Thursday, November 27, 2008

BIS # 1200 MARIAN EVENING CELEBRATED AT DBYC PUNE

Ashwin Macwan sdb PUNE, NOVEMBER 27, 2008: On November 21, as a part of the ongoing Marian month, the community of Don Bosco Youth Centre together with the neighboring religious houses celebrated an evening with Mary. The programme began with the traditional Indian welcome – signing the forehead of the guests with Tikka. Then there was a prayer service during which Fr. Vincent Rasquinha, Rector, garlanded the statue of Our Lady. Representatives of various houses came up and lit the lamp and all present offered flowers to Our Lady as a sign of love and gratitude for the wonderful things she has done in our lives. Fr. Vincent then welcomed one and all to the beautiful evening and he urged them to experience the love of Mary. The evening was made up of different items like songs, dances, band pieces etc. The programme ended with an inspiring PowerPoint presentation on Our Lady.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

BIS # 1199 NATIONAL WORKSHOP ON NREGA HELD AT MATUNGA

Lyra Pinto MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 26, 2008: In another step towards understanding and adopting a rights-based approach to their community work, 20 representatives from the Development Offices of Goa, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai attended a two-day workshop on November 24-25, on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) at Matunga, Mumbai. The objectives of the participants were to understand the provisions of the Act and prepare themselves for situations they might face during practice. Accordingly, on the first day of the workshop, the resource person—Mr. Rajesh Sinha from PRIA, Delhi—explained the entitlements guaranteed by the Act, the structure and processes for implementation and the role of Gram Sabhas in directing the NREGA. He also encouraged the participants to explore their own understanding of the Act through group discussions and presentations. On the second day, the participants moved from a theoretical study of the Act to an understanding of its practical implications for workers, government officials and NGOs. The resource person was Mr. K. S. Gopal, the Director of the Centre for Environmental Concerns, Hyderabad, and a recognized authority on the NREGA. He emphasized that unlike other government schemes, the NREGA is a law and that employment under the Act is not just a benefit but a right. He helped the participants to understand the origins and purpose of the NREGA, the issues that are yet unresolved and the role of development organizations in ensuring that people are able to secure their right to employment. The workshop concluded with the participants drawing up a plan for ensuring the implementation of the NREGA in each of their centres. After two days of intensive study and reflection, the participants came away with the knowledge and confidence they need to help their people fight for their rights under this Act.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

BIS # 1198 DB ORATORY CRICKET TOURNAMENT 2008

Mylin Noronha sdb NASHIK, NOVEMBER 24, 2008: The Annual Don Bosco Oratory Cricket Tournament was organized by Divyadaan and Salesian Training Institute on November 23, 2008. The tournament was organized for the youth of the vicinity, mainly from the various chawls in the area. Ten teams gathered at 8:30 am. for a short prayer service and a talk by Fr. Robert Pen. After the rules were explained, the matches began. The excitement and enthusiasm generated were nothing less than that at the World Cup matches! The players competed in a spirit of sportsmanship and zest to outperform their opponents. After a long and thrilling day, the Ganesh Nagar and Siddharth Hotel teams emerged as the finalists, with Siddharth Hotel finally winning their last match and being declared the champions of the Annual Don Bosco Oratory Cricket Tournament 2008 with a last ball victory. The champions received their well deserved prizes from Mr. Suyesh Burkul, a member of the Mumbai Champs team in the Indian Cricket League 2008, who was the chief guests for the occasion. In his message to the players he congratulated them for their sportsmanship and exhorted them to be committed because commitment leads to success irrespective of other circumstances. He also appreciated the initiative of the Don Bosco and offered to help in organizing other cricket events. It was a great day of cricket, where the youngsters not only got an opportunity to compete in a tournament of this level, but also to interact and make new friends with other youth. Congrats to Don Bosco for providing a platform to the future of India, to shine out and showcase their talent.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

BIS # 1197 HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SAVIO CUP

Crescens Lemos sdb MATUNGA, NOVEMBER 23, 2008: With the finals to be played this evening, the Savio Cup has now reached its climax. Besides the thrilling matches, there have been several other highlights to this tournament. The U.S team, Shooting for Success (S.F.S), spent some valuable time with the ‘differently-abled’ children. S.F.S. captain David Jones conducted a session for these children who have very little knowledge about basketball. David Jones gave the children a few tips with regard to basketball and they then played a game with the S.F.S team. Another important highlight was the presence of NBA coach Rose, who conducted a basketball workshop for the children of different schools. This was a three day workshop conducted by the NBA to promote basketball among the children in the schools. The three-pointer and the dunking competition were much awaited events of the Savio Cup All India Basketball Champions. The winners were as follows: three pointer women’s category Pushpa from the South-East- Central Railways and Suresh from O.N.G.C. in the men’s category. The star of day in the dunking competition was Brendon of the S.F.S who with his between-the-legs dunk and Reverse 360 Windmill dunk enthralled the audience. The final countdown to the grand finale has now begun. The women’s finals will be played at 5.00 pm followed by the men’s finals at 7.00 pm. Don’t miss the action.

Friday, November 21, 2008

BIS # 1196 A BUSY SUNDAY MORNING AT NAIGAON PARISH

Vivian D'Souza sdb NAIGAON, NOVEMBER 21, 2008: On Sunday November 16, the parish of Mary Help of Christians, Naigaon, celebrated Children's Day. The Eucharistic celebration was well animated by the Sunday School, who also formed the choir. After the Mass, the teachers put together a choir piece and a prayer dance as well. The Parish Council then joined the teachers to organize fun games for the children, which they enjoyed tremendously. Snacks were distributed along with prizes to the winners. It was a morning well spent for the children. As part of Faith Formation of the parents of students of the Sunday School programme, the parish organized a training program for the parents of children of Std. I to V, the same morning after the Parish Mass. The lively sessions on Faith and the Bible, were conducted by Fr. Cletus D'Souza. The parents benefited from the input sessions, especially since Fr. Cletus asked them to share their experiences of faith and their difficulties in bringing up their children in the faith.

