by Fr. Glenford Lowe sdb
BORIVLI-MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 10, 2014: To commemorate the bicentenary leading to the birth of Don Bosco, the Province of Mumbai organized an Altar Servers Rally on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at St. John Bosco Church, Borivili. Over 300 young altar servers accompanied by 30 animators representing 10 parishes rallied together to reflect on the theme 'Don Bosco needs You'. Salesian institutions as far as Pune and Nashik also took part in this meaningful rally.
The theme 'Don Bosco Needs You' was aptly chosen at a time when the entire Salesian world is reflecting on the Strenna 2015: 'Like Don Bosco, With the Young and For the Young'. All through the rally the altar servers were invited to be generous with their lives by responding to the question, 'Are you ready?" The day began with the formal registrations and a sumptuous breakfast. The theme song, 'Da Mihi Animas' set the youngsters alive in true Salesian style. Ice-breakers enabled the youngsters to make new friends too.
A very participative prayer service set the spiritual tone to the day. Fr. Ajoy Fernandes, Vice Provincial welcomed the altar servers and gave an inspiring message to them. Fr. Glenford Lowe, Director of DB Youth Services (DBYS), animated the input session through a very creative PowerPoint presentation that focused on the various 'needs of Don Bosco'. He connected the needs of Don Bosco with the needs of every youngster today. He drew his conclusions towards the theme of the day: Don Bosco needs you! Are you ready? To answer this question, a five member youth panel consisting of Sr. Rebecca Thomas FMA, Bro. Akhil Abraham SDB, Mr. Haydn Dias, Ms. Rhea Serrao and Mr. Alex Sidhe Samuels shared their personal testimonies. The youngsters were truly inspired by the contributions made by these speakers in responding to living the dream and legacy of Don Bosco.
A well prepared liturgy was animated by many of the parishes. Fr. Anthony Santarita, Rector of Bosco Boys' Home – Borivili, presided over the Eucharist together with a number of Salesian priests. The youthful choir of St. John Bosco Church – Borivili added solemnity to the occasion. The post lunch session brought out the Life of Don Bosco through song, dance and drama. One could sense a deep love and reverence to the Friend and Father of the Young. The presence of altar servers from two non Salesian parishes: St. Michael's - Mahim and St. Francis De Sales – Navi Mumbai was also a highlight of the day.
To take home, the youngsters had more than just 'Don Bosco Needs You' souvenirs. At the end of the day, each one felt enriched, connected and passionate to take the legacy of Don Bosco forward. Fr. William Falcao, Rector of Don Bosco Borivili gave a final message to them all. Fr. Cleophas Braganza, Coordinator for Groups and Movements, proposed the vote of thanks. In a special way, Fr. Baptist Monteiro and the youth of Don Bosco, Borivli were acknowledged for their meticulous planning and execution of the entire programme. "Thanks to the DBYS team, the many parish priests, animators and the altar servers who made the entire programme possible. To our many sponsors and well wishers, we owe a debt of gratitude."