BIS #6863 Christmas Celebration for the Sick and Elderly

By Mr Lionel D’Souza for BISMumbai

The parish of St Dominic Savio, Wadala East, held a special Eucharist for the sick and the elderly parishioners on 26 December 2022. The preparations for this event began a month ago, when the members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) and the Legion of Mary came together to plan this annual Eucharist. This event was being celebrated after a gap of two years – for the first time after the Pandemic. The event was organised in order to reach out to the sick, elderly and homebound members of our parish, and make them feel like they are part of one big family of Christ.

The Legionaries, after getting the data of the chronically sick members of the parish, went around visiting them in their homes, collecting the names of those who would attend the Eucharist and also those who needed transportation. A total of 28 elderly parishioners attended the Eucharist, of which five members were brought in the vehicles arranged by the Legionaries.

Fr Kenneth Pereira, the Parish Priest, welcomed the people even as they slowly got off their vehicles. The special Eucharist was celebrated at 4:30 p.m., in multiple languages, so that the parishioners of all linguistic backgrounds could feel included. The liturgy was animated by the SSVP and Fr Pereira gave a wonderful bilingual homily, putting the parishioners at ease and making them feel cherished. The sick, elderly and homebound were anointed with holy oil (oil of the infirm) towards the end of the Eucharist.

Later, the parishioners were escorted to the hall. The Legionaries welcomed them, and Fr Pereira gave them a humorous welcome talk. As snacks and coffee were served, 'Santa Claus' went around wishing the aged parishioners and distributing sweets. The Legionaries sang Christmas Carols for them and then, there was a pleasant surprise: Senior sick and aged parishioners asked for the microphone and they sang quite a few carols. The star of the evening was a 93-year-old lady in a wheelchair who sang a Konkani hymn. All those who turned up for the event enjoyed the programme.

The function came to an end when the daughter of one of the sick parishioners proposed an impromptu vote of thanks. She thanked the parish priest, the Legion of Mary and the SSVP members for the Eucharist and the function, which made the parishioners feel loved and wanted.