Thursday, October 30, 2008

BIS # 1168 YOUNG SALESIANS INTRODUCED TO LIFE SKILLS

Joel D’Souza sdb MUMBAI, OCTOBER 30, 2008: ‘Life Skills’ have clearly found their place in the Youth Ministry of the Mumbai Province. A few months back 20 Salesian priests from the province attended a Workshop in Life Skills training – now it was the turn of the young Salesians who are in practical training to go through a similar programme. A four day Workshop on this theme, from October 27 to 30, was conducted by Fr Isaac Arackaparambil at Provincial House, Matunga and it was attended by 18 Practical Trainees. The aim of the Workshop was to equip the participants with the necessary tools to effectively conduct sessions in Life Skills for youngsters. Besides inputs received, the participants also went through the practical experience of conducting these sessions which helped reinforce the learning. The entire Workshop was based on the UDAAN Life Skills programme. The feedback at the end of the Workshop was extremely positive. The participants felt that they had learnt something new and relevant, and that they would be able to use the same in their work with young people.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BIS # 1167 INDIAN FMA ELECTED VISITING COUNCILLOR

C. M. Paul sdb ROME, OCTOBER 28, 2008: Sr. Lucy Rose Ozhukail, Superior of St Mary’s Guwahati and provincial delegate to the FMA General Chapter was elected as Visiting Councillor on October 27 afternoon, just after 4.00 pm. She is the second Indian/Asian to be elected to the FMA General Council. Hailing from Kerala, she was born on May 20, 1952 and has been an FMA for 29 years. She was the first provincial of the Guwahati province from 2000-2006. Earlier she was also Novice Mistress for 6 years. Besides holding a degree in Education, she also has a degree in Salesian Spirituality (Rome). “As community animator and novice mistress I gathered that she was much esteemed and appreciated by her sisters and chosen several times as Delegate to the PCI Annual meeting. During my visit to the ING province I had the opportunity of closer and more frequent contacts with her. I saw her as a simple, open, respectful person, calm in her ways, very dedicated to her mission of animation and governance of the province and enthusiastic about the educative mission among the young, especially the poor” says Sr. Wilma De Souza of Mumbai, the first Indian Visiting Councillor.

Monday, October 27, 2008

BIS # 1166 IT’S A HAPPY DIWALI INDEED!

Savio Silveira sdb MATUNGA, OCTOBER 27, 2008: The kids from the neighbourhood slums, who frequent the evening classes at the Provincial House, were treated to a Diwali Party on Sunday, October 26. The party began at 5.00 pm with the daintily dressed kids being led into the exquisitely decorated hall. The walls draped with dupattas, the rangoli brightening the floor, the soft glow of the diyas, the scent of the agarbathi filling the air and the typically ethnic music streaming in the background, gave the room an enchanting feel. The kids looked around in amazement, their eyes dancing with delight! And as soon as they were all seated, another surprise awaited them – almost magically confetti began drifting down on them! Unable to contain their excitement any further, the kids clapped their hands in glee and shouted: Wow, kya mast hai! The evening then got going in full gusto. After snacks had been served and savoured, it was down to a grand session of diya painting. It was an absolute treat to watch the little artists excitedly get to work, giving their diyas a decorative coat of paint and then adding a touch of creative designs to them. Well, they did create quite an artistic mess, but the end result was a string of masterpieces, worthy of adorning any art gallery! With the painting happily completed, it was time for a roller-coaster of Diwali masti – a fun filled mix masala of music, dance, songs and games that had the kids screaming for more! Next, it was the moment for the much awaited fireworks session. The kids began by lighting their diyas, after which sparklers were distributed to all. With the diyas burning brightly and kids dancing around with sparklers in their hands, the entire place was turned into a veritable fairyland! When the glitter and the glimmer of the fireworks finally subsided, the kids settled down to grand Diwali dinner. And then it was time for the final event of the evening, the distribution of gifts. Hugging their gifts happily and renting the night with shouts of ‘Happy Diwali’, the kids made their way home. Undoubtedly, long after the diyas have died down and the sparks from the sparklers have cooled, memories of this wonderful evening will live on! Thanks to Fiona and her team of dedicated volunteers who planned and executed every detail of this party. And thanks to our outreach staff who were with the kids all through the evening, just as they are on all other evenings. It’s people like you who make life beautiful!

