Wednesday, March 20, 2019

BIS #5771 LENTEN RETREAT FOR ALTAR SERVERS

by Oswald Aranha

KUWAIT, MAR 19, 2019: “As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus' thirst...'Repent and believe',” Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said. Keeping these words in mind, St. Therese of the Child Jesus parish, Salmiya organised a Spiritual Lenten Retreat for the altar servers from class five to twelve on March 16, 2019, from 8 am to 1 pm themed, ‘Come Back to Me’.  

Nearly 150 altar servers from the Latin and Syro Malabar rite were present for the retreat. In his introductory message, Father Blany Pinto, the parish priest emphasised that Lent is a time to return back to God if we have gone away from Him especially through our sinful habits.

The main highlight of the programme was the ‘Stations of the Cross’, enacted by the altar servers, their animators, and supported by the core team. It was gracefully executed creating a spiritual ambiance on the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Father Roswin Pires ofm cap, the assistant parish priest of Our Lady of Arabia parish, Ahmadi gave a talk on the three pillars of Lent. He explained to the altar servers how to fight evil and avoid temptation. He also involved them in one of the acts and showed them clippings on how starving children struggle for a meal even eat food thrown in the trash. The boys listened attentively.

A short break was provided for interaction, after which the altar servers participated in various activities. They had to prepare a Lenten calendar; wherein they were told to write what they would like to do during the 40-day period.

Craftwork was then provided on the topic Three Pillars: Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving. Class five and six were given paper plates, spoons etc, and were asked what they would sacrifice and abstain from eating. Class seven and eight were told to write prayer requests on the Cross-shaped pictures provided. Class nine and above had to prepare a charity box for almsgiving.

The boys enjoyed the activity sessions and said they would like to have such activities more often in the future. “It was a very good idea to have activity and it went well. I look forward to the next one,” Theodore Nathan, an altar server said. The retreat was animated by Pascal Fernandes and his team.

Soon after the activity, there was an Adoration service conducted by one of the animators Ruth Miranda, followed by Holy Mass. Later, the top three altar servers who had accumulated maximum points by serving and participating at Holy Mass for the month of February were felicitated with trophies and gifts.

The retreat ended around 1:15 pm and all the altar servers carried in their hearts the message given by the parish priest ‘How to repent and forgive others’ reminding all of the words of Jesus, "That is how my Father in heaven will treat every one of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35).

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

BIS #5770 SALESIAN PROVINCE OF MUMBAI AWAITS VISIT OF RECTOR MAJOR


by BIS Correspondent 

MUMBAI, MAR 18, 2019: “Our Lady accompanies us in all the circumstances of our lives,” said Father Angel Fernandez Artime, the Rector Major of the Salesians and the tenth successor of Don Bosco, while in Mumbai on  November 14, 2017. He was on a day-long visit to preside over the jubilee celebrations of three Salesian institutions in the city of Mumbai: the Diamond Jubilee of the Shrine of Don Bosco’s Madonna, the Platinum Jubilee of Don Bosco High School Matunga, and the Centenary of St Joseph’s High School Wadala.

Come March 23, 2019, Father Artime will be in Mumbai again for an official visit to the 'Province of St Francis Xavier'. In Salesian tradition, the Rector Major officially visits all provinces across the globe once during his term of office to meet and interact with confreres, members of the Salesian Family, the young, and lay collaborators.

At the stroke of midnight, Father Artime will land at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. Later in the day, he will meet with Father Godfrey D'Souza, the Salesian Provincial of Mumbai, and his Councillors from 9:30 am to 1 pm. He will then meet Sister Ritha Dora Thomas, the Provincial of the Salesian Sisters of the Province of Mumbai, and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) at 4 pm at Auxillium Convent, Wadala.

At 6 pm, Rector Major will celebrate the Holy Eucharist with young people from Salesian institutions across the city, confreres, and members of the Salesian Family at the Shrine of Don Bosco’s Madonna. A felicitation programme and dinner will follow.

