Adoring The Cross Of Christ’! Senior Citizens’ Ecumenical Lenten Meditation by Bejai Parish Senior Citizens’ Welfare Association, in collaboration with Mangalore Christian Council; Commission for Ecumenism -Diocese of Mangalore and All Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights-Western Zone, held at Bejai Church Hall
Mangaluru: Senior Citizens’ Ecumenical Lenten Meditation by Bejai Parish Senior Citizens’ Welfare Association, Mangaluru in collaboration with Mangalore Christian Council; Commission for Ecumenism -Diocese of Mangalore and All Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights-Western Zone, was held at Bejai Church Hall. The religious man behind this initiative was Fr J B Saldanha- Parish Priest of St Xavier’s Church-Bejai, Mangaluru.
The programme began with a prayer invoking God’s blessings by a group of Senior Citizens’ Welfare Association, followed by a welcome address by Ms Juliet Pereira Mascarenhas. Bishop Hemachandra of the Church of South India, Mangaluru in his inspirational talk highlighted the meaning we draw from the cross of Christ. “The Cross of Christ is the symbol of God’s love for us. It is not a sign of defeat but of victory. The Cross of Christ should inspire us to lead a good Christian life,” he added. Bishop Hemachandra hailing from Mysuru served as a Teacher & administrator at Jnana Kendra school. H. D. Kote, and quit secular Jobs to join the Ministry. He has been serving as an ordained pastor in the CSI Karnataka Southern Diocese since 2005, and in the last 17 years has served in more than 15 rural congregations. He was introduced by Rev Sandeep Theophil, the PRO of Karnataka Christian Educational Society (KACES), Balmatta, Mangaluru, who also introduced Rev Akshay Amanna.
The next devotional speaker was Rev Akshay Amanna, Presbyter in charge of CSI Christa Jyoti church Korangrapady, Udupi district. and has served in four churches, having 15 years of service in Udupi and Mangaluru area churches. Rev Akshay spoke on the theme of Cross. He spoke about the perspective of those who were against Jesus, the people who surrounded Jesus and the perspective of God and Jesus. He said, ” God has a mission and vision. God gave us life, loved us and he still loves us. But these days people don’t respect him, or love him thereby giving a bad impression. Let us follow in the footsteps of Christ, respect him and adore him.
Advocate M P Noronha speaking on the occasion said, “We need to venerate Christ. We are called to venerate, meditate and respect Christ, you will have all the graces from Him. We are required to know Jesus Christ”. Explaining the importance of the cross in every Christian life, he said, “It was certainly a delightful thing for Christ to suffer the Crucifixion. But through his suffering, he has redeemed us and won salvation for us. In this sense Cross is beautiful. The Cross is the symbol of God’s love, it is the symbol of hope especially when we are in a helpless situation, it is the power of God for those who believe in it. Finally, it is the source of all blessings and grace for us Christians. When we reflect on the Cross of Christ, the thing we must remember is that suffering is part and parcel of life. It is through suffering that we are formed, we are cleansed and saved. One cannot run away from suffering. It follows us like a shadow. Jesus did not come to remove suffering from this world, but rather to give a new meaning to it, to win over suffering”.
Following a short break, a skit named “Return of the Prodigal Son’ was enacted by the members of the Bejai Senior Citizens’ Welfare Association, followed by their action song. In his inspiring message, Fr J B Saldanha-the Parish priest of Bejai Church and PRO of Mangalore Diocese said, ” Lord by your cross, death and resurrection you have redeemed us. You are our saviour. We, Christians, believe that Jesus has the world through his death on the Cross. For Christians, the cross is the symbol of God’s love for humanity. “For God so loved the world that He gave His son to the world as a ransom for our sins.. We venerate the cross of Christ because it is the symbol of the victory of Christ over the world. Beyond our denominational differences, we Venerate the Cross of Christ. Today the Cross of Christ Jesus has brought us together for prayer, meditation and Lenten reflections. We will provide opportunities for our senior citizens to come together in Ecumenical gatherings and we will respond to their needs in different ways during the coming days”.
Following a hymn sung in different languages by the SCWA group, the vote of thanks was delivered by Fr Rupesh Madtha, and the grace before meals was done by Rev William Kunder, followed by a sumptuous vegetarian lunch.
In conclusion, this was a very good initiative taken by Fr J B Saldanha in organizing the Ecumenical, a concept and principle in which Christians who belong to different Christian denominations came together to develop closer relationships among their churches and promote Christian unity. The adjective ecumenical is thus applied to any interdenominational initiative that encourages greater cooperation between Christians and their churches. Ecumenists cite John 17:20–23 as the Biblical grounds for striving for church unity, in which Jesus prays that Christians “may all be one” in order “that the world may know” and believe the Gospel message. Mangalore Christian Council which is an ecumenical body that unites the mainline church in Dakshina Kannada has brought together citizens of Mangaluru city both of Church of South India and Catholic Churches.