On Gandhi Jayanti and the fifteenth International Day of Non-Violence, the Christian Community of Pune under the leadership of Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Dabre – The Bishop of Poona – and the ICYM Poona youth Director Rev.Fr. Stanley Fernandes had organized an Ecumenical Pro-Life Peace Rally – युवा जीवन रक्षक शांति यात्रा 2022.
The young adults from the Diocese of Poona, Diocese of Kalyan, Diocese of Kadki, CNI Diocese of Pune and various Pentecostal Churches spearheaded this Rally and more than two thousand people participated in the rally.
The rally began with a Peace Meeting began with some traditional Marathi Praise & Worship, Bible reading and opening prayer by Rev. Fr. Stanley Fernandes the Convener of the Rally and the Director of ICYM Poona, about 3.00 PM at the Eichstatt Hall of St. Patrick’s High School & Junior College. The first Pro-Life talk was presented by Rev. Mother Maria Goretti Amaladoss, FS., Superior General, Sisters of Our Lady of Fatima, who beautifully expounded how Abortion not only takes the life of an infant but also greatly endangers the life of the mother. Pastor Sandeep Gaikwad a leading youth Pastor from Pune added thereafter that it was a Christian imperative to denounce all such evil structures in society.
Kevin Emmanuel a young Catholic politician supplemented that it is high time that Christians should get involved in Active Electoral & Local Politics.
The entire crowd was spellbound when Prof. Sumita David shared her experience of how she saved her three children from the terrors of abortion. The colloquium reached its highest point when Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Dabre – The Bishop of Poona addressed the gathering. Referring to the recent amendment to the MTP Act of India and the latest Supreme Court judgment consenting to abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy the prelate said, “We believe in the Judicial System of India and have great respect for our Judges, however, we beg to respectfully disagree with any law which is against human dignity.”
During the Peace Meeting, a new forum of young Christian Leaders Yuva Shanti Seva was launched. With Pravin Matthew, Sandesh Borde, Davis Devdas, Amol Kardak and Godwyn Fernandes. As the first members. This forum aims at promoting leadership among Christian youth and fostering social action at the grass root level. Launching the forum the Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Dabre encouraged Young Adults to plunge into active politics. The Peace Meeting came to an end with the vote of thanks by Rev. Fr. Stanley Fernandes.
Following the peace meeting, the procession began from St. Patrick’s Cathedral and entered Pune Solapur Road. From Pune Solapur Road the rally entered Fatima Nagar at Vitthal Rao Shivarkar Road, proceed until Mahatma Phule Sanskrutik Bhavan, and then returned to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on the same route. On the way local politicians like Prashant Jambulkar, Dilip Jambulkar, Praful Jambulkar, and Prashant Jagtap welcomed the Rally under the leadership of Rt. Rev. Thomas Dabare. Other leaders like Rahul Dambale, Prashant Kedari, Noela Kambli, Fabian Almeida, Ravindra Kamble, etc. were also present at the rally. It may be good to remember that the next Annual National March for Life Rally seeking the revocation of the MTP Act of 1971 is also scheduled to take place in Pune on 10 August 2023.
The Rally ended with the Inauguration of the Solemn Nine Days novena to Blessed Carlo Acutis organized by the ICYM Pune and YU4C Pune. The Bishop hoisted the Flag of Blessed Carlo which itself is Blessed Carlo’s third degree relic and unveiled the Pilgrim Statue of Blessed Carlo Acutis, containing his first-degree relic of Blessed Carlo Acutis. The event concluded with a concelebrated Mass.