BIS # 1195 JYOTI S.V.P. MEMBERS VISIT ASHAGAD

Grisilda D’Cunha JYOTI, NOVEMBER 21, 2008: Twenty-three S.V.P. members from the Jyoti Mata Conference recently visited the villages of Ashagad. In preparation for this visit we collected clothes, oil, soap, food articles etc. from the parishioners, which we carried along with us to distribute to the village people. Visiting the villagers was an enriching experience for us. We realized that the many modern amenities that we are so dependent on mean nothing to them. Personal interaction with them helped us realize the simplicity and humility that exists within them. Fr. Blaise D’Souza, who is based at Ashagad, accorded a warm welcome to us. Fr. Gregory D’Cunha, who accompanied us, celebrated a very meaningful Eucharist and gave us much food for thought. The entire experience was extremely fruitful and we are grateful to have had this opportunity.

BIS # 1194 SCC SPORTS WEEKEND AT VIRAR PARISH

Dona Prabhune VIRAR, NOVEMBER 21, 2008: The ‘SCC Sports Weekend’ was held on November 15, at Resurrection Parish. This event was organized by the Parish Cultural Cell in association with the Parish Youth Movement. The aim of this unique venture was to bring together people from all the corners of the parish. It was a wonderful opportunity for people to compete, make friends, pick up new ideas, and learn how to win and lose, and accept success and failure as it comes. But probably the most important lesson learnt during this weekend was Team spirit – ‘Together Everyone Achieves the Most’, was the slogan prominently displayed. All the eight communities participated in large numbers with each community choosing a particular colour for its team. The sports meet was declared open by the Chief Guest Fr. Gregory D’Cunha, who was accompanied by the Guest of Honour Fr. Bento D’Souza. Our Parish Priest Fr. Blany Pinto expressed his joy that such an event was being held in the parish and he also appreciated Fr. Edwin Colaco who had made it happen. The games were filled with excitement and good cheer. The juniors had an inter-community cricket tournament while the senior citizens had a carom tournament. The men had rink-football and the girls and women had a throw-ball tournament. The cheer leaders and mascots added to the sparkle of the event. Don Bosco 2 Community emerged the overall champions while the Helping Hands Community was the runners-up. Don Bosco 1 Community was placed third. The chief guest for the prize distribution ceremony was Police Inspector Vijay Patil. He was extremely glad to visit us and give away the certificates and prizes.

BIS # 1193 DECENNIAL CELEBRATIONS AT DON BOSCO NAIGAON

Dorothy Fernandes NAIGAON, NOVEMBER 20, 2008: The Management, Principal and Staff of Don Bosco High School, Naigaon, celebrates this year, with great solemnity the ten glorious years of its existence. During this time the school has made tremendous progress in the fields of education, faith formation, value education, cultural, social and recreational activities, due to the incessant efforts of our Principals Fr. William Falcao and Fr. Bonnie Borges.
To commemorate this occasion, and share our joy with others, the Management and Staff organized Inter-school competitions in the field of art, elocution and folk dance, on the morning of the November 13, 2008. Eight schools from the Vasai Taluka participated in the various competitions for the different age groups. The programmes were conducted efficiently and the teachers and guest students were indeed happy to be in the school and participate in this competition, feeling it an honour to be invited for this occasion.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

BIS # 1192 SNEHALAYA CELEBRATES DIWALI MELA

Lyra Pinto BARODA, NOVEMBER 20, 2008: ‘Diwali ki masti, chalo karein dosti!’—in keeping with its theme, Don Bosco Snehalaya’s 8th Annual Diwali Mela was certainly a day for fun and new friendships. The atmosphere was electric as the Snehalaya boys, who had been preparing for weeks, gathered together with friends, benefactors and more than 800 children from around the city to celebrate their special day, which also coincided with Children’s Day. The festivities began at 10.00 am with a welcome by Fr. Roger Jones, Director, who encouraged the participants to celebrate the day in the spirit of Don Bosco and Pandit Nehru, both of whom were devoted to the well-being of children. The Mela was then inaugurated by the Chief Guest Mrs. Linda Vanderwick, and the Guests of Honour Ms. Tina Chawla and Mrs. Dolcy Simon from the United Way of Baroda. The first event of the day was a colourful cultural programme put up by the children and volunteers from Snehalaya. The highlight of this show was the skit on communal harmony, which conveyed a strong message of peace and unity to the audience. As the event concluded, RJ Super Boy Ashish from RadioCity presented the children with gifts (including games, sports equipment and stationery), that he and his team had collected from their radio audiences over the past month. Next, the Chief Guest inaugurated the games stalls, where the children enjoyed themselves playing a variety of games for more than two hours. This was followed by a grand lunch for all the participants and the entire audience. The celebrations continued into the afternoon with a dazzling magic show, followed by an entertainment programme conducted by RJs Priyanka, Jane and Vikrant from Big FM. Finally, the children danced to their hearts’ content to the rocking music of Fr. Carlos and his boys, and our brilliant new DJ Fr. Brian Boothello. The day ended with the children setting the night ablaze with fireworks. Finally, as the vote of thanks was given by Mr. Patankar and the Mela wound up with the singing of the national anthem, all the children came away with the sense that they are loved, wanted and special. We sincerely thank all our friends, volunteers and benefactors, including ONGC, Mahindra and Mahindra Finance, RadioCity, Big FM, who helped make this day an unforgettable one for our children.

BIS # 1191 SAVIO CUP IS BACK!

