Tuesday, June 19, 2018


by Arlene Cardoza D'cruz
MUMBAI, June 19, 2018: A two-day seminar on Salesian Youth Ministry and the Family was organised by Father Glenford Lowe at the Mumbai Provincial House on June 11 and 12, with the aim of embedding a family spirit, fortifying chaste living among the youth, recognising one's self-worth, connecting to the Divine love and building lasting liaison within the family among Salesian educators and stakeholders.
Educators across the schools of the province attended the colloquium. The guest speakers were Father Francis Gustillo sdb, Professor of Theology and Spiritual director of Couples for Christ and his niece, Joanna Oliva, a Professor at the Assumption College and an ardent missionary dedicated in pastoral care.
The first day of the session began with the introduction and the traditional welcome and prayer by Father Lowe. Father Gustillo, then animated the day by unfolding an entire spectrum of Post Modern dynamics of the family, Don Bosco's pedagogy of the family, family values from the young and methods of involving the family in the school ministry.
He stated that when there is order in the family, there will be order in society. Don Bosco's Preventive System believes in the vitality of the family unit, and so it strives to create a healthy family, be it at home or at the work place.
Father Lowe stressed that relativism, consumerism, materialism and feminism have taken its toll on relationships. They have deconstructed human life. Family values have degenerated and have become shallow. Husband and wife have no time for each other. The throw-away culture has become predominant, hence abortion, divorce, pedophilia, contraception and many other issues have grappled the society at large.
Quoting the ' Amoris Laetitia' by Pope Francis, the speakers stimulated thoughts by saying, "There are no problem children but problem marriages." Marriage beautifully carves love in the Spirit of God and hence the bond sealed in the Lord's Spirit demands selfless giving with unconditional love.
While we draw inspiration from the fount of Don Bosco's pedagogy of the family, the virtue of sanctity creates a path for the youth to holy living.  Don Bosco realised God's Divine Will. This tie to the Divine evoked in him a love for the young, invigorating fearless and selfless service in his mission of love. Eliciting further using the analogy of the Icon of the Trinity by the Russian painter Andrei Rublev, he impressively sketched out the relationship of God and man.
Father Gustillo stated that Salesian educators must assert the love of God within themselves, adding that it would draw them into doing fearless acts, while they shepherd the young in love.
The educators deliberated upon how the young could be animated in taking initiatives in mentoring their peers. Knowing that youth have great potential as leaders, Don Bosco encouraged his pupils to become mentors to each other. Saint Dominic Savio, Blessed Michael Rua, Cardinal Giovanni Cagliero were classmates who became exemplary young leaders by doing acts of charity and sacrifice.
"Believe in the young. Challenge them to do something for someone else. They have the capacity to carve out sustaining family values," Father Gustillo, said. During the latter half of the session, the teachers were divided into groups. The questions posed before the educators were, 'How do I communicate to the parents or guardians of my student their emotional state about home?', 'How can parents be involved in school activities?'  
The teachers were of common mind that there is a need for a paradigm shift, where all the stakeholders be actively involved in the education process. The challenge lies before educators to bring together a family in the classroom. Communicating to parents, increasing interaction among the young, understanding their emotional state, assigning tasks, implementing plans with the child, accompanying the child, listening and building confidence, observing the child's behaviour in proximity could create and strengthen bonds in a school environment.
On the second day, the teacher's got a deeper understanding of pure and chaste living. Oliva animated the day with simple but influential anecdotes. "The responsibility of protecting the family is not only for the parents, but also upon the youth. In the age where media is much powerful, we are in constant war with our temptations," Olivia, said.
"The youth could be powerful evangelisers of the youth. Recognising the dignity of each one would help them to forgive and love unconditionally, " she, added. Introducing 'The Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II', Oliva stated that, 'whatever pure you do with the body your soul will live.' Quoting Genesis 2: 21- 23, she elicited the concept of 'Original Solitude and Original Unity'.
It was a moment of introspection when she said, that, 'our freedom comes from our unity and that we must realise that we are brothers and sisters in the same humanity.' Oliva drew on several personal experiences to inspire the teachers. "God uses our brokenness to change us. Once we appreciate who we are, we will start moving to the purpose," Olivia, said.
The gathering was very excited to attempt 'The Love Language Test'. Love is expressed in words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Our acts of affection towards individuals may vary according to our love language; when we understand this fact, our relationship with our spouse, our children, at work or in the society will repair and will positively reciprocate.
The seminar taught the participants to accept and respect themselves. By allowing God to work in their lives and lifting up their shortcomings at his feet, they allow the Holy Spirit to work. It was an intimate time for the participants to spend with themselves, as they designed their 'Personal Coat of Arms'. The teacher's then tried to identify and non-verbally sketch the legacy of their family, their failings, their achievements, their contribution to the world, their plan to serve God in life.
Each educator had a takeaway from the two-day event. "The language of love would not only help teachers to understand individuals in their family, but would help build rapport with collogues and students at school," Suzanna Fernandez, a teacher, said.
Cheryl D'souza was deeply touched with the personal experiences that the speakers shared. The exercise of the Coat of Arms was a triggering experience that caused her to reason deeply.

