Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX
Secretary General, Catholic Bishops' Conference of India
CBCI Centre, 1, Ashok Place
Delhi, 110001, India
Network with other Christian Churches (v.gr. NCCI), organizations (v.gr. NUCF), associations of civil society
and people of other religions and all people of good will to work for peace and harmony, for probity in public life,
for promotion of human rights and Gospel values.
GHA Ambassador of Peace and Disarmament from Harmony and Nonviolence
GHA International Jubilee Gandhi Committee Honorary Co-Chair:
Personal page: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=869
Fr. Ashit Toppo
BIO-DATA OF MOST. REV. DR. THEODORE MASCARENHAS SFX
Most. Rev. Dr. Theodore Mascarenhas SFX who hails from Goa was born on 9th November,1960, in Mumbai. He is the third among four children and is a member of the Society of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier, which he joined in 1978 as a temporarily professed and in June 1987 as a perpetually professed member. He was ordained priest on 24th April 1988.Immediately after his ordination he was posted to Bhatinda, Punjab as Vice Principal of St. Xavier’s High School in Bathinda, Punjab, India and later from April 1989 to April 1993 he was Principal of the St. Xavier’s High School. He was deputed for Higher Studies in Sacred Scriptures in Rome in October 1993. From August 2004 till his appointment as Bishop in July 2014, he was the Head of the Departments for Cultures in Asia, Africa and Oceania at the Vatican’s Cultural Ministry named the Pontifical Council for Culture. From March 2010 till March 2014 he was a member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Committee. From December 2007 till his appointment as Bishop he was the Central Delegate Superior for the European Units of the Society of Pilar and from September 2010 he was the Procurator General of his Society. He was a visiting Professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, at the Pilar theological College, Goa, and the St. Thomas University, Rome. He is also the founder and was the first Chairman of the Vatican Cricket team. In 2017, Bishop Theodore was appointed as the member of Methodist Roman Catholic International Commission (MRCIC) of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
He holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Arts from the Nagpur University and a B. Ed Degree from the Annamalai University in India. He has a Doctorate in Sacred Scriptures from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome. His doctoral dissertation “The Missionary Function of Israel in Psalms 67,96,117”, was published by the University Press of America.He speaks English, Italian, German, French, Hindi, Punjabi and Konkani. He also knows the biblical languages Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, Latin and Aramaic.
As the Auxiliary Bishop of Ranchi, Bishop Theodore was incharge of the Educational and Youth Apostolate, Religious institutes in the Archdiocese, as well as the different socio-cultural initiatives of the Archdiocese. From February 2015, he is also the Chairman of the Executive Committee and the member of the Governing Body of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India’s Medical College Project for North India, an upcoming venture of the Catholic Church in Jharkhand. Bishop Theodore is a widely travelled person and has visited most of the European, North American and Asian countries on cultural visits.
In March 2016, at the 32nd Plenary Assembly of Catholic Bishops Conference of India, Bishop Theodore was elected the first Residential and full time Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India.
December 7, 2018
It is with great joy and happiness that I bring to you my dear Indian Brothers and Sisters and men and women of Good will everywhere the Christmas greetings of the Catholic Church in India. Every year on 25th of December the world celebrates Christmas the Birth of Jesus Christ. Even while houses and buildings will be decorated and illuminated with bright lights and colours, shopping malls will be full with everyone looking for gifts for dear ones, and Christmas trees, Santa Claus and Christmas functions will abound, the real attention will be focused on the Holy Mass in the Church and on the little baby Jesus lying in the manger. The star that shone that night pointing to the Birth of Jesus Christ and the Crib that we put up in remembrance of the humble birth of our saviour are just symbols of the message that our Lord Jesus Christ brought to Humanity. And the Message is GOD LOVES US. Yes, as St. John tells us, "God so loved the world that he gave his only son to humankind".
The thirty-three years that Jesus walked on this earth specially the last three years of active ministry to the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalized reveals what this love means.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, of his life, his ministry his ultimate sacrifice for humanity. It is the remembrance of all that he stood for and of everything he taught us. As our Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi would say about Jesus Christ, “A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.”
Jesus proclaimed to us the coming of the Kingdom of God: a kingdom in which love and forgiveness, peace and harmony, justice and truth would reign. The Birth of Jesus had been prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah as the birth of the Prince of peace, his reign was foretold as a governance of righteousness. About his Kingdom the Prophet had declared, that on that day, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the baby goat, and the calf and the lion and the fatling will live together, and a little child shall lead them.” Indeed, Jesus is that little child who later taught us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.”
Christmas is an occasion for us in the Catholic Church to renew our dedication and commitment to continue serving with love and compassion our countrymen and women as we have been always doing down the ages. Our nation building, educational activities, health care services and other compassionate works are guided by Jesus’ Command, “love your neighbour as yourself.” Following the example of our Lord and master, our hearts and our lives reach out in a special way to those abandoned and excluded, to those left out on the peripheries of development, to the poor, the dalits, the tribals and to all those who remain on the margins of our society. In the words of St. Mother Teresa, an ardent follower of Jesus Christ we can say, “I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly care for him for the love of God.” We want to continue working with the Government and with all men and women of good will to bring solace and comfort, education and health care, love and security to all who need it.
The birth of Jesus changed the world forever.Our Great Indian spiritual leader, Swami Vivekananda would say, “Had I lived in Palestine, in the days of Jesus of Nazareth, I would have washed his feet, not with my tears, but with my heart's blood!” Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace. Today more than ever before our Country and the world hungers for peace. Amidst wars and violence, mob lynchings and religious persecutions, and even as fringe elements become bolder and attempt to set communities against communities and groups against groups the voice of Jesus rings loud and clear, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God". We pray for our country and for the world that the kingdom of peace and harmony may be ushered in, that the Almighty may raise many peacemakers among us. We pray for our beloved country India known for its long tradition of unity in diversity and of tolerance without discrimination, that the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the baby goat, the calf and the lion and the fatling may be able dwell together in peace and harmony without being forced to be other than what they are.
Christmas is the Birthday of Jesus who lived and died for truth and justice. Opposing discrimination of any kind he ate with outcasts and treated women with respect and dignity. He asks a Samaritan woman at the well to give him water to drink. This was a direct challenge to the social system of the day in which the Samaritans were considered low castes. In the parable of "love your neighbour", Jesus portrays the Samaritan, as the real follower of God, superseding even the Priests and the Levites who do not seem to understand God’s commandment to love one’s neighbour. We pray for our country and society that the message of Jesus may echo in our ears and that we may end all discrimination based on caste or religion, on language or region. May we learn to treat each other with love, respect, and equal dignity.
Jesus taught his disciples, “The Truth will make you free”. He stood for truth even to the point of sacrificing his life on the cross. In a world plagued by fake news, often deceived by manipulations and lies, when one finds it difficult to trust the Print, electronic and social media, Christmas reminds us that freedom comes from truth. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ who taught us to stand by the truth, to live by the truth with courage and if necessary to die for the truth.
May the celebration of birth of our Lord Jesus Christ give us new encouragement to usher in love, peace and harmony in our country and in the world. May each one of us promote truth and justice and may we live like true brothers and sisters on this earth.
In the name of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India and in the name of the Catholic Church I wish you all God's blessings at Christmas. We pray for our political, spiritual and civil leaders and for each one of you and your families. May the Divine Child Jesus accompany you each day of the New year 2019 and may he grant you prosperity and peace. I wish you a joy filled Christmas and a happy New Year.
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India