Sounds of Freedom Concert
As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the formation of the Stop-Gaps Choral Ensemble and in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, the Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy presents a unique concert titled “Sounds Of Freedom” on Monday, August 15 at St Andrew’s Auditorium, Bandra.
This concert is not just about rejoicing in our struggle and attainment of Independence, but is a call to awaken the conscience of people to what democracy and real freedom is all about. It features various aspects of FREEDOM, brought out by a galaxy of super singers and choral ensembles which include Atul Ahuja, Marianne D’Cruz Aiman, Shahriyar Atai, Asif Ali Beg, Keshia Braganza, Kim Cardoz, Darren Das, Gwen Dias, Petula Rodericks, The Madras Guild of Performing Arts, The Sassy Songbirds, The Victory Chorus Line, The Stop-Gaps Junior Choral Ensemble and The Stop-Gaps Choral Ensemble. The show will be compered by Neale Murray. A not to be missed, one of a kind event. Tickets at Rs 1200/-, Rs 850/- and Rs 500/- are now available on www.bookmyshow.com and from St Andrew’s Auditorium from August 9, 2022.
Growing with the Word of God
On July 23, 2022, we were privileged to have another interesting session as part of the "Growing with the Word of God" (GWG) initiative at Our Lady of Health Church, Versova. The GWG Initiative is a theme-based series of 12 monthly spiritual growth training sessions – including Orientation and Introduction – uniquely designed by the Daughters of St Paul, Bandra. This, the third Session in the GWG Series, entitled ‘Growing Strong in Suffering - Value of Suffering’ was conducted by Fr Gavin Lopes, professor of Systematic Theology at St Pius X Seminary, Mumbai.
Fr Gavin helped us understand suffering by bringing out its different forms and aspects through the sufferings of Job and Jesus. In both cases, Job and Jesus suffered silently until a point where they both cried out to God. In the process, Fr Gavin dealt with some of the pertinent questions that come to our mind while reading the book of Job or in our day to day circumstances: When God is all good, then why did He allow Job to suffer? Why did God permit the suffering when Job was a righteous man? Likewise, why is there suffering in this world? Why do the innocent suffer, while the wicked often seem to suffer no consequences of their evil ways?
Throughout Scripture, God allows trials in order to accomplish specific purposes in the lives of His people. When faced with suffering, they experience spiritual growth, repentance from sin; or, as in the case of Job, the chance to demonstrate devotion to God in the face of inexplicable agony. Suffering can be of various kinds – physical and mental pain, loss of wealth and property, suffering caused by war and man-made disasters, etc.
Fr Gavin cited the Kubler-Ross model, commonly known as the five stages of grief, and went on to explain the five stages of Suffering: 1. Denial ("I feel fine"; “This can't be happening, not to me.”); 2. Anger ("Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"); 3. Bargaining ("Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."; 4. Depression ("I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"); 5. Acceptance ("It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."). These five stages may occur differently for different people.
Suffering is a key to freedom just as failure is a step to success. Failure is truly human. The thing that grounds us to humanity is failure. We look at suffering as a binary. In fact we set our entire life by a binary: Good and Bad; Birth and Death; Pleasure and Pain; Up and Down; Good and Evil; etc. Once we stop looking at the Binary of Life just as God removed Job's binary vision, then we shall be able to understand Suffering and overcome it and therein lies our Freedom.
The programme concluded with Lena D'Silva of Our Lady of Dolours Parish giving the vote of thanks to Fr Gavin for having offered the participants an eye-opening and different perspective of Suffering.
The next session will be ‘Growing in Faith - Jesus, the Son of God’ by Fr Gerard Rodricks SJ on August 27, 2022 from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Xavier D'Souza, Versova
Launch of the Aniceto Nazareth Foundation
The Aniceto Nazareth Foundation (ANF) was formally launched online, on July 30 – on what would have been the 84th birthday of the world-renowned musical genius and one of the finest liturgists of the Archdiocese of Bombay. The ANF has been formed with the express purpose of documenting, compiling and making available Fr Aniceto’s music (texts, original music and harmony scores, tracks) and the vast body of Liturgical material for tomorrow’s generations, in a way that today’s world understands.
