Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A Wonderful Time, A Powerful Time - Archdiocese of Calcutta Synod 2017

On Saturday, 30 September 2017, as Kolkata celebrated Mahadashami, the curtain came down on a historic event at Barrackpore's Morning Star College and Regional Seminary. The Diocesan Synod of Calcutta – the first ever hosted by the 183 year old archdiocese – concluded with a solemn eucharistic celebration, which in addition to the synod Members, saw attendance by many laity from the city and suburban parishes.

Know your Synod

What: The Diocesan Synod of Calcutta, AKA Synod 2017.

Why: The aim of the synod was to consolidate data from the parishes into a viable pastoral plan for the archdiocese; through discussion, debate and finally consensus building. Concrete proposals for new laws, structures, thrusts and strengthening of the existing.

When: Between September 26 – 30, 2017, with the working days being 27 – 29 September.

Where: At the Morning Star Regional Seminary at Barrackpore, a Kolkata suburb.

How: Every workday the synod Members would discuss 4 of the 12 pastoral plan Concerns. They would formulate proposals which would be presented to the General assembly each afternoon for larger discussion and finally put to vote (voting at the synod was consultative – done solely to get the feel of the assembly).

Who: The synod Members consisted of members of presbyterial council, major superiors of congregations, presidents of archdiocese groups/organisations, APPCoT members, Diocesan directors and secretaries, all parish priests and lay representatives of every parish.

Culminating four years of effort, the synod was convoked by Archbishop Thomas D'Souza to consolidate all the input received and gains made into final shape as a Pastoral Plan for the archdiocese. Taking a year to plan, an expanded team of the existing Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan

Coordinating Team (APPCoT) designated Synod Preparatory Commission prepared papers, animated the selected delegates (“Members”) and dived into the myriad of logistical tasks such an event entails. A prayer for the success of the Synod was composed and churches were requested to pray it at Mass, for the success of the celebration, which was to be “Entrusted to the Lord; Established by Him.” A day before the synod began Holy Hours were observed across the archdiocese. Finally, on 26 September 2017, the synod members began to arrive at Morning Star. The movement of the synod was imminent.


The synod had not one but three versions of the anthem!Music for the official English version was a gift from the conductor of a Mumbai choir, the Bengali version was translated and set to music by Dilip Rosario and there was a third, unofficial version, performed by gospel group Voicestra at the venue in slow rock style. To listen to the anthem, visit Archdiocese of

Ceremony of the Scroll

A solemn ceremony marking the close of the working days of the synod. The archbishop hands over files containing the proposals come out during the deliberations to his Diocesan Directors and Secretaries of Commissions, charging them to study the same and keep ready for implementation, when the synodal decrees confirming them are issued. The synodal secretaries symbolically record the list of the files in a scroll, which is read from to summon each Diocesan head and then retained by the archbishop. At the close of this ceremony archbishop Thomas D’Souza imparted an apostolic blessing– a form of blessing associated with papal authority, and rarely invoked unless the occasion is deemed solemn enough.

Synod Diary

DAY 1, 26.09.2017

Delegates arrive. Registration. Mass. Health check up by Heath Care

DAY 2, 27.09.2017

Solemn inaugural Mass. Information session, working groups, general assembly working session, cultural program by hosts.

DAY 3, 28.09.2017

Mass. Information session, working groups, general assembly working session, cultural program by Kolkata Christian Choir.

DAY 4, 29.09.2017

Mass. Information session, working groups, general assembly working session, cultural program by Voicestra, Ceremony of the scroll.

DAY 5, 30.09.2017

Interactive General Session. Solemn closing Mass, including the synodal declaration of the archbishop. Fellowship lunch. Departure.

The synod officials

President - His Grace Most Rev. Thomas D’Souza, archbishop of Calcutta
Vicar General - Father Dominic Gomes
Prolocutor -  Father Gregory Monterio
Officiating Secretaries - Ms Anancia Fernandes and Ms Bemvinda Periera
Reporting Secretaries - Sr Sabrina Edwards IBVM and Fr Jothi I SJ


Priests - 88
Religious women - 23
Lay men - 37
Lay women - 13

A total of 161 Members attended the synod – over 90% of Members selected. Assisting the organisation were 6 non-members in the secretariat, 11 youth volunteers and 8 brothers from the seminary. The Rector of Morning Star College Rev. J Santhanam and Minister, Fr Harshvarddhan played important coordinating roles.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Carmelite Family Day

- Sr. M. Leela AC

Kolkata: Carmelite family day was celebrated on 9th September 2017 at Carmel Convent (C.M.C) Budge Budge. Bishop Salvadore Lobo was the main celebrant and he gave a thought provoking homily in relation to saint Elizabeth of the Trinity. We were more than sixty members from six Carmelite families.

Fr. Paul Thamarachery CMI was the resource person of the day. He urged all the religious men and women to be joyful people to bear witness to Christ as Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity did. She delighted the other sisters in the cloister with her simple and joyful service. She was only 26 years of old.

