The opening ceremony of the Centenary Celebrations of St Sebastian Church Bendur was held at the Church Grounds here, on January 20.
The Bishop of Bellary, Dr Henry D’Souza, celebrated the festive Mass, which was con-celebrated by the Parish Priest of Bendur, Fr Antony Serrao, and the Chancellor of the Diocese, Dr Henry Sequeira, along with 31 priests from various parishes.
In his homily, the Director of Jeppu Seminar Fr Joseph said, “Hundred years ago Bendur church was like a mustard seed. Today, it has grown up to be a huge tree. It was in 1912, that a small chapel was built at the same place at which the present church exists. Presently, the parish has 2,150 families with a population of 8223. The parishioners are very much involved in various sectors and it is very popular in the diocese.”
“Although our forefathers were very poor in education and not wealthy, they were very much devoted. We need to keep in mind that God has given what he has promised to us. We need to strengthen our faith and lead a prayerful life by reading the Bible and we also need to give importance to the activities of the church. Nowadays we are more attracted towards worldly things and we don’t get time to pray. We have made facebook and twitter as our parents and siblings; computer, mobiles and modern gadgets have become our relatives. We don’t get time to go out and meet people who are in need. The parish is one family and we need to strengthen this bond with unity.”
After the mass, there was a stage programme which began with an invocation. Parish Priest Fr Antony Serrao welcomed the gathering. Parish Pastoral Parishad Secretary Laveena John read out the annual programme report.
The centenary logo was unveiled by Bishop Henry and Dr Henry Sequeira launched the Medical Fund on the occasion. Addressing the gathering Dr Henry said that we need to strengthen our faith and live in brotherhood. He said that the Medical fund will help the poor and sick people of the parish in their needs.
Bishop Henry speaking on the occasion said, “Bendur Parish has given the first Bethany nuns to the society, started first women’s college, started first special school and has given many leaders to our society.” Further he said that as parishioners everyone needs to ask themselves “What kind of parishioners we are? How much are we involved in the parish work? What can we do for the parish?”
He advised to keep four things in mind that we need to read the holy book everyday, coming from a worshiping community and we need to worship, being a serving community, our duty is to serve, and as a missionary community to spread the word of God. While concluding he said, “When a problem is big, deal with it using courage and faith; when small problems arises, have patience.”
There was a cultural programme by the parishioners. ‘The 10 bridesmaids’ skit and the life story of Rev Msgr Raymond Mascarenhas was performed on the occasion.
Leslie Rego and Aloysius D’Souza compered the programme. Vice President of Parish Pastoral Parishad Ronald Valder, Asst Parish Priests Fr John Moras and Fr Paul Crasta Oswald Pais delivered the vote of thanks.