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Udupi, Dec 5: The new building of Christ Church at Manipal was inaugurated and blessed in a befitting ceremony on Saturday December 5. Architect of the new church building Mr Deepak D'Souza handed over the keys to bishop of Udupi Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, who in turn handed it over to Manipal parish priest Rev. Fr Francis Lewis, who then opened the main door of the church to symbolically inaugurate the building.

Bishop Dr Gerald Lobo led the mass, while bishop of Shivamogga diocese Dr Francis Serrao delivered the homily.

Dr Francis Serrao in his homily said, "We are the parts of Jesus Christ - his limbs, eyes and ears. We have built mosques, temples and churches, but do we have love in our hearts? We have the Bible, the Quran, the Gita and the Vedas, but do we have justice in our society? We visit everyone, but do we make time for Jesus or for the one in need or the poor? We have miles to go. The building has already been constructed and everything is ready, but our hearts are not. Our hearts are yet to be built and become sanctuaries of Jesus. Let us fulfill this dream of Jesus."

The plaque of the church was unveiled by main donors Hillary and Lorna Pinto, who also inaugurated the church corridor. Jerry Vincent Dias and his wife Molly inaugurated the grotto of Divine Mercy while Walter and Thelma Almeida inaugurated the grotto of Mother Mary and the fountain of Baptism was inaugurated by Julian and Cynthia Lewis.




During the formal stage programme, Udupi bishop Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo led a prayer for the departed soul of Fr Sylvester D'Souza, the first parish priest of Manipal and acknowledged the services of other parish priests who served here.

"All thanks, glory and praise be to our King Jesus Christ. It is a moment of joy for the parishioners of Manipal. May Jesus Christ bless us all. We have all by now seen the spiritual growth of Manipal. It was a small seed then, but now it has grown into a big tree with 230 families sheltering in it by God's grace. The present parish priest Fr Francis Lewis has brought a fresh air to Manipal ever since his appointment. He is loved by the parishioners, the students coming from different places and the non-Catholics as well, because of his friendly nature," the bishop said.

"The church was previously small and could not cater to the spiritual needs of the people. I had placed a challenge before Fr Lewis to complete the church building within one year and he not only accepted the challenge but also successfully completed the work in a year. I congratulate Fr Francis Leweis, all the benefactors and the parishioners," he added.

Shivamogga bishop Dr Francis Serrao in his message said "It is my great joy to participate in this very holy and devout inauguration of Manipal church. Coming to Manipal is not new for me, I have been closely acquainted with the people here, as I was the provincial superior of the Society of Jesus before. I had been sending deacons to assist Fr Lewis in his work.

"There are four types of people - givers, receivers, applauders and the jealous. The people who have gathered here belong to the first three categories and no person here is of the jealous kind," he added.

Bishops Dr Gerald Lobo and Dr Francis Serrao along with the benefactors of the new church building were felicitated on the occasion. Parish priest Fr Francis Lewis was honoured by Cynthia, a senior parishioner, on behalf of the Manipal parish.

A documentary on the history of Manipal parish and Christ Church, prepared by Fr Alwyn Rodrigues and Roshan D'Costa was presented on the occasion.

The event was compered by Mary A R Shreshta. Fr Francis Lewis welcomed the gathering while Pramila Fernandes, vice-president of parish pastoral council proposed the vote of thanks.

Parish pastoral council secretary Joyce D'Souza, Fr Charles Saldanha OFM Cap, Fr Alwyn Rodrigues, deacon Royston and others were present.

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