Wednesday, 30 December 2009


We have the annual Christmas Youth Get-together this evening, at Divyadaan, beginning at 1800 hrs and going up to 2100 hrs. The event is organized this time by St Ann's Parish Youth, and the entry fee is Rs 50 per head.

Today is also the wedding anniversary of Mabel and Norbert de Souza. I hope I don't get brickbats for mentioning this - only, this anniversary is something personal for me, because Mabel and Norbert got married in Mae de Deus Church, Saligao, Goa, exactly 3 days after my ordination way back in 1987... And Neville Luis and I were there, concelebrating (barely, because the main celebrant wouldn't hear about it) at the mass... So happy anniversary, Mabel and Norbert!

Some of you might not know that Denzil Pinto (Satpur) is getting married in Thane, on 16 January 2010. Denzil used to be a very active member of the Satpur youth group.

Of course, Beverly Homan is getting married right here in Nashik on 9 January 2010.

The Parish Christmas Get together is, I think, on 2 January, at L'Ecole Silver Oak, Chandsi. Entry fees are Rs 100 per head for adults, and Rs 50 per head for children under 12.

The Catechism Children's Christmas Tree instead is on Sunday, 3 January, from 1500 to 1800 hrs. Please note that there is no entry fee for this!

The Satpur sector Christmas tree was held last Sunday; it was well-attended, also by the kids from the various Oratories in and around Satpur.

And if I have missed out anything, this is an interactive thing, so do feel free to send in the missing info, or to just add in a comment!


I have heard that Fr Kenny will be around these days in Nashik - perhaps in Divyadaan....

And Fr Matthew is also down - they have long winter holidays up north in Shillong, so Fr Matthew has been assigned to our parish in Yerwada, Pune, during this time. But he promises to drop in some time in Nashik.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Mr Robins in an accident

Mr Robins Susainathan met with an accident on 23 December 2009. A four-wheeler grazed his two-wheeler and sent him flying. His whole left side is badly bruised, so much so that he could not even make it for the Christmas services. Thankfully there are no other major injuries.

Prayers for Mr Robins' quick recovery.

Catechism and growth

Every now and then I find some young boys quietly creeping away from the parish after Sunday school, trying to bunk Mass.

I guess it is part of the growing up thing! So I try to keep calm, look stern, and send them packing for Mass.

Patience. And faith in the power of the relationship: that is what, people like Michael Warren and John Powell assure us, will remain, long after what we teach in catechism has become vague. At some moment in later life, someone will remember, there was this teacher, this brother, this sister, this priest, who was kind to us and who we loved.... That is how the faith passes on. That is how God works.

So all you Sunday School teachers, do your best, but don't get discouraged!

Mervyn Goveia's wedding

Mervyn Goveia gets married this evening in Mumbai. Prayers for Merwyn and his bride for a happy and holy married life!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

New Year services

Don Bosco sector

31 Dec 2009
2200 hrs: Adoration
2300 hrs: Midnight Eucharist

1 Jan 2010
0800 hrs: Eucharist
No evening Eucharist.

Dominic Savio sector, Satpur

31 Dec 2009
2230 hrs: Adoration
2300 hrs: Midnight Eucharist

1 Jan 2010
0900 hrs: Eucharist

Family, faith, and generosity

Today is the Feast of the Holy Family. I cannot help recalling how Pope Benedict XVI told the Salesians gathered at their last General Chapter that today youth ministry is not possible without family ministry. How true!

The Feast of the Holy Family is an occasion to invite all our families to grow in faith and in generosity.

Dear married people of our parish, allow the Lord to enter into every nook and corner of your lives - especially where you find it difficult to allow him. So often we feel that the faith is boring, and that the mass and the homilies of our priests do not touch our lives. Well, they do, but then the going becomes difficult. The faith touches, for example, your decisions about the size of your families.

I once asked a priest colleague of mine in Rome how he would handle married people in the confessional who spoke about family planning. He gave me a very beautiful answer which I want to share with you. Don't speak to them directly about the law of the Church, he said; they know that very well, otherwise they would not be coming to you. Speak to them, rather, of the need to grow in faith and in generosity. Because that is the real issue: faith and generosity.

We need faith when we decide about the size of our families. Faith that life is a gift of God, that life is not in our hands, and that children are very special gifts of God. That standard of life is not everything. That allowing God to reign in our lives is really the thing.

We need generosity to accept the children that God gives.

We need faith to enable our children grow in faith. Parents are the very first faith educators of their children. Your attitudes are caught by them, they pick them up, with the mother's milk.

And we need faith, above all, to let our children find their vocations. The gospel of today is powerful: the boy Jesus has discovered his real Father, and he tells his mother and Joseph that there is no question about it, he has to be about his Father's business.

The poet Kahlil Gibran said so beautifully: Your children are not your children. They are children of life's longing for itself. They are arrows shot from your bow; but they will travel where you will not be able to go. Let them. Allow them.

Your children are not your children. They are children of God. Allow them to travel their own paths to God. And if today they hear, like young Samuel, the voice of God, do not harden your hearts: allow them, encourage them, to say Yes, Yes, Yes.

Today is my 22nd ordination anniversary, and I can't help thinking of my own parents. I am the eldest in the family. When I decided to follow my Salesian vocation, my dad was about to retire, and my brother and sister had not yet begun working. It was certainly an extremely difficult moment, but my parents did not balk. They never said a word asking me to stay back; instead, from them I have received and continue to receive only encouragement. I realize now that they made a great act of faith. Faith in the God who is the giver of Life. Faith in his generosity and his providence.

My parents are not saints by any means. But when the moment of their testing came, they were found ready. I praise God for such acts of faith and for raising up such faith among his people. And like my own parents, I know there are so many others. The parents of our young brothers, for example: so many of our brothers are now either only sons, or even sometimes only children. But their parents have made their acts of faith. God be praised.

Kavivarya Tilak Puraskar for Fr Nelson Falcao

Fr Nelson received the Kavivarya Tilak Puraskar for his work on the Khristapurana on Christmas Day, 25 December 2009, at a function at Holy Cross Church.

The function - Vishwashanti Prarthana and Krutajnata Sohala - is held every year on Christmas Evening. It is organized by the Nashik Ekatmata Samiti, the organization that works for unity and harmony between religions and communities.

This year the Adhyaksa / President of the function was an interesting individual called Narayan Guruji, who is the former Chairman of Excel Industries, Baroda, and who is well-known as a management guru who has incorporated the wisdom of the West with the wisdom of centuries found in India in the Vedas, the Upanisads, and the Bhagavad Gita. Narayan Guruji shared also how he had had a vision of someone he took to be Ved Vyasa, but then later he was enabled to realize that this was actually Jesus. A very open, warm, loving human being, Narayan Guru. Good to have people like that still around in our country.

The Puraskar was awarded to Fr Nelson by the Jesuits of Holy Cross Church, the main mover being Fr Tony George, the Parish Priest, and himself a Marathi scholar, who has just completed a doctoral dissertation on the Autobiographies of Marathi converts in the Pre-Independence era.

The Collector of Nashik, and Vanadhipati Vinayakdada Patil, who were both scheduled to come, were not able to be present, and sent their wishes.

There was a good crowd at the function which was held inside the Church - mostly parishioners from Holy Cross and Satpur, with a few also from the Don Bosco sector, and a fairly large number of non-Christian friends and well-wishers. I was struck by the number of non-Christians paying a visit to the Church, and especially to the crib and to the statue of Our Lady - which, interestingly, seems to be a statue of Mary Help of Christians.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Only the Lover Sings - A Christmas Meditation from Fr Joaquim D'Souza

The great African Bishop and Father of the Church, St Augustine of Hippo, expressed the insight in his inimitable, crisp Latin: “Cantare amantis est” (Sermon 336), It belongs to the lover to sing, or in other words, Only the lover sings. In fact, only a lover can sing, only one who loves and is loved has the right to sing. When love finds its way into a heart, it breaks into song. That is why most songs in any language are love songs, expressions of the heart that exults.

Christmas is usually associated with songs, hymns and carols. At the birth of Jesus, angelic choirs sang in the heavens (Lk 2,14), the shepherds returned to their flocks praising and glorifying God (singing all the way back, I imagine) for what they had seen and heard (Lk 2, 20) and Mary sang in her heart as she meditated on all these things (Lk 2, 19). It was inevitable that singing should be part of Christmas from the very beginning, for Love was born on Christmas night.

Among the favourite and enduring Christmas carols in the English language, from the heavenly, Angels we have heard on high, to the homely, Come, come, come to the manger, and the sublime, almost ethereal, Silent Night, Holy Night, one that is most popular is, The Twelve Days of Christmas. The tune has a lilt about it that immediately catches the ear, but the words are another matter. One wonders what reference the words have to Christmas, except that they count the twelve days from Christmas Day to Epiphany. I thought it was a charming but farcical carol until I discovered quite recently that it had a secret meaning written in a coded language. The context is the great persecution that King Henry VIII unleashed on the Catholic Church after he had set himself by an Act of Parliament as Head of the Church. From 1558 to 1829 the Catholic faith was persecuted in England and its practice was severely forbidden. In this tragic situation an unknown Catholic composed this carol to teach children their Catechism and pass on to them the fundamentals of the Catholic faith. Through this ingenious way the carol could be sung openly without inviting suspicion, while only the initiated would understand the true meaning behind the lyrics. If you do not know the words of the song, you can find it on the internet, but here is its hidden meaning:

1 My True Love refers to God: The partridge in a pear tree refers to Jesus Christ
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

What is truly wonderful about this carol is that it was written and sung in a time of terrible persecution for Catholics. Notwithstanding the immense sufferings of the poor Catholics of that time, their joy bubbled over into song that expressed their steadfastness in the faith. They sang this ingeniously coded carol cheerfully, because they experienced the love of the Lord in the midst of suffering. Only the lover sings in the midst of suffering, because the love that permeates his heart triumphs over the pain. His faith and the experience of being loved are victorious over suffering and death. That is why he sings.

