In the News for wrong reasons, once again; St. Joseph Parish, Mira Road;

It’s priests vs parishioners at this church in Mumbai

 

 

St Joseph’s parish in Mira Road, is the site of a battle royal between priests and parishioners; Church ready for Charity Commissioner’s April inquiry

Mira Road has only one parish called St Joseph’s. It has approximately 25,000 parishioners, which is a very high number, considering that many parishes do not evenhave half that number.

The school, which is an extension of the spiritual centre is illegal, say parishioners. Pics/Nimesh DaveThe school, which is an extension of the spiritual centre is illegal, say parishioners. Pics/Nimesh Dave

The parish is going through turbulent times, with at least 27 parishioners accusing the parish of illegal construction and money laundering.

(Left to right) Austin Menezes, Michael Fernandes, Stephen Martis and Robert D’souza, parishioners of St Joseph’s Church
(Left to right) Austin Menezes, Michael Fernandes, Stephen Martis and Robert D’souza, parishioners of St Joseph’s Church

They also claim that Church premises are rented out for Rs 40,000 per night for hosting wedding receptions and functions. This money does not find mention in the audit and is not plowed back for the benefit of the Church.

Fr Melvin D’cunha, parish priest of St Joseph’s Church in Mira Road
Fr Melvin D’cunha, parish priest of St Joseph’s Church in Mira Road

Their main grouse though, is that a spiritual centre called Anubhav, built for meditation, prayer and inter-faith communication in 2004, was turned into a school suddenly in 2013. In their complaint to the Thane Charity Commissioner in 2014, the parishioners have questioned the legality of the school and have also stated that there is embezzlement of funds. The name of the school under the scanner is St Joseph’s School, and it has a pre-primary and primary section.

“The Charity Commissioner is looking into the matter, there is progress,” claimed Stephen Martis, parishioner.

Austin Menezes parishioners explains, “The St Joseph’s School within the centre is illegal, and, does not have the required Floor Space Index (FSI). The two storey building is unauthorised and when a Right to Information (RTI) was filed by us in June 2015, it was revealed that there was no architect or plan.”

Robert D’souza, parishioner said, “There was illegal construction done and church property was used for commercial purposes.”

Violet Mascarenhas, St Joseph’s School headmistress denied all charges, claiming that the school in Anubhav building is legal.

Michael Fernandes, parishioner, stated that, “We want the church to be a clean body, but since we pointed out corruption; we have been getting many threats.”

These threats took the shape of a funeral wreath with a letter saying, ‘Christmas 2015 will be your last’ which was sent to some of the parishioners in September 2015. It was delivered through a local florist.

This letter had a smiley icon face and looked trivial, but the recipients filed a Non-Cognizable (NC) offence at the Mira Road police station.

Fr Melvin D’cunha, parish priest denied all allegations. He stated, “We have not received any communication from the Charity Commissioner. We do God’s work and have 25,000 people with us. These people are making false accusations. When the Charity Commissioner’s enquiry is held, we will answer as we are in the right.”

Fr. K T Emmanuel, secretary to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, said in response to a question, “I do not know about this case and have not dealt with it.” Parishioners however say the Cardinal’s secretary signed many of the complaints they filed to the Bishop’s House, about the accounting discrepancies in the parish and other illegalities, acknowledging that they have received them.

With accusations flying, a Charity Commissioner of Thane’s report of March 11, says there is a discrepancy of approximately R 32 lakh in financial documents produced by the Church, for funding of the school. This has started the ball rolling, for some solution to this problem. The report also states that no tender was called for certain construction work done on the church campus. This Thane Charity Commissioner’s report, has been sent to the Charity Commissioner’s head office in Worli. An inspector from the Thane office, claimed that they have received instructions to begin a detailed inquiry from April, this year.

 

Still Burning: It will keep Burning till it is Doused Completely: St. Joseph Church; Mira Road.

Clergy of these days are like Serpents sitting on Pot of Wealth, belonging to and for the benefit of Laity together with Church. This is the story at all the parishes in the Archdiocese of Bombay. There is no transparency in financial matters. The Parish Priests shields himself under the garb of SOLE TRUSTEE powers which has been bestowed upon him by hierarchy.

St. Joseph Church, Mira Road  has been in turmoil since long, as regards to financial improprieties. Brave parishioners have been fighting the Parish authorities to expose their corrupt practices. SILENT VOICE has been publishing the matter from time to time. This is the latest in the series related to the the Parish..

GREG 

 

https://silentmaj.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/feed-back-st-josephs-church-mira-road/

 

 

St. Joseph Church, Mira Road

 

Dear Friends,

It’s New Year’s first day  and I thank you all for the prayers and support which I and us have received throughout the year 2014.

Your accompaniment strengthened our resolve and gave us food to persevere to deal with the issues related to St. Joseph Church, Mira Road.

The Good Lord has been generous in revealing to us information that we would never have dreamed of. The Lord was instrumental in showing us the corrupt attitude of our pastors who are supposed to be examples for us to emulate. They remain defiant the litany of empty promises still continue for us. Enough! No more games!‘Transfer’ of priests is NO SOLUTION. There is a limit for everything. So we had to do what we did not want to: GO TO THE CHARITY COMMISSIONER. Absolutely no regrets; SO in brief:

 

On 23rd Dec 2014, the letter dealing with the financial issues of our parish, St. Joseph Church, Mira Road East was lodged with the Office of The Charity Commissioner, Thane. With this a long and tiring journey of disbelief, disappointment and frustration seeking justice, takes on a new hue and character.

Could we have avoided this step? Yes of course.

So what made us take this decision to approach and seek solution outside the church?

It’s the response from our own Parish Priest, Fr Nelson Pinto, Provincial Charles Serrao and the Bombay Archdiocese hierarchy. The sheer scale of the happenings of the past few years and our bringing to the awareness of those concerned, be it Fr Dominic, the main culprit, the former Provincial Fr Archibald and even their hierarchy did not cut much ice. Instead of being cautious the actions only became more dirty and corrupt. That goes for the Carmelites.

What about the Diocesan authorities?

