by Ancy Paladka
Daijiworld Media Network – Mumbai (SP)
Mumbai, Apr 2: "What more happiness can a Bishop aspire for, than attending a gathering in his diocese, where people have come together for a retreat or for prayer?" exclaimed Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado, Bishop of Vasai on March 31, 2010 at Sainagar ground, Vasai (west), during the concluding session of a Konkani retreat organized by Vasai Konkani Welfare Association. The association had organized a two- day Konkani retreat of Fr Franklin D’Souza, regional youth director of Karnataka, on the 20th and 21st of March in the open ground. A 2,500-strong Konkani-speaking gathering took part in the retreat.
The concluding programme was held on March 21. Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado was the chief guest at the programme. Albert W D’Souza, chairman of Aldel Education
Trust, chairman of Model Bank and Printannia Group, was the guest of honour. Fr Ozy Gonsalves, parish priest of St Ignatius Loyola Church, Fr Valentine Pawkar, parish priest of Gonsalo Garcia Church, and Sr Celine of Nallasopara, were the other guests. Albert W D’Souza spoke on the importance of education in bringing up the society. President Stephen Fernandes was present at the dais. Secretary, Ancy S D’Souza Paladka, compered the programme.
Speaking further, the Archbishop said, "I appreciate the efforts put in by Vasai Konkani Welfare Association in arranging this retreat to meet the wishes of the people speaking a specific language. It is a good to be proud of one’s language, because that is the window or the goal through which you believe in the marvellous creation of God. When people who are born and brought up in one language move to a place, where nobody speaks that language, they feel forlorn. What loneliness they must be feeling! What sacrifice they have been making! I wish associations like these are set up at such places to come to the aid of such people. Because, I could see your joy while singing and listening to the word of God in your own language."
Speaking about the importance of unity, the Archbishop said, "I am happy to see the unity of Konkani-speaking people. I am very happy that Vasai Konkani Welfare Association has brought together the Konkani People. Because, we need to be united and stay united. If I am not united within myself, and if I am not united within the place I live, how can I get united with the church, with the body of Christ?”
The retreat started at 4 pm and ended at 9 pm on both the days. The concluding ceremony started at 9 pm and ended at 9.30 pm. The Archbishop honoured Fr Franklin D’Souza with a Shawl. Br William, who was the musician of the group, was also honoured with a memento.
The Bishop was received at the entrance and was taken to the dais by the committee members. The Bishop also blessed the gathering.
The theme of the Konkani retreat was, ‘He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds’- (Psalm 147:3), ‘whoever comes to me I will never drive away’- (John 6:37b)", ‘the time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’ - (Mark 1:15).
Fr Franklin delivered four talks during the retreat. They were, 1. ‘Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power,’ (Ephesians 6:10), 2. ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,’ (Romans 12:21b), 3. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin’ (John 8:1-11), and 4. ‘Jesus liberates us from the curse, (Sirach 3:1-17). Fr Franklin, in his talks, laid more emphasis on strengthening the family bonds. Br William enthralled the crowd with his melodious music and singing. On both the days, hot cross buns were blessed and served to the entire crowd. The retreat was so touching that tears were found rolling down the cheeks of the people who attended the retreat.