Elias Diaz sdb MUMBAI, APRIL 28, 2009: The Third South Asian Regional Congress of the Salesian Cooperators was held at Sacred Heart Seminary, Chennai from April 24 to 26, 2009. Present for the Congress were the World Delegates of the Cooperators Fr. Stjepan Bolkovac sdb and Sr. Maria Trigila fma; Fr. K. J. Lewis, South Asian Regional Delegate; Mr. Cajetan Mahung, World Consultant and over 250 Cooperators from various parts of India, including two from Kuwait. The Congress began with a colourful Inaugural Ceremony which included the hoisting of the Congress Flag by Fr. Stjepan Bolkovac and the lighting of the Congress Lamp by Sr. Maria Trigila. Addressing the Cooperators from the various provinces of South Asia, Fr. Bolkovac exhorted them to keep their eyes on Don Bosco and their ears tuned to the world around them, particularly the world of the young. Sr. Mary Ann Fernando fma, Provincial of Chennai, invited the Cooperators to understand the uniqueness of their vocation and respond to it with total commitment. Fr. K.J. Lewis, the South Asian Delegate, described the Cooperators as men and women in the world at the heart of the Church, and simultaneously, men and women in the Church at the heart of the world. Delivering the Keynote Address on the Congress theme “Returning to Don Bosco and Returning to the Young”, Fr. Thomas Anchukandam, Provincial of Bangalore, called on the Cooperators to become aware of the world and the forces that shape it and to respond to them in the way Don Bosco wanted them to do. This, he said, requires from the Cooperators a profound understanding of Don Bosco on one hand and the world on the other. He invited them to cultivate the vision of Don Bosco, understand his mind and translate his charism into action in their daily lives. Following the key notes address, Sr. Margaret Mathia fma, from the Bangalore Province, presented a well researched paper, leading the Cooperators to a deeper reflection on the socio-cultural context of youth in South Asia. This was followed by another thought provoking paper on ‘Interpreting Don Bosco for the E-Generation’ by Fr. Thomas Tharayil sdb. Mr. A. B. Bosco, a Cooperator from the Bangalore Province, spoke on the political and religious aspects of the youth. During the Congress, fresh elections were held for different posts and responsibilities in the organization of the Cooperators. Ms. Freida D’Souza from the Bombay Province was elected as Coordinator of the South Indian Conference. Ms. Claudine Pinto and Mr. Wilfred Rebello were elected as Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Mr. K.V. Francis from the Calcutta Province was elected as World Counsellor. After reflecting on the theme of the Congress, which was presented by four speakers, the Cooperators unanimously adopted an Action Plan, with the firm resolve to put it into practice during the next six years. The first prong of the plan aims at realizing a return to Don Bosco, while the second prong brings out a number of ways in which the Cooperators could return to the young. On the last day of the Congress, Fr. Stanislaus Swamikannu, Provincial of Chennai, presided over the Eucharistic celebration. He reminded the Cooperators of the complementary nature of each group in the Salesian Family. Delivering the homily, Fr. Amalraj Susai, Provincial of Tiruchy, said that the charism of Don Bosco is not the monopoly of the Salesians, but is a gift shared by all the groups in the Salesian Family. The curtain came down on the Congress with the ceremonial lowering of the Congress Flag by Fr. Stanislaus Swamikannu. The flag was received by the outgoing Counsellor who handed it over to World Counsellor, who in turn gave it to the newly elected World Counsellor Mr. K. V. Francis. Ms. Freida D’Souza proposed the vote of thanks. Special thanks were rendered to the Chennai Province for hosting the Congress, and to Fr. Deva Joe, Sr. Mana Puskpam and Mr. Adrian Vassou for their hard work and spirit of dedication which made the Congress a resounding success.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Amar Pathikond KURLA, APRIL 27, 2009: The Don Bosco campus at Kurla was pulsating with football fever this past weekend, April 25-26, as the Don Bosco Alumni, Kurla Unit, organized the 'Fourth Bosco Challenge Rink Football Tournament'. The event was inaugurated at 8.30 am on Saturday April 25, by Fr. Mario Vaz, Director of DB Kurla. Over the past few years this tournament has evolved into a prestigious annual event and the teams look forward to it with much excitement. A total of 48 teams participated in the tournament this year. The spectators were treated to some high quality football over the two days. After a series of thrilling matches, the competition reached its climax in the finals between Chakala Sports Club and the Holy Cross Parish Team. This game too enthralled the cheering spectators as the players put up a fine display of football skills. Chakala Sports Club ultimately proved to be the better side and lifted the trophy. The prizes were given away by Fr. Mario Vaz and Fr. Adolph Furtado. Congrats to the Alumni for the excellent organization of this football extravaganza.
