To all the Parish SCC Coordinators, Archdiocese of Bombay
My dear Collaborators,
We welcome the new academic year – June 01, 2023 to May 31, 2024 – with joy in our hearts. Amidst the disturbing situations in our nation and the world, the Feast of Pentecost that we just celebrated enthuses us to be a Spirit-filled people, to march forward courageously no matter what situations we face, confident that the Risen Jesus will accompany us to be a people of communion, challenge us to participate in the joys and struggles of our brothers and sisters, so that the mission of Jesus, entrusted to us on the day of our Baptism, is accomplished through our thoughts, words and deeds.
One of the significant moments in the life of the Universal Church during this academic year will be the first session in Rome of the Synod 2021-2024. After having listened to the voices of our brothers and sisters who participated in the Synod Survey, followed by the Archdiocesan Synod last year (June 03-04, 2022), we then had a reflection process at the National Level, followed by the Continental phase, and now the time has come when the Working Paper for the Synod process in October 2023 will be collated from the various reports across the Universal Church. The ongoing reflections will enable the Church to move forward so that it continues to be alive, vibrant, and have the face of Jesus Christ. May I request you to pray the enclosed Synod prayer daily in your family, Core Groups and Clusters, so that the Holy Spirit may inspire the participants of the Synod in Rome to understand the needs of the Church, and propose a plan of action, thereby helping us to become true salt of the earth and light of the world in our country and the world at large.
As we begin a new academic year, I welcome in a special way all the newly elected Parish Pastoral Councillors who will play an active part to renew the face of their respective parishes. Their presence on the Council will enable all of us to participate in the life and struggles of the Church so that we can live as brothers and sisters, ensuring no one in want (our Archdiocesan SCC vision statement). As Bishop in-charge of the Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in our Archdiocese, I also warmly welcome all our newly elected/appointed Parish SCC Coordinators. I believe you are the front-line workers who translate what we decide at the Archdiocesan and Deanery levels into action at the parish level. I wish you God’s abundant blessings as we journey together to form clusters in our SCCs, and also move ahead to forming Small Human Communities, while continuing our work in the SCCs.
Parish Priests and/or Priests in-charge of the SCCs are requested to send the details of the newly appointed/elected Parish SCC Coordinator (his/her name, residential address, contact number and email id) to email@example.com, from the parish e-mail address. We need this information URGENTLY (by June 20 latest), so that I can invite them to attend the Archdiocesan meeting of Parish SCC Coordinators in July.
Laity Sunday will be celebrated in our Archdiocese on Sunday, June 25. It will be an occasion for us to remind ourselves of the three-fold functions which we received on the day of our Baptism – priest, prophet and king. As priests, prophets and kings, may we strive to follow Jesus, our Lord and Master, who challenges us to die to ourselves and rise to a life of service, reaching out to the lost and those on the peripheries – the exploited, the poor, the marginalized, etc. irrespective of caste, colour or creed. Fr Anthony J. Fernandes, Parish Priest, St John the Evangelist Church, Marol and Executive Secretary, CCBI Commission for Laity, has prepared the enclosed Reflection Paper (download here). May I request you to disseminate the paper to all the SCC Animators and Coordinators, including all the cluster families, and motivate the people to read, reflect and respond with some action e.g. participating in different ministries of the Church. My grateful thanks to Fr Ajit Tellis, Priest in-charge, St Anthony of Padua Church, Kalwa for translating the Reflection Paper into Marathi.
One of the important tasks that we must focus on immediately is to plan the annual calendar of events at the parish level. With the help of your Parish Priest and/or priest in-charge of the SCCs, I am inviting you to schedule the monthly SCC Core Group meetings, the cluster meetings, Steering Committee meetings, and most importantly, training programmes for the SCC Animators and Coordinators. Please do not delay this important task; I am confident of your cooperation.
Another event that all of us will participate in during this academic year is the celebration of the Deanery SCC Rally. Last year, most of our parishes, if not all, celebrated the Parish SCC Rally Days; this year, we will celebrate the SCC Rally on a deanery level during the months of January-February 2024. More details will be communicated to you shortly.
The Skills for Animators - a Training Programme for SCC Animators and Coordinators - will be organised in the month of August. Details of the programme will be sent to you later this month.
We continue to trust in the Lord to inspire and guide us, so that through our activities at the parish level, we may become Christ’s instruments of service, reaching out selflessly to all those in need of us, ensuring NO ONE IS IN WANT in our parish communities and in our society.
God bless you and your parish community.
Yours in Christ,
✠Barthol Barretto Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay & Bishop in-charge of SCCs, Archdiocese of Bombay
May 31, 2023