The birth place of “Catholic Empire” in India and the famous “Eastern Rome”, the Diocese of Mangalore is well known to its place in spread of Christianity, especially Roman Catholic faith, this is where most of the Catholic Priests get ordained in India. The Bishop of Mangalore is a powerful spiritual head and even Rome recognizes its strategic importance. It is an honor for Mangalorean.com to recognize the current Bishop of Mangalore diocese Rt. Rev. Dr. Aolysius Paul D’Souza as a Mangalorean Star.
All the people of the village Hekkottu near Bantwal town fondly called our Bishop by the name “Luvy” or “A.P”. He was born on June 21, 1941 and was the sixth child out of sibship of seven children. His parents were Late Mr. and Mrs. Mathias and Isabella D’Souza. Out of three brothers one of them is Rev. Fr. Charles D’Souza, who is one of the Pastor in Diocese of Delhi. One of the sister Sr. Janis A.C., is serving in Chandigarh, Punjab, and his two nieces are nuns.
After completing his Primary education at Agrar, he joined the S.V.S. High School, Bantwal, in 1958. It is here that he nurtured the desire of becoming a Priest. That very year he joined St. Joseph’s seminary to pursue his studies for Priesthood.
In the year 1966, December 3rd he was ordained as a priest. He served as an Assistant Priest in Holy Cross Parish, Cordel, till 1970. During this time he completed graduation from Karnataka University. Recognizing his great innate strengths and his philosophical creative thinking and understanding, the Bishop of Mangalore Rt. Rev. Basil D’Souza appointed him as the Diocesan Secretary. In order to prepare him for higher opportunities, he was sent to Rome in the year 1971 to do doctorate in Church Law where he specialized in Christian Marriage Law. He successfully completed his doctorate and was appointed as an Advocate of Rota in Rome - the highest tribunal of Catholic Church. He created history by being the first person to have this honor amongst the Priests of India.
After returning from Rome in 1976, he was appointed as a Diocesan Chancellor and Judicial Vicar. He was also in charge of vocations for the Diocese. He was the founder Director of Gladsom Home.
In 1988, Rev. Fr. Aloysius D’souza was appointed Parish Priest of Cascia Church where he continued for a period of seven years. Meantime the Jesuits who tirelessly and with dedication shouldered the responsibility of forming Diocesan Priests for over 116 years decided to hand over the administration of St. Joseph’s Seminary to the Bishop’s of Mangalore and Calicut. In 1995 he was appointed as the first Rector of St. Joseph’s Inter Diocesan Seminary, Jeppu, an Institution that trains the future Priests. He is the first Diocesan Priest to head the Seminary.
On January 11, 1996, he was appointed as Auxilliary Bishop of Mangalorea Diocese by Pope John Paul II. On May 15, 1996, he was consecrated Bishop, with the sudden and untimely death of Bishop Basil S. D'Souza, the Bishop Aloysius was appointed as Administrator. On December 27, 1996, he was installed as Bishop of Mangalore.
After his appointment as Bishop of Mangalore Diocese, he did not look back in discharging his strenuous efforts to uplift the Diocese in achieving excellence in religious and other multi-faceted services. He finalized the construction work of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre wherein nine centers are headed by Priests. The Pastoral Institute works well under an able Director. We ought to commend him for his exceptional progress and advancement in these fields. As a Bishop, the Diocese has received continuous leadership in the Pastoral Orientation for Clergy and Laity. Lay leadership has been given great encouragement. His services to the community and society at large have been multifarious. He strengthened the Canara Oraganization for Development and Peace (CODP) Institution. He has been instrumental in the establishment of Fr. Muller Medical College. In 1999 he inaugurated the opening of Fr. Muller’s Charitable Hospital Medical College. His relentless efforts with a Motto “With the Compassion of Jesus Christ” - he has been kind and compassion to his people. He has strengthened all the Diocesan Institutions and structures. As of 1998, he is serving as a Chairman of Family Living Commission of Central Council of Bishops of India.
Under his able leadership he led the opening of several other Colleges, Engineering College, Junior Colleges, High schools and Primary schools. In this way he not only served the Mangalorean Diocese very well in spiritual aspects but also helped the poor and downtrodden to secure appropriate education, which otherwise would not have been possible in normal circumstances. Under his able leadership and futuristic vision, he developed and implemented following Ten Point Program in all round progress of Diocesan masses irrespective of class, creed or religious affiliation:
- Initiating and developing a program to identify suitable persons to spread Word of God and instill spirit of prayer.
- The ward-wise liturgical preparation in respective Parishes.
- Building a Voluntary group of people to preach and practice Christian Principles.
- Strengthening unity among Christians and initiating inter-religious dialogue.
- Minority Christian movement.
- Strengthening Women’s Associations.
- Providing basic necessities to underprivileged people.
- Building Resource Groups at the Ward and Parish level.
- Creation of Christ Centered families.
- Strengthening youths to follow the footsteps of Christ.
As an expert in organization and planning he has successfully organized World Konkani Conference and All India Bishops Conference in Mangalore. For the first time in the history of Mangalore he translated both Old and New Testament in Konkani language in a mini Pocket Bible form and helped in reaching every household in Mangalore. He not only worked towards the enlistment and spreading of Catholic religion but also worked hard in securing harmony among the religious groups.
During the time of celebration of two millenniums of spread of Christ’s word, he released an ambitious program of building 2000 houses to the poor. In this program not only Christians received housing quarters but also hundreds of Non-Christians gained their living quarters. He also offered thousands of scholarships to underprivileged children to gain the basic education required for their advancement as future effective leaders of the community.
Bishop Aloysius vision of the future is one of a friendly community which transcends the bounds of religion. He addresses the society from the platform of ‘love’. He has been invited leaders of other communities and religion to join hands in the formation of a human community which forms on the development of the society. He calls on the people to nurture good values in life and be a blessing to the society. They should have self respect and respect for others. These are the essential foundation of a healthy society. He says that Haves are the custodians of good things that God gave them. They should think about the ‘have-nots’. In this process those who are blessed become a blessing for others. This would give a happy contented and safe life for everyone.
“Due to DISC (Double Income Single Child), people are having single child or minimum children. Unlike previous generation where family was consists of multiple children, it was easy to encourage children to take vocational path. Due to small and restricted family size, parents are forgetting their religious responsibilities to respond to God’s call in sending or encouraging children to follow vocational path.”
“Today we lack our brethren in high ranking positions. What I mean by this is, due to attraction of foreign countries, we lack our representatives in Government Administration. Unless we have a voice in Government decision making process, our needs and concern will not be properly represented” he says.
As a Bishop of compassion of Christ, what is your message to Mangalorean.com readers?
"I wish that every faithful of my diocese will live with love of God and love of one another. By doing this, we represent compassion faith of Christ to our fellow human being. Have other custodian of good things that God gave them. You should think about the ‘have-not’. In this process those who are blessed become a blessing for others.”
To commemorate decennial celebration, a fundraising event called “Durbollya Pedesthank Kumke Nidhi” will be launched by the Diocese. Whatever donated by the people of goodwill, will be disbursed by the committee who has appointed to manage these funds.
As our Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza is poised to complete four long successful decades of religious and social service and a decade as a Bishop of Mangalore Diocese this year, the Mangalorean.com wishes him all the best in all his future endeavors. May the Lord Almighty shower upon him the choicest blessings and let him have the opportunity to celebrate Silver and Golden Jubilee as a beloved Bishop of Mangalore!
- Team Mangalorean