A major announcement by Pope Francis to elevate 21 churchmen including two from India to the rank of cardinals has led to a wave of happiness among the members of the Christian community who see this development as a "great honour". This came after Pope Francis during his address on Sunday announced that 21 churchmen will be elevated to the rank of cardinal out of which two are Indian.
While these two Indian cardinals are Filipe Neri Antonio Sebastiao di Rosario Ferrao - Archbishop of Goa and Damao, and Anthony Poola - Archbishop of Hyderabad, the others include one each from Mongolia, Ghana, Nigeria, Singapore, East Timor, Paraguay, and Brazil.
In the meantime, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Sunday expressed his happiness over the same and further congratulated Archbishop Ferrao for his elevation. Calling it a great moment for Goa, he said, "Heartiest congratulations to Most Rev. Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao on being chosen as one of the 21 Cardinals by His Holiness."
Archbishop Filipe Neri Antonio Sebastiao di Rosario Ferrao of Goa and Damao was born on January 20, 1953, in Panaji's Aldona village and has been heading the local church since 2003.
The 69-year-old Fr Ferrao had begun his religious studies in the Seminary of Our Lady in Saligao and then went to the Papal Seminary in Pune. He later graduated in philosophy and theology and is fluent in Konkani, English, Portuguese, Italian, French and German languages.
Later, he was ordained as a priest on October 28, 1979, following which on December 12, 2003, he was consecrated as Archbishop of Goa and Daman by Pope John Paul II.
In the meantime, a senior journalist Camil Parkhe also applauded the acknowledgement and said that it is a "great honour" for the entire Indian Christian community as it will be recognised in the presence of a significant number of Church institutions in the country.
"This will be the first cardinal from Goa, which has a history of 450 years of Christianity, and may be the first from Hyderabad (in Telangana) as well. The number of cardinals in the Catholic Church should be increased in proportion to the community's population in a country. This will facilitate election of an Indian as Pope in the future," Parkhe added.