by Romanius Barwa
NASHIK-MAHARASHTRA, DECEMBER 18, 2014: The Diocese of Nashik experienced the heavenly joy by the presence of around 250 lively and cheerful innocent children on the occasion of the Catechism Children Rally organized by the diocese of Nashik on December 14, 2014 at St. Anne's Cathedral, Bishop House. Six parishes participated in the rally, held basically for the English speaking parishes. It was a one day get-together packed with lots of exhortations, competitions, entertainment and above all to give an opportunity to make new friends and grow as one community.
In the inaugural session, Fr. Peter highlighted the aim and purpose of having Catechism Children Rally. Mr. Ben Clement, the chief resource person spoke on three topics, emphasizing the Catholic values, the historical foundation of the church in India and finally on the importance of involving in the Civil Services. He dealt briefly on the nine Catholic values- faith, love, family, compassion, service, truth, justice, forgiveness and hope. He also spoke about early missionaries and the various congregations which came to India with their specific charisms.
For the quiz competition each parish selected five members to represent the parish. Fr. Peter animated the competition and the questions were basically asked from the Acts of the Apostles and Saints, who hailed from India and also the founders of various congregations. Without any prior preparation, the representatives sat for the competition, waiting for the Holy Spirit to inspire as no questionnaire were provided. The quiz was also an indication for catechism teachers to incorporate the life of saints in their lessons.
At 12 noon, the solemn Holy Eucharist was celebrated by Bishop Lourdes Daniel. His introductory talk captured the hearts and minds of the children when he uttered that he felt like a child in the midst of children. Moreover, he added that the presence of so many children made the Bishop House a cradle of Christmas. In the homily, the Bishop spoke about the importance of a child, keeping in mind, the approaching Christmas.
He gave the analogy of an expectant mother who prepares new sets of shocks, caps, pullover etc. even before the birth of the child. He exhorted children to grow up in childlike attitude and also challenged them to make at least ten new friends by the end of the day. The animation and singing of the mass was divided among various parishes. Bishop Lourdes Daniel also surprised everyone by having lunch on his feet, visiting, greeting and taking photos with the children.
The lunch break was followed by singing, skit and dance competitions. Fr. Kishore was the compere. Qualified musicians were invited to judge the competitions. The children were totally immersed in their items and performed so gracefully shocking all the catechism teachers. It was an amazing afternoon with much fun and entertainment. The presence of the brothers with their lively action songs added extra colour to the programme.
The prize distribution was once again graced by the presence of Bishop Lourdes Daniel. All the parishes were blessed to receive at least one prize. Don Bosco parish bagged first prize in poster making, second in singing and above all claimed the championship trophy. The Bishop also presented each child with a Christmas gifts and the teachers were gifted a Bible diary. Finally, a special vote of thanks was delivered, thanking Bishop Lourdes Daniel for being the main force behind this rally and also sponsoring the event and all its expenses. 'Thanks a lot to all the parish priests and catechism teachers for making this great event possible.'