It is my joy to write to you my first letter after having assumed the office of the Bishop of Diphu. First and foremost I humbly acknowledge and appreciate your good wishes and prayers on the occasion of my Episcopal ordination. Everyone who participated in the consecration ceremony, although had to put up with inclement weather, went happy after the function. Many had written to me congratulating the Diocese for the detailed and meticulous arrangements made. If the programs went so well it was due to the careful planning and attention with which everything was carried out by those responsible for each event. Even the participation of the people in large number is a result of the interest and enthusiasm that was instilled into them by the various parishes and centres.
At this juncture I would like to say a big thank you to all our fathers, sisters and their co-operators who worked so hard to co-ordinate everything as per the envisaged plans. I want to thank in a special way Rev.Fr. John Timung, our Diocesan Administrator who single handedly took up the leadership and executed much of the works with precision and attention to details. He certainly deserves a special applause. Under his guidance he led the various other teams along with the help of Fr. Vinod, Fr. Binoy and Fr. Nelson. The food arrangement was a herculean task and Fr. Vinod with his team saw to it that everyone went back contented. I thank Fr. Binoy who took so much trouble in seeing to the accommodation and well being of bishops and other guests. A special word of appreciation goes to Fr. Nelson, who put in great effort in organizing the choir, light and sound system. There are many others who contributed their best like Fr. Tom, Fr. Prasad, Fr. Thankachan, Fr. N.V. Joseph and if I go on mentioning names I will have to put into black and white almost everyone’s names.
I cannot but thank and appreciate the contribution made by so many of our sisters and their helpers by their time and effort for so many days from all the convents in Diphu and outside towards the success of this program. To everyone I express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation. All those who came from my home and relations asked me to convey their special thanks and appreciation to all of you.
I was in Italy and Rome during the months of August and September. The appreciation level of Pope Francis in Italy, especially among the common people is very high and he appears almost every day in many major newspapers. One point he was insisting time and again to us priests was that we as ministers must move out to the people, instead of waiting for the people to come to us. Rightly so our effectiveness increases when we are able to meet the people and dialogue with them in their own contexts. Besides, when we reach out to them, those staying always voiceless at the peripheries will have more access to us. Unless we are involved in the lives of people we will not be able to connect with them.
A second point he was often referring to for our effectiveness was that the messenger himself must embody the message. The witness value of our lives is undoubtedly very powerful. As St. Francis has said, “preach the Gospel at all times, use words if necessary.”
Dear Fathers and sisters, It is my hope and prayer that I may be able to live first what I am hoping and expecting each one of us to do and follow in our pastoral ministries. I have seen for myself for the past so many years that there are persons among us with extraordinary capacity to endure hardships with an absolute sense of commitment and dedication, for the sake of the Gospel and the growth of the Church. May this same spirit continue to spur us on so that Church in Karbi Anglong and N.C. Hills continues to grow and our faith strengthen.
Before I conclude, in humility and thanksgiving, I beg of Him for His light upon me at this moment. Please continue to keep me in your prayers.
Once again with thanks and in union of prayers,
+ Paul Mattekatt, Diocese of Diphu.