Saturday, May 31, 2008

BIS # 959 SALESIAN NGO WINS PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL AWARD

ANS News

BRUSSELS, MAY 31, 2008: The project “One Drop in the Sea performs Miracles” of the International Voluntary Service for Development (VIS) has received the European Union’s “Energy Globe Award” in the category of national prize-winners. The project involving the setting up of a water distribution system in the Gambela region of Ethiopia was chosen from among 853 projects presented by 109 countries. The Award was presented on May 29, during a solemn ceremony held in the European Parliament, to Massimo Zortea, President of the VIS, in the presence of Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament, JosĂ© Manuel Barroso, President of the European Union Commission, Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the Soviet Union. The “Energy Globe Award” is considered one of the most important in the environmental field; the projects examined coming from all parts of the world are chosen on the basis of their capacity to promote the safeguarding of resources and the re-use of renewal energy. Thanks to a contribution from the Butterfly Foundation, VIS carried out a project to provide water to five villages in the Gambela region, giving over 13,000 people access to drinking water. In each village a committee was set up to manage the use of the well, creating an effective self-management system and a wise use of the water resources. The digging of the wells also brought fresh life to local agriculture, improved health and hygiene and above all brought about a reduction in infant mortality and an improvement to the life of the women and children.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

BIS # 958 DAKOR HOLDS “SHRADHA GHADTAR SHIBIR” IN VILLAGES

Mayank Parmar sdb
DAKOR, MAY 29, 2008
: The “Shradha Ghadtar Shibirs” (Faith Formation Camps) were held in the seven villages of Christ the King Parish, Don Bosco, Dakor from May 8 to 28, 2008. These camps were a continuation of the ‘Year of Sacraments’ celebrated in the parish. While Fr. Alex Fernandes, Parish Priest, was the mastermind behind this initiative, the programme was managed by Deacon Mayank Parmar and Pre Novice Sandeep Parmar. Each camp was of three days duration, at the end of which a test was conducted for the participants and attractive prizes given to all those who proved successful in the same. A total of 85 children from Stds. I to XII attended these camps in the various villages. A variety of creative activities such as “Kirtan Sagar Antakshari” and “door to door rosary” kept the children keenly engrossed in the programme. These camps served as a good preparation for the regular catechism classes which will be held through the year in the villages. The vibrant faith being built up in the children promises to make Dakor a model parish soon!
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BIS # 957 SNEHALAYA STAGES ‘UD CHALLE HUM’

Roger Jones sdb

BARODA, MAY 29, 2008: Bosco Snehalaya crossed a new milestone by staging its first musical on May 25, entitled ‘Ud Challe Hum’. Composed and directed by Brother Charles Anthony with a cast comprising the Snehalaya kids, the musical proved to be a grand success. Over 500 people from across the city were present for the show. The musical is based on the true story of a street boy Raju, who runs away from home because his drunkard father and uncle beat him up everyday. From his village he lands in the city and is over awed by the tall buildings, shopping malls and theaters. As he sits outside the railway station confused by the city, some pimps take hold of him and hand him over to one of their clients. Fortunately he manages to escape from there, but unfortunately he ends up in the company of a group of street ruffians who teach him the ropes of street life. After some time Raju begins to feel frustrated by the type of life he is living. At this moment he meets two other boys who guide him to Snehalaya. At Snehalaya he is happy for a few days, but then goes back to the streets because the pull of the street life is just too strong. But the Snehalaya social workers do not give up. They keep in constant touch with him, bring him back to Snehalaya, help him to settle down and finally reunite him with his mother. Moved by the performance of these young actors, the audience was left misty eyed – more so because they realized that what was being enacted on the stage was what these young children had indeed suffered in their own lives.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

BIS # 956 OSCAR TUSCANO RECEIVES MINISTRY OF ACOLYTE

Ivo Coelho sdb

MUMBAI, MAY 28, 2008: Oscar Tuscano, our young Mumbai province missionary to Albania, received the ministry of acolyte on May 16, 2008 at the hands of Enzo Dieci, auxiliary Bishop in Rome. Several other young Salesians received the ministries of lector and acolyte together with Oscar. The ceremony took place at the Gerini Institute, Rome, residence of the Salesian students of theology who frequent the Salesian Pontifical University. Irrepressible as ever, Oscar was delighted to have us (Felix Fernandes and I) with him for the function, together with a group of friends from the Salesian parish of Latina where he goes for the weekend ministry. Oscar, who now belongs officially to the province of Naples, did two years of practical training in Albania before beginning theology at the UPS. He hopes to be ordained soon in Vasai, together with his brother who is a Pallotti seminarian.

