Post Pandemic ‘Senior Citizens Souharda Christmas 2021’ Event Brought Smiles on Faces of Seniors
Mangaluru: Christmas season is the right time to spread Joy, Peace and Harmony in the Community. People should realize that we are all equal in this country, we need to live together and should spread love and peace. All people should be treated equally and hatred should not be there in society. Only if we live together we can spread smiles. Everyone should work on building a society with peace, love and harmony. All should fill their minds with morals. The importance of living together as one to spread love and maintain peace every time is the need of the hour.
At this joyous time of the year, when Christmas is around, a unique programme to entertain and make them the Seniors happy, who were stuck inside the comfort of their homes due to the pandemic, were given a chance to encounter some fun and frolic at the ‘Senior Citizens Souharda Christmas 2021’ programme organized by Bejai Senior Citizens Welfare Association, in association Mangalore Christian Council; Mangalore Diocesan Ecumenical Commission; Karnataka Mission Network; and All Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights Western Zone, at Bejai Hall on Tuesday, 7 December 2021 at 4:00 pm.
Souharda or friendliness is not just a message it has to be adopted in our everyday life. Some holidays/feasts remind us of the values that unite humanity, and the Christmas Festival is one among them. Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha- the Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese, along with CSI Karnataka Southern Diocese Bishop emeritus Dr CL Furtado; Syro Malankara Catholic Diocese of Puttur Bishop Dr Geevarghese Mar Makarios Kalayil; Syro Malabar Catholic Diocese of Beltangady Bishop Fr Lawrence Mukkuzhy; Believers Eastern Church Bishop Joseph Mor Demetrius, Dr J B Saldanha, PRO, Diocese of Mangalore diocese/Parish Priest of St Francis Xavier Church-Bejai, Fr Clifford Fernandes, secretary, Mangalore Christian Council, Secretary Dr Sandeep Theophil, Alfred M Amanna, Fr Robert D’Souza, Principal, Lourdes Central School, among others graced the occasion.
The programme with a prayer invoking God’s blessing rendered by Pastor Donald Menezes, followed by a prayer dance performed by St Francis Xavier Primary School, Bejai, and a Welcome dance by Lourdes High School-Bejai. Following the welcome address by Ms Juliet Mascarenha Pereira-President of Bejai Senior Citizens Welfare Association, the programme was inaugurated by lighting of the lamp by all the dignitaries present. In his inaugural address, Bishop Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha said, “Christmas is not just a time for festivity and merry-making. It is more than that. It is a time for the contemplation of eternal things. The Christmas spirit is a spirit of giving and forgiving. Christmas is forever, not for just one day, for loving, sharing, giving, are not to be put away like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf. The good you do for others is the good you do yourself. Peace on Earth will come to stay when we live Christmas every day”.
Bishop further said, “This is indeed a unique programme arranged by the Bejai Church Seniors Organization for the Seniors, which needs to be complimented and praised for their efforts. This programme brought some relief and joy to these seniors who were bound inside their homes during the pandemic, and could not enjoy any fun and stayed away from co-curricular and outdoor activities. No doubt this celebration in the form of Christmas Souharda did bring miles of smiles on the faces of these young-looking seniors. Christmas Souharda did bring joy and happiness among the bunch of seniors who participated in the Celebration”.
Bishop Emeritus Dr CL Furtado, Bishop Dr Geevarghese Mar Makarios Kalayil; Bishop Fr Lawrence Mukkuzhy, and Bishop Joseph Mor Demetrius also spoke about the meaning of Christmas and urged people to live in harmony and peace and try to avoid communal tensions which result in disharmony. The celebration included dance drama by Lourdes Central School team; Nose organ show by a member of CSI; Christmas carols by Bejai Church Choir; Choir and dance by Syro Malabar-Kankanady group; and a Konkani song “Ekha Kombiyachi Bara Thanthiya, Thera Kadli Pila” by women and a men group of Kulshekar church- which brought reminiscences of the antique Konkani songs.
The star attraction of the evening was a song and dance Christmas play enacted by the members of Bejai Seniors Citizens Welfare Association, which also included the arrival of Santa Claus, followed by a Christmas style Baila dance, where the audience witnessed and could not believe the old-times could shake their bodies and swing their hips-which proved that “AGE IS JUST A NUMBER”, and for that matter young and skinny Juliet Pereira (Mascarenhas) who is in her 60 plus showed that she is physically TWENTY and Mentally SIXTY, through her scintillating and hip-shaking dance performance. Yes, the Seniors simply rocked!
Secretary Ms Maizy D’Souza proposed the vote of thanks, while Ms Connie Saldanha meticulously and professionally compered the event, both of them of Bejai Seniors Citizens Welfare Association.
Fr J B Saldanha -the Parish Priest of Bejai Church speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “I am so proud of our senior citizens of Bejai parish who along with others have put up a beautiful Christmas show today. Our senior citizens are young and energetic. We have so much to learn from them. Also thanks to all the Bishops and various community leaders who were present for this Souharda Christmas celebration. This kind of solidarity has a terrific witness value. In Christ, we are all one. I believe that we can move beyond all sorts of barriers and share our Christian values with one another. Sadly, there are people with ulterior motives trying to disrupt Christian unity. We need to intensify our efforts in standing for the values taught by Christ. We shall continue to work for a civilization of love, peace and happiness”.
In conclusion, in my perspective, ‘ Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends. Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. We need to applaud the organizers for their initiative in organizing this Souharda in order to bring peace, love and harmony to society, and also to bring joy and happiness among the seniors.
Also, we should know that Christmas is all about giving and sharing. I totally endorse the truth about this statement. Giving is an act of love. The joy of being able to bless and give someone you care, and to make them smile, is priceless. Although Christmas is a festivity for the entire family, children play an important role in it. Children do need love and caring during Christmas, but there are few kids who are less fortunate to enjoy the spirit of Christmas. And that’s when your participation will be strongly appreciated. There are also many less fortunate families who need your help. Christmas is also celebrating the Birth of Jesus, coming into this world to save us.
If you are thinking about doing something to help those less fortunate, the Christmas season is the perfect time to open your heart and wallet to give back. The satisfaction that comes from making a difference in the lives of others cannot be overstated. Knowing that you have helped make someone else’s Christmas a little bit brighter is a special feeling, and one that will last with you even after the holidays are over. So if you are looking for a way to enhance your holiday experience, try giving back this year. You’ll be glad you did.
So, this Christmas season lets us all be a little generous towards the poor, and also continue our generosity towards them during the forthcoming year too. We all can make a difference in their lives. Let us give to the less fortunate families and children a feeling of hope, and make their Christmas cheerful. Be the generous Santas by cheering up the less fortunate children and adults in the true Christmas spirit of love and giving, and show them that you care. Yes, we all can do it! Wish you all a Very Merry Christmas in advance!