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Servant of God Mgr Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas, the former Vicar General of the Diocese of Mangalore and the Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany was a holy priest of the Diocese of Mangalore. His memory is fresh in us, though he went to his eternal abode in the year 1960. He is remembered for his pastoral zeal and commitment.
Mgr Mascarenhas was a renowned educationist of his time and visualized education as a means to give life and transform the ignorant, especially the poor and the girls.
Wirrten by: Translated by:
Mr John D’ Silva Mrs Esperanca Perira, Bethany Convent High School Bethany Convent High School
San Jose de Areal, Goa. San Jose de Areal, Goa.
(A Scene of an apartment with a background of a road and a signboard with ‘Way to Motherhouse of Bethany Sisters’ and in the flat on the bed is lying down late Monsignor Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas. Around him are Rev Fr Marian Castelino and the three nuns. (A background voice can be heard when the church bells are tolling).
Background Voice: As these church bells are tolling, we came to know that someone has died. After serving the Lord and the people Monsignor Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas left for the heavenly abode on 23rd of Dec. 1960. One day or the other all of us have to die; but the way we lives by our good words and deeds should be remembered and cherished by all after our death.
Monsignor Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas has died but his life, his love and dedication, his good deeds are still alive. He was the Vicar General of the Mangalore Diocese and Founder of the Congregation of Bethany sisters.
Today, thousands of young girls have joined the Congregation and have dedicated their lives at the service of others.
The story of this great personality Monsignor Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas begins…
(The curtain falls and a house scene with 2 chairs can be seen. There is total blackout and after sometime red light)
Background voice: He was born in a God loving Christian family. His forefathers were from Goa. He was born on 23rd of January 1875 in Shimoga. Among the 13 children, he was the seventh child. His father was Lazarus and mother was Joanna Mascarenhas. On 27th January he was baptized at Sacred Heart Church, Shimoga and was named Raymond Camillus. His ways as a child could tell that he would become a great person? Here is that little Raymond FC Mascarenhas. (enters a 6 yrs old Raymond on the stage with a towel on his shoulders along with his brother and a sister) (Full light)
Raymond: My beloved brothers and sisters, Jesus came into this world to free us from the bondage of sin. For our sake He suffered and died on the cross. So, it is our duty to walk in His footsteps and to enjoy life after death in heaven.
But today, many do not believe in Jesus’ sufferings and live in Pride. Jesus has taught each one of us to live with the love of God and fellowship of man. The one who loves his enemy loves God. God has given us this commandment (Raymond’s mother Joanna enters)
Joanna: Raymond, what are you telling them with this towel on your shoulders?
Sister: Mother, wearing this towel on his shoulder he has become a priest.
Brother: And like a priest he is preaching to us.
Joanna: Raymond, just by wearing this towel and preaching, you will not become a priest.
Raymond: But Mother, when I grow up I want to become a priest and serve the Lord and my fellowmen.
Joanna: Raymond, if you really want to be a priest when you grow up, you have to forget yourself and serve the Lord; you have to grow up with the fear of God; you have to serve your fellowmen; you have to respect your elders and you have to study a lot.
Raymond: But you have to do still better. If you want to be a priest you must not fight with your brothers and sisters. You have to pray the angelus and the Rosary daily. And if you pray to God everyday then you will receive a call from God and be blessed with a vocation to become a priest
Raymond: Mother, I will do whatever you have asked me to do. When I grow up I will definitely become a priest and will proclaim the word of God and serve the fellowmen. (Red light comes on and all remain in ‘Still pose’ and a background voice can be heard)
Background Voice: Here is Raymond’s mother Joanna, who sows the seed of the love of God and the fellowship of men into the heart of her beloved son Raymond. “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. If the child has to grow up in a good way, then it is the mother who has to nurture the child with all the good values of love, joy, respect for others, discipline and it is the mother who holds the key to the future of the child.