If this be true, then this carol tells us something very profound about Christmas. From the beginning, Christmas is inextricably bound up with suffering as it is with singing. Jesus was born in a stable on a cold wintry night and kept warm in a manger of straw in the company of Mary and Joseph, “because there was no place for them in the inn” (Lk 2,7). The hurried flight into Egypt and the ruthless massacre of the Holy Innocents are as much part of the Christmas story as are the angelic choirs with their singing. While angels sang on high, and the shepherds rejoiced and Mary contemplated in wonder, the little Babe of Bethlehem suffered rejection and became the object of a sinister assassination plot to exterminate him. “He came unto his own and his own received him not” (Jn 1,11). The shadow of the Cross already fell on the Crib, and Calvary was joined to Bethlehem.

But isn’t Christmas supposed to be about unsullied happiness and joy and peace and friendship and all the good things in life? Undoubtedly so, but at a deeper level than one imagines it to be. We are so accustomed to associate Christmas with buntings and lights, presents and sweets and Santa Claus, that we tend to forget that Christmas has a message deeper than that. There is a truer joy and peace than what appears to be so at a superficial level. It is a joy that shines in the midst of tears, a peace that endures through the pain. It comes from the realization that God has entered our broken world and taken upon himself our pain, in order to give us a peace that the world cannot give and a joy that none can take away. And it is this kind of love in the midst of tears that floods our hearts on Christmas Day and remains with us long after the buntings are taken down and the coloured lights are put out. And so we can truly sing our hearts out with all those who suffer pain, loss, disappointment and defeat: “On the first day of Christmas, my true Love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree” – Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

150th anniversary of the founding of the SDBs

Tomorrow the Salesian Congregation celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation.

On 18 December 1859, Don Bosco and 17 others - mostly young men - gathered together to pledge themselves to form a new society - the Society of St Francis de Sales. Thus was born the Salesian Congregation.

Tomorrow, 18 December 2009, Salesians all over the world will be commemorating the day by renewing their vows, and perhaps also in other ways.

In Nashik, the SDBs will celebrate the Eucharist together at 0630 hours at Divyadaan, and will renew their vows during the Eucharist.

The 'external celebrations' will be on 31 December 2010.

Do keep all of us in your prayers, dear parishioners.

Prayers requested

Please pray for the brother-in-law of Mr Hugh Mascarenhas (brother of Mrs Jenny Mascarenhas), who has been ailing for a long time. Mrs Mascarenhas has, in fact, been at his bedside taking care of him, practically the whole of the last year, in Bangalore.

Friday, 11 December 2009


It was good to see Ross Lewis going around collecting carols, and getting new carol sheets ready for the carol singing which is going to begin Monday, 14 December. Together with him there were also Jackson, Rochelle and Ansilon.

I will be accompanying the singers 14, 15 and 17 December. Fr Robert will accompany them 16 December. Fr Nelson, who will be with the Satpur group 14-17 December, will be with the DB group 21-22 November.

The areas are being marked out. I have heard that the singers will be visiting D'Souza Colony and Uday Nagar on 14 and 15 December, and perhaps some houses of Akashwani area.

SCC meetings, Zone A

Yesterday, 10 December 2009, the St Dominic Savio Community (Uday Nagar) met at Mr Hugh Mascarenhas' house at 1900 hours for a prayer meeting. Besides Hugh, there were also Mr Robin and Ms Juliana John and myself. Mrs Robin was unwell; Anita, Rocky and Rose were in Mumbai for a wedding.

The passage chosen was the gospel of the coming Sunday, Lk 3, 10-18: the preaching of John the Baptist and the feeling of growing expectancy, amid which John declares that he is not the Messiah.

The next meeting has been fixed for Thursday, 14 January 2010, at Juliana's place.

At 1930 hours the Mary Help of Christians Community (D'Souza colony) met in the house of Edward Lewis. There was a goodly group here: Eddy, Blessy and Ross; Mr Shepherd; Rita D'Souza; Carol Lobo; Meena Bansode; and Henry Menezes. I reached after they had finished the meeting. The next meeting is yet to be finalized, but the place will be Eddy Lewis' house, to make it convenient for Mr and Mrs Shepherd to attend.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Bosco Carvalho's Marian Song

Marian Song composed by Bro. Bosco Carvalho, SDB, and performed by the Divyadaan Choir on 8 December 2009 during the Marian Academy:
Life is a blessing
Celebrate it dear
Pain is passing
Have no fear
Cos you are given a mother
Who holds you by the hand
Remember you are not alone.

Look at her she smiles at you
She'll drown you deep down in her love
Her warm bright gaze reflects Jesus when she says
Child you are my delight.

Hope lights candles
Take it dear
Curse not the darkness
Bring that hope near
Coz you are given a true hope
Who leads you to the Lord
Remember Mary's there with you.


Bridge: The sky seems brighter
Faces happier
When I see Mary smile at me
I know she's my delight and I'm hers.

(repeat chorus 2x)

Sr Dominica's dad unwell

Sr Dominica’s dad is not well. I hear he has been in the ICU. Prayers for him and for the family.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Provincial meets parish council

The provincial met the Parish Council of the DB sector yesterday at 1700 hours. The chief topic for discussion was the request made by some parishioners for allocation of a plot of land for a self-standing parish church. There was a very straight and frank discussion. The upshot was that letters to the provincial should be sent through the parish council meeting under the presidency of the parish priest. The opinion of the house council also would be sought. The provincial had, nevertheless, replied to the private letter sent to him; he was still awaiting a firm and official reply.

In his letter, the provincial had asked some questions, chiefly about who would finance the building of the proposed church.

In his dialogue, the provincial also said that he would first like to see the parish community built up, and church collections and church support increase. The parish councillors - and other parishioners who had joined the meeting - pointed out that this was already taking place.

The provincial concluded by thanking those present for their frankness.

Salesian cooperators meet the Provincial

The Provincial, Fr Michael, met a small group of Salesian Cooperators and aspiring Cooperators at 1630 hours yesterday, 6 December 2009. Among the professed Cooperators present was Mrs Lucy D'Souza; her husband Dominic works on Sundays and was unable to come. Mr and Mrs Robin Susainathan had excused themselves. Among the aspiring Cooperators were Mrs Lily Nirmal, Mrs Letitia John, and Mr Shyju Babykutty.

The Association is not new to Nashik: there used to be a fairly consistent group some years ago. Lucy said that the group disbanded when one of the Salesian animators discouraged the seniors, with the intention of encouraging youngsters to join.

Fr Michael has been inviting each Salesian house revive or begin a unit of the Cooperators.

Don Bosco wanted to have full-fledged Salesians 'living in the world'. He called them 'extern Salesians.' When this was not allowed at that time by the Church authorities, he founded the Association of Salesian Cooperators.

The Cooperators take a promise, in contrast to the SDBs and FMAs who take public vows, and the VDBs (Volunteers of Don Bosco) who take private vows.

We pray that this small group that met with the provincial on the second day of the triduum of the Immaculate might flourish and be blessed with enthusiasm and growth.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Provincial visit

Fr Michael Fernandes, SDB, Salesian Provincial, is here for his annual official visit to our parish. This morning he celebrated the Eucharist in Marathi for the people of Satpur, a commendable effort because he is fluent in Gujarati, and this is only the second time he has celebrated in Marathi. He also met the parish council briefly, visited the sick, and inspected the old chapel in Anand Colony.

At 1630 hours this afternoon he meets the Salesian Cooperators, old and new, and at 1700 hours the parish council of the Don Bosco sector. At 1830 he presides at the Sunday evening Eucharist.

Yesterday Fr Michael presided at the Saturday evening Eucharist (which was also the first day of the triduum of the feast of the Immaculate Conception).

The parish blog

At the wedding yesterday I met Mrs Rita D’Souza, just back from the UK where she spent some months with her daughter Sheila. I was thrilled when she said to me: You know, I didn’t miss the parish, because I was following all the happenings on the blog. Wonderful! I guess distance makes the heart grow fonder. And feedback like this encourages one to go on!

So do feel free with your feedback. We value it!

Roshan and Larina are married

Roshan Rebello and Larina Sequeira exchanged their marriage vows at Don Bosco Church, Nashik, yesterday, Saturday, 5 December 2009. I reached just in time to wish the newly married couple as they were posing for photos before the grotto – and had to pose for a photo myself under duress, unshaven face and all, after my long journey from Goa to Nashik.

The parish priest and I joined the reception at Tiger Hill Lawns on the Mumbai Nashik Highway. Huge crowd, beautiful decorations, and good fun. The new couple was beaming with joy - though perhaps there were also many tears behind the scenes, going from the fact that the sado ceremony took so long! The two pairs of parents were also very happy.

Wishes and prayers to Roshan and Larina as they begin the adventure of their married lives. May they always remember that they build on the Rock that is Jesus, and may they be always open to Life and to Love.

Fr Wyman's mum

I just heard yesterday that Mrs Hazel Gonsalves, Fr Wyman Gonsalves' mum is not well. She had undergone an operation recently, and then the stitches had come loose, and she had to undergo another surgery. She is in the ICU, and Fr Wyman, who had just returned from the Provincial Community Day celebrations on 3 December, had to rush back to Mumbai to be with her. Prayers for this good lady.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Youth meeting, Sunday, 22 Nov 2009

Approximately 10 to 12 Youth + Co-ordinators turned up. Fr Ivo was away, and Bro Johnson was writing an examination. The meeting had been planned in advance.

The Readers were confirmed.
We had singing practice. Fr Vinod taught us new hymns. There would be another practice on 29th Nov.
All youth were requested to come for evening mass instead of morning mass
The youth have agreed to go for Carol Singing from 14th December onwards.
Youth have decided to put up two items for the academy
There will be one solo item
2nd item will be a group song. Youth interested for this are Craig, Sharol, Philbert, Keith, Yannick, Ansilon, Nikhil, Ross and Rochelle.
Jackson said others can join him for a 7 day retreat at Pota
This is tentative, details have to be fixed
The youth were interested in having a recollection before Christmas when asked if they would like a recollection as recommended by Fr. Ivo C.
They would be happy to have a Priest from the neighbouring Parishes for Confessions
Youth are interested in making the “Star” and “Old Man”
Youth do not want to do the crib as it becomes difficult to do all 4 ie a} Carol Singing b} Star c} Old Man & d} Crib. Hence Youth do not want to do the crib. Yet its confirmed that they will do the Star and the Old Man.
The Meeting ended with Prayers.

