Saturday, June 24, 2017

BIS #5131 OLD BOYS GO DOWN MEMORY LANE

by Brother Sheldon Dias

 

CHHOTAUDEPUR, JUNE 24, 2017: Over 200 past pupils of Don Bosco Chhotaudepur in Gujarat relived their days at the institution as they attended a joyful school reunion on June 11.

 

The past pupils committee along with Brother Ramesh Durairaj contacted the school alumni in all earnestness, in and around Baroda and Chhotaudepur in a bid to organise the reunion and the old boys accepted the invitation by attending the fun-filled memory-laden extravaganza in their numbers.


The old boys were welcomed in the traditional way by dancing the traditional Rathwi dance in procession from the sister's place to the Don Bosco compound. The dignitaries were welcomed with a shawl and some flowers. The attendees were happy to have Father Stanny Ferreira, Brother Melvyn Carvalho from Alirajpur, Father Charles Anthony, Father Ajit Munis from Kawant and Father Pravin Makwana from Narukot in their midst.


The gathering witnessed the participation of a wide variety of 'Don Bosco products' ranging from engineers and doctors to people still working on their farms. The Salesian charism was very evident and many came forward to speak of their experience with the Salesians, which changed their lives.

 

Scholarships were awarded to students who topped the standard 10 and 12 board examinations of all the Salesian schools in the Chhotaudepur district. Brother Durairaj introduced all the members of the past pupils committee. The alumni were asked for suggestions as to how they could  benefit from the past pupils association. 


Father Ferreira then spoke about preserving the Rathwa culture and language and many supported him. Later on there was a short discussion on how the old boys could help Don Bosco in their mission. The meeting ended with the nomination of contact persons for each cent re and the group dispersed with the desire to carry forward the initiatives that had already begun.

Friday, June 23, 2017

BIS #5130 SCHOLASTICS VISIT ASHRAM SCHOOLS

by Father Kiran Salve

 

WALVANDA, JUNE 23, 2017: Sixteen scholastics from Nashik-based Divyadaan visited Don Bosco Walvanda for a two-day orientation programme on Ashram schools on June 17, 18.

 

For the last ten years Bosco Samajik Vikas Sanstha (BSVS), with the help of scholastics from Divyadaan, Nashik, have been working in the Ashram schools. In 2016, eighteen scholastics taught english and maths in the schools. The students benefit ted from their teaching. 


BSVS works at different levels in the Jawhar and Mokhada taluka. The institution mainly focuses on social development emphasising on the rights- based approach.  

           

Praksh Wagh, the animator while explaining the functions of Ashram schools, encouraged the scholastics to do their best in their field of work. Father Wyman Gonsalves and Jacob Palaparambil were present during the briefing. 

 

Father Anaclete D'Mello appreciated the thoughtfulness of the Divyadaan community in sending the scholastics to Jawhar and Mokhada talukas.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

BIS #5129 HELPING IDENTIFY AND KICK THE DRUG HABIT

by Karen Laurie 

 

MUMBAI, JUNE 22, 2017: The World Health Organisation has estimated that 250 million children world-over are affected by tobacco consumption. Its figures such as these, and other's published in India, pointing to over 90 percent children in certain Indian states using tobacco and well over 50 percent opting for alcohol, cannabis and other inhalants, that has prompted the Don Bosco Research Centre (DBRC), under the leadership of Father Ajoy Fernandes to undertake a three-year-long study on substance abuse among school children, the findings of which have been published in a book penned by Father Fernandes, entitled "Preventing Substance Abuse Among School Children" a manual for teachers, being launched by Cardinal Oswald Gracias on June 29 in Mumbai.

 

The 104-page discourse provides in-depth data on the menace of the drug habit among youth in India today. From 2015, DBRC has conducted training programmes on combatting drub abuse at schools in ten Indian cities, namely Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Chandigarh.

 

The programmes and research on the issue reached its culmination with the publication of the book, which is aimed at helping school administrators, teachers understand issues related to substance abuse among school children and to prevent such occurrences.

 

The book breaks down the complex terminology associated with drug abuse, right from defining drug and substance abuse, to highlighting the progression of the habit, the risk, factors that contribute to abuse and eventually the dangerous chemistry associated with drug and substance abuse that essentially re-programmes the brain of a healthy child to 'negatively impact cognitive functions'. Despite alarming numbers, unfortunately educational institutions have not yet identified drug or substance abuse as a problem that could have life-changing consequences on a child.

