Monday, 30 November 2015

Sisters Of Mary Immaculate (SMI) Kolkata Province Celebrate Silver Jubilee

Saturday 28th November 2015 SMI Provincial House, 15 Gurusaday Road, Kolkata-19 wore a festive look - the occasion: SILVER JUBILEE of the Kolkata Province. The celebration began at 11 am, with a welcome speech by Sr Little Flower Payappilly, Provincial Superior, Kolkata Province.  She thanked the Almighty for His immense love and continuous blessing and recalled the day when SMI was formed in Krishnanagar 67 years ago in 1948 by Late Most Reverend Louis L.R. Morrow sdb.  The farsighted Bishop felt the need for women religious to work particularly among women by visiting their homes when their men-folk were out on work. The sisters used to go for house visits in the interior villages on their bicycles and soon became popular as “Smiling Cycling Krishnanagar Sisters”!     The Kolkata Province was formed on 31st January 1990 on the feast day of St John Bosco. Sister Little Flower thanked the founders and pioneering members for their service especially in the field of vocation to priesthood and healing ministry.   She thanked Archbishop Thomas D’Souza for gracing the occasion.

The Holy Eucharist was concelebrated by the Archbishop along with 12 priests viz. Fr Dominic Gomes-Vicar General, Fr Vincent Lobo-Dean of Calcutta, Fr Joseph Pathickal sdb, Fr John Mohan Das, Fr Albert sdb, Fr Hermil, Fr Robert Johnson and others. The choir of SMI sisters added life to the proceedings which included bringing the Bible in a procession and handing it over to the Archbishop for installation on the lectern.

In his homily the Archbishop said the fact that the Silver Jubilee was being celebrated in the auspicious Year of Consecrated Persons added greater significance to the occasion. He said that the SMI way of service was “doing small things with great love” as Blessed Mother Teresa said.  He cautioned against “Crisis of Faith” when primary things become secondary and secondary things primary. He congratulated the Superior General Sr. Lisette and Sr Little Flower, urged the SMI sisters to recount all the blessings received during these 25 years and exhorted them to forge ahead with the task of evangelization in the years to come.

There was a short power point presentation on SMI’s genesis and activities e.g. Village Apostolate, Pastoral Ministry, Catechetical Media, Healing Ministry, Teaching Ministry from running of schools to girls hostels, Empowerment of Women and Rescue from Human Trafficking.
Past Provincial Superiors and six Jubilarians were also honoured.

The celebrations ended with mouth-watering starters and a sumptuous lunch.

By Isaac Harold Gomes
isaacgomes@hotmail.com

Monday, 2 November 2015

Auxilium Parish Concludes 200th Birth Anniversary Of St. John ('Don') Bosco

By Isaac Harold Gomes

On 1 November 2015 Auxilium Parish Kolkata concluded the Marian Month and also the celebration of the Bicentenary of the Birth of St. John Bosco.  The program began with a concelebrated Eucharist at 3.00 p.m. led by Rev. Fr. Samuel Mondal. This was followed at 5 p.m. by a Eucharistic Procession around the streets of the Parish with the statues of Our Lady and St John Bosco; the Blessed Sacrament being carried on a canopied float (vehicle). What caught everyone’s attention was the youth band of Don Bosco Bandel  seminarians in their black trousers and white T-shirts. 

Then, in the open air Auxilium Theater began a cultural program of variety dance by the children, the youth and the mothers. There was also a slide show on the life and work of St. John Bosco.

The well-attended programme ended with a Community Dinner where representatives from all the subcentres viz. Nitika, Dhapa, Motijhil and Hatgachia joined in.









Monday, 5 October 2015

Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan Inaugurated in the Parishes - Part 3

-          From Archdiocesan News Network



Inauguration at St. Damien of Molokai Church, Dum Dum

Sunday, 9 of August, was very special of all the other Ordinary Sundays of the Liturgical year.  Guided by the instruction of the Archdiocese, we celebrated the Inauguration of the
Parish Pastoral plan of the Archdiocese of Kolkata on this day.