Even after following the due process of putting up the issues through different levels of the pastoral structure, the experience was a big letdown and of frustration. If only the actions were taken promptly, lacs and lacs of ruppees could have been saved. It’s not just the money issue; let us understand that monies were always linked and sourced to sacramental activities. So it is sacramental abuse too.

We are talking about illegal construction, putting up of school which is not recognized and not approved by the authorities. It is a rental tie up with a private party confesses Fr Nelson. There is news that this is a 60:40 partnership between the Carmelites and the private party. Big mess which has become a big headache for them confesses Fr. Nelson. Fr. Diego, Superior, is even thinking of leaving the Carmelite Community because of the situation that he finds himself in. We are talking about possible use of funds collected for the parish infrastructure being diverted to the unauthorized and illegal construction of Anubhav extension. Allegations were made of such possible transfer during the construction of the main Anubhav building earlier but for reasons unknown not pursued. This is the revelation made by the Auditor himself. We are talking about many issues presented to the hierarchy but somehow the wheels of redressal and justice move so slow that it seems they are made to move that way to finish off the resolve of anyone who wants to highlight something abnormal in the parish. IT is absolutely unbelievable!

Take for example one heading of collection (income) and that is Tanzania Mission collection:

We, parishioners are aware that monies are collected every year for Tanzania Mission at an average of 2 lacs plus.

The Audited statements presented to the Charity Commissioner from 2009 displays a liability of Rs. 4225/- towards Tanzania Mission. This figure always left a question mark for us till on 1st Nov 2014, in our meeting with the Auditor appointed by our parish, Mr. V.N.Khandekar revealed that when collections were accounted till 31st March in that year during Fr Rudolf’s time some funds still poured in (Rs 4225/-) and when the Auditor asked Fr Rudolph and Fr Dominic who was the Provincial that time, they replied that the Tanzania account has been closed. The Auditor told them to settle this amount by sending it. It is still not done and therefore appears as liability. Friends, so what happened to the monies collected during all these years since no income from Tanzania Mission collection reflects anywhere in the accounts. This is cheating and concealment of funds.

Take Rents from Community Hall, Infant Jesus Hall, Grounds and  Royalties…not a drop of income is reflected in the Auditor’s Statement. Years back when the issue of Rents was taken up by the Auditor, he was told that there are 55 communities in the parish and there is no place even for them to conduct their activities. So the question of rent does not arise. Shocking Isn’t it? No wonder the Audited Statement for the year 2013-14 is still pending because of the ‘gafla’ in the accounting. There are so many Income Heads where monies are not recorded at all. A reading of the Auditor’s Remarks, a copy of which we got from the Parish Priest in Nov 2014 reveals the nature and plunder of the loot in the Lord’s Name. Also the way monies are handled by the Maharashtra Carmelite Charitable Society (Anubhav Building) are shocking to say the least.

There are still many details more. This is just a glimpse of the sham religiosity which is being conducted on the innocent parishioners whose sweat and toil has no value. This is not surprising since if 5 priests on the Altar on 1st June 2014 can tell a lie that Fr Dominic fell in Mangalore, then anything is possible. The entire blame of his misdeeds are put on the former PRO of our parish and his dabbling with occult practices says Fr Nelson, the present Parish Priest.

Extremely disappointed with Fr. Nelson’s posture too. He promised us a lot in the beginning of his tenure but sorry to say his actions betray and are not at all healthy for our parish in the future. I have had a one on one meeting with him and the conversation details present a grim picture. We’ll keep it for next time. You might get the impression that we are after Fr Nelson. Won’t blame you dear; But if I make a statement I own it and stand by it.

Yes, we some are butt of jokes, ridicule and curses and we are damned to hell by some of our own parishioners. So be it!

If I have to go to hell for standing up for the mandate of Jesus then I don’t mind going to hell again and again.

We want God’s money (Not Carmelite’s personal purse) meant for our parish back by hook or crook and we will not rest until then.

HAVE A BLESSED YEAR OF GOD’S PRESENCE ALWAYS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

God bless you

Robert D’Souza

FEED BACK: ST. JOSEPH’S CHURCH, MIRA ROAD……

“Unless Baby cries, her mother will not know that she is hungry and need milk. But at baby’s first cry, mother will leave everything aside and feed the Baby.”

Similarly, Some Parishioners from St. Joseph’s Church, Mira road have been writing to Archbishop, Cardinal Oswald Gracias about the undesirable activities related to Parish Finaces, of their Parish Priest and his henchmen. They were also seeking his appointment, so that their case could be presented  in person. Their pleas were ignored.

Finally, their plight appeared on SILENT VOICE, (Check  links below) which woke the Hierarchy from slumber.  Were the Parishioners satisfied? See for yourself.

GREG

St. Joseph Church, Mira Road

https://silentmaj.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/is-this-mission-sunday-in-real-sense-at-st-josephs-church-mira-road/

https://silentmaj.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/st-josephs-church-mira-road-debate-rages-on/

https://silentmaj.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/is-this-mission-sunday-in-real-sense-at-st-josephs-church-mira-road-readers-comments/

MAIL FROM MR. ROBERT TO SILENT VOICE

On Sunday, 19 January 2014 7:40 PM,

Dear Mr Greg,

Greetings!

I refer to the Silent Voice post: Pope Francis laments Church scandals, harm caused by corrupt clergy……….

The attachment contains the details of our meeting with the Cardinal on the 3rd of Jan for your information. This letter has been delivered to the Office of the Cardinal for further action. It conveys what transpired but does not reveal the true picture. What lies in between the lines is nothing less than traumatic. After this entire struggle what I and my Merlyn felt after the meeting was horrible and confused. The same goes to so many parishioners who were expecting some words that would make them feel that there is justice in the church

After this sorry episode, the thoughts that came hurtling down within me are:

Ø  What the heck is going on here in the Church? Do people have to die (mishap on 9th July 2013) for issues to be taken seriously?

Ø  This is the reason why people take recourse to media when eyes and ears are shut by the shepherds?

Ø  Those who make noise that things should be settled within the community should be made to go through the grind of reaching the doors of hierarchy and then experiencing the outcome?