 

"In some places administrations are not even attentive to the issue," Father Fernandes said. "Some administrations are attentive to the issue and want to do something about it for example in a couple of cities, when we were trying to get in touch with schools, they were not even willing to accept the idea because they felt if we do a training programme like this it will seem that there are drug addicts in the school and it will bring a bad name to the school… Probably this has not really hit the administration, perhaps they have not found severe enough instances for them to awaken to the reality of sensitisation and that is an issue."

 

The book highlights several "vulnerability factors" that could push a child into experimenting with substances. These factors could be on an individual level, with attention and learning disabilities, low self-esteem, a family level, with conflict-ridden families, a school level, caused by academic failure or even a community level, which stems from the easy availability of substances.

 

"Vulnerability factors are at an individual level, they are on the family level, they are on the school level and they are on a society level. So, this is what I would like to highlight most in the chapters, rather than just focus on the mere fact of drugs and substances. What I want to focus on is the vulnerability factors and when I say prevention this is what I think needs to be done. So, what I have been noticing is if families are not stable, if there are conflicts within the family, husband and wife fighting with each other, if there is violence in the family, either physical abuse, sexual abuse, within the immediate or more extended family, if there are instances of mental health issues in family, then the children begin to feel unable to handle the insecurity of the basic family, that is when the likelihood of this is there," Father Fernandes said.

 

"Even perfectionism is a strong thing. What people would want to achieve is sometimes the source of the problem. They want to achieve academic success. But when they start hard-driving children and children are not able to meet up to parental expectations that's when it happens or when parents are extremely over critical about the performance of children, where they push them to achieve, that's when they actually fall. So, for me that would be a vulnerability. It just struck me that somebody from a well-placed family, financially well off family, spoke about a son into this, what struck me when I spoke was an active conflict between the parents."

 

"Individual factors are largely the whole issue of lack of ability to cope with academics. If children have learning disabilities, like attention deficit whatever, they are likely to be the ones who cannot cope up with this, so if schools don't understand this and give support for this issue and if schools are not aware of what learning disabilities are, then these children will be pushed as being lazy, not interested, so they will get negatively branded. Then, when they get discouraged together with not being able to handle this, they are more likely to try substances."

 

"A very large percentage of those who later become school dropouts, anti-social elements and land on the streets or have attempted substances are those who have had learning disabilities. So, if this issue of learning disabilities is not attended to, then these children will tend to become drop outs or when they are not able to cope and there is also lack of understanding at home, parental pushing, these children will become vulnerable. So, those vulnerability factors there are strong."

 

"It may seem that it is only learning issues, but also children who are withdrawn, shy, who are not able to cope up with regular companionship, through loneliness, isolation, that will be another issue at a individual level. On the school front, the kind of company they keep. It has been found that students who are more likely to indulge in bullying, in violation of school norms, in thefts or whatever else, these are children who tend to be more vulnerable."

 

Given that the transition from childhood to adolescence is turbulent and fraught with possibility of risky behaviour in response to peer pressure, academic stress and parental expectations, Father Fernandes stresses that parents and teachers should work together to identify and tackle the issue of substance abuse in children as early indicators become apparent.

 

"Parents as well as teachers have their normal responsibilities, so they will tend to focus primarily on academics, earning. Largely because much of their attention is attending to their regular duties, these might tend not to get noticed. Parents and teachers might not be aware of the indicators. Since they are not aware, the likelihood of slippage taking place till the time it becomes so obvious, then it's too late. So the idea is to be attentive to indicators from the start," Father added.

 

"We have a set of what are school-related indicators, especially if we find they are not coping up with school work or there is absenteeism that will be one way. Then we look at personal appearance. If there is a sharp change in communication, either where they were not boisterous, suddenly boisterous, very withdrawn where they were early communicative, those may be indicators."

 

Several interventions have also been highlighted that would help steer a healthy, happy child away from substance abuse. "Developing good communication skills, trusting relationships with adults, where they can speak. Developing social skills also for insertion into company where they get support and skills where they can resist pressures," Father Fernandes concludes.

 

Though statistics point to an increasing trend in school-going children turning to substance abuse, it's clear that publications like 'Preventing Substance Abuse Among School Children' and research undertaken by DBRC will help offer educationists and parents alike pertinent insights and tips to 'identify, accompany and assist those experimenting with substances and providing guidelines to safeguard others'.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

BIS #5128 DON BOSCO, BMC SPREAD CHEER

by Father Rolvin D'Mello

 

MUMBAI, JUNE 20, 2017: Around 100 needy students from the slums of Mumbai had reason to smile as the Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS), Mumbai assisted the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in distributing study material to them, in the form of school bags, notebooks, geometry compass boxes and pens, at an event held at the Don Bosco Provincial House in Matunga on June 16.