On this day, the parish community gathered half hour ahead of the usual Sunday Mass timingat the main entrance of the chapel. The celebration kicked off with a very solemn procession, complying with the general instructions of the Archdiocese, with the banners that were provided. A representative from each cell was carrying the banner signifying their role of standing with the cell for its growth and fruition in the life of the faithful of our parish. Like the people of Israel triumphantly entering Jericho, we entered the chapel with great solemnity holding high those beautiful and capturing banners. We had singing and beating up of drums with few adivasi and Bengali hymns of praise as we entered the chapel. Upon entering the chapel the banner bearers held high the banners in front of the Altar facing the assembly till everybody was in and the celebrant was at the Altar.

Followed by that the banners were placed on the decorated pews at both sides of the isles in front of the Altar facing the congregation.

The significance of the day was heightened by the presence of Rev. Fr. Arockia Swami, the principal of Morning Star College who presided over the Mass. In his homily he, very briefly, touched upon all the cells of the Parish Pastoral Plan. He encouraged the faithful to be participative in building up the church contrasting the older notion that the work of a devout Christian is to “pay, pray and obey’.  He also appreciated the initiative of the Archdiocese’s attempt to involve the lay faithful in running up of the church and their empowerment to a great extent.

As per the instruction we had composed the prayer of the faithful for each cell and sought help from the Almighty Father for the success of this endeavour under taken by the Archdiocese.


The Mass was over around 10:00 a.m. As the parishioners were leaving the church we distributed the brochures and encouraged them to go throw them and deepen their understanding of the meaning and intentions of these cells. So that, one could be an active participant and contributor towards the success of the Parish Pastoral Plan.

The Parish has established twelve cells for each of the concerns. The parish also has planned several animation programmes with the cells to animate the process of parish pastoral plan.













Queen of Peace Church Inaugurates Pastoral Plan

The Inauguration of the Pastoral Plan at Queen of Peace Church, 9 August, 2015 was a grace-filled day for our Parish. The enthusiastic Parishioners gathered around the altar for the inauguration of the Pastoral Plan. Here below we are giving a blow-by- blow presentation of the same.

1. The commentators of Bengali and English Masses respectively give a brief description of the Pastoral Plan and invite people to be actively involved in the same to make the Parish a vibrant Christian Community.

2. The Banners of each concern of the Pastoral Plan are being carried in procession to the altar by the Parishioners along with one each candle, to be placed in front of each CONCERN.

3. The Banners are planted in earthen vases facing the Parishioners for their perusal and understanding of the same.

4. After the homily the Parishioners inaugurate the Pastoral Plan by lighting the candle placed in front of each Pastoral concern banner.

5. After the Mass the banners are being taken in procession to the hall for exhibition and interaction.

6. The interaction of the concern-cell with the Parishioners interested in join any concern of their choice is being discussed.

Reported by: Fr. George Joseph


Inauguration of the Parish Pastoral Plan at Prabhu Jisur Girja 

The Inauguration took place during 8:00 a.m. and 5:0 p.m. Masses, 09.08.2015. Special prayers were offered, for God’s blessings, for the fruitful implementation of the Pastoral Plan.

During the 8:00 a.m. Mass Fr. Patrick Eaton, SJ gave an inspiring sermon explaining the meaning and purpose of the Pastoral Plan. During both Masses the flexes, supplied by the Archbishop’s House, were carried by the faithful to the altar as part of the offertory procession; symbolically offering all our efforts to the Lord as they were being placed in front of the altar.

During the evening Mass, after communion, Mr. Dilip Gomes explained the Pastoral Plan to the faithful. They were also shown the video in which our Archbishop, Rev. Thomas D’Souza, speaks about the necessity of implementing the Pastoral Plan.

After Mass, both in the morning and evening, the faithful gathered in the Parish Hall where the flexes were displayed in different booths. They filled up the slips, given to them along with the handouts, indicating the commission to which they wished to be added and submitted them.

It was a beautiful occasion for the faithful, young and old, to share and dialogue with one another their common concerns which, in turn, enabled them to make a spontaneous discernment before they decided and chose the commissions of which they wanted to be members.
The program ended with tea and snacks which, once again, provided an opportunity to the faithful to spend moments of joy and cordial relationship with one another.

