Thursday, November 30, 2017
Monday, November 27, 2017
by Lisa Dominic
NAVI MUMBAI, NOV 27, 2017: It was a spectacular display of talents, camaraderie and sportsmanship as Don Bosco Senior Secondary School, Nerul celebrated its 12th Annual Sports and Cultural Festival in line with the theme 'The Circle of Life' which encompassed 'the self', 'the family', 'the school', 'the society' and 'the environment' on November 23 and 24.
The theme helped the students to understand that they are connected in the great 'Circle of Life' that should be respected as it connects them together. The Chief Guest, Father Glenford Lowe, and the Guests of Honour, Father Bonnie Borges, the principal, Father Donald Fernandez, Dorothy Fernandez, the physical education teachers of neighbouring schools and PTA members were present at the inaugural ceremony.
Father Borges welcomed the gathering, following which the flag was hoisted and the torch relay began. A march past followed and each squad held a banner which encompassed an environmental aspect of the Circle of Life. The mass drill, aerobics, yoga and medley of folk dances showcased by the students of standard one to eight provided a blend of sports and culture.
Father Lowe, in his inspiring address, appreciated the efforts of the students. "The future sportsmen and sportswomen are here on this playground today. The gold medals you win here will lead you all to win at the Olympics," he said. Thereafter the students dispersed to various venues to participate in different events that were organised for them. All students from standard one to twelve participated in either sporting disciplines or cultural activities. Around 2700 certificates and 900 sets of medals were distributed to the winners.
On the second day, events such as tug of war and relay were conducted. Teaching and non-teaching staff members, parents and past pupils joined in the celebrations by participating in the special events organised for them. The closing ceremony which marked the end of the annual sports and cultural meet included the lowering of the school flag and distribution of certificates and medals.
Father Borges and Father Fernandez lauded the efforts of the students and the teachers. "I am so proud and delighted to win five medals in the sports events," Elria Dias, an Individual Championship winner, said. "Since I am not a sportsperson, the cultural activities that were conducted gave me an opportunity to prove my talents," Aaryan Hebbalkar, a winner of the Individual Championship Award for Cultural Activities, added.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
by Father Bento D'Souza
KARJAT, NOV 25, 2017: A journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step. Don Bosco Yuva Sanstha (DBYS) Karjat provided a platform for hundreds of young electricians, welders, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics and gas pipeline mechanics to hone in on their skills in 2017.
Seventy students took the skilled electricians course at the institution. The first such course began on January 15 till April 14. Two more batches participated in the two-month long course through the year. Following completion, a majority of the young electricians landed jobs, earning up to Rupees 12000.
Twenty-seven students took the welders course at the institution, which began on February 6 and ran till May 5. Two more batches were conducted in 2017, each running for three months. The young graduates from the course landed jobs, earning them up to Rupees 9000.
Fifty eight students took the Refrigeration and Air conditioning (RAC) course, the first of which began on January 26 and ran till May 26. Two more batches took the course in 2017, with young graduates earning as much as Rupees 10000 following course completion.
Thirty-four youth enrolled in the gas pipeline technicians course, which began on January 9 and ran till February 18. Two more batches participated in the month-long course, following which the youth found jobs and are earning up to Rupees 9000.
The final batch of 2017, for all skill sets, began on November 1. The batch has 24 electricians, 12 welders and 25 RAC being trained and skilled.
Thursday, November 23, 2017
by Father Bento D'Souza
NERAL, NOV 23, 2017: Don Bosco Yuva Sanstha, Karjat, launched a technical skill development training programme in three trades, namely tailoring, refrigeration, air conditioning (RAC) and electrical trade in the Tribal Ashram shala, Mangaon, Neral on November 16.
Fifty students, including girls from the ninth standard, participated in each of the skill development workshops for skill empowerment. Out of the group, 15 students took the course on electrical trades, 17 students participated in RAC training, while 18 students were groomed in tailoring.
The classes that stretched for two hours each, began on November 16. The technical courses are slated to end on the January 31, 2018, on the feast of Don Bosco.
Ganesh Bhopi and Sandeep Gaikwad gave an introductory lecture and orientation session for the students of the technical courses. Kavita More trained the youth in stitching and tailoring. Classes for these skill sets were held for two hours each on Thursday and Friday, while four hours on Saturday and Sunday. Extra classes are held, if required.
