Monday, June 30, 2008

BIS # 998 LAUNCHING THE ‘YEAR OF PAUL’

Joyce Almeida
MATUNGA, JUNE 29, 2008: The ‘Year of St. Paul’ that began today across the universal Church, was solemnly launched in the Salesian Mumbai Province with a Recollection for Catechism teachers from the Catholic schools of the North Mumbai (East) Deanery. This Deanery comprises six parishes and has eight Catholic schools within its area. A total of 108 teachers attended this spiritual growth programme which began at 5.00 pm and was held at Don Bosco High School, Matunga. The theme chosen for the Recollection was: ‘Paul the Faith Formator Par Excellence’. Explaining the theme, Fr. Cletus D’Souza, the preacher for the evening, emphasized that Paul was easily one of the best models for faith formators. Paul knew Jesus, he loved Jesus and this is what led him to proclaim Jesus. Hence, Fr. Cletus called on the teachers present to build up a personal relationship with Jesus if they wanted to be effective in their ministry of faith formation. “Unless you yourself live a vibrant faith, you cannot form others in the faith”, Fr. Cletus pointed out to the participants. After the opening talk, the teachers watched a video film entitled ‘Saul to Paul’. This was followed by a discussion in small groups. This discussion enabled the participants to reflect on the ministry of Paul and to draw parallels with the faith formation ministry they themselves are engaged in. The last item on the agenda for the evening was a prayer session conducted in the form of the Lectio Divina. This moment of prayer, which was led by Sheryl Dalgado and team, was centered on the Gospel passage of the day and focused on the question, ‘Who do you say I am?’ The participants were invited to give a personal response to this question, since it was this response that would set the foundation of their faith formation ministry. The Recollection concluded with dinner at 8.00 pm for all the participants.

BIS # 997 DOLOURS CENTRE FOR EMPOWERMENT INAUGURATED

Janet D’Souza
WADALA, JUNE 29, 2008: A long cherished dream of the Our Lady of Dolours Parish, Wadala, turned into a reality this morning with the launching of the ‘Dolours Centre for Empowerment’ (DCE). The DCE office was inaugurated by Fr. Anaclete D’Mello at 9.00 am in the presence of Parish Priest Fr. Aloysius Furtado, Assistant Parish Priest Fr. Tony Pinto, Parish Councilors and a large number of parishioners. Before cutting the ribbon and declaring the DCE open, Fr. Anaclete reminded the gathering that taking this Centre forward was the task of the laity. The DCE will be the Parish Centre for Community Organization (CCO), a feature adopted by many parishes in the Mumbai Archdiocese. It is the responsibility of the CCO to pan and implement social development programmes in the parish. Prior to the inauguration, a thanksgiving Eucharist was celebrated at 8.00 am in the parish church. The principal celebrant was Fr. Savio Silveira and he was joined by Fr. Tony Pinto. During the homily, Fr. Savio called on the parishioners to make a personal commitment towards the cause of social development in the parish area and in the city of Mumbai. Quoting the words of St. Paul – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race” – he said that each one should feel the personal responsibility of being involved in social issues, irrespective of whether others join in or not. At the end of the Eucharistic celebration a short felicitation programme was held in the church to thank those who had been instrumental in launching the social work initiatives in the parish. Mr. Melvin Pangya and Ms. Surekha Pednekar, staff members of Don Bosco Development Society, were thanked for the role they had played in getting the first Self Help Groups organized in the parish during these past few months. Eleven women from the Self Help Groups who had recently participated in the Entrepreneurship Development Programme were awarded certificates. These women have also received training in Soap, Phenyle and Candle making and after Mass they proudly displayed their products for all to see. The empowerment of the poor and disadvantaged in our parish has clearly begun!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

BIS # 966 A MISSIONARY LEGEND OF THE NORTH-EAST PASSES AWAY

Ivo Coelho sdb
NASHIK, JUNE 28, 2008: Bro Henry Gaikwad, better known all over the North-East as Prembhai, passed away quite suddenly while on a visit to Sri Lanka, on Saturday, June 28, 2008. Prembhai had taken diksha with Bede Griffiths at Shantivanam Ashram near Trichy in Tamil Nadu, and had exercised his missionary ministry mostly in Arunachal Pradesh. He had an ashram just within the borders of Arunachal Pradesh – it is the very first habitation one meets upon crossing the border into that Indian state from Harmutty in Assam. Prembhai had wandered into hundreds of inaccessible villages of Arunachal over the last twenty five years, witnessing to Christ in his inimitable way and bringing to people the good news. Prembhai was a Salesian novice in 1976-77 at Yercaud; he belonged to my novitiate batch, and had joined us after having passed through the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa, the Pune Diocese, and several other congregations. After a couple of months in Yercaud, he became restless and decided to leave. From the house he asked only for a small mat which could be folded into three. He had decided to go wandering, and that is what he did. Henry had a way of befriending people at station and platform, finding himself a place to sleep and perhaps a meal. He had the charism of total aparigraha: he could wander the length and breadth of the country with hardly any money and hardly any worry or anxiety. The Lord, I believe, showed him the way, and made use of his very special charism for the gospel in Arunachal Pradesh. When I met him in his ashram in Arunachal, he told me quite simply that he was known all over the North-East, that there was a room for him in every Bishop’s house, that he could walk into any place anywhere, that he had touched the lives of at least some 25,000 people in Arunachal. He would come every year to Mumbai at the head of a largish group of boys and girls from the state. It was perhaps not easy for institutional people like us to accommodate him, but I am very glad many of us did. It was our very small way of sharing in the charism of this extraordinary man. Henry Gaikwad alias Prembhai is related to our own Bro Damodar Gaikwad-Wankhede, and we offer our condolences to the family, and more especially to the large family of the Church in Arunachal that he leaves behind. I hope one day the story of Prembhai will be written. I have the feeling it is an exciting story, a latter day adventure, of a man who simply trusted in God and whom God used to do marvelous things.

BIS # 995 DIVYADAAN FELICITATES FR. JOAQUIM D’SOUZA

Daniel D’Souza sdb
NASHIK, JUNE 28, 2008: The newly appointed Superior of the Vice-Province of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), Fr. Joaquim D’Souza is presently in Divyadaan to conduct a course for the MPh students. The community grabbed this opportunity to express their pride and gladness at his appointment and also to thank him for his unwavering support to Divyadaan. The traditional Salesian ‘Family Circle’ was organized in his honour on the evening on June 26, 2008. The family circle was one of great enjoyment and entertainment; it included a band piece titled “Rex Regum’, a puppet dance and variety of songs that filled the evening. The brothers expressed their sentiments and gratitude to Fr. Joaquim through an address. Visibly moved by the love and affection of the community, Fr. Joaquim voiced his thanks for the wonderful evening. Speaking during the ‘Good Night’, he recollected the humble beginnings of Divyadaan that was launched under his guidance at Pune in 1980. He marveled at the progress Divyadaan has made in its past 27 years of existence in terms of size, quality and efficiency. He said that the inclusion of Diocesan and Fransalian students also gladdened his heart, since he had always dreamt of a Divyadaan that would be at the service of the entire Church. While pointing out the purpose of Divyadaan he exhorted the brothers to adopt a programme of life according to GC26 ‘to be good Salesians in service of the young’.

