18 SCCs Inspiring NCCs - Sr Manisha Gonsalves RSCJ

posted Aug 21, 2018, 11:28 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 21, 2018, 11:28 AM ]
Living among the people in what is termed as "inserted religious communities" has been a strong impetus for me to seek "New ways of being Church" for the children of the neighbourhood. One such venture was the formation of the 'Neighbourhood Children's Club' (NCC) in the 1990s, based on the three-fold aspects of the SCC, viz. Community building, faith formation and outreach. This idea received a boost after the Archdiocesan Synod of 2001 which chose 'Youth Ministry' as one of its top priorities. Subsequently, the "New Methodology" for this ministry (spearheaded by Bishop Bosco Penha) has challenged me over the years to find new, creative ways of tapping the latent talents and energies of children.

The children of today hold much promise for our future world. As Tagore aptly put it, "On the seashore of endless worlds children meet." Exposure to the social media has impacted them tremendously even from early childhood, both for better and for worse. Instead of bemoaning the latter, we need "all hands on deck" to "treasure-hunt" their hidden potential, to give them the time and space to grow, in ways different from our upbringing of yesteryears.

I share here one such initiative in its humble beginnings. My initial concept of a 'cosy club' for children has evolved as I observe the children of today. In the housing society where we live, there are about 175 families with people hailing from different States of India. They, and therefore their children too, form a kind of "Mini-India". Capitalising on this concept, we have brought our children together in a "Mini-India Children's Council" to bond together as one 'Neighbourhood Children's Council' (NCC) comprising children of all faiths.