Wednesday, October 1, 2014

50 Golden Years of North Gujarat Mission

50 Golden Years of North Gujarat Mission
From Exclusive approach to Inclusive accompaniment

 On October 2nd 2014 the North Gujarat Mission (NGM) is going to celebrate her 50 Golden Years of her life and service at Unteshwari Mata Mandir, the Shrine dedicated to Mother Mary, as Our Lady of the Camels! While the church of this region has completed her service for the past 50 years, we as the members of this Church have the reason to CELEBRATE and REJOICE, for God has done wonders from 19th June, 1964 in the region of North Gujarat through Fathers, Sisters, People of God, Catechumens and the persons of good will. This was the date when Fr. Manuel Diaz Garriz, SJ placed his holy feet at Mokhasan village, near Kalol town, as a God sent apostle of North Gujarat.
Rev. Fr Garriz
From this date to till this date Father Garriz, as Garriz Bapu walks with the same enthusiasm and vigour and communicates God’s love in and through his words and deeds, exclusively for the received mandate groups of the Caste Hindu-Christians of this region. Thanks be to God that he is very much alive in our midst! Thus, we have the reason to celebrate and rejoice with him!

At this juncture, I would like to communicate that I am associated with this veteran vegetarian Bapu and his started NG Mission since 1982. So, out of 50 years I am grateful to God for making me known this pioneer missionary and to journey with him in the land of God’s Mission for the past 32 years. Thus, I, along with others, have the reason to celebrate and rejoice in full gusto. Now, let me mention a few factual informations for such meaningful celebration!
  • In May 1982, as a candidate of Gujarat I was assigned to assist Frs. Garriz and Isudas Cueli at Madurai St. Mary’s Jesuit Fathers’ Residence when they came for the ordinations of deacons Stanny Jebamalai, M.I. Raj and late Sebastian Amalraj. While leaving Fr. Garriz asked me to kneel down and blessed me; then he presented a picture of Our Lady of the Perpetual Succour with the Gujarati writing below. I did not know Gujarati at that time. But, I preserved it and later when I learnt to read Gujarati I read it. The printed words were: “He Unteshwari Mata, amara mate vinanti karo” – (Our Lady of the Camels, Pray for us). I still have this picture with me. This picture means a lot to me even today when we celebrate this Golden Jubilee – the Suvarna Jayanti ! 
  • In 1984, after my completion of higher secondary in Tamil Nadu I joined the Jesuit prenovitiate in Ahmedabad. As part of our formation some of us, the English learning group was sent to Kalol for a month long work camp experience. We laboured with other labourers (majoors) to build the existing St. Xavier’s school. Who knew that one day this majoor would become the Manager of the same school and the labourer would become the Leader for the local and District community! For this I am indebted to God and the Society of Jesus. So, I have the reason to rejoice!
  •  From 1986 – 88 along with my novice companions and the inspiring Novice Master Fr. Joaquin Castiella, SJ we toiled in the paddy fields of Santej Farm of Kalol Parish cutting, gathering and sending them to Kalol Mission centre. Indeed it was a live-in-experience with the hard working boarders and the Jesuit missionaries like Fr. Robert Mascarenhas, SJ and the Regent Bro. Raju (Rajendra Vedamuthu), a scholastic who felt at home with his boys and the boys felt at home with the scholastic!
  • After my first vows in 1988, as a Jesuit Junior for a year I was sent to Kalol for my weekend ministries. Again I was delighted to be with the boys in their formation with whom I laboured in the paddy field, in turn I was formed. This time, indeed it was a different kind of field experience in concrete. The weekend ministry never weakened me instead strengthened me to walk, sing, dance, play and learn with the bubbling boys. Being with them enabled me to be young and energetic. For this I thank the NG Mission. So I rejoice
  • As a second year Junior we had our eight days annual retreat at Unteshwari. There, one day for my prayer I went into the agricultural field of neighbours. There while praying a young man approached me and asked about me. I said that I had come from Ahmedabad for prayer and staying at Unteshwari. The moment he had about Unteshwari he was furious and expressed his anger and even told me that he would cut and throw me into the well. I was alone and pleaded not to harm me. Finally he said, “You should never come back to Unteshwari. We’ll see to it that this Mandir gets damaged and all the inhabitants fly away from here!” At once I left the place and straight went into the Mandir and knelt before the statue of Unteshwari Mata and prayed: “Dear Mother, continue to protect all those who come here as pilgrims; the religious Fathers and Sisters and the inhabitants of the created Unteshwari hamlet”. Today, while being here for the past 17 years, I must say that she very well protects all those who come here and live here. More than that due to her benevolent presence the neighbouring Budasan and Irana villagers are very supportive and collaborate joyfully in our humanitarian services. For this experience I thank and rejoice! 
  • As a scholastic whenever possible I had participated in the annual feast of our Unteshwari Matano Melo. It has been always a faith expressive and faith enriching celebrations and definitely the feast continues to attract many more Christian and non-Christian friends to experience the popular inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue of life and mission at this Marian hillock. 
  •  In 1992 after completing my Bachelor of Philosophy, due to my love for inculturation in our evangelization process, in a symbolic manner I got my baptismal name officially changed from Gaspar to Girish! Now, the weekend scholastic Gaspar enters as a Regent Girish to the same Kalol boarding. The people and the boarders who knew me earlier started calling me Brother Gaspar. But, I explained the reason for changing my name into Girish. All because of my love for Inculturation. They respected my process and started calling me with this new name. Inculturation it meant for me as a regent was to insert myself totally in the ethos of our North Gujarat culture and to understand them from their perspective. So, except Thursday evening, which was the Jesuit community day, all the other times I was having all my meals with the students. Such insertion helped me to identify myself with them by breaking chapatti (bread) with them and this motivated the cook Babulal Raval to commit more time in proper cooking. In this way I spent two years with the boarders and for the boarders. I spent all my holidays visiting their homes to know where they come from and how they live in their village. This enabled me to understand them better and to walk with them in their boarding life. I was moved to see the poverty and the pathetic life conditions of our dear boarders. Such ongoing visits motivated me to love and serve them the way Christ served! For this realization I thank God and the NG Mission!