Friday, June 27, 2008

BIS # 991 “GIVE THANKS WITH A GRATEFUL HEART”

Judy Winslow
ALIRAJPUR, JUNE 27, 2008: June 26th marked a very special day at our Don Bosco centre in Alirajpur! The inauguration of our brand new School of Excellence Boys Boarding facility was presided over by Bishop Swamiji Chakko and graced by the presence of our Provincial, Fr. Michael Fernandes. Following the blessing, unveiling of the dedication stone by Bishop Swamiji and the cutting of the ribbon by Fr. Michael, a meaningful Mass was held for all the attendees. The children’s participation was excellent with clear readings and prayers. They also outdid themselves with their joyful singing. Many Salesian confreres came to help make this celebration a very special one. Several diocesan priests and Sisters, the Holy Spirit Sisters and our parishioners joined as well. A short programme to thank and honour those who helped in the planning, funding and construction of the facility was held after Mass with garlands presented to the honourees. After the programme, lunch was served to all. The construction for the new boarding began under the guidance of Fr. Anaclete D'Mello, Provincial Economer, Fr. Stanny Ferreira, Rector and Br. Jerome Mendonca, Administrator with the corroboration of Bishop Swamiji and the then Salesian Provincial, Fr. Ivo Coelho. After Fr. Stanny’s transfer last May, Fr. Leslie Pereira, Rector, Fr. Dominic Martis, Administrator, and Fr. Anthony Goyal Anthony, Principal and Prefect of Studies took over the task of completion. The theme for the celebration was, “Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart” - we here in Alirajpur are indeed grateful to our Bishop, our Salesian Provincials, our benefactors, Fr. Stanny, Fr. Anaclete, the Architect, the Contractor and all the workers who made this vision become a reality.

BIS # 993 LATE, BUT NEVER TOO LATE!

Lawrence D’Souza sdb

JAITALA, JUNE 26, 2008: St. Joseph Vidyalaya, Jaitala, Nagpur, commenced its new academic year 2008-09, this morning, June 26. But why so late, you will ask? Well, it is true that kids in other parts of the country got back to school several days ago, but for us here in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, today was the official reopening day. And so the students came streaming in, happy to be back in school. A late beginning no doubt, but as the old adage puts it: better late than never! The new year at Jaitala also witnessed a new Principal, Fr. James Nigrel, taking up the reins of the school. Fr. James Nigrel inaugurated the new scholastic year by garlanding the statute of St. Joseph in the presence of the Salesians, Staff and Students. Everyone then assembled in the School Hall and spent a few moments in prayer, invoking God to bless them as they recommenced their educational journey. After this, there was a short programme to welcome the new principal. Students then went to their respective classes to receive the Hand Book of the year. At 10.30 am the Staff assembled together for a meeting, which was addressed by the Manager, Fr. Lawrence D’Souza. During the meeting the news arrived that the school had secured 100 percent pass results in the SSC examinations. For a backward area like Jaitala this is an excellent performance. Our children are blossoming slowly, maybe a little late – but the joy of beholding their success makes us feel it’s never too late!

BIS # 992 MDG MAY TAKE 100 YEARS TO ACHIEVE LAMENTS SALESIAN CARDINAL MARADIAGA

Zenit News
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 26, 2008: The president of Caritas Internationalis lamented that at current rates of progress, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) set to be attained by 2015 may take 100 years to reach. Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga affirmed this yesterday, in a joint statement from Caritas and the International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity sent to the Group of Eight leaders. The leaders of the G-8 nations will meet in Japan in early July.
Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga said, "We regret that we have to write once again in 2008 to remind donor governments of the promises that remain unfulfilled”. "There is now a real danger that the Millennium Development Goals will be remembered as empty words. This can only fuel the cynicism with which so many people in developing countries already regard rich countries' expressions of concern." The cardinal noted that the term set for achieving the goals is already half over. It is clear, he added, "that too many countries will fail to achieve the goals. In some cases, at present rates of progress, they may have to wait more than a hundred years before the goals are reached."
The eight Millennium Development Goals are: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV-AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership of development.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

BIS # 991 Kadam Kadam Badayenge, Naya Bhavishya Banayenge

Chris Valentino sdb

LONAVLA, JUNE 25, 2008: Maria Ashiana Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Centre (a project of Shelter Don Bosco) celebrated the Closing Ceremony of the Education Month on June 23. At a well organized programme, which commenced with a Prayer-Song, the boys displayed their various skills and talents through dance, song, skits and poetry recitals. The theme chosen for the occasion was aptly titled “Kadam Kadam Badayenge, Naya Bhavishya Banayenge.” In keeping with the theme, the boys performed Amiri-Garibi, an introspective skit focusing on the need to be educated, while the song Ek Pal Ka Jeena, Ek Pal Hai Jaana had the boys grooving Hrithik ishtyle! A creative recital of a few nursery rhymes and an inspiring thought “Luck is not in our hand, but work is in our hand… Our work can bring us good luck” added life to the programme. A few boys also shared their experience at the Centre. The Chief Guest for the evening was Justice Shri Ashok Agarwal, former Judge at Mumbai High Court and Retired Chief Justice of the Chennai High Court. He is presently the Chairman of the Pravesh Niyantran Samiti which regulates the admission to Private Medical Colleges and Higher Technical Institutions. He is also actively involved in working for the Scheduled Tribes and Castes dealing with displaced settlements. Speaking on the occasion he said: “I am very happy to see the many talents that you boys have. I am also very impressed with your creativity and your motivation to do well in life. May you enjoy success and don’t forget the many people who have helped you in this institution to develop your skills.” Justice Agarwal also distributed the Individual and Group prizes. The highlights of the Education Month included among the usual daily routine, activities such as General Knowledge Quizzes; Sessions about various academic subjects; Learning through Posters and Charts with a token examination too thrown in to motivate the enthusiastic boys. The major achievement during this month was the teaching and learning of the basics of the English Language. Other subjects covered were Mathematics, Science and Hindi. This entire month was co-ordinated by Komal Kamble and Anthony Rajkumar with generous help from Vijaya, Francis, Nirmala, Kavita, Dama and Hirabai. Mr Matthewkutty, the programme co-ordinator at Maria Ashiana, was happiness personified at the successful completion of the Education Month, and expressed his desire to organize many more motivational programmes in the coming months. Indeed the staff and the boys at Maria Ashiana are on the right track echoing in unison “Kadam Kadam Badayenge, Naya Bhavishya Banayenge……”

BIS # 990 PROVINCIAL VISITS RESURRECTION PARISH

Loreen Fernandes
VIRAR, JUNE 25, 2008:
The parishioners of the Resurrection Parish, Virar East, were privileged to welcome their new Provincial, Fr. Michael Fernandes on Saturday June 21, 2008. Fr. Michael first addressed the Catechism students, challenging them to make a spiritual transition form being 'sail boats' (which are driven by wind) to 'motor boats' (which are self-driven). He exhorted them to generate power within themselves by developing a sense of responsibility, rather than just sailing along. The Provincial, thereafter, celebrated the Holy Eucharist, assisted by our Parish Priest, Fr. Blany Pinto, our assistant parish priest, Fr. Edwin Colaco, Priest-in-charge of Jyoti, Fr. Gregory D’Cunha and the assistant priest Fr. Bento D’Souza. Since it was the Laity Sunday, Fr. Michael emphasized the role of the laity in the Church and enlightened the people how they could serve the local Church. He offered them concrete suggestions of serving the Church by being altar-servers, lectors, catechism teachers, Eucharistic ministers, SCC leaders, etc. After the mass, Fr. Michael addressed the Parish Pastoral Council. In conclusion, Fr. Blany expressed his deep gratitude to the Provincial for providing additional priests this year at the Resurrection and Jyoti parishes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

BIS # 989 DIVYADAAN: RETURNING TO JAWHAR AND MOKHADA

Robert Pen sdb
NASHIK, JUNE 24, 2008:
The Don Bosco Development Office organized a two day orientation programme on June 21 and 22 for the Divyadaan Brothers who are to continue the ‘Schools of Excellence’ project in the region of Jawhar and Mokhada. The orientation programme was also organized to prepare the Brothers for the upcoming Seminar on Human Rights in Nashik, which is an initiative by the province in response to the Rector Major’s Strenna to make people aware of their rights. Mr. Lourdes Baptista, Mr. Melvin Pangya and Fr. Savio Silveira were the resource persons for the different sessions.

