BIS #6789 Celebrating Mary and the Girl Child

By Mr Lionel D’Souza, Fr Jerome Edison and Fr Sunil Pinto for BISMumbai

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a feast close to the heart of Catholics in India where it is popularly celebrated as the feast of Our Lady of Vailankanni. Its novena, from 30 August to 7 September, draws devotees who faithfully ask her to intercede to God for their needs. The parishes all over the Province of Bombay celebrated the novena and the feast day with much solemnity.

St Dominic Savio Parish, Wadala East,commenced the novena masses with the hoisting of the flag on 30 August 2022. The novena was held in three languages, at three separate Masses every evening. All the preachers highlighted the different aspects of being a Christian. For all the days of the novena, people came in large numbers for the Masses in all three languages, braving the inclement weather at times.

The Sunday School teachers trained the children and each class from std. IV to the Confirmation batch, animated the novenas. Every day, the statue of Our Lady was draped in a new sari. For all the days including the feast day, the parishioners brought offertory gifts which are to be distributed to the poor and needy of the parish. The melodious choir made the celebration of the Masses more meaningful. The celebrations came to an end, with the lowering of the flag on 9 September, between the evening Masses in English and Tamil.

On 8 September 2022, Don Bosco Makarpura Parish celebrated the feast of the Nativity of our Blessed Mother. It began with a devout procession from Auxilium Convent to Don Bosco Parish, Makarpura. It invited the faithful to humbly walk with Mary to reach Jesus our Lord and Saviour. The main celebrant of the feast Mass was Fr Elson Baretto who preached on the power of the Hail Mary, and stressed how as a simple native girl child she was the most powerful woman on earth who humbly did the will of God as a perfect model, disciple and apostle.

The Church in India celebrates Girl Child Day on 8 September every year. The parishes and institutions of the province commemorated this event with recognising the presence of girl children, and conscientising the faithful to provide them with equal opportunities to compete fairly in society.

Shelter Don Bosco, Wadala, celebrated Girl Child Day with great passion and enthusiasm. The theme for the day was, “My Voice. Our Equal Future”. Girls from the neighbouring settlements were invited to the institution where they were felicitated. A couple of informative sessions were conducted which trained them to take care of their health, and inform them about policies for their welfare. Through games, song and dance, and a talent show organised for them, the girls had a wonderful time at Shelter Don Bosco.