Shirva parishioners celebrate annual feast with great devotion and fervour

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By Dr. Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle
Bellevision Media Network

Shirva, 02 February 2011: The parishioners of Our Lady of Health Church, Shirva celebrated their annual parish feast in a befitting manner, that is, with great devotion, fervour, fun and gaiety on Wednesday, 2nd February 2011 at 10.30 am. The entire church campus was decked for the annual feast. The buntings from the main gate till the church welcomed the devotees. The church was elegantly and aesthetically decorated, especially the main altar with fresh flowers.  A large ‘muda’ of rice in front of the main altar symbolised the blending of the old tradition with new progressive ideas.


Prior to the solemn feast mass, Rev. Fr. Stany Tauro, parish priest of Our Lady of Health Church, Shirva distributed ‘candles of honour’ to the members of the newly constituted Parish Pastoral Council,  benefactors, heads of parish associations and educational institutions  and sponsors as well as all those who had contributed to the celebration of the annual feast. The Secretary  and Vice President of  the Parish Pastoral Council, Mr. Melwyn Aranha and Mr. Irwin D’Souza respectively read out the names of those who were to be honoured with the candle.


The main celebrant of the solemn feast mass was Rev. Fr. Richard Coelho, former parish priest of Shirva and presently, Administrator of Fr. Muller Medical College Hospital. A large number of priests from the Shirva Varadoo as well as neighbouring parishes concelebrated the feast mass along with Rev. Fr. Richard Coelho.


In his powerful homily, Rev. Fr. Richard Coelho elaborated on the theme of this year’s annual parish feast-“As One family Give Thanks to God with Mary.” Rev. Fr. Coelho said that in order to build a powerful parish family, the individual families should be strong and vibrant.  He pointed out that in modern times the family values are being eroded due to various materialistic and psychological reasons. He further said that the houses have become larger where as the families have become smaller. Outwardly, the families look fine, however, if one sees deeper into these families they are brittle. People are increasingly becoming selfish. Children are becoming wayward and tend to go out of control.  Devotion, prayers and a sense of sacrifice and obedience are on the decline.  Parents should introspect regarding the type of values that are being inculcated into their children. Rev. Fr. Coelho emphasised the fact that the family life is built on the strong foundation of marriage. However, in modern times many of the marriages are facing strain and pressure and the incidents of divorce are increasing.



Highlighting the role of Mother Mary in family life, Rev. Fr. Richard Coelho said that it is chiefly due to Mother Mary  that there is unity in the church. She is the source of unity and strength.  He further said that Mary is the woman of peace, joy and love. Our Lady of Health (Saud Saibin) the patroness of Shirva has abundantly blessed the parishioners and all those who have sought her help and blessings.  Rev. Fr. Coelho also recalled that the annual feast of the parish has coincided with the ‘Presentation of Jesus in the Temple’. Giving various examples and quoting from the encyclicals of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, Rev. Fr. Coelho pointed out how the individual families could be built on strong foundation as precursor to the building of a strong and vibrant parish community.


At the end of the feast mass, Rev. Fr. Stany Tauro  wished all the parishioners a happy annual feast and expressed gratitude to the chief celebrant, Rev. Fr. Richard Coelho and all the priests who had participated in the solemn mass and all those who had helped directly and indirectly in the celebration of the annual parish feast.


The choir, especially trained for the solemn feast mass by Rev. Fr. Valerian Mendonca, presently Director of Sandesha heightened the devotion of the parishioners by its melodious singing. The ‘Sound of Music’ band with beautiful music created the festive atmosphere in the church premises. A large number of devotees were seen queuing up in front of the statue of Our Lady of Health kept on a special  stand outside the church and burning candles in a specially arranged stand.


The entire college ground was filled with stalls of various kinds. Soon after the mass, people were seen making rounds in the fair to purchase various articles and enjoying eatables, ice-creams and soft drinks. I could see few stalls put up by tribals selling trinkets. At the end of the ground there were avenues for the young and children to have adventure and fun with a giant swing,  hand-driven mini giant wheels and  even  a model of aeroplane in which children could go around, of curse on the ground. There were also small merry-go rounds for smaller children. On the whole, after the feast mass,  the atmosphere in the Shirva church premises was that of joy, fun  and gaiety.



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Comments on this Article
Mario Wilson Mathias, Sholapur Sun, February-6-2011, 6:39
Dear parishoner, Wish you all a happy parish feast,spl thanx to Dr. Eugune and bellevision.
Manoj Menezes, Shirva/Abu Dhabi Sat, February-5-2011, 12:47
Excellent Coverage and pictures of the Fest of my dear Parish Shirva. It s really brought back the memories of our parish fest on a flash. May Our Lady of Health shower blessings on everyone. Thanks for the wonderful pictorial report.
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