Our Mission is to be a Community that Worships in faith and Serves with love.
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Parish Guidelines for Sacraments and Other Parish Directives

   
Parish Details
Sacrament of Baptism
First Holy Communion
Sacrament of Confirmation
Service to Parish Community
Sacrament of Reconcilation
Sacrament of Penance
Sacrament of Marriage
Anointing of the Sick
Rite of Funeral
Guidelines for Cemeteries
 

My Dear Parishioners of St. Anthony's.

I am very happy to present to you the book "Parish Sacramental Guidelines and Other Parish Directives" to help you understand, the parish policies regarding the various Sacraments administered in our Church.

The guidelines will help our parishioners to follow proper Church procedures while celebrating the various Sacraments. Therefore the purpose of this book is to facilitate enhanced understanding about the meaning of the Sacraments, the procedure, the preparation, requirements and its celebration. The book also gives details about the work of the parish office and guidelines regarding funerals.

The guidelines formulated are taken from various Church documents and sources like the Code of Canon Law, Pastoral Handbook for the Clergy etc. These guidelines have been discussed and deliberated by the Parish team.
 
A copy of the book is given to every family. The family can sit together and discuss the various points and details outlined in the book in order to have a better knowledge of the procedures involved in receiving Sacraments.

Parish Priest

 
Parish Office
The office clerical staff will help you with the following:
  • Booking of Masses / Hall / Quadrangle / Pavilion / Other Venues

  • Arrangements for Marriage / Jubilee

  • Update Parish Census

  • Issue Baptism / Marriage / Burial certificates

  • Arrangements for Funeral / Grave

  • Changing of Tombstones and Niche Tablets

  • Correspondence

 
 
Church Services:
Weekday Masses: 6.45 AM and 7.00 PM

(No evening Mass on Thursdays)

Sunday Masses: 7.00 AM , 8.15 AM and 9.30 AM

Parish office timings:

Morning: 8.00 AM - 10.30 AM

Evening: 7.30 PM - 8.00 PM

Sunday: 7.30 AM - 10.30 AM

Closed on Thursday

Novenas: St. Anthony's: After Evening Mass on Tuesday

Novenas: Our Lady of Perpetual Succour: After Evening Mass on Wednesday

Prayer Service: Tuesday at 7.30 PM

Sunday School: 8.15 AM

Sacrament of the Sick: Any time on request

House Blessing: With prior arrangement.

Contact Us

MTNL 2551 3562

For STD use Mumbai Code 022

For International Calls use India Code +91 22

Website: www.stanthonychurchmankhurd.org

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The Sacrament of Baptism
  • Baptism is the sacrament of spiritual rebirth and initiation into the Christian Faith. Through the symbolic action of washing (sprinkling) with water and the use of appropriate ritualistic formula, the baptized person is cleansed of all sins and incorporated into Christ. He/ she becomes a member of the Church and receives the graces of supernatural life
  • Baptism is known as 'Gateway to the sacraments'. Hence only a validly baptized person can receive all the other sacraments in the church. Therefore it is important that every child that is born of Catholic parents must be baptized as soon as possible
  • The sacrament of Baptism is a communitarian sacrament and needs to take place during mass. However only for pastoral reasons baptisms are allowed outside the mass

    Baptisms in our church are held
    On 1" and 3rd Sundays of the month.
    1" Sunday during the 9.15 am Mass
    3rd Sunday after the 9.15 am Mass.

  • The parents / god parents prepare for the baptism of their children / god-children as the priest makes them aware of their serious responsibility to educate them in the love of the Lord and about bringing them up in the practice of the Faith
  • To baptize your child in our church the patents must, complete the pre- baptismal catechesis during the early months of pregnancy
  • Pre Baptism sessions are held every alternate month on four Sunday's of the month at 5.00 pm in the meeting room
  • Requirement: both God Parents should be Catholics and must be present for the service
  • The parents are requested to bring their child wrapped in a simple cloth. The white garment is put during the baptism service
  • Kindly ensure that a candle is brought for the service
  • Feed your child before coming to the church and ensure that you are in time for the service
  • Adults preparing for the sacraments of Christian initiation should follow the Adult Catechumenate programme as indicated in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Only after the completion of the RCIA course the adult baptism will take place at the Easter Vigil Service
  • A duly completed Pre Baptismal Form with the correct spelling of the child's name should be submitted in the Parish Office. Kindly note that once the details are entered in the Baptism register no changes are allowed. To make any changes in the Baptism register the legal procedure has to be followed and permission from the Bishops' House has to be obtained
  • An envelope marked "Our Contribution" should be handed to the priest with an offering to the Church
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First Holy Communion

The Holy Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life. “In the Eucharist each time Christ unites His Church and all her members with His sacrifice of praise and thanks-giving offered once on the cross for all to His Heavenly Father. By renewal of this sacrifice, He pours out the graces of salvation on His Body which is the Church.

Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Jesus which becomes present for us when the priest consecrates the bread and wine at Mass. Jesus gives Himself to us in Communion as a sign of God's presence and to deepen our relationship with Him and His disciples.

Jesus said: "/ am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and. . . abides in me, and I in him" (Jn 6:51, 54, 56).

The First Holy Communion (FHC) is normally the second sacrament of initiation into membership in our Church.

