by Cl Ian Pinto sdb
NASHIK-MAHARASHTRA, MARCH 26, 2015: March 24, 2015, was an auspicious day in Divyadaan, Salesian Institute of Philosophy as the community celebrated the Silver Jubilee of Ordination of a silver haired man, Fr Matthew Coutinho sdb. Fr Matthew, ordained on the same day in the year 1990 by late Bishop Simon Pimenta, was felicitated for his years of fidelity and service, at the community level. His parents, sisters and brother-in-law were present for the function besides the community of Divyadaan and religious from neighbouring communities.
The jubilee celebrations commenced with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, presided over by Fr Matthew. Bishop Lourdes Daniel, bishop of the diocese of Nashik, Fr Godfrey, Provincial of the Mumbai province and thirteen priests from nearby communities and parishes concelebrated. The Eucharist was well animated and enlivened with active participation and angelic singing. In his homily, Fr Matthew drew attention to his ordination motto: 'That all may be one' (John 17:21) and explained his reasons for choosing it.
He then went on to share three convictions he developed over the last 25 years. The first was that God works in his own way and He knows what is best for each of us. Most often we tell God our plans, instead of listening to God's plan for us. The second was not to miss the wood for the trees, that is, not to miss the larger picture while being bogged down by the little things. He pointed to the significance of giving personal attention to people; shepherding the flock without forgetting the individual sheep. The third was not to let a milestone become a millstone, implying that one should not get stuck with one's achievement but must constantly strive to move ahead.
The Holy Eucharist was followed by a cultural program which began with the jubilarian and his family making a grand entrance. The cake was cut amid voices crooning 'Congratulations' and hands clapping to the beat. A short video on Fr Matthew's progress through the years was screened to the delight of all present. The programme saw the brothers of Divyadaan stage two dazzling dance performances, two melodious choral pieces, a band piece, a well prepared and delivered address and a song.
Mr Devdas, Fr Matthew's brother-in-law, said a few words on behalf of the family. Fr Godfrey addressed a few words to Fr Matthew, besides revealing his next posting to Ratisbonne, Jerusalem! He then blessed the food and all partook of the wonderful buffet laid out. Smiles and wishes filled the atmosphere and everyone who came, went back contented. It was a night of silver stars shining down on a silver jubilarian surrounded by those he loves and those who love him. It was a wonderful evening, etched on numerous hearts and minds.