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Cardinal Filoni visits Calcutta Archdiocese

A leading Vatican official, who is currently on a 11-day visit to Bangladesh, India and Nepal, on ‎Monday visited the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Bandel of Calcutta Archdiocese, India, and also ‎held a meeting with seminarians and novices and another with bishops, priests, religious and lay people ‎in Kolkata city. Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the ‎Evangelization of Peoples‎, was in India on Monday, on the second leg of his 3-nation visit, after ‎Bangladesh. Celebrating an evening Mass at the Marian shrine in Bandel, some 51 kms. north of ‎Kolkata, the prelate delivered a homily on the day’s feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. He urged the ‎faithful to make the cross meaningful for themselves, for example, by consoling someone who is suffering ‎as a result of an injustice, a severe physical ailment, a tragedy, ‎or someone suffering moral anguish due ‎to some vice or family crisis, like the drug addiction of a ‎son, or because of a social injustice due to ‎unemployment, lack of housing or money. He also urged them to feel themselves as the cross that ‎Christ carried despite our sinfulness. Thus the cross is also the road to forgiveness, conversion and ‎returning to God, just as Jesus promised the Good Thief, Cardinal Filoni said. ‎

Earlier on Monday, the prelate talked to seminarians, novices and formators of Calcutta Archdiocese at the Morning Star Regional Seminary at Barrackpore. Exhorting them to ‎an authentic missionary spirituality, he invited them to be humble and generous, reminding them they are ‎being called to a spiritual service, not to something that brings personal gain, status in society, or ‎power‎. ‎He encouraged them to be joyful and thankful for their formation by applying themselves to their training ‎with commitment and dedication. ‎

At another meeting in Kolkata, the Vatican official who oversees the Church’s evangelizing mission worldwide, reminded the regional bishops of West Bengal state, priests, religious and lay people, of their duty to bear a witness that will help other believers or non-believers respond to God’s love and call to holiness through the realities of everyday life. He pointed to their Baptismal mission to evangelize those who do not know Christ or those who have rejected Him. Using the imagery of Pope Francis of having the “smell of the sheep”, Card. Filoni specially invited priests to get involved in the people’s daily lives, by bridging distances in families in difficulty, ‎helping those who are going through a separation or those who are in an irregular marriage situation, ‎always defending the human person in connection with migration, refugees, and unemployment.