The ADBU Vice-chancellor Fr Stephen Mavely introduced the soft-spoken (whispering) archbishop as “an outstanding champion for peace, and showed the congregation the cover page story on Archbishop Thomas in the September issue of The Northeast Window, a magazine published from Dimapur.
Abp Thomas made his opening words from Luke 12:32 saying, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”
Addressing some 150 students and faculty gathered at the University’s air-conditioned conference hall, Abp Thomas said, “you are in deed lucky to be part of God’s kingdom of thought by being here in the University.”
He warned them of the danger of remaining in the kindergarten level in their Christian faith “if they do not acquire knowledge about the faith beyond their first communion catechism.”
He reminded of their duty not only to be in God’s kingdom of thought, but also to be in God’s kingdom of love, service and spirituality.”
He gave the example of St Paul who courageously crossed over his Jewish cultural, and Roman intellectual barriers, to give testimony of Jesus in Athens, the Greek intellectual capital of his day.
Abp Thomas challenged young people gathered from all over northeast for the Sunday service, “to take up leadership roles in the church and society as prophets, judges and teachers.”
Over period of 15 years during his tenure as archbishop of Guwahati, Abp Thomas has successfully led seven major peace initiatives — Bodo-Adivasi in 1996, Kuki-Paite in 1998, Dimasa-Hmar in 2003, Karbi-Kuki in 2003, Dimasa-Karbi in 2004, Bodo-Muslim at Udalguri in 2010 and Rabha-Garo in 2011.
Next month, Abp Thomas will be conferred an Honorary Doctorate from Universita’ Urbaniana Rome for his outstanding contribution for promotion of cross cultural thought, and peace promotion in areas of ethnic conflict.
The June 2011 issue of a popular Italian magazine ‘Il Bollettino Salesiano‘ published a four-page cover story on Abp Thomas entitled ‘A Bishop for Nobel Prize’.