BIS # 1165 VIRAR KIDS ‘GROW & GLOW’

Edwin Colaco sdb VIRAR, OCTOBER 27, 2008: With schools closed for the Diwali vacations, the children of Resurrection Parish, Virar are spending their time gainfully at the ‘Winter Club’ organized by the parish. The theme for the programme is ‘Grow and Glow’ – growing in skills and also in their spiritual life. The Club was inaugurated on October 20, by Fr Blany Pinto, our Parish Priest. The inaugural ceremony was followed by the celebration of the Eucharist which was well animated by the children themselves. The daily programme includes morning mass, prayer, club anthem, creative skills, value education, awareness sessions and other activities. The Club aims at helping the children to develop their creative skills in music, dance, drawing, craft, public speaking etc. Further, they are taught the different values they need to cultivate in their life, through a planned value education class daily for about half an hour. The youth also organize tournaments, tele-games and various competitions which help bring out the best in every child. We feel confident that by developing their many talents and qualities, the children will grow and glow through this Club. The entire programme is enabling the children to develop into Good Christians and Responsible Citizens in the Bosco way.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

BIS # 1164 DIWALI CELEBRATIONS AT BARODA

Samir Macwan BARODA, OCTOBER 26, 2008: Don Bosco High School, Baroda had a week long Cultural Fest which culminated in the celebration of Diwali and Children’s Day. The entire school had a festive look with the decorations put up by the students. The Kindergarten children dramatized episodes from the Ramayan and distributed sweets to one another as part of the celebration. Students from the other classes staged songs and dances and presented gifts to their friends. The high point of the celebration was the special item put up by the teachers for the students. With the celebrations in the school over, the students are now enjoying their Diwali vacation.

BIS # 1163 UDDAN SOARS HIGH!

Crescens Lemos sdb MATUNGA, OCTOBER 26, 2008: Day two of Uddan ’08 saw the energy, enthusiasm and excitement at this mega event soar to great heights! With well over two thousand youngsters filling the quadrangle of Don Bosco Matunga, the Mela lived up to its reputation of being one of Mumbai’s biggest annual events for street kids. The day also witnessed the release of the book ‘Children in Adult Garb’ by Fr. Barnabe D’Souza. The book was released by well known Member of Parliament Ms. Priya Dutt. She spent a good amount of time at the Mela, going around meeting the children and the organizers. Ms. Dutt was accompanied by another renowned parliamentarian, Mr. Eknath Gaikwad. Addressing the children Mr. Gaikwad told them to face life boldly and not to give up the struggle till they have achieved their dreams. Several other dignitaries dropped into the Mela at various times of the day. One such personality, who got the kids clapping and dancing, was the celebrated singer Shan of the “Sa Re Ga Ma” TV Show. The children too put up several dances and other cultural items. As the Mela closed and the youngsters slowly drifted out of the campus, the ‘Diwali glow’ was clearly visible on their faces. As Mumbai celebrates the ‘festival of lights’, Uddan has certainly done its bit to brighten up the lives and the future of the poor and marginalized boys living on the streets of this city.

BIS # 1162 LONAVLA IN AGADGAON

Ivan Rodrigues sdb AHMEDNAGAR, OCTOBER 25, 2008: The Agadgaon villagers accorded a warm welcome to the 22 young and robust boys of Don Bosco Lonavla, and to Fr. Thomas D’ Costa and Bro. P.M. Thomas who accompanied them. The village youth sang a song, performed an aarati and tied the traditional turban for the visiting guests. Addressing the villagers Fr. Thomas thanked them for their warmth and cheerfulness. He also implored God’s blessing upon the village and all the people. Earlier the boys visited St. John’s Church, Bhingar and were briefed about the Salesian work in Ahmednagar. Before proceeding to Agadgaon, the boys made brief halts at Rathdgaon and Tokewadi villages. After this they moved on to see some of the Watershed Development work carried out by Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra in the villages of Ahmednagar. The Lonavla boys were on an exposure visit from October 19 to 22, to gain some knowledge about the Salesian ministry in Ahmednagar.

BIS # 1161 A PASTOR COMES HOME

Caroline Vaz VIRAR, OCTOBER 25, 2008: Mission Sunday was a memorable day for the parishioners of Virar. Our very own first Parish Priest – Fr. Dominic Lisboa – who has now earned the title of ‘missionary’, was the celebrant for the occasion. Fr. Dominic was parish priest at Virar from 1994 to 1999. The parishioners of Resurrection Parish still have fond memories of Fr. Dominic trudging along on his bicycle, visiting the families in the parish and attending to their spiritual needs. In his homily, Fr Dominic shared his experience of working in the Andaman Islands. He explained to the congregation the social situation of the place and the difficulties the people there have to face. His homily was a great eye-opener to all of us. Presently Fr Dominic is working at Shelter Don Bosco at Wadala, the institution that looks after street boys. Although he spent just two days with us on this occasion, it felt like a homecoming. As we recall happy memories of his days with us, he is busy creating happy memories in places God has now called him to work!