BIS # 955 LONERGAN WORKSHOP AT NAPLES

Ivo Coelho sdb

MUMBAI, MAY 28, 2008: An International Lonergan Workshop was held at the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici, Naples, May 13-15, 2008 with the topic “Going Beyond Essentialism: Bernard J.F. Lonergan, SJ: An Atypical Scholastic.” The Workshop was organized by Fr Saturnino Muratore, SJ, and Ms Cloe Taddei-Ferretti, both closely involved with the Lonergan movement in Italy, and with the publication of the Collected Works of Lonergan in Italian. Its aim was to promote the study of the philosophical, theological and economic output of Lonergan in Italy, in both ecclesiastical and non-ecclesiastical (often anti-clerical) circles. A number of Lonergan scholars from all over the world participated, among whom Fred Lawrence (Boston College, Boston), Robert Doran, SJ (Marquette University), William Mathews, SJ (Milltown Institute, Maynooth), Hugo Meynell (retired from the University of Calgary, Canada), Howard Richards (retired from Talca, Chile), and Rosanna Finamore (Gregoriana, Rome). I myself gave a paper on the possibility of using Lonergan for international, intercultural and interreligious dialogue and theologizing, and also in the area of international relations, justice, economics and commerce. A copy of the Italian Collected Works of Lonergan was presented to Pope Benedict XVI in Rome during the days of the Workshop, in the presence of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, who is himself a great lover of Lonergan. The young theologian Joseph Ratzinger was once a member of the International Theological Commission together with Bernard Lonergan.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

BIS # 954 IT’S A ROCKING SUMMER AT JAITALA!

Ajit Munis sdb

JAITALA, MAY 27, 2008: The annual Summer Club was held at Don Bosco, Jaitala from April 14 to May 21, 2008. This summer extravaganza was inaugurated on April 21 by Fr. Lawrence D’Souza, Rector. The Club was organized on the school premises for the boys and girls of the locality. A total of 110 children from Stds. III to XII registered for this summer razzmatazz. Dn. Ajit Munis, Cl. Richard Burkhao and Cl. Vishal Lopes, along with the Volunteers kept the children on their feet with a host of exciting activities. Several special events, competitions and tournaments enthralled the children beyond imagination! The Club concluded on May 21 with a cultural programme and the prize distribution, after which all the children had a grand concluding dinner. The summer show is just over but the children are already counting the days for the next summer holidays! The Don Bosco magic never fails!

BIS # 953 ARCHBISHOP FELIX MACHADO VISITS AHMEDNAGAR

William Falcao sdb

SAVEDI, MAY 27, 20008: It was a moment of great joy and celebration as ‘our shepherd’ Archbishop Felix Machado visited his flock in the Ahmednagar town! He arrived at Savedi at 7:30 pm on Saturday, May 24 and the following morning, the feast of Corpus Christi, he celebrated the Holy Eucharist at 8:30 am in the parish church. During this Eucharistic celebration, Cl. Pratap Damor and Cl. George D’Abreo renewed their religious vows for two years. After the Eucharist, the Archbishop was felicitated by the parishioners in the traditional way by tying the “Pheta”. Thereafter he met the various groups, from the Parish Council to the Altar Servers, and he had a special word for each of them. After this he visited the different religious institutions in the Ahmednagar town: Auxilium Convent, St. John’s Parish Bhingar, Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra, St. Anne’s Parish and Sacred Heart Convent. In the evening he celebrated the Eucharist at Holy Rosary Chapel, Jeur, during which 31 children received First Holy Communion. At the festive dinner held in his honour that evening, the Archbishop said that he was highly impressed by the work being done by the Salesians in his diocese. He also expressed his joy and satisfaction at being able to visit the Salesian institutions in Ahmednagar and to see for himself the manifold activities being carried out there.

