Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BIS #1342 - CAREER GUIDANCE PROGRAMME AT VIRAR

Pratika Prabhune VIRAR, MARCH 31, 2009: The summer vacation, besides being a time to relax and unwind, is also a time for many students to gain more information on their future course of studies. To meet this need of the students, Fr. Edwin Colaco organized a Career Guidance Programme on Friday, March 27, 2009, which aimed at enlightening the students on how to make correct career choices. The speaker for the day was Mr. Ram Niwas. He began the session by pointing out that one should be serious about one’s career. He then went on to discuss a variety of issues including the job opportunities available today, the need of relevant qualifications, and the process one should adopt to make proper career choices. He stressed that a mere college education does not make one employable. Students therefore need to pick up those skills which will enhance their employability. He also explained the concept of entrepreneurship and self employment. Taking the discussion further, he emphasized that besides work skills, several other qualities such as enthusiasm, commitment and optimism were critically important to build a good career and to be successful in life. He generously offered to assist interested students on their career path. Concluding the programme, Fr. Blany Pinto, our Parish Priest, proposed the vote of thanks. He expressed his gratitude to Fr. Edwin Colaco for having organized the programme and to Mr. Ram Niwas for his very thought provoking presentation. He called on the students to use the information that they had received though this programme to build up successful and happy careers.

BIS #1341 - DON BOSCO PTC COLLEGE INAUGURATED AT DAKOR

Mecanroe Lopes sdb DAKOR, MARCH 31, 2009: March 29, 2009 will ever remain a historic day in the annals of Dakor, as the Don Bosco Primary Teachers Certificate (PTC) College was inaugurated in the presence of Bishop Thomas Macwan, Bishop of Ahmedabad, Fr. Michael Fernandes, Mumbai Salesian Provincial and Fr. Edwin D’Souza, Rector of Don Bosco Provincial House, Mumbai. The day began with a solemn Eucharistic celebration which was well animated by the PTC students. Immediately after the Eucharist there was the blessing and inauguration of the new college building. As Bishop Thomas Macwan and Fr. Edwin D’Souza cut the ribbon, a repertoire of loud cheers and applause filled the campus. The dignitaries and others guests present were all praise for this artistically constructed building which is equipped with state of the art educational facilities. The felicitation programme which followed next saw the students perform some excellent cultural dances. Speaking during the programme, Bishop Thomas Macwan said that this new PTC College was a dream come true, both, for him personally and for the Ahmedabad Diocese. He expressed his profound gratitude to the Salesians for having taken up this venture and for having speedily seen it through. He placed on record his special thanks to Fr. Ivo Coelho, the former provincial, who had launched this project. He also took the opportunity to thank all the Salesians working in the diocese for the contribution they were making to the educational, social and other fields. Speaking next, Fr. Michael Fernandes expressed his satisfaction that this project had seen the light of day. He singled out the various persons who were instrumental in taking the project forward, especially the Rector Fr. Alex Fernandes, the Principal Fr. Henry, and the other Salesians in the community. Special thanks were also due to Fr. Anaclete D’Mello the Provincial Economer who had overseen the entire project. He concluded by encouraging the students to focus on ‘quality’, both, now during their term of study and later when they serve as teachers. The entire inaugural ceremony was filled colour, enthusiasm and plenty of good cheer. The slogan “Jai Ho Don Bosco” echoed around time and again. Definitely, when an institution arrives at such a momentous milestone, it is indeed Jai Ho Don Bosco!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

BIS #1340 - KURLA ITI CELEBRATES ANNUAL DAY

Anand Raj KURLA, MARCH 29, 2009: St. Joseph’s ITI celebrated its 43rd Annual Day on March 22, 2009. The day began with an excellent technical Exhibition organized by the students of the institute. Each department envisioned and developed a project on its own under the guidance of the instructors. Some of the awe inspiring projects were: the Revolving Stage and the Goods Carrier (lift) by the fitters; the Electronic Eye, the Digital Opening Alarm and the Digital Security System Circuit by the electronic mechanics students. The MMV trainees worked meticulously on a simulator of a Starting Circuit and the model of a real ‘Go Cart’ vehicle. The electrical mechanics trade exhibited the different types of house wiring which can withstand any calamity. There was an overwhelming response to the exhibition and hence it was extended for two extra days to give the students of the neighboring municipal schools and the Government ITIs the opportunity to visit it. The exhibition was followed by an entertaining cultural extravaganza in the evening which had items in English, Marathi and Hindi. During the programme, Mr. Amar, Principal, presented the Annual Report. Fr. Mario Vaz, Director, gave an inspiring speech to all the young people present. The chief guest, Mr. Alex Lobo, who is a successful entrepreneur, spoke on the necessity of hard work and its rewards. Deserving trainees of the previous academic year were awarded certificates. Over 1000 people attended and enjoyed the entire celebration. Congrats to St. Joseph’s ITI for ever being in the vanguard of progress! This institution is certainly one of the jewels of DB Tech India!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

BIS #1339 RECOLLECTION FOR PAST PUPILS

Elias Diaz sdb MATUNGA, MARCH 28, 2009: The Don Bosco Alumni Mumbai Provincial Federation, together with the Andheri Unit, organized a Recollection Day on March 22, 2009 at St. Dominic Savio Boys Home. The Recollection was animated by Fr. Brian Moras and it was well attended by 28 members. The day began with the Eucharistic Celebration, the principal celebrant being Fr. Brian Moras. In his homily, he beautifully explained that “God Is Love” and He wants us to be ever happy. The sessions were then held in the A.V. Hall. The Provincial Delegate Fr. Elias Diaz welcomed the gathering and introduced Fr. Brian. The Provincial President Mr. Ketan Gala thanked the Andheri Unit for their help and support in organizing this event. This was followed by a Power Point presentation on “What a wonderful world this is”. Through this presentation, Fr. Brian explained that God’s creation is very beautiful, but we are often so caught up in our own problems that we don’t see the beauty around us. Next, there were two more inspiring presentations that helped the group reflect on the obstacles we face in life. We need to understand what exactly our problem is and then we can overcome it through our willpower and with help from God. Fr. Brian pointed out that “we should tell our problems how big our God is, rather than telling God our big our problems are.” This was followed by a group discussion on how to overcome problems and stress in life. The conclusion of the discussion was that we should identify the root cause of our problems, be honest about them, and then try out relevant solutions. The final presentation was on ‘Choices’. There are always two choices available in any given situation; it is for us to decide which choice to opt for to make our lives more meaningful and happy. The Recollection then came to a close with the vote of thanks proposed by the Andheri Unit President Mr. Remeth Fernandes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

BIS #1338 GIVING OUR BEST FOR OUR PARISH!

