‘Sadbhav Christmas’, an annual Christmas celebration with members from different Faith communities was held at the Pilar Pilgrim Centre, Pilar Goa on 17 December 2022.
It was organized by ‘Sadbhav,’ (Goodwill) an endeavour of the Society of Pilar, Goa, for fostering Interfaith relations and communal harmony.
Omkar Bhatkar, a Mumbai-based thespian, brought alive the nativity paintings of the Goan Artist Angelo da Fonseca through a live tableau by blending the theatrical power of movement, music, and stillness.
“It took me four weeks to source the fabric for costumes and props for exactly mirroring the nativity scenes from the paintings and in training the actors,” said Bhatkar.
The tableau, ‘Silent Night’ included youngsters from different faiths.
Maboobi Tasildar, a muslim student, who depicted Mary visiting Elizabeth said “I am so happy that I got a chance to become Mother Mary. It was a special moment in my life, as not everyone gets a chance to become Mother Mary. I really loved this role and it was a great experience that I experienced in my life.”
Subham Sharma, a theatre artist, portraying Joseph, the husband of Mary, said, “I felt blessed to play the character of Joseph. I felt a sense of purity and serenity on stage. I had not much knowledge about Christianity, but after researching the person of Joseph, I was inspired by his person”.
Vivek Yadav, a Hindu student, played the role of a shepherd. “I felt that I was a shepherd and the scene came alive to me.”
The Chief Guest of the evening, Senior Advocate, Surendra Desai said, “I found myself in heaven.” He was referring to his experience of being present for Sadbhav Christmas, an evening of togetherness and a beautiful testimony of diversity and inclusion.
Speaking on the occasion, Father Nazareth Fernandes, the Superior General of the Society of Pilar, said that “the coming of Jesus has brought down the mighty from the thrones and raised up the lowly. It has overturned the world order and given a new dimension to it.”
Mukesh Ghatwal, a versatile singer, musician, and composer sang his composition ‘Pyari Raat’ a carol composed especially for the occasion. Swizel Costa along with Prathamesh Chari, Clifton Sequeira and Aldrich Rodrigues did an excellent rendition of ‘Babulea’ a carol written and set to music by Fr. Dominic Alvares.
At the outset of the programme, Bhagyashree Chari, a young classical dancer, performed a semi-classical prayer dance in Kathak style and led the gathering into moments of prayer.
Later, the students of Father Agnel Higher Secondary School, Pilar, Goa, presented ‘Jezu Zolmola’, a folk dance of Goa, narrating the birth of Jesus. The song and dance were written and choreographed by Roshan Fatde Gaonkar.
Father Lawrence Fernandes, the Director of the Pilar Pilgrim Centre, said that “the things we have in common are more important than the things that divide us and when we work together the whole world benefits. It is in this spirit, particularly at Christmas, that we should feel closest together.”
Vaibhavi Walwatkar, Swarnjeet Singh and Meherunnisa Bi Shefi, belonging to the Hindu, Sikh and Muslim Faiths, shared their thoughts on the occasion of Sadbhav Christmas.
The entire programme was seamlessly woven by Roshan Fadte Gaonkar and Elaine Coelho who compered the programme.
- Fr. Elvis Fernandes, SFX
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.