by Mr. Ian Lemos
PARNER-AHMEDNAGAR, MARCH 6, 2014: February 22, 2014 was a historical day for the Salesians of the Mumbai Province as Rt. Rev. Bishop Lourdes Daniel (Nashik Diocese), blessed and inaugurated the First Catholic Church built by the Salesians in the Parner Taluka (Ahmednagar District): Jesus the Good Shepherd Church. It was the fruit of the tireless work and meticulous planning that was put in for a period of over two years. Rev. Fr. Thomas D’costa, the Parish Priest and Rector of St. Anne’s Parish, several other Priests and Religious and over 1500 faithful were also present for the same.
The ceremony began at 10.30am with a solemn procession. Thereafter Bishop Lourdes blessed and inaugurated the Church. A thanksgiving Eucharist was then celebrated during which the Bishop congratulated Fr. Thomas for his vision and hardwork. He also spoke highly about the Salesians working in the Nashik Diocese and mentioned their enormous contribution to the mission. A felicitation programme then followed.
A fellowship meal was organized for all those present; it was prepared and sponsored by the villagers themselves. The highlight of the whole ceremony was the presence of the local shepherds and the people of other faiths. They did not only attend the programme, but they were even seen praying devoutly in the church. The main Protagonist and the Pioneer of this project was Fr. Thomas D’costa. He was assisted by Fr. Rolvin D’mello sdb and the parishioners of St. Anne’s Parish, Ahmednagar.