The Highway….. By Don Aguiar

State of affairs prevailing at St. Teresa’s Parish Girgaon, described by one of the Parishioner. Don Aguiar  is resident of KHOTACHI WADI, where original inhabitants of BOMBAY still live.  The place has lost  in hustle bustle of concrete jungle but the residents are still fighting with the system and land mafia to retain their identity.




To – The Editor – Silent Voice

Hi Greg,

Please publish the below for your NEXT issue / blog / etc…..

Appreciate your confirmation of the same.

Note the extent to which the PP has gone….. has the Bp or Cardinal any control over them……..?

Or are the PP’s now become THE BOSS since they are the sole trustee…….?

Is the Bp & Cardinal losing control over their men (clergy)……….?.



Don Aguiar

St. Teresa Parish


Mumbai 400004

Mob – 9820603927

The Highway…..                                  Don Aguiar

A South Bombay Parish Priest presiding in that Parish for five years and not interacted with his parishioners all this while except the official requirements, suddenly decides at increasing the participation of his parishioners to 100% in Parish activities fully knowing well from his past experience of over twenty five years that it is the same people who participate in all parish activities while the rest are either busy in their own activities or not interested. To remedy this situation and ensure his dream of making his parish a “Model Parish” he decided to open the participation of parish activities to non parishioners. Non parishioners from the surrounding Parishes who have created problems and are not wanted in their own Parish attend his Church service regularly.     

The Parishioners being aware that this had been tried earlier and met with no success started wondering why the Parish Priest now wants to start this all over again and to accept non parishioners to participate in the Parish activities when all is going well with a dedicated group of parishioner participation The Parishioners who are mostly educated adults say that if the Parish Priest is disciplined as well as evolved then evolution will trickle down the whole Parish. But if the Parish Priest is in laziness mode, then it is impossible for the dedicated parishioners to get participation of the balance parishioners. Therefore those who are at the helm of affairs – the Parish Priest – have to maintain the highest standard of integrity, leadership and commitment. If the Parish Priest wants his Parish and his Parishioners to improve he has to improve first.

The Parish Priest dedicated his Sunday sermon to invite all his parishioners to participate in some parish activity and make his parish a “Model Parish” and told them that he had prepared a list of 75 activities the parishioners can opt to participate in the Parish. He also invited all people who attend his Church Services and highlighted that there will be no distinction between a Parishioner and Non Parishioners all are invited to take part in the Parish activities. He even got a retired Bishop to celebrate the Eucharist and give a pep talk during his sermon to participate in the parish activities. But as is know in our community it is courtesy and hypocrisy that prevails and that was what the Parish Priest and the retired Bishop were showered with in regards to their sermons which made them happy and they decided to take it to the next level.

The Parish Priest and the retired Bishop then put it to the PPC to take this forward. The PPC decided that in order to know how many Parishioners they are targeting they require a Parish census to be done wherein they will get to know the different age groups, etc. and be able to plan accordingly.  It was decided that those people who are domicile in the Parish will be classified as parishioners and the others like domestics, students staying in hostels, people on transfers would be classified as quasi domicile but enjoy the same privilege as the domicile parishioners. There was someone in the PPC known to have carved a niche with the Parish Priest both in matters of following his requirements and throwing his weight around and was enjoying a second spell of sunshine, thanks to the recent flip flops made by this PPC person to get back in the Parish Priest favor. But despite this PPC person careful reading of the Cannon Law, as claimed, this PPC person remains curiously naïve and to the point of being delightfully non understanding. So when this PPC person wanted to impress the Parish Priest this PPC person said that we need to go as per Canon Law 100 only which he said meant that everybody who attends the Church services can be a parishioner, there is no distinction. The Parish Priest seconded this claim. It was one of the PPC members who have also read Cannon Law gently brought it to their notice that – Cannon Law 100 should be read together with Cannon law 101 to 106 for understanding as Cannon Law leaves a lot open on this matter, and in comparison said that – Baseball is like Church or Cannon Law. Many attend or read, few understand and set out to define a Parishioner which is – A member of a particular parish / one of the members or inhabitants (domicile) of a parish or local Church.