BIS # 1160 UDDAN ’08 TAKES OFF

Crescens Lemos sdb MATUNGA, OCTOBER 25, 2008: The day that every street kid in Mumbai eagerly looks forward to has arrived! Since the past 24 hours the quadrangle of Don Bosco Matunga is swelling with kids, youngsters and adults. ‘Uddan 2008’ – the repackaged traditional Annual Diwali Mela organized by Shelter Don Bosco, has just set Mumbai ablaze! The inauguration ceremony was held yesterday at 11.30 am with Minister Chagan Bujbal as Chief Guest and Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial, as Guest of Honour. After the cerrmonial lamp was lit by the dignitaries on the dais, Fr. Michael Fernandes welcomed the children and the guests. He reiterated that Don Bosco stands by every child in distress and that any street kid in the city who is in need of care can walk into the Shelter at any part of the day or night. He further added that the Diwali Mela had reinvented itself with a focus on careers for the disadvantaged. He invited the youngsters present to take advantage of the opportunities being made available through this Mela. Speaking next, Minister Chagan Bhujbal said that unfortunately there were many NGOs who “say much but do little”. However, here at Uddan he experience a difference, he could see “words in action all around”. He too encouraged the children to look at their future seriously. With the inauguration over, the Mela moved on at a feverish pitch. A heady mix of masti and music ensured that the kids had a great time through the day. Several celebrities dropped into the Mela at various times – Additional Commissioner of Police Mr. Sadanand Date, as also actors Boman Irani, Malika Arora and Amrita Arora. A large number of Salesians from the Mumbai Province and various parts of India mingled cheerfully with the kids. Scores of volunteers moved around briskly organizing the stalls, the games, the eats and the what-have-you. Clearly everyone was having a great time! The Mela is not yet over and ‘Day Two’ promises to be even more fascinating. We’ll keep you informed…!

BIS # 1159 SISTER YVONNE REUNGOAT NEW FMA GENERAL

ANS News ROME, OCTOBER 25, 2008: Sister Yvonne Reungoat, formerly Vicar General is the new Superior General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Elected yesterday morning during the XXII General Chapter which the Institute is holding in these days, Sister Yvonne was called to be the “Mother”, as art. 116 of the FMA Constitutions indicates, “bond of communion and the centre of unity,” ensuring fidelity to the Salesian spiritual heritage, attentive to the needs of the Church, an animator according to the spirit of Mornese. On October 24 morning, a day in Salesian tradition dedicated to Mary Help of Christians, Fr Pascual Chávez presided at a Mass of the Holy Spirit. With him were Fr Adriano Bregolin, Vicar of the Rector Major and in the Congregation responsible for the Salesian Family and Fr Fabio Attard, Councillor for Youth Ministry. In his homily Fr Chávez invited the Sisters, through the intercession of the Holy Spirit to adopt three attitudes: that of illumination, “to know how to discover who is the chosen one of the Lord to lead the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians”; that of freedom of spirit, to know how to act in seeking the will of God; and that of openness of heart, “to know how to accept with faith and love the one who will be given to the Institute.” He then continued commenting on article 116 of the FMA Constitutions, listing the various features that characterize the service of authority in the perspective of religious life. Mother Yvonne Reungoat, who will guide the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians for the six year period 2008-2014, succeeds Mother Antonia Colombo to whom the Rector Major addressed special words of thanks during his homily “for her careful and caring guidance and for her clear ‘leadership’ during this past six-year period and during this General Chapter.”

Thursday, October 23, 2008

BIS # 1158 LAMPRELL CHAIRMAN VISITS MUMBAI PROVINCE

Anand Raj MUMBAI, OCTOBER 23, 2008: “Don Bosco is doing a phenomenal work in training underprivileged youngsters and Lamprell is proud to be associated with this prestigious organization”, said Mr. Peter Birch, Chairman of Lamprell, on his first visit to Don Bosco in India. Mr. Birch arrived in Mumbai from London on Tuesday October 21 for a two day visit to some of the Technical Training Institutions of the Salesian Mumbai Province. He was joined by a high level management team that flew down from Dubai where most of Lamprell’s operations are based. The team comprised Mr. Ed Lancaster, Lamprell Head of H.R and Administration, Mr. Jim Henderson, Senior Training Manager and Mr. Garry Scott, Senior Safety Manager. Accompanying the guests on their tour was Mr. Tom Sellars, Lamprell Manager in India. The first day was dedicated to visiting Bosco Boys Home at Borivili and Don Bosco at Kurla. Marvelling at the state of the art training facilities at Kurla, Mr. Birch said that this institution easily compares with some of the best institutions in the world. A meeting was also held in the afternoon at Kurla to discuss the Work2Live Programme which is being funded by Lamprell and is currently on in five technical institutions of the province. Expressing his satisfaction at the progress of this programme, Mr. Birch said that he was happy Lamprell was playing a part in enabling disadvantaged youngsters develop employable skills. He was of the opinion that enhancing employability was a key strategy towards poverty reduction. On Wednesday the Lamprell team visited Don Bosco Chinchwad and Shelter Don Bosco at Karjat. The guests were highly impressed by the rapidly growing training facilities at Chinchwad. At Karjat Mr. Birch laid the Foundation Stone for a Multi Skills Training Workshop, which is being totally funded by Lamprell. The Foundation Stone was blessed by Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial. Speaking during the ceremony, Fr. Michael Fernandes thanked Lamprell for the generous support it has extended to Don Bosco. Addressing the gathering Mr. Birch said that India was the future of the world and all countries were looking towards India for skilled human resources. The Lamprell – Don Bosco partnership was playing some part in meeting these global expectations. Concluding their visit, the Lamprell team flew out of India on Wednesday evening.

