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.


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

ZAPping our Archdiocese to greater heights

Brief reports, Deanery-wise from the ASCC on the ZAP events of 04.07.2015 are carried below. Next week the reports of the ZAP events of 18.07.15 will be carried here.

Kolkata Deanery

The Zonal level of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan Animation Programme was held for Zone III and Zone IV at Archbishops House, July 4, 2015.
A total of nine parishes from the Kolkata deanery attended the programme: Church of Our Lady of Vailankanni, Picnic Garden; St Thomas’s Church, Middleton Row; Auxilium Parish, Gobra; Cathedral of the Most Holy Rosary, Murgihata; Church of Christ the King, Park Circus; Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Dharamtala; Queen of Peace Church,Tollygunge;  St. Mary’s Church, Ripon Street and St. Patrick’s Church, Fort William. About ninety persons in all.

As during the event for Zone I and II, 27 June, 2015, six commissions working papers was presented by an animator, having an expertise in the selected sector. Sessions was presented in a scientific manner - the first section of all the sessions introduced the area of the paper, the sessions then moved on to the “light situations” (present positive in each sector,) thereafter an attempt was made to look into the drawbacks or the “shadow situations”. To combat the drawbacks of each sector, sessions were concluded with goals contained in an action plan. Each session was followed by a seven-minute question-answer-discussion, where the audience queried, and also gave their view points to the respective animators.

The programme started at 9: 40 a.m. with an invocation to the Holy Spirit by Rev. Fr. Vincent Lobo, Dean of Kolkata. He then introduced the various speakers before handing over the proceedings of the day to moderator, Ishita Chowdhury.

Sr. Mary D’Souza, presented the Pastoral Plan paper on Ecumenism & Inter-religious dialogue. Linking the Ecumenical movement to the inter-religious dialogue she emphasised that in India’s multi-religious and cultural milieu, the Church wants to promote inter-religious dialogue, by identifying the common, acknowledging the differences and identifying areas of appreciation. When a parishioner asked “how was it that non-Christians came to our Church ceremonies, but we never took part in their pujas?” the answer emerged from the group itself – while acknowledging the good in our non–Christian brothers and sisters, we cannot  forget our faith by adopting their practices.

Sr. Joicy Maddassery presenting the Pastoral Plan Paper on Education and Culture, quoted Pope Francis, that education is very important for the formation of free responsible human beings. According to the Second Vatican Council she mentioned that the Catholic school has as its aims the critical communication of human culture and the total transformation of the individual. To increase Christian values in schools it was suggested that all Catholic schools must be made aware of the All India Catholic Education Policy 2007 and the Archdiocese Pastoral Plan and organise seminars and workshops to motivating teachers and stakeholders.

The next presentation was taken up Dr. Mary D’ Cruz, on Health. Health is all round well- being of an individual; not just physical wellness. She then pronounced that 95% of the world suffers from health problems and therefore health is a major sector that cannot be avoided. Quoting various sections of the Holy Bible she showed how sickness, disease, health were recurring motifs in it. She spoke of Christian values in health care and highlighted Christ’s work among the sick.

Post a ten minute tea break, Ms. Bemvinda Pereira led the next session presenting on the Pastoral Plan Paper on Laity, she informed the audience of the role of the laity in the Church as recognised by the Second Vatican Council. The laity are in Baptism made one body with Christ and are established among the people of God, so  their actions in the church communities is necessary without it the apostalate of the pastors  will fail to achieve full success. The laity thus she said in abiding by the Second Vatican Council must work in close union with the pastors.

Mr. Farrell Shah carried forward the importance of the laity in the Church through the presentation of the Pastoral Plan Paper on Social Communications. Social Communications consists of personal communication, and through arts and media communication. We, with our Christian values, are called to be a communicating Church and using media for the Common Good. Today communication needs a planned approach and a constant preparedness as media is of a great influence in our world. He proposed that both priests and lay persons must be trained in professional communication skills to make social communication effective within the Church.

The last session was taken up by Sr. Monica, the Pastoral Plan Paper on Social Justice. She highlighted the Seven Principles of the Catholic Social Teaching, i.e; the teachings of the Catholic Church on social justice issues. The right of life and dignity of the human person who is created in the image and likeness of God, The Call to Family, Community and Participation, Family and Community being the core regions for the protection and development of the human person. Sister emphasised the ill-treatment of the girl-child and the trafficking racket. Even after efforts by many, worldwide human trafficking is still rampant. She concluded her session with a call for action rather than continuous passive planning.
By Ishita Chowdhury, Wellspring

Midnapore Deanery

Event Location, 4 July, 2015 was Kamalasole Church (Midnapore Deanery). The following parishes and institutions attended:
Kiristo Jyoti Ashram, Basinda -  17 members   
St. Joseph Church, Namasole -  Fr. Rapheal Hembram and19 members
Holy Cross Church, Baligeria -  11 Members
Sahari, Sitela -  Fr.Kuldeep Dungdung and 2 members
St. Joseph’s Hospital -  Fr Reggie Fernandes
Holy Family Church, Keyarchand - Fr. Shyam Charan Mandi   
Seva Kendra, Hijli - Fr.Basil & Fr. Cyril Fernandes

The event was moderated by Fr. Rapheal Hembram, and reported by Ms. Lily Prasad.