Pune will be the centre of attention on 24th March  as Father Artime makes his visit to the city. Following a welcome ceremony at Don Bosco Youth Centre, Koregaon Road at 10 am, he will meet Salesians from various institutions from 11 am to 1 pm. He will then proceed to Sacred Heart Parish, Yerwada, at 4 pm before celebrating the Holy Eucharist on the parish grounds at 5:30 pm. A felicitation programme and dinner with the Salesian Family will follow.

On day three, Father Artime will return to Mumbai. He will interact with the novices and share lunch with them between 12 noon and 2 pm. He will then meet and interact with the Salesian Family from 4 to 5 pm.

The spotlight will move to Baroda, Gujarat on March 26. The Rector Major will arrive in the city at 7:35 am and drive to Don Bosco Makarpura. He will meet the Salesians from the Gujarat zone between 11 am and 1 pm; have tea with the Salesian Family at 4 pm, and meet with youth from all Salesian institutions at 4:30 pm. He will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 6:30 pm. There will be an hour-long felicitation programme followed by dinner.

On the final day, the Rector Major will return to Mumbai at 9:10 am. He will visit Dominic Savio High School Andheri. The Golden Jubilee programme of the institution will be from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. He will then have lunch with the school staff and the members of the Salesian Family of the institution. At 6 pm a farewell programme will be held at Don Bosco Matunga to end the Rector Major’s official visit to the province. He will leave at 6:30 pm for the airport to fly to Goa for his official visit to the Salesian Province of Panjim.

Today the Salesian Province of Mumbai has 34 houses with around 210 Salesian confreres working with the young. Father Artime will visit only three cities in the Mumbai Province, but his presence will give thousands of confreres, members of the Salesian Family, youth, and collaborators an opportunity to meet the man who carries the torch set alight by Saint Don Bosco himself. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

BIS #5769 VOLTAS AND DON BOSCO SKILLING THE YOUNG


by Brother Jittin Mathew 

MUMBAI, MARCH 13, 2019: VOLTAS (a joint collaboration of Swiss-based Volkart Brothers and Tata Sons Limited), one of the top ten Tata group companies in collaboration with Bosco Boys Home Technical Training Institute (BBHTI) in Borivli, jointly awarded graduation certificates to 40 students of the Refrigeration and Air-Condition (RAC) department of the Institute on March 11, belonging to the two batches of 2018 (January to June and July to December).

To ensure that only the highest level of education is imparted to its students, BBHTI collaborated with Voltas, India’s largest air conditioning and refrigeration company. In this joint venture BBHTI and Voltas, have collaborated to form a specifically designed course on RAC for the poor, needy, and school dropouts of the community, who are eager to learn the trade of repairing, installing, and maintaining refrigerators and air-conditioners.

The training was instituted by the Institute with the help of the VOLTAS team, over a six-month period. It included theory sessions taught by a qualified staff of the Institute, and practical sessions with hands-on training with equipment provided by Voltas, along with on job training.

The courses combined comprehensive technical information from Voltas, along with real-world diagnostic and troubleshooting skills developed through 33 years of field experience by the BBHTI instructor, Maxi Fernandes.

At the graduation ceremony, the Principal of BBHTI, Deacon Romero D’Souza, congratulated the students for their successful completion of the course and also encouraged them to map out a successful career for themselves by increasing their knowledge in the technical field by putting into action what they have learnt in the classrooms.

“Remember the things that I have taught you. Be sincere in the job and respect your employer and the customer. Always see that safety precautions are taken care of before starting work. All the best for your future. Give your best and God will do the rest, ” Fernandes in his farewell to the students said.

"By imparting focused training, Voltas together with BBHTI creates professional technicians, who consistently provide the best. I am grateful to both, for the opportunity they gave me. I would like to share this advice with other students to concentrate and clear all doubts they have during class hours so that on the job they will be confident and excel," Bhavesh Koni, a student, said.