"The basic change should start from the family. Good relationships could be built when we give time. One has to be connected to weave healthy and durable relationships, be it at home or at work," Vinodhani Satyaprakash, an educator, said.


By Ashish Sanglikar

PUNE, June 18, 2018: The Rashtriya Life Saving Society RLSS (I) conducted a workshop on life saving, first aid and resuscitation entitled 'Prepare and prevent, don't repair and repent', for the teachers of Don Bosco High School and Junior College, Pune on June 11.
Kavita Sharma who assists her husband Rear Admiral Purushottam Dutt Sharma, AVSM, NM, IN (Retd) founder of RLSS (I) along with Divanshu, Mamta Advani and other members of team conducted the workshop.
Sharma briefed teachers, at the onset, about the history of RLSS (I), its partners, associates, centres, training programmes for all the age groups (students and adults), facilities and operating methods. She narrated an incident in July 1997, when she and her husband witnessed a school bus jumping the rails of Wazirabad bridge near Delhi and plunging into the river, claiming 29 young lives.
Moved by the incident, Purushottam was inspired to launch RLSS (I) on August 2, 1998 - an organisation to empower people with lifesaving skills.  Since then, under his leadership, the society has been training youth to help people in distress, covering accidents both on land and in water.
Divanshu, trainer manager of RLSS (I) Pune, through an audio-video presentation showcased how people panic during accidents as they lack safety skills and introduced the teachers to Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
He further explained the thumb rules of safety, namely, awareness, assessment, action and aftercare. He added that the workshop only trains individuals to be first aiders and not be medical doctors.. Therefore an individual in a situation can only provide first aid safety measures till the time the victim is rushed to hospital.
Divanshu further demonstrated the safety measures that could be taken or given in times of bleeding, chocking, fracture and practically showed the methods of bandage and hand/ human stretchers.
The teachers too actively participated in the demonstration and workshop, which gave them a hands-on experience to handle situations. In the end, Kavita Sharma expressed that the RLSS (I) Pune would like to join hands with Don Bosco, Pune and extend the training programme to students and the parents as well and further reach out to more individuals through school and college.                                                      
"It is my first time that I have attended such a workshop teaching safety measure skills and being a teacher it will surely help me handle situations in the classroom and outside," Devendrasingh Thakur, a teacher, said.
"Earlier I used to get scared, and being unaware of the techniques always ran away from situations but today's session has given me the confidence to handle situations to some extent," Poonam Inderkar, another teacher, added.


by Ravi Bhasra

WALVANDA, June 18, 2018: Bosco Samajik Vikas Sanstha (BSVS) organised a two-day workshop on Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) for nearly 50 farmers of Jawhar block on June 11 and 12, to help them end their reliance on loans and cut their production costs.

The word 'budget' refers to credit and expenses, therefore the phrase 'Zero Budget' means without using any credit, and without spending any money on purchased input. 'Natural farming' means farming with nature and without chemicals. 

Rishikesh Ghute from Satara was the resource person for the workshop.  BSVS aims to promote ZBNF in Jawhar and Mokhada blocks of Palghar district.  In the first phase, 10 youth farmers will be selected and will be given intensive training on ZBNF.

Each trained youth farmer will then be motivated to bring into cultivation one acre of land. In the second phase, along with the one-acre farm, the youth farmer will assist two other farmers to cultivate an acre of land under ZBNF method. In the third phase, the youth farmer would then assist three new farmers to cultivate an acre of land.

In the first year, 10 acres of land would be cultivated through the ZBNF method. In the second year, 30 acres of land would be cultivated and in the third year, 60 acres of land cultivated.

This workshop was the first step of the agriculture improvement plan conceived by Father Anaclete D'Mello, Director BSVS. Gulab Vijal, a newly elected Sarpanch of Walvanda inaugurated the workshop in the presence of Father D'Mello and the main agricultural activities promotion officers of BSVS, Ravi Bhasra, Rahul Ahir and Jithendra Zole.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


by Brothers Ambrose Monteiro and Ian Pinto

NASHIK, JUNE 14, 2018: The community of Divyadaan, alongside representatives of neighbouring communities, ushered in the new academic year 2018-19 on June 11, with a programme in line with the Gospel theme: "Sir, give me that water."