The Director, Dada Gaikwad, said, "If any student fails in their SCC examination, these technical skills will help students procure an economic livelihood and job security, thus not hampering their career prospects and capacity to survive. They will also have survival skills in hand when they leave the Tribal Ashram school."
by Father Mylin Noronha
MUMBAI, NOV 22, 2017: Young priests from the Province of Bombay and Province of Panjim gathered at the Don Bosco Provincial House in Matunga, for a two-day animation programme on November 20, where they were urged to heed their call to be prophets in society.
Father Varghese Alengaden, Founder of the Universal Solidarity Movement of Value Education for Peace (USM), Indore, the resource person for the programme stressed that being prophets comes with an additional caveat, that of suffering.
"It's unfortunate that today, people prefer worshiping the cross, instead of carrying it," Father Alengaden, said. In order to fulfil their vision of bearing 'lasting fruit' through their ministry, he coaxed the priests to become mentors instead of mere teachers of young people. Just as Jesus told his followers that new wine had to be stored in new wine-skins, Father Alengaden told the priests that the new challenges of priests today had to be resolved with new strategies in carrying out their mission.
Father Alengaden continued his sharing on 'new wine-skin' strategies vis-à-vis the challenges he faced in his ministry over the years. He also conducted a session on 'The Miracle of Possibility Thinking' in which he challenged the young priests to ask themselves "Why Not?" and have the belief to do what has not been done before, to be fruitful in their ministry. In the afternoon, he shared some practical tips for spiritual growth based on his own experience and reflection during his many years as a priest.
While the young priests were impressed and educated by the content of the talks of Father Alengaden, they were even more captivated by his personality. Throughout his interaction with the priests, he radiated courage, conviction and integrity that left a lasting imprint on the priests. In his vote of thanks, Father Jacob Palaparambil expressed this influence by saying, "Father Alengaden has not told us things about Jesus, but told us how to be Jesus."
The young Salesians enjoyed each other's company and shared many light moments, given that it was a reunion with their companions from both provinces. All in all, the two days that the young priests spent with each other and Father Alengaden were days of insightful thoughts, eye-opening knowledge and an opportunity to grow in love of Christ and neighbour.
by BIS Correspondent
KAWANT, NOV 22, 2017: The senior secondary students of Don Bosco High School, Kawant celebrated Children's Day on November 14, with a unique social exposure-cum-outreach programme. Students visited the Kawant Police Station and the Madhya Pradesh Gujarat Veej Company Limited (MGVCL) where they were enlightened with valuable information by the respective representatives.
The police inspector of Kawant Police Station, addressed the gathering about the nature of crime, especially crime committed by school-going children. Passing on the importance of registering police complaints, he provided a career orientation on joining the police force.
An exhibition of the various firearms, like 410 Musket rifle, Army Rifle, 9MN Carbide Machine Gun, Gas Gun, and ammunition with the usage of various types of rifles and guns followed. Thereafter, students were taken for a tour of the police station. The main highlight was the interaction the students had with the prison inmates. A question and answer session with the police personnel was an eye-opener as well.
At the MGVCL, the students discovered the workings of the '69KV SubCentre Kawant'. The Electricity Board Officer told them about how electricity is generated, distributed and saved. Guiding the students through the different locations within the campus, he demonstrated the usage of various instruments. A question-answer interaction helped students gather first-hand information about the functioning of the Electricity Board.
This Children's Day was unique as the students celebrated it with an info-knowledge programme rather than the usual school programme. Keen to be informed and eager to gain more knowledge, the students departed after the enriching and informative exposure-cum-outreach programme.
Father Ajit Munis, Principal of Don Bosco High School Kawant, said, "Hopefully this initiative will be of benefit to the students in the long run. Instead of coming to school, and being part of the routine song and dance programme on Children's Day, I thought of this novel way to celebrate this wonderful day with some learning activity. Both at the Police Station and at the Electricity Board, valuable life-lessons were imparted and the students are happy about it."
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
by Brother Mukesh Garasiya
MUMBAI, NOV 21, 2017: Bosco Boys Home (BBH) based in Borivli, marked Youth at Risk (YaR) Day on November 19 by organising a gathering entitled 'Caring for the Earth- Our Common Home' at Don Bosco School hall in Borivli, to make youth from the streets of the city feel loved and to instill in them love for mother earth.
Nineteen game stalls, alongside a stall for mehendi and nail art, technical displays, gift stalls and a theme stall, focusing on the theme of the day, made the youth feel special. At the registration desk, the youth were given coupons for games and meals.
