Diocesan News

The Church and Youth

Nirmala Niketan (Churchgate) is hosting yet another special session for college and working youth (till the age of 35) on Sunday, September 15, 2019 from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm, inclusive of Holy Eucharist, breakfast and lunch. Fr Anthony J. Fernandes will speak on the theme "The Church and Youth: Alienated or Supported? Understanding issues facing young Catholics in the 21st century."

Please register in advance by calling Rena Rodricks on 99699 28149 between 10 am and 1 pm.

First Anniversary of the Green Diocese Initiative

On September 1, 2018, His Eminence, Oswald Cardinal Gracias announced the 'Green Diocese Initiative'. This year, on the first anniversary of this important initiative, the Archdiocesan Office for Environment (AOE), along with the Bishop-in-charge, Bishop Allwyn D'Silva, would like to thank parishes and laity who initiated various programmes at the parish, community, and also at the individual level.

Pope Francis has established September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, encouraging the Catholic community around the world to pray for our common home. The Holy Father through the encyclical Laudato Si' invites us to reaffirm our personal vocation to be caretakers of Nature, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which He has entrusted to our care, and to implore His help for the protection of Creation.

This World Day of Prayer also falls at the beginning of the 'Season of Creation' which runs from September 1 until October 4 - the feast of St Francis of Assisi. This is an ecumenical season dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles.

The Archdiocesan Office for Environment has sent a specially prepared liturgy to all the parishes that can be used at all Masses on September 1, 2019. Parishes are also encouraged to undertake green initiatives to celebrate the Season of Creation, and participate with the Universal Church to create awareness about caring for God's beautiful gift to human beings. Suggestions include observing 'Earth Hour' in our parishes, a Holy Hour in the month of October, taking a pledge, for instance to save half a litre of water everyday. Let us all join hands in caring, protecting and becoming responsible stewards of Creation.

Fr Joseph Gonsalves, AOE

Enriching Married Life

'Made for each other' - a session for enriching marriages above 20 years was held on August 11, 2019 from 7 pm to 9 pm at Immaculate Conception Church, Borivli. The resource persons were Deacon Jaime and his wife, Ligia; they shared valuable insights, based on their rich experience on how to bring meaning and enrich married life after 20 years and more. A total of 123 parishioners participated. After the icebreaker, five principles to make marriages more meaningful and fruitful were presented, based on the five languages of Love: a) Words of Affirmation; b) Spend quality time with your spouse; c) Receive Gifts; d) Acts of Service; and e) Physical Touch. The unique blessing of spouses by each other was very sacred and touching. The importance of physical intimacy in marriage, even years after the kids had grown up, was touched upon.

Family Cell, IC Church, Borivli

50 years of religious life in service of the Lord

The Sister Disciples of the Divine Master celebrated the Golden Jubilee of their Sisters, Patricia and Cinzia, at the Prarthanalaya Chapel, Bandra on August 18. Bishop Dominic Savio presided over the solemn Eucharistic celebration.

Sr Patricia Fernandes and Sr Cinzia Gonsalves, along with nine priests and Bishop Dominic Savio, processed to the altar, holding two lit diyas in their hands, which they placed on a stand beneath the altar. The fresh golden flower decorations in the chapel blended with the golden jubilarians, and Bishop Savio noted, "the beautiful decorations of bright yellow carnations with gold-coloured streamers, symbolising the fire of love for Christ."

Sr Patricia Fernandes and Sr Cinzia Gonsalves made their first profession of faith in 1969. Since then, the two "responded to this (God's) call of Love. God called you to share in His love, to spread this fire of Love," said Msgr Dominic Savio Fernandes, auxiliary bishop of Bombay. Sr Patricia, the youngest of eight brothers and sisters, noted that her vocation was "due to the good example of my parents – their piety, training; daily Mass and the family Rosary were a must."

"After I finished my schooling, I did a course in Art and Painting, and also a course in tailoring and dressmaking, not knowing I had a vocation for the Disciples of the Divine Master. I felt a call to the religious life, as I had my sister who was already a nun in the Convent of Jesus and Mary, and my brother who was in the Archdiocesan Seminary (Fr Lucian Fernandes)."

"To discern my vocational calling, I went on a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, Bandra, and pleaded with Our Lady to show me the right convent to go to. Our Lady did exactly this, because on the way home with one of my neighbours, we visited the convent of the Disciples of the Divine Master. At first I could not believe it; it was as if they lived in a small cottage. Mother Amata, an Italian sister, was there. She showed me around the community. What I really loved was the Eucharistic Adoration and the simplicity of life, peaceful atmosphere, joyful feeling of seeing the sisters at work and at prayer. I joined the sisters on January 6, Feast of the Three Kings, surrounded by my family."

A splendid reception followed the Eucharist, showcasing Indian Classical dances by students of Divya Kala Academy. Raising the toast, Provincial Councillor, Sr Amita Monteiro, said Sr Patricia is a distinguished artist and painter. She served in various capacities as Superior of the Nunciature at New Delhi, Prarthanalaya and Clergy Home at Bandra. She has rendered her services overseas, and in India, in the field of art in Ireland, Rome, Milan and Mumbai. She has served in various liturgical centres of Rimini, Vatican City and Mumbai.

Sr Cinzia has served in various capacities as Regional Councillor and Formator. She has offered her services in various communities, in New Delhi, at the Nunciature, Aradhana, CBCI Centre, and at Bishop's House, Bangalore as Secretary to the Bishop for 14 years. At present, she is rendering her service at the Mumbai Clergy Home.

Sr Amita Monteiro concluded saying that the "life of a religious person may be compared to the building of a cathedral. Once a firm foundation has been laid, the building rises slowly. This is true with the life of these two sisters who built their house on the Rock, so that they were able to preserve it for 50 years."

Nirmala Carvalho

Younger than Springtime

At a time when the world is torn by terrorism, communal division and a host of other hindrances to a peaceful living, The Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy has embarked on restoring faith in humanity and harmonious co-existence through harmony in music, and endeavours to do this through the young and young-at-heart by arranging Mumbai and India's first-ever Children's Choir Festival – 'Younger Than Springtime' – bringing together youngsters from different socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, customs and religious beliefs on a common platform. It is our aim to sow these seeds of peace, love and caring for one another at an early age. And what better way than through song!

The Festival will be held at the NCPA's Tata Theatre on Sunday, September 1, 2019 at 6:30 pm, and the participants are Bel Cantilena (Pune), The Campion Chorus Line, Jona Domi Choral Ensemble, The Singapore International School Choir, The Singing Tree, Udayachal Primary School Choir and The Stop-Gaps Junior Choral ensemble. The evening will be rounded off by the Stop-Gaps Choral Ensemble performing a delightful segment of songs from popular movies, musicals and mega stars. The event is supported by Furtados.

Tickets are priced at Rs 1,200, Rs 1000, Rs 800 and Rs 500 (inclusive of GST), and are available at the NCPA Box Office between 11 am and 7 pm, and on www.bookmyshow.com