  • In 1994 I went to Premal Jyoti, Ahmedabad for my theological studies. As part of the contextual theology, for two years I cycled for 25 kms and was moving into the four villages of Kalol Parish, namely Santej, Khatrej, Jethlaj and Nasmed. In my first year Shekhar was my companion in this insertion process. I spent the second year alone in the midst of the same Raval and Thakor catholics and catechumens. Also I visited other communities in the villages and developed an inclusive outlook at this moment. Well, we shared; cared and grew together as villaged based humans. Sincerely, I smelt the smell of MY people in the midst of sheep, dogs, donkeys, bullocks, cows, buffalos and camels. Besides humans being my companions, these animals too were my extended members of God’s family. At night I slept next to the camel. Well, the smell of the camel used to get absorbed in my cloths (kurta) and whenever I reached back to Premal Jyoti, invariably my friends used comment – “Oh, what a bad smell from your Kurta!”. Well, such was my incarnational theology which has shaped my missionary identity and motivated me to journey with MY people. Also this process helped me to write the Funeral Rite for the Christians of this North Gujarat region as an experiment process. Truly I am formed by the Textual Professors and the Contextual Persons of North Gujarat. I have often heard from the villagers of this region – “Remember, we formed you!” For such formation I have the reason to rejoice today in the context of such Golden Jubilee!
  • I was formed through various official formation centres at Ahmedabad, Sughad, Pune and Delhi. After such formation I was sent to Mehsana as a deacon to encounter and engage fully with the Pioneer of the NG Mission. On 18 October 1997 I was ordained with my other five companions at Nadiad St. Mary’s. Plenty of people from North Gujarat Mission were present for this witnessing event of ordination. In their midst I was ordained to be the Pastor (care taker in all sense) for them and to travel with them to reach the eternal home. Man proposes but God disposes. Within six months Fr. Garriz had to leave for the Gujart Mission Secretariat at San Sebastian, Spain. This caused a few changes and I had to move to Unteshwari on 15th April 1998. All for the greater glory of God! 
  • In 1999 due to our systematic insertion into the 119 villages of Kadi taluka, there was an unexpected persecution movement against me and the Misison. 50,000 pamphlets were distributed in the villages and towns of our region. Finally, the persecution turned into blessings by we getting involved in the lives of the poor, disabled, orphans and widows of our mission area. Our exclusive mission approach was gradually shaped with the new paradigm shift of inclusive accompaniment. Truly, this has been a call within my priestly CALL. Such inclusive accompaniment of all humans according to their needs has removed the tension in the vicinities and has enhanced the entire Unteshwari Mission as a barrier free centre.
  • From 2000, as a pilgrim centre, the Unteshwari Tirthadham truly welcomes all types and all categories of people as co-pilgrims to travel with and attends to the needs without any expectations. For this realization and actualization of this new evangelization process I have the reason to celebrate and rejoice with all persons.
  • Now let me state some positive signs and the challenges of our North Gujarat mission. This is purely from my perspective though I have my strengths and limitations. I am open for any clarification and further learning through proper spiritual and apostolic conversations. 
Positive signs:
  • 50 Golden years in the North Gujarat Mission means a lot for all of us. Indeed it was a real breakthrough from our older understanding of Evangelization to newer understanding by reaching out to other communities in their socio-cultural ethos. This created the Kalol Mission by Fr. M.D. Garriz, SJ; Nalkantha Mission by Fr. Alex Thannipara, SJ; Bhal – Dhandhuka Mission by late Fr.J.L. Gorosquieta, SJ. 
  • The Spirit of God had worked through the Vat. II in 1963 and it generated a new move from exclusion to inclusion approach in our Evangelization.
  • Indeed it has been a real achievement that today we have a Christian community in the Caste Groups, who are basically poor, marginalized, backward and voiceless in many ways in the growing Global Gujarat Movement. 
  • Today, the local church does not mean only caste Hindus or Majiranas. We also have attempted gradually among the Dalit community in Vadgam area. Even this is a break through, that is, again a movement from exclusion to inclusion within North Gujarat Mission. If we are open to the Spirit, it is possible to open many more centres! Wherever and whenever we are open to the signs of times, then the true inclusion is possible within and outside the region!
  • Our Social, Educational and Medical centres, Home for the aged – Sandhya Vishram and centres for the disabled (Madhurya Bhuvan – a residential school for MR youths and Unteshwari Sammilitalayam – Inclusive Education for Disabled Children and Community Based Rehabilitation) are works of evangelization. It is again a breakthrough to move from exclusive evangelization to the inclusive NEW evangelization outlook. 
  • Local Church is not and does not mean only the baptized ones with water. While all our mission movements and methodologies continue to inspire many more persons to experience the person and values of Jesus and they in turn ask for the Baptism of water is encouraging. Though right now it is slow due to external legal process, still we, positively, have begun the process to accept the baptism of Spirit and Fire, by accepting the men and women of good will in our mission collaboration. Collaboration with the Christian and non-Christian persons are healthy signs in building up the local church. This is very much happening in our NG Church. Local church means to be local within the local region with the frontier missionary outlook. Signs of these are seen visibly in our approach. 
