Thursday, June 24, 2010


Fr. Isaac Arackaparambil sdb
MUMBAI, JUNE 24, 2010: With a view to giving a renewed thrust to Youth Ministry in the Province of Mumbai, the DBYA South Asia Regional Team comprising Frs. Maria Charles, Joe Arimpoor, Raphael Jayapalan, Jude Anand and Brian Moras, animated the Youth Animators, Vocation Promoters and Principals of the Mumbai Province from June 23-24, 2010, at Don Bosco Provincial House, Matunga, Mumbai.

Fr. Maria Charles who is the Youth Pastoral Delegate and Coordinator for Education and Culture for South Asia presented a summary of the Letter of the Rector Major on Salesian Youth Ministry. He voiced the Rector Major’s call for a ‘cultural revolution’ in the Congregation, which at the same time would be a real ‘conversion’ to the young. A Cultural Revolution means adopting a mindset and style that caters to a holistic formation of the young by inducing them to the vicissitudes of Education and Culture, Education and Evangelization, Groups and Movements and Vocational Discernment. Fr. Maria enlightened the participants on the latest trends in Education in India, the ground breaking initiatives of the UPA government in regard to the same, the Right to Education Act (RTE), and warned against the challenging implications of these trends to our own style of running our schools in the country today. He emphasized that we have to reinvent ourselves as educational institutions and stand up to the violations of fundamental human rights in regard to the autonomy of Minority Institutions in running these institutions, unleashed by certain articles in RTE.

Fr. Joe Arimpoor who recently completed his term as Coordinator for Groups and Movements for South Asia dealt with aspects of the Rector Major’s letter which stated that it is important to adopt a unified and organic vision of a ministry, centered on the individual young person and not so much on works and services. He echoed that it is also essential to strengthen the community dimension of pastoral activity by returning to the concept of Educational Pastoral Community (EPC) with a planning mentality that would establish the Salesian Education Pastoral Plan (SEPP). He emphasized that we have to respond by being relevant to the times and issues of youngsters. Fr. Arimpoor then introduced the participants to the meaning and purpose of Bosco Youth Groups (BYG). A BYG is a Salesian Youth Group open to all youth of all ages, gender, and religion. Inspired by Don Bosco, it follows the Salesian Youth Spirituality, and the Pedagogical Principles of the Preventive System, and it is animated by a Salesian or an animator trained in BYG approach.

Fr. Jude Anand who is the new Coordinator for Groups and Movements for South Asia shared his testimony of successfully establishing over two hundred and fifty plus BYGs in the Province of Bangalore. He invited the participants to make the BYGs a full-fledged reality in our province.

Fr. Raphael Jayapalan who is the Coordinator for Evangelisation and Catechesis South Asia, stressed the importance of ensuring that this dimension found a primary place in all our Youth Ministry settings. This means the quality of our youth ministry should be such that we are not satisfied with keeping the young amused, but should rather develop human maturity. It should ensure a systematic process of evangelization (the proclamation of Jesus Christ) and of education to faith, capable of leading young people to a personal encounter with Jesus and with the Church.

Fr. Brian Moras who is the Coordinator for Vocation Animation and Guidance South Asia enlightened the participants on the need to deepen and strengthen the vocation dimension of every pastoral project. He stressed that vocation animation should not be narrowly understood as encouraging vocations to priesthood and religious life only but in the broader sense of helping every youngster find the will of God so that they make life choices even apart from a religious call in a responsible manner.

Following these inputs, Fr. Ajoy (Vice Provincial), in his capacity as the Youth Pastoral Delegate of our Province gave a report on the youth pastoral activities undertaken in the province. Then the DBYA Regional Team along with the participants reviewed the Youth Ministry of the Province through a reflective questionnaire on each of the dimensions they coordinate to which the assembly shared their frank feedback.

Fr. Maria Charles concluded the proceedings by presenting the report of Don Bosco Youth Animation in the region of South Asia and by stressing that we ensure the effective functioning of the Youth Commissions at the Provincial Level.

In general it was felt that a lot of good work is being done in the province and the expectation running high in the hearts of the DBYA Regional Team is that the Province of Mumbai takes the lead in giving direction and leadership to Youth Ministry ventures by contributing at the National and Regional Levels of the Congregation.

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