WAF Goa inaugurates Fatima Centenary celebrations at Marian Congress

By Francis S. Barreto

Preparations for this Mini Marian Congress at St. Joseph Vaz Spiritual Renewal Centre, Old Goa on 29th July 2016, began some months ago with a meeting with Archbishop Patriarch Filipe Neri Ferrao and Rev. Jose Remedios Fernandes, the Vicar General. Letters were sent to all the priests and nuns in Goa, Karwar and Sindhudurg. Some of us also personally visited several parishes to emphasize the invitation. About 500 people attended including 76 priests, 265 nuns and over 100 lay.

On the 29th invitees started pouring in as early as 8:00 am and the Retreat hall was packed to capacity by 9:15 am. A free book “Our Lady Is Calling You! Will You Not Respond?” was given freely to all the official participants. Archbishop Patriarch His Grace Filipe Neri Ferrao was welcomed with a bouquet by Coordinator Francis S. Barreto accompanied by the choir singing beautifully “Mogall Guru”. Simultaneously Mr. Barreto also welcomed His Excellency Derek Fernandes Bishop of Karwar and His Excellency Alwyn Barreto Bishop of Sindhudurg. The fourth Bishop, our National Ecclesiastical Advisor His Excellency Peter Machado, the Bishop of Belgaum arrived a little late due to the problems on the Karnataka side because of the Madhei River water sharing agitation.

At 9:00 am Dr. Celcio Dias Vice Chairman welcomed the gathering and the programme began with the recitation of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary led by Agnelo D’Souza and Celine D’Souza, who also beautifully led the half an hour of Fatima Reparatory Adoration at 10:00 am. 

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass began at 10:30 am with Archbishop Patriarch Filipe Neri Ferrao as the Main Celebrant. With him on the Altar were 3 Bishops and 5 priests (Fr. Conceicao D’Silva, Fr. Avinash Rebelo, Fr. Polly Lobo, Fr. Leonardo Pegado and Fr. Sunny Varkey, Chairman WAF National Board of Bengal). Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao speaking in Konkani and English spoke in his usual style of the devotion to Mary and her role in the Church.  

At the end of the Mass all the Bishops joined Rev. Fr. Conceicao D’Silva, Rev. Fr. Avinash Rebelo, Dr. Celcio Dias and Francis Barreto in cutting the cake marking the symbolic opening of the Fatima Apparitions Centenary Year celebrations which will actually begin from the start of Advent 2016 (27th November 2016) to the end of Liturgical Calendar 2018 (27th November 2017).

At 11:30 am a short tea break was taken and the service began again at 12:00 noon with a special hymn to St. Joseph Vaz. The hymn “Zuze Vaza, Amchea Bhava” was sung in voices and we express our gratitude to a great friend of our Apostolate Rev. Fr. Loiola Pereira who trained the choir for this hymn with a lot of trouble and sacrifice of his time.

The first Power Point Presentation of the day was on the Narrative of Fatima by Rev. Fr. Peter da Gama, Parish Priest of St. Francis Xavier Church Duller and a close associate of the World Apostolate of Fatima. His presentation was followed by the singing of the WAF International Hymn by the choir.

The next Power Point Presentation was on the First Saturdays and the Message of Fatima by His Excellency Peter Machado Bishop of Belgaum and the National Ecclesiastical Advisor of the WAF. He was assisted by Dr. Celcio Dias Vice Chairman of the WAF. Focus was on the pleas of Our Lady: Communion of Reparation of the First Saturdays, frequent Reparatory Adorations, regular Consecration, etc.

The third presentation of the day was on Divine Mercy by Rev. Fr. Archibaldo Gonsalves OCD. He mentioned that he has free images and Divine mercy novenas for distribution. At the end of his presentation the choir sang “Kakutichea Deva”.