The question is: Does the church hierarchy move or what should happen to make it stir, the least?

Consider this: TIMELINE……(some main events)

March 2013 – Letter with parish issues handed over to the Dean, Fr Anselm

April/May 2013 -The Dean told us that he spoke to the Cardinal. Again met in July 2013.

July –Dec 2013 – We corresponded directly to the office of the Cardinal delivering letters                                  personally and also via email.

Sept 2013 – The Sisters of the Mercy of the Holy Cross, Mira Road meet up with the                                 Cardinal. They were directed to Bishop Savio; letter given to him dealing                               with their issues/grievances with the PP and the Provincial.

Oct 2013 – The Episcopal Vicar was directed to deal with the issues and a meeting was                           held after that. Visits made subsequently to remind him of the pending request                     for an appointment with the Cardinal since July 27, 2013.

The meeting scheduled for 21st Dec, 2013 postponed; the reason given that the Cardinal needs some time to study the matter.

Jan 2014 – At last with great expectations we attend the meeting…….

What is the outcome? Read and you take a call.

The Cardinal thanked us for meeting him and bringing it to his notice. All through the meeting over an hour we apprised him of the scandal, corruption, blackmail, and divisions the Parish Priest Fr Dominic Vas Ocd, Provincial Fr Archibald Gonslaves Ocd, have engineered with the collusion of PPC members and others. Names of those raising issues maligned….

It was as though this was the first time he was getting a picture of the happenings at St Joseph Church, Mira Road. The seriousness of the situation was now dawning upon him after we gave our testimonies.

At the beginning of the meeting to emphasize our credibility I conveyed to him my association of 40 plus years with Bishop Percy and having told him about some of the disturbing things emerging in my parish 3 years ago. He had conveyed this to Bishop Bosco who was in charge of our parish. Nothing moved. The other, Ms Merlyn D’Sa is a Municipal Corporator from the same area where the church is, mentioned her service to the parish and the Archdiocese for many years. She narrated her harrowing experience at the hands of the PP and Provincial.

Before leaving the Cardinal said that illegal structures will not be tolerated and he will be meeting up with Bishop Percy on these issues. That is the hope left.

The big question is: What happened to the earlier process:

Ø  Meetings and exchanges of material related to the issues of St Joseph Church?

Ø  Who do we believe if this is the experience of the meeting with the Cardinal?

I was asking myself:

Is this happening in the Archdiocese of Bombay?

•·         What will be the state of a simple Catholic who feels that he/she and the church mission are wronged and to bring it to the notice of the hierarchy; Is this the price he/she has to pay for his/her love for the Church

Is this the state of the affairs where such serious issues of financial, pastoral and civic violations and corruption take so long to address in spite of the evidence presented through laid down grievance redressal structure?

The frustration of finding self back to square one after all the effort will break the strongest of the resolve of church loving members of the community. No wonder the flock is deserting. But even then, does this move the hierarchy or they think it is good that these trouble-makers are out of the church.

The lack of awareness/seriousness indicates the importance given to the laity though doctrinally equal in worth and dignity.

It took almost half a year to get an audience with the Cardinal makes one think the impenetrable shell, the hierarchy has cocooned itself in.

Yes, we see the changes in Vatican; but that does not make any sense if the local authorities have their own agenda.

We are waiting for justice. We will wait. I hope it is not late.

This is the outpouring of my heart. This comes out of the experience of going through painful experiences of the past 3 years and still is. It is not making noise for the sake of making noise. There are so many parishioners who have been humiliated by the Parish Priest and his cronies. It is just unimaginable? We are not talking of some minor aberrations here but actions of these Carmelite priests in our parish which have driven so many people away from the church. One just needs to see the prayer houses of the sects to guage the extent of the damage done. Many will join if this continues. Many will stop coming to church. Can we blame them? Discussion papers will not solve the problem; justice will and it seems so far away. SO TRUE: JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED.

To conclude let me paste a sentence from the Silent Voice post:

Regarding the people of God, he paused to reflect on the harm that scandals cause them: “Poor people … poor people!” he said. “We do not give them the bread of life to eat! We do not give them the truth! So many times, we give them poisoned food!”

Wish you a Joyful New Year 2014.

Robert

LETTER TO ARCHBISHOP

To,

Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop House

Bombay 400021

3rd January 2013.

Ref: Our meeting on 3rd January 2014

Subject: Matters related with St. Joseph Church, Mira Road

Your Eminence,

We are grateful to you for giving us an opportunity to meet you and discuss our parish issues.

We would like to mention some of the important points discussed with you.

The Church has become a commercial hub. Every Sacramental activity and service has one aim and that is: How money can be generated? The appropriate word would be Sacramental Blackmail. The Finance Committee and the Parish Council have failed miserably in their responsibility. There is gross misuse and no transparency.

The following points were put forth before you in the area of FINANCE:

  1. Multiple Intentions (15 or more) for every mass every day.
  2. Charges from Ankur Children’s Home: Rs 42,000/- per year.
  3. SCC’s……………..
  4. 5th Sunday collection sent to OCD Provincial
  5. Parish Account Statement not revealed.
  6. Rent from Church Community Hall, Grounds not revealed.
  7. Stipends: Weddings – Rs ……….
  8. Dumb Boxes: No announcement of monies collected.
  9. Monthly Rent from Dignity Foundation for Senior Citizens – Rs 10,500/- per month. Charges from sales promotion of Avon and Tupperware products almost every weekends – Not revealed.
  10. Mira Fest/Christmas Carnival Accounts Statement not revealed.

We also mentioned PASTORAL and SACRAMENTAL violations over a long period of time, and are mentioned below:

  1. Tampering of Cardinal’s Lenten Official letter of 2013.
  2. Making Parish Council/ Cell/Association Heads sign on blank documents against those who raised concerns. Signature campaign to condemn us.
  3. Charges (Rs 6375/-) to conduct Bible Study classes during Ministry of Word probation.
  4. Canvassing and promoting a parishioner who is Parish PRO (Public Relations Officer and Head of Civic Cell) for 2012 Municipal elections.
  5. Felicitating politicians on the altar.
  6. Massive spending (donations received) for Silver and Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Parish Priest and Superior.
  7. The Provincial compellingly exhorting parishioners to write Letters of Appreciation of and for Parish Priest to counter grievances when brought to the Parish Priest or Provincial.
  8. Commercial announcements promoting an Electronics firm.
  9. Many parishioners have left the church or are not attending church services. Fr Ivan D’Souza – Asst PP when asked to intervene retorted, “What difference it makes if few leave the church.”
  10. Fr Ivan D’Souza refused Baptism to a child (medically critical) when requested to have simple Baptism Ceremony. Child baptized by the Parish Priest of Mt Carmel, Bandra subsequently in the hospital.

The SECULAR/CIVIC violations too were mentioned.. Serious in nature, we wonder what has become of the Mission of the Carmelites in Mira Road.? These violations even after some dissenting voices from within the community were not heeded. To deflect attention we were projected from the Altar as gossipers. Rather than admitting their guilt the parents are being told that since that there are objections from us we are forced to close the school. We fear retaliation in the near future when the school will be shut. These actions have sown a very bad impression of the Church among the Municipal, Police and non Christian community. In brief the following points are mentioned below what was discussed in our meeting:

  1. Illegal and Unauthorized Construction of Anubhav extension, 
  2. Penalty paid of above 4 lakhs for illegal and unauthorized construction of Anubhav extension.
  3. 4 Rooms constructed on the Church Terrace without municipal permissions.
  4. Since inauguration Infant Jesus Shrine interiors renovated 4 times in 2 years.
  5. Use of unqualified contractor for building Anubhav extension.
  6. School started without permissions from ABE and Education department.
  7. Parents of students are angry and anxious after hearing that the school will be discontinued. Also Rs 5000/- was taken for Building Fund and no receipt was issued.
  8. Illegal structures in the church premises: Infant Jesus Hall, CWC Office, Kitchen extension of Anubhav

The Agreement and Mission entrusted to the Carmelite community by the Archdiocese of Mumbai has been diluted or rejected by the actions of the Carmelite Community. Worse still parishioners who were once friends have now become enemies. Reports, Surveys and Bulletin do not reveal the true extent of the damage within. Just a cursory reading of the above mentioned points is enough to show the decay and picture of St Joseph Church, Mira Road. It makes for a sad reading.

Since you mentioned that you will be discussing this issue with Bishop Percival Fernandez, who was made aware 3 years ago of the deviation of the missionary journey of the Carmelites and who told us that he brought our grievances to the notice of Bishop Bosco who was the Bishop in-charge of our parish.  We are marking a copy to him.  We are sure Justice will be done and accountability to the Archbishop is restored.

Keep us in your prayers

Yours faithfully

Merlyn D’Sa

Robert D’Souza

St. Joseph’s Church, Mira Road: DEBATE RAGES ON……

SILENT VOICE, would like to give maximum exposure to readers views, opinion and voice. We therefore, have decided to post the comments as main post, while we think that readers should be able to participate in the debate.

Meanwhile , please be informed that at the bottom of each post on the left hand side, you will find the numbers of comments received on that particular post. Please click on the link to read comments.

GREG

https://silentmaj.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/is-this-mission-sunday-in-real-sense-at-st-josephs-church-mira-road-readers-comments/

1)      The Iniquitous: Church Crimes said,

October 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm · Edit

Reblogged this on The Iniquitous: Church Crimes.

2)      God’s Beloved (@nameeta2010) said,

October 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm · Edit

Response to Tulip D’Souza’s comment :

— why are the ‘same’ people involved in ‘several ‘ associations ? The parish is one of the biggest in Asia [ 25000+ ]…..why are majority inactive and not involved or not encouraged or not allowed to be involved even if they are trained /skilled in various aspects of pastoral ministry before moving from Bombay to Mira Rd ? Do the OCD clergy not like to collaborate with the laity in serving the church and the world ? Or has a ghetto of their like-minded persons formed to rule over the parish ? Their Provincial had once apologized in the church for their lack of collaboration with laity….but there is no change.The clergy want to hold on to Power.

— many people have told me that the focus of the clergy is on getting more money. There are complaints of not receiving receipts for small sum cash -donations towards infrastructure.

—if the parish is helping ‘other’ parishes by funding their building projects , it means there are lot of funds available for Good Quality /Legal construction . Still the clergy are involved in illegal , poor quality construction which is later regularized. Isn’t this dangerous in what was previously a Salt-land ? This means either the clergy are Greedy for money….which perhaps is diverted towards formation / maintenance of their OCD religious order and members of their religious community……….or parishioners have lost their trust in the parish clergy and do not like to donate towards St.Joseph’s church infrastructure. They have ‘more trust in other parishes’ of the Archdiocese of Bombay- for whose buildings they are generous in making donations.

—the parish clergy give preference and special treatment to politicians, rich donors , builders from whom they receive special favors for the parish and their religious order. The felicitation of the powerful must be well video-recorded during various parish functions.

—on one occasion when a parishioner questioned a Carmelite priest why they were supporting a corrupt builder who gave large sum donations to the parish ……but went against a victim who was cheated by that builder , the parishioner was introduced to the builder on the speaker phone and told that he ‘ speaks so courteously, politely and with respect for the priests and is so generous with donations ‘ so it is impossible that he would be corrupt or cheat anyone.

if the Carmelite priests judge the professional expertise of builders etc. according to their generosity / smooth and sweet talk [ wrongly interpreted as fruit of the Holy Spirit ] …then something is terribly wrong. They must be too naive regarding what is going on in this world where majority of the laity live. Corrupt builders cheat people in lakhs and donate a few thousands to wash their guilt and gain confidence of people.

regarding the poor or those who are suffering…….like any parish there certainly will be a group of beneficiaries served by the associations…..but i have known many people ‘crying’ for humane help but have been totally ignored. The clergy have asked lay leaders to refrain from getting involved and said , ” The Lord will take care ” we can only pray !