(Minutes by Shrivastwa Sushma)

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Salesian cooperators in Nashik

We are trying to revive the Association of Salesian Cooperators in Nashik. This Association was founded by Don Bosco himself. Originally Don Bosco wanted to have full fledged lay members of the Salesian Congregation who would live in their own homes. When Rome did not permit this, he founded the Association of Salesian Cooperators.

The Salesian Cooperators inherit Don Bosco's charism with its special love for youth, but by way of their mission they help in different capacities in their own parishes, etc.

We used to have this Association in our parish years ago, and we still have with us some of the professed members.

However, we need to invite new members. So, dear friends, think about this.

I must add that being a Salesian Cooperator is a vocation, and so the Association is not just one more association. One has to discern whether or not God is calling him or her to this vocation.

Bishop Lourdes Daniel Apostolic Administrator

Archbishop Felix Machado announced this afternoon that Bishop Lourdes Daniel of Amravati had been appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Nashik Diocese w.e.f. today, 28 November 2009.

Archbishop Felix will be installed in Vasai on Sunday, 19 December 2009, during the 0930 Eucharist at Papdy Cathedral.

Bro Johnson's grandfather passes away

Mr Kasna Bhuriya, grandfather of Bro Johnson Pannasingh Bhuriya (Don Bosco Nashik), passed away last night (27 November 2009) after a brief illness, at Jhabua, M.P.
He was about 80 years old.

Please keep Mr Bhuriya in your prayers, as well as Bro Johnson and his family.

The funeral rites will be celebrated later today. Bro Johnson is leaving for home, but will reach only late tonight.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Mini-Olympics at Don Bosco School

The mini-Olympics were held on our school grounds this afternoon. Wonderfully organized, for which we must congratulate Fr Diego and his dedicated team of teaching and non-teaching staff.

Above all, I think the outreach and the friendship and collaboration among the participating schools was something very amazing and precious. I myself went to Horizon Academy of the Nashik District Vidya Prasarak Mandal, and to Silver Oak; the atmosphere and the welcome was wonderful.

The drill and march past prizes were lifted by Vidya Prabodhini, while the overall championship was taken once again by Don Bosco.

I am no sports person, but I must say it was really delightful to watch our young athletes. There is good stuff out here in Nashik; with training and logistical support (diet, for example, is a big question for many of our young athletes coming from not so well-to-do families), we could go a long long way.

A warm word of thanks also to the officials who came over from Mumbai, to guests from Savedi and elsewhere, to the parents, teachers, non-teaching staff and especially the peons, the past pupils, and to Fr Elson Barretto, who is surely the tallest Salesian in our province: I found everyone just looking up to him, including the scouts in the welcome committee who had been instructed to look straight ahead at no one in particular....

And congratulations, dear Fr Diego. You have done wonderfully well.

This is what heaven is meant to be like: a gathering of all sorts of people in a fellowship and a family united under God.

Philip Fernandes update

I visited Mr Philip Fernandes at Sai Baba Heart Hospital, next to Kalidas Natyamandir, yesterday. He is well on the way to recovery after a successful surgery in which he underwent two bypasses. He should be discharged by Sunday or so. I assured him of our prayers. Do continue praying for Philip and his family.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

SCC prayer meetings

All three SCC zones had prayer meetings yesterday. The D'Souza colony area of Zone A met at the Shrivastava's, the College Road area of Zone B at the Koshy's, and I am not sure where Zone C met (they meet all together rather than in areas).

The following is the December program for Zone A:

Tuesday, 1 Dec:
2000 hours, St Jude Community, at Eden Gardens (Russell Isaac's place)
Thursday, 10 Dec:
1900 hours: at Hugh Mascarenhas' place
1930 hours: D'Souza colony area, at Eddy and Blessy Lewis' place
Friday, 11 Dec:
1900 hours: Akaswani area, at Sunil Nirmal's place
1930 hours: Chittaranjan area, at Bosco and Verna Quadros' place.

Please bring along your bibles - one each, if possible. (Children, ask for bibles as Christmas presents! And insist on either the RSV or the Jerusalem Bible. Fr Nelson has a few RSV bibles for sale.)

And no snacks please!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Installation of Archbishop Felix Machado

Abp. Felix Machado will be installed most probably in the morning of 19 December 2009 at Vasai.

We have no hard news as yet, but I have heard that the installation will take place in Papdy Church, which, I learned, is the Cathedral church of the diocese of Vasai.

The ordinations of the two Salesians, Briston Britto and Royal D'Abreo, will take place as scheduled at 1800 hours, 19 December 2009, at Giriz Church.

Altar servers rally, Ahmednagar

Just back from St Ann's Ahmednagar where the Diocesan Altar Servers Rally was held yesterday, 22 November 2009, Feast of Christ the King. About 250 altar servers attended from all over the diocese, including the Nashik parishes of St Patrick's, Devlali, St Ann's, Jail Road, and I think also Holy Cross. Unfortunately our own parish was not in attendance. It seems that the letter of invitation did not reach. Pity, because I think we missed a great opportunity for strengthening the commitment and faith of the altar servers, and helping them to raise the question of vocation.

St Ann's Ahmednagar wore a festive look. The chief organizer, Fr Anton D'Souza, SDB, was helped by his parish team consisting of Fr Bento D'Souza, Fr Prakash Rumao (MSW student from Vasai diocese), Deacon Briston Britto and Bro Rixson Nigrel (theology student from Poona), but also by a group of 40 Salesian Cooperators. The Salesian Cooperators were everywhere, from the planning and organizing to the making of the lovely poha for breakfast and serving the biryani for lunch. Fr Michael Bansode, Deac. Briston and Bro Rixson gave inputs: how to serve at the altar, and so on. There were also lighter moments, such as games, but also planning for strengthening the servers groups, and this planning was done parish-wise, with the animators who were in attendance.

The Rally was declared open by Fr Ravi Tribhuvan, Vicar General of our diocese, and Mr Karat, the Deputy Collector. The children were given hydrogen balloons and of course there was all sorts of confusion, but it was a colourful and a fun sight to see the balloons going up (I tried not to think of the pollution!) and also the kabutars.

In my homily at the Eucharist I recalled the scenes of the boy Jesus in the Temple and the adult Jesus with his mother and brothers outside: the discovery and the affirmation that his real Father is God. That is a discovery that each young person has to make: God is my real Father, God is my first Father, and he has first rights over me. Not an easy discovery - but it is a momentous and faith-filled discovery. From here all vocation stems.

And everyone has a vocation: every young person is called to take his or her place in the church. Some as priests and religious, others as lay leaders, animators, catechists, or whatever charisms the Spirit inspires for the good of the Church and of the world.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

SCC Log, Zone A

Someone told me that it would be good to maintain a log of the SCC, so here is an attempt for Zone A. As soon as Zones B and C supply me the data, I will put up a blog post for them too.
The 'attendance' is sheerly from memory, so if there are factual inaccuracies, please don't hesitate to bring them to my notice.
And thank you, dear leaders and members, for the enthusiasm!

Zonal leader: Blessy Lewis
Area leaders:
Mary Help of Christians community (D’Souza Colony): Henry Menezes
Dominic Savio Community (Uday Nagar): Robin Susainathan
Infant Jesus Community (Akaswani): Sujata Castelino
St Anthony Community (Chittaranjan Society): Letitia John
St Jude Community (beyond Anandvalli): Mabel De Souza / Russell Isaac (Eden Gardens)
Priest in charge: Ivo Coelho, SDB

July 2009

Wednesday, 22 July 2009, 1930 hrs: area leaders meeting, DB.

August 2009

Tuesday, 11 August 2009, 1730 hrs: visit to Mabel’s area and Chandsi. Blessy, Rocky, Mabel and I.
Friday, 14 August 2009, 1730: visits to Mabel’s area continued
Monday, 17 August 2009: visit to Eden Gardens area. Blessy, Rocky, and I.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009: visits

September 2009

Tuesday, 1 September 2009, 1730 hrs: visits to Henry’s area?
Friday, 18 September 2009, 1730: visits

October 2009

Tuesday, 6 October 2009, 1800 hrs: area leaders meeting, DB.
Thursday, 8 October 2009, 1730 hrs: Blessy, Rocky and I visited the houses of Robin’s area.
Monday, 26 October 2009, 1930 hrs: Mabel’s house. Thelma; Rudy and Helen; Mabel, Norbert and Philbert; Augusta. Eden Gardens wants to join. The group decided to meet twice a month.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009, 1730 hrs: Blessy, Letitia and I visited the families of Letitia’s area.

November 2009

Friday, 13 November 2009, 1900 hrs: Sujata’s house. Text: Jn 18, 33-37, gospel of coming Sunday. Present: Sujata, her husband, Audrea, Shelton her nephew; Lily, Carol and Cheryl; Mrs D’Costa; Mr Dickson.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009, 1930 hrs: Beverly Homan’s house. Since she was late, Mabel and I took the chance to drop in and say a brief hello to Geoffrey Athaide and family. They were very happy. Text: Jn 18, 33-37, gospel of coming Sunday. Present: Beverly, Rudy and Helen Lima, Mabel, Norbert and Philbert.
Thursday, 18 November 2009, 1900 hrs: Robin’s house. Text: Jn 18, 33-37, gospel of coming Sunday. Present: Rocky and Rose; Hugh Mascarenhas; Robin, Mrs Robin, and Pravin; Juliana.
Friday, 19 November 2009, 1900 hrs: Letitia’s house. Text: Mt 4, 22-27, call of the first four disciples. Prsent: Vyrna, her mother and father, and her 2 daughters; Lucy and Dick; Aaron and Priscilla; Deritta; Letitia, Andrew, her 2 kids, and her aunt.
Monday, 23 December 2098, 1930 hrs: Shrivastava’s house.

December 2009

Tuesday, 1 December 2009, 1930: Eden Gardens (Mabel’s area, St Jude Community)
Thursday, 10 December 2009, 1900: Hugh’ house (Robin’s area).
Friday, 11 December 2009, 1930: Vyrna’s house (Letitia’s area).