Monday, October 20, 2008

BIS # 1157 MISSION SUNDAY CELEBRATED AT ALIRAJPUR

Colin Pereira sdb OCTOBER 20, 2008: Mission Sunday was celebrated here at Don Bosco Alirajpur on October 19, 2008 in a spirit of charity and generosity. A meticulous prior preparation had gone into making this day a success. The day began with a solemn Eucharistic Celebration animated by the boys of the technical school. During the homily the Parish Priest Fr. Dominic Martis, very beautifully explained the never ending mission of every Christian: to be messengers of Christ. The Eucharist was followed by the raffle and then the auction, which were fund raisers for the poor and needy. In order to make the day enjoyable, a fete was organized by the boys of the School of Excellence, assisted by the technical boys, for the children and the parishioners. The money collected will be forwarded to rebuild the destroyed houses in Orissa. All in all it was a day that saw an overwhelming response in support of the poor from the children and the parishioners.

BIS # 1156 SALESIANS TAKE TO THE STREETS

Mylin Noronha sdb NASHIK, OCTOBER 20, 2008: Armed with nothing but a dholak, a trumpet and plenty of self confidence, the Divyadaan brothers took to the streets on October 19, 2008. It was neither a protest nor a rally, but rather an effort of the young Salesians to make a difference in society. After a little more than 24 hours of being introduced to the concept of Street Plays, the brothers went to one of the local slums Kamgar Nagar, and put up four street plays on AIDS Awareness, Alcoholism, Terrorism and Corruption. The plays managed to attract a crowd of about 70 adults and children who were not only impressed but also clarified their doubts on the social evils presented by the brothers. The training began on October 18 with plenty of exercises, action songs and creative ways of attracting and educating people. It was a very informative and educative session, which did not merely end with theories and abstract ideas but a practical act by the brothers, on the streets of Nashik. It was an enriching experience for the brothers as they performed on the streets in spite of disturbances and the fear of facing the general public. As instructed by their mentors, the brothers used the road as if it belonged to them, and convincingly put forth their views and opinions. Their songs, music, dialogues and dances left the audience wonderstruck. Some even expressed their desire to join the ranks of the street performers to spread the awareness against social evils. This training in Alternate Media, given by Mr. Maxwell Rose and his group of five members from Mumbai, was part of the holiday programme of the Bachelor of Philosophy students. Amidst the many philosophical courses, holidays are very dear. Yet, under the guidance of the staff, in the true Salesian spirit, the brothers decided to make their holidays a little more than just a change in occupation! Sessions in artwork, basics of electrical gadget repairs, sound systems and computers, were accompanied by coaching in football and basketball as part of the holiday programme of the brothers.

BIS # 1155 MATUNGA REACHES FOR THE STARS

Crescens Lemos sdb MATUNGA, OCTOBER 20, 2008: Two days of running, jumping, kicking and dancing! Well it was not the Commonwealth Games but the Annual Sports Festival of Don Bosco Matunga, entitled ‘Reach for the Stars’. With the exams just over the students were all geared up for the Sports Festival. The opening ceremony of the festival was marked by the march past. Fr. Jude Rodricks the chairman of MSSA graced the occasion. A few dances added colour to the ceremony, and this was followed by the lighting of the torch and the Sportsman’s Oath. Fr. Jude Rodricks expressed his happiness at being present for the famed Matunga Sports Festival and encouraged the students to participate with full enthusiasm. Football, volleyball, basketball, cricket, chess, carom, table-tennis fun games were some of the games that were a part of the festival. The festival concluded with a special game for the staff of the school. Fr, Jude D’Mello, Rector, was the Chief Guest for the prize distribution ceremony. Addressing the school, he quoted H.E. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President of the Olympic Council of Asia saying that the Olympics is not a once in four years affair, rather it is an ongoing process. It is not about winning the gold or silver but it is the unity of human spirit that involves everyone. He called this spirit the spirit of Olympism which can be cultivated only with constant discipline.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

BIS # 1154 SNIPPETS FROM BOSCO BOYS’ HOME

Brian Moras sdb BORIVLI, OCTOBER 18, 2008: After the Electronics, AC Mechanics and Lamprell courses, Bosco Boys’ Home has added yet another extremely relevant component to its ever growing training programmes – Language Skills Training through the use of the Lingua Phone. This is a highly professional method of learning spoken English and it ensures that the students gain a mastery over vocabulary, syntax and diction. The Language Lab was inaugurated by Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial, on October 16, 2008. Yet another addition to our campus is a beautiful statue of Our Blessed Mother, mounted on an exquisitely designed pedestal and shielded by an umbrella. Placed at the entrance of the campus, this statue symbolizes Mary welcoming and blessing all those who come here. This new statue was also blessed by Fr. Michael Fernandes on the occasion of his visit to our institution.