Requirements:
  • The Child shall normally be studying in the Fourth Standard or in other circumstances the minimum age is 9 years
  • A copy of the child's Catholic baptismal certificate is required
  • The parents must be FULLY REGISTERED members of the parish; they are expected to support the church financially by paying the Church Support regularly
  • There is a six months preparation period required for children receiving FHC at St. John's. Classes in preparation are held every Sunday after the 8.00 am Children's Mass. Attendance at these classes is compulsory. If a child misses more than 3 classes (sickness not included), they will forfeit their right to celebrate their FHC in the current year
  • The primary importance to a child's religious formation is the good example provided by the parents. The experience of a family attending Sunday Mass together is central to faith formation. "Drop off situations are not encouraged.
  • The parents can also foster religious formation by praying together, reading the Bible as a family regularly, the habit of blessing the child everyday etc
  • Extra classes will be held during the Diwali Holidays. Attendance at these classes is also compulsory. The date and the timing of these classes will be announced at the appropriate time
  • The Sacrament of First Reconciliation or Confession will be celebrated a few days prior to the date of receiving the First Holy Communion
  • The date and time for confessions will be announced at the appropriate time
  • A written test will be conducted by the FHC catechists in the month of November to assess the child's under­standing of the Sacrament of FHC and other religious teachings. The candidates who may not perform satis­factorily will be given an opportunity of a re-test. Students with special needs will be given special consideration
 
  1. The parents are free to choose how their children should be attired for the FHC day. They should be dressed smartly but no special dress will be required. Remember, as a sign of respect for the Church and its members, all females (all ages) are required to cover their shoulders, (no strapless, sleeveless or short garments are permitted) - a shawl or other garment may be worn in Church and removed after exiting. Please inform your family and guests of this requirement. Please, no sports shoes for those receiving FHC
  2. On the day of the FHC, the children will receive the host under both the species i.e. Bread and Wine. Subsequently to the FHC celebration, the children are encouraged to receive Communion in their hand
  3. There will be a full rehearsal in order to practice for the FHC celebration. The priest will be present at this practice. Both the parents are also requested to be present for the final rehearsal before the FHC, the date and time of which will be announced at an appropriate time
  4. The candles for the FHC will be provided by the church. After the end of FHC Eucharist blessed scapulars and rosaries will be given to the children
  5. Prior to the ceremony, parents will be required to attend a meeting. This meeting will provide instruction on how parents can prepare their children for the sacrament of Reconciliation and the sacrament of the Eucharist
  6. Please note: Purses, gloves, rosaries and other accessories can be worn for pictures before and after mass, but should not be worn during the mass as these tend to distract the children
  7. The photographer for the FHC Eucharist will be provided by the church. No other photographer will be allowed during the FHC service. Individual photographers will be allowed only before and after mass. Likewise, videography is also not allowed, unless it can be done from a seated position in your assigned pew
  8. The FHC Certificates will be given only to those who are regular till the Sunday school closing day to be held in the last week of February. If your child remains absent from Catechism classes after the FHC, the child will miss out receiving the communion certificate
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The Sacrament of Confirmation
As the Catholic youth matures and becomes a candidate for confirmation the preparations assist the child to encounter the grace of God through the outpouring of the Gifts of .the Holy Spirit.
At St. John's Church, we confer and celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Eleventh Standard. The Bishop will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation in the month of January or February.
To be Confirmed Candidates must Freely Accept the Following Responsibilities:

Rite of Enrolment:

Every child and family who desires to receive the Sacrament is expected to attend and participate in the Rite of Enrolment. This ceremony allows the student, parent and parish to engage mutually in a covenant, a promise that each will do its part to lead the student to Confirmation.

Class Attendance:

Class attendance is of critical importance during Sacramental preparation years. Failure to meet class and Mass requirements may result in the delay of receiving the Sacrament.

Sacrament of Reconciliation:
Prior to receiving Confirmation, each candidate will be given the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We would encourage candidates to use the Dialogue form of confession i.e. meet a priest and discuss issues of life that affect them. The candidates will be informed about their individual confessors.

Service Hours:
Jesus was constantly serving others, and teaching His apostles to do the same. On the very night he was betrayed, He bent down and washed the feet of his apostles, and told them, "As I have done, so you must do ".
Service must be an integral part in the life of all adult Catholics. Likewise, we must ensure that serving others is an important part of the formation of our Confirmation candidates. Hence we expect the candidates to serve the Parish, The Neighborhood Youth Group and the Small Christian Community.
All candidates are required to complete at least 50 hours of service within the parish and the community. Students are encouraged, of course, to do more than the minimum required 50 hours.

Saint Report:
Saints are an important part of our Catholic tradition, our guides in our spiritual life, models of Christian living and intercessors with our Heavenly Father. Confirmation students are asked to choose a saint who is a particularly good role model and guide for them. Their saint can guide and help them to live a good Christian life. In order to gain knowledge of the saint whom they would like to study the students will complete a written report, about four A4 size computer sheets, on the life of that saint.

Letter to the Parish Priest:
In every parish, it is the privilege of the Parish Priest to call forth and present the candidates for Confirmation to the Bishop, following a recommendation from the Director of the Confirmation Programme. Each candidate must write a letter to the Parish Priest, requesting the conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation.

"Day of the Spirit " Reconciliation:
Recollection day is an important day to reflect and introspect God's love in our lives and to grow in love for him. "The Day of the Spirif'Recollection is based on a Charismatic style retreat. Through this day of recollection the candidates are helped to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Reflective Recollection:
The reflective style recollection will be held towards the end of the confirmation programme, just before receiving the sacrament. The purpose of this recollection is to help the candidates to reflect on their lives with the help of various topics and themes discussed during the entire Confirmation Programme. This day of recollection is a climax to the entire preparation programme.

Confirmation Test:
An important part of being an "adult Catholic" or a full member of the faith community is knowledge of the basics of the Faith. Teachers and catechists work very hard to ensure that the most basic principles of the Catholic faith are taught and understood. A Confirmation Test will be held to ascertain that the candidates have acquired a better grasp of the matter. Students must clear the test satisfactorily to be confirmed.

Confirmation Rehearsal :
The candidates will be performing many special rituals during the actual Confirmation celebration, and it is imperative that they are well prepared. The Sponsor (God Parent) will be determined by the Parish Priest and the director of the Confirmation programme.

The Confirmation Mass:
The celebration of Confirmation takes place through the 'Laying on of Hands' and the Anointing with Sacred Chrism; thereby the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are imparted to them. No flash photography is allowed during any part of the ceremony. Likewise, videography is also not allowed, unless it can be done from a seated position in your assigned pew.

Interaction with the Animator and the Group:
The candidates will be divided into groups for better interaction and group work. Each group will be assigned an animator who will act as a "Guide" or a "Sponsor" all through the year. The candidates are encouraged to keep in touch with their animator and participate in the activities organized in the respective groups. These would help the candidates to know the youth group members and also grow in spirituality with the help of the animator.