The event began at 3pm with a short prayer service. Mangal Naik, community development officer – BMC and other officers from BMC presided over the function. Naik inspired the students and parents by her address in which she urged them not to stop the education of their children under any circumstances.


Surekha Pednekar, coordinator – DBDS, thanked the BMC officers for their kind gesture towards the needy students; which they have been doing for last three years. The students and parents returned home determined to study further.

Monday, June 19, 2017

BIS #5127 HELPING CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES

by Father Gregory Almeida 


MUMBAI, JUNE 19, 2017: Thirty six professionals from different Mumbai-based organisations – a majority of them Salesian - attended a workshop aimed at helping them understand and help children with learning difficulties which was conducted by Father Ajoy Fernandes, Director of the Don Bosco Research Centre, Prafulta Counselling Centre, Mumbai on June 13. The seminar was coordinated by the YaR Coordinating Centre in collaboration Don Bosco Balprafulta.

Participants from Shelter Don Bosco Wadala, Don Bosco Balprafulta Matunga, Bosco Boys Home Borivli, Maria Ashiana Lonavla, St. Dominic Savio Boys Home Andheri, Don Bosco school Borivli, St. Dominic Savio Church Wadala, Aasara Trust Thane, Sneha Sagar Andheri, IAPA- Indian Association for Promotion of Adoption and Child Welfare Matunga, Sahayini Social Development Society Wadala and St. Catherine Home Andheri were present for the day-long workshop at Don Bosco Provincial House.

Father Fernandes gave a presentation on Specific Learning Disability (SLD) and explained through activities the methods to deal with such issues. He also explained the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children and multi-model management, which includes medication. 

He spoke about Dyslexia, and explained through a video and orally about the different types of Dyslexia. A small activity was conducted to help participants understand it more clearly. Two group activities were also conducted to identify and understand the problem from a child's perspective.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

BIS #5126 JOURNEY OF SELF DISCOVERY

by Swati Patil

 

PUNE, JUNE 15, 2017: "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom," Aristotle once said; true to the philosopher's words, Don Bosco High School and Junior college, Pune, under the guidance of Father Joaquim Fernandes - regional delegate Boscom South Asia and director of Tej- Prasarini - organised an orientation seminar for teachers on 'SELF', on June 13.

 

Father Fernandes addressed the gathering about the conscious, sub-conscious and the super-conscious level of thinking in human beings. He explained the meaning of 'SELF', which essentially means 'S-Search for meaning', 'E-Emotion', 'L-Love' and 'F- Focus', with the help of real-life experiences and videos.

 

The teachers were asked to write an answer to the question 'Who am I?' They had to make note of their positive and negative personality traits. He shared tips on combating stress and finding positive emotions. The student and teacher relationship was equated to the relationship between a potter and clay, whereby a teacher is the potter and the student is the clay. He added that the teacher moulds the clay and cures its flaws with care by always protecting it with the palm from inside and pounding the pot from outside.

 

Sangeeta Patil, a teacher present at the seminar, said, "The session was quite enlightening and has definitely helped me to introspect myself as a teacher. I will surely work towards bringing a positive change in me for the benefit of my students."  The seminar ended with a short video 'River Mee' which showed the journey of a river from a dew drop to a vast ocean, which was based on the question, 'Who am I?'

BIS #5125 TEACHERS GOING THE DON BOSCO WAY

by BIS Correspondent

 

AHMEDNAGAR, JUNE 15, 2017: Eighty five teachers from Don Bosco Institute Savedi, Ahmednagar and Auxilium Convent, Mumbai, participated in a two-day seminar, on June 13, 14, in Ahmednagar, to help them get acquainted with the system of teaching and understanding students in the Don Bosco way.  


Father Richard D'Silva, administrator of DBYC Pune, was the main speaker at the seminar. He highlighted the good and bad qualities of a teacher. Rajesh Aggarwal, a motivational speaker then spoke about body language while speaking to students, attentive listening and anger management.


The second day dealt with leadership and body language in teaching. The Child Protection policy and Child Abuse policy along with Preventive System were also highlighted.  


The main organisers for the event were Father James Tuscano, principal of Don Bosco Vidhalaya along with Father Cedrick Sankul, principal of Don Bosco English Medium School and Sister Lata Arogiaswamy, principal of Auxilium Convent. Several teachers also shared their experiences from their teaching career and highlighted the problems students faced.

