Ashwin Macwan sdb PUNE, NOVEMBER 27, 2008: On November 21, as a part of the ongoing Marian month, the community of Don Bosco Youth Centre together with the neighboring religious houses celebrated an evening with Mary. The programme began with the traditional Indian welcome – signing the forehead of the guests with Tikka. Then there was a prayer service during which Fr. Vincent Rasquinha, Rector, garlanded the statue of Our Lady. Representatives of various houses came up and lit the lamp and all present offered flowers to Our Lady as a sign of love and gratitude for the wonderful things she has done in our lives. Fr. Vincent then welcomed one and all to the beautiful evening and he urged them to experience the love of Mary. The evening was made up of different items like songs, dances, band pieces etc. The programme ended with an inspiring PowerPoint presentation on Our Lady.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Lyra Pinto MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 26, 2008: In another step towards understanding and adopting a rights-based approach to their community work, 20 representatives from the Development Offices of Goa, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai attended a two-day workshop on November 24-25, on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) at Matunga, Mumbai. The objectives of the participants were to understand the provisions of the Act and prepare themselves for situations they might face during practice. Accordingly, on the first day of the workshop, the resource person—Mr. Rajesh Sinha from PRIA, Delhi—explained the entitlements guaranteed by the Act, the structure and processes for implementation and the role of Gram Sabhas in directing the NREGA. He also encouraged the participants to explore their own understanding of the Act through group discussions and presentations. On the second day, the participants moved from a theoretical study of the Act to an understanding of its practical implications for workers, government officials and NGOs. The resource person was Mr. K. S. Gopal, the Director of the Centre for Environmental Concerns, Hyderabad, and a recognized authority on the NREGA. He emphasized that unlike other government schemes, the NREGA is a law and that employment under the Act is not just a benefit but a right. He helped the participants to understand the origins and purpose of the NREGA, the issues that are yet unresolved and the role of development organizations in ensuring that people are able to secure their right to employment. The workshop concluded with the participants drawing up a plan for ensuring the implementation of the NREGA in each of their centres. After two days of intensive study and reflection, the participants came away with the knowledge and confidence they need to help their people fight for their rights under this Act.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Vivian D'Souza sdb NAIGAON, NOVEMBER 21, 2008: On Sunday November 16, the parish of Mary Help of Christians, Naigaon, celebrated Children's Day. The Eucharistic celebration was well animated by the Sunday School, who also formed the choir. After the Mass, the teachers put together a choir piece and a prayer dance as well. The Parish Council then joined the teachers to organize fun games for the children, which they enjoyed tremendously. Snacks were distributed along with prizes to the winners. It was a morning well spent for the children. As part of Faith Formation of the parents of students of the Sunday School programme, the parish organized a training program for the parents of children of Std. I to V, the same morning after the Parish Mass. The lively sessions on Faith and the Bible, were conducted by Fr. Cletus D'Souza. The parents benefited from the input sessions, especially since Fr. Cletus asked them to share their experiences of faith and their difficulties in bringing up their children in the faith.
Grisilda D’Cunha JYOTI, NOVEMBER 21, 2008: Twenty-three S.V.P. members from the Jyoti Mata Conference recently visited the villages of Ashagad. In preparation for this visit we collected clothes, oil, soap, food articles etc. from the parishioners, which we carried along with us to distribute to the village people. Visiting the villagers was an enriching experience for us. We realized that the many modern amenities that we are so dependent on mean nothing to them. Personal interaction with them helped us realize the simplicity and humility that exists within them. Fr. Blaise D’Souza, who is based at Ashagad, accorded a warm welcome to us. Fr. Gregory D’Cunha, who accompanied us, celebrated a very meaningful Eucharist and gave us much food for thought. The entire experience was extremely fruitful and we are grateful to have had this opportunity.
