Mumbai Cardinal begins Advent with slum poor



Cardinal Gracias launched the campaign to raise awareness of the needy living in the city.




Dharavi slum in Mumbai.


Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai has launched the Advent Campaign against hunger and disease with a pastoral visit to Dharavi, an area known as Asia’s biggest slum.

“Pope Francis has dedicated his pontificate to economic justice, equality and peace. During his visits to poor communities, he praised the courage of the poor, urging society to receive them with love and compassion,” the cardinal said launching the initiative.

With the theme “struggle for survival– bringing hope to the urban poor,” the campaign to create greater awareness in society towards the poor who live in large urban centres.

The cardinal visited the Dharavi on Nov. 22. The area created in 1880, under British colonialism, now houses some 1 million people of multi-religious and multi-ethnic population. The area enshrines many negative aspects of India: open sewers, piles of garbage everywhere, dirt and crumbling shacks.

Mumbai’s St. Antony’s parish covers Dharavi and within a radius of about 300 metres there are six chapels. Two Christian communities are particular to the parish: Tamils (about 5,000 people) and ethnic koli (about 1,000 people).

Cardinal Gracias visited the parish and six chapels, stopping to pray and to bless all the faithful he met on his journey.



Dharavi Slum ,Mumbai ,Cardinal Gracias ,Advent ,Slum Poor




Archbishop Oswald Gracias of the Bombay Dioces...

Archbishop Oswald Gracias of the Bombay Diocese, India. Image taken by me after the Christmas midnight mass. (Cropped) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)





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.


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!


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


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

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.

    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……….

    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




Bishops’ body opposes law on church properties

Do we, in Archdiocese of Bombay, heading towards this situation?

SILENT VOICE has been seeking transparency in Property Dealings, belonging to Various Parishes within Archdiocese.  Clandestine sale of Church Properties by so called SOLE TRUSTEES is on the rise…

Archbishop is silent and has no answer to the questions, if they are raised by members of Laity.

We do not approve Government’s intervention in any of our Church/Religious matters…Then what is the solution to stop this daylight robbery of Church Properties, by people at the Helm?

Will the Archbishop Come clean on this issues?


This drastic measure will lead to curtailing the freedom of the churches, it said.


The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC) has opposed the state government’s move to constitute a group of ministers to enact legislation on Church properties and educational institutes.

In a letter to Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy on Aug 24, it asked the government to give due weight to the views of the APFC headed by archbishops and bishops as it legitimately represents the churches and Christian Community of the state.

Individual Christians, even if they happen to be MLAs or holding any other high position, cannot claim to represent the Christian community, it said.

Admitting there are some cases of illegal disposal and occupation of Church properties, the churches feel that the government must take effective measures to restore them back to the churches, the letter said.

With regard to the irregular sales of the Church properties noticed in some places by some individual church members, the bishops and heads of churches feel that the existing courts could be approached by the aggrieved members of the churches for redressal.

But, in the pretext of these isolated irregularities committed by a few individuals, it is not justified on the part of the government to generalize and impose on the entire group of churches a public law bringing them all under a single body.

This drastic measure will lead to curtailing the freedom of the churches and lead to the negation of their fundamental rights to own and manage their private properties, the letter said.

The bishops/heads of the churches oppose imposing on them something that they never asked for, rather resisted vehemently when such attempts were made in the past by some state governments.

APFC is a state level apex body and an umbrella organization of the mainline churches of various Christian denominations represented by the bishops or heads of churches in Andhra Pradesh.

Source: press release

APFC , Church Properties , Andhra Pradesh 


Catholic union wants hierarchy to follow pope

The world has began to speak what SILENT VOICE has been talking about, with regards to Archdiocese of Bombay.


Pope’s ways have have greatly enthused the faithful in India, the AICU said.


The All India Catholic Union (AICU) has urged the Church leaders in India to follow Pope Francis’ views of an enlarged role that the pontiff has called for men, women and youth in the Church.

While congratulating Pope Francis for revitalizing the Church, the Asia’s oldest laity organization demanded greater involvement of common people in management of church finances and temporal affairs.

Pope’s ways have have greatly enthused the faithful in India in all the three rites of the Church– Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara, the AICU said in a statement at the end of its two-day Working committee and general body meetings in Kolkata yesterday.

“The people are now expecting that the bishops in India will also take similar steps to encourage lay participation in the many organs and structures of the Church, especially in matters of finance, management of temporal goods and in public life,” it said.

The AICU leadership also demanded that Indian bishops implement Canon Law provisions for the participation of the laity in finance and other committees.

The bishops should also ensure that every diocese and parish has a Catholic association in addition to a Pastoral Council, it said, adding that there is sufficient talent among the faithful to assist the clergy in the transparent functioning of these institutions.

Source: press release

All India Catholic Union , AICU 

Challenge of being Goan Christian discussed

The issues of concern to Goan Catholics are discussed on every third week-end at the Pedro Arrupe Institute.

Panaji:  The challenges of being a Goan and Christian were the subject of a seminar that Jesuit priests organized last weekend at Pedro Arrupe Institute in Goa as part of a regular program to help lay people deepen their faith. Father Victor Ferrao of Rachol Seminary, the resource person of the seminar titled “The Challenge to be a Goan Christian,” told some 80 participants that Goan Society “suffers from a double amnesia.” He helped the participants to theologize in the socio-politico-economic context of Goa. The seminar attempted to blend the Goan and Christian identities. Father Ferrao said Goans—both Christians and Hindus–have a discomfort to deal with their history, especially the colonial dimension of their past, which afflicts them. While Christians do not exhibit any memory of their conversion, the Hindus have forgotten that they have evolved and transformed over time. The priest demonstrated that the term ‘Hinduism’ did not exist in the 15 and 16 century Goa, when Portuguese came and established colonial rule in the region. Goan Christians have their ancestry in the fragmentary religions like Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Nathism, Shaktism, Betal and the Santeri Cult that today have evolved into what we know as ‘Hinduism’. He declared that Goan historiography suffers from Hindu-ology or reduction of everything into Hinduism and has to be freed from it in order to heal the wounded memories of the society. He called for a serious research in the exact origins of the Goan Christians. Scholars have demonstrated Hinduism as a monolithic religion unified only in the 19th century under the British colonization. The Viashnavism and Shaivism merged in Goa only in the 1920s. He called for a “therapeutic dialogue” knowing the truth of history can heal the relations between both the communities. A theology that deals with the colonial past will not only benefit Goa but would also become an antidote to theology in Asia, which somehow has forgotten the colonial side of its history. Goa has a great opportunity to develop a new theology that will respond adequately to the de-historicized condition of our theology both in Asia and India, the priest argued. The issues of concern to Goan Catholics are discussed on every third week-end at the Pedro Arrupe Institute. The next seminar will be organized on “a Catholic response to Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity in Goa” in July 20 and 21. Source: UCAN News

Goan Christian ,Panaji ,Jesuit Fathers ,Pedro Arrupe Institute ,Rachol Seminary   
Goan prawn curry

Goan prawn curry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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