Besp - The eve of the annual parish feast celebrated with the word of god and clourful fire-works

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Report by Dr. Eugene D’Souza
Pictures by Anil Alva
Bellevision media Network

Moodubelle, 06 January 2010: The eve of the Annual Parish Feast, known as Vespers, that came to be adapted into Konkani language, as ‘Bespr’ and eventually as ‘Besp’ was celebrated on Tuesday, 5th January 2010 from 6.30 PM with great devotion, with emphasis on the Word of God, meaningful sermon and eventually the grand fire-works. The facade of the Church, the bell-tower, shrine of St. Lawrence, the main entrance tower and the edge of the Cross Hill facing the church were all decorated in colourful lights with geometrical and linear patterns.

The church as well as the surrounding area within the church campus was all decked to the celebrations of the ‘Besp’ and the Annual Parish Feast. Different stalls have already started displaying their wares right from the religious articles to sweets, bangles, toys, lucky draw joints, etc. The Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM) youth were busy preparing their lucky games stall under the leadership of Roshan D’Souza, Treasurer of ICYM to raise funds for their activities. A number of people who had started trickling in by 6.15 PM were seen doing rounds and some purchases while the stall owners were trying to draw the attention of the potential customers.

The Besp programme started at around 6.30 PM with the Cross and candles carried by Alter Servers and Band from Udyavar leading the procession to the Cross Hill followed by the parishioners and the ‘Cherel’ with the statue of St. Lawrence mounted on it and carried by five members of the Parish Pastoral Council-Charles Quadros, Leo Fernandes, Albert Martis, Ronald D’Souza and Cyril D’Souza. The Altar Servers and priests followed the ‘Cherel’ through the inner path to the top of the Cross Hill. Meanwhile, the peeling of the church bell and singing of hymns by the people in general and choir in particular added solemnity to the procession.

Rev. Dr. Valerian Menezes, Parish Priest of Ranipura Parish was the chief celebrant of the day. On reaching the top of the Cross Hill, the chief celebrant ascended the pulpit and conducted the service in the Kannada language so that non-Christian brothers and sisters also could follow it. After a prayer to St. Lawrence, Dr. Valerian read the Gospel and gave the homily on how saints of the church achieved sainthood and how normal human beings also can achieve sainthood. He said that one can achieve sainthood by seeing his or her life through spirituality taking Jesus Christ as inspiration. Following the novena prayer to St. Lawrence, the chief celebrant blessed the ‘Cherel’ and the procession continued through the road entering the church campus through the main entrance tower into the church.

In the church, the service of the Word of God was taken up with two reading one each for the Old Testament and the New Testament followed by reading the passage on the ‘Agony in the Garden’ from the Gospel of St. Luke. In his sermon, Dr. Valerian explained the sorrow and pain that people undergo in their lives and many seek for miracles to be free from these afflictions. He pointed out that the saints including St. Lawrence suffered pain and martyrdom in the name of Jesus Christ, remembering His sufferings and painful death on the Cross. Giving the statistics of the martyrs, Dr. Valerian Menezes said that since the beginning of the church more than four crores and ten lacs of people have been martyred throughout the world. He said that one can reduce his or her pain by sharing it with others. Dr. Valerian said that there is no ladder so high that would reach the heaven except the Cross of Christ. St. Lawrence accepted the death of being roasted on fire and earned the crown of a martyr because he loved Jesus and sacrificed his life.

After the sermon, prayers of the faithful were recited followed by the veneration of the Blessed Sacrament and Eucharistic Blessing. Fr. Joswey Fernandes, Parish priest of Moodubelle wished a happy feast to all parishioners and thanked Rev. Dr. Valerian Menezes for accepting his invitation to be the chief celebrant for the ‘Besp’ and also thanked priests from other parishes who have come to participate in the Annual Parish Feast in honour of St. Lawrence, the Patron Saint of Moodubelle.

Following the end of the service in the church, people gathered outside in the campus for the grand display of fire-works sponsored by Anil Praksh and Reena D’Souza of St. John the Baptist I Ward. The fire-works with all its colours and magnificence display lifted the spirit of the parishioners who enjoyed every bit of the ‘Besp’ to the maximum.

For me personally, attending the ‘Besp’ was a revisit to my childhood days nearly fifty years ago when i along with all other children of my age used to wait eagerly for the Annual Feast and the fire-works on the ‘Besp’ night. With round shaped fire crackers tossed by expert hands after igniting was a continuous process. While the ‘chanis’ would zoom in the sky, the peacock or tiger shaped formations, after igniting their tail would move in circular pattern on a raised pivot and spew inflammable dust. Well, i became nostalgic about the ‘Besp’ and will be waiting eagerly for the solemn Annual Feast Mass tomorrow.

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Comments on this Article
Simon Francis Lasrado, Sullia/Bangalore Fri, January-8-2010, 8:56
Samastha Belletha kristavum janakuleg saanthmari pabada shubhashayalu.Aa Bhagavantha,aa Santha Lawrencer niklen yeddet deevad,niklen kapodu pandth yenkulena aashe bokka prarthane. Bengaludth Simon Lasrado bokka kutumba
ajith, ninjoor Thu, January-7-2010, 2:42
very nice
Paul Dsouza, moodobelle, manibettu Wed, January-6-2010, 9:24
I am very happy seeing all this.whish you all happyy St.Lawrence feast St. Lawrence alawys gives us His blessing From Paul Dsouza Kuwait
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