Thursday, January 29, 2009

BIS # 1260 REPUBLIC DAY CELEBRATIONS AT BARODA

Anthony Fonseca sdb BARODA, JANUARY 29, 2009: The Sixtieth Republic Day was celebrated at Don Bosco, Baroda with great splendour and solemnity. Mr. Prakash Patankar, who was the Chief Guest for the occasion, took the salute after hoisting the National Tricolour. A colourful cultural programme followed – comprising speeches patriotic songs and dances – which was well appreciated by the gathering. The highlight of the programme was a skit on the life of Bhagat Singh, enacted by the students of the Primary and Secondary sections. The programme concluded with the speech by the chief guest.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BIS # 1259 GREAT CHEER AT VIRAR PARISH PICNIC

Loreen Fernandes VIRAR, JANUARY 28, 2009: The dawn of January 25, 2009, saw us parishioners of Resurrection Parish, Virar, waking up excitedly, as it was the dawn of a much awaited day, the day for our annual parish picnic. Our picnic spot was the Green Hills Resort in Nallasopara East. The day commenced with the celebration of the Eucharist, at which our Parish Priest Fr. Blany Pinto was the principal celebrant. This was followed by a sumptuous breakfast which provided us sufficient energy for all the activities of the day. The scenic Resort has recently been extended and now includes additional swimming pools, water slides etc. The kids and adults alike were soon seen frolicking in the crystal clear water. The highpoint of the morning was an exciting water polo game which was also thoroughly enjoyed by Fr. Blany, Fr. Bento and Fr. Edwin. Foot-tapping Bollywood music enhanced the upbeat mood of one and all. Post lunch, all the parishioners gathered together and enjoyed a game of Housie. The M.C for the day, Tony Vincent, in his inimitable style and ready wit, had us in splits all through the entertainment session. Some lively action songs added an extra dose of cheer to the afternoon. Finally, towards evening, Fr. Blany announced that as most successful cricketers call it quits when at the peak of their careers, we too needed to wind up while at the height of our merry making. We returned home with wonderful memories of fun and togetherness!

BIS # 1258 CELEBRATIONS AT DBYC PUNE

Ashwin Macwan sdb PUNE, JANUARY 28, 2009: The community of Don Bosco Youth Centre, Pune organized a festive lunch for the neighbouring religious, well wishers, benefactors and friends, on January 26, as part of the celebration of the Feast of Don Bosco. Being a public holiday, many guests turned up for this event. The programme began with a short prayer service. Fr. Vincent Rasquinha, the Rector welcomed everyone and shared a few reflections on Don Bosco’s life. Through a PowerPoint presentation, some aspects of Salesian spirituality and life were highlighted. The prayer service ended with the Salesian anthem sung vigorously by all the Salesians present. Fr.Corlis Gonsalves then presented the dream behind the Salesian presence at Chinchwad and the activities being carried out at present at the Don Bosco Technical Institute. After which, all enjoyed a meal in fellowship with one another.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

BIS # 1257 PARENTS DAY AT DIVYADAAN

Justus Mendis sdb NASHIK, JANUARY 27, 2009: The community of Divyadaan celebrated Parents Day on January 25-26, 2009. The parents of the Salesians began arriving on the 24th morning and stayed on till the 27th. The programme began at tea–time on the 25th evening, with the brothers welcoming the 54 parents and relatives who had arrived from far and wide. After tea, the parents joined the parish community for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The day concluded with dinner and night prayers. The following morning, the parents and the rest of the community began Republic Day with a well animated Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist was one of thanksgiving for the gift of ‘Our Parents’. While breaking the Word of God, Fr. Savio D’Souza, Rector, described Divyadaan as a community of prayer, study and care. He also shared a few thoughts on Mamma Margaret and the role parents play in the formation of their children. Immediately after the Mass the flag hoisting ceremony was held – complete with a smart guard-of-honour, patriotic songs and stirring speeches. After breakfast, the parents had an informal meeting with the staff and the brothers. Fr. Savio D'Souza explained the role of each staff member and then invited the staff to share a few words on their responsibilities. Next, an entertainment programme was staged in honour of the parents, which was a harmonious blend of music and dance. The parents were delighted to see their sons on stage. Some witnessed the hidden talents of their sons for the first time! Most of the parents departed after tea. The joy of the parents on this occasion was well expressed by one of the parents who said: “I wish Parents Day was celebrated every month at Divyadaan!”

BIS # 1256 COMMUNITY CENTRE INAUGURATED AT DHARAVI

Anand Raj MUMBAI, JANUARY 27, 2008: As India celebrated Republic Day, Don Bosco reached another milestone in Mumbai by inaugurating a Community Centre in Asia’s biggest and one of the world’s best known slum - Dharavi. Situated in the heart of this mega slum which is home to over a million people, the Community Centre is a joint venture promoted by Don Bosco and Ekvira Mitra Mandal, a Community Based Organization in Dharavi. Fr. Edwin D’Souza, Rector of Provincial House, inaugurated the Centre by unveiling the name plaque. The huge number of people gathered for the occasion cheered enthusiastically as he broke the coconut in keeping with tradition and declared the Centre open. After the lighting of the lamp, Surekha Pednekar, Development Office staff, welcomed all those present for the function. Next, Melvin Pangya, DO staff, enlightened the gathering about the work of Don Bosco and its commitment towards poor and disadvantaged communities. Mahadev Shinde, President of Ekvira Mitra Mandal, then spoke on behalf of the community. He expressed his great joy that Don Bosco had decided to work in Dharavi and that it would be promoting its activities in collaboration with a community based organization. He pointed out that although Don Bosco has been present in Dharavi for just a few months, its impact is already being felt on the locality – seven Women’s Groups have been formed, several youth have enrolled for the Bosco Plus training programme and evening study classes have begun for the children. He concluded by encouraging the people to make best use of the opportunities that would be provided at this new community centre. Speaking next, Fr. Anaclete D’Mello said that he was indeed grateful for the welcome that the people of the locality had accorded to Don Bosco. He reiterated that the mission of Don Bosco was to empower underprivileged sections of society to work for their development. He then went on to enumerate the various programmes that would be conducted at the community centre. He too ended by encouraging the people, especially the women and the youth, to participate wholeheartedly in all the development programmes at the centre. Next, a few representatives from the women’s groups and from among the youth came forward to expresses their sentiments of gratitude and also their expectations of the new centre. The programme came to a close with Surekha Pednekar proposing the vote of thanks.

Monday, January 26, 2009

BIS # 1255 RM: “WE MUST THINK AND ACT AS A MOVEMENT”

ANS News ROME, JANUARY 26, 2009: On January 24, the feast of St. Francis of Sales, the Rector Major Fr Pascual Chávez addressed those participating in the ‘Spirituality Days of the Salesian Family’ at Rome. In his talk, the Rector Major presented his commentary on the Strenna for 2009. Referring to the historical document of the minutes of the meeting on December 18, 1859, at which the birth of the Salesian Congregation took place, Fr Chávez pointed out that it contains not only the seed of the religious society but also that of the whole Salesian Family. The successor of Don Bosco invited the Salesian Family “to acquire a new mentality, to change the way of thinking and always to think and to act as a Movement,” a change which in the words of Fr Chávez means three things: “an intense spirit of communion”, “the union of hearts as well as a spirit of communion and a convinced desire for synergy” and “sharing aims with a mature capacity for networking.” About 330 people from 21 countries, religious and lay, participated in the ‘XXVII Spirituality Days of the Salesian Family’, which began on January 22, and was held at the Salesianum in Rome. This annual event brings together representatives of the different groups of the Salesian Family begun by Don Bosco. The event concluded yesterday, Sunday 25, with the solemn closing Mass presided over by Fr Pascual Chávez.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

BIS # 1254 CHHOTA CROSSES A COUPLE OF NEW FRONTIERS

Ranald Lopes sdb CHHOTA UDEPUR, JANUARY 24, 2009: To talk about the Village Education Programme (VEP), well, that would not qualify as ’news’, since the VEP has been running for the past several years. But the new VEP centre we have launched recently, that is certainly a point of interest. At the request of the villagers, we began classes for the children in Odhi, an extremely backward and neglected village, 31 kms away from Chhota. Although there is a Government Primary School in the village, no teacher has come to this school for the past 4 years. But the kids are eager to study – this is clearly visible from the fact that we already have 90 students attending class daily in the VEP centre. One of our past pupils conducts the classes in his own house. Taking education to these interior villages is an uphill task, but then, that is precisely our mission. Another story of interest is the Beauticians Course presently underway at our Skills Training Centre. This 15 days course began on January 16 and will conclude on February 1. Twenty budding beauticians from the villages are mastering the skills of this art under the able guidance of Ms. Laura. Classes are held daily and the students are participating in the same with great interest. They plan to set up their own ‘beauty parlours’ in the villages after completing the training. With the ‘beauty business’ finding its way into the villages, the beautiful Rathwa women are soon going to top the beauty charts! Who knows, someday Chhota may be able to boast of producing a Miss World!

Friday, January 23, 2009

BIS # 1253 SYMPOSIUM ON GLOBALIZATION AND THE ECONOMIC MELTDOWN

James Chithambaram sdb NASHIK, JANUARY 23, 2008: It is happening and it’s all happening around us. Till now, more than twenty American banks have failed, countries GDP growth is slowing down, the stock market is low and the inflation rate is high, something which we find difficult to imagine. To create awareness of these problems, the Masters of Philosophy (MPh) students of Divyadaan, organized a symposium on Globalization and the Economic Meltdown, on January 19, 2009 in the Academic Block of Divyadaan. Before the symposium a lot of group study and research was done on the topic, with the entire theme being divided into three parts. The first part dealt with the history of Globalization and its impacts, the second with the analysis and the causes of this current financial meltdown and the third with the various responses at the international, national and the church levels to this problem. The symposium began with the opening prayer, after which Fr. Robert Pen, the coordinator of the M.Ph, welcomed the guests. The moderator then introduced the topic as well as the speakers to the audience. The three speakers of the day presented their papers along with apt PowerPoint presentations. After the presentations, it was the time for discussion and clarifications. The participants raised many pertinent questions which led to a lively and enlightening debate. The moderator finally concluded the symposium by summarizing the entire discussion.

BIS # 1252 “THE DISCIPLES” OFFICIALLY ACCEPTED IN THE SALESIAN FAMILY

ANS News ROME, JANUARY 23, 2009: The Rector Major, Fr Pascual Chávez, and his Council yesterday approved the request to belong to the Salesian Family made by three new groups: The Disciples, Canção Nova and the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Michael the Archangel. “The Disciples”, or Don Bosco Secular Institute, is a public ecclesiastical association of men and women begun in India in 1973 as an inspiration of the Salesian Fr Joseph D’Souza. In 1983 the Sisters were joined by the Brothers. On April 21, 2000 the diocese of Ambikapur recognized the Secular Institute. The Disciples, drawing inspiration from the gospel passage in which Jesus entrusts a mission to 72 disciples, are dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel, to teaching catechism, to the care of the sick and the service of the poor. Today they are just over 400 in number, present in 44 dioceses in India and 6 in Italy. The second group, Canção Nova is an international movement of lay people engaged in evangelization, in particular through the media, which began in 1978 with 12 young people under the guidance of a Salesian priest, Fr Jonas Abib. The movement draws its inspiration from number 45 in the Papal Document “Evangeli Nuntiandi” which encourages the use of the media in evangelization. The headquarters of the movement is at Cachoeira Paulista, in Brazil. The Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Michael the Archangel, also called “Michaelite Sisters”, was founded at the end of the XIX century by Blessed Fr Bronislao Markiewicz and the Servant of God Mother Anna Kaworek. In 1956 the infant congregation obtained from the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference the Decree of praise, confirmed by the Congregation for Religious which recognized it as a religious institute of pontifical right. The Michaelite Sisters combine a contemplative manner with apostolic charitable work in the educational, catechetical, charitable and social fields, in parish work and in the missions.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

BIS # 1251 FR. ASHLEY MIRANDA – 25 YEARS A SALESIAN

Placidus Fernandes sdb NASHIK, JANUARY 22, 2009: On January 17, the entire Salesian community of Nashik gathered around Fr. Ashley Miranda, to celebrate with him the 25 Years he has been a Salesian. Also present for the occasion were his mother and several family members. At the start of the Eucharistic celebration, the Novice Master, Fr. Solomon Rapol, extolled the many gifts of heart and mind which Fr. Ashley possesses. He added that it was indeed a blessing to have Fr. Ashley in the novitiate community. During the homily, the jubilarian praised the Lord for His goodness and His faithfulness. He reiterated St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians when he said “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” He humbly acknowledged that it was the Lord who gave him the strength to live a life of love and to “walk by faith and not by sight” these twenty five years. He highlighted the fact that the Lord in his kindness has kept him going through these years, years of extreme joy as a son of Don Bosco. He praised the Lord for his goodness towards him and explained to the gathering that the Lord is at everyone’s side in the ‘ups and downs’ of life. He stated “We are always on a path, yet none of us merits or can boast of God’s revelation. The only thing we can say is that God is Good, He is kind, He calls us, consecrates us and gives us a vocation.” Fr. Ashley concluded his homily by sharing with the assembly three points which have deeply touched his life: that God loves us with a personal, providential Love; that all of us are called to be saints and this can be accomplished by doing the ordinary things in an extraordinary manner by living life 200 percent cheerfully; that God has a plan for everyone and has called each one of us to be His instruments of Love. The evening climaxed with a festive dinner in honour of the jubilarian.

BIS # 1250 PROVINCIAL VISITATION AT WADALA

Joseph’s News Team WADALA, JANUARY 22, 2009: Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial, held his annual Provincial Visitation of the Parish of Our Lady of Dolours and St. Joseph’s High School, Wadala, on January 19 and 20. The students welcomed the Provincial during the Morning Assembly which was held in the School Auditorium. Addressing the students, Fr. Provincial emphasized the importance of reaching new heights in one’s life. However, he pointed out that “the journey to success should be undertaken with the right values in the heart”. A meeting was then held between the Provincial and the staff during which he stressed that teachers should imbibe those qualities which make learning a fun-filled and interactive experience. Quoting the example of Florence Nightingale, he left the staff with the message that “every child is a bundle of possibilities”. He concluded by encouraging the teachers to bring out the best in their students through Respect, Love and Care.

BIS # 1249 NEW PRIESTS DAY AT NASIK

Daniel D’Souza sdb NASHIK, JANUARY 22, 2009: Fr. Christopher George, Fr. Ajit Munis, Fr. Clifford Morias and Fr. Mayank Parmar, the newly ordained priests of the Mumbai Province visited the Salesian formation houses of Nasik on January 14, 2009. While interacting with the parishioners and religious of the parish at 6.00 pm, Fr. Mayank and Fr. Ajit shared their vocation stories, enumerating the various instances in which God had worked in their lives – in their times of trials, difficulties and discouragement. On being asked what were some of the most moving moments in their years of formation, Fr. George recollected his years in Divyadaan and encouraged the brothers to foster good relationships among themselves and with their formators. Fr. Clifford, who is a missionary in Papua New Guinea, also shared an instance in which he nearly lost his life and his missionary cross miraculously saved him. When asked what Don Bosco meant to them, each of them gave really profound answers. At 7.00 pm the newly ordained priests along with seven other Salesian priests from the campus celebrated a Solemn Eucharist, with Fr. Christopher George as principal celebrant. Many parishioners and the neighboring religious communities were present for the celebration of the Eucharist. Preaching the homily, Fr. Clifford spoke of the need of having empathy and compassion to reach out to those who are often left dejected. After the Mass the new priests were offered bouquets by the parishioners to congratulate them on being ordained ministers of God. Later, the three communities of Don Bosco Bhavan, STI and Divyadaan had a felicitation programme for the new priests in the Divyadaan Auditorium at 8.00 pm. The felicitation programme ended with a dinner, followed by an inspiring good night given by Fr. Christopher George.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BIS # 1248 SATPUR YOUTH VISIT SINNAR

Pradeep Bansode NASHIK, JANUARY 21, 2009: The Youth Group of St. Dominic Savio Church, Satpur, Nashik culminated their Christmas Programmes with a one-day picnic cum pilgrimage to Sinnar. They visited one of the wonders of the world, the Mineral Museum “Gargoti”. The word ‘Gargoti’ is a Marathi word meaning ‘flint stone’. The monument is classified into two galleries, namely, the Deccan Plateau Gallery, showing the best national Zeolites, and the Prestige Gallery displaying the best national as well as international collections. Conceived by Mr. K.C. Pandey – a passionate mineral collector and an enthusiast in his goal – the collection is on display since the last 27 years. After ‘Gargoti’ there followed the visit to Swami Shilananda’s Ashram at Sinnar. Swami Shilananda is a Spanish Jesuit, working in India since the past 60 years. He is in this Ashram for the last twenty years. The youth group had a moment of prayer with Swami after which followed lunch, a fellowship meal shared by all. It was truly a sharing because the tiffins carried by each of the youth group members were passed around. Swami Shilananda too sat with the youth on the veranda of the Ashram and enjoyed the meal. After lunch the youth had an hour with Swami during which he shared news, views and experiences. He concluded with a message to the youth group. Thanks to Fr. Nelson Falcao and to Br. Neville and Br. Ajay who not only guided and supported us in this venture, but were present during this picnic cum pilgrimage.

BIS # 1247 SALESIAN FAMILY DAY CELEBRATED

Freida D’Souza MUMBAI, JANUARY 21, 2009: The Annual Salesian Family Day of the Mumbai Province was celebrated on January 18, 2009 at Don Bosco Borivli, Mumbai. Over 200 members from different institutions of the Province participated in this programme. The Salesian Family is a spiritual movement in the Catholic Church, bringing together all the groups which share Don Bosco’s spirit and mission of working for poor and disadvantaged youth. This year we keep the 150th Anniversary of the foundation of the Salesian Congregation. The seed planted by Don Bosco has not only grown into a huge tree, today it has become a large ‘wood’. In this year, we the members of the Salesian Family commit ourselves to making the Salesian Family a vast movement of persons dedicated to working for the salvation of the young. The Salesian Family Day celebration began with the Holy Eucharist at 5.30 pm at St John Bosco’s Church, Borivli. Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial, along with nine concelebrants, celebrated the Holy Mass. In his inspiring homily on the Strenna of the year, he stressed on commitment, movement and salvation of the young. After the Mass the members of the Salesian Family gathered in the Don Bosco High School hall which was well decorated for the occasion. Fr. Elias Diaz, the Provincial Delegate of the Salesian Family, welcomed the gathering. He thanked Fr. Ronnie Menezes and his team for the beautiful arrangements. He then gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Strenna. The presentation was followed by a variety entertainment programme during which the various institutions presented their items. Sr. Marina Fernandes FMA proposed the vote of thanks in which she expressed her gratitude to all who were present. Special thanks went to Fr. Ronnie Menezes for making all the arrangements, to Fr. Elias Diaz for the organization and to Fr. Provincial for his presence and message. Finally, Fr. Provincial blessed the food and all the members enjoyed the family dinner.

BIS # 1246 FR. ELSON BARRETTO CELEBRATES SILVER JUBILEE

Ranald Lopes sdb CHHOTA UDEPUR, JANUARY 21, 2009: Mid January has a special significance in Gujarat, it is the moment people look up at the skies with joy as they celebrate the ‘kite flying festival’. But this year January 14 took on an even more special significance – over a thousand people gathered at Chhota Udepur, not to celebrate the kite flying festival nor to look up at the sky, but to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of priesthood of a person they have always looked up to: Fr. Elson Barretto. Family and friends, students and past pupils, village folk and village leaders, Salesians, priests, religious, and even Bishop Ignatius Menezes from Ajmer, all made it a point to be present for this memorable occasion. The theme for the celebration was ‘Through Him, With Him, In Him’; a theme that has kept Fr. Elson faithfully marching ahead on the road God has called him to tread. Recalling the past twenty-five years, Fr. Elson said that he can only marvel at the way in which God has worked in his life. During these years he was sent to places he never imagined he would be in and entrusted with tasks he least expected. He plunged into every challenge mindful that God was there with him and was amazed at the ways in which God worked through him. Fr. Elson’s stirring homily left the people in even greater admiration for this faithful son of Don Bosco who stands tall in the vineyard of the Lord. Cheers Fr. Elson, new adventures and greater heights still await you!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

BIS # 1245 HUMAN RIGHTS CONGRESS COMES TO A CLOSE

ANS News ROME, JANUARY 7, 2009: The International Congress on The Preventive System and Human Rights, came to a close yesterday, January 6, 2009. Responding to the thirty propositions drawn up by the working groups during the Congress, the Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr Pascual Chávez, gave his concluding address. Don Bosco’s IX successor referring to the fact that the Congress had taken place during Christmas time, focused on the mystery of the Incarnation, and also to the beginning of the year celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Salesian Congregation, said that although the present day and current conditions differ from those of Don Bosco, “The Salesian mission and its purpose, those to whom it is addressed and to whom we are being sent, and the criteria for our activities which Don Bosco has left us as a precious heritage are no different.”.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” Fr Chávez said in concluding his address, “this Congress did not set out to be the closing event for the Strenna for 2008, but intended to provide a decisive impulse for sustaining the development of a path of research, formation and action which we now have to take forward in our provincial and local circumstances. This is consistent with the 26th General Chapter which has entrusted its putting into practice to us, especially in reference to the core ideas of the urgency of evangelization, evangelical poverty and new frontiers. This is the path for the Congregation to follow.”

This was followed by a short closing ceremony of thanksgiving during which those taking part received as a souvenir a kite which had been the symbol of the Congress. The Rector Major then thanked Fr Ferdinando Colombo who after twenty years has retired from the position as Vice-President of VIS. The Rector Major gave Fr Colombo a wooden statue of Don Bosco and the gold medal of the Past Pupils. As Vice President of VIS and with responsibility for Salesian missionary promotion in Italy, taking the place of Fr Colombo will be Fr Franco Fontana. Leaving the Hall all the participants also received a medal of Don Bosco. The final act of the Congress was the Eucharistic celebration at which the Rector Major presided.

BIS # 1244 AGADGAON CELEBRATES HOLY FAMILY

Ivan Rodrigues sdb AHMEDNAGAR, JANUARY 7, 2009: The solemnity of the Holy Family was celebrated with much fervour and devotion in Agadgoan. Presiding at the Eucharistic celebration, Fr. William Falcao stressed the need of parents inculcating values in their children. “The family is the first school to teach the children love and discipline. Every body should imitate the Holy Family for a harmonious blend of life” he added. The liturgy and singing was well animated by the village youth. After the Eucharistic celebration Fr. William blessed and inaugurated the new grotto dedicated to Our Lady. Later the youth and the children put up a Christmas play and felicitated Fr. William Falcao. This was followed by a fraternal meal for all the villagers.

BIS # 1242 CONGRESS ON HUMAN RIGHTS: DAY 3

ANS News ROME, JANUARY 6, 2008: “Jeffrey and the Human Rights Bag” was the video which introduced the day on Sunday January 4, at the International Congress “The Preventive System and Human Rights”, in progress at the Salesianum in Rome. The video was accompanied by a commentary by Fr Juan Linares, the Salesian Director of “Muchachos y Muchachas con Don Bosco” in the Dominican Republic. Before the work in the Hall began there was a short greeting and message of encouragement from Giovanni Maria Flick, President of the Italian Constitutional Court and a Salesian Past Pupil. In speaking to the assembly, he invited them – while working for the safeguarding of Human Rights – to be on their guard against the danger of mere intellectualising or theorising – necessary though these were in the work of scholars and exponents of law. In addition the President of the Constitutional Court pointed out that as a foundation was the recognition of the equal dignity of each person: “Dignity is linked to equality. We are all equal, while being all different, and having every right to our diversity and to our identity. I think of Don Bosco’s method as the example and the model in order to avoid any forced assimilation in which all are compelled to be the same, which is the marginalisation of those who are different.” The first talk in the morning was given by Prof. Vernor Muñoz Villalobos, Special Representative of the United Nations on the Right to Education. Drawing on his own personal and professional experience Prof. Muñoz pointed out the relationship between human, social and cultural development and the ability to acquire knowledge and to learn. As he sees it, Human Rights is not a matter for dry discussion, but an area in which learning and living constitute a single process which can be considered education. Therefore education needs to be promoted as a fundamental right in order to form active, inclusive, responsible and autonomous citizens. The morning’s work in the Hall was concluded with the talk on Human Rights in the light of the Preventive System given by Fr Pascual Chávez, Rector Major of the Salesians. Fr Chávez once again referred to the current educational emergency highlighted by Pope Benedict XVI, and then dealt with the characteristics of Don Bosco’s Preventive System. Among the characteristic features of the original educative insight of Don Bosco, the Rector Major mentioned the central role and the active involvement of the young people, the preventive culture, the experience of community, the integral educative project, which starts from a Christian understanding of the individual and of life and one which has a social projection. “Faced with this educational emergency, we Salesians,” – Fr Chávez added, “we are the bearers of a pedagogical charism that is more relevant and necessary than ever: the Preventive System of Don Bosco. This is our treasure, the contribution we are called to make to the young people and to present day society, our prophetic role. Now I should like to draw your attention to the need to renew the Preventive System of Don Bosco in close connection with the promotion and the defence of Human Rights, in particular the rights of the young, as an approach to education that a capable of creating a culture and of establishing society in a state of education.” While the morning’s work was coming to an end, in St Peter’s Square, after his Sunday message and the prayer of the Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI referred to the Congress, encouraging those taking part wherever they might be working to promote and safeguard human rights, words which those at the Congress heard and saw on the screen in the Assembly Hall. Commenting on the Pope’s message for the Italian TV programme “In his image” then being broadcast live by RAI 1 from the Salesianum, the Rector Major was one a several people at the Congress who were interviewed. Group work continued in the afternoon and then in the Assembly Hall there was an interesting session in which the two morning’s speakers replied to questions from the Assembly. In the evening after Mass at which Fr Francesco Cereda, Councillor for Formation, presided, those attending the Congress were the guests of Piero Marrazzo, President of the Lazio Region at a reception in the Palazzo Rospigliosi.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

BIS # 1243 NEW YEAR GET TOGETHER AT NASHIK

Bosco Carvalho sdb NASHIK, JANUARY 6, 2009: The Salesian Family at Nashik celebrated its annual get-together on January 1, at Divyadaan. This yearly event brings together the Salesians of Don Bosco and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Nashik to celebrate their oneness. What made this event special was that every member on the campus, right from Mother Marccetti to the youngest Novice, was present for the celebration. The get-together commenced with a prayer service in the Divyadaan chapel. Fr. Savio D’Souza, Rector of Divyadaan, then welcomed the gathering, after which all moved to the auditorium for some entertainment. The games, relays and other creative competitions kept everyone in high spirits. It was an opportunity for all to use their talents as well as to enjoy themselves. This was followed by a festive dinner. The day came to a close with Sister Rita Lobo, Superior of Maria Vihar, delivering the Good Night. She urged each member of the Salesian Family to ask God to hold their hands all through this year and throughout their lives. This get-together was certainly a concrete way of launching the Strenna for the year 2009 which calls on us to make the Salesian Family a large and active movement, working for neglected youngsters.

BIS # 1241 INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON HUMAN RIGHTS BEGINS IN ROME

ANS News ROME, JANUARY 5, 2009: The International Congress on “The Preventive System and Human Rights” began on January 2, with the opening address given by Fr Fabio Attard, Councillor for Youth Ministry, in the Assembly Hall of the Salesianum in Rome where the Congress is being held. In introducing the work of the Congress, Fr Attard reminded the 350 or so people present how important it was for the Salesians and the Salesian Family to reflect on the subject of education “because we really feel that we as a community cannot hold back in the face of the challenges posed by education.”
Following Fr Attard’s talk, there was the report “Human Rights as an effective way of fulfilling the Salesian educative mission” given by Fr Vito Orlando, Professor of Social Pedagogy, Vice Rector and Director of the Institute of Pedagogical Methodology at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. In his talk he presented the results of a survey carried out among the Salesians who were attending the 26th General Chapter of the Salesian Congregation, held between February and April 2008, on the current situation regarding marginalization and street children.
The final talk of the day was given by Gianmarco Schiesaro, VIS online representative responsible for the donbosco-humanrights.org portal and the Training Centre for Human Development, entitled “A portal for the Preventive System and Human Rights”. Mr. Schiesaro gave the audience a “behind the scenes“ glimpse of the portal specifically created for the Congress and the place where those interested can find the texts of the talks and other relevant useful information.

The morning of the second day, January 3, was devoted to three talks in the Assembly Hall of the Salesianum. The first “Educational priorities in the ambiguities of globalization” by Fr Carlo Nanni; the second, “The most significant values of the Preventive System,” by Fr Jean-Marie Petitclerc; and the third “Educating to and for human Rights,” by Carola Carazzone.
Fr Nanni, Professor of the Philosophy of education and Dean of the Faculty of Education at the Salesian Pontifical University, gave a precise account of the way ideas regarding human rights have evolved up to the arrival of globalization and proposed a re-thinking – in line with the decisions taken at the 26th General Chapter of the Salesian – of the key issues of the Preventive System, for example, clarifying what the term “a preventive approach” means with regard to the invisible generation, to the virtual, to globalization and to under-development.

“The insight of Don Bosco, which remains relevant for today’s society consisted in being able to decipher the phenomena of violence he saw on the outskirts of Turin, as providing evidence of a lack of education.” This was one of the observations made by Fr Jean-Maria Petitclerc, head of the office of the Ministry for the smooth running of the city of Paris, in his talk. Fr Petitclerc also recalled how as in Don Bosco’s day, the young are characterized by three elements: a loss of trust with regard to adults, anxiety about the future and the difficulties they encounter in the process of their socialization. In the face of this situation the Director of the “Valdoccò” presented the Preventive System of Don Bosco as an approach of trust, of hope and of partnership.

The third talk by Carla Carazzone was divided into three main topics: What meaning do human rights have, why educate to and for human rights and how to educate to and for human rights? In this way the listeners were helped to appreciate the breadth of the meaning of the expression “human rights”, the reasons to support education to and for human rights and the process to be followed in promoting and safeguarding them through education.
Work groups were held in the afternoon, and the results of their efforts presented in the assembly later. At the end of the day there was time to relax with songs, dances and other forms of a sharing of cultures.

BIS # 1240 CHRISTMAS HIGHLIGHTS FROM JYOTI

Olina Barbose
JYOTI, DECEMBER 3, 2008:
The Jyoti parish had a memorable Christmas week this year. After the children’s programme on December 26, the second day of the Christmas festivities was dedicated to the youth of the locality. About 65 youngsters came together for this programme on December 27, which began with a short prayer service, followed by the lighting of the traditional oil lamp. Fr. Gregory D’Cunha welcomed all who were present and wished them an enjoyable evening. Mr. Melvin Pangya and Mr. Dayanand Patil from the Development Office, conducted a session for the youth on the theme, ‘In unity lies strength.’ The other highlights of the evening included some fun games and creative competitions. Present along with the parish youth were youngsters from Swadhyaya Parivar and some youth from the other faiths.

The next day, December 28, the elders of the parish came together for a Christmas celebration. The oldest in the group was 87 years. The evening commenced with a short prayer service by the youth of the parish. Next, Fr. Gregory conducted a lively session during which he asked those present to share the reason of their longevity. Most of them proudly responded by saying, “we’ve worked hard, eaten wholesome food and have led stress free lives.” The evening then got into the ‘entertainment mode’, with the old folk singing a medley of popular songs from the yester years. It certainly was a beautiful evening and the elders thanked the organizers of the event for making them “feel wanted”.

On December 29, it was the parents who had a special evening organized for them by the children and the youth. The programme began with the youngsters welcoming the parents and tying ribbons on their wrists. Fr. Gregory too welcomed all and also expressed his appreciation for the efforts put in by their own children. The ice-breaker game set the tone for the evening and soon all the couples were enthusiastically involved in the games and the other activities that followed. Fr. Blany Pinto, Mr. Valerian Soares and Mrs. Mary Soares assisted and guided the youth in organizing the evening.

Finally, on December 30, it was the turn of the women of the parish to have their Christmas get-together. The programme began at 7.00 pm with a short prayer service and words of welcome. Besides the games and the fun, there was also a session on candle making conducted Mrs. Jadhav. The women not only enjoyed the session, but they also felt that they had learnt something useful. As the evening proceeded, the Mother General of the Queen of the Apostles Congregation, Sr. Maria Goretti Quadros, dropped in to greet the women. The programme concluded with Mrs. Sangita Nunes proposing the vote of thanks.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

BIS # 1239 SPREADING CHRISTMAS JOY

Edwin Colaco sdb VIRAR, JANUARY 2, 2009: It was a wonderful morning on December 27, when the children from Resurrection Parish along with the Youth Group gathered around the Christmas tree to spread the Christmas message of joy and good will. The youth had planned a ‘reach out programme’ towards the economically poor as well as the other children of the parish. They provided them with gifts and food bags from their very own youth fund. The programmed began with a short prayer. Our Parish Priest, Fr. Blany Pinto, then gave a Christmas message to all present. He also praised the youth for this act of love during the Christmas season. Next, there were action songs and games which the children greatly enjoyed. The appearance of Santa further added cheer to the occasion. Our congratulations to the youth, and especially to the Social Awareness Committee, who planned the entire programme. In reaching out to others, especially the underprivileged, we have discovered the true meaning of Christmas.

BIS # 1238 SPECIAL YOUTH MASS AT JYOTI

Ruffie Burboz JYOTI, DECEMBER 28, 2008: A special mass was celebrated by Fr. Gregory D’Cunha for the students of Stds. X and XII on December 27, the feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist. The students themselves prepared a meaningful liturgy for the occasion. An apt reconciliation service set the tone for the Eucharistic celebration. There was an interactive homily during which the parents shared positive aspects about their children and the children acknowledged the same about their parents. The parents and the students prayed that the light of wisdom may dawn upon them and enable them to achieve greater heights. The words of appreciation and encouragement boosted the spirits of these youngsters who will be appearing for the board exams this year