Crescens Lemos sdb MATUNGA, MUMBAI 20, 2008: Neither the global economic crisis nor the unexpected showers of rain the night before the inauguration could dampen the spirits of the organizers of the Savio Cup. They were all set for the 4th edition of the prestigious Savio Cup Basketball Tournament that would feature a host of national and international stars, including Shambhaji Kadam of Services, Geetu Anna of Southern Railways and Riyazuddin from ONGC. The best teams from across India descended upon the Don Bosco Matunga Quadrangle for what now seems to be an annual 'basketball pilgrimage'. In the men’s section the teams this year are Services, O.N.G.C, Indian Railways, Rest of India and Shooting for Success (a team from the U.S.A.). The women’s section comprises Maharashtra, South East Central Railways, Delhi and Southern Railways. The tournament began on November 18, with a match between last year’s champions O.N.G.C and the Rest of India. In a fiercely fought game, the defending champions managed to defeat their opponents with the slim margin of a single point. The enthusiastic support of the school children was a boost for the players. The tournament was declared open by Mr. Glen Kaiser. Other important dignitaries present at the inaugural function included Fr Michael Fernandes, Provincial, and actor Jackie Shroff. The school children brightened up the evening with their colourful dances. The match between Maharashtra and South East Central Railways in the women’s section followed the inaugural ceremony. The Savio Cup will be played till November 23, bringing excitement , entertainment and thrilling basketball matches for all the die-hard hoopster fans of Mumbai. The Slam Dunk Competition and the 3 Point Shooting Competition will be an event you just cannot miss. To stay on the bounce with the action log on to http://www.saviocup.com/

BIS # 1190 MARIA ASHIANA ORGANIZES CHILDREN'S DAY PROGRAMME

Chris Valentino, sdb Lonavla, November 19, 2008: “The loving and caring work being done by Maria Ashiana Therapeutic Centre for the street boys is similar to the work of parents,” said Mr. Kumthekar, Chairman of the Lonavla Press-Reporter’s Association. He was speaking at the Children’s Day Programme organised at Maria Ashiana Therapeutic Centre on 14 November, 2008. Children from Kune Village also participated in this lively cultural gathering alongwith the boys of Maria Ashiana. Also, present on the occasion were Mr Chandrakant Joshi (Press-reporter with Maval Varta Times), Srs. Jeena Mary and Vinita, besides a few other local residents. The boys of Maria Ashiana staged skits, dances and a piano recital interspersed with interesting shayaris bringing out the jovial aspects of childhood. Earlier in the day, the boys visited the Lonavla Police Station and interacted with the Police-‘uncles.’ Expressing their fear and prejudice regards policemen in general; the boys posed varied questions to the men in khaki. Dy.S.P Ghadge, Senior Inspector Sudam Dharekar and Head Constable Salunke, responded to the queries with great composure and clarity. Later snacks, sponsored by Mrs and Mr Sharma were distributed by the policemen. It was an eventful Children’s Day Programme well organized by the dedicated staff at Maria Ashiana and was covered by the vernacular newspaper ‘Lokmat.’

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BIS # 1180 DBYA SOUTH ASIA COUNCIL HOLDS MEET

Antony Christy sdb CHENNAI, NOVEMBER 17, 2008: ”Go to the youth like Don Bosco, with the heart of Don Bosco” was the challenge Fr. Fabio Attard, the General Councillor for Salesian Youth Ministry placed before the 60 members of the Youth Ministry teams of the 11 provinces of the South Asia Region as they began their 3 day meet on November 14, at Citadel, Don Bosco Provincial House, Chennai. Fr. Maria Arokiam, the Regional Councillor of South Asia, invited the participants “to believe, to be different, to be critical and to be broad” in our thinking and reflection in order to be effective Youth Ministers after the heart of Don Bosco in today’s context. Don Bosco Youth Animation - South Asia (DBYA-SA) convened this assembly to plan the Salesian Youth Ministry project for the next six years (2008-2014) in the spirit of XXVI General Chapter (GC 26) and the priorities by the Rector Major, Fr. Pascual Chavez and his council. Fr. Fabio Attard together with his team from the Youth Ministry Department (Rome) and Fr. Maria Charles, the delegate of Youth Ministry of DBYA-SA, facilitated the process of reflection and deliberation.
The process was very clear and concrete. Beginning from a presentation of the six year plan of the individual provinces and moving on to set priorities for the Salesian Region of South Asia, the assembly drew up a list of interventions that would affect the way an we looked at reaching out to the youth in and around our settings.
The fruit of the meeting was two fold. It was a process of evaluating the plans being made to imbibe the spirit of the GC 26. Secondly, it enabled the participants to arrive at key priority areas of youth ministry today as a Region and propose suitable interventions towards efficacy in those areas. As the meeting concluded by noon on Sunday, November 16, the feeling was one of gratitude for the abundance of inspiration that this meet has offered the Region. The DBYA Board consisting of the Delegates of the provinces and the DBYA-SA team are scheduled to meet today, November 17, to deepen the reflections and finalize the course of action.

Monday, November 17, 2008

BIS # 1188 TRAINING SESSION FOR YOUTH LEADERS

Bento D'Souza sdb JYOTI, NOVEMBER 16, 2008: Twelve youth and three youth animators recently had a training session at Jyoti conducted by Fr. Edwin Colaco. Drawing on his rich experience of working with youngsters, Fr. Edwin spoke about the ups and downs faced by every youth group. He also explained the growth process a group goes through and the different dynamics inherent in this process. On the practical side, he dealt with issues such as: strategies to increase membership, methodology of conducting a meeting, ways of keeping the group active and alive, etc. He stressed the need to remain optimistic even when the group is not functioning well and pointed out that there are several ways to revive a tepid group. The training programme helped build up the confidence of the participants and also equipped them with the skills necessary for working with youth groups.

