By Susan D'costa
KUWAIT, SEP 13, 2016: Saint Therese of the Child Jesus parish in Kuwait began a new chapter on September 1, as it ushered in 123 girls aged seven to fourteen, to form a new ministry reserved exclusively for girls.
Earlier in the year, a number of parents had approached the Parish Priest, Father Blany Pinto, with a request to allow their daughters to join the altar server's ministry.
This was not feasible, since the parish had around 128 boys registered as altar servers and 30 more desiring to join. The proposal was taken up in the Parish Council.
After weeks of discussions, the council members narrowed down on five proposals – exclusive girls Choirs for the Konkani, Hindi, Malayalam (Latin, Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara) and English language masses, Daily Recitation of the Rosary before Holy Mass, Decorating the church on festive occasions, Ushering during the children's Mass and other special Eucharistic celebrations and finally assisting the elders in organising the Oratory on Saturdays for the children.
One of the parish council members, Elizabeth D'Souza, who is also the coordinator of the group to lead the Rosary was exuberant. She said, "I was really happy and proud that, together with my group, we brought the girls close to Mother Mary by training them to recite the rosary from the church podium."
The newly formed ministry for the young girls was formally instituted at Holy Mass celebrated by Father Franco Pereira. In his homily, he told the girls to be dedicated in whatever they do and above all to pray.
Father Pereira cited Jesus' miracle of the catch of 153 fish - Gospel of John 21:11 - and on a more humorous note he said that they were a total of 123 girls, which meant that there was still room for 30 more to make the total of 153.
Ninoshka Viegas, who has joined the Decor group, said, "My talent is God's gift to me, what I do with it is my gift back to God. It is my privilege to be chosen as part of the décor ministry."
"It is a great feeling. I feel happy knowing that I can do something small for the Lord in my own simple way," said Tara Matthew after completing her first duty as Usher, the following day during the children's Holy Mass.