As far as I can see , for several of the OCD clergy , their God is not our Lord Jesus Christ …..but their god is Money ……MONEY AND THEIR RELIGIOUS ORDER ARE THEIR GOD!!!!!!!!!!! this is Idolatry.

3)      Fergus Misquitta said,

October 27, 2013 at 8:16 pm · Edit

From what is written, it seems that the parish council consists of stooges of the priests in power. The crux of the whole issue, in most cases, is usually the making of some clandestine money by those that control.

If someone is really interested in blowing the lid off this alleged quagmire of wrongdoings, it is time some investigation is done as to the personal financial state of those in power; bank accounts, cars, flats, well-being/finances of close relatives and other worldly trappings should be looked into.

It usually that the diocesan/secular clergy, (who do not take the vow of poverty), who are up to these sort of money shennanigans; the religious orders are supposed to have the vow of poverty to prevent them from raking in the lucre, so this may be a first; but then there is always someone/somewhere to begin the rot.

Best of luck you crusaders; putting the clergy in the dock is not an easy task; they are not so stupid as to be caught with the hand in the cookie jar.

4)      Patrick Alvares said,

October 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm · Edit

I am also a Mira Road parishioner and also was an animator for about 3 yrs and a Civic Cell member. We were there to redress various issues of the parishioners. When the dumping ground issue rose, I along with two of my colleagues, out of the so-called “25-35 thousand” parishioners participated in the agitation. Neither of the priest of St Joseph Church participated in any meetings or neither they directed the parishioners. The whole of Diocese of mira bhayander comprising of about 9 churches priests were against, on the behavioral part of our parish. thanks to bishop Bosco Penha. even today the cases against the illiterate, poor Christians linger in courts and even in police stations. when this parish priest came, he is only interested in making money and dividing people. there is more to come as per Robert’s letter. He has gone to the vicar level and since they are not interested in finding a solution, i hope the office of the Pope will intervene. thanks and god bless you all . Robert you are not alone. we are with you

5)      Robert Raymond said,

October 31, 2013 at 11:34 am · Edit

Thank you Patrick for your comments. This is not an individual raising an issue. There are many of us. Some using the SILENT VOICE and some other means to express their frustration and pain.

Our endeavor is to sensitize our parishioners that they should not look upon themselves as individuals and feel powerless. Our goal is to bring about changes in the parish as all God’s Beloved have expressed from far and near. That includes Tulip too who may have a different take on this subject. Nonetheless Merlyn D’Sa , Municipal Corporator has sought clarifications so that our intentions become more clear. Nobody is against anybody. The priests of our parish have let us down and have caused grave harm to the unity of our parish. Most of them being new here do not know each other so there is some initial resistance which in due course will be sorted out. It is this process which has been disrupted by the divisive actions on the part of the parish priest for monetary gains and this will take a long time to heal. Through this medium we can hasten the process of healing and oneness. I/We are confident that the hierarchy will take corrective actions and fix accountability. Let us pray and let us blog.

Some aberrations and revelations of these priests here in our parish:

How money plays part in our parish where some individual whose sole contribution is, that they are benefactors….(donors)

It was during 6.30 am mass after the Communion some time back. A estate agent was called on the altar and felicitated with bouquet of flowers and the congregation was made to sing ‘there shall be showers of blessing’ cause it was his birthday. How bizarre it can get and I felt like the parish priest treating me/us like fools. I felt humiliated.. I just couldn’t believe the preparations done for this ‘tamasha’; arranging bouquet so early in the morning….vow!

Biryani was distributed last year after the St Anthony Feast Mass sponsored by the PRO ( a designation unique to our parish) and some benefactor. Their names were announced 4 times during the Eucharist. What a horrible sight at the main entrance of the church where parishioners were falling over each other for the biryani packet with the Parish Priest in attendance. This is was unique way to promote PRO who stood for Municipal elections and the PP has the temerity to say that he never canvassed for any candidate.

There are so many more but I haven’t got a nod from those who have shared with me and us their disgust at the way the Eucharist is being used with the congregation as captive audience being made to dance according to the tune of the celebrant.

I won’t be surprised if you find some unpleasant experiences shared in this post. Previous comments already reveal the decay.

Then there are commercial announcements like opening of a showroom and invitation thrown along with it……What is happening here? How come we can be silent spectators?

I am sure if given an alternative place for worship many many would refrain from coming to the church where it is now. This thought/expression itself is heartbreaking for this is not what we and others envisioned when we settled here and built the church where once stood a shed.

6)      Patrick Alvares said,

November 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm · Edit

Dear Robert, as per your reply to brother Alex on 21/10/13 I’d like to place some of my opinions on some your issues issued below.

1. Illegal and unauthorized construction has been regularized

Answer: Will the same church regularize abortion which has been banned in our catholic church.

2. Of two, I’d like to say that let him decorate his own house but not build and construct buildings without necessary paperwork and permissions.

3. The so-called “PPC office bearers” are mere selected ones and not elected ones.

4. you had been forced to pay but we are forced to pay for zonal mass and also there were times when the community get-togethers were cancelled due to the last minute commercial bookings.

5. Instead of having a direct meeting with the people who were hurt, the PP dared that they are inactive members.

6. No politician for whatsoever party he represents, was officially called during the tenure of until previous PP’s.

7. Sir this is a daily attitude on the part of PP and the PPC members.

8. As far your question is concerned, it is unauthorized and has to come down as per the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation notices. The copy of this letter can be posted or hand delivered to you and any other parishioner or the concerned authorities.

9. These are already questionable.Again i ask that abortion may be legalized in this church which is banned in the Catholic Church. The money that was used to construct this were from politicians and our brothers and sisters.

10. This is not the only instance but there are many other times when death occurs. In this church vicinity, none of the priests are available,even if they are present in the church. For this i can count not once not twice but three times more

These are answers for the questions which were posted on this blog. But there are many more to come. As far as we are christians we will not be divided but united in Christ .

Have a good day. God bless you all.!!

7)      Steven Gilbert said,

November 4, 2013 at 8:49 pm · Edit

There was once an earnest gardener who loved his work and his produce. One day he was walking through his delightful garden and happened to notice a weed. The gardener was particularly tired so he decided to leave it.