Friday, 20 November 2009

Fr Ian Figueiredo here on a visit

Fr Ian Figueiredo, SDB, who was novice master and Rector of STI for 9 years, is here in Nashik for a brief visit. He is putting up at Divyadaan.

Fr Ian is currently Vice provincial of the Konkan province of the Salesians. He resides at the provincial house at Odxel, Goa. He is here chiefly to meet the seminarians of the Konkan province.

Diocesan Altar Servers Rally, Ahmednagar

The Diocesan Altar Servers Rally will take place at St Ann's Church, Collector Kacheri, Ahmednagar, on Sunday, 22 November 2009.

The chief organizer is Fr Anton D'Souza, SDB, parish priest of St Ann's.

I hear that some altar servers from St Ann's Nashik and perhaps Holy Cross are going....

I am going myself, since I have been invited to celebrate the Eucharist and give the homily.

Youth meeting, Sunday, 22 November 2009

Both Bro Johnson Bhuriya and I will not be able to attend the youth group meeting on Sunday, 22 November 2009. However, the meeting will take place at the scheduled time. It will be conducted, as is normal, by Jackson Fernandes and Aaron D'Souza, President and Treasurer. Ross Lewis and Sushma Shrivastava will be there as animators. Fr Vinod will conduct the scripture reading and prayer at the beginning, and also take singing practice for the Sunday evening mass on 29 November which the youth will animate.

The agenda:
1. Items for the Marian Academy, 8 December
2. Carol singing
3. Crib, star, etc.
4. Youth Rally organized by the Salesians, at Don Bosco Borivli, 10 January 2009
5. Confessions in preparation for Christmas
6. Animation of the mass on Sunday evening, 29 November
7. Etc.

Philip Fernandes operated

Mr Philip Fernandes (Eden Gardens) underwent heart surgery yesterday, 19 November 2009. Two bypasses were performed. The patient is in the ICU, and no visitors will be allowed the next 4 days.

Please keep Philip and his family in your prayers.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Mass animation by the youth group

Fr Vinod conducted the weekly meeting of the liturgy committee at 1800 hours yesterday, 16 November. The planning was for Sunday, 29 November 2009, and the group in charge of the animation was the youth. Unfortunately only Nikhil, Sushma, Jackson and Brandon turned up, though all had promised to come.

The theme has been selected, and the hymns chosen. Fr Vinod has promised to come and teach new hymns on Sunday, 22 November 2009, at 1030 hours. All are requested to be there on time. I will be away in Ahmednagar for the Altar Servers Rally, and will be back only in the evening. Bro Johnson has exams on Sunday and will not be able to attend the meeting. However, the President will conduct the meeting with the help of the animators (Ross and Sushma).

Jackson, Aaron, Ross and Sushma: please note that we will be meeting at 1800 hours, Thursday, 19 November 2009, to plan for the Sunday meeting. We have to plan for our item for the Marian Academy (8 December); Carol Singing; and a possible Advent recollection with confessions in preparation for Christmas.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Eyes to see

I have been reading a lovely book by a Presbyterian pastor in the US, called Under the Unpredictable Plant.

Wonderful lessons from him on respecting people, which I thought might be useful to share with the whole parish.

In his typically suburban American parish, Peterson reports that he lost respect for his people: they had such puny ideas about themselves; in a fast-food culture they came to him for fast-religion help. And then, he says, his reading of the famous Russian novelist Dostoevsky helped him. Dostoevsky had an almost identical society, but he refused to take people for what they seemed on the surface; he plunged beneath the surface to discover in their depths fire and passion and God.

Peterson's danger is our danger too: when we look around us, when we look at our parish or our community or even our priests, we often see only smallness and flatness and we get discouraged. But look a little longer: under what seem only ashes there are the burning embers. God is doing his work, and people are responding to him, in their own little or big ways. Running families. Being faithful to marital commitments, often despite the pain. Loving and reaching out in their own little ways which, in th end, are not so little. Retaining a measure of gentleness and kindness and thoughtfulness and faith despite the knocks and the pressures of life.

Of course there are the problems. Who does not have them. But there is also God, and there is also the beauty of the embers bursting every now and then into flame. We only need eyes to see. We need, all of us, the gospel of today: Lord, that I may see!

"The stories [of people] go unnoticed not because they are kept secret but becaue the people around are blind to God. So many eyes, glazed by television [and ears and hearts glazed by gossip and idle talk], don't see the God stories being enacted right before them...."

To have eyes to see, and ears to hear. To put on the mind of Christ.

Youth Group notes

On Saturday, about 9 members of our youth group participated in a day-long recollection organized by a layperson at Bhagur. There were some speakers from outside Nashik; a debate on the pros and cons of pre-marital sex; prayer; and religious music by a music group. There were 35 persons in all, some coming all the way from Manmad. Three brothers from Divyadaan also participated - probably because their youth from St Patrick's were participating.

Last month the same layperson had done 'counselling' for our youth, and encouraged them all to go for confession; almost all of them reportedly went for confession to the Shrine.

As per the decision of the Parish Council, the youth volunteers for the Mission Fete were offered lunch at the Parish House yesterday, Sunday, 15 November 2009. About 13 youth turned up.

A reminder: all the members of the Youth Group are to be present this evening at 1800 hours, for the meeting of the Liturgical Committee, to plan for the Sunday evening mass animation, 29 November 2009.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Release of Fr Nelson's Khristapurana

Fr Nelson Falcao’s new edition and Marathi translation of Thomas Stephens’ Khristapurana was released at a well-attended function at Parshuram Natyagruha, Nashik, 14 November 2009 in the presence of eminent persons from the field of Marathi literature and learning. Mr Vinayakdada Patil, President of the Yashwantrao Chavan Pratisthan and the Marathi Sahitya Parishad, Nashik, presided at the function. Bishop Thomas Bhalerao, SJ, former bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Nashik; Fr Francis D’Britto of Vasai; Dr A.H. Salunkhe, well-known ‘rationalist’ thinker and lecturer, and Dr Dilip Dhondge, Principal of Satana College and specialist in the ‘Sant literature’ of Maharashtra, were the speakers.

The sutradhar (compere) was Ms Ketkar, who works at Akashvani, and who has been doing this the last 17 years; she is, besides, a parent of our school (the mother of Yash, she told me).

The function, scheduled to begin at 1700 hours, began actually towards 1800; it seems they were waiting for an important guest, the editor of Sakala, who has been of great help to Nelson, especially with the Marathi text.

The program: satkar of the guests; words of welcome by me; sharing about Nelson’s life by his sister, Ms Mabel Pimenta; Nelson’s own speech about how he got round to doing the edition and translation; and then the speakers: Bishop Bhalerao, D’Britto, Dhondge, Salunkhe, and Patil. The Bishop read out the text he has contributed to the book; D’Britto was brilliant; Dhondge was quietly and warmly appreciative; Salunkhe spoke from the social angle, seeing the Khristapurana as a model of the type of understanding and bridge building that we need so badly today; Patil said that Falcao’s work was the ongoing and necessary process of the reinterpretation of texts: just as Stephens had communicated the Bible to his converts, so Falcao had made Stephens’ text intelligible to us today. The function came to an end by 2015 hours.

There was a good number of parishioners from Satpur, and several of the parish councillors from the Don Bosco sector; some brothers from Divyadaan, which was actually the host of the gathering; a few clergy from in and around Nashik; and a sizeable number of people from Nashik. Fr Nelson and Mr Francis Waghmare had gone around for a couple of weeks from house to house inviting people to the function. Wonderful occasion to meet people and enter into their lives. The Khristapurana continues to do its work.

A good write up has appeared on today's Gavkari, p. 10, highlighting especially the talk of Dr Salunkhe, who said that today we need not a conflict of cultures (sanskritik sangharsh) but a dialogue of cultures (sanskritik samvada).

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Platinum Jubilee celebrations at Kilbil

The Ursuline sisters have just finished the celebration of the Platinum Jubilee of their presence in India. The celebrations began with a Eucharist, went on to a lovely and lively cultural program staged by the children of the Kilbil school, and ended with dinner for all.

The flower arrangements - gift of a past pupil - were stunning: rows of white chrysanthemums (shevanti) lining the road and filling the hall where the Eucharist was celebrated. And the program and the dances made one bless India for its amazing diversity, and the sisters, most especially the pioneers, for their dedication and service.

I was surprised to learn that the UMI congregation began in 1649 - over 360 years ago! And also that they have an Indian sister, Maria Celine Kannanaikal, who has been declared Venerable.

There are now 745 Indian sisters and 50 Italian sisters; 3 Indian provinces and 1 vice province, with a total of 75 houses; and already a second Indian Superior General, Sr Elvira, who just happens to be a companion of mine from the JDV philosophy days....

So once again, our warmest congratulations and prayers and wishes to all our sisters of Nirmala Home, Kilbil and Tanmaya.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Archbishop Felix Machado new bishop of Vasai

This evening we had a surprise. Abp. Felix called his consultors and the Parish Priests of the city of Nashik for an emergency meeting. It turned out that he has been appointed Bishop of Vasai. The news was released in Rome at 1630 hours IST, and simultaneously announced to us in Bishop's House. His Grace has composed a letter in English and Marathi announcing his appointment to the priests and religious of the diocese, and telling them to make the further announcement to the people at the Masses of the following Sunday.

A surprise development. Abp. Felix has been Bishop of Nashik for exactly 1 year 8 months. It was not expected that he would be moved so soon, but it has happened, and this came as somewhat of a surprise also to the Abp. himself.

Our warmest congratulations to Abp. Felix, and our prayers as he prepares to take over the reins of Vasai Diocese, which has been vacant now for almost 8 months.

Release of the Khristapurana translation

Fr Nelson Falcao's edition and translation of Thomas Stephens' Khristapurana will be released at a function at Parshuram Natyagriha, near Nehru Garden, at 1700 hours, 14 November 2009.

You are all cordially welcome. Do come and show your support to our parish priest.

Official Visit of Salesian Provincial

Fr Michael Fernandes, Salesian Provincial, will officially visit Don Bosco Parish on 6 and 7 December 2009.

