Kollam, Jan 6: Bishop Jerome, the first native bishop of the Kollam diocese of the Catholic Church, will be elevated as Servant of God on February 24 at a function at Infant Jesus Cathedral, Thangassery.
This will be the first step towards beatification and canonisation of the late priest. “Kollam bishop Paul Antony Mullassery received a letter from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican regarding this,” said Fr. Baiju Julian, Episcopal Vicar, Kollam diocese, at a press meet here on Saturday.
Bishop Jerome had helmed the Kollam diocese, the first Catholic diocese in India, from 1937 to 1978. “An embodiment of Christian spirituality and a true visionary, he played an integral role in the overall development and progress of Kollam city. He also made key interventions in social and educational sectors, establishing a chain of institutions for the uplift of backward classes,” said Fr. Julian.
He added that canonising of Bishop Jerome, who led a life of holiness and virtue, had been a long-standing demand of the faithful in Kollam. “Considering this Bishop Stanley Roman, the former bishop, had initiated the proceedings for the same on September 8, 2017,” he said.
Bishop Paul Antony Mullassery and Fr. Julian had visited the Vatican on October 9, 2018, to hand over the report on the completion of the initialisation to the congregation.
The official declaration will be made during the holy mass on February 24. In the next stage the late priest will be granted the title of venerable to be followed by canonisation, after which the Catholic Church will officially recognise him as saint. Various celebrations in connection with the declaration ceremony will be held from February 23 to 26. Fr. Romance Antony, cathedral vicar, will be the general convener of the organising committee.
source: The Hindu