Our joy in the birth of Jesus is best shown by our willingness to take His love and compassion to those who may be unable to come to Him or still dwell on the peripheries of our Archdiocese. Pope Francis has, at every opportunity, encouraged us to reach out to those in need, and Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, has followed through on the Holy Father’s call, through various outreach programs in the days leading up to Christmas.
First, in the middle of a busy schedule, His Eminence carried Holy Communion to the sick and housebound of the Parish of the Holy Name (the Cathedral, to which the Parish is attached, is the seat of the Archbishop) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday – the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of December 2018.
Then, on Sunday the 23rd afternoon, His Eminence hosted a get-together for the families from the slum areas of the Parish. This was organised by the SVP Conference of the Cathedral of the Holy Name, which interacts with these families on a regular basis. The event was held at the Holy Name School Hall, where around 65 families were welcomed and entertained with fun-filled games and exciting spot prizes. Refreshments kept the energy levels up. The children needed no second invitation to groove and gyrate to the music churned out by the DJ from the Cathedral Youth Group.
His Eminence received an enthusiastic welcome as he walked into and around the hall, greeting the families with an individual message of encouragement and a blessing for each one. The spontaneous laughter and camaraderie that spilled over, at this, warmed the heart – the Christ Child’s gift of love was there for all to see and share. The Cardinal then spoke to all present, sharing insightful words about the message of Christmas. Soon, it was time for Santa Claus and the children’s joy overflowed as they received the chocolates that he distributed with his customary chuckle! This was followed by a hymn and wishes for the Cardinal on his birthday.
Before the event concluded, everyone received a delicious lunch and a gift hamper containing bedsheets, towels, cake and sweets.
This day’s love in action was a joy to behold, for Christmas is not only about gifts but also about bringing laughter and hope to those who would otherwise have none at all.
Archdioceses of Bombay