Monday, June 29, 2009


Mayank Parmar sdb KAPADVANJ, JUNE 29, 2009: A week ago our social worker visited Ambalyara village with regard to NREGS work. He got in touch with the Talati and gave him a description about the work our organization intends doing in their village. He also met the Programme Officer in the Taluka and informed him about the social work he has started in Anklay village. Anklay Village comes under Ambalyara Gram Panchayat which also includes the villages of Gadiyara, Anklay, Venipur and Tanthdi.After informing the Talati that they wanted to work, the villagers of Anklay began work at a site shown by the Talati himself. In the meeting conducted by Fr. Mayank Parmar and Nikunj Parmar, the Project coordinator on June 26, 2008; Fr. Mayank explained to the villagers about the NREGS and about the importance of maintaining a register. About 46 households are working under the NREGS scheme. Work is now in progress on a Khet Talavdi. After the intervention of both Fr. Mayank and Nikunj the people seem to be more united and hope to get their full wages.Further, Dristi, the training centre at Kapadvanj, organized a training programme for the leaders of the Self Help Groups on June 27, 2009. The training included topics on leadership, NREGS and introduction to the Gram Sabha. The resource people were Fr. Mayank Parmar, Nikunj Parmar and Mr. Sanjay. The programme was enhanced through various games, power point presentations and video clippings. 25 women participated in the full day workshop. With due permission from the Talati, door to door visits were made at Gadiyara village, to explain to the people about NREGS and Job Cards. A survey of the entire village was conducted where information of each household was collected, especially with regard to how many people were interested in getting work under the NREGS. The list was handed over to Programme Officer for follow up with the Talati. After the survey was conducted a village meeting was scheduled for June 26, 2009. In the meeting the people were made aware about their different rights. It was also made known to them that if they were interested in securing work, they could do so immediately and secure Job Cards later.


Ivan Rodrigues sdb AHMEDNAGAR, JUNE 29, 2009: The solemnity of the St. John the Baptist was celebrated with much devotion at St. John’s Church, Ahmednagar Camp on Sunday June 28, 2009.The theme for the solemnity was “Peace and Reconciliation.” Before the Eucharistic celebration there was a short procession around the church with the portrait of John the Baptist in the act of baptizing Jesus. Taking the cue from John the Baptist, “He must increase and I must decrease” the principal celebrant Fr. Ajit Munis sdb asked the people to allow Jesus to take the prime place in their lives. Citing various examples from the Christian point of witness, while breaking the Word of God Fr. Francis Patekar sj., called on the people to be ambassador of peace through reconciliation. The mass was well animated by the parish council and the choir well prepared by Fr. Michael Bansode. St. John’s church has a custom to invite the newly ordained priestly for their annual parish feast. Frs. Ajit and Francis were ordained priests in December 2008. After mass they felicitated with the traditional turban (pheta), a bouquet of flowers and a coconut. The students of standard tenth and twelfth were also felicitated who have passed their board examinations 2009 in the first attempt. This was followed by a dance “Jai Ho”, a game of housie and distribution of prizes.


Flovi D’souza sdb SAVEDI, JUNE 29, 2009: The SSC results declared recently brought cheer to Don Bosco Vidyalaya, Savedi. The school secured 95% in overall pass percentage. This is commendable considering that in the recent past the pass percentage would hover between 50% & 70%. Master Harshal Shinde secured the highest percentage with 86.30%. The overall breakup is as follows: 4 distinctions, 21 1st divisions, 40 2nd divisions and 2 pass classes. Kudos to Fr.Francis Fernandes, the principal and the team of teachers.


Roshan Gonsalves sdb MUMBAI, JUNE 29, 2009: The wave of excitement and sensation is all over Shelter Don Bosco, Vadala as SSC boys have done outstandingly well in their board exams. Their hard work and consistency in their studies has borne sweet fruit at the end. From among the six boys who appeared for the exam five have cleared in the first attempt. Arjun Singh, the topper, scored 74%, Shahul 70%, Vikas and Vivek secured 66% whereas Iqbal scored a modest 42%. However Jayesh couldn’t get through mathematics and is determined to work more hard and clear it. The celebrations are on in Shelter with ice cream and pav bhaji parties. These successful boys are become an inspiration for all the shelter boys. The enthusiasm will last long as all the confreres of the house led by the Rector, Fr. William Falcao, are personally looking into their studies.


Claudina Pinto MUMBAI, JUNE 29, 2009: The Annual General Body Meeting of the Salesian Cooperators of the Mumbai Province was held on June 28, 2009 in the AV hall at the Provincial House, Mumbai.53 Cooperators from all over Mumbai were present for the same. The meeting started with a con-celebrated mass. The main celebrant was Reverend Fr. Provincial Michael Fernandes. In his homily he spoke on laity and their rightful place and functions in the church. He mentioned that there are two states in the church: Clerical state and Lay state. Further he explained these states. They have fundamental equality but functional inequality. We can see in the church as Pyramidical Structure or Collaborative Structure. In the Collaborative Structure there is lot of scope for the Laity in the Church. He encouraged the co operators to collaborate in the activities of the church.After the mass Fr. Eliaz Dias in his power point presentation explained the identity of the cooperators, their history and the different activities of the co operatives in the province of Mumbai. Minutes of the previous AGM and the activities of the co operators were read out by Mrs. Philomena Mendes. Mr. Christopher Gomes read out the statement of accounts for the year 2008-09. With some clarifications the accounts were passed. Fr. Eliaz Dias appraised the co operators about the forth coming activities in the province which would include seminars, recollections, picnics, retreats, out reach programmes and joint meetings of the Salesian Family. He invited the co operators to take active part in the programmes organized for the Salesian Family this year.Mrs. Claudina Pinto proposed the Vote of Thanks. She thanked Fr. Provincial for celebrating mass, Fr. Dias and Sr. Phyllis Fernandes fma, for their encouragement and all the co operators for their presence. The meeting ended at 7. 30 p.m.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Ivo Coelho sdb BOSTON, JUNE 28, 2009: An extremely interesting talk by Cutberto Garza, Provost, Dean of Faculties at Boston College, entitled "Raising the Bar: An International Growth Standard for Infants and Young Children." Garza has been involved the last 20 years in a WHO project for standardization of child growth. (Fred Lawrence justified this talk at the Lonergan Workshop, Boston College, by pointing out that the famous preferential option was not only for the poor but also for the young. Somehow theologians managed to drop 'the young' from their attention. Something for Salesians to think about.)
The most startling finding of the project is that height has nothing to do with race or genetics, only with environment. Kids grow in the same way in the first five years if you give them all that they need. And part of what they need is breast-feeding.
The study involved countries such as India, Ghana, Oman, Norway, the US and some others. The finding is so startling that the US government has not yet accepted it. Garza said that the US finds it difficult to accept the fact that there is no difference between Indian and Ghanian and Omani children and American children.... And, I guess, governments such as the Indian now have no excuse in terms of race or genetics; if children fail to grow, it is entirely a matter of environment.
The study evoked understandable reactions from the formula-feed lobbies, but it appears that that opposition has largely died down. Perhaps it is time for Salesians to get interested in child growth standards?