Pratika Prabhune

VIRAR, MARCH 27, 2009:
On March 21, the Std. X students of Resurrection Parish, Virar (W), who had just completed the board examinations, came together for a short session conducted by Fr. Edwin Colaco. Fr. Edwin began the session with a discussion on the recently held exams. Next, he went on to ask how we could utilize our holidays well by serving the parish in a fun filled manner. He stressed that we should play an active role in the different programmes of the parish. He pointed out that we can serve God by being fully involved in the activities of the parish. He explained that no matter what career path we choose in life, we always need to dedicate some time for service in the parish.

Fr. Edwin then went on to inform us about the various Cells in our Parish, for instance, the Resurrection Youth Movement and the Small Christian Communities. He invited us to join the Resurrection Youth Movement, an invitation that we accepted readily. He also requested our help to organize the Summer Camp that is held in the Parish every year. Finally, he asked some of the youngsters to assist in the Lenten Renewal Programme to be held during the Holy Week.

Next, Fr. Blany Pinto, our Parish Priest, briefed us about the other forthcoming activities in the parish. He too invited us to participate wholeheartedly in all the parish programmes. The session came to a close with a short prayer after which we dispersed feeling highly enthusiastic.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

BIS #1337 WOMEN’S DAY CELEBRATIONS AT YERWADA

Sandeep Kadam PUNE, MARCH 27, 2009: Bosco Samajik Sanstha, Yerwad organized the Women’s Day Celebration on March 19, 2009 at the Don Bosco Campus. About 170 women were present for the event. The programme commenced at 11.00 am with words of welcome and introduction by Mr. Melvin Pangya, Development Office staff, Mumbai. The dignitaries present for the occasion were Fr. Francis Kharjia, Parish Priest; Fr. John Gonsalves, BSS Director; Fr. Prakash Bhalerao, Editor of Niropiya; Advocates Mr. Bajirao Dalvi and Mr. Vijay Bhaskaran; Mr. Melvin Pangya, Programme Coordinator; and Mr. Anirudh Patil, Regional Coordinator, Save the Children, India.

After the lightning of the lamp by the dignitaries and a prayer by Fr. Francis Kharjia, Fr. John Gonsalves spoke in details about the work being done by BSS for the development and empowerment of women in the city of Pune. Next, Advocate Dalvi and Advocate Bhaskaran made a presentation on the different laws in our country that favour women and support their development. Following this presentation, Fr. Prakash spoke on the theme of equality between men and women, especially in our present day society. Speaking next, Mr. Anirudh Patil touched on a variety of topics including unity, cooperation and communication skills. Finally, the vote of thanks was proposed by Mr. Santosh Kale, Development staff from Don Bosco Youth Centre.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BIS #1336 FESTIVAL OF DISCIPLESHIP

Arlene Mathiah BORIVLI, MARCH 24, 2009: The Lenten mission at St. John Bosco Parish, Borivli, was organized from March 19 to 22, 2009, and was entitled ‘Festival of Discipleship’. It was conducted by Br. Aneel Aranaha from Dubai. He began the missions with a beautiful testimony about himself. He said that he was a person who did not believe in God, lived an atheistic life for about 25 years, was in prison for sometime, till he experienced the mighty presence of God and thus began his vocation of preaching and bringing people closer to God. He is now a changed man, a God fearing person who believes in the passion of our Lord and is committed entirely to his vocation of ministering the Word of God. The missions began daily at 6.00 pm with Praise and Worship that was led by our Prayer Cell, followed Rosary, Eucharistic celebration, preaching and the adoration service. There was an evening dedicated to the children on March 21, and a half day session for the Youth on the following day. During this session, Bro Aneel dealt with the theme of Sin and Temptation, opening our eyes to the evil in the world. The session was an interactive session and kept all the youth glued to his preaching. The Music Ministry group chosen for this day was a special band called G-SUS from IC colony. They made this service powerful and divine with their melodious singing and joyful music. This half day session saw many youth from other parishes join us. It was a wonderful sight to see not only people of our parish participate in this Mission, but even parishioners from other parishes and people of other faiths join in this Lenten service. The entire Mission was indeed a beautiful experience.

BIS #1335 SEMINAR ON PEACE AND JUSTICE

Mathew Katara sdb JHABUA, MARCH 24, 2009: A seminar on Peace and Justice was organized for the students of Std XII at the Mission School, Jhabua on March 20, 2009. The resource persons for the occasion were Fr. Mathew Katara and Sr. Sunita Bilung. Young people today do have a strong sense of justice. They want to make a difference in the world, but often they do not know what to do and how to go about it. The purpose of the seminar was to educate these youngsters on how they can concretely spread peace and justice in the world. In the first session, Fr. Mathew dealt with the theme of ‘Injustice’. The students were divided into six groups and each group was asked to prepare a short skit on the situation of injustice as they have experienced it, such as poverty, disaster, discrimination based on caste, gender, race, wealth, color, homelessness, war or political corruption. After the groups had presented their skits there was a discussion that focused on how injustice spreads in the world and what should be our role in curbing this social evil. In the next session, Sr. Sunita enlightened the youth on the topic of ‘Peace and Peacemakers’. The session began with a brainstorming on how one can bring peace in society, and how to become a peacemaker. After the participants that expressed several ideas, Sr. Sunita pointed out that where there is love, there is an opportunity for peace. When we share the feelings and suffering of others, understanding among people grows and this again leads to peace. She concluded by saying that the realization that we are all one big family is the foundation for peace in the world.

