The Goa District Servants Conference (GDSC), 2014, was held at Fr. Agnel Ashram, Verna. The participants bonded over breakfast and gathered in the Audio Visual Hall as the FAITH band welcomed them with song. The hosts for the day Vivian Braganza and Steffy Rodrigues from the Panjim cluster introduced themselves and provided general instructions to be followed during the program. Tito Joseph Pinto, the event head for GDSC declared the conference open by introducing the theme – A Heart of Sacrifice. It was followed by the national anthem.
Tito Pascoal Carvalho, Chapter servant of Tilamol Chapter led the gathering into a time of praise and worship. Following this, was the first session of the day given by District Servant, Tito Elvis Coutinho on the topic – The life I live in the flesh, I live by faith. He played a video that showcased two different views of a Christian lives – the cruise ship v/s the battleship view.
During this session, Xavier Fernandes shared a very touching anecdote from his life of how he had once pleaded with a young boy not to chew tobacco as it was unhealthy and how months later that same boy came up to him saying that he had quit tobacco ever since. Xavier also shared that he spoke about God to his colleagues at his workplace, and that he played audio teachings for them to listen to.
Reuben Carvalho shared how giving God first place in his life, by saying his personal prayers, and making seemingly insignificant sacrifices helped him grow in his walk with God. At the end of the first session the Ladies of Caranzalem performed a beautiful dance.
The second session was given by Tita Ana Menezes on the topic – I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. She spoke about how the heart of a true disciple is a heart of sacrifice i.e. a listening, obedient, submissive and faithful heart. She also shared how sacrifice and self denial helps to gain Christ and be found in Him.
During this session Joshua Silveira shared what tithing had done in his life. He shared how he honoured God with his finances and how he was blessed and rewarded with promotion. Tita Delwyn spoke about how she chose not to answer the officer’s exam at the bank in order to raise her children and serve in the community, thus sacrificing money and promotion for the work of the Lord. She also shared how she faced harassment in the office and how this situation improved with persistent prayer.
Karl and Vinita then spoke about how they sacrificed their well paying jobs as they were left with little time for God and family. They gladly stated that this decision had become a blessing to them and was leading them on.
The second session concluded with a skit and dance presented by the CFCI Youth, Panjim. The performance depicted different situations of life where one could choose to make small sacrifices and please God.
Fr. Kenneth celebrated holy Mass. This was followed by lunch. Post lunch, the music ministry gathered everyone back to the hall with a couple of songs.
Following this, Conceicao and his group staged an emotional Konkani skit on the theme – Sacrifice. The performance depicted the theme of sacrifice and acceptance of God’s will in life.
The third and final session was given in English by Tito A. V. Jose from Patna and translated to Konkani by Tito Ehrlich on the theme – Living for the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.
After this, Tito Jerry and Tita Margaret led the gathering into a time of adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament. They were assisted by the music ministry. After adoration, the participants were invited to pray over their spouses.
This was followed by Praise Fest conducted by the music ministry. People rejoiced as they praised and thanked God with handclaps, song and dance.
The hosts thanked all those who helped make the conference possible and wished everyone a safe journey home. The participants bid their goodbyes over tea. The conference ended with a new prayer and resolve that the people’s hearts might truly be ‘Hearts of Sacrifice‘.
-Aaron Gomes with inputs from Erushka De Souza