The celebrations began with the Holy Eucharist, which was presided over by Father Godfrey D'Souza, Provincial of the Salesian province of Mumbai. Father Philip Gonsalves OFM Cap, Provincial of the Bonaventure province of the Capuchins, Father Savio Silveira, Vice Provincial of Mumbai province, and Father Manuel Murzello, Economer of Mumbai province, were also present.

Following Holy Mass, a choral piece was sung by students from the first year. It was conducted by Father Kenneth Pereira. Father Robert Pen, Rector of Divydaan, then welcomed the gathering and felicitated the chief guests and guests of honour.

The Principal of Divyadaan, Father Banzelao Teixeira, presented the annual report of the last academic year. A college handbook and a calendar were then released by Father Gonsalves. He appreciated the formative work that was taking place in Divyadaan and wished the students a fruitful year ahead.

Father Brian Bandya OFM Cap, delivered the inaugural lecture on the topic 'Virtue of Care in an Anthropogenic Climate change'. He touched on the issue of climate change and the human contribution to it, while stressing on the need for an environmental virtue ethics that takes 'care' seriously.

Following his talk, there was an interactive discussion wherein doubts were clarified, questions raised and responses offered. Father Gonsalves, a professor at Divyadaan, had his book entitled 'Green Mind Over Grey Matter' released at the hands of Father Silveira.  

Father Silviera, also the Director of Greenline, an environmental initiative by the Salesians, then addressed the gathering on the relevance of the publication given the present environmental scenario.

He stressed that environmental issues must not merely remain matters for discussion and reflection, but more so to drive individuals to act smartly and decisively. 


by Brother Agnel James

MUMBAI, JUNE 14, 2018: The boys and staff of Shelter Don Bosco celebrated Ocean Day by undertaking a cleanlieness drive at Shivaji Park Beach in central Mumbai on June 8.

The boys of Shelter Don Bosco first had an interactive session with Liza, a volunteer from Germany, who used videos on the five oceans of the world to stress on the importance of protecting our oceans. Impassioned by the session, the boys along with the staff went to the Shivai Park beach, Dadar West to do their bit for the oceans.

Though it was high tide, the police granted special permission to the senior boys to conduct the drive. The boys were all given medical hand gloves for the job. After clearing the beach in about thirty minutes, the gathering noticed the huge difference on how picturisque a clean beach actually looked.

"Though while picking the garbage I was feeling awkward, but looking at the clean beach in the end I felt like I have achieved something," a Shelter boy, said.

Ocean Day was first celebrated by International Centre for Ocean Development, Canada in 1992. The Ocean Project, partnering with many leading organisations of the world, including zoos and aquariums, started promoting this event with research and studies from 2002. The UN finally recognised the issues and problems in the ocean and officially declared the World Ocean Day in late 2008.


by Ramona Crasto
KUWAIT, JUNE 14, 2018: Eighty Catholic youth from across Kuwait attended a fun-filled spiritual night that stretched from 8pm to 8am at Don Bosco School in Kuwait on June 7.
The night comprised of praise and worship, while also dealing with topics such as stress management, spirituality, healthy body, family, communication and time management.
The event commenced with a welcome note by spiritual director of Salmiya Parish Youth (SPY), Father Lionel Braganza. Father McEnroe Lopes, a visiting Salesian priest and the director of youth services of Mumbai province, was also present.
The youth were divided into various groups that presented different topics through skits and speeches. "The youth thrill was an event conducted with the purpose to strive to exceed expectations. The topics handled were youth-centric and relevant to issues and predicaments we have to face on a daily basis," Paloma D'Sa, a SPY animator, said.
"Even though the topics were heavy, they were executed in a lively, light and interactive way which really drove home the message. We collected feedback and all the participants were happy and asking for more of such programmes to be held."
Keynote speakers Priya Fernandes, Lloyd D'Souza, Christopher Pereira and Mercy Joseph gave lectures on topics like positivity, communication, time management and talent utilisation respectively. Staying awake at an overnight event was a challenge for Shawn Rodrigues from 'Everything is Possible in Christ (EPIC) youth group'.
"Just when I thought I might fall asleep after the delicious dinner, Mr Lloyd ignited the crowd with amazing vocal exercises and some life inspiring stories. The topics that were chosen and the resource people who shared their knowledge and experience personally has helped me to look at life with a different perspective. I pay my sincere gratitude to the organisers and members of SPY," Rodrigues, said.
Animators maintained the enthusiasm through games, action songs and short videos relating to the topics. The main highlight of the event was a short movie that was played as a part of the sermon during Holy Mass, celebrated by Father Braganza.
The event ended with the distribution of 'Exploring our Catholic faith', a book written by Bishop Camillo Ballin to every participant. SPY continues to inspire the youth through different events and encourages them to participate and be a part of the youth group in church.