In the first Session in the afternoon, Mr. Melvin presented a brief background of the people of these areas along with some statistics. Next, Mr. Lourdes briefed the brothers about the other NGOs already working in the region and explained the role of the Don Bosco Institution among these various NGOs.

In the evening the Novices of STI joined the community of Divyadaan for a presentation on the social outreach ministry in the province. In his presentation, Fr. Savio situated the social work being carried out in the province within the context of Human Rights which this year’s Strenna calls us to promote. He made the brothers aware of the fact that every human being has the right to a decent living and we have got a role to play in ensuring this. He also acquainted the young Salesians with the new trends in the Development sphere, such as Corporate Social Responsibility and Skills Development Initiatives.

On Sunday morning, Mrs. Jayshree Patil, the principal of Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Vidhyalaya, Satpur was invited to give the brothers an input session on the format of the new SSC Lower Level English Paper. She not only helped the brothers realize how the new format facilitated fewer failures, but also helped them with their methodology in teaching. She was deeply moved and full of awe when she learnt of the sacrifices of the brothers involved in this apostolate and promised her whole-hearted co-operation in the project. The brothers too gained a lot in terms of knowledge and attitude while teaching.

The orientation ended with a last session after lunch to discuss the practical matters about the apostolate. The brothers are now all set to restart their teaching work in the villages of Jawhar and Mokhada from Sunday, June 29.

BIS # 988 IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL AT NAIGAON

Dorothy Fernandes

NAIGAON, JUNE 24, 2008
: Rejuvenated after a month of holidays, the SSC students got back to school on June 1, all excited and eager to shoulder a year of hard work in their studies. The staff too seemed enthusiastic about returning to school and to face the challenges that every new year offers. A Seminar was conducted for them on June 7. Fr. Cletus D'Souza, in his own inimitable style brought home the message: "A Right Vision, for a Fruitful Mission."

And then came D-day! The students, as they joyfully trooped in eager to meet their teachers and companions, were delighted to see their spic and span classes, all decorated by their teachers, ready to welcome them back. It is rightly said: "All that begins well, ends well" - we at Don Bosco Naigaon, hope to keep up the enthusiasm and work dedicatedly with team spirit towards the wholesome and integrated growth of our students.

BIS # 987 VEP SET TO RESTART AT KAWANT

Arun Pathare sdb
KAWANT, JUNE 24, 2008: With the new academic year already underway, preparations are on to restart the Village Education Programme (VEP) in the Kawant villages. The programme for this year will begin from July 1 and will have a total of 28 classes conducted in 22 villages. A training session was held at Don Bosco Kawant on Monday, June 23, for the teachers who will be taking these classes. Addressing the group, Fr. Gregory Almeida, Rector, explained to them the aim and the importance of this project. Speaking about education, Fr. Gregory stressed the point that the education we impart should lead to the overall development of the students and also orient them towards their future careers. Regarding the teaching methodology to be employed in the classes, he briefed them about the Play Way style of teaching. He also discussed with the teachers the general rules and regulations to be kept in mind. To maintain a high quality in the VEP, the teachers will have training sessions twice every month. Furthermore, twice a year the teachers from the primary section of Don Bosco High School will conduct tests in the villages for the children frequenting the classes. This will help gauge the progress being made by the students. This year Br. Ramesh Durairaj will be incharge of this educational programme in Kawant. The VEP plays a key role in spreading literacy in these tribal villages.

Monday, June 23, 2008

BIS # 986 EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS FOR DISADVANTAGED YOUTH

Meryl Misquita

MUMBAI, JUNE 23, 2008: Shelter Don Bosco organized its third consecutive Career Mela on Friday, June 20. The event was well attended by approximately 250 children living on the streets and 50 from the slum communities in the vicinity. This month the mela attracted youth from the slums where Shelter conducts pavement classes. Also benefiting from the introduction to different work areas were children from the organization ‘Pratham’ (a leading NGO working in the field of education). Among the speakers at the event were Mr. S. Vijaykumar from Youth Christian Welfare who spoke about the diverse options available in Government enterprises and Mr. Majeet from Track Power who introduced the boys to a very different career option – as guides at adventure camps where they would be provided food and accommodation and where the basic job training would be paid by the camp organizers. The novelty of these inputs generated a lot of interest and ensured a captive audience. This event was covered by the regional press (both print and broadcast media) including E TV, Doordarshan and the Maharashtra Times. This month’s mela witnessed a considerable turnout among street children who availed of the different facilities provided for them. 180 children made use of the facility for bathing while 64 children received medical check-ups and medicines from the team of visiting doctors from Sion Hospital. The others simply enjoyed watching the latest Hindi films and trying their luck at different games. The daily trials and tribulations of the streets were forgotten… even if only for a day!

BIS # 985 CAREER ORIENTATION PROGRAMME AT VIRAR AND JYOTI

Gregory D’Cunha sdb

VIRAR, JUNE 23, 2008: A Career Orientation programme was organized for the youth of our two parishes, Resurrection Parish, Virar East and Jyoti Mata Parish, Jyoti, on Friday, June 20. This programme, which was meant for the X and XII standard students, was also attended by youngsters from the neighbouring parishes. The sessions were conducted by Ms. Smita Naroji from the Disha Foundation. The first session, which was held at Jyoti, began at 2.00 pm and was attended by 35 students. Fr. Gregory D’Cunha welcomed Ms. Smita Naroji and the participants, and also thanked Mr. Melvin Pangya and Mr. Dayanand Patil from the Development Office who had helped in the arrangement of the programme. Ms. Naroji then gave a very informative and inspiring presentation on various possible career options. After the talk, the floor was opened to the participants for questions. The youngsters had a huge number of questions to ask which showed their keen interest in the topic. The second session of the day was held at Virar East. 25 students were present for this session. Here too the input given by the resource person was well appreciated by the participants. All those present affirmed that they had benefited much from this programme.

BIS # 984 KAPADVANJ VOCATION CENTRE RE-LAUNCHED

Isaac Arackaparambil sdb
KAPADVANJ, JUNE 23, 2008: June 20, 2008 was a red letter day in the annals not just of Kapadvanj, not just of the Gujarat region, but of the whole province of Mumbai, because the Vocation Centre in this region which had for a while withered has a new shoot with 12 Aspirants to the Religious Life. What is consoling is that 10 of these boys are vocations gathered from our own institutions: 9 from Jyoti Bhavan Jabhua and 1 from Don Bosco Parish Baroda. Prior to the reopening of the vocation centre, a fourteen day vocation camp had been held here at Kapadvanj in the month of May which was attended by 24 boys. What added to the effectiveness of this camp was that a good number of confreres from the Gujarat-MP-Rajasthan region shared their experiences through Salesiana conferences, every evening of the camp. The evaluation from the boys at the end of the camp was very positive, and they stated that they were especially touched by the testimonies and experiences shared by so many confreres. Apart from the fact that the confreres extended their time and resources with a spirit of joy and generosity, the warm reception given by each house in this region during the Vocational tour around the Salesian Houses spoke volumes of how the region has owned up this vocation promotion venture.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

