SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES
SCCs are Small Christian Communities which have been around for 25 years in our Archdiocese and our parish. The purpose of the SCCs is to provide all the lay faithful an opportunity to live their faith in the neighborhood – i.e., reflecting on the Bible, praying together, building a bond of caring and sharing, and reaching out in loving service to all, especially the needy.
The Altar servers is a group of vibrant, enthusiastic young boys and girls. Their service is unique and special during the Eucharist as well as other Liturgical and Para liturgical celebrations.
NEIGHBOURHOOD YOUTH GROUPS
The parish has formed a Neighbourhood Youth Group (NYG) in all 13 communities with a three fold purpose: fellowship, formation and service. The Parish Youth Council co-ordinates all the activities of the NYGs directed by its spiritual director and the PYAT.
We are East Indians who have been at the service of the Church for many years. We help out in various programmes of the parish – Marathi liturgy, Parish feast, Holy week services, etc.
KONKANI PRAYER GROUP
We are engaged in praise and worship and conduct intercessory prayer services every week. We also arrange for teachings on Bible themes and encourage members to read the Word of God. The members also visit the sick and pray for them and organize retreats and seminars. This year we celebrated our silver jubilee.
The Members prepare and conduct the Liturgy for Advent, Lent, Feast Days, special occasions and Sundays. The committee has a representation of lectors, cantors and liturgically trained personnel. The liturgy is enhanced with choirs at every Mass.
We work for the spiritual and emotional growth of families, by inviting renowned resource persons to conduct various sessions for Couples, Single Parents and Mixed Married couples.
Our primary role is to take communion to people who are sick and homebound and who cannot make it for regular Sunday Mass. Most of us also render assistance in distributing communion to the crowds that attend our Masses, as well as imposing ashes on Ash Wednesday and blessing throats on the Feast of St. Blaise.
LEGION OF MARY
Our objective is self-sanctification of our members and those with whom we come in contact with through prayer and active apostolic works. The members reach out to people by family visits, encouraging prayer and participation in parish and SCC activities, directing people needing help, visiting institutions, casual conversations with people on the streets, etc. We have a senior English unit and an English junior unit.
We have choirs singing for all Masses on Saturdays and Sundays including a Konkani Choir and a Tamil Choir, thereby enhancing the Liturgy. The Choirs are committed and dedicated, effectively proficient in leading the congregation in common hymns and are chosen by rotation at Holy Week Services, Christmas Mass and at important Parish Celebrations. At funerals, anniversaries and jubilees, the Choirs have made the liturgical services more meaningful.
Presently our Parish has committed Lectors who proclaim the word of God at Mass. Lectors are made aware that they communicate the meaning of the Sacred Scripture, while proclaiming the Word of God through on-going training programs and various input sessions.
Through the Sunday School classes, catechists and administration personnel help children to grow in faith, deal with real life situations through healthy competition, communication, relationships etc. gain confidence by taking part in the liturgy, become sensitive to the poor and marginalized when they visit orphanages, aged homes, etc.
BOMBAY CATHOLIC SABHA
We promote civic, social, economic, political, cultural, economic, educational and general welfare of the people. Activities include segregating plastic waste, involvement in social issues, awareness programmes, and giving merit awards to students for academic excellence
The Senior Citizens Association of our Parish is affiliated to BASCA, the Bombay Archdiocese Senior Citizens Association. So far we have conducted a number of programmes, including talks by professionals on How to make a Will, talks on Spiritual Matters, picnics, get-togethers, housie, etc. We invite more senior citizens to join in the activities organized by BASCA for the welfare of our parish.
Throught the sacrament of confirmation, the candidates’ personal relationship with Christ is strengthened, and so it important to prepare them with utmost care and love. To receive the message of faith in a deeper and more intensive manner, the team of animators, under the guidance of the spiritual director have prepared a syllabus comprising of topics that link the faith to the reality experience in today’s world. We invite a number of renowned speakers from the archdiocese of Bombay to give an indepth understanding of the faith and to also clarify and doubts the students have. These teachings will deepen the confirmands’ baptismal promises and help them to be true witnesses of Jesus Christ in their families, neighbourhood, societies and the world.
