16 Local News

posted Sep 11, 2018, 10:23 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 10:26 AM ]

Mount Mary's Basilica for green fair this year

The week-long Bandra Fair, also known as Mount Mary Fair, which kicked off Sep. 9, is going that extra mile to make it eco-friendly. This year, the Church authorities decided to reduce the plastic waste and thermocol waste during the fair and spread the message of environmental sustainability.

Over 120 stalls have been installed in and around Mount Mary's Basilica in Bandra for the week-long affair. A senior functionary from the Church urged the stall owners to reduce the use of plastic this year during the fair.

The Church has been taking baby steps towards environmentally-friendly offering in the past few months. It is a belief that if you want to make a wish come true, offer a replica of that item to Mother Mary. Devotees who come with thermocol items related to their wish have been stopped by the church authorities since the past few months.

Speaking about taking smaller steps to go the eco-friendly way, Bishop John Rodrigues, Rector of Mount Mary Basilica, said, "Thermocol offering has been banned because of its problematic disposal. A few months ago, we gave a deadline to the stall owners, and asked them to stop selling thermocol offering. Now they have started making the offerings with cardboard. So now there is hardly any thermocol offering to Mother Mary."

He added, "We have requested the stall owners not to sell items in plastic bags. We had a meeting with them this week. It is a small step towards reducing the waste, and to celebrate in an eco-friendly way."

By next year, they are planning to take a step forward by composting the flower offerings with the help of an NGO. "We have a small composting plant in the premises, but it can't be used to compost the huge bulk of flowers which is offered during the week-long fair. An NGO has shown interest in taking away the flowers for composting," he added.

Besides the eco-friendly initiative, this year, the authority has taken safety measures for the devotees visiting Mount Mary's Basilica. A ramp for physically challenged devotees that was temporarily constructed last year has been constructed permanently for their convenience.

Apart from this, the Mumbai police, traffic police and private security, besides volunteers from the community have come forward to provide safety for the devotees.


Monthi Fest celebrated at Mira Road

St Joseph's Konkani Welfare Association, Mira Road celebrated Monthi Fest (Nativity of Mother Mary) in a very grand style on September 8. The festivity began with a Konkani Mass. The main celebrant was Fr Archiebald Gonsalves, ex-provincial of the Carmelites, along with Fr Melvin D'Cunha, Parish Priest, and assistants.

The same evening, they celebrated 'Konkani Manyata Divas' and 'Novem Jevann' in the church hall. The programme began with a welcome dance, followed by welcoming the guests traditionally with 'Paanpod Udaak' by Alex Fernandes. Digo Rodrigues, President, welcomed the guests with flower bouquets.

On the dais, eminent personalities, such as chief guest Fr Archiebald Gonsalves, parish priest and spiritual director Fr Melvin D'Cunha, Maan Monis (poet and writer) Neri Melvin Nazareth, Sister Superiors from Holy Cross, Ankur and Sneha Sadan Homes, along with President Digo Rodrigues, assistant Secretary Jerald D'Souza, Treasurer Lawrence Mathias, Cultural Secretary JossyGonsalves, and erstwhile President John Crasta were present.

The programme was inaugurated by pouring the rice in the Kollshi to prepare a Mudo,which was then auctioned; the proceedings of the same were donated to Kerala flood victims. This meaningful act took everyone back to village farming days.

Maan Monis Neri Nazareth was felicitated with flowers, fruits, shawl and Maan Patr. He expressed his gratitude towards the Konkani speaking people and the Konkani Association of Mira Road. 'Taan' the Konkani poetry book from Prasann Niddodi was launched on the occasion. Fr Archiebald highlighted the history of Konkani language, and how it is being strongly routed in Goa and Mangaluru today. He emphasised that in Mumbai, one should use Romi script, as today's youth is using English more prominently,to make it easier for them to learn Konkani. Fr Melvyn spoke on the need to teach children their mother tongue Konkani.

The Konkani cultural programme by the children and Association members with rib-tickling comedy skits, songs and dance put all present in a jovial mood. Jerald offered the vote of thanks.

Novem Jevann, with seven types of vegetable delicacies and Vorn, reminded the 500 people of their nostalgic years in Mangaluru. The programme concluded with the Association members singing Laudate. The entire programme was compered by Henry Sequeira.