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Sarita Rego BORIVLI, JUNE 27, 2009: Don Bosco Borivli has done it again! The SSC results for the year 2008- 2009 were outstanding. Cent per Cent Results five times in a row is no small feat. Kudos to our students, teachers, staff and Management for all the hardwork put in by them in the Academic Year. They definitely proved to be the ‘high fliers’.

The following are the school toppers:
1. Vinit Joshi 94.30%
2. Aldridge D'Souza 94.05%
3. Runal Nair 93.85%

Out of the 142 students that appeared, 75 scored Distinctions, 47 scored First Class, and 20 scored Second Class.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Rohini Patrao MUMBAI, JUNE 26, 2009: Despite the cooling monsoons setting in, the temperature at St. Joseph’s High School, Wadala was on a rise as the long vacations were drawing to a close for the SSC students. The much awaited moment finally arrived on June 25, 2009. The joy of the young Josephites knew no bounds when it was declared that the SSC batch of 2008-09 had presented the school with cent percent results. The following students were the school's toppers:


Thursday, June 25, 2009


MATUNGA, JUNE 25, 2009: The annual meeting of the Rectors and Leaders of Communities of the Mumbai Province began with a Eucharistic Celebration presided over by the Provincial Fr. Michael Fernandes at 9.00 am on June 24, 2009. During the Eucharist, Fr. Ajoy Fernandes, the new Vice Provincial, took the ‘oath of office’. During the first session of the morning, Fr. Michael focused on some of the key responsibilities of the leader of the community. Beginning with the area of Animation, the Provincial exhorted the Rectors to “Love your confreres”. The Rector should show concern for every individual in the community and help the entire community to grow in unity. On the issue of Administration, he reminded the Rectors that the Annual Budget as well as all financial accounts should be examined regularly by the house council. With regard to the Practical Trainees in the community, the Provincial asked the Rectors to “create a learning space for them”. He stressed that the Practical Trainees should be helped to reflect on their lives and be challenged to grow as mature Salesians. In the final section of his address he dealt with several practical province matters, including the different plans that we need to have in place. He also announced that this year on November 1, we will celebrate ‘Salesian Parents Day’ in Mumbai. In the second session, Fr. Elson Barretto, Economer, and his team dealt with a range of important financial issues concerning the province. This included the new request form for projects, clarifications on the annual budget, the Boscopac accounting system and details about auditing. The post-lunch session was dedicated to understanding the Development programmes underway in the province, especially the Rights Based Programmes that have been recently launched. Further, Fr. Godfrey D’Sa made a presentation on the Juvenile Justice Act and pointed out practical ways in which we could be involved in promoting the rights of children. The last session of the day saw a series of short presentations: Fr. Nelson Carvalho presented the ‘Policy for Protection of Minors’; Fr. Ashley Miranda spoke on the ‘Scrutiniums’; and finally Fr. Ajoy Fernandes took up the Province Calendar for discussion. The second day, June 25, began with a session on the care and follow up of the young Salesians. Fr. Solomon Rapol first made a presentation on Spiritual Direction, highlighting five key components in this field. He pointed out that “spiritual direction fosters, encourages and challenges a directee’s growth in the Christian life”. Next, Fr. Ashley Miranda spoke on the follow up of the Practical Trainees. He emphasized the fact that these young Salesians are the future of the province and hence ensuring their proper growth is critical. The second session of the morning took up for discussion the possible themes for Provincial Chapter 2010. After a lively discussion, chaired by Fr. Ashley Miranda, the Moderator of PC 2010, it was agreed that the Chapter would work on the Structural Plan for the Province. The members of the various Provincial Commissions then joined the meeting and participated in the final two sessions. These sessions were dedicated to the presentation of the reports by the Commissions. The two day meeting came to a close at 4.00 pm with a vote of thanks proposed by Fr. Ajoy. Later in the evening, at 6.30 pm, a memorial Mass was celebrated in the Shrine, to remember and pray for Fr. Giuseppe Moja who passed away on May 26, 2009 at Arese in Italy. Fr. Edwin D’Souza, Rector of Provincial House, was the principal celebrant. Rich tributes were paid to this great Salesian who worked in India for 75 long years.


Ivo Coelho sdb NASHIK, JUNE 25, 2009: I gave my lecture at the 36th Lonergan Workshop, Boston College, on Monday, June 22, 2009, at 7.30 p.m. Risky time, because it comes at the end of a long and full day, with 4 lectures in the morning, a workshop in the afternoon, and another 2 lectures after that. But there was a decent crowd, and they all sat up when they heard that I was going to try to apply part of Lonergan's method to a reading of Sankara as interpreted by Richard De Smet, SJ.
De Smet, as most of those who have studied either at JDV or Divyadaan will remember, was our Indology professor at JDV (he died 10 years ago). What I did was to use Lonergan to go over De Smet's work on Sankara. De Smet clarified the concept of person, showed how it was hammered out by Christian theologians precisely in their effort to speak about God (Trinity and Christology), and how it was then applied to all human beings (where the Romans had considered only Roman citizens as persons, slaves, for example, being non-persons). De Smet then went on to clarify how the Brahman of the Upanishads was really personal, and not impersonal as most Indologists seem to hold, because 'person' simply means a being who is intelligent and free. He also suggested that Sankara provided a good notion of the human person - most of the other systems in India being somehow dualistic.
In my paper, I used Lonergan's transposition of the metaphysical category of person into the 'psychological' category of subject in order to read Sankara again. My hunch was that it would be easier to find matter on consciousness and subject in Sankara and the Indian tradition, than matter on person. I suggested that there were clues in Sankara that suggested that we could find both divine and human subjects in his work.
The participants of the conference were impressed by the kind of dialogue work that De Smet had been doing. Very few of them had even heard of him. I think this was a good tribute to this great and good man, who is considered by some Indologists as one of the contemporary Vedantins of India.
Perhaps we could look forward to using Lonergan to read the Indian texts further.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Roshan Gonsalves sdb MUMBAI, JUNE 24, 2009: The new academic year in Shelter Don Bosco has begun well as almost all the boys are attending regular school. 7 boys have been reunited with their families. The famous June 19 – 20 Monthly Mela was unique in its own way. Special attention was given for health and hygiene. Rugged street boys were encouraged to have good bath and were awarded decent clothes. Doctors from Sion hospital offered medical treatment for all sick and injured boys who directly came from the street. During the mela smaller boys were separated from the bigger boys and given special attention. Result was overwhelming as 30 boys showed their desire to give up the street life and begin a new life in Maria Ashiana, Lonavla.


Nerul Correspondent NERUL, JUNE 24, 2009: Don Bosco Senior Secondary School, Nerul held its first annual prayer service on June 15, 2009. The staff and students welcomed their new Manager Fr. Vivian D’Souza, their new Principal Fr. Anthony Fonseca and their administrator Fr. Monty Rodrigues. The school head girl of 2008-2009 Mishita Kodnani read out a welcome address which was followed by floral felicitations. Fr. Vivian D'Souza, Fr. Anthony Fonseca and Fr. Monty Rodrigues came up on stage to light the lamp to usher in the new academic session. After which a Prayer Song by students of class VII and VIII followed. The prayer song beautifully ushered in the reading of Psalm 119:12-20. Various intentions for the needs of the school and the world at large were recited. The prayer dance which was put up by the students of class VIII brought out the traditional Indian form of prayer. Quotes on Education were read by students primarily as a sign of looking ahead to an enriching academic year. Fr. Vivian gave a pep talk to the present students asking them to work hard and prepare themselves for the challenges that lie ahead. The event concluded by the Vote of Thanks delivered by one of the students.


Loreen Fernandes VIRAR, JUNE 24, 2009: Small Christian Community Coordinators and animators of the Resurrection Church, Virar had a short training session on Sunday, June 21, 2009. Our Parish Priest warmly welcomed the 38 participants and proceeded to explain the church procedure needed for conferring the various sacraments. Leaders of the communities and the animators who assist them were encouraged to maintain community-related data systematically.Our project coordinator for SCC’s Dona Prabhune then conducted a lively session on listening skills. An effective animator has to be a good listener – totally in sync with the needs of his/her community members.Fr. Blany shared that the youth and the SCC of the previous years were given maximum attention, this year the accent would be laid on children (catechism classes and altar servers) and the senior citizens. He then went on to emphasize that as leaders they needed to have a vision for the community. This vision must be based on the principles of the Gospel and should meet the needs of the people. Based on this vision, the leaders were exhorted to prepare a plan for their respective communities for the coming year. All the leaders then submitted the plan for their respective communities – spiritual, cultural, social and formative programme. Fr. Edwin Colaco assisted each of the communities in preparing the plan.The day ended with Fr. Blany thanking Dona for conduction the session and the leaders due to whom the communities are flourishing. Fr. Blany made a special mention of Fr. Edwin and thanked him profusely whose tireless effort in injecting life in the communities has borne fruit.


Wilfred D’Souza sdb MATUNGA, JUNE 24, 2009: The first North Bombay [East] Deanery Recollection for the Sunday School Catechists and the Regular School Catholic Teachers was held at Don Bosco, Matunga, on Sunday, june 21, 2009. This activity is one of the components of the multifaceted ministry of Don Bosco Youth Services, for the Archdiocese. We had a good turn out of 75 Teachers from 7 parishes and 8 schools. Fr. Anthony Fernandes, Director of DYC, Bandra conducted a lively and enlightening session on “Sin and Salvation”. Two priests were present to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the Teachers who took advantage of the opportunity.A meaningful Prayer Service before the Blessed Sacrament brought the evening to a close and was followed by a good dinner

Monday, June 22, 2009


Ranson D’Souza sdb DIVYADAAN, JUNE 22, 2009: A wonderful person, a creative educator and a simple Salesian priest, this is how Fr. Vincent Vaz is remembered in Divyadaan – his last home. On the 20th of June, 2009, the Community paid its tribute to this great Salesian. The occasion was graced by his very own close relatives and friends, the parishners of Don Bosco Parish – Nashik, the religious from the nearby communities and all those who were influenced by his life. It was amazing to see how Fr. Vincent had in his own ways touched the lives of so many.Indeed the passing away of Fr. Vincent whom the Fathers and Brothers of Divyadaan would lovingly call Fr. VV, was a great loss to the community. It was as though they had lost their own grandfather who would silently guide the whole community. In his there was a short Prayer Service and Video portraying his life prepared by the Mph. Brothers. The prayer service enabled everyone to know more about the life of Fr. Vincent in and also to be grateful to God for the gift of Fr. Vincent to the community and also the province as a whole. The prayer service concluded with the Divyadaan band playing the melody ‘Nearer my God to Thee’.This was not all. The whole occasion culminated with the Eucharist, wherein Fr. Savio D’Souza, the Rector of Divyadaan once again recalled all the loving memories he had of Fr. Vincent, thanking God for his gift and also thanking Fr. Vincent for all that he had been to the community of Divyadaan. During the thanksgiving prayer three of the Divyadaan brothers, gave their personal testimonies through which they shared their personal experiences with Fr. Vincent and made known how he had left his imprints on their hearts.At the end of it all, all those present were convinced that they no longer had to pray for Fr. Vincent but from now onwards had to pray to Fr. Vincent to bring down the blessings of the Almighty on them, their families and communities.


