Celebration of Catholic Faith 2017. CGCG

On Saturday Oct. 14th 2017 the Canadian Goan Christian Group (CGCG) hosted a ‘Celebration of our Catholic Faith’ in Mississauga, Ontario. The afternoon began with a Thanksgiving Mass presided by Auxiliary Bishop Robert Kasun, CSB. Archbishop Emeritus of Lahore, Lawrence Saldanha and numerous Priests and Seminarians concelebrated the Mass. A special collection was forwarded to support the Catholic Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, which spans the vast Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Former Mayor Hazel McCallion attended the event.

The Eucharistic Celebration was followed by a reception, lunch, and cultural presentation to ‘Celebrate our Catholic Faith during Canada150.’ The afternoon coincided with a wide variety of events that are being held across Canada during the year to celebrate Canadian culture and commemorate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Numerous Aboriginal Communities are far older, of course, with groups arriving as early as 15,000 years ago. The Goan Community is commemorating its approximately 50th year anniversary of its first wave of immigrant family arrivals. This places Goans in Canada for a third of its existence since Confederation.

Canadian Goan Christian Group (CGCG) is a team of Roman Catholic activists whose objective is to lead activity that is aimed to a ‘Re-Evangelize’ the Goan, Anglo-Indian, Mangalorean, and East Indian Community (GAME) across the Greater Toronto Area. They intend to do this by coordinating and carrying out actions that will help ‘Strengthen the Faith of Our Youth’ and ‘Defend and Protect Our Faithful’. Their ongoing works will ‘Promote Social Justice.’

Over the last five years, the CGCG has been quite active, holding 3-symposiums, 5-community celebrations, 3-bridge building events, 7-‘Defending the Catholic Faith’ campaigns, 3-fundraising initiatives, and 5-evangelization initiatives directed toward youth engagement. The CGCG has effective partnerships with a number of Community Social Organizations and works with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, which comprises of nearly 1.9 million Catholics, spanning 225 parishes and 4 missions, to help bring to life the current Pastoral Plan.

The Pastoral Plan serves as an inward and outward roadmap for local Roman Catholic Community. The Archdiocese is Canada’s largest diocese and one of the most diverse faith communities in the world. One thousand Masses are celebrated each week in more than 30 languages. Close to 800 clergy and 560 religious women serve the faithful.

With much work to do, the CGCG aims to ‘help the GAME Community deepen their relationship with Christ and engage with His Church.’

In a turbulent world; where rapid social evolution is being fueled by breathtaking advances in affordable technology; where the metaphor of shepherds abiding in the fields diligently caring for flock, is being replaced by the harsh reality of religious entrepreneurs running commercial, industrial-scale, farming operations; and where numerous fans of the Gospels are increasingly and sanctimoniously collectively preaching greed, not grace; the shifting sands and associated sandstorms of social development will no doubt obscure the road ahead. When well-marked trails vanish and the maps seem incomprehensible, grassroots activist groups like the CGCG must keep in mind, spiritual exercise assists in two formidable things.

First, it provides solace in times of uncertainty and for the destitute. Secondly, importantly for our Community and forward looking, spiritual exercise is a prerequisite for a successful launch into unexplored territory. It helps us unlock, comprehend, and enjoy, the wisdom and the creations of our Lord. Spiritual Development supports Community Development, as it grows the spirit of learning and that of generosity. It helps reveal the talent of individuals and of others. It open our hearts to actions that lead to social justice.

Efforts like this help form individuals and reinvigorate and strengthen the Roman Catholic Canadian-Goan Community, the Archdiocese of Toronto, the City of Mississauga, and our country, Canada.

Father Bob, as pastor of the inner-city Edmonton parishes of St. Alphonsus and St. Clare, then Bishop-designate, was quoted as saying; he was surprised and humbled to learn that Pope Francis had requested his service.

‘I have found my new appointment very difficult to understand and accept, but I will do my best, with the help of God’s grace, to serve the people,’ he said.

The Most Reverend Robert Kasun, CSB, in simple words, provides a fine example for all of us.

Article and photo, Albert Peres afperes@3129.ca

Photo: Canadian Goan Christian Group (CGCG) Committee with Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Oct 2017, prior to a Thanksgiving Mass presided by Auxiliary Bishop Robert Kasun, CSB. Archbishop Emeritus of Lahore, Lawrence Saldanha and numerous Priests and Seminarians concelebrated the Mass. Some of the Committee Members were not in the photo as they were assigned duties at the reception hall.