Thereafter, the boys were served breakfast and were directed to the hall for the inauguration ceremony. The compere for the event, Rolin Furtado, welcomed the gathering and invited all to take part in the prayer service. Eustace Fernandes, social staff at BBH, then read a short introduction followed by the lighting of the lamp.
The compere then invited Nandkishore More, assistant commissioner of police, Dhanjay Lingade, inspector, MHB police station, Zara Ujwala, principal of Sheth Gopalji Seth Hemraj High School, Doctor Merlyn Mendis, Karuna Hospital, Borivli, Father Flovi D'souza, principal of Don Bosco High School, Borivli, Father Gregory Almeida, YaR coordinator of Mumbai province and Father Lloyd Rodrigues, administrator of BBH, to light the lamp.
Thereafter, Brother Mukesh Garasiya read a Bible passage and Father Solomon Rapol, Rector of BBH, spoke to the children and asked them, "To help someone or make someone smile."
The boys from BBH presented a prayer dance on the song-'Who am I?' by Casting Crowns. Youth headed to the game stalls and participated in drawing and poster making competitions. Two clowns and mascots were present for the event who entertained the children throughout the programme. The Bosco Boys presented a flash mob dance on a fusion of old and new tunes.
A cultural programme followed in the school hall, with youth participating in group dance, choral singing and solo singing competitions. Youth from Shivaji Nagar, one of the BBH outreach centres, then presented a skit on the theme – 'Water, Hygiene and Health'.
The boys of Bosco Boys Home presented a musical drama to show how children in difficult situations were helped by Don Bosco institutes. The display was choreographed by Mayuri Raj, coordinator of Bosco Boys Home. The winners of the various competitions were announced and Father Savio Silveira, Vice Provincial of Mumbai Province, Pooja Dixit, a television celebrity, and Kishan Agarwal, a poet, distributed the prizes.
Monday, November 20, 2017
by Salesian Family
MUMBAI, NOV 20, 2017: The representatives of the Salesian family namely the Cooperators, Past Pupils of Don Bosco, FMA Sisters and ADMA members met the 10th successor of Don Bosco, Father Angel Fernandez Artime, the Rector Major, who was in Mumbai on November 12.
As the Rector Major entered the refectory with Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Regional Superior of South Asia and Father Horacio Lopez, Rector Major's Secretary, he was greeted with the popular hymn 'Raise Your Voices'. Then the Provincial Delegate, Father Diego Nunes thanked the Provincial, Father Godfrey D'Souza for giving the group an opportunity to meet and interact with the Rector Major.
"We are indeed privileged to meet so great a personality – the Father of the Salesian Family. We have the council members of Cooperators, Past Pupils, ADMA, FMA and SMI sisters. Both co-operators and past pupils are agents of social change by taking up activities and projects for the needy of the society and especially the youth. ADMA is more of a spiritual group getting involved in the parish activities. Thanks Father Angel for your support and the importance given to the Salesian Family. We continue praying for you. Long live Don Bosco," Father Nunes, said.
The Rector Major then addressed the gathering, saying, "The support of the Salesian Family is precious to me. Today, I was supposed to be in another province but requested them to permit me to spend a day with you. I am happy to meet you as a family. We find the Salesian Family wherever we go. Thanks for being a part of this family. Probably this is the biggest religious family with 31 branches," he said.
"This is both a reason to rejoice and a responsibility to shoulder. We need people who can bear witness to their beliefs and values. You lay people are doing an excellent job of reaching out to so many families where we cannot reach. We have to share with others all the good things that we learn by being a part of the Salesian Family. We priests feel that we are never alone with you around. I invite you to be a lively and dynamic family."
The delegation was welcomed to Don Bosco Centre for Learning by Father Colbert da Silva, the Director, and Amarr G Prabhu, the Principal of St Joseph's ITI. They were then escorted to the institute with the traditional Lezim. They then visited the various workshops and interacted with the staff and students to understand the methodology adopted in the acquisition of a vocational skill.
by Mehtab Shinde
PUNE, NOV 20, 2017: Students from kindergarten to class twelve of Don Bosco High School and Junior College, Yerwada were treated to fun and games, dance and drama, and life skills were imparted to them through a special Children's Day programme on November 14 at the school campus.
