Mangaluru: Sodality of Immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary of Mangaluru diocese distributed an education aid of Rs 8 lakh to over 200 deserving students of Dakshina Kannada, during a programme held at Bishop's House on Saturday, Nov 7.
The cheques were handed over to the students by Bishop Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, also the Patron of the Sodality; and by Fr Melwin Joseph Pinto SJ- the Spiritual Director and rector of St Aloysius Institutions, Mangaluru
The students, who are studying in various grades, ranging from High School, PUC to Degree College were given the aid irrespective of caste or creed. The amount varied from Rs 6000, Rs 7000, Rs 8000 each.
In his address, Bishop Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha said that Sodality is yet another feather in the cap of the Catholic organisation because of its generous works.
"The generosity of the Catholic community is evident when we see the names of Catholics on the donors' plaques installed at various institutions or NGOs. This kind of gesture from Catholic community builds self-confidence among us and today, while Sodality members are distributing education aid cheques to the deserving students, they are helping the students make a new start in the direction of learning," he appreciated.
While pointing out that the relationship of a devotee with his God also involves helping the needy, he said that Sodality has been doing yeomen service to the needy through such acts of kindness and generosity.
"Since our generous acts are directly connected to God himself, everyone must come forth to share a part of their wealth to change lives around them. This must be done without expecting any returns or benefits. The Bible speaks about loving even our enemies, doing good to them, lend to them and expecting nothing in return. Only when we do our service selflessly, our rewards will be great," the Bishop said.
He called upon the students to make the best use of the education aid that they have received and continue the circle of service by helping another needy when they are in a position to do so.
Fr Melwin Pinto SJ said, "I am overwhelmed to be the Spiritual Director of the Sodality that has been doing enormous community service by helping the needy."
He urged the students not to see themselves as poor because God sees everyone equally.
"Even the poor are close to God. When you come to receive the education aid today, you should come forward with an open heart, open-mind and also be grateful to the donors. You should make the best use of the grant and never forget to help others when you grow up to be in a position to change lives," he said calling upon the students to be role models to others and bring positive change in the society.
The programme began with a prayer. President of the Sodality Group Vivian Sequeira welcomed the gathering and said that Sodality of Immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary has 150 years of history.
Founded by the German missionaries in 1870, the main objectives of the Sodality is to help and provide services to the financially backward section of society.
The Sodality provides Rs 8 lakhs education aid to poor students every year and also Rs 8 lakhs medical aid to financially backward people suffering from cancer, kidney problems and heart diseases. Besides this Rs 13 lakhs is spent towards financial assistance for those in need, he informed adding that Mangalore Bishop Rt Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha is the Patron of the Sodality and the Rector of St Aloysius Rev Fr Melwin Pinto is the Ecclesiastical Assistant (Spiritual Director). Benedict Menezes is the Vice- president, Ligoury Fernandes is the Secretary and Sushil Noronha is the Treasurer. The Catholic Centre building owned by the Sodality is situated at Hampankatta Mangaluru.
The vote of thanks was delivered by Sodality Treasurer Sushil Noronha, and the programme was meticulously and professionally compered by Dr John D'Silva- In-charge of the Education Aid Committee and also a professor at St Aloysius College, Mangaluru.
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