BIS # 1187 PROMOTING VOCATIONS IN VASAI

Gregory D’Cunha sdb JYOTI, NOVEMBER 16, 2008: Thirteen boys from various parts of the Vasai region met at Our Lady of Light Church, Jyoti on October 31 and November 8, to get to know Don Bosco, the ‘Friend of Youth’. Fr. Gregory D’Cunha introduced them to the Salesian way of life through a session on the life of Don Bosco. This was followed by a documentary film on the works of the Mumbai Province. Next, Fr. Blany Pinto, Rector, gave an input session on the Salesian charism and the role played by the Salesians in our present day world. As a follow-up of this programme, these young aspirants have decided to meet once a month in different Salesian institutions.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

BIS # 1186 VOCATION CAMP HELD AT JYOTI

Richard D’Silva sdb JYOTI, NOVEMBER 15, 2008: In a joint venture, to foster workers in the Lord’s vineyard the ‘Bosco Way’, the Salesians and Salesian Sisters of the Vasai-Uttan region conducted a Vocation Camp on October 28-29, 2008 at Our Lady of Light Church, Jyoti. Fifty-five boys and girls from Uttan and two boys from Gass attended the camp. After a set of ice breakers that helped the children mingle with one another and feel at home, there were input sessions by Fr. Gregory D’Cunha, Fr. Richard D’Silva, Sr. Monica, Sr. Jaya and Sr. Justina. It was explained to the children what it means to dream and to follow a ‘dreamer’ in the person of St. John Bosco. The campers appreciated the Salesian charism and showed an eagerness to follow this religious way of life.

BIS # 1185 PARISH FEAST CELEBRATED AT JYOTI

Gregory D’Cunha sdb JYOTI, NOVEMBER 15, 2008: The annual parish feast of Our Lady of Light, Jyoti, was celebrated on November 9, 2008. The principal celebrant for the Eucharist was Fr. Blaise D’Souza, a Jesuit priest who has been working since the past 30 years for the Adivasis in Ashagad. He was joined at the altar by Fr. Blany Pinto, Fr. Gregory D’Cunha and Fr. Bento D’Souza, the priests of the parish. Delivering a thought provoking homily, Fr. Blaise dwelt on how the Word of God and the life of Mary should inspire our daily Christian living. The celebrations this year were on a low key due to two tragedies that recently struck the parish. Swejal James Burboz, a young 15 year old girl from the parish who was currently doing her SSC, passed away suddenly, barely 3 months after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Next, Supriya Raymond Burboz, aged 25 years, the daughter of one of the benefactors who donated his land for the Church, died after a prolonged illness of eleven years. Against this sad backdrop, it was but natural that the parishioners decided that the general festivities would stand cancelled this year.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

BIS # 1184 ADULT LITERACY PROJECT LAUNCHED AT SUKET

Paul Antao sdb SUKET, NOVEMBER 15, 2008: On November 14, 2008, as India celebrated its “giant leap” of landing on the moon, the Salesian Community of Suket took the “small step” of launching an Adult Literacy Programme in Badodia village, about 4 kms from the Salesian house of Suket. Although this may be just a humble initiative, it certainly is a tiny step in the right direction towards helping the millions in India who are on the wrong side of the economic and digital divide. Our interactions with the people of Badodia over these past few months helped the villagers to identify this need and address it at their level. Varmaji, a teacher from the village government school volunteered to coordinate this programme with the help of three Std X students from Don Bosco School, Suket. The task at hand is to enable these 30 odd women develop reading and writing skills, and also to introduce them to basic arithmetic. It was interesting to see the women – young and old – ready and eager to learn from their own village children. The women began enthusiastically by encouraging other women of the village too to join them and unanimously demanded that the classes be held every evening from 8.30 to 9.30 pm, with the exception of Sunday. This initiative, under the direction of Fr. Cedric Sankul and the house of Suket, was inaugurated with the people invoking the blessings of the Almighty by singing five bhajans as in customary in the local culture. This was followed by a brief orientation of the programme by Varmaji and a few words by Fr. Paul Antao who assured them of Salesian guidance and assistance to help realize this objective in the months to follow.

BIS # 1183 GUJARAT REGION FOCUSES ON GRAM SABHA

Ranald Lopes sdb CHHOTA UDEPUR, NOVEMBER 14, 2008: With ‘Human Rights’ presently being the buzzword across the Salesian world and the ‘Rights Based Approach’ to development work being accorded a high priority, the Salesians of the Gujarat Region are certainly in the thick of the action. Working through Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and especially through the Gram Sabha has been singled out as a key strategy for our development programmes in this region. In this context, a one day Workshop on ‘Panchayati Raj and the Role of the Gram Sabha’ was organized at Chhota Udepur on Wednesday, November 12. A total of 40 Salesians and Social Work Staff attended this Workshop that began at 10.00 am and concluded at 5.00 pm. The resource person for the day was the well known High Court Advocate and Social Activist, Mr. Himanshu Banker. The objective of the Workshop was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the role played by the Gram Sabha in local governance and also to arrive at practical strategies to activate the Gram Sabha in the villages. In the first session Mr. Banker presented a complete overview of the Panchayati Raj system, and explained the role and responsibilities of each of the PRIs. The second session was dedicated to the issue of Gram Sabhas and especially to understanding the various powers vested in this body. In the session after lunch Mr. Banker gave a detailed presentation on the special powers given to the Gram Sabhas in tribal areas. The final session of the day was devoted to working out practical strategies for reviving the Gram Sabha in the villages where we work. The session concluded with the drawing up of a three month schedule to achieve these objectives. The Workshop generated much enthusiasm among those present and helped give a definite direction to our future work.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BIS # 1182 INTER-PARISH TOURNAMENTS AT DIVYADAAN

Renvick Pereira sdb NASHIK, NOVEMBER 11, 2008: The youth of St. Patrick’s Parish Deolali, along with their coordinators Cl. Abraham and Cl. Anthony Sumer, organized the traditional Inter-Parish Tournament 2008 at Divyadaan, Nashik on November 9. This event is organized annually by Divyadaan in collaboration with the youth. This year saw some interesting games and some wonderful football skills displayed by the talented footballers. The five teams that participated were Don Bosco Parish, St. Anne’s Parish, Holy Cross Parish, St. Patrick’s Parish Deolali and Sacred Heart Parish Igatpuri. The tournament began with a prayer by Fr. Savio D’Souza, Rector of Divyadaan, who also declared the event open. The matches were conducted in a round-robin fashion. The Don Bosco Parish team lifted the trophy in the finals by defeating St. Patricks Deolali 3-0. There was also a throw-ball tournament for the girls. Here too the Don Bosco girls excelled by defeating the Holy Cross Parish girls in two straight sets. The evening was filled with excitement and moments to remember and learn from. The prizes were distributed by Rev. Fr. Ivo Coelho. He was very appreciative of the efforts put in by the youth.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

BIS # 1181 MASCHIO CENTENARY SKILLS TRAINING CENTRE INAUGURATED


Melvin Pangya MATUNGA, NOVEMBER 11, 2008: The ‘Maschio Centenary Skills Training Centre’ located on the ground floor of the Shrine Office Building, Don Bosco Matunga Campus, was blessed and inaugurated by Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial, on November 10, in the presence of the Vice Provincial, Provincial Councilors, members of the Provincial House Community, Staff and Students. This Centre, which presently offers training in Language, Computer and Life Skills, is dedicated to Fr. Aurelius Maschio, pioneer and patriarch of the Mumbai Province, whose birth centenary is to be celebrated in 2009. The inaugural ceremony began with Ms. Surekha Pednekar welcoming the guests. Mr. Melvin Pangya then briefed the gathering about the two social outreach programmes initiated by the Provincial House Community this year. The first programme – Bosco PLUS – aims at enabling unemployed youth from the slums acquire a ‘skills set’ which will make them employable. The training course runs for one month, during which the students are taught Conversational English, Basic Computers and Life Skills. At the end of the course the students are linked to employment possibilities. There are 42 students in the present batch. The second programme is Evening Study Classes for Girls from the neighbouring slums. These girls too will avail of the facilities at this Centre.Speaking next, Fr. Edwin D’Souza, Rector, said that when Fr. Maschio began his work in Mumbai several decades ago, his dream was to help underprivileged children and youth improve their lives and give them a better future. The Centre being inaugurated was yet another step towards realizing this dream. Addressing the youngsters present, Fr. Michael exhorted them to make best use of the opportunity being made available to them by Don Bosco. While schooling had laid the foundation for their lives, this skills training course would help them access the job opportunities available in the city today. He wished them best of luck for their future and hoped that every one of them would find suitable employment at the end of the course.

Monday, November 10, 2008

BIS # 1180 NASHIK DARSHAN FOR ‘VOCATION BOYS’

Mylin Noronha sdb NASHIK, NOVEMBER 10, 2008: In response to the call of GC 26 to ‘organize vocational groups and gatherings which have a process of discernment and accompaniment’, Fr. Brian Morias organized a three day vocation camp for a few youth from Mumbai and Baroda to give them an experience of seeing Salesian life from close quarters and discerning God’s call for themselves. While the seven Mumbai boys arrived only on November 8, the two boys from Baroda reached on 7th morning. Since they were early they received the unadulterated attention of the Divyadaan brothers and also enjoyed a rare treat – to join the brothers for a philosophy of God class from Fr. Savio D’souza. Their questions and clarifications proved that they not only understood but were also interested in philosophy. The rest of the gang, on arriving took some time out to catch on a few winks, to refresh themselves from a tiring journey. However, their recharged batteries were immediately discharged on the football ground when they joined the brothers for games. That night they were invited the Novitiate Community of STI for dinner, where they got a chance to mingle with the Holy Novices. On Sunday 9, morning, they were able to meet many different religious at the celebration of the Eucharist in the Don Bosco Parish. Late in the morning Fr. Savio D’Souza, the Rector of Divyadaan, addressed them. He briefed them about the whole process of formations and the various helps and difficulties on the way. He also answered their queries about religious life and the obligations involved. After tea, they left two by two, along with the brothers to have their own little encounter with the youth at the local oratories. It was a good occasion for them to have a first hand experience of young Salesians working with the poor and abandoned youth. The boys also took a little time off to visit the other Salesian houses in the campus. Most of the time, however, the boys spent their time being with the brothers, talking to them and experiencing Salesian life. The brothers on their part took the initiative in not only talking and sharing their experience with them but also encouraging them to discern if God was calling them to follow this way of life. Looking at the enthusiasm of the boys, it seems many of these youngsters will not only join us, but also encourage other youth to consider the Salesian way of life.

BIS # 1179 VIRAR WINTER CAMP COMES TO A CLOSE

Alex Loknathan VIRAR, NOVEMBER 10, 2008: A ‘Winter Camp’ was held at Resurrection Parish, Virar, from October 20 to November 5, with the theme ‘Grow and Glow’. The Winter Camp was organized by the Parish Youth Group. The camp was abuzz with a variety of activities, creative skills, value education sessions, flower making, pot designing, fashion designing, art, computers, dance, music and tons of games and tournaments. Every morning the programme began with Holy Mass followed by singing of hymns and learning of prayers. Assembly was conducted everyday and it consisted of the club anthem, yoga and an action song. The camp provided an all round development of the children - spiritual, intellectual and recreational. The closing ceremony was held on November 5. The ceremony began with an opening prayer, followed by the club anthem. The children then showcased the many skills which they had learnt during the camp. Performances on the guitar, piano and a fashion show were some of the highlights of the evening. The climax of the programme was the staging of the musical, ‘The Prodigal Son’. Fr. Blany Pinto, Parish Priest, then addressed the children after which was the prize distribution ceremony. The show ended with a thanksgiving prayer. Congrats to our parish youth group who helped the children grow in their lives and glow in the world!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

BIS # 1178 YEHI HAI RIGHT CHOICE .!

Chris Valentino, sdb MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 9, 2008: Twenty Five young priests belonging to the Salesian provinces of Mumbai and Konkan successfully completed the Basic Intensive Week of Reality Therapy at Don Bosco Provincial House, Matunga, Mumbai. The workshop facilitated by Farida D’Silva Dias, a certified Reality Therapy Trainer from the William Glasser Institute, California, USA was efficiently coordinated by Godfrey D’Souza, Vice-Provincial of the Mumbai Province. Each of the participants found it a very rewarding week as they went through the motions of familiarizing themselves with a newer, rapidly emergent form of Counseling Therapy and Revalidation of their life-goals. Apart from learning the basics of Choice Theory that is offered as an alternative to External Control Psychology, the participants also learnt Reality Therapy which based on Choice Theory helps people make more effective choices thus enabling them to reconnect with themselves and others. The learning process included practical sessions, demos, video presentations and performance assessments which enabled each participant to reconnect with oneself as also focus specifically on the five basic human needs of survival, love / belonging, power, freedom and fun. The participants with their enthusiastic readiness and persistent determination worked hard from day one, eager to learn this newer therapeutic methodology. The facilitator’s affable and patient guidance at one-one and group counseling served as a morale booster for the energetic bunch of young pastors. The Basic Intensive Week came to a jovial end with the distribution of Certificates and exchange of pleasantries, with each one determined to practice Reality Therapy with immediate effect. “Yehi hai right choice baby…” was the unanimous echo of the young therapists, as they expressed their gratitude while bidding adieu to Farida.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

BIS # 1177 WHEN THE OLD BOYS COME HOME!

Crescens Lemos sdb MATUNGA, NOVEMBER 8, 2008: November 1st and 2nd were homecoming days for the ‘Class of 1960’. These ‘Boys’, now grown-up men (some even grandfathers), along with their better-halves were highly emotional at the sight of their alma mater Don Bosco Matunga. This reunion, which was on the anvil for over a year, began with a meeting in the Rector’s office. The past pupils shared their cherished memories and their present well-being. Most of them recalled Fr. Casarotti, Fr. Mc Farren, and other Salesians of yesteryears. Engineers, Doctors, Managers, Teachers and even a Colonel were some of the men who were once upon a time Bosco Boys. It was interesting to see that they even managed to invite their history teacher Mr. V.R Sonalkar, who shared his views on the need for quality education today. The Rector briefed them on the present scenario of Don Bosco Mumbai. They then assembled in the 7th C classroom to relive their past memories. Fr. Crispino D’Souza, the Principal, addressed the past pupils in this classroom and gave them an update on the latests trends in education that are being implemented at Don Bosco Matunga. After a short tour of the campus and an explanation of the new developments, the day concluded with a fellowship meal. The next day the ‘old boys’ played a game of cricket, although the attendance was not the same as the previous day. They then had an audience with Fr. Michael Fernandes, the Provincial. Speaking to them, Fr. Michael told them that Don Bosco Matunga was not just their alma mater where they learnt lessons for life, but a home where they can return to whenever they felt like. A prayerful visit to the Shrine, which was being built during their school days, culminated the reunion. This meeting was just a curtain-raiser to ‘The Golden Reunion’ which they hope to hold in 2010. This reunion was coordinated by Mr. Ashok Tannan and Mr. Prakash Mahadkar.

BIS # 1176 DON BOSCO ACTION INDIA HOLDS NATIONAL MEETING


Johnson Parackal sdb GUWAHATI, NOVEMBER 8, 2008: “Development from a Human Rights Perspective” was the theme and focus of the 12th National Meeting of Don Bosco Action, India, the Network of the Salesian Development Offices, held at Siloam, Shillong, from November 6 to 8, 2008. Introducing the seminar, Fr. Davis Arickatt, Director of Bosco Reach Out, Guwahati, spoke of the new direction that the Development Offices should take in India from the human rights perspective. Present on the dais for the inaugural ceremony were Fr. Joe Almeida, Provincial of Guwahati, Fr. Francis Alencherry, former General Councillor, Fr. A.M. Jose, National Convener of DBAI, Fr. Thomas Pallithanam, Director PARA Hyderabad and Mr. Khilesh Chaturvedi from ASK, Delhi. Speaking on the occasion Fr. Almeida referred to the Strenna 2008 of the Rector Major and exhorted the participants to accompany the young by upholding their basic human rights.
The first two days of the meeting were dedicated to a workshop on Human Rights. Mr. Khilesh, the facilitator, detailed the modalities of the workshop and the study of human rights issues from a national perspective, through a process of analysis, response and decision-making. On the first day Fr. Francis Alenchery presented a paper on ‘Salesian Commitment to the Promotion of Human Rights’, while on the second day Fr. Pallithanam made a presentation on 'The Human Rights Approach in Development'. The third day of the meeting was devoted to general business regarding the network. After a detailed discussion, two focus areas for future interventions were selected: Implementation of the NREGA and Human Rights Education. Concrete strategies for furthering these areas were planned. The Statutes of the network were also discussed and finalized. On the sidelines of the seminar, a short meeting of those attending the International Congress on Human Rights, in January 2009 at Rome, was also held.

For more details about Don Bosco Action India visit http://www.dbaction.org/

Thursday, November 6, 2008

BIS # 1175 VALUES FOR LIFE – DIOCESE YOUTH PROGRAMME AT VIRAR

Nitesh Bhalerao VIRAR, NOVEMBER 6, 2008: The youth of Resurrection Church, under the guidance of Fr. Edwin Colaco, organized a workshop on “Values for Life” for the youth of the Vasai Diocese on Sunday, 2nd November 2008 at Resurrection Church, Virar. The programme began with the ‘Holy Eucharist’. The 92 participants were later divided into four groups. A sheet containing ten different values was then given to the respective groups. The groups were then asked to choose any three values and rank them according to their priority. The youth from Resurrection Church then organized an ‘Auction Game’. Each group was given Rs. 500 and ten different values were put up for auction. The bidding started and the groups began buying different values. When the ninth value was auctioned, the groups were given an option to give away any amount of money they had to any other group. This was done in order to see how generous they could be as they competed to buy the values. The points were given according to the values ranked earlier. The participants noticed they had bought different values from the ones that they had chosen and ranked earlier. Through this game, they realized the importance of first setting their priorities and then focusing on achieving it under any circumstances. The participants were then asked to reflect on the values they had learned and how they would use it in their personal and social lives. Fr. Blany Pinto, Parish Priest, Resurrection Church conducted a session on how to motivate the youth to join the youth group. The programme ended with a jam session which the youth enjoyed.

BIS # 1174 SAVEDI ‘SHIBIR’

William Falcao sdb SAVEDI, NOVEMBER 5, 2008: This year’s catechetical camp at Don Bosco Savedi, Ahmednagar, was held from 29th October to 2nd November 2008. The Salesian novices, as part of their experience, helped in organizing and conducting the camp. The camp was organized for the First Communion and Confirmation candidates, numbering a total of 100 children. The novices from the Konkan Province were acquainted with the Marathi language but for many of the novices it was a first hand experience of teaching and talking to the children in Marathi. The day usually began with prayer and yoga. Classes for the First Holy Communion candidates were taken by the novices. They taught the children prayers and its meaning and also introduced the children to the other aspects of faith. The Confirmation Classes were taken by Fr. Solomon, the Novice Master, Fr. Michael and other Catechists. There were games organized in the evenings as well as after supper. The camp concluded at 12:30 pm on 2nd November with a small felicitation programme prepared by the confirmation students.

Monday, November 3, 2008

BIS # 1173 VIRAR PARISHIONERS PARTICIPATE IN SCC RALLY

Dona Prabhune VIRAR, NOVEMBER 2, 2008: The Third Small Christian Communities Rally of the Vasai Diocese was held at St. Thomas Church, Sandor, Vasai West, on October 30, 2008 from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm. The theme of this rally was: Significance of the Word of God in our lives. Don Bosco’s Resurrection Parish, Virar prepared for this event well in advance and organized a bus for its parishioners, thus enabling over 50 parishioners to conveniently attend the rally. The Rally began with the enthronement of the Bible after which Bishop Thomas Dabre addressed the three thousand strong gathering. He pointed out that we cannot live different lives “in the Church and in our neighbourhood”. The Bible must influence our daily lives, especially the way we deal with other people. He also encouraged the Christians to mix with persons of other faiths and together with them to take up issues of common concern, irrespective of caste, creed, or community. Fr. Francis D’Britto then spoke about inter-religious harmony and relationships of Christians within their neighbourhoods. Next, Fr. Alias Rodrigues dwelt on the topic of relationship with people of other faiths within the area of the parish. This was followed by a role- play, an ‘open session’ by Fr. Alias, and finally three persons shared their experiences regarding the SCC movement. The Rally concluded with Bishop Dabre blessing the entire Diocesan team and the singing of the SCC anthem. The rally was indeed extremely well organized and an enriching experience. Congrats to Fr. Dennis Kokia, SCC Director and his service team. Thanks also to the host parish for all the hard work put in.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

BIS # 1172 “IT’S JUBILEE DAY!”

Crescens Lemos sdb MATUNGA, NOVEMBER 1, 2008: “It’s Jubilee Day!” said Fr. Boniface D’Souza, the principal celebrant at the solemn Eucharist at 6.00 pm in the Shrine at Matunga. Salesians from all over the province were present for this festive occasion as eleven confreres celebrated their jubilees: Fr. Boniface D’Souza, Golden Jubilee of Profession; Fr. Elson Barretto, Fr. Ian Doulton, Fr. Diego Nunes and Fr. Francis Kharjia, Silver Jubilee of Ordination; Fr. Ashley Miranda, Fr. Allwyn Misquitta, Fr. Baptist Monteiro, Br. Jerome Mendonca, Fr. Joe Soares and Fr. James Nigrel, Silver Jubilee of Profession. Concelebrating at the Eucharist were Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial, and over sixty other priests. Also present for the occasion were the family members and friends of the jubilarians, and other well wishers. “A jubilee is a moment to say thanks,” said Fr. Boniface, introducing the Eucharistic celebration. In the first place, the jubilarians wished to thank God who had been faithful to them through all these years. Secondly, thanks were due to “the giants on whose shoulders we have grown” he said. And finally, it was an opportunity to say thanks to family members, friends, confreres, and the many others who have been part of their lives. Delivering the homily, Fr. Elson reflected on the “ecstasy and the agony” every priest goes through. Moments of ecstasy, such as reaching out to someone in need, reuniting a broken family or comforting a dying person, are what help the priest find meaning and joy in his life and ministry. But then, there are also moments of agony, and these are often plentiful. One’s own shortcomings, failings, frustrations and loneliness are part of the agony every priest has to face. But in all this, God remains faithful, and he helps the priest endure this agony. After the Eucharist a felicitation dinner was held. Raising the toast during the dinner, Fr. Provincial spoke eloquently about each of the jubilarians. He highlighted their qualities, the work they have done during these years and the contribution they have made to the province. He pointed out that two common traits he noticed in all the jubilarians were their commitment and humility. He also thanked them for the service they have rendered to thousands of poor and marginalized youngsters and wished them well as they go ahead in their Salesian and priestly lives.

