PRESIDENT SPEAKS

President Bp. Francis Serrao SJ speaks…

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry - Thomas Fuller

It is a truly humbling experience to take over charge as President, KROSS from my predecessor, Bishop Gerald Lobo who steered KROSS to its present pinnacle. It’s also a privilege and all the more exciting to be a part of KROSS as it provides not only an added responsibility but an opportunity to be with the 14 DSSSs, interact with them and learn from them. Oscar Wilde once said, “We need to believe in the impossible” and I would like to add that “we have to find meaning in our work”. The best work happens when we know that it’s not just work but something that will improve other people’s lives. This is an opportunity that should drive us to motivate and empower people to “do more”.

We have been implementing various projects and have done good number of multifarious activities for the betterment of the society at large. On World Water Day - 22.03.2021, Pope Francis has chosen a theme for this year which is “Valuing Water” and invited us to be more responsible in the preservation and protection of water which is fundamental for the preservation and promotion of our planet. He said wasting water, disregarding it or contaminating it has been a mistake that continues to be repeated and reminded us that “access to safe drinking water is a basic and universal human right”. Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity. He asks us change our language and instead of saying “water consumption”, we should use the word “sensible use of water” according to our real needs and respecting those of others. He ended his message calling for urgent action by saying, let us make haste, therefore, to give drink to the thirsty, correct our life styles so that we do not waste or pollute water and be protagonists of the goodness that led St. Francis of Assisi to describe water as a sister “who is humble, precious and chaste”.

Let us all join hands during the year 2021-22 and carry forward the clarion call given by Pope Francis in conservation of water in the projects being implemented by us by using natural resource management techniques like roof water harvesting, construction of rain water percolation pits & field bunds, desilting the ponds, afforestation and using all the resources available to us to preserve and conserve water so that our future generations too enjoy the clean and unpolluted God given gift of water. I sincerely hope by the end of this year we all will have statistics to prove our effort in conservation of water and be able to proudly say that with the efforts we have put in we were able to save and conserve water.

Last but not the least I wish to pay my accolades to Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo who steered KROSS for the past 18 years as its President and as the Chairperson of the Commission for Social Concerns and Development, played a proactive role in the lives of the downtrodden and marginalized sections of the society. My sincere thanks to Bishop K. A. William, the Vice-President who played a pivotal role with his guidance to KROSS at all times. We are truly indebted to Rev. Fr. Sebastian Fernandes, who with much dedication efficiently carried out the day to day functioning of KROSS as its effective Director for the last six years and is now ready to hand over the baton to his successor, Rev. Fr. Richard Pais. I wish him all the very best.

May God bless you all abundantly with new energy, greater enthusiasm and fuller commitment for the Lord’s Mission.

Bishop Francis Serrao
President KROSS

President Bp. Gerald Lobo speaks …

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” - 1 Peter 4:10

The Church has always been conscious of her mission towards the poor, the needy and the marginalized of the society along with her ministry of proclamation and evangelization because with this ministry of proclamation and evangelization, she has engaged herself in all seriousness the mission of social development, promotion of health and education of the underprivileged and downtrodden people of our society. The life of the early Church was such that there were no needy people among them as they shared everything in common (Acts 4:34) and while the Apostles spent themselves in prayer and the ministry of the Word, the seven Deacons appointed by them took care of the needs of the communities (Acts 6:3-4). Being aware and truly conscious of this ministry and mission, the Karnataka Regional Organization for Social Service (KROSS) and the Diocesan Social Service Societies (DSSSs) have been in the forefront to mitigate the sad and sorry plight of the poor and the marginalized by reaching out to them through various schemes, projects and developmental activities ever since these Organizations were established and thereafter have stood firm in the promotion of their mission translating the message of the Gospel in action because God in the person of Jesus was born poor (2 Cor. 8:9), went about doing good (Acts 10:38) and the Church continued this mission for the poor, stood by them, for and with them.

Pope Francis says that “for us Christians, poverty is not a sociological, philosophical or cultural category. No, it is a theological category. I would say, perhaps the first category, because God, the Son of God, abased Himself, made Himself poor to walk with us on the road. And this is our poverty: the poverty of the flesh of Christ, the poverty that the Son of God brought us with His Incarnation. A poor Church for the poor begins by going to the flesh of Christ. If we go to the flesh of Christ, we begin to understand something, to understand what this poverty is, the poverty of the Lord“. We need to re-dedicate ourselves working for the cause of the marginalized in the society above all by promoting respect for their lives, rights and privileges because this mission is an integral part of our ministry. More than ever before, this mission has become urgent because the gap between the rich and the poor has widened so much so that the ‘need’ has become the ‘greed’ for the mighty and the powerful at the cost of the poor and their oppression and suppression have become a part of this ‘greed’ amassing wealth and privileges. The Church therefore is called upon to be the voice of the voiceless and a strength of the weaker section of our society; she cannot be a onlooker in silence because she is called upon to translate the command of the Lord through the ministry of the proclamation of His ‘Good News’ by engaging herself in the mission of social development.

The establishment of KROSS and Diocesan Social Service Societies are right Organizations of the Church which have and are truly responding in all seriousness and generosity to the command of the Lord spending themselves through this mission to and for the poor, the needy and the marginalized with courage, zeal, enthusiasm and unction.

I hereby offer my sincere appreciation and gratitude to our donors and well-wishers for their steady support to us for over decades thereby becoming a part of our mission in bringing solace and comfort in the lives of the vulnerable people of our society.

My wholehearted thanks to the Vice President of KROSS and its Board Members for their valuable and timely suggestions, and showing us the way forward. My heartfelt thanks to the Diocesan Social Work Directors and their Teams for implementing the mission objectives and reaching out to our brethren; the KROSS Director and Team for their expertise and timely follow-up which helps in getting the programmes realized benefitting thereby the beneficiaries for whom we work to translate the message of the Gospel in action.

May God's abundant blessings be upon us all to carry out His mission effectively to the joy and happiness of all so that all may lead their lives in peace, freedom and dignity as God's children, created in His own image and likeness (Gen. 1:27).

Most Rev. Gerald Lobo
President, KROSS and Bishop of Udupi Back