Seva Kendra Charitable Society of the Calcutta Archdiocese in India launched the Golden jubilee year in a function at Mother Teresa Hall in Kolkata on December 14.
Seva Kendra is a broad-based organization implementing a variety of rural and urban projects on community empowerment, social justice, health, education, environment and livelihood development programs at the behest of the archdiocese.
Seva Kendra was started on December 14, 1973, as the humanitarian response and emergency relief wing of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Calcutta to the refugee crisis, post-Bangladesh war.
On completion of 49 years of dedicated community service, under the leadership of five Bishops and eleven Directors, Seva Kendra has launched the golden jubilee year with a thanksgiving Eucharistic Celebration on December 14.
The main celebrant of the event, Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta, said in his homily, “Seva Kendra was a model example of how faith and works go together to fulfill God’s plan in service of those in need. Exhorting Seva Kendra to continue to serve the people selflessly always with love from a compassionate heart.”
Father Anthony Rodrick, President of Seva Kendra, Director of Seva Kendra Father Dominic Gomes, Vicar General Father Jolly Puthenpura, Assistant Executive Director of Caritas India New Delhi, Father Parimal Kanji Director of All Bengal Collaborators for Development (ABCD) and Father Moloy D’Costa Dean of Calcutta were concelebrants.
Catholic Charities (charitable apostolate of the archdiocese) on the invitation of the Governments of India and West Bengal in 1971 as a humanitarian response to provide services to thousands of refugees pouring into India following the Bangladesh War.
It worked with Mother Teresa, Caritas India and other aid agencies and operated from the premises of the Loreto Sisters in Tangra. Later it was registered as a society called Seva Kendra Calcutta with Msgr. Henry D’Souza as its first President and Fr. J Henrichs SJ as the first Director.
Before the Eucharistic celebration, Father Anthony made a brief presentation on the history and the three areas of focus of Seva Kendra today.
First, internal mutual learning processes to build staff’s capacity on thematic knowledge, skills as well as dedicated leadership;
Second, fostering wider collaborations and partnerships with not only with other NGOs but also with local clubs and government departments and institutions to be better able to serve the people by working locally so that every parish may develop its own “mini-Seva Kendra” as points of service and
Third, work towards empowering communities so that they are truly live the mission of “Community Cares for Community”.
In the afternoon the guests and staff of Seva Kendra gathered for a very vibrant cultural program.
Mukul Haldar senior program coordinator of Seva Kendra welcomed the guests with a short speech on his personal growth experience with the organization. As a part of the entertainment, the audience enjoyed a diverse menu with items of folk, traditional and modern songs, dances, skits and carols all of it delivered with consummate skill and panache. All the more notable since every performer was a staff or beneficiary community member of Seva Kendra.
The entertainment was interspersed with meaningful and encouraging messages from the Archbishop and others. Father Jolly spoke of Caritas India as the compassionate face of the Church in India undertaking diaconal ministries for service among others.
Father Jolly said, “Seva Kendra Calcutta has worked 50 years in partnership with Caritas India which is now celebrating its Diamond Jubilee this year.”
. – Inputs from Seva Kendra Jubilee Documentation Team
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