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Circular - December 2023

To all the Parish SCC Coordinators, Archdiocese of Bombay

My dear Collaborators,

I am sending you my monthly Circular a bit early as we are soon going to begin a new Liturgical Season: Advent – our preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus. May our prayer be: Come Lord Jesus, come without delay so that we can feel inspired and motivated to ensure no one in want (Archdiocesan SCC Vision Statement) in our SCCs, in particular, and our society, at large.

The month of December brings several Solemnities and Feasts in the Catholic Church: St Francis Xavier, Patron Saint of our Archdiocese (December 04), the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 08), Nativity of our Lord (December 25), St Stephen (December 26), St John (December 27), Holy Innocents (December 28) and the Holy Family (December 31). I am sure that many of us, if not all, will be very busy decorating our homes, preparing Christmas sweets, making our Christmas confessions, etc. to make the month of December a meaningful month for the family.

In order to help you celebrate Christmas joyfully, I requested the Archdiocesan Liturgy Commission (ALC) to provide me with Advent Wreath Services. Fr Savio de Sales, Secretary, ALC was kind enough to send me the link of the Prayer Services. Attached please find the Advent Prayer Services to be conducted in your homes, the homes of the Core Group members, including all the cluster families, so that Christmas 2023 becomes not merely a social celebration, but a Feast when the birth of Jesus takes place in our hearts and lives. On Christmas Day, before you have your lunch, may I request you to conduct the prayer service with all the members of your family as provided in the attached document. Needless to state, you have an important role to play: please motivate all the Animators to see that the Advent Wreath Service is conducted on all the four Saturdays/Sundays of the Advent Season, including the Prayer Service on Christmas Day. I am confident of your collaboration. Fr Ajit Tellis, Priest in-charge, St Anthony of Padua Church, Kalwa, has been kind enough to translate the Prayer Service into Marathi. Please send the attached file to all the Animators and Coordinators so that it reaches all the cluster families.

Here are some important points for our consideration:

Inauguration of the Jubilee Year 2025: A jubilee is a special holy year of grace and pilgrimage in the Catholic Church. It takes place once every 25 years; the last one was the Great Jubilee of 2000 (though exceptions can be made - the Jubilee Year of Mercy 2015). The purpose of the Jubilee Year 2025 is three-fold: to celebrate Jesus, to celebrate the Church and to celebrate our Faith. There are two years of preparation for the Jubilee Year 2025: 2023 is the Year of the (Second Vatican) Council (Year of Learning) and 2024 is the Year of Prayer. The theme for the Jubilee Year 2025 is “Pilgrims of Hope”. In our Archdiocese, His Eminence, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, inaugurated the Jubilee Year on Sunday, November 26, by unveiling the Jubilee Logo and encouraged the People of God to revisit the treasures of the Second Vatican Council.

Archdiocesan Parish SCC Coordinators Meeting: I have been receiving several messages from you regarding the session conducted by Ms Reena Poddar (nee Viegas), St Pius X Church, Mulund during the recently concluded Archdiocesan Parish SCC Coordinators meeting. I pray and hope that each one of us reaches out to our people in the SCCs in a spirit of humility and love.

Christmas Celebrations: May I request you to share your Christmas joy by visiting one person who is special – a specially abled child, hearing/visually/mentally impaired, an elderly person, someone who is all alone, a migrant, a person who is on the periphery, a childless widow, an orphan – forgotten by other people; the list is endless. I am requesting you to visit such people, and if possible, spend time with him/her, recognising “the face of Jesus” in that person. This, for me, would be the best Christmas celebration in the SCCs.

Meetings: May I earnestly request you to have the Steering Committee meetings and cluster meetings/activities regularly. Meetings and activities bring our people closer to each other. Please try ways and means to ensure that our SCCs are bonded in a spirit of love and service. You have an important role to play in this regard. You are carrying out your responsibilities cheerfully, and I am immensely grateful to you, the SCC Animators and Coordinators. Minutes of the meetings (Steering Committee and cluster activities/meetings) to be sent to bombayscc@gmail.com.

Celebrating Community: You will soon receive a soft copy of the Celebrating Community (SCC newsletter). There are several Animators and Coordinators who are doing tremendously well to ensure that their SCCs are abuzz with activities with one aim in mind: to keep the SCCs harmoniously united. All these will feature in the pages of Celebrating Community. Please circulate it as widely as possible.

Prayer for the second session of the Synod: May I request you to encourage your families to pray for the success of the second session of the Synod (October 2024). The prayer is printed at the end of this Circular.

Prayers for the deceased in the SCCs: I will soon send you the Prayer Services to be conducted in the SCCs. It is the duty of the Community Coordinator and the Animator to get as many people as possible and conduct the Prayer Service in the home of the deceased, besides praying the Rosary and other practices being followed.

Thank you very much for the selfless service that you render to the SCCs. You make my task easy, and I am truly grateful to you. God bless you and the members of your family.

With every good wish and an assurance of my prayer for you.

Yours in Christ,

Barthol Barretto Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay & Bishop in-charge of SCCs, Archdiocese of Bombay

November 29, 2023

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