Monday, May 26, 2008

BIS # 952 “I HAVE CALLED YOU BY NAME”

Bosco Carvalho sdb


NASHIK, MAY 26, 2008: “The twelve months that we have walked together joyfully on the spiritual road has reached its peak!” we excitedly repeated to each other on the eve of our first profession. May 24 was not just another day – it was a day that changed our lives forever, the day we made our First Religious Profession as Salesians of Don Bosco! This ceremony was certainly illumined by the grace of God and the blessings of Mary Help of Christians.Our Provincial, Rev. Fr. Michael Fernandes graced the service and helped us pronounce our vows in total surrender to God in a very meaningful liturgy. The gracious moments when we donned our cassocks and held our Constitutions were moments to be cherished. After the Eucharist, we Salesians had a short get together where we expressed our heartfelt gratitude to those who guided us through this journey. A big ‘Thank You’ to Fr. Solomon Rapol, our Novice Master and to the staff who formed us during this year. Our parents and relatives too deserve our true appreciation. Let me end this article with our experience. The moment we put on Christ, we felt His love flooding us. We are celebrating this new birth, this new realisation with such jubilation that almost every cell in our bodies seem to be reiterating this phrase… “Thanks Lord for calling me by name” (Is 43: 1 – 7).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

BIS # 951 MARY – ALL THE WAY…!

Chris Valentino sdb
MUMBAI, MAY 24, 2008: The Feast of Mary Help of Christians was celebrated at Don Bosco Matunga, with devotees packing the Shrine to capacity all through the day. The entire day wore a festive look and not withstanding the blistering heat – men, women, children, young and old alike – kept pouring in constantly to thank, honour and pray to Mother Mary. The Solemn Festal Mass scheduled for 6.30 pm, was presided over by His Lordship, Bishop Thomas Dabre of Vasai. Also present for the occasion were several priests, religious from the neighbouring parishes and scores of hundreds of devotees who filled up the open grounds. Delivering a motivating and inspiring homily, Bishop Dabre drew various reflections, inviting the faithful to become disciples of the Word following the example of Our Blessed Mother. He said “Mary was pure, holy, and inviolate, always seeking to do the will of God. In the present global scenario where materialism and maximum monetary benefits are the norm of the day, Mother Mary shows the way.” He called on the youth, in a special way to imitate and emulate the ‘woman from Nazareth.’ The prayer of the faithful was creatively animated with the special prayer composed by the Holy Father in the aftermath of the natural disasters in China and Myanmar. Fr Edwin D’ Souza, Rector of the Shrine appreciated and expressed his sentiments of gratitude to the many people who had been instrumental in making this a solemn and festive celebration. He also thanked in a special way Frs. Elias Diaz and Fr. Ian Doulton who preached the Konkani and English Novena, while also expressing his gratitude to the other priests of the campus who were ever available for the distribution of Communion and the Ministry of Reconciliation. Ms Rita D’Sa and Mr. Ignatius Almeida were thanked respectively for the melodious choir and the decoration of the float. The Holy Eucharist culminated with a graceful procession into the Shrine with the beautifully decked up statue of Mary Help of Christians. Truly it was a festive atmosphere of prayer, praise and devotion, where Mary was there….

Friday, May 23, 2008

BIS # 950 LAMPRELL TRAINING MANAGER VISITS CHINCHWAD

Jeffrey Fernandes sdb
CHINCHWAD, MAY 23, 2008: In the midst of the construction and the chaos that Chinchwad is presently in, the training of over 150 youngsters goes on uninterrupted in a variety of makeshift setups. Among those receiving training at this centre, one group stands out prominently. Dressed in their smart overalls, safety shoes on their feet and helmets on their heads, this group of 30 youngsters belongs to the Lamprell Work2livE programme. Launched in January, the Work2livE programme runs through 12 months and equips the students with the basics of four trades: welding and fabrication, electrical repairs, plumbing, motor mechanics and driving. It is a training programme specifically designed for socially and economically disadvantaged youth, such as boys who have been living on the streets, or school drop outs from extremely poor families. The aim of the programme is to equip these youngsters with job oriented skills so that they can secure decent employment and thereby improve the quality of their lives.
On Thursday, May 22, Mr. Jim Henderson, Lamprell Training Manager from Dubai, visited Chinchwad to assess the progress of this programme. He was greatly pleased with the quick strides this programme has taken in the past few months and with the enthusiasm displayed by the students. He was especially happy to find that the most deserving candidates had been admitted to the training: street boys, as also boys coming from backward villages as far as Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. He congratulated the Salesians and the Staff for their efforts in ensuring the success of the programme, and he encouraged the students to keep up their commitment and hard work. He further told the students that he hoped to see some of them working for Lamprell in its overseas operations in the near future.Lamprell is a company that has played an important role in the development of the offshore industry in the Arabian Gulf for over 30 years, providing increasingly specialized services to the onshore and offshore oil industry.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