  • There has been always an attempt through the key of mission experiments among us to make the local church as a visible sign of God’s Kingdom through the mission methodologies of adaptation within the inculturation process. Attempts of inculturation are done more from an external point of view, though a few of us have got the right internal attitude towards inculturation. Such attempts and attitudes are positive signs. 
  • In the area of inculturation, mostly missionaries have attempted in externals. Such attempts are positive, though we are just at the periphery. Attempts are made in structural adaptation, food habits, dress; minimum in rites and rituals; iconography; cultural celebrations and maintenance of a few daily and monthly and annual customs and celebrations. Thus, God is being encountered in such local cultures just by mere external adaptation. These attempts are seen as positive signs. 
  • Bapu and Guruji terms are beautiful local words by which we are addressed with love. We need to imbibe the spirit of them through our inner spiritual emptying of ‘worldly paternalism’ and move into ‘godly paternalism’ as Yahweh. Our call is a call to become a spiritual companion in imitating Jesus the Master and to live as brothers and sisters in our religious and outside communities. Many of us understand the spirit of spiritual leadership as servant leadership. A real witnessing positive sign! 
  • Our life of incarnational involvements in the context of local church, especially the accompaniment to the poor and the needy through the educational, medical, social, livelihood, rehabilitation, empowerment, employment, etc. are holy signs of building the local church. Our church is not just built with iron, sand, bricks, cement and water. It is built with feelings and affections within the local context of the human habitat, what we call the domestic churches. To me, each poor family of our context is a ‘deri’ (domestic chapels) and collection of such chapels can generate a ‘Bhavya Mandir’ – Magnanimous Church. The positive sign of our intention is still dedicated in building such ‘domestic deris’. Great indeed! The poor are attended to, be it locals are migrants. The positive sign of our local church is that the locals are open to mingle with the migrants and migrants with the locals. The outlook of local church is wide enough to adopt and adapt according to the signs of times, without losing the essence of the local context of our North Gujarat Mission. 
  • Katha ministry is a novel way of spreading the Good News. An attempt is being done to make it more alive within our cultural ethos. The promoter Fr. Ignas Canis, SJ knows that it is not a programme but is a passion to make others experience God and to listen to the Word of God. 
  • North Gujarat is full of deity (mata) culture. Whatever may be, Missionaries maintain that our ultimate end is God. To Jesus through Mary is maintained. Mary is seen as an intercessor than ‘goddess’. The concept of ‘kulmata’ (ancestral mother) and ‘satguru’ (Master of Truth) are well understood and accepted by the locals. They very much feel one with these emerged Christian concepts. The ongoing search and research in our missionary accompaniment on New Evangelization are positive signs in strengthening the local church. The positive minded local Christians (Isupanthis) are our strength in building the local church and this seed is sown in the hearts of the Christians and catechumens by our committed and dedicated pioneer and co-missionaries.
Challenging indicators:
  • We have to decode our ‘whims and fancies’; move from ‘our’ individual ideologies to the true spirit of inculturation and inclusive accompaniment as a way to bring people to the person and values of Christ.
  • Give a chance to the one who wants to follow Jesus and be part of the body of Christ. Let him/her express his/her desire to accept Jesus as his/her Guru. We need to avoid positively any kind of enticement in our proclamation! 
  • Our life and mission involvements and application of our life to the corresponding mission situation is highly needed. 
  • Somehow our life style is getting corroded with worldly values. Net result is to lose the pastoral aspect of the Priest (‘bapupanu’) because of our loose character and become Bosses - ‘sahebs’. Getting corroded because of our over importance in ‘making’ CRORES than attending to the CORE issue of providing food and drink for the spiritual hunger and thirst for our people. We need to move from Boss to Das - servant!
  • We need to move from our centres to the margins to make the margins as important central persons. Instead of running any outreach programmes we need to reach out to the persons in need. 
  • A few attitudinal changes need to take place in our life and dealings with such locals of OURS. We need to grow more in WE feeling with them to build a viable and vibrant local church. 
  • At times over importance is given to Mary than Jesus. Mata cult is good, provided such a cult does not take away the importance of Jesus in the lives of building the local church, centred on Christ. 
  • Less preaching through words and more preaching through practicing witness is highly expected and demanded. We need to grow more like our Gujarat’s Gandhi Bapu by imitating the BEATTITUDES and we could join him by saying: “My life is my message!” This needs attention to build a viable and strong spiritual church. 
  • Greater care has to be taken not to make the means end.
  • The disgruntled persons in the mission are not to be seen as threats. Instead they are to be seen with compassion and not to judge them with our idiosyncratic ideas and principles. They need to be listened to. If nothing works, instead of cursing them, we need to continue praying for them. They are ‘fallen’ persons and they will need our ongoing support and encouragement. We should be prepared to welcome them when they return with an open mind. Better with God’s grace we become aware of our holy hypocrisy! 
  • We need to keep in mind to have a healthy infusion of TEXT and CONTEXT in the missionary approach. Ongoing formation of ourselves and others must be seen as a prime importance in the growth of the Mission.
  • In order to build the local church we, the missionaries, must first update our knowledge and make the locals to read and reflect with us in the atmosphere of mutual growth. 
  • In all, we need SILENCE to LISTEN to GOD and HIS peoples to build His Church, not ours. We need to allow God to enter into our lives and by his enhancing labour of love we must continue to CELEBRATE life and REJOICE with Him. 

