Indore: Thousands of Catholics participated in the inaugural ceremony of three-day 8th Bible Mahotsav, which started with prayer services at St Arnold’s School premises at Lalaram Nagar, Indore. The function began with release of colourful balloons.
A short prayer service that gave the message of love, harmony and peace was followed by a grand procession with the Bible enthroned on a ‘palkhi’ carried around in the premises.
Thousands of devotees holding statues of Mother Mary and the newly canonized Indian St Mariam Teresia were part of the procession, which was led by Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal of Catholic Diocese of Indore, Bishop Basil Bhuria of Jhabua Diocese, Bishop Joesph of Gwalior Diocese and the main preacher Fr Anil Dev from Varanasi.
Following them, a troupe of dancers performing Chhattisgarh tribal dance were the highlight of the procession.
After the procession, the Holy Bible and the statues of Mother Mary and St Mariam Teresia were placed on the stage and garlanded by Fr Michael John, Fr Johny D’Souza and Bishop Chacko.
The lamp was lit by Bishop Chacko, Fr Simon Raj, Fr Thomas Mathew, Anil Samuel, Joseph and Philomina Anthony. Fr Sumit read the Bible and Fr Sebastian Aikara followed him with prayers.
Addressing the assembly Fr Michael said, “To proclaim the word, there must be a preacher.” He explained it regarding the final epistle when Paul tells Timothy how to build up the church where he is ministering, and he gives instructions that apply to all pastors and ultimately to all believers.
Bishop Chacko said, “The Word of the Lord is the biggest treasure on the earth. It is a coincidence that our people are celebrating the feast of Dhanteras and we are gathered here to receive the ‘dhan roopi ishwareey vachan’ (the treasure of the Lord’s Word).“
Fr Anil his first address said, “God comes where human beings live and he is present here with us. The Lord whom you believe in is alive. He is almighty God and he loves each one of you. He forgives all your sins because he loves you.”
The Holy Mass was celebrated, in which Bishop Joseph Thykkattil of Gwalior diocese was the main celebrant and fifty fathers celebrated together with 3,000 people.
In his address, Bishop Joseph said, “As oxygen is important for the life so the Word of God is necessary for life. God accepts everyone in any situation.”
Later in the afternoon, a book written by Fr Clarence SVD titled, ‘Evangelization Award’ was released. The programme continued after lunch with prayer and worship until 8 pm.