Most Rev. Oswald Lewis
Bishop of Jaipur

2018 Easter Message By Most Rev. Oswald Lewis


Laity Sunday, annually celebrated on the last Sunday of June, which is close to the memory of St. Thomas More, the Patron Saint of the Laity, reminded me of the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, “Christifidelis Laici” of His Holiness Pope John Paul II on “The Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World.” This Apostolic Exhortation was the result of the Synod of Bishops held in October 1987, almost twenty years after the Second Vatican Council. In its introductory chapter Pope John Paul II compares the Lay Faithful with the labourers in the Vineyard mentioned in Mathew’s Gospel. “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.”(Mt 20:1-2) which the vineyard is the whole world, the labourers are both men and women who are called and sent forth to work in it. (CL1)

Brief History

Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is a complete all season destination created in pink stone. Jaipur derives its name from Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, a prince, soldier and astronomer, who built the city in 1721 in accordance with Shilpa Shastra, the ancient Hindu tradition on architecture.

The first Christian presence in Jaipur goes back to the time of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur. In 1728 Father Emmanuel de Figuredo accompanied by a lay man Pedro de Silva, who later settled down in Jaipur, came to Jaipur at the invitation of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The Maharaja gifted a piece of land and contributed generously for building of Sacred Heart Church at Ghat Gate in 1871.

The first resident priest of Jaipur was Fr. Conrad OFM Cap. In 1890 Rajputana and Malwa Missions were created separating them from Agra Diocese and in 1891 this new mission was made into an Apostolic Prefecture appointing Fr. Bertram OFM Cap., as the first Prefect of the new Prefecture. To start with there were five priests and five stations namely Bandikui, Nasirabad, Jaipur, Neemuch and Mhow.

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