18 Local News

posted Jan 16, 2019, 7:53 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 16, 2019, 7:53 AM ]

Mumbai churches bag honours at CBCI National Crib Competition

An innovative parish level crib contest by Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) – Away in a Manger – saw parishes from across India showcase their creative talents at crib making. A few parishes from the Archdiocese of Bombay also participated. The 'Green Crib' from St Pius X Church, Mulund won the third place, while Sacred Heart Church, Andheri was awarded one of the five consolation prizes.

The St Pius X Church Crib dwelt on the theme of welcoming the birth of our Lord Jesus into our world that stands in need of greater concern and care for Creation. At the heart of the crib was a greenhouse in which Jesus' manger was placed. The outer circle of the crib portrayed ways of working towards a green earth by use of solar energy, wind energy and proper garbage disposal. The idea was proposed by Fr Cleophas Fernandes, and executed by Ms Merlyn and a dedicated team.

The team from St Pius X Church says: When God chose to send his Son Jesus to our earth, He chose a worthy and all pure womb for his Son to take birth - Mother Mary. We have seen it fit to create a controlled environment in a greenhouse, a place free from the pollution of the earth for the Saviour to be worthily received on earth. And so we have placed the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the greenhouse. We want to remind ourselves that we are responsible to commit ourselves to work that the whole earth may become a greenhouse, pollution-free.

St Francis Church, Agra Diocese (Uttar Pradesh) won the first place and Holy Cross Church, Mangalore Diocese (Karnataka) was awarded the second place.

ABC organises OT studies

Besides a Symposium on NT Spirituality organised in Bandra on Dec. 9, 2018, with Bps Barthol and John, Dr Renu Silvano, Frs Gilbert de Lima, Michael D'Cunha and Fio Mascarenhas SJ as speakers, the ABC (Archdiocesan Bible Commission), in collaboration with the Catholic Bible Institute, organised two study seminars on the topic: 'An Introduction to the Old Testament.' 70 laypersons from the various deaneries of the archdiocese attended the whole day session at The Retreat House, Bandra, on Dec. 1, 2018, and about 50 laypersons attended the half-day session on Jan. 12, 2019 at the Loyola Hall of St Peter's Church, Bandra. The Principles of biblical interpretation according to Vatican II's Dei Verbum, the Pentateuch, the Psalms, and some of the major Prophets were introduced. One of the participants said. "What a wealth of knowledge was imparted, with such clarity, and in language and style suitable for lay people who have not (by default!) been made scripture-literate in their parishes and Sunday schools! We were enlightened about pre-history in Genesis Chapters 1-11 vis-a-vis modern science (the Big Bang), the symbolic meaning of Adam and Eve, etc., the meaning of the name "Yahweh" (since the Hebrew language has no vowels, but only consonants), the Psalms as a school of prayer with special emphasis on Psalms 22 and 23, an overview of all the Prophets, and especially Isaiah 1 and 2, with a detailed study of the four Servant Songs. We want more sessions please!"

The ABC will organise a third and final half-day session on this topic, to introduce the Wisdom books and their relevance for modern life. It will be held on February 16 at the same venue - Loyola Hall (please note the change of date).

Sharing the Christmas spirit with the Transgender community

December 20, 2018 was indeed a historical moment for Ashadeep Community Centre, Mahim. For the first time, an event was organized exclusively for Transgenders; and it was a grand success.

Our social workers (along with Sister) have been visiting the houses of the transgenders; they too have started coming to the Centre, mostly in groups of 8 or 10. They share their pains and sorrows, and feel very happy to have a listening ear. At the start of December 2018, our social workers visited their areas again, informing them about a Christmas get-together organised only for them. Around 15 of them attended the programme. We began with a prayer, followed by a welcome message from the Coordinator of Ashadeep, Sr Christel, who belongs to the Missionary Sisters of Queen of the Apostles (SRA). Indeed, this initiative was first discussed in the Provincial and General Chapter of the SRA congregation to begin a ministry for the transgender community.

After a round of games, Fr Lancy Pinto, Parish Priest of St Michael Church gave them the Christmas message. We then had a round of snacks with gifts, after which many of them wanted to dance on stage. Around five of them gave solo performances, dancing to the tune of their favorite songs. Then Zoya from Naya Nagar spoke on how society rejects and alienates the transgender community, but Ashadeep Centre has welcomed them as guests; this is the greatest honour they could get in a lifetime. Her words reflected the emotions and feelings of all present.

This event was the brain child of the Coordinator of Ashadeep Community Centre, Sr Christel. She has been constantly striving since the beginning of June 2018 to give the transgenders a platform in mainstream society. Ashadeep also conducts monthly sessions for them on Respect, personality development, Positive thinking, etc. We thank God for the success of this event which has touched the hearts of many. We look forward to a greater interaction with this community and participation from other areas too.

50 Golden Years in Service of Christ

The Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod - Thane Community, Province of Pune were thrilled to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Sr Judith Dias on January 4, 2019 at Holy Cross Chapel, Thane. Bishop Allwyn D'Silva was the main celebrant at the Eucharistic celebration. In his homily, Bp Allwyn highlighted a life of dedication, service and commitment that Sr Judith had given witness to over all these years. The celebration was organised by the Superior, Sr Ancy Antony and Sr Judith's family members. The post-Eucharistic celebrations were held in Holy Cross Convent Open Hall. Sisters from neighbouring communities and close relatives and friends were present. The proceedings were beautifully animated by Mrs Michele D'Costa. The games and spot prizes added excitement, laughter, good cheer, and everyone participated as one big happy family.

We remembered with gratitude the companions of Sr Judith Dias - Sisters Nirmala Silvera, Candid Alleluia, Flora Jaques, Philo Jacob, Rosy D'Souza, Rosy Paul, Magdalene Rodrigues, Cecily Joseph, Lucy Mathew and Philo Fernandes - for their exemplary lives of sacrifice and service. True to our founders, Fr Peter Mermier and Mother Claudine Echernier, they have with zeal made the good God known and loved in their respective mission.

Sr Judith made her first commitment at Amravati in 1969, and her final commitment in 1974. In 1980, she was appointed as Boarding Mistress at Mother House, Amravati. In 1982, she was sent on mission to Kolhapur, then to Raipur in 1986. Completing her service for four years, she was transferred to Aurangabad as a clerk in the school. In 1994, she was transferred to Thane. In 1996, she took care of the accounts in Siolim, Goa. In 1997, was in charge of the Boarding Accounts, and in 1998, was appointed as Manager and Boarding Accounts in charge. In 2003, she took great care of the Sponsorship Accounts in Mali, Ghogargaon. In 2008, Sr Judith was transferred to Thane, taking up duties of accounts and clerical work. Her generosity and ceaseless toil with zest for the mission, and her generosity in reaching out to the poor children has left an indelible mark on the lives of people. Learning and updating, being a techno savvy friendly person, she never ceases to stop working in the Holy Cross Special School, Thane in the Accounts Department. Age is only a number for Sr Judith Dias who toils day and night, while she continues her work, commitment and dedication to all she undertakes.

Mentors Accompanying Youth

The Diocesan Youth Centre is organising a workshop and input session for Youth Animators, and those mentoring and animating youth groups and young people on two days:

1. Sunday, February 10—9 am to 2:30 pm at St John the Baptist School Hall, Thane.

2. Sunday, February 17—9 am to 2:30 pm at St Andrew's College Conference Hall, Bandra.

Those interested are invited to attend either session. The Eucharistic celebration will be presided over by Bp Barthol Barretto and insights about the Synod on Young People will be provided by Deacon Ivan. Register with the DYC, Bandra on 2643 1384 / 2642 2556.


"Come away with me for a while (Mk 6:31)." The Jesuits at Vinayalaya are offering a Silent Retreat from Friday, January 25 (8 am) to Sunday, January 27 (afternoon) at Vinayalaya, Andheri (E). The Retreat will include input sessions, personal prayer time and individual spiritual guidance. For details and registration, contact 2687 1975 or vinayrethouse@gmail.com

Change of Heart Retreat for Married Couples at Vinayalaya Retreat House, Andheri East, from Fri. Feb. 1 evening to Sun. Feb. 3 evening. For details, contact Deacon Jaime (+9192232 73045) & Ligia da Fonseca (+9192222 17906), e-mail: jaime.ligia@gmail.com

Don Bosco Youth Services (DBYS), Matunga is organising a Special Eucharist and Blessing for Std. X, XII and XV Youngsters at the Shrine of Don Bosco Madonna, Matunga (E), followed by a special blessing for each youngster on Sunday, February 3, 2019 at 12 noon.

Jesus Encounter Healing Retreat: from Friday, February 8 (7:30 am) to Sunday, February 10 (5 pm) at Vinayalaya, Andheri (E), behind Holy Family Church, Chakala. Conducted by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Mumbai. OPEN TO ALL. Registrations at the CCR Office, Dadar (W) – 2430 3626 / 2421 0881/99309 40705. Register early.

Atma Darshan
1. Happiness in Life Retreat: Feb 01 - 03
2. Family And Couples Retreat: Feb 15 - 17
For Registration & Inquiry, contact: Atma Darshan, Gyan Ashram Campus, Mahakali Caves Road, Andheri (E), Mumbai 400 093. India. Tel : (0091) (022) 2836 3120/ 2824 2419. Mobile : (+91) 97696 94422.