The aim is to communicate “happenings” to the parishioners through the parish Bulletin and its website. The monthly bulletin communicates the happenings of the Parish and articles covering a wide range of topics like social issues, faith formation, quizzes, etc. to cater to people of all ages. It is also a forum for budding writers to present articles on various themes that deal with faith and life.
The fund is built up by regular contributions from parishioners and disbursed for medical aid, education aid, rations and assistance to the needy on merit, to each sector for community building activities, as reserves for emergency/contingent use, to the Church for support/facilities/amenities provided and for usual maintenance and for Development Fund to meet recreational and other expenditure for parishioners.
The Adult Catechumenate is a programme for adults of other faith who want to know more about Jesus. A systematic presentation of the person and teachings of Jesus enable them to know him better. The type of catechesis given is informal, interactive, community oriented and inculturated, spread over a period of at least one year. If they freely choose to follow Christ, they are baptized at the Easter Vigil Mass.
Our course is conducted for couples expecting a child in the immediate future to help prepare them for parenthood. It aims at giving them a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith, insights into the development of the child from the pre-natal to the nurturing years and also on the spiritual, physical and psychological aspects of the family. Both the responsibility and the accountability to God of the parents and God-parents are stressed upon in the course.
The Ushers Cell was started in the year 2003 under the guidance of Fr. Joaquim D’costa to bring decorum, especially in the outdoor Church Services. Since then a band of committed volunteers have been efficiently serving the Church, maintaining discipline and order in Church services.
COMMUNITY WELFARE FUND
Following the directives of the Archdiocese to start collecting 1% tithes from all working people and help the needy parishioners, a community welfare fund disbursement team was formed. It meets once a month to scrutinises all requests received and receommends to the parish priest to disburse funds to the marginalised for medical, educational and monthly requirements.
HOPE AND LIFE ASSOCIATION
The hope and life association for widows has completed of its existence in our Parish. It was started in the year 1985 in our Archdiocese by Bishop Bosco Penha. The meeting is held on the first friday of every month. The main aim of the Hope and Life Association is:
to provide emotional and spiritual strenght to the widows
to help the widows to accept ‘Widowhood as a vocation’
to encourage widows to be prayerful, joyful and also helpful
to provide help for further education of widows’ children and also medical help for widows. Our present spiritual director is Fr. Omar Fernandes.
MARATHI LADIES SODALITY
Our Marathi Sodality has three hundred members. Meetings are held once a week under the guidance of the spiritual director providing instructions for spiritual welfare and keeping in touch with Church teaching.
Our activities include regular visits to the sick in the parish, visits to the clergy home and home for the aged.
Every lenten season we arrange the pilgrimage to churches for the way of the cross.
During the Novenas preceeding the Nativity of our Blessed Mother and the feast of St. Anne, we dress the images in different clothing everyday. Our other activities involve excursions every year by visiting places far away to spend time in fellowship.
ENGLISH PRAYER GROUP
The English prayer group began in our parish, St, Francis Xavier, Vile Parle, on 18th February 1985 and still continues to grow. It follows the guideline provided by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (C.C.R) which was accepted by the church authorities a few years after the end of the 2nd Vatican Council.
The goals of the C.C.R is that catholics experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit, understand the charismatic gifts and its uses, rediscover beauty and power of prayer etc.
Similarly the goals of the English prayer group are to assist in the renewal of our parish by providing opportunities for every individual to deepen their prayer life and experience God through the prayer meeting held every Thursday after the 7 pm mass. Our main aim is to grow as a community in the body of Christ.
MARATHI PRAYER GROUP
"Our Marathi prayer group 'Premagni Prathana Sangh' started in our parish St. Francis Xavier Church, Vile Parle on 14th November 1997 and it continues to grow. It follows the guideline provided by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
The goals of our prayer group are to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Charismatic fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit and the power of prayer for our Marathi speaking people and also to people of other faith.
Our core group meets every Tuesday for intercessory prayer and every Friday for our regular meetings after the 7 pm mass. At 7:30 pm we start praise and worship, the word of God and prayer for healing.
Our group members also go to pray over the sick in their homes and also visit and pray for the success of those getting married."