Pope Francis named Father Sebastiäo Mascarenhas, former superior general of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier, bishop of Baroda diocese in the western Indian state of Gujarat, on December 31.
“I wish him choicest blessings from God in carrying out this new and challenging mission,” said Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrao, president of the Catholic Conference of Bishops of India.
“He now joins his brother, Bishop Theodore Macarenhas (auxiliary bishop of Ranchi) in the Episcopal service of the Universal Church,” noted the cardinal.
Father Mascarenhas was born on July 29, 1959, in Camurlim, Salcete, in the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman.
After his schooling at Father Agnel High School, Pilar, Goa, he graduated in English Literature and Economics from St. Francis de Sales College, Nagpur, in the western state of Maharashtra.
He studied philosophy at St. Charles Seminary, Nagpur (1976-1979) and theology at All India Mission Seminary, Pilar, Goa (1980-1984).
The priest obtained a Licentiate in Missiology in 1994 from Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule, Sankt Augustin, Germany, and a Doctorate in Systematic Theology from the University of Freiburg, Germany (2000).
He made his first profession in the Society of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier, popularly known as Pilar Fathers in June,1976, and was ordained priest on May 6, 1984, in Pilar, Goa.
After serving as assistant parish priest for a few years and as principal of two schools, including the Father Agnel High School, Silvassa, he was sent to Germany for higher studies in 1992.
On his return, he was appointed chaplain in Dudhni, Nagar Haveli, and principal at St. Xavier’s School; visiting professor, Mission Seminary, Pilar, Goa.
After completing his Doctorate in Systematic Theology, he returned to India. A few years later he was made the Provincial Superior of Mumbai Province.
In 2013, Father Mascarenhas became the Superior of Daman Mission (2013-2017) and four years later the Superior General of the Society of Pilar Fathers. He held the post until August 2022.