BCS President of the “officially Church recognized” organization, Bombay Catholic Sabha (BCS), has given a quote in the Hindustan Times issue of October 12th, 2012 which gives the false impression that the BCS was the group which got the Victoria Church chimes ringing again.
The fact remains BCS may be involved in medical camps, sports, scholarships and gatherings, however as far as this issue goes the BCS representative was mere spectator at the meeting which had been arranged by the representatives of MCYF,AOCC .CSFand CPF the previous night ie on 10th October 2012.
It is a known fact that since years, activist Catholic groups, like The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum (MCYF), Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) and Catholics for the Preservation of the Faith (CPF) have emerged as the voice of the community and have taken up issues where BCS have declined to interfere for reasons best known to them. The activists belonging to these groups have at great personal cost and consequences risked their lives , which as we all know is a thankless job .The said groups also do not take any church help in the form of finance or free premises.
However, in the recent case when the the Angelus chimes of the Victoria Church were stopped BCS or Gordon D’souza was nowhere in the picture, the activist groups take strong exception that BCS now wants to take credit for something which they have not done.Please find below a signed letter by the Victoria Church BCS unit chairman, Raymond D’souza, which clearly denies the false impression given by Gordon D’souza to the media and further put out by email ( B C S and President) to BCS members and non members which includes this writer.
The facts of the case are that in the evening of 10th October 2012 itself , after the Angelus chimes being reportedly stopped by the police, Agnelo Fernandes, Adv. Joe Sodder and representatives of MCYF, AOCC, CSF & CPF went to the Mahim Police Station to protest. The BCS was nowhere in the picture, as parishioners decided to complain to the activist groups. Not wanting to make it a communal issue, the activists got the police inspector to agree for a meeting the next morning with the parish priest. However, on getting shocking information from Fr. Savio deSales, who described to them how a certain person had harassed him and of a posse of police in uniform who had come to the Church, the activists decided to go and confront the police.
The activists were Agnelo Fernandes (MCYF), Joe Dias (CSF), Judith Monteiro (AOCC) and Adv. Joe Sodder (CPF) who decided to go to the police station, as they had done umpteen times earlier and even succeeded in getting FIRs registered there on other issues.Fr. Savio de Sales could not accompany them as he had a sick call to attend to, after which he had a deanery meeting and pleaded to be excused. On the activists pointing out that it may become necessary to play the chimes for the police to hear, Fr.De Sales deputed Mr.Raymond D’souza, who also doubles up a Small Christian Community co-ordinator to do so and he accompanied the activists.
Heated arguments followed at the police station, including threats of action against the activists under section 149 of Cr.P.C. were given when Adv.Joseph Sodder told the Police that the Noise Pollution Rules should be applied uniformly to all communities. Mr.Raymond D’souza who was present the next date ie 11th October 2012 was a mute spectator. The activists urged the police to sort out the issue then and there, as the priests were afraid and did not want to ring the Angelus chime in the evening. The police then accompanied the activists, listened to the chime and allowed it to be continued. It was decided among the activists(in the presence of Mr.Raymond D’Souza)along with Fr. Savio de Sales and others to keep the media out of the issue and not to give any quotes.
However, now a false impression is now being given that the BCS resolved the issue as per the Hindustan Times write-up and the e mail sent out by BCS. There was a quote of Mr.Gordon D’souza the President of BCS when in fact he was nowhere in the picture… None of the 4 activists involved with the issue for days gave any quotes as had been previously decided.Even Fr. Savio deSales refused to comment when the media called him. Raymond D’souza denies going to the media and hence said he was prepared to sign a letter, as below. Mr.Gordon D’souza has forwarded the article and an e mail to all in the BCS list and others when in fact the BCS had no role to play and if it did it was the role of a spectator.
Attached below is the article which appeared in Hindustan Times of October 12th 2012, the email sent out by the BCS President to members and non members( the writer is a non member) and the letter given by Mr.Raymond D’Souza which is self explanatory.
Electronic church chimes too loud, complain Mahim residents ….HT 12 Oct pg 5
- 12 Oct 2012
- Hindustan Times (Mumbai)
- Manoj R Nair email@example.com
Electronic church chimes too loud, complain Mahim residents
From page 01 MUMBAI: After the century-old bells of Our Lady of Victories in Mahim made way for electronic chimes last week, some of the church’s neighbours have complained that the replacement is too loud.
The bells at the Mahim church had summoned generations of church-goers twice a day, to what is called the Angelus prayers. Earlier in October, the bells were replaced by the electronic chimes that play a hymn to call people for the prayers at 6.30am and 6.30pm.
On Wednesday, when the chimes did not ring for the evening prayers, concerned church members met the parish priest, who said that he had been instructed by the police to stop using them.
While the priest decided to follow police orders, several church members felt that the police directive was not fair. “The chimes are not loud and last for only 30 seconds,” said Raymond D’Souza, a member of the church. “We will continue to use the chimes; the bells will be used only when the chimes don’t work.” Father Savio De Sales, the parish priest, said he did not want to comment on the dispute.
Dr Suhas Awchat who runs a restaurant in the area is one of those who said the chimes were too loud. “I have no complaint against the bells, but the chimes are too loud. I am not targeting the church. In the past, I have complained about noise from the Ganesh festival too,” said Awchat.
Church members said the bells are as old as the church, which recently celebrated its 150th jubilee.
“The ringing of the bells for the Angelus prayers is an old tradition,” said Gordon D’Souza, president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha, a community group. “When there were no tall buildings in the area, the sound of the bells used to reach the entire parish.”
The decision to replace the bells with chimes was a practical one, said parish members. “The bells have to operated manually but the electronic chimes can be scheduled to ring automatically,” said Raymond D’Souza.
Dashrath Patil, senior inspector of Mahim police station said residents had complained that the church was using speakers in addition to the bell for the morning mass. “We held a discussion with local leaders to resolve the issue amicably,” he said.