 Finally, I want to confess that I am not a perfect person. In spite of my limitations and weaknesses God has graciously blessed me with various strengths and continues to guide me to walk with Him so that I may grow in His stature. My journey continues by walking with persons, things and events. I hope I do not get stuck with any worldly ways and persons! In the midst of such struggles and concerns I seek for God’s help to light a candle to remove darkness – tamasoma jyotir gamaya!

 Finally, Let us continue to be the persons of HOPE. With God in Jesus, everything is possible. I believe, Mary our blessed and beloved Mother will be all along in our way and she will guide every step that we’ll take in building her Son centred local church. Let us TRUST in GOD that He will make the IMPOSSIBLE possible. Let us be open to His Ways and welcome all to experience the redemptive love of God in Jesus. Finally, we all need to labour with God to make Jesus known in North Gujarat without fear and without counting the cost. May the local church of North Gujarat be a salt and leaven to all peoples of God in her region. Amen.

Girish Santiago, SJ
Co-missionary of NGM
1st October, 2014
World Senior citizens’ day.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Funeral : Fr. Amalraj Sebastian - Gujarat Province

Please click on the video to watch the funeral

Letter to the person with a Difference!

Dear Amal,
Greetings from your Girish Bapu as you usually used to call me whenever we met.
This morning as usual after breakfast when I checked my emails there I was shocked to read about your sudden departure. I knew you were sick and you were under treatment at Our Lady of Pilar Hospital, Baroda. But, I never thought that you would depart from all of us so soon. For, I found you always energetic and enthusiastic about the happenings of our province and its development. Well, finally you have taught me to accept things as they are and to welcome things joyfully as it comes. Well, you have gracefully welcomed the call of God today (13.9.2014) at 00.30 am. When all were in deep sleep at mid-night you seemed to have had conversation with the Lord and finally you could surrender totally by saying – “Into your hands I commend my Spirit oh Lord!”
I was somehow deeply convinced that this was not the age when you have to say BYE to all of us so early! This somehow triggered me to check your bio-data from our catalog. There I noticed: Birth – 13 December 1949; Entered the Society of Jesus: 15 June 1972; Ordained Priest: 2 May 1982; Final Vows: 8 September 1987. So, quietly at the age of 65 without anyone’s attention you have gone before us to have the beatific vision of God in the company of Angels and Saints! May you continue to live joyfully in the company of eternal beings and kindly send us your blessings for we the earthly beings need your kind intercession!  I admire you for having taught a lesson from your own physically challenged life: “Slow and steady wins the race!” Finally on this date you have won the race and have received the eternal reward – the life everlasting! Thanks be to God and May your soul Rest In Peace!
At this moment I want to share with you of my association with you and with your native place. I know that you were from Tamil Nadu and your native place was Kalladithidal near Anandoor, the land of Maravas where our dear Jesuit Saint John de Britto was martyred at Oriyur. In fact you were deeply touched by the missionary spirit of this Portugal Britto and you too wanted to become a missionary like him. So, you left your place and came as a young boy to become a Missionary in Gujarat.  With your initial enthusiasm you wanted to serve as a Jesuit Novice to teach catechism to the students. Due to the fatal accident at Sabarmati you lost your left leg and got fixed an artificial leg instead. With that you became lovingly as the ‘langada Amal’(lame Amal)  to all and made a remarkable difference in the Society and society at large till your last breath. Your ever YOUTHFUL life and Mission with the youth and others have become really the JOY OF THE GOSPEL to many within and outside Gujarat.
While we the missionaries of North Gujarat Mission is getting ready to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of our Mission on October 2 at Unteshwari along with the 44th annual feast, we were getting ready to invite you for this great event for we hear from your own students and you yourself have told me many times that you as a scholastic spent your week end ministry in the midst of Kalol boys’ boarding. To me you were one of the forerunners who paved the way for my future ministry. Somehow this kept you alive and you often told me – “Remember Girish Bapu, before you, I was there!”   Well, your liking for North Gujarat never got diminished. Somehow once again you came back and from BSC Ahmedabad  you were conducting your programme in Danta and Vadgam,  the civil NG regions! In spite of your physical disabilities you could move everywhere in the South, Central and North Gujarat, namely Surat, Baroda, Vidhyanagar, Ahmedabad, Kalol, Danta, etc. and you moved everyone of your contacts spiritually and socially to soul search their inner and outer movements.  Truly you were attuned to the life of converted Ignatius and you could draw inspirations from him to face the ‘challenged life’ as a Jesuit - Scholastic, Priest and Social Activist! amDg!