BIS # 983 GC 26 DISSEMINATION AND COMMISSION MEETINGS

Matthew Coutinho sdb
MATUNGA, JUNE 21, 2008: Understanding the deliberations of the recently concluded GC 26 just got simpler thanks to the interesting presentation of the Chapter documents by Fr. Ivo Coelho on the second day of the Rectors’ Meeting, June 19. Summarizing in his inimitable style the five nuclei - “Return to Don Bosco, Urgent need for Evangelization, Need for Recruitment, Evangelical Poverty, New Frontiers” – Fr. Ivo carefully indicated issues which our province and our region can begin to work upon. He interspersed the presentation with some very interesting ‘asides’ that gave a glimpse of what went on beyond the walls of the “Aula Magna”. Ear-soothing Italian music and eye-catching pictures of Valdocco and the places of Don Bosco, of Naples and Capri, of some of our veterans like Fr. Moja and Fr. Casti, added to the ambience and made for a very interesting morning. Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial, with his periodic interventions pointed out other salient features of the chapter. One of those who participated in the dissemination summed up the general feeling when he said: “I am surprised at how practical and concrete this chapter’s deliberations are. No lengthy discourses or difficult arguments to comprehend. All we need to do is to renew our hearts with a passionate love for the young inspired by Christ and Don Bosco.” Soon after the session it was time to celebrate the presence of our very own Fr. Joaquim D’Souza who has been nominated Superior of the UPS, Rome. Our typical Salesian camaraderie and the great spread of food made it a very homely and enjoyable celebration. Celebrations had soon to be put aside as the next item on the agenda was taken up. The meeting of the commissions began at 2:30 pm and confreres from different communities who form part of the various commissions of the province were soon at work seriously listening to the reports of last year’s activities. Also present were representatives of the Cooperators and Past-pupils. The assembly was welcomed by Fr. Provincial who thanked those who had worked in the commissions last year and welcomed those who were being newly inducted into them. He urged the members to a ‘planning mentality’ for the year ahead with concrete lines of action that can be implemented and monitored. The reports gave us a glimpse of what had been achieved and what needed to be done. After the tea break it was times for each commission to meet, prepare plans and fix meetings for the coming year. For many of us it was the end of two hectic days of meetings. It is time to go back to our communities and take what has been discussed to the people who can really make things happen – our confreres. It is also time to dedicate ourselves anew to the people who make all our efforts worthwhile – the young people in our various settings. The words of our Rector Major pronounced when he convoked GC 26 sum it up beautifully: “Clothed by the power of the Spirit, may we find once again the necessary dynamism so that “da mihi animas, cetera tolle” become the soul of our mission among the young.”

Thursday, June 19, 2008

BIS # 982 MEETING OF LEADERS OF COMMUNITIES

Matthew Coutinho sdb

MATUNGA, JUNE 19, 2008: The annual meeting of the Rectors and Leaders of Communities of the Mumbai Province began with a Eucharistic Celebration presided over by the Provincial Fr. Michael Fernandes at 9.00 am on June 18, 2008. Fr. Michael, in his homily, presented a stirring reminder of the role of the superior. As animator of the community, he is called to serve his brothers and to care for their needs. Among his primary responsibilities is to extend to them praise and recognition, in a spirit of self-donation and availability. Building strong communities will also ensure that the mission is accomplished faithful to the charism of Don Bosco in a spirit of faith. Elude The first session of the morning, presided over by Fr. Michael was preceded by a short clip on the meaning of Leadership. After welcoming the newly-appointed rectors, Fr. Michael dedicated the session to highlighting some of the more practical aspects of the role of the leader of the community in the light of the Province Directory that was updated at PC 2006. He exhorted a greater attention to the spiritual life of the community and care for practical trainees and those in initial formation. The final session of the morning consisted in an interesting input on the “Rights Based Approach” that has taken on greater significance in the light of the Strenna of the Rector Major for the current year. The resource person was Mr. Josanthony Joseph who dealt with the topic using his expertise in theology and advocacy. He indicated the evolving understanding that the Church has about its mission of practicing the commandment of love, noting a similar evolution in the way social workers see their task in society. With very apt examples from the present day scenario in the field of human rights and social work he proceeded to explain the need to move from a ‘charity-welfare’ ‘needs-based’ approach to a ‘liberation-transformation’ ‘rights-based’ approach. The post-lunch session was dedicated to examining the calendar for the year 2008-2009, with Fr. Godfrey D’Souza, Vice Provincial, indicating significant events that need to be marked in our calendars. Also discussed was the holiday apostolate of brothers in formation. Suggestions were made to introduce them to varied settings in the province ensuring they have a wide experience of the different apostolates. A brief presentation followed of some of the software programs being developed in Bosco Institute of Technology, Kurla, using free and open source software. The final session of the day was dedicated to an update on the various activities which form part of the Social Outreach of the province managed by Don Bosco Development Society. Fr. Savio Silveira lucidly presented the main activities being carried out and presented the priorities that could form part of each communities planning for the year ahead. Much is already being done and with networking and support we can truly reach out to those who are needy and marginalized in the spirit of article 33 of our constitutions.

BIS # 981 ON YOUR MARK……GET SET ………GROW!

Crescens Lemos sdb
MATUNGA, JUNE 18, 2008: Don Bosco Matunga swung back into action as school reopened on June 16, 2008. To begin on a good note, the management team Rector Fr. Jude D’Mello, Principal Fr. Crispino D’Souza and Vice Principal Fr. Roy Noronha had a meeting with the teaching staff. The Rector began with a prayer imploring the graces necessary to carry out God’s will in our work of educating the young entrusted to our care. Addressing the teachers, he reminded them of the important role they play in the lives of the students. Speaking on the topic of education, he based his insights on the Strenna of the previous two years which speaks on the love for life. He further used the analogy of the seed as a symbol of the life God has given us. The seed needs good soil to grow and the family is that good soil. Along with the good soil the seed also needs a good and a patient farmer. As educators we are called to be the patient farmer, who will help the student to grow into a good human being. Citing a few incidents from the life of Don Bosco, Fr. Jude stressed on three points
1. To have a positive attitude towards the students
2. Be patient and do not give up.
3. To realize that teachers are called to be mediators between parents and the students.
The Principal Fr. Crispino welcomed the management and the staff to this new academic year. He then announced the theme for the academic year 2008-09 as ”GROWTH”. Explaining the theme, he said that it is integral growth which is at the heart of the educational system of Don Bosco. It was then followed by a PowerPoint presentation on team work, featuring the ten commandments of team work. Earlier in the morning Fr. Crispino was interviewed live on Radio Mirchi and was asked to give a message to the students for this new academic year. Giving his message, he urged all students to begin working hard from day one itself.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

BIS # 980 DON BOSCO SAVEDI - STARTING A NEW

SAVEDI,

JUNE 17, 2008: On Monday June 16, the students of Don Bosco Marathi and English Medium Schools assembled together for the inauguration of the new academic year. The National Anthem and the Prayer Song were sung to initiate the proceedings of the day. Fr William Falcao, Manager of the Savedi Educational Complex, welcomed and introduced the new Principal, Fr Francis Fernandes and the other new members of the Salesian team Fr. Manuel Murzello, Fr. Cyril D’Souza and Bro Richard Burkhao. Fr Bento D’Souza was also wished farewell and thanked for the five years he spent in this campus. Next, the new entrants into the school, the tiny tots from the Marathi medium pre-primary were welcomed with a rose. Then, the other new students of the school were called up to the dais and given a hearty welcome applause. Fr William Falcao concluded the inaugural programme by exhorting all the students to value the importance of education which is the foundation of their future.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