Evangelo D’Souza sdb BORIVLI, APRIL 27, 2009: “Every moment of life is new, just try changing your view” was the slogan that echoed around the beautiful shores of Boscowadi, Uttan as 58 youngsters in the age group of 13 to 15 years attended the camp ‘Surf & Sand, Beat the Summer Heat’, from April 17-20, 2009. The daily routine saw the campers rising early and enjoying the breath-taking atmosphere by the seaside. Sessions were then held to instill leadership qualities in the boys. The Eucharistic Celebrations, which were creatively animated, helped the ‘brave hearts’ to praise and worship the Lord. Games, tournaments, swims, competitions and the Bosco Quiz enabled the boys to develop themselves totally. The trek to the Light House and the night walk were memorable events. The Grand Camp Fire was the climax of the camp. It helped the boys to take initiative, to be creative and bold. The entire camp was coloured with laughter, joy, enthusiasm, and togetherness. The Camp Chief Fr. Brian Moras, along with his assistants, Brothers Bosco and Evangelo and a talented group of volunteers made sure that the youngsters had an experience of a life time. Expressing his feelings at the end of the camp, one of the youngsters remarked: “In this camp we have learned to live by possibilities, not by limitations. Every moment of life is new; we just have to change our view very often”.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Arlene Mathiah BORIVLI, APRIL 26, 2009: 32 children from St. John Bosco Parish, Borivli received Jesus for the very first time on April 19, 2009. The principal celebrant for the solemn Eucharist was our parish priest Fr. Ronald Menezes. The theme chosen for this celebration was “I Am The Bread Of Life”. The Church was exquisitely decorated for the occasion by the Sunday School teachers and the liturgy was also animated by them. The joy of welcoming Jesus into their lives and renewing their baptismal promises was evident in the cherubic smiles of the children. After the Eucharistic celebration there was a get-together in the parish hall. During this programme, the children were presented certificates, rosaries and other mementos, which were personalized with the name of the child written on each. While we continue to pray for these first communicants, we thank all those responsible for making the celebration an enriching experience.
Royal D’Souza KURLA, APRIL 26, 2009: The NSS unit of the Don Bosco Institute of Technology, Kurla conducted a Career Guidance Seminar for about 80 youth at Milind Nagar, Ghatkopar, on April 18, 2009 from 4.00 pm to 6.00pm. The objective of the programme was to inform the students and their parents about the various career options available after the SSC and HSC examinations. Besides, those who have not managed to pass the SSC were also provided with information on the courses they could take up. Don Bosco, Kurla has been offering a variety of courses over the past few years. Both, the ITI and the Maritime Academy offer several courses for students who have completed only basic education. The Catering and Hospitality Management Institute is also looking into the possibility of offering courses to such students. The staff from these institutes on the campus explained in great detail the available courses to the youth attending the seminar. The NSS students had also prepared charts on various career options and this helped the youngsters better understand the courses and the corresponding employment opportunities. The Women’s Self Help Group members from Milind Nagar played an important role in organizing this programme. They had motivated the youth and their parents to participate in the seminar. Thanks to the groundwork done by them, there was a lively and fruitful participation in the seminar. Special thanks to NSS volunteers and all the staff who attended this programme and shared their experience and knowledge with the youth.