Middle East

Abu Dhabi: St Paul's Catholic Church Mussafah bids adieu to Fr Ashok Gonsalves

Media Release

Abu habi, Nov 15: The Konkani community of St Paul’s Catholic Church Mussafah, here recently bid farewell to their beloved spiritual director Fr Ashok Gonsalves OFM Cap at the end of his tenure as assistant parish priest of the church. Immediately after the 6 pm Konkani mass, the Konkani community arranged a farewell party attended by over 400 who attended the mass. A cultural programme was then held and the congregation prayed for his future mission.

Immediately after the holy mass, the master of ceremony Suresh Saldanha requested all the priests and members of the Apex committee to join Fr Ashok in a procession to the dais.

A small cultural programme was arranged thereafter which began with a prayer dance. The community's chief coordinator, Robert Pinto welcomed all the guests and requested the priests to come on stage to felicitate Fr Paul Koenig OFM Cap Kustos, AVOSA, Fr Valerian Fernandes OFM Cap, chancellor AVOSA, Fr Ani Xavier, OFM Cap, parish priest, Eugene Matioli, OFM Cap, asst parish priest, Fr Biju OFM Cap asst parish priest.

In his welcome speech, he praised Fr Ashok for his astute leadership quality, dedication and commitment toward the welfare of the community. He stressed that the Konkani community will miss him en-masse and the vacuum created by his absence will be felt and will be difficult to fill. He also commended his efforts toward taking the Konkani community of Mussafah to a different level in a short span of two years.

Maria Pereira, asst treasurer of Apex committee read the Maanpotr highlighting his background and all the achievements during his period. Fr Valerian Fernandes, honored him with a shawl and spoke highly of him. Konkani Apex team members presented a flower bouquet and a photo album as a memoir. All the priests spoke about Fr Ashok and his contribution to the Catholic Church in general and for the Konkani and African communities in particular as he was also the spiritual director for the African community. A huge cake was cut as a token of love and appreciation by all the priests and members of the Apex Committee.

The choir sang a farewell song, the lyrics of which were provided by Suresh Saldanha and music composed by Ashwin Dias. A fusion dance was performed by Mussafah youngsters who were given a rousing applause by the gathering. Members of the Apex team presented a memento as a token of love and appreciation for the services he has rendered to the Konkani community.

In his farewell speech, Fr Ashok appreciated the community and the support he had received from them. "I will miss your love and affection. I assure you of my prayers and urge you to maintain unity within the community which will further strengthen you."

Towards the end of the programme, the Apex Committee treasurer, John D’Lima cast the vote of thanks and Fr Paul Koenig ended the function with final blessings on the gathering. The programme concluded with snacks and juices distributed to all the people who attended the function.

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Title : Abu Dhabi: St Paul's Catholic Church Mussafah bids adieu to Fr Ashok Gonsalves


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