BIS # 1153 NCLP CENTRES INAUGURATED AT KAWANT

Greg Almeida sdb KAWANT, OCTOBER 18, 2008: October 17 was a significant day for Don Bosco as the first two National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Centres in the Kawant Taluka were inaugurated at Nishal Faliya and Dhadiamba Faliy in Kanalwa Village. The NCLP aims at identifying out of school children engaged in child labour and getting them into mainstream education after offering them a bridge course. This central government programme has proved to be highly successful in several districts across India. Don Bosco has taken the initiative to spearhead the same in the Kawant Taluka. The inaugural programme began at 10.00 am at Nishal Faliya. Present for this momentous occasion were Fr. Elson Barretto, Rector of Chhota; Mrs. Janaki Tank, NCLP Baroda District Coordinator; Mr. Dhilip Panchal, Congress Taluka President; Mr. Retam Rathwa, Village Sarpanch; several other local leaders and Salesians from the various institutions. The ceremony began with the traditional lighting of the lamp and cutting of the ribbon at both Centres. Fr. Elson Barretto, speaking in the local dialect Rathwi, stressed the importance of education. He urged all the village elders present to ensure that the children are sent to school, rather than engaging them in chores at home or in the fields. He reminded all present that the best investment for development is education. Mrs. Janaki Tank too focused on the need for spreading education in rural India. She said that support systems have to be in place to facilitate the spread of primary education. She expressed her great joy at the fact that this national programme was taking off in the Kawant Taluka, thanks to the initiative of Don Bosco. She further added that she would be happy if the same would begin quickly also in the Chhota Udepur Taluka. The programme came to a close with Br. Ramesh Durairaj proposing the vote of thanks. He said that for Kawant and for Don Bosco this was a dream come true. He thanked all those who were responsible for making this dream a reality and also all who were present for the occasion.

Friday, October 17, 2008

BIS # 1152 NEW ACADEMIC YEAR BEGINS AT UPS

ANS News ROME, OCTOBER 17, 2008: On October 15, the solemn opening of the new Academic Year of the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome took place. The day began with Mass in the parish church of Our Lady of Hope adjacent to the University at which Fr Adriano Bregolin, Vicar of the Rector Major, presided. Fr Bregolin invited the staff and students at the beginning of the new academic year to renew “the depth of their commitment and their desire for the new.” After the Mass there was the Academic Function in the Paul VI Hall during which the Rector Magnificus of the UPS, Prof. Fr Mario Toso, and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State spoke. In his report Prof. Toso pointed out that the task of the Salesian University, like that of any other Pontifical University, was that of presenting “the human sciences according to the Christian inspiration”. “Education and the University Today” was the subject of the Academic Address given by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among those present at the opening of the Academic Year of the UPS were Fr Francesco Cereda, Councillor for Formation, Br. Claudio Marangio, Economer General, the new Superior of the UPS Vice Province, Fr Joaquin D’Souza, some Ambassadors to the Holy See and the academic community represented by staff and students.

BIS # 1151 APPLAUDING AN UNUSUAL CHAMPION

Ranald Lopes sdb CHHOTA UDEPUR, OCTOBER 17, 2008: Recently the ‘Annual Tribal Olympics’ were held at Baria, a small town 55 kilometres away form Chhota. Baria was once a famous tribal kingdom and even today continues to be inhabited almost exclusively by tribals. Our boys and girls from Chhota participated in these Olympics which saw a variety of novel games such as an 8 kilometre marathon through the hills and the forest, hockey played with a stick and a heavy ball the size of a football, tug of war and of course our very own Indian games of kho-kho and kabaddi. The most popular event of the Olympics was the archery tournament, in which anyone with a traditional bow and arrow could take part. There were many enthusiastic contestants who participated in this typically tribal event. The winner of this contest was a certain Gopal Baria from Dhudki village. Every arrow that this man shot hit the bull’s-eye, although the target was a good 60 metres away. But the really amazing part is that this man is crippled, both his legs are immobile and deformed due to polio.
In the little conversation I managed to have with him he told me that he comes from an extremely poor family, their only sustenance being a small field. Due to his disability he could neither go to school nor work in the field. However, there was one job that his father had entrusted to him, that of driving away the monkeys and birds that destroyed their crops. Hence, from the time he was a little child he had sat in his field, bow and arrow in hand. It was this daily ‘practice’ that had made him an expert archer. When the Indian Olympic Committee begins putting together its team for the next Olympics it should look for champions in these unusual places!

BIS # 1150 SKILLS TRAINING SURGES AHEAD AT ALIRAJPUR

Colin Pereira sdb ALIRAJPUR, OCTOBER 16, 2008: On Monday, October 13, the first batch of students from the Lamprell Work2LivE Programme who have just completed their Basic Motor Mechanics Course began their driving classes here at Alirajpur. Their instructor, Mr. Kandu Rawat, began the driving course with a theory class in the morning and in the afternoon the 8 enthusiastic youngsters actually got into the driver’s seat! These students have already procured the learner’s license and at the end of the course they will go to Jhabua for the test to obtain their driving license.
Keeping in mind that 'Education to Livelihood' is one of the top priorities of our province, Don Bosco Alirajpur has also started a separate Skills Training Programme for the tribal youth from the neighbouring villages. The first batch of youngsters from various villages have joined the motor maintenance and driving programme. Skills training programmes that enhance the employability of the youth are of dire need in this region. Because of poor land conditions and low rainfall the tribals here are unable to sustain themselves only through agriculture. It may be recalled that because of these difficult conditions some villages have even made dacoity their profession. The skills training that Don Bosco is now offering will definitely help them take up better professions!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

