By Fr Richard DSouza

Jan 25 : On 25th January 2020, around 500 people converged at Sannapadav Fajir to participate in a Rally jointly organized by CODP® Mangaluru and CEI, in collaboration with Our Lady of Mercy Church, Fajir and Laudato Si Committee of Mangaluru Diocese, on the occasion of Conservation of Environment.

Mrs Laveena Danthi, President of Sneha Mahasangha welcomed the participants at the procession venue.

The Rally was inaugurated by Shri Jeeth Milan Roche, an eminent environmentalist, at 9.30 a.m. by unfurling the Rally Flag. In his inaugural message, Shri Jeeth Milan said that we are responsible for the degradation of our environment and hence it is our duty to protect and conserve the same.

Thereafter, accompanied by the local village band, people walked a stretch of about half kilometer from Sannapadavu and convened at Our Lady of Mercy Church Hall, Fajir.

Rev. Fr John Baptist Saldanha, Vicar Forane of Permannur Deanery, inaugurated the eco-bricks benches in Fajir and a sapling was planted by Most Rev. Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, Bishop of Mangalore Diocese.

A street play was enacted by parishioners of Fajir Church conveying the message of Environment protection.

The stage programme commenced with prayer song by members of Choir group, Fajir. Thereafter, Fr Sunil Veigas, Parish Priest of Fajir church welcomed the Guests on the dais and the gathering.

Rev. Fr Oswald Monteiro, Director of CODP, in his introductory speech explained about CODP’s environment protection activities. “If each one of us takes even a small step in this direction, then future generations will inherit a cleaner, greener and healthier planet” he said.

In his keynote address, Shri Kalbavi Rajendra Rao, Director of Nirmithi Kendra, NITK, Surathkal spoke on “Jal, Jameen, Jangal” (Water-Soil-Forest). He stressed the need to reduce the use of plastic and thereby avoid an imminent environmental disaster. He presented practical ways to protect environment.
Shri Mohammad Monu, President of Mangaluru Taluk Panchayath and Chief Guest of the day spoke about the Rally and appreciated the organizers.

During the programme, the following persons were felicitated for their unstinted service to society; Shri Jeeth Milan Roche, Environmentalist Mangaluru, Shri Sheena Shetty, Cleanliness Ambassador and Shri Martin Monthu DSouza who risked his life to save 4 college students from drowning.

Rev. Fr John Baptist Saldanha, Chief Guest of the program, said that it was a matter of pride and honour to have hosted this Rally in Permannur Deanery. He added that it is not enough if we just plant a sapling, we should also nurture it.

Most Rev. Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, Bishop of Mangalore Diocese and President of the program released the book titled “Parisara Devara Vara” (Nature is a Gift of God) written by Fr Valerian Fernandes, the Editor of Raknno weekly. Bishop Peter said “Nature is a Gift of God, when we take care of Nature it is our gift to God”, just as we protect human life, we should also protect plant life.

All the guests and rally participants took part in an oath taking ceremony led by Fr.Vincent D Souza, Designate Director of CODP.

A Memento was presented to all the guests on the dais by Fr Oswald Monteiro and Fr Sunil Veigas.

Thereafter, a folk dance was presented by Stree Sanghatana followed by mime show by ICYM youth.

The formal stage programme concluded with Vote of Thanks by Mr. Victor Monteiro, Secretary of Fajir Church.

The day’s program was compeered by Rev. Fr Richard D Souza, Director of Canara Communication Centre and Laudato Si Convener and Mrs Rita D Souza, Co-ordinator from CODP.

Mr John Fernandes, Secretary of St Thomas SHG, Panela compeered the program at the procession venue.

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