To all our Pastors, Heads of Church Institutions and Communities of the Religious in the Archdiocese

Dearly Beloved,

Greetings of Peace!

We are in the third quarter of the Pastoral Year dedicated in our Archdiocese to Families. And His Holiness Pope Francis has declared a fourteen-month period as the Year of Consecrated Life -- from 30th November, 2014 till 2nd February, 2016. In his Apostolic Letter ‘To all Consecrated People on the Occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life,’ Pope Francis gives a threefold purpose to the Year: ‘to look to the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion, and to embrace the future with hope’. On this occasion the Pope addresses himself also to the laity, who share with those in consecrated life the same ideals, spirit and mission (III,1), to the whole Christian people (III, 2), to the consecrated men and women and to the members of fraternities and communities who belong to Churches of traditions other than the Catholic tradition (III, 3), and to his brother bishops (III, 5), reminding all that journeying together always brings enrichment, and can open new paths to relationships between peoples and cultures, which nowadays appear so difficult.

In our Archdiocese, the ‘Religious have contributed immensely in different spheres of the life of the Church in Goa according to their special charisms and within their concrete possibilities towards the building up of the Kingdom of God. The Church in Goa has also  been a fertile ground for numerous vocations to consecrated life. Besides, the Archdiocese of Goa has welcomed many other Religious Congregations/Societies/Institutes in recent years, largely in the underdeveloped areas of Goa’ (SDS 107).

As I rejoice over so many spiritual, educational, social and various other activities in which the Religious are engaged in the Archdiocese, I would like to make my own the words of Pope Francis in the above mentioned Apostolic Letter: “Together let us thank God the Father, who called us to follow Jesus by fully embracing the Gospel and serving  the  Church, and poured into our hearts the Holy Spirit, the source of our joy and our witness to God’s love and mercy before the world” (Introduction).  

The months of November-December-January were months of intense spiritual experiences and a faith-filled journey involving the Exposition of the Relics of St. Francis Xavier, Christmas and the Canonization of our own Joseph Vas. Consequently, the beginning of the Year of Consecrated Life was an occasion that went by largely unnoticed. It will be quite appropriate that we mark this occasion at least now, by making it known / proclaiming it to our faithful on Sunday, 8th February, 2015. (It is the Sunday after the Annual Day of the Consecrated Life, which is on 2nd February). The Conference of Religious in India – CRI (Goa Unit) -- will be in touch with all parishes and other Church Institutions with details on the Year of Consecrated Life. 

St. Joseph Vaz, the Patron of our Archdiocese, is a special gift to us at this time and a powerful instrument of God on our journey together. He was born in a family of deep spiritual endowments, visible in him right from his childhood days. His apostolic life has all the elements needed today for our ministry, i.e. ‘the passion for Christ, the hope in the face of apparently insurmountable difficulties, the joy in his vocation, the building of  relationships and communion and the ‘coming out of himself and going forth to the existential peripheries to wake up the world:’ --- elements the Holy Father is asking from those in Consecrated Life in his Apostolic Letter. He is such a powerful inspiration to all of us – those in Consecrated Life as well as the diocesan clergy!

As we launch the Year of Consecrated Life in our Archdiocese, we pray that his inspiration and intercession may re-energize all of us to move along the Vision envisaged by the Goa Diocesan Synod 2002, viz. “Set ablaze by a deep personal as well as communitarian experience  of God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – We, the Church in Goa, hand in hand with all our sisters and brothers, move as a vibrant community of love, towards our common goal – the building of the Kingdom of God.”

Archbishop’s House, January 26, 2015.


               ( + Filipe Neri Ferrão)  

                                                                   Archbishop of Goa and Daman


Golden Verse

1Korintkarank 7:38

Mhonnttôch aplê ankvar hoklê lagim logn zata to borem korta; ani logn zaina to odik borem korta.