02/06/2016, 10.56
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Bishop of Vijayawada: Let's join together and work for the Kingdom of God

by di Benigna Menezes*

Msgr. Joseph Raja Rao Thelagathoti is the new bishop of the Indian diocese. The ceremony for his installation was held on February 2. The bishop's seat was vacant for three years. Over 10 thousand faithful crowd the square in front of the sanctuary where the consecration was celebrated. The Apostolic Nuncio Msgr. Pennacchio, 12 bishops and more than 1,000 priests from around the world paid homage to the new bishop.

Vijayawada (AsiaNews) - We remain "united in faith in Christ, who is the true shepherd who loves us and urges us to work for the Kingdom of God”, said Msgr. Joseph Raja Rao Thelagathoti during the ceremony of his inauguration in the Indian diocese of Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), which took place on February 2nd. The Mass was attended by a joyous crowd of over 10 thousand faithful, for three years pending the appointment of the new bishop.

In a voice broken with emotion for the multitude that flocked to the Shrine of Our Lady Gunadala Matha, Msgr. Raja Rao exclaimed: "Faced with this huge assembly, I realize how great the responsibility that was entrusted to me and I feel overwhelmed by the confidence that the Church has placed in me. So I entrust everything to my heavenly Mother, Gunadala Matha, to guide me to be a good shepherd for the people, and to do justice for the poor and marginalized”.

With humility the bishop confessed "his inadequacy: I accepted out of obedience to God's call for the good of the local Church and to serve his people. This is the mission: serve with love and humility”.

The consecration ceremony was opened by Msgr. Govindu Joji, apostolic administrator Bishop of Vijayawada and Nalgonda, who welcomed those present. Msgr. Salvatore Pennacchio, apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal, then presided over the celebration, along with 12 other bishops and more than 1,000 priests from all over the world.

Msgr. Pennacchio said: "It gives me great joy to install a new bishop in a diocese where the faith was preached for the first time by the Italian missionaries of the PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions), who worked with total devotion to raise the conditions of the poor and oppressed, and to spread the faith”.

The Apostolic Nuncio said that "Msgr. Raja Rao is the right person for the diocese. " He was born 63 years ago in the village of Pedda Autapalli, on the outskirts of Vijayawada. He studied at the Andhra Loyola College and then lived in Mysore, Bangalore, Rome and other places where he worked as rector, provincial superior, general counsel and Attorney General of the Montfort Fathers [of the Society of Mary - Ed].

In conclusion, the new bishop invited everyone to work together: "Let us join together with the government to build a new, vibrant and dynamic society through our Christian service."

* Missionary of the Immaculate, feminine Congregation associated with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME)

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