HOLY SEEOblate bishop resigns
On 11 February 2014, the Holy Father Francis accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Mohale’s Hoek, in Lesotho, presented by His Excellency, Bishop Koto KHOARAI, O.M.I., in conformity with Canon 401 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law.
The 84 year old Bishop Koharai was ordained for the Diocese of Mohale’s Hoek in 1978. At the time of his resignation, he was one of the ten longest serving bishops in the world. Also on that list of ten is another Oblate, the 73 year-old Bishop Jean-Claude BOUCHARD of Pala, Chad, ordained a bishop in 1977.
On February 8, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis held a special audience for groups of faithful from Sri Lanka, on pilgrimage to Rome to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the consecration of the Church to Our Lady. In his remarks, the Holy Father spoke of the shrine built by an Oblate:
Among other things, he said: “I greet you, dear brothers and sisters of the Sri Lankan community in Italy! I extend fraternal greetings to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and the other Bishops of your homeland. I thank Cardinal Ranjith for the invitation to visit Sri Lanka. I accept it and believe the Lord will give us this grace. You have come on pilgrimage to Rome to render homage to Our Lady, at the end of the celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the consecration to her of the Church in Sri Lanka.
“Seventy-five years ago, the dark clouds of what would be the second world conflict were thickening in the skies and the faithful, guided by a sure intuition of faith, entrusted themselves to Our Lady, who always defends her children from dangers. In 1940, in the dramatic circumstances of the war, the Archbishop of Colombo, Msgr. Jean-Marie MASSON, of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, made a vow to build a shrine in honour of Our Lady if the island were preserved from foreign invasion. So it came about, and after the end of the war the beautiful Shrine of Our Lady of Lanka at Tewatte was built, and was consecrated forty years ago.
“Dear brothers and sisters, Our Lady is always close to us, she looks upon each one of us with maternal love and accompanies us always on our journey. Do not hesitate to turn to her for every need, especially when the burden of life with all its problems makes itself felt.”