Active Participation in the Areawise / Neighbourhood Youth Group:
After the Synod of 2001, Youth has been taken as one of the three main priorities in the Archdiocese. In order to reach out to as many youth as possible, the diocese has initiated a new methodology of Neighborhood / Areawise Youth Group (NYG's). All the candidates must be part of their respective (NYG's). They have to regularly attend the Youth meetings; training programmes and get -together organized by the respective (NYG's) as well as by the Parish Youth Council.
Through this methodology the Church would like to reach out to more and more youth to enable them to experience the love and concern Jesus has for them.

Prayer Service in the Samll Christian Community:
As our candidates come to an important milestone in their journey of life in receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit during the sacrament of Confirmation, the members of the Small Christian Community will pray over the candidates present as they have been baptized into faith of the community.

The animators of the group will finalize the date and time of conducting the prayer service in the SCC with the help of the SCC animator Attendance at the prayer service is obligatory and important.

Role of Parents:
Most importantly, it is the support of the primary faith givers, the parents or guardian to be the role model in the young adolescent's lifelong journey of faith. This support can be offered in many ways, specifically by maintaining an on­going dialogue with the student in faith development and attending weekly Mass with the student.

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Service to the Parish Community

GIVE THE LORD A CHANCE TO SAY TO YOU
"YOU DID IT FOR ME"

OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARISH YOUTH TO SERVE

THE PARISH COMMUNITY:
IN THE CHURCH:

Service:

  1. Church Maintenance: by those with Special Skills
  2. Ushers
  3. Visitation of the Sick
  4. Assist Altar-Servers
  5. Church Decoration- Art work and Floral Decoration
  6. Church Cleanup
  7. Summer Camp Coach / Volunteer
  8. Teaching Dance / Singing to Students
  9. Youth Animator
  10. Assisting in Community Events

 Spirituality:

  1. Sunday school catechist or Confirmation catechists
  2. Assist children receiving first Holy Communion
  3. Assist in pre-baptismal courses
  4. Help in organizing prayer services or Holy Half Hour
  5. Reading the Bible to the Elderly

Worship:

  1. Lectors
  2. Liturgical Cell
  3. Preparing Youth Liturgies,
  4. Choir: English, Marathi, Konkani
  5. Liturgical Dance / Drama

Join Various Parish Cells:

  1. SCC Animator- Organize Programmes in the SCC's
  2. Liturgy Team- Prepare Sunday Liturgy
  3. Bible Cell- which promotes the Study of the Bible
  4. Parish Youth Group- Organize Programmes for Youth a the Zone and the Parish Level
  5. Civic and Political Cell- Promotes Participation in Civic and Political Issues
  6. Communication Cell- Handles Parish Newsletter and Awareness Material
  7. Family Cell- Organizes Programmes for Family Enrichment
  8. Prison Ministry- which cares for Prisoners
  9. Health Cell - Organizes Health Awareness Programmes
  10. Women's Cell - Creates Awareness on issues Affecting Women in Society
  11. Centre for Community Organization- Co-ordinates Social Outreach and Llegal Advice
  12. Or any Other Cell

Communications:

  1. Newsletter i.e. Manifesta (Parish Bulletin) / Writers / Layout / Proof Reading
  2. Work on Publicity for some Events

Outreach:

  1. Area Youth Group Member
  2. Social Out-reach

Visiting mission areas or adopting a village or hamlet in the mission areas of Talasari or Raigad

  1. Tuition to Poor Students
  2. Computer Teaching and Typing

Or any other voluntary services approved by the church.

In the Samll Christian Communities:

  1. Organize a Gathering of Street Children
  2. Provide some cheer to Sick People / Kids - Jupiter, Lok
  3. Volunteer to Help Teach Children.
  4. Bring joy to Senior Citizens- Visits, Play, Music
  5. Entertain by a Card Trick, Read Poetry or Ttell Stories, make People Happy
  6. Adopt a Lonely Senior Citizen / Elderly or Home Bound - Regular Visits / Spending time with them
  7. Play with a Handicapped Child
  8. Tutor a Poor Child
  9. Use your Home Computer to make a Poor Child / Youth Computer Literate

In Society:

  1. Adopt a Street or a Section of your Area
  2. Help people who can't afford to pay an Accountant, File their Taxes
  3. Environmental Initiatives- Plant a Tree, Batti Band movement
  4. Getting Involved in the Democratic Process
  5. Letters to the Editors, Letters to Officials
  6. Get a group of Friends Together- Building Houses?
  7. Offer to Tteach a Free class in Computers
  8. Letter Writing Campaign to your Municipal and Government Officials
  9. Reaching out to Homeless Kids
  10. Participate by Attending Programmes / Activities Organized by the Parish Youth or the Small Christian Communities

Participate:

  1. Attend Programmes / Activities Organised by the Parish Youth or the Small Christian Community
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The Sacrament of Reconciliation

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament, called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation." (CCC 1486)
"Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed against Him, and are at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer, labours for their conversion." (Lumen Gentium 11.2)
"The movement of return to God, called conversion and repentance, entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future. Conversion touches the past and the future, and is nourished by hope in God's mercy." (CCC 1489-90)

The Sacrament Consists Basically Of Four Acts Of The Penitent And The Priest:

1. Contrition:
First the penitent (the repentant sinner), must be aware of his sinfulness and must be truly sorry (contrite) for his/her sins. Another word for repentance is "contrition". She/He must repent her/his sins, and seek the sacrament of penance - that is, to go to confession to a priest.

2. Confession:
The   penitent   confesses to a priest all the sins one can recall after examining his/her conscience – that he   has   not   confessed before. The   confession is entirely private – the priest-confessor   never reveals   anything   the penitent   confesses. Traditionally confession takes   place in   the "confessional", a small room where   the priest and   penitent   are separated by a screen to assure complete privacy and anonymity. It is also permissible, if both the priest and penitent agree, to administer and receive the sacrament of penance "face to face" in another room. This is known as "Dialogue Confession"

3. Act of Penance:
The priest-confessor proposes certain actions - penance -for the penitent to perform. This may be saying certain prayers and/or performing some other fitting action. The person who performs this penance thus shows his/her sorrow for one's sinful acts. This helps the penitents to overcome their faults, and the harm their sins have caused others -to be reconciled with the man and with the Church, and to return to behaviour consistent with being a disciple of Christ.