The day was divided in two parts- formal and cultural. The former commenced with a prayer service that focused on the well-being of the kids all over the world and that they are not deprived of basic necessities including education.
In his welcome speech, Rector Father Michael Bansode expressed his joy on seeing Don Bosco's dream coming true, to provide the best to the poor and the marginalised.
"Don Bosco High school and Junior College, Pune is one of the best educational institutions that genuinely serve the poor and the marginalised," Deputy Mayor of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Dr Sidharth Dhende, one of the dignitaries present, said.
Safe Kids Foundation (SKF) organised part of the celebrations which included class-wise interactive sessions with the children from classes three to ten. Students were educated on fire safety measures and how to handle burns. There were 60 volunteers who animated the programme with fun activities. As a precursor to the event, SKF organised a two- day session on November 8 and 9, in which they distributed booklets on fire safety.
SKF deploys cutting-edge, experiential and fun educational tools to spread fire safety awareness among kids under 14 and aspires to make Pune a model 'safe kids at home' city in India. It also aims at making kids a pivot for bringing citizens and civic agencies together to drive a strong safety culture. "It is wonderful to see so many happy faces at a glance, have safe Diwali every year and safe cooking everyday," Torine Creppy, President, SKF, said.
In his address, Sunil Gilbile, Divisional Fire Officer, Fire Department, PMC petitioned the Deputy Mayor to install more fire-stations in the city.
The second part of the programme was the cultural celebration. Municipal schools in Pune were invited to participate in the SKF Talent Hunt competition. This was followed by the annual Children's Day ritual of the school- where teachers of all four sections entertain the students.
Bollywood dance performances by the pre-primary staff, fairy tale recreation by the primary teachers, a funny value-based play titled 'Sholay in Yerwada' by the college lecturers and a mock-rock cum dance by the secondary section enthralled the kids. The next surprise was the Kid's Carnival with over 15 stalls of games and snacks.
Dr Cinthia Pinto, Programme Director SKF, Jamshed Karkaria, Head Facilities and Administration and Honeywell Automation India, along with the school staff organised the Children's Day programme.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
by Father Solomon Rapol
MUMBAI, NOV 15, 2017: Five hundred youngsters from U S Ostwal English Academy (Primary section), Mira Road visited Bosco Boys Home, Borivli along with their class teachers on November 10, for an orientation on the life of the inmates at the Home.
The students arrived in the morning and assembled in the boys' refectory. Father Solomon Rapol, the Rector welcomed them. "Don Bosco wished that all children should become honest citizens and prayerful beings, " he said, adding, "All of us must strive for excellence and put in our best effort to achieve success."
Thereafter, Father Rapol led the group in a moment of prayer. He also introduced them to Young at Risk (YaR). YaR is a Don Bosco National Forum set up in the 1970s to address pressing issues surrounding youth in India. YaR embraces children and young people whose safety, growth and development are put at risk through indifference and neglect on the part of parents as well as society.
A YaR Day programme, themed on 'Caring for the Earth-Our common home' has been scheduled for November 19. It will be a gathering of youth from streets and difficult situations. Father Rapol asked the visitors to be kind to at least one poor person on that day.
The visiting students of class three and four put up a dance for the boys of the Home. The students brought some colour pencils, art papers and stationery for the inmates. Their gesture of love was deeply appreciated and the boys thanked the students and teachers for their generosity.
Sanchari De, teacher from the visiting school thanked the institute for welcoming them warmly. The visitors then toured the institute and departed with fond memories.
Monday, November 13, 2017
"The congregation is moving … because permanently there are things developing. We open new houses, we open more than what we close. The congregation has opened up new horizons in some countries. We are going to start a community in Malaysia, in Gambia, that is a small country in West Africa," he said.
The Salesians are at times the only hope for youth in war-torn famine-ridden countries like Sierra Leone, Peru and Colombia. "We found many girls and boys around 15 years of age who are caught up in the drug war of FAARC in Colombia. A year ago their job was to be in the Army to kill other people, when we found them we could see hope and life in them," he said.
In the course of the meeting, a band from the Don Bosco Youth Centre performed a piece "Tijuana Taxi", followed by which Father Orville Coutinho, Golden Jubilarian of Profession- presented the Rector Major with a shawl, while a novice garlanded him.
by Karen Laurie
MUMBAI, NOV 13, 2017: 'Dare to Dream' and they did! The students of Don Bosco High School, Matunga - numbering over 2000 - with their army of teachers put up a dream show for the Rector Major of the Salesians, Father Angel Fernandez Artime, the 10th successor of Don Bosco, when he joined them for the celebration of the school's 75th Platinum Jubilee celebrations; so much so that he said, " It's for the first time in my Salesian life, that I am seeing an entire school coming on stage. Never before have I seen 2400 students on stage at one time. Congratulations! Congratulations!"
