Friday, 29 April 2016

XIII Hindi Charismatic Renewal Retreat at Church Of Our Lady Of Happy Voyage

By Mrs. Christine Cramer

On 16th & 17th April, 2016 from 8.30 am to 6 p.m. the  Church of Our Lady of Happy Voyage Howrah welcomed around 1000 – 1200 Catholics  and non- Catholics from Kolkata and other nearby districts thirsting to listen to the Word Of God. Father Victor David, Parish Priest  welcomed renowned preacher sister Falguni Faustina a woman born in a Hindu family baptized to Christianity 6 years ago and anointed by the Holy Spirit who  renounced everything for the sake of preaching God’s kingdom and his love to humanity. She was accompanied by renowned praise and worship gospel singer brother Lijo Thalakkottoor who mesmerized the crowd into deep spiritual gospel songs, both of them are from Divine Retreat Centre, Kerala. Sister Falguni has conducted many retreats at various parishes in the Archdiocese of Kolkata. The retreat was a great boon to experience the power of the Risen Lord in life.

Being the Year of Mercy Sister Falguni spoke on the importance of God’s Mercy and compassion for his children. She shared her personal experience with testimonies to make the Word of God very relevant in the lives of Christian community. Besides breaking the Word of God and spelling out the purpose of the retreat based on scripture and sacramental life. Biblical references was drawn from prophets Jeremiah chapter 29: 11, Isiah 43:18-19, Esekiel 18:31, the book of . Psalms 56:18-19. The Gospel of Mathew 13:3-4, Mark 2 :22. Mathew 13:31-33 etc.

The special features of the retreat were confessions, healing and anointing of every faithful who participated in these two days in prayer and constant seeking the love of God in life. All sang the praises of God and thanked God for his love and bountiful mercy.

Father Victor thanked the parish council members for organizing the retreat and also thanked the youth for giving a helping hand as volunteers. As a token of appreciation and gratitude gifts were given to sister Falguni and brother Jijo with bouquet of flowers. A vote of thanks was given by Mr Raymond Baptist Secretary of the parish council.

Parish Media Team Workshop

 By Isaac Harold Gomes

Sunday 17th April 2016, was a red letter day in the annals of Archdiocese of Calcutta – Alignment Programme was held St Anthony’s School from 10 am to 2 pm, for New Parish Media Teams from:

-St Thomas’ Church Middleton Row (6 members)
-St Anthony’s Church Kharagpur (2)
-Infant Jesus Church Behala (9)
-St Ignatius’ Church Kidderpore (2)
-Sacred Heart Church Dharamtalla (5)
-Our Lady of Lourdes Barasat (12). 

Total turnout was 37 including a new PMT member from Auxilium Parish PMT.

At the outset, Farrell Shah, Social Communications Director, made it clear that the programme was not a journalism course but was meant to attune Parish Media Teams (PMTs) with the communication norms of the Archdiocese of Calcutta and to equip them for reporting in the Herald and other archdiocesan media including the website Also, by the end of the programme they would have the skills to start and run their own parish paper as the first of their PMT activities.

Fr Devraj Fernandes, Editor of The Herald, and a key resource person, said the heart of the Church is communication. The Church’s mission is to communicate the good news and values through the technologies available. As an example he cited Pope Francis who is using the latest means of communication, such as Twitter and Instagram.  He said that in a parish communication, interaction with parishioners is very important. A short video on good teamwork/communication was shown, followed by a brief interaction on the need for PMTs.

Fr Dominic Gomes, Vicar General, said Communication is the lifeline and has to be in synchronization with the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan which touches human lives. Reading, writing and listening were the three key skills of communication which culminates in World Communication Day on Sunday 8th May.

Farrell spoke on the various media options available (News Wall, Newsletters and papers, Email, Flyers, Blogs, websites and social networks Twitter and Facebook). He also spoke on Creating Parish-relevant Content, Team Skills and Techniques Required for Parish Newsletters, which should follow the PREPS method - Photography, Recognition, Events, Prayer Life and Show Case - to be interesting to the parishioners. Sample newsletters Voice of St Mary's (St. Mary’s Ripon Street), Wellspring (Our Lady of Vailankanni), Kingdom (Christ the King) and Auxilium Speaks were shown, their styles and common points dissected. Anatomy of a parish paper, the three components i.e. (1) Content Creators (reporters, photographers, designers and editors (2) Fund Raisers (Advertisement and Donor mobilisers) and (3) Co-ordinators  (for follow up with printers and on circulation and sale of newsletters) and self-financing of parish newsletters were also discussed. 

The programme ended with each PMT producing on-the-spot newsletters complete with layout, mastheads, newsletter name, logos and short reports. They also shared their plans for self- funding their publications. Each unit described its newborn newsletter, promising the maiden launch in their respective parishes on 8th May 2016, World Communication Day!

Sunil Lucas shared deep insights from his treasure trove on correct communication especially cautioning on not to be swayed by social media chain messages / hypes (e.g. rumour on Pope's visit to India this October). Althea Phillips, Times of India professional, went round to each PMT and gave valuable tips. Angelina Jasnani sponsored the lunch!

Vicar General Fr. Dominic Gomes enlightens the audience

Mr.Sunil Lucas begins with the opening prayer

First steps to productivity

A sample format being displayed