He will celebrate the Sunday masses at both Don Bosco Church and Dominic Savio Church.

He will meet the Parish Council of the DS sector after the 0830 mass, Sunday, 6 December, and that of the DB sector at 1730 hours, the same evening.

Platinum Jubilee of the Ursuline Sisters

The Ursuline Sisters of Nirmala Home, Kilbil St Joseph's, and Tanmaya will be celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of their Indian mission on 12 November 2009. The celebrations will consist of a Eucharist at 1800 hours, followed by a Light-and-Sound program and Dinner.

Our warmest congratulations to our UMI sisters on this occasion!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The sick

Mr David Borde, father of our sacristan Mr John Borde, is not keeping well. He has blood clots in the veins of his legs, and needs our prayers.

In the meantime, I have heard that Mr Babykutty's health has not improved much. He is still suffering from partial paralysis, and also needs our prayers.

Rose D'Silva is also not yet fully recovered.

Please keep all these good people in your prayers.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Lisa David's father sick

Lisa David's father, who lives in Indore, has suffered a heart attack. He has been operated and is hopefully on the way to recovery. Please keep him in your prayers.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Rose D'Silva hospitalized

Rose D'Silva (Rocky's wife) is in Suman Hospital, College Road. Last night she began to suffer from high fever, so the doctor advised hospitalization. I just paid her a visit, and she seemed better. Do keep her in your prayers.

Monday, 26 October 2009

First prayer meeting of Zone A

I am just back from the first SCC prayer meeting of our Zone A. It was held at Mabel and Norbert's house, at 1930 hours. About 8 people turned up from St Jude's Community, and reflected on the gospel reading of the coming Sunday. Before the prayer, however, we had a brief discussion about the modalities.

An interesting suggestion was that we have this prayer meeting every week. We said we would pray over this and decide the next time. The next time being 2000 hours, Tuesday, 3 November 2009, at Rudy Lima's house.

Mission Fete / Diwali Dhamaka echoes

I am just back - actually, not just, but yesterday evening. But I was so pooped with the RAC travel, and then with the catching up (which is still in progress, really), that I managed to get to this blog only as of now.

I am hearing good things about the Mission Fete. The seniors said it was a happy affair - homely, and fun. There seem to have been about 300 people - perhaps more, but not over 500. Besides our own parishioners - including about 50 brothers from Divyadaan - there were also parishioners from Holy Cross and some even from St Patrick's, Devlali, and school children and their parents from Silver Oak, thanks to good and timely publicity by Claudine Noronha.

The food seems to have been enough, though someone said some items were pricey.

The Garage Sale went well, I am told.

The gross earnings were in the range of Rs 40,000.

I heard about the glitches, of course. Quite natural in anything of this sort. Could certainly be discussed at the evaluation at the next parish council meeting.

Congratulations to Claude Noronha, our chief coordinator, and the whole big team of volunteers from both sections of our parish, and of course to Fr Nelson too.

Update on Mr Babykutty

I went to see Mr Babykutty this evening. He is still in Gupte Hospital, near Ashok Stambh. His left side is paralyzed, and he seems quite disturbed, which is quite natural for a man who has been extremely active both on behalf of his family and of the parish substation at Satpur. He took time to recognize me, and when he did, he kept saying that he had spent all his life working for charity, and if God wanted, he wanted to go on working like that till the end of his life.

He is being discharged tomorrow, and his family will take him to St Luke's Hospital, Shrirampur, for further massage treatment.

Do keep Mr Babykutty and his family in your prayers.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Mr Francis Arackaparambil, RIP

Mr Francis Arackaparambil, father of Fr Isaac Arackaparambil, SDB (Kapadvanj), passed away the morning of 13 October. The funeral is being held at Immaculate Conception Church, Borivli, even as I write.

Fr Isaac was a novice, a student of philosophy (BPh and MPh), and then also a Practical Trainee and teacher in Divyadaan.

He told me this morning that his father had been unwell, suffering from diabetes for many years, and that of late his kidneys had begun failing; still, they did not expect to lose him so quickly. Fr Isaac was providentially with his father when he passed away.

RIP, Mr Francis, and our sincerest condolences to Fr Isaac and his family.

Mr Babykutty hospitalized

Fr Nelson just gave me the news that Mr Babykutty (Anand Colony, Satpur) has been hospitalized. I think he is in Gupte Hospital, Gangapur Road, towards Ashok Stambh. He was on his way to his MPSM work, when he felt uneasy. He returned to Nashik and got himself admitted in the hospital. Right now, when Fr Nelson visited him, his daughter Shiny was with him. They are still trying to contact Shyju. Your prayers are requested. Get well, Mr Babykutty!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Latest development: a Teens Group

The latest development is the request for a Teens Group. The request has come from the teens themselves. We are trying to see what is possible. In the meantime, here is a list of members furnished by the teens themselves. Any more teens wanting to join? Girls will be invited soon...

Linus Nirmal
Anand B2, Flat no. 12
Anand Nagar
Behind Akashwani Tower
Gangapur Road

Dannel Bothello
A13 Springfield Towers
Next to Gangapur Police Station
Savarkar Nagar
Gangapur Road
Mum: 9881779625

Rephan Castelino
21/7 Priyanka Bldg.
Narsimha Nagar
Gangapur Road, Nashi

Joseph Antony Patole
10th Dhanyog Society
Shantiniketan Colony
Gangapur Road
Nashik 422 013

Jacob Anthony Patole
10th Dhanyog Society
Shantiniketan Colony
Gangapur Road
Nashik 422 013

Rohit V. bansode
Bharat Residency, Flat 11
DK Nagar
Nirmala Convent, Gangapur Road
Nashik 422 013

Kenneth Anthony
No. 10 Suvarnadeep B
DK Nagar, Gangapur Road
Nashik 422 013

Delvin Fernandez
12 R/4 Taranagar Row Houses
Ayachit Nagar, Gangapur Road
230.0019, 94206.92458

Jerrin Verghese
1/1 Chaitanya Nagar
Gangapur Road
Nashik 422 013
253.2112, 98817.41260

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Youth meeting, Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Youth Meeting has just concluded. I had given up hope since there was no one in sight at 1000. Ross phoned from Mumbai saying he was delayed there, and could not come.

About 10 youngsters turned up, 8 boys and 2 girls. Jackson, the President, chaired the meeting for the first time, leading the prayer, getting the minutes read and passed, and working out the agenda.

The first point on the agenda was the Interparish Football and Throwball Tournament. Jackson reported the Interparish meeting of 2 October, and said the date, 1 November, had been reconfirmed. He also said the boys preferred a rolling trophy to a cash prize. Sushma said the girls would not like a rolling trophy; so it was decided to invite girls from each parish for the next Interparish meeting on 20 October. The meeting is scheduled for 1730 hours, but the girls might turn up by 1800 hours or so.

The second point was the Mission Fete. The youth are expected to man the games stalls. Almost all present committed themselves, but 8-10 youth are too few, so it was decided to call in the Satpur youth. Bro Neville D'Souza was called in for the meeting, and he agreed to ask the Satpur youth. Jackson and Craig will attend the Satpur Youth meeting at 1000 hours the coming Sunday, and explain things to them. Fr Nelson was also invited to our meeting, and was requested to invite all the Satpur parishioners to the Mission Fete. Jackson and co. will go there on Tuesday to put up the posters.

In the meantime, it was also decided to invite Mr Claude Noronha to our Meeting of the coming Sunday, to explain things to the youth, etc.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Birthday of Fr Nelson tomorrow

Tomorrow, 30 September, is the birthday of Fr Nelson Falcao, our Parish Priest. Those who wish to do so may join in the Eucharist that he will celebrate at 7.00 p.m., Don Bosco Church. We will cut a cake and sing for them after mass.

Born in 1956 at Vasai, Fr Nelson turns 53 tomorrow. After his early schooling in the Marathi medium, he joined Don Bosco Lonavla, where he soon excelled in studies in the English medium. Having decided to join the Salesians, he made his novitiate at Yercaud in 1975-76 under Fr Anthony Mampra, SDB. After a year of philosophical studies at Yercaud, he was asked by the then provincial, Fr Tony D'Souza, to come over to Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune, to continue studies there. In Pune he decided to begin philosophy studies all over again. After two years of the Bachelor's degree course, he went on to do the Master's degree in philosophy, under eminent professors such as Fr Richard De Smet, SJ, Fr Jean de Marneffe, SJ, Fr Gaspar Koelman, SJ, Fr Salvino Azzopardi SJ, Fr A. Sabino, SJ, Fr Subhash Anand, and Fr Cyril Desbruslais, SJ. He did his master's thesis on Bernard Lonergan's philosophy of knowing, and went on to publish this thesis as a book ('Knowing' according to Bernard Lonergan). While in his second year of MPh, he was appointed 'assistant' to the newly initiated BPh course (Divyadaan) at Don Bosco Youth Centre, Pune. He did another year of regency at Divyadaan Pune before going on for a third year at Dominic Savio, Andheri, where Fr Orville Coutinho was Rector.

For his theology, Fr Nelson was sent to the Salesian Pontifical University, Rome. He had the privilege of being ordained by Pope John Paul II in Rome on 21 June 1987. He went on to do a master's degree in theology. Upon his return to India, he was assigned to teach theology at Kristu Jyoti College, Bangalore. After a couple of years engaged in such teaching, he was appointed Parish Priest in Ahmednagar, where he was instrumental in dividing the St John's Parish, Bhingar, into three entities, giving rise to the two new parishes of St Ann's and Don Bosco Savedi.

Eventually Fr Nelson was given time to pursue a PhD in theology, which he initiated at JDV, Pune. He chose to study the Khristapurana of Fr Thomas Stephens, SJ, a Marathi life of Christ written in verse by the first English Jesuit, and one of the first Englishmen, to set foot in India. Fr Nelson, working under the guidance of the renowned scholar Fr Francis de Sa, SJ, completed his work and had it published by Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, Anand. Fr de Sa had high praise for the work: in the future, he said, whenever we speak of inculturation, we will have to speak not only of De Nobili, but also of Thomas Stephens; and with the name of Thomas Stephens, the name of Nelson Falcao will forever be bound.

