Monday, July 5, 2010


Ashley Miranda sdb
MUMBAI, JULY 5, 2010: The Rectors and Leaders of communities and presences of INB met for a two-day meeting at Provincial House, Mumbai on June 30, 2010 and July 1, 2010.
The meeting began with the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by Fr. Michael Fernandes, the Provincial of the Mumbai Province. In his homily he presented Don Rua as a model to be emulated in our desire to follow Don Bosco and to live our Salesian life faithfully. The first session of the meeting after the Eucharist was devoted to communications from the Provincial and the Economer on various matters connected with the life and governance of the province. Fr. Michael invited the rectors and leaders present to love their confreres. He reminded them of their role as spiritual animators of communities and the need for prayer as the glue that keeps communities together. He focused on the need for greater accountability in all that we do and called for a reflection on what needs to be done to strengthen structures of responsibility and accountability. Fr. Elson presented an update on the state of the various properties and emphasized on the need for promptness in matters concerning administration.

The interventions of the provincial and the economer were followed by sessions in which those present had a deeper look at the lines of action of PC2010 that need to be incorporated in the Plans of the year of the individual communities. There were also some well presented inputs on the Salesian Youth Movement and the youth spirituality that is meant to animate it. The first day concluded with a session on the Maintenance of the Chronicles in every community and its relevance.

The second day of the meeting was dedicated to inputs and reflection on the ‘Rights Based Approach to Development’ animated by Dr. Yogesh Kumar of the NGO Samarthan of Bhopal. The session began with a short video clip in Hindi presenting a very meaningful reflection in song on the right to work, the sad reality of unemployment and the dignity that work brings.
At the very start of his presentation Dr. Yogesh pointed out that poverty whatever its form or shade, whether in rural or urban areas has the same pain. The temptation that we need to resist though is to reach out to those who are marginalized or underprivileged in various ways with Band-aid Solutions focusing on welfare. To bring about real change we need to focus on ‘direct democracy’ and ‘citizenship’. It is only by building capacities and by helping people look at themselves as citizens who can demand their rights and entitlements can we bring about change that will benefit all and will last. Speaking about the Gram Sabhas, Dr. Yogesh said that we need to get people interested in its functioning because it represents the collective strength of the people. In order to do so, however, we need to strengthen the functioning of various interests groups that go to make up the Gram Sabha. Foremost among these groups are the women’s’ groups, the SHGs, PTAs, youth groups etc. Dr. Yogesh then went on to speak of the importance of ‘community monitoring’ in all development projects. A culture of transparency and accountability fostered through the setting up of vigilance committees and through well conducted social audits contributes a great deal to building up the collective strength of the people. He cautioned those present that the goal of audits and committees should never be to victimize anybody. Those who are part of the administrative machinery may have their shortcomings but it is no point antagonizing them. Besides not all are corrupt; there are many who are actually sincerely interested in the good of the people.

The sessions animated by Dr. Yogesh we followed by the meetings of the various commissions of the province and were devoted to planning the schedule and agenda of meetings for the year. In the evening of the July 1 those present took part in the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Ordination of Fr. Richard D’Souza. More than forty confreres concelebrated the Jubilee mass with Fr. Richard which was followed by a sumptuous dinner at Don Bosco School community, Matunga.

The meeting of Rectors and animators unities was followed by a well conducted seminar on Communication for Pastoral Leadership organized by Tej-Prasarini on July 2, 2010. Seven sessions on various topics such as Media Management, Advertising and its Impact on Youth, New Trends in Media, Facing Press Conferences, Internet and Convergent Media were held in the course of the day. The resource personnel were exceptionally competent and kept the participants interested and enthusiastic throughout. At the end of the seminar the participants were unanimous that they had benefited a lot and that we as Salesians need to do much more to reach out to the young through the wonderful new possibilities that media offers us.

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