Vijayawada (AsiaNews) - "Priests and fathers must view Saint Joseph as a glorious model and guide because of his actions as a righteous man," said Mgr M D Prakasam, bishop of Nellore, as he spoke to hundreds of religious and lay Catholics who attended the Mass marking the 40th anniversary of St Paul's Cathedral in Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh).
The anniversary fell on 19 March, the liturgical Memorial Day of Saint Joseph, whom the bishop repeatedly mentioned in his homily.
Many of the priests who attended the service were themselves ordained on 19 March, and so experienced the celebrations with particular intensity.
"God," said the Bishop of Nellore, "entrusted two sublime two missions to Saint Joseph, the greatest of all the saints: that of husband to the Queen of Angels and Saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary; and that of foster father to the Son of God, Jesus. Such a task is even more ineffable and inexpressible than human words can express."
At the end of the Mass, the congregation paid tribute to Brother Gianni Davide of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), who together with Fr Pozzoli designed and built the cathedral in 1973.
Once a small centre serving a few Catholics, the local parish is now the spiritual home to a "thriving, lively and self-sufficient community thanks to the efforts of PIME missionaries," said Fr Stephen, its current priest.
*Missionary Sister of the Immaculate Conception, the female order associated with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME)