by Fr. Vinod Mascaranhes sdb
MATUNGA-MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 8, 2014: As a fitting tribute to the retired Principals of the Mumbai Province, the delegates of the National Educational Conference of Don Bosco Schools (NECDBS) 2014, assembled for a special felicitation programme of the sixteen past Principals for their dedicated service. The Conference felicitated Fr. Salvador D'Souza, Fr. John Samala, Fr. Boniface D'Souza, Fr. Lawrence D'souza, Fr. Corlis Gonsalves, Fr. William Falcao, Fr. Adolph Furtado, Fr. Vivian D'souza, Fr. Egidius Falcao, Fr. Edward D'souza, Fr. Anaclete D'Mello, Fr. Diego Nunes, Fr. Francis Kharjia, Fr. Bonnie Borges, Fr. Thomas D'costa, and Fr. Elson Barretto.
Fr. Crispino D'souza, the head of the Education Commission of the Mumbai Province, said that, "it is indeed a memorable and happy moment for all of us to have our mentors in our midst and draw inspiration from them." Introducing the occasion, Fr Ajoy Fernandes—the Vice Provincial—acknowledged the contribution of the European missionaries from whom they received their Salesian heritage. He affirmed that the past principals followed the legacy of the missionaries, and carried forward the work of education and evangelisation in semi-urban and rural areas of the province despite many challenges.
He recalled the contribution of their deceased confreres Fr Benedict Furtado, Fr Thomas Braganza and Br Thomas Puttur, and the role of the confreres now working in the Province of Panjim. Fr Godfrey D'Souza—the Provincial of Mumbai—felicitated the Principals while, a brief presentation highlighted their role and duration of office. Fr Adolph Furtado spoke on behalf of the past Principals. He expressed their gratitude for the sentiments of gratitude and for the felicitation.
He said it was heartening to see AIDBES flourishing and shared a few «random thoughts» on his vision for Salesian education in India, and challenged the delegates to clean the temples of learning that have become a market-place for marks. Indeed a moment for the retired Principals to savour and reminisce!