BIS # 1149 PROVINCIAL VISITS VIRAR

Loreen Fernandes VIRAR, OCTOBER 16, 2008: The parishioners of Resurrection Parish, Virar, were happy to welcome the Provincial, Fr. Michael Fernandes, to our Parish, on Sunday October 12. Fr. Michael was the principal celebrant at the Eucharist and he was joined by Fr. Blany Pinto, Fr. Edwin Colaco and Fr. Gregory D’Cunha. Basing his homily on the Gospel passage of the day, Fr. Michael encouraged us to put on the true garment of Christianity, namely, the virtues of humility, patience and mutual respect in our family and social lives. After the Eucharist, a felicitation programme was held in the parish hall. One of the parishioners spoke eloquently about the manifold qualities of Fr. Michael, especially his God given gift of a brilliant memory. Floral tributes were also paid to the Provincial. In conclusion, Fr. Michael thanked the parishioners for the constant care and support extended to the priests of the parish. Fr. Michael also met the Parish Council, the Altar Servers and the Youth Group. All the groups were impressed with the warm interaction the Provincial had with them. Although being a man of great learning and presently holding an important position, he came across as an extremely affable and simple person. After meeting him we have begun to believe the old adage ‘greatness lies in humility’!

BIS # 1148 DB ALUMNI ORGANIZE LEADERSHIP SEMINAR

Amar Pathikond KURLA, OCTOBER 16, 2008: Under the banner of the Don Bosco Alumni Mumbai Provincial Federation, the Kurla Unit hosted a one day Seminar on Sunday October 12, on ‘Leadership, Social Harmony and Contemporary Challenges to Leadership’. 87 participants, including past pupils, teachers, professors and other professionals attended the seminar. Dr. Keith D’Souza, a person of great expertise and experience in the field of management and organizational development was the speaker for the day. The programme started at 10.00 am with a short prayer service, followed by a power-point presentation on the theme of ‘Togetherness’, after which Mr. Claver gave the welcome speech. Fr. Elias Diaz, Provincial Delegate, then gave a brief talk on the new committee and the Kurla Unit. Dr. Keith began the seminar reminding the participants that “we must become the change we want to see”. He then went on to a brainstorming session with various examples and exercises to help explain the aspects of Leadership. He presented the two types of leadership styles – Transformation and Transaction – and explained their meaning in great detail. With the help of a game called ‘Win as much as you can’, he further helped the participants understand leadership styles and also identify their own personal leadership style. All the participants were extremely impressed with the seminar and felt that they had gained much during the day. The programme came to a close with Mr. Ketan Gala, President of the Federation, proposing the vote of thanks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

BIS # 1147 ANNUAL YATRA AT JEUR

Richard Burkhao sdb AHMEDNAGAR, OCTOBER 15, 2008: Our Lady of Rosary Chapel, Jeur, celebrated its Second Annual Yatra on October 11, 2008. The celebration began with a procession from the old chapel to the new one, during which the people prayed the rosary and sang hymns to Our Blessed Mother. Fr. Prakash Raut and Fr. William Falcao were the celebrants at the solemn festive Eucharist. Fr. Prakash inspired the faithful with his soul stirring sermon. The Eucharist was followed by a simple dinner for all, after which the bhajan mandalies took over and sang bhajans right up till 2.00 am. The entire yatra finally concluded with the celebration of another Eucharist at 2.00 in the morning. Special thanks to the parish youth who were the main organizers of this memorable event.

BIS # 1146 CLEANING HOSPITALS, CULTIVATING CITIZENSHIP

Ranald Lopes sdb CHHOTA UDEPUR, OCTOBER 15, 2008: On Sunday October 12, our students of Std. XI and XII, as also the girls attending the tailoring course, decided to forfeit their ‘day of rest’ and do a bit of useful work in the Chhota town. Armed with an array of cleaning equipment, they descended on the Government Hospital. As can be well imagined, this hospital is a far cry from the clean and hygienic place it ought to be. Our students spent a good three hours, sweeping the entire place, scrubbing the rooms and sprucing up the campus. It was no easy task, but our young social workers threw their hearts into the job, and after three hours of sweeping and scrubbing, panting and puffing, the hospital had a healthier and happier look! But what is most important is that besides giving the hospital a changed look, our students also came back with a changed attitude. The exercise helped them realize that just complaining about the wretched state of our public facilities and institutions is pointless – as citizens we need to contribute towards the upkeep and improvement of these facilities. Programmes like these definitely help is assisting the students grow into responsible citizens.