(Background scene of a house with two chairs on the stage, a portrait of St Francis Xavier and a 15 yr old boy- Raymond Camillus (red light)
Background voice: Days, months and years have passed by and today Raymond is a boy of 15 years. Raymond was always a studious boy. (Here 15 yr old Raymond is kneeling down before the portrait of St Francis Xavier and praying)Deep within his heart he cherished the desire of becoming a minister of the church, so that he might be able to dedicate himself to the welfare of his beloved native land. But there was one difficulty that baffled him. He could not sing a note. Raymond had recourse to the intercession of St Francis Xavier. He prayed to this great missionary of India to give him sufficient voice to sing those parts of the Mass which he as a priest would be required to sing and vowed that if this favour was granted he would add the name “Francis” to his baptismal name as a constant reminder of the favour. (Rises and begins to sing)
Raymond: (Sings the hymn of St Francis Xavier) Mother… Mother…. Please come here. (Mother comes out)
Joanna: Raymond, why have you called me? What happened?
Raymond: Mother, call Father too. I’ll tell you what has happened. There’s good news for both of you.
Joanna: Wait, Father is inside. I’ll go and call him. (Joanna goes inside) (red light)
Background voice: What good news do you think Raymond wants to disclose to his Mother and Father? (Joanna and Lazarus come out) The good news is that… (full light)
Raymond: Mother, Father, do you know, my voice has become alright and now I can sing melodiously.
Lazarus: Wow, congratulations my son. I am so glad that you can sing melodiously now.
Joanna: Raymond, didn’t I tell you to pray and God would listen to your humble prayer? And look, there you are blessed today with a wonderful gift.
Lazarus: Raymond, whatever we ask from God, if it is His will, He will never stay without giving it to us.
Raymond: Father, I had vowed to St Francis that if I would be blessed with a good voice, I would keep Francis as my second name. And so from today my second name is Francis. (red light, everybody stays in a still position)
Background voice: And so Raymond took Francis as his second name and was called Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas. Through this incident in his life we should believe that God never fails to give us whatever we ask with faith in him. Only faith can work wonders. (light off, blackout)
(Enters Raymond, Joanna and Lazarus walking slowly) (red light)
Background voice: Here is Raymond walking along with his parents towards St Joseph’s Seminary, Mangalore. Some of his friends and relatives were against his wish of becoming a priest but leaving the worldly things he moves ahead to joining Priesthood. (Full light)
Raymond: Mother, look there. You can see St Joseph’s Seminary.
Joanna: Raymond, we have almost reached the Seminary.
Lazarus: In another 5 minutes time, we will reach the seminary.
Raymond: So, lets continue to walk ahead
(As the three walk ahead the lights go off- Black out)
(Blue curtain with the scene of “St Joseph Seminary” written on the board. A table and a chair with a Jesuit priest seated on it) (Enters Lazarus, Raymond and Joanna)
Background voice: On 23rd of February 1891 at the age of 16, Raymond enters the Seminary to join priesthood. The Jesuit priests welcomes him warmly.(The priest hugs Raymond) At that time (here a priest is seen seated at the table and writing some papers) the seminary was run by the Fathers of the Society of Jesus. They were preparing the young boys who were filled with the love of God and were interested in joining priesthood. After the formalities of filling the form (Raymond signs the paper) the parents of Raymond bid him adieus and (left for home) return home. (As Lazarus and Joanna hug Raymond the lights dim off and slowly go off and again the lights are on)
After changing his clothes Raymond is seen with the priest. (only action- who is handing over to Raymond some papers and books)
Background voice: As days and months pass by Raymond would do well in his studies. Everybody admired his intelligence and grew very fond of him. He could rattle off whole lessons on church history almost word for word. He was very successful in other subjects too. In this way, as the days passed by with every sunrise and sunset, a new day would dawn which would bring him new challenges and happiness in his life. As days passed by Raymond’s life was filled with enthusiasm and zeal; Raymond had come very close to God. One day, as the sun rose and the day began Raymond had to face some bad news. (Raymond is on the stage and a priest enters)
Priest: Raymond, life is not always a bed of roses. It is a mixture of joys and sorrows. No doubt we thank God and praise Him for all the wonderful blessings he bestows upon us but at the same time we should be ready to accept sorrows and not curse God.