Kiran Salve sdb LONAVLA, JUNE 22, 2009: In line with the Vatican’s happenings i.e. the Inauguration of the ‘Year of the Priest’ by Pope Benedict XVI, Don Bosco, Lonavla too inaugurated the ‘Week of the Priest’ on June 19, 2009 by praying the animated Rosary organized by the aspirants in vernacular languages like Latin, Gujarati, Marathi, Konkani and English. The life story of St. John Marie Vianney the patron of priests was read followed by the Litany of the Sacred Heart. The group decided on a resolution; TO AVAIL OF THE BLESSING FROM THE PRIEST BEFORE BEGINNING THE DAY for the year, after which Fr. Rector gave a Good Night thought. This week will be lined up of activities for priests and for the aspirants too, to mention a few are interviews of the priests of the community, games and many more events. Both, the Priests and the boys are awaiting a fun filled week ahead.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Diego Nunes sdb NASHIK, JUNE 20, 2009: ‘Success in your Hand’ served as the theme of the exhibition ‘GYAN KOSH’ (Knowledge Encyclopedia ’09), a part of Career Guidance Mela, at the Don Bosco School, Nasik, organized by Energy Youth from May 25- 28. Fr. Diego Nunes the principal of Don Bosco High School inaugurated the exhibition. The well renowned Mr. Shiv Khera addressed the youngsters as part of the mela. He said that a problem is part of human life and to face it at the end of the breath of a person is a symbol of motivational thinking. Mr. Khera emphasized his own experiences at the Dadasaheb Gaikwad Hall for more than an hour and gained impressive feedback from the audience. Everyone should have his own dreams but if negative thinking touches you it is a loss to your family, he reasoned. He also shared his experiences and struggles whilst publishing his book ‘You Can Win’, during his stay in Canada and Singapore. Among those present for the mela were Freedom fighter Vasantrao Hudlikar, Shyam Jaju, Chief of the BJP central office; Tarun Vijay, Delhi journalist; Chancellor of the Yeshwantrao Chavan Free University Dr. Rajan Velukar; MLA Pratapdada Sonvane, B.B. Chandak, Chief administrator of Lokmat; Vandan Potnis, Gavkar editor; Chandulal Shah, Bhramar editor; Ashok Groups administrative manager Satish Parikh and Deputy Mayor and chief of Energy Youth Ajay Boraste. Deputy Mayor Ajay Boraste added that the prime motto of this programme was for students to realize their qualities and choose careers accordingly. Nearly 5,000 youngsters participated in this programme.


Ms. Sarita Rego and Ms. Lynette Sequeira MUMBAI, JUNE 20, 2009: June 17 will be a memorable day for the elected Office Bearers of the Student Council for the year 2009-2010 at Don Bosco, Borivli as on this day they were invested with the symbols of their leadership at the Investiture Ceremony.The ceremony began with a short prayer by our staff member. Fr. Allwyn Misquitta, our Administrator apprised the Student Council of their duties and responsibilities. Fr. George Carlos, our Principal wished them all the very best for setting high standards for their fellow classmates and to work towards the goal of maintaining discipline in school.The staff and students also cheered and welcomed the elected Office Bearers as they received their ties, sashes and ampulets from Fr. Allwyn.The council members took a pledge that they would always strive to fulfill their responsibilities and help the teachers and the management in the smooth functioning of the school activities. We congratulate our new Office Bearers and wish them the very best.


Mayank Parmar KAPADVANJ, JUNE 20, 2009: Venipura village is about fifteen kilometers from Kapadvanj town consisting about 56 households. About five kilometers to enter in to the village there is no road at all. This village falls into the Grampanchayat of Ambalyara which is about three kilometers. Yesterday our social worker Nikunj Parmar made a door to door visit and explained to them about the whole idea of NREGS. People were just aware of the Job Cards which were distributed but they had been taken back from them to issue it along with the snap. They had no idea of the purpose of this whole card. We had arranged the first general meeting with the people regarding this issue. We, together with Ms. Sarojben the Social worker from Kheda Social Service went for the meeting. We were taken a back that so far nobody is aware of the Gramsabha and when are they held. The date and timings are unknown to them. Ms. Sarojben explained the people about the primary importance of the act. Then Nikunj Our Project Coordinator explained the importance of Gramsabha and also expressed that without their cooperation nothing is possible. Afterwhich Fr. Mayank Parmar sdb, the Director of DRISTI enlightened the people on how one can make use of NREGS for the development of their village and at the same time guaranteed each household their 100 days of work. The meeting ended with forming the core group members which consisted ten of them from the men and women folk. Two leaders asked us to accompany them to the Talati office saying that we want to further proceed ahead with one hundred days of work. This core group together with Nikunj Parmar Our Project coordinator will follow up in getting Job cards for the people and they are looking forward of constructing the road themselves.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Mayank Parmar

I learned about Gram Sabhas as a boy in my school days and later as an MSW student, but I had never witnessed one or been part of the show. But now that we have started working with the rights-based approach and encouraging people’s participation, as soon as we got news of the Gram Sabha scheduled for Vadaali, we took charge and started mobilizing the people. We went door to door visiting every house in the village and asked people to come for the meeting.

