22 Local News

posted Apr 16, 2019, 8:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 8:19 AM ]

Cardinal Gracias stresses peace message of Palm Sunday

Cardinal Oswald Gracias has stressed the message of Jesus' peace during his celebration of Palm Sunday ceremonies, marking the beginning of the Holy Week leading to Easter.

Peace is the message of Palm Sunday, Cardinal Gracias told the gathering on the Holy Name School grounds, where he led ceremonies. Through the last five Sundays of Lent, "we have encountered different aspects of the Lord's teachings – the call to repentance, the infinite mercy of God," he said. During the time of Jesus, a soldier riding on a horse meant that he came to conquer, "but when Jesus came on a donkey, it meant that He came in peace. Jesus comes with the ultimate message of peace – peace with God, peace with ourselves, peace with Nature, peace with all people." Cardinal Gracias invited all to follow this example and go forth in peace like Jesus.

During his homily, he said the Passion narrative is a reminder and invitation to each one to embark on a pilgrimage. The Holy Week, with ceremonies of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday leading to Easter Vigil, calls us "to be transformed, and to speak out against all that kills life, that is unjust," the cardinal said. "This day is a timely reminder to ourselves that there is much more to be done to alleviate suffering and injustice." He wanted to ensure that the Lenten season that began on Ash Wednesday "would be life-giving and transformative."


Marathi Choir competition

The 23rd Marathi Choir competition was held on Sunday, March 31, at St Anthony Church, Malwani. The annual Lenten event is jointly organised by Muktisagar Prabodhan Kendra, Uttan and Marathi Upasana Gayan Vikas Sanghatna, Mumbai. Though the primary objective of this gathering is fellowship, it also provides a splendid platform for all the Marathi Choirs in the archdiocese to showcase their talents in the field of Liturgical Music.

Bishop Allwyn D'Silva presided over the gathering. Fr Michael D'Costa, founder and spiritual director of the Marathi Upasana Gayan Vikas Sanghatna, emphasised that it's the Lord's calling to sing in the choir. Fr Leslie Malya, Director of Muktisagar Kendra, extended a warm welcome to all, and introduced the jury for the competition. The three jurors—Sr Nisha Viegas, Fr Sachin Lopes and Mr Denis Barbose—were from the field of Indian Classical Music.

Seventeen Marathi choirs from the Archdiocese participated in the competition. The choirs who made it to Super Six were St Andrew's Choir - Chowk, Holy Magi Choir - Gorai, Bhate Bunder Velankanni Shrine Choir - Uttan, Muktisagar Prabodhan Kendra Choir - Uttan, St Louis Choir - Dahisar and St Anthony Choir - Malwani. The event ended with a vote of thanks by Mr Charlie D'Silva.

Mogan Rodrigues

ACEing Developmental Disabilities

In a simple but poignant ceremony held on February 23, 2019 in the newly renovated restaurant of St Andrew's Catering College, nine special adults from six special schools/vocational set-ups received their Certificates of Achievement for successfully completing the inaugural edition of the Culinaris Cookery Course 2017-18. The Chief Guest was Fr Magi Murzello, the Rector of the College, while the Guest of Honour was Mrs Sangeeta Sharma, Chief Manager, Exim Bank.

The event was attended by the graduating students, their parents, students of the current batch 2018-19, their parents and other special invitees. Some of the special adults present entertained the appreciative audience with their talents, singing popular Bollywood songs, while others gracefully danced to the lyrics and recorded music. The special adults, numbering around 25, thoroughly enjoyed the event in the presence of their proud parents.

The Culinaris Cookery Course, a unique course in food and beverage production, is a collaborative venture of Veruschka Foundation and St Andrew's Catering College. The Foundation coordinates the entire course, and designs the curriculum in consultation with the chefs and the college management, while the premises, the kitchen facilities and the services of the chefs are provided gratis by the College, thanks to Fr Magi.

The course is offered to special adults aged 16 years and above, who display a genuine interest and aptitude for cooking, and includes those who attend special schools/vocational set-ups across Mumbai, as well as those who are home-bound. It seeks to train the special adults in the preparation, cooking, presentation and serving food of good quality and taste, thus enhancing their employability in the food industry.

