In one of the most significant moves since the dimission of former Bishop His Excellency Peter Celestine in Dec 2013 and its acceptance by Pope Francis, the Catholic community in Jammu and Kashmir gathered at Jammu to celebrate the consecration and installation of the new Bishop of the Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar.
Rev. Fr. Ivan Pereira, native of Mumbai and priest of the diocese was ordained on Saturday (21 Feb, 2015) as Bishop of Jammu Srinagar Diocese. The ceremony took place at a Celebration of Holy Eucharist, the most sacred religious function of the Catholics, at the St. Mary’s Presentation School grounds Gandhi Nagar, Jammu at 10.00 am.
The ceremony was presided over by His Grace Salvatore Pennacchio, the Vatican ambassidor to India and Nepal and legate of Pope Francis in India and assisted by His Grace Anil Couto, Metropolitan Archbishop of Delhi and His Grace Felix Machado, Archbishop of Vasai. The Holy Eucharist was concelebrated by His Grace Albert D’souza, Archbishop of Agra; His Grace Vincent Concesso, Emritus bishop of Delhi; His Excellency Elias Gonsalves, Bishop of Amravati; His Excellency Franko Mulakal, Bishop of Jalandhar; His Excellency Emmanuel Kerketta, Bishop of Jashpur; His Excellency Ignatius Mascharnes, Bishop of Simla-Chandigarh; His Excellency George Pallipparambil, Bishop of Miao; His Excellency Gerald Mathias, Bishop of Lucknow; His Excellency Patrick Nair, Bishop Emritus of Meerat and His Excellency Jacob Barnabas, Malankara Bishop of Delhi Diocese. Priests of the diocese of Jammu-Srinagar, priests of religious congregations, visiting priests and friends of Bishop Ivan also concelebrated. The ceremony was attended by a large number of religious sisters and Catholic faithful from Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.
His Grace Most Rev. Salvatore Pennacchio in his message, after having acknowledged the contribution of His Excellency Peter Celestine, the former Bishop, thanked him for his leadership during the past 16 years. He stressed on the element of holiness in the life of a person and exhorted everyone to be a «a living icon of Christ». Addressing the gathering, he also stated the three fold function of the Bishop: being a Teacher who guides, being a Shepherd of the faithful and being a Father who leads all to holiness.
The newly consecrated Bishop Ivan Pereira expressed his thanks and appreciation for all the prayerful support and encouragement received, «It has been very humbling because in moments like this, one becomes acutely aware of one’s own failings and limitations. It means that we come to know all the more how much we depend on the grace of God and the gift of faith». He also prayed for peace in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and unveiled his episcopal motto which is «Pax nuntiata est», which means «Peace is announced». He called upon everyone to be an announcer of peace in our country.