GAOTHAN VOICE – Dec 2020 – Gaothan Special


Time to make a Difference

Nice time of the year but we never expected a last minute announcement to create restrictions for the Christmas service. Many Churches cancelled the Christmas Service as it was difficult to arrange the logistics and only a few Churches were able to organize the Christmas Service. The Church in Maharashtra was informed about this decision at the very last minute and we saw disappointment in people’s faces as they were told to manage with an online Christmas Service. A large section of the Christian Community feels that they have been side lined and taken for granted. This is a ‘Wake-Up’ call for the Peace loving Christian Community which has now become ‘Voiceless’ too.

Awake everyone as Baby Jesus is born. ‘Awake’ has been redefined in our community as we have been sleeping and have been caught unaware of this sudden political decision. Do we have a political voice in Maharashtra and India? NO! A Community that has been lauded for its service to the Nation especially in the form of Schools and Hospitals has not managed to create Community leaders. Many of our current politicians have studied in our Catholic schools so why do we not have Christian Political Leaders? Do we not have the calibre for creating great Community Leaders who can be clean and committed to the Nation? It is time to rethink our strategy and create initiatives to take our community forward on the Political scenario.

Awareness is the key word. MGP team took a general census and the result was that more than 90% of our community feels that the Christmas restrictions were uncalled for and had a selective political agenda. A few wish to differ but it is about the majority in a democratic country. Creating awareness across the community is the need of the hour. The Christmas Midnight Service held across the world was suddenly stopped around a decade ago, and then we had restrictions of 250 people for religious services and then came the bigger blow, night curfew followed by only 50 people for the Services announced just a day before Christmas. Sad but true our Community has been taken for granted. Not a single Political Party spoke on our behalf and in support of the Christian Community.

Tradition plays an important role in each community and changing these traditions does not go well especially at a time when we are all in ‘Revival’ mode. The traditional midnight service was discontinued due to sound restrictions. Do other communities follow these rules? No, but our silent community obediently follow these rules being a good role model to other communities. This Christmas has proved us wrong. The communities that break
rules are given special SOPs for their festivals and those who follow rules are pressurized with more restrictions. Today, we find that injustice towards the Christian Community is at its peak and it is time to speak against the injustice as mentioned in the Holy Bible.

Act now or it will be too late. Get like-minded people to think aloud and give suggestions. Think out of the box, get a committed team and let us counter this with creative and effective solutions. Our future Christmases should be brighter and happening. We need to create a strong Christian identity so that no political party can take advantage of us and take us for granted. MGP is all set to team up with like-minded people who have this passion to take our Christian Community to greater heights. We need to work on numerous plans so that some can see the light of day by next year and all others within 5 to 10 years. Should the Church support these initiatives? Obviously yes, but we cannot be totally dependent.

Actually this is the ideal time for the happy go lucky community to get serious and what better way than by active participation in the upcoming BMC elections in February 2021. Our Voice needs to be heard across the political circles either by representation in political parties, a new community led party or independent candidature. Let us not look at immediate successes or personal agendas but at the future of our community. It is time to lay the foundation of a community that has been the change makers in the field of Education, Medicine, Social Service and now Politics. Politics is not a dirty word as considered by many, it is time to enter this field, clean it up and make a difference.

Love, Joy, Peace and Hope is the message we receive at Christmas. Let us love all communities but let us not be taken for granted by any. Let us spread joy on the face of all especially the needy. Let us continue to be Messengers of Peace but let us not encourage those who want to split us apart. Let us continue to Hope for a better future of the Community through active participation across all fields. With the birth of Baby Jesus time has come to give birth to a Christian Revolution. To speak against injustice and be the change makers that God wants us to be. Join this Revolution for change every hand counts and can make a big difference!

Gleason Barretto, Old Kurla

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