17 Local News

posted Mar 6, 2019, 8:42 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 8:42 AM ]

Prolife Day Rally

The Diocesan Human Life Committee of the Archdiocese of Bombay will be conducting its annual Prolife Day Rally on Sunday, March 24, 2019 at St Michael Church, Mahim. The Rally will commence with Mass at 8:30 a.m. in the church, followed by a panel discussion in the auditorium on the 'Relevance of Gender in the modern world and the Church's stand on homosexuality'. The Prolife Awards will be presented at the Rally. To register, please WhatsApp your name and parish on: 86552 39893 / 92205 49503 / 98210 15481. All are welcome. No registration charges.

Session on Diabetes Prevention

An informative session on ‘Prevention of Diabetes’ will be conducted by Dr Rohan Sequeira, Diabetologist and Cardiologist, on Sunday, March 17, in the ANZA School Hall, Gloria Church, Byculla (E), at 10.30 a.m. Dr Rohan is known for his humorous and witty presentations. All are welcome to attend.

Interreligious Dialogue for Social Transformation

St Xavier's Institute of Education (SXIE) organised a programme on interreligious dialogue on February 21, 2019. The Institute has adopted the theme 'Action for Harmony'. We are deeply indebted to the Bombay Archdiocesan Commission for Interreligious Dialogue for conducting this session. Our resource persons were Rev. Fr S.M. Michael, Chairman of the Bombay Archdiocesan Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and a Consultor to the Pontifical Commission for Culture and Rev. Fr Aniceto Pereira, Rector of St Pius X Seminary, Goregaon. He was also the Director of Institute for Ministry for Faith and Enrichment (IMFE) programme of the Archdiocese. The SXIE Manager, Fr Blaise D'Souza sj, also provided profound insights into the theme of Harmony and Interreligious Dialogue. He said that harmony comes from a celebration of cultures and religions.

A skit enacted by the students depicted the harmony of religions, as well as conflicts arising because of religious issues, which disrupt the social and religious fabric of the community. We viewed the sessions through the lens of a jigsaw puzzle wherein all the pieces, though being different and unique from each other, fit together beautifully to bring out a picture. The effort to bridge the gaps in understanding between religions has led to efforts at inter-religious dialogue. The purpose of this dialogue is not to reduce religion to some common affirmation like "we all believe the same thing," for this is neither true nor helpful to promote understanding. Different religions believe and practise different things, and in dialogue, those differences become the objects of discussion.

Dialogue does not solve all problems or bridge all gaps. Its importance is really in creating a space for conversation, where differences can be peacefully and respectfully confronted and understood. Dialogue fails if people pretend differences don't exist. Even if disagreements stand and awareness of differences is heightened, respecting the dignity of the conversation partner is essential to living a good life, where peace, understanding and learning are cherished. And beyond that, it is essential to faith and to living a religious life well.

SXIE has taken a step towards creating a positive change in the minds and hearts of our future teachers who will affect the lives of thousands of students under their care. The session has helped us change our perspective towards different religions, and also respect and treasure our own.

Dr Vini Sebastian & Anseeya Vaz, SXIE

Sabha Day 2019

Sabha Day 2019 was held at St Andrew's Auditorium, Bandra on Feb. 23, 2019. The event began with a Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes in the St Andrew's College chapel. The congregation participated with fervour, aided by the youthful choir from Jeri Meri. Bp Savio asked the Bombay Catholic Sabha to reach out to those on the periphery.

After Mass, the programme continued in the auditorium. The BCS Anthem was played, setting the pace for a lovely evening. Ms Rita D'Sa, the BCS President, welcomed the gathering, laying emphasis on the tremendous work done by the members of the BCS across the districts of Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai. She encouraged the audience to be 'committed to a better tomorrow, by doing their best today'! She also paid tribute to late Adv. George Kurian, one of the founding members of the BCS, who passed away in February 2019.

Bento Lobo, the BCS Secretary General, presented a slide show on the Year in Retrospect, highlighting activities by the Centre and the parish units. The entire Executive Committee was invited to the stage, followed by felicitation of the dignitaries—Fr Jude Rodrigues, Mr Agnelo Rajesh Athaide and Mr Vivek Mendonsa.

This was followed by the presentation of the Best Unit Awards (deanery-wise), and the 'Sarfarosh' and 'Sarva Dharma Ekta' Awards. The various unit Managing Committees had a chance to bask in the spotlight, as they received their trophies from Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes. It was inspiring to hear the work done by various parish units – ranging from civic issues to community upliftment, from encouraging the youth and school students in academic pursuits to sports activities; the range left one breathless!

