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.
Monday, June 29, 2009
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.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
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
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
1. JAIN SIDDHARTH BHARAT MULTANMAL 93.38%
2. JAIN NISHANT SURESH KEVALCHAND 93.07%
3. SHAH RAJ MANISH BHAILAL 92.15%
4. SIDDESH VENKATESWARAN 91.53%
5. HARIA AMAN SHASHIKANT VIRJI 91.07%
Thursday, June 25, 2009
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
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.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
KAPADVANJ, JUNE 18, 2009: 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
Saturday, June 13, 2009
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.
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
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.