The students expressed their gratitude to the team of BBHTI and Voltas with a vote of thanks. In the concluding session, the best students of each batch were awarded a full kit of tools from Voltas.

Majority of the students are working in companies like Daikin, Eden air conditioning, Gunaji Enterprises, Hot and Cold AC, etc. Others are pursuing further studies or planning to open their own business.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

BIS #5768 DISCERNING FUTURE LEADERSHIP


By Father Joaquim Fernandes 

MUMBAI, FEB 4, 2019: Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, the Regional Councillor for South Asia visited the Salesian Province of Mumbai for the consultation process to find the pulse of the Salesians in a bid to choose a leader who will guide the Province for the next six years given that Father Godfrey D'Souza, Salesian Provincial of the Mumbai region will complete his term on October 7, 2019.

During his address in Mumbai, Father Kanaga presented a synopsis of the letter of the Rector Major, Father Angel Fernandez Artime to 70 Salesians present for the consultation process meeting. "It is a democratic process yet the selection of the candidate is done through nomination process," he said when referring to the process of nominating a new Provincial for the Mumbai Province.

“We take our consultation very seriously. We could do a consultation with each one of you filling a form and sending it across, but why do we take the trouble of travelling, talking to conferrers, and going through a process of discernment? It is because it is a serious exercise to which all confreres must contribute,” Father Kanaga stressed.

“What is the process of appointing a Provincial? First it is the consultation. The second is the consolidation of the report coming out from the consultation. The Regional has that duty of putting together the result and creating a dossier that informs the General Council members about the state of the Province, the quality that they expect from the new Provincial, their opinions on the new candidates, and a study of the character of the person they propose. This document has a lot of details.”

“Then there is a summary where you are being asked to state your views both positive and negative regarding the present status of the Province and three urgent needs that the new provincial should see to in the next six years and the qualities you expect from your leader. Then you are asked to propose three candidates because we are not in an election, voting for one issue and excluding the others.”

Father Kanaga requested the group of Salesians gathered to reflect, think, and pray before filling up the consultation forms and handing it over to him. The data will be then be analysed for the selection process and the narrowing down of the right candidate for the role of leadership will take place.

“Consultations for provincial councillors or provincials are not elections, they are consultations, that is why there could be more than one person who could be capable of fulfilling the office of a provincial in a good way. So, I recommend you don’t mention just one name and leave out the others.”   

“We classify voting according to various categories, one according to age groups, then suggestions from Rectors, who they see as a possible candidate.”

Father Kananga also presented an overview of the Salesian congregation and stated that at as per the 2018 statistics there are 14,055 Salesian confreres, around 128 are Salesian Bishops, 430 novices, with 173 leaving the organisation in the last year.

“The places where the numbers are going up is South Asia. Among the regions, the Mediterranean region has the highest number, around 2900 in all and our region (South Asia) is the second biggest, just around 50 less. So by the time we reach the General Chapter, this region will be the largest region in the world,” Father Kananga said.

“Among the countries which have Salesians, the largest country is India, which has 2700 Salesians in 11 provinces but our region has more because we have confreres in other countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Yemen, UAE etc. Twenty percent of the congregation is Indian. Salesian Sisters are a little less than us, they are a little less than 12000.”

Father Kananga will now follow the same process at Don Bosco Baroda, Nashik, and Pune to complete the consultation process with the rest of the Salesians from the province of Mumbai.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

BIS #5767 SCHOOL AWAY FROM SCHOOL


by Brother Jittin Mathew and Meena Kini

MUMBAI, FEB 26, 2019: Saint John Bosco once said, “Remember that education is a matter of the heart.” Reflecting on his words, a discussion and presentation on ‘Creating Opportunities for Marginalised Young People through Education and Vocational Training’ were organised by Bosco Boys Home (BBH) Borivli in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) on February 23.

Forty participants from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Community Based Organisations (CBO), Church Community Centres (CCC) and St. Vincent de Paul parish communities (VDP) came together to find a way to give today’s youth a brighter future. 