BIS # 949 IT’S BEEN HAPPENING AT CHHOTA

Nitin Hingle sdb


CHHOTA UDEPUR, MAY 21, 2008: The summer season has been a busy time at Chhota Udepur. Among the many activities conducted here during this season, the English Camps occupied centre stage. The first English camp was held for the students of Stds. X and XII from April 20 to May 1. It was amazing how in a short span of two weeks some of the students were able to pick up sufficient English to manage a basic conversation. The camp closed with an impressive programme of English skits and songs staged by the students. The second camp, which commenced on May 3 and ended on May 20, was for students of Stds VI to VIII. During this camp too the young students made rapid progress, convincing us that these youngsters have a keen desire to learn English. Besides time devoted to classes and study, the students enjoyed a variety of recreational activities and moments of fun! Another highlight of the summer was the Selection Camp for new students held on May 9 and 10. A total of 221 boys and girls from the various villages of Chhota Udepur were present for this selection process to be admitted to Std. V in the Don Bosco School. These children were from the Village Education Programme that is conducted in 20 villages all through the year. During this camp some simple tests were conducted to aid the selection process. At the end of the two days, 100 students were selected who will join the boarding at the beginning of the new scholastic year. We do believe that education is the best investment for development! But the icing on the cake was clearly May 19, the day Fr. Elson Barretto returned to Chhota to take over as Rector from the outgoing Fr. Ivan de Souza. Fr. Elson has earlier spent 12 glorious years in Chhota and is much loved and revered by the Rathwas of this region. As he gets into the saddle once again we feel confident that he will lead Chhota into new frontiers and greater heights!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

BIS #948 THE LIGHT CONTINUES TO GLOW!

Chris Valentino sdb

MUMBAI, MAY 20, 2008: Tej-Prasarini, Don Bosco Communications, Matunga celebrated its Annual Thanksgiving Day with the conclusion of the Don Bosco Creativity Workshops on May 17, 2008.

Commencing with the traditional lighting of the lamp, the evening was subsequently lit up by some spectacular performances and dazzling display of creative talent thanks to the coordinated efforts of the teachers and the students. The programme for the evening included Guitar and Keyboard gigs, with wonderfully graceful abstract Bharatanatyam style dances with the theme summer season, intermingled with Afro-Jazz, Salsa, Merengue performances and livened up with a few action songs. Short speeches on the various aspects of personality development, a PowerPoint presentation spelling out the aims, objectives and achievements of Tej-Prasarini as also a special screening of the One-Minute Documentaries by the students of the Film-Making Workshop which had been organized earlier by Tej-Prasarini in collaboration with Dubai International Film Festival, added to the delightful pleasantries of an otherwise humid evening.

The Chief Guest for the occasion was Mr. Glen Keiser, the Deputy American Consul General, who also handed over the certificates to the various participants. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Keiser expressed his appreciation at the tremendous good being done through the various programmes organized by Tej-Prasarini especially in the field of media. He noted: “The opportunities these children have to polish their talents so early on in life will definitely be an added boon to them in the future. May their talents blossom into greater achievements.” Recalling his days in Texas, his days in school and other trying times when he did not receive similar opportunities, Mr. Keiser expressed the hope that he would be able to offer a Cultural-Exchange tie-up with Tej-Prasarini in the near future. Fr Joaquim Fernandes, Director of Tej-Prasarini, proposed the Vote of Thanks voicing his sentiment of gratitude to all who had worked toward this programme and those who graced the evening’s celebration.

Present on the occasion in large numbers were also the proud parents of the participants, other eminent guests, Salesians and other dignitaries. It was truly an evening when the Light glowed letting everyone know and understand that the Light does continue to spread….!

Monday, May 19, 2008

BIS #947 GRAND CHORAL PERFORMANCE AT MATUNGA SHRINE

MATUNGA, MAY 19, 2008: The Shrine at Don Bosco Matunga witnessed an evening to be remembered, on Sunday May 18, as The Stop-Gaps Choral Ensemble presented ‘Worthy To Be Praised’. Attired in red and white robes, the singers enthralled the audience with their outstanding choral performance. The first half of the show comprised classical sacred songs, and included renowned pieces such as Ave Maria by Xabier Sarasola and Prayer of St. Francis by Barrie Cabena. The second half was dedicated to Negro Spirituals and had the audience tapping their feet as the choir sang with full gusto all time favourites like Elijah Rock and Every Time I feel the Spirit.

