Metropolitan Archbishop Thumma Bala being installed
Bishop Thumma Bala was installed yesterday as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Hyderabad by the Apostolic Nuncio to India, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio at a ceremony attended by nearly 7,000 people.
A few bishops, scores of religious and clergymen also witnessed the pontifical concelebrated mass held at the St. Mary's School grounds at Secunderabad in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
The bishops were welcomed to the altar with the ‘arti’ – a traditional Indian way of welcoming a guest.
The nuncio and Archbishop of Visakhapatnam, Kagithapur Mariadas led Bala to the ceremonial chair symbolizing the bishop's taking of office.
The mass was in English while some of the readings were in local dialect - Telugu and Tamil.
Monsignor Swarna Bernard read out the official appointment letter from the Vatican.
Pope Benedict’s message said that based on opinion of the congregation, it was decided that Bishop Bala occupy the chair, which fell vacant at the demise of Archbishop Marampudi Joji,
The mitre, skull cap and the fisherman's ring, which is a sign of a bishop's fidelity to the Church, and the pectoral cross were offered to the Archbishop.
Speaking on the occasion, the Nuncio asked Archbishop Bala to promote Christian values in society and public life.
The newly-installed archbishop said he would follow the preaching of Christ and strive hard to share love and peace with the people.
Noting that his motto would be 'to work in charity and in unity', Archbishop Bala said he would try to fulfil the works of his predecessor.
A few ministers and highly-placed government officials took part in the ceremony.
This morning Archbishop Bala was received by the clergy and the people at Uppal in Hyderabad. A parade of cars went to St Mary's Church in Secunderabad.
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