The priest was declared Servant of God in 2008. The same year the diocesan inquiry began. The historic commission visited 90 archives and libraries in India and Rome. The documentation now goes to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican.
Mangalore (AsiaNews) – Catholics in Mangalore are celebrating the conclusion of the diocesan inquiry into the cause of beatification and canonisation of Fr Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas, the diocese’s first Servant of God.
On Wednesday a solemn ceremony was held at the Church of St Sebastian, the clergyman’s final resting place. The event represents a milestone in the history of the local Church, which hopes to have its first saint very soon.
Fr Raymond FC Mascarenhas, who was born in 1875 in Shivamogga (Karnataka) into a deeply Christian family, is the founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany of Mangalore.
During his life as a priest, he served several parishes with zeal and dedication, devoting himself to the care of his flock. He also founded the Church of St Sebastian, where he was buried in 1960. In 2008 he was declared a Servant of God.
In 2007, Sr Jyoti BS, general superior of the congregation, appointed Sr Lillis Kattakayam BS as postulator. The latter presented the libellus to the local bishop, asking for an investigation. On 17 August 2008, Mgr Aloysius P D’Souza gave his consent.
Since then, Fr J B Saldanha, Sr Mariette BS and Fr Peter Mascarenhas MMS (the three members of the historical commission) visited 90 archives and libraries throughout India and in Rome to collect the necessary documentation, which is now in the Vatican for further studies.
The closing ceremony of the diocesan process saw the participations of hundreds of Catholics, nuns, priests and relatives of the Servant of God.
During the service, Fr Henry Sequeira, episcopal delegate, authenticated the integrity of the documents and handed them over to the bishop, Mgr Peter Paul Saldanha.
The postulator will deliver a copy of the documentation to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican, through the Delhi Nunciature.
In his address, Mgr Saldanha stressed the virtues of the Servant of God, namely his commitment to the priestly vocation, his pastoral zeal, his love for the Word of God and the Eucharist, his new vision for the Church and society, and his sacrificial love for the poor, in particular for abandoned girls.
(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article)