The see had been vacant since 2004. “In my pastoral work, I will give particular importance to families,” said Mgr Machado. “The wellbeing of society depends on the strength of family ties.”
Belgaum (AsiaNews) - Mgr Peter Machado is the new bishop of Belgaum. He will be ordained on 30 March 2006 by the apostolic nuncio, Mgr Pedro Lopez Quintano. The see of the diocese has been vacant since 2004, when the bishop, Bernard B. Moras became archbishop of Bangalore.
Fr Machado was born on 26 May 1954 in Honavar, a village in the state of Karnataka and he was ordained to the priesthood on 8 December 1978. He has a doctorate in canon law, obtained at the Urbanian University in Rome. He is the second of 11 children; he has three brothers and six sisters, including three religious.
He told AsiaNews: “I lived in Belgaum for many years and I know this diocese very well. Most of the territory is made up of rural areas. There are only three cities and many underdeveloped villages. In my pastoral work, I will give especial importance to families, given that I hold that the future wellbeing of society depends on the strength of family ties. Families in our times are submitted to countless pressures and this causes concern. As bishop, I wish to support this vital institution, to assure mental and spiritual wellbeing to future generations.
“As I was the Judicial Vicar of Karwar, I know the situation of families in his area well. Globalisation has brought in many decadent lifestyles to this place. In today’s world and many problems that afflict our youth, are most often family problems. We must revive the institution of marriage and proclaim the gospel of the family with renewed enthusiasm. The family is fundamental for the building of society, and plays a vital role in transmitting Christian faith and virtues. We must follow the example of Mary from the Wedding Feast of Cana, when she said: ‘Do whatever he tells you’ (Jn 2:5), this will be my motto. From these words, the approach of Mary on how to tackle situations is clear. Besides we must not forget ‘Our Lady of Fatima’ who is Patroness of the Belgaum diocese.”
Asked about how may Christian Dalits there are in the diocese, the bishop said it was not a problem of statistics. “I prefer to deal with the problem from the socio-economic perspective. In the remote villages, there are poor Dalits Christians who suffer tremendous marginalization, and so I will work to give them opportunities for employment and encourage them enter the mainstream of society.”
The bishop said he was happy that his appointment had been welcomed with satisfaction both by religious as well as diocesan priests, adding that the diocese enjoys good relations with the local administration. Finally, he said he wanted to support 46 congregations who offer services to the poor in the medical sector, as well as Salesian and Jesuit priests who undertake precious education work. The new bishop ended by saying he will tackle the formation of priests to counter the worrying problem of the spread of evangelical sects.
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