BIS # 979 PROVINCIAL HOUSE LAUNCHES NEIGHBOURHOOD OUTREACH

MATUNGA, JUNE 17, 2008:
Over the decades the Don Bosco Matunga Campus has witnessed many an inauguration, but the simple and homely ceremony held on the evening of June 16, to inaugurate the Provincial House neighbourhood outreach programme will always remain a special moment in the minds and hearts of the confreres of the Provincial House community. Present for the occasion were the Provincial, Vice Provincial, Economer, Rector and almost all the Salesians of the community. They had gathered around the 50 or so children from the neighbouring slums who will be frequenting the evening study classes to be conducted in the Shrine Office building. The inaugural ceremony began with Melvin Pangya welcoming the children and the Salesians who were present. The children then sang a prayer song invoking God’s blessings on this new venture. Next, Surekha Pednekar explained the idea behind this new project. She pointed out that while the boys from the surrounding slums had the opportunity to attend the evening study classes organized by Don Bosco High School, no such facility was available for the girls. Realizing that the girls in the slums are always the most disadvantaged, Fr. Edwin D’Souza, the Rector of the Provincial House, had suggested to his community that they launch a study support programme for them. The idea had been enthusiastically accepted and the project had now materialized. Speaking next, Fr. Edwin D’Souza told the kids that they were Tare Zameen Par, and he hoped that the educational support they were receiving would make them shine like starts in this world. The sparkle on the faces of the children seemed to say that they truly were Tare Zameen Par!

Monday, June 16, 2008

BIS # 978 PINGULI PRE-NOVITIATE PICKS UP ONCE AGAIN

Kenneth Pereira sdb

PINGULI, JUNE 16, 2008: There was an air of excitement in Pinguli on Tuesday June 10, 2008. The reason: the expected arrival of 23 pre-novices from the Konkan and Mumbai provinces. Well, eventually only 21 of them turned up. They began trickling in from 6.00 am and by the time the last one arrived it was 9.00 pm. Our pre-novices this year constitute a motley lot, hailing from Gujarat in the north to Karnataka in the south. This is the fifteenth batch of pre-novices coming to Pinguli. Eleven of them are from the Konkan province, while ten are from the Mumbai province. Fr. Loddy Pires, the Konkan provincial, officially initiated them to the PNC during the solemn Eucharist that evening, at which each of them was given a small crucifix. And now the ball falls into the court of the local Salesians: Fr. Tomas Fernandes (Rector), Fr. Kenneth Pereira (Prefect of Studies), Fr. Kimrold D'Mello (Administrator) and Cl. Jason Pinto (Assistant). Fr. Kimrold and Bro. Jason, fresh from their theological and philosophical studies respectively, are new faces in this community. They've come bubbling with energy and enthusiasm. We can look forward to a great year with them around!

BIS # 977 THE RETURN OF THE LION KING

Ranald Lopes sdb
CHHOTA UDEPUR, JUNE 16, 2008: While the rest of the Salesian world celebrated the death centenary of Don Bosco in 1988, anxiety reigned high in the frontier lands of the Mumbai Province. The future of the Salesian centre at Chhota Udepur was on shaky ground after a heinous conspiracy to destroy it had seen its pioneer, Fr. Byron D’Silva, being imprisoned on murder charges. To set it back on an unbeatable course, the then provincial selected a band of indomitable men to defend its ramparts. And among those men was Fr. Elson Barretto - measuring well over six feet in height and a hundred kilos in weight. For 12 years Fr. Elson laboured in the remote villages of those hinterlands and made Don Bosco synonymous with the education and development of the Rathwas. In the year 2000 when he was transferred from there, the tribals bidding him farewell prophesied: “Your tryst with Rathwaland is not over”. They were proved right as Fr. Elson once again took up the reins of Chhota Udepur this Saturday. At a simple but solemn ceremony, the Provincial Fr. Michael Fernandes installed Fr. Elson as Rector of Don Bosco Chhota Udepur on June 14. Present for the occasion were several Salesians from across Gujarat. After the official ceremony, Fr. Elson released a dove, signifying his desire of seeing Chhota continue flying high. Under his leadership, the Salesian of Chhota are confident of scaling new heights! Later in the evening, the Provincial presented driving licences to 25 youth who had recently completed a two months driving course. This course was part of the ongoing Skills Training Programme being held at Chhota Udepur.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

BIS # 957 BALPRAFULTA’S RESCUE MISSION

Amruta Lovekar ANDHERI,
JUNE 15, 2008: On June 12, World Anti Child Labour Day instituted by the International Labour Organization, to remind people of the atrocities against children, 12 children all below the age of 18 were rescued from Sakinaka, Chandivali Mhada, Yadav Nagar near Kherani Road in the Andheri area. The rescues operation was spearheaded by Bal Prafulta, a Don Bosco Organization, with the assistance of the Labour Department, Police and the BMC. For this rescue operation, the areas were first scanned. We found 40-45 child labourers working in the above mentioned areas. Scanning involved understanding the history, background and composition of these areas. It also involved visiting these areas several times to ensure that children were actually employed. These children ranging from 9 to 17 years of age were mostly working in garages and hotels. A report on this basis was compiled and subsequently a letter was submitted to Mr. Vhatkar, the Senior Police Inspector of Sakinaka police station, who decided a date for the rescue operation. On the day of the rescue operation, we made arrangements for hiring a bus. The police officers had to be convinced that the children up to the age of 18 cannot be employed. Journalists and television reporters were informed about the whole process of rescue and rehabilitation of the children. Of the 12 children rescued, 10 were working in hotels and 2 in garages. Five employers were booked under the Indian Penal code (Section 374), Juvenile Justice Act (Section 23 and Section 26) and the Child Labour Act (Section 3). They were then produced beore a metropolitan court on Friday. The rescued children were sent to the Children’s Home at Dongri. These cases are being followed up with the Child Welfare Committee and immediate rehabilitation of these children is being organized. Bal Prafulta continues to safeguard the rights of children exploited by unscrupulous elements in society.

BIS # 975 A NEW DISHA AT DON BOSCO KAWANT

Ramesh Durairaj sdb
KAWANT, JUNE 15, 2008: June 13, 2008 was a momentous day for the house of Don Bosco Kawant! Our Provincial, Fr. Michael Fernandes, arrived here in the evening and was warmly welcomed by the Salesians, the staff and the boys. The boys sang a welcome song with much gusto and showered him with flowers, happy that the Provincial was in their midst. Certainly this was not just a casual visit, he was here to install the new Rector, and that added to the sparkle and the solemnity of his coming. At 7.00 pm, the Provincial launched a ‘plantation drive’, planting the first sapling himself. This was symbolic of the new year that was just beginning. The official installation ceremony of the new Rector, Fr. Gregory Almeida began at 7.30 pm. Several Salesians from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh were present for the occasion. Interestingly, Fr. Gregory did his Practical Training here at Kawant in 1995, and now, 13 years later, he takes over as Rector. During the ceremony, the Provincial explained the role of the Rector, stressing that he is the animator and spiritual guide of the community. Proposing the vote of thanks, Fr. Gregory expressed his gratitude to the Provincial for entrusting him with this new responsibility. Don Bosco Kawant now looks forward to a new disha under the leadership of their young and dynamic Rector.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

BIS # 974 “DIVYADAAN - IF YOU ONLY KNEW THE GIFT OF GOD”