Raymond: Father, what happened? What are you trying to tell me?
Priest: Be courageous and be ready to accept the news. We have just got the bad news that your father has left for his heavenly abode.
Raymond: No Father, my Father has not died. It’s a lie father. I cannot accept this news. No, it’s not true.
Priest: Raymond, don’t be disheartened. Take courage. You have to realize that one day or the other all of us have to die.
Raymond: Father, in another few years of time I would become a priest but my father was not destined to see his son become a priest. (cries)
Priest: Raymond, “Don’t cry.” We cannot get the things that God wants. We all have to go when we are destined to.
(red light, all stand in a still position)
Background voice: Raymond was very disheartened by the death of his father but he tried to overcome it with deep faith in God.
Blue curtain – Fr Raymond with a cassock at Rosario Cathedral of Mangalore.
Background voice: 4th March 1900, was a great day of rejoicing for Raymond and his family. On this day the sun brought light into Raymond’s life and Raymond was so excited as he was never before. He was being ordained as a priest that day.
(Red light and Raymond is seen as a priest. In was the most precious day in his life. Full light))
Raymond: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Go in peace of Christ.(Red light, stands still)
Background voice: In the same year on 11th March at Milagres Mangalore, Raymond offered his First solemn High Mass. All his family members, relatives and friends who were present to witness this day were filled with joy and happiness. After his Ordination he was posted to his home parish at Milagres Church as Assistant to the Pastor and thereafter to Mount Rosary Church, Kallianpur. Wherever he went, he powerfully proclaimed the word of God. He always loved little children. (three children come running to him) With his cheerful face he would win over their hearts (Teaches them the sign of the cross) Through the prayers and Catechism, instill the Love of God into their hearts. Later in the month of June in 1903, he was appointed a Parish priest in a remote place called Udyavar.
(Light off, a scene of a hut. Green light inside the hut. An old sick man is sleeping on a bed. His daughter is beside him. Father Raymond with a glass of water in his hand.)
Fr Raymond: Do not worry, have trust in the Lord. Take this medicine. You will recover your health.
Sick man: Father, thank you very very much. Your words give strength to my heart. You give solace to poor people. No doubt Father, you are the Parish Priest of Udyapur but like a doctor taking care of all of us.
Fr Raymond: It is a human duty to love and serve one another. God has sent us in this world to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. We are human beings and we have to live as human being which is the greatest religion.
Daughter: It’s true Father, we are very fortunate to get a priest in our parish. You have laid the foundation to this church which was earlier a small chapel.
Fr Raymond: I have faith that with your help and support and with God’s blessing the work is going to be completed.
Sick man: Fr Raymond, you work in our village tirelessly without being concerned about yourself; you visit the sick and the sorrowing in their homes in good and bad weather in rain and in sunshine. Many a time even in the middle of the night if there is a knock at your door you hurry to the bedside of the dying man and his family. Father you spend much of your time, energy and resources in relieving the misery of suffering people. I will always pray to the Heavenly father to keep you in good health and to give you a long life to serve God and humanity.
Fr Raymond: It is getting late and I think I should leave now as I have some other visits. I will come back to see you tomorrow. Maria, see that you take good care of your father and do not forget to give him his medicines at night before he goes to sleep.
Daughter: Surely Father.
Fr Raymond: Ok then; bye Good night and take care.
Sick man & Daughter: Good Night, Father
(As Fr Raymond leaves all stand in still position-Red light)
Background Voice: Yes! Even to this day, the grandchildren and the great grandchildren of the parishioners of Udyavar of those days remember Fr Raymond gratefully. It is True that a person does not take along with him any worldly things after his death but keeps memories of his good words, deeds and works. Even after death, a good person is remembered for all the good that he has done and his memories are always alive.
(Light off, black out.)
(Garden scene, still pose. Red light.)
