BIS #6560 SYM Borivali - A silent Christmas outreach

by Father Glenford Lowe for BISMumbai

Noise defragments but silence unites and gives meaning. The Christmas Nativity story too began in silence. Divinity broke through time and space after a long silence of a four-century wait. The greatest gift Jesus Christ was born amongst us on a silent night. The beautiful Christmas carol, 'Stille nacht, heilige nacht' composed in 1818, by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorfbei Salzburg, Austria, inspired our SYM Borivali to celebrate this Christmas outreach as a ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ experience.

Thanks to several sponsors we were able to generate funds, more than we ever expected, to provide a Christmas gift to over 250 families most in need – the marginalised, pavement dwellers, migrant families and 120 children of parents living with AIDS. Knowing their needs especially during these cold winter nights we chose Christmas gifts that would be useful for the entire family. Thanks to a group of SYM Volunteers we were able to visit DMart and choose our gifts. This itself was a great experience to purchase, transport and then to pack these gifts consisting of blankets, towels, saucepans, cooking vessels, bowls and plates.

On Christmas day our SYM youth then ventured out to celebrate a 'Silent Christmas Outreach'. Devoid of any publicity and without a single photo to treasure for memory, our youth quietly left for the streets and the slums in the neighbourhood. Each one carrying a few gifts, but more so, a lot of love in their hearts to share the joy of Christmas, our SYM youth had by the cover of dark reached out to nearly 150 families. “Merry Christmas and may God bless and keep you safe” was a Christmas message to every family.

On December 29 2021, SYM – Borivali joined hands in collaborating with the SYM and YaR Ministry of DBCL Kurla to celebrate a Christmas Mela at Bosco Boys Home Borivali for 120 children of parents living with AIDS. The programme was organised by Sanmitra Trust and Don Bosco – Mumbai. Thanks to some of our SYM Volunteers who were present all through for the Christmas Mela. Our SYM youth assisted in distributing the breakfast, organising the fun games stalls, packing the lunch and distributing it to the kids, youth and parents. Finally, thanks to our sponsors once again, we were able to distribute a Christmas gift to every participant. Unfortunately, a few could not come due to the inconvenience of travel and the COVID restrictions. Thanks to Father Corlis Gonsalves, Father McEnroe Lopes and Royal Dsouza for giving our SYM youth a chance to join in this noble ‘Christmas Mela’ venture.

“Surely, this Christmas Outreach towards those most marginalised was a moment to treasure. There is nothing more satisfying than the joy of giving," a volunteer summed it up well. Thanks once again to all our sponsors for their generous contributions and to our SYM Borivali youth for making it happen.