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Quilon serve in Holiness & Justice
Homily by His Eminence Telesphore Cardinal P. Toppo:
At the Dedication of the Infant Jesus Cathedral

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today you have gathered here around your beloved Bishop, Most Reverend Stanely Roman and a numerous assembly of priests, your shepherds, for the solemn dedication of this house of prayer, the Cathedral of the Church of God at Quilon.
This is the crowning event of a long glorious past. The spiritual foundation, which is your faith in Jesus Christ, dates back to the Apostle Saint Thomas. Sent by the Lord he preached the Gospel here. As second of the seven Churches which Saint Thomas founded, Quilon stands as a spiritual monument for almost twenty centuries in the midst of the entire Christian population of present-day India.
Fifteen centuries later Saint Francis Xavier found here a vibrant community of believers, which sustained him in the evangelisation further south and along the fisher coast of Tamilnadu. Here too the venerated Bishop Aloysius Maria Benziger was instrumental in leading back Mar Ivanios and his community to full union with Rome, an event which has been the origin of the new vast expanding Malankara Church in India. These are some of the spiritual events for which Quilon has been instrumental in the providence of God.

Yet throughout this long span of centuries Quilon did not have a visible and tangible sign and symbol of God’s presence among his people. Thanks to the vision and relentless efforts of your dear Bishop, Most Rev. Stanley Roman and the generosity of all of you, this Cathedral dedicated to the Infant Jesus rises up to heaven now as a worthy monument which crowns your glorious past.

As we in solemn procession entered this majestic building, we looked up in awe at the imposing roof, sustained by wide beams and solid walls, a safe shelter for a large worshipping community. These walls now seem to speak to you: “We are only earthly material held together by iron and mortar. We call upon you to be built into a spiritual temple, day by day gaining strength and life in God in the measure you are cemented together as living stones by that supreme gift of God, his Holy Spirit which inspires you with the love of God and the love for one another. “The hard and persevering labour that has led to the completion of this house of God symbolizes the ongoing building of the spiritual house of God of which you are the living stones.
From today you will be gathering here to receive new members in the celebration of baptism. As we learnt from the prophecy of Isaiah: “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (56:7). The doors of this Cathedral stand wide open to welcome all whom you by your holy life and the preaching of the Good News will bring into the fold of believers, and lead them to the baptismal font here. They too are called to become living stones of God’s spiritual temple, a temple as envisaged by the prophet Ezekiel: “From here will gush forth the living waters of Baptism, which bring life to innumerous children of the most High” (cf. Ez. 47).
This house of God will be the visible temple where the Spirit of God will descend upon young people. For here your Bishop will lay hands on your brothers and sisters and anoint them at confirmation to be witnesses of the Lord Jesus in all walks of life.
Here too the Lord will extend his hands in a gesture of reconciliation, when as contrite sinners you approach the sacrament of penance. As a people reconciled with the Father you will go forth to bring the message of healing and forgiveness to so many of your brethren who are burdened by guilt and long for deliverance from the shackles of what they fear as an unending chain of rebirth.
Above all you will gather around the altar to celebrate with the Risen Christ his Sacrifice of the Cross, rendering it present through the hands of your Bishop for the salvation today and every day of the whole of mankind. It is also the celebration of your communion in life with the Lord and with one another. Thereby, as already mentioned, you strengthen the bond of unity in charity whereby as living stones you continue to build the Body of Christ, the Church here in Quilon.
In this church too, so many among you will come to vow lifelong fidelity in marriage, laying the foundation of the domestic church, which is the family. Some chosen ones among you will be empowered here by the Holy Spirit to serve as associates of Jesus Christ who is the cornerstone of the Church.
In this Cathedral also you will gather to take leave from your dear ones when they enter into the heavenly Jerusalem their eternal home.

Finally this day is above all a day of joy and thanksgiving, a day of hope and trust in God. You with one voice ‘sing a new song to the Lord’, for this house calls for a new song, a song of thanksgiving to God the Father who inspired in you, his faithful people, the will to build this house of prayer; he stirred your desire and gave you his help. This same God who began the work in you of building in your homes and neighborhood, in this town and diocese of Quilon a spiritual temple gives you hope today of engaging yourselves more generously into the ongoing task of evangelisation, expanding the spiritual walls of this local Church, and assuring you of his abiding assistance and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. One day too God will through you bring to completion the building of the Body of his Son, the Church in Quilon.

+ Telesphore P. Card. Toppo
Archbishop of Ranchi.

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