Bishop Stephen Lepcha ushers in Yuletide in Darj with message of 'love, unity, peace'
Darjeeling: Reverend Bishop Stephen Lepcha of the Diocese of Darjeeling ushered in Yuletide with the message of unity, joy, love and peace. He also stressed on the need to conserve nature.
"Darjeeling has always celebrated all festivals together, be it Durga Puja; Muslim festivals; Buddhist festivals or Christmas. This is a unique feature of Darjeeling. Each festival brings us closer together. Thus we have such a tight knit society. Wherever there is unity, there is God," stated the Bishop.
The Bishop on Thursday was present at a Christmas programme. "The Season of Gratitude" organised by Caritas India, Anugalaya Darjeeling and Seva Kendra Siliguri. "Joy, Love and Peace are gifts of God. We have received these gifts already and now we have to cherish and nurture them. The need of the hour is to conserve nature- By loving nature you are loving yourself," added the Reverend Bishop Lepcha.
Anugalaya and Seva Kendra under the Diocese of Darjeeling and Bagdogra respectively and funded by Caritas, India have been actively working on child rights. They have been crusaders against child trafficking and child labour.
Incidentally the Diocese of Darjeeling had celebrated its Diamond Jubilee and the Episcopal Silver Jubilee of its second Bishop- Bishop Stephen Lepcha on December 8, 2022 in Darjeeling. Archbishop Leopaldo Girelli, the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Bhutan was the Chief Guest and the main celebrant of the Jubilee Mass along with Archbishop Thomas D'Souza, the Regional Bishops and invited Bishops along with the Religious and Diocesan Clergy.
A Mass had been held at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Darjeeling, presided by His Excellency Archbishop Geraldo Girelli. On the occasion of the jubilee an audio Gospel and a documentary film "Sakshi" had been premiered, depicting the journey of the diocese and also the Episcopal Journey of Bishop Stephen Lepcha. The Diocese of Darjeeling was erected on 8 August 1962 by separating the Darjeeling district from the Church of Calcutta and joining the Apostolic Prefecture of Sikkim-Kalimpong. The present Darjeeling Diocese consists of Districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, the State of Sikkim and the Kingdom of Bhutan.
The Catholic Church first came to Darjeeling with the arrival of the Irish Loreto Sisters on 10 October 1846, about a decade after the opening of the hill station of Darjeeling in 1835. In Kalimpong, Catholic missionary activity started in 1882.