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Sacrament of Penance

Absolution:
After the penitent accepts the acts of penance, the priest, by the authority that the Church has given him (see the quote from John 20:22, 23 above), absolves the sinner; that is, he grants God's pardon for the sins.

Structure of Confession / Absolution Rite:

  • The normal practice for administration of the Sacrament of Penance is in private -- with only the penitent and the priest present.

  • To begin, the penitent kneels and, by custom, says: "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned", and may add, "It has been [time] since my last confession" and begins his/her confession.

  • After hearing the confession, the priest assigns a penance, and the penitent accepts the penance with the following prayer:

Act of Contrition:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee, and I detest all my sins because they displease you who art good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the occasion of sin. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The priest then extends his hands in blessing over the penitent, and prays the prayer of absolution:

Prayer of Absolution:
God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son has reconciled the world to Him­self and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Confessions are heard every Saturday at 6.30 pm

For dialogue confessions contact any priest of your choice.

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Sacrament of Marriage

Parish Guidelines for the Celebration of Marriages
The following guidelines are being used in order to ensure that the sanctity and reverence of the church is preserved and the Eucharistic celebration with the Rite of Marriage is conducted with devotion, dignity and decorum. Some of these guidelines are also applicable for the celebration of any anniversary of marriage (25lhor 50th).

1. Preparation:
The person to marry has to personally come and meet any of the priests in the parish at least three months in advance.
If the marriage is to be celebrated at this church, the date and the time of the marriage should be fixed in consultation with a priest of this church. This should be done prior to the booking of the hall or making any other arrangements.
In the Archdiocese of Bombay as prescribed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), the marriage procedure is initiated in the parish of the bride, irrespective of where the marriage is to be celebrated
It is obligatory to do the marriage preparation course.
A new Baptism Certificate i.e. dated within 6 months from the date of the intended marriage should be produced at the time of filling the Pre Nuptial Enquiry Form.
Marriage Preparation Course Certificate should be produced at the time of filling the Pre Nuptial Enquiry Form.
For a marriage with a person who is not a Christian, a dispensation from the Archbishop of Bombay is necessary.
The dispensation may be granted if certain conditions are fulfilled. For such a marriage it is necessary to contact one of the priests of the parish as early as possible
In case of marriage taking place in a native place or any other place outside the Archdiocese of Bombay, the marriage procedure according to the Archdiocese of Bombay has to be followed. The No Objection Certificate (NOC) will be issued only when proper marriage procedure has been completed.
An envelope marked "Our Contribution" should be handed to the priest as an offering to the church.

2. Liturgy:
No exclusive marriages are permitted in our church. Two or more couples can get married at the same time

Marriage is a communitarian celebration and hence need to be celebrated during the parish masses. However for pastoral reasons, marriages in our church may take place outside the scheduled mass with the prior permission of the Parish Priest.Marriages in our church are held at 5.00 pm from Monday .to Saturday and at 5.30 pm (Parish Mass) on Sunday.
If the marriage is held on a Sunday during a scheduled mass, the liturgy of the day will take precedence. The lectors will also be appointed by the parish.

The scripture readings are in the Lectionary and the prayers for the celebrant are in the missal. For the readings at mass consult the priest concerned. It is not necessary to have a booklet with these readings and prayers. In any case, the readings at mass have to be done from the Lectionary.

Those who can read effectively and are accustomed to read at mass should be entrusted with the readings and intentions. Persons should not be selected just because they are relatives or because they have to be honoured with a role.
The Rite of Marriage commences after the homily. The witnesses, only Catholics, should be selected earlier, have to come forward for the rite. The rings should be available. There should be no confusion at this stage. The rite of the Marriage cannot be changed or re-formulated.

The introduction, prayers of the faithful and hymns sung during the liturgical celebration should be approved by the priest concerned. The liturgy must be prepared at least two weeks before the date of the marriage with the help of the priest. An approved list of hymns is available with the choir leaders.Singing of a Nuptial Song after the rite of marriage and lighting of the candle is not liturgical and hence not allowed in our church.

An offertory procession is not recommended. However the bride and groom could present the bread and the wine
that is provided by the church. It is not appropriate to 'offer' gifts, which are then taken back. There are no prayers / commentary to be said during the offertory procession.

3. Dress:
The Church is a House of Prayer and Worship. Hence all should come to church dressed in an appropriate manner especially the bride and the bridesmaids.
All those who play an active part in the liturgy should be respectfully and appropriately dressed.

4. Decorations:
St. John the Baptist Church, Thane has a beautiful sanctuary in which due prominence has been given to the altar, the lectern and other essential objects. Hence no artificial flowers and leaves should be used. Prior permission must be taken for any floral decoration in the sanctuary.
It is permitted to decorate the first pews of the church with flowers, ribbons etc.
Confetti and crackers are not permitted in the church premises.

5. Photography and Videography:
Video shooting, though discouraged in the church, is permitted only during the entrance procession, the rite of marriage, the sign of peace, the distribution of Holy Communion and the signing of the register.
Video shooting charges must be paid in the parish office.
The photographers and the video crew should be informed that they should move about in a respectful manner as befitting a place of worship. They should not stand in the sanctuary or on the steps leading to the sanctuary. The photographer should not convert the sanctuary into a studio by taking group photographs.

GUIDELINES FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE - Bishop Bosco Penha
The date and time of the nuptial mass is to be fixed in consultation with the Parish Priest before making other arrangements like hall bookings, caterers etc. Hence kindly meet your Parish Priest and discuss the matter with him well in advance. We do not book the Mass exclusively for one couple i.e. if another couple wants to have their nuptials at the same Mass, you should be willing to cooperate and make the necessary adjustments. In case you have a close relative/friend who is a priest and you would like him to be the celebrant or bless the nuptials, kindly request the priest doing your papers for permission and do so well in advance.