BIS #5124 WORLD DAY AGAINST CHILD LABOUR

by Cleric Agnel James

 

MUMBAI, JUNE 15, 2017: Fifty street children and their parents participated in an awareness programme, on the dangers of child labour, that was organised by Shelter Don Bosco in Matunga, to mark world day against child labour on June 12.

 

The programme began with an introductory video on the issue of child labour, which was presented by Vijay Jaiswal. A prayer service with a bhajan gave the programme a spiritual touch. Father Pratap Damor then addressed the gathering, highlighting the importance of youth enjoying their childhood. He shared jokes and stated that no one can deprive a child of a childhood.

 

Jaiswal then had an informative session with videos about the various laws enacted by the government on the subject of children's care and other child-welfare policies. The boys presented a skit on the ill effects of child labour showing the sufferings of children in child labour. Father Roshan spoke to the parents about educating the girls and not keeping them for household chores, which could also be considered as child labour.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

BIS #5123 RESURRECTION YOUTH MOVEMENT

by BIS Correspondent
 
VIRAR, JUNE 14, 2017: The Virar-based Resurrection Youth Movement (RYM) met for their first youth meeting for 2017-18 on June 12 and they were encouraged to maintain a balanced participation in the activities organised by Don Bosco Youth Services and Diocese of Vasai, without neglecting their non-Christian neighbourhood youth members.

The youth welcomed the newly appointed Parish Priest Father Anton D'Souza and Father Ranald Lopes, the assistant parish priest and youth in-charge. Father Lopes enlightened the youth with his address which stressed on the commitment of the youth in helping in the over-all growth of the parish.

The youth were then given an opportunity to express their views, expectations and suggestions for strengthening and stirring the vibrancy for the spread of God's kingdom. They did so and the sensitivity they projected in sharing their concern and love for the neglected was a sign of God's Spirit working through them. The meeting concluded with a pledge to remain united in God's love.

BIS #5122 DBDS IMPARTS VOCATIONAL SKILLS

by BIS Correspondent

MUMBAI, JUNE 14, 2017: Nearly 250 students from a series of slums in the city were present at Don Bosco High School in Matunga, on June 10, for the Fourth Graduation Day of a series of courses like spoken english, basic computers, tally, beauty culture (hair and skin), mehandi and tailoring, which were conducted from June 2016 to May 2017.

The Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS), Mumbai spearheaded the effort in empowering over 1300 people by imparting skill based training through government and non-government courses. 90 percent of the students were women. N Ambika, deputy commissioner of police, was the chief guest for the graduation day.

Each course stretched for a duration of two to three months and were designed to help the students earn their livelihood. Father Rolvin D'Mello, executive director – DBDS, welcomed the gathering and encouraged all the students to use various skills that they have learned and earn some income for their families.

The chief guest expressed her joy in seeing so many women being empowered through these skills. She further added the need of being a responsible citizen and how especially the youth ought to be more responsible. 

Father Manuel Murzello, provincial economer, then spoke about the life of Don Bosco and how from a small beginning the works of Don Bosco have spread across the globe today. The programme ended with a short entertainment and cultural show by the students. It also included a display of the various things learned by them in their training period.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

BIS #5121 DIVYADAAN INAUGURATES ACADEMIC YEAR

by Joyston Machado

 

NASHIK, JUNE 13, 2017: The community of Divyadaaan Nashik commenced its new academic year 2017-18 in keeping with the theme 'Christ be our Light', thus prompting students to interpret the Gospel, to help them move from darkness to light.  

 

Father Philip Gonsalves, the Capuchin Provincial of the Maharashtra province presided over the holy Eucharist and invoked the guidance of the Holy Spirit to guide all stakeholders through the academic year. Students of Divyadaan, religious from neighbouring religious houses, teachers of the neighbouring schools and other well-wishers of Divyadaan were present.

 

The principal celebrant invited all the students to enter into a culture of learning, giving the example of the former President of India Dr Abdul Kalam and his spirit of initiative in helping people who had the desire to learn. He also made a special mention of how the staff would be great help in this endeavour to assist the students to grow in wisdom. Breaking the Word and interpreting the Gospel he enlightened the students on how this desire to learn would help them move from darkness to light.

 

Following holy Mass, students and staff gathered in the Vincent Vaz hall, with the FY.BPh brothers setting the tone for celebration by singing a choral piece entitled 'Christ be our light'. Father Robert Pen, the Rector, then welcomed the gathering and felicitated the guests. Father Bazaleo Tiexiera, the principal, then summed up the annual report, highlighting the major achievements of the year gone by.