- Reported by: Fr. Cyriac Sebastian SJ, Assistant PP



Inauguration of the parish pastoral plan at St. Patrick's

On 23rd of August 2015, St.Patrick’s Church, Dum Dum solemnly celebrated the inaugural mass to initiate and invigorate the Twelve Commissions of the parish pastoral plan. This remarkable occasion began with a procession which was led by our parish priest Fr. J Harmel D’Souza and ended at the altar. Banners which were held up and carried forward by the twelve members of the parish pastoral council prominently displayed the twelve concerns.

During the mass our parish priest very lucidly elaborated on the pastoral plan and all the concerns in English which was eventually being translated in Bengali by our curate Fr. Arajit Bar. After two years of groundwork and prayerful deliberation by the Archdiocesan Pastoral Core Team, the plan was drawn up on the twelve concerns namely, Christian Life, Ecumenism and Inter- Religious Dialogue, Environment and Social Justice, Evangelization, Education, Family, Healthcare, Laity, Small Christian Communities, Social Communications, Women, Youth. Father urged and encouraged all the parishioners to actively participate and involve themselves in any of the commissions for the successful implementation and proper functioning of the plan. The parishioners and the youth showed great interest in forming various commissions and participating in various activities. At the end of the mass, the procession led all the interested parishioners and youth to the Community Centre for filling up the pastoral leaflets provided to them.

This grand inauguration was successfully accomplished due to the efforts of the Parish Priests, the council members and the youth. Christ’s mission will not progress unless the parishioners who are the stakeholders of the church step forward and fulfill the key priorities and goals of the plan. So we all pledge to continue our journey as a united Christian community to make our church more vibrant.








Sunday, 6 September 2015

Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan Inaugurated in the Parishes - Part 2


- From Archdiocesan News Network

Pastoral Plan Inauguration at Prabhu Jisur Girja

Inauguration of the Parish Pastoral Plan at Prabhu Jisur Girja took place during 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Masses 9 August, 2015. Special prayers were offered, for God’s blessings, for the fruitful implementation of the Pastoral Plan.

During the 8:00 a.m. Mass. Fr. Patrick Eaton, SJ gave an inspiring sermon explaining the meaning and purpose of the Pastoral Plan. During both Masses the flexes, supplied by the Archbishop’s House, were carried by the faithful to the altar as part of the offertory procession; symbolically offering all our efforts to the Lord as they were being placed in front of the altar.

During the evening Mass, after communion, Mr. Dilip Gomes explained the Pastoral Plan to the faithful. They were also shown the video in which our Archbishop, Rev. Thomas D’Souza, speaks about the necessity of implementing the Pastoral Plan.

After Mass, both in the morning and evening, the faithful gathered in the Parish Hall where the flexes were displayed in different booths. They filled up the slips, given to them along with the handouts, indicating the commission to which they wished to be added and submitted them.  It was a beautiful occasion for the faithful, young and old, to share and dialogue with one another their common concerns which, in turn, enabled them to make a spontaneous discernment before they decided and chose the commissions of which they wanted to be members.
The program ended with tea and snacks which, once again, provided an opportunity to the faithful to spend moments of joy and cordial relationship with one another.

-Reported by: Fr. Cyriac Sebastian SJ

Fort William Inaugurates Pastoral 

With a Mass on 9 August, 2015, St. Patrick’s Fort William inaugurated the Pastoral Plan under the guidance of our parish priest, Fr. Victor David.

During the Mass which was witnessed by all parishioners of Fort William, the relevance and importance of all the 12 Commissions were read out, and each Commission’s banner displayed to the parishioners. The number of our parishioners is less – less than 12 – however, an earnest endeavour was made to earmark each member to one or more of the 12 Commissions.

We will continue to the support and implementation of all the commissions of the Parish Pastoral Plan.

-Reported by: Colonel Richard Fernandes, Secretary, 12th Battalion Garhwal Rifles

Grand Inauguration of Pastoral Plan at Stella Maris Church, Garden Reach

On 26 July 2015, a meeting with the Parish Pastoral team was held by the parish priest and details were discussed on how to go about with the inauguration of Pastoral plan. Following Sunday, a meeting was held with all the incharges of 12 concerns. It was decided that we take up all 12 concerns for the inauguration and also give explanation of all 12 concerns to our parishioners as per the plan and direction of Core Pastoral Team. But we will take about 9 concerns initially which are very important to our parish considering the small size of our parish.

