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Jesuit Fr Francis Serrao Appointed Bishop of Shimoga

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altSIMOGA, MARCH 19, 2014: Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Karnataka Jesuit Provincial Reverend Father Francis Serrao new Bishop of Shimoga Diocese.

The announcement of the appointment was made at 4.30 pm today at Malligemane, Bishop’s House, Shimoga and at the Vatican simultaneously.

The Seat of Bishop of Shimoga became vacant with the transfer of then Bishop of Shimoga Most Rev. Gerald Isaac Lobo to the newly created Diocese of Udupi as its first Bishop in 2012.

Born to late Piedade Serrao and late Gracy Mary Serrao, on August 15, 1959 in Moodbidri, Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka, Fr. Francis is the youngest of the 11 children, 6 of them are priests - 2 diocesan, 2 SVDs, and two Jesuits, and a sister a religious nun.

He joined the Society of Jesus on Jan. 3, 1979 at Mount St. Joseph, Bangalore. He studied philosophy and theology at the Jnana Deepa Vidya Peeta, Pune. Fr. Francis did Masters in Theology (M. Th.) at Vidya Jyothi College, Delhi.

He was ordained a priest on April 30, 1992 and made his final vows in the Society of Jesus on May 1, 1999.

Fr. Francis Serrao has had a wide ranging experience in the social apostolate working among dalits and tribals in Anekal (Bangalore Archdiocese) and Mundgod (Karwar Diocese) mission stations. He has been teaching theology to the Jesuit students of theology, preparing themselves for priesthood.

He was the Rector of the St. Aloysius College, the 136-year old institution in Mangalore. It imparts education to over eleven thousand students from the primary to doctoral studies.

Presently, Fr. Francis is the Provincial of the Karnataka Jesuit Province, which responsibility he has been shouldering for the last five years.

Ministries and offices held by the Bishop-elect are: Pastoral work in Mundgod, Karwar (1991-92); Social Action at Loyola Vikas Kendra, Mundgod (1994-97); Director of the

Regional Theologate, Bangalore (1998-03); Pastor of St. Joseph Church, Anekal (2000-04); Superior, Jesuit Mission, Bijapur (2003-2004); Rector of St. Aloysius College, Mangalore (2004-09); and Provincial Superior of Karnataka Jesuit Province (since 2009).

Fr. Francis is fluent in Kannada, English, Tulu, Hindi and Konkani. He is well known for his humane approach, his friendly nature, his love for the poor, his capacity for hard work, his interpersonal skills and administrative capacity.

As per Church law, within three months of the announcement, the Bishop-elect is expected to be consecrated Bishop and assume his new office.

The Diocese of Shimoga was founded on Nov. 14, 1988, with Most Rev. Ignatius Pinto as the first Bishop.

The Diocese initially comprised of two civil districts of Shimoga and Chitradurga. Shimoga district was separated from the Diocese of Chikmagalur and Chitradurga from the Archdiocese of Bangalore.

In 1997 during the time of reorganization of districts, certain parts from the districts of Shimoga and Chitradurga were put together to carve out the new district of Davangere in 1997. As a result, the Diocese of Shimoga now comprises of three civil districts namely Shimoga, Chitradurga and Davangere.

 

There are 51 diocesan priests and 34 religious priests serving in the Diocese. About 223 religious sisters belonging to 23 different religious congregations render spiritual, educational, social and healthcare services in the Diocese. The Diocese has 22 parishes, 17 independent mission centres with resident priests, and 20 sub-stations.

 

The first Bishop Ignatius Pinto was transferred to Bangalore as Archbishop on September 10, 1998 and installed on November 25, the same year.

 

Most Rev. Gerald Isaac Lobo was appointed Bishop of Shimoga and he was consecrated on March 20, 2000 at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Bishop Lobo was transferred to the newly created Diocese of Udupi and he was installed its first Bishop on October 15, 2012.

 

Since October 16, 2012, Bishop of Bellary, Henry D’Souza has been serving as the Apostolic Administrator the Shimoga Diocese.

 

The clergy, the religious and the lay faithful of Shimoga, joyfully welcome the new Bishop and pray for God’s choicest blessings for his fruitful Episcopal service in the Diocese.

 

 

+ Bishop Henry D’Souza

Bishop of Bellary & Apostolic Administrator of Shimoga

 
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