Celebrating God’s Grace: Silver Jubilee Celebration at St Anthony’s Catholic Church Sohar
Oman: Curtains came down on the silver jubilee of ST ANTHONY’S RC CHURCH SOHAR on Friday 15th February 2019 with a grand celebration that attracted around a thousand faithful who attended the Eucharistic Celebration and enjoyed cultural programmes from various communities followed by a fellowship meal. Parishioners from across Sohar gathered in the church to take part in the event that officially wrapped up the parish’s yearlong celebration of the 25 years since its founding on 4th February 1994.
Fr Augustine, the Parish Priest, rendered an endearing welcome to the guests and the parishioners. The Chief Guest was the representative of Bishop Paul Hinder, Fr Paul John Koenig, and Franciscan General Custodian of Arabia. The other distinguished Guests were Fr Raul Ramos Parish priest Ruwi Church, Fr Catalina Miranda. Asst. Parish Priest of Gala, Fr Luca Piantanida OFM Cap, Fr Wilson Rumao, Fr Shinto Poulose, Fr Johnson K, Ex-parish priest of Sohar and Fr Augustine Fernandes present parish priest of Sohar Church graced the occasion. The event was inaugurated by all the priests together and the birthday of the parish was made wonderfully sweet by cutting a delicious cake. The occasion was also marked by the presentation of the souvenir. Fr Paul John Koenig read out Bishop’s message and in his inspiring speech, he urged the laity to follow the footsteps of St. Anthony, the patron saint of the parish.
Dr Rodney Aguiar welcomed the gathering. A documentary on the history of the Church was screened and cultural programmes were held to lend colour to the event. Bong B and Natasha Tomy compered the cultural event. The prayer dance swathed everyone with an aura of serenity. The skits based on the life of St. Anthony and the parable of the prodigal son very effectively extended the messages of charity and “agape”, the unconditional love of God, the Father. The dance performances of Malayalam, Tamil, Goan, Mangalorean and Filipino communities not only reflected the cultural heritage of these places but engrossed the audience with the mesmerising formations and wonderful and elegant movements also. The various performances of the catechism students of Sohar and Buraimi to the divine devotional notes kept the audience glued to their seats. All these performances permeated a sense of divinity within one and all. The winners of various events conducted throughout the year were read out by Maria Pramila D’Costa and awarded prizes. The vote of thanks was delivered by Mark Fernandes, Vice president of the Parish Council Sohar Church.
Jubilee is looking back and looking forward. According to the spirit of Jubilee seen in the book of Leviticus (25:8-28) it is an occasion of remembrance of the past events; of repentance for the faults committed; of redemption of what is lost; of rejoicing for the graces received; of reception of the freedom of the children of God, of recognition of God’s mercy towards his people and of re-dedication looking forward for making ‘the Kingdom of God at hand’ (Mk.1:16). It was absolutely true about the celebrations held here. The Jubilee aimed at thanking the Almighty for the abundant blessings upon the parish as it completes 25 years of fruitful service to the Church and the society. With the jubilee theme, “Celebration of Grace and Mercy”, the community declared: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks to God at every moment. This is the will of God, our vocation as Christians” (I Thes. 5: 16-18).
Picture Credits Eyemagic photography
Report by Sherly Joseph
Parishioner-St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Sohar