by Fr. Glenford Lowe
MATUNGA-MUMBAI, AUGUST 18, 2014: The entire Salesian Family of the Mumbai region gathered together at the Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna, Matunga on August 16, 2014, to launch the Bicentenary Celebrations leading towards the Birth of Don Bosco. The focus, all through the Prayer service, was to have the members of the Salesian Family with the youth to return to Becchi, the place of their birth and to relive their commitment through their specific vocations.
The Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna was filled to capacity. The opening hymn 'Long Live Don Bosco' was a fitting tribute to the 'Daddy of us all – DB@200'. The letter of the Rector Major, Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime was then read out by Fr. Glenn Lowe. Representatives of the various members of the Salesian Family came forward to present their specific charism and to make a prayer for greater commitment. Fr. Ajoy Fernandes, Vice Provincial represented the SDBs, Sr. Phyllis Fernandes highlighted the FMA charism and apostolate, Mrs. Sharon D'Souza kept a prayerful heartbeat on behalf of the Salesian Cooperators. The Past Pupils were represented by Mr. Wency Pinto. Sr. Licia SMI shared the mission and the charism of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate (SMI).
The Association of the Devotees of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA) were present in large numbers and represented by Mr. Marion D'Souza. Fr. Wilfred D'Souza, Rector of Don Bosco Matunga highlighted the specific calling of the Volunteers of Don Bosco (VDB). Mrs. Jacinta D'Souza, representing the parents of salesians, prayed on behalf of the Association of Mama Margaret (AMM). The final prayer was made by Ms. Bibiana Esteberio on behalf of the newly formed Salesian Youth Movement (SYM).
The Lighting of the Lamp was done by representatives of the Salesian Family. Fr. Godfrey D'Souza, Provincial of the Salesian Province of St. Francis Xavier, spoke a few words and officially launched the Bicentenary Celebrations for the Mumbai region. A short video clip on the person of Don Bosco set the perfect tone to the final commitment made by one and all and to take the call of the Strenna 'Like Don Bosco, with the young and for the young'. The prayer service ended by singing the 'Salesian Anthem'. Thanks to the young Salesians and the Don Bosco Youth Services (DBYS) Youth for their singing, animation and volunteering all through.
The second part of the programme took place in the new Don Bosco International School Fr. Bianchi Hall. Fr. Provincial officially released The Music Score compiled by Jay Franco to accompany 'The Peter Gonsalves Collection'. The first copy was presented to the very composer of the 70 hymns, Fr. Peter Gonsalves, sdb. The official website of the ADMA, perhaps the first of its kind, was also officially launched. Finally, the Don Bosco Kiosk was also launched and a short demonstration made. Thanks to Fr. Joaquim Fernandes sdb, Director Tej Prasarini and the entire team of June Digital for this very novel way of making Don Bosco known. Ms. Eugenia and Ms. Pearl brought the audience alive through their wit, dynamism and typical Salesian family spirit.
Bosco means wood! To mark this historical moment, a wooden keychain was presented to all as a memento. The celebrations ended on a happy note, with perhaps a miracle too, inspite of the large crowd, snacks in sufficient measure were served for all. Thanks to Fr. Elson Baretto and Bro. Jerome Mendonca and their team.