction.
“In the person of Archbishop Vincent we have a role model” proclaimed Archbishop Albert of Agra and the Secretary General of CBCI., on the occasion of a grand Golden Jubilee Celebration on the lawns of St. Columba’s School, attended by over 8000 people.
The participants included Church dignitaries including 25 Bishops, members of Vatican Embassy, and other Church leaders.
Government representatives and people of other faiths and many civil society representatives also graced the occasion.
Archbishop Vincent Michael Concessao of New Delhi celebrated 50 years of priesthood along with his companions Fr Victor D’Souza, Fr Paul Serrao and Fr Joe Thomas on December 4.
The Jubilee celebrations consisted of a concelebrated Eucharist by over 200 Bishops and Priests, and a cultural programme and felicitations organised by the institutions and parishes from across the Diocese..
On behalf of 950 religious women and men in the Archdiocese Sister Shalini Mulackal, the President of Delhi CRI, extended congratulations and good wishes in the following words:
“On the occasion of the golden jubilee of your priestly ordination, we, the 950 religious women and men of this archdiocese belonging to 95 religious institutes, extend to you our warmest congratulations, prayers and good wishes.
We rejoice with you and thank God for the gift of you to us, consecrated persons in the church who are called to follow Jesus in all its radicalism.
We take this opportunity to thank you for the support and guidance you give to each religious institute in this archdiocese, allowing and enabling us to give expression to our particular charisms.
In a special way we appreciate and thank God for the person you are, kind and approachable, gentle and unassuming.
You have indeed put into practice the Gospel idea of authority as service and have been a model of servant leadership.
You have never taken us for granted but whenever you got an opportunity you did appreciate our efforts in reaching out to the less privileged ones in society.
We are aware that consecrated life is meant to be at the heart of the church, symbolic of the total consecration of the church in the service of the Kingdom. As religious we are called to raise our voice on behalf of the oppressed, crying for justice for the poor, and refusing to be silent in the face of social sin.
We dare not claim that we have lived our prophetic vocation to the full. Yet without losing hope we want to move forward with greater enthusiasm and commitment and make following of Jesus our special ‘Profession,’ as Vat II put it beautifully.
We assure you and the Archdiocese of Delhi of our continued service through the various ministries we are engaged in. As a token of our appreciation for all that you and the Archdiocese mean to each of us, I now invite Fr. George Gispert Sauch SJ, the secretary of Delhi CRI to felicitate you and honour you with a symbolic gesture.
Before the mass Msgr. Gianfranco Gallone, councillor of apostolic nunciature in India, read out a congratulatory message from Pope Benedict XVI, while Monsignor Arnaldo Catalan read out a message from the nuncio.
They gifted a chalice to the archbishop which was used during the liturgical service.
Bishop Anil Couto of Jalandhar in his homily said the archbishop has “seen and made history of the Delhi archdiocese”.
Speaking of his priestly ministry, Archbishop Vincent said: “These 50 years have gone by very fast. I have enjoyed my ministry and learnt a great deal, particularly the power of faith. In many difficult situations when there seemed to be no solution I trusted in the Lord and he came to my rescue,” he said. “Faith enabled me to do what I could with confidence because I could always count on God’s love,” he added.
In a message to the people who had come to felicitate him and his companion priests Archbishop Vincent expressed his gratitude. He thanked the religious leaders and people for the affection with which they had come to join the celebrations. He recalled with gratitude three of his predecessors who led the archdiocese of Delhi, his parents and dear ones, his formators and all others who were the guiding forces and inspiration in his life.
The celebrations were held at the St Columba’s School Grounds, adjacent to the Delhi’s Sacred Heart Cathedral. Some 25 bishops, over 250 priests, scores of nuns and more than 5000 faithful from all over the Archdiocese participated in the programme.