What a joy for me to witness your priestly ordination in the campus of Madurai St. Mary’s Cathedral on May 2nd 1982. I was a candidate for Gujarat to attend the vocation camp. There I was glad to see you getting ordained with your vibrant Gujarat companions Stanny Jebamalai and M.I.Raj. At one moment, at that time, I was stunned to see you limping, yet with the firm footing! I saluted at that moment only for the caring and understanding Society of Jesus and I wanted to belong to this Society which accepts all kinds of ‘persons with disabilities’ with an unconditional motherly love! Viva Madre Compaña de Jesus! Today the mother Society is proud of you dear AMAL, for you were PURE true to your name and have made a real difference in the Society to labour always for God and His peoples without seeking for rest. Truly your strengths have over powered your weaknesses! Thanks to your past Provincial’s right discernment to accompany you till the end. Hence, Our option is very clear Amal to accompany the marginalized, poor, weak and vikalang (disabled) as a life-long Mission! You so well experienced the spirit of the Society, in turn you, as a differently-abled, were at the side of the disadvantaged and displaced! Thanks be to God!
In the Society, I always admired you Amal for your charm and enthusiasm! Whenever and wherever we met, we met as loving companions of Jesus. Age was not barrier, for we both were barrier-free in our interest for the Mission in Gujarat.  This was our talk when I met you along with Fr. Jerry Sequeira, your caring Rector, 10 months back in your room at Vidhyanagar.  How can I forget your encouraging words? How can I forget your humorous nature? How can I forget your expressed dreams for the Youth of the entire three Latin rite Dioceses of Gujarat?
Here I attach a picture which we took in your room. Your external transparency has revealed your inner disposition to be ever open to all at all times. Thanks for being a mentor to serve the persons in need. Truly, like St. Paul, I could notice in you:  When you were weak, you were strong Amal! Thanks for your friendship and companionship!
Looking forward to meet you one day at an appropriate time!

In Christ Jesus,
Girish, SJ
Unteshwari - Kadi

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Interview of Late Fr. Amalraj Sebastian

Please click on the below given link. This interview was taken before the funeral of Late Fr. K Raj at BSC - Ahmedbad.

Interview of Rev. Fr. Amalraj Sebastian

Rev. Fr. Amalraj Sebastian SJ is died today at 00.30 at Pillar Hospital Vadodara, He was 65 years old and was in the Society of Jesus for 42 years. The funeral will be held at St. Xavier's Church Gamdi-Anand at 11:00 morning (14th Sept 2014) 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Born to be a talented singer and musician - Shrey Jadav from Surat

 An inhabitant of the stage, Shrey is a talented singer and musician. Along with, he is also an excellent orator, a beautiful heart and the youngest 3G Jadav. 

Having passed out from St. Xavier’s High school, Surat with a good score, he is currently studying Bachelor of Mass Media at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
Shrey Jadav : Photo: Puja Kedia
This lad didn't cry when he was born. He was singing! 

 Five years elder to him, apart from the routinely shenanigans and fights, one thing I remember about Shrey is his love for music. Be it singing or learning various instruments. He plays the keyboard and the guitar like a ‘rock star’! 

 We belong to a family of singers, writers and a fabulous orator! Shrey has sucked in the best of the entire family of the Jadavs combined. Quirky and witty with his oratory skills and an epitome of charming when it comes to his musical performances!

 As many would thing, one can’t be the master of all but Shrey has been exceptional throughout his school years (at least). We’re hopeful he’ll make us proud even with his further education. Future apart, he has aced his exams throughout his school years and has been a do-it-all. Be it dramatics, dancing, the school choir, the sports day, the church choir, being a part of the Surat Bookoholic club, reading fictional books from the library and so on.

Photo : FB
 Among the many other things that Shrey enjoys, stage is what he is passionate about. He isn't merely passionate about the stage but he has been equally religious towards it for all these years. Just like one of my chores included bathing, eating and drinking coffee, his daily chores include practicing on his keyboard and reading apart from his academic books. He reads when he travels, he reads before bed and sometimes, during his meals. He has befriended a couple of friends who are equally passionate about reading and thus, the exchange of knowledge continues!
 For him, when he is on the stage, I believe, he gets onto the stage with a motto that spells, ‘the stage is going to be mine!’.  I don’t remember a time when he has not been applauded while on stage.

