by Cl. Joyston Machado and Cl. Nelson Mudaliar
NASHIK-MAHARASHTRA, JUNE 14: To invoke the blessings of the Holy Spirit for the new Academic year 2014- 15 a solemn Eucharist was celebrated at Divyadaan. Rev. Fr Godfrey D'Souza, the Salesian Provincial, was the main celebrant along with Fr Ajoy Fernandes, the Salesian vice Provincial, Fr. Philip Gonsalves, the Capuchin Vicar Provincial and the other priests from the campus who concelebrated at the service. The students of Divyadaan, the Salesian novices, the Capuchin students, the Sisters of the neighboring communities as well as friends and well-wishers of Divyadaan were present for the same.
The melodious singing by the Divyadaan Community enhanced the festivity. Fr Godfrey D'souza, enlightened the gathering by quoting Pope Francis who calls upon seminarians and priests to be Pastors, rather than just being Scholars. He also spoke on St Barnabas, the saint of the day. In his homily he stressed on the need to lead with the attitude of a servant and ending the homily by alluding once again to the words of the Holy Father who calls on each one to avoid gossiping at all costs and to start speaking well of each other instead, which would enhance community life.
After Mass the inaugural function began with the traditional lighting of the lamp and a hymn to the Holy Spirit. Fr Robert Pen, the newly installed Rector of Divyadaan, welcomed the gathering and also felicitated the chief guests with a bouquet of flowers. In his speech he reminded the gathering that responsibility is seen in service, dedication and trust. He invited the students to dwell on the following points: Intellectual humility and honesty; Knowledge and Wisdom; the knowledge that one does not possess the complete truth; the importance of Dialogue and Collaboration; the need to try thinking clearly, critically and creatively; the call to enjoy philosophizing.
The first year BPh students thanked the Lord for His many graces and blessings received in the last year through the prayer song-cum-dance, Shukriya Tera under the direction of Brothers Bosco Carvalho and Romero D'Souza. The Annual Report of the year 2013-2014 was read by Fr. Felix Fernandes, the Principal, highlighting the major events and developments that took place in Divyadaan. Whereafter, Fr. Godfrey, inaugurated the Academic Calendar and presented a copy each to the guests and the Staff members.
The inaugural lecture was delivered by Rev. Fr. Wyman Gonsalves, Professor at Divyadaan. The topic of his talk was 'Discovering the Ecological Paradigm in Understanding the Socio- Economic Condition.' He impressed upon the audience the need to respect the Earth, reminding them: "the Earth does not need us; we need the earth." He quoted from his dissertation which is based on the works and the writings of Vandana Shiva. Fr. Gonsalves stressed upon the need to seek the sacred in the world around us, wherein every being has an intrinsic value and meaning.
As Divyadaan steps into yet another academic year with renewed vigor and enthusiasm, the staff and the students join hands in seeking the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. together they prayed that their years of study in the seminary would make them better pastors, as they avoid the temptation of 'academicism,' as Pope Francis exhorted.