Leon Rodrigues sdb

NASHIK, JUNE 14, 2008: On June 11, the community jubilated at the inauguration of the new academic year 2008. His Grace, Rt. Rev. Archbishop Felix Machado celebrated the Eucharistic, invoking the gift of the Holy Spirit on the assembled congregation. In his homily, the Archbishop dwelt on ‘The Holy Cross of Christ as the Wisdom of God’ which by its redeeming action transforms us radically. In the inaugural lecture, the Archbishop stated that as ‘Consecrated Religious in a developing India’, we must consider the growth of a bright and beautiful India our sacred duty. He further called the gathering to be rooted in faith and yet be thinkers in a fast-growing society. He invited the congregation to take ‘Faith’ as the keystone in their Philosophical endeavour. Yet he did not exempt the role of ‘Reason’ from research. Drawing from his profound knowledge of the Bhagāvat Gītā, the Archbishop declared that one cannot remain ‘actionless’ and must hence do the things that he/she is meant to do. Thus he implored the gathering to act, i.e. to do one’s duty in the spirit of true motivation. He expressed that one’s goal in life must be the achievement of innocence crowned with wisdom and for this one must endure the struggles, pains and tribulations that come one’s way. In the second part of his lecture the Archbishop emphasized that the Church is both local as well as Universal at the same time. We must come out of our squeamish ghetto mentality and burst forth into the manifold activities of the Church. The previous day, June 10, the Community of Divyadaan implored the blessings of the Lord on Fr. Savio D’Souza as he was officially installed as the Rector of the Philosophate, Divyadaan by the Provincial of the Mumbai Province, Fr. Michael Fernandes. The Salesian Confreres around the campus gathered in one accord and asked the Lord to send on him the Light of the Holy Spirit so that he may render incarnate amongst the community the presence and fatherliness of Don Bosco and thus guide the young confreres in seeking and fulfilling His Holy Will. While presiding at the Eucharistic, the Provincial stressed the fact that the Superior is a gift of God; he represents Jesus Christ and is the centre of the community. He is responsible for the religious life, the apostolic mission and administrative goods of the community in front of God and the local ecclesiastical authorities. The Superior animates the community and tries to bring out the best in his confreres and this responsibility he shares with his Local House Council.

BIS # 973 “LET’S START ANEW”

Chris Valentino sdb
LONAVLA, JUNE 13, 2008: Don Bosco High School and Junior College, Lonavla officially commenced its new academic year today. Undaunted by the heavy showers lashing the quaint little hill-town, cheerful faces and eager bodies clambered up the familiar pathway leading to Don Bosco. The students, staff and the management ushered in the new academic year 2008-2009 with a short and meaningful prayer-service with the theme “Let’s Start Anew.” Beginning with the lighting of the Lamp, where Fr Thomas D’Costa, Fr Bernard Fernandes and Br. P.M. Thomas represented the management, the Prayer Service paved the way for the other activities. Fr Bernard Fernandes, Principal, welcomed the gathering and coordinated the proceedings. He also appreciated and bid farewell to the outgoing members of the teaching staff, while welcoming the newer additions this year. Announcing the successful results of the HSC Examinations, he congratulated the top achievers, the teachers and the parents for the excellent performance. The key-note address was delivered by Rev. Fr Thomas D’Costa, Rector. Narrating the life-story of Steve Jobs – the pioneering inventor of APPLE computers, Computer NXT and Founder-Director of Pixar Animation Studios, he mentioned how Steve overcame numerous obstacles and a life-threatening illness to reach the heights of success. Quoting Steve he said: “When you look in the mirror, ask yourself: If today were the last day of my life, am I doing what I really want to do with my life? If for a few days, the answer is No, you’d better do something about it.” This was followed by some general instructions and a Staff Meeting. The year has truly begun well with three new members joining the Salesian Community this year: Cl. Rickson Fernandes and Cl. Kiran Salve have begun in right earnest, along with Dn. Christopher. Frs. Thomas D’Costa, Bernard Fernandes, Flovi D’Souza and Salesians Brothers P.M. and A.M. make up the remainder of the vibrant team for the new academic year. Hopefully, the theme Let’s Start Anew will spur Don Bosco Lonavla, on to greater achievements by the year end.

Friday, June 13, 2008

BIS # 972 AN EASY CLICK TO EMPOWERMENT

Adolph Furtado sdb
KURLA, JUNE 13, 2008: It may seem like an ordinary announcement to state that 17 women recently became adept at working with computers. But the women are residents of Mumbai’s poorest tenements and have had no prior exposure, experience, or even education, before they became so computer savvy. Their determination to rise above their ranks, and their resulting empowerment, marks this as an extraordinary achievement. The Don Bosco Institute of Technology (DBIT) is so intent on addressing marginalized sections of society, that when a women’s self-help group expressed interest in their computer classes, they made it easily available. More importantly, they encouraged and supported their students to continue until they were certified. The fact that all 17 of them completed the course, and that there are numerous other women waiting to enrol in future batches, signifies a small but significant accomplishment. The students plan to use their new skills in making pitches and presentations, writing reports, and planning other activities. The certification programme was attended by Assistant Commissioner A. Khoje and Community Development Officer Mrs. Shubha Benurwar from the Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC), as well as senior executives, educators, and priests from the institute. The programme was coordinated by Mr. Royal D’Souza, out reach programme officer.

BIS # 971 NEW YEAR GETS UNDERWAY AT DBYC PUNE

Ashwin Macwan sdb
PUNE, JUNE 12, 2008: On June 9, during a well-animated Eucharistic celebration, Fr. Vincent Rasquinha was installed as the new Rector of Don Bosco Youth Centre, by the Provincial Fr. Michael Fernandes. Speaking during the ceremony, the Provincial highlighted the many qualities of Fr. Vincent and also the long years of experience that he has. Fr. Vincent, who is well known for his exceptional human and Salesian qualities, has served as leader in several communities of the province, including Nashik, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. After the Eucharist, there was a get-together to felicitate the new Rector and also to welcome Fr. Tony Alemao, Fr, Cleophas Braganza, and the first year Theology students to the community. The following day, June 10, was the inauguration of the new academic year at Jnana Deepa Vidya Peeth (JDV). The theme for this year is: “Called to be Cheerful Givers”. The programme began at 8.30 am with a solemn Eucharist at which over 800 students (Religious) participated. Archbishop of Nashik Felix Machado was the principal celebrant and he was joined by 80 concelebrants. Delivering the homily, Archbishop Felix Machado reminisced his own days in the seminary and spoke of how we can find joy in imitating God the generous Giver. After the Eucharist there was the inaugural function during which the new master’s programme in Biblical Studies was launched. The inaugural address “Emerging India: Challenges and Opportunities for the Leaders of Tomorrow,” delivered by the distinguished Lead India Pune finalist Mr. Ranjit Gadgil was well appreciated.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

BIS # 970 SHELTER: MAKING A DIFFERENCE TO VULNERABLE CHILDREN

Cheryl Braganza
MUMBAI, JUNE 12, 2008: The staff and children of Maria Ashiana, Lonavla, organized a rally on May 28, 2008, to raise awareness against female foeticide. Starting from the organization’s premises at 10.00 am, the rally covered Tungarli, Kumar Resort Chowk, Shivaji Puthala, Bhangarwadi and Valvan. The children of Maria Ashiana performed a street play to spread awareness among the public about the importance of the girl child. Other NGOs in Lonavla, namely, Manshakti Kendra, Varsoli, Bal Anandgram and Ashish Bhavan (Kunegaon) demonstrated their solidarity with regard to this issue through their active participation. The highlight of the rally was a speech by Mr. Furtade, the Sub-Inspector of Lonavla Police at Shivaji Puthala, regarding the constitutional remedies for preventing girl child abortion, sex discrimination and prenatal scanning for sex determination. A summer camp was conducted by the Shelter staff in the Vashi Naka slum community (Chembur). Held for the purpose of creatively and constructively engaging the children and youth during their summer holidays, the camp elicited enthusiastic participation from the children. Not only did it offer a platform to showcase the children’s inborn talents, but it also simultaneously strengthened the bonds between them. The entire planning, arrangements and preparations for the camp were managed by the children with the staff providing overall supervision and support. Easily available materials were collected by the children and utilized during this camp. Games like kho-kho, langdi, cricket, lemon and spoon race and activities such as story-telling, drawing and skits ensured that interest levels and participation remained high. Prizes were distributed to all 20 participants at the conclusion of the summer camp as a measure of our appreciation for the children’s efforts.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

