by Father Vinod Mascarenhas
MUMBAI, JULY 4: Jesus Christ's transformational model of leadership set the tone for discussions that took place at the annual meeting of leaders from the Salesian Province of St Francis Xavier, Mumbai on July 1 and 2.
Thirty eight Salesian leaders that met in Mumbai reflected on Jesus, a leader, who offered energy and courage to those attracted to his way of being.
Father Godfrey D'Souza, the Provincial, stressed on the importance Christ, as a guide for decision making, in matters relating to youth ministry and vocation formation.
Father D'Souza, who attended a course for new provincials in Rome recently, shared his experience with the audience and underlined some significant issues in matters relating to the ministry of governance and animation.
Father Savio Silveira, the new Vice Provincial, made his profession of faith and took his oath of office at the inaugural mass at the onset of the meet, where Father D'souza was the main celebrant.
The three key areas of the province, Youth Ministry, Vocations and Risk Ministry were among the matters discussed on the first day of the meet.
Father Cleophas Braganza presented the action plan of the youth ministry. Father McEnroe Lopes gave the rationale for and composition of the proposed local vocation teams and Father Gregory D'Almeida gave an overview of the youth at risk ministry in the province.
Father Elson Baretto, the economer dealt with all administrative matters.
Father Ajoy Fernandes, Father Ashley Miranda, Father Kenneth Pereira and Father Glenford Lowe were the other key speakers on day one.
Father Fernandes presented the implementation report on issues that were discussed during the 2013 edition of the Provincial Chapter(PC).
Then presentations on the key aspects of the General Chapter 27 were made and guidelines for community reflection were discussed.
Father Miranda presented the theme 'mystics in the Spirit', Father Pereira spoke about 'prophets of fraternity' and Father Lowe addressed the theme 'servants of the youth'.
Day two commenced with first-time Rector Father Paul Antao from Jaitala, celebrating Holy Eucharist. He stressed the importance of intercessory prayer, and the priority of spiritual wholeness over mere physical healing.
Discussions focused on the theme for the Provincial Chapter 2016, which is 'Reshaping our Consecration and Mission.'
Father Silveira briefly spoke about the theme and task of the leaders in reshaping the way they live their consecrated lives, and their works.
Professionals from the field of media, social work, education and a youth leader then took part in a panel discussion to reflect on the 'Perspectives of change' in various fields.
Ashok Rathod, Founder of OSCAR Foundation, an organisation that uses sports for social change was one of the speakers on the panel.
Nitin Padte, Principal of Don Bosco International School, an expert in international education – another speaker - highlighted the growing need for international education and challenged the Salesians to make it accessible to more.
Marina D'Costa, a youth leader, shared the perspectives and expectations of the youth in society.
Martin D'Souza, a media expert, urged Salesians to focus on people management, corporate communication and lay collaboration to strengthen their mission.
Father Ajoy Fernandes conducted the last session of the meeting entitled, 'Towards PC 2016'. He explained the theme and presented a time-line and methodology for the preliminary tasks—reflection in communities and the election of delegates, and proposed the commission themes.
Provincial Father D'Souza, then released the english and marathi version of the book- 'Birth and Childhood of Mother Mary, St. John the Baptist and Jesus Christ in the Kristapurana of Father Thomas Stephens SJ,' authored by Father Nelson Falcao.
Kristapurana is an epic poem on the life of Jesus Christ written in a mix of marathi and konkani by the late Jesuit writer, Father Thomas Stephens. A 27-hour long audio DVD titled 'Kristapuran' was also released.
The different provincial commissions- Formation, Academic and Technical Institutions, Youth at Risk, Parishes and Missions, Development centres, Youth Ministry, Vocation Promotion, Social Communication, Development Office, Salesian Family- also met for the planning and implementation for the year ahead.
After much deliberation, the two-day meeting concluded with the new Vice Provincial proposing the vote of thanks and all left with great enthusiasm as they take on a new provincial year.
Edited by Karen Laurie