Youth armed with drums, guitars, tambourines and saxophones, played in complete harmony, welcoming the Rector Major and other dignitaries comprising of Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Regional Superior of South Asia, Father Godfrey D'Souza, Provincial of Mumbai, Father Horacio Lopez, Rector Major's Secretary, Father Crispino D'Souza, school Rector and Father Roy Noronha, school Vice Principal.
The Don Bosco High School campus gave the Rector Major a glimpse of the city of Mumbai, on his maiden trip, as it brimmed with people and seemed starved for space. Every one busied about - excited parents looked for seats with the best view, enthusiastic children took instructions before their big act and vigilant teachers added their final touches. On November 12, at 7:30pm, this was the place to be.
After felicitating the dignitaries, a coffee-table magazine commemorating the Institution's Platinum Jubilee was released. Then the curtains opened to the big show, 'Dare to dream', a musical about one of the most successful child superstars in history, The Jackson 5 and one of them Michael Jackson who went to become the King of Pop. Their father spotted their talent early on and honed their skill to turn them into America's singing sensation.
The tiny tots from kindergarten with their prayer song, 'Footsteps walking with me', thanked God for always being by their side. The staff and students together rose to the occasion and welcomed Father Artime with a Spanish song.
The musical then belted out tracks like 'My girl', 'ABC' and 'Rockin Robin' that had classes one, two and five grooving and moving. Classes three and four, performed to the foot-tapping beats of 'Sugar pie honey bunch' and 'Kansas city'.
Not to be left behind, standards six, seven and eight, jumped and danced to 'Twist and shout', 'Dancing in the street' and 'I want you back'. And the big act was left for the big boys of classes nine and ten, who set the stage on fire with 'Blame it on the boogie' and 'Billie Jean'.
"It is a tradition that 10th standard don't get a chance to participate in annual day. This is the first and only batch that has got to participate. We had a great bonding between us and the teachers. We never thought that such a great personality like the Rector Major would come to see us and the compliments we received were really good," Herschel Menezes, student of class ten, who was part of the musical, said.
The whole school shimmered and shined to give out one message loud and clear: Every child should live his dream. With the Jubilee anthem and waving of Jubilee flags the curtain fell on the musical, but the show was not over yet.
All present were treated to a fine surprise, including the Rector Major, when the school Principal Father Bernard Fernandes, handed him a guitar and Father Artime, willingly obliged the gathering with three Spanish songs.
The crowd was ecstatic as the Rector Major exuded good humour and bonhomie. The living Don Bosco exemplified the Salesian Preventive System of Education by accompanying the young with loving kindness.
"I was pleased to see the teachers among the boys all the time. Being Salesian educators is having the capacity to stay with the young," Father Artime said, adding, " Thank you parents for the confidence you have in our capacity and way of educating your children. We promise you our concern are your sons."
Dominic Savio Menezes, father of Herschel, said, "My son was one of the main cast and this was a different annual day. We had Don Bosco with us. I don't have words to express the feeling. Don Bosco School is not just about academics but children are also taught to dare to dream."
Father Fernandes, on behalf of the gathering, addressed the Rector Major, "We thank you for leaving behind fond memories of love and the spirit of Don Bosco. Bless us all as you leave this place with your gentle blow of peace," he said.
by Karen Laurie
MUMBAI, NOV 13, 2017: When over 100 priests con-celebrate a Eucharistic celebration, which is presided over by the 10th successor of Saint Don Bosco, Rector Major Father Angel Fernandez Artime, and a choir of 50 brothers add their melodious touch to the service, you know that an important milestone is at hand.
The iconic Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna, which was built in 1957 by the great visionary, Father Aurelius Maschio, marked its red-letter day, the Diamond Jubilee of the Shrine on November 12. Two bishops, namely Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes, Bishop Barthol Barretto and His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias celebrated the Solemn Jubilee Eucharist in the morning, while the Rector Major presided over the festive Jubilee Eucharistic celebration on the Shrine grounds at 5.30pm.