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Ivo Coelho sdb NASHIK, APRIL 19, 2009: Fr. Vincent Vaz passed away some time in the afternoon of April 19, 2009, Divine Mercy Sunday. He had suffered a mild stroke towards the end of October 2008, leading to hospitalization. But he rallied, and, though significantly weakened, he got back into his daily routine of writing and ministry. His hair was whiter, his voice weaker and more reedy, his walk unstable, and he had to call in a brother to kick start his Kinetic so that he could go for the chaplaincies. The wonderful thing was that he worked practically till he died. I saw him just the day before at table; he was in a good mood and was trying to pull my leg. On the way to the station yesterday, I remarked to Vally and to Wyman that we would not even know if anything happened to him up there in his room. He would not, probably, have the presence of mind to call to anyone, and we would assume that he was busy working or resting, and would not bother to check out. As it happened, he did not come down for lunch today, and Fr Savio D’Souza, the Rector, did go up to his room, and found him fallen on the floor. It has been all very sudden. We knew he was getting weak, but we did not think that he would go so quickly. Fr Vincent Vaz came to Nashik in 1996, the year the MPh course began. He had a PhD in Education, and was needed on the faculty. It was, I think, a big sacrifice for him to leave his comfort zone of Matunga and come up to Nashik. We in Nashik went out of our way to make his settling down comfortable, and he did settle down beautifully. Like many of his age, he was not one to express his feelings directly. But he did tell the Salesian Sisters that he was very happy, and that the community was wonderful, and they passed on the message to us. The provincial, Fr Tony D’Souza, was good enough to allow Fr Vincent to keep a room in Matunga, and to move between Mumbai and Nashik as often as he wanted, and that suited Fr Vincent fine. He plunged into his writing, and was probably the most productive professor on the campus. He took up the teaching not only education for the MPh but also a variety of courses for the BPh, ranging from Christian Doctrine to Latin and Italian. He never said no to a request for ministry, be it mass or confessions or recollections or retreats. And whatever he did, he did perfectly. He endeared himself to the brothers. On occasion he would pull out his music books and teach the community the traditional songs and hymns: Kookaburra, the Man with the Mandolin (or was it the Accordion), and so on. And he was quite independent: he did not make demands on anybody’s time (unless you asked him questions about mathematics or about the organ), he was quite busy and found fulfilment in his work. One of the brothers once did some photocopying for him, but the copies were smudged, and the young brother was afraid of what Fr Vincent would say. Finally he plucked up courage and handed over the papers to him. ‘Why so late,’ Fr Vincent asked. ‘I was afraid,’ said the brother. ‘Don’t forget, Brother, I also have a heart,’ replied Fr Vincent. During the celebrations of the golden jubilee of his priesthood, he had shared with us about the heart attack he had suffered while in Matunga: some confreres had remarked, ‘At least now we know he has a heart.’ I think we can say quite confidently: Fr Vincent Vaz received the grace to grow old gracefully, as gracefully as I have ever seen anyone do. He was happy and grateful to be a religious, a Salesian, a priest. He was contented. He was able to say that he had done all things out of love. In the last few years of his life, Fr Vincent kept putting his prodigious expertise in mathematics to good use. Quietly and silently he went wherever he was called: to Jhabua, to Ahmednagar, to Sulcorna, and perhaps to many other places, teaching teachers as well as students, unfazed by problems of language and managing to communicate despite the linguistic barriers. In Nashik itself there are many students who he has helped, some of them in astounding ways, like the girl who came to him exactly a week before the SSC exam, and came out with flying colours in his mathematics papers. Here was a man who was given a gift, and who used it happily and to the full. Divyadaan and Nashik will miss the silent, unfussy presence of Fr Vincent Vaz. God bless him and give him peace.
