15th November 2019 marked a historic day in the annals of the Province of St. Mary Mazzarello, Bombay, as the Sisters of the Province celebrated the 7th Provincial Chapter at Auxilium Youth Animation Centre – Dahanu. The entire celebration revolved around the theme, “Communities that generate life in the heart of the contemporary world.”
The day began with a well-animated Meditation cum Morning Prayer, by Sr. Magdeline Sequeira, the Vice-Provincial, sending out vibes of peace, love, and joy, helping the gathering to become aware of the present moment, united with Jesus at the foot of the Cross.
The inaugural Eucharist was celebrated by Rt. Rev. Bishop Allwyn D’Silva, also known as the Green Bishop of the Archdiocese of Mumbai. The Mass began with a symbolic pouring of the water of our daily realities into the jar of God’s wine. As a representation of each sector of our province, a few Sisters carried a drop symbolizing our readiness to be transformed into the wine of God’s love.
In his homily, Bishop Allwyn emphasized on pouring new wine into new wineskins, the new wine representing the newness of life. Jesus, Himself who gave us the mandate through his life of going forth to the peripheries urges us to face the challenges with hope.
Sr. Melissa D’Souza, the host for the inaugural function welcomed the gathering with a cheerful note. The hostelites of AYAC Dahanu, along with Sr. Savita Parkhe, led us into the presence of God with their meaningful prayer dance. This was followed by the invoking of the Holy Spirit, the source of every good gift. Sr. Ritha Dora Thomas, the Provincial of the MM Mumbai Province, then declared the Provincial Chapter open.
Sr. Supriya Noronha, Sr. Priscilla Travasso and Sr. Rita Lobo then read out the messages of different significant persons who sent blessings and prayers for the fruitful outcome of the Chapter. This was followed by the keynote address given by Bishop Allwyn D’Silva. He urged us not to seal our charism in a bottle or preserve it in a museum, but to put it into practice. He further invited us to have like Jesus, a gaze of mercy, reading the signs of the times. He highlighted seven major signs of the times for us to dwell on- poverty in Asia, the accompaniment of youth, ecological crisis, fundamentalism, migrants, human trafficking and religious pluralism.
The Annual Report of Sahayini Social Development 2018 – 19 was released during the ceremony. The inaugural ceremony concluded with a vote of thanks delivered by Sr. Magdalene Sequeira.
The afternoon session began with a prayer moment after which Sr. Meenakshi D’Silva introduced the members of the International Justice Mission team comprising of Ms. Joanita Pinto, an established lawyer who leads the restoration team of IJM, Mr. Sumeet and Ms. Emma working for the prayer commission and Mr. John. They enlightened us on the topic of Human Trafficking. They concluded by expressing their thanks for offering our premises at Karjat for this noble cause. They also expressed their desire to build a partnership with us in the near future.
The second session for the day was a panel discussion with eminent and intellectual personalities from the different fields of our mission. The entire discussion was led by Ms. Abigail Texeira, a Past Pupil of Auxilium High School, and Wadala. The panelists for the day were, Ms. Bharati Vare, Ms. Sumitra Akshikar, Mr. Adrian Rosario, Sr. Santana Pereira, Sr. Precilla D’Souza and Mr. Sebastian Francis. Alternating their presentations on the views they held regarding the various sectors they represented, were short video clippings of the various mission sectors at work in our Province.
After supper, the Sisters had an animated recreation, amidst dance and cheer. This was followed by a creative photo presentation of the day’s events. With this, the first day of the grace-filled event saw its conclusion. May Mary Help of Christians guide us and be with us in this our journey to holiness.