Fr Warner D’Souza’s address on 28th April 2019

 

Your Eminence, Your Lordships, dear fathers, religious sisters and brothers and my dear people of God.

Emblazoned on the arch above this altar are the words, “do not be afraid I am with you.” There are some who hold that these words appear in these or in similar words, 365 times in the Bible, one for each day of the year. From Abraham in Genesis to the disciples in the Gospels, the message of God to his people has always been one of hope and encouragement.

But these words also have special significance for us as family here at St Jude’s. Our principal patron St Jude, is the patron of the least and the lost. Through him, devotees who come in fear, find an intercessor most sure. But this Church also has a second patron in St John Paul II. Seven years ago before I left on a trip to Rome, our parishioners came with a request that we take on the unfinished task of searching for a plot of land.

At that point I was least convinced of the idea but yet at the tomb of St John Paul II I laid our petition. “If it is the will of God” I said, “grant us through your intercession a plot of land.” This is the saint who all his life encouraged the youth and the faithful all over the world to not be afraid. I arrived back in Mumbai on the first day of the novena in preparation for the feast of St Jude. Our patron saints in heaven must have collaborated overtime during those nine days for on the last day of the novena we were told there was a plot of land. And here we are today standing on the very plot of land that we obtained through the intercession of two saints who taught us not be afraid.

Over these last six years, we learnt that because the wind is against you it does not mean that God is not for you. We learnt that God does not place us in the storm to test us; he puts us in the storm to teach us, and teach us he did. We had to learn to pray the panic away. Often we wanted wine and He pointed to water but like Mary we never told Jesus the solution, we told him our need; like Mary we did not know what to do but we knew who to go to.

Your Eminence, you might recall the very first time I came to you with this proposal; you were not convinced. Yet stubborn as I was, I kept coming back to you till finally as if to discourage me you asked me, “are you sure you can build this Church?” I remember clearly the answer for I know it did not come from flesh and blood but from our father in heaven. “I said to you, “I am sure of nothing, I am only sure of Jesus, if that’s good for you it’s good for me.” You, with that fatherly gaze smiled at this impetuous son of yours and consented. Today, I thank God for that YES of yours which has seen this project to completion.

Over these last six years, we learnt that because the wind is against you it does not mean that God is not for you.

We acknowledge that this Church is not our doing but His. This is not our idea, it is His idea. He changed our water into wine. Like the master of the banquet we tasted the product but never fully understood the process for such great love was beyond our human understanding. And yet He continued to fill our jars with wine, seven jars full which was more than enough; but then again He is the God of the more than enough.  

You Eminence this edifice is a testimony in stone, built by love. Its foundation has been built on the promises of God; its mortar is a mixture of the love of its pastors and the people who understood the mandate of creative collaboration. I recognize that my own role is that of a cog in the wheel for before me have been many illustrious men of God who laboured in this vineyard of Malad East when all that existed were dirt roads and dry wells. In particular I want to pay tribute to one such faithful and ardent servant of God, Fr T.O Jacob. This is his dream, he was the pioneer, he hoisted the flag of hope and endurance in the face of much discouragement and hardship. We are honoured to have this humble servant of God in our midst today. Today he is with us, bent over in body but most certainly uplifted in spirit. Fr Jacob, in this world you may have never receive the honours due to you, but I know that in the heart of God, you are honoured.

Today, I want to remember another prayer warrior who has been ministering to this Church for more than fifteen years; Fr Roland should have been with us today and we miss his absence. We pray that he may continue to feel the Lord’s presence in his illness.  

Your Eminence, your Lordships, my dear fathers, sisters, brothers and my dear people of God, today we celebrate not a place of worship but a community of believers that have lived the life of a Christian community. Today we celebrate the gift of our ‘promise land’. Today we celebrate the crossing of our own Red Sea. We celebrate this because we celebrate a God who by His dying and rising gave us this new life that we celebrate. We celebrate a God of divine mercy and to his mercy we commit this Church her pastors and her people.

Fr Warner D’Souza

28th April 2019

 

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5 thoughts on “Fr Warner D’Souza’s address on 28th April 2019”

  • The testimony of our St Jude’s parish community is a witness that “God is with us, and will never abandon us”
    He may be 4 days late, but be still on time!
    Praise God for this gift of our new church !

    Reply
  • Salvador Fernandes · Edit

    praise God

    Reply
  • Fr Warner kudos to you & your team for being God’s instruments in making St Jude’s Church a reality.

    Reply
  • I too have emmense faith in St. Jude. Little knowing that at Good Shepherd parish, I would belong to St. Jude’s Community…it was defunct for 5 years. I was told my first task was to revive the Community. I had never worked in the SCCs. But, I you nothing is impossible if God is on your side. I prayed fervently to St. Jude, being the patron of desperate cases. I was enlightened and with help of the then Coordinator embarked on this journey…and found success.

    Reply
  • Kudos Fr. Warner. you have made me proud. pity I couldn’t be present my Faith in St Jude has increased manifold. Thanks for propagating devotion to St. Jude. Pray for us.

    Jude from Bandra

    Reply

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