The grand finale of the Centenary celebrations in India was held at St Paul’s grounds at Bandra, Mumbai, on Wednesday, 26 November from 6 pm, the Feast of Blessed James Alberione. The celebrations began with a solemn Eucharistic celebration presided over by Most Rev. Agnello Gracias, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Bombay. Concelebrating with him were about 30 priests from the neighbouring parishes and religious communities.
Welcoming the main celebrant and the august gathering of priests, religious, benefactors, well wishers, lay collaborators and cooperators in our mission, the Provincial Superior, Fr Michael Raj said, “It is my joy and privilege to welcome you all to St Paul’s Campus, Bandra, and specially to this evening’s thanksgiving Eucharist at the conclusion of the year-long Centenary celebrations of the Pauline Family and in particular of the Society of St Paul. Besides the Centenary of the Congregation, we want to celebrate with you two other important events this evening, namely, the Feast of Blessed James Alberione, the Founder of the Pauline Family and the Diamond Jubilee of the Religious Profession of Br Thomas Cornelio, Br Angelo Pullokaran, Fr Paul Vechoor, the Golden Jubilee of the sacred ordination of Fr Anselm Poovathanikunnel, Fr Mark Fonseca and Fr Stephen Pullan, and the Silver Jubilee of the priesthood of Fr Peter Perunnilathil. Today we want you to join us in our thanksgiving and we want to share with you our joy in reaching a 100 years as a Congregation and as a religious family, and for having Blessed James Alberione as our Founder and Father and for having our confreres reached and crossed milestones in their priestly, religious and apostolic commitment”.
Bishop Gracias, a great friend of the Paulines and an ardent admirer of Blessed Alberione said in his homily that the present moment is very historical for the Pauline Family; this is a moment that divides between two centenaries; we say goodbye to one and we say welcome to another. Truly this is a moment of grace and thanksgiving for all of us.
The Eucharistic celebration was followed by short cultural programme jointly put up by the members of the Pauline Family and which made the whole event very colourful and worth remembering for years to come. During the cultural event prizes were distributed to the winners of the various literary competitions held within the Pauline Family during the Centenary year. The curtains came down for the celebration with a sumptuous family agape in the community lawns.