Godfrey D’Sa sdb MUMBAI, APRIL 19, 2009: At a graduation function on April 17, 2009, twenty participants of the First Batch of the Don Bosco Advanced Diploma in Counseling Psychology received their certificates from Fr. Michael Fernandes, the Salesian Provincial of the Mumbai Province. In his address to the participants and the guests present, Fr. Michael complimented Fr. Godfrey D’Sa, the Programme Director and Ms Shalu Mehrotra, the Course Coordinator, for creating a professional course that had a good mix of both theory and practicum. The programme comprised 210 hours of theory and 60 hours of supervised practicum ranging over a period of 10 months. It also included practical application of various therapies like Art, Somatic, Cognitive, Behavioral, Client Centered and Transactional Analysis. Modules on Career Guidance, Sexuality, Spirituality and Stages of Development were also part of the Course. Although the criteria for selection for this course was a post-graduate degree in psychology, human resources or social work, the participants did not feel competent to counsel clients on a professional level. Many of them had a theoretical knowledge of various therapies and counseling skills. This course insisted on hands-on practice after each skill was taught in class using concrete life examples and also comprised regular supervised sessions all through the course for the clients they were taking. Another unique aspect of this course was that every one of them had to spend several hours in group therapy and individual counseling working on their own selves in order to ‘be the change they wanted to see’ in others. At the end of the course, some of the participants voiced their feelings in these words: “I feel like a different person and a counselor now. I am transformed into a better person.” “I have developed sensitivity towards others and am much more empathetic.” “Now I am confident in my sessions with clients.” “I feel a sense of satisfaction, a new perspective about myself and a new way of dealing with my clients. I am at peace with my new relations and have restored my old ones.” This Course was a decennial venture of Prafulta Psychological Services, a Don Bosco Organization based at Andheri, Mumbai. Prafulta Psychological Services was initiated in September 1998. Presently it has a team of over 35 professionals that include psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, vocational guidance counselors, special educators and occupational therapists that provide an array of psychological services both at the Centre and at various institutes in Mumbai. Prafulta aims to help clients understand, accept and deal effectively with the influences of their environment, take personal responsibility for their lives and create a meaningful future for themselves.
ANS News TURIN, APRIL 19, 2009: The casket containing a special relic of Don Bosco will be blessed on April 25, at Valdocco, Turin, in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians before setting out to visit over the next few years the countries in which the Salesians are present. The pilgrimage of the casket, which will cross the five continents, is the idea of the Rector Major Fr Pascual Chávez, in preparation for the bi-centenary of the birth of Don Bosco to be celebrated in 2015. The presentation and the blessing of the casket will take place together with the celebration of the Thanksgiving Feast day of the Special Circumscription of Piedmont and the Val d’Aosta (ICP). After presiding at the Mass, Fr Pascual Chávez will bless the casket which will be carried in procession from the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians to the courtyard outside. From the courtyard where the Saint from Turin worked for the benefit of so many boys, the casket will begin its pilgrimage around the world. The casket will be in the South Asia Region between May and November 2011.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Osborm Furtado sdb PUNE, APRIL 18, 2009: The Summer Camp for the children from the neighbourhood slums being organized at Don Bosco Youth Centre, Koregaon Park, had a colourful start on April 16. This camp has been organized by DBYC in collaboration with the AUM foundation. During the opening ceremony, Fr. Vincent Rasquinha, Rector, addressed the children and told them to always remain cheerful. He further added that the camp was being organized to help them enjoy the holidays while at the same time learning something useful. The programme of the camp includes classes in Mathematics, English, Computers, as well as coaching in football, basketball and a variety of other games. There will also be a week long ‘art workshop’ to help the children develop their talents in drawing and painting. The camp will conclude on May 23.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Renold Lemos sdb JYOTI, APRIL 17, 2009: The traditional ‘English Castle’ began at Jyoti on April 13, 2009. A batch of 30 students who have recently appeared for the SSC exam have registered for this course. The ‘Castle’ got underway with Fr. Bento D’Souza, the chief coordinator, welcoming the students and declaring the programme open. A team of young Salesians and other volunteers from the parish are assisting Fr. Bento in conducting the classes. The focus will be on grammar, vocabulary and conversational skills. Besides the English classes, the youngsters participating in this residential programme will be treated to a variety of other educational and recreational activities. Next, on April 15, the Summer Club for the parish children was inaugurated. Cl. Renold Lomos and the youth volunteers welcome the 35 eager children who have enrolled for this club. Fr. Gregory D'Cunha, Parish Priest, declared the Summer Club open. He encouraged every child to participate wholeheartedly in the activities and to create a bond of friendship among themselves. A huge number of exciting activities have been planned for the children. Besides games, a variety of trainings and competitions that will help the integral development of the children, are on the itinerary. Earlier, on Easter Sunday, the youth organized a ‘Fun Fete’ for the parishioners. Stalls selling eatables, as well as games stalls, were put up by the youngsters. Later in the evening, singing, dancing and fancy dress competitions were held. Fr. Blany Pinto and Fr. Edwin Colaco were the judges for the competitions and also gave away the prizes to the winners. This ‘Easter Dhamaka’ helped make the day truly memorable!
