By Udayanath Bishoyi
Kolkata, Nov. 8, 2018: Catholic priests of today need to walk the talk, says a bishop from Odisha, eastern India.
“Walk the talk is to live the gospel values in day today life. The type of leadership in Pope Francis is participatory leadership. Then only any changes shall happen in clericalism,” said Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak of Berhampur on November 7 in his keynote address at the golden jubilee of Morning Star Regional Seminary, Kolkata.
Bishop Nayak asserted that the root of priestly formation lies in virtues of love, joy and humility.
“Merciful approach of God to all is to define the personality of true pastors. Avoiding luxury and embracing simplicity is the ideal of Francis in life,” said Bishop Nayak, an alumnus of the seminary.
The golden jubilee celebrations had a theme “to love all including those who do not love us.”
Sufficient openness for the laity in the Church in areas such as the diocesan councils for marriage, finance and pastoral is urgent, said the prelate.
He said that the next millennium will be of the laity.
Quoting Pope Francis, Bishop Nayak spoke on marching with joy and hope in current challenging situations of the Church.
In another talk, Father Soosai Mannickam, former staff, spoke about Pope Francis’ pastoral ministry expectations from the priests.
The principle character of a pastor is to know his people, (smell the sheep), the forgiving love of God (who am I to judge), the priest said.
Father Mannickam also noted that Pope Francis’ leadership is to inspire all.
“The new way of evangelizing God’s word is living a life in the values of the Kingdom a life of mercy and kindness in holiness. The Church is to become servant in action,” he said.
Fr. Felix Pinto, former rector of Morning Star College, spoke about current challenges of priestly ministry in India and how to become effective minister of peace and harmony.
Morning Star Regional Seminary was established on June 4, 1968, as the Calcutta Archdiocesan Seminary. On August 6, 1971, the B.A. Department of the seminary was affiliated to the University of Calcutta, with the name of Morning Star College.
The first course of Theology began in 1972. In May 1974, Morning Star became a Regional Seminary to serve the dioceses of Bengal Region, Asansol, Bagdogra, Baruipur, Calcutta, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Krishnagar and Raiganj. The first batch of deacons from this seminary was ordained in December 1975.