BIS # 969 DON BOSCO CRICKET LEAGUE AT JEUR

Bento D’Souza sdb
SAVEDI, JUNE 11, 2008:
Eighteen teams participated in the Don Bosco Cricket League organized by the Don Bosco Youth Group of Rosary Mata Church, Jeur from June 1 to 8, 2008. The tournament began with a prayer led by Fr Bento D’Souza and the blessing of the newly prepared cricket pitch. The cricket extravaganza ended with the finals on June 8, between Ya Maulana and Imampur teams. The prizes were distributed by the Parish Priest Fr William Falcao. The first prize of Rs. 2001 which was won by the Ya Maulana Team was donated by Fr William Falcao; the second prize of Rs. 1001, given to Imampur Team was donated jointly by Harbal traders and Don Bosco Youth Group, Jeur; while the third prize of Rs. 701 which went to Chapewadi Team, was donated by Kadam Marketing. Over a hundred youth from the surrounding villages were spectators at this cricketing event.

BIS # 968 FRANÇOISE LÉONARD ELECTED PRESIDENT OF DBN

ANS News
ROME, JUNE 11, 2008:
Sixteen members of the Don Bosco Network (DBN) met at the Sacro Cuore Salesian Centre in Rome, on June 9. They represented the seven NGOs, all European-based, who make up the DBN. The meeting’s purpose, other than being the Annual General Assembly of the body, focused in particular on structural and institutional change brought about by the need for DBN to respond to ‘youth at the heart of development’, the characteristic Salesian feature of the Network. The assembly also elected its new President, in the person of Françoise Léonard, of COMIDE, Belgium, who replaced the outgoing president Hans-Juergen Dorrich of Jugend Dritte Welt (JDW), Germany.

Present for the assembly was Fr Vaclav Klement, the newly elected Salesian General Councilor for the Missions. Though currently mainly European-based, DBN is aiming to become a worldwide network of Salesian NGOs. This entails structural reform as the body looks at expansion. The assembly took up a range of reflections on geographical and partnership expansion, strategic location of offices and reinforced contacts with the Salesian General Council, the desire and the ‘how’ of acting together under a common name. Lengthy consideration was also given to a set of principles and guidelines for international cooperation on a north-south axis to help deal with partnership requests from Don Bosco Partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania, and also Eastern Europe.

Note: The PSP process and the setting up of Development Offices across India was largely an initiative of Ms. Françoise Léonard and was funded by COMIDE. Several projects presently underway in the Mumbai Province are being supported by the DBN especially JDW, Germany.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

BIS# 967 ROSHNI NOW IN 20 BARODA SLUMS

Roger Jones sdb

Schools all over the city of Baroda reopened yesterday, June 9, after the summer vacations. With the commencement of the scholastic year, Roshni – the educational project run by Don Bosco in the slums of Baroda, also got underway. This year Roshni will have a total of 20 centres spread out across the city. Last year the project consisted of 15 centres, but 2 had to be discontinued during the year due to the demolition of the slums where these classes were being conducted. A survey was carried out in the various slum areas of the city during the summer months to identify prospective areas for the classes and 7 such areas were identified. Thus, with classes being initiated in these 7 new locations, Roshni is now reaching out to children in 20 different slums in Baroda. Through the Roshni project, children in the targeted areas have two hours of study classes every morning. Not only is a child friendly methodology used in the teaching, but the curriculum is also designed in a way that the children can easily grasp the subject matter. To make this happen, all the teachers involved in the Roshni project undergo special training at the start of the year and also attend half-day training sessions twice every month. While some of the children who frequent these classes attend the local municipal schools, several are child labourers and do not have the possibility of regular schooling. Thus, the Roshni classes are their only channel of education.

Monday, June 9, 2008

BIS # 966 NORTHEAST INDIA’S OLDEST SALESIAN PASSES AWAY

George Plathottam sdb
GUWAHATI, JUNE 9, 2008: Salesian priest Laarhuis Herman passed away in Shillong on June 6. He was 94. His mortal remains were laid to rest on June 8, after a requiem Mass presided over by Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shilliong, at the Divine Saviour Parish. Born in 1913 in Netherlands, Fr. Herman joined the Salesian Society in 1938. He had to move from place to place and country to country and face innumerable hardships to complete his philosophical studies due to World War II. After completing his theological studies in Luvein, he was ordained a priest in 1947, and as a young priest, Fr. Herman came to India in 1948. The six decades of his dedicated life spent in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya endeared him to the people. He served as pastor in Mawkyndeng, one of the remotest areas of the state. For twelve years he was Administrator and Rector of Don Bosco Technical School, Shillong, one of the premier institutions that have educated hundreds of youth from all the states of the region.
Thousands of people participated in the requiem Mass and the funeral. “A funeral like no other” remarked one of the veterans who has seen the passing away of several missionaries. Salesian Provincial Fr. Joseph Almeida, during his funeral oration, described Fr. Herman as a missionary who gave his very best and endeared himself to all people during his long and dedicated years of priestly and religious life.

Friday, June 6, 2008

BIS # 965 ONE, TWO, TRIMBAKESHWAR !

Bosco Carvalho sdb
NASHIK, JUNE 6, 2008:
June 1, saw the cheerful community of Divyadaan set out for a half-day picnic to Trimbakeshwar, which is one of the popular pilgrimage destinations on the outskirts of Nashik. There, on the picturesque hilltop, are situated some of the most famous temples of Nashik. We, enthusiastically yet cautiously, climbed the 550 steps to reach the summit. Once we reached the top, we spent our time visiting the many shrines there. It certainly was edifying to watch the numerous devotees offering their worship and prayers in these sacred sanctuaries.

Tired out by our excursion, we decided to take a short break and refresh ourselves with limbu pani. It was also a moment to look around and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. And yes, the monkeys noticing our tired faces, graciously entertained us with their antics! Rejuvenated, we took to the road again and happily headed back home. The picnic was a good opportunity for us to increase our knowledge and respect towards the Hindu culture.

BIS # 964 FR. JOAQUIM D’SOUZA APPOINTED SUPERIOR OF THE VICE PROVINCE OF UPS

ROME, JUNE 6, 2008:
Fr. Joaquim D’Souza has been appointed the Superior of the Vice Province of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) in Rome by the Rector Major Fr. Pascual Chavez. He replaces the outgoing Superior Fr. Giuseppe Nicolussi. Fr. Joaquim D’Souza recently completed twelve years in office as the Regional Councilor for South Asia. This new appointment will now see him serving as the Superior of UPS for the next six years.

Having spent most of his life in the formation field, Fr. Joaquim is well suited for this new responsibility. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy in 1965 and then proceeded to the Salesian University at Rome where he completed his Doctorate in Philosophy in 1970, following which he taught philosophy for two years at Yercaud. After his ordination in 1975 he returned to the teaching field as professor of philosophy, both, at Pune and Yercaud. From 1981 to 1984 he served as Rector at Pune, and then from 1984 to 1988 as Rector of Divyadaan, Nashik. In 1988 he was appointed Vice Provincial of the Mumbai Province and in 1994 he took over as Provincial. At GC24 in 1996 he was elected as Regional Councilor for Australasia. After the reorganization of Regions at GC25 in 2002, he was elected as Regional Councilor for South Asia. At the recently concluded GC26 he laid down office after successfully serving the region for 12 years. As he takes up this responsibility of Superior of the UPS, he brings to his new task, both, his international experience as well as his expertise in the formation field.

