Cardinal Oswald hosts a Christmas Party for SVP Sponsored Families
On Sunday, December 29, 2019 joyful footsteps wound their way to the Holy Name School Hall – it was the day of the Christmas party for the SVP sponsored families, and other deserving families, of the Parish of the Holy Name. This year, the joy was multiplied by the inclusion of other SVP sponsored families from the South Mumbai Deanery. 85 families were invited, 90 came and were welcomed - this is one invitation that is eagerly anticipated – there was room and food for all.
Once the guests were seated and while the sandwiches and coffee were served by the volunteers, the youth who eagerly lent their services, ensured that feet kept tapping to the music and that everyone was having a good time. Soon, the games commenced, ably orchestrated by Joshua D’Silva - ‘passing the hoola hoop’ and ‘groups by numbers’ for both young and old. With prizes to be won, the games were boisterous, competitive and still loads of fun. Spot prizes ensured that many more had a chance to win something.
Soon, it was time for what everyone was impatiently waiting for – the arrival of His Eminence, Oswald Cardinal Gracias. The little ones ran to him spontaneously for his blessing while the elders stood respectfully and greeted him with a cheer. His Eminence was welcomed with a brief but poetic speech by Shalini Esayi who, confirmed on behalf of all, “…where Cardinal is, there is love…with his love there is a smile, to make all things worthwhile…”. This was followed by Christmas Carols sung in Hindi to the beat of dholak and tambourine, performed by an enthusiastic group from Jharkhand. They topped their performance with a thank you song for a very appreciative audience. His Eminence addressed all present with encouraging words, urging everyone to remember that we are all one family in Christ and that we are each other’s support system. Christmas is a reminder that Jesus brought love, taught love, gave love and He also asked us to share love and we, as Catholics, do this in His name. As an outcome of this love, no one should be in need. His Eminence also expressed his joy at seeing all the families present and had a special word for the carol singers from Jharkhand who reminded him of his days in Jamshedpur. He wished one and all the blessings of the Christmas Season and a Happy New Year. He then went around the hall, meeting and greeting each family.
For the children, the Cardinal conducted a Bible Quiz, providing hints to some very tough questions, which the children responded to with amazing accuracy, making their families proud. The prize distribution followed, and then a visit by Santa Claus who distributed sweets with a hearty ‘ho, ho, ho!’. His Eminence prayed the Grace before meals, and a sumptuous lunch was served.
The spirit of Christmas was truly evident in the smiles and goodwill being shared. This was remarked upon in the ‘Vote of Thanks’ given by Henry D’Silva who aptly stated that without the guests, there would be no function! He appreciated the efforts put in by the volunteers and the youth and the SVP members of Holy Name and the other South Deanery parishes, who lovingly shepherded their flocks to this event. Abundant thanks were also given to His Eminence for hosting the function and making it a day to remember. The guests were invited to visit the Parish crib, created by the youth, which sent out the ecological message – reduce waste, refuse plastic and recycle!
Before the happy and satisfied guests departed, they were given hampers containing thirteen items, which included: bedsheets/bedspreads, sugar, tea, rice, Maggi noodles, baked beans, soap, Christmas sweets, chocolates, biscuits, toothpaste and a carry bag.
Truly, this day, the Christmas gift of love was shared in abundance.