Vadaali is a group Panchayat, and three other villages are also part of it. So, we began with a general meeting with the people of Bapajinamuvada, where we gathered a majority of the women and a handful of the men folk. We conscientized them about their right to attend the Gram Sabha, and also informed them of the date and the time of the Gram Sabha.

On the day of the meeting, our team reached the venue before time, but we realized that none of the people from the village had come yet. So, we got into our jeep and went straight to Bapajinamuvada. We reminded the people of the Sabha that was to happen that day, and managed to convince five women to come with us to the venue. On reaching there, we found that the Sabha had just begun. Since the Talati had given us permission to participate in the Sabha, and had also scheduled time for us to speak to the people about the NREGA and other issues, we were eager for people to attend. How disappointed we were when only five women showed up!

The meeting began with an official from the health department explaining the latest government scheme regarding health. After this, the TDO addressed the people, and asked them to present the needs of their village. At this point, it seemed that this Sabha would be no different from all the others in the past, with the officials taking centre stage and the people remaining silent. But just as the TDO was about to conclude, I saw a flock of women entering the Panchayat office and literally shouting at all the people present there. These were the women of Vadaali village, and they came in a group of more than 50. They insisted that their village had a severe water problem and demanded that it be solved that same day!

I could see that our efforts had been useful, that these women had come with their arguments well thought out. Ultimately, the sarpanch and the Sabha agreed that the women would get their water the next day. Their demands energized the entire assembly and within the next few minutes, another group also came out very strongly with their demand for water. These people too, were literally shouting at the officials present at the Gram Sabha.

At this point, I noticed one of the men speaking forcefully, but could not understand what exactly he was saying. However, the women at the meeting immediately pounced on him and did not let him get a word in edgeways. I later gathered that he was opposing the women’s demands, and that they silenced him with the argument that it was they, the women, who had to manage the difficult task of fetching water.

After pacifying the women by promising them that water would reach their village the very next day, the Talati ended the meeting. I heard all the men murmuring that this was the first time that the women of Vadaali and Bapujinamuvada had entered the Panchayat office. They had never before been part of the Gram Sabha.

The entire experience left me questioning myself and all that I have picked up from my books and other studies. This Gram Sabha was a new form of education, real and unedited!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Natasha Almeida MUMBAI, JUNE 13, 2009: The AV hall at the Provincial House, Matunga beamed with happy faces and fresh fragrance of mogra flowers as women from Jyoti, Virar and the slum areas of Mahim and Dharavi settled in for the Valedictory Function of ‘Skills for Livelihood through Sewing- Training’ on the afternoon of June 13, 2009. The sewing course for women was one of the activities of Don Bosco Development Society in collaboration with the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) and instituted by the Apparel Training and Design Centre (ATDC). Besides the team from the Mumbai Development Office, in attendance for the function were Mr. Jayesh Jasani, Deputy Chairman of Corporate Social Responsibility from CMAI; Mr. Vijay Sharma, Deputy Secretary, CMAI; Mr. Sunil Talekar, Principal of ATDC and Mr. Deepak Temgere, Facilitator for the training held at Mahim. The function commenced with the opening address by Mr. Melvin Pangya from the Mumbai Development Office. After the introductory round, a prayer song ‘Gyan Mandira: Satyam Shivam Sundara’ was sung by a few women led by Ms. Surekha Pednekar. The prayer song was followed by the lighting of the diya by the dignitaries and representatives of the participants. Mr. Melvin rightly stated, “Deep jalake hamne andhakar ko nasht kiya hai aur yehi ujale ke saath aage chalna hai”. A surprise element during the function was that a group of women for the Dharavi slums sang a welcome song in English. They seemed confident and had a satisfied smile on their faces. After the women from Dharavi added more enthusiasm to the function, Ms. Shweta a participant from Mahim came to the podium and shared her experiences about the training programme. She clearly beamed with self confidence and was all praise for DBDS and CMAI for the direction given. She added that she and the others now felt independent and were not afraid of venturing further. Mr. Vijay Sharma from CMAI while addressing the participants encouraged them not to stagnate at what they had learnt but instead take it ahead and help improve the conditions of the family. Mr. Sunil Talekar too shared his views about taking the learning process ahead. To this a participant from Mahim asked for help for starting her own business and taking what she had learnt ahead. This clearly reflected her dedication and enthusiasm to improve her family’s life. Fr. Savio Silveira thanked all the participants for their co-operation and was hopeful that a tailoring unit could begin in the near future. The motivational words were followed by the most important part of Distribution of Certificates. The faces of the participants had a sense of achievement. For them they had taken a brave step ahead and wished not to stop there. The Vote of Thanks was delivered by Ms. Surekha. The participants left with certificates in their hands, smiles on their faces and memories to cherish that would surely last a while.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Rickson Fernandes sdb
LONAVALA, JUNE 13, 2009:
“Here I am, this is me, there’s no where else on earth I’d rather be, here I am still young and strong, Right here in this place were I belong…..” These words from the song “Here I am” sung by Bryan Adams aptly expresses the sentiments of all the Fathers, Brothers, Staff, students and the boarders who began the academic year at Don Bosco, Lonavala. The series of welcomes began with the arrival of the four Salesian Confreres who form part of the community, namely Fr. Lorenzo D’souza, Principal and Prefect of Studies; Fr Thomas Chalissery, Administrator; Br. Savio D’mello, Catechist and Fr. Salu D’souza, Confessor.
On June 11, the Salesian community welcomed the aspirants and apostolic boys. This year there are 19 Apostolic boys in the VIII, IX and X and 10 in the XII. The boys began their stay with full gusto by playing games and preparing for the school prayer service. Fr. Thomas D’costa , the Rector gave an opening talk to the community and the boys and introduced the new members of the Salesian Staff. The Fathers in turn spoke to the boys and gave them general instruction in their particular sectors. The school had its welcome ceremony on June 12. The academic year at Don Bosco Lonavala began with a spiritually prepared Prayer Service with the theme “SHINE LIKE STARS”. The gathering was welcomed by Fr. Thoma D’costa the Rector, who introduced the salesian staff to the school. In his message to the students he said “ In life we always need to give the first place to God, the second to our Neighbour, and the third place should be for ourselves, only then can we Excel and do well in our life”. The new Principal Fr Lorenzo D’souza welcomed the students and the staff along with the three new teachers Mrs. Gauri Chambalkar, Mrs. Sreekumari Sashikumar and Ms. Shrutika Dharak. During the assembly Fr Lorenzo said “Every star has a light of its own through which it shines. Like stars each one of us has our own strength and talents, we need to utilize them and excel.” Truly an enthusiastic take off for the Don Bosco shuttle at Lonavala.


