Sabha Day 2019
Sabha Day 2019 was held at St Andrew's Auditorium, Bandra on Feb. 23, 2019. The event began with a Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes in the St Andrew's College chapel. The congregation participated with fervour, aided by the youthful choir from Jeri Meri. Bp Savio asked the Bombay Catholic Sabha to reach out to those on the periphery.
After Mass, the programme continued in the auditorium. The BCS Anthem was played, setting the pace for a lovely evening. Ms Rita D'Sa, the BCS President, welcomed the gathering, laying emphasis on the tremendous work done by the members of the BCS across the districts of Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai. She encouraged the audience to be 'committed to a better tomorrow, by doing their best today'! She also paid tribute to late Adv. George Kurian, one of the founding members of the BCS, who passed away in February 2019.
Bento Lobo, the BCS Secretary General, presented a slide show on the Year in Retrospect, highlighting activities by the Centre and the parish units. The entire Executive Committee was invited to the stage, followed by felicitation of the dignitaries—Fr Jude Rodrigues, Mr Agnelo Rajesh Athaide and Mr Vivek Mendonsa.
This was followed by the presentation of the Best Unit Awards (deanery-wise), and the 'Sarfarosh' and 'Sarva Dharma Ekta' Awards. The various unit Managing Committees had a chance to bask in the spotlight, as they received their trophies from Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes. It was inspiring to hear the work done by various parish units – ranging from civic issues to community upliftment, from encouraging the youth and school students in academic pursuits to sports activities; the range left one breathless!
This year, four individuals received the 'Power of One' Awards—Adv. Godfrey Pimenta (for his work in resolving civic and community issues), Ms Wilma Saldanha (award-winning National Powerlifter), Mr Kasber Augustine (civic activist from Thane), and Mr David Cardoz (Conservation and Restoration of Archdiocesan Heritage structures).
The 5th 'Fr Salvador Rodrigues Memorial Award' was presented to Navjeet Community Health Centre, an outreach of the Bandra Holy Family Hospital Society, active in the field since 1978. Over the last 40 years, Navjeet Community Health Centre has worked in the slums of Mumbai, and over the last 12 years, it has also been working with the tribals of Shahapur taluka. Navjeet's work ranges from education and nutrition to health and sanitation, women's empowerment, environmental issues, livelihood and rural community development.
The first 'Fr Edward D'Souza Memorial Award' was presented to Sr Rosaline Pereira, fma for her work in the Sahayini Social Development Society – Vocational Training Centre (VTC); she has been at the forefront of training young people in skills development and making them workplace-ready. The work done by Sr Rosaline and her team has won the approval and support of a number of corporates, who look to the VTCs as a means of utilising their CSR funds in the best manner.
Don Aguiar, State AICU (All India Catholic Union) President, handed over the AICU Flag to BCS; 2019 marks the centenary year of the AICU - the national umbrella body. Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes praised the work done by the BCS across the archdiocese, and warned the members not to get complacent, to avoid in-fighting and to "show the face of Christ to the world" by their work, standing up for Christian values.
This was followed by the release of the Sabha Day Souvenir. Mr Gordon D'Silva, Jt Treasurer, proposed the Vote of Thanks, and Fr Rudolph Andrades prayed the Grace. A sumptuous dinner was surpassed only by the cheerful faces and bonhomie, as the BCS members celebrated Sabha Day 2019!