18 Local News

posted Jan 4, 2019, 8:26 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 8:27 AM ]

Cardinal Gracias celebrates Christmas with Dalit migrants

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), celebrated Christmas with prayers, games with children and gifts.

On Christmas morning, he met 21 families (88 people) - Dalit migrants to Mumbai from Tamil Nadu - who live in Cheetah Camp, a slum in Trombay, a suburb in eastern Mumbai.

The meeting took place at the archbishop's residence. The prelate spent two hours in their company, asking parents if their children were studying, and finally inviting Dalit Christians to spread the values of the Gospel where they live.

The cardinal is not new to such initiatives. In past years, he celebrated the anniversary of the birth of Christ with tribal people, with people who lost their homes to fire, and with rag pickers.

"The joy of Christmas was tangibly present,” said Sr Arina Gonsalves, who attended the event. “People went home with a smile on their faces, knowing that they would be able to celebrate that day in a special way with the members of their families and others.”

The cardinal handed out gifts, sweets and some money to all those who came. He “looked really happy, relaxed and refreshed for being among the poor and the marginalised, who are close to his heart."

In India, the caste system has been abolished by the Constitution. However, discrimination is still very rooted in both society and the Indian Church.

In order to overcome the marginalisation inside the Church of those formerly known as "untouchables", the CBCI adopted an action plan for the inclusion of the Dalits. Since 2007, the Church has also celebrated Dalit Liberation Day on the second Sunday of November each year, to promote the rights of Christian Dalits and the right to practise one’s religion freely.

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Introduction to Old Testament

The Archdiocesan Bible Commission is organising sessions on the Old Testament. Session 2 will be held on Sat. January 12, for a half-day only, from 9:15 am to 1 pm, at the Loyola Hall, St Peter Church, Bandra. We will go deeper into all the books of the Pentateuch, study more books of the Prophets, more of the Psalms, and have an introduction to the Wisdom books.

Registration (Rs 50 only) is compulsory, latest by Thursday Jan. 10. Call Deacon Inacin on 2642 7648 (9 am – 1 pm), or 98196 01562.

(Session 3 (final) will be held on Feb. 9 at the same venue and same timings.)

Vocation Promoters’ Training Programme

A Vocation Promoters’ Training Programme is being organised, especially for all Vocation Promoters of various Religious Congregations who work in the Archdiocese of Bombay.

The details about the same are as follows:

Date: Thursday, January 10, 2019
Time: 9 am to 1 pm (inclusive of lunch)
Venue: Our Lady of Salvation Church Hall, Dadar
Theme: Young People, The Faith and Vocation Discernment.

Fr Robert Pen, SDB will be the main resource person addressing the programme.

There will be a registration charge of Rs 100/- per head. We request you to kindly register by SMS/email/call Fr Godwin Fernandes, Br Melvyn Colaco or Br Aaron Sequeira at St Pius X College (Diocesan Seminary), Goregaon East (Ph: 2927-1217/-1554/-1560/-6891) or SMS 98201 29173 or e-mail dvscbombay@gmail.com on or before December 20, 2018.

QUEST Recollection

A Quest Recollection for all those discerning to join the Priesthood will be held at Muktisagar Prabodhan Kendra, Uttan from Thu. Jan. 25 (overnight) – Fri. Jan, 26, 2019 on the theme: ‘Discovering God's Will in my life’.

Registration: Rs 100/- per head (all inclusive); register by SMS/email/call on or before January 22, 2019, with Fr Godwin Fernandes, Br Melvyn Colaco or Br Aaron Sequeira at St Pius X College (Diocesan Seminary), Goregaon East (Ph: 2927-1217/1554/1560/6891) or SMS 98201 29173 or e-mail : dvscbombay@gmail.com

150 years in the service of the people

On Sunday, December 16, 2018, the CCR, Mumbai Province, put up a very entertaining and enlightening performance of song and dance to celebrate the Sesquicentennial Jubilee of the CCR congregation in India. Children from different schools in the Province, in beautiful, glittering costumes, sang and danced to showcase the work done by the CCR in keeping with the mind of their Foundress, Mother M. Veronica. Not only was it a joy to see the children, but also a great pleasure to see the nuns singing and dancing and imparting the message of their great Foundress.

