Jingle Bells ring aloud at ‘Mount Rosary’

Jingle Bells ring aloud at ‘Mount Rosary’

Sisters and trainees of helpers of Mount Rosary congregation stage programmes to spread the joy of Christmas at Mount Rosary home in Alangar near Moodbidri.

Christmas is the joy of giving, sharing, brotherhood, happiness and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. As soon as the month of December arrives, members of the Christian community start to decorate their houses with lighting, preparing the crib, making tasty ‘Kuswar’ and decorating the Christmas tree signifying oneness and togetherness.

The infectious spirit of this universal festival not only reaches out to people across the country but also to the inmates staying in orphanages and old age homes. One such old age home, ‘Mount Rosary’ home in Alangar near Moodbidri started by Rev Msgr Francis Elias D’Souza in 1937, ensures that its inmates also get to experience the happiness that is an integral part of Christmas celebrations.

What is unique about this 84-year-old institution is that the building encompasses five houses/wards for elderly women, men, orphans, intellectually challenged, visually challenged and children with hearing and speech impairment.

During Christmas, each house will be decked up with lighting and will have its own crib. The joy of inmates doubles with organisations, particularly students from different colleges staging programmes during the festival.

The programmes performed at the campus of Mount Rosary included dances, Carol singing, dramas and so on. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns had cast a shadow over Christmas celebrations and had deprived inmates of the joy of interacting with people.

“Christmas season was like watching the paint dry,” an elderly inmate rued.

Mount Rosary home in-charge Sr Leena recollected that the breaking of the convention had caused grief to many inmates.

But, this Christmas, unlike the previous two Christmases, heralded joy when Mount Rosary hospital staff staged Christmas related programmes.

The preparations had begun a week ago, said Sr Leena. As many as 72 sisters and 16 trainees of helpers of Mount rosary congregation, serving in the institution, had also instilled joy by conducting competitions for inmates and preparing Kuswar for each person.

Sisters of the congregation had also teamed up with inmates to prepare a crib, ‘Kuswar’, conduct different competitions like drawing, singing, passing the ball, musical chair, newspaper games and so on.

“I love this place, as they take good care of us and give the best facilities,” says 96-year-old Gracy Machado, while gleefully sharing her experiences at the old age home.

Lucy Lobo (88), who lost her family at a young age, confesses to never feeling lonely.

She said the Christmas celebrations made the institution feel like one big family.

Gracy and Lucy both agreed that Christmas celebrations, whether be it in Kuswar preparation or Carol singing, had remained the same as it was decades ago.

Fluorine Grasso (68) recollected with a bright smile that neighbours bonded over Christmas celebrations by preparing Kuswar and sharing it with the neighbours. 

She also recollected contributing about Rs 2 for the youth from Church who visited the houses singing carols.

As before, Mount Rosary glows with the Christmas celebrations organised by sisters and other institutions.

Brimming with joy and happiness, inmates look forward to the next Christmas, which remains a symbol of hope and love to them.

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