Father Ian Doulton, Editor of Don Bosco's Madonna magazine, urged the laity to rise to welcome Father Artime, saying, "We welcome you on behalf of the Salesians of Don Bosco to the 60th Diamond Jubilee of our Shrine, we are honoured by the presence of the 10th successor of Don Bosco, Father Angel Fernandez Artime."
An army of little angels led the procession of priests and finally the Rector Major out of the Provincial House. It was Father Artime's first real interaction with the laity in the city and he immediately brought smiles to the faces of the faithful by blessing them and saying "God bless you," as he walked to the majestic altar 100-metres away.
Father Edwin D'Souza, the Rector of the Shrine, described the Rector Major's presence as, "The best Diamond Jubilee gift we have received." Father D'Souza said, "It is with a heart filled with gratitude that I stand here this evening to extend a heart-felt and affectionate welcome to our dear Rector Major."
"It was on the 20th of April, 2016, that I wrote to Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, our Regional Superior about our plans to invite our Rector Major for our Jubilee celebrations. We were privileged to have Father Chavez, the previous Rector Major for our Golden Jubilee and we were looking forward to having our present Rector Major for the Diamond Jubilee. He replied, 'Anything for Don Bosco... ' Our Rector Major did not disappoint us, after his visit to Bangalore and Guwahati he was passing through Mumbai for just a day to preside over our Diamond Jubilee celebrations, for this we are immensely grateful."
A group of young girls from Auxilium Convent High School, run by the Salesian sisters, then performed a Bharatnatyam prayer dance that added to the celebratory fervour. Father D'Souza presented a tribute to the Salesian visionary, Father Maschio, who's portrait stood near the main altar. "I would like to place on record our appreciation and admiration of him for the beautiful Shrine of Our Lady that he gave to the city and people of Mumbai. On his behalf I express our immense gratitude to his family who have given him so freely and lovingly to the Salesians. We pledge to continue the vision of Father Maschio," he said.
A group of little flower girls then filled the path of the Rector Major with petals as he and the con-celebrants, Father Kanaga, Father Horacio Lopez, Rector Major's Secretary, Father Godfrey D'Souza, Provincial of Mumbai and Father Edwin D'Souza, ascended to the main altar. The Rector Major addressed the gathering in Italian with the help of Father Kanaga who was an able translator.
"It's a real joy to meet all of you in Mumbai for the first time. In the name of Jesus I want to thank all of you for having come here this evening. A loving embrace to those who are very close to us Salesians, the young people, the boys and the girls. This wonderful evening all of us are gathered here to thank God for the last 60 years," he said.
"In Turin, Don Bosco did all that he could and constructed the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians and there is written on top, 'This is my house from here my glory shall go forth.' Today, Our Lady of Don Bosco's Madonna reaches out to so many people around the world. I was able to see the Shrine only this afternoon. It is so beautiful to see it and the thought struck me in the last 60 years how many people came to rest under the mantle of Our Lady, how many married people came to dedicate their life to Our Lady and how many men and women religious came to pray to Our Lady for protection of their consecrated life," he said.
"Our Lady always accompanies us in all circumstances in our life, to have such a faith in Our lady, Don Bosco said, is a way to get miracles. But we don't need to see big miracles or healings, very often we find enough courage to continue our life at the feet of Our Lady, so I invite you to thank God for the graces he gives to us through the intersession of Our Lady. I invite young people here to intensify this love of Our Lady in their hearts."
Following the Eucharistic celebration, Father D'Souza felicitated the Rector Major, while Father Doulton invited Giovanni Bernasconi, on behalf of the benefactors the world over, to present a bouquet and to garland the Rector Major. He also read a citation to Pervin and Minocher Damania - for their long-standing service to the Shrine choir - and requested the Rector Major to present it to them.
Father Artime released a special coffee-table book of the Shrine. Father Doulton highlighted the efforts of Rajen Nandwana, the photographer, and William Fernandes, the art director. Finally, Father Godfrey D'Souza and Father Kanaga also thanked the Rector Major for visiting Mumbai and making the Jubilee celebrations so special.
"This is a very rare event where you have both 60 years and the Rector Major's visit together. We come to the Shrine every Sunday, so it was only fit for us to come for the Jubilee celebrations and the whole mass was so beautiful. Even though the Rector Major was speaking in Italian it sounded so beautiful that I didn't want him to stop" Bianca Mascarenhas, a devotee from Mahim said.
