Moodubelle: Christmas celebration and felicitation of Fr. Valerian DSouza

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Report by Eugene Moodubelle Pictures by Anil Alva

Moodubelle, 25 December 2009: The Christmas celebrations in Moodubelle parish had an icing on the cake when the entire parish joined the parish priest, Fr. Joswey Fernandes and his associate priests in felicitating Fr. Valerian D’Souza, the former parish priest and builder of the new church of St. Lawrence on completion of 50 years of priesthood on 5th December 2009.

The Christmas celebrations began at around 6.30 PM on Thursday, 24th December 2009 with the singing of the Christmas Carols in Konkani which were rendered beautifully in melodious voice by the Church Choir led by Fr. Naveen Pinto with appropriate commentary. Following the Carol singing, the young children and the youth of the parish presented the Tableau of Nativity with Mary and Joseph with infant Jesus, Angels, shepherds, King Herod and the three Wise Men (Magi) presenting gifts to infant Jesus.

The Christmas feast mass was concelebrated by six priests-Fr. Valerian being the chief celebrant assisted by Fr. Joswey, Fr. Paul, Fr. Naveen, Fr. Arun and guest priest, Fr. William. Fr. Valerian, in his homily highlighted the significance of the Christmas and its spirit. Quoting different passages from the Gospels, Fr. Valerian narrated the importance of Christmas as the birth of the redeemer of the world, the Word becoming flesh and expressed hope that Christmas would bring peace to individuals, families, society and among nations torn apart by terrorism and fear.

Following the end of feast mass, Fr. Valerian D’Souza was felicitated for completing 50 years of priesthood. While giving the introduction, Mrs. Meera Lobo, Secretary of the Parish Pastoral Council said that out of 77 years of his life, Fr. Valerian has spent 50 years as a priest giving service in different parishes. Fr. Joswey in his welcome address expressed happiness at Fr. Valerian accepting the invitation of the parish to be the main celebrant of the Christmas feast mass and giving an opportunity for the parish to felicitate him on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of his priesthood. Mr. Henry Fernandes, the Vice President of the Parish Pastoral Council recalled the contribution of Fr. Valerian to the Moodubelle parish. He garlanded Fr. Valerian on behalf of the parishioners. Fr. Joswey felicitated Fr. Valerian by placing the shawl on his shoulder and presenting him with a basket of fruits. All the priests on the dais also garlanded Fr. Valerian.

In his brief emotional message, Fr. Valerian mentioned that in his fifty years of priestly life, he had served in six different parishes from where he got a lot of love and affection from the parishioners. He made a special mention of Moodubelle parish where he had served twice-once as the assistant parish priest for two years in 1960’s and many years later as the parish priest for five years from 2003 to 2008 during which he built the magnificent church. He thanked the parishioners of Moodubelle for the goodwill that they had shown towards him and asked for their prayers so that he would spend his retired life in good health and in the service of the other retired priests who have been placed under his care by the Bishop.

In his Christmas message, Fr. Joswey extended Christmas greetings on behalf of him and his associate priests of the parish to all parishioners including those who are abroad and working in other parts of India. Following the end of the programme, all the parishioners were treated with a piece of cake each sponsored by Fr. Valerian.

There were other programmes outside the church. A beautiful cake with Christmas theme was auctioned by the youth of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM) to raise fund for their activities. The cake was finally won by Mr. Valerian D’Souza for Rs. 11,000. Mr. Johnson Miranda conducted the auction and also the housie game that followed.

The exterior of the Church building was elegantly illuminated enhancing the beauty of the church and radiating the Christmas spirit in the village. The crib near the Grotto has been assembled beautifully and meaningfully by the youth of the parish under the supervision of Fr. Naveen. The choir sang beautifully throughout the liturgical service lifting the spirit and devotion of the faithful to greater heights.

Bellevision wishes all its readers and supporters a Merry Christmas And Happy New Year 2010.

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