After Opening Prayer was conducted by Fr. Cyril Fernandes, a brief introduction was given by Fr. Shyam Charan Mandi, Holy Family Church, Kearchand, regarding the pastoral plan. 


Ecumenism & Interreligious Dialogue – Mr. Dilip Gomes said that after Vatican II, we are all united as one Christian body and different denominations should come together as one family as we have one FATHER.  The church has also been divided into many new ‘churches’ and sects who go under the name of  Jehovah’s Witnesses, New Life, Christ of Life, etc.  This has caused a great division among God’s people.  Jesus is still praying that all his children should become as ONE.  Mr. Gomes explained about the light and dark situations – the stronger side being our fight for justice for the minorities and also organising prayer services. On the negative side we lack in promoting our faith in Christian schools and colleges.

Education – Fr. Reginald Fernandes spoke in detail about Education and the aim and responsibility of a Catholic school today. Father informed there are 97 schools including Higher Secondary/ISC/ICSE/primary schools in the Archdiocese of Kolkata. Two TTC institutes and Two B.Ed colleges are also present. These schools and colleges take Christians on priority.  To promote education among the Catholics, the cut off marks are lower for admission in higher education, weak students are given special attention. Shadow situation was that boarding facilities are few and some Catholic institutions are closing hostel facilities. There was a slight murmur from the participants stating the high fees for education in Catholic school / hostel and so they have to find alternative school for the child’s admission.

Health – This was also taken up by Fr. Reginald. Various religious congregations of women and men along with other health care institutions such as Cheshire Home, Little Sisters of the Poor, Missionaries of Charity, etc. take care of the sick, the aged, the differently abled and people suffering with leprosy, HIV Aids and the dying.  St. Joseph’s Hospital in Midnapur, Goethals Memorial Health Centre in Kolkata and St. Vincent’s Health Centre in Barasat provide ongoing treatment to the general public.  The negative faced here is that there is not a single Catholic hospital or Nursing Home in the city of Kolkata.  There is a lack of facility for pregnant women and children.

Laity - We are called the children of God, continued Fr. Reginald.  Laity members have a lot of work to do for the church.  Priests/Nuns and Laity we all have different role to play and we are all equal in the eyes of God.   Some of us have chosen the life of family whereas the Priests/Nuns have chosen to serve the Lord.  The Laity people are very important for the priest and nuns, without us they cannot work and vice versa. As per canon law, we have to serve all the people of God irrespective of our caste and creed and proclaim the word of God. Pastoral Council has been formed in Kamalasole and Namasole Parishes.  Mixed marriages are more in Kamalasole and Namasole. The lay people felt nuns and priests should work with them to teach children to marry Catholics.

Social Communication – June Coelho animated on Social communication, a concern very vital to the Church in today’s society. Today different mediums are used to spread the Word of God. All have mobiles and Whatsapp, sms and can be used to spread God’s message. Formation of groups among the community, visiting the sick and the suffering, and other Christian acts, will help to build a strong society while communicating God’s love. June also spoke about Vision/Mission/Action for Social Communications – that is to emulate Jesus, the Master Communicator, train our lay persons and priests to communicate better, with modern tools, and to thus bring the Kingdom of God to all, and not to keep it to ourselves.

Environment and Social Justice - Fr Basil started his talk with a Santhali action song and at once gathered the interest of the people. He then began in Santhali explaining about the environment and social justice. He expertly combined all the various commissions in his talk.
The thanksgiving and closing prayer was given by Fr. Shyam, Dean of Midnapore Deanery. A lovely lunch of rice, egg curry, vegetables and jackfruit followed the sessions.

It was a beautiful and enriching experience to travel three and half hours all the way to Kamlasole, crossing the great river Subernarekha.

  Though there was a language barrier as the people gathered knew no English, less Bengali and were conversant in Santhali only, yet their enthusiasm to know more about the Plan was astonishing. Kamalasole itself is a thriving Parish under the great leadership of Fr. Basil Mendes and all the other priests who work for the tribal village. The priests do help them to provide financial assistance through the various Government programs for the minorities.  Interaction with the people from the cities and villages is an eye opener for both and we find there is so much more we can do for each other.

