On November 18, 2020, Children’s Rights in Goa (CRG) hosted an event to light up the hearts of around 30 children from the surrounding areas of Nadora and Revora. It was a festive function at the Shree Ram Mandir with CRG director Snehal Salgaonkar observing, “We toil to protect the rights of children in all settings and on this special day we celebrate to sensitize and advance the rights of children living in vulnerable conditions.” There were games and competitions conducted on the occasion and useful guidelines shared on the subject of accessing online education. Panch of Revora Panchayat Datta Arondekar stressed on the need to work collectively for the children’s welfare and progress and thanked the Action Aid Association for its support in this respect.


WITH masses being held under strict protocol in Goa it would be in the fitness of things to allow Since the very idea of hearing mass in the spiritualistic solemnity of the church or chapel not only provides moral upliftment that is not experienced in the confines of the home! It also infuses a religious mindset allowing the seniors to keep Covid-19 at bay and thus, reduce infections among the elderly.
In yesteryear times the first thing a pious Catholic lady would do in the morning is to attend mass wearing a black veil covering her hair and this spiritual participation empowered and strengthened her spiritually for the entire ahead of her.
It goes without saying that these women maintained good health and resistance from disease. Also confessions for the Catholic laity forms an important part of the faith and it may be stressed that even confessions resume in church and chapel with devotees keeping a safe distance between themselves and priest taking confessions for the cleansing of the soul. Confessions are able to reduce any feelings of guilt and by taking Holy Communion your sins are forgiven and a positive spirit resides in the mind as also body, which in turn protect from disease and enlighten the mind.
It is true that hearing a mass online ensures that everyone gets to see the priest close up at the altar but many elderly persons prefer to pray with the altar images before them for this gives them sense of strength.
— Stephen Dias, Dona Paula

Total eclipse of the heart!
Renewable energy is what the earth needs today. Thermal(coal)and nuclear power plants are giving way to Solar and Hydrogen power plants. Green is in. The word ‘green’ here refers to plants. While bringing in green energy, we must not actually sacrifice plants!
Goa Govt. has signed an MOU with EESL to install 100 MW solar power plants to be installed on Govt. land! Goa is the first: innovative or guinea pig? This requires 4 acres of land or 16000 sq. mt. if you use high efficiency polycrystalline panels. Knowing Goa’s ‘expertise’ at negotiation, we might be strapped with monocrystalline panels. Presently, Govt. land exists in panchayat offices, which is nicely utilised as ‘green’ areas with ornamental plants. Are these going to make way for blue/grey reflecting farms? Is more land going to be a quired for ‘public good’?
Surely, we must start from ground level and not the present way. The red, barren mining pits-discarded- are the ideal grounds for a double ‘greening’ endeavour. And Stadium roofs! Ah, but the village ground is ‘soft’?
Punjab’s subsidised solar power plants are pegged at Rs22000/- for 1Kw. Payback can be in 5 to 6 years. What is it in Goa? No policy? Funny, how ‘ideas’ come from the Centre only. In Goa, the payback is 12 to 15 years and getting subsidy for homes is dicy. Instead of lowering the capital costs, once subsidy was announced, all material costs have gone up. Only ‘empanelled’ agencies can do these jobs for obvious reasons.
As the song goes: we should not have to listen to the sound of our tears.
— R Fernandes, Margao

IT’S been a steady stream of good news emerging with various multinational companies after peer-reviewing all set to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines for inoculation. It would be prudent for everyone to show extreme restraint to be able not to surrender to the advantage and think the coronavirus is well under control in India at large and in Goa in particular.
Pfizer (above 90% efficacy), Sputnik V (over 90% efficacy) and now Moderna (above 94.5% efficacy) are the big multinational companies able to manufacture and supply vaccines in a very short time, may be by January next year. It would be prudent that the advantage of reducing infections and fatalities be maintained at any cost as winter with its temperatures from 30 maximum to 18 minimum degrees centigrade, might mean the virus may rear its ugly head again.
Like when Goa was in the green zone with zero infections and fatalities; it would now be prudent at all costs not to surrender the advantage we have. Many more companies will roll out their vaccines and there will be a choice in vaccines!
But it would be in the fitness of things to maintain social distancing with empathy, wearing face masks, sanitizing hands and surfaces daily, washing hands with soap regularly and not least of all maintaining one’s surroundings spic and span. Also boost your immune system by consuming immune boosting foods and supplements, exercise well, breathe fresh air especially in well ventilated surroundings as well as tree lined environment. Even though we are into the festivals galore season, maximum restraint should be exercised to curb the spread of the corona virus until various vaccines come to our rescue.
The advent of winter means that that a little bit more restraint and observance of protocol needs to be adhered to.
— Elvidio Miranda, Panaji

IN VIEW Of the current pandemic, the novenas leading to the December 3 feast of Goa’s patron saint, St Francis Xavier, will this year be held virtually online. But surprisingly it has been proposed that the feast mass on December 3 be held in the basilica of Bom Jesus for selected VIPs by invitation only. This is not a well thought out move!
In fact, in the current circumstances, VIPs, if there are any are only the doctors and their support staff on the frontline toiling for the last many months at Covid-19 hospitals, fearlessly treating patients while risking their own lives. They are our valiant heroes who have gone the extra mile to make a significant difference.
It’s time that politicians at places of worship are treated as common citizens and not VIPs! In the eyes of God we are all equal in any place of worship be it temple, mosque or church. Politicians should perhaps take a cue from the parable of the Pharisee and the publican and learn that humility and sincerity always pays, and not arrogance of standing in the front row to boast closeness to God – with no sincere belief or prayer or penance for all their misdeeds! They should heed the wise words of St Francis Xavier: “Be great in little things.” All too often we see politicians dreaming up elaborate schemes, most ending up embroiled in scams and wasting huge amounts of taxpayers’ money.
It is worth remembering that St Francis professed the sacred vows of poverty and chastity and not status or material wealth. On feast day this year may our COVID -19 frontline warriors besides some poor, downtrodden and handicapped brothers and sisters, be given a seat at the feast mass, while politicians in their homes reflect and seek mercy for their follies. Let us hope that this will happen!
There is a ray of hope that our dear friend and the very pro-active Rector of Bom Jesus Basilica Rev Fr Patricio Fernandes will ensure that there is no discrimination or differentiation within the faithful. In the eyes of God and St Francis Xavier we are all one regardless of caste, creed or position.
Saint Francis Xavier would want us to heed the sacred words of Our Lord Jesus Christ and treat our Bom Jesus Basilica as his house of prayer for all and not as a place of grace and favours for the selected few — based on personal and financial status.
— Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

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