Mangaluru, Mar 26: The society of St Vincent de Paul of St Lawrence Church, Bondel celebrated Senior Citizens' Day on Sunday, March 26.
The celebrations began with confessions’ in the church. Fr Xavier Gomes was the main celebrant and Fr Andrew Leo D’Souza parish priest concelebrated the Mass.
Fr Gomes presided over the Eucharistic celebration and delivered the homily. He focused on ministry of Jesus during his earthly life, Jesus was very active in his ministry of healing and said, "He cured the blind, opened the ears of the deaf, and brought the dead back to life. The early church fathers gave our Lord the title of 'Divine Physician'. As we are growing in the kingdom of God, let us do good to others and be an example of what it means to be a good Christian." After the final blessings, the celebrant invoked a special prayer on all these elderly persons and then anointed them individually.
Soon after the Mass, the cultural programme began with a prayer song by the SVP members.
Fr Gomes, Fr Andrew Leo D'Souza - parish priest, Fr Peter Gonsalves – principal St Lawrence English Medium School, Fr Lancy D’Souza-assistant parish priest, Fr Melwin Pinto MSIJ, John D’Silva - vice president, Santhosh Misquith - secretary parish pastoral council, Neris Dias – president SVP were present on the dais. Stany Alvares welcomed the guests. Neris Dias welcomed the gathering. All the dignitaries inaugurated the programme by lighting the lamp.
Speaking on the occasion, Fr Gomes said, in his witty speech praised the 'Young Seniors' for their determination and energy even at their golden age, and encouraged them by saying that help is always there for them from his side anytime they need in their activities or their lives, since he has been watching their activities every now and then. “We are celebrating this day out of joy, and happiness," he said.
A felicitation programme was held, St Vincent Paul Society (SVP) members honoured Fr Gomes who completed 74 years in priesthood with a shawl and flower bouquets.
Fr Gomes' birthplace is Shirva parish. He served as an assistant parish priest in Mondankap, Milagres, and Urwa Parish, as a parish priest in Kelbet, Gantalkatte, and Mulky, vice principal at St Philomena College-Puttur, principal at Sacred Heart College in Madnathyar and as socious at CODP. At present, he is residing at St Juze Vas home.
Speaking on the occasion, parish priest Fr Andrew said, “I congratulate SVP for organizing this meaningful and blessed day. The senior citizens and children are the main source of happiness in every family. They are pure in heart and clean in minds. At the same time, we can count the blessings on our families."
At the end senior citizens were honoured. With a flower bouquet & gift they are as follows :
Anthony Lobo-89 years, St Joseph ward
Albert Pinto-88 years, Holy Cross ward
Melrid Pais-88 Years, Holy Cross ward
Florine Monthiero-88 Years, St Thomas Ward
Agnes Menezes-88 Years, St Paul Ward
The programme concluded with the fellowship meal. Fr Andrew D’Souza said grace before the meal. Ronald Lasrado impeccably compered the programme. Naveen Correa delivered the vote of thanks.