 

Harold D'Costa, CEO of the Intelligent Quotient Security system, delivered the inaugural lecture on the issue of cyber crime. He began with a series of examples on how understanding the digital world has become a need of the hour, since many have become victims of it. He further explained the meaning of cyber crime and how it has affected everyone using social media.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

BIS #5120 FOR THE GOOD OF SOCIETY

by BIS Correspondent

 

PUNE, JUNE 8, 2017: Almost 400 women and children from slums in Pune benefited from a collaborative effort between Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS) and AXA Business services, who donated useful study material, books, toys and used shoes and clothes to those most in need at Don Bosco Koregaon Park hall on June 5.

 

Father Rolvin D'Mello, executive director – DBDS, welcomed the gathering and assured the continual support of DBDS for the empowerment of the underprivileged people. Father Ivan D'Souza, Rector of Don Bosco – Pune, motivated the kids to 'Run, jump, play but don't sin', through the motto of Don Bosco himself.

 

Mahesh Kumar, project manager of DBDS, then briefed the gathering about women empowerment projects that are being operated from Pune in joint collaboration with Manos Unidas, Spain. Anup, an executive from AXA, also spoke about the CSR Week and the various social initiatives carried out for the benefit of the underprivileged during this week.

Monday, June 5, 2017

BIS #5119 INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S DAY AT SHELTER

by Cleric Agnel James

 

MUMBAI, JUNE 5, 2017: Over 70 children hailing from neighbouring slums participated in International Children's Day celebrations that included games, music and dance at Shelter Don Bosco in Matunga on June 1.

 

Albert Bhandare, who was coordinating the programme, motivated the children with the help of videos that urged the youth to dig out their potential and search for their hidden talent. "There is nothing in this world that we cannot achieve. We have to work hard and persevere to reach our ultimate goal," he said.

 

Twenty volunteers from J B Vachha High School, Dadar, from the Holiday Youth programme, assisted in running game stalls at the fete. The children then took to the dance floor and grooved to the latest Bollywood numbers. Each child received a prize according to the number of tokens they won. 

 

Coincidentally, being the 'World Milk Day', they got to relish a packet of milkshake that was sponsored by Hershey's.

BIS #5118 ENGLISH CAMPS AT WALVANDA

by Father Kiran Salve

 

WALVANDA, JUNE 5, 2017: Bosco Samajik Vikas Sanstha (BSVS) in Walvanda organised two English speaking residential camps – that stretched a fortnight each in May 2017 – for over 160 tribal children struggling to find fluency in the language.

 

Eighty boys from standard five to ten attended the first camp that began on May 2 and stretched to May 13. Eighty-five boys and girls attended the second camp which began on May 15 to May 28.

 

Sebastian Francis and his team provided the youth with basic knowledge of the English language, which included tips on grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing and basic sentence construction. 


The camps also included morning exercises, yoga and computer classes for an hour. At 4pm daily, the youth were given manual work called ShramDaan. They took upon themselves a project of environment by building a small nursery of plants that would later be transplanted in the campus.

 

The youth participated in various cultural programmes daily, these included singing, skits, drawing and dance competitions. They also staged tribal cultural programmes which brought out the true and real tribal nature. Some social issue based movies too were screened to bring about social awareness.

 
Van Bhojan- a day's trekking was another achievement. The youngsters were taken for an outing into the fields and made aware of the rich wealth they possess. The youth also cooked food during the outing.

 

On the final day, the students were rewarded for their effort and hard work. Father Anaclete D'Mello, director of the institute, told them that Don Bosco had just given them a feather to fly, it's their ability and determination to soar high on the wings of the English-speaking world.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

BIS #5117 Œ'SAVE WATER' RALLY

by BIS Correspondent

 

PUNE, JUNE 3, 2017: Children from the various slums in Pune participated in a rally on water conservation by walking for 4kms through the lanes of the Yerwada slum and informing dwellers about the value of water in their lives on May 29.

 

The Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS) in conjunction with the 'women empowerment project' supported by Manos Unidas, Spain organised the march that began at Raj Chowk. The children, armed with placards bearing slogans on water-related issues, began the rally at 5pm.

 

The rally had a two-fold target audience, aimed at the people who witnessed it and the children who participated in it. Father Rolvin D'Mello, executive director – DBDS, said, "We need more of this venture to sensitise people on such crucial issues."