Monday, October 13, 2008

BIS # 1145 PROVINCIAL VISITS DB BARODA

Samir Macwan BARODA, OCTOBER 12, 2008: It was a special day for all of us as our Provincial, Fr. Michael Fernandes, visited our institution. We are grateful to Fr. Provincial for his words of wisdom and inspiration to the Don Bosco Family at Baroda. A prayer dance and a folk dance were performed by our students on this auspicious occasion.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

BIS # 1144 RETREAT AT ALIRAJPUR

Colin Pereira sdb ALIRAJPUR, OCTOBER 11, 2008: A retreat was conducted for the boys and the girls of the School of Excellence, here at Don Bosco Alirajpur, from October 7 to 9, 2008. The preacher was Fr. Raju Matthew from Meghnagar. He, along with his team, led the children through a charismatic spiritual exercise. The retreat experience, which was titled "The Philip's Course", was based on Acts 8: 26-40. The retreat was a good blend of ‘praise and worship’ and a reflection on scripture. It was a novel experience for the children, since most of them underwent such a spiritual introspection of three days for the first time in their lives. As for the success of the retreat, well, "by their fruits you shall know".

BIS # 1143 COMPUTERS COME TO HIRKIRAI!

Savio D’Mello sdb KHANDWA, OCTOBER 11, 2008: Through the kind influence of Fr. Ronnie Menezes, Mrs. Anita a parishioner of Don Bosco Parish Borivili donated ten secondhand computers to the Regional Youth Office at Khandwa. With the arrival of these computers a Training Centre has been started for the youth of the neighbourhood at the Regional Youth Office. One of these computers was sent to the youth group in a little village called Hirkirai, in the backward district of East Nimad. Using this computer the youth have started a mini computer centre to train the youngsters in the village in Computer Skills along with Life Skills and English Conversation Skills. Computer technology is evolving very quickly. As a result, in urban areas computers become outdated within a few years. These very same computers, however, are very valuable for our village youth who would otherwise have no access to computers. Computer education makes a big difference in their lives and in improving prospects for a livelihood. Hence, donation of used computers is most welcome. This would enable us to make available computer literacy programmes in other remote villages in the diocese of Khandwa.

Friday, October 10, 2008

BIS # 1142 CHIKLIA YOUTH VISIT AHMEDNAGAR

Savio D’Mello sdb AHMEDNAGAR, OCTOBER 10, 2008: Bro. Savio D’Mello and Sr. Vinita along with a group of seven young men from Chiklia Parish of Khandwa Diocese spent two days, October 3 and 4, at BGVK Ahmednagar on an exposure programme. These youth are part of a Rural and Agricultural Catholic Youth Movement started a year ago in the diocese of Khandwa. The Rural-Agricultural Catholic Youth Movement is an international youth movement called MIJARC, with its head office based in Belgium. The youth from Chiklia were very impressed by all that they saw and experienced at BGVK Ahmednagar. Bro. Alex Gonsalves introduced them to the Integrated Watershed Development Project undertaken by BGVK. The youth were surprised to see that in spite of the fact that Ahmednagar receives less rainfall in comparison to Chiklia there seemed to be more water available for agriculture in Ahmednagar then was the case in their villages. Interacting with the farmers the youth were taken up by their confidence that they would have enough water for the irrigation of their fields even in the hot summer months. The youth were also introduced to the income generation activities of the various mahila mandals run by BGVK and saw for themselves the poultry and goat-rearing projects. The youth of Chiklia left Ahmednagar with the resolve to do something similar in their own village in Madhya Pradesh. They were convinced that if they were united and worked together, they could after a few years, repeat the same miracles that BGVK has been able to achieve through its selfless and dedicated work among the people of Ahmednagar.

BIS # 1141 TRAINING PROGRAMME FOR PARISH SCC TEAM

Christaline Pinto NAIGAON, OCTOBER 10, 2008: The parish of Mary Help of Christians, Naigaon, conducted a training programme for the Parish Councillors and the Core Group members of the SCC groups on October 2, 2008 from 9.30 am to 12.45 pm. The training began with a hymn “Miracles”, which was also the theme for the day. The hymn helped us reflect on the reality that as we live our complex human lives, God is always present with us and his strength is never spent. This was followed by the Seven Step Bible reading and sharing, for which the appropriate scripture passage of the first Christian community was chosen. Through a powerful power-point presentation we reflected on the “Eight Ways to Humble You” and applied it to our lives and our ministry in the community. Another power-point presentation beautifully portrayed the elements of the first Christian community and the present Christian community as lived in the SCC’s. This presentation reminded us that we have a model on which to build our own communities. The participants then broke up into groups and discussed various ways in which we could enhance the participation in prayer and activities as well as the fellowship in our communities. Finally, Fr. Vivian D’Souza, our Parish Priest, in his concluding remarks, exhorted us to ‘own’ our communities and seek to build them up through constant visits and other community building initiatives.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