While welcoming the guests, Father Corlis Gonsalves, the Director of BBH introduced the concept of Open Schooling and NIOS. In his address, he said, “BBH in keeping with the charism of our Founder Saint John Bosco, conducts various vocational training courses for youth that makes them employable. We are also concerned about young boys in the age group of 10 to 18 years who for one reason or another are not inclined to go to school or leave school and go elsewhere during that time.” 

The objective of the session was to spread awareness of the services that BBH offers in the form of technical courses, residential programmes for children at risk, and a proposed open schooling programme or non- formal educational programme for children who have dropped out from school between the ages 10 to 18 years.

Many NGO’s between Bandra to Palghar attended this programme and shared their inputs. Caroline D’Souza moderated the session. She has worked for 27 years in the NIOS sphere in collaboration with Don Bosco, Borivli and Wadala for the promotion of NIOS and homeschooling.

The session started with different groups introducing themselves and the nature of their work. Deacon Romero D’Souza, the Perfect of Studies of CWC and the Principal of the Technical School, presented an overview of Bosco Boys Home and the Technical Institute.

The first presentation was on Bosco Boys Home and about Don Bosco and his compassion for marginalised young people. Don Bosco’s vision and the Salesian mission to take care of youth was highlighted. The history, present and the future plans of BBH was shared. It also showcased the activities the boys of BBH regularly participate in like sports, games, music, dance, theatre, and art, with the help of volunteers from various NGO’s like Bhoomi, U n I. In the next presentation, Deacon D'Souza shared information about the various technical courses available at BBH.

The participants then broke into groups and had discussions around the problems they face working with children between the age group of 10 to 18 years, the kind of health and services they need, their challenges with regards to formal schooling, as well as the help and intervention required to overcome the difficulties.

The challenges of institutes included the ineffectiveness of formal education and child drop-out rate between the age of 10 to 18 years. D’Souza spoke about NIOS and the advantages it offered as compared to conventional schooling.

“School dropouts are children-at-risk and become vulnerable to exploitation. They become victims of crime, drugs, pornography etc. Such children have greater difficulties in rehabilitation or picking up trades later on. Through NIOS, young people can finish 10th/12th standard and have better opportunities in employment. The subjects are mostly vocational in nature and can be studied from home. It also has advantages of several attempts in exams and fewer subjects which are bakery, computers, home science, painting, etc”, D’Souza said.

D’Souza went on to explain that BBH was considering the implementation of this system from June 2019. Those above the age of 14 years could be enrolled for the NIOS exam. Those between 12 to14 years could be prepared and homeschooled through functional math, conversational English, civic understanding, grooming and attire, extracurricular activities, computers, and sports before they went on to give the exam.

“We hope from this workshop the awareness about the proposed open schooling programme that is to be started at BBH will spread and people will enroll children in need for the programme,” Datta Gade, a social worker from BBH said. The event also provided a great opportunity for networking.

“I had come for this workshop basically to know the services provided by Don Bosco. We also have enrolled our children for a few of the courses which are available here. They had a very good experience. We have coordinated with BBH for over a number of years,” Sheryl John, a social worker from Snehasadan said.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

BIS #5766 VALUES FOR LIFE


by Brother Telston Lobo

KAWANT, FEB 25, 2019: Health, harmony, holiness, and the environment was the theme of the 24th Value Education Day held at Don Bosco High School, Kawant on February 23.


Students from neighbouring schools were present for the celebration that took place in the school hall from 9 am to 4 pm. Ice-breaker sessions were organised at the onset. A session was conducted to help students know more about the theme through live examples, stories, and real-life events. The students were then led to a discussion.

The afternoon was brightened up by video presentations by all the schools based on the theme. This was followed by melodious songs presented by the students, which focused on the values necessary for life.

The students also had the opportunity of viewing other students’ books and essays, which gave them an aesthetic sense of maintaining a book and the art of writing an essay based on a theme.

The value-based learning inspired the students to leave with an affirmation to lead positive value-enriched lives.