By Nirmala Carvalho
Mumbai, October 16, 2018: Mary’s Clan, a home and rehabilitation center for the alcoholics, has completed 35 years of dedicated service.
To mark the occasion a thanksgiving Mass was celebrated on October 13 at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, Bandra. Bishop John Rodrigues, the rector of the basilica, led the Mass.
Brother Cyril D’Souza, a reformed alcoholic, founded Mary’s Clan on the same day in 1983 at a shed behind the basilica that Bishop Longinus Pereira, the then rector of the basilica, allowed him to use.
In April 2004, Bosco Pereira took over as director, after Cyril’s death and has been director since then. It has sheltered more than 5,000 alcoholics since then, Pereira told Matters India.
In his homily Bishop Rodrigues said Mary’s Clan has helped so many people because of its trust in God’s providence. “Everyone has his moments of foolishness. Sometimes we land into deep trouble and sin gets the better of us. St Paul cautions us of the danger of sin that is present everywhere. But we are saved by faith in God revealed in Jesus Christ,” the prelate said.
Bishop Rodrigues commended the the residents of the home for their decision to turn to God after realizing their helplessness without God’s grace. “We are saved by faith – trusting that God loves us and we are his children,” he added.
The prelate said D’Souza, the founder, came to that realization in 1977 as he was travelling by train. “Your moment of insight, surrender may have been in different circumstances. But it is always the love and mercy of God saving and lifting up and bringing new life,” Bishop Rodrigues said.
God’s providence is experienced in various ways, explained the prelate, who acknowledged the participation of the Mary’s Clan members in the life of the Church.
He also noted that the members pray regularly, volunteer and collaborate in various church activities, They use their talents for the liturgical ministries and in May, gather the entire community to the Marian devotion for the recitation of the Rosary at the Cross in front of the basilica.
The bishop also noted that the members support each other through encouragement, advice and guidance. “This is all saving action of God,” he added.
He, however, cautioned against being complacent. “Everything may seem to go well. We can become complacent,over-confident. This is foolishness. So we seek Mary’s intercession. Mary is a model of one who keeps God’s word. We seek her intercession in our daily life that we may hear God’s word and act accordingly.”
Pereira said the members came to Mary’s Clan to receive help to stop drinking, “Not only were we helped to recover from alcoholism, but also received food, shelter, medical attention and so many other graces,” the director said.
“At Mary’s Clan we have had alcoholics who came in various stages,” he added.
Many were chronically affected with Tuberculosis and other diseases. Some got old and were given palliative care to die with dignity and in peace.
“More than 3,000 alcoholics have received numerous blessings and graces and are enjoying the gift and freedom of sobriety, I am one of them. For this we are grateful to Mary’ Clan,” he added.
In 2017, the Diocesan Human Life Committee of the Archdiocese of Bombay honored Mary’s Clan with a Pro-Life Award.