For the preparation and celebration of the liturgy, please note the following points:

  1. When you fill your pre-nuptial papers with the priest concerned, please discuss the liturgy with him. Keep in mind that on the Sundays of Advent, Lent, Eastertide and other major feasts, the liturgy of the day must be followed. On a Sunday in ordinary time if the nuptials take place during a scheduled Mass, the liturgy of the day must be followed, but one reading (preferably the second) may be taken from the selection offered for Nuptial Masses. On weekdays and on Ordinary Sundays at masses outside the regular parish schedule, the special nuptial readings and prayers may be used. A nuptial Mass on Saturday evening after 5.00 pm fulfills the Sunday obligations and the choice of texts should be determined accordingly

  2. Preparing a booklet for the service is not necessary. If you do choose to prepare one please ensure that it is simple and contains only the outline of the service and possibly the hymns and responses that need to be included. Please do not print the text of the readings, the prayers etc in the booklets as these should be proclaimed form the Lectionary / Missal and the congregation should listen to them and not follow the text from the booklet. Discuss the liturgy with the priest concerned before finalizing the content of the booklets.
  3. The Readings, Prayers of the Faithful etc should be done by trained lectors or people with proven capacity of effectively proclaiming God's Word. Persons should not be selected merely because they are relatives or have to be 'honoured' with a role. Kindly avoid entrusting this responsibility to children
  4. Familiarize yourself with the structure of the rite, rehearse it with the priest and memorize the words of the vows, ii possible. Remember, these words from the essence of the rite and may not be changed or paraphrased. Please ensure that the two witnesses are at hand and come forward to actually witness the rite. (No proxy allowed)
  5. The Prayer of the Faithful should be prepared with care. The intentions should be brief and follow a standard pattern. They should include petitions for the Universal Church, the nation/world, the couple and other local needs. The prayer of the Faithful should not be combined with the offertory procession
  6. At the preparation of the Gifts (formerly referred to as. the "Offertory") the bread and wine for the celebration of the Eucharist may be brought forward. Other gifts that may be presented should be what is required for the needs of the church and the poor, but not token symbolic items that will be retrieved later. The presentation of gifts is not to be accompanied by a commentary or an explanation. A hymn may be sung as the gifts are brought up
  7. The role of the choir is to facilitate the congregation's participation. Please avoid commercial or professional choirs that tend to "perform" on these occasions. A song leader is often much more effective in leading the congregation's singing. If the nuptials take place during a scheduled Mass or during the Great Seasons (Advent, Lent, Christmastide or Eastertide) the hymns should be in keeping with the liturgy of the day and not merely reflect the marriage theme. The use of secular songs is totally prohibited at the Nuptial Mass. The musical instruments used are to accompany the singing and should therefore not be loud, rhythmic or overpowering
  8. Floral arrangements should be modest and not overdone. Flowers are not permitted during the Season of Lent. During Advent, floral arrangement should be restrained and kept to the bare minimum
  9. Only one photographer and one videographer will be permitted. The video shooting will have to be done from a fixed place, even for the entrance procession. Photo­graphy / Videography will be permitted at the following moments:
          a. Entrance
          b. The Nuptial Rite.
          c. The offertory,   
          d. Reception of Holy Communion
          e. Signing the registers.
  10. Please ensure that those participating in the service and especially those who are coming up to the sanctuary for the readings etc are decently attired
  11. Please be punctual. If your nuptials are to take place at a scheduled mass, we will begin the liturgy at the proper time even if the bridal couple has not arrived. If the celebration of the Eucharist has commenced, the couple will have to wait in the porch/near the entrance of the church until after the gospel proclamation is over. Latecomers to be admitted to the celebration without fanfare and photography / videography associated with the traditional entrance procession
  12. The signing of the register is not to be done on the altar, but on a table provided for this purpose in the church or in thesacristy. After mass remember that you are still in the House of God, do not treat the church as a studio.


The directives are for your benefit and are meant to pre­serve the sanctity and joy of the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage.

Mixed Marriages
A mixed marriage, which is also known as a Mixed Religion marriage is in the strict sense one that is contracted between a Baptised Catholic and a Baptised Non-Catholic e.g. Christians of other denominations and churches like Baptist, Methodist, and Pentecostals etc.
A Disparity of Cult marriage is one that is contracted between a Catholic and an Unbaptised person eg Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist etc. (people of other faiths)

In society where people of various faiths live and work side by side, it is only natural that such association could lead to strong and enduring friendships between members of the complementary sex belonging to different religions when these friendships blossom into love, young people find themselves running into difficulties that they had not foreseen. The church has always expressed pastoral concern about the marriages of Catholics with those who do not share the faith of the Church.

In mixed marriages the couple is unable to share their experience in an area of life, which is most far reaching and important. The essential happiness of marriage lies in shared companionship. The more completely a couple share their joys, values and experience, the happier they are. In the whole circumference of their marital life there is no segment which contains such precious values as that which comprises their spiritual aspirations, hopes and joys

There is also the problem of adjustment in mixed marriages which becomes especially difficult in disparity of cult marriages because of difference in religion and religious practices, in the upbringing, the eating habits and the social customs of the two partners in marriage

For these reasons the Church, conscious of her duty, dis­courages the contracting of mixed marriages since she is very keen that Catholics be able to attain perfect union of mind and full communion of life in matrimony. However since contracting marriage and begetting children is one of the most basic human rights, the church, by her laws, which clearly show her pastoral concern makes arrangements that on the one hand the Church Laws must be followed on the other hand the said right to contract marriage be respected.

The faithful are reminded that the Catholic party to a marriage has the duty of preserving his/her own faith, nor is it ever permitted to expose oneself to a proximate danger of losing it. Furthermore the Catholic partner in a Mixed Marriage is obliged not only to remain steadfast in the faith, but also as far as possible to see that the children be baptised and brought up in the same faith and receive all those aids to eternal salvation which the Catholic Church provides for the children under her care.

Finally one cannot lose sight of the fact that children are often the victims of such unions. The upbringing of children born of a mixed marriage is considered by many sociologists to be the most serious of all causes of friction. It is generally irritating to a parent to see his/her child brought up in a faith alien to his/her own. While the non-Catholic partner may outwardly conform to the promises made in this regards he/she often simmers underneath and looks with lack of enthusiasm and even with uneasiness at the associations formed by the child through religious contacts.

