Monday, April 9, 2012


BIS Mumbai                                  



Oscar Lobo  

YERWADA, APRIL 09, 2012: The Sacred Heart Parish in Yerwada was buzzing with a number of innovative activities during this year's Lenten period. A series of happenings designed to help its people achieve a truly fulfilling experience. While most of the events were initiated by the new and dynamic parish priest Fr Anton D'Souza and his equally energetic team of young assistant priests Frs. George Miranda and Anthony Goyal, what was significant is that organization of all activities were undertaken by the lay people of the parish. Motivation and support of the parish priest helped enormously.

It all started Friday, March 02 - following Ash Wednesday (February 22) – with a round-the-clock adoration of the exposed Blessed Sacrament in the church. Throughout the twenty four hours – even late into the night - people dropped in to spend time with the Lord.

In addition to the Way of the Cross services – held Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent – the parish organized a fourteen station pilgrimage to Ahmednagar Sunday, March 18. Almost eighty people undertook this journey in two buses – stopping at fourteen places en route (churches and institutions). At each stop, the pilgrims prayed a station so that by the time they reached Ahmednagar, they had completed all the fourteen stations of the Way of the Cross service – depicting Christ's journey on the road to Calvary, from the time he was arrested and brought before Pilate till his crucifixion at Calvary and burial. 

"Wash one another's feet …"

At all the forty zonal masses held in forty different zones of the parish, the unique theme was washing of the feet. However, this was not done in the traditional way with the celebrant washing the feet of twelve men. Instead, he called upon each participant at the zonal mass to pick a partner and come up front and to wash his/her feet. Here is one testimony from a forty-year-old mother of teenage children: "For me, it was a very humbling experience when my former teacher picked me up and washed my feet!"

We want to see Jesus … Lenten Mission

This was the theme of the Lenten Mission held at the Sacred Heart Parish school grounds, March 24 and 25, and organized by the lay people of the parish and surrounding parishes. It was an ideal preparation for the Holy Week celebrations – commencing on Palm Sunday, April 1.

Thousands flocked to the school grounds regardless of the scorching sun at five in the evening, and stayed on till 9.30 p.m. They came to listen to the Word of God preached by Father Vijaykumar from Hyderabad; they came to praise and worship the Lord during the Eucharist, and the adoration that followed.  And they reached out to touch their Saviour as the priest walked with the Monstrance into the heart of the gathering.

Blood donation camp …Flowering of the Cross… Passover Meal

The camp was organized April 1, (Palm Sunday) by the lay people, in collaboration with Ruby Hospital. Over hundred bottles of blood were collected, but only seventy nine were accepted – the rest being rejected on health grounds. There was a fairly good response to the call:"Are you ready to shed your blood for your neighbour? Remember, Christ did it for you!

On the same day, two other events took place: one was the flowering of the cross by children. Almost hundred children participated. The occasion was used to instill in them a love for the cross, and to take away any negative feelings of fear - emphasizing that the cross is the symbol of man's salvation.

The other event was the Passover Meal: Forty council members representing various zones of the parish got together for the Passover Meal in the Upper Room of the church premises.  Here also the washing of the feet was enacted by the three priests present, who washed the feet of all participants. The bread was then blessed, broken, and distributed, and in the same way the wine was blessed and passed around the table. The re-enactment of the Last Supper meal, which Jesus shared with his disciples, was complete with the eating of bitter herbs at the end of the meal.


Don Bosco Provincial House,
Matunga, Mumbai - 400 019. INDIA

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