Fr Nelson spent the years after his doctorate preparing two translations of the Khristapurana, one in contemporary Marathi, and the other in English. The present birthday is a very significant one, seeing that he has the joy of having his Marathi translation of finally in print, after at least 5 years of hard work.

The book is due to be released on 1 October 2009 at Provincial House, Matunga, during the first session of the Provincial Chapter. Another release is being planned at the Nashik level at the Sarvajanik Vachanalaya some time in November.

Konkani mass at Don Bosco

The annual Konkani mass celebrating the Birthday of Our Lady was held yesterday at Don Bosco Church, Nashik, at 7.00 p.m. Fr John Misquitta presided and preached in chaste Konkani, though now and then he would slip into Marathi. Fr Elias Diaz also happened to be there, and the third priest was myself. About 175 people were expected, but more than 200 turned up, from all the parishes of Nashik. Some 8 brothers from Divyadaan held up the singing, with hymns drawn from both Goa and Mangalore.

The mass was followed by dinner for all.

Congratulations to Henry Menezes, who is certainly the moving force behind this mass.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Football and Throwball tournaments rescheduled yet again

The date of the Interparish Football and Throwball Tournament has been changed yet again. Hopefully it will remain stable this time: Sunday, 1 November 2009.

Invites have been sent to the various Nashik parishes: Holy Cross, Sacred Heart Igatpuri, St Ann's, St Patrick's, Dominic Savio Satpur.

The football tournament for boys is open to parish members below 25, and the entry fee is Rs 400. The throwball tournament for girls is open to parish members; no age limit has been put; the entry fee is Rs 250.

For entries, please submit a list of your team players countersigned by the Parish Priest. Teams can take objections if they consider anyone overage or not belonging to the parish in question. Violations will result in disqualification.


For entries, contact Quincy Monsorate, cell: 97664.60908

We look forward to seeing all our Nashik Catholic youth on the Divyadaan grounds on 1 November. For those who will miss the morning mass, there is a mass at 1830 hours at Don Bosco Parish. At any rate, we will try our best to wind up by 1630 hours or so.

Mr Augustine Chokar passes away

As we were having our Youth Group meeting this morning, we received the sad news that Mr Augustine Chokar, father of Meena (teacher in our school), passed away. He was giving a talk during the Marriage Preparation Shibir at St Ann's, Nashik Road, when he collapsed. He passed away on the way to the hospital.

The funeral mass was held at 1330 hours at Dominic Savio Church, Satpur, and the burial will take place at Sangamner, where most of the Chokar relatives live.

Mr Chokar was a very active member of our parish and was well-known also in the other parishes in Nashik. He was involved with the Marriage Preparation Shibirs since many years. RIP, Mr Chokar, and our sincerest condolences to the family.


Jackson, president of our youth group, met with a small accident on Thursday and dislocated his arm. He has been advised a whole month of bed rest. Do say a prayer for his recovery.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Condolence meeting for Appa Tilak

There will be a Shok Sabha for Ashok Appa Tilak at Aurangabadkar Hall, Sarvajanik Vachanalaya, Shalimar, Nashik, this evening, 1800 hours, Thursday, 24 September 2009.

All are welcome to attend and honour this great man and son of Nashik who was not afraid to live his faith and defend it openly.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

'How to Animate a Youth Group' session at Don Bosco Nashik

The 'How to Animate a Parish Youth Group' session was finally held yesterday, 22 September 2009. Frs Blany Pinto, Edwin Colaco and Greg D'Cunha came up from Virar-Jyoti and kept a large group busy for over 3 hours.

The group consisted of 2 youth from Devlali, 4 youth and 3 animators from Holy Cross, 4 youth (Jackson, Quincy, Philbert, Yannick) and 4 animators (including Sushma and Ross, that is) from Don Bosco, 1 animator from Satpur, the STI novices, the SHTC novices, the MPh and the Third Year students of Divyadaan, a senior citizen from Nirmala Home, 2 sisters from Kilbil, besides Frs Nelson and Diego from Don Bosco - more than 50, I think. Which made for an extremely crowded AV room! But the sessions were lively, concrete, helpful and very interesting.

The team began with an AV prayer, and went on to talk about how to begin a youth group in a parish: official announcement by the Parish Priest, getting a list of names and contacts, sending a letter of invitation to each youth, visiting youth in their homes. Then there were suggestions about vision, registration (interesting set of details besides name, address, phone number and email id), how to plan the meetings (the agenda prepared by the coordinating committee and posted on the notice board in advance; minutes), the structure of the youth group (priest coordinator, lay and religious animators, president, vice president, secretary, joint secretary, treasurer, assistant treasurer; the various groups - social, spiritual, entertainment, media). There was even a list of suggested activities and charts for planning activities (what, who, when, for whom, etc).

The whole session was spiced up with action songs and games - which the animators insisted were important to keep the group lively and relaxed.

One of the lovely things about this session was the ability of the animators to break into Marathi and Hindi (some impressively fluent and others 'apunka'), seeing that there were some youth from the Marathi-speaking group too. It was a real pity that once again the Satpur youth did not turn up.

The team had prepared themselves for hands-on sessions for youth, but in the end there were more religious than youth. Still, the focus was on the two parishes that turned up, Don Bosco and Holy Cross: they were busy creating action songs, games, drawing up agendas, planning activities, and so on. Not that the others were left out. At any rate, a new term has been coined: 'religious youth' and 'non-religious youth.' Which has nothing to do with the piety or spirituality of either group.

I saw our youngsters furiously taking notes, and from the body language I think we can expect good things!

Anyone wishing to have copies of the power point presentation can approach me. Fr Edwin has been most generous with his stuff.

Two comments: (1) a somewhat livelier prayer session. As for the songs and games, the youth could be involved in planning and creating prayer moments. (2) More on catechesis. How is this to be done, really? And what kind of year long program? Does anybody have schemes drawn up? In my (brief) experience, this is by far the most difficult part of running a youth group. I really ought to draw upon my experience with the Rovers in Rome... They had a sort of program, and also some creative techniques. Thus, e.g., sex education was done by means of a 'chapter': literally the youngsters planning the topics, dividing up the work, doing research, and presenting them week after week to the whole clan, with ensuing discussions, etc. Extremely effective. Then again the 'vigil under the stars': extraordinary in its beauty and effectiveness. The catechesis during the monthly outings, in fact, was always planned and executed by the group itself.

Fr Nelson's translation of the Khristapurana - out finally!

Not a very good photo, unfortunately, but here it is: the first copy of Fr Nelson Falcao's Marathi translation of Fr Thomas Stephens' Khristapurana. A respectable volume of almost 2000 pages. Translated and edited by Nelson: Anuvadak va Sampadak Doctor Father Nelson Falcao, SDB.

Our warmest congratulations to Fr Nelson for this achievement, fruit of at least five years of hard work, not counting all research that went into the doctorate. We look forward now to the English translation.

The price is a very modest Rs 1,200, which is nothing for a book of this size and quality. All you good people out there, if you can afford this, please do buy it: it is a worthwhile investment.

Those of you who wish to congratulate Fr Nelson, please feel free to add your comments to this post.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Mission Fete

There was a meeting this evening to plan the Fun Fair for Mission Sunday. I think the date being proposed is 18 October 2009 - at least it was, till I left the meeting for the evening mass. Claude Noronha is over all in charge, and plenty of people have volunteered, including the new president and treasurer of the youth group, a very enthusiastic Jackson and Aaron...

Anyone wishing to participate or collaborate please contact Claude: food stalls, games, the auction / garage sale, whatever.

Plans to rope in students from our schools - Don Bosco, Kilbil, Nirmala, Silver Oak, L'Ecole.... Targetting at least 1000 people. The Nashik parishes of course.

The Diwali festivities might cut into this target though. Diwali is 17 October.

Happy birthday Fr Matthew!

Many wishes and happy returns of the day to Fr Matthew Coutinho on his birthday, in faraway Shillong.... Those of you who wish to post your wishes as comments here are welcome to do so. I have the feeling that Fr Matthew reads the parish blog every day....

Fr Diego's brother unwell

Fr Diego's elder brother Vincent is in the ICU in Uttan-Bhayandar. His condition is not very good.

Fr Diego's nephew's little son, Jeff, has also been extremely unwell the last few months.

Prayers for all these members of Fr Diego's family.

Rocky's mum passes away

Rocky D'Silva lost his dear mother in Bangalore a few days ago. He had gone down to see her and was with her when she passed away. She was 83, if I remember right. Prayers for Mrs D'Silva, for Rocky and for all the members of the family.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Conclusion of the Marian Month

The Marian Month concluded this evening, with a rosary before the grotto of Our Lady before the Sunday evening mass. 3 of the 4 statues that had been making the rounds were brought back and carried in procession into the church. A goodly number of parishioners had gathered before the grotto, including several of our youth who had already come for mass in the morning. Something to be appreciated!

Elections in the Youth Group

The Youth Group had its elections this morning.

Jackson Fernandes was unanimously elected President, Aaron D'Souza Treasurer, and Philbert De Souza Secretary.

We also had a sort of lectio divina / reflection on the gospels on the passage of the woman washing the feet of Jesus: the self-possession and inner strength of Jesus, and so on.

The Inter-parish Football Tournament had to be anticipated (preponed is the current word among the youth, including our brothers) to Sunday, 11 October 2009, because College exams have been postponed to early November.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Youth Animation session, Tuesday, 22 September

Reminder to all the youth: on Tuesday, 22 September 2009, we have the session on how to animate a youth group, by Frs Blany Pinto and co. The session will begin at 1700 hours and will be held in the AV room of the Don Bosco School. Even if you have tuitions and are late, do drop in. The session should end by 2000 hours.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Football with St Patrick's

No youth meeting this morning. The guys had a friendly football match with St Patrick's, which I hear they lost...

The elections (President, Secretary, Treasurer) have been postponed. Watch this space for further news.