Then, on 9th August 15, introduction about the Pastoral plan was given before the entrance procession with the 12 banners. All the 12 posters were presented to the main celebrant as a sign of offering to God and asking God’s help along the way.

 Specially prepared prayer of the faithful was taken up and a well prepared liturgy helped parishioners to get into the mood of being serious about the great job at hand. All the 12 concerns were explained to the parishioners with the whole process that was started in the past two years and about the programme for the year ahead.

Archbishop’s message in both the languages was screened to the parishioners. Pastoral Plan was officially inaugurated and one representative from each concern came to light the candle and then the banners were taken back in the procession outside the church and were displayed for the parishioners and the interaction over tea continued.

It was a different experience for the parishioners. All were very happy to begin with full enthusiasm. This month they will take up the Laity and it will be followed by other concerns. We will try our best with our given limitations.

-Reported by: Fr. Roque Noronha

Inauguration of Pastoral Plan at St. Patrick’s Church, Dum Dum 

On 23 August 2015, St. Patrick’s Church, Dum Dum, solemnly celebrated the inaugural mass to initiate and invigorate the Twelve Commissions of the parish pastoral plan. This remarkable occasion began with a procession which was led by our parish priest Fr. J Hermil D’Souza and ended at the altar. Banners which were held up and carried forward by the twelve members of the parish pastoral council prominently displayed the twelve concerns.
During the mass our parish priest very lucidly elaborated on the pastoral plan and all the concerns in English which was eventually being translated in Bengali by our curate Fr. Arajit Bar. After two years of groundwork and prayerful deliberation by the Archdiocesan Pastoral Core Team, the plan was drawn up on the twelve concerns namely, Christian Life, Ecumenism and Inter- Religious Dialogue, Environment and Social Justice, Evangelization, Education, Family, Healthcare, Laity, Small Christian Communities, Social Communications, Women, Youth. Father urged and encouraged all the parishioners to actively participate and involve themselves in any of the commissions for the successful implementation and proper functioning of the plan. The parishioners and the youth showed great interest in forming various commissions and participating in various activities. At the end of the mass, the procession led all the interested parishioners and youth to the Community Centre for filling up the pastoral leaflets provided to them.

This grand inauguration was successfully accomplished due to the efforts of the Parish Priests, the council members and the youth. Christ’s mission will not progress unless the parishioners who are the stakeholders of the church step forward and fulfill the key priorities and goals of the plan. So we all pledge to continue our journey as a united Christian community to make our church more vibrant.

Reported by:  Sophia Rozario
Photography: by Nikita Marilyn Gomes








Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Pastoral Plan- “ Work in Progress”-


Sacred Heart Church  Dharamtalla  launched the Pastoral Plan 2015- 2016  on Sunday 9 August 2015. The church bells joyfully pealed for the 9 am mass as the choir broke out  in a prayerful welcome hymn to usher in a  day of enlightenment for the Pastoral Plan 2015 under the theme  ‘ Work In Progress’.
 
The 12 animators holding Highlighted Banners of the 12 Action Groups walked –up in solemn procession through the centre aisle, six to the left and six to the right. The well mounted banners were dipped into singular ‘modules’ facing the congregation for all to see and identify each action group.
 
The chief celebrant Fr. Franklin Menezes then followed in solemn procession and approached the alter as the acolytes boys and girls together proudly took their places at the foot of the alter.
 
Introducing the ‘Work In Progress’ of this Pastoral Plan, our parishioners were clearly informed of their participation in the action group.  Every parishioner would renew and live a deeper faith in love with Our Lord in the new Era.
 
Sunday Mass Liturgy then continued and as one our parishioners participated. The Homily enlightening us more on how to involve  ‘The Living Christ’ in our daily lives.
 
Concluding the celebrations, a PowerPoint  presentation informed us of the progress of the work put in the past two years by the Archdiocesan Core Team  and the 12 Pastoral Commissions. This was followed by a short clip of introduction by His Grace, Archbishop Thomas D’Souza.
 
The side aisle pews were innovatively put to use and were divided, one for each action group along the length of the side aisles giving ample space for our parishioners to visit each  group after the service to enable them to collect forms and enrol in any of the action groups of their choice.
 
After the services , the banners were placed at each of the twelve sections. Parishioners went to the ones of their choice where they received an informative ‘ flyer’ of the  Pastoral Plan!
Animators were ready to share and answer queries. Many parish members indicated their eagerness to  join their preferred choice of the  Action Plan.
 
