The Managing Committee organized the traditional Novena Services from Sunday, 22nd April 2018. Each evening a Prayer Leader led the recital of the Rosary, followed by Litanies of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Holy Cross and St. Roque before a large gathering of Catholic residents. Thereafter and on occasions a variety of other snacks were given and also the traditional boiled gram was distributed too, when friends and neighbours interacted. On Vespers evening, Monday 30th April 2018, Rev. Fr. David who works with Rev. Fr. Jackie SSS and Rev. Fr. Stephen SSS spoke to the gathering about the dedicated pioneering missionary work done by the Blessed Sacrament Fathers in the Andaman Islands. His talk was well appreciated.
The Feast Mass was concelebrated at 7 P.M. on Tuesday, 1st May 2018 with a tastefully decorated center stage and backdrop. His Lordship Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes, Archbishops House, was the Chief Celebrant. Rev. Fr. Sylvester D’Cunha S.J. [St. Anne’s Church] and Rev. Fr. Jackie Rodrigues SSS were the concelebrants.
His Grace Bishop Dominic Savio’s thought provoking and inspiring homily centered around the liturgy based on the numerous aged, infirm, ailing, disabled, home bound and less fortunate residents and families in and around Matharpacady.
He shared about developing a spirit of understanding, specially when we experience hurt, or harm in any way; to avoid judging those who are perpetrators of any form of violence is always the better way forward. Often, these very people have been affected in the past and thus their behaviour is a reaction to those hurts. A spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation brings about healing.
With respect to family life, when parents care for children and children care for aged parents in so many ways replicated how St. Joseph cared for Mother Mary and Baby Jesus. Our compassion and caring for the sick is all about fostering good will and unity in the community.
He emphasized the steadfast, humble qualities of St. Joseph whose feast is celebrated on Workers’ Day, 1st May. We should strive to emulate St. Joseph, who looked after Mother Mary and the Child Jesus as his family, nurtured and taught Him till His ministry to mankind started. By humbly emulating his example, we would be serving our own families , reaching out to our neighbours and to all those who are lonely, in need, pain and suffering. We would thus be living up to the meaning and purpose of Jesus’ teachings, sufferings, death on the Cross we now venerate and His triumphant resurrection.
The President of the Managing Committee gave the Vote of Thanks. She expressed gratitude to His Grace Bishop Dominic Savio, the Concelebrating Priests, Parish Priest Fr. Herman Almeida, Blessed Sacrament Fathers, the Choir, Prayer Leaders, St. Isabel’s Trustees, Kharwa Decorators, Caterer, generous donors and volunteers for making the Novena Services and Feast Day Celebrations a success. Bishop Dominic Savio then solemnly blessed the people Assembled at this large gathering with the True Relic of the Holy Cross, as Mass ended . Families then went to the Holy Cross Oratory to kiss the Relic in veneration and collect a box of refreshments and boiled gram from volunteers.
Resident volunteers organized an entertainment program. They honoured elders and social activists in the area by requesting Rev. Fr. Sylvester D’Cunha to present each of them with a small useful gift and certificate to rounds of applause. Thereafter, talented young children and youth entertained the audience on stage with songs and dance, individually and as a group to make this Feast Day Celebration a truly memorable and happy event. The Program ended with enthusiastic combined singing of the song ‘HEAL THE WORLD‘ by the stage artists and audience.
Compiled by Tyronne Concescio, Vincent Mascarenhas, Photographs by Stan Baptista.