Snehalaya Family Service Centre is a not-for-profit NGO that helps families in Mumbai , India . In a mega-city like Mumbai, the stress and strain of living, with problems such as poverty, lack of proper housing, displacement, unemployment and underemployment, socio-cultural differences, marital discord, etc., proves too overwhelming for many individuals and families. Under this stress many individual feel lost, tried beyond their endurance, frustrated and defeated. People can seek help when capacities for responding to the demands of life are strained, when desired growth seems unattainable, when important decisions elude resolution and natural support systems are unavailable or insufficient.
In general, people not knowing how to cope with these problems, these individuals displace their frustrations on other members of the family, or take recourse to substance abuse (e.g. alcoholism). Some break down with depression and other psychological syndromes, thus creating a bigger problem for themselves and their families.
This has further aggravated the family atmosphere. Fissures and fractures have appeared in family life, where spouses are moving away from each other and we see a rising number of divorces and separations, parents are at conflict with their children, there unhealthy sibling rivalry, consumerism contributing to a growing emptiness and rise in the phenomenon of family disharmony.
With the breakdown in the joint family system, rapid urbanization and nuclearization of families there is little or no adequate support for individuals and families. The aim of the organization is to provide timely and adequate help to marriage and families. A large amount of our energy is spent to build good marriages through marriage preparation courses (MPCs) and marriage enrichment programmes (MEPs) because “marriage is the rock on which family is built.” If we will have stable and mature marriages, we will have happy and well nurtured families.
It was precisely to offset this that the CBCI Metropolitan Conference on the Family, held in Bombay, in 1976, strongly recommended the setting up of a Diocesan Family Service Centre to provide for a ‘package deal' of services, and to co-ordinate activities related to the Family Apostolate in the Diocese, and in the Western Region of India.
Accordingly, the Diocese agreed to set up a Family Service Centre, (SNEHALAYA- “abode of love” ), in the premises of Victoria School Campus, Mahim. Msgr. Henry Lobo very kindly put the former parish house at the disposal of the Centre and Fr. Dawson Ambosta was its founding Director. In 1984 the baton was handed over to Fr. Joseph Fernandes. The present Director Fr. Cajetan D. Menezes took charge in June 2003. Fr. Cajetan D. Menezes had a fruitful tenure as director from June 2003 to May 2018. Present Director Fr. Cleophas D. Fernandes was appointed in June 2018, and took charge on 1 June 2019.
Fr. Cleophas Fernandes - Director
Fr. Cleophas Fernandes has a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Theology from the Catholic Institute (University) of Paris and a graduation in Arts (Psychology), Poona University. He completed his seminary studies at St Pius X College and served as its Rector for eight years. In his tenure of over 43 years as a priest, he has been parish priest in a number of parishes, the Director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre of the Archdiocese of Bombay, member of the International Council for Catechetics organized by the Vatican (serving on the Council for a six year term), a member of ARMS (Association of Rectors of Major Seminaries) and then elected the President of this association. He has also been Director of the National Biblical Catechetical and Liturgical Centre NBCLC in Bangalore. He is currently the Director of Snehalaya Family Service Centre of the Archdiocese of Bombay.
SNEHALAYA – Family Service Centre, established in December, 1976 is a registered charitable Trust catering to people irrespective of caste or creed. Its main objectives are to strengthen family life and to promote family welfare.
Services offered by a professional staff include:-
• Marriage Counselling- includes pre-marital and post-marriage care
• Individual and group counselling.
• Vocational Guidance and Aptitude Testing
• Family Life Education – for schools and colleges
• Marriage Preparation Courses – conducted in six languages
• Responsible Parenthood Training and Creative Natural Fertility Mangement .
• Family Enrichment Programmes
• Conducting research, Designing programmes and publishing resource materials for empowering families
• Training counselors and family animators
All the mentioned activities are conducted by a trained team of Doctors, counsellors and married persons.
SNEHALAYA – is place where hurting families are healed, ordinary families become good and good families become better …
You can support our work by sending us a contribution in the name of our trust “Snehalaya Family Service Centre”.