A Fellowship sharing of light refreshments then followed. A happy congregation is looking forward to coming together and being  more involved in making of our parish Pastoral Plan in the days and months to come.
 
We thank the core team in their united effort to help us live a more meaningful life in our Parish and to live Christ in our daily lives in the months and years ahead 2015 to 2016.
 
 
-          Ulrica Ann Rodrigues

Monday, 17 August 2015

Auxilium Parish celebrates the Bicentenary of Don Bosco



 By Isaac Harold Gomes

Kolkata - On 16 August 2015 Auxilium Parish Kolkata celebrated the Bicentenary of the Birth of St John Don Bosco with a solemn concelebrated Eucharist at 8.30 am.  The main celebrant was Fr Maria Arokiam Kanaga – Regional Salesian Councillor for South Asia.

The Mass began with a traditional welcome dance by Hindi Community mothers (see video below), coupled with another dance by the Youth Vice President Deepanjali Sarkar and her young brigade.


In his homily Fr Maria said 16 August 2015 was a very special day which comes only once in 200 years.  He divided his homily into three parts: (1) Jesus (2) Don Bosco (3) Ourselves. 

He said Jesus was as the Son of God was always childlike.  This attitude of his was expressed in his love for children – he would always like to be with children and his love for his Father, ABBA.  Till his last breath on the cross he showed his love for his Father saying “'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit' and breathed his last.


St Don Bosco too was like Jesus in his dealing with children particularly the youth.  Adolescence can be a very volatile period for the youth but St Don Bosco preferred to take up the challenge to work with adolescents many of whom came up in life and became Salesian Cooperators. Don Bosco who lost his father at a very early age, looked upon Mother Mary, the symbol of parents, for all his problems.  He also produced many saints who grew around him.


About ourselves each of us has the capability to become a saint.  For this we must always be happy which is not easy.  Fr Maria said Don Bosco would be happy only if we strive for sainthood.


Fr John Chalil, Parish Priest, summed up by words of praise for the Youth Group who organised the whole Eucharist and the Choir very well.   

Antoinette Kwan reported from Nitika that there was a programme for children where each child was asked to draw Don Bosco.  Their drawings were displayed. 







View Video: Moments from the celebration - dance (Video by Isaac Harold Gomes)

This drawing is of great significance as it (picture of Don Bosco with words alongside) has been drawn by one Ms Reshma Khatoon who is a night school student at Nitika and is studying in Class XII.  It is praise of Don Bosco from a member from another religious community

(Contributed by Antoinette Kwan)

Friday, 14 August 2015

Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan Inaugurated in the Parishes - Part 1

- From Archdiocesan News Network

The Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan finally moved to the action arena of the parishes on the scheduled date of 9 August, 2015 – Parish Inauguration. Many parishes throughout the archdiocese heeded the call for involving the laity in major way in attending to the Concerns of the plan. Parishes charged up their parishioners for the occasion on the Inauguration by making sure that the people were well informed in advance through pulpit announcements and banners/posters announcing the event.  Parishioners were given the responsibilities of seeing that all the points given by the APPCoT were fulfilled in the best way possible and everything was ready for the 9 August date.  

Brief reports from some parishes are given here. More reports will follow in our subsequent issues. Also, certain parishes including urban ones such as 1) Church of Christ the King 2) Church of OL Vailankani 3) Auxilium Parish Church 4) St. Teresa's Church 5) Infant Jesus Church 6) St. Patrick's Church, Dum Dum 7) St. Joseph's Church, Barrackpore 8) Our Lady of Happy Voyage, Howrah, deferred their celebrations to 16 August, so those reports will be awaited.



LAUNCH OF ARCHDIOCESAN PASTORAL PLAN AT
SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA


At Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Kolkata, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan was duly launched on 9 August 2015 – the date decided by APPCoT and the Archbishop of Calcutta, His Grace Thomas D’Souza.

Two solemn masses were celebrated in the Parish on this historic occasion – Bengali Mass at 8.15 am by Fr Timir Sinha and English Mass at 9.30 am by the Parish Priest Fr Mukul Mondal. At the English Mass, the opening song by the Choir led by Mr Morris Menezes, was fittingly “Come on and Celebrate.”

