Archbishop Dr Bernanrd Moras of Bengaluru inaugurated a centre –‘ Food for the Poor’ Scheme on the occasion of the Parish Feast of Don Bosco Church in Bengaluru on August 20 (Sunday). Distribution of mid-day meal programme under ‘Care & Share’ initiated by Fr Thomas Vailattu from the Provincial House at different locations had been going on for several years now. As per this scheme, the excess food after an important function such as birthday, wedding, naming ceremony and others, is collected and kept in the fridge to serve the needy and those who deserve. Also people sponsor some meals of five, ten and even fewer numbers so that such meals are preserved for the day to provide and offer to the needy who go around looking for food. Archbishop, in the sidelines of the function, appreciated and encouraged such a novel, innovative and trail-blazing project when the Parish Priest and Rector Fr C M Jose, described the functioning of the pilot plan.
The parish shared the joy of the Feast by doling out food packets to over 1000 poor and needy persons who dwell in and around the parish irrespective of religion, caste or status, said Fr Jose who is also a Provincial Council member.
Earlier, presiding over a concelebrated Eucharist, Archbishop Moras greeted all present saying ‘this is a family feast.’ Recalling a recent reading he had done in which some questions were raised such as whether Hindus go to heaven. The answer was No. What about Muslims and even Muslims are not in heaven. Are there Christians in heaven? Not even Christians are found in heaven. He further said ‘heaven is on earth and in the world. Archbishop who was welcomed on arrival by the priests, parish council members and the faithful said we all need to give answer to this question.
Elaborating the aspect of heaven, the Archbishop said everyone who keeps Sabbath on holy mountain, not only Jews, has the right to heaven and claim it as heaven is meant for all those who listen to the Word of God. God welcomes all those who do the will of the Father. If all can claim heaven, then what is the role of a Christian? Why should they belong to the Church? What is meant by being a Christian? Jesus has come not only for Christians but for all and all can claim heaven.
We may have received baptism and could be a member of Church but if not following the commandments, there is no scope for heaven. So, all can look for heaven, provided they follow God’s commandments. Jesus Christ came to this world to welcome all.
Alluding to the gospel reading of the day, the Archbishop pointed out the Canaanite woman’s plea (Mathew calls her a ‘woman of Canaan’, naming her ancient ancestors who were enemies of Israel). She prayed to Jesus for a favour. But the disciples asked Jesus to get rid of the woman because she was persistent in her appeal and prayer. They were not sensitive to her needs. Jesus was not rejecting the Canaanite woman. Jesus wanted to use the situation to teach that faith is available to all people. The woman did not argue when Jesus said ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to little dogs.” The woman, instead, using Jesus’ choice of words, agrees to be considered a dog as long as she could receive God’s blessing for her daughter. Jesus, surprised by her faith said, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your desire be granted.” This incident shows Jesus came for all.
We celebrate the feast but not as an individual, not even as one’s own single family. We should celebrate as one family putting together all families of the parish, the Archbishop exhorted all. Dr Moras urged all present to celebrate the feast once a year together with father, mother, children, parish priest and the entire parish people. He reminded that where there is joy, there is blessing and grace. The same virtues that are applicable for the families should be applied in the parish to enjoy the same peace and joy. Pope Francis’ book on ‘Amoris Leticia’( ‘Joy of Love’) deals with the family. Church is so much involved in this –‘Joy of Love’. This should be practiced in families. God has given to families the joy and peace. We need to share this ‘Anand’ with others. Where there is love, there is God. In such situations of families, there would be no misunderstanding, everything is like an open book, nothing is hidden from each other, there would be sharing and each person is known to each other.
Already, there was this blaming each other, started with Adam and Eve. Man blamed the woman and woman the serpent. Unless controlled, dissipation may happen in the heart as there are obstacles and burden in the heart. Archbishop expressing concern for the families appealed to all to meditate on the doctrine on Family and to take to heart the Pope’s message while looking for the Holy Spirit to regain God’s Preethi and to enjoy it. The Archbishop who attends a number of functions daily and particularly on Sundays said in conclusion, ‘Let there be joy of loving like the Holy Family of Joseph and Mary. God was with them. It is important to find God’s will in everything as we celebrate Don Bosco’s feast.
Fr Paneer Selva Kumar, Secretary to Archbishop, preached in Tamil taking some of the points from the homily of Archbishop. He said ‘every family is a mini Church,’ quoting a Tamil saying. He referred to Second Vatican Council in 1965 which brought about many changes in the Church. Fr Selva said, ‘Let Jesus Christ be the central point in a family. He had some experience of visiting families and he could find the central point in such families is TV, mobile phones and various other distractions for children. The modern gadgets take away the values from the children. Instead, give importance to Jesus Christ and spread Good News to all by living out the same.
Archbishop was also honoured with a shawl and a garland. A cake was also cut on the occasion of the feast of St Bernard, his patron saint. The secretary of the parish council spoke a few words in appreciation of Archbishop’s great zeal for the Lord and his kind presence on the occasion. A little boy bearing the same name was also called in (by the Archbishop) to cut the cake along with the Archbishop. Fr C M Jose, Parish Priest, thanked the Archbishop. He had also extended to him a warm and hearty welcome at the outset. Dr Moras posed for a photo session with Fr Jose, Asst Parish Priest and Administrator, Fr John Peter, deacons, brothers and parish council members.
The preachers for the Novena and Sunday Masses included Fr Anthony Swamy, Chancellor, Rector and Parish Priest of St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral; Fr Lourdu Swamy (Co-ordinator of KRPPIC), Fr Bobby SDB, Fr Shalbin SDB, Fr P I Thomas SDB (Professor, KJC), Fr Theophilous SDB, Fr Charan SDB, Fr Patrick Pinto, Fr Bagyaraj SDB, Fr Freddie SDB, Fr Christopher Vimalraj (Rector, Bhakti Bhavan), Fr William D’Souza SDB, Fr Nicholas SDB and Fr M K George, Rector, Provincial House.
A procession was the culmination of the feast and the novena. Fr Jose Koyical, Vice Provincial, was the main priest who carried a relic of Don Bosco under a canopy. The procession moved along with devotees chanting prayers, reciting rosary and singing in different languages. A band set played popular devotional songs all along a four-kilometer distance. The feast concluded with a benediction and blessing by Fr Jose Koyical.
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