Savio D’souza PUNE, JUNE 13, 2009: After a dedicated contribution to the Salesian houses during the two month summer apostolate, the brothers of Don Bosco Youth Centre were back to Pune on the 5th of June for another year of theology studies.On the 7th of June the community was glad to have Fr. Provincial, Fr. Vice - Provincial and Fr. Economer for the team visit. The brothers were grateful to Fr. Elson for organizing a two day session on administration and teaching the brothers to learn the Bosco Pack with the help of his co-team members. The sessions were certainly of great help to the brothers.On the following day the whole community of DBYC headed to the papal seminary (JDV) as the new academic year began which culminated with Eucharist and the inaugural lecture on “Media and religious understanding”.To have a deeper understanding of learning methods in theology, Fr. Kenneth Pereira took a short session with the brothers at DBYC thus making it motivating with his clear and profound thoughts.Even while our deacons are preparing for their forthcoming exams some are busy with their coursework and while the new hubbies are getting into a staid study of theology…DBYC still remains a happening house with the upcoming new apostolate this weekend.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Cl. Mylin Noronha NASHIK, JUNE 12, 2009: The staff and students of Divyadaan began their new academic year on the 11th of June 2009, by invoking the Holy Spirit to grant them the gift of wisdom as they continue on their quest for truth. The day began with the solemn celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the Divyadaan chapel. The community was blest to have Fr. Provincial to preside over the Eucharist. He was also accompanied by Fr. Vice Provincial. The Eucharist was also attended by the members of the neighbouring religious communities. In his homily Fr. Michael Fernandes stressed on how lives can change when touched by the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist was followed by a short snack which preceded the inaugural programme in the new academic block. The programme began by invoking the Holy Spirit with the lighting of the lamp and the singing of a bhajan. Then, the Rector, Fr. Savio D’souza welcomed the gathering. After the principal Fr. Robert Pen presented the annual academic report, Fr. Provincial inaugurated the new academic handbook and calendar. In his message he urged the students to be attentive in class, enjoy philosophy and reflect o what is taught. The inaugural lecture was delivered by Fr. Keith D’souza sj, who is a professor at the Archdiocesan Seminary in Mumbai. His talk was entitled ‘Reading Texts with Paul Ricoeur.’ In what he called a meditation rather than a lecture, he guided all to understand a text as mediated. He stressed on the approaches to interpret a text and how this interpretation should lead to action. At the close of the programme Fr. Valerian Periera proposed the vote of thanks. The program ended with the brothers singing two choral pieces to end the program on harmonious and melodious note.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


YERWADA, JUNE 11, 2009: Bosco Samajik Sanstha, Yerwada, Pune organised a Training Programme on the Self Help Groups. This training was held on 4th June 2009 between 10.30 am to 3.00 pm at St. Anthony’s Nursery Hall. The programme started with the welcoming of the Self Help Group members and a round of introduction of the trainers. The objectives of the training mainly focused on empowering women and developing the habit of saving through the group, importance of the groups and making the women aware of the various government schemes. The training also dealt with account keeping and self employment. About 40 women from the already existing 5 Self Help Groups benefited from the training. The women from the groups participated with great interest and enthusiasm. This training would surely help to increase the number of groups in future. Thanks to the trainers Fr. Sanjay, Mr. Melvin Pangya, Mr. Dayanand Patil, Mrs. Nisha More, Mrs. Magrate Gaikwad, Mr. Sandeep Kadam, Mr. Santosh Kale who helped in channel the training and made it a big success.


