by Marina D'Costa
MATUNGA-MUMBAI, November 22, 2013: Don Bosco Youth Services was blessed to have Fr. Fabio Attard (General Councillor for Salesian Youth Pastoral) to address and interact with the youth at DBYS Matunga, on 6th November, 2013. While the youth were excited to meet him, Fr. Fabio surprised them with his charisma and enthusiasm. His warm smile and down-to-earth attitude made them comfortable in his presence.
The meeting began with a prayer, after which Fr. Ajoy Fernandes, Vice Provincial of the Bombay province, introduced Fr. Fabio. Lloyd Nunes, President of the local unit of the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) presented the annual report of DBYS through a video. The DBYS youth then performed the theme song of Don Bosco Youth India.
Fr. Fabio was then invited to address the youth and here are some of his reflections that he shared. He motivated the youth animators to never be discouraged by anything in life. He spoke about Salesian Spirituality as celebrating the gift of life and faith. He gave an example of discipline and commitment through his own experience as a Salesian, during which he has often had occasion to speak using the language of the heart. He gave an example of a mother's love which understands the needs of a baby upon hearing its cry.
He mentioned that purity of heart is important for Salesians and animators who work with youth, following the example of Don Bosco. He also stressed the importance of having devotion to Mary, who was Don Bosco's teacher and guide. In our journey through life, we need to understand where we are heading for, in order to live life with meaning and a sense of fulfilment.
Fr. Fabio spoke finally about the need to give more importance to processes which help us mature and grow, rather than just participating in activities. Helping us understand Salesian activities around the globe, he emphasised that we shouldn't just restrict ourselves to events, where large numbers of youth gather and then disperse. He emphasized that the activities should be focussed on goals, which build up a process for holistic formation.
The youth were touched by the message of Fr. Fabio, and to conclude the meeting, they presented him with a token of their gratitude. Fr. Fabio also gave away certificates to the participants of the Catholicism faith formation program, which he appreciated as a process that has helped persons grow in faith.
A few days later, some youth were privileged to meet the Rector Major of the Salesians on his unexpected visit to Mumbai on November 11. Fr. Pascual Chavez spoke about the preparations for the bicentenary of Don Bosco's birth in 2015 and the need for Salesians to make the message of Jesus accessible to today's youth. He bestowed his blessings on each youth present. It was a joy to personally encounter the 9th successor of Don Bosco.