Monday, March 23, 2009

BIS #1333 SALESIAN BROTHERS DAY CELEBRATED

Savio D’Mello sdb GUJARAT, MARCH 23, 2009: The province level celebration of Brothers’ Day was held in Gujarat this year. Fr. Godfrey D’Souza, Vice Provincial, was the principal celebrant for the solemn Festive Eucharist at Kapadvanj, on March 19 morning, the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Besides the Salesian Brothers from the different parts of the province who had gathered at Kapadvanj, also present for the Eucharist were other Salesians from the region and the aspirants. Delivering the homily, Fr. Godfrey pointed out that we should mould our lives after the example of St. Joseph who was “a man of God, a man for God and a man for others”. Lunch for the occasion was held at Dakor. After lunch the Brothers had an input and sharing session which was animated by Fr. Godfrey. During the session, a review of the Resolutions of the Sixth Brother’s Congress was held. After the discussion session, the Brothers returned to Kapadvanj for the musical “Selfless Love” put up by the aspirants. Besides the Salesians from the Gujarat region, several other priests, religious, and laity from the neighbouring parishes, were present for the musical. Kudos to the aspirants and the Kapadvanj community for the excellent performance! The following morning, March 20, the Brothers congregated at Makarpura, Baroda. The entire morning was dedicated to the review of our vocation as Salesian Brothers. The session was animated by Fr. Ajoy Fernandes. Centering his insights on the theme ‘Return to Don Bosco’, Fr. Ajoy enumerated the reasons that had made Don Bosco think of this particular lay element in the congregation. After the thoughts presented by Fr. Ajoy, the Brothers spent some time sharing how we are living our vocation. At the close of the morning the entire group proceed to Snehalaya for lunch. The final session in the evening focused on plans for the future. This session was moderated by Br. Ramesh Durairaj. The three main items that emerged were: Personal Development and Formation, Vocation Promotion, and the Need for Greater Visibility. Practical lines of action to actualize these three key areas were drawn up. The two days of celebrations and discussions came to a close with a Thanksgiving Eucharist at 7.00 pm, with Fr. Ajoy as principal celebrant. The Eucharist was followed by dinner at Makarpura. The next morning the Brothers departed after having spent two fruitful days together.

BIS #1334 SPECIAL SALESIAN FAMILY MEET HELD

Elias Diaz sdb MATUNGA, MARCH 23, 2009: A joint meeting of the Cooperators, the Past Pupils and the members of the Salesian Family was held at the Provincial House on Sunday, March 15, 2009 and was well attended by 41 members including the Unit Delegates, Salesian Sisters and their Past Pupils. Before the meeting commenced, Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial, unveiled the ‘board’ in the Past Pupils office which bears data of the Past Delegates and Presidents right from the inception of the Federation in 1954. The meeting got underway with a short Power Point Presentation explaining the meaning of the word ‘Salesian Family’, the data of the Mumbai Province, the number of Salesian Fathers and Brothers, the FMA and SMI Sisters, and information regarding the Cooperators and Past Pupils. Fr. Michael Fernandes then welcomed the gathering. This was followed by brief introduction of all those who were present. In the brain storming session that followed, Fr. Michael asked the members to give suggestions on: “How to Come Together?” Some of the suggestions given were: To conduct a seminar on the Common Identity and Common Mission Statement; To organize joint projects wherein both the Cooperators and the Past Pupils would work together to make the project a success; To publish a quarterly magazine (SALFAM); To organize the Salesian Family Day, and ensure more participation; To have a separate notice board of the Salesian Family in every institution. The Provincial also informed the members about the three months course to be held at Bangalore entitled “A study on the Salesian Family”. Those interested in attending the course would be sponsored by the Province. Next, the various activities to be taken up during this year were finalized. It was agreed that: The magazine SALFAM would be published thrice this year; The seminar on the Common Identity and Common Mission Statement will be held on July 4-5, 2009 and the same will be repeated on November 14-15, 2009; To organize the picnic on August 9, 2009; To have the next joint meeting on November 15, 2009; Salesian Family day to be held on January 17, 2010. The vote of thanks was given by the Provincial Delegate Fr. Elias Diaz, wherein he thanked the Provincial for taking the initiative to call for this meeting as also for his keen interest in getting the Salesian Family together and to work for a Common Mission. He also thanked all the participants and the Unit Delegates for coming for this meeting. The meeting ended lunch.

BIS # 1132 EMPOWERING YOUNG CATECHISTS

Caroline Cabral BORIVLI, MARCH 23, 2009: The graduation ceremony of the Catechist Training Course (CTC) for the year 2008-2009 saw two candidates graduate from St. John Bosco Parish, Borivli. Cythia D’Silva and Arlene Mathiah, catechists of the regular Sunday School participated in the training course. The CTC is a one year training course in Sunday school or religion studies. The course consists of sessions conducted every month and calls for commitment and a desire to give of themselves dedicatedly to the vocation of teaching. Cardinal Oswald Gracias graced the graduation ceremony and handed over the diplomas to the candidates. It was a moment of pride to have the Sunday School Coordinator of our Parish Ms. Lelith Vedyanayagam, graduate from the Institute of Ministry for Faith Enhancement (IMFE) course with an ‘A plus’. This course is conducted for the leaders, animators, coordinators of any lay association in the parish. The graduation ceremony was a beautiful occasion, with the candidates dressed up in their black convocation robes. The certificates were handed over by Bishop Bosco Penha. Congratulations are also due to Ms. Marilyn Vibhute who complete the Youth Coordinators course and has been invited by Bishop Bosco to join his core team for the animation of youth in the diocese. While we congratulate all our graduates, our sincere desire is that they may continue to serve the Church with even greater zeal.

BIS #1331 WADALA CELEBRATES PATRON’S FEAST

Joseph’s News Team WADALA, MARCH 23, 2009: To prepare for the feast of their Patron, the students of St. Joseph's along with their teachers organized the novena services for this much loved saint from March 10 to 18. Besides the priests on the Management Team, Fr. Cletus D’Souza, Fr. Vishwas Pereira and Fr. Orville Coutinho preached the Novena. Further more, to enlighten the students on the life of St. Joseph, his values and virtues, retired teachers and past pupils, gave the traditional Good Morning Talk during the days of the Novena. The festive Mass was animated by the Past Pupils of the school and was well attended by the catholic students. Fr. Aloysius Furtado, Rector, was the main celebrant and he was joined at the altar by Fr Anthony Pinto, Principal, Fr. Bastin Thomas and Fr. Joy. In his homily, Fr. Aloysius called on the devotees to follow the virtues of St. Joseph, and never to give up in their striving for perfection. Proposing the vote of thanks at the end of the Eucharist, Fr. Anthony Pinto thanked Fr. Aloysius for his presence on this festive occasion. He also thanked the devotees present and prayed for all those who had contributed in many ways to make the feast a success. He assured them that in St. Joseph they had a good friend and a powerful intercessor. The festive celebration concluded with a get together for the staff, both present and past.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

BIS #1330 MANY HANDS ONE HEART

Cl. Ranson D’Souza. Nashik, March 22, 2009
The community of Divyadaan celebrated their community day on the 19th of March i.e. on the feast day of St. Joseph. It was preceded by a tridum which helped reflect on the communitarian aspect of the Salesian vocation. All the events during these days were centered on the motto ‘Many Hands One Heart’ which is so much a part of the daily living of the community of Divyadaan. Each day of the tridum had a special theme beginning with ‘Following Christ and being His collaborators’, ‘Christ humbled Himself’ and ‘Loving with the heart of Don Bosco’.
There was a good balance of activities during these days in the sense that along with the animated games, entertainment in the form of a picnic and a movie there was also time for reflection and study in the form of a whole day of recollection wherein we had the scrutinium popertatis and the house assembly, everyday animated meditation, morning prayer, midday prayer and evening prayer. Even the Fathers brought out very lucidly the aspect of community through their sermons and good night talks.
What was peculiar about these days was the enthusiasm, cheerfulness, hard work and spirit of service of the fathers and brothers. They indeed went out of their way to make these days special and increase their love for God and love for one another.
Being the feast of the Rector who represents Christ the center of the community, all the fathers and brothers wished Fr. Savio with various songs and beautiful cards. His office was also well decorated. He was very grateful to the whole community for all that they were to him.
The peak of all the celebrations was the community Eucharist wherein there was seen a whole hearted participation of all in the community. The penitential Rite was animated by Fr. Savio wherein everyone went around to each Father and Brother wishing them peace and asking pardon. In his homily Fr. Savio highlighted the aspect of ‘Many Hands’ which play different roles; from hands that join in prayer to hands that touch the lives of other and ‘One Heart’ which is the heart of Christ Himself who is the center of our community from where we draw our inspiration and strength.
The celebration of the community day concluded with the community get-together where in there was a lot of singsong and games with the wonderful meal that was shared. It was a marvelous sight to see the whole community dance on the floor enjoying ever bit of their togetherness.
Finally as all good things come to an end, even the community day was over but surely the memories of this day will ever remain imprinted in the hearts of all the fathers and Brothers of Divyadaan. Indeed it was for all an experience of Gods love shared in these days of grace.

BIS #1329 “SELFLESS LOVE: THE SONG OF JOSEPH”

A new musical opera staged by Aspirants of Don Bosco
Kapadvanj 19th of March, Solemnity of St. Joseph Husband of Mary, the aspirants of Don Bosco Vocation Centre staged a Musical Opera in English entitled SELFLESS LOVE: THE SONG OF JOSEPH. It was scripted, choreographed and directed by our dynamic practical trainee Bro. McEnroe Lopes who craftily knit together the Biblical story with contemporary music, electrifying dance sequences and romantic chemistry. The personality of Joseph towered so powerfully that one could not but notice the genius, the selflessness, and the importance of the man otherwise eclipsed by other biblical heroes.
It was an amazing performance by our boys who put up the show in barely 17 days. What stands as credit to their achievement is that these are boys from the vernacular (Hindi-Gujarati) mediums who have completed barely nine months of the English Course conducted at our vocation centre. Also appreciable is the fact that in spite of being a meager 12 boys, they stage-managed the show with astounding precision having had to be involved in all the dances, the drama, the backdrops, props, transitions et al.
The show was graced by the presence of the Coadjutor Brothers of the Mumbai Province together with the Vice Provincial, Fr. Godfrey D’souza who was the Chief Guest. Also present were the Salesians, the Salesian Sisters, Fathers and Sisters of the Deanery, parishioners and friends. Every single person who witnessed the show expressed their appreciation and awe at what they described as a “miracle” and “better than professional” performance.
It was edifying and encouraging experiencing the sense of solidarity among the communities in the Gujarat region who generously shared their stage, light, sound, and costume equipment for the show. Congrats to Bro. McEnroe, the boys, and the confreres of the community who were single minded in their efforts at communicating the beautiful message of ‘Selfless Love’ so originally, creatively, and effectively.

Friday, March 20, 2009

BIS #1328 A MISSION WITH A DIFFERENCE

Florence & Jennifer NAIGAON, MARCH 19, 2009: The Parishioners of Mary Help of Christians, Naigaon, geared themselves up to wholeheartedly participate in the Lenten Mission, organized by the Parish Priest Fr. Vivian D’Souza and the Parish Council, from March 8 to 12. The Mission preacher was Fr. Vincent Barbosa who is the Assistant Parish Priest at the St. Vincent de Paul Church, Khar. During the five days of the Mission he touched on the topics of the importance of being familiar with the Word of God, idol worship, Mary, the Catholic Church. He showed us how intensively the church uses scripture for its liturgical and Eucharistic services and how the Church encourages the faithful to read and understand Scripture daily. He spoke at length on the sacraments and showed us how they have their basis in the scriptures, and the use of Scriptures in the celebration of the Sacraments. He also enlightened us on the strategy with which the New Life and other break away groups in the Church, take away our Catholics. On one day of the Mission, we were fortunate to have our Pastor, Bishop Thomas Dabre celebrate the Eucharist and speak very convincingly on the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Both Fr. Valerian and the Bishop traced the history of the breakaway groups to Martin Luther and spoke about the fragmentation of the Church by self-styled pastors who capture people with their forceful use of selective Bible passages and fellowship in their small churches. We have the richness of Scripture, together with rich traditions and the Sacraments. The Mission was held in the Society Quadrangle of the Citizen Complex to give many the opportunity to attend; and people responded well. We had a good crowd for all the days and people stayed back to clarify their doubts and anxieties. These five days of grace, really empowered the faithful to face the followers of these breakaway groups as they keep knocking at their doors.

BIS #1327 BALAK YESU CONVENTION

Mathew Katara sdb JHABUA, MARCH 19, 2009: The Balak Yesu Sangh Convention was held at Bishop’s House, Meghnagar, from March 15 to 17, 2009. 225 children from the various parishes of the Jhabua Diocese participated in this three days Convention which had as its theme: “To be like Jesus”. The resource persons for the Convention were Fr. Mahipal Bhuria, Fr. Raju Mathew, Fr. Mathew Katara, Sr. Sunita, all the animators of Balak Yesus Sangh and the members of Jesus Youth, Shushil, Benjamin and Rajani. The programme on the first day began with the inauguration followed by icebreakers. The children were divided into 11 groups and all the activities were conducted in their respective groups. The main topics that were dealt with on the first day were, introduction to the local culture, the bible, the sacraments, discovery of talents, motivation and the altar servers training. On the second day our Bishop celebrated the mass and enlightened the children on the topic of “A prophet is not accepted in his own home town”. The day was filled with a variety of activities in which all the children participated enthusiastically. On the last day Fr. Mathew Katara celebrated the concluding mass and in his homily gave the children tips on how they could put all the different ideas learnt during the Convention into practice. The children returned to their parishes after the Convention filled with much fervor and plenty of good cheer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

BIS #1326 HEALTH AWARENESS CAMP AT YERWADA

Sandeep Kadam YERWADA, MARCH 17, 2009: Bosco Samajik Sanstha organized a Health Awareness Camp for teenage girls on March 5, 2009. The programme began with a prayer by Fr. Francis Kharjia, Parish Priest. Next, Fr. John Gonsalves spoke about the education of the girl child and the various other activities being carried out for the development of women by Bosco Samajik Sanstha. Dr. Mrs. Chaudhari, the resource person for the camp, then addressed the participants on several topics related to the physical and mental health of women. It was a very interactive session, with the girls asking a lot questions. Dr. Mrs. Chaudhari answered each of these questions at length. At the close of the session, the participants expressed their gratitude to Dr. Chaudhari and to the organizers Fr. John Gonsalves, Mrs. Nisha More, Mrs. Magarate Gaikwad and Mr. Sandeep Kadam for organizing this extremely useful health awareness camp.

BIS #1325 SEMINAR ON ANGER MANAGEMENT

Arlene Mathiah BORIVLI, MARCH 17, 2009: Anger is human, it is an emotion that each of us possess. Though we are not born with it, it is something acquired and then becomes part and parcel of our lives. Anger can have a very destructive impact in our lives and hence it is important to know how to manage it. We were lucky to have a short seminar on ‘Anger Management’, organized by our parish priest Fr Ronald Menezes on March 14 and 15, 2009. The resource person for the seminar was Ms. Davis from our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Orlem. On the first day the sessions were for the confirmation students and other parishioners who were interested. The second day was for the 8th standard Sunday School children and their parents. Using visual aids and citing several real life examples, Ms. Davis explained how we should learn to turn our negative emotions into positive actions. Anger leads to violence and violence harms society. Hence, managing our negative emotions, such as anger, can have several positive consequences on society. The sessions were extremely insightful and the participants learnt a lot through the seminar.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

BIS #1324 - SHELTER PARTICIPATES IN UNODC MEET AT VIENNA

Cheryl Braganza MUMBAI, MARCH 15, 2009: The ongoing High Level Segment (HLS) of the 52nd Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) at the UNODC, Vienna is unique in its kind as it engages all the 192 member states towards formulation of the world policy on drugs. This process which began in 1988, has led to the Beyond 2008 process, wherein civil society (NGOs) has been engaged from all regions of the world. The Beyond 2008 process had seen 13 Regional Consultations of NGOs under the flagship of the Vienna NGOs Committee (VNGOC). The process involved the active participation of NGOs at the regional and global level at the UNODC. Shelter Don Bosco in its capacity as the Regional Lead Organization (RLO) Representative of the South Asian Region has been a highly active member of this process in the March and July 2008 meetings. In March 2009 there were special NGO representative invitees for the HLS of the 52nd CND. Mr. Antonio Maria Costa (Executive Director) of the UNODC in his opening remarks of the plenary session told all the member state delegations and NGOs, “The problem of drugs is too big to be left to Governments alone, it is necessary to engage civil society in the process of policy formulation”. Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden and His Excellency the President of Bolivia spoke animatedly, invoking the member states to consider special concerns in their deliberations. During the CND, a member each from Africa, Oceania and Latin America spoke on the impact and the future measures of the Beyond 2008 process. Fr. Barnabe D’Souza, representing the Asian experience, detailed the intra Government - NGO networking and collaboration. He explained that the strengthening of monitoring and evaluation in the programmes, and the improvement of communication and dissemination channels, has helped NGOs to effectively collaborate with their Governments in policy formulation in the region.

BIS #1323 – ENSURING THE RIGHT TO VOTE

Mayank Parmar sdb NARUKOT, MARCH 15, 2009: Don Bosco Narukot has seriously plunged into the ‘Rights Based Approach to Development’ that is being promoted in the Mumbai Province. With the General Elections just a few weeks away, our Development Team is busy ensuring that people can exercise their Right to Vote. In 12 tribal villages of the Jambughoda Block where we are working, awareness programmes on the need to vote were organized. Following this, our staff helped the people fill up and submit their forms, and obtain voter cards. Understanding the importance of having a voter card, people even called back their family members who had migrated to work in Baroda, Ahmedabad and Rajot, so that they too could obtain the card. On March 13, when the Jambughoda Magisterial Office organized the last phase of distribution of Voter Cards, a large number from these villagers received this important document. Voicing the sentiments of the people, Mr. Natvar Nayak, youth sangathan president of Hirapur Group Grampachayat, said: “thanks to Don Bosco Narukot, this is the first time that most of the people in my village have election cards.”

Saturday, March 14, 2009

BIS #1322 - GRADUATION DAY AT DON BOSCO NAIGAON

Mary Fernandes NAIGAON, MARCH 14, 2009: The Don Bosco Pre-Primary section celebrated their Annual Graduation Day on March 7, 2009. The School House Captains and the Prefects led the Chief Guest, Sr. Josefa and the Guest of Honour Mrs. Shiwali Chittoria, along with the Principal Fr. Bonnie Borges and Administrator Fr. Vivian D’Souza, into the hall, to witness a colourful and interesting programme. The dignitaries then proceeded to light the lamp, which was followed by a Prayer Dance put up by the tiny tots of the Jr. KG-B. Next, there was a welcome song by the Sr. K.G-B students. Their sweet smiles along with the placards bearing the words ‘welcome’ made the parents really feel at home. The Sr. K.G-A students then gave us some good tips on healthy living, through a medley of action songs and mime, based on nursery rhymes. The students of Std. I were not to be left out, as they welcomed the Sr. KG students to the Primary section through an action song. It was time now to honour our guests, the Management, the Coordinator and the PTA members, which was done through floral tributes. The Chief Guest then addressed the audience. This was followed by the Jr. K.G-A students presenting their Rock dance which had the audience tapping their feet. Finally, it was time for the main item of the evening, the Graduation Ceremony, as the little budding scholars trooped to the stage to receive their certificates, with smiles on their face and joy and a sense of achievement in their hearts. The vote of thanks was proposed by teacher Jennet, followed by a farewell song to the Sr. K.G students.

BIS #1321 - DIVYADAAN BROTHERS ATTEND SCOUT MASTERS CAMP

Bosco Carvalho adb NASHIK, MARCH 14, 2008: Fifteen First Year BPh brothers from Divyadaan participated in the Scout Masters Basic Training Course held at the Bharat Scouts and Guides Centre, Nashik, from March 3 to 12, 2009. The trainer for this Scout Camp was Mr. B.K. Bhor, an elderly yet dynamic person. The total strength of the camp was 25, which included teachers from various other schools in and around Nashik. The main purpose of this camp was to ensure that the brothers are well equipped to carry out their responsibilities as Scout Masters in different schools in Nashik during the coming academic year and later during their years of practical training. At the end of this highly enjoyable and instructive camp all the trainees were solemnly invested by Mr. Bhor. It was definitely a memorable day for all the trainees since they were now part of a great worldwide organization. The Scout Camp certainly met the aim of Scouting, that is, total personality development. The training during these 10 days focused on intelligence, skill, initiative and on character. A cheerful spirit reigned all through the camp, which is yet another hallmark of the Scouting movement. The new Scout Masters look forward to many happy adventures as they serve youngsters the Salesian Scouting way.

Friday, March 13, 2009

BIS #1320 - RANG: A FILM FESTIVAL ON CHILD RIGHTS

Leon Ratinam sdb ANDHERI, MARCH 13, 2009: A film festival entitled ‘Rang: Colours of Childhood’, was organized by Balprafulta on March 7 and 8, at its Andheri campus. The festival aimed at creating awareness on the rights of children by highlighting those situations which are barriers to the attainment of these rights. It also sought to sensitize the various stakeholders about the concerns of children and their issues. Millions of children in India are deprived of their childhood and struggle to exist as human beings. The festival tried to educate society about the need of creating child friendly environments which are necessary for the healthy growth and development of every child. The guests of honour for the inaugural function were Advocate Meenakshi Jaiswal, Chairperson of State Commission for Children of Maharashtra; Marathi Poetess Ms. Anagha Dighe and Social Activist Ms. Meena Naik. Balprafulta staff Ms. Nitha Philip and Ms. Mansi Chandorikar introduced the event after which Fr. Ajoy Fernandes, Rector, felicitated the guests of honour. Fr. Godfrey D’Sa, Director of Balprafulta welcomed the guests and further explained the rationale behind the festival. The film festival was then formally inaugurated by playing the song ‘Mera Bhi Toh Adhikaar Hai’. The films screened during the festival were ‘Raju and I’, an English film that highlights the issue of Child Rights, Child Labour and Child Abuse; ‘Ye Benakaab Chehare’, a Hindi film that focuses on Child Trafficking; 'Mulichya Jatila He Shobhat Nahi’, a Marathi film that analyzes the discrimination against the Girl Child in almost every household; ‘Lachchi’, a Hindi documentary that showcases the hardships faced by a domestic child worker; ‘Maanja’, a Marathi film that depicts the brutal sexual abuse that child labourers often face; ‘Ek Tha Bachpan’, a Hindi film that looks at the physical, mental and emotional trauma abused children face and how this impacts their entire life. In the discussion that followed the films several critical topics like child labour, abuse of children, discrimination against the girl child, role of education and flaws in the judicial system were highlighted. Those present for the various sessions were highly appreciative of the awareness the films and the discussions created. This is the first time that such a film festival has been organized by Balprafulta. We hope to make this a regular feature in our annual programme since it definitely is an excellent means of furthering the cause of child rights.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

BIS #1319 - WOMEN UNITE ON DEVELOPMENT PLATFORM

Mayank Parmar sdb NARUKOT, MARCH 12, 2009: Rather than organizing Women’s Day celebrations at Narukot itself, this year we decided to join the Mahila Samelan organized by Jagruti Kendra at Gunetha in the Narmada District. Accordingly, on March 8, 35 women from 10 of the Narukot villages, 3 village elders and 6 staff members attended the Samelan. About 400 women from 84 different Self Help Groups participated in this programme. The Chief Guest for the Samelan was Mr. Bhanubhai Tadvi, Convener of the Gujarat State Adivasi Mahasabha. He spoke at length about the Forest Act 2005 and explained to the women that they should demand for their rights which are guarantied by this act. Fr. Mayank Parmar also addressed the gathering and told the women that they should keep moving ahead with determination and courage. Speaking next, Mr. Subash Shirsath dealt with issues connected to the Panchayati Raj and detailed how this system of local governance could be effectively used by the women. After the speeches the women had time to express themselves through song and dance. The Samelan concluded on a note of determination with the women resolving to come together as a federation of SHGs and take their struggles forward through this common platform.

BIS #1318 - WOMEN'S DAY IN RATHWALAND

Ranald Lopes sdb CHHOTA UDEPUR, MARCH 12, 2009: ‘Celebrate Life’ was the theme for the Women’s Day celebration held at Kawant on March 7, 2009. Over 500 women from the villages participated in this event. The day began with fete games which were thoroughly enjoyed by the women. It was wonderful to see the women rushing around the stalls, trying their hand at different games, and happily wining prizes. After lunch there was a cultural programme by the women. Groups from the different villages presented traditional tribal dances and songs. There were also skits bringing home the message of women empowerment and the role of women in rural development. Mr. Milind Gupte, Managing Director of NABARD Baroda, was the Chief Guest for the function, while Fr. Elson Barretto was the Guest of Honour. Mr. Gupte enlightened the women about various NABARD schemes. He presented several examples about initiatives taken up by women, which had enabled them reach a good level of self reliance. Fr. Elson Barretto focused on the theme of Leadership. He encouraged the women to take up leadership roles in their villages and bring about the changes they desired. He emphasized that we will see changes in the education and health sectors only if the women play a more active role. Earlier, on March 1, Women’s Day was celebrated at Chhota Udepur. Close to 1000 women were present for the occasion. ‘Our Rights’ was the theme for the celebration. During the programme, a professional troupe from South Gujarat staged a play on the Gram Sabha. This play called on the people to participate actively in their own Gram Sabhas, and through the Gram Sabha to demand for their rights. Next, Ms. Sangita Patel, a well know Social Activist working for Tribal Rights and also involved in the Narmada Bachao Andolan, addressed the gathering. She stressed the need for unity in the villages so as to fight oppression and usher in development. Each of the groups present then staged a skit or sang a song on this theme of Rights. The entire programme helped invigorate the women to take forward their fight for justice.

BIS #1317 - SPCSA CALLS FOR NETWORKING

Tarcisius Toppo sdb DIMAPUR, MARCH 12, 2009: The three-day annual assembly of the Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia (SPCSA) which started on March 9, concluded on March 11 evening at Don Bosco Provincial House, Dimapur, with a call to greater collaboration and networking among the provinces in order to make our work with the young more relevant and effective. Right through the three days of deliberations, the ‘vision of a united Salesian India’, remained uppermost in the minds of the participants. The importance of growing up as a region with solidarity among the provinces, expressed through mutual support and sharing of personnel and resources, was highlighted during the discussions. Action plans of the Commissions for Youth Ministry with its four dimensions as well as of BOSCOM were presented, discussed and approved. Important decisions were taken regarding our services to the Young at Risk, Don Bosco Tech India, empowerment of the weaker sections and our involvement in the cause of justice, peace and human rights. Another important decision was with regard to making the SPCSA more relevant and effective to achieve its mission of animating the provinces of the region. It was decided to set up a well functioning secretariat at the SPCSA in New Delhi which will organize and make available digitally all information regarding the Salesian works in South Asia.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

BIS #1316 - EMPOWERING RURAL WOMEN IN KAPADVANJ

Isaac Arackaparambil sdb KAPADVANJ, MARCH 10, 2009: Don Bosco Rural Integral Social Training Institute (DRISTI) Kapadvanj had a memorable second annual Woman’s Empowerment Day on March 8, 2009. 650 women from the SHGs established through DRISTI attended this event. Mr. Prakashchandra Christian (Deputy Secretary & Monitoring Officer: Govt. of Gujarat) was the chief guest. He spoke on Woman Power and brought to light facts of gender discrimination against women, with the rider that in actual fact women are the real enemies of woman, not just because of their inactivity in ushering the change needed towards transforming mindsets for upholding the rights of women, but for their proactive role in maintaining the status quo. He encouraged them to take the examples of Pratibha Patil, Sonia Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla, and Mother Theresa in using Women’s Power for change. He informed the women about the Gujarat Governments initiatives for Women’s empowerment and encouraged them to make the best of the opportunities created by Don Bosco in Kapadvanj. It was wonderful to witness the selfless commitment of the Staff, the Vocation centre boys, and the Confreres in executing this day efficiently and successfully. DRISTI had an eventful year under the able experience of its director Fr. Ivan D’Souza who took charge of the development works at Kapadvanj in June 2008 after the legacy was handed to him by the founder and former director Fr. Gregory Almeida. Just two years into its institution, DRISTI currently runs a total of 72 Self Help Groups for women in 36 villages with a total of 1250 members and this shows that the work has picked up with momentum thanks to the types of programmes held this year. These programmes for women empowerment include: Book-writers training, Animal husbandry, Monthly PMIC meetings conducted by NABARD to evaluate the groups, Training for the DRISTI staff, and a SHG picnic to Ambaji and Shamlaji. The efforts of DRISTI towards women’s empowerment have earned the delight of the Indian Bank Manager Mr. Saradva and the Nabard DDM Mr. Gurram at the healthy state of the groups and the competence of the women. Kudos!

Monday, March 9, 2009

BIS #1315 - VALUE EDUCATION DAY

Samir Macwan BARODA, MARCH 9, 2009: Value Education Day was celebrated at Don Bosco High School, Baroda on March 7, 2009. The apt theme of ‘Peace’ was selected for the celebration. The programme began at 7.45 am, with Sr. Theotina, Superior of Mother Teresa’s Ashram, as the Chief Guest. The charts prepared by the students were displayed on the stage and in the corridors. The programme itself consisted of poems, songs, skits, presentations and speeches. During the programme, the Chief Guest Sr. Theotina and Fr. Nelson Carvalho our Rector also shared their thoughts on the theme. The vote of thanks was given by Fr. Anthony Fonseca our Principal. The Value Education Day certainly helped all the students gain some good insights into the value of peace.

BIS #1314 - WOMEN'S DAY CELEBRATIONS AT MATUNGA

Crescens Lemos sdb MUMBAI, MARCH 9, 2009: As slogans of “mahila shakti” rend the air, it was clear that a new chapter had begun in the ever evolving history of the Don Bosco Matunga campus. Over 600 women, all belonging to Self Help Groups from the slum communities of Antop Hill, Wadala, Matunga, Mahim, Dharavi, and from the villages of Virar and Naigaon, gathered at Matunga on Sunday, March 8, for the celebration of International Women’s Day. Through the decades, this campus has witnessed many a gathering and a variety of celebrations – but this was the first time ever that a Women’s Day celebration was being organized here! The programme began at 3.00 pm with a traditional prayer dance and the lighting of the lamp. Ms. Surekha Pednekar, Development Office staff, warmly welcomed the entire gathering, after which bouquets were presented to the dignitaries. Addressing the women, Fr. Edwin D’Souza, Rector of Provincial House and Chief Guest for the occasion, said that he was delighted that the various women’s groups promoted by Don Bosco in the city of Mumbai had come together to celebrate Women’s Day at Matunga. He expressed his hope that future Women’s Day celebrations would see the Matunga grounds filled with women. He also encouraged the women to keep striving for the development of their own communities. Speaking next, Fr. Anaclete D’Mello focused on the power inherent in women’s groups. He pointed out that women are keenly sensitive to the needs and problems of the community, and most often it is they who have the courage and the creativity to look for solutions. Coming together in groups and building up movements strengthens their resolve and capacity to tackle different socio-economic issues. Mr. Dhage, BMC Community Development Officer, who was present for the occasion also addressed the gathering. Till a few year back, Women’s Day was almost unknown in this city, he said. However, following the rapid growth of women’s groups during these past years, celebrating Women’s Day has now become a major annual feature. He encouraged the women to take advantage of the various government schemes that are available. The cultural programme then began with a powerful skit on the theme of unity. Following this, several Groups came up on the stage to present their items which included songs, dances and skits. Finally, a short dance session was held which saw all the women dancing away cheerfully. The celebrations concluded at 6.00 pm with a vote of thanks by one of the Group leaders. Earlier, during the morning, some of the Groups had put up stalls to sell their home made products like handicrafts, soft toys, pickles, phenyl, etc. The entire day was certainly a grand celebration of “mahila shakti”!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

BIS #1313 - PROMOTING WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS

Royal D’Souza KURLA, MARCH 8, 2009: On the occasion of ‘Women’s Day’ the NSS unit of DBIT Kurla organized a Handicraft Exhibition cum Sale on March 6, 2009 at the Don Bosco Campus. Three NGOs and 14 Women’s Self Help Groups participated in this event. The NGOs were National Association for the Blind, Asha Handicrafts and Sanskar Trust, while the Self Help Groups were from the Ghatkopar, Kurla, Vidyavihar and Santacruz area. These SHGs have been formed by the BMC under the SJSRY scheme. The exhibition was inaugurated at 10.30 am in the presence of DBTI Director Fr. Mario Vaz, Principal Dr. Joag and R&D Director Dr. Krishnamurti. Speaking during the inaugural function, Fr. Mario congratulated all the participants and wished them success in their business endeavors. He further said that the entire Don Bosco Educational Campus at Kurla is keen on supporting the SHGs, especially in the field of training. In this regard, he pointed out that so far 87 SHG members have successfully completed the Basic Computer Course, while 96 women have attended the Entrepreneurship Development Programme which was conducted by Don Bosco, Kurla. The exhibition was later patronized by the students of the college. The students visited all the stalls and enthusiastically purchased many of the exhibited items. This gave a great boost to the women who were all smiles at the overwhelming response they received. The exhibition concluded at 5.30 pm, after which the students went home carrying several handicraft items while the women went back carrying plenty of happy memories. The exhibition certainly achieved its aim of enabling the women gain an experience in marketing their products and thereby enhancing their entrepreneurial skills. Building self-reliance is ultimately the best strategy for development.

BIS #1312 - SSC STUDENTS BID FAREWELL TO DB NARUKOT

Mayank Parmar sdb NARUKOT, MARCH 8, 2009: The staff and students of Don Bosco High School, Narukot bade farewell to the outgoing SSC students on March 7, 2009. In keeping with tradition, the students of Std. IX, along with their class teacher Ms. Sonal Macwana, were the main organizers of the programme. In their 'Farewell Address' the outgoing students recalled the names of all the Salesians who have contributed to their lives during their stay in Don Bosco Narukot. They also recollected individually the names and the contributions of the past and present teachers. Addressing the students, Fr. Byron D’Silva, Rector, said that this batch had always been very cooperative and grateful for the education they received. Fr. George Carlos, Principal, reminded the Std. X students that this was not an exit from Don Bosco, but just a transition from the pupil to the past pupil stage. He further stressed that they were most welcome to Don Bosco Narukot at any time. This being the last programme of the academic year, the occasion was also used to distribute some 85 State, District and Taluka level sports certificates to the students for their performance in different tournaments. Amidst tears and cheers, the farewell programme ended on a note of thanks to God for the many blessings he has showered on this institution.