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posted Apr 10, 2019, 8:39 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 10, 2019, 8:47 AM ]

Ministry of the Word Programme

The Ministry of the Word Programme (Archdiocese of Bombay) aims at equipping lay people to personally experience the saving power of the Word of God in their lives, and out of that experience to communicate God's Word to others in the parish. The programme covers the study of all the books of the Old and the New Testament, the document of the Second Vatican Council on Divine Revelation, and the Pontifical Biblical Commission's document on the interpretation of the Bible in the Church. The courses are conducted by professors of the Archdiocesan Seminary and other competent Bible teachers. At the end of the study stage, the candidates enter the probation stage. On successfully completing this stage, the candidates are commissioned as Ministers of the Word in the Archdiocese.

Admissions are open for the new academic year, which will begin on May 30, 2019. Please send your name and parish to: rolandfialho7@rediffmail.com

Gender Equality Talk

The Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, Mumbai (Bandra Unit) inspired by Pope Francis' Encyclical Letter Laudato sì invites you to a talk on Gender Equality, Human Rights and the Transgender community by Ms Dolly James, Project Consultant, Navodaya Movement (A Transgender Reintegration Program), Kalyan on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 5:30 pm at Bosco Hall, St Andrew Church, Hill Road, Bandra (W).

Pro-Life Day Celebrations

Sunday, March 24, 2019, the Archdiocese of Bombay earmarked the day as Pro-Life Day to coincide with the Feast of the Annunciation. The Diocesan Human Life Committee celebrated the day at St Michael Church, Mahim.

The celebrations began with the Holy Eucharist, with Bp Agnelo Gracias, who came all the way from Jalandhar as the main celebrant, with five other concelebrants viz: Fr Dr Stephen Fernandes, currently attached to the Nunciature in Delhi, Fr Dr M.T. Joseph SVD, Fr Lancy Pinto, Parish Priest of St Michael's, Fr Henry D'Souza and Deacon Ashwin Castellino.

Before the Holy Eucharist commenced, the writer gave a brief description of what DHLC was all about and what the term Pro-Life encompasses. Bishop Agnelo delivered a stirring homily. At the end of the Eucharist, he led the congregation to recite the Pro-Life Prayer.

The programme after Mass in the auditorium of St Michael Church had a captivating prayer dance by the students of St Joseph Convent School, Bandra.

This was followed by an engrossing and informative session on 'Relevance of Gender in the Modern World'. The main speaker, Dr M.T. Joseph SVD, a renowned academician and an authority on the subject, was cogent, lucid and informative. The other panelists were the first Director of DHLC, Dr Jeanette Pinto, former Vice Principal of St Xavier's College and former Principal of Sophia College, while the moderator Dr Pascoal Carvalho, an eminent scientist and a member of the Pontifical Academy, set the parameters for the discussion. The session with 160 persons in the audience was not just engrossing and entertaining, but interactive, as well. The audience comprised members of the clergy, medical doctors, young professionals, academicians listening with rapt attention.

This was then followed by the unveiling of the rechristened DHLC to the Archdiocesan Human Life Committee (AHLC) which was inaugurated by our Chief Guest, Bishop Agnelo Gracias. The new website is www.ahlc.org.in Finally, the climax of the programme — the awards. This year, the awardees were:

1. Sharan - recipients of the Sr M. Annunciata RGS Golden Jubilee Award, for their dedication to the work done for rehabilitation of paraplegics.
2. St Catherine of Siena School and Orphanage - recipients of the Lily and Rose Award for their dedication to the work done for destitute children.

The Pro-Life Day celebrations ended with a prayer in the cemetery in front of the 'Memorial to the unborn' where the members of AHLC and some members of the audience, along with Bishop Agnelo Gracias, said a fervent prayer for those whose lives have been snuffed out in the womb.



A special Lenten presentation called CROSSBEARERS, depicting five Biblical personalities and their struggles, along with prayers and hymns, was held at the Mt Carmel Church quadrangle on Sunday, March 31. The idea behind the evening was to remind everyone of God`s love and mercy, made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ. The evening saw five biblical characters who encountered Jesus and were touched by His overwhelming presence. The five characters were:

1) The adulterous woman – The monologue by the adulterous woman spoke strongly about raising fingers in judgment about the character of others.
2) The mother of Judas – What could the story of her encounter with Jesus tell us?
3) Lazarus – What are friends for? With a friend like Jesus, our lives can be made worthy.
4) Jairus' daughter – For someone who was pronounced dead, the experience of being raised to life must have surely given her a new perspective.
5) Roman centurion – The powerful Roman centurion felt powerless when he was confronted by the impending death of his favourite servant. His encounter with Jesus must have been a humbling experience.

All the above monologues were interspersed with a hymn followed by a reflection. The Cross was the focal point, as every character narrated his/her experience of Jesus, and made it come alive by relating it to today's struggles.