In the meantime, don't forget the Session on how to animate a youth group by Frs Blany Pinto, Edwin Colaco and Greg D'Cunha, 1700 hours, Tuesday, 22 Sep 2009 - for ALL who are interested - youth as well as youth coordinators.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Fr Ashley's mum passes away

Fr Ashley Miranda's mother passed away this morning at Borivli, Mumbai. She was just 69.

Mrs Nellie Miranda had been ailing for some time. Soon after paying a visit to Fr Ashley at STI, a few months ago, she suffered a paralytic stroke and had to be hospitalized. She was taken home after a longish stay in the hospital, but did not recover fully. A few days ago she was taken once again to the hospital because of internal bleeding. This morning she passed away. Fr Ashley was on his way to Mumbai to see her.

The funeral timings have not yet been fixed.

RIP, dear Mrs Miranda. Prayers for Fr Ashley and his family.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

News and wishes from Fr Matthew

I am taking the liberty of reproducing here a mail from Fr Matthew to me:
hi ivo

greetings from shillong.....thanks for your blogs that keep us (non-resident nashikites) in the loop of the many wonderful things happening in nashik.....esp in the parish....

out here life is getting busier by the day.....presently i am on two classes a day - one course on sexual ethics and virtues (remember PTs pillows)....and bioethics......then when the latter gets over it will be time to teach the lay students a basic course on moral theology (that is a class of 7 students)....hoping it will serve as a launching pad for the more advanced course on fundamental moral theology next semester for the FYBth students.....

i was present yesterday at the ordination of one of the priests of the province studying in was a modest crowd of about 8,000 people (i am trying to be conservative - with the more ambitious talking about 12,000) and i was thinking to myself: "we kind of raise that number only for episcopal ordinations"....great atmosphere and organization totally done by the lay at breakfast with the fma novices they were telling me that the lay people handle most of the nitty gritty of 'secular aspects of the celebration' including raising the funds.....the entire group was fed and cared for.....liturgical matters were done well too....without too much fuss....

for the rest the community keeps hurtling towards the two youth fests - one for the khasi oratories and then one for the non-khasis.....interestingly some part of the funding is covered by the Ministry of Youth Affairs....then things are also getting ready for the big visit - RM will be here in early november for some major functions.....and with the kind of political clout the sdbs wield no stone is being left unturned to make it a great occasion....mike will be here too and ajoy is considering a visit too....

wishes and prayers for the community and all in nashik......fond memories remain.....

Monday, 7 September 2009

Table Tennis Tournament

Very few young people turned up from the other parishes for the Table Tennis Tournament organized by our youth - only 4 from Holy Cross. But it was good in the end, and fun. Two tables on the stage, one down. 11 point matches till the finals. Singles as well as doubles. Shyju Babykutty and Johnson Bhuriya took first and second places in the singles, and Jackson - Keith and Yannick - Ross took first and second places in the doubles.

Thanks to the fathers - Norbert, Edward, Bosco - who turned up to cheer and encourage, and to the others of the youth too who were there.

Perhaps there'll be another TT Tournament coming up soon - for College youngsters.

And congrats to Jackson and Aaron who bore the brunt of the organizing.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Parish Pastoral Council meeting, DB sector, 5 September 2009

The Don Bosco sector Parish Pastoral Council met yesterday, 5 September 2009, the first Saturday of the month. Since Viviana was not able to be present, Fr Nelson read out the minutes. Viviana is due to get a transfer, so there might be need for a new secretary.

There was a longish agenda, of which I remember the following:

Marian Month: some leaders reported that not all families were keen on having the statue of Our Lady in their house, so this year the statue sometimes remained 3-4 days in a particular house. The reason for this could be the 'competition' between families - the snacks that are served after the rosary. Zone B, however, said that everything had gone well. Agnelo had drawn up a list, and there were no gaps. If a family wanted to shift the day, they had to work it out with another family.

Fr Nelson suggested that we have some special ceremony to mark the conclusion of the Marian Month. It was decided to have a rosary at the grotto at 1810 hours, before the Sunday evening mass, on Sunday, 20 September 2009.

The SCC prayer meetings will begin once the Marian Month is over. The meetings will be within each area, once a month, and in different houses every month. No snacks are to be served.

A Liturgical Committee has been set up under the guidance of Fr Vinod Mascarenhas, consisting of 2 members from each zone. It meets Monday evenings, together with the Zone that is supposed to animate the Sunday evening mass two Sundays later. This committee is not a substitute for the zones; it will only help the zones in their job of animating.

The idea of Zone B to distribute the mass animation among the different areas was found good. The other Zones might also adopt this idea.

Fr Nelson spoke about the Ministry of Lector, and suggested that parishioners be trained for this ministry.

A signature campaign is going on to request the Salesian Provincial to allot a piece of land for a future parish church. In the light of some rumours going around, some clarifications were made. The Salesians are putting up an Auto-Mechanics Workshop and Training Centre, which will be run with the help of Mahindras. There will also be some shops on the periphery; the rental income will go towards running the Workshop as well as the formation houses. A piece of land has also been leased out to the Capuchins, who are constructing a 'study house' for their brothers who will attend classes at Divyadaan.

Fr Nelson suggested that parishioners take advantage of the retreats and prayer being offered by Tabor Ashram. A largish group of seniors and youth from Satpur had gone there, and had returned with good experiences.

He also said that we should begin training of parish leaders.

A large bill of Rs 25,000 has been received from the Cemetery. It seems we have not been paying the bill for some years due to some reasons. Negotiations are on.

The Youth Group has some difficulty with animating the Sunday evening mass, since many of the boys come for the morning mass, while the girls usually come for the evening mass. The parish council was open to giving them a Sunday morning mass for animation, but this will be discussed by the youth before finalizing arrangements.

I requested the zone and area leaders to give me a list of youth in their zones / areas; we would follow them up and invite them to join the youth group.

Music ministry. Fr Nelson said that two parishioners are willing to accompany the mass singing, and have taken the music books. Others who wish to learn should take advantage of the training being offered by Bosco Monsorate and Gordon Noronha.

Confirmations at DB: Fr Nelson said that not all the youth are attending the confirmation classes regularly, and that it would not be possible to give confirmation to these if they came at the last moment. It was suggested that he meet each of these together with their parents.

NB: Fr Nelson celebrates his birthday on 30 September. After the 1900 hours evening mass, we will sing for him and wish him. All those who can come, please make it for the mass.

Sr Dominica at Sunday mass

Sr Dominica came for the morning mass today. She looks well, though of course she tires easily and so has to still take it easy. Sr Stella was made to promise that she would not allow Dominica to exert herself too much, but Stella said that was no easy thing.

Sr Dominica thanks everyone for their prayers and love.

Let's remember all the other sick members of our parish.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Sr Dominica back in Nashik

It is reported that Sr Dominica is back in her convent in Nashik. However, she is still under quarantine, and visitors are not encouraged, from what I gather.

Welcome back, Sr Dominica, and get well!

I saw Mother Virginia Marchetti, FMA (Maria Vihar) this morning at mass: I must say she looks very well, much better than when I last saw her two weeks ago. Sr Philo looks well too.

Novena, Our Lady of Vailankanni

Fr Nelson has begun the novena to Our Lady of Vailankanni at Dominic Savio Church, Satpur. The novena began on Saturday, 29 August 2009, with the traditional flag hoisting. It was reported that yesterday, Monday, the third day of the novena, there were some 80 people for mass.

This morning a parishioner from the Don Bosco sector asked why the novena was not being held also at the Don Bosco Church. It would appear that it was being held some years ago. Fr Nelson has agreed to begin it w.e.f. this evening.

Let us pray through the intercession of Our Lady for rains!

Monday, 31 August 2009

Fr Ashley's mum unwell again

Fr Ashley's mum, who has been quite unwell since she suffered a paralytic stroke some months ago, has taken bad once again and has had to be hospitalized. Fr Ashley has gone down to Mumbai to see her.

Mass animation by youth

The youth group of our parish animated the Sunday Evening Mass yesterday. Several of them had come for mass already in the morning, but were good enough to turn up for the preparation and singing practice at 10.00 a.m. and then again for the mass in the evening.

Jackson, Aaron and Sharol stayed on in the morning and well into the afternoon to redecorate the statue of Our Lady near the altar.

Brandyn accompanied the singing, while Sushma chose the hymns and was in general the moving force behind the singing.

The youth sang "I Love Him" (from Sister Act II) after communion. They had sung this at the Marian Academy.

Most of the boys come for the Sunday morning mass, so there is some discussion whether the youth should request a morning mass animation instead of an evening one...

Letter of invitation to the Table Tennis Tournament

To the Youth of the Nashik City Parishes
Information: Parish Priests and Youth in Charges

Dear Friends,

We would like to invite you to a Table Tennis Tournament organized by the Don Bosco Parish Youth, Nashik. The details are as follows:

Date: Sunday, 6 September 2009
Time: 0930 hours
Venue: Don Bosco Parish
Entry fee:
Singles: Rs 30 per head
Doubles: Rs 50 per pair.
Eligibility: only youth (under 25) from the Nashik City Catholic parishes.

For entries, contact Jackson Fernandes, cell: 90967.43363, 99305.85005.

Prizes will be decided according to the number of participants.

If you want to ensure quality equipment, please bring your own bats.

You will also have to make your own arrangements for meals.

Looking forward to your participation,

Jackson Fernandes
Aaron D’Souza
Fr Ivo Coelho, SDB
On behalf of Don Bosco Youth

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Sick and ailing again

Augusta's brother Manuel fell down today and fractured his leg very badly. Prayers for him.

Mrs Tupe and Mr Prakash Roham also fractured their hands some weeks ago, I am told.

One of the relatives of Mrs Gaikwad of Chandsi Village met with an accident: your prayers are requested.

Sick parishioners

I went to visit Jonathan yesterday and found him much better. His face has healed very well, he walks about the house, and even came for mass last Sunday. He seemed cheerful and bright, and has begun looking at his books again.

Sr Flora seems okay. She was quite shaken up after the accident, but does not remember anything.

Sr Christina is in high spirits, her normal self. It is good to see her recovery. Sr Renata's hand is in a sling: the collar bone will take time to heal.

