The Pearl Jubilee celebration of the SCCs at St Anthony’s Church, Malwani took place on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, on the spacious church grounds. The grounds wore a festive look with parishioners dressed in blazing colour codes, ranging from fuchsia pink to scarlet red, buttercup yellow, forest green, royal purple and majestic navy blue, to designate each zone – 45 communities, eight zones, 300 Animators and a huge parishioner turnout – with hearts beating in one rhythm: Let the SCC banner of love fly high!
The dramatic entry, zone-wise, with flags fluttering proudly and community banners aloft, breezed in to the tunes of foot-tapping praise and worship songs with well-rehearsed steps. On the stage was a panel of dignitaries – the warm and ever-smiling Bishop Barthol Barretto, Parish Priest, Fr Nicholas Pereira, Fr Osmand D’Souza, SCC Director, Fr Victor Dalmet and Fr Hanson, flanked by the stalwarts of the Executive Team of the Parish Council: Ms Yucca Gomes, Vice-President of the Parish Council, Abbe Fernandes, Parish Coordinator of the SCCs, and Sr Manisha Gonsalves rscj, Resource Person – cheering the energetic communities.
In his homily at the Eucharistic celebration, Bp Barthol spoke in glowing terms as he traced the early beginnings of the SCCs - five in number then, under the baton of the late Fr Vincent Gonsalves, to its present stature. It was a proud moment when Bp Barthol referred to St Anthony’s as one of the model parishes in the Archdiocese of Bombay. Committed to the three precious pillars of the SCCs – Community Building, Faith Formation and Reaching out – the SCCs have grown from strength to strength!
The variety entertainment took off with a traditional Prayer Dance - Varuka Varuka, performed gracefully, followed by the lighting of the Lamp by the dignitaries. The Parish Priest, Fr Nicholas, thanked the Bishop for his gracious presence, and those responsible for making the Pearl Jubilee as priceless as the proverbial pearl.
The theme song saw an eclectic mix of 30 singers from the parish, of all ages, wearing the Jubilee sash, who sang harmoniously the specially composed song led by Ms Candida Lobo.
Lift the banner of love and let it unfurl, Give your message of love to the world:
Let your light shine!
An EI Marathi paean to the SCCs, composed by our very own Fr Victor Dalmet, saw the troupe rendering the song with gusto, while their East Indian lugras and heavy jewellery kept in sync with the beat.
The skit aptly titled ‘The Precious Pearl’ won acclaim with stellar performances by the cast, interspersed with a few ‘comic relief’ moments. It traced the majestic journey of the SCCs over 30 years, transitioning from ‘me’ to ‘we’. The story-telling through the interaction of a frustrated Parish Priest, struggling to make his inactive flock a vibrant one, and his encounter with a journalist who is preparing a documentary on the SCCs of St Anthony’s, Malwani, made the entire exercise a priceless one!
The Gospel Music band led by Candida Lobo and her Zone was energetic, to say the least! The ‘Story of a Family’ traced the entire gamut of activities starting from Baptism to the various Sacraments that a Catholic encounters. The dance items were extremely lively and well choreographed.
Fr Osmand D’Souza, in his Vote of Thanks, was deeply appreciative of the hard work put in by the Executive Team, Coordinators and Animators for the success of the event.
Long after the music and entertainment faded, the mood was reflective. After the journey of searching and discovering the ‘Priceless Pearl’ (Mt 13:45-46) through struggle and endeavour of the past 30 years, we forge ahead with confidence, embracing Robert Frost’s famous words: ‘The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.’
Rudyard Gomes is a freelance writer, Editor of books and on-line projects. Presently the Editor of Tonian Tweets, the Parish Magazine.