It is indeed a proud moment for the Mumbai Province as Fr. Joaquim takes up this prestigious service to the Congregation. We wish him good luck God’s blessings!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

BIS # 963 FR. BARNABE D’SOUZA AWARDED PHD

MUMBAI, JUNE 5, 2008:
Fr. Barnabe D’Souza was awarded the PhD degree from the University of Coventry, UK, after he successfully defended his thesis: ‘Changing Mindsets: Evolution of a Rehabilitation Programme for Chemically Dependent Male Street Adolescents in a Major Indian City’. The doctoral defense was held at the University College of Worcester, UK, on May 23, 2008. While Fr. Barnabe’s guide was Dr. Stephen Bigger, the examining panel consisted of Dr. Jack Whitehead (University of Barth), Dr. Peter Wekifeild (University of Worcester) and Dr. Jean Webb (University of Worcester). The examiners were in awe of the phenomenal research work done and right at the outset one of them stated: "The thesis is not at stake, we have already decided to award you the PhD, let us now get some clarity of ideas about it". The new knowledge contributed through this research was of the steps to mindset change in chemically dependent street children and the creation of a therapy model that can be adapted to any cultural setting. There was also a focus on the spiritual aspects that play a significant role in the rehabilitation process. A commendable aspect of the research was the fact that it was strongly participatory in nature and action oriented. This research brings to culmination the 21 years of experience that Fr. Barnabe has in working with street children in the city of Mumbai and especially in the rehabilitation of drug abusers.

Monday, June 2, 2008

BIS # 962 FIRST PAST PUPILS MEET AT CHHOTA UDEPUR

Charlin Chandran sdb
CHHOTA UDEPUR, JUNE 2, 2008: The first ever ‘Joint Past Pupils Meet’ of three Don Bosco Institutions in Gujarat – Chhota Udepur, Kawant and Narukot – was held at Chhota Udepur over the weekend. The programme began at 4.00 pm on Saturday, May 31, and concluded with lunch on Sunday, June 1. Close to 250 former students from these three institutions participated in this event which helped forge stronger ties among the alumni. It was also an occasion for them to look to the future with a common vision. The overnight Meet began with a short cultural performance by a troupe from Baroda. This was followed by the Keynote Address given by reputed humanitarian worker Mr. Francis Macwan. He stressed the fact that the past pupils had benefited much from the education they had received in the Don Bosco institutions. Although coming from backward villages and poor families, the education that they received had helped them to create good careers for themselves. Some of them were now engineers, doctors, teachers, or in the army and police force. He pointed out that it was now their turn to contribute towards the betterment of society. He asked them to come forward and make a significant difference in the lives of underprivileged and disadvantaged people. Several past students also addressed the gathering expressing their gratitude to the Salesians for supporting them during their schooling years and especially for assisting them to move ahead into good careers. Among those who spoke were RTO Inspector Ashok Rathwa, Municipal Corporator Ranchod Rathwa. Doctor Vanraj Rathwa and Social Worker Ramilla Rathwa. Guest speakers from the Dominic Savio Past Pupils Unit Andheri also addressed the gathering and presented ideas on how the alumni can be socially involved. The meet ended on a practical note with the creation of three units: Chhota Udepur, Kawant and Baroda. The members will now meet in these three units and chalk out an action plan. Kudos to all the organizers of this Meet, especially Br. Ramesh Durairaj, Fr. Dominic Martis and Fr. Ranald Lopes.

BIS # 961 DB TECH INDIA HOLDS NATIONAL CONVENTION

Jeffrey Fernandes sdb
MUMBAI, JUNE 2, 2008: The Third National Convention of Don Bosco Tech India, an association of Technical Institutes across Salesian India, was held at the Provincial House, Chennai on May 25, 2008. Close to 100 members were present for the convention. Fr. Stanislaus, Provincial of the Chennai Province welcomed the gathering and spoke passionately of the manner in which Don Bosco got his collaborators to assist him in his work for the artisans. While congratulating the work done by the DB Tech India, he cautioned the members not to sell themselves to Corporates who might have their own agenda for networking with us. He said that we have our own brand to sell and we should excel in our field as trainers so that others can choose us as a model to imitate for the future of Technical Education. The keynote address was given then by Dr. P. Basak, Scientist and Researcher and former member of the Planning Commission. His deliberations were loaded with inspirational quotes from Don Bosco whom he had studied and researched. His interventions were challenges facing the uneducated and school-dropouts now caught up in the unorganized sector. The huge numbers and percentages of types of people available in the market and the types of youth wanted by the employers was a sheer eye opener for most of us. Next, Fr. George Mathew, Secretary of DB Tech India reported on the activities carried out by the network in the last two years. Mr. Lourdes Baptista apprised the assembly of the industry-institute partnership that has emerged as a result of the network. Fr. Corlis Gonsalves presented Don Bosco Chinchwad as a national institution, since it caters to youngsters all over India. In his characteristic generosity Fr. Corlis opened the doors of his institution to the street children across India who wish to move from marginalization to main stream through skill development at his institution via Work2livE programme. Fr. A M Jose, Provincial Economer, New Delhi Province and the chief architect of coordination between the DB Tech India and COMIDE, Belgium and JDW Bonn, Germany briefed the assembly about the support given by these two Salesian agencies for strengthening of the network through standardization and certification of the non-formal courses in our institutions. The final event on the agenda was the election of the National Core Committee. The members elected were Fr. A.M. Jose, Fr. George Matthew, Fr. Savio Silveira, Fr. Jeffery Gladstone, Br. Cyriac and Fr. Benny Alex. Fr. Adolph Furtado and Fr. V. M Thomas were co-opted into the core committee. Concluding the Convention, Fr. Noel Maddhichetty, Provincial of Hyderabad and the Provincial in-charge of DB Tech India thanked the outgoing members of the task force for the courage and enthusiasm they had shown in steering this national network. He appealed to the members to continue to educate the poor and disadvantaged in livelihood skills, raise the standards of our technical schools across India and lay equal emphasis on character formation of youngsters in our institutions thus forming good and honest skilled youngsters for a peaceful and prosperous India.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

BIS # 960 “I CAME TO TEACH, BUT AM GOING AWAY TAUGHT”

Nancy Donelly
ALIRAJPUR, JUNE 1, 2008: A very "Humbling Experience" is what I have had, staying at Don Bosco in Alirajpur. The verse from the letter of St. James kept coming to my mind; "...so faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead." The selfish person that I am, it is very difficult for me to fathom how people can work so selflessly for the poor in these distant villages. Hats off to all the Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and Social Workers who give off themselves knowing fully well that at the end of the road there are no monetary gains or may be even appreciation for the work they do. Coming to this remote house I thought I'd lose weight, but on the contrary, the atmosphere at the dining table was so wonderful that I've piled on a few kilos. Really I must say a big thank you to the Salesian community at Alirajpur for going out of their way to make me feel at home. I also cannot forget the hospitality extended to me by the Sisters along with their superior Sr. Tessie. I admire their courage and sacrifice in the face of so many odds. May God bless each one of them and grant them grace and strength to carry on His work. And last but not the least I owe it all to Fr. Leslie, because if it were not for him, I would never have made this trip. I came to 'Teach', but I am going away 'Taught', a great many lessons of life. (Nancy Donelly spent the summer holidays as a volunteer, teaching English to the tribal children at Don Bosco, Alirajpur.)


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