To commemorate this occasion, and share our joy with others, the Management and Staff organized Inter-school competitions in the field of art, elocution and folk dance, on the morning of the November 13, 2008. Eight schools from the Vasai Taluka participated in the various competitions for the different age groups. The programmes were conducted efficiently and the teachers and guest students were indeed happy to be in the school and participate in this competition, feeling it an honour to be invited for this occasion.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Chris Valentino, sdb Lonavla, November 19, 2008: “The loving and caring work being done by Maria Ashiana Therapeutic Centre for the street boys is similar to the work of parents,” said Mr. Kumthekar, Chairman of the Lonavla Press-Reporter’s Association. He was speaking at the Children’s Day Programme organised at Maria Ashiana Therapeutic Centre on 14 November, 2008. Children from Kune Village also participated in this lively cultural gathering alongwith the boys of Maria Ashiana. Also, present on the occasion were Mr Chandrakant Joshi (Press-reporter with Maval Varta Times), Srs. Jeena Mary and Vinita, besides a few other local residents. The boys of Maria Ashiana staged skits, dances and a piano recital interspersed with interesting shayaris bringing out the jovial aspects of childhood. Earlier in the day, the boys visited the Lonavla Police Station and interacted with the Police-‘uncles.’ Expressing their fear and prejudice regards policemen in general; the boys posed varied questions to the men in khaki. Dy.S.P Ghadge, Senior Inspector Sudam Dharekar and Head Constable Salunke, responded to the queries with great composure and clarity. Later snacks, sponsored by Mrs and Mr Sharma were distributed by the policemen. It was an eventful Children’s Day Programme well organized by the dedicated staff at Maria Ashiana and was covered by the vernacular newspaper ‘Lokmat.’
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Antony Christy sdb CHENNAI, NOVEMBER 17, 2008: ”Go to the youth like Don Bosco, with the heart of Don Bosco” was the challenge Fr. Fabio Attard, the General Councillor for Salesian Youth Ministry placed before the 60 members of the Youth Ministry teams of the 11 provinces of the South Asia Region as they began their 3 day meet on November 14, at Citadel, Don Bosco Provincial House, Chennai. Fr. Maria Arokiam, the Regional Councillor of South Asia, invited the participants “to believe, to be different, to be critical and to be broad” in our thinking and reflection in order to be effective Youth Ministers after the heart of Don Bosco in today’s context. Don Bosco Youth Animation - South Asia (DBYA-SA) convened this assembly to plan the Salesian Youth Ministry project for the next six years (2008-2014) in the spirit of XXVI General Chapter (GC 26) and the priorities by the Rector Major, Fr. Pascual Chavez and his council. Fr. Fabio Attard together with his team from the Youth Ministry Department (Rome) and Fr. Maria Charles, the delegate of Youth Ministry of DBYA-SA, facilitated the process of reflection and deliberation.
The process was very clear and concrete. Beginning from a presentation of the six year plan of the individual provinces and moving on to set priorities for the Salesian Region of South Asia, the assembly drew up a list of interventions that would affect the way an we looked at reaching out to the youth in and around our settings.
The fruit of the meeting was two fold. It was a process of evaluating the plans being made to imbibe the spirit of the GC 26. Secondly, it enabled the participants to arrive at key priority areas of youth ministry today as a Region and propose suitable interventions towards efficacy in those areas. As the meeting concluded by noon on Sunday, November 16, the feeling was one of gratitude for the abundance of inspiration that this meet has offered the Region. The DBYA Board consisting of the Delegates of the provinces and the DBYA-SA team are scheduled to meet today, November 17, to deepen the reflections and finalize the course of action.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Gregory D’Cunha sdb JYOTI, NOVEMBER 15, 2008: The annual parish feast of Our Lady of Light, Jyoti, was celebrated on November 9, 2008. The principal celebrant for the Eucharist was Fr. Blaise D’Souza, a Jesuit priest who has been working since the past 30 years for the Adivasis in Ashagad. He was joined at the altar by Fr. Blany Pinto, Fr. Gregory D’Cunha and Fr. Bento D’Souza, the priests of the parish. Delivering a thought provoking homily, Fr. Blaise dwelt on how the Word of God and the life of Mary should inspire our daily Christian living. The celebrations this year were on a low key due to two tragedies that recently struck the parish. Swejal James Burboz, a young 15 year old girl from the parish who was currently doing her SSC, passed away suddenly, barely 3 months after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Next, Supriya Raymond Burboz, aged 25 years, the daughter of one of the benefactors who donated his land for the Church, died after a prolonged illness of eleven years. Against this sad backdrop, it was but natural that the parishioners decided that the general festivities would stand cancelled this year.