by BISMumbai Correspondent

The end of the Christmas Season with the commemoration of the Baptism of Jesus, even while reaffirming one's own rebirth through Baptism, occurred on Sunday 12 January 2020. A day when Catholic faithful thronged the churches to pray for divine assistance, in this year already underway, to conform one's desires, thoughts, words and actions to the will and ways of God, the 05 newly ordained Mumbai Salesians' priests celebrated the Eucharist in 06 different churches in Mumbai City.

Father Anton D'Souza- Rector and Parish Priest along with the resident Salesian Community at Resurrection Church Virar, welcomed Father Bosco Carvalho, inviting the new priest to preside at the 08:15 Solemn Eucharist. Father Carvalho dwelt on the day's theme in his homily, inviting the parishioners to "realize your identity and commit to care for everyone as true followers of Christ." Immediately after the Eucharistic celebration, felicitations and the kissing of the anointed palms was organised. The Class VII and IX Sunday School Catechism students along with their parents participated in an interactive Q& A session, after which Father Cartvalho was invited to referee the Parish Inter-Zonal Football and Throwball tournament, culminating with a delicious Sunday lunch. Father Xavier Bandya was welcomed by Father Dominic Lisboa Priest In-charge and his community at the Our Lady of Light (Jyoti Mata) Church at Jyoti-Arnala, and was invited to preach at the 05:45 a.m Eucharist and preside at the 07:30 a.m. Eucharist. At both the celebrations, Father Bandya invited the faithful to "reflect on the baptismal promises made by our God-Parents at our Baptism and at the renewal of these same promises at Easter. The Baptism of Jesus was to strengthen Him to go forth and accomplish His mission. Similarly, the grace of our Baptism must enable us to go forth firm in our faith following Christ at all times." Later, at the felicitation programme, the parishioners wished Father Bandya a fruitful sacerdotal ministry while kissing his anointed palms in reverence.

St. John Bosco Parish Borivli cordially received Father Clarence Martis who offered the 09:15 a.m Eucharist, reflecting on "Christ who accepted baptism to express solidarity with the human race, while endorsed by God for a mission. Likewise, all of us are endorsed by God at our Baptism," and shared his personal journey in reaching the altar. An interactive session with the Sunday School Catechism students from Classes VII-XI, followed by felicitations and a festive lunch wound up the programme. Father Mavron Fernandes was received by Father Vivian D'Souza-Parish Priest at the Church of Our Lady of Dolours-Wadala (W), and escorted to address the Confirmation students. He shared his vocation story and interacted with the to-be-confirmed-in-the faith young adults, after which he presided at the concelebrated 08:15 and the 09:15 Children's Holy Eucharist, with Fathers Vivian, Rosario, McEnroe and Charlin respectively. He invited the faithful to "make visible at all times the life-changing effect of Baptism." Immediately thereafter, Father Fernandes addressed the Sunday School students sharing his personal experience of God-speaking to him at different times through various people, so convincingly, that having discerned the Will of God , he decided to commit himself in His service.

Accorded a warm welcome by Father Savio D'Souza-Recor and Parish Priest at St. Dominic Savio Church Wadala (E), Father Jerome Aruldas was at home, literally. Hailing from this very parish community, this was a homecoming for Father Aruldas who began his Sunday with the Catechism students asking them to "discover your life's purpose." Thereafter, he presided at the Children's Mass where he invited all the young to "discern God's call and respond positively, for we need priests today to carry on the work of Christ." Felicitated with a 'stole', he then addressed the Altar Servers clarifying their doubts and many questions.A festive lunch-fellowship wound up the visit.

Even as the sun began it's descent over the horizon, the Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna- Matunga, Mumbai was being readied for the solemn evening Eucharist with all the 05 new priests converging at Don Bosco Provincial House Community, of which the Shrine forms a part. In a fitting conclusion to the Christmas Season, the new priests concelebrated with the Salesian confreres of the DBPH community, together with a couple of guest priests. Father Glenford Lowe-Rector DBPH Matunga welcomed the devotees of Don Bosco's Madonna for this moment of grace. Presiding at the Eucharist, Father Bosco Carvalho dwelt on "the identity and mission of Christ was established with the Baptism. Similarly, this luminous event of the Baptism of Christ invites us all to ponder and act upon, with realisation and responsibility that we too are conferred a Christian identity and mission through Baptism." Post-Communion, Father McEnroe Lopes-Director Don Bosco Youth Services and Vocation Promoter, addressed the faithful reminding, "this vocation of following Christ as Priests is not for the weak-hearted. It is a challenge which God offers us all, leaving the response and commitment to us, to say yes and accept the challenge with faith and trust. Let us encourage all young people, to follow the fine example these new priests set us, to discern the call of God and fulfill their God-given purpose." The Eucharist was followed by the entire throng of faithful queuing up to kiss the anointed palms of the new priests. A fraternal agape dinner in typical Salesian style, with confreres jostling to find space beside the newly ordained in the group-photos, ensured 'all's well that ends well'.