This year, four individuals received the 'Power of One' Awards—Adv. Godfrey Pimenta (for his work in resolving civic and community issues), Ms Wilma Saldanha (award-winning National Powerlifter), Mr Kasber Augustine (civic activist from Thane), and Mr David Cardoz (Conservation and Restoration of Archdiocesan Heritage structures).

The 5th 'Fr Salvador Rodrigues Memorial Award' was presented to Navjeet Community Health Centre, an outreach of the Bandra Holy Family Hospital Society, active in the field since 1978. Over the last 40 years, Navjeet Community Health Centre has worked in the slums of Mumbai, and over the last 12 years, it has also been working with the tribals of Shahapur taluka. Navjeet's work ranges from education and nutrition to health and sanitation, women's empowerment, environmental issues, livelihood and rural community development.

The first 'Fr Edward D'Souza Memorial Award' was presented to Sr Rosaline Pereira, fma for her work in the Sahayini Social Development Society – Vocational Training Centre (VTC); she has been at the forefront of training young people in skills development and making them workplace-ready. The work done by Sr Rosaline and her team has won the approval and support of a number of corporates, who look to the VTCs as a means of utilising their CSR funds in the best manner.

Don Aguiar, State AICU (All India Catholic Union) President, handed over the AICU Flag to BCS; 2019 marks the centenary year of the AICU - the national umbrella body. Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes praised the work done by the BCS across the archdiocese, and warned the members not to get complacent, to avoid in-fighting and to "show the face of Christ to the world" by their work, standing up for Christian values.

This was followed by the release of the Sabha Day Souvenir. Mr Gordon D'Silva, Jt Treasurer, proposed the Vote of Thanks, and Fr Rudolph Andrades prayed the Grace. A sumptuous dinner was surpassed only by the cheerful faces and bonhomie, as the BCS members celebrated Sabha Day 2019!

International Women's Day

To mark International Women's Day, the Archdiocesan Commission for Women organised a function on Sunday, March 3, 2019 at Canossa Secondary School Hall, Mahim. The theme was 'Balance for Better: We are stronger together'. The focus was on gender balance, because we believe, the better the balance between genders, the better the world.

In her welcome speech, Sunita Machado, Executive Secretary of the Commission, said we need to correct the gender balance that exists at home, at work and in Church. Women comprise half the world and half the Church, and we must overcome our silence and let our voices make a difference to "balance for better".

After reciting the Women's Creed and singing the Women's Anthem, a prayer dance was performed by the children of Our Lady of Dolours School, Sonapur (trained by Emerita Pereira) – a wonderful way of worship.

Nirmala Peters-Mehendale, a corporate trainer, brought her experiences to bear on the theme. She said in order to find balance, we need to be aware of what are our core values. In life, there is no absolute win-win situation. You win some, you lose some, but the key to achieving a balance is to know your priorities, and thereby make your choices. Equality can be achieved only when women and men have equal access to resources, and equal opportunities to benefit from them. She believes the youth of today are more accepting of gender balance, giving examples from her personal interaction with them. She closed with Pope Francis' appeal to youth to build a better world.

Then followed a ribbon dance performed by the Canossa Special School children to the song, 'The heavens are telling of the glory of God'.

The Commission felicitated three young women for their achievements. Deane De Menezes is a recipient of Queen Elizabeth's Young Leaders Award 2018 for her project 'Red is the New Green' that seeks to break the social taboos and raise awareness on menstruation. Captains Keithair Misquitta and Aarohi Pandit were honoured as the first Indian women to attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a Light Sport Aircraft.

Bp Barthol, in his address, while commending the three young women for their astounding achievements, said that women are the real change agents in society and in our archdiocese.

To bring a touch of lightness to the day, there were four spot prizes, for which there was a lively competition. At the close, there was the celebration of the Eucharist. The choir comprised women and men from St Anthony's Church, Mankhurd. The function ended with lunch.

Flavia Nunes

World Marriage Day celebrations

World Marriage Day celebrations were held at Infant Jesus Church, Dombivli, on February 24, 2019. Married couples were ushered into the church in procession; the central pews were beautifully decorated with flowers. The liturgy was animated by the Family Cell; our main celebrant was Fr Nigel Barrett, who gave an inspirational homily. After the homily, there was a renewal of marriage vows. Post-communion, there was a moment of silence and prayer for the soldiers killed in Pulwama and the subsequent encounters in Kashmir. After Mass, a fun-filled fellowship was organised for all the couples. It was a memorable event that helped us reflect on the strength of our marriage bond, and also socialise with other couples in the parish.