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Paul Antao sdb SUKET, NOVEMBER 15, 2008: On November 14, 2008, as India celebrated its “giant leap” of landing on the moon, the Salesian Community of Suket took the “small step” of launching an Adult Literacy Programme in Badodia village, about 4 kms from the Salesian house of Suket. Although this may be just a humble initiative, it certainly is a tiny step in the right direction towards helping the millions in India who are on the wrong side of the economic and digital divide. Our interactions with the people of Badodia over these past few months helped the villagers to identify this need and address it at their level. Varmaji, a teacher from the village government school volunteered to coordinate this programme with the help of three Std X students from Don Bosco School, Suket. The task at hand is to enable these 30 odd women develop reading and writing skills, and also to introduce them to basic arithmetic. It was interesting to see the women – young and old – ready and eager to learn from their own village children. The women began enthusiastically by encouraging other women of the village too to join them and unanimously demanded that the classes be held every evening from 8.30 to 9.30 pm, with the exception of Sunday. This initiative, under the direction of Fr. Cedric Sankul and the house of Suket, was inaugurated with the people invoking the blessings of the Almighty by singing five bhajans as in customary in the local culture. This was followed by a brief orientation of the programme by Varmaji and a few words by Fr. Paul Antao who assured them of Salesian guidance and assistance to help realize this objective in the months to follow.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Melvin Pangya MATUNGA, NOVEMBER 11, 2008: The ‘Maschio Centenary Skills Training Centre’ located on the ground floor of the Shrine Office Building, Don Bosco Matunga Campus, was blessed and inaugurated by Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial, on November 10, in the presence of the Vice Provincial, Provincial Councilors, members of the Provincial House Community, Staff and Students. This Centre, which presently offers training in Language, Computer and Life Skills, is dedicated to Fr. Aurelius Maschio, pioneer and patriarch of the Mumbai Province, whose birth centenary is to be celebrated in 2009. The inaugural ceremony began with Ms. Surekha Pednekar welcoming the guests. Mr. Melvin Pangya then briefed the gathering about the two social outreach programmes initiated by the Provincial House Community this year. The first programme – Bosco PLUS – aims at enabling unemployed youth from the slums acquire a ‘skills set’ which will make them employable. The training course runs for one month, during which the students are taught Conversational English, Basic Computers and Life Skills. At the end of the course the students are linked to employment possibilities. There are 42 students in the present batch. The second programme is Evening Study Classes for Girls from the neighbouring slums. These girls too will avail of the facilities at this Centre.Speaking next, Fr. Edwin D’Souza, Rector, said that when Fr. Maschio began his work in Mumbai several decades ago, his dream was to help underprivileged children and youth improve their lives and give them a better future. The Centre being inaugurated was yet another step towards realizing this dream. Addressing the youngsters present, Fr. Michael exhorted them to make best use of the opportunity being made available to them by Don Bosco. While schooling had laid the foundation for their lives, this skills training course would help them access the job opportunities available in the city today. He wished them best of luck for their future and hoped that every one of them would find suitable employment at the end of the course.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Crescens Lemos sdb MATUNGA, NOVEMBER 8, 2008: November 1st and 2nd were homecoming days for the ‘Class of 1960’. These ‘Boys’, now grown-up men (some even grandfathers), along with their better-halves were highly emotional at the sight of their alma mater Don Bosco Matunga. This reunion, which was on the anvil for over a year, began with a meeting in the Rector’s office. The past pupils shared their cherished memories and their present well-being. Most of them recalled Fr. Casarotti, Fr. Mc Farren, and other Salesians of yesteryears. Engineers, Doctors, Managers, Teachers and even a Colonel were some of the men who were once upon a time Bosco Boys. It was interesting to see that they even managed to invite their history teacher Mr. V.R Sonalkar, who shared his views on the need for quality education today. The Rector briefed them on the present scenario of Don Bosco Mumbai. They then assembled in the 7th C classroom to relive their past memories. Fr. Crispino D’Souza, the Principal, addressed the past pupils in this classroom and gave them an update on the latests trends in education that are being implemented at Don Bosco Matunga. After a short tour of the campus and an explanation of the new developments, the day concluded with a fellowship meal. The next day the ‘old boys’ played a game of cricket, although the attendance was not the same as the previous day. They then had an audience with Fr. Michael Fernandes, the Provincial. Speaking to them, Fr. Michael told them that Don Bosco Matunga was not just their alma mater where they learnt lessons for life, but a home where they can return to whenever they felt like. A prayerful visit to the Shrine, which was being built during their school days, culminated the reunion. This meeting was just a curtain-raiser to ‘The Golden Reunion’ which they hope to hold in 2010. This reunion was coordinated by Mr. Ashok Tannan and Mr. Prakash Mahadkar.