 

The rally ended at Laxminagar slum with a pledge by the students to save water and also to spread awareness on this issue. "It was such a joy to witness slum children being the protagonist of a noble cause," Anil Gaikwad, a resident of Yerwada, said.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

BIS #5116 ENGLISH VINGLISH

by BIS Correspondent

 

SAVEDI, MAY 31, 2017: Eighteen youth from different parts of Nashik diocese successfully completed a month-long Spoken English camp at Don Bosco Bhavan Savedi, Ahmednagar on May 28.

 

The camp began on April 28 and the animators used games, campfire, action songs, competitions, play way method of learning english and personality building workshops in a bid to help expose the youth to the language.

The students in turn responded well and added to their vocabulary, which was evident on the last day when they put up a programme to thank the organisers for all the dedication, concern and time spent with them.

 

The students were rewarded with certificates and prizes. The success of the camp was due to the concerted efforts of Father Vishwas Pereira who was assisted by Deacon Renold Lemos.  "It was a wonderful experience working together and helping the young grow and be better citizens of our nation," Deacon Lemos said.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

BIS #5115 HEALTH CAMP FOR THE UNDERPRIVILEGED

by Father Rolvin D'Mello

 

PUNE, MAY 27, 2017: The Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS) organised a free health camp in Pune on May 24, under the Women Empowerment Project supported by Manos Unidas, Spain for the people of Tadiwala road slum in the city. 

 

Over 150 patients all from the slums were examined by a team of doctors and para-medic staff from Aundh hospital. Doctor Suraj Gaikwad - physician, Doctor Deshpande - paediatrician, Doctor Sneha Ansari- ophthalmologist, Doctor Nilofer - gynaecologist, Doctor Munde - medical officer along with a number of staff examined the patients at the camp. 

 

Rita Jadhav, staff - DBDS said, "Along with holding a free health camp we are also trying to change the health care seeking behaviour of women through education." 


"No major illnesses were found but there are cases of anemia, cough, cold, worms in children, joints pain, low blood pressure," Doctor Munde said.

 

Free medicines were distributed and people with serious illness were referred to Aundh Hospital. Ranjana Pandit, DBDS co-ordinator of the project said, "This was our first health camp in this slum and we got a good response and co-operation from the people."

BIS #5114 KEEP YOUR DEVOTION STRONG TOWARDS MARY

by Oswald Aranha

 

KUWAIT, MAY 27, 2017: A concelebrated festive mass of Mary help of Christians was celebrated at St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Kuwait by Salesian priests. Father Derek Misquitta, the newly appointed rector of the Salesian community, was the main celebrant for the holy Mass. The feast of Mary Help of Christians is very important all over the world since the Salesians take their vows on this day. 

 

"Keep your devotion strong towards Mary and you will experience miracles in your life," was the central message conveyed by Father Misquitta as he quoted Don Bosco. In his homily, Father Blany Pinto, the parish priest explained how Mary Help of Christians feast came to be celebrated on 24 May. 


He made all aware of the importance of Marian devotion in the life of Don Bosco and invited all to pray and grow in their devotion to Mary. Immediately, after the homily one of the aspirants Silvia Gracias, took her promise as a Salesian Cooperator. This was followed by the renewal of the promises by the existing Salesian Cooperators. The Holy Mass concluded with a special blessing of Mary help of Christians. 

 

During the fellowship that followed, Gracias said, "As I took my promise I was ecstatic. I felt proud to be called to this vocation as a full-fledged member of the Salesian family. I asked God for the charism that I need to carry on the mission for the youth entrusted to me. I prayed that I may burn with the same zeal which Don Bosco had and I desired Mother Mary to be my guiding star." 


"I am greatly inspired by Silvia's contribution as a Salesian Cooperator. I look forward to following her footsteps as she is my role model. After all, it is she who introduced me to the Salesian Cooperators," Rositta Lawrence, an aspirant said. 

 

Sheetal Fernandes, the secretary of the Salesian Cooperators, who renewed her promise said, "When Father Derek Misquitta mentioned that he still keeps the image of Mary, though faded and broken it is; and Father Blany Pinto invited us to keep Mary close to our heart, I resolved to keep her always close to me no matter what I face in life."

BIS #5113 SET APART FOR CHRIST

by BIS Correspondent

 

 NASHIK, MAY 27, 2017: The old adage, 'A brother or a sister consecrated to God is the greatest gift to a family', came true on May 24, as the families of eight Salesian sisters and five Salesian clerics joyfully witnessed their daughters and sons taking their first vows in the Salesian family of Don Bosco at Don Bosco Parish in Nashik.

