Bombay Catholic Sabha Organises SABHA DAY 2014

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By Ancy DSouza Paladka
Bellevision Media Network

Mumbai, 01 Mar 2014: The Bombay Catholic Sabha began its yearlong celebration of its Silver Jubilee year by celebrating  SABHA DAY 2014 on 23 February 2014 at St. Paul’ School Ground, Dadar East.  The ground packed with over 700 members, guests and well wishers cheered the Units that won awards for excelling in the thrust areas of the Sabha and also individuals who did the same. The function was preceded with Thanksgiving Eucharist that was celebrated by the newly appointed Ecclesiastical Advisor Fr. Edward D’Souza. The Chief Guest for this occasion was Smt. Janet D’Souza, Vice-Chairperson of State Minorities Commission.


The event began with the Sabha Anthem and a Prayer Dance. The BCS President Mr. Gordon D’Souza then welcomed the Chief Guest, other distinguished guests, awardees and Sabhaites. He expressed gratitude to the Almighty that the organization had reached this milestone and then went on to thank the founding fathers, all past office bearers, executive committee members, central councilors and Units for taking the organization to where it is today and then introduced the present Executive Committee saying that they were going to take it forward here on.


He said that the organization was successful because it is doing God’s work. When we are doing his work we are in union with him. We have union with God not just in prayer but when we are working for his people, the earth and the environment.  Hence the work done by the BCS on Civic, Political and Social issues is the same as working for him. Unity comes from being in union with him  and if we continue to  display such unity we will surely witness many more milestones in the years to come.


The Secretary -General Anand Castelino gave an account of the activities the Sabha had done in the past year in the Thrust Areas and also gave reports of the Membership Growth, Outreach activities such as Sr. Citizens ID Cards, RACE (Resource And Career Enhancement), Training and Formation and resource mobilisation.



It is the tradition for the BCS to acknowledge and encourage the good work of its Units by giving them Awards. St. Joseph Parish Unit, Vikhroli scored a hat trick this year by bagging four Awards for three years in a row. Besides winning the Best Unit of the Thane Deanery they got the awards for activities carried out in civic areas, networking with media and the Sarfarosh Unit Award for carrying out frontline activities that often required taking to the streets. Time and again this unit has shown daring for doing public spirited activities like getting a foot over bridge constructed at the railway crossing at Vikhroli station and even getting involved in legal battles to expose encroachments and remove them to enable public utilities to be put in place.


The  St. John Bosco parish Unit came next with three awards by bagging the Best Unit of Borivili Deanery, the Sarva Dharma Ekta Award for promoting inter-religious dialogue and communal harmony and the Most Resourceful Unit Award for being able to garner funds for the Unit and Centre’s activities. The St Michael’s Unit won awards for their work in civic issues and the Green Unit award for promoting environment protection.


The other best units of Deaneries were Our Lady of Glory unit, Byculla, St. Dominic Savio unit, Wadala, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Unit Chembur and St. Francis Xavier unit, Panvel


The winners for other BCS thrust areas awards were Our Lady of Lourdes Unit, Orlem for having the Best Help Desk; St. Francis de Sales unit, Koparkhairne for membership generation. The St. Francis Xavier unit, Kanjur Marg got a special award for showing consistent activities in all areas. 


This year the Sabha gave a unique award, the BRAVEHEART AWARD posthumously to Wing Commander Darryl Castelino who lost his life in Operation Rahat for the relief and rescue work in the Uttarkhand floods last year. The Award was accepted by his widow, Jyothi Castelino along with his daughter, son and mother.


The BCS also honours individuals from the community who excel in the thrust areas of the Sabha and contribute to society. This year the POWER OF ONE awards were given to Arun Ferreira for his work for the upliftment of tribals and marginalized, Sr. Seema shm of Jagruti Kendra - for her work in Community development especially in slums, Mark D’Souza - Director Audience Marketing at Microsoft - for professional excellence, Royston Braganza - CEO, Grameen Capital - for excellence in Corporate Leadership and for financial empowerment of people.


The Chief Guest, in her address, appreciated all the activities of the Sabha in the various parish units as well as the Centre, making special mention of the Inter-religious programmes held in some places. She also singled out the achievements of the St. Joseph, Vikhroli unit in which she has also participated, which resulted in bringing relief to thousands who use the Vikhroli station today. She said it was an encouraging example of sheer determination, hard work and persistence for a worthy cause. She specially urged all units of the Sabha to start Help desks in their parishes to assist students and people with the documentation to avail of the many schemes offered by the Government, both Central and State, for the minorities. She offered her whole hearted support to alleviate the problems that the community faces and hoped that together we could uplift the community and empower many.


The programme was well anchored by Vice-President, Ms Rita D’Sa and the Vote of Thanks was given by the Jt. Secretary, Mr. Raymond D’Souza, after which followed the Sabha March, fun and the fellowship dinner. It was indeed a good beginning to a year of celebration and thanksgiving for the Sabha.





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