Arlene Mathiah BORIVLI, APRIL 17, 2009: The passion of Jesus was brought alive in and around the vicinity of St. John Bosco Parish, Borivli, with the enactment of the Stations of the Cross on April 10, 2009, Good Friday. It began in the Church premises at 7.00 am followed by a walking pilgrimage around a few areas of the parish. Youngsters and adults from the parish undertook this task of being witnesses to the Passion of Jesus by acting in this Way of the Cross. A beautiful aspect of this pilgrimage was that after every station, three people - men, women or catechumens - were invited to help Jesus carry the cross. The programme was coordinated by Mr. Harry Menezes, who took great care in attending to all the aspects of the event. This was the second time that a live enactment of the Stations was undertaken on Good Friday by the parish of St. John Bosco.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Crescens Lemos sdb MATUNGA, APRIL 16, 2009: If it’s summer time, it’s got to be sports time! And in Mumbai the obvious arena for all the big sports action is Don Bosco Matunga. Yes, the campus is sprawling with enthusiastic girls and boys who have set their hearts on becoming India’s next generation of sports stars. Summer Camp ’09 was declared open on April 14, by Fr. Crispino D’Souza, Principal of DB Matunga. Fr. Crispino, who is himself a great sports enthusiast and a renowned basket ball player, reminded the children that sports is a means to develop self-discipline. He encouraged them to be regular for the coaching and to give of their very best. The Summer Camp includes coaching in a variety of games, such as football, hockey, volleyball, cricket, judo and roller-skating. This year coaching in gymnastics and chess has also been introduced. A set of highly professional coaches have been entrusted the responsibility of training these eager children. All the students of Don Bosco look forward to the summer coaching since players for the school teams are normally selected during this camp. Looking at the passion with which the children have thrown themselves into the coaching, not only will they make it to the school teams, someday we will probably see them in the Indian teams too!
Leon Ratinam sdb ANDHERI, APRIL 15, 2009: The ‘Savio Fiesta 2009’ was inaugurated on April 14, 2009 at St. Dominic Savio, Andheri. The chief guest for the inauguration was Mr. Rohan Gavaskar, the son of legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar. Mr. Rohan Gavaskar declared the Fiesta open and then addressed the gathering. He encouraged the participants to be good human beings besides becoming good sportspersons. The Savio Fiesta Summer Camp goes on from April 14 to May 14, and consists of coaching in ten fields, which include the Unhali Shibir, English Summer Club, martial arts, basketball, athletics, volleyball, drawing, skating, cricket and football. Most of the coaches are professionals like Mr. Kiran Powar, the brother of Mr. Ramesh Powar. Fr. Richard D’Silva, the chief organizer of the Savio Fiesta, introduced the chief guest and the coaches. Mr. Rohan Gavaskar also inaugurated a part of the ground for the cricket net practice. More than 150 boys and girls along with their parents were present for the inaugural ceremony. Congrats to Fr. Richard D’Silva, Fr. Blaise Fernandes and the other organizers for the grand opening of the Savio Fiesta.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Richard Burkhao sdb SAVEDI, APRIL 14, 2009: For the first time in the history of Don Bosco Savedi, the youth group put up a Passion Play in Marathi entitled 'Niraparadi Gunhegar'. The play was staged on Good Friday at 7.30 pm in Yashwantrao Sahakar Sabha Gruha, Ahmednagar. This two hour long play began with the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and concluded with the ascension of Jesus into heaven. About sixty youth from the parish acted in this play which drew an audience of over 850 people. The passion play was scripted by Fr. John Rumao and directed by Mr. Sandeep Kasab, a teacher from our school. Fr. William Falcao was the producer and attended to the various details involved in the production of this impressive drama. The audience was highly appreciative of the performance and heartily applauded the youngsters for the excellent show!