At both the masses, Fr. Timir who heads the Archdiocesan Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue, began with Christian Life and very lucidly explained the Pastoral Plans of all the 12 Concerns. (These were also very well explained by him at all the other Sunday Masses – 2 Bengali and 3 English.) He said Laity was the backbone of the Church and stressed on the active participation of parishioners who he said were the different parts of the Body of Christ.  If parishioners do not come forward, Christ’s work will not progress - they were the actual stakeholders of a parish, for Parish Priests would come and go, but parishioners would stay forever.

He also reminded the people, that in today’s competitive world, it was their duty to ensure each child in the parish was adequately educated including faith formation and health awareness. He urged each family of the parish to register their names in any of the 12 Concerns.  


A big Banner and booths prominently displaying flexes on the 12 Concerns were set up just outside the church. Leaflets in English and Bengali were distributed, with a tear-off portion for interested parishioner’s enrolment in any of the 12 Concerns. A short video on a message by Archbishop Thomas D’Souza on the occasion was also shown.

Reported by and Photos by: Isaac Harold Gomes


Cathedral Invites Parishioners to
take Pastoral Plan forward


On Sunday, 9 August 2015, Cathedral of the Most Holy Rosary celebrated the inauguration of the pastoral plan of the Archdiocese, as did many of the parishes across the Archdiocese.

 This special occasion was celebrated with a Mass that began with a procession that started from the parish gate and ended at the Altar. The procession was led by our parish priest, Fr. Peter Arulraj (Pro-Vicar) and the main celebrant, Fr. Sunil Rozario. The whole parish community actively participated in the procession by carrying the posters symbolising the different aspects of the pastoral plan and by holding candles which showed the unity of the parish community and the willingness to follow in the path of the pastoral plan.

The pastoral plan has 12 aspects or “concerns”. However, only 3 aspects were selected by our parish priest. Those aspects were Laity, Family and Youth. The three aspects are to be focused on during the year, and even while focusing on these three aspects other aspects of the pastoral plan can be touched. For instance, if the youth is strengthened with proper values and morals; then the youth will stay healthy and teach others, will be socially communicative by spreading awareness and reaching out, and they will be environment friendly and become just persons.


The youth enthusiastically participated in the choir and altar service at the Eucharistic celebration, which was followed by a small get together in the parish hall with some snacks.  The inauguration of the pastoral plan in the parish was conducted beautifully due to the efforts of the parish priest and the Council Members of the Cathedral. We hope that we can bear much fruit implementing the focus areas of Our Pastoral Plan!

Reported by: Sabrina Ma | Photos: Fr. Paneer Selvam



Pastoral Plan Inauguration in Bongaon Parish

On Sunday,  9th August 2015 the Inauguration of Pastoral Plan was organized in Bongaon Parish of North 24 Parganas, zone III of Barasat Deanery in Kolkata Arch diocese. The Function started with the Eucharistic celebration oriented with stress on the Pastoral Plan.

The entrance procession with the placards of the 12 commissions introduced the function. They were placed in prominent places. The prayer of the faithful gave special importance to the Pastoral plan. The Mass intention was for the success of the pastoral plan. At the end of the Eucharistic  celebration,  Mr. Bikash Sengupta of the Parish Council explained the idea of the II Vatican  Council  and St Paul’s ideal (1Cor  6:15) about the participation of  the all faithful in the  church activities...

 After the Eucharistic celebration, the Parish Priest, Fr. V L Paul Sdb invited all the parishioners to proceed to the parish hall in procession with the placards and to have the meeting about Pastoral Plan as announced and published earlier.  About 160 people participated in the meeting. The Parish Priest welcomed the Participants to the programme.

After the welcome speech, the Parish Priest directed Mr. Bikash Sengupta to lead the participants to discussion.  Anup Biswas, Christina Bairagi and team started off the programme with a hymn. Mr. Bikash Sengupta introduced in gist the function of the 12 commissions with examples of the present positive & negative situations. 