 

Sisters Minal Bhosale FMA, Lavita Braganza FMA, Veronica Fernandes FMA, Shilpa Gonsalves FMA, Smita Gonsalves FMA, Priti Kemu FMA, Sanjina Moteghar FMA, Breenel Sambrea FMA and Clerics Brian Crasta SDB, Neil Fernandes SDB, Ambrose Monteiro SDB, Steve Rodrigues SDB and Bless Rumao SDB took their vows at a Eucharistic celebration presided over by Father Godfrey D'Souza, Provincial of the Salesian province of Mumbai.


The novices of the Salesian Sisters too professed in the presence of their Provincial Superior, Sister Rita Dora Thomas, to live a life that's poor, chaste and obedient to the will of the Society. Zeal and love for Jesus- who had attracted their hearts, was visible in the enthusiasm and the animation of the liturgy by the newly professed. 


Father D'Souza in his homily said, "Blessed are these 'daring young souls' who are witnesses to the truth that commitment to God is still vibrant." He further remarked about this sacrifice made that God is never outdone in his generosity.

 

Following holy Mass, there was a string of melodies and symphonies that filled the air as all celebrated in a felicitation ceremony at STI, the novitiate for the Salesians. It left everyone who witnessed the event with a thought, 'How committed am I to making meaning of my life?'

Thursday, May 25, 2017

BIS #5112 MUMBAI POLICE AND DON BOSCO JOIN FORCES

by Father Rolvin D'Mello

 

MUMBAI, MAY 25, 2017: Two hundred and fifty youth attended a workshop on Skill Development and Career Guidance that was organised by the Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS) and Zone 4 of Mumbai Police at Vidhyalankar College in Antop Hill on May 23.

 

Youth, aged between 15 and 22, from Antop hill and Wadala slum pockets of Mumbai participated in the event. Arun Naik, a professional career counsellor, advised youth on the process of choosing a career. He further explained the various opportunities and advantages of the different career options.

 

Surekha Pednekar, coordinator of DBDS, spoke about the courses conducted by DBDS across the city of Mumbai. The students were informed about the Bosco Plus Career Cell and the Don Bosco Recruitment Centre which gives them hope for their future. 

 

N Ambika - deputy commissioner of police from zone 4 - the chief guest in her address touched upon her own life experiences and expressed her wish to see many more individuals succeeding in life, despite facing various hurdles.

BIS #5111 QUIZ WHIZ

by Libby Sequeira

 

KUWAIT, MAY 25, 2017: Team Saint Luke mastered the Holy Scriptures, by bagging top honours in the inaugural edition of the Mega Bible Quiz organised by the Catechism Ministry at Don Bosco School in Salmiya on May 19.

 

Forty-four children qualified for the final round and they were divided into four colour-coordinated groups - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John for the final. Contestants – ranging from standard one to eleven - spent months preparing for the quiz, under the tutorship of two catechist per team.

 

Libby Sequeira, the host, and Quizmasters Peter Rodrigues and Mark Roberts kept the contestants thinking with gripping commentaries and host of Bible-related trivia. 


Father Blany Pinto, parish priest, Father Franco Pereira, catechetical director, Father Johnson Nedumpurath, assistant parish priest and Father Derrick Misquitta, director of IEAS School were present to encourage the contestants.

 

"The Bible Quiz experience was a unique and beautiful one.  It helped me not only gain knowledge through the help of my catechist, but also in understanding the power of learning and sharing the scriptures with a group like a family," Adela Marylou Morais, from the winning team, said.

 

Jennifer Serrao, from team Saint Mark - who were the first runner-up- said, "It was a very nice experience; I learned many things like teamwork, leadership and above all having a deeper understanding of the Bible." Saint Matthew and Saint John claimed third and fourth place respectively.  While the winners took home the winning cups, all received certificates and medals confirming that they were all winners. 

 

Myra D'souza, a core member of the catechism ministry said, "I came to cheer my team Saint Mark but like everyone else present cheered all the teams. My team won second place but everyone went home a winner."

Rodrigues added, "At first I doubted whether I will be able to do it, but later I believed that Jesus is with me to make this Mega Bible Quiz a success."

 

Vincent Rego, a catechist who helped prepare the children for the final day said, "I felt blessed and privileged to be with our children who were like angels and through them, I could come closer to God."