Background Voice: In the year 1910, the Bishop of Mangalore had transferred Fr Raymond Mascarenhas to Agrar. He worked very tirelessly in this village too. Then on 23rd August 1914 at the request of the people of Bendur, Fr Raymond Mascarenhas was appointed as the first pastor of the newly constituted parish of St Sebastian. Here he built a new Church, schools, and started sodality and St Vincent de Paul Society. By doing this he sow the seeds of God’s love in the whole village. Bendur, a place that was once looked down by everybody was now a garden blooming with flowers and thus spreading fragrance to
(Scene of a house with two chairs)
Background Voice: Six or seven years after getting the St Sebastian’s parish on its feet, Father Mascarenhas was still busy finding ways of bringing God to his people and his people to God. His heart was restless, because as a confessor and director of souls, he had recognized another need in his apostolic field. There were quite a number of young women in his parish and outside of it who wanted to consecrate themselves to God and His kingdom in a religious life, but were unable to do so for many reasons. Father Founder thinks of starting a Congregation in order to spread God’s kingdom. One particular day he happened to be in the home of Mr and Mrs Sebastian Mathias of Kadri who had two grown up daughters.
(Full light. Enters Fr Raymond in the house of Mr and Mrs Sebastian Mathias)
Fr Raymond: God be with you and the people of this home.
Mr Mathias: Come in Father. How are you?
Fr Raymond: I am fine. How do you do?
Mr Mathias: We are all fine by the grace of God. Have a seat Father. Could I get some tea for you? Flora, Fr Raymond has come to our house, could you get some tea for him?
Fr Raymond: No Mathias, thank-you. But I just had tea. Peter was not too well so I had gone to see him. So they had served me tea.
Mr Mathias: Never mind father, you can have a little more.
(Flora enters with tea)
Flora: Hello Father, how are you?
Fr Raymond: I am fine, thank you. How are you?
Flora: I am fine with God’s blessings father. Here’s some tea for you.
(As Fr Raymond sips the tea)
Fr Raymond: Mr Mathias, it won’t be long until you will be looking for some good sons-in law for yourself.
Mr Mathias: No Father, both my daughters are not inclined toward marriage, so, I have decided to let them be with us as long as they want to stay home.
Flora: Yes Father, I don’t have intentions of getting married but am thinking of offering myself to the service of God in religious life. God has blessed us with life which we can live only once. So I want to offer this life to God who is the giver of life.
Fr Raymond: Hats off to you, Flora.
Flora: But Father, there is nobody who can show me the way to fulfill my desire.
Fr Raymond: Do not worry Flora; there are many other young girls like you who would like to offer their lives to God in the service of humanity. But there is no one to support them. So I have decided to begin a Congregation, strengthened with the support and encouragement of the Right Reverend Paul Perini, SJ Bishop of Mangalore. If you wish to be a member of this Congregation I extend a warm welcome to you.
Flora: I am willing to join this Congregation and to be a member of it.
Fr Raymond: Mr Mathias, Are you ready to offer your daughter to the service of God and humanity?
Mr Mathias: Father, I don’t have any objection and I am very happy because my daughter has decided to offer her life for the love of God, and to the service of humanity. My daughter was a gift from God to me and I am very glad to know that she has agreed to sacrifice her life for the love of God.
Fr Raymond: Well then, I think I should take your leave. Flora, You are the first member of this Congregation and we will have to go a long way in order to fulfill our wish. Well then, bye.
(Fr Raymond leaves, Flora and Mr Mathias move out, Red light)
Background Voice: Flora Mathias was already employed on the staff of St Joseph’s Asylum School for Girls in Jeppu. After learning Flora would be happier to find a teaching job in a school of her new parish, Father Mascarenhas prevailed upon Father Lunazzi, SJ the manager of Flora’s school to relieve her from his staff so that she could teach in her own parish school. Reluctantly, Father Lunazzi acceded to this request and with the beginning of the new academic year in June 1918, Flora found herself on the staff of Fr Mascarenhas’ school in the Bendur parish. It did not take too long for this perceptive priest to recognize that Flora was a reserved, well mannered, balanced person, deeply religious and duty conscious. In course of time, when he got to know her well enough, Father Mascarenhas shared with her his plans for starting a new religious Congregation when God’s will seemed to be more manifested and the time was ripe for it. He asked her to pray earnestly to our Blessed Mother for the realization of this plan, if such were the holy will of God. Flora felt privileged and excited about being a part of this plan. She redoubled her prayers and made many small sacrifices that the holy will of God for this Congregation and for herself might be revealed. Her younger sister, Alice, who was coming toward the end of her schooling noticed a gradual change in her sister’s behaviour and asked her what was behind all this seriousness of purpose and increase of prayer. At first flora did not want to say anything about the secret in her heart; however, Alice would not stop questioning her. So, after a great deal of coaxing, Flora disclosed to her sister what was in her mind and the “plan” that the parish priest had shared with her. Alice got very much interested in Flora’s private Project.
