Diocesan News

Power to Lead: Christian Leadership Programmes

If you want to discover the answer to the question: "What is my purpose in life?", this two-day workshop is for you. Power to Lead announces its first short duration workshop 'Leading yourself: Finding your purpose' on August 24-25, 2019 at Vinayalaya, Andheri. Seats are limited. For more details, please contact 93241 53766 or e-mail: contact@powertolead.net. Website www.powertolead.net

Celebrate a Youthful Evening

In the Year of the Youth being observed in our Archdiocese, the Diocesan Youth Centre is organising an evening for all Parish Youth Directors, Parish Youth Animating Teams, members of the Parish Youth Councils, and the youth on Monday, August 05 at Salvation Seva Kendra Hall (2nd Floor), Our Lady of Salvation Church, Dadar from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. The Resource Person is Fr Rossano Sala SDB, who was a Special Secretary for the Synod on Youth (October 03-28, 2018). Fr R. Sala has been specially invited to interact with all those involved in Youth Ministry, so that the Church feels ever challenged to accompany our young people on their vocational journey.

Earth Warriors of Our Lady of Lourdes, Orlem

"How Green is your Alley?" was the theme for the June 2019 issue of our parish bulletin (REACHING OUT) of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Orlem, Malad. "Going Green" seems to be the way forward to tackle the environmental disaster happening all around us. The Parish Priest, Fr Michael Pinto, gave a call to all 'Earth warriors', those who are passionate to protect Mother Earth, to attend the first meeting of the Environment Cell on July 6 in the parish hall. A good number of parishioners responded to the call.

At the outset, Fr Michael apprised us of the fact that a global crisis is on hand, our world is under threat, and we must prepare to fight the enemy. There was a lot of enthusiasm among the participants. Several aspects of the environment were discussed – rain water harvesting, use of plastic bottles, plastic bags, tetrapacks, segregation of garbage, etc. The pros and cons were debated. Suggestions were put forward.

It was decided to initially target 3-4 areas. For this, small groups would be created which would analyse the situation, make an in-depth study and draw up some action plan. It was also felt that this fight for protecting the Earth should not be limited to the parish, but should involve people of all religions and ethnicities in the area. After all, the Earth is our common home!

At the end of the meeting, the participants were all charged up and ready to go all out to fight the enemy. And Fr Michael came up with a surprise - "eco-friendly" bags were distributed to the "Earth Warriors".

Melville X. D'Souza

Skills for SCC Animators

Organised by the Archdiocese of Bombay on July 13-14, 2019, Skills for SCC Animator's Training Programme began with the Enthronement of the Holy Bible and a reflection on Matthew 7:21-27 by Bishop Barthol Barretto that made for a thorough soul-search in relation to understanding and living God's Word in the context of 'animating' Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in the Archdiocese of Bombay.

Bp Barthol helped the participants to see the link between his vision for the effective functioning of SCCs, viz. to ensure that NOBODY IS IN WANT and servant discipleship. That 'want' was not necessarily want of food and finance, but much more – some love and understanding, a listening ear, words that soften some hurt or pain, help with looking after someone bedridden, etc. This was given further emphasis by Bp Barthol in his Sunday homily on the parable of the Good Samaritan.

The success of any training programme is the calibre of the speakers. The inimitable Adrian Rosario set the tone by discussing with the participants the 'Functioning of SCCs' – how lack of fellowship and the absence of a sense of belonging can prove detrimental to the existence of an SCC. Encouraging the participants to think SMART, whereby we are Specific in our efforts, Measured in our output, set ourselves Achievable goals, be Realistic in our approach, and all this Timebound, he had everyone eating out of his hands as it were.

Vanessa Essaki and Naveen Menezes deserve to be complimented for the manner in which they handled the 'Role of an Animator' using Puppetry. By means of group enactments, they helped us look at Empowering, Evaluating, Enabling and Encouraging as the four pillars of facilitating leadership to ensure that an SCC flourishes. In the process, they brought out the ultimate essence of the very term 'animator'.

