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Orlem parish beautifies the same railway station it helped establish a century ago

Oct. 6, 2016

In its 100th year, Our lady of Lourdes Church in Orlem, Malad, is collaborating with NGOs Mumbai First and Make A Difference (MAD) to beautify Malad station.This is part of the `Hamara Station, Hamara Shaan' drive during Daan Utsav week, which is being celebrated between October 2 and 8.

It's fitting that the parish adopted this station as the two have a very old connection. A century ago, Malad resident Joseph Braz D'Souza, who coincidentally had the same name as the then parish priest, convinced the congregation to lobby for Malad to get its own railway station.

There is even an old letter explaining D'Souza's role in setting up the station. This historical document is currently archived at the Archdiocesan Heritage Museum in Goregaon. D'Souza's grandson, 85-year-old Barses Jawa har Anastasio D'Souza, told TOI he was proud to belong to a family , which had contributed so much to society.

With the help of about 200 volunteers, made up of both parishioners and Malad residents, 75 percent of the project was completed on the first day itself. In fact, enthusiasm levels amongst the volun teers were so high that if it wasn't for the rains slowing down their progress, the station would have be en completed on the second day itself.

St Anne's School, St Anne's Junior College, St Joseph's School, Carmel of St Joseph's and a Tamil youth gro up were all instrumental in planning, designing and sketching the murals.

The parish, under the leadership of Fr Gilbert Delima, also managed to collect Rs 3.5 lakh for the project.

“This initiative challenged churchgoers to step out onto the streets, make an impact on society and create something beautiful,“ says Delima. The parish created a core team to handle this project, which was headed by coordinator Ambrose Tellis, who was in charge of talent acquisition. He brought together a host of painters and artists to help with the project and several art teachers and enthusiasts also got involved.

The themes they tried to portray in their murals ranged from issues of social awareness to depictions of Malad's historical sites. “It was something new, and we were apprehensive in the beginning but gradually the success of the project became clearly visible,“ said Tellis.

Another parishioner Paulile Fernandes said participating in the initiative was truly a joyful experience. She explained that exactly a century since the original petition asking for the railway station to be established, the people of Malad had come together again. Only this time it was to beautify Malad station.

- The Times of India
6th October 2016

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