Veruschka Foundation, a non-profit NGO, was incorporated in January 2017 with the vision to Accept, Celebrate and Empower individuals with Developmental Disabilities (Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy etc.) and the Culinaris Cookery Course is an initiative in keeping with this vision.

To know more about the Foundation, or to volunteer/donate, please visit : facebook.com/veruschkafoundation, www.theveruschkafoundation.org or contact on 97690 74824.

Certificate in Basic Counseling Skills

Sunday evening, March 31, 2019, saw the Loyola Hall at St Peter's Church, Bandra, packed to capacity. 38 participants of the 10th Edition of the 'Basic Counselling Course' and their invitees, descended upon the venue in eager anticipation. Two months of intensive twenty two-hour, thrice-weekly sessions (from February 5 to March 21, 2019) with Course Facilitators - Fr Patrick D'Mello and Michael Rodrigues - capped by a two-hour exam, case studies and an assignment, had brought all participants to the enviable position of being awarded a Certificate in Basic Counselling Skills. Fr Frazer Mascarenhas sj, Parish Priest, St Peter's Church, and Fr Kuriakose Mudakkampurathu (Jolly), Parish Priest, St Theresa's Church, Bandra, were the Guests of Honour.

The evening began with a hymn of praise, followed by a Gospel Reading. Some moving testimonies were shared by various participants on the Life Skills they had learnt, and how these had changed their lives! Topics included Self-Disclosure, Increasing Positivity, Confrontation and Handling Conflict, Being Assertive, Forgiveness and Positive Intention, Exercise and 'HIIT' (High Intensity Interval Training), Anger Management, Empathy, From Negative to Positive, and Goal Setting.

Fr Frazer, Fr Jolly, Fr Patrick and Michael encouraged the participants to go out and practise what was learnt. Certificates were then awarded. As participants walked up to the dais, they were surprised to hear the auditorium resound with applause and crisp, witty, well-tailored, perfectly-delivered descriptions of themselves! Michael Rodrigues, Course facilitator, had been gently observing each participant all through the 20 sessions. The evening concluded with a heartfelt Vote of Thanks, a humour-filled yet earnest invitation to future participants to join, and a 'Thank You' to the Lord, who makes all things possible.

Plant Paradise at Orlem

Friday, April 12, 2019, will be etched in our memories for a long time to come, for this was the day on which Bishop Allwyn D'Silva formally blessed and inaugurated our 'Plant Paradise'—the fruit of many months of hard work and labour.

Our Principal Fr Michael Pinto's tireless efforts to promote an eco-friendly way of life could never go unnoticed. Bishop Allwyn also blessed the statue of St Francis of Assisi, the Patron saint of the environment, installed in the garden. The statue was blessed and served to add beauty to an already peaceful set-up.

On this occasion, St Anne's School, Orlem, Malad, had their Nature Club bulletin, 'Anne's Green Lawn', formally released as well. Bishop Allwyn D'Silva was accompanied by Fr Joe Gonsalves. The feather in our cap was the heartfelt comment by Bishop Allwyn, who stated that this was the very first school, affiliated to the ABE, to have taken this initiative, which is indeed close to his heart and his calling. In addition to being a Green Zone, our 'Plant Paradise' also serves as a Garden Chapel, in which, a day prior to the inauguration, an eco-friendly version of the Way of the Cross, was conducted by Fr Michael, while stressing on how we have, intentionally or otherwise, harmed Mother Earth, thus asking the Lord for His forgiveness towards these mindless acts.

Fr Gilbert De Lima, members of the PTA and the Nature Club, Members of the Staff, students (all dressed in green) and our parishioners too were present to witness this special inauguration. Fr Gilbert made a special mention about the installation of solar panels on the school and church terraces.

After the formal blessing, the Bishop encouraged the students and the gathering to preserve and protect Mother Nature, which is the need of the hour, while promising to visit the garden at least once each day to ensure its well-being.

Jean Fernandes


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.

All about Gall Bladder Stones
Education Programme - 'All About Gall Bladder Stones' on Sunday, April 28, 2019 from 10:30 am onwards, at Piccolo, 6th floor, Holy Family Hospital, Hill Road, Bandra (W). 20% discount on USG Abdomen. Registration charges: Rs 150, includes one Consultation. Call 6267 0366 or 6267 0555 for further information.