The Foundation Team members selected by Fr Aniceto, even as his end drew near, were introduced by Cajetan D’Souza. They included Charmaine Moraes, Karen Rai, Kate D’Souza, Kevin D’Souza, Marcia D’Cunha, Maureen Pereira, Merlyn Fernandes and Cajetan D’Souza. He proceeded to outline the plan for the Foundation, which includes an ANF website in the pipeline.
Maureen then introduced the initial work undertaken by the team - a compilation of over 400 titles that are just a part of the huge body of work that Fr Aniceto has left behind. A few of Fr Aniceto’s original compositions – text, music, scores, harmony and track – were identified, and four teams undertook to make them come alive for the channel. Short snippets of four songs were shared.
Joseph Arrick worked with his youth to compile ‘Cast Your Burden’, a Scriptural text, contrasted by legato and staccato arrangements. The lively music and the lilting harmonies were a fitting counterpoint to the beauty of the video.
Antonella Jiandani who has worked tirelessly to make Fr Aniceto’s music loved all over the diocese chose the Marian hymn, ‘Star of the Ocean’. Just one of the many Marian hymns composed by Fr Aniceto, the soulful humming and singing was matched by the serenity of the video.
Maureen Pereira had an early start with ‘Take my Life’, first sung by the Seminary choir at the Diaconate ceremony, St Pius X College, 1990. Her team comprised many members of the Foundation team, whose total commitment shone through the singing. The video was a perfect match.
Edlyn de Souza opted to work with his Canadian choir on ‘Our hearts were made for You, Lord’. This beautiful hymn spells out Ezekiel’s promise of a new Covenant, not through a fleeting rainbow or stone tablets, but written on our hearts. The very professional singing and slick video will surely take Fr Aniceto’s message to the world.
Finally, each of the songs will act as a learning tool, for they will be accompanied by individual Voice parts, sung out, to act as a Learning tool for those choirs in India who do not read music.
Kate D’Souza invited a few of the song leaders present to share their individual experiences of working with the ANF team. Edlyn de Souza shared that the experience was far tougher, as every note and alphabet was scrutinised by a very vigilant team. Joseph Arrick shared the fun experiences his group had recording in the studio, and Maureen Pereira talked about the initial experiment of trying out Fr Aniceto’s track.
Charmaine Moraes thanked all those present for showing their solidarity to Fr Aniceto Nazareth, and especially the four Teams for devoting their time, talent and energies in leading the way for more teams to follow. ‘Our hearts were made for you’ and ‘Take my Life’ have already been released on the Aniceto Nazareth Foundation channel; all were encouraged to Like, Share and Subscribe on the following links: https://youtu.be/HAWQKMJFBkk; https://youtu.be/uLUMSqOlxg0.
Women’s Day Out
Ashadeep Women’s Group (CCO) of St Blaise Parish, Amboli, headed by Sr Mathilda Fernandes, SHM together with our Parish Priest, Fr Adrian Ferreira, organised “BAARISH HUNGAMA” – an evening of fun, music, dance and games for the women of the parish on July 21, 2022 at 4 p.m. in the church quadrangle.
The evening began with an umbrella dance that roped in the young and the not so young who danced their hearts out to the foot-tapping music of the DJ.
The Organising Team worked round the clock to plan this programme, making sure the women enjoyed a hungama evening, filled with fun and laughter that boosted up their spirit and energy level after the lockdown. The game organised for the senior citizens was the highlight of the evening.
A few light drizzles added an element of surprise and fun to the evening which quickly turned out to be an impromptu rain dance. It was heartening to see the close bonding amongst the women.
Parents’ Day Celebrations
After almost two years of the lockdown due to the pandemic, the PPC members of St Francis Xavier Church, Vile Parle decided to have a live Parents’ Day celebration. It was decided to have Telegames organised by the PYAT for the Youth and Parents in the morning on the parish grounds and an evening programme for parents/grandparents/senior citizens conducted by the Sunday School in the School Hall.
The Telegames had six teams slipping and sliding their way to grab the number One spot in the water-themed games, which included music, dance, spot prizes. We had participants right up to the age of 78 years.
The evening celebration started at 7 p.m. with the Parish priests blessing/praying for the success of the programme and wishing all the parents/Grandparents a very happy feast day. There were more than 400 parents and grandparents and Sunday School children/Catechists who attended the celebration. There were a variety of events – originally composed poems, medley songs, dances, skits, playing of the saxophone; even the teachers put up a surprise medley dance. The children's hard work and commitment made this celebration a great success.