 Honestly, I don’t really know how and from where he finds the time to be it all and to do it all. He has a large social group and attends as many parties and lives a routinely ‘young’ life. What makes him stand out is his will to take a step further, to sweat a little more and to give a more of himself than others. Of course, all these wouldn't have been really possible without the constant support of our parents. The patience that our mother shows when the house buzzes with loud western music and the dedication our father shows when he serves not just as a provider of the family but also a personal driver who will never deny taking him to the practices or back.

Photo : FB
 Our parents and the family played an important role in understanding the fact that he has a certain talent which must be exposed. Ever since I can recollect, our parents and family have always encouraged him to learn new music, listen to more music be it on the television or on the internet, perform at every place possible and cease every opportunity possible. As a family, we always try and make it to see him whenever he is performing, his musical shows or his speeches.

 Shrey has always been an outgoing person. He never shies away from a chance. Apart from performing solo, he jams with various people from his school, from Surat and now, from his college as well. He performs with co-performers young or old. 

 Having said that, everything has not come to him as a piece of cake. There have been failures and disappointments for him as well. However, what he never gave up is his belief in himself and his love for music as an art. He has never allowed any storm to affect his motivation to go ahead with his passion.

 Having said that, he is now growing out if his teens and as an elder sibling and family, we’re only wishing for him to shine on. For us, he is the crazy diamond! 

Special thanks to Cheryl Meena Sampat, UK

This article is a part of Vibrant Catholic youth - Gujarat by BBN

Monday, September 8, 2014

Miss Steffy Parmar shares her love for Mother Mary on the inauguration of grotto at Jod

 Our Lady Of Lourdes Grotto inaugurated at Jod village near Vidhyanagar by Rev. Fr. Martin and Rev. Fr. David Parmar.on 07-09-2014. This was built by Mr. Babubhai Parmar family from Karmasad in memory of Late Kamdaben Babubhai Parmar. Jod is a birth place of Late Kamdaben.

 Please click on the below given video for the Interview of the daughter of Late Kamdaben. She is sharing her faith and happiness to have the grotto.

For more photos Please click the below given link


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Doot September 2014 - દૂત સપ્ટેમ્બર 2014

Please click on the logo to read Doot September 2014

દૂત સપ્ટેમ્બર 2014  વાંચવા માટે નીચે આપેલ લોગો ઉપર ક્લિક કરશો 

 Doot September 2014

સૌજન્ય : ફા. જેરી  સિકવેરા 

ગુજરાત સાહિત્ય પ્રકાશ - આણંદ 

The cover page will be uploaded sooner.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Inspirational Interview of Mr. Rajesh Chauhan - Trustee Of knowledge schools

Please click on the video and be inspired

 Mr. Rajesh Chauhan is a catholic from Jivanjyot Society, Padhariya – Anand. He was born and brought up in a middle class, financially poor family of Paulbhai and Savitaben Chauhan from Kot Lindora village in Umreth Taluka.

  During his preliminary studies he had to work in the fields for food, school fees and books. While facing many unsaid problems he completed his 12th Studies. After his 12th exam he had a dream to help the family as the family was facing financial problems.

 He started taking tuition classes at Padhariya. As he succeeded taking classes of 600 students per day, which made him think for the student’s better future in education. This spark made him restless, he went to his closest friends and shared the same thought and asked them to help him start an education firm.

 With the help of his friends, he began the first Knowledge school in Nadiad under the banner of his trust called “Knowledge Group”.

 And today the Knowledge Group is grown into 5000 students and 600 teaching staff with having Schools in Nadiad, Anand, Vidhyanagar and Bakrol.

For more, please listen to his interview and get inspired, hard work and visions can bring victory.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Myanmar celebrates 500 years of Catholicism with music, art

Myanmar celebrates 500 years of Catholicism with music, art

3rd September, 2014
Yangon, Myanmar, Aug 30, 2014 / 07:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).-

Celebrating 500 years since the arrival of Catholicism in Myanmar, Catholic artists have pooled together to evangelize through a new musical endeavor.

Catholic Creative Artists Association – an indigenous group of Catholic professional artists inspired by Biblical experience – has composed, developed and released a music album entitled “Revelation” in honor of the anniversary.

Earlier this year, the association premiered its first mega multi-cultural musical entitled “Jesus of Nazareth” at the National Stadium for two days in front of a fully-packed audience.

The program incorporated artists from the seven major ethnic groups with their own music and dances.

“God seems to be inspiring the Church to recognize this great potential and use it for greater benefit of the Word of God,” Fr. Leo Mang, director of social communication for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar, told CNA Aug 25.

The bishops’ conference has declared the current liturgical year “The 500th Great Jubilee Year.” Celebrations kicked off Nov. 24, 2013 and will come to close on the Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 23, 2014.

