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 jerusalem.....it 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 people.....today 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!