Orlem celebrates Day of the Girl child

September 8, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is also celebrated as the Day of the Girl Child by the Church. Discrimination against the girl-child is a serious social problem prevalent in our nation. It's an open secret that exists across all sections of society, from the rich to the poor, across all religions and castes. We all know it exists, yet not much is done to bring about long lasting change.

Quite often, this discrimination begins with indulging in illegal activities like getting a pre-natal sex-determination test which is practised clandestinely in many towns and villages, to depriving the girl child of food, education and developing talent. The dowry system, a distinct feature of the patriarchal set-up, female foeticide/infanticide are also unfortunate social issues that promote the preference of the male child.

How can we call ourselves a developing country, when the UNO has recently declared us to be the worst country for women in the G-20 group? Shouldn't we be ashamed of that? Shouldn't we do everything we can to change that?

Fr Gilbert de Lima, the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Orlem, thought of a novel way to highlight some of these problems that a girl child faces in our society. He felt that bringing some of these problems to light will enable people to realise where they are going wrong, and take the initiative to bring about changes within their home and society. This kick-started the process of a street play. Scripted and directed by Ms Sunita Pandey, a teacher of St Anne's High School, the students of theschoolexecuted a stellar performance for the congregation before some of the Masses on September 8 and 9.

They repeated their incredible performance on Sunday at four locations in Malad (W). The skewed male-female ratio is a clear witness to the disparity in our country. However, small acts multiplied by millions of people can transform the world.

Navi Mumbai Deanery Youth Day 2018

"The Youth of Navi Mumbai are Vibrant, Talented, Full of Energy and Enthusiasm!" This is not a quote; itwas reality at the Navi Mumbai Deanery Youth Day (DYD) 2018, a milestone with about 400 youth from 12 parishes. Our Lady of Visitation Church (OLVC), Nerul hosted the event on Sep. 2.

The DYD began with the celebration of the Eucharist by Fr Baptist and Fr Cletus, with a reflection perfect for the youth. Next came the Ice-breaker where the youth got to know one another, and it gave a great sense of unity amongst all parishes. Several games, activities and challenges set the tone and enthusiasm that continued throughout the event. There was an epic display of talent on stage and an incredible display of energy with performances of singing, dancing, beat boxing, mime, skit, painting, Fashion Show and Cup Song.

Who better than to showcase the talent of our very own Navi Mumbai Deanery youth, Clyde Fernando and Selwyn Santamajor (a.k.a. Not The Acoustic Average) – two youth whose journey began from the NMD DYD stage. This unique performance got everyone on the dance floor, and set the mood for the DJ and the youth to end the event with unmatched energy.

DYD 2018 gave everyone memories to treasure for years to come. We thank Fr Baptist (Deanery Youth Coordinator), the parish representatives and all youth of Navi Mumbai for their active participation in the event.

Rev. Fr D G D'almeida Educational Fund

Once again this year, the Rev Fr D G D'Almeida Fund has announced its annual Awards for Academic Excellence 2017-2018. These Awards to students of the East Indian community recognise and felicitate selfless individuals and students who have merited excellence in their academic fields. The purpose is to encourage the students of the E I community to impact on the quality of changing lives forever, to encourage these students to pursue further studies and to give community recognition and reward for their academic performance, and to those students who have the potential to bring far-reaching efficiencies and to those who have kept their future careers in focus.

Those interested in details may call the Fund Secretary, Ms Rodrigues on 2600 2971/ 97694 22921 at the earliest.


"Come away with me for a while. (Mk 6:31)" The Jesuits at Vinayalaya are offering a Silent Retreat from Friday, Sept. 21 (8 am) to Sunday, Sept. 23 (4 pm) at Vinayalaya, Andheri (E). The Retreat will include input sessions, personal prayer time and individual spiritual guidance. For details and registration contact 26871975 or vinayrethouse@gmail.com

Weekend Residential Retreat: The Shrine of the Infant Jesus, Nashik invites you to a weekend residential retreat: Sept. 29 – 30 (Sat-Sun). Theme: 'Jesus, my life and light'. Preacher – Fr Errol Fernandes SJ, Vice Principal, St Xavier's College, Mumbai. Call Wason to confirm: 73503 74138.

Atma Darshan
1. Stress Management : Sept. 28 - 30
2. Empowerment Retreat for Widows : Oct. 5 - 7
For Registration & Inquiry, contact: Gyan Ashram Campus, Mahakali Caves Road, Andheri (E), Mumbai - 400 093.
Tel : (0091) (022) 2836 3120/ 2824 2419. Mobile : (+91) 97696 94422