Johnson Parackal sdb GUWAHATI, NOVEMBER 8, 2008: “Development from a Human Rights Perspective” was the theme and focus of the 12th National Meeting of Don Bosco Action, India, the Network of the Salesian Development Offices, held at Siloam, Shillong, from November 6 to 8, 2008. Introducing the seminar, Fr. Davis Arickatt, Director of Bosco Reach Out, Guwahati, spoke of the new direction that the Development Offices should take in India from the human rights perspective. Present on the dais for the inaugural ceremony were Fr. Joe Almeida, Provincial of Guwahati, Fr. Francis Alencherry, former General Councillor, Fr. A.M. Jose, National Convener of DBAI, Fr. Thomas Pallithanam, Director PARA Hyderabad and Mr. Khilesh Chaturvedi from ASK, Delhi. Speaking on the occasion Fr. Almeida referred to the Strenna 2008 of the Rector Major and exhorted the participants to accompany the young by upholding their basic human rights.
The first two days of the meeting were dedicated to a workshop on Human Rights. Mr. Khilesh, the facilitator, detailed the modalities of the workshop and the study of human rights issues from a national perspective, through a process of analysis, response and decision-making. On the first day Fr. Francis Alenchery presented a paper on ‘Salesian Commitment to the Promotion of Human Rights’, while on the second day Fr. Pallithanam made a presentation on 'The Human Rights Approach in Development'. The third day of the meeting was devoted to general business regarding the network. After a detailed discussion, two focus areas for future interventions were selected: Implementation of the NREGA and Human Rights Education. Concrete strategies for furthering these areas were planned. The Statutes of the network were also discussed and finalized. On the sidelines of the seminar, a short meeting of those attending the International Congress on Human Rights, in January 2009 at Rome, was also held.
For more details about Don Bosco Action India visit http://www.dbaction.org/
Thursday, November 6, 2008
William Falcao sdb SAVEDI, NOVEMBER 5, 2008: This year’s catechetical camp at Don Bosco Savedi, Ahmednagar, was held from 29th October to 2nd November 2008. The Salesian novices, as part of their experience, helped in organizing and conducting the camp. The camp was organized for the First Communion and Confirmation candidates, numbering a total of 100 children. The novices from the Konkan Province were acquainted with the Marathi language but for many of the novices it was a first hand experience of teaching and talking to the children in Marathi. The day usually began with prayer and yoga. Classes for the First Holy Communion candidates were taken by the novices. They taught the children prayers and its meaning and also introduced the children to the other aspects of faith. The Confirmation Classes were taken by Fr. Solomon, the Novice Master, Fr. Michael and other Catechists. There were games organized in the evenings as well as after supper. The camp concluded at 12:30 pm on 2nd November with a small felicitation programme prepared by the confirmation students.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Dona Prabhune VIRAR, NOVEMBER 2, 2008: The Third Small Christian Communities Rally of the Vasai Diocese was held at St. Thomas Church, Sandor, Vasai West, on October 30, 2008 from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm. The theme of this rally was: Significance of the Word of God in our lives. Don Bosco’s Resurrection Parish, Virar prepared for this event well in advance and organized a bus for its parishioners, thus enabling over 50 parishioners to conveniently attend the rally. The Rally began with the enthronement of the Bible after which Bishop Thomas Dabre addressed the three thousand strong gathering. He pointed out that we cannot live different lives “in the Church and in our neighbourhood”. The Bible must influence our daily lives, especially the way we deal with other people. He also encouraged the Christians to mix with persons of other faiths and together with them to take up issues of common concern, irrespective of caste, creed, or community. Fr. Francis D’Britto then spoke about inter-religious harmony and relationships of Christians within their neighbourhoods. Next, Fr. Alias Rodrigues dwelt on the topic of relationship with people of other faiths within the area of the parish. This was followed by a role- play, an ‘open session’ by Fr. Alias, and finally three persons shared their experiences regarding the SCC movement. The Rally concluded with Bishop Dabre blessing the entire Diocesan team and the singing of the SCC anthem. The rally was indeed extremely well organized and an enriching experience. Congrats to Fr. Dennis Kokia, SCC Director and his service team. Thanks also to the host parish for all the hard work put in.