MUMBAI, JUNE 11, 2009: The 9th of June served as another break through for the Young at Risk (YAR) National Team. The team was invited by the Government of Maharashtra and UNICEF to Mumbai to present the know-how of the Homelink Network of Child Management Information System and Services (C-MISS). Besides the National Team, which included Fr. Joe Prabhu, National Director of Homelink, Fr. George Kollashany, Dn. Thomas Aquinas and Mr. Ashok Reddy; Fr. William Falcao, Rector Shelter Don Bosco, Mumbai and Fr. Roger Jones, Hub Director for Mumbai were present for the meeting. The meet was held at the YMCA building, Mumbai Central. In attendance for the meet were various Government of Maharashtra officials from the department of Women and Child Development, UNICEF officials and representatives of other NGOs including TISS and Little More Care Foundation. The meet kick started with the welcome and a brief opening address by Mrs. Vijayalaxmi from UNICEF. The primary focus of the meet was how the Homelink Network has a child centred approach and how the Homelink Software can be developed for protection of child rights.
The opening address was followed by a presentation on the nature of Management Information System and Services (MISS) made by Fr. Joe Prabu. To start off with Fr. Joe provided the attendees with basic facts and figures of children and the situation of child labour in India. The vision of creating a child friendly society was very effectively explained by Fr. Joe. The presentation further spoke about the mission, focus and aims of the MISS. He also stressed on the objectives which included establishing and monitoring the interventions of the Child Safety Net and bringing together and synergizing all related stake holders. The presentation was highly appreciated by all present. Dn. Thomas Aquinas’ presentation on the technical aspects of Homelink followed. It focused on two essential parts. First being the Homelink Child Tracking System and second Homelink Networking System. This presentation easily beamed with efforts put in by the team as it brought to light all the nitty gritty details of the technical aspect. From showing the Basic Information Entry Screen and Search Process Demo the power point dealt with even the collection of data after counselling and observation of the child. An interesting aspect of the presentation was the present achievements given in statistics and figures. As Mrs. Vijayalaxmi rightly put it, it covered the A-Z aspects of Homelink. An open forum of discussions followed wherein the questions of protecting the confidentiality of the child, making the MIS effective in rural areas and linking the JJ system with civil social groups were dealt with. Post lunch Fr. George Kollashany shared his experiences with regard to Homelink in Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. With his highly informative talk Fr. Kollashany clarified the questions of who actually owns the information and who can actually use it. He brought to light the whole purpose of the Homelink by explaining how the Matrix develops into Information, Information is processed as Knowledge and how Knowledge leads to Policy making and then leads to Structures and Systems. Mr. Ashok Reddy very systematically rounded up the meet with his presentation on the Progress and Development of the MIS. The presentation very well dealt with how various stake holders can actively participate through the site. Once again a brain storming session followed. This time the focus was on how the MIS can be linked with the different systems available at the national level. In the end Mrs. Vijayalaxmi gave an overview of the meet and profusely thanked the YAR and Don Bosco team on behalf of the Government of Maharashtra and UNICEF. Suggestions of follow ups, visiting the hubs and nodes and developmental work came from the side of the invitees. Surely this meet has marked the beginning of a new venture for teams involved with Homelink and has given food for thought to government officials and other NGOs. The meet ended on a highly motivational note and the impeccable presentations had left all present with an indelible mark.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Mumbai, JUNE 10, 2009: The teaching and non-teaching staff of Don Bosco High School, Borivli, Mumbai were welcomed back to school at the start of the new academic year by the Management on the 10th of June, 2009. The new Principal, Fr. George Carlos was welcomed and so were the new members of the staff. This was followed by a session on ‘LEADERSHIP’ and ‘COMMUNICATION’ by Bishop Percival Fernandes. Bishop Percy’s session combined very informative and thought-provoking PowerPoint Presentations and videos with a number of real-life examples, which enabled us to comprehend the topics. Some of the highlights of the session were:As teachers, we need to influence our students; but the best way to do it is by leading through EXAMPLE. As teachers, we need to be child-centred. We should be able to be good followers if we want to be good leaders. Self awareness is the most important aspect for a good leader. Non-verbal communication is more important than just our words. Our students must be able to go beyond our words to our life.The session concluded with a very effective technique of how to LISTEN. The teachers look forward to be able to put into practice all that they’ve heard during the session in the course of the academic year.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Flovi D'Souza sdb SAVEDI, JUNE 9, 2009: June 8 marked the appointment of the Savedi Community with the Provincial team, who are on their annual round, around the province.
The community eagerly awaiting their arrival, welcomed the team with the traditional ‘Maharastrian Topi’ and the ‘Uparna’ at 4.00 p.m. After a quick session of tea, the team and the house council got to business. The meeting went on for over three hours with half hours break for the evening parish mass. The community meeting was followed by the larger Nagar Salesian Community meeting which took up common topics for discussion, issues concerning the Salesian work in the Nagar region. The highlight of the evening was the installation of Fr. Manuel as the Rector of the Savedi community.


C. M. Paul sdb ROME, JUNE 9, 2009: The ‘Indian Model’ of organizing and networking among the Technical Schools and Vocational Centres (TSVC) was seen as a success story, claim Indian delegates at the first International Consultative Committee of Salesians working in the field. The Salesian Youth Ministry Department organized a meeting from June 5-7, at the headquarters in Rome. The meeting was a follow up on the General Chapter which concluded a year ago. The 22-member (14 priests & 8 Lay Brothers) Consultative Committee called together from all over the world to give greater coordination of efforts made in the education and training of school drop outs. The Regional Councilors too joined the meeting. The Don Bosco Tech National Convener Fr Adolf Furtado of Mumbai and the National Coordinator Fr A. M. Joseph of New Delhi represented the South Asia region. “The model that we have developed over the past years for the coordination of Technical Schools and Vocational Training Centres, not only won the admiration and good will of the government agencies, but also is noticed here at the international forum,” says the newly appointed DB Tech Coordinator of South Asia region Fr A.M. Joseph speaking to BIS Rome correspondent. The former Economer of New Delhi province and national coordinator is appointed full-time and will operate from the office set up in the New Delhi Provincial House. “The government of India, has entrusted us with an ambitious project of training 60,000 rural youth in employable skills for immediate job placement over a period of three years. It is a Rs. 60 crore project which we hope to start from September,” he adds.


Royal D’Abreo sdb JYOTI, JUNE 9, 2009: ‘Whole hearted participation and bonding in friendship’ rightly put by Fr. Gregory D’Cunha, Parish priest, served as a theme for the summer camp at Our Lady of Light parish, Jyoti held between April 15 and May 23, 2009. The inaugural day of the summer camp saw an enrolment of at least 80 children. Many fun filled activities like cooking competition, singing, dancing, and drawing were conducted for the children. Besides games, a variety of competitions were also held to enhance the integral development of children. Activities highly appreciated by the children were those of trekking, beach outings and sports tournaments. Among the many activities conducted, the children were taken to a picnic to Boscowadi- Uttan on May 21. The children were enthusiastic and regular for the club. The summer camp surely boosted their confidence and added to the grow and glow factor of the children. A big thank you to Cl. Renold Lemos, Dn. Royal D’Abreo and youth volunteers of the parish who helped make the summer camp at the parish a grand success.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Ranald Lopes sdb CHHOTA UDEPUR, JUNE 5, 2009: The second edition of the Annual Past Pupils Meet was held at Don Bosco, Chhota Udepur on May 30 and 31. The theme for the Meet was: "Our little stars, now megastars, are reaching for the skies”. Over 200 youngsters who have passed out of our institutions at Chhota, Kawant, Narukot and Alirajpur were present for this event. The programme began on May 30 evening with the alumni arriving from the different places in Gujarat where they have now settled down. The entire campus wore a happy and festive look as friends met up with each other after a long time. Before dinner there was a cultural programme, comprising songs and dances. The Snehalaya troupe from Baroda, which had been specially invited for the occasion, set the stage on fire with a series of fantastic dances. The first part of the next morning was set aside for ‘fete games’, which added to the fun and excitement of the occasion. Then, at 10.00 am it was time to get down to some serious sessions. Fr. James Tuscano, the new Rector of Chhota, warmly welcomed all the alumni and expressed his great satisfaction that most of them were now well settled in life. Next, there was a long session by Professor Hasmukh Waghela, who focused on the strengths and talents that each one has, and how these need to be used not just for self development, but also for the betterment of society. After this, Fr. Stanny Ferreira made a presentation on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, and urged the alumni to work towards the proper implementation of this Act in their own villages. The Meet ended with a festive lunch shared by all.


