Friday, 8 December 2017

World Disability Day at Seva Kendra Calcutta

-Stephen Gonsalves

Kolkata: Disability Day, or the International Day of People with Disability, is a day that has been promoted by the United Nations since 1992. Seva Kendra Calcutta held a confluence of persons with disability from Missionaries of Charity Shanti Dan and other communities with whom Seva Kendra Calcutta is engaged in. The aim of Disability Day, held on December 3 2017 was to encourage a better understanding of people affected by disability, together with helping to make people more aware of the rights, dignity and welfare of disabled people, and how one can contribute to caring for them.

Sr. Karuna M.C. from Shanti Dan shared her experience in caring for people with disabilities as well as raise awareness about the benefits of integrating disabled persons into every aspect of life - spiritual, social and cultural. At the start of the evening’s programme Fr Franklin Menezes, Director of Seva Kendra Calcutta stated that Disability Day is not concerned exclusively with either mental or physical disabilities, but rather encompasses all known disabilities, from Autism to Down syndrome to Multiple Sclerosis all of which requires compassion and healing. Shanti Dan residents  comprising of 45 girls with various disabilities, performed cultural activities spiritual songs, dance and skits, which were ably led by Sister Superior of Shanti Dan.

At the start of the programme Fr Franklin Menezes stated that Seva Kendra Calcutta was launching the constructing a full-fledged residential center for those who are physically challenged. This center would be residential one with all facilities for rehabilitation, education, medical treatment and social  integration. The center, to be located on the outskirts of Kolkata, already has available land which has been donated by another organization called Swanirbhar. At this event “Dus Ka Dum” was launched which is a local fundraising event by all who are interested in this venture. Each coupon is priced at Rs.10 and hence the name. The first brick for the foundation was also presented at this occasion. The same will be blessed by His Grace Archbishop Thomas D’Souza on the day the foundation will be laid.

The Chief Guest for the evening was Rotarian Ms. Lovina Khan, Managing Trustee of Open Arms Education Trust; who stated that she would fully support such a venture by Seva Kendra Calcutta and committed to donate Rs.10,000 from Open Arms Education Trust. Others who donated for the cause were Guests of Honor Mr. Sharik Khanand Mr. Shamir Alam. A large gathering of the staff of Seva Kendra Calcutta and many of the others from the neighborhood communities participated at this event, which was another milestone for Seva Kendra Calcutta.


KAIROS 2017

- Subhodeep Biswas

Dum Dum: On the 2nd of December December, Mother Teresa’s Church, Dum Dum, hosted aninter parish fest named “KAIROS” meaning ‘opportune time’ or ‘time of grace.’

The day began with a prayer by Fr. Devraj Fernandes, the YCS Chaplin of Kolkata Diocese, then followed a time of praise and worship led by a national band “Bridge ‘000.” Fr. Sudhir Nayak, the parish priest of St. Damien’s Church, Dum Dum, gave the key note message and Fr. Joachim Ekka, the Chaplin of JY West Bengal declared the event open. Around 200 youth came for the event and took active participation in one way or the other. All the priests, including Fr. Jesu Rechahar from Christ the King parish, were present during the Eucharistic Celebration with Fr. Devraj Fernandes as the main celebrant. The ICYN West Bengal & Sikkim president, Mr.Alex Hembrom and the Kolkata Diocese president, Mr. Jovita Ekka were also present and showcased active participation.

The day also witnessed the performance of Mr. Nizel Samuel, the lead singer of the gospel band, ‘The Desert Voice’ (he was also one of the judges for the singing competition). After a full-day of intense competition, fellowship and laughter, Infant Jesus Church, Behala emerged as the winners while Our Lady of Happy Voyage, Howrah were the runners up. The perfect icing on the cake was the guest performance by Bridge ‘000. This was the first time in Kolkata where a national band has performed in an inter-parish fest.


Monday, 27 November 2017

Ranaghat rape, dacoity convicts do not deserve mercy: Judge

UCAN 

Kolkata: A Kolkata court today sentenced a Bangladeshi man to imprisonment till death for raping a 72-year old nun during a dacoity at a convent in West Bengal's Ranaghat town two years back.

Six convicts sentenced to varying jail terms in a rape and dacoity case did not deserve any mercy, Kolkata sessions court judge Kumkum Sinha said, pronouncing the quantum of punishment.

They committed the 'heinous' crime of vandalizing a place of worship and committing sexual atrocities on an aged nun at the Jesus and Mary Convent at Ranaghat in Nadia district in 2015, the court said. Quoting from Oscar Wilde's 'The Selfish Giant', the judge said Jesus Christ, in the guise of a child, had told the giant that 'these are the wounds of love,' when inquired about inflicted wounds on his palm and feet.

"But in this case, these are not the wounds of love and the convicts do not deserve mercy," Judge Sinha said while sentencing the six convicts.

Observing that the spirit of probation was not applicable to any of the convicts, Sinha said, "There can be no mercy to someone who destroyed the virginity of a nun and to those who vandalized a place of worship."