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Crescens Lemos sdb MATUNGA, NOVEMBER 1, 2008: “It’s Jubilee Day!” said Fr. Boniface D’Souza, the principal celebrant at the solemn Eucharist at 6.00 pm in the Shrine at Matunga. Salesians from all over the province were present for this festive occasion as eleven confreres celebrated their jubilees: Fr. Boniface D’Souza, Golden Jubilee of Profession; Fr. Elson Barretto, Fr. Ian Doulton, Fr. Diego Nunes and Fr. Francis Kharjia, Silver Jubilee of Ordination; Fr. Ashley Miranda, Fr. Allwyn Misquitta, Fr. Baptist Monteiro, Br. Jerome Mendonca, Fr. Joe Soares and Fr. James Nigrel, Silver Jubilee of Profession. Concelebrating at the Eucharist were Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial, and over sixty other priests. Also present for the occasion were the family members and friends of the jubilarians, and other well wishers. “A jubilee is a moment to say thanks,” said Fr. Boniface, introducing the Eucharistic celebration. In the first place, the jubilarians wished to thank God who had been faithful to them through all these years. Secondly, thanks were due to “the giants on whose shoulders we have grown” he said. And finally, it was an opportunity to say thanks to family members, friends, confreres, and the many others who have been part of their lives. Delivering the homily, Fr. Elson reflected on the “ecstasy and the agony” every priest goes through. Moments of ecstasy, such as reaching out to someone in need, reuniting a broken family or comforting a dying person, are what help the priest find meaning and joy in his life and ministry. But then, there are also moments of agony, and these are often plentiful. One’s own shortcomings, failings, frustrations and loneliness are part of the agony every priest has to face. But in all this, God remains faithful, and he helps the priest endure this agony. After the Eucharist a felicitation dinner was held. Raising the toast during the dinner, Fr. Provincial spoke eloquently about each of the jubilarians. He highlighted their qualities, the work they have done during these years and the contribution they have made to the province. He pointed out that two common traits he noticed in all the jubilarians were their commitment and humility. He also thanked them for the service they have rendered to thousands of poor and marginalized youngsters and wished them well as they go ahead in their Salesian and priestly lives.
Freida D’Souza PUNE, OCTOBER 31, 2008: In the serene surroundings of Don Bosco Koregaon Park, Pune, 39 Salesian Cooperators from the Mumbai Province made their retreat from October 28 to 30. On the evening of October 28, Fr. Elias Diaz, Provincial Delegate for the Salesian Family, warmly welcomed the Cooperators to this retreat and also introduced the preacher, Fr. Wilfred D’Souza. Being the season of Diwali, the retreat began with a power point presentation on the ‘Power of Light’. Fr. Wilfred then lit the lamp, after which all went out to enjoy the fireworks in the compound. On the first day of the retreat, Fr. Wilfred dwelt on the theme: The Salesian family in the Mission of the Church. Some of the topics he took up for reflection were: The Church for a New Evangelization, The Action of God’s Spirit, The Groups of the Salesian Family involved in the Ecclesial Mission, Aspects of the Apostolic Commitment of the Family of Don Bosco and A Mission particularly suited to Lay People. The evening was devoted to personal prayer, rosary and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. After dinner the film ‘Mission to Love’ was screened. The second day began with the celebration of the Eucharist. In his homily, Fr. Diaz pointed out that all are called to be holy and that we attain our holiness through the simple things we do in our daily lives. During the session in the morning Fr. Wilfred took up the theme of ‘Formation to the Apostolic Mission’. He stressed on three key words: Animation, Personalization and Assimilation. The topics he dealt with included: Working in Union, Formation Together, Being open to the personal and social context of the Young, Learning the method of Collaboration and the Specific Role of the Priest Formator. The retreat concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by Claudina Pinto, the Provincial Coordinator. She thanked the preacher for the excellent insights he had shared with the group. The retreat has definitely helped the Cooperators better understand their mission within the Salesian Family.