This year we gave a sum of Rs.10,000/- to help a cancer patient for his treatment. This coming together has strengthened our bond of love and unity .We had a meaningful, enriching and enjoyable day. May Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Mystic and writer help us love God and serve others with joy.

New Provincial Superior for Kolkata Jesuit Province

-Thomas Carlo S.J

Rev. Raphael Hyde, S.J. has taken over the mantle of Kolkata Jesuit Province from his predecessor, Rev. Jeyaraj Veluswamy, S.J. during the Eucharistic celebration at St. Xavier's College Chapel, Kolkata at 6.00 p.m. on Sunday September 09, 2017. He is the eighth Provincial Superior.

The appointment was announced in Rome at the headquarters of the Jesuits on April 22, 2017. To assume the office the day could be decided by mutual agreement. The term of a Provincial Superior is normally for six years. The Eucharist was presided over by Fr. Jeyaraj Veluswamy, the outgoing Provincial, together with Frs. Raphael Hyde, Jerome Francis, Dominic Savio, Patrick Walsh and con celebrated by nearly 45 other Priests. Fr. Raphael’s mother and 2 brothers witnessed the ceremony. Fr. Jeyaraj read the Gospel and gave a brief history of Bengal Jesuit Mission. Afterwards Fr. Jerome Francis, the Socius to the Provincial read out the decree of the appointment of Fr. Raphael Hyde as the 8 Provincial Superior of Kolkata Jesuit Province. After the Mass Fr. Raphael expressed his sentiments. He said it was a surprise to him about the appointment. Although he is not worthy for that high office he accepts it as an obedient Jesuit, and asked for prayers and cooperation from other Jesuits.

There was a brief felicitation in the College Chapel after the Mass. It was also an occasion to release a book containing the history of Bengal – Chotanagpur mission translated into English by Rev. Albert Huart S.J. Fr. Raphael declined to accept the garland and ceremonial shawl offered to him, and requested that his dear mother be given that honour first. A human being does not exist without a mother.

Fr. Raphael Hyde was born in Behrampur in a devout Catholic family on October 24, 1963. He joined the Novitiate at Dhyan Ashram on June 30, 1983. He was ordained Priest on October 30, 1998 and made his final profession in the Society of Jesus on August 15, 2014. He held the post as Mission Treasurer of the Catholic Mission of Western Bengal for a few years. After he was released from the post of the Treasurer, he was sent to Ranchi to take BEd course at St. Xavier’s College, Ranchi, Jharkhand. After completing the B.Ed., he returned to Kolkata and was posted at St Lawrence High School.

Later on he was appointed Rector of St Lawrence High School Jesuit Community. The Master told him “friend, why are you here, go higher”, and lo and behold he bowed his head accepted the appointment. Fr Raphael is a man of few words but lot of actions. He is ready to render any service at any time. We find him we a ring the religious habit the cassock at all times. He is always cheerful. We wish him all success and God’s blessings in his new mission.

First Holy Communion at St. John's Church

-Sr. Rosemary S.J.C

Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady and Independence Day were celebrated in St. John’s Church on 15th August 2017.

The usual High Mass and hoisting of the National Flag conducted by the youth of the parish was participated by a large number of parishioners. Along with these two events, another celebration also marked the day’s festivity. That was the First Holy Communion received by twelve children, five from the parish and seven from the Lavinia House.

At a well conducted liturgy, the children participated in the introduction to the mass, readings and prayers of the faithful, singing and thanksgiving. At the end of the Eucharist, the children were awarded with the certificate and souvenirs for the occasion. The children looked like the angels in all white and bright dresses and their parents joined in the celebration with full of joy and gratitude.

Synod Directory and Anthem released at Final PreSynodal Members Meeting

-Farrell Shah

Kolkata: The third meeting of the Members of the Diocesan Synod of Calcutta was held on 2 September 2017, at Seva Kendra Calcutta, Tangra. The programme stared at 10 a.m. with a prayer song, led by the Vicar General Fr. Dominic Gomes on accordion.

Archbishop Thomas D’Souza’s welcome address followed; he thanked all the members for their presence and commitment to making the synod a successful one. He observed that through serious reading and reflection on the various documents, especially the synod Questions, the delegates would look deep into themselves with the power of the Spirit and know what the Lord wants us to do in this Archdiocese. Synod prolocutor, Fr. Gregory Monterio then requested His Grace to release the Synod directory, which was done solemnly and copies were given to the Vicar General and the Synod Officials present. All other members would receive a copy with attached Synod Questions, at the end of the programme.

Short talks on the synod directory (Mr. Farrell Shah), the synod Questions (Fr. Soosai Manickam) and the Working Papers for the pastoral Concerns (Fr. Franklin Menezes) were given. After this groups resembling the Synod Discussion Groups were formed and invited to share tea and get to know each other.