In the session on 'Becoming a Positive & Proactive Animator', Fr Patrick D'Mello and Michael Rodrigues forcefully brought out the need to be 'positive persons', reminding us that every emotion we experience is good, impacting our bodies and affecting the quality of our life in profound ways.

Dwelling on 'Holistic Growth', the genial Thomas Lobo challenged us not to just go through life, but to grow through life. He highlighted the fact that undergoing training of any kind is not just for enabling ourselves to be of service to the Church, but also to be of service to ourselves, as in the process of improving ourselves through self-realisation, we achieve holistic growth. Ideas concerning Seven Habits to Achieve Success, Five Essential Elements of Well-being and much else flowed effortlessly from his laptop, as did video clippings that touched the core of our very being, realising that each of us, first as human persons and then as Animators, was made to live, learn, love and leave a legacy.

The topic 'Building Team Spirit' was brought alive for us by Iona Pereira and Ronnie Pereira. From listening to developing a win-win attitude, this duo enabled us to give wings to our dreams, while enabling us to perceive the pitfalls of not planning properly, lack of shared vision and failure to put in the right kind of effort. Finally, Rueben Fronteiro took us through the paces of 'Enabling Servant Leadership' according to the heart of Jesus.

All said and done, a final word of gratitude is reserved for the unassuming Michael Rodrigues who took on the responsibility of coordinating the entire Training Programme. The idyllic venue, with its vista of greenery, made the two days a truly memorable experience.

Ladislaus Louis D'Souza

Quest for a Contemplative Spirituality

The WCCM Mumbai community, in presenting a half-day session entitled 'A Quest for a Contemplative Spirituality' at the Cathedral of the Holy Name, was treated to special monsoon blessings, literally getting two for the price of one. While the main presenter had to re-adjust his schedule so as not to disappoint those who had set aside their time precisely to attend the programme, Fr Michael D'Cunha (former Ecclesiastical Advisor to the WCCM community) easily took on the role, and even brought in Fr K. T. Emmanuel. While the Old Testament prophets preceded both John and Jesus, a teaching on the practice of meditation followed by a 20-minute silent meditation prepared our hearts for what was to come. The practice of meditation prepares us to receive the gift of contemplation.

A Contemplative Spirituality is all about acquiring a new mind-set. "One cannot solve a problem with the same mind-set that created it." A Contemplative Spirituality does not seek to "solve" problems. Solutions to problems often leave us "unchanged". We pray not that others may be changed, but rather that we may be transformed.

Among the take-away freebies in this Monsoon Offer were the following:

• A Contemplative Spirituality is not about "DOING" in order to get something for oneself, whatever that may be. It is God's work, not our work.

• Vocal prayer, discursive meditation and contemplation are valid forms of prayer, and not mutually exclusive. However, contemplation remains the preferred gift to be desired.

• It is the awareness of God dwelling in us, and acting out of the awareness of that presence.

• It is non-judgmental. We sit on the bank of the river and "watch" our problems float down the river, without identifying ourselves with them.

• The Martha and Mary incident in the Gospel does not pit action against contemplation. Rather, it emphasises that our actions should be the overflow of our BEING IN GOD.

• When this happens, the LOVE of God poured out into our hearts overflows and bears fruit; fruit that will last. All other gifts profit us nothing (1 Cor 13).

• "Action" is the Spring; Contemplation is the "Stream".

• Baptism is an immersion into discipleship; following Jesus by the renunciation of SELF.

In essence, a contemplative spirituality reveals itself in CONTEMPLATIVE LIVING, seeing with a renewed vision and a transformed heart, all relationships and events that are part of our life.

We are called to make time to be in SILENCE and STILLNESS. In the stillness of the waters, we can recognise ourselves made in the image and likeness of God. From these springs of living waters, our actions that reach out to the marginalised and those in need emerge, to transform everything around us, and make it something beautiful for God.

The 70+ participants dispersed in a light shower of rain, grateful for the blessings poured out from the abundance of the hearts of both Fr Michael and Fr K. T. Emmanuel.

Christopher Mendonca