Fr. Edwin D’Souza, Rector of the Shrine, introducing the group said that the Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy which was formed in 1984, was the realization of a dream which began as the Stop-Gaps Choral Ensemble under the direction of its conductor Alfred J. D’Souza. He further informed the audience that the group consists of highly placed professionals such as doctors, lawyers, businessmen, school and college students, as well as retired persons, with an age span of 16 to 70 years, belonging to different faiths and communities – Hindus, Muslims, Parsees and Christians, from various regions in India. He also stressed that the Stop-Gaps is ‘an organization with a heart’; they have organized and performed free of charge concerts to support several charities.

The Stop-Gaps have won world wide fame having performed at several international musical competitions and festivals. In 2002 they sang at the Vatican for the 82nd birthday of Pope John Paul II. In 2006 they were the first Indian choir ever to sing in China, participating in the Fourth World Choir Olympics. The Stop-Gaps have the privilege to be one of the six choirs from across the globe to be selected after stringent review to participate in the prestigious Seventh Choir Competition to be held in Miltenberg, Germany, later this year. It will be the first time that an Indian choir has been admitted to this competition and that too representing Asia.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

BIS # 946 "CHEERS FR. CASA"

Savio Silveira sdb

MATUNGA, MAY 17, 2008:“Ninety! Ninety! I can’t believe it!” It was a phrase we heard several times on this day last year as the grand old man of our province - Fr. Casa - turned ninety. Holding his hands over his mouth, his eyes wide open, he slowly shook his head and repeated again “Ninety!” Looking back at that day, two incidents in particular come to my mind.As I came out of my room that morning I found Fr. Casa standing in the corridor gazing at the grounds in front. I wished him a very happy birthday and then added: “Fr. Casa, ten more years to go.” He held me firmly by the shoulder as was his habit and replied: “My boy, when you reach my age, you won’t say that.” Then he turned his gaze again to the campus and continued: “I was just thinking how much God has blessed us. I remember this place when there was nothing here. And now…. what a miracle!” As I listened to him I was keenly aware that I was in front of a man who was at the heart of this miracle, who was himself a source of blessings to many.That afternoon during lunch, while we were having his birthday celebrations, the Provincial, who was out of Bombay, called on Fr. Bernard’s cell phone to wish Fr. Casa. He took the cell phone, held it first to one ear and then to the next, mumbled something into it, stared at it suspiciously, and then gave it back to Fr. Bernard saying: “At ninety how do you expect me to learn to talk on this strange thing!” We all broke into laughter, appreciating the great sense of humor of this man. A sense of humor that had helped him keep ‘sane’ through the ups and downs of a nine decade long journey; that had helped him help others see the lighter and brighter side of life. A year later as we look back at a multitude of happy memories, we lift our glasses once again and say: “Cheers Fr. Casa!”

Note: If anyone would like to share some personal memory or anecdote about Fr. Casa that could be included in the ‘life-sketch of Fr. Casa’ being written by Fr. Edwin D’Souza, please email the same to fredsdb@gmail.com or post a comment in the blog below.

Friday, May 16, 2008

BIS # 945 VOCATION CAMPS: GIVE GOD A CHANCE!

Brian Moras sdb
LONAVLA, MAY 16, 2008: This year’s annual Vocation Camps at Don Bosco Lonavla were held from May 5 to 8 and May 10 to 13. The first camp was for those aspiring to join the Apostolic School (Std VIII & IX) and the latter was for those wishing to join the Aspirantate (Std XI, XII, Post XII and the English Course). The Lord blessed us with many good and enthusiastic youngsters for the camps – we had 45 youngsters for the first camp and 51 for the second. The camps were designed to give the youngsters a first hand experience of Don Bosco Lonavla and to help them in discerning if the Lord was calling them to follow him through the Salesian way of life. It also gave the Salesians an opportunity to get to know the boys and select those who would be happy in the Apostolic School and Aspirantate. At the end of the camps, of the youngsters who applied to come back, 41 were chosen in all: 12 for the Apostolic School and 29 for the Aspirantate. It was interesting for me to note that the boys who had made up their mind before the camp to join Lonavla stuck to their decision after the beautiful camp experience, whereas those who were in two minds remained in two minds till the end. Probably, being afraid of what they will miss, being caught up with the glamour of the world, not wanting to move ahead leaving their companions behind, and in a few cases - not being sure if their family would give them permission.... discouraged them from taking the step forward. Answering the ‘call’ needs the courage to make the leap of faith, of giving God a chance and most of all of being generous with ourselves. He who calls, provides. God can never be outdone in generosity. It is time to give God a chance!