Saturday, May 20, 2017

BIS #5110 ENGLISH FOR EMPLOYABILITY

by Royal D'Souza

 

MUMBAI, MAY 19, 2017: The Teach India programme run by the CSR division of Times of India with British Council as the content and knowledge partner offered the 'English for Employability' course, which is a 120-hour programme, for underprivileged and the school dropout youth at Don Bosco Centre for Learning (DBCL), Kurla.

 

DBCL has been partnered with Teach India since July 2014 in conducting Spoken English programmes for the underprivileged. The seventh batch of 22 students, who initially registered for the programme, were given a written test and were interviewed by Bala, a reservist and trainer of Teach India on  March 15. 

 

Sessions, which ran from Monday to Saturday, began on March 21 and ended May 12. Edward Fernandes and Moksha, volunteers of Teach India, conducted the classes for the students. Sixteen students completed the course successfully. This was a special batch as of the sixteen students, five were Self Help Group (SHG) women members who had received skill and entrepreneurship training at DBCL and had started small businesses in their locality. 

 

Seven students were Community Organisers (CO's) who are working as part-time workers in the MCGM poverty eradication department under Community Development Officers (CDO's) at ward level in Mumbai. Four were college going youth who wanted to develop their english language skills. 

 

The module designed by Teach India focused on spoken and written english communication skills required in everyday situations, in customer services like retail and sales, travel and tourism and financial services. It also focused on grammatical accuracy, fluency, pronunciation and confidence. The 45-day long course enabled the participants to introduce themselves appropriately, greet others politely in person and over the phone, as well as to make and respond to polite requests in professional contexts.

 

The batch had many of the candidates above the age of 30. Some of them had left their education ten to twelve years back. The teachers conducted sessions using practical exercises so that all the participants could have equal opportunities to learn the language. At the valedictory function on May 12, fifteen students received their certificates. 

 

"At this age getting the opportunity to come back to a well-known college, sitting in class and learning english was a dream for me. This class has given me confidence to express myself clearly. The teachers and all my colleagues supported me in completing this course. Overall it will help me improve my personality," Sangeeta Hire, CO said.

 

A SHG member, Manisha Katke added, "I have completed my graduation and now I am running my business in Ghatkopar. My daughter always speaks to me in english and I was not able to answer her in english. Now after joining this course I talk to my daughter in english everyday. I thank my teachers and this Don Bosco institute for giving me an opportunity to learn english."

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

BIS #5109 ADMA JOINS CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS AT FATIMA SHRINE KARJAT

by Ashwin Fernandes

 

KARJAT, MAY 17, 2017: When Pope Francis was leading the centenary celebrations of Our Lady of Fatima- Portugal on May 13, the members of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA) Matunga Unit, went on a pilgrimage to Asia's first Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima at Karjat.

 

The group reached for the unfurling of the flag of our Lady of Fatima. The scene of the apparition was creatively set up at the new altar extension. There were around 3,000 other pilgrims, Catholics and of other religious confessions, at the Shrine, to witness this important historic landmark.

 

Cardinal Oswald Gracias consecrated and blessed the new altar of the church, sprinkling holy water and chrism oil. He also renewed the act of consecration of the Archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

 

"Let us live the message of Fatima. Pray for peace and make sacrifices emphasising the power of prayer. At Fatima the Blessed Virgin spoke of World War. Wars continue today, with different forms and dangers, turmoil, upheaval and violence all over the world. Wars are also in our personal lives, in the struggle between good and evil," Cardinal Gracias said. "It is important to pray, pray for peace in our homes, in family relationships and in the world."

 

Thereafter Cardinal Gracias blessed the pilgrims with the relics of the two little shepherds Francisco and Jacinta who had just been canonised in Fatima, by the Holy Father, around the same time. The parishioners and well wishers had organised a fellowship meal, where all pilgrims lunched together. In the afternoon, Eucharistic adoration and family consecration followed.  

 

"The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima at Karjat  was built in the year 1935, and houses the statue of Our Lady of Fatima brought from Portugal in the year 1920, years before the approval - of the Fatima apparitions - in 1930 by the Holy See," Father Callistus Fernandes, Rector of the sanctuary said. He added, "The distinguishing characteristic of a shrine is that it is a place of pilgrimage." A proposal to give the Shrine a more official status, naming it the 'Archdiocesan Shrine of Fatima' has been presented to the Archbishop.

 

The ADMA members returned with their hearts content of having the opportunity to spend this historic day in prayers and devotion to our Blessed Mother, which is one of the primary objectives of this Marian Association.