-By Lily Prasad, Wellspring

24 Parganas Deanery

Rupantor, Barrackpore, was one of the venues for the second round of PPC sessions held 4 July 2015. Around 50 people from a total of 4 Parishes (St. Joseph's Church, Barrackpore; Kanchrapara; Cawgachi; Rupantor) attended the trilingual session which dealt with 6 Commissions/concerns, Ecumenism and Inter Religious Dialogue, Health, Education, Social Communication, Social Development and Laity.
After an introduction by Fr. Anthony Rodericks and a prayer by the Parish Priest Fr. Paul, the programme began with an invigorating presentation by Mr. Dipankar Basu on Ecumenism and Inter Religious Dialogue. He used a lot of relevant analogies to get his point across and stressed on the importance of understanding common areas of the various religions, accepting differences and appreciating each other’s uniqueness.

Mrs. Mary Ghosh was next to present the Laity Commission presentation. She urged the laity present there to increase their involvement in the church as a whole and not remain outsiders and just "Sunday parishioners".

Up next to talk about the Health Commission was Dr. Shipra Goswami. Dr. Goswami spoke to the audience about the role suffering plays in the ideology of the Catholic Church while also clarifying that we can do so much more to ensure that the physical health of our community is improved.

After a short break for tea, Mr. Samaresh Pramanik took the stage to guide the audience through the Education Commission’s presentation. He used a lot of stories to put his point across. He spoke about the 4 D’s one can follow in life, Devotion, Determination, Dedication and Discipline.

Fr. Robin Gomes followed Mr. Pramanik to take the group through the plan for Social Communications in an animated and non-conventional way.

The last presenter for the day was Mr. Mukul Halder who dealt with Social Development/ Justice and the need for equality among society.
After the presentations were over, the Parishes got together in groups to discuss the action plan. The action plan basically consisted of What, Who, How and When. Fr. Rodericks impressed on the audience that they focus on what they can achieve in their own Parishes.
Overall the session was quite interactive with quite a few of the Parishioners participating in the presentations by asking questions and clarifying points raised by the animators. In the primarily Hindi speaking community, one of the main concerns was looking for a way to bring the youth to Church. In today’s world, the youth are paying more attention to social media and losing themselves in the online world and as a result losing out on the reality of their faith.

- By Edward D’Castro, Wellspring

Howrah-Hooghly Deanery

The Animation Programme on Pastoral Plan of six Commissions was held 4 July 2015, at four zones viz. Archbishop’s House, Rupantor/Morning Star College Barrackpore, Bandel Church and Kamlasole Church Midnapore.  The programme at Bandel Church was done for Parish Pastoral Core Teams and representatives from the following four parishes, under Howrah-Hooghly Deanery:
1.    Sacred Heart Church, Chandannagar
2.    Maria Sneha Sadan, Gurap
3.    Bandel Parish
4.    Pandua

Due to traffic logjam on Delhi Road, the Animators from Kolkata had to take another route.  They reached Bandel only at 10.15 a.m. and thereafter the programme started at 10.30 a.m. with an opening prayer.
After this, Dominic Azavedo, Moderator took over.  Each Commission was given 20 minutes time to give a Power Point Presentation. This was followed by a 5-minute question-answer session. Participants were given a 2-page synopsis on each Commission.
The order of the presentation was:

(1) Ecumenism & Interreligious Dialogue by Fr. Timir Sinha
(2) Laity by Charles Sassoon
(3) Education – Sr. Grace Mary 
(4) Health by Sr. MeenaTirkey
(5) Social Development – Asutosh Biswas
(6) Social Communications – Isaac Harold Gomes

All the presentations were well-made and questions answered. Two pertinent questions asked were: (1) How to develop good conscience in students (Education Commission) and (2) Why should the Laity be called in church administration, especially its institutions and whether the Laity was ready to take up such responsibilities? Question 1 was answered by Sr. Grace Mary and Question 2 was answered by Isaac Gomes in Bengali, on behalf of Charles Sassoon.

However before the PPT presentation on Social Communication, the link between the computer and LCD Projector failed.  To save time, the feedback session on the presentation by other commissions was brought forward.  The parishes formed groups and discussed the various points.  Then they came and presented their viewpoints on the Commissions including the problems they are facing in their respective parishes. They also gave written submission (except on Social Communication) to the Moderator.

Isaac Gomes, who helped all the commissions to put up their presentation, could not do so when his turn came, as the LCD Projector connection could not be restored even after the Workshop Discussion session.  Ultimately he had to make do with a speech on the salient points of the Pastoral Plan on Social Communication and participants took his message home.
After the closing prayer, all went down for a good lunch.  Fr. T.L. Francis, Prior, deserves special thanks for his hospitality and all the support.

-By Dominic Azavedo, ASCC

Detailed reports on the Workshops will also be uploaded on the website of Calcutta archdiocese,