Report - Pulwama Memorial Mass and Service
Feb. 20, 2019
MEMORIAL MASS AND SERVICE FOR OUR CRPF MARTYRED AT PULWAMA
The armed forces and the CRPF represent the finest example of those who sacrifice their personal safety so that we - the people of India - can live in peace. They also represent the unity and integrity that rises above all differences, coming as they do from every part of the country. This is what makes the deaths of our 40 CRPF jawans so very tragic; this is why we, as a nation, mourn their passing; this is why we salute their courage and celebrate their heroism.
A Memorial Mass and Service was held at St Michael’s Church, Mahim on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 for the CRPF jawans who lost their lives in the massacre at Pulwama, on February 14, 2019. Bishop John Rodrigues, the main celebrant, was joined by Bishop Allwyn D’Silva and priests from the Archdioceses of Bombay and Shillong and from the Diocese of Udupi.
Before commencement of the Eucharist, a message from His Eminence, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, was read out, in which he expressed his regret at not being able to be present with the people here this day. He urged all to pray for peace, and for our country to always stand united in times of trouble. His Eminence particularly commended all those who sacrifice their lives in the line of duty and asked that they be remembered in our prayer.
In his homily, Bishop John, referring to the readings, spoke of the cleansing waters of the flood and the dove who returned with the olive branch to Noah. The passage is a reminder that we must allow ourselves to be cleansed of the evil of disharmony and, like the dove and olive branch, be signs of peace – a peace that must take into account the whole of humanity. This is reinforced by the Beatitudes which tell us, ‘blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.’ The Beatitudes also tell us about those who mourn and this is applicable to the whole of India. Knowing how to mourn with others, as Pope Francis says, brings healing and is our call to holiness.
After the Eucharistic celebration, Fr Lancy Pinto, parish priest of St Michael’s, announced the Memorial Service - a tribute to the 40 jawans who sacrificed their lives. He reminded us of the gratitude that will always be owed to those who made this sacrifice and also to their families. Because of them, we enjoy peace and freedom. A short video was screened, which honoured the contribution of the armed forces and, in particular, the 40 CRPF jawans. Bishop John and Bishop Allwyn jointly laid a wreath, composed of 40 flowers, at the memorial table, which displayed a collage of the photos of the jawans. This was followed by a moment of silent respect and prayer.
In conclusion, Fr Lancy led the congregation is singing a hymn 'Shanti Shanti Charo Ore' a message to spread peace and harmony throughout the whole world, trusting that God will guide us through these moments of darkness and pain.
As we move on with our lives, let us keep this prayer in our minds and hearts: “May we always be grateful to the men and women who serve to protect our country now and in the past, and for the sacrifices their families make so that we can all enjoy the blessing of freedom. We remember those who lost their lives in the tragic terror attack at Pulwama, and pray that the perpetrators of violence may have a conversion of heart. May the loved ones of the departed soldiers find strength that only You can give, as they hold on to cherished memories and experiences. We pray that peace may prevail in our beloved country so that every citizen may seek the well-being and prosperity of all. May you cover our soldiers with your grace and given them the courage and ability to fulfil their responsibilities well. Amen.”
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