The next day he had to leave to visit his relatives in another country for two weeks. When he came back, the back yard was covered in weeds and all his produce was dead!

REFLECTION

Likewise, if we allow just one bad thought in our head and fail to remove it, it will sprout and instead of having to pick one weed, we will have too much to control.

If we destroy our negative thoughts, by allowing positive ones to grow, they will display in our personality like a beautiful garden.

Thats the power of positive thought. We are, what our thoughts are.

We should always entertain only good and positive thoughts in our mind and never give way for anything negative!

Be alert and conscious of your thoughts and pick out the weeds of your negative thoughts consciously and quickly, at the right moment.

hope our thoughts reflect in the right way

Stephen

8)      orsonmike said,

November 5, 2013 at 2:54 am · Edit

Steven Gilbert, positive and negative thoughts are never to be imposed upon another as your views seem to subjective rather than being objective. Step outside of your self-righteous coccoon.

To learn what a TRULY OBJECTIVE way of writing refer – to Patrick Alvares and Robert Raymond’s comments above which are rooted in FACT and TRUTH.

The priests have converted the altar where the Eucharist is raised into a billboard or railway platform where all sorts of BEGGARS are entertained be it vote-seeking politicians or limelight seeking showmen or WORSE money seeking power-hungry religious persons!

To add to his list the teachings of the Roman Church CONTRADICT the Holy Bible (now secretly renamed Universal Church to give backdoor entry to homosexuals, Muslims who are anti-Christ & Marian; as also Hindus idolators who are regularly greeted on their Ganpati and other festivals by the local Archdiocese and on Diwali this time by the Pope ) – Sample these below:-

a)The Pope is infallible – when in reality he is NOT as he is a mere mortal creation of an infallible God.

b) Mary a creature of God – is claimed to be co-redemptrix (decided by a deluded pope, drunk on power in this century) when the facts in the Holy Bible cleary state Jesus to be the SOLE intercessor between earth and Heaven as our REDEEMER through His Supreme sacrifice on the Cross and His resurrection!

Are you suggesting that the clergy is above the law or even religious/ ethical. The illegal constructions listed out are CRIMINAL acts and to defer demoltion and/or stay out of jail obviously the clergy has paid bribes to “regularise” these SHAMEFUL deeds to an equally corrupt active holligan masquerading a local politician who is a total failure when it comes to simple things as tarring the roads!

Incidentally NONE of the buildings on the Church campus today serve any ALTRUISTIC needs of the community but are COMMERCIAL enterprises to the core – even though a Church by law is a “charitable institution” – go figure.

Let us recall the HUGE sums WASTED in building the useless ARCHWAY at inflated costs across the street near the north-eastern exit of the Church a few years ago by a myopic Rudolf who got shunted out on “promotion”. Surely the monies could have been put to better use of the needy in the parish.

I’m sure that Tulip Agatha Jacquline DSouza who commented above FALSELY claiming to be conversant with the financial affairs of the parish would otherwise SHUT UP in light of such scandalous actions by the priests – or did they FAIL to report these events and misuse of funds to either of you Steven?

Are you Steven Gilbert/ Tulip Agatha Jacquline DSouza righteous – did you have a FULL “white” clean deal when you bought your house or did you evade taxes by undervaluing it? Easy to preach righteousness but never easy to stay on the NARROW path of justice and honesty…..Stop preaching and start practising.

BOTH of you white-washers and sycophants (CHAMCHAS) need to get your FACTS right before DARING to waste our time here – this forum ACTIVELY seeks to clean the AGEAN stables of the Church stinking to the skies……… We strive to emulate Jesus who WHIPPED the money changers in the Temple for converting it into a marketplace – ditto for the priests commercializing God’s house of prayer.

9)      Adrian John Menezes said,

November 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm · Edit

Bro, Mike unless the laity wakes up from the deep sleep that this so called religious of the church has put us into, none will be able to clean this AGEAN stables of the church deep rooted into corruption.St. Joseph Church Mira Road is one of the markets of making money every sunday the parishioners are made to slog to make goodies and sell for feeding the priests with the best of food and drinks, which even a common man who is toiling day and night to make ends meet cannot afford to.

10)   Steven Gilbert said,

November 6, 2013 at 5:58 pm · Edit

Orsonmike it makes me sad to see your agony against the Priest but i feel it is seldom little you or i can possibly do

what do you feel we as lay people can do other than blog one another

so you really feel a change can happen if yes kindly show us the path

i feel many have tried but were shunted out. I feel you were also one of those who has who has got on the wrong side of the priest

https://silentmaj.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/is-this-mission-sunday-in-real-sense-at-st-josephs-church-mira-road/#comments

Additional comments on Ist article on the issue

  1. October 30, 2013 at 7:30 pm · Edit

    we cannot get some post Mr. Greg could you please look into it
    there was apost from Patrick alvares and also from Nameeta

    • Silent Voice said,

      October 30, 2013 at 9:05 pm 

      Nothing is pending for moderation….Ask them to repost..

  2. October 31, 2013 at 12:33 am

    There are two Posts regarding this issue on Silent voice. One is the the above Main article written by Robert , the other is the Comments . The title of both posts is the same , hence the confusion.

    Please read this link for the comments that have been re-posted by Greg as a separate article for greater viewership.

    https://silentmaj.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/is-this-mission-sunday-in-real-sense-at-st-josephs-church-mira-road-readers-comments/

    Greg, requesting you to please change the settings on this blog so that all comments after each post are visible in one page. It is rather confusing to click “Older comments” and “Newer comments”……..

  3. November 1, 2013 at 8:10 pm · Edit

    as said by merlyn on her second term as a corporator i would like to add here the church led by the pp fielded an opponent also a parishnier against merlyn and that too along with almost 45 or more associations of the parish along with the door to door campaining by none other the parish priest.

