by Father Vivian D'Souza
MUMBAI, JAN 25, 2015: The Southern Region of the Salesian Cooperators had their annual conference at the Don Bosco Provincial House in Matunga, Mumbai from January 24 to 25. Thirty- two members from the Southern region of Bangalore, Chennai, Trichi, Hyderabad, Goa and Mumbai attended the conference. Nine members from the Northern region were also present, since there were elections to be held for the National Advisory Council of the Salesian Cooperators. Members from Sri Lanka could not attend.
The meeting commenced with the lighting of the lamp. The guests were warmly welcomed by Dolly Afonso and the delegate, Father Vivian D'Souza. Floral tributes were offered to Father Godfrey D'Souza, the Provincial of the Salesian Province of Mumbai and to the National delegates of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), the Coordinator for the World Council of the Cooperators and the office bearers of the South and North regions. The newly appointed National delegate, Sister Teresa Pawa FMA also addressed the gathering during the conference.
There were several 'animation programmes' planned for the course of the event. Father Noel Madichetty, the National SDB delegate, spoke about the National Congress in Kolkata last September, which was based on the theme, "One Family one Mission". He recalled the mission statement that was the fruit of this Congress. Father Wilfred D'Souza, the Rector of Don Bosco High School, Matunga then dealt in great detail on the 'Year of Mercy' given by Pope Francis in the Bull of Indication officially proclaiming the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Father Emmanuel, the delegate of the Cooperators of Bangalore, explained the Strenna for the year 2016.
Among the other issues discussed during the meet was the way forward for the Cooperators movement in the provinces and at the national level, in the areas of financial management. Suggestions for observing the Year of Mercy and the formation programmes to be conducted for Formators of the Cooperators in the province, were also discussed in detail. TK Devasia then spoke on the need and areas of Formation at the Provincial and local levels of the Salesian Cooperators and offered a couple of training programmes for the same.
The Salesian Family then gathered for a moment of prayer through a well animated Adoration service. On day two, the World Councillor, DS Anthuvan spoke of inspiring experiences of Don Bosco's Charism and Salesianity in the organisation. Reports from the various regions were then presented and the financial statements of accounts were discussed.
The three lines of action deliberated during the meeting were: first, to network through the website and the use of Social Communication. Second, to plan activities for family enrichment for the Year of Mercy and third, formation programme for the members of the Salesian Cooperators on gender equality through training of trainers programme.