Action plan of 4 of the 12 commissions was presented during the first meeting:
1) “Women & Development Commission” was explained by Smt. Chhaya Das
2) “Education & culture Commission” was explained by  Fr. Joy, Asst. PP
3) “Youth Commission” was explained by Mr. Bikash Madhu4) “Liturgy Commission” was explained by Mr. Anup Biswas
 

During the discussion, Mr. Bikash Sengupta pointed out the duties and activities of the Parish Priest in numerous departments of Parish activities. Hence priestly activities often suffer the lack of priorities. There is an urgent need to share these activities.  The parishioners showed great interest in forming the various commissions and to participate in the activities of the parish as active members of the local church. It was decided to form the commissions with proper rules and procedures in the near future.





The whole function was a grand success. The Parish Priest thanked the Participants and the meeting was concluded with the distribution of tea and biscuits.

Reported by : Bikash Sengupta



Inauguration of Pastoral Plan at
St Francis Xavier’s Parish, Bowbazar, Kolkata


The church was pleasantly greeted with a more than the usual Sunday attendance, this was a result of the Church banner announcing the inauguration of the Pastoral Plan that was put up two weeks ago and also backed by a strong word of mouth about the new Pastoral Plan.

The opening song, “Come let us go to the Mountain of the Lord” specially selected for the occasion by our church choir group set the tone of the proceeding.

Father Fr. Hansel D’Souza, welcomed the Parishioners in his opening address by introducing the concept of Pastoral Plan and the 12 Commissions. He also informed the parishioners about 4 commissions the church was taking up, namely Laity, Youth, Family & Women, encouraging all the parishioners to take an active role in helping the church to implement them. These four commissions were chosen by the parish council members in close consultation with Fr. Hansel and Sister Monica Suchiang, based on the present need of the parish.

Introduction of the first 8 Commission
Soon after the Gospel, Fr. Hansel formally announced the inauguration of the Pastoral plan with a short speech. One of the Parish council members read out the first eight Commissions, one after another touching on its action plan, a parishioner held up the respective commission placard in front of the congregation, pausing briefly before slowly marching down the central aisles. Then they walked back up round the side aisles, each person alternating between the left and right aisle and finally placing the placards in by the 8 pillars, 4 in each side. The first eight Commissions read out were:

●    Ecumenism & Interreligious Dialogue
●    Christian Life
●    Education
●    Environment & Social Justice
●    Evangelization
●    Small Christian Community
●    Social Communication
●    Healthcare

A detailed walkthrough the 4 Commissions adopted by the Parish

The four commissions were introduced after the communion. The church had chosen to take up these four commissions; namely Laity, Youth,  Family and Women. They were introduced in greater detail, outlining the parish’s action plan for each of them. While each of the commissions was read out, one of the parishioners carried the respective commission’s placard and walked down the aisle and then returning back from the side aisle to place the placard in front of the altar.

Lighting of the Inaugural candle and the closing note

Once all the four commission placards were placed side by side in front of the church altar. Father Hansel lit the inaugural candle, placing it in front of the 4 commission placards, briefly pausing to offer a short prayer. He then concluded with a closing note, expressing his happiness at such a good attendance on this very special day. He reminded everyone that this was just the beginning. He also requested all the parishioners to come forward and provide their contact details, so that they can be contacted for their involvement in at least one of the chosen commissions. He also set the expectation of the youths, asking the elders of the community to provide full support, encouragement and praise for their positive contribution. He then briefly touched upon the importance of the role played by women and laity, calling them the heart of the church. After the final prayer all the placards were collected for a final procession down to the parish hall.

Tea and Snack Get-together

At the Parish hall, an information-cum- registration counter was set up for each of the four chosen commissions. Tea and coffee was served to all parishioners and a projector was also set up on the stage that played the Archbishop Most. Rev. Thomas D’Souza’s introductory video. Parishioners were seen thronging each counter, making it a point to enlist themselves in at least one commission. 




Buoyed by a new sense of energy, and in spite of a slightly longer mass, the Parish council members decided to meet up right after to assess the event and also decide on the way ahead.

At the Parish council meeting, it was decided that each of the commissions would meet up on a fixed date to draw up a roadmap and set milestone dates for each plan. A co-ordinator who would be responsible to ensure that action plan is followed in a timely manner, would be chosen from among those who volunteered for each commission.

Father Hansel and Sister Monica Suchiang concluded with a thank you note to all who had worked so hard to make this event successful and memorable.

Reported by :Sister Monica Suchiang