In her order, the judge noted that the convicts had been accused by the West Bengal CID, the investigating agency, of ransacking and looting the convent for nearly three to four hours during the night of March 14, 2015.

The observations came after five of the six convicts claimed that they were from financially downtrodden families and had children and aged parents to take care of and pleaded for a shorter imprisonment term. Nazrul Islam, who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment till death for the rape of the nun, did not say anything before the pronouncement of the sentence. Stating that the age of all the convicts, apart from Gopal Sarkar, was between 25 and 32 years, the defense counsel prayed for leniency and a chance for rectification. Public prosecutor Dipak Ranjan Ghosh, however, pleaded for maximum sentence to all the convicts owing to the nature of the crime committed.

Stating that the crime was a unique incident given its nature, Ghosh said, "The way the 'tabernacle' (portable shrine) and the prayer hall at the convent were ransacked, it was an insult to their religion." After hearing both the defense and prosecution, the judge pronounced the quantum of sentence. 


Platinum Jubilee Celebration of MSMHC at Ichapur

- Janis Norris

Ichapur: 24th October, 2017, a Solemn Eucharistic Celebration was held to mark the completion of 75 years of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC). The Eucharistic Celebration was presided over by Fr. Dominic Gomes , Vicar General of Kolkata Archdiocese along with 10 other Con-celebrants. Sr. Molly James (Provincial), in her introduction, shared about the solemnity of the Foundation Day of the Congregation. Sr. Molly said, “We fondly remember our beloved Founder and pioneer Sisters who gave themselves for the Congregation and its Mission. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain. This is true in the life of our Founder and pioneer Sisters”.

Our beloved Founder’s Episcopal motto was “Apostle of Christ” which he lived by, till the end. Just after a year of his vibrant missionary life as pastor and shepherd of Krishnagar, he was transferred as the second Bishop of Shillong. The 34 years of his life as a Bishop, in the vast area of the Assam mission, he constantly encountered the cross of Christ.

As we celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of our Congregation, we humbly stand before the Lord with hearts filled with sincere gratitude for having given us life and nurtured us with his providential care for a span of 75 years.

Fr. Dominic Gomes, in his homily, lifted up praises to God, with grateful hearts of all those present on this auspicious occasion and sang praises of His goodness. God has bestowed on the congregation, vocations and the consecrated life of the Sisters. He shared that on this solemn Eucharistic Celebration, all were fortunate to have with them Sr. Nellie Kujur, who had completed 25 years of religious life faithfully. He extended his deepest thanks  and sincere appreciation for keeping alive the spirit and charisma of the Congregation in accordance with the wish of the Father and Founder Venerable Stephen Ferrando through the turbulent sails of difficulty. Fr. Dominic added, “This memorable anniversary impels us to congratulate you, dear Sr. Nellie, with all our hearts for the 25 of years you have served His people. We recall to our minds the diligent exercise of your apostolic mission; over and above you have contributed much to the congregation and towards the growth of the Church especially in the Diocese of Darjeeling.

                     


On behalf of the Archbishop Thomas D’Souza, Fr. Dominic thanked the MSMHC for their continued service to the Archdiocese by providing full timers to be in charge of the Small Christian Communities Office over the years, namely Sr. Rita, Sr. Meena and now Sr. Gulab.

After the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration, there was a cultural program organized by the children who brought cheer, vibrancy and color to the Occasion. 

A New Provincial Superior for the Society of St. Paul

- Fr Dominic Savio D’Silva


Rev. Fr Varghese Gnalian is the new Provincial Superior of the Indian Province of the Society of St Paul. He assumed the responsibility during the XVIIth Provincial Chapter held in Bengaluru from 29th October to 7th November, 2017, with the theme “I do everything for the Gospel.”(1 Cor. 9 : 23)

The Superior General of the Congregation, Rev. Fr. Valdir Jose de Castro, and three of the General Councillors were present during the entire duration of the Chapter which elected Fr. George Chathanatt, Fr. Dominic Savio D’Silva, Fr. Jikson Mullas Seril and Fr. Michael John the Provincial Councillors. The Chapter, recalling the words of the Founder unanimously resolved to be fully attentive to the signs of the times, and use the new languages of communication, to reach all with the Gospel message, especially the poor and those living in periphery.

The Society of St Paul was founded by Bl. James Alberione on August 20, 1914, at Alba, in North Italy. The Indian Province that carries out its apostolate, using the fastest means of communication including multi and digital media, has 14 communities in India, four communities in Nigeria, one each in Great Britain and Ireland.

Jesuit Among Leaders Awarded for Social Change

-Matters India

Kolkata: Jesuit Father Irudaya Jothi has been nominated for this year’s Kolkata NGO’s Leadership Awards. The award, given on the World CSR ( Corporate Social Responsibility) Day, recognizes leaders who have made a change as a strategic tool for sustainable growth. The leaders who are impactful and have faith in a MAD (Making A Difference) approach to their work will befeted on November 8 at Taj Bengal-Kolkata.

