MUMBAI, India – Parents pass their virtues, values, principles and understanding of life flow on to their their children, a bishop told pilgrims in India.

Auxiliary Bishop John Rodrigues of the Archdiocese of Bombay was speaking at a students’ pilgrimage to Mount Mary’s Basilica in the Bandra neighborhood of Mumbai.

“A child needs to be taught many things including the way to God. To grow spiritually requires discipline. Just as learning a musical instrument or a game calls for diligence so too a person learns to pray by being regular and faithful,” Rodrigues said during the Sep. 11 homily for the annual Archdiocesan Board of Education pilgrimage.

“We have grown thanks to a disciplined life,” the bishop continued. “You are grateful to your parents, your teachers, priests, religious sisters and Sunday school catechists for the guidance, principles and values they teach you as well as the correction that helps you grow as persons. They teach you the way to God.  I invite you to pray for your parents today as they carry out this task of guiding you. At times it is challenging and difficult.  Thank God for all their efforts.”

Father Magi Murzello, the rector of St. Andrew’s College, told Crux the 1,800 participants came from 35 schools.

“Initially I had pioneered the Marian Pilgrimage for the schools of Bandra. Since last year, the Archdiocesan Board of Education has taken up the concept and now the invitation is extended to all the ABE affiliated schools,” he said.

The Bandra neighborhood is the Catholic heartland of the city. It was evangelized by Portuguese Jesuits in the 16th century. When Bombay was handed over to the British in 1661, the area of Bandra remained in Portuguese hands until 1775, and the Jesuits established several parishes in the area.

The statue of Mary venerated in the basilica dates back to the 1500’s, during Portuguese rule.