    4. Adrian John Menezes said,

    1. October 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm · 

      My dear parishioners lets come out and stand in unity and bring clarity to all the above issues, united we stand divided these priest will take us all on a very long drive

      5. Merlyn M D’sa said October 29, 2013 at 10:08 pm ·

    2. Hi Tulip Agatha Jacqueline D’souza,

      Seems like you are new to the parish. Not so long ago I and other parishioners had gone to other parishes in the Archdiocese seeking help to build our church. Even Robert was part of it. In fact some others contributed from overseas too. This comment demeans those who come here as though we are doing a big favor to them; also I don’t know in what context this finds mention in your comment. We are a family and it is such a wonderful thing if a church comes up with a little help from our brothers and sisters from other parishes. We must encourage this.
      Tulip dear, can you please clarify how did you construe, the article as ‘sour grapes and vested interest of political party’ and in what way is the ‘faith being politicized?’ May be some illumination on this can help the readers too and me too
      .
      Merlyn D’Sa, Parishioner of St Joseph Church Mira rd since 1991. A few of my designations I held in my parish. First SCC Parish Coordinator, First Chairperson of the Bombay Catholic Sabha, Mira rd unit, First President of the Civic and Political cell, Catechism teacher for 14 years, Choir member for 12 years, One of the first Commissioned Lectors (even today), First Parish Coordinator of the Women’s Cell and now the Deanery Coordinator since 2004, PPC member for 3 terms, Core member of Mira Fest for collecting funds to build our new church, Member of the parish team collecting funds from various parishes in the diocese, Core member of Jhintak ’98, Core member of the Church and Anubhav Inauguration Team, Member of the Widow’s cell……….
      ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE – SECOND TERM AS MUNICIPAL CORPORATOR OF WARD 35 OF MIRA BHAYANDER MUNICIPAL CORPORATION AND PRINCIPAL OF RAVAL INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL AND JUNIOR COLLEGE OF COMMERCE AND SCIENCE…..

    3. October 30, 2013 at 5:25 pm 

      Madam Corporator,
      Your sermon is so short, but ur announcements r too long,u even forgot to mention in the announcement that u were the first to hold the Inter Religious Dialogue as a innaugral ceremony for Anubhav

       

       

 

Is this Mission Sunday in real sense at St. Joseph’s Church; Mira Road???????/ Readers Comments

  1. SILENT VOICE expects and encourages readers to express their views on the issues. Many readers post their views as comments to particular post. However, it is unlikely that reader will go back to the post, once it has been read, and miss the comments. We therefore, carry the comments as main post, so that it is available to our readers upfront.

    Purpose of SILENT VOICE is to encourage the Laity to participate in the CHURCH IN REAL SENSE. ” Church is what we are and not where we go”; is what we often hear from the Sacred pulpit. It means, Church is both, Clergy and Laity Combined. Sadly, Clergy, of course some of them, literally see that Laity does not have any role in decision making. Laity is supposed to , PRAY, PAY, AND OBEY. Laity is not permitted to come anywhere near the Properties and Finance related issues of the Parish. Authority of SOLE TRUSTEE, is being misused to keep out the questioning parishioners. Abolition  of SOLE TRUSTEE norm and bringing in Transparency with greater participation of knowledgeable Lay parishioners, in Property and Financial Matters is need of the Hour.

    Clergy must be true to their VOCATION by concentrating on their Pastoral duties; and not become PROFESSIONALS as PROPERTY DEALERS AND FINANCIERS. This precisely a reason for Laity’s resentment against Clergy.

    A few parishioner who are handpicked to nod their heads to everything that the Parish Priest say, do not make the entire Laity.

    GREG

     

    COMMENTS:

    God’s Beloved (@nameeta2010) said,

    October 20, 2013 at 8:43 pm · Edit

    St.Joseph’s ,Mira Rd. is perhaps the biggest parish in Asia.The situation is deteriorating day after day.

    When questioned about their corrupt practices the Carmelite managers quote their saints : ” Let nothing disturb you …….All things are passing…..!” to shut your mouth.

    Another one is ,” Do Nothing , Let God do !” [ when faced with injustice or where Jesus would expect every Christian to speak out for another human being or fellow catholic who is suffering]. The average lay catholic who is called to live in the world , a beginner in the prayer life and called to active involvement in social , political , civic issues —is taught to lead a life of passivity in contemplative prayer ….something meant for rare Mystics far advanced in their journey towards deeper union with God.

    Most of the OCD priests were caught in the net in their teenage , with no work or life-experience. Their motivations for joining religious life and priesthood are doubtful.

    Being such a big parish , naturally the Church is full during Mass and other prayer services .This has inflated the ego of these priests. But considering the number of parishioners , the proportion of practicing catholics is equal to or even less than other parishes in the Archdiocese of Bombay.

    The spiritual life and Christian witness of parishioners is going down-hill. Some serious action needs to be taken. When the Carmelites started the parish they struggled in the salt-land in a praise-worthy manner. But now it is so bad , they are not competent anymore to handle the issues in the big parish.

    It is not the charism of Monastic OCD clergy to handle all this ….especially finances . I suggest they should hand over the parish to the Pastoral care of the Archdiocese and focus on their own spiritual lives as monastics.

    • October 23, 2013 at 11:22 am · Edit

      it is so very true . I hope and pray that the Archdiocese of Bombay take notice of it . I am one of the members of the community and pained to see the day to day affairs of our Church and also for all the wrong reasons the people today are leaving the Church and joining other prayer groups, and also the attitude of our clergy towards them .

      stephen

  2. dmelloalex said,

    October 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm · Edit

    According to me this article doesn’t give the clarity as to what is exactly happening other than the misappropriation of funds. Request Mr Robert to give a simplified version of happenings

    • October 21, 2013 at 11:22 pm · Edit

      Dear Alex,
      Peace!
      Thanks and appreciate time taken for the reply.

      The issues are many and from different parishioners. These issues have been presented to the Dean Fr. Anselm Gonsalves of Our Lady of Nazareth, Bhayandar, Episcopal Vicar Rev Fr Barthol Machado and also to the Cardinal. We have sent in a request for an appointment with him on 25th July which is yet to materialize highlighting our grievances.
      So far meetings have been held more than once with the Dean and the Episcopal Vicar.
      A meeting was held a fortnight ago with the Parish Priest Fr Dominic Vas, Fr Micheal Shenoy, Anthony Fernandes, Finance Committee and Fr. Anselm Gonsalves and Fr Barthol Machado at Gorai.