Father Jothi directs Udayani Social Action Forum, the social justice arm of the Calcutta Jesuit province. It serves as a link between the Jesuit social apostolate in India and the priorities of the Jesuit Conference of the South Asian Assistance. An independent research team proposed his name to the chief juries who picked up his name for the award, said the secretary of the CSR. 
The criteria for selection are a person’s ability to incorporate ethical values, develop responsible leaders and communities in environmental protection. The person can provide strategic perspective and build collaborate relationships, mobilize effective and sustainable resources to support programs and project works. He or she has to support local communities, demonstrate e fficient mana g ement of financial and human resources, foster good governance practices, maintain transparency and accountability.

Corporate social responsibility is a global form which functions as a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensure it's active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards and national or international. Father Jothi joined the Society of Jesus in 1987 at Dhyan Ashram. After completing B.A. Political Science (honors), did studied philosophy at Sacred Heart College, Chennai, and theology at Vidyajyoti College, Delhi. He was ordained a priest on December 22, 2002 at Nangathur.

He has a Master of Social Work from Bombay University. He has worked as the state animator of the All India University Federation West Bengal. He became the director of Udayani in 2007. For about 18 years, Father Jothi stayed in rural villages in the Burdwan, Hooghly and 24 South Parganas districts of West Bengal. This helped him understand the struggles and pains of villagers. His organization involves in Rights-based movements to bring social changes. Realizing that women are the most suited vehicle of this transformation, Udayani has set up Self Help Groups of women in rural West Bengal. These women have become a force to reckon with in their villages especially to implement the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA )and National Food Security Act (NFSA). The women have lobbied for the enactment and implementation of these acts in their villages and even gone to the national capital and other places to press their demand along along with network partners from all over the country.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Hundreds watch musical on “Apostle of Shillong”

-Matters India



Shillong: A historical musical drama on Father Constantine Vendrame, the first Salesian missionary to northeastern India was staged at a major seminary in Shillong, capital of Meghalaya state. More than 1,500 people witnessed the musical staged for three consecutive days from October 19 at Sacred Heart Theological College (SHTC), Mawlai, a Shillong suburb.

“He is one of the greatest missionaries God has ever sent to our land. We cannot explain much about him within this few hours. And the new generation may not know much about this man but through this play we surely hope to learn something about him,” said Meghalaya’s Urban Affairs Minister R V Lyngdoh. Lyngdoh after watching the program.

The original script and music score of Father Barnes Mawrie, the college president, and the artistic direction of Brother Jomon Augustine brought alive the Italian missionary, who came to Shillong in 1924. He is known a s the ‘Apostl e of Shillong’ and the pioneer of Catholicism in the region.

The director of the play acknowledged, “It’s a great pleasure to direct and stage this drama on great missionary like Fr. Vendrame, whom people appreciate so much, especially in areas where he had evangelized.” Sylvester Kurbah, headman Mawlai Phudmuri, in his speech recalled the contribution of Fr. Vendrame for the advancement of Khasis in Shillong.
Khasi is one of the major tribes in Meghalaya. Father Vendrame “had contributed a lot for Khasi people here in Shillong both spiritually and intellectually. In the beginning, he built a small chapel at Mawlai but now it has turned into a holy shrine. We need to pray for the speedy cannonization of Father Vendrame. He left his home and family for the betterment of Khasi people in here,” he added. The Sacred Heart seminary brings out a musical drama every two years. The next musical drama will be in 2019.

Father Vendrame is now a Servant of God, the first step in the four-stage canonization process. He was born at San Martino di Colle Umberto, in the Treviso region of Italy in 1893. It was said at his death in 1957 that he died of over exhaustion. He toured the length and breadth of the Khasi-Pnar land and reached out even to the remotest villages.
He became a household word among Khasis in northeastern India, reports Donboscoindia.com. After his return from Arcot in 1951, he was assigned to Mawkhar, a stronghold of the Methodists. In those days, no Catholic priest could walk through this area without being insulted or threatened. ”He was our St. Francis Xavier,” hailed Monsignor Louis Mathias, the first Catholic bishop of Shillong.

Inter Religious Prayer Service on Diwali

- M. S. Arockaiasamy SJ

Kolkata: An Inter-Religious prayer service on Diwali was organized by the Inter Religious Dialogue and Ecumenical Commission of the Kolkata Archdiocese on 18th October at Xavier’s College. Originally it was planned to take place in front of the iconic Francis Xavier’s statue of the college but due to a light shower prior to the service, it was held in front of the Statue of Our Lady. Fr. Timir Singha S J, the convener of commissions set the ba ll rolling with his sacerdotal blessing and with the reading from Vatican II document which underlined the importance of recognizing the seed of the truth in the other religious traditions.

Thereafter after hymns pertaining to the meaningfulness of light by the Prabhu Jisu Girjia choir filled the audience with the sense of reverence. Representatives from Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Christianity read from their respective scriptures the meaningfulness of light and the presence of the divine in the form of light. Earlier Mr. Dipankar Basu inspired the congregation with his insight on the meaningfulness of celebrating Diwali, an occasion when the humanity makes a comprehensive offering of oneself to the divine. 

Bishop Linus Gomes and other representatives lit the ceremonial lamb symbolizing the Divine Light and paid homage on behalf of the congregation. The ceremonial lamb emanated the true spirit of Diwali Light upon the congregation consisted of Priests, Religious leaders and laity.

Bro. Chintamani Das sj, a coorganizer, led the congregation in to the contemplation of introspecting oneself to figure out the evil forces operative in oneself and uprooting them by imbibing the spirit of purity and goodness. The choir group sang intercessory prayers beseeching the Almighty to bestow upon the entire humanity the blessings of divine goodness to counter the evil forces operative in the universe.

Miss. Disha Patra enacted in a dance form the ceremonial worship of the Eternal Light to the tune of the Rabindra Sangeet ‘Alo Amar Alo...’. Then the congregation was invited to light hundred twenty Diyas placed around the ceremonial lamp. They then placed the diyas in the college premises wherever was the shade of darkness to make the Divine Light to envelop the universe. Fr. Probal Gomes SJ made the service joyful and sweet by serving the congregation with the traditional Diwali Ladoos.


Centenary Celebrations of the Apparitions of Our Lady

- Sylvester D'Costa



Kolkata: The year 2017 has been the monumental jubilee year as it marks the completion of century after the apparition of Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima to the three shepherd children, where they experienced six apparitions between 13th May and 13th October, 1917. Fatima Parish, C.I.T Road, has been proud to celebrate the centenary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima by organizing various events throughout this year under the aegis of the Fr. Mukul Mondal C.Ss.R, the Parish Priest, other clergy and resource persons of the parish.

The year featured Family Day celebration, Healing Service for the sick by Vincentian Fathers, Couples’ Day, Senior Citizen’s Day, English Lenten Mission preached by Fr. George Puthenpura C.Ss.R and Fr. Patras Mundu C.Ss.R, with home visits and enriching talk for our spiritual refurbishment, Bengali Lenten Mission, preached by Fr. John Babu Halder, Fr. Amar Bagh and Fr. Pradeep Mondal to enrich us morally and spiritually, a free medical camp and low cost blood tests, nine day Divine Mercy Novena, a candle light procession and Eucharistic participation on 13th May, with the inspiration of His Grace who celebrated mass with other priests, a day of adoration and Rosary on 31st May, nine day novena to the Holy Spirit before the Pentecost, a day of retreat for the youth, Tridum to mark the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the launch of quarterly parish newsletter, Inter-parish Marian Quiz com-petition, Inter-parish singing competition both solo and group songs.

Finally the celebration of the centenary has been brought to a close with the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the parish feast on 8th October with a procession and con-celebration of the Eucharist presided over by His Grace Thomas D’Souza, after a nine day Novena from 29th September to 7th October, both in Bengali and English.

The Bengali novena was preached by Fr. John Babu Halder, Fr. Amar Bagh and Fr. Pradeep Mondal and English novena preached by Fr. Poly Antony C.Ss.R. During the Eucharist celebration His Grace also administered the Sacrament of Confirmation on fifty youngsters. Vote of thanks was given by Sylvester D’Costa, secretary, Parish Council, for all those instrumental making the yearlong celebration fruitful and presentation of bouquet to His Grace and certain clergy members. At the end packets of snacks were served to all who were present on the grand finale.

Thereafter a fellowship dinner was partaken in the company of His Grace, the clergy, the religious, parish council and finance commit-tee members, other action group members, benefactors and sponsors amidst interactions.

Five Catholic Universities to address future of India’s Higher Education

-Matters India



Darjeeling : Kolkata will host a national colloquium on “Future of Christian Higher Education and Contemporary Transitions in India” on November 16 to launch the 80th year of Salesian College Sonada.

“For the first time, the event will witness five Catholic universities of India in colloquium, ” Principal of Salesian College Dr. George Thadathil told Matters India October 22. The event will be held at Don Bosco School Park Circus in Kolkata. Father Thadthil adds, “The topic is pertinent in the contemporary educational scenario in India and the rising number of subtle attempts in the saffronization of educational establishments in the country.”

He expressed the hope that, “the colloquium while exposing the alarming trends in higher education will also inspire a growing number of Christian Institutions of educational excellence to upgrade themselves to serve minorities and marginalized groups.” Salesian College Sonada, Darjeeling with a campus in Sliguri planes, a constituent college of North Bengal University, has applied for Autonomous status since two years.

The Catholic Universities invited to participate in the colloquium include: Assam Don Bosco University Guwahati, Christ University Bangalore, St Xavier University Bhubaneswar, St Xavier University Kolkata, and St Joseph University Kohima, Nagaland. The colloquium will discuss topics such as: Mission in Higher Education and Contemporary Trans itions in India; Church’s Social Concern and Challenges from Corporate in Higher Education; Visioning the Future of Higher Educational Institutions; and Strategies to Replicate Existing Institutions of Excellence into Universities. Among the speakers are: Chancellor of Don Bosco Univeristy Fr. V.M. Thoma s ; Former Principal of Delhi’s St Stephen’s College Dr. Valson Thampu; Vice-Chancellor of Christ University Dr. Thomas C. Mathew; Professor of Eminence in Sociology & HoD Social Work Tezpur Central University Dr. Virginius Xaxa; and Jesuit Higher Education Commission Coordinator Dr. Xavier Alphonse.

Three heads of leading Christian Women’s Colleges who will respond to the presentations are: Secretary of Xavier Board and former Principal of Stella Maris College Chennai Dr Annamma Philip; Principal of Loreto College Kolkata Dr. Christine Countinho, and Former Principal of Women’s College Patna Dr Doris D’Souza. Besides, being a post novitiate philosophy studies center for Salesian India for almost 80 years, Salesian College which started in Shillong in 1933 is also the cradle of Salesian university education in India.

The college which opened to local youth in 2000, today has some 1,500 students studying in 15 departments of Arts, Commerce, Computer Science and Management in two campuses at Sonada and Siliguri. The college has a third campus in the Balasun area at Dhajea which is also a Research and Translation Center.

Metanoia: Youth Retreat in the Archdiocese of Calcutta

- Fr. Michael Biswas

Kolkata: 19th-20th October 2017 were the days of mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the youth of the city as they gathered for Metanoia: Charismatic Youth Retreat at Don Bosco School, Park Circus. Organized on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Catholic Charismatic Renewal; the theme for the retreat was ‘Changing Hearts, Changing Lives’. The retreat was organized by the Youth Commission of the Archdiocese in collaboration with Calcutta Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service (CCCRS), Emmaus Retreat Centre (ERC), Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM), John Paul II’s Theology of the Body Messengers ( JTM), Young Christian Students (YCS) and Jesus Youth (JY). It was the largest Catholic youth gathering in Kolkata in recent times having more than 1400 youngsters from parishes and schools participating in the spirit filled event.

The day began with Praise & Worship led by Revelation and Jesus Youth combined worship team that brought the youth in the retreat disposition. The Inaugural Mass of the Holy Spirit was led by Most Rev. Thomas D’Souza and concelebrated by 11 priests. At the beginning of the Mass, Fr. Sandip Michael Biswas, the Youth Director, welcomed the Archbishop, concelebrants and Br. Jude Antoine, the preacher of the retreat, while the youth garlanded them with uttario. In his homily the Archbishop spoke on the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the youngsters.

The two days continued with six sessions loaded with the Word of God by Br. Jude Antoine, the preacher of the retreat from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with Praise & Worship in between the sessions. Br. Jude began with his personal testimony and how the Catholic youth are faced with different faith challenges today. His powerful preaching contained themes such as Trauma, God’s Love vs Human Love, Sin, Pornography, Purity, Effects of Media and Cyberspace, Cause of Violence in Youth, etc. After the sessions Br. Jude led the youth to adoration where he spoke on the love of Jesus. During the adoration on both days all the youth and students made their confessions for which more than 27 priests were there. The second day’s Praise & Worship was led by Desert Voice, the gospel band of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body Messengers. They made the youngsters dance with joy.



The concluding Eucharistic celebration with led by Fr. Augustine Mundakat, the Director of Emmaus Retreat Center. In his animated homily Fr. Augustine preached on the healing of the paralyzed man near the Pool in Jerusalem. After the communion, all the celebrants prayed for the infilling of the Holy Spirit and laid their hands on the youth and anointed them with the oil of chrism. The environment was charged with hymns to the Holy Spirit. As the youth raised their hands in worship; many were seen in tears.

At the end of the retreat, Fr. Michael, the Youth Director, thanked the Archbishop, the Golden Jubilee Core Committee, Fr. Dominic Gomes, Fr. A.C. Jose, Fr. Augustine, Fr. Rodney, Fr. Devraj, Fr. Bikash Mondal, the entire Organizing Committee for Metanoia especially Mr. Raymond Baptist, Mrs. Rosalind D’Cruz, Mr. Paul Jacob, Miss Meshal Mondal, Mr. Lawrence Biswas, Sr. Kareen and other M.C. Sisters, Worship Teams Revelation and Desert Voice, Youth bodies ICYM, YCS, JTM, JY,the sponsors, CCCRS volunteers, intercessory team and all the parish priests and heads of schools who send their youth and students. 

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.

Anthem

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 Calcutta.in/synod.

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
Mission.

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

Members

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.


