Pope Francis, in his address to the assembly of Caritas Internationalis, emphatically remarked that "Love opens our eyes, expands our gaze, and allows us to recognise in the stranger who crosses our path the face of a brother or sister who has a name, a story, a drama, to which we cannot remain indifferent." He further reminds us that Christ is the source of all our charity and social work. This season of Advent, as we joyfully prepare ourselves to welcome baby Jesus into our hearts at Christmas, let us look with love and touch the lives of the vulnerable and marginalised in our societies.
The Centre for Social Action (CSA), the Office of Social Work of the Archdiocese of Bombay, is closely collaborating with 33 partner community-based organisations (CBOs) in the areas of Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts. Through its different interventions, CSA strives for the upliftment and overall development of various vulnerable individuals and communities in its work areas.
Every year, CSA initiates the Advent Campaign Against Hunger and Disease (CAHAD) to support its various activities. The theme for this year is 'Paving the Way for Holistic Community Growth'. Through the People-Led Development (PLD) project, CSA reaches out to different groups and communities. The supplementary classes and Bal Sabha Manch (Children's Parliaments) assist in the education and overall development of children. The objectives of the Kishori (adolescent girls) groups are mainly to raise awareness about mental health and basic financial literacy, and encourage them to pursue higher education. The Gavki (local decision-making body) in the villages of Raigad and the Core Committees in Dharavi Island try to identify and resolve local issues affecting the community. Guidance is provided to Self-Help Groups (SHGs), women farmers in Raigad, and fishing and farming communities in Dharavi Island on enhancing livelihoods, and the upliftment of transgender and other vulnerable groups, such as differently abled, domestic workers and commercial sex workers through vocational skill development courses. All these interventions foster the growth and holistic development of various communities in the three districts.
Inspired by the words of our Holy Father, 'Generosity enlarges the heart', I earnestly appeal to all our lay faithful to generously contribute to this campaign. You may donate online at csamumbai.in or you may ask for bank details of CSA by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 9930833072 for guidance. Cheques could be drawn in favour of Centre for Social Action. Donations made for this cause are eligible for exemption under section 80G of the Income Tax Act.
I request all the Parish Priests to make known the contents of this official to all our faithful on all the Sundays of Advent through appropriate announcements, posting it on parish notice boards and ensuring effective distribution of the envelopes to the faithful.
Let us celebrate a meaningful and a faith-filled Christmas.
+Oswald Cardinal Gracias Archbishop of Bombay
November 26 Solemnity of Christ the King