History of Small Christian Communities at St. Thomas, Goregaon…
The MOTHERHOUSE of the SCC movement
Our parish of St. Thomas was privileged to be the pioneer of the SCC movement in the Archdiocese of Bombay as it was established for the first time in our Parish in 1984. It was the sterling efforts and far-sighted vision of Bishop Bosco Penha who with his band of 70 seminarians and an equal number of laypersons launched the first phase of the SCC project after a year’s hard work of conducting meetings and motivating people to join this movement as a “New way of being Church”. Thomas Lobo was nominated as the Chairman of the first Steering committee which oversaw the implementation of the project with the initial formation of 36 communities. Subsequently, with the formation of the St. Joseph’s parish at Gokuldham and the amalgamation of some communities, the number was condensed to 22 including the Tamil units.
The Steering Committee was reconstituted in 1992 with Thomas Lobo relinquishing charge after 8 years at the helm to KP Joseph who held the position for 6 years till 1998.
The Parish Council took upon itself the task of framing the Constitution for the Basic Christian Community and the Steering Committee came to be known as the Executive Committee. It has remained the same to date. In Oct 1995 a decade after its foundation, the B.C.C. celebrated 10 years of its foundation with the theme “That all may be one” under the pastorship of Fr. Joaquim D’Costa which called for a grand celebration on the grounds of St Thomas Parish. It was at that time that the name Basic Christian Community was changed to Small Christian Community.
Fr Gilbert D’Lima was then appointed the coordinator for 2 years till 2000, followed by Sr Clare, PSOL (1 year). Subsequently, Henry Homen assumed the mantle of the SCC leadership until 2008 assisted by Tony Almeida, later for a brief period by Mr Francis Barboza followed by Albert Pereira as Parish SCC Coordinator then Ms Iris Dias from 2013 to 2016. (3 Years)
Another chapter in the history of the Small Christian Communities is when His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias inaugurated the Silver Jubilee Year of the SCCs on Sunday, July 06, 2009. He unfurled the banner bearing the theme “Unity in Community”, a desire to remain always united to the parish community through unity in our communities. Various programmes and activities were organized during the year. To mark the end of the Silver Jubilee celebrations, a musical entitled, One Vision, was organized on Sunday, November 01, 2009. About 75 parishioners comprising children, youth, adults and senior citizens took part. The entire evening’s programme was meticulously planned under the able leadership of the then Fr. Barthol Barretto (now Bishop) and was well appreciated by one and all.
As the number of families in some communities was less, during the tenure of Fr. Henry D'souza, these communities were clubbed with the neighbouring communities and hence the total count of Small Christian Communities in our parish is now 16.
Ms Cassina Netto took over the reins of SCC leadership in 2016 till 2023 (7 years including an extension of 1 year due to the pandemic.
Currently, the SCC leadership role has been entrusted to Ms Loretta Silviera since the start of the 2023 pastoral year.
As we move ahead, it is our desire to make the SCCs stronger and more committed communities of love, peace and justice.
Present Theme “NO ONE IN WANT”
No of families: 33
Meeting date: 1st Tuesday after PPC meeting
Unit Leader: Elias Fernandes
Animators: Mabel D'Souza, Nivedita Fernandes, Loretta Andrade, Lilia Fernandes Vincent D'Souza and Glenn Gomes
Spiritual Advisor: Fr Leslie Almeida
Vision: To build a community where love and charity abide