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Synod Preparation reach final Stage

-Farrell Shah

Kolkata: The preparations for the Diocesan Synod of Calcutta have reached the final stages, before the celebration starts on 27 September, at the Morning Star Regional Seminary at Barrackpore, near Kolkata. With just a single pre-synodal meeting remaining for preparing the 178 member delegates, two training sessions for Moderators and Reporters, on 20 and 22 August,have been held for the 30-odd priests, religious sisters and lay persons who will be key to facilitating and recording the proceedings of the synod.

Synod officials have also been finalised and besides the President, archbishop of Calcutta Thomas D'Souza, there will be vicar general Fa the r Dominic Gomes, Prolocutor Father Gregory Monterio and secretaries of the synod, Bemvinda Periera, Anancia Fernandes, Sr. Sabrina IBVM and Father Jothi SJ. The entire archdiocese is entreated to regularly pray for the success of this event, the first ever in living memory for the people of Calcutta.

Churches should prayer the Prayer for Synod 2017 at least at all the Sunday Masses – you
can request your pastor to make this happen, in case not already done. The archbishop has specially requested this sign of solidarity with the Synod, as only prayer can make the synod what it sets out to be “entrusted to the Lord; established by Him.”

Empowerment Seminar - A Storm by the Holy Spirit

-Rahul Raphael

Kolkata: An “Empowerment Seminar” to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal was organized by the Archdiocese of Kolkata at the initiative of his Grace Mos t Rev. Thomas D’ Souza at Don Bosco Auditorium (Park Circus School) on the 13th and 14th of August 2017 from 9:00am- 5:00pm. The main preachers were Bishop Francis Kalist of Meerut (National Episcopal Adviser to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in India) and Mr. Cyril John (Chairman of National CCRS).

The core group set up for the purpose, spurred by the main coordinators, Fr. Dominic Gomes (Vicar General and conv ene r) Fr. Augus tine Mundackatt V.C. (Director of Emmaus Retreat Centre), Fr. A.C. Jose (CCCRS Spiritual director), Mr. Raymond Baptist (CCCRS chairman), Mr. Charles Sassoon and Sandra Singh worked out every detail and with the help of a host of volunteers and brought to light the highly powerful and appreciated Seminar. On 13th August that was meant mainly for the laity saw about 800 participants while on the 14th that was meant mainly for the clergy and religious, there were 600 only as it was a working day. The first day of the seminar started off on 13th August Sunday morning with the rosary followed by the powerful Praise & Worship led by the members of CCCRS and Emmaus Retreat Centre. Our Archbishop Thomas D’Souza inaugurated the Seminar and delivered a keynote address highlighting the importance of finding the spiritual sources within the Catholic Church while absorbing also the spiritual current of the charismatic springtime ushered in the last 50 years. It was followed by a powerful talk on the Word of God and the need for prayer by by Fr.Augustine ( Director of Emmaus Retreat Centre) while Fr. AC Jose conducted a moving adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, dwelling on the Love of God in a touching manner and proceeding on to a very tangibly felt healing and deliverance session.

In the afternoon, Bishop Francis Kalist and Mr. Cyril John were welcomed by his Grace Archbishop Thomas D’Souza. In the their talks that day they dwelt on the history and springtime power of the Catholic Charismatic renewal, emphasizing very much how Pope Francis has given a boost to this phenomenon, though earlier as a Jesuit Provincial, he had opposed it, but later became a promoter of it when he was the Bishop in Argentina. Their message to the people was that the need of the hour is to reach out to all the people who are not yet aware of the Charismatic movement. Mr. Cyril John elaborated on the goals, features and mission of CCRS- Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services. A Solemn Holy Mass presided over by Bishop Kalist , followed thereafter, to conclude the Day 1 of the Seminar. Day 2 of the Seminar also commenced with the Rosary and Praise and worship followed by talks given by Mr. Cyril John and Bishop Kalist and, addressed mainly to the clergy of Kolkata. The main message delivered by the main speakers was the need and urgency for the clergy and religious leading different parishes, Schools and social activities across Kolkata to organize more and more Charismatic Renewal Services for the people who need the Holy Spirit. At 1 PM the Holy Mass was presided over by Archbishop Thomas while Bishop Kalist gave the homily. His main message was “to be a Christian is to be an Evangelizer”. In the afternoon there was a beautiful adoration and service and an in-filling of the Holy Spirit conducted by Bishop Francis Kalist. During the entire two-day Seminar the choir created the atmosphere of Worship for the people. As the curtains came down in the evening our Vicar General (Fr.Dominic Gomes) thanked each and every one for their whole hearted participation during the two days and congratulated all the volunteers and in a special way thanked our Archbishop Thomas D’Souza and Bishop Kalist and Mr. Cyril and the out team of organizers and more specially the Salesian P:rovincial Fr. Nirmol Gomes and Fr. Rector and community of Don Bosco Park Circus for making available the auditorium  and the premises for this grand event. Fr. Dominic Gomes himself was fully into the celebration of this extraordinary “Storm from the Holy Spirit” for Kolkata that was watched all over the world through the telecasting done by the Catholichub.tv from Hyderabad, thanks to Fr. Augustine’s initiative in inviting them.


