Tuesday, July 23, 2013


by Fr. Augustine Pereira sdb


SHELTI, JULY 23,2013: June 9, 2013 was a historical day for the Salesian Province of Mumbai as it formally took up the responsibility to shepherd the flock of Shelti in the Dadra and Nagar Haveli Region. Our Lady of Rosary Mission at Shelti was formally looked after by the Missionary Society of St. Francis Xavier (Pillar Fathers) for over 60 years.

In July 2012, hearkening to the request of the Archbishop of Goa and Daman, the Provincial Fr. Michael Fernandes had appointed Fr. Paul Antao to reside with the Pillar Fathers. After one year, the salesians signed an agreement with the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman to accept the mission at Shelti

The mission area comprises of Kilavni, Nana Randa, Mota Randha, Bonta and Umarkui. Inhabited mostly by Varli, Kokha and Shatpati tribes, about 750 people from 12 different padas (wards) in the surrounding villages belong to the Catholic community of Shelti Mission. Sunday Eucharist is well attended. The youth have good potential to become vibrant in church activities. A brother (Disciples of Don Bosco) is in-charge of the boarders. The Pillar Sisters (who have been in this vicinity for many years) are also very much appreciated. In the Mission School (primary), a total number of 190 students are trained who eventually attend high school at Khanvel run by the Pillar Fathers.

The handing over ceremony was held during the celebration of the Eucharist presided by Fr. Navis D' Souza, the outgoing Chaplain of the Church of Our Lady of Rosary.  He was assisted by Fr. Seby Mascarenhas, the Mission Superior of Daman, Fr. Valerian, the Provincial of Pillar Society and Fr. Michael Fernandes Provincial, Fr. Elson Barretto Provincial Economer and other Salesian priests.  After the homily, a letter from his grace Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao of Goa and Daman was read, thus making Fr. Augustine Pereira as the first Salesian Chaplain of Our Lady of Rosary, Shelti and Fr. Rixson Nigrel his assistant. The chapel is affiliated to the Parish of Christ the Redeemer, Khanvel.  As a sign of his assuming the role of the shepherd, Fr. Augustine accepted the Tabernacle Key from Fr. Navis after making the profession of faith.

With the foundation laid by the Pillar society, the Salesians will now continue to share the gospel with the people of Shelti, work for their welfare, especially by educating the young.

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