Churches in the city usually celebrate Mother Mary's birthday on September 8 with special masses and processions. But this year, several parishes will give their festivities a unique theme — saving the girl child and the environment.
This theme is in line with a mandate from the Archdiocese of Bombay, which had declared Care for Creation as the focus of church activities in 2010.
The celebration has been organised with children because the Novenas (nine days of preparatory masses before the birthday Feast) are often centred on encouraging the youth to participate in the mass.
St Ignatius parish at Jacob’s Circle, for instance, will have a special sermon on caring for the environment after the mass on Wednesday.
“The message is that we are killing our resources on the planet in the way we have been killing the girl child,” said Father Joe D’Souza, the parish priest who will give the sermon. “We are making an effort to come down to the level of children and encourage them to be more eco-friendly in daily life.”
During the Novenas, the church had also given prize coupons to every child attending a mass. “Those carrying all nine coupons for the Feast will be given a box of sweets, as an incentive to participate more often,” said Samuel Rebello (24), a Sunday school teacher at St Ignatius, who expects around 80 of the 160 parish children to win sweets.
In Orlem's Our Lady of Lourdes Church, local school children have been putting up environment-themed skits before the mass on all nine days of the Novenas. Presentation topics included air and water pollution, plants, animals and energy conservation.
“Children have pledged to be more conscientious about each of these topics, and on the final Feast day, they will pray for the protection of the girl child,” said parish priest Father Nigel Barrett.