Monday, 14 August 2017

Xaverian Uses Photography to Highlight Women’s Issue

- Sudeshna Sengupta

Areet Roychowdhury, Class 12 student of St. Xavier's Collegiate School, Kolkata, has been an avid photographer from the age of 10. He had always hoped to use the medium of photography to bring about social change through awareness campaigns on equality.

The first project presented by by him was a photography exhibition held on August 5, 2017 at ICCR, Kolkata. His photographs have been used as a vehicle to focus on the issue of safety of women and create awareness about gender bias and how it leads to eve-teasing
and various forms of domestic violence. In the larger perspective this Project Unsafe, strives to focus on the need to change attitudes towards women, by which they feel safer and unexploited everywhere. Areet has chosen his subjects from an interesting array of women of Kolkata who symbolizes strength and individuality above everything else. Notable women include Aparna Sen, Alokananda Chakladar, Dolly Basu, Nayantara Palchowdhury, Oyndrilla Dutta among others.

It is also interesting to note that some of his photographs focus on simple acts of daily life in which the women feel exploited and unclean. Moments of being brushed against in a public transport, a sudden movement in a lift leading to uncalled for physical contact or a simple exchange of notes that leads to unnecessary physical touch. Areet has his friends from his school and theatre group posing for many of his photographs. Some of the photographs depict the survivors and inmates of Apne Aap Women Worldwide to help us understand the deep rooted problem of sex trafficking as well.

The photography exhibition was spearheaded by Malika Verma and was inaugurated by Aparna Sen. Areet parents hope to take this exhibition across schools in Kolkata to encourage young people to reflect on this growing social menace and contribute positively to bring about a change in the attitude that boys and men have towards women in our vastly diverse Indian social milieu.


The Inaugural Ceremony of ISC Department and Solar Power Plant at Loreto Day School, Dharamtala

- A. Gomes

Kolkata: Loreto Day School, Dharamtala, has achieved yet another milestone – leaving an indelible mark in the 138 year old history with the introduction of the ISC department. A special ceremony was held on the 5th of August, 2017, in the School Hall, to inaugurate the ISC Department (Humanities Stream). It was an honour to have Sr. Anita Braganza, Province Leader of South East Asia, as our Chief Guest.

 The ceremony began with an Inaugural dance to welcome the guests. This was followed by
a prayer service, musical presentation by the Junior Choir and a short Power point Presentation, tracing the history of our school from its earliest years, when it was founded by Mother Gonzaga, till the present moment. Sr. Anita, inaugurated the ISC Department as she announced the Official Declaration by the CISCE. Being an ex–student of Loreto Dharamtala, her speech was inspiring and touching as she spoke about the achievements of the school.


The second part of the day’s program was the inauguration of the Solar Panel. Loreto, in India has taken a pledge to make all our schools carbon neutral by 2020. Loreto Dharamtala, is the first Loreto school in Kolkata to achieve their dream by installing Solar power plant cells on its roof.So the school is now functioning on solar energy! “We, at Loreto Dharamtala, take small steps which lead to great destinations”, rightly said by Principal, Mrs. A. Gomes in her speech.



Clergy Day

- Margaret Coelho

Kolkata : Clergy day was celebrated in The Church of our Lady of Vailankanni on Sunday 6th August, 2017. A special Mass was arranged by the Laity Cell at 6.00 p.m. with special “Prayers of the Faithful” Before the mass could end there was a special prayer for our clergy and distribution of small gifts to all the four priests, i.e. Fr. Gregory, Fr. Anthony Patrick Paul, Fr. Michael Bhaju and Fr. Sujit, who is a visiting priest in our parish for the next three months. Fr. Sujit is studying German in Kolkata and has been posted in our parish for the next three months. We are happy to have him with us. A token of gratitude and love was given to each priest, who were thrilled to receive the same. After mass there was a small get together was held downstairs in the Hall, where about 50 odd people collected. We had the cutting of the cake and cold drinks. Dinner was served to all who attended.


Our Parish is fortunate to have such wonderful priests, full of zeal and compassion for the parishioners. We, the Laity Cell, who organized the program, would like to thank all our Priests / clergy for having participated in this program and wish them all the best for the years to come.


Feast of St. Ignatius adds colour to Xavocristi

- Soma Gomes & Gabriel Gomes

Kolkata: The Christian staff and students of St. Xavier’s Collegiate School, Kolkata celebrated the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola on Monday, 31st July, 2017.The celebration began with the Eucharistic celebration in the morning presided over by The Vicar General, Fr. Dominic Gomes, S.J., and concelebrated by Fr. Jerome Francis S.J., Fr. Gaston Roberge S.J., Fr. Probal Gomes S.J., Fr.Timir Singha S.J. and Fr. M. S. Arockiasamy S.J. The inspiring message based on the Ignatian thoughts and values, urging all, to be men & women for others, made the Homily by the main celebrant very meaningful and apt for the occasion.