We are very grateful to God and our Blessed Mother for a very successful Marian Congress which was appreciated by all. We are very grateful to His Grace Archbishop Patriarch Filipe Neri Ferrao for always supporting and guiding us. We are grateful to Rev. Fr. Henry Falcao the Director of the St. Joseph Vaz Spiritual Renewal Centre for his assistance. We are also grateful to our choir consisting of Eutemia Fernandes, Ludmilla Mehrotra, Sylvia Monteiro, Santan Fernandes, Deolinda Fernandes, Karan Mehrotra, Komal Mehrotra and Reuben which graced the day and made it more meaningful. We are also grateful to Lester D’Mello and his team for the beautiful decor in the hall. 

Grateful also to Diksha Gaonkar for managing the bookshop single handedly with a little help from Agnelo D’Souza. Grateful also to Julius Fernandes and Lester Rodrigues for ably handling the registration at the entrance of the hall. Last but not least we are grateful to all the 4 Bishops, around 76 priests, around 265 nuns and the various lay people who attended the Marian Congress. May Our Lord and His Blessed Mother bless you all abundantly.           

At the end of the programme several priests, nuns and lay approached us to tell us how much they appreciated the well organized Mini Marian Congress. A few sent their comments on whatsapp. Some of them are reported here below:

1.    Hats off to you for the wonderful organization of Marian Congress at Old Goa yesterday. Priests and lay people that I met appreciated the event. Even Fr. Conceicao was all praise for you. Great! Very happy for you.
       Celso Fernandes – Moderator – St. Michael Church Taleigao  

2.    “Excellent and well organized programme. Our school here with almost 1000 students did the Fatima Reparatory Adoration for 1 hour similar to one done on 29th July. God bless you all and thanks.
       Bethany Sisters – St. Jose de Areal

3.    CONGRATULATIONS.... to Goa WAF Unit. Well done... my spirit was on the top of the world while participating. Praise God. Praise Mother Mary... Good gathering of almost 500... and 4 Bishops... Well done Francis, Dr. Celcio, Lester, Julius and the whole WAF members... Our Lady is with you... God bless you. Praying for you... Just reached home. Successful Mini Marian Congress. Good
       Fr. Alphy D’Silva – Molkod – Karwar

4.    Congratulations!
       Fr. Godwin Pereira – Sindhudurg

5.    Dear WAF Goa: Yesterday I attended the Mini Marian Congress. Congratulations! It was well organized. You and your team have taken a lot of trouble. May God bless you and grant you all the graces and blessings to carry on the good work you are doing.
       Sr. Theresa Jacob AC – Superior – Fatima Convent High School Margao

6.    Thank you WAF Goa for everything. It was a great joy being with you and to witness the wonderful programme. May Our Blessed Mother bless you and your families and our Apostolate.
       Fr. Sunny Varkey  – Raiganj West Bengal  

7.    Congratulations! Very prayerful and well planned Fatima Mini Marian Congress Centenary Celebrations. May Mother Mary intercede for us.
       Christian Brother Charles D’Souza – Chicalim

8.    Congrats for the well running of the Mini Congress. God bless you and all the office bearers.
       Fr. Loddy Pires SDB – Don Bosco Panjim

9.    Well done and beautifully organized.
       Bishop Peter Machado – Bishop of Belgaum 

10. The main thing I liked was, the Marian Congress started giving fruits which should be the yardstick of judging. Fr. John from Dicarpale wants us to give talk in August. Fr. Derick from Saligao Seminary wants us to give a presentation in May.
       Lester Rodrigues – Aldona   

11. Very Well organised and enlightening 29 July Congress. All the best! Next year 2017 is also 40 years of the Diocese, will combine Fatima Centenary and this with Fr Alphy.......
       Bishop Derek Fernandes, Karwar

12. Very well organised Marian Congress, will try to spread in the Parish through the Parish priest the Fatima and Divine Mercy devotions.
       Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa) Sr of Cotto Fatorpa, Our Lady of Fatima Parish