Wednesday, September 20, 2017


by Perpetual Nazareth


MUMBAI, SEP 19, 2017: Don Bosco High School, Matunga has this year already lifted to honours for their sporting conquests, particularly on the football field – but 'Glorious 75', their school band proved that the institution excels in more than just sport.    

At 'Band-it Festival 2017', an inter-school  band competition organised by Furtado School of Music on September 15, Don Bosco's school band comprising of vocalist, Ethan Mathew, Benson Nazareth and Varghese Chiramel on the saxophone, Jermin Jose, the bass guitarist, Chezian Vaiz and Jash Kasare on the trumpet, and Nigel Fernandes the drummer – made the top ten from over 50 schools that qualified following a gruelling elimination round.


'Glorious 75' emerged as the "Audience Favourite", while lead singer Mathew won "Best Vocalist" award.  The 'Band-it Festival' is the biggest inter-school competition in the city of Mumbai with more than 500 schools being invited to audition. Don Bosco's young musicians called themselves 'Glorious 75' in view of the Platinum Jubilee of the school. As a reward for being one of the finalist bands, the players were entitled to a 90 minutes mentoring session on September 11 with Chintu Bhosale, the grandson of Asha Bhosale, who is also a musician and music educator in Mumbai.  


"I felt like a professional player playing in big shows," Benson Nazareth, the saxophonist, said. Lolita Mendonca, a parent added, "Our school band stood out as being the only brass band. They belted out some foot tapping numbers."


Hadyn Dias, an active volunteer who helps out with study and music class for the boarders at Dominic Savio High School, Andheri paid a glorious tribute to the school band. "The boys synchronised very well together and performed songs that were not conventionally popular. However they still managed to keep the audience thoroughly engaged and entertained throughout their performance." 


Father Bernard Fernandes, principal of Don Bosco High School, summed up the experience by saying, "I was happy that our students got an exposure on the big stage before a knowledgeable and appreciative audience. The band master Sir Saby has a way with the children and the brilliant performance was there for all to see."

BIS #5219 OOPS!

by Susan D'Costa


KUWAIT, SEP 19, 2017: Oops! (Openness, Obligation, Praise, Support) a two-day seminar on bonding parent-teenager relationships was recently organised by the Salesian Cooperators of Kuwait. The seminar included simple exercises and a splash of humour as Father Edison Fernandes, Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology focused on parents-teen relationship.


Parents received guidance on developing their teens in family decision making, family activities, reliability, respect, consideration and healthy living. Through interactive sessions, Father Fernandes highlighted the importance of choices and consequences, assertiveness and the need to communicate in a language their teens understood. "Mentor your teens into successful adulthood," was Father Fernandes' guiding principle for the parents.


Teens were encouraged to trust, love and understand their parents and their problems. Those who attended the seminar lauded Father Fernandes for his efforts in helping them to better understand each other. "Oops was an interesting, useful, innovative session by a well-informed priest with a great sense of humour. We need more programmes like this to guide our teenagers," Nandita Sequeira said.


Another parent, Desmond D'Souza added, "It was informative, an eye opener for us as a family, to understand our basic core personalities and deal with our day to day issues." While Justin Mascarenhas, a teenager said, "The workshop was very informative. I got to learn more about myself."


by BIS Correspondent


MUMBAI, SEP 19, 2017: French poet, Victor Hugo once said, "No power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come." His words rang true in 1992, when Father Peter Gonsalves dreamed the dream and sowed the seed of Tej Prasarni, an English translation of 'spread the light', a media house which today - 25-year's on – under the leadership of Father Joaqium Fernandes has mushroomed into a state-of-the-art media entity which provides the good news via a host of publications, productions, a news agency and life-skill workshops.


As India awakened to a new dawn in 1991, with the liberalisation of the economy, Father Gonsalves and his superiors laid the groundwork for 'Tej' as it's fondly referred to today. It was his dealing with the locals in the drought-stricken Ahmednagar in Maharashtra that inspired Father Gonsalves to start Tej.


"I was working actually at the missions, where the villagers practice their faith through devotional songs or bhajans.  We recorded these bhajans in the form of audio-cassettes. The idea was to create an audio cassette ministry where these cassettes would be sold to them at a very cheap rate, affordable for them, I'm talking of something like 10 rupees per tape. We world bear the main cost. And that was how it started. And we started in Pune with a small little studio that was set up there in 1992," Father Gonsalves said. 

The success of the initiative prompted more audio productions. Tej collaborated with the late pioneering Marathi lyricist and radio evangelist from Pune - Jayantkumar Tribhuvan to produce high quality Marathi productions. Tej then moved base to Mumbai in 1993 and that further boosted music recordings in English and Hindi.


In 1995, Tej was approved as the official multimedia production centre of the Salesian Province of Mumbai. It expanded to producing books and audiovisual material in English, Marathi and Hindi. Its productions were based on a variety of themes, such as catechetics, youth development, media education and peace initiatives. It catered to the needs of different audiences like parents, youth-leaders and teachers of various educational institutions. 