The CCR congregation runs schools and Teacher Training institutions and has made inroads into the remote villages of India, not only imparting education to children, but also empowering women by conducting sewing and embroidery classes, running homes for the aged and sheltering and helping battered women and children. They are taught to hold their own in the area where they live, earn a livelihood and thus become independent.

Discover the Hero within you

‘Discover the Hero within you’ - the fourth book of Fr Alfonso Elengikal, ssp was formally released in Mumbai on December 10, 2018, by Most Rev. John Rodrigues, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Bombay. The Bishop released the book by giving the first copies of the book to Dr Snehal Pinto, Director, Ryan International Group of Schools, Mumbai, Dr Jagdish Gandhi, Founder-Manager, City Montessori Schools, Lucknow, and the first recipient of the Fr J. Maurus National Award for Innovation in Education, and Fr Varghese Gnalian, Provincial Superior of the Society of St Paul.

Dr Snehal Pinto, who wrote the Foreword to the book said, “in order to write the Foreword for the book, I read it time and again, and I was deeply impressed by the numerous inspiring stories Fr Alfonso narrates in the book; they have really challenged me, and have, to a great extent, transformed my life.”

Tallest tree and giant star brighten Christmas festivities

The festival of Christmas was marked by family reunions over a feast of meats, choice desserts and fine wine. Enclaves like Bandra, Orlem, Kalina, Vakola and Kurla wore a festive look. Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri, has a long line of classy bakeries which put their best foot forward this time of year.

Two quintessential symbols of Christmas rose tall over the landscape at either end of the city. In Colaba, the parishioners of RC Church have fashioned a 26-ft star which is likely the largest in Mumbai. Parishioner Daniel Lobo said, "It took 11 days of team effort between 9 pm and 1 am, as all of us work during the day. We take the first two days to prepare the frame, then wrap it with white cotton cloth and paint it white over the next two days. Then the drawing, painting and dressing the star takes the remaining seven days. It took a good two hours to put it up."

In Thane, Our Lady of Mercy Church has built a spectacular 72-ft tall Christmas tree which stakes a claim to being the tallest in India. Parishioner Melwyn Fernandes said, "It is made out of mild steel, supported by a hollow steel pipe and fixed with 4-ft size foundation bolts. We have decorated it with waste carton boxes. It can be easily dismantled and kept aside for the following Christmas. The tree is on display till January 10."

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FORTHCOMING EVENTS

The Archdiocesan Women's Commission, Andheri deanery, is organising a session on "Reading the bible through the Woman's Eye" by Sr Ananda Amritmahal, on 13th January, Sunday from 09:00 am - 12:30 pm at JWC, 1st floor, St John the Evangelist, Marol. Request women, men and youth to attend the session in large numbers. Kindly register with Rosy Sawant (9820038543)/ Maria Vallado (9769697655).

Change of Heart Retreat for Married Couples at Vinayalaya Retreat House, Andheri East, from Fri 01-Feb-19 evening to Sun 03-Feb-19 evening. For details contact Deacon Jaime (+919223273045) & Ligia da Fonseca (+919222217906), e-mail: jaime.ligia@gmail.com

Christian Meditation Programme
Towards deepening our understanding of our twice-daily practice of Meditation, we have pleasure in announcing a one-day programme titled “Seeing with the Eye of the Heart” by Fr. Gavin Lopes, on Saturday, 12th January, 2019, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, at the Parish Hall of Salvation Church, Dadar. The programme will include the celebration of the Eucharist.
The charge for the programme is Rs.300/- per head. Please register by email to wccmindia@gmail.com or sms Maureen on 9323293331 latest by 8th January, 2019.