The Church has always been conscious of problems, which may arise when Catholics marry outside the Church. Such marriages were understood to be a threat to the faith of the Catholic party. Consequently the Church has striven to protect its members by making laws against these marriages.

According to the Canon Law without the express permission' of the competent ecclesiastical authority, marriage is forbidden between a catholic and a baptised non-catholic. The catholic party has to obtain permission from the Bishop. In the case of a Disparity of cult marriage i.e. a Catholic marrying a person of other faith, a dispensation from the impediment has to be obtained for the marriage to be valid from the Bishop.

Conditions for Granting Permission:
Although they have become more common, mixed marriages remain an exception in the eyes of the law. The Bishop can grant the necessary permission for such a marriage, but he is not bound to do so. The bishop can give dispensation only when the following conditions are fulfilled

  • The catholic party must acknowledge the potential danger to his or her faith and must declare his or her readiness to remove that danger.
  • The catholic party must promise to do all in his or her power to ensure the baptism and education of the children as Catholics.
  • The declaration and the promises by the catholic party are to be made in writing. The priest to sign a statement to that effect.
  • The Non-Catholic party is informed of the promises made by the catholic party. So that the other party is truly aware of the promises and obligations of the catholic party.
  • There is no necessity of written promises or undertakings required of the Non-Catholic party.

Procedure:

  • The couple getting married in a mixed marriage has to follow the normal marriage procedure as mentioned above in the guidelines.
  • However the Non-Catholic party has to submit a notarized affidavit presently on a “1007- stamp paper stating that she / he is getting married freely without force or fear according to the Roman Catholic Rite in the Roman Catholic Church. The affidavit format will be given by the priest.
  • In certain cases when the single status of the Catholic party is not clear then the Catholic party has to sign an "Oath of free" state in the presence of a priest and two witnesses.

Double Religious Ceremony:
Double religious ceremony means that a Catholic gets married according to religious rites of the other person before or after getting married in the Church. For example a catholic marrying a Hindu girl or a boy gets married according to the Vedic rite i.e. taking seven rounds (pheras) around the fire.
The Church law clearly states that it is forbidden to have either before or after the canonical celebration (church marriage) another religious celebration of the same marriage for the purpose of giving or renewing matrimonial consent.

Firstly since the consent to marriage is given once it cannot be revoked in order to be given again.

Secondly there are legal implications if a Catholic marries as per the Vedic rite. According to the Hindu Marriage Act only two Hindus can get married according to the Vedic rite. So if a Catholic gets married in the temple / hall taking seven rounds around the fire, she/he automatically professes to be a Hindu and has renounced the Catholic faith. In such cases the person is prohibited from receiving Holy Communion or any other Sacraments in the church. If such a person would like to continue to be a Catholic then she/he will have to make an affidavit stating that she/he would like to practice Catholicism, make a confession and recite the profession of faith in the presence of a priest in the church.

A purely civil ceremony before the canonical form of marriage is not prohibited. It is advisable that the parties get civilly married before the church marriage for reasons of obtaining passport/visa etc. A civil marriage is a marriage that takes place before the Civil Registrar of Marriages.

Question: Is it permissible to celebrate a marriage between a Catholic and a Non-Christian during Mass?

No, a marriage between a Catholic and a Non-Christian cannot be celebrated during mass.

Even a marriage between a Catholic and a Baptised Non -Catholic cannot be celebrated during Mass without the due permission of the Bishop.

No special nuptial mass is allowed in our church in case of disparity of cult marriage. However the couple is welcome to join any of the scheduled parish mass.

POINTS TO BE KEPT IN MIND FOR INTER-FAITH MARRIAGE - Bishop Bosco Penha
(Marriages of Disparity of Cult)

Such a marriage is non-sacramental, but nonetheless a valid marriage. The proper procedures should be followed with regard to paperwork and permissions.

Kindly note that there is no mention of the celebration of Mass for this rite, either before or after the nuptials. Instead we have a complete service, with the greeting, Liturgy of the Word, Nuptial Rite, Intercessions, Nuptial blessing and concluding Rite. The priest is to be vested in a surplice and stole for the celebration (not a chasuble)

Since the family of the Catholic partner often wants a Mass celebrated in conjunction with a marriage of this type, the following points should be noted:

The Rite as described in the Ritual for these marriages should be followed as spelt out there. The Eucharist if it is to follow should use the texts of the Mass of the day or of Thanksgiving or various needs, but not the texts of the Nuptial Mass.

This should also be kept in mind by the choir for the choice of the hymns. This mass should not have the Prayer of the Faithful or Nuptial Blessing (as these are already included in the nuptial rite). The different roles may be done only by the Catholics. The Non-Catholic party should be clearly instructed about the nature of the celebration.

No other items edible or inedible should be distributed to the congregation before, during or after the distribution of Holy Communion.

The Nuptials of two Catholics cannot be solemnized at this mass.

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Anointing of the Sick

Pastoral Care and the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick
The sacrament in which the sick are anointed with holy oil was, until recent years, called Extreme Unction. That it is now called the Sacrament of the Sick signifies a big change in understanding and practice.

"Every priest, but only a priest, can validly administer the anointing of the sick".(Canon 1003#1) If a sickness grows worse, or is on going, family, friends and those who care for the sick, have the responsibility to inform the pastor, and help prepare the sick person for the reception of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. In the celebration of the sacrament we convey HOPE: God is always the healer, and we are open to the possibility of a miracle. It may be pastorally appropriate to invite all who need healing, whether they are suffering severely or slightly to the comfort of the sacrament.

The celebration of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick can become an occasion to encourage family participation. There is a need to deepen people's understanding of the Sacrament as "healing" and strengthening. For some it is still a cause for fear.

By the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick the Church com­mends those who are ill to the suffering of the glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. The sacrament is a personal encounter of the sick person with our loving, healing God, but it is also a sacrament of community.