“It is true that the arrival of the first Catholics into Myanmar was in 1510, so in reality it is 504 years of the arrival of Catholics in Myanmar and we should have celebrated in the year 2010,” Fr. Mang said.

However, the political circumstances and religious liberty situation in the country at the time did not allow for this.

“Since the political situations in Myanmar are developing now and there are many upcoming religious freedoms in the country we feel that it is a privilege to celebrate the great Jubilee in 2014.”

Despite persecution, Catholic missionaries and the local Church in the country have worked to promote dignity and human rights in Myanmar, promoting peace, social reconciliation and interreligious dialogue.

Discussing the significance of the Catholic Creative Artists Association, Fr. Mang said, “For the first time the Church in Myanmar has performed in the National Stadium and brought to light the big potential culture and talents of Myanmar Church.”

The association’s members are top performing artists in Myanmar, with backgrounds in advertising, television and radio, he explained, adding that “their participation has added greater credibility to the performance of ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and now in ‘Revelation,’ which is a tremendous success.”

Fr. Mang explained that the Catholic Creative Artists Association is an initiative of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar, which in 2012 decided to incorporate a group of more than 40 Catholic professional artists, including musicians, singers, actors, technicians and composers.

The bishops’ conference was responding to the call for a new evangelization by seeking to reach the hearts of people through art, the priest said.

The vision of the bishops is “to build a community of faithful Catholic artists supporting a culture of excellence among artists, encouraging them to perfect their God-given talents and flourish as craftsmen,” added Fr. Mang, “so that their work might be a more pleasing offering to God and a more effective sign of his love for mankind.”

He explained that the artists are to be “custodians of beauty” and “heralds and witnesses of hope” to all humanity.

A priest serves as chaplain for the group, coordinating and planning monthly Masses and meetings. In the future, there is hope to expand among local tribes as “a means of uniting the Catholics from different ethnic groups and strengthening the identity and faith of the Burmese people.”

Doing so, Fr. Mang said, will help respond to “the modernization process in the country (which) is alienating people from their own culture.”

In producing “Jesus of Nazareth,” members of the Catholic Creative Artists Association took many Gospel trips, walking miles to other dioceses throughout the country.

The government of Myanmar has identified seven major tribes as representatives of 137 sub- tribes and dialects, and the Catholic Church is well rooted in these ethnic cultures. The Catholic population is estimated at some 500,000, which is less than 1 percent of the total 50.5 million population in the country.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Born to dance : Miss Chelsy Parmar


Miss Chelsy Parmar, 17 as described by her family was born to dance.

Studying in standard 11th at her Alma Mater Convent of Jesus and Mary Girl's High School, Baroda. She aspires to own a dance studio of her own one day.

Born 5th of November to Ms. Mona Parmar in Baroda, Chelsy showed an inclination towards dance even when she hadn't learn to crawl. A movie song on TV or radio and her entire little body would start shaking much to the delight of her family members.

At an early age of 2, you would find Chelsy in front of the television trying to mimic the dance steps of her favorite songs even if she had no idea what they were singing...Her mother tried to take her to learn alternative sports which she disliked instantly.

As any parent worth their salt would do young Chelsy's mother found her a dance teacher who would teach her to dance. Mr Nilesh Parekh a Gold Medalist in the ancient and popular form of Bharatnatyam took Chelsy under his tutelage. Mr. Parekh runs a well known institute in Vadodara called as "Pranav Performing Arts".

Chelsy took to classical dance as a duck to water and has never looked back. She has finished six years of her dance training and is now preparing for her Visharad the final exam of year seven. She has participated in various dance competitions and has done numbers of stage shows.

Chelsy has decided to make dance her profession and is working towards joining the Faculty of Performing Arts in Baroda to enhance her dancing skills.

She is an immense source of pride and joy to her mother and her entire family.

- Apeksha Parmar-Shah 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


[RIMINI, 24 to 30 August 2014]
To His Excellency
Mons. Francesco Lambiasi
Bishop of Rimini

Your Excellency,
at the XXXV Meeting for friendship among peoples , I am pleased to convey to you, the organizers, the volunteers and all those who will participate in the cordial greetings and the blessing of His Holiness Pope Francis, along with my personal desire of all good for this important initiative.
The theme chosen for this year - Towards the margins of the world and of existence - echoes a constant solicitude of the Holy Father. Since its episcopate in Buenos Aires, he realized that the "suburbs" are not just places, but also and above all people, as said in your speech during the general congregations before the conclave: "The Church is called to come out of itself and to go to the suburbs, not just geographical ones, but also those existential those of the mystery of sin, pain, injustice, ignorance and the absence of faith, those of thought, that of all forms of misery "(9 March 2013).

