Christmas celebrated with devotion, enthusiasm and joy by the parishioners of Moodubelle

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By Dr. Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle
Pictures by Anil Alva
Bellevision Media Network

Moodubelle, 24 December 2010: Christmas has been always a day of rejoicing to people around the world as the celebration of this feast has not only religious and spiritual significance but also social relevance. The faithful prepare themselves spiritually for this great feast of Christendom with the period of advent and retreat. They also prepare for the Christmas materially by cleaning and decorating their houses, preparing sweets and pastries including cakes and sharing these with family members, relatives and neighbours, connecting with those who are away by means of Christmas greeting cards, e-mails, SMSs and even through phones. On the eve of the Christmas day faithful attend the evening or the midnight mass in their fine dress to participate in the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the messenger of peace and goodwill among the people, communities and nations.


St. Lawrence Parish of Belle which is celebrating the Centenary of its foundation has been preparing the festivities since long. The church building has been painted. Floral decorations could be seen on the main altar as well as in the interior of the church on the capitals of pillars. On the eve of the Christmas the façade of the church as well the tower were illuminated with varieties of lights that give a festive look to the entire structure of the church and enables to raise the spirits of the parishioners as they enter through the main gate. The crib that is the visible symbol of Christmas was prepared by the ICYM members near the Grotto as a separate unit with beautiful background and scenery.


The Christmas celebration began at 7 pm with the well-trained Parish Choir rendering the Christmas hymns in Konkani. The excellent singing by the entire choir was so exhilarating that the congregation that had filled the church by then could be seen listening these hymns with rapt attention. Br. Ivan Martis gave introduction to each hymn. Music was provided on the organ by Br. Roy Lobo. The choir was trained by Br. Mahesh D’Souza. Altogether the choir rendered six Christmas hymns.


The solemn Christmas Mass began at 7.30 pm with nine priests concelebrating the festive mass, Fr. Joswey Fernandes, the parish priest being the chief celebrant. Besides the in-house priests, priests from Belle parish who have been serving in North Indian dioceses especially in Uttar Pradesh who had come on holidays to participate in the centenary celebrations and priests from other religious orders, joined in concelebrating the Christmas festive mass.


In his homily, Fr. Valerian Castelino (Holy Cross) said that with the birth of Jesus, the world got a new hope. In the Old Testament God had made a covenant with the people of Israel that he would redeem them from slavery which was symbolic of sending his only son to redeem the world from the slavery of sin. The small and humble township of Bethlehem was chosen by Jesus to be born in a manger among the cattle and sheep and the message of the birth of Jesus was proclaimed to the humble shepherds who were given the opportunity to meet the newly born child, Jesus.



Coming down to the modern age, Fr. Valerian Castelino lamented about the lack of values among the people and families. He said that people work hard for livelihood and comforts but do not have time for the family and those in need. People have been building big houses, but there are no people to live in these houses. He made an appeal to the people to understand the real meaning of Christmas and imbibe the true spirit of Christmas in their lives and families.


At the end of the solemn Christmas festive mass, Fr. Joswey Fernandes expressed gratitude to all those who helped in one way or the other in making the Christmas celebration a great success. Fr. Joswey also greeted on behalf of himself and the priest colleagues all the parishioners in Belle as well as abroad on the occasion of the Christmas.


Following the end of the mass the parishioners exchanged greetings with each other. Slices of cake was distributed to all those who had attended the Christmas celebrations. The ICYM members auctioned a beautiful cake in the portico of the church. Finally, the cake went to the highest bidder Josline Dias of Thirlapalke for Rs.21,100/- The ICYM members also conducted the housie game. There was festive mood in all-round the church premises.


The ICYM had conducted competitions for the parishioners and wards in making greeting cards, stars and cribs. In these competitions the following won the prizes:

1. Greeting Cards: 1. Desmond Alva, 2. Vineetha Menezes, 3. Sunita Lobo
2. Star: 1. St. Peter II Ward, 2. St. Roque I Ward, 3. St. John the Baptist I Ward
3. Crib: 1. Ashish Alva, 2. Delson D’Souza, 3. Denis Leena Castelino


Bellevision Media Network Team wishes a Happy Christmas to all readers, supporters, well wishers and advertisers.



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Comments on this Article
Ganesh, Manipal Tue, December-28-2010, 12:44
Very Nice Photos man....
simon. castelino, belle ! kalmady ! jeddaha Fri, December-24-2010, 7:48
we wish u all merry christmas happy new year 2011 simon janet castelino devaragudde .
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