Shivkumar Menon

Legion of Mary Lenten Recollection

230 members of the Legion of Mary (Mumbai Senatus) gathered together to attend a half-day Recollection, in preparation for Lent, conducted by their Spiritual Director, Rev. Fr Anthony J. Fernandes on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019.

The session began with members sharing the positive points that helped them to become better persons and better Christians as Legion members. Fr Anthony said that 'growing in spirituality' is an ongoing process which should be continuous and should not stop. He raised several points for our reflection. He explained that though everyone is our neighbour, the one who most needs our love is our immediate neighbour.

As Legionaries, we must imitate Mary, if we too are to become true disciples of Jesus. As Legionaries, we must always have the CROSS before us:

C: we must be Communicators of the good news
R: we must be Responsible for our actions
O: we must always be Optimistic in our functions and duties
S: we must be Selfless in our efforts to draw others to Christ
S: and most of all, we must be Scripture-centric in our spiritual growth.

He read to us a poem:

"You are writing a gospel chapter every day,
By the things that you do or words you say.
Others read what you write, if it is false or true.
Now what is the gospel according to you?"

He asked us: What did Jesus mean when He said, "take up your cross and follow me"? It means: willing to die in order to follow Jesus. This is called dying to self. It's a call to absolute surrender. Each time Jesus commanded 'cross bearing,' He said: "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." And again, he said: "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit the very life of his soul?"

Many Legionaries found meaning and purpose in their Apostolate, and shared that taking us through the Mission and Path of Jesus made them realise that to work in the Legion, just like Jesus, we need to always have an AIM, Know our Target group, Prepare for our work and have a Plan of Action.

Millicent Menezes, Assistant Secretary,
Legion of Mary, Mumbai Senatus

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

Christian Meditation Program
We invite you to our Lenten programme - 'A Witnessing Spirituality' by Fr Ryan Alex on Saturday, March 16, 2019, from 9:30 am to 12 noon at the Community Hall of Holy Cross Church, Kurla.
There is no charge, but a voluntary contribution to meet the incidental expenses will be gratefully accepted. Please confirm your participation by email to: wccmindia@gmail.com or sms or WhatsApp Maureen on 93232 93331 latest by March 13, 2019.

Hope and Life Association
The Hope and Life Association, Bombay Archdiocese, will have a Lenten healing session conducted by Fr Allwyn Misquitta on Tuesday, March 12 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Salvation Church, Dadar.

Watch and Pray: A Lenten Journey with Christ through the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. Conducted by the Jesuits at Vinayalaya Retreat House, Andheri (E) from Friday, March 15 (8 am) to Sunday, March 17 (4 pm). For details and registration, contact vinayrethouse@gmail.com or 2687 1975.

Inner Healing Retreat conducted by Anthony Lobo and Team, March 28 - 31. Fees Rs 2000/- per head. For details, kindly WhatsApp e-mail address to 98198 49997 or contact Audrey – 98207 61532, Odette – 98201 42085, Nazareen – 98333 84096, Eugenie 98202 94413, Christina 96199 48199, Ralph 98333 98895.

Lenten Growth Retreat: The Permanent Deacons of the Bombay Archdiocese are conducting a residential Lenten Growth Retreat, 'Quo Vadis' (Where are you going?) at Atma Darshan, Gyan Ashram Campus, Mahakali Road, Andheri East, from March 19 to 21. Inaugural Mass by Bishop Barthol Barretto. For registrations, contact Dn Jaime 92232 73045; Dn Everest 98211 81857; Dn Sylvester 91679 74822.

St Stanislaus Villa ‘Family’ Holiday Camp

Camp 1: 5 Days - Wed. 08 May to Sun. 12 May
Camp 2: 5 Days - Wed. 15 May to Sun. 19 May
Camp 3: 5 Days - Wed. 22 May to Sun. 26 May
Camp 4: 6 Days - Tue. 28 May to Sun. 02 June

There is a bus available for those interested. For more information & registration, get in touch with The Parish Office, St Peter’s Church, Hill Rd, Bandra. Tel: 2645 9474; 2642 3098 (Or) WhatsApp ‘CAMP FORM’ to Fr Gerard C. Rodricks sj 92232 62524.