BIS # 1140 GUJARAT: LAUNCHING THE ‘RIGHT’ APPROACH

Isaac Arackaparambil sdb BARODA, OCTOBER 9, 2008: The province Development Office organized a seminar on Human Rights for the Salesians of the Gujarat region on October 8, 2008 at Don Bosco Makarpura. Fr. Michael Fernandes, the Provincial, in his tone setting address to the Salesians spoke of the importance for us who are working at the grass roots to expose ourselves to a Human Rights approach to ministry in order to be effective. Fr. Savio Silveira introducing the dynamics of the seminar highlighted the Rector Major’s exaltation to the entire congregation through the Strenna 2008, to make the Rights Based Approach not just an academic discipline, but a perspective in our work so that we become defenders, promoters and activists of Human Rights. In the first session of the seminar, Mr. Lourdes Baptist introduced the participants to the concept of the Rights Based Approach (RBA) in development. Taking queue from the story of the Fish (courtesy Josanthony Joseph), he enunciated the shifts that make development strategies move from charity to rights based empowerment. A Rights Based Approach is one in which development initiatives undertaken by NGOs in the cause of people’s uplift become ‘People’s Participatory Movements’. When this happens, people own the need to secure their rights, they are empowered, and all initiatives now become ‘Right Appropriating’ by the people themselves rather than ‘Right Doling’ by the NGO to the people. The idea is to empower people in making constructive changes in the very structural mechanisms that delimit their right to a dignified existence. Following this input, Mr. Martin Mackwan who is an internationally acclaimed Human Rights Activist for his contribution to the uplift of Dalits in Gujarat, and who is founder of ‘Navsarjan’, an NGO that works in over 3000 villages for the cause of Human Rights, shared his success story of having implemented the Rights Based Approach to the development of peoples. Success comes only if people are persistently working at it. He made a very perceptive analysis of how Gandhian politics overshadowed Ambedkar’s insightful demand of setting up Just Constitutional Laws that embrace those considered the dregs of Indian Society, and how to this day, the political chaos and unequal treatment of human beings continues unabated. The point he emphasized is that we the Church who can wield a thumping influence over a sizeable mass of students who pass through our schools have failed to make the desired impact in the last thirty years of helping our students cultivate a passion for Human Rights and Dignity. In contrast the RSS have cleverly set up their shakas to brain wash impressionable minds with ideologies of hatred. Education is the Key. Happy are we who know how to unlock potential for true human progress, dignity and justice. The afternoon session was animated by a third resource person Mr. Himanshu Baker who explained the concept of Gram Sabhas and Panchayati Raj. The up shot of his exposition was that we need to capitalize on these mechanisms for people’s empowerment, by knowing the functioning of these structural bodies. Fr. Savio Silveira concluded the day by generating a commitment from each Salesian centre of this region to select a village to implement the ideas disseminated through this seminar. This commitment has been made and action is now in process.

BIS # 1139 MATUNGA SWAYS WITH RASS GARBA

Crescens Lemos sdb MATUNGA, OCTOBER 9, 2008: On the eve of the Dassera festival, Don Bosco Matunga was all lit up for the annual ‘Bosco Rass Garba 2008’, which was organized by the Don Bosco Past Pupils’ Association, Matunga Unit. Crowds of people gathered to dance to the tunes of Gujarati folk songs and Bollywood masala. The theme for the event was ‘Know, Love, Help One Another and Keep United”. It focused on communal and fraternal harmony. The Provincial Fr. Michael Fernandes was the Chief Guest for the occasion. Greeting the crowd in Gujarati, he received a resounding applause from the people. He wished all those present a very happy Dassera and then released the souvenir for the year 2008-09, which has as its cover slogan: “We need them - Ram, Rahim, Jesus, Vaheguru…And All”. The President of the Unit Mr. Dilip Bhatt and the Secretary Mr. Kailash Parekh thanked Fr. Michael Fernandes, Fr. Elias Diaz the Provincial Delegate for the Salesian Family, the other guests and dignitaries for their presence and constant support towards the Don Bosco Past Pupils’’ Association. The quadrangle was filled with people in traditional garba attire, dancing to the tunes of folk songs. The dance was a mixture of garba and dandia and it enthused everyone, from the children to the elderly. Prizes were given for the best dancers in each category, form the toddlers to the seniors. The focus on the entire evening was clearly on the need to build communal harmony in our country that is presently witnessing a spate of communal tensions in various states. We hope that the beautiful harmony that graces the garba may influence every step that our nation takes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

BIS # 1138 PRADEEP DIAS ARRIVES IN HUNGARY

Claudius Misquitta sdb BUDAPEST, OCTOBER 7, 2008: In the early hours of October 1, 2008, a ‘new son’ of India rose to embrace the land of the Blue Danube! Cl. Pradeep Dias arrived to a quiet but warm welcome from the Salesians of the Province of Hungary. The Provincial Fr. József Havasi and the Provincial elect Fr. Albert Van Hecke lovingly and joyously welcomed this young Salesian to his new homeland. His companions from India, Cl. Claudius Misquitta and Cl. Lytton Quadros, were overjoyed to be reunited with him in this distant country and to rekindle a friendship they had always cherished.
The Salesians and the people of Hungary took an instant liking to this cheerful and enthusiastic young Salesian as he introduced himself in Hungarian just four days after landing here. The road hereafter may not always be smooth and surely there will not be sunshine everyday, but we pray that the Lord may journey with our new missionary. Let your light shine - Pradeep!