In 1997, Tej began focusing on training youth to expand their skills in creative arts and media education. Tej's initiative of skilling youth creatively, continues to this day, with new additions like a brain-training programme. In 1998, the Tej Prasarini book store was set up, which still provides the faithful with publications, audio-video productions and manuals for life skills. In the same year,, the web portal for Tej Prasarini went live.

The demand for youth-related audio-video material led to the setting up of a recording studio, Tej-Kiran (Ray of Light) in 2000. The number of audio productions grew. Most of them dealt with educational programmes. A video recording suite was also set up. 

Father Gonsalves was Director of Tej till 2001. He obtained a doctoral degree in the Faculty of the Sciences of Communication at the Salesian University, Rome in 2007, where he has been Dean since September 2015.  In early 2017, Pope Francis appointed Father Gonsalves to be a Consultant to the Vatican Secretariat for Communications.

Father Darryl D'Souza, an expert in developing and implementing communication strategies for corporate, non-profit and education sectors, then took charge of Tej. In 2001, with the support of MISSIO, Tej-Prasarini Don Bosco Communications, initiated a Communication Campaign for Peace with a clear focus on youth and training of trainers. In the same year, the first audio- cassette and CD with Peace songs was released.


In 2001, Tej also collaborated with UNICEF for the promotion of 'AIDS awareness' among school children. Several other documentaries on social issues like 'Streets Alive', 'In Dialogue with the Rathwas', 'Youth for Life' and 'Salesians at the Service of the Young' were also produced. In 2003, the first 'Don Bosco Film Festival on Peace' was held. Thirteen short films on peace were made by students and the best film was aired on Doordarshan, the national television network.

Bosco Information Service (BIS), which is Don Bosco Mumbai Province's social communication wing, was inaugurated in October 2003. BIS still circulates news about the Mumbai Province via its website:

Father D'Souza was succeeded by Father Joaquim Fernandes, who was also the Vice Principal of Don Bosco, Matunga in 2006. In the same year, under the leadership of Father Fernandes, 'Pray Sing', a hymn production, was conceptualised. The audio-production brought together nearly 300 singers from seventeen parishes across Mumbai.

Tej spearheaded the media co-ordination of major events like the visit of the Rector Major Father Pascual Chavez, in 2007.  In 2008, a workshop training 18 bishops in pastoral communication skills, new trends in media, internet, email, computer applications, powerpoint and video conferencing was held. Media and communication strategies for the first-ever Indian Mission Congress in 2009 and the visit of Don Bosco's relic to Mumbai in 2011, was managed by Tej. A book and media fair in 2012, commemorating its 20th anniversary was also organised. 


Tej collaborated with other bodies like the Catholic Bishop's Conference of India (CBCI) Commission for Social Communications in 2011 to produce three volumes of 'Communication for Pastoral Leadership'. The books were inaugurated by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, now President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.


Father Fernandes took the initiative of book publishing to another level with publications like 'Jesus, the Prince of Peace', Exploring Salesian Life today', 'Don Bosco in Mangalore – before the arrival of the Salesians', 'Preventing substance abuse among school children', among others. 

"Today we are into audio-video productions, book publications, social media, creative and media training programmes, and we also do the media management for major events. It has been busy but fruitful," says Father Fernandes who busies himself for Tej Prasarini's Silver Jubilee celebrations on September 22 in Mumbai, where Cardinal Oswald Gracias will be the Chief Guest. 


Tej Prasarini has been spreading the light far and wide for 25 years, and it wants to continue lighting the world for many more years to come with the good news!

Monday, September 18, 2017


by Perpetual Nazareth


MUMBAI, SEP 16, 2017: To rekindle love for Hindi, the official language of India, the Hindi faculty of Don Bosco High School, Matunga, celebrated 'Hindi Diwas' by organising an inter-school Hindi street play competition- Nukkad Natak, on September 15. It was held at the school campus and was part of institution's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.


The Hindi faculty headed by Daksha Tandel organised the event in a bid to educate and sensitise students on various socio legal issues like women harassment, corruption, electoral rights etc.

Schools in the vicinity and from the Don Bosco group participated in the competition. S.I.W.S High School - Wadala, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School- Sion, Shree Sanatan Dharam High school- Antop Hill, Gauri Dutt Mittal Vidyalaya- Sion, Don Bosco Senior Secondary School-Nerul, Auxilium Convent High School- Wadala, Don Bosco High School-Matunga, Don Bosco High School- Borivli, Shree Vallabh Ashram School- Sion, Don Bosco High School-Pune were among the participants. 


The presentation, costumes, accompaniment and enthusiasm of the students stood testimony to the painstaking preparation of the participants. "I was overwhelmed by the participating schools and the high quality of their performance. The themes on corruption and women's issues were brilliantly portrayed through their scripts and acts, " Father Bernard Fernandes, principal of Don Bosco High school-Matunga, said. 

The audience sat spellbound as they took in each word of the play that was sometimes laced with humour, songs, satire or parody but ultimately drove home the point. Each act offered a valuable lesson and motivated the audience to reflect of societal problems. 


The judges Dr Ramlal Pandey, Anjula Rai and Neelam Mishra were appreciative of the school's effort at encouraging the students to strengthen their Hindi language and help build a national fervour in the young. 


Don Bosco High School, Matunga bagged top honours for their play on the evils of dowry system. Another Salesian school- Don Bosco High School, Yerwada came a close second for their depiction of women empowerment. Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Sion took home the third prize for their theme on corruption.


by Father Bento D'Souza


KARJAT, SEP 16, 2017: The staff and students of the Bachelor's in Mass Media (BMM) department of Don Bosco college, Kurla, set out for some eco-adventure at Don Bosco Yuva Sanstha in Karjat, from September 14-16. 


Father Joseph Braganza, Executive Director of the BMM department, arrived at noon with over 50 students at the lush green campus at Karjat. Father Jesu Robinson, administrator of DBYS, welcomed the group with refreshments. The students were then shown their places for stay, work and meetings; after which they were ready to begin their eco journey. 

Brother Alex Carvalho, the regent on practical training at DBYS,  briefed the visitors on how to make the most of the mountains. Royal D'Souza, co-ordinator of the camp, then led the group into a series of ice- breakers and warm-up games to set up the dynamics of the three day live-in experience. 

After lunch, Father Braganza animated the camp. Place the person in the spot and other games, aimed at inculcating values, were played. The day concluded with a cultural talent programme. 

On the second day, after a walk to the mountains, a sports adventure company was invited to organise fitness drills along the mountainside. A walk on stilts, Australian walk, ankles apart, marbles and pipe, treasure hunt and climbing a tree through a vertical ladder, instilled in the students a 'never give up' attitude. The day ended with a cook-off between students, with judges ascertaining the best dish. 

The third day began with the celebration of the holy Eucharist. A session on yoga asanas was conducted by Pooja Gupta, a BMM staffer. Father Monty Rodrigues, Director of DBYS, gave the students a tour of the Karjat campus, before their departure.


"Days spent here were amazing. You gave us an experience that each of us can never forget. Thank you for these days, we learnt, we played and we loved. Hope to see you all back soon. We are grateful forever. Thank you, " Karen Johnson, a BMM student said. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017


by Father Glenford Lowe


MUMBAI, SEP 16, 2017: What made the Salesians in Mumbai take the initiative to launch an Oratory? Did they lose this rich tradition of Don Bosco somewhere down the line? They needed a reminder, which came through the words of the Salesian Rector Major, Father Ángel Fernández Artime, in his concluding statement during the Team Visit of South Asia at Chennai on April 4. 


"Priority of choice for the poorest and young people from rural and slum areas is a guarantee for the strength of our charism in South Asia. We should always ensure our loving and effective presence among the young people. Planning their transformation into great persons, is a duty that beckons us," Rector Major's statement read. 

The community of Don Bosco Provincial House Matunga, Mumbai, could not resist this invitation. In their weekly community Giorno, they revisited this call to reach out to the young people, especially from the neighbourhood slums. The community unanimously agreed to start a 'daily oratory' - treasuring that C.40 stated - 'The Valdocco experience is still the lasting criterion for discernment and renewal in all our works'. 


With support from Father Rolvin D'Mello, executive director of Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS) and his staff, the ground work was far reaching. Father McEnroe Lopes, director of Don Bosco Youth Services (DBYS) along with Father Leon Rodrigues and the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) Matunga, took the initiative to form the oratory. 


Father Glenford Lowe, Rector of Provincial House together with Father Anthony Goyal and supported by the community, offered its space for the daily oratory. The official launch of the Don Bosco Oratory took place on September 14 at 4:30 pm in the Provincial House AV hall. More than 100 youth from the neighbouring slums attended the event. 

Father Manuel Murzello, Provincial Economer was the guest of honour. Through his words of welcome and relooking at Don Bosco, Father Murzello officially declared the Don Bosco Oratory open. A prayer service by Father Goyal set the spiritual tone to the entire proceedings. Father Lopes, then presented the concept of Don Bosco's Oratory and promised the youth that the Salesians would journey with them in their call to be God-fearing persons and responsible citizens. One could sense an atmosphere of new hope and a safe haven to grow. The youth could now perceive their dreams closer to reality.


The participants also took time to share their needs and concerns. "We are grateful to the Provincial House who are ready to offer their space as a platform for us to develop our sporting and musical talents,"said a young enthusiast. "Now, I can be assured of a quiet place to study and prepare for my college exams," another participant said.  

Evening coaching classes in spoken English, math and science, and opportunities for computers and self-defence were also assured. The daily oratory will run from Monday to Saturday from 6:00pm to 8:00pm and be open to youth from all faiths. The youngsters, mostly above the age of 16, were invited to register themselves for the daily oratory. 


Arrangements to get sponsors and coaches are underway. The Salesians are confident that many generous Samaritans would come forward to join this noble venture, through their resources and time. The SYM members have pledged their support to walk with the oratory youth, as volunteers. The Salesians pray that the 'Valdocco experience' launched at Mumbai Provincial house may spread to many other communities too.