Alice: Flora, my dear I too had a wish to join your Congregating and be a member to proclaim the Word of God and give service to humanity.
Flora: Alice, you are most welcome to join our Congregation and I am very happy for taking this decision.
Alice: In today’s world, there is no respect among human beings as there is no feeling of God’s presence among us. And to give meaning to life it is very important for people like us to help those who are in search of Christ. So, from today, I too would like to be an active member of the Congregation.
Flora: It’s nice of you, Alice.
(Red light-Still position.)
Background Voice: So these were the two sisters who were the pioneers of the Bethany Congregation. They offered themselves for the love of God and the service of mankind.
Blue curtain- Board indicating “St Sebastian School of Bendur”.
Back ground Voice: Flora and Alice, being the first members of Bethany Congregation, God was with Flora and Alice to support them in their mission. Flora was a teacher in St Sebastian School, Bendur. While all this was taking place in Mangalore, the Lord was acting also in another part of South Kanara in Kallianpur. Miss Marceline Menezes of Falnir, a well known and much loved teacher in the parish school of Kallainpur was looking for a teaching past in her town of Mangalore. Accordingly, she made an application to St Sebastian School of Bendhur, of which Father RFC Mascarenhas was the manger. With her reputation of being a very effective school mistress she had no problem of getting the job; the priest manager was only too glad to have Miss Marceline Menezes on the staff of the parish school. As soon as the school year opened in June 1918, Flora and Marceline became fast friends and began exchanging confidences, which included information about the proposed enterprise.
(Enters Marceline from one side and Flora from the other side)
Flora: Good morning.
Marceline: Good morning Flora. I have noticed that you have always been keeping yourself busy.
Flora: Marceline, life is very short and before this short life ends, we have to serve God and fellowmen in order to give meaning to our life.
Marceline: It’s true Flora, I agree with you. Many a time, I too am thinking of offering myself to God and to the service of humankind. One can experience a lot of joy in this mission.
Flora: Marceline, Fr Raymond has started a Congregation and we are two members in it, my sister Alice and myself. The goal of this Congregation is Love of God and Service to humankind. To proclaim the Word of God and to serve the poorest of the poor is the vision of our Congregation and to carry on this good work we are praying to God so that the work undertaken by Fr Raymond may be fulfilled. And if you wish to join the Congregation you are most welcome.
Marceline: Flora, I have a great wish to join Fr Raymond’s Congregation. Today my desire has been fulfilled as I always wished to be a member of a Congregation having this sort of goal and vision. You may ask Fr Raymond if I too could be a member of this Congregation.
Flora: Fr Raymond will be very glad to take you as a member. I will inform Fr Raymond and make you a member.
Marceline: Thank you very much.
(Red light-still pose)
Background Voice: And from this day on, Marceline Menezes became the third member of this Congregation. To love God and serve humankind was always her great wish and this she found as the goal of the congregation. Yes! It is being said, “Where there is a will, there is a way” and Marceline Menezes became a witness to it.
CURTAIN GOES UP
(Garden scene- Board indicating St Sebastian Church. Enters from one side Fr Raymond and the other side Fr Sylvester and Ms Regina)
Fr Sylvester: Fr Raymond, this is Ms Regina Gertrude Gonsalves.
Fr Raymond: Love and peace of God with you Regina.
Regina: Wish you the same Father.
