Rt Rev Valerian DSouza,who was the Bishop of Poona for almost 32 years,turns 80 on October 3 and strongly believes that prayer is the only way that the world can be saved from self destruction. The world has become too individualistic in the sense what I can get and there is a need to spread the message of joy in helping others, the Emeritus Bishop told Newsline.
At the Vianney home,birthday greetings are already pouring in but the Emeritus Bishop has decided to have a modest celebration and instead contribute funds to the Society of St.Vincent de Paul,which is building Prem Niwas,a home for the aged.
He admitted that there was increasing intolerance in society today. There is a need for a change of mindset in society as law and punishment can only solve part of the problem by instilling a sense of fear among the wrongdoers. Instead the pledge India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters needs to be followed in true spirit to bring about a change,he said.
True spirituality is both going inward and outward. God is in each one of us but that does not mean that once you have discovered him,you keep him to yourself. Instead go out and share that love with others,specially with the poor and needy. Jesus taught us about loving each other, he said.
The former Bishop is the sixth to head the Diocese of Poona before he handed the charge to the present Bishop of Poona Rt Rev Thomas Dabre in 2009. DSouza was appointed the Bishop of Poona on July 9,1977 by Pope Paul VI,and took over the diocese on September 25,1977. While 13 new parish churches and eight new school buildings were set up during his tenure,DSouza also established social work centres for children,women and the marginalised.
In fact,as Pope Francis too said,there is a need for the greater involvement of women on decision making bodies in the church, the Emeritus Bishop said. Known for his thought-provoking sermons and love for music,DSouza says the priest may not be well-versed in English but people can feel the sincerity when he is preaching from the heart. Love and music are the two languages that can cross all barriers, he says.