Vox Nostra  |  Wishes  |  Obituary

The Year 2020 has been and was Covid – 19 year because Coronavirus in fact was detected apparently around November 2019. Hence, without being aware of the presence of this deadly virus amidst us, we wished ‘Happy New Year 2020’ to one and all. But the year was not one of joy and happiness but of fear, worry and lockdown. There have been over 77,250,000 people affected by it world over, 1,701,404 deaths and 54,164,036 recovered from it. And the virus continues to dominate our lives and now it appears there is a new strain spreading faster than the coronavirus.

And still, with tremendous hope welling up within us, let us wish each other Happy New Year 2021. True that vaccine is around - not one but many from different laboratories and famous research companies. It is not at all easy to vaccinate the world population with ease and speed but let us hope that the people of the poorer nations will have easy access since they lack much needed basic health facilities. In the words of our beloved Pope Francis who says in his new encyclical Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers – on Fraternity and Social Friendship) (FT) that “despite the dark clouds of challenges, there are many new paths of hope. For God continues to sow abundant seeds of goodness in our human family. The recent pandemic enabled us to recognize and appreciate once more all those around us who, in the midst of fear, responded by putting their lives on the line. We began to realize that our lives are interwoven with and sustained by ordinary people valiantly shaping the decisive events of our shared history: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caretakers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests and religious… They understood that no one is saved alone” (FT 54). Yes, we are not saved alone because Christ died for all and rose again that we all have new life in and through Him.

Life must go on by making it as beautiful, meaningful and successful as we can with our Lord’s command: Love one another as I have loved you (Jn 13: 34-35). The effectiveness of our life depends ultimately on how we go about with our Catholic faith and treat each other i.e. loving our faith, living it and witnessing to it and the manner in which we relate ourselves with our neighbor (Mk 12:31; Mt 22:39). It is essential how we understand the word neighbour which the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37) highlights as narrated by Christ Himself and beautifully explained by Pope Francis in his said encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

We celebrate the solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother of God on first of January. She gave Christ to the world as our Saviour who loved us so much that He suffered for us, died and rose again. We who are the followers of the Risen Lord need to translate His new commandment of love and for this, we have this new year before us to do so. ‘When God is with us, who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)?’ Let us march forward with trust in Divine Providence, seek the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary to protect us all Her beloved children and love one another as Christ has loved us because we are all Brothers and Sisters (Fratelli Tutti) on this our beautiful Planet Earth.

I wish each and every one of you a very happy, joyous and grace-laden New Year 2021.

X Gerald Isaac Lobo

Bishop of Udupi 

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