 The melodious Choir led by Mr.J. Menezes and the meticulous planning done by the CLC Group and Teachers of the Primary & Secondary School brought out the significance of the Feast Day Mass beautifully. On the occasion the C.L.C. unit of St. Xavier's Collegiate school organised their annual Xavochristi’17, an inter- school Christian students’ fest. The theme for the fest was Pray. Serve. Love. Catholic students of 11 schools including the host school participated in this fest. The chief guest, Vicar Gen. Fr. Dominic Gomes’ inaugural message inspired the students. Fr. Benny Thomas, Principal of St. Xavier' s Collegiate school, beautifully described the essence of the fest, explained the meaning of the theme and declared the fest open.


The events for the fest were debate, art, quiz, music and dance. The motion for the debate was: In today's world, prayers have lost relevance with the youth. Loreto Sealdah emerged the winner of the debate and quiz completions and the first prize for Art and Dance competition was won by St. Antony’s High school. The host school St. Xavier’s collegiate school was awarded first prize for singing. Three schools, St. Xavier’s Collegiate School, St.Anthony’s High school and Loreto Sealdah emerged as the overall winners. The Runner Ups were Loreto House, Loreto
Convent, Entally.

The fest had a grand closing ceremony. Displaying a spirit of oneness, the host school St. Xavier's handed over the winner’s trophy and the gift hampers to St. Anthony's High School and Loreto Sealdah.


The hard work of the students and teachers under the able guidance of Vice Principal Fr. M.S. Arockiaswamy SJ made this event a roaring success. At the end of the day, there was a small memento for each and every student.....the message that each one of them is a winner!



Kolkata Archdiocese Holds SCC DST Meeting

- Dominic J. Azavedo

Kolkata: The quarterly SCC Diocesan Service Team (DST) meeting of Kolkata Archdiocese was held on 29 July, 2017 in Archbishop’s House. Fr. Dominic Gomes, Vicar General and SCC Coordinator for the Kolkata Archdiocese, welcomed the 33 SCC Animators who came from all around the diocese. The animators were thanked for the effort put in to spread SCC across the Archdiocese and they were also urged to reach new horizons and accomplish more for instance, observing SCC Day in the Parish could go a long way in reaching out to a large number of Parishioners to help them know more about SCC and join to the community.

On SCC Day, apart from the Solemn Eucharistic celebration and cultural program, there could also be a Bible Quiz, posters and banners can be displayed inside the Church premises to disclosing the work of the SCC members in the Parish and explaining what SCC is? Fr. Dominic also welcomed Fr. Rajesh Paul Kujur, OMI, the newly appointed Bengal/Sikkim Regional Secretary of SCC. After the Veneration of the Bible, Bible reading, reflection on the minutes and passing of the minutes of the DST meeting held on 22nd April, 2017, the reports were read by the Animators. The Gospel Sharing Meetings which were held regularly, with action plans under the Gospel Sharing 6th Step, the visiting the Sick. An encouraging story was shared during the narration of reports about a 19 year old boy whose name was Stephen Anthony. He was from a very poor family of Stella Maris Church who met with a serious Motorcycle accident. He was unconscious for five days but with the SCC members visiting and praying, Stephen experienced healing in his body and speedy recover y. SCC members helped the family till Stephen was on his feet. SCC also helps the lonely and elderly people in St. Mary’s Church, Ripon Street by providing jobs to the unemployed. A rickshaw was given by the Our Lady of Vailankanni Church SCC members to help generate jobs. The SCC members of Picnic Garden have also helped children with their studies. An observation was made that where Parish Priests are actively involved, the SCCs were vibrant to name a few would be St. Mary’s, Ripon Street under Fr. John Mohandas, Queen of Peace, Tollygunge under Fr. Peter Pradhan, St. Thomas Church, Middleton Row under Fr. Lucas D’Cruz. 

After the sharing of the Reports, the participants were put into groups Deaneries wise and given the lesson plan of “SCCs as Self-Propagating, Self-Ministering and Self-Supporting Communities” which some Kolkata Archdiocese’s representatives had learnt at the Bengal/Sikkim Resource Team meeting in Baruipur from May 3 to 7, 2017. The DST participants are now expected to teach these lesson plans in their Parishes.Fr. Rajesh Paul Kujur, Bengal/ Sikkim Regional Secretary of the SCC, in his short speech, emphasized that the laity should be given more responsibility in the SCC of the Church so that together progress can be made at the grassroots levels. The meeting concluded with a prayer by Fr. Rajesh followed by Fr. Sebastian OFM Conv. of Green Park giving the final Blessing with the Bible. To be self- supporting, the DST members arranged a paid breakfast and lunch. Thanks to Sybil Azavedo, Roselyn Miles, Juana Bramblebee and Lidwina Alphonso for arranging a delicious breakfast and lunch.


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