CPCI National Award for Excellence Presented to 11 Distinguished Priests

Report and Pictures: Dr Eugene D’Souza, Mumbai
Daijiworld Media Network - Mumbai (GA)

Mumbai, Dec 5: In a gathering of priests and laity, presided over by Bishop Bosco Penha at St Pius X College-Seminary, Goregaon, Mumbai, on December 4, 2008, eleven out sixteen diocesan priests from all over India were presented the CPCI National Award for Excellence. Five of the awardees including Fr John Fernandes of Mangalore could not attend the programme due to various reasons.

In his introductory remarks, Fr Sebastian Poomattan, the president of Catholic Priests Conference India (CPCI) underlined the reasons for establishing this organization in 1987. He pointed out that for highlighting the selfless service rendered by the diocesan priests in various fields; it was decided to institute the CPCI National Award for Excellence from this year. Out of 35 recommendations received from different parts of India, 16 were finally selected by the governing body for this award.

Dolphy D’Souza, president of the Catholic Sabha, Mumbai, in his brief speech highlighted the need to integrate the Christian community with people professing different faiths in order to promote communal harmony. He emphasized that the diocesan priests can play an important part in promoting interfaith harmony and understanding.

Bishop Bosco Penha in his presidential address stressed the need for reforms in the church. He greatly appreciated the work being done by the CPCI in providing a forum to the diocesan priests and made a suggestion that the CPCI could institute an award for sympathetic, compassionate and kind priests as these qualities are essential among the priests in order to bring God’s sympathy to the people.

On behalf of the awardees Fr (Dr) Valerian Fernandes, Vicar General of Aurangabad diocese thanked the CPCI for the award and pointed out that the awards have made the recipients humble. As the priests are for the people, the awards also belong to the people whom they serve.

Bishop Bosco Penha honoured each of the eleven awardees by presenting a shawl, a plaque and a citation. The eleven awardees personally present for the awards function were: 

  • Fr (Dr) Valerian Fernandes, Vicar General, Procurator and Chancellor of Aurangabad Diocese
  • Fr Joseph Muttumana of Ernakulam, Kerala, known as the ‘Milk Miracle Priest’.
  • Fr Francis Britto of Mumbai, a prominent environmentalist and writer.
  • Fr Theodore Lakra, the Human Rights Activist Adivasi Priest from Ambikapur, Chattisgarh.
  • Fr R H Lesser, born in England but dedicated to missionary work in India; presently at Udaipur, Rajasthan. Known as writer priest, Fr Lesser has written over five thousand articles and 85 books on various themes
  • Fr Zakarias M of Jabalpore, Madhya Pradesh has been known as ‘Priest-Doctor’, who has saved the life of over 3000 persons from snake-bite
  • Fr Francis M Britto of Raipur, Chattisgarh, known as a ‘Priest with Thousand Stories’
  • Fr Kuriakose Mampilly of Ernakulam, Kerala, who endevours for attainment of justice, peace and contentment for all through an inclusive financial security approach
  • Fr Joseph Chittoor of Mananthawady, Kerala, a specialist in herbal medicine
  • Fr Edwin M John of Kottar, Tamil Nadu, the promoter of neighbourhood parliaments
  • Fr Allwyn D’Silva of Mumbai, founder-director of Jagruti Kendra, Jerimeri, Documentation Research and Training Centre, Goregaon, member of Asian Justice and Peace Commission, Coordinator of Prison Ministry in Mumbai.

The five priests who could not attend the award ceremony are:

  • Msgr C J Varky of Thamarassery, Kerala, the Pioneer Missionary in Malabar
  • Fr Thomas Kulangara of Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram (Malankara Catholic Rite)
  • Fr John Mariae of Diphu Diocese, Assam, working among the tribals of Assam
  • Fr (Dr) John Fernandes of Mangalore, Karnataka, founder-director of Mangala Jyothi-diocesan Biblical, Liturgical and Catechetical Centre, founder President of CPCI, Professor of Theology, St Joseph’s Seminary, Mangalore. Presently Professor and head, Mangalore Diocesan Chair in Christianity, Mangalore University, Convener of ‘Dharma Samanvaya Abhiyan and Social Justice Forum
  • Fr Christdas Baba of Bettiah, Bihar, works among leprosy patients.

Catholic Priests’ Conference of India is a voluntary agency of Diocesan priests instituted to promote the cause of the Diocesan Priests of India. There are about 14 thousand Diocesan priests in India rendering dedicated service. Most often their services are not duly acknowledged nor promoted. This award ceremony was an attempt in the promotion of Diocesan priests’ unknown and unsung ministry.


Top Stories

Comment on this article


    Sat, Dec 06 2008

    Dear Rev.Fr John Fernandes, hearty congratulations to you for the CPCI Excellence reward that you received recently. We are proud of you. All the best and wish you success in your apostolate. Congrats to all the awardess too.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • John Pereira, Kulshekar,Mangalore/Ghakopar,Mumbai

    Fri, Dec 05 2008

    I feel CPCI National Awards for Excellence given to deserving priests is a welcome move. This will motivate the priests with particular qualifications/skills to give their best to the people. Further, it is a recognition of the talent and hard working spirit of deserving priests for their efforts and yeoman's selfless service, to bring succour to the suffering people, provided by them to bring Glory to God. Kudos to the awardee priests and May God give them good health to carry on their noble work in Our Lord's vineyard. May God Bless them and keep them cheerful and happy for rest of their lives.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • joe Gonsalves, Mangalore - U.S.A.

    Fri, Dec 05 2008

    I am extremely happy to note that it was decided to confer CPCI National Awards for Excellence to desrving priests from all over India. This kind of recognition is a source of encouragement to the clergy. I belong to The Diocese of Mangalore and I am indeed very happy that Father John Fernandes is an awardee. Father John more than deserves this honour. He is a dedicated Priest who can be relied upon to make a complete success of any responsibilities entrusted to his care. It is my hope that in the context of the present attacks on Churches in South Kanara, he will play an important role to voice the feeling of The Catholic community and ensure that peace and harmony prevails all over Karnataka. Kudos to you Father John. My best wishes are with you. Joe Gonsalves

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse


    Fri, Dec 05 2008

    Congratulations to all the Priests for receiving CPCI National Award for Excellence. Fr. Alwyn D'Silva when he was in Jerimeri Parish, other than Jagruti Kendra, started BASIC CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES (now SCC) which are still going on smoothly. He has always reached to the needy & poor irrespective of caste & creed. He was a 'Peace Maker' Priest when he was in Jerimeri during 1992-93 Mumbai riots. Dear Father Alwyn on behalf of Jerimeri Parishners, I congratulate you and wish you every success in your mission - Flora, Jerimeri.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

Leave a Comment

Title: CPCI National Award for Excellence Presented to 11 Distinguished Priests

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. Daijiworld.com will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will Daijiworld.com be held responsible.