What started off as a mere idea took a beautiful turn leading up to the event. As the characters had a Jesus experience simply by delivering their monologues, the congregation too had an indescribable experience. The Cross was incensed and carried by the Confraternity for people to venerate and have an experience carrying it. The parishioners went home, happy, and with a sense of fulfilment that this unusual experience of Jesus had given them.

Elaine D'Souza

Pilgrim Way of the Cross

Amongst the many spiritual experiences that St Blaise Church in Amboli organises for the parishioners was the Pilgrim Stations of the Cross on Saturday, March 23, 2019, when more than 500 pilgrim parishioners walked in an orderly manner from the St Blaise Church quadrangle to the Stations' Garden at Our Lady of Health Church in Versova.

The parishioners, with placards and Zone/Community Flags, were guided by the ushers as they walked down the narrow Caesar Road, and negotiated the heavy traffic. Mobile speakers at strategic points of the procession enabled the praying of the Rosary and singing of hymns in unison. At the Stations' Garden at Our Lady of Health Church, Versova, Zones 4 and 5 conducted the Stations of the Cross in a prayerful manner in English, Marathi, Hindi and Konkani, as we relived the time when Jesus was mercilessly dragged along the road to Calvary, burdened by the heavy weight of the Cross, because of our sins.

The parishioners are grateful to Fr Adrian Ferreira and the Parish Team for this spiritual experience through the Pilgrim Stations of the Cross, along with all the other activities in this beautiful season of Lent which have helped us prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery with mind and heart as we "renew our faces and hearts as Christians through repentance, conversion and forgiveness." (Pope Francis)

Monica Rodrigues

A Double Event!

The first mass of neo-ordinand Fr Ashwin James Castellino was marked by a rare double event! Held at his parish, Mt Carmel Church, Bandra (W), on the evening of April 7, 2019, it was not only Fr Ashwin celebrating his first Mass, but also the Golden Jubilee of Priesthood of his uncle, Fr Patrick D'Souza, C.Ss.R., a Redemptorist priest. Fr Patrick marked the completion of 50 glorious years as a priest, when he concelebrated at the First Mass of Fr Ashwin, who was accompanied by dozens of other concelebrants, including Bishop Bosco Penha and Fr Ashwin's batchmate, Fr Omar Fernandes, ordained with him the previous evening. Fr Ashwin always credits the seed of his vocation being planted, years ago, during his deep involvement with his parish Charismatic Prayer Group. Post-Mass, parishioners queued up to wish Fr Ashwin, who will now take up his first posting at St Michael Church, Mahim.


Recital of The Passion of Our Lord: WERE YOU THERE? Presented by The Sahar Beacons is as follows:

* Sat. 13th April, 2019: Our Lady of Health Church, Sahar, after the 6.30 pm Mass.
* Sun. 14th April, 2019: Sacred Heart Church, Mahakali, after the 5.30 pm Mass.

Don Bosco Youth Services (DBYS), Matunga: A Lenten Praise and Worship 'Because He Lives' conducted by the Gospel band 'Echoes of Zion' will be held on Wednesday April 17, 2019 from 7:30 pm at St Joseph Church, Mira Road.

Biblical Sacred Triduum Retreat: Jointly organised by The Retreat House and the Catholic Bible Institute, at the Retreat House, Bandra, from 8 am on Holy Thursday, April 18, to 4 pm on Holy Saturday, April 20. Come, enter deeper into the Saving Events of Our Lord's Passion, Death and Resurrection through profound Scriptural talks and liturgies. Total cost: Rs 1700 only. Prior registration before Monday, April 15 obligatory. Contact 2642 7648/2642 2095/98196 01562.

The Retreat House, Bandra, will conduct its Summer Vacation Retreat starting from May 2 evening and ending on May 10 evening. Contact: 2642 2095/2645 5296. Email: bandraretreathouse@gmail.com

Open Growth Retreat: May 11-12, from 8:30 am – 5 pm each day. Venue: Salvation Seva Kendra, 2nd Floor, Gokhale Road, Dadar (W). Conducted by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Mumbai. Registrations at the CCR Office, Dadar (W) – 2430 3626/2421 0881/99309 40705. Register early.

Ignatian Retreat for Women Religious. Conducted by the Jesuits at Vinayalaya from May 15 (7 pm) to May 22 ( 4pm) at Vinayalaya Retreat House, Andheri (E). For details and registration, contact vinayrethouse@gmail.com or 2687 1975.

St Stanislaus Villa 'Family' Holiday Camp

Camp 1: 5 Days - Wed. 08 May - Sun. 12 May
Camp 2: 5 Days - Wed. 15 May - Sun. 19 May
Camp 3: 5 Days - Wed. 22 May - 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.