The retired Bishop explained that – Keeping in view the legal consequences of domicile and its various forms it may be defined as a stable residence which entails submission to local authority and permits the exercise of acts for which this authority is competent. To this definition the laws and their commentators confine themselves, without touching on the legal effects of domicile. Domicile, properly so called, is the place one inhabits indefinitely (locus perpetuæ habitationis), such perpetuity being quite compatible with more or less transitory residence elsewhere. It matters not whether one be the owner or simply the occupant of the house in which one dwells or whether one owns more or less property in the locality. The place of one’s domicile is not the house where in one resides but the territorial district in which the house or home stands. The canon law has never recognized as domicile an unstable residence in different parts of a diocese without intent to establish oneself in some particular parish. Canon law allows a double domicile, provided there be in both places a morally equal installation; the most ordinary example of this being a winter domicile in the city and a summer domicile in the country.—There are three kinds of domicile: domicile of origin, domicile of residence or acquired domicile, and necessary or legal domicile. The domicile of origin, a somewhat inexact imitation of the Roman origo, is that assigned to each individual by his place of nativity unless he be accidentally born outside of the place where his father dwells; practically it is the paternal domicile for legitimate and the maternal domicile for illegitimate children. Again, in reference to the spiritual life, domicile of nativity is the place where adults and abandoned children are baptized.—The domicile of residence or acquired domicile is that of one’s own choice, the place where one establishes a residence for an indefinite period. It is acquired by the fact of material residence joined to the intention of their remaining as long as one has no reason for settling elsewhere; this intention being manifested either by an express declaration or by circumstances. Once acquired, domicile subsists, despite more or less prolonged absences, until one leaves it with the intention of not returning.—Finally, necessary or legal domicile is that imposed by law; for prisoners or exiles it is their prison or place of banishment; for a wife it is the domicile of the husband which she retains even after becoming a widow; for children under age it is that of the parents who have authority over them; for wards it is that of their guardians; lastly, for whoever exercises a perpetual charge, e.g. a bishop, canon, or parish priest, etc., it is the place where he discharges his functions.

Quasi-domicile is of one kind only, namely of residence and choice and cannot be acquired in any other way. It is acquired and lost on the same conditions as domicile itself and is deduced mainly from such reasons as justify a sojourn of at least six months, e.g. the pursuit of studies, or even for an indefinite period, as in the case of domestics. This being so, quasi-residents are regarded as subjects of the local authority just as are permanent residents, being therefore parishioners bound by local laws and possessing the same rights as residents, with this difference, that, if they so choose, they may go and use their rights in their own domicile. They can, therefore, apply to the local parish priest, as to their own parish priest, not only for those sacraments administered to everyone who presents himself, e.g. Holy Eucharist and penance, but also for the baptism of their children, for first Communion, paschal Communion, Viaticum, and extreme unction. Their nuptials may also be solemnized in his presence and, except when they have chosen to be buried elsewhere; their funerals should take place from the parish church of their quasi-domicile. Finally, the quasi-domicile permits of their legitimate citation before a judge competent for the locality.

On the other hand those who have neither a domicile nor a quasi-domicile in a parish, who are only there as transients (peregrini), are not counted as parishioners; the parish priest is not their pastor and they should respect the pastoral rights of their own parish priest at least in so far as possible. The restrictions of former times, it is true, have been greatly lessened and at present no one would dream of obtaining parochial rights for annual confession, paschal Communion or the Viaticum. Generally speaking, transients (peregrini) are not subjects of the local ecclesiastical authority; they are not held to the observance of local laws except inasmuch as these affect public order, nor do they become subjects of the local judicial authority.

When one is desperate to have their way it calls for ignoring facts and authority and so the Parish Priest without taking the retired Bishops explanation into consideration or wanting to consult the professionals or the people who are knowledgeable about this matter in or out of the Parish said that by including the Non Parishioners to take part or lead in the Parish activities is as per Canon Law as they attend the Church services as Congregants.

The retired Bishop said –

Most always thought that the words parishioner and congregant meant the same thing and could be used interchangeably within the context of someone who attends a place of worship. Are there any differences in meaning between these two words or appropriate usage for each?

Parishioner and congregant refer to members of a particular local faith community. The requirements for membership, of course, vary considerably, but for the most part, simply attending services at a church does not make one a parishioner or congregant of that church any more than visiting a country makes one a citizen of it.

Parishioner is older by a good measure. A parish is an ecclesiastical territory, a section of an Episcopal see (e.g. a diocese or archdiocese). Traditionally, any inhabitant of that territory (domicile) would have been expected to attend services at the local parish church, and all would have been parishioners. The Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox churches remain organized in this manner, but the term “parish” is used even by some denominational bodies without Episcopal administration, so making the members parishioners.

Congregant is broader, in that it refers to the regular members of any local congregation. That local congregation may be a parish, but it might also be a local church or meeting house of a tradition that does not use the term parish, such as the Baptists or Mormons— or for that matter, Muslims or Jews.

A parish is the territory corresponding to a church. If I live in that territory (domicile) and attend that church, I am a parishioner of that church, and also a congregant if I live outside that territory, but still attend that church; I am one of its congregants, but not one of its parishioners.

We all know the perils of insisting and maintaining ones status quo and of accepting non parishioners in all Parish activities which may also include membership to the PPC – the brain child of the Parish Priest – albeit the explanation of the Cannon Law and the difference between a parishioner and non parishioner by the retired Bishop. The parishioners were amused to note the Parish Priest insistence on his “my way or the highway” attitude but – NONE THE LESS – Thanks to this new initiative of the Parish Priest, not just the parishioners but the whole of the Bombay Archdiocese has been invited to participate in all activities in his Parish. It’s an invitation that’s hard not to accept for all the non parishioners least because the person extended it – the Parish Priest – has a way of not interacting with his parishioners and enjoying it.


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