Karuna Gamit CHHOTA UDEPUR, APRIL 14, 2009: A group of 25 women, all Presidents and Secretaries of various Self Help Groups, were taken for an Exposure-cum-Training Programme to Behavioural Science Centre, Ahmedabad. After a set of “ice-breaking” games were played, the four topics that were to be dealt with were introduced, namely, Social, Economic, Educational and Political issues. The entire group was then divided into four smaller groups and each of these groups was asked to prepare a short skit on one of the topics. The skits were extremely creative and brought a variety of issues to the fore. Each topic was then dealt with individually and in detail. The women were made aware of their role and responsibility vis-à-vis these issues. It was pointed out that the SHG should not just focus on Savings and Lending, but all the members should jointly work for an all-round development of the village. Accordingly, it was decided that every month the SHGs would prepare an Action Plan for that month and report on its implementation during the meeting in the following month. The need of networking and forming a Federation with other groups in the region was also stressed. The entire programme was very beneficial to the women. Going out of their villages and mixing with women from other areas, the exposure from a rural setting to an urban one, travelling on the Expressway, meeting people of different cultures, etc. impressed them tremendously and certainly opened up their horizons. The women returned back to Chhota Udepur promising to put into practice all that they had learnt during this training programme.
Ambrose Pereira sdb SOLOMON ISLANDS, APRIL 13, 2009: The Holy Thursday and Good Friday Services were well prepared and animated for the hundreds of faithful that attended the same at Holy Cross, Honiara. A heavy down all throughout the night and the entire Saturday, limited movement and brought travel to a standstill. Nazareth Apostolic Centre is low-lying and the river burst its bank and flooded their low lying area. “A lady caught on an island in the middle of the river called out for help. The police were called. However before they could arrive young men made a raft and pulled her to safety”, said Fr. Joeli, Director of NAC. Fearing the worst, a phone call was made to Mr. Reggie from Dalgro, who responded immediately and arrived on the scene with a heavy vehicle. He accessed the situation and brought the people to Don Bosco, Henderson. Seeing that the people were wet and cold the hall was kept at their disposal together. People hearing of the flooding donated rice, tayio and biscuits. Plans to participate in the Easter vigil at Holy Cross were changed. The Easter vigil liturgy was prepared by Fr. Joseph Thanh sdb, together with the Aspirants and boys and the celebration commenced at 8pm. “We are in a crisis situation and we need to respond immediately to the needs of the people”, said Fr. Ambrose Pereira sdb, in his homily. “God did something similar when he saw that his people needed to be saved from sin”, he continued. A warm meal was enjoyed by all at the end of the celebration and had a good nights rest. The next morning was bright. The water having receded, the people returned back to NAC.
Friday, April 10, 2009
ANS News VATICAN CITY, APRIL 10, 2009: The meditations for the Way of the Cross at which the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI will preside over today, Good Friday April 10, at the Colosseum, have been prepared by Salesian Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati, India. In a number of statements to the Catholic press, Archbishop Menamparampil has said that this service which the Holy Father has asked from him represents the closeness of the Pope to the Christians who are suffering persecution in India on account of their faith. “In the prayers of the Way of the Cross we meditate on the sufferings which Jesus experienced at the end of his life; in them we contemplate the sins we have committed and for which the world suffers. The prayers are inspired by human values, values which we need to pass on in order to create a better peaceful world” explained Archbishop Menamparampil to “The Telegraph”. The Salesian Archbishop further explained that in preparing the text of the meditations for the Way of the Cross on Good Friday he drew on the teachings of Indian spirituality which is that of non-violence. Archbishop Menamparampil is well-known as a promoter of peace and on various occasions has acted as a mediator in conflicts between different ethnic or religious groups in India.