By Theresa Micheal: We will be completing the 150th joyous year in Christmas Advent Anniversary celebrations in the City Beatiful Chandigarh. While Christmas has changed the way people think and plan events in accordance, we will be immersing ourselves in true Christmas traditions which were handed over to us by Christian Missionaries from around the globe. The first time a special mass was celebrated at the church of Santa Maria Maggiore specially created for the Rome Jubilee. The Missionaries who are no more have left behind a culture which would be as old as 1300 years, they are also known to be the main founders for most Catholic and Convent Schools which are present all over India and over the world. The true meaning of Catholic is Universal, and hence the education approach that the schools are built for are truly Universal in nature.
The highlight of the Christmas festival, is to honor those missionaries who lead a singular lifestyle, left their families behind, to bring families together, uplift the poor, serve the needy, educate the literate and care for the diseased. In an era where India was groped by illiteracy, untouchability, castesism, poverty, these Missionaries mindlessly worked their way into the hearts of millions of people. They set up churches, schools, institutions, and hospitals in public places to be closer to people in need. So simple are the lifestyle of the missionaries that till date who ever has joined the mission to serve as a priest or a nun do not have a house, or a car, or even a cycle to their name. Their only possession would be to serve with love.
Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Billy Graham, Joyce Meyers are few of the world famous people whose missionary zeal has changed to lives of many downtrodden people. Theresa Micheal, who family has been serving the Missionaries for almost 150 years, has organized 150 Universal Christmas events to bring in communal peace, joy, love and hope, in the neighborhood. This time we are doing it for the Hope Organization, a missionary run by Pastor Rohit Masih, whose vision is to bring in unity and brotherhood, is as many societies, we can reach out to. Its called the Festival Of Hope, starting by 27th November, this season all the prayers, intercessions, services, messages, preaching, teaching, and activities revolve around the main event which is of course Christmas that is celebrated on the 25th December and will linger on till mid January.
The highlight of the event saw more people from other communities who came in to enjoy their first Christmas Celebration ever. This is the first time that a society arranged to use it’s community hall for Christmas Mass, events and activities to bring in peace, joy and hope, creating history of all sorts in the city of Chandigarh. The residential children, neighbors, friends and families of all age groups and religious backgrounds, The children of the Hope Organisation run by Mr Rohit Masih began the Christmas Celebration, called “The Festival Of Hope,” they brought in the special prayers, songs, dances, and messages of Christmas along with snacks, lunch distributed freely to the all the residents of Kendriya Vihar Society, Sec 48. Mrs Masih arranged a special Christmas Satsang for women, and as soon as other women heard about the Christmas Satsang, they all left their work and joined in the gaiety singing. Mr Minocha from Kendriya Vihar, who is a well known caterer, said that he has organised so many events for people of all communities, but this is the first time, he and his family celebrated Christmas, in true Christian style. Children of all communities sang Christmas Carols in English, Hindi and Punjabi. While the youth arranged to decorate the place in absolute Christmas theme, knowing that every decor has a meaning behind all the fun activities, the parents and elders were pleased to see their children performing and getting cultural knowledge, through sharing and caring, and blessed the children immensely to do more such events. Theresa Micheal a Public Relations Expert regularly organizes and promotes “Harmony In The Community” events in the neighborhood, says that the openness, love, warmth, encouragement she received to organize this event which is so close to her heart, especially when her family will be celebrating their 150th Christmas.