His Holiness Pope Francis ordained Reverend Fr. Sebastião Mascarenhas SFX as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Baroda at the Episcopal Consecration held at Rosary High School Ground, Vadodara, Gujarat on Saturday, 18 February 2023.
The Principal Consecrator was His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay Archdiocese, along with His Eminence Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrão, Archbishop of Goa & Diu-Daman Archdiocese, and His Grace Metropolitan Archbishop Thomas Macwan, of Gandhinagar Archdiocese, as Co-Consecrators. The Nuncio for India and Nepal, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, was also present for the event.
The Episcopal Consecration was attended by 22 Bishops, around 330 to 350 priests, about 400 to 500 religious sisters, and 7000 to 8000 lay faithful. Delegates of Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant representing the state of Goa; Minister for PWD Shri Nilesh Cabral, Inspector General of Police Omvir Singh Bishnoi, Secretary for Revenue and General Administration Shri Sandeep Jacques were also present at the occasion.
Reverend Fr. Sebastião Mascarenhas SFX is the fourth bishop of Baroda Diocese and a member of the Society of the Missionaries of St Francis Xavier, popularly known as Pilar Fathers. He began his early Priestly Ministry in the Parish and School in Vapi, and at various intervals served in the missions of Nagar Haveli.
After his Licentiate and Doctorate abroad, he joined the Mission Seminary, Pilar, Goa, as Professor and Animator from 2000-2002 and then served as Rector and Professor of the Seminary 2002- 2009. From 2009-2012, he was Provincial Superior of Mumbai Province, Society of Pilar. Then from 2013-2017 he was Superior of the Mission of Daman. In 2017, he was elected Superior General of the Society.
After laying down his office in 2022, he was appointed to the mission of Khempur (Ahmedabad) in December. In that same month, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed him as the Bishop of Baroda Diocese.
Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant congratulated Reverend Fr. Sebastião Mascarenhas SFX on his ordainment. “Hearty congratulations to Most Rev. Fr. Sebastião Mascarenhas SFX on being appointed and consecrated as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Baroda.” said his message to the New Bishop of the Diocese of Baroda.
The newly elected Bishop thanked the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Goa Dr. Pramod Sawant for his lovely gesture and for his constant support and love shown to the Pilar society.