550 Hostelites of St Aloysius College Gents’ Hostel Share the Joy & Spirit of Christmas with Orphanage Kids
Mangaluru: Quoting Saint Mother Teresa -“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat”, and also quoting Pope Francis where he tells, “In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many poor persons. Poverty today is a cry. I believe in the kindness of others, and that I must love them without fear. None of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice. The world tells us to seek success, power, and money; God tells us to seek humility, service, and love.”
I think the 550 hostelites of St Aloysius College, PG and PUC staying at the St Aloysius College Gents’Hostel, a “Home Away from Home” for them, have done the right thing again for the second year in a row by sharing the spirit of Christmas with the less-fortunate children of the seven orphanages in and around Mangaluru, namely- Prashanth Nivas; Jeevandhan; Pachanady Slum Children; Bala Yesu Nilaya; Ashoknagar Anganawadi; Children and Women Development Centre; Zeenath Baksh; and Aloysian Boys Home, with a total of 396 children.
Christmas, a magical time that brings families and friends together to share joy and happiness, saw these hostelites along with their Hostel director Fr John Lang Bosco SJ, Alex Rodrigues and Gratian Monteiro, both Hostel Wardens, Jerome D’souza, Reji P John and Joseph Lopez-the Sub-Wardens celebrating and sharing the season with the orphans of the above mentioned seven orphanages, which made truly a magical Christmas for the children. These less-privileged children were invited to enjoy a Christmas feast and were entertained with games and activities, as well as a magic show by Mangala Magic World Team. A bevy of Santa Clauses also distributed gifts for all the children. The beaming smiles on the children’s faces when they received the gifts made it all worthwhile for the organizing team.
The caretakers of these children then thanked the organizers for a lovely fun event and sharing the joy of Christmas with them. It was truly remarkable to see how such a simple gesture impacted the lives of these less fortunate children. Each of these children has a story of their own, with many of them coming from broken and underprivileged homes. But today was a cheerful day for them, where they enjoyed the joy and spirit of Christmas without showing differences in colour, creed or religion.
Prior to all the fun and games, a short formal programme was held with Rev Fr Maxim Noronha-Vicar General of Mangaluru diocese as the chief guest, joined along with Scientist Fr Leo D’souza SJ-former Rector/Principal of St Aloysius Institution; and Fr John Lang Bosco SJ- Director of the Hostel. The beautifully created crib was blessed by Fr Noronha with Holy Water, and later Fr Leo D’souza SJ inaugurated the celebration by cutting the ribbon. In his address to the gathering, Fr Maxim Noronha said, “Christmas is a joyous occasion to everyone in celebrating the birth of Jesus. It’s nice to note that the hostelites along with their wardens are celebrating the spirit of Christmas once again with the orphanage children”.
“Christmas is life, and these children are the future life of the world. Children are God’s gift to us. We should be grateful to the St Aloysius hostelites for putting up this unique programme for the sake of children, thereby bring miles of smiles on their faces. It is a beautiful programme, celebrating Christmas with the children who are the less privileged lot. It is a true way of celebrating Christmas. It is not a family festival, but is a festival of unity, brotherhood and joy”. In olden days pagans were celebrating various festivals and Christmas is the one since then. We celebrate the coming of Jesus to save us from sin. And we celebrate his coming as Christmas. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2019 to you all, well in advance” added Fr Noronha.
The valedictory function was graced by Fr Melwyn Pinto-SJ of St Aloysius College Radio Sarang FM 107.8. Lunch was also provided for all the children and everyone who came along with them. The fun games included were Bindi Sticking, Ball in the Jug, Single Stump, Lengthiest Paper, Potato Race, Balloon Breaking, Needle & Thread; Coin Dropping, Dart Board, Book Balance, Car race, Pony Tail, Cards Game, Constructing Pyramid, Water Filling, which were some of the 30 games featured. The children enjoyed every bit of the celebration, and the organizers did put miles of smiles on these less-fortunate orphanage children.
In conclusion, in my perspective- nowadays people forget the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is the time to celebrate joy with our neighbours, the poor and downtrodden forgetting caste, creed and religion. Jesus came to this world and he loved the poor and the downtrodden. We are distributing cakes and sweets within the family. Instead of celebrating Christmas with our own people lets celebrate Christmas with the less fortunate in the society like Jesus taught. When we understand the true meaning of Christmas and share the joy it will be a real celebration. Kudos to the hostelites of St Aloysius Gents’ Hostel for doing the right thing this Christmas by sharing the love and care among these children.
And since Christmas is a season of sharing and giving, especially with the children, where some of them might have not heard or celebrated Christmas before, I end report with the lyrics of the Band Aid song “Do They Know It’s Christmas”- “It’s Christmas time, and there’s no need to be afraid; At Christmas time, we let in light and banish shade; And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy; Throw your arms around the world-At Christmas time. But say a prayer and pray for the other ones; At Christmas time, it’s hard but while you’re having fun; There’s a world outside your window, and it’s a world of dread and fear; Where a kiss of love can kill you, and there’s death in every tear; And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom; Well tonight we’re reaching out and touching you; Bring peace and joy this Christmas around the World; How can they know it’s Christmas time at all; Can they know it’s Christmas time at all; Feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again…” (Watch the song on Youtube below)