After tea, Mr Shah took the group through a full day at the Synod, with explanations on the each significant part of the schedule, such as the consultative votes for proposals. Within this session the Anthem of the Synod was previewed to the Members, who enjoyed both the English and Bengali versions, and asked for the same to be emailed/Whatsapped to them, to learn. Thereafter, Ms Bemvinda Pereira went over the salient points of the Synod Liturgy as well as the Holy Hours to be conducted across the archdiocese, in preparation for Synod 2017. There was also an appeal to help with fundraising at the parish level, through contribution envelopes. A souvenir would also be published.

The Diocesan Synod of Calcutta Synod 2017 – will be held at Morning Star Regional Seminary, Barrackpore, 26 - 30 September 2017 . It will conclude with a Eucharistic Celebration, to which all are warmly invited; at the same venue, 10:45 a.m.

AICUF Empowers Underprivileged Children

-M.S. Arockiasamy SJ

Kolkata: The West Bengal State Unit of AICUF –All India Catholic University Federation, held the Annual Spotlight’17 on 3rd September at the St. Xavier’s College Auditorium, Kolkata.

Rather than holding the usual inter-college meet, it became an occasion of gathering the underprivileged children to showcase their talents. Prior to the event, the AICUF social volunteers visited different centers such as Loreto House, Loreto Sealdha, Queen of the Mission School, St. Xavier’s Collegiate school, and Don Bosco school where a considerable number of underprivileged children are educated and trained in various trades.

 The fashion show based on the themes such as Air, Water, Earth, Light and Fire turned out to be a spectacular performance. They mesmerized the audience with their creativity and acumen. The One-Act play portrayed the prevailing social condition of our contemporary society. The solo and group dance and singing brought out the best of their ability with the support of the modern musical instrument. The modern western dance lived up to the present day standard. All these events were evaluated by the past AICUF office bearers.

Their evaluation resulted in awarding a prize, certificate, The AICUF social volunteers visited these centers for about three weeks and trained the children in es say writing, drawing, craft making, solo and group singing and dance and in thematic fashion shows. They were eventually brought to the historical Depelchien Auditorium of college to show cause their talents. 

At the inaugural function, Fr. Dominic Savio sj , the Rector lauded the effort of the AICUFers for bringing together the underprivileged children for an event of this kind. Fr. M.S. Arockiasamy SJ, the State AICUF adviser congratulated the AICUFers for offering such an opportunity for underprivileged children.

Not many expected that the event would be such a beneficial one to the underprivileged children at the beginning of the programme. Right from beginning, the children put up a medal and trophy to each participating school. The Past and Present AICUFers to enthralled the audience with their scintillating performance. The most appreciated performance of the day was the dance performance Miss. Joshephine Mukerjee, an inmate of the Little Sisters of the Poor. She along with twenty of her companions were the special invitees for the function.

The function concluded with declaration of the winners of the day. The Queen of the Mission School secured the overall third position and the second position was bagged by St. Xavier’s Night school. The champions were Loreto Sealdha who had put up phenomenal performance in all the events they participated. The most cherished experienced was that every participants realized their self-worth which undoubtedly enable them to shape up their future destiny. 

St. Teresa of Calcutta Declared Co-Parton

Kolkata, 6th September, 2017: On the first anniversary of the Canonisation of Mother Teresa as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, the Archbishop of Calcutta declared Saint Teresa of Calcutta as the co-patron of the Archdiocese along with St.Francis Xavier. Mother Teresa was declared a saint on September 4, 2016, by Pope Francis during a ceremony at the Vatican watched by more than 120,000 people. She was beatified in 2003. In the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Most Rev. Giambattista Diquattro, Ambassador of the Vatican to India, Regional Bishops, priests and large number of religious and faithful; the Vicar General and Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Fr. Dominic Gomes, read the official decree proclaiming Saint Teresa of Calcutta as the co-patron of the Archdiocese. Archbishop Thomas D’Souza in his introduction welcomed the Apostolic Nuncio, Bishops and Congregation. He also explained the significance of declaring Mother Teresa as Copatron of the Archdiocese.

After the Proclamation of the decree all the bishops and The Apostolic Nuncio gathered around the beautiful bronze statue of Mother Teresa and lit the light around the statue. In his homily His Excellency, spoke of the great virtues which Mother Teresa practiced in her life time. She renounced everything and embraced poverty and lived in the imitation of Christ.

Before the final blessing all the dignitaries were felicitated with garland and melodious singing by the choir. The children choir from ‘Daya Dan’ sang beautifully the hymn “Shine Jesus Shine”. They captured the attention of all the people gathered in the Cathedral. 

The Pro-vicar, Fr. Siluvai Pitchai proposed the vote of thanks. He thanked all the bishops, priests, religious and faithful for their prayerful presence. The celebration concluded with the final blessing imparted by His Excellency Most Rev. Giambattista Diquattro. Fr. Rodney Borneo, the master of ceremony for the occasion conducted with precision and solemnity.

Ms. Angelina Mantosh Jasnani worked tirelessly behind the scene to make the necessary arrangements for the celebration.Mr. Charles Mantosh generously provided for the food  and refreshments.