Inaugural Liturgy of the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations
A serene and soothing atmosphere of sanctity, religiosity, tranquillity and music surrounded the vast cricket field of Saint Xavier’s, C-Scheme as the school witnessed the Inaugural Liturgy of the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations. The audience were “Called to Love & Serve in Gratitude”. The significance and grandeur of the event can be estimated by the fact that the Chief Guest was none other than His Grace Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal.
The other Guests of Honour were:-
- Archbishop William D’ Souza – Archdiocese of Patna
- Bishop Oswald Lewis – Diocese of Jaipur
- Bishop Pius Thomas D’ Souza – Diocese of Ajmer
- Bishop Ignatius Menezes – Diocese of Ajmer
- Fr. Varkey Perekkatt, S.J. – Provincial of Delhi Jesuit Province
- Fr. Jose Vadassery, S.J. – Provincial of Patna Jesuit Province
The Masters of Ceremony were Ms. Neelam Chopra and Mrs. Olive E. Malaki whose orotund voices contributed immensely to the magnificence of the function. One of the major attractions of the ceremony was the choir which was mostly composed of our very own teachers and the choirmaster was none other than our beloved Fr. John Ravi. They enchanted the audience by singing various songs, prayers and hymns throughout the programme. The ceremony commenced with the cutting of the ribbon by the venerable chief guest which was accompanied by a soothing entrance hymn and was divided into two parts- The Thanksgiving Eucharistic Mass and the Civic Function.
Ms. Neelam then took the stage and welcomed the audience which comprised of over one thousand people, including the aforementioned Papal officials, Priests and Sisters from all over the city, retired teachers, Alumni of the school, students and parents. She then invited Mr. Melven Castelino to the stage who with his splendid baritone talked about the school’s history and achievements. He also highlighted how the Jesuits had laboured tirelessly to spread education in Jaipur. He informed the audience about the success that the school’s Alumni have achieved in every sphere of life. He also enlightened the audience about the primary agenda of St. Xavier’s – imbibing moral values in the Xavierites so that they can bring about a change in today’s value-deprived society, so that they can make things happen rather than let things happen.
Ms. Neelam then invited the most Reverend Bishop to welcome His Grace Salvatore Pennacchio who gave a gift to the Diocese of Jaipur as a mark of honour on his first visit.
For the first time, large screens were installed on the school ground on which the programme was simultaneously telecasted for the benefit of those sitting far away from the stage.
This was followed by the Mass.
Thanksgiving Eucharistic Mass
The Mass began with two soothing performances by the choir which were followed by the Bible procession, led by Fr. Vincent Paul. The procession was accompanied by another brilliant performance of the song ‘Kitna Pyara Kitna Meetha Tera Vachan’. The Holy Bible was then handed to the Nuncio who kept it on the podium and placed a garland around it.
This was followed by the Bible readings:-
The first reading was from the Book of Isaiah which was followed by a Responsorial from the choir.
The second reading was from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. It was read by Mr. Nikhil Jose and followed by an Acclamation from the choir.
The third reading was from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
The readings were followed by a speech from His Grace Salvatore Pennacchio who congratulated the administration and the teachers for achieving this feat. His Grace also praised the school for its world class education, discipline, infrastructure and above all, its mission to infuse the students with a strong sense of morality. He compared teachers to Jesus Christ, saying that just like Jesus guided his followers to the path of righteousness, a teacher too shepherds his or her students on the right path.
This was followed by a recitation of the ‘Prayer of the Faithful’ by Mrs. Christine U. Lobo and Mrs. Olive E. Malaki in which they prayed for the Holy Catholic Church, the world leaders, the students, the teachers and the people who are suffering physically.
Then came the Offertory Prayer where candles, flowers, fruits, saplings, the school diary, the school magazine, the school emblem, bread and wine were offered to the Heavenly Father. The significance of each of these objects was explained by Mrs. Anne Lazer and Mrs. Minney Singh.
The offertory prayer was followed by an Aarti Dance performed by the girls of the junior school. Their dazzling performance mystified the audience and delivered the message of God’s greatness.
This was followed by distribution of the Holy Communion which was accompanied by more enchanting performances by the choir.
The Mass came to an end with the presentation of a memento to Fr. John Ravi by the Nuncio on behalf of Pope Francis.
The civic function began at around 7:15 PM with a welcome address by Rev. Fr. John Ravi who informed the audience about the true motive of the school. He said that Xavier’s is not about scoring 90+ or cracking JEE, it is about being a good human being. That is the reason behind such a vibrant Alumni community.
All the Guests of Honour were then given a floral welcome by the students followed by a speech from Fr. Varkey Perekkatt who talked about the success of Xavier’s in shaping the world by providing quality education and a strong moral foundation to its students who went on to become world leaders. He emphasized that the students must leave the school with values like honesty, integrity and brotherhood. He then felicitated the past and present Vice-Principals.
Then came the much-awaited performance of the Jubilee Anthem, written and orchestrated by our very own Mr. Melven. It was performed by the school choir and danced on by the students of the junior school who lit the stage on fire with their skills.
Most Rev. Bishop Oswald Lewis then addressed the audience and highlighted all the good deeds done by Pope Francis. He also expressed his joy on behalf of the Diocese on the completion of 75 years by the school.
This was followed by a scintillating and energetic performance of the Rajasthani Folk Dance by the students which was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.
Then Most Rev. Bishop Ignatius Menezes took the stage and talked about how Jesuits came to the city at the King’s invitation and set about their mission of educating the masses. In his speech, he mentioned two people who had not only greatly influenced the school’s history but had also carried out reforms outside the school- Fr. Albert Wilzbacher and Fr. Joseph Willmes. He also praised the efforts of Fr. Varkey.
Then came a speech from Archbishop William D’ Souza which was followed by a showing of a documentary chronicling the school’s journey through 75 years. The documentary was made and narrated by Mr. Melven Castelino.
Fr. Sangeet Raj presented a memento to Bishop Pius Thomas D’ Souza who then addressed the audience.
Then Fr. Glenn Menezes, the school’s Rector, presented a memento to the Nuncio who once again addressed the audience.
The Vote of Thanks was delivered by Fr. Glenn. The programme came to an end with the school cheer song.
The ceremony may have been just a preliminary to the main Platinum Jubilee Celebration which took place the next day, but still proved to be a memorable spectacle. Its success was a result of the combined labours of the staff and the students whose tireless efforts were reflected in the impeccable organization of the event.