Journeying Together with Hope and Life in 2023
The Hope and Life Association, Mumbai, celebrated the 38th glorious year of its formation at the Annual Day celebration on Sunday, 29thJanuary, 2023 at the Church of St. Joseph the Worker, Bandra East, which was attended by over 650 members. The huge presence was due to the effort of the coordinators and leaders. In keeping with the Synod, the theme was ‘Journeying Together.”
The colourful entrance procession consisted of our members dressed in traditional attire with lamps, the Coordinators, the leaders, the Executive Body and the Concelebrant Priests. To name them: Fr Gavin D’Souza, the Chief Guest along with Fr Abbot Rocky D’Souza, Fr Sunil Tirkey, Fr. Rocque Martin all of St Joseph the Worker Church (the host parish) and Fr Vernon Aguiar, our Spiritual Advisor, was indeed a wonderful and innovative way to start the Annual Day celebrations. At the Eucharist, Fr Gavin reminded us that his mother, Antoinette, was the Founder of the Hope and Life Movement in Mumbai. He gave her credit for his upbringing and her positive attitude, in spite of her problems of having to take care of 5 small children after the loss of her husband. Her faith and hope in the Lord helped to give them the best of everything and so it was her endeavour to provide Widows and their children with hope. She was the epitome of humility and courage.
Later when he addressed the gathering. he explained that this movement was brought from France where it was formed to take care of the war widows and orphans. He assured the gathering that their husbands have not left them but would always be there to support and encourage them.
The President, Joyce D’Cunha addressed the members and reminded them that “Our destiny is not measured by the shoes we wear but by the steps we take”.
She encouraged them to be strong with hope and faith. Along with this profound thought she gave a formula to cope with the challenges of life: Adapt to the challenges, Adjust your plans, Adopt new strategies and Apply the virtue of flexibility. She also translated this message into Hindi, much to the delight of the non-English speaking members.
Momentos in the form of a jade plant in a colourful ceramic pot were presented to Fr Gavin, Fr Abbot Rocky, Fr Sunil, Lorna D’Souza, Maggie Soares, Connie D’Souza, Marie Noronha for their several years of service to the Hope and Life and to Philo Rocha of the host parish.
The Scholarships were announced by Cynthia D’Souza, Treasurer, and awarded to two HSC students: Jackson Fernandes (91.33%), Vikhroli, and Sheldon Chetty (82.81%), Orlem, and one SSC Student: Nicole Pereira (84.80%), Vile Parle.
A well worded and concise Report of the Year was read out by Corine Noronha,
Jt Secretary. The English, Marathi, Konkani and Advent Recollections held at different parishes were well attended and appreciated. Several other events like Mothers’ Day, Grandmothers’ Day and parish pilgrimage to Marian Shrines all over Mumbai were also organised by various units. The Executive Body meets every month and the Coordinators and Leaders meet every Quarter. Some events will be held later eg. Annual picnic, Lenten Recollection, etc.
The ROTO (Reaching Out To Others) Awards were presented for the second time. This time Dr. Jeanette Pinto our ex President sponsored the award. These awards help to encourage each unit to reach out to the needy widows and orphans. The 1st Prize was well deserved and won by Our Lady of Lourdes, Orlem, for their exemplary and innovative efforts in visiting the lonely/needy, Spiritual services, Grand Mothers’ Day, Yoga classes, regular Counselling, etc. Our Lady of Nazareth, Bhayander and St. Anthony’s Church Malwani tied for 2nd place for their outstanding efforts to bring innovation and solace to our dear widows.The 3rd Prize went to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Borivili. The other recipients were St Joseph, Juhu, and Mt Carmel, Bandra who have also shown much desire to bring about change in the lives of our members. The winners were awarde a certificate and a cash prize.
Fr Vernon Aguiar reminded the gathering that to reach out to others is the prime duty of all the members and urged them to encourage all those parishes
that do not have Hope and Life units. He felt that with Life comes Hope and therefore all members should look around and help those in need. Help them realize that Widowhood is a Vocation and we are called to embrace it willingly.
The items for the Day included the Prayer Dance, with a meaningful message: ‘Tera Siva Na Koi Mera’ presented by St Anthony Unit, Malwani, under the guidance of Sr Manisha rscj. The item ‘Down Memory Lane’ presented by Our Lady of Lourdes Unit, Orlem touched our hearts with their rendition of songs which gave hope to the widows. Two participants sang a duet to the tune of Que Sera Sera which aptly portrayed the life of a young widow and an old one. ‘Viva Goa’ by Our Lady of Health Unit , Sahar, was a happy song and dance item and energetically presented. The ‘Fusion Dance” by St Pius X, Mulund was another very colourful and enjoyable item. The final item: ‘Marathi Folk Dance’ created an upbeat mood and was a lively fitting finale and a perfect ending to the Annual Day.
Finally, Rosalinda D’Souza, Vice President, gave the Vote of Thanks. She thanked Fr Gavin for gracing the occasion, Abbot Rocky, Fr Sunil and Philo Rocha for their assistance with the venue, the Compere Annette, Maryann and her choir, the groups that presented the Prayer dance and the four cultural items, the sponsors that helped with finance and the snacks, the Caterers, the Photographer Rita Almeida, the DJ Royston, a team of young boys of the parish, the watchmen and the workers and all those who made the effort to attend the function.
This Annual Day event would not have been such a success without the forethought of the President, Joyce D’Cunha, who despite her busy schedule, meticulously planned the Day and delegated the duties well in advance. Our gratitude and congratulations to her and the team on the grand success of the event and their first year as members of the Executive Committee.
Compiled by Cynthia D’Souza (Mt Carmel) Treasurer Executive Team