      Some of the issues are mentioned below:
      1. Illegal and Unauthorized construction of extension (G+3) of Anubhav Inter-Religious Spirituality Center, The extension is for the purpose of the school which has already started in the Retreat House. Notice was served by MBMC for demolition but construction has been regularized….

      2. Unlicensed contractor used for construction of the extension. The contractor is our parishioner who does interior home jobs. THIS IS DANGEROUS even though structural audit is procured it seems.

      3. Using parishioner especially PPC office bearers and Heads of Cells/Associations to sign a letter against us who raised issues for circulation in the parish. Some of the signatories did not even read the letter but have signed using their pastoral designations. Also conducting signature campaign with this same aim. Their allegations proved wrong with the MBMC serving notice for demolition. The Provincial Fr Archibald Gonslaves even exhorted those present at the meeting to oppose the municipal authorities if they came for demolition……at first citing that everything is legal.

      4. I had to force myself to pay money ( Rs 6375/- for 3 sessions plus 500/- deposit) to conduct Bible Study classes at Infant Jesus Hall for my Word Ministry Commissioning requirement, since place was not being made available citing money required to give it for commercial activities for improving infrastructure. Took money back later since place was made available at Ankur Children Home run by the Sisters of St Anne free of cost……

      5. Conducting meetings with SCC, PPC, Heads of Cells/Associations and some parishioners to discuss about individuals who wrote letter to the Dean to influence thought to project us as trouble-makers. Members were given the impression that we are not interested to resolve matters even though 3 out of 6 of us were told at the last minute about the meeting which was known to others much earlier……

      6. Involving in politics and subtly promoting a parishioner who stood up for MBMC Elections. I had warned the PP not to get involved in politics about two years earlier………..

      7. Using threat/intimidation to a PPC member who raised the viability and justification for using excess steel for construction of weather-shed in the terrace of the church.

      8. 4 rooms constructed on the terrrace of the church which are illegal and unauthorized..

      9. Status of two structures – 1) Infant Jesus Hall and 2) Vailankani Shrine and Chapel are questionable.

      10. Refusing Baptism in an emergency medical situation by Fr Ivan D’Souza Assistant PP.

      As mentioned there are other heart-wrenching stories from parishioners who have expressed verbally. It is not surprising that many want to remain silent for fear of being targetted. As and when testimonies of their atrocities are made available, we will post them.
      Behind each and every issue mentioned above there is lot of information that goes along with it which cannot be produced for limitation of space.
      Regards
      robert dsouza

  3. October 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm · Edit

    Reblogged this on The Iniquitous: Church Crimes.

    • October 25, 2013 at 8:20 pm · Edit

      if this message goes around we will have many more people coming to us about their personnel expereinces in our parish

    • Daniel Quindi said,

      October 26, 2013 at 1:21 am · Edit

      Hi, Robert.
      What can we do to improve the situation. It is sad and miserable to see such a situation. But what can the authorities do? We all know that now there is again THE FAMOUS MIRA FET, money making machine. Why can’t this pp keep quiet and learn to respect the opinion of people? What is the socalled superior MICHAEL DONG? He is good at pointing fingers at others, but as a person INCAPABLE OF ANYTHING GOOD. HE IS JUSTA DUMMY SUPERIOR, GOOD FOR SHOUTING FROM THE PULPIT… LOT OF NOISE BUT GOOD FOR NOTHING…

      Thanks for your commments
      daniel

      • October 26, 2013 at 7:34 pm · Edit

        Hi Daniel,
        I can identify with your pain and frustration of being in such a situation and feeling helpless. You are among the many many parishioners. I hope and pray they too use this medium to express their views.
        All the priests beginning with the Provincial Fr Archibald Gonsalves have let us down; not only Fr Michael.
        Three years back my fears of political interference and engineering division were conveyed to Bishop Bosco through Bishop Percy. Bishop Bosco did not respond……..not once but twice.
        My fears came true….
        The saddest part is that they have managed to rope in some people from the Parish Council who are supposed to care for our pastoral needs, instead have betrayed our trust. The Vice President and the SCC Coordinator are the stooges of the Priests along with some others who are heading the Cells and Associations. I belong to the Family Cell but my own Fam Cell Head has signed a letter against me and others at the behest of the VP and PP. He has signed it without reading it…so you can imagine the maturity of these so called ‘prominent parishioners’ as they have labelled themselves. This letter was circulated in some parts of the parish with a signature campaign against us which fizzled out.
        Even we can’t approach the Peace and Justice Cell for the Head of the Cell too has signed the letter on the information provided to him by the Parish Priest. What justice can you expect? He is a IMFE graduate! He should re-do his formation.
        You are absolutely right on THE FAMOUS MIRA FEST which is nothing but a money making machine. St Joseph Church should conduct courses on Event Management and The Fine Art of Converting Retreat House to School without permissions…….and Construction of Unauthorized and Illegal Structures. Forget Evangelization and Mission.
        Fr Dominic does not know what is ‘respect’ otherwise we would not have reached this situation.
        By posting your comments you have already done your bit to improve the situation. Much needs to be done. Contact me onrobcyn@gmail.com for further action on your part.
        Thanks for posting your comments
        robert dsouza

        COMMENTS ON FACE BOOK PAGE

Tulip Agatha Jacqueline D’souza as a person involved in several associations of St.Joseph Church,Mira rd- I wud like 2 say no 1 extorts money frm the parishioneers – n many r helped financially via the Community Welfare fund—- n i am sure many know how many parishes in mumbai r financially helped by r parishioneers when they come
2 us 4 help funding their bldg projects.I have read the article in this blog n it clearly reads like a case of sour grapes n vested interest of political party.We parishioneers r well aware of how the money is spent that we contribute – beyond that we who work for the church associations do it to ‘serve’ as Christ came to serve not to politicise our faith —–having been closely associated with Holy Family Church n Parish, myself -I am sorry to say blogging about this issue n sharing on another church site is in bad taste–

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: