ROME, Italy – Gallantly surviving heavy odds and vicissitudes of health and life, Fr Joseph Pauria became first Santal from Bengal Mission to successfully complete his doctoral studies in the Institute of Spirituality in the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) Rome, Theology Faculty, 4 May. About 50 Indians from various Rome Universities and Institutes turned up for the defence. “Fr Pauria confidently defended the theme entitled “Louis Mathias in Assam (1922-1934) and His Contribution to Salesian Missionary Spirituality,” says his guide and Salesian Spirituality expert and author of several books Prof. Morand Wirth who calls Mathias in his book: Don Bosco ai nostri giorni, the ‘Cagliero of India’. [Don Bosco handpicked Joseph Cagliero, who later became Cardinal Cagliero, leader of his first overseas missionary expedition to Argentina in 1875.] Pauria’s other guides were Salesian spirituality experts from the UPS: Prof. Cosimo Semeraro and Prof. Aldo Giraudo.
Dare and Hope
“The motto ‘Dare and Hope’ of [archbishop] Louis Mathias SDB, always fascinated me as a young Salesian,” confesses Pauria unabashedly displaying his affection for the French Salesian and zealous pioneer of the Assam missions. “Behind the daring actions Mathias engaged in, there was an interior life of hope that I have discovered while patiently scanning through letters of Mathias in various archives,” says Pauria paying glowing tribute to Mathias who after 12 years in Shillong became archbishop of Madras-Mylapore. Pauria further points out other aspects of the personality of Louis Mathias that comes forth very forcefully from his correspondences: “zeal, sincerity and intrepid faith.” He does not hesitate to add, “under his leadership, the early missionaries in Assam lived in the climate of heroism, and tireless work manifesting their authentic religious life. Their family spirit, the spirit of faith, the life of intense charity among them, and their joyous enthusiasm no doubt bears testimony to the spirit and charism of Don Bosco.” Pauria boldly concludes that “Louis Mathias was able to permeate these virtues of spirituality as a Salesian and as a Missionary in India. His contributions has certainly enriched and enhanced the Salesian Missionary Spirituality.” It was also archbishop Mathias who facilitated and set up the Catholic Bishops Conference of India in 1944. Today, CBCI has 212 members (30 archbishops, 125 bishops, 2 co-adjutor bishops, 12 auxiliary bishops and 38 honorary members.
Knowing the Man
Born in Bangladesh, 44 year old Pauria hails from a pious family with long tradition of faith workers, including his father who was an intrepid catechist in the East Pakistan Church. Holding two Masters degrees (English and Catechetics) Pauria was four years Dean of Studies in Salesian College Sonada. He returns to SCS Darjeeling as Vice-Rector and Professor. For felicitations contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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