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Pratika Prabhune VIRAR, APRIL 8, 2009: Resurrection Parish, Virar held a Lenten Renewal programme on Sunday, April 5, 2009. The programme began at 9.00 am with a few action songs led by the parish youth which got the entire gathering into the right spirit for the day. Next, the ‘Vigil Lights and Praise’, a music ministry group that has been specially invited for the occasion, took over and helped us praise and glorify God by singing some beautiful hymns. The group also conducted a Reconciliation Service, which was done through a variety of very meaningful penitential hymns. After this, the parish youth choir pitched in once more with yet another selection of lively hymns. The next highlight was the Way of the Cross conducted by the Vigil Lights and Praise. Each station was brought alive through a short video presentation. The participation was further enhanced by the hymns that were sung. The entire Way of the Cross was a touching experience. After a well spent morning, the Lenten Renewal programme finally concluded at 2.00 pm with a vote of thanks proposed by Johnson from the Resurrection Youth Movement. Special thanks were rendered to Fr. Edwin Colaco who had organized the entire programme. Fr. Blany Pinto, Parish Priest, also addressed the faithful and thanked them for participating wholeheartedly and prayerfully in the renewal programme. This Lenten programme has certainly been a good preparation for Holy Week and the feast of Easter.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
PUNE, APRIL 7, 2009: At the Salesian Catechetical Centre, Pune, we closed another fruitful year of faith formation activity. In March we conducted two very fruitful evaluations, of both, the School and Sunday School Catechesis. While we are still struggling to compile a suitable syllabus, the teachers with great dedication helped the youngsters to a deeper understanding and regular reading of the Bible. Two Annual Lenten Retreats, which were both conducted by Bp. Valerian D’Souza, brought together 303 teachers from all over Pune. They went back renewed after a well organized programme which included a talk by the Bishop on the Word of God, the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Lectio Divina, a power point meditation on the Way of the Cross and the Eucharist celebrated by the Bishop. [Bp. Thomas Dabre is the newly appointed Bishop of Poona now.]
We are still to hold two important evaluation meetings in April, with the Principals of the Schools and the Parish Priests. This year the ministry of catechesis in the Diocese has evoked the realization of a greater need for Adult Catechesis, reaching out especially to parents and teachers. The celebration of the Diocesan Yesu Utsav in January further highlighted this priority that the Diocese needs to take up.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Anand Raj MATUNGA, APRIL 6, 2009: Bosco Plus, a training and placement programme for youth from slum communities, initiated by the Development Office in April 2008, reached an important milestone yesterday, April 5, with the launching of the Bosco Yuva Sanghatana – a youth movement comprising all the former students of this programme. Over a hundred youngsters were present for this function which was held at the Provincial House, Matunga. The programme began with Mr. Melvin Pangya, Bosco Plus Coordinator, welcoming all the youngsters. Fr. Anaclete D’Mello then decalred the Bosco Yuva Sanghatana open. Explaining the objectives of the Sanghatana, Fr. Savio Silveira said that this youth movement was being launched so that all the past students of Bosco Plus could stay in contact with one another and that Don Bosco could keep providing these youngsters with additional trainings and placement opportunities. He also stressed that a key aim of the Sanghatana was to make the young people protagonists of youth development. Some of the past students then came forward to share their experience of the Bosco Plus training and how it had influenced their lives. Next, there were two guest presentations, one by Mr. Nitin Sawant from Max Life Insurance and the other by Mr. Robin Thomas from Tata Trent. Both the speakers focused on the present day opportunities in the job market and the type of skills and attitudes required for a successful career. Finally, Fr. Edwin D’Souza, Rector of Provincial House, addressed the youngsters. He called on them to become leaders and agents of change in their own localities. He also announced that the Maschio Memorial Foundation would award scholarships to deserving candidates from the Sanghatana who wish to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Social Work. The last segment of the afternoon was a cultural programme which included a fashion show, dances and songs. There was high energy all around with the youth clapping and cheering as the performers put up a spirited show. The programme came to a close with the youngsters expressing their thanks to the Bosco Plus team, not just for the training they had received, but more important, for having now brought them together into a youth movement. They stated that they were thrilled to belong to this youth movement that focuses on youth development.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Mayank Parmar sdb NARUKOT, APRIL 3, 2009: After having successfully commenced work on the NREGS in two villages – Hirapur and Dipapura – DB Narukot decided to take up the same in yet another two villages. Accordingly, on April 1, meetings were held in Duma and Thalki to explain the NREGS to the people. Fr. Stanny Ferreira, together with his team, explained in great detail to the villagers the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) along with its corresponding Scheme (NREGS). They pointed out that the Act guarantees 100 days of work to every rural household. Furthermore, the works to be taken up in the village should be decided by the Gram Sabha. The people who attended the meetings were very pleased with the information they received and expressed their opinion that this scheme would indeed be highly beneficial to them. In both the villages, it was very heartening that immediately after the meeting people came forward stating their interest to get into the scheme. Accordingly, the application forms for the Job Cards were filled in at once. While in Duma about 65 persons requested Job Cards, in Thalki over 100 people asked for the same. These forms were then submitted to the NREGS Programme Officer at the Taluka Panchayat and the process for obtaining Job Cards has begun. The experience in both the villages was very satisfying. If the NREGS is effectively implemented it will reduce distress migration from the villages and simultaneously build up the assets in the village.