BIS # 1171 MPH STUDENTS EXPLORE TRIBAL WORLD

Leon Rodrigues sdb NASHIK, NOVEMBER 1, 2008: The M.Ph. students from Divyaddan, accompanied by their coordinator Fr. Robert Pen, participated in the Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Association of Christian Philosophers of India (ACPI) held at Proggaloy, Pastoral Centre, Kolkata, from October 23 to 26, 2008, to reflect on the theme, “Tribal Reality in India: a Philosophical Response”. It was a gathering of intellectuals that brought to light the pressing issues that surround the various tribal belts of India. Several issues were reflected upon, such as Tribal outlook to life, Historical background of the tribals, Folk Media, Tribal understanding on Culture, Tribals and Development, Migration and Displacement of Tribals etc. In all 17 papers were presented by eminent personalities. The key-note address was given by Archbishop Lucas Sircar of Kolkata. The conference had the distinguished presence of the Accountant General of Kolkata, Mr. Benjamin Lakra, who besides presenting a paper, influenced the audience with his call to be stalwarts in working for tribals. Fr. Robert Pen too presented a paper entitled “Folk Media and Tribal Culture”. The Conference brought to light the fact that in India we have around 500 major tribes, and many other sub-tribes. Tribal reality in India is a complex phenomenon, e.g., the tribes of the Northeast prefer to be called ‘tribals,’ while those of the mainland prefer to be called ‘Adivasis’ (original inhabitants). Contemporary challenges to Indian tribal reality include different forms of marginalization and exploitation which are manifested in the following features: displacement (due to Governmental and Multinational developmental interests); assimilative processes of Hinduization (Aryanization); loss of tribal identity and values (on account of exposure to mass media); migration (due to economic necessity as well as exploitation). Some of the specific attitudes and strategies that need to be adopted to facilitate healthy tribal life and to counter contemporary challenges to the tribal way of life are: Deepening an appreciation for tribal culture and heritage from ‘outside,’ and to foster a healthy sense of tribal self-esteem from ‘within’; Encouraging participation and networking among tribal groups, NGOs and other people’s movements, so that tribals become significant stakeholders in Governmental and Multinational developmental projects in tribal lands; Providing a platform for different tribal groups to come together to resolve inter-tribal conflicts and address common social problems; Sensitizing tribals (and the larger population) with regard to the right wing overt and covert forces of the Hindutva ideology, which are currently a threat to tribal identity and unity; Facilitating healthy relations between tribals and non-tribals at the local level, so as to ensure communal harmony and security and providing a channel for tribal cultural and artistic expression in national and international fora.

BIS # 1170 DIWALI CELEBRATIONS AT NASHIK

Neville D’Souza sdb NASHIK, NOVEMBER 1, 2008: The parish of Don Bosco Nashik celebrated Diwali, the Festival of Light, on October 28, 2008. The celebrations began at 7.00 pm with an Indian Rite Eucharist presided over by Fr. Nelson Falcao, Professor of Indian Philosophy and Religion. Great care had been taken to prepare a traditional ambient for the celebration with colourful rangolis, diyas and beautiful flowers prepared by Cl. Johnson, Cl. Neville and the FMA novices. All the faithful and the priests were welcomed with a kunkum (tilakam) put on the foreheads by the Ursuline (UMI) novices. Fr. Nelson led the congregation into prayer, explaining the significance of each symbol and prayer, chanting Shlokas in Sanskrit and rendering their meaning in English. During the homily, he explained the significance of the six days of Diwali, relating them to contemporary themes such as ecological harmony and respect for women. The solemn triple aarti done by the Franciscan Hospittaler novices accompanied by a devotional hymn was another high point of the celebration. Other hymns in Marathi and Hindi also added to the beauty of the Eucharist. The celebrations concluded with sharing of Diwali sweets and lighting fireworks. An attempt was made to restrict the ‘noise’ and to celebrate an 'Eco-friendly Diwali'. Among those present were FMA, Franciscan Hospittaler and UMI novices, the scholastics from Divyadaan, other Religious and some parishioners. The faithful went back after the celebration to spread the message of Christ the light to others.

BIS # 1169 RETREAT FOR SALESIAN COOPERATORS

Freida D’Souza PUNE, OCTOBER 31, 2008: In the serene surroundings of Don Bosco Koregaon Park, Pune, 39 Salesian Cooperators from the Mumbai Province made their retreat from October 28 to 30. On the evening of October 28, Fr. Elias Diaz, Provincial Delegate for the Salesian Family, warmly welcomed the Cooperators to this retreat and also introduced the preacher, Fr. Wilfred D’Souza. Being the season of Diwali, the retreat began with a power point presentation on the ‘Power of Light’. Fr. Wilfred then lit the lamp, after which all went out to enjoy the fireworks in the compound. On the first day of the retreat, Fr. Wilfred dwelt on the theme: The Salesian family in the Mission of the Church. Some of the topics he took up for reflection were: The Church for a New Evangelization, The Action of God’s Spirit, The Groups of the Salesian Family involved in the Ecclesial Mission, Aspects of the Apostolic Commitment of the Family of Don Bosco and A Mission particularly suited to Lay People. The evening was devoted to personal prayer, rosary and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. After dinner the film ‘Mission to Love’ was screened. The second day began with the celebration of the Eucharist. In his homily, Fr. Diaz pointed out that all are called to be holy and that we attain our holiness through the simple things we do in our daily lives. During the session in the morning Fr. Wilfred took up the theme of ‘Formation to the Apostolic Mission’. He stressed on three key words: Animation, Personalization and Assimilation. The topics he dealt with included: Working in Union, Formation Together, Being open to the personal and social context of the Young, Learning the method of Collaboration and the Specific Role of the Priest Formator. The retreat concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by Claudina Pinto, the Provincial Coordinator. She thanked the preacher for the excellent insights he had shared with the group. The retreat has definitely helped the Cooperators better understand their mission within the Salesian Family.