Fr Sylvester: Fr Raymond, Ms Regina has a desire to become a religious sister. Knowing her aspiration and intention I had told her about your Congregation. So she has a wish to join it.
Regina: Regina, the work that we have undertaken is not very easy.
Regina: Yes father, I am ready to sacrifice my life and be a member of the Congregation as without pain and hard work there is no success.
Fr Raymond: Regina, right now we have only three members in our Congregation. Flora, her sister Alice and Marceline. If you wish to join them you can also be a part of it.
Regina: Yes father, I have already decided and have fallen in love with your mission.
Fr Raymond: Well then, you can be a member of our Congregation.
Regina: Thank-you father.
Fr Sylvester: Fr Raymond, at present, Regina is teaching at the St Joseph’s Asylum School, Jeppu.
Fr Raymond: I will write to the head of the institution and take permission asking her transfer to our Parish School.
Regina: Thank-you father.
Fr Raymond: Regina, I assure you that if you wish to be a member of Bendur Parish School Staff, it would make it easier for you to attend the conferences on Fridays.
Regina: Yes Father!
(Red light-still pose)
Background Voice: There were now four candidates and it was time to build on these four pillars.
(Blue curtain, church scene, board indicating Bendur Church. Present on the stage - Fr Raymond, Flora, Alice, Marceline, Regina, Mr Mathias, Mrs Menezes (Mother of Marceline) and Fr Sylvester Red Light)
Background Voice: On July 16th 1921 a touching scene was enacted at the Bendur Church. Rev Father Mascarenhas and his assistant Fr Sylvester Menezes warmly received the four young women who were accompanied by their parents and relatives. Their parting was painful because it was such an uncertain venture on which they had embarked. Mr Mathias and Mrs Menezes, Marceline’s mother who were present bade goodbye to their children. Fr Raymond knelt before the statue of Mother Mary and recommended the “four” to her protecting care saying: (full light)
Fr Raymond: “O Blessed Mother, protect these your children whom you have entrusted to me in all confidence for the extension of your Son’s kingdom.”
“Lord Jesus, accept this sacrifice of these your children and their parents who have offered their dear ones -their children for His service which we are sure will never go unrewarded. This prayer I make in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Comforted with the words of their Pastor the relatives leave for their homes. Red light.
Background Voice: Comforted with the words of their Pastor the relatives leave for their homes. In this way the seed of Bethany was sown on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and today like the mustard seed in the Gospel parable Bethany has grown into a steady tree in God’s garden. On 25th March 1922, the feast of the Annunciation of Our Blessed Mother was celebrated for the first time as the feast of the Congregation. On that day Sr Martha was appointed the Superior and Sr Lourdes as the headmistress of St Margaret Mary’s Higher Elementary School of Bendur. Marceline changed her name to Sr Mary Martha, Flora to Sr Mary Clare, Alice to Sr Lourdes and Regina to Sr Mary Gertrude. After a year of the formation of the Bethany Congregation (enters Apoline) Apoline joined as a candidate and nor warmly welcomed by all. In the following year Christine Piers entered and in the third year (Enter Maggie) Maggie Alfonso joined in this way Bethany Congregation which had four members in the year turned to be of seven members by 16th July 1924. Another stepping stone in the Congregation’s development was the first election of a Superior which took place on 21st March 1925. Sr Mary Martha was installed as the first elected Superior for the period of three years. On March 19th 1925, the Founder presented a report on his infant Congregation to the Bishop of his Diocese. The Bishop visited the Bethany Community on the feast of the Annunciation and was well pleased with what he saw. He left Bethany and its Founder happy with his blessings and encouragement. In the meanwhile, the number of sisters had risen to thirteen and there were requests for their services in other parishes. (Curtain goes up. Scene of a flat, door is closed, statue of Jesus and a board indicating ‘LITTLE FLOWER’), A Convent was established at Puttur on May 29th 1925, under the patronage of the Little Flower. New houses of the Congregation were established in Kokkada in January 1929 and in Bolkunje and Bajpe in 1930. The following year saw the opening of three more houses at Kinnigoly, Permannur and Uppinangady, the last being entrusted with the charge of an orphanage for neophytes. The Sisters were engaged in schools, boarding houses, orphanages, the care of parish churches, religious instruction of children and adults, direct evangelization and family visits, homes for the elderly, health clinics and agricultural pursuits. Bethany has spread its wings far and wide not only in India but in the whole world.