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Mayank Parmar sdb NARUKOT, APRIL 2, 2009: Don Bosco Narukot organized a series of village meetings on March 30 and 31, with the aim of motivating women to join together and form Sangathans. This is a different model from the Self Help Groups. While in the SHG model small groups are formed, the Sangathan model brings together all the women of the village onto a single platform. Again, unlike the SHG model which tends to focus on savings, loans and income generation projects, the Sangathan works on issues that are relevant and important to the village community. The first meeting on March 30 was held in Zalaria, while in the afternoon a meeting was held in Hirapur. The following day, March 31, meetings were held in Chalwad and Gandhra. Ms. Nimiben Parmar, a Sangathan expert, was the chief resource person for all the meetings. She explained to the women the need to come together to resolve the various issues they are facing in their villages. Quoting several examples and success stories, she pointed out to the women that often what seems impossible in the beginning can ultimately be achieved through unity, creative thinking and persistence. Mr. Subhash Shirsath, DB Narukot Development staff, discussed several practical issues with the women, such as the actual difficulties that they are facing and what could be possible solutions. He assured the women that Don Bosco would guide them through the entire process. All the women who attended the meetings were highly enthusiastic about the Sangathan concept. Slowly but surely, this people’s movement is bound to usher in the much needed development in these tribal villages.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Leon Ratinam sdb JYOTI, APRIL 1, 2009: A vocation camp was organized for the boys and girls of the Uttan and Pali region on March 29 and 30, at Jyoti Mata parish. Ten girls and fourteen boys attended this camp which was jointly organized by the Salesians and Salesian Sisters. The youngsters were full of life and highly enthusiastic. They eagerly participated in the discussion sessions, games, camp fire, and the other activities that were organized. Several of these youngsters expressed their desire to join the Salesian way of life. Congrats to Fr. Gregory, Fr. Richard, Sr. Monica, Sr. Surekha and Sr. Jaya for the excellent organization of this camp.
ANS News ROME, APRIL 1, 2009: The Rector Major Fr Pascual Chávez has written a letter to all the Salesians in the world on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Canonization of Don Bosco, which occurs today, April 1. The letter is entitled: “Don Bosco’s Holiness in commemorating April 1, 1934”. This occasion ought to help Salesians, Fr Chávez writes, to understand that at the centre of their life and vocation there is the holiness of the founder: “Our admiration for Don Bosco grows because of his holiness and it is this which invites us to invoke and to imitate out Founder.” Holiness, the constant theme in the thought and the teaching of the ninth successor of Don Bosco, was the subject of his Letter “Dear Salesians, Be Saints!” (AGC 379). In that message, shortly after his election as Rector Major in 2002, Fr Chávez invited the Salesians to make holiness their own plan of spiritual life and of their pastoral activity. Holiness, which is the beauty of life, of the communities and of the Salesian Congregation “is expressed in the radical following of the Lord Jesus obedient, poor and chaste, and is the fascinating thing about consecrated life.” The Salesians are called to live this high standard of Christian living in the “total giving of oneself to God for poor youth.” “Don Bosco’s holiness is the guarantee that his life-project, his school of spirituality, his style of apostolic action constitute an authentic path which leads to the fullness of love.” There are many varied forms of holiness which have flourished at the school of Don Bosco, in the 150 years history of the Congregation. “Dear Confreres: poor young people have a right to our holiness!” is the appeal which the Rector Major makes to his confreres reminding them that holiness is the “priority of the new millennium.” The 75th Anniversary of the Canonization of Don Bosco is an occasion which adds lustre to the “year of grace” which the Salesians are celebrating in 2009 with the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Salesian Congregation and shows how the holiness of Don Bosco is at the centre of progress and the history of the Salesian charism.