Fr Solomon Rapol, Novice Master, STI, has not been keeping well this last week, and went to Mumbai to see his doctor. Several of the novices were also down with flu, as were also many brothers from Divyadaan.

No particular news of Sr Dominica: I suppose she is on the way to recovery.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Table Tennis Tournament

Our youth group intends to organize a Table Tennis Tournament on Sunday, 6 September 2009 - but as of now, there seems to be no sign of movement in that direction! At any rate, those of you young people who are interested, keep yourselves ready, get your TT bats, practise a bit, etc.

Sr Flora

Sr Flora, superior of Kilbil Convent, seems to have had what looks like a minor accident last evening. She is reported to be better now.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Updates on sick parishioners

Sr Christina is back in the Kilbil convent, much better and on the road to recovery.

Sr Renata, UMI, who had suffered a fracture and had been also hospitalized in Mumbai, is also back in the Tanmaya convent.

Sr Dominica seems to be recovering. She is still in the FHIC Provincialate, Bandra.

No further news of Mr Baburao Roham.

Jonathan D'Souza, according to his brother Aaron, is now able to walk around the house.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Mr Baburao Roham hospitalized

Mr Baburao Francis Roham, father of Prakash Roham, of the Dominic Savio Sector, Satpur, was hospitalized last night with irregular breathing and other complications. He is much better now, and will be sent to the regular ward from the ICCU. He should be discharged within a day or two.

Mr Roham is at Shreeji Hospital, Canada Corner.

Room for one more

Parish Priest: How come I don't see you in church on Sundays?
Lady: I refuse to come. There are too many hypocrites there inside.
Parish Priest: Don't worry, Madam, there's always room for one more!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Painting of Sanctuary, Don Bosco Church

You might not have noticed it, but the sanctuary of Don Bosco Church has been freshly painted, and the woodwork has been varnished! The colours have remained the same, except for a deep blue shade around the tabernacle, which looks quite nice. Congrats to Fr Nelson. Rather than going in for a one-time painting of the whole building, which would be rather expensive, he has decided to do it in parts.

Parish notices, Sunday, 23 August 2009

Don Bosco sector

Today is the 21st Week of the Ordinary Time of the Year. The feast days in the coming week are as follows: 24th St. Bartholomew, apostle, 27th St. Monica, 28th St. Augustine and 29th the beheading of St. John the Baptist.

Let us pray earnestly for rains and offer personal sacrifices so that the good Lord in his mercy may grant us sufficient water for drinking and irrigation.

On 22nd August Saturday was the Vocation Sharing Day conducted for the youth of our parish. Thanks to the organizing team, to Fr. Ivo, Bro. Johnson and the religious of various institutions.

BCCs: The Marian Month in our parish is from 15th August to 15th Sept. On 16th August after the evening mass, the four statues of our Lady were blessed and handed over to the zonal and area leaders. Now the statues are moving in the various zones. The general intention of the Marian Month is for adequate rainfall. During each rosary let us offer one decade for this intention. Let us try to go to one another’s house, interact and pray the rosary devoutly. Let us try to make it a BCC or SCC experience.

The Sunday Animation of the various masses should be prepared in advance and done well. We are in need of musicians for accompaniment for the Sunday evening masses. Mr. Bosco Monsorate and Mr. Gordon Noronha are ready to train people in learning the key-board and the guitar. Those interested, kindly, contact the parish priest.

We are in the process of binding the hymn books and putting new and stronger plastic covers. At the end of the mass kindly, put all the hymn books in front of the main altar. Please make sure that the children do not play with the hymn books.

On 15th August our Bishop confirmed 61 youth and a few adults at St. Dominic Savio Church, Satpur. Now we look forward to confirmations at Don Bosco Church. The parents are requested to make sure that the youth who have not received confirmation attend regular catechesis on Sundays from 5.00 to 6.15 pm and then the mass at 6.30 pm.

Bible Diaries with daily readings of the whole year are available at the parish office at the rate of Rs. 50/-.

Forthcoming events are as follows: 8th Sept. nativity of the BVM; 15th Sept. conclusion of the Marian Month; 18th oct. Mission Sunday and the Mission Fete along with Garage Sale.

Thank you for your generosity: last Sunday’s collection amounted to Rs. 4,222/- and the church support for the month of July was Rs. 7650/- (zone A=2000; zone B=3850; zone C=1800).

Dominic Savio sector, Satpur

Novena in honour of our Lady of Velankanni will begin with a flag-hoisting on 29th Sept.

Let us pray earnestly for rains and offer personal sacrifices so that the good Lord in his mercy may grant us sufficient water and good crops.

The catechesis for First Holy Communions, post-confirmation and Marriage Rectifications carry on as usual.

Thank you for your contribution towards last Sunday’s collection which amounted to Rs. 204/-.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Inter-Parish Events for 2009-10

We took the occasion of the Inter-Parish youth meeting at Divyadaan today to get together and plan for the coming year. The following events have been planned:

6 September, Sunday: Interparish Table Tennis Tournament, organized by the Don Bosco Youth.

22 September, Tuesday, 1700 hrs: Input on how to conduct and run Parish youth groups, by Frs Blany Pinto, Edwin Colaco and Gregory D'Cunha, for coordinating teams of the Nashik parishes.

8 November: Interparish Football Tournament. Organisers: Don Bosco Youth.

28 December: Interparish Youth Get together, 1800-2200 hours. Organizers: St Ann's Youth. Venue: Most probably Divyadaan.

10 January: Interparish Youth Session. Organizers: Igatpuri Youth. Venue: Igatpuri.

17 January: Interparish Basketball Tournament. Organizers: Holy Cross Youth.

We will also have to plan a Lenten Recollection, most probably sometime in March.

Inter-Parish Youth Meeting, Divyadaan

The youth of 3 Nashik parishes met at Divyadaan today, to study and discuss the topic of "Youth and Media." The input persons were Fr Edison Fernandes, SDB (from STI), and Fr Robert Pen, SDB (from Divyadaan), both of whom are doctors in psychology and communication respectively, and professors at Divyadaan.

About 80 young people turned up for the meeting, which was organized by the youth and animators of Holy Cross Parish, Nashik.

Fr Edison spoke in the morning session about media, youth and developmental issues. Fr Kenneth, SJ, celebrated the Eucharist at 1200. Fr Robert showed some video clips and powerpoint presentations to make his point about the power of the media over people, and especially youth. The brothers of Divyadaan, together with the youth and coordinators of Holy Cross parish, were the moving forces behind the event.

It was great to see the enthusiasm of the young people. About 40 youth turned up from Holy Cross, about 17 from Don Bosco, and about 25 joined in from St Ann's towards midday. Fr Suresh Sathe, assistant PP of St Ann's, also graced the occasion.

Vocation Sharing Day

Yesterday, at around 1730 hours, we began the sharing of vocation stories. We had to wait a bit for the youth to turn up. Saturday evenings are not the best time for any youth programs, we are learning, because so many of them are busy with tuitions. At any rate, at first there were more religious than youth, but then slowly the youth began to trickle in, backed up especially by 3 young hostelites from Maria Vihar.

Sr Mariette, UMI shared her vocation story first - how she, the youngest of 3 sisters, had to fight for her vocation and join the convent against the wishes of her dad. She was followed by Bro Royston Colaco, SDB, from STI, who is a Salesian Brother. His story was quite dramatic - how he was a rough and tough fellow, with his own gang, and their adventures, and how, finally, he discovered a vocation and joined the Salesians. Some of the youth felt absolutely at home with this story, especially when Royston said that God does not always call only those who are 'good' or those who are Altar Servers. He said he had never been an Altar Server.

Royston was followed by Srs Anita and Sushma, both Salesian Sisters. Anita spoke in Marathi and everyone was following very keenly. She explained what it means to join a religious congregation from a khedegaon, how she had to take the permission of all her large joint family, and so on. Sr Sushma's story was interesting. She lived in Bandra and discovered a Salesian vocation quite by chance - or by God's design. It seems an elderly Salesian sister was searching for a cake shop, and asked a boy. The boy, quite distracted, told her there was a Catholic family on the 2nd floor. She went up, thinking they were making cakes, and found Sushma alone in the house. From there the story of the vocation took off.

Fr Wyman said his story was quite ordinary and at the same time quite mysterious. Fr Oscar Misquitta beckoned him over communion in Don Bosco's Shrine, Matunga, to meet him after mass. The priest told him to join Lonavla, with its swimming pool, horse riding and snowfalls. After that, the young Wyman did his best to escape Fr Oscar. His mother even would stand KV at the door of the church, give the all clear, and then Wyman would make a dash for the bus stop. But God has his own ways, and got somehow to Wyman, much to the initial distress of his dear mother. But Father was cool, and told him to follow his heart.

Sushma Srivastava asked the religious about their difficulties: do they face any? How do they handle them? Sr Sushma said there were difficulties in adjusting to people from different cultures, and then also people fall in love, and so on. Fr Vinod spoke about something else, which I can't quite remember now. I myself mentioned the financial difficulties that many families go through when someone joins the seminary - like I myself realized only much later that my going to the seminary had put quite a burden on my younger brother and sister, who, at the time, were still studying, with dad retiring from work and all that.

I ended the evening with a small comment. The point of the sharing was not so much to do 'vocation propaganda' for priests and nuns and brothers, but to get each young person asking herself or himself: What is God calling me to do with my life? We are convinced that God has called each one to do something wonderful with his or her life. It is time to ask that question, with some seriousness. And perhaps there will be some who find that he is calling them to religious life or to the priesthood. But all will have some call or other. Living life authentically means taking the time to ask that question, taking the time to listen, and having the courage to say Yes!

A very warm thank you to all those who took the trouble to share their vocation stories. Thank you, dear sisters and brothers and fathers! We appreciate very much the trouble you have taken, and you have warmed our hearts. It was good.

By the time we finished, we were about 25 or 28 of us, because the youth kept trickling in all through the evening, which is something to be appreciated, because many of them came in straight after tuitions.

Sr Dominica out of hospital

Sr Dominica has been discharged and brought home to the FHIC Provincial House at Bandra. She is still not completely well, but is recovering. She probably had a case of severe pneumonia.

The Nirmala Convent sisters thank everyone for their prayers.