So Papa Francesco thanked the leaders of the Meeting to have accepted and spread His invitation to walk in this perspective. A Church "output" is the only possible according to the Gospel; it shows the life of Jesus, who went from village to village proclaiming the kingdom of God, and sent his disciples ahead of him. For this reason the Father sent him into the world.
Fate did not leave man alone is the second part of the theme of the Meeting : an expression of the Servant of God Fr Luigi Giussani, who reminds us that the Lord has not abandoned us to ourselves, has not forgotten us. In ancient times chose one man, Abraham, and put him on a journey to the land that he had promised. And in the fullness of time he chose a young woman, the Virgin Mary, to become flesh and come to dwell among us. Nazareth was really an insignificant village, an "edge" on both political and religious; but God has looked right there, to fulfill his plan of mercy and faithfulness.

The Christian is not afraid to decentralize, to go to the suburbs, because it has its center in Jesus Christ. He frees us from fear; we can advance in his company safe anywhere, even through the dark moments of life, knowing that wherever we go, the Lord always before us with his grace, and our joy is to share with others the good news that He is with we will. The disciples of Jesus, after completing a mission, they returned enthusiastic about the successes. But Jesus said to them, "But do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven "( Lk  10.20 to 21). Are we not to save the world, it is only God who saves him.
The men and women of our time are at great risk of experiencing a sadness individualistic, isolated in the midst of a quantity of consumer goods, from which, however, many remain excluded. Often prevail lifestyles that lead to put their hope in economic security or power or success purely ground. Even Christians run this risk. "It's obvious - the Holy Father states - which in some places has produced a" desertification "spiritual fruit of the project companies that want to build without God" (ibid., N. Evangelii gaudium , 86) . But this should not discourage us, as we recalled Benedict XVI inaugurated the Year of Faith: "In the desert you return to discover the value of what is essential to life; so in today's world there are countless signs, often manifested in the form implied or negative, the thirst for God, the ultimate meaning of life. And in the desert there is particularly in need of people of faith who, with their own life, can point the way to the promised land, and so keep hope alive "( Homily at the Mass of the opening of the Year of Faith , October 11, 2012 ).
Pope Francis invites us to collaborate, even with the Meeting for Friendship among Peoples , this back to basics, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "Christians have a duty to proclaim without excluding anyone, not as one who imposes a new obligation, but rather as people who share a joy, signals a beautiful horizon, offers a banquet desirable. The Church does not grow to proselytize but "attraction" "( Evangelii gaudium , 14 ), that is, "through a personal testimony, a story, a gesture, or form that the same Holy Spirit can inspire in a practical situation" ( ibid . , 128 ).

The Holy Father points to the leaders and participants of the Meeting two special attention.
First, invites you to never lose touch with reality, or rather, to be lovers of reality. This is also part of Christian witness: in the presence of a dominant culture that gives top priority to the appearance, what is superficial and temporary, the challenge is to choose to love and reality. Don Giussani has left a legacy as a program of life when he stated: "The only condition to be always and truly religious life is always intensely real. The formula for the meaning of reality is to live the real no holds barred, that is, without denying and forgetting anything. It would not be human, that is reasonable, considering the limited experience to its surface, at the crest of its wave, without descending into the depths of his motion "( The Religious Sense , p. 150).

In addition, calls to keep his eyes fixed on the essentials. The most serious problems, in fact, arise when the Christian message is identified with secondary issues that do not express the heart of the ad. In a world in which, after two thousand years, Jesus has returned to being a stranger in too many countries of the West, "it pays to be realistic and do not assume that our interlocutors know the full background of what we say or they can connect our discussion with the core of the Gospel that gives it meaning, beauty and attractiveness "( Evangelii gaudium , 34 )

For this reason, a world in rapid transformation so asks Christians to be willing to seek forms or ways to communicate in a language understandable to the perennial newness of Christianity. Again, be realistic. "Many times it is better to slow down the pace, put away the anxiety to look into my eyes and listen, or give to the urgent needs to accompany those left at the roadside" ( ibid. , 46).
His Holiness offers these reflections as a contribution to the week of the Meeting , to all those who participate, in particular managers, organizers and speakers who come from the suburbs of the world and of existence to testify that God the Father does not abandon his children . The Pope hopes that many can relive the experience of the first disciples of Jesus, who, meeting him on the bank of the Jordan, were heard to ask: "What do you seek?". May this question of Jesus always accompany the journey of all who visit the Meeting for Friendship among Peoples .
While asks us to pray for him and for his ministry, Francis Pope invokes the maternal protection of the Virgin Mother and the heart sends to Your Excellency and to the entire community of the Meeting Apostolic Blessing.

In pray Your Excellency to ensure even my personal wish, take this opportunity to confirm with distinct treat
Your Excellency Excellency
most devoted Pietro Card. Parolin

Monday, August 25, 2014

Xaviervani - ઝેવિયરવાણી August 2014

Xaviervani is a news letter of St. Xavier's Parish Gamdi-Anand.

Please click on the below given image to read the August 2014 news letter

ઝેવિયરવાણી સંત ઝેવિયર્સ  ચર્ચ  ગામડી-આણંદ તાબાનું મુખપત્ર છે.  
ઓગષ્ટ  મહિનાનો અંક વાંચવા માટે નીચે આપેલ ફોટા ઉપર ક્લિક કરશો.

સૌજન્ય:   સંત ઝેવિયર્સ  ચર્ચ  ગામડી-આણંદ

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