Joaquim D’Souza sdb ROME, JUNE 5, 2009: Fr Chrys Saldanha and I travelled by train to Milan on the 28th morning to attend the funeral of Fr Moja. From Milan, Fr Piergiorgio Placci the Vice Provincial, Chrys and I proceeded to Orino for the funeral. Orino is a small town in the province of Varese in the pre-alpine hills. As you climb up the winding road by car you see little villages and towns amidst a lot of greenery and in the distance the snow-covered mountains of the Alps. It is a very beautiful and picturesque sight. From these lovely surroundings came very many vocations to the priestly and religious life and among them several missionaries. Of course, in those years before the war, life must have been much more difficult than now for the people. Though things have changed and become more comfortable and convenient now, you don’t see a lot of young people and children around anymore. The young people have moved to the big cities for work, and the children have become scarce. Mostly old people have remained behind. We reached the little parish Church of Orino a little after 2.30 pm. The Church was open and a few parishioners had come early to pray. The sealed coffin, covered with flowers and wreaths, had already arrived that morning from Arese, where Fr Moja had died, and was in its place in the sanctuary. Everything was prepared and ready for the funeral at 3.30 pm. Little by little the people kept trickling in. The Parish Priest, Fr Emmanuele, a young priest in his mid forties, greeted us and explained the procedure. I was to preside and say a few words of introduction and Fr Chrys to give the homily. The Vice Provincial would present us to the faithful. We were eight priests at the concelebrated mass – five Salesians: Fr Marchesi, as old as Fr Moja himself, and one who had been with Fr Moja in the concentration camp and had worked in North East India, together with another priest from Arese, the Parish Priest, the former Parish Priest and another priest from one of the surrounding parishes. It was a simple Eucharistic celebration, but rich with meaning and memories for everyone present. The mass was celebrated – as is the custom in this small parish Church – facing the high Altar with the back to the people. It reminded me of the time when I was a young altar boy and the mass was celebrated in this fashion in Latin in the old days. Fr Chrys preached a touching homily, drawing mainly from Fr Ivo’s tribute to Fr Moja which appeared in BIS Mumbai. I could see the people paying rapt attention to his words. There were tears in some people’s eyes. The little Church was full with about a hundred people. There was the younger brother of Fr Moja, Carlo by name, in his eighties but still vigorous, and his family. There was the Mayor of Orino with the colours of the country strapped across his shoulder, representing the town in official presence. The Mayor, in the name of the town, had graciously borne the expenses for the entire funeral service. Fr Moja was well loved in this place, where he was born and had spent his childhood, from where he had left for the missions, and where he regularly returned to for his vacation. The people affectionately called him Padre Pino, a diminutive of Giuseppino, and that is how he will be remembered in the hearts of this simple people of his hometown. After the mass and the last blessing of the body, the coffin was taken in a hearse to the parish cemetery some distance away from the Church. We could not accompany the body of Fr Moja to its burial place, as we had to leave to get back to Milan in time for me to catch the evening train to Rome. We chatted awhile with some of the old ladies who stayed behind, who recounted their experiences and remembrances of good Padre Pino, the missionary from a faraway country who used to tell them such wonderful stories of his adventures and of the people and children he had come to know and love and serve in his long life. As we took leave of them and wound our way back to the bustling city of Milan in the peak hour of the late afternoon, I imagined Fr Moja regaling his little crowd of rapt listeners with stories of Shillong and Dehra Dun, Panjim and Sulcorna, Pune and Mumbai, and of every other place Divine Province had led him to. Thank you dear Padre Pino for the gift of yourself to us. You have finally come back home from where you had started your life’s journey. God give you rest and joy in his loving embrace.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Bernard Britto, sdb MUMBAI, MAY 30, 2009: In a simple yet touching ceremony of Prayer and reflection, two youngsters were initiated to the VDB movement by Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial on May 30, 2009. Fr Wilfred D’Souza was also present. This is truly a historic day for the VDB Presence in Mumbai. Through a power point presentation Fr. Michael explained their identity, secularity, consecration and Saleisanity. There are so many ways of being “Salesian”, myriads ways of being inspired by the example of Don Bosco. We see how two people are looking for an alternative way of following a “vocation”. The words used can be confusing. A “Volunteer of Don Bosco” (VDB) is a permanent commitment not to be confused with the many young people who generously work as Salesian volunteers before they begin their careers in life. The Volunteers of Don Bosco is a Secular Institute for women. It was founded in Turin in 1917 by the young women who attended the Salesian Sisters Oratory at Valdocco. Today, there are approximately 1,500 women who are members of the Volunteers of Don Bosco. In India we have only 9 VDB’s. They live the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, but, unlike members of a religious institute, live out their consecration in the world. They do not live in a community and do not wear any identifying clothing or insignia. They live out their Salesian vocation within the context of daily life and undertake professional activities according to their interests, abilities and training. It is their vocation and mission to bring the message of Jesus to whatever work or life context they encounter. They work in offices, factories, schools, hospitals and many other workplaces.