Fr Raymond: Those who have a vocation to become Sisters, the Congregation of Bethany always welcomes them with love. Always remember that after my death, reach out to the remote areas, to the poorest of the poor because in these remote areas the girls need sisters like you to guide them. Instill in young minds the love of God, look after the orphans, extend your hand in the Pastoral work; look after the sick and the old and through your very lives draw people close to God. Make yourselves available to the downtrodden in the missions.
Background Voice: In this way, Bethany is living up to the values instilled by Fr RFC Mascarenhas. Today, Bethany has spread to various Dioceses of India and in some parts of the world.
(Light off-Black out)
(Scene of a Flat, a board showing “WAY TO MOTHERHOUSE OF BETHANY SISTERS”. Fr Raymond FC Mascarenhas is lying on the bed and around him are Fr Marian Castelino and sisters)
Fr Castelino: Take courage Father. You have always cared for the sick and the lonely and today everybody is praying for you.
Background Voice: Here is Fr Marian Castelino. Fr Marian Castelino was the first youth that Fr Raymond Mascarenhas had directed to the seminary and to the priesthood.
1st Sister: Father, this should be a moment of joy for you as all your wishes and dreams have been fulfilled.
Background Voice: These are the Bethany Sisters who were with Fr RFC Mascarenhas as his death was near.
2nd Sister: Father, today Bethany Sisters are living your ideals. Just as Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha in the same way the Bethany Sisters are carrying on their good work by visiting the poor and the lonely. With love and strength of God they are serving the poor and needy.
2nd Sister: Father, as Mary responded to God: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your words”, through the Sisters of Bethany Mary’s attitude of “handmaid” in the service of God and neighbour could be reproduced again and again indefinitely. Mary did not keep this God-man for herself; but gave him as a victim for the salvation of the world. In the same way the Bethany Sisters welcome Jesus in them and in turn bring Him to others, to the whole world of God.
1st Sister: Father, Jesus said, “He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and to the blind new sight, to set the down-trodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.” All the Activities of the Bethany Congregation reveal in a special way this aspect of the Lord.
Fr Castelino: Father, like the mustard seed in the Gospel parable, Bethany has now grown into a steady tree in God’s garden, like a tree planted near running streams which was started by the four sisters. Today Bethany spreads the love of God and humanity to the whole world. The Bethany Congregation has reached full development as a religious body.
Background Voice: In the early hours of the morning of the 23rd, Fr Mascarenhas’ breathing became heavy. They knew that the end was at hand. The room was filled with Bethany Sisters on their knees praying. Fr Castelino started the prayers for the dying. It was 3.45 a.m. almost unnoticed Fr Raymond Mascarenhas gave a slight sigh and stopped breathing.
2nd Sister: Father, we are busy talking. Sister, father has stopped breathing.
3rd Sister: Father, Father, Father……..
1st Sister: Fr Castelino, Father has stopped breathing.
(Father Castelino lifts Fr Raymond’s hands to chest)
Fr Castelino: Sister, today Fr RFC Mascarenhas with his good works done has gone to heaven to join in the salutation to Mary his Mother and to sing glory to the Holy Trinity.
Background Voice: December 23, 1960 was a triumphant day for this veteran priest, but a sad one indeed for all the Bethany sisters and for the city. Just before the first light of dawn broke over Mangalore this saintly man, a priest of eighty-six years, had returned his life to God. The bells of the Mangalore churches tolled mournfully to let the people know that the zealous apostle of Christ whose life had spanned the last quarter of the previous century and a little over half of the present century had passed on to his eternal reward. And today Fr RFC Mascarenhas lives in the hearts of many because he was willing to lay down his life.
(Tolling of the church bells)
(Bethany Scene-Bethany Anthem)