Bishop Jerome, the first native bishop of Kollam diocese of the Catholic Church, has been declared Servant of God, initiating the process of his beatification and canonisation.
Kollam Bishop Paul Antony Mullassery made the declaration during the holy mass held at Infant Jesus Cathedral, Thangassery, here on Sunday. He also unveiled a portrait of the late bishop, who would be now called the Servant of God.
Archbishop M. Soosapakiam was the chief celebrant who led the pontifical mass while the co-celebrants included Changanassery Arch Bishop Joseph Perunthottam, former Kollam Boshop Stanley Roman, Neyyattinkara Bishop Vincent Samuel, Punalur Bishop Selvister Ponnumuthan, Alappuzha Bishop Stephan Athipozhiyil, Mavelikkara Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathios and Pathanamthitta Bishop Samuel Irenios.
Declaring the late bishop Servant of God is the first step towards recognising him as a saint.
Former Kollam Bishop Stanley Roman had started the proceedings for the same and a delegation from Kollam had visited Vatican last year to hand over the report on the completion of the initialisation. Bishop Jerome, who was ordained as the first native Bishop of Kollam in 1937 and led the diocese till 1978, will be bestowed the title of ‘venerable’ in the next stage followed by beatification and canonisation.
Kollam diocese had organised programmes to mark the occasion including workshops on the life of the late bishop and processions.