Pastoral message for the month of August

Dear Parishioners

I promised you that I would come back to you each month to keep you abreast with what is happing in the parish. The pandemic seems to keep us away from worshipping in Church but I do hope it has not kept you away from Our Lord Jesus Christ. To this effect we have ensured that we broadcast Sunday mass and the daily Gospel teaching; the links are sent to you via your animators on the WhatsApp group. It is my fervent hope that each family has submitted at least one family members cell phone details to the SCC animator. This is our only way to communicate with you. Please remember that while we at the parish have made every attempt to reach out and communicate to you, those who do not co-operate in this matter cannot claim ignorance of matters pertaining to the Church. We are not asking for your bank details, just one number of a family member to keep you abreast and informed of what is happening in the parish.

I am happy to let you know that our new parish office has been inaugurated. This space was designed and renovated by our own parishioner, Luis. We asked Edwin and Flory D’souza who are grandparents to do the honour of cutting the ribbon. I will now be available to parishioners on a daily basis for pastoral matters, Monday to Saturday on the ground floor, in the new parish office. Please note that for office matters you will need to follow the office timings. I hope that with this there is great accessibility to the priests and availability on our part for you. In time, the store room on the ground floor will be converted into a meeting room so that all meetings can be held at the ground floor itself. With this, I hope that movement to the father’s private rooms will be limited to the necessary and urgent only.

Last month I made an appeal to you my dear parishioners to give us one rupee or one percent of your monthly income towards the community welfare fund. This fund which I am told hovered at Rs 30,000 has now gone up, thanks to your contribution, to Rs1,70,620 for the month of June. I am grateful to many of you who have responded to this call and I hope that all our parishioners will contribute to the fund.

Last month we reached out to 96 families and provided food grains; this means that we have to keep aside close to a lakh of rupees from the fund towards the care of those who are needy. This is in addition to the 55 fresh meals that are made available thrice a week to our parishioners. I have also given Rs 50,000 in medical assistance this month.

This month I did a physical study of the properties that are entrusted to the care of St Stephen’s Church. These properties with very meager rents also come with several government taxes to be paid. I had asked if I could have a few hands-on parishioners who could help me on a regular basis with the administration of this matter. Besides Dominic who was already assisting us I have asked Luis to assist me. I still need people who would be able to monitor this area of work and make regular visits to the area.

This month we had the first family to sit down to a meal with the parish fathers. Godfrey and his wife Maria along with daughter and mother shared a meal with the fathers. I hope to make this a regular feature every Saturday. To this end, if you as a family would like to join us for a meal do call me and we can fix a date. You could cook up your favourite dish while we will whip up something. The focus of these meetings is not the food but the fellowship.

I would like to visit the sick and those families who are open to a pastoral visit. Both Father Theo and myself have taken both our vaccine shots and we are open to visiting you if you would so like a visit. Please communicate your availability to your community animator who will communicate the same to me.

As many of you now know, my dad has been detected with cancer and as I have said in one of my daily broadcasts this will involve several trips, perhaps at short notice to be of assistance to him and the family in Goa. I want to thank you for your understanding in advance. Fr Theo will be available for all sacramental matters and I will continue to be available to you via WhatsApp.

On the 4th of August we celebrate Vianney Day. I know that you will keep us in your prayers. It is a special day for us as priests but you make every day special by your love and thoughtfulness. Even though I have not met most of you, I continue to get calls and messages of welcome. Thank you and do continue to pray for us. The clergy day mass will be celebrated on the 8th of August.

Finally, we will celebrate our Independence Day on the 15th of August and also the Assumption of our Blessed Mother. Let us pray for our nation and the Church in India. God bless you all

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