Like all sacraments, the Anointing of the Sick is a liturgical and communal celebration, whether it takes place in the family home, a hospital or a church for a single person or a whole group of sick persons. God offers the anointed person the grace to be healed and comforted, to overcome anxiety and despair and to be made whole. It is an affirmation for Christians that they are supported in their suffering, and that there are others who care about them in their time of need.

Keep in mind the following:

  • The Sacrament of Anointing is for 'Healing' and not for persons who are 'Dying'.
  • Send a person to call a priest. No sick call on telephone will be entertained.
  • Inform the priest if the sick is able to receive the communion or not.
  • Do not force the sick person to make his/her confession.
  • lf in hospital, call the priest from the church closest to the hospital or nursing home.
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Rite of Funeral

GUIDELINES FOR FUNERAL SERVICES TO BE HELD AT ST. JOHN'S CHURCH. THANE.

1. Introduction:
The Catholic Funeral Rites, as found in the Order of Christian Funerals (1989), are celebrations that enable the Christian community to mourn as well as to hope by focusing on the mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Catholics believe that at death "Life is changed, not ended."

Death is a passage to a new and fuller life, and ultimately to resurrection and eternal union with God. The Church through its funeral rites commend the dead to God's merciful love and pleads for the forgiveness of their sins. The celebration of the Christian funeral brings hope and consolation to the living.

In accordance with Catholic teaching the funeral service for a Catholic consists of three parts:

First Station- in the Home of the Deceased,
Second Station- in the Church i.e. celebration of Mass followed by the Rite of Final Commendation and Farewell
Third Station- at the Grave or Tomb followed by interment.

The entire funeral service is a one continuous rite.

2. General Guidelines:

  1. Upon the death of a loved one only a family member must contact the priest in the parish before fixing the date and the time of the funeral. Do NOT ask the under­taker to do the same, he will not be entertained.
  2. A family member should contact the parish office for the location of the grave. If you have a permanent grave carry the card with the family name and number of the grave.
  3. Kindly get a photocopy (Xerox) of the Municipal death certificate for our parish record.
  4. Let the funeral be simple and prayerful.
  5. The funeral Mass is held at St. John the Baptist Church. The burial depends whether the family has submitted the duly filled Parish Census form. If the name of the deceased person is verified in the Parish Census the burial rite will take place in the Church cemetery. If the name of the deceased person in not found in the Parish Census then the burial rite will take place at the Three Petrol Pumps Cemetery. The funeral mass can also be held at Three Petrol Pump Cemetery if requested by the family of the deceased. Funeral Masses cannot be celebrated in the home of the deceased.
  6. If an unbaptised child or an unbaptized adult living with Catholic parents expires there will only be burial and no funeral Mass will take place. The same is applicable to unborn/still born babies.
  7. The minister of the funeral is a Priest/Deacon. No other person however important should take the role of a Priest/ Deacon. The instructions of the minister have to be strictly followed at home, in the church and at the cemetery during Burial.
  8. The practice of putting limestone (chuna) into the coffin of the dead is not liturgical and also not meaningful custom. This can be avoided. While putting lime on the body of the dead, let it be done by the family members ONLY. The rest can drop a handful of mud in the grave soon after the coffin is lowered in the grave. The practice of people coming forward to put limestone into the coffin and throwing flower petals in the grave is unnecessary and uncalled for.
  9. Since burial immediately follows the Rite of the Final Commendation and Farewell in the church time, should not be wasted in paying a last tribute/respect to the dead in the cemetery. This can be done at home or while the coffin is being carried to the cemetery.
  10. If a family would like to invite a priest or a deacon from another parish to preside at any of the funeral rites, they are most welcome. However, the family must inform the priests in the parish about the same. The guest priests should strictly follow the guidelines formulated by the parish.
  11. A prior permission should be obtained from the Parish Priest before any work is undertaken in the cemetery.

The funeral Mass timings are as follows: 09.30 am and 03.30 pm.

3. Guidelines for the Funeral Service and Liturgy:
On days when funeral Masses are not permitted, funeral rites on these days make use of a Liturgy of the Word, as found in the Order of Christian Funerals. The funeral liturgy should be discussed and prepared with the help of the priests of the parish.
The funeral Masses are not celebrated on Solemnities, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. The celebration of funeral Masses on Sundays of the year will be at 3.30 pm.

4. Guidelines for Eulogies:
A eulogy is a short tribute to the life of the deceased loved one, offered by a family member or close personal friend, who knew the deceased well. A eulogy is not part of the funeral Mass. If a eulogy is to be given at the Funeral Liturgy it must follow the prayer after Communion.
According to the Guidelines sent by Bishop Bosco Penha in the Circular titled "Liturgical Renewal" dated 4th August 2009, there should be only ONE tribute/eulogy and a brief word of thanks. Only one member of the family can express the sentiments and thank the people after communion. The celebrant should be informed of this before the Mass begins.

5. Cremation:
While the Church recommends that the custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed, cremation is permitted.
The Church prefers to have the body present for the funeral rites and then have cremation afterwards. In 1963 the Vatican lifted the ban, allowing cremation provided the reasons for choosing it did not counter Christian belief.

Care for Creation - Say No to Coffin:
Keeping in mind the rising cost of coffins and the long time it takes for the body to decompose, it is advisable that coffins are not used for burial.
The alternative to a coffin is to be buried in a shroud.
The body is wrapped in a cloth and then buried in the grave.
This has its advantages, the body decomposes faster, you save ecology and it is economical.
The choice is given to the person. Those who would be buried in the shroud or cremated should express their desire to the family or put it in writing.
In India our Hindu brethren wrap the dead body in a cloth and cremate it. The Parsees leave their dead to be consumed by vultures. The Muslims have their dead buried wrapped in a white sheet of cloth, while the Jews have the burial with the body wrapped in a shroud. Hence burial in a shroud or cremation are not alien to our country's culture.

In our church we have the common coffin kept with the community centre.

At a death in a family the coffin is brought from the church, a white sheet is placed in it and then the body is placed inside. This coffin is carried to the church and after Mass during burial the body is wrapped in the white sheet and then lowered in the grave and covered with earth. The coffin is later cleaned and kept to be used as and when needed.

