Saturday, February 28, 2009

BIS #1303 - SATPUR KIDS AT SOMESHWAR

Ajay D'Monte sdb NASHIK, FEBRUARY 28, 2009: The catechism teachers of St. Dominic Savio Parish, Satpur, recently organized a picnic for the catechism students to Someshwar, a spot visited by many pilgrims. Someshwar is situated along the Gangapur Road, on the banks of the river Godavari. The message of "Sarva-Dharma-Samabhava" was grasped by the children as they respectfully went around the sacred places at Someshwar. The Salesian Sisters, Sr. Shaila, Sr. Savita, Sr. Sajan and the Salesian Clerics, Br. Neville, Br. Mario and Br. Ajay organized and animated the day through songs, games, and their Salesian presence. After enjoying a common meal, which consisted in sharing their tiffins, the children spent their time playing on the banks of the river Godavari. They returned home around 5.00 pm with a lot of enthusiasm and satisfaction. The children greatly appreciated the self-sacrificing and creative presence of the Salesian Sisters and Brothers. They promised to show their gratitude by regularly attending the catechism classes in preparation for First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Special thanks to Fr. Nelson Falcao who coordinated the picnic and was present with the children throughout the day.

BIS # 1302 - A CARNIVAL WITH A DIFFERENCE

Chris Valentino sdb LONAVLA, FEBRUARY 28, 2009: It was Carnival time all over the globe with everyone busy celebrating life, before ushering in the season of Lent. A different type of Carnival unfolded itself in the Western ghats of Maharashtra when 28 Salesian Cooperators belonging to the four units of Madhya Maharashtra met at the hill-top Salesian Residence of Don Bosco Lonavla on February 23, 2009. The day of togetherness and fellowship, commenced with words of welcome and a floral presentation to Fr. Elias Diaz, Mumbai Provincial Delegate of the Salesian Family. The Animators of the four Cooperator units – Sr. Rita, animator of the Savedi Unit, Ahmednagar, Fr. Francis Kharjia, animator of the Yerwada Unit, Fr. Wilfred D’Souza, animator of the Koregaon Park Unit and Fr. Thomas D’Costa, animator of the Lonavla Unit – were also felicitated. The morning session was animated by Fr Wilfred D’Souza who made a systematic presentation on the ‘Common Mission Statement of the Salesian Family.’ He dwelt on four significant points of relevance to the Cooperators. Fr Wilfred reflected on the Vocation of a Cooperator, Evangelization, Sharing of God-experience and Collaboration. He also emphasized the autonomous functioning of each unit with creative initiatives in consultation with their Salesian animators. This was followed by an hour-long Group Discussion. A sumptuous lunch break paved the way for the afternoon session where Fr Diaz enlightened the members on the forthcoming Cooperator’s Congress to be held in Chennai during the month of April 2009. Summing up this celebrative gathering, one of the Cooperators remarked with great enthusiasm: “It is always good and rejuvenating to gather together with one’s family and relations.” The Cooperators having shared their experiences, returned back with added joy, contentment and cheer to continue the good apostolate in their own places. Truly this ‘Carnival’ of different sorts will definitely go a long way in strengthening, building and rejuvenating the units of Madhya Maharashtra. Jai Ho!

Friday, February 27, 2009

BIS # 1301 - CONFIRMATIONS AT SAVEDI

Richard Burkhao sdb SAVEDI, FEBRUARY 27, 2009: On Sunday, February 22, eighty seven candidates received the Sacrament of Confirmation at Don Bosco Parish, Savedi. The sacrament was administered to our young parishioners by Archbishop Felix Machado. The Eucharist began at 5.00 pm with a procession, in which the candidates to be confirmed solemnly entered the church accompanied by the priests and the Archbishop. In his homily, Archbishop Felix Machado spoke at length about the importance of intense preparation before receiving any sacrament. He also pointed out that in life we should have a sense of determination and not pass our days sitting on the fence. After the Eucharist there was a short felicitation programme during which the Archbishop addressed the candidates once again and also gave them their confirmation certificates. Our parish was able to celebrate this memorable occasion in a fitting manner thanks to the meticulous planning, intense preparation and the follow up of each candidate by our Parish Priest Fr. William Falcao and the Sunday school teachers. This is the first time that our parish has had such a large number of candidates receiving the sacrament of confirmation.

BIS # 1300 - OLIVER CHARMS BARODA

Samir Macwan BARODA, FEBRUARY 27, 2009: It was a grand day for the staff and students of Don Bosco Baroda, on February 22, as they staged the all time favourite, ‘Oliver - The Musical’, on the occasion of the Annual Day. Fr. D’Souza Godfrey, Vice Provincial, was the Chief Guest for this memorable event. The school also took this opportunity to felicitate Ms. Vimala Spurgen who has served this institution for the past 23 years. The beauty of this magnificent musical was further enhanced by the splendid performance of the students. What was even more amazing was that for the first time in its history the school staged a musical with a cast of 460 students. This was a new record, not just for the school, but probably for the city of Baroda. The entire audience and especially the parents of the actors were absolutely thrilled by this remarkable production. They warmly congratulated the Principal for this outstanding feat and also expressed their appreciation for the efforts put in by the staff. Besides the show itself, the practices and the preparation for the musical will always remain an unforgettable memory. Working under the direction of Fr. Anthony Fonseca, Fr. Lorenzo D’Souza and Fr. Nelson Carvalho was a great learning experience. As the well know phrase from this musical – “Please Sir, may I have some more” – keeps ringing in our minds, our one wish is that we keep staging more musicals like this. Cheers to all who made ‘Oliver’ such a brilliant success!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

BIS # 1299 - NARUKOT TOPS SCHOLARSHIP EXAM

Mayank Parmar sdb NARUKOT, FEBRUARY 26, 2009: The Gujarat Education Board annually conducts the 'Secondary Education Scholarship Exam' in order to motivate poor children and aid them financially in their studies. Seventy two students from the seven schools in the Jambhugodha Taluka participated in the exam this year, fifteen of them being from Don Bosco High School. In the results that were announced on February 24, Rushilkumar Tadwi topped the list at the taluka level while Mukiben Maliwad stood second. Both these students will now receive a scholarship to pay for all their educational expenses till they complete the SSC. Fr. George Carlos, Principal congratulated them for their fine performance and also the teachers who coached them. This is the fifth consecutive year that Don Bosco has topped the scholarship exams in the Jambhugodha taluka.

BIS # 1298 - APPA TILAK AT DIVYADAAN

Renvick Pereira adb NASHIK, FEBRUARY 26, 2009: On the occasion of the death anniversary of late Mrs. Laxmibai Tilak - one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, the community of Divyadaan invited her grandson, Mr. Ashok Tilak alias Appa, on Tuesday, February 24, to acquaint us with the holy life of his grandmother, The talk was attended by some of the religious as well as the Nashikites. Fr. Robert Pen welcomed and introduced Mr. Appa Tilak to the gathering after which Fr. Nelson Falcao led the group into a bhajan composed by Late Narayan Vaman Tilak. Mr. Tilak gave a succinct talk enumerating different incidents in the life of Mrs. Laxmibai and her struggle to become a believer of Christ. He wanted the people to know that she became a Christian not just because her husband had converted, but because she was touched by the hand of God. Mr. Appa Tilak gave a “step-by-step” process of her transformation. Initially, she couldn’t reconcile with the fact that her husband had converted to Christianity. Having resolved to win him back at any cost, she prayed, made many sacrifices and went on fasts. Tilak mentioned nothing to Laxmibai as regards the Christian religion. Gradually she was drawn to admiring the devout life of her husband. Finally, prayer and grace were the only means by which she was admitted to the sacrament of baptism on June 8, 1990. Mr. Appa Tilak ended by quoting the scripture “it is accomplished”. As Laxmibai Tilak was going through a period of change, she also mastered Marathi and completed the book on ‘KRISTAYAN’ (Life of Christ )- the unfinished work of her husband. Here was a woman, as Mr. Appa states, ‘who saw God’s hand in her life.’ Fr. Robert thanked the chief speaker as well as the gathering for their presence. Our sincere thanks to Fr. Ivo Coelho who made the initial contact with Mr. Tilak and made this dialogue a reality.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

BIS # 1297 - ALTAR SERVERS DAY OUT

Vivian D’Souza sdb JYOTI, FEBRUARY 25, 2009: The contemplative silence of Jyoti was shattered by the young excited altar servers trooping in from eleven parishes of the Vasai diocese, on the morning of February 23. Registration and division of teams was the first item on the programme. A whooping 411 youngsters were present for this grand event! The March Past was a colourful event, with each team vying to put up a good show with their attractive placards and mascots. Fr. Vivian D’Souza then welcomed the participants, animators and the youth who were on the organizing committee. This was followed by the lighting of the lamp by Fr. Blany Pinto, the altar servers’ invocation by one of the participants, a prayer for the altar servers, and the altar servers’ pledge recited by Fr. Bento D’Souza and repeated by all. Fr. Blany then declared the Rally open. The group was divided into 15 smaller groups and icebreaker were conducted for them by the Jyoti, Resurrection and Naigaon youth all over the sprawling campus. A snack break followed. The group then filled the Jyoti Church where they enthusiastically listened and participated in the Power Point Presentation by Fr. Blany. Through this presentation, interspersed with action songs, he familiarized them with the sacred books, vestments and articles used at the celebration of the Eucharist. The celebration of the Eucharist, the high point of the day, then followed with the youth from all three parishes animating the liturgy and the singing. Lunch was followed by a cache of 26 fete games created, organized by the youth of the three Salesian institutions. Each parish group fought hard to secure valuable personal points for their respective parish. The fete games ranged from traditional to modern, from local to global and from culturally ethnic to technologically futuristic. The long awaited Box Cricket and Rink Football took centre stage in the next hour and a half, at the stadium especially designed at Jyoti. The youth of Virar then busied themselves counting up the points for the various activities and getting set for the Prize Distribution. The First Prize was awarded to Resurrection and the Runners-up prize went to Our Lady of Light, Jyoti. The Chief Guest for the evening was Fr Gregory D’Cunha who distributed the certificates and prizes. Thanks echoed across the gathering and brought this beautiful day to its fitting climax.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

BIS # 1296 - SIGNIS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AT VARANASI

Joaquim Fernandes sdb MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 24, 2009: The Sixth National Assembly of Signis India, the association for Christian communication, was held at Navasadhana, Varanasi, February 13-17. About 90 delegates from different parts of the country attended the assembly which dealt with the theme 'Spirituality and Religion - a Media Perspective'. Swami Schidananda Bharati who heads the Dharma Bharati Ashram and promoter of a movement for national regeneration, in his keynote address spoke of the need to work together for promoting a culture of peace. He stressed the need for religious leaders and communicators to have a more inclusive vision and a common goal for India and the world at large. The inaugural Eucharist was presided over by Bishop Patrick D’Souza, Bishop Emeritus of Varanasi. Bishop Thomas Thurutimattom of Gorakpur in his homily spoke of the need to be united and fearless in the media ministry. He recalled the message of Pope Benedict XVI and exhorted Signis members to take media seriously and with a sense of mission. Former Professor of IIT and activist Ram Punyani highlighted how fundamentalist ideologies had high jacked the national ethos and unleashed hate campaign and violence in the country. He said people in India are deeply religious but religion is being grossly misused by religious leaders for political gain. Others who spoke during the convention include Fr. Lancy Lobo SJ, Fr. Anil Dev IMS, Mr.A mitabh Bhattacharya, Chief Editor, Northern Patrika, Prof. Geshe N. Samten, Vice Chancellor of Central Tibetan University, Sarnath, Fr. George Plathottam sdb, Executive Secretary, CBCI Commission for Social Communications, Dr. Magimai Pragasam, Media activist and trainer, Fr. Anand Muttungal, Spokesperson, Madhya Pradesh Bishops’ Council. The last two days of the programme were devoted to business sessions, which included reports of the regions, address by the World Signis President Augustine Lorthusamy and other official matters. Fr. Joaquim Fernandes, Director of Tej-Prasarini presented the Pray Sing (Music and Words edition Vol I) hymns for liturgical and paraliturgical services to Fr. Rappai Poothokaren the president of Signis India and to Fr George Plathottam secretary of CBCI department of Social Communications.

BIS # 1295 - GIVING DREAMS WINGS

Matthew Coutinho sdb NASHIK, FEBRUARY 24, 2009: Parents and well-wishers of Don Bosco School Nashik gathered to witness the 14th Annual Day of the school on February 20, 2009. The programme was replete with the trademark dance, drama and song that have come to characterize this annual event. The Chief Guest for the evening was Mr. Nitin Upasani, the Secretary of the SSC and HSC Board (Nashik Division), a person who combines exquisitely a vision for education with excellent administrative skills. In his keynote address he shared with the parents some insightful words on educating children in the current socio-cultural milieu. "Giving their dreams wings is more important than getting them to live your unfulfilled dreams," he said. He also pointed out lacunae in our current education system and noted the need for a more mature use of the mass media among the younger generation. The school annual report was an eye-opener to many of the parents for it highlighted the accomplishments of the students in the curricular and co-curricular fields with some of the more intrepid among them receiving recognition at the national and international level. Mrs. Manjula Upasani did the honours of awarding the prizes and certificates to the successful students of the last academic year. The various items portrayed the cultural diversity of India threatened as it is by the divisive forces of corruption and communalism. A strong patriotic message was also delivered - as a fitting response to the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai in 26/11/2008. They said it in words, they said it in rhyme, they said it in dance and they said it in mime. The bottom line was clear - with a vast collaborative effort involving teachers, parents and the budding stars - the sky is the limit. Dreams need wings but they also need a strong moral compass to ensure the journey reaches its true destination, and Don Bosco's vision provides just the right dose of each.

Monday, February 23, 2009

BIS # 1294 - ORDINATIONS AT PUNE

Ashwin Macwan sdb PUNE FEBRUARY 23, 2009: On Friday, February 20, five Salesians, Briston Britto and Royal D’Abreo of the Mumbai Province, together with Julius Rasquinha, Santaremand Lopes and Constantine Fernandes of the Panjim Province, were ordained deacons by Bishop Valerian D'Souza, at Sacred Heart Parish, Yerwada. They chose the theme “Reach out in Love” for their diaconal ordination.
In his homily, Bishop Valerian spoke about the ministry of service in the Church. He pointed out that deacons are called in a special way to serve with love. After the Eucharist, Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial of the Mumbai Province, thanked the Bishop and the staff of DBYC, and congratulated the deacons for their courageous "yes" to the Lord. Deacon Santaremand proposed the vote of thanks on behalf of the five new deacons. A felicitation programme and dinner was organized for the deacons at Don Bosco Youth Centre. Their parents, relatives, friends of DBYC and many religious were present.
On Saturday, February 21, Fr. Michael Fernandes conferred the ministry of Lector on seven young Salesians and the ministry of Acolyte on one. These ministries are a step towards the priestly ordination.

BIS # 1293 - BOKADIA CELEBRATES!

Lyra Pinto ALIRAJPUR, FEBRUARY 23, 2009: Through games, dances, song and celebration, the staff of Alirajpur Shaikshanik Samajik Kendra (ASSK) and the people of Guraad faliya in Bokadia village came together on Sunday, February 22, to get to know each other better and to celebrate the progress of the children enrolled in the Village Education Class. The day began with games for the children, and after a few events, the adults too couldn’t resist joining in! Right from the oldest women in the faliya to the smallest child in the class, every participant was eager to show off their sporting abilities. In all, about 40 children and 20 adults enthusiastically took to the field in individual and team games. The highlight of the day was the tug-of-war for the adults, with the women, too, proving their strength and confidence. After the prizes were distributed by the elders of the faliya, the women started an impromptu song and dance session which continued for over an hour. The get-together ended with the people resolving to send the children regularly for classes and to continue the work they have already begun to secure the implementation of the NREGA in their village. Most important, this day of celebration gave ASSK and the people of Bokadia a chance to strengthen their relationship and deepen their resolve to work together to claim their rights.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

BIS # 1292 - NATIONAL SEMINAR ON CHILDCARE

Maria Charles sdb KOLKATA, FEBRUARY 21, 2009: A two-day National Seminar on 'Emerging Trends in Childcare' opened yesterday morning at Don Bosco Nitika in Kolkata. Organized by Ashalaya of the Forum for the Young at Risk (YaR) in Kolkata, the seminar has brought together 75 Salesians and lay collaborators from 51 YaR centres from all over India. Inaugurating the seminar, Fr. Thomas Ellicherail, Provincial of Kolkata, said, “in order to mould the future citizens of the nation, learning to act for social change is the crying need of our times”. Taking cue from a speech made by the Rector Major in India two years ago, Fr Thomas reiterated the importance of “giving most to those who received the least”. He also paid rich tributes to the great pioneers in this field of work, whose courageous example set in motion a new trend in Salesian response to the plight of the young at risk across India. Mr. K. P. Sinha, Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Government of West Bengal, whom Fr. George Chembakathinal, Director of Ashalaya, described as a man “with a heart for the marginalized children”, called for greater concern for the marginalized among the marginalized. He invited Don Bosco institutions to network with Government Children’s Homes, particularly in the areas of health care, recreation and vocational training. Awareness of the need for child protection and juvenile justice is growing in India. The Salesians, who are the front-runners in the fight for human rights and justice among marginalized youth and children, need to constantly understand the rapid changes and emerging issues of childcare in the context of globalisation. This seminar is a concerted effort by the Don Bosco Forum for the Young at Risk to understand the gravity of the issue of childcare in India.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

BIS # 1291 - HEALTH CAMP AT YERWADA

Sandeep Kadam YERWADA, FEBRUARY 20, 2009: Bosco Samajik Sanstha, Yerwada, Pune organized an Eye Check-up Camp on February 15, 2009 from 10.30 am to 1.30 pm, at Don Bosco High School campus. The programme commenced with our Parish Priest Fr. Francis Kharjia and Dr. Prafula lighting the lamp. The H. V. Desai Eye Care Institute assisted BSS in organizing this camp. Dr. Vaishali, Dr. Rasika, Dr. Prafula, Dr. Kashmira, Mr. Jitesh, Mr. Umesh, Mr. Suhas were the panel of doctors who carried out the check-up. From those who availed of this opportunity, 15 patients were identified for cataract operation; two of them were selected for free operation at Desai Hospital, Hadapsar, Pune. Spectacles were given at a reduced rate of Rs. 40 each to about 55 patients. Medicines and eye drops were distributed free of cost to those in need. About 200 patients benefited from this camp. Fr. Francis Kharjia, Fr. John Gonsalves, Mrs. Nisha More, Mrs. Magarate Gaikwad and Mr. Sandeep Kadam ensured the smooth running of the entire programme.

BIS # 1290 - IMPLEMENTING THE NREGA AT NARUKOT

Mayank Parmar sdb NARUKOT, FEBRUARY 21, 2009: Pressing ahead with the ‘Rights Based Approach’, which is the new mantra in our development work, Don Bosco Narukot organized a meeting at Hirapur village on February 19, 2009. This village consists of three hamlets, comprising approximately 150 households. There was a fairly large turnout for the meeting, which had as its theme the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). Fr. Stanny Ferreira set the tone with his highly motivating talk. He urged the villagers to unite and take advantage of the available government schemes. He assured the gathering that Don Bosco would give them total support in these endeavours. Next, Mr. Subhash Shirsath, our development worker, gave the people a clear presentation on the NREGA and especially the works that can be taken up under this programme. He explained to them how land development, water harvesting structures, and other assets can be created through this scheme. He also emphasized the fact that taking up works under the NREGA was an excellent alternative to migration. The people were so charged by this meeting that they decided to go to the Taluka Panchayat Office the very next day and apply for the Job Card. True to their word, on February 20, accompanied by our development worker Mr. Pappu Ganava, a group of representatives approached the NREGA Programme Officer with the applications for the job cards. The Programme Officer was very happy with this initiative taken by Don Bosco and promised his full cooperation. The people are now awaiting their job cards after which they will apply for work. The ‘rights road’ definitely seems to be the right road!

Friday, February 20, 2009

BIS # 1289 - HANDBALL HAT-TRICK BY ST. JOSEPH'S WADALA

Joseph’s News Team WADALA, FEBRUARY 20, 2009: St. Joseph's High School stormed into the Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA) Handball finals with an all-win record, beating Don Bosco, Matunga 8-4 on the MSSA grounds at Azad Maidan on Saturday, February 14, 2009. During the forty minute game the following boys scored for Joseph's: Joel Lobo - 3, Harsh Gala - 2, Sagar Doshi - 1, Kevin Dedhia - 1, and Jeet Shah -1. Another feather was added to the Joseph's cap by the Under 12 Handball team who won the MSSA Finals defeating Dr. S. Radhakrishnan School. Thus in Handball, St. Joseph's achieved a hat-trick by winning the U-16, U-14 and U-12 Boys Handball Tournament organized by the MSSA.

BIS # 1288 - SUPERSTARS AT SHELTER

Sapna George WADALA, FEBRUARY 20, 2009: It was an absolutely amazing moment as a galaxy of world renowned personalities graced the monthly mela at Shelter Don Bosco on February 19, 2009 – the Honourable Martin Luther King III and his distinguished wife Coretta, U.S. Counsel General Mr. Paul Folmsbee along with representatives from the U.S. Congress, jazz superstars Dee Dee Bridgewaters and George Duke, and the legendary musicians from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. These illustrious visitors went around the entire institution and spent quality time interacting with the children. They showed keen interest in all the programmes conducted by Shelter, especially the Udaan programme that focuses on careers for street children. Impressed by the functioning of Shelter, they congratulated the management and staff for their commitment towards this cause. Before leaving, George Duke and Dee Dee Bridgewaters sang “Ha Haaed and Ho Hooed the Kind of Blues”, which had the ecstatic children clapping and singing along. As they bid adieu to Shelter, they encouraged the children to “live your dreams”. “Yes we will”, promised the enthusiastic children..... yes, Shelter is certainly the place to realize your dreams!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

BIS # 1287 - SEMINAR ON VOCATION PROMOTION

Brian Moras sdb MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 19, 2008: The Western Region had its Regional Vocation Promotion Seminar at the Retreat House, Bandra on February 14-15, 2009. There were 110 participants representing 12 dioceses. Bishop Bosco Penha inaugurated the Seminar and gave the keynote address. He urged the Vocation Promoters to be joyful witness and present the human face of Christ to the young. He also stressed the fact that every catholic is a vocation promoter. Fr. Gilbert gave an enlightening talk on the ‘Theological Perspectives of Mission in India Today'. He pointed out that our ministry needs to be context sensitive, based on the life and mission of Jesus. Fr. Vincent Pereira spoke on the ‘Psycho-Spiritual Aspects of Vocation Promotion’. He advised the group against manipulation of situations to suit one's own desires under the pretext of it being God’s will. He cautioned us about ‘brain washing’ people regarding vocations to priesthood and religious life. A vocation freely chosen makes you passionate and gives meaning to your entire existence. Fr. Cletus D’Souza dealt with ‘Approaching Youth for Vocations’. The introduction to this topic was through an enjoyable and symbolic Emmaus interactive walk and an effective powerpoint presentation on the culture of death. He urged the participants to bring about the culture of life; to understand the cries and crisis of faith, hope and love that the youth are facing; and to be in touch with the lingo of the youth. He concluded by saying that the vocation promoter should be on fire with a sense of mission and offer ‘Hope’: Happiness, Optimism, Patience and Enthusiasm. The other speakers too touched upon some critical points concerning the present day vocation scenario and issues regarding vocation promotion. At the end of the seminar all the participants felt energized to carry on their task of vocation promotion joyfully and enthusiastically.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

BIS # 1286 - VALENTINE'S DAY AT JYOTI

Bento D’Souza sdb JYOTI, FEBRUARY 18, 2009: Valentine’s Day had a special hue at Jyoti parish this year with 26 youth gathering together for a celebration in the evening. The programme began with a ‘Fancy Dance Parade’. The group was then divided into four teams, after which the evening got going with a series of fun games that included the hi-fly magic rope skip, the gambling dice horse race, the bowling tourney and the balloon jazz. The teams cheered their members excitedly as they vied with one another to win the games. Addressing the youngsters, Fr. Gregory D’Cunha, Parish Priest, described the evening programme as a token of appreciation for all the hard work put in by the youth during the Christmas week. All through the Christmas week the youth had organized different programmes for the parishioners. Fr Edwin Colaco, congratulated the youth for the rapid progress made by the Parish Youth Group during the past six months. He challenged them to strive for greater heights of excellence and teamwork, and never be satisfied with mediocrity. The beautiful evening ended with dinner.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

BIS # 1285 - SHOOTING VOLLEYBALL AT KAWANT

Greg Almeida sdb KAWANT, FEBRUARY 17, 2009: Don Bosco Kawant organized a Shooting Volleyball Tournament on February 15, 2009, for the youth of Kawant and Chhota Udepur Talukas. 21 teams took part in this exciting tournament which began at 12.30 in the afternoon and went on till well past midnight. The two teams that made it to the finals were Sardarnager Youth and Gurukrupa Youth, both from Chhota Udepur. After a thrilling and closely fought match, Gurukrupa Youth emerged winners. The entire tournament was very well organized, thanks to the great efforts put in by Br. Ramesh Durairaj. He was ably assisted by Mr. Arvind Parmar and Mr. Rasik Rathwa who saw to the various details connected to the event. Our boarders also did a good job of looking after the players and the other guests. The tournament was highly appreciated by the participants as well as by the spectators. They urged Don Bosco to organize such events frequently so as to give the village youth the opportunity to develop their talents.

BIS # 1284 LION KING STAGED AT DOMINIC SAVIO ANDHERI

Leon Ratinam sdb ANDHERI, FEBRUARY 16, 2009: Dominic Savio High School staged the musical ‘The Lion King’ on February 14, 2009, as part of its Annual Day celebrations. The Chief Guest for the occasion was Fr. Diego Nunes, a former Rector of this institution. The musical was directed by Fr. Ajoy Fernandes and he was assisted by the teachers who trained the children for this performance. A total of 320 children, from Junior K.G. to Std. IX acted in this enchanting musical. As the beautiful story of the Lion King unfolded gracefully on the stage, the audience was charmed by the exciting jungle dances and the fascinating wild life portrayals. The exotic costumes and makeup added to the beauty of this outstanding theatrical production. The climax of this enthralling experience was the final scene in which the entire jungle gathered together around Simba, the Lion King. The thunderous applause from the audience showed clearly that they had thoroughly enjoyed this marvelous and magnificent musical.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

BIS # 1283 - A REFLECTION ON POVERTY

Richard Burkhao sdb AHMEDNAGAR, FEBRUARY 15, 2009: The Salesians of the Nagar area had a Tri-monthly Recollection on February 11, at Mula Dam in Rahuri. The theme chosen for the recollection was 'Poverty'. The first talk was given by Jesuit Fr. Aaba Waghmare at Sneha Sadhan, in which he shared some of his own experiences and personal convictions with regard to poverty. After this the group proceeded to the guest house at Mula Dam, where Fr. William Falcao gave the second talk. He based his reflections on the letter on poverty by Fr. Juan Vecchi. After lunch, there was a review of our practice of the vow of poverty, conducted by Fr. Francis Fernandes. The recollection was a good occasion for the Nagar confreres to come together and spend a day in prayer and reflection.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

BIS # 1282 EMPOWERING WOMEN TO SPEARHEAD DEVELOPMENT

Mayank Parmar sdb NARUKOT, FEBRUARY 14, 2009: Don Bosco Narukot organized a Women’s Empowerment Programme at Gandhra and Hirapur villages on February 9, 2009. Seventy-six women from different Self Help Groups participated in this programme. Ms. Nimiben Solanki, who has been working for women’s development since the past 15 years, was the resource person for the day. Drawing from her long and rich experience in this field, she shared several interesting ideas with the women. She emphasized the need of forming Sanghatans – SHGs coming together to form federations to tackle common problems. She also suggested the setting up of Women’s Cooperatives to market locally produced goods. After the session by Ms. Solanki, Fr. Stanny Ferreira enlightened the women on issues connected to the Panchayati Raj and especially the Gram Sabha. He focused on the role that women should play in these organs of local self governance. Further, he also gave a detailed presentation on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and exhorted the women to take advantage of this opportunity. The women found the entire programme extremely informative and useful. Commenting on the sessions, Jiviben Rathwa, president of one of the SHGs, said: “We are very happy that Don Bosco organized this programme and helped us understand so many issues about development. We are ready to take up these new initiatives, but we would need a lot of guidance from Don Bosco.”

BIS # 1281 WORLD MARRIAGE DAY CELEBRATED AT JYOTI

Bento D’Souza sdb JYOTI, FEBRUARY 12, 2009: World Marriage Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of every year. The Jyotiites began the day with a procession of couples into their Parish Church to celebrate a specially prepared liturgy. Fr Milton Gonsalves, the Director of the Diocesan Family Cell, officiated and preached a practical homily on the issues faced by Catholic Couples in Vasai. Offering of symbolic gifts and presentation of wedding albums were the highlights of the celebration. After this, all the couples renewed their Promise to be committed to each others, their children and their parish church. After Communion, a thanksgiving prayer was recited to thank God for the gift of married life. Excitement was in the air as all couples waited for the cultural programme to begin. To the strains of the march, 56 couples trooped into the spacious hall. The welcome was expressed through presentation of roses which the men placed on the hair of their wives. The Chief Guests for the occasion were Walter and Priscilla who have reached the 22nd milestone on the marriage journey. The games that followed were enjoyed by all the couples. The climax of the day was the cutting of the wedding cake followed by a well prepared toast by Mr. Walter D’Mello. Finally, prizes were distributed, a vote of thanks was proposed, and the couples returned home happy to have relived memories of their wedding day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

BIS # 1280 REMINISCING FR. MASCHIO ON HIS BIRTH CENTENARY

Ian Doulton sdb MATUNGA, FEBRUARY 12, 2009: Naples is the gateway to Italy but high up in the Adriatic Sea lies Venice, dreamy Venice, immortalized by Shakespeare, Byron, Shelley and Wordsworth and called by Ruskin the ‘Paradise of cities. Near Venice lies the province of Treviso and here in the valley of the Po, on the slopes of the Dolomite Alps, hedged between two small rivers Bremia and Piave and 50 km from Venice shrouded in idyllic surroundings lies the village of Vazzola. That was where Aurelius Maschio was born

on February 12, 1909, a hundred years ago! His father Giuseppe was a firm, hardworking and kind man. His business kept him busy all the time but his devotional insistence kept his family well knit with regular family prayer. Orsolina Dalla Cia his wife was thrifty and kept her home as a good mother would, mending, cooking, tending to the children. The parents of twelve children, nine brothers and three sisters, they were a happy lot. The teacher of the elementary school where he spent his first years said: “He is an intelligent and diligent pupil endowed with strong good will. It will be a pity not to help him continue his studies.” And so the time came for Aurelius to be admitted to school and his parents chose Genoa, a long way from home. Treviso is on the East coast while Genoa is on the West. One had to travel a good two hundred miles over the plains of Lombardy to reach the Salesian school at Sampierdarena. On his long journey back for his annual holidays he eagerly looked forward to being reunited with his family as much as they yearned to have him home. Then one day he revealed to them his desire to become a priest and so his parents agreed to send him to a ‘minor seminary.’ So when the time came for him to leave school, his superiors at the school had followed him closely till then, agreed that he had the qualities necessary to make a good son of Don Bosco. If he really wanted it, they would send him to the Apostolic School at Penango in Piedmont. “There” he was told, “you will be able to continue your studies and, at the same time, find out clearly whether God is truly calling you.” The decision hurt his mother deeply but she exclaimed: ‘If God calls we cannot but say ‘yes.’” A short time later, on Sunday October 5, 1924 at a grand and moving ceremony in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, Aurelius received the missionary Cross along with other 18 Salesians who were being sent to the missions that year. The people who filled the church that day watched with keen interested and commented: “Look, at that one, but he’s just a little boy!” pointing to young Aurelius. They were right, Aurelius was the youngest in the group, not yet sixteen, yet he had a clear vision of what he wanted and that left no room for hesitation at all. It was precisely this clear vision and strong determination that made Fr. Aurelius Maschio one of the most outstanding and best known Salesians in India, especially in the city Bombay which was the scene of his greatest and most fruitful labours. He was a man who thought ahead and in many directions. He transformed a barren marshy wasteland into the imposing complex of buildings that is today Don Bosco High School, Matunga, Provincial House, Shrine Office and the grand richly-decorated Shrine in honour of Mary, Help of Christians. He thought of giving school dropouts a place to learn a trade and St. Joseph’s Technical Institute was born. Then for orphans and boys from unstable homes he opened Dominic Savio Boys Home at Andheri…and many other institutions. The institutions that he brought about serve the various scopes that constitute the sum total of Salesian activity in and around the city. It is with difficulty that we refrain from defining such activity as the ‘Magic’ of Fr. Maschio’s foresight! Today, in this twenty first century, we Salesians are almost breathless trying to keep pace with the momentum that Fr. Maschio set. Undoubtedly, he will always remain a model par excellence of how we should respond to the challenges that the world of youth throws at us.

BIS # 1279 CONFIRMATIONS AT VIRAR PARISH

Virar Correspondent VIRAR, FEBRUARY 11, 2009: The prayer, “Come Holy Spirit, Come”, fervently echoed around the Resurrection Parish, Virar on February 9, as twenty four of our young parishioners received the Sacrament of Confirmation on that day. Bishop Thomas Dabre, the Shepherd of our Diocese, was present for this happy occasion and conferred the sacrament. In his homily, he reminded the youngsters that they form an important and vital part of the Church. He invited them to actively participate in the Church activities and thus contribute to the growth of the Church and the community. He appealed to parents to encourage and support the youth rather than criticizing them, and to see in them the future of the parish. During the offertory procession the candidates offered the letters which they had written. The letters contained a note on how they intend to concretely help the parish in the future. The entire liturgy was well animated, thanks to the Catechism teachers and their assistants. A special thanks to Sr. Pushpa and Alex Lokanathan who prepared the candidates for the sacrament of Confirmation. At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, Fr. Blany Pinto thanked Bishop Dabre for confirming the children and he requested the parishioners to pray that God may continue to support and guide the Bishop in shepherding his flock. Finally, the candidates were given certificates and a gift. The ‘Faith Journey’ of these 24 youngsters will now continue as they strive to contribute their time and their talent towards the growth of the parish.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

BIS # 1278 UPS DELEGATION VISISTS DIVYADAAN

Mylin Noronha sdb NASHIK, FEBRUARY 11, 2009: Divyadaan, Salesian Institute of Philosophy, was honoured by the visit of Fr. Mauro Mantovani, the Dean of Philosophy, and Fr. Jaroslaw Rochowiak the Secretary General, of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) Rome. These distinguished guests arrived on February 7, and spent two days acquainting themselves with this institute which is affiliated to the UPS. During their stay at Divyadaan, they had a meeting with the Principal, followed by a meeting with the Academic Council. They also had a general meeting with the entire community, in which they explained their roles and duties at the Salesian University in Rome. Speaking about Divyadaan, they said that they were impressed with the facilities, the faculty and the dedication of both, professors and the students. Fr. Mantavanni urged the students to use their time well, since they were blessed with an excellent institution and well qualified staff. He felt that studies at Divyadaan allowed for inter faith dialogue and reflection. Fr. Rochowiak recalled his first visit to Nashik five years ago and expressed his satisfaction at seeing the development in terms of infrastructure and facilities. As a token of appreciation for the good work being done at Divyadaan, the visitors presented an official memento to the community. They also presented Fr. Robert Pen, Fr. Valerian Pereira and Fr. Ivo Coelho special mementos for their contribution to the institution.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

BIS # 1277 HAPPY FEET!

Crescens Lemos sdb MATUNGA, FEBRUARY 10, 2009: To commemorate the Annual Thanksgiving Day, the Students, Staff and Management of Don Bosco, Matunga staged the musical ‘Happy Feet’. Happy Feet is the story of a penguin named Mumble who is ostracized by his penguin community because he is not able to sing like the rest of them. He is ‘differently-abled’ – he can dance, which is something the other penguins cannot do. The musical concludes with Mumble being instrumental in rescuing the penguins from the effects of Global Warming. Every year Don Bosco Matunga raises its own benchmark in the musicals it stages. This time, going a step further, the Principal got the Pre-Primary, Primary and the NIOS students involved in the musical, along with the Secondary students. The first show, on February 7, was in aid of the repairs and maintenance of the boarding building, while the next two shows, February 8 and 9 were part of the Annual Thanksgiving programme. This spectacular musical won the appreciation and applause of the entire audience. While the sets were absolutely breathtaking, the performance by the students was just amazing! On this occasion, the school felicitated the Silver Jubilarians and Ms. Anjoo Garg a teacher who retired this year, for their selfless service to the institution. The Guest of Honour was Mr. Farokh Maneksha Engineer, former Indian cricketer who has played 46 Tests for India and also first-class cricket for Mumbai in India and Lancashire in England. Mr. Engineer, who is an alumnus of Don Bosco Matunga, is currently a match referee in the IPL. To be part of the musical is something every student at Don Bosco Matunga looks forward to. As one of the songs in the musical says: “a penguin without a heart song is hardly a penguin at all.” Well, the boys at Matunga have their hearts full of song and dance and plenty of cheer! And so, as the 1300 cast gave of their best for this magnificent show, Happy Feet was definitely a happy feat!

BIS # 1276 NARUKOT EMERGE CHAMPS


Mayank Parmar sdb NARUKOT, FEBRUARY 10, 2008: In the recently held ‘Don Bosco Gujarat Region Football Tournament’, Don Bosco Narukot once again proved its prowess in this game. The tournament was held at Jyoti Bhavan, Jhabua, and all the Don Bosco centres participated in this exciting event. In their first game, the Narukot boys defeated Kawant in a thrilling match. Next, they had to face Snehalaya, Baroda, and here too they proved their superiority. The finals were held on February 8, in which the highly motivated Narukot boys took on the invincible Chhota Udepur team. The fiercely fought first half of the game ended goalless. A few minutes after the second half began, Rangesh Diwaliya shot a spectacular goal, putting Narukot in the lead. The determined Chhota Udepur players made every effort to shoot an equalizer, but were unable to penetrate the insuperable Narukot defence. Towards the end of the match, Gurucharan Rohidas scored another brilliant goal for Narukot, thus sealing their victory. The jubilant team received a hero’s welcome when they got back to Narukot. Veteran football enthusiast Fr. Byron D’Silva, Rector, was all smiles as he warmly shook hands with the players and congratulated them for doing Narukot proud. As you can guess, the celebrations are still on, with Narukot happily relishing its victory!

Monday, February 9, 2009

BIS # 1275 HARNESSING THE POWER OF THE SALESIAN FAMILY

Elias Diaz sdb MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 7, 2009: The Rector Major Fr. Pascual Chavez, and his Vicar, Fr. Adriano Bregolin, are presently visiting the Chennai Province on the occasion of its platinum jubilee. On this auspicious occasion, the members of the Salesian Family gathered around the Rector Major and his Vicar to felicitate them. It was indeed a gathering characterized by typical Salesian simplicity, cordiality and a cheerful spirit. The Rector Major shared with the members of the Salesian Family several important thoughts on the Salesian Family. He began by defining the Salesian Family as a spiritual and apostolic movement and went on to explain the significance of these words. Don Bosco, he said, is not merely the founder of the Salesian congregation, but rather, a patriarch of a large spiritual family. The Salesian Family is a large and dynamic reality full of life and vitality. We are invited to grow numerically, spiritually and charismatically. Each group is responsible not just for its own growth but the growth of the whole Family. We need to grow in our Salesain charismatic identity. We are a part of a spiritual movement, fruit of the Holy Spirit. To grow in this knowledge, we need to familiarize ourselves with what is laid down in the Common Identity Card and the Common Mission Statement of the Salesain family. For the Salesian family to become a vibrant reality, we need a change of mentality. We need to shift emphasis from excessive autonomy to the synergy of a vast movement of persons; we need to underline not the autonomy of individual groups but the synergy of the whole family. In the Salesian Family, each group is incomplete without the other. This change of mentality must start with the Salesians. In the afternoon, Fr. Adraino Bregolin met the Salesian Family delegates of 11 provinces of the South Asia Region. He shared experiences and ideas on rejuvenating the Salesian Family in the region. Fr. Bregolin pointed out that the Rector Major’s six year plan for the Salesian Family was an excellent tool for launching this process of rejuvenation. He briefly commented on the salient features of the plan and asked us to reflect together about the local needs, pull together the resources available and choose interventions that are concretely possible. In an open session, the delegates shared their experiences of animating various groups of the Salesian Family, highlighting the major problems and challenges they faced. Fr. Bregolin said the responsibility of animating various groups rests on the Salesian delegates. They have a pivotal role to play in enthusing and energizing the various groups. He invited the delegates to study the 6 year plan and implement it in their provinces. Besides deepening our knowledge of the Salesain Family, it is our responsibility to promote a culture of the Salesian Family as a vast movement of persons who, in different ways, work for the good of the young. The Salesian Family has great potential in South Asia with 12 groups of the Salesian Family working in it. With a well-coordinated plan and focused animation, this vast army of apostles would do wonders.

BIS # 1274 SKILLS TRAINERS MASTER NEW SKILLS

Anand Raj KURLA, FEBRUARY 6, 2009: St Joseph’s ITI organized a ‘Training of Trainers’ workshop on Life Skills at Kurla from January 28 to 30. This workshop was meant for the staff of the institution and 30 instructors participated in the same. The facilitator for the training programme was Fr. Isaac Arackaparambil. The three days programme focused on the methodology of conducting Life Skills sessions for youth to strengthen personal competencies, such as communication, self confidence, decision making, goal setting, and healthy lifestyles. It highlighted the role of the trainer, the use of various teaching skills and aids, group work, leading effective discussions etc. The programme was greatly appreciated by all the participants. They felt that through the Life Skills programme they would be able to help the students enhance their self-esteem and confidence, as well as effectively face the various challenges that come their way. The concluding function was graced by the presence of Fr. Mario Vaz, the Rector of the institution. He urged the participants to make best use of every opportunity to learn new skills, strategies and techniques to enhance their own teaching capacity. He further pointed out that through the Life Skills programme, the students could be well equipped to face life. All the participants unanimously agreed that the workshop had been an excellent learning experience and also a thoroughly enjoyable one.

BIS # 1273 AGRICULTURE, LIFE SKILLS AND MUCH MORE

Mayank Parmar sdb NARUKOT, FEBRUARY 5, 2009: Don Bosco Narukot recently organized a one month Agricultural Skills Development Programme at Tanakhala. Twenty-five youth from different villages took part in this residential course. A variety of topics were dealt with during the month, such as soil conditions, water management, crop rotation, pest control and post harvest management. The participants were also introduced to new ideas like organic farming and vermiculture. Several experts in the field of agriculture conducted these sessions which were well appreciated by the participants. Besides the inputs on agriculture, additional inputs on Life Skills, Panchayati Raj and Government Schemes were also given to the youth. The participating youngsters found these topics extremely relevant to their actual situation in the villages and were grateful for the valuable knowledge they gained. They are now back in their villages and are eagerly putting into practice all the training they received.

BIS # 1272 CHENNAI PROVINCE CELEBRATES PLATINUM JUBILEE

ANS News CHENNAI, FEBRUARY 6, 2009: The Chennai Province is in the midst of its Platinum Jubilee celebrations. On Tuesday, February 3, the Rector Major presided at a Solemn Thanksgiving Mass at the Salesian Institute of Egmore, to commemorate the 150 years of the Congregation and the 75th Anniversary of the Chennai Province. Present at the celebration were many Salesians, young people, staff and students from the Institute and a large number of others. “Becoming like a child,” Fr Chávez said, “means entering into the world of the lowly, of the adolescents and young people, of those who count for next to nothing in our society of power and influence. It means taking up the cause of the poor young who lack the means of education to enable them to make a success of their lives, and who find enormous difficulties in acquiring a place in the world of work that will lead to a respectable future.” In his homily, the Rector Major said that we need to build a new society, a real family, a worthy future not only for the young but for all of us, a future in which the globalized elements are education, solidarity and peace, and not just economy and commerce. “India is a country at the centre of world attention, but its identity cannot be the result of economic factors, nor of better living standards, but of a common effort by everyone to build a society in which all can feel at home and part of a family; this is the challenge that Don Bosco puts today to the whole of the Salesian family and to all educators,” said Fr. Chávez. During the Eucharist, the Rector Major inaugurated the 150th year of the foundation of the Salesian Congregation by lighting a specially decorated candle. Particularly touching was a beautifully choreographed dance by 75 students holding roses to thank the Lord for the 75 years of Chennai Province.