If you wish to bury your dead in a shroud and need the common coffin, you may contact the office.
St. Anthony Church Tel:- +91 22 2551 3562
.

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Guidelines for Church Cemetries

Rules and regulations from Archbishop's house dated 24-11-1988

  1. Cemetery is primarily meant for the parishoners of the Church.
  2. No new permanent graves to be allotted or given from 1-1-1989.
  3. No person shall without the written permission of the parish priest put up in the burial grounds any tombstone, slabs, monuments, masonry structure or any type of permanent or temporary mark showing the position of any grave.
  4. A grave may be opened with necessary permission and the remains to be transferred to a niche or permanent grave after one and a half years / two years after the burial at the cost of the party desiring to open the grave.
  5. The remains of the deceased buried in temporary graves have to be removed by the relatives of the deceased within one month after the expiry of 2 (two) years after burial failing which the remains will be disposed off by the parish authorities in the usual manner and the grave utilised for another burial.
  6. The use of teak-wood or metal lined coffins is not permitted for burial in the temporary graves.
  7. All graves markings like crosses etc. shall be removed at the time of the next burial in the temporary grave and shall not be restored thereafter.
  8. Hour of funeral shall be from 9.00am to 12.00 noon; and from 4.00pm to 6.00pm. The timing has to be I fixed by the parish priest and conducted only during the I hours of day light.
  9. Remarks at the time of transfers to be entered at the burial register / Niche register.
  10. The Parish Priest is not authorised to permit a burial to take place unless a certificate of the cause of death and a certificate duly signed by, the competent authority is produced and handed to the Parish Priest. If unnatural death, then a certificate from the coroner for burial is to be sent before opening a grave.
  11. All permanent and temporary graves are the property of the church and only the right of use is transferred to the permanent grave holder.
  12. Immediately on the parishioner of the adjoining parishes getting their own graveyard / cemetery, they shall cease to rights to permanent graves of this parish. In such cases no transfer of graves to the names of any one else will be allowed. PP is not bound to recognize the same.
  13. Grave cannot be transferred, assigned or bequeathed to anyone other than "family", except with the written prior permission of the parish priest.
  14. The record supplied to each permanent grave holder, should be produced when reopening of the grave, is made.
  15. It will be the sole responsibility of the relatives of the deceased to maintain the crosses and the tombstone of permanent graves and the slabs over the niches.
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Other Parish Directives

Mass Offerings:
According to the norms of the church any priest who celebrates a mass may accept an offering to apply the mass for a specific intention.
The general rule to be followed is "One mass only one mass offering (stipend)". Thus in normal circumstances, a priest may only accept one stipend for any one Mass even though he may offer up the mass for several intentions.

But since the request for Mass intentions have increased as a result of growing numbers, it is difficult to apply Mass inten­tions of many people during scheduled parish masses, since the number of masses said in the parish is less.

In the Archdiocese of Bombay there are two types of masses with several intentions:

a . Box Intention: is one where a box is kept and any individual can put his/her stipend, however big or small for the mass to be offered. However, only one single mass will be offered for all the intentions and for the amount of money that is put in the box.

b. Pluri - Intention Mass: Is one that is offered for the specific intentions of several individuals with each one giving a definite amount of money (equal to the diocesan stipend) and only one mass will be celebrated for all the intentions of all who have given a definitive amount of money as stipend.

The archbishop has given permission to celebrate only two masses in a week in any combination i.e. pluri-intention masses or two box intention masses or one pluri intention and one Box intention masses.

2. Community Welfare Fund:
'It is more blessed to give than receive.'
The Church teaches that giving is not a law to be obeyed, but a matter of the heart. Our hearts should be focused on God and not ourselves.

When we hold on to our resources for our own benefit, our focus naturally turns inward - we are saving, protecting, accumulating just for ourselves.

When our focus turns toward God, the importance of "having" diminishes and our desire to give generously grows. Our giving should be without compulsion, freely offered and with a cheerful heart.

Throughout scripture, we are reminded of the importance of giving back a portion of what God has so generously provided. His Word tells us that giving is an act of worship that should be done with a spirit of thanksgiving.

In the Old Testament (before Jesus), God teaches the Israelites to tithe give 10 percent of their income. In the New Testament (after Jesus) there is no command regarding specific giving amounts, though almost every example involves people giving beyond 10 percent and even more.

And although most of our giving goes to the church, we don't give to a church. We don't give to a priest. We give our offerings to God alone. In fact, the Bible teaches us to give, for our own good and our own blessing.

The Fifth Precept of the Church teaches us that "The Faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the church, each according to his abilities"-CCC 2043. Therefore financially supporting the church is a religious obligation that every Catholic needs to fulfill irrespective of whether the church is rich or poor.

In the Archdiocese of Bombay the Church expects that every Catholic supports the Church by contributing only 1 % of the total family earning. This 1% income should be submitted in the Parish Office in an envelope as "Community welfare Fund". The amount collected is utilized to help the poor and the deserving of our parish in the form of Medical aid, Educational help and other material benefits as and when approved by the CWF Committee.

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Various Parish Organizations

COUNCILS

PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL
PARISH YOUTH COUNCIL

COMMITTEES

FINANCE COMMITTEE
PROPERTY COMMITTEE
CENTRES

SEVADHAM CENTRE - (LAY)
KRIPA DRUGS AND ALCOHOL COUNSELING CENTRE
CELLS
Bible Cell
Civic and Political Cell
Family Cell
Health Cell
Legal Aid Cell
Prison Ministry Cell
Women’s Cell
 
Other Group And Associations
Apostleship of Prayer
Altar Servers
Bombay Catholic Sabha
Charismatic Prayer Group
Divine Mercy Adorers
Hope and Life Movement
Intercessory Prayer Group
Legion of Mary- Senior and Junior
Night Adorers
Parish Liturgy Team
Pre Baptismal Catechesis
Parish Youth Animating Team (PYAT)
Sacred Heart League
Senior Citizens group
Sodality – Women
Society of St. Vincent De Paul (SVP)
Sunday school
Neighbourhood Youth Groups
 
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