With the Diamond Jubilee of Her Shrine, Don Bosco's Madonna brought together the young, the old, the laity, the religious alltogether at the banquet of the Lord, and they could all truly say, 'Don Bosco was among us!'
Sunday, November 12, 2017
by Karen Laurie
MUMBAI, NOV 12, 2017: All roads in Mumbai seemingly led to Matunga on November 12, as thousands of faithful joined forces, with the Salesians of Don Bosco, to celebrate five Diamond Jubilee Masses of the iconic Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna, which was built in 1957 by the great visionary, Father Aurelius Maschio, along the lines of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, which was built by Saint Don Bosco himself.
Like every Sunday, the Shrine opened its majestic edifice to the faithful at the stroke of dawn with the first Jubilee mass being celebrated at 6am, followed by another at 7am. While the faithful entered the sanctuary in their Sunday finery, the Shrine, so to say, put on its Sunday best as well, with 16 large floral tributes adorning the main altar.
Flowers adorned the chapels dedicated to Mary Help of Christians and Saint Don Bosco near the main entrance as well, welcoming the laity with open arms. A portrait of Father Maschio stood near the alter marking his tremendous contribution to not only the Shrine or the Salesian family, but to the city of Mumbai itself.
With Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes, Bishop Barthol Barretto and His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias celebrating the Solemn Jubilee Eucharist at 8am, 9.30am and 11am respectively, the Shrine braced for a celebration fit for a Diamond Jubilee.
Father Edwin D'Souza, the Rector of the Shrine, recapped its glorious history, saying, "It has been 60 glorious years since the Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna was erected to the glory of God and the honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Fascinated by the grandeur and beauty of the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, Father Aurelius Maschio wanted to replicate this monument of Don Bosco for the people of the city of Mumbai, as a monument of love and devotion to Mary Help of Christians. "
"His work was made possible by the generosity of thousands of benefactors in the city, the country, Italy and around the world to make the dream into a reality. In 1957, the Shrine opened its doors. Among the many highlights was the visit of Blessed Pope Paul VI in December 1964. On this Diamond Jubilee, we thank Almighty God for the graces he showers."
A special youth choir, comprising of eight singers, from Our Lady of Dolours Church, Wadala lent a melodious tone to the celebrations at 8am Jubilee Eucharist. Bishop Fernandes was the main celebrant, alongside Father Bernard Fernandes, Father Crispino D'Souza and Father Leon Rodrigues.
In his homily, Bishop Fernandes urged the laity to live a life centered in God. "The Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna was erected to give glory to God by honouring his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary Help of Christians helps us, by leading us to Jesus, because when we have Jesus we have everything in life," he said. "For the past 60 years, we have come here to learn from Mary our Mother how to worship him, how to adore him, how to love him."
"Here, we are filled with his mercy and have gone out into the world filled with the blessings of God. As Saint Paul states in his first letter to the Hebrews 10:11, 'Whatever you do, do for the glory of God'. That means our whole life, like Mary, has to be for glory towards God, our lives should be God-centered, Christ-centred, that's why we come to this Shrine, so that we can make our lives God-centric."
Bishop Barretto, a regular benefactor of the Shrine as a teenager, in the 9.30am Solemn Jubilee Eucharist added a personal touch to the Shrine by recounting his visits and the countless graces Mary Help of Christians helped bestow upon him. Father Ajoy Fernandes and Father Glenford Lowe were the con-celebrants. A choir from the Holy Cross Church, Kurla added to the celebratory fervour.
"I remember as a student and later on as a youth studying in college, I used to come to this great Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna and through the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, called Confession, through the celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, I still remember with joy, I used to be connected with God, our Father," he said, adding, "All of us must get ourselves connected with God because our faith inspires us to believe that the most holy and triumphant God is present in this Shrine. Our faith in God challenges us to pray to God in spirit, so that we may receive peace in solace deep within."
Faith and Harmony, a Salesian choir, set the tone for the 11am Solemn Jubilee Eucharist, presided over by His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias, and concelebrated by Father Godfrey D'Souza, the Provincial, and Father Edwin D'Souza. The entrance hymn 'Come on and celebrate' highlighted the need to relish the milestone.
Cardinal Gracias, in his homily, focused on the importance of family in society and also prayed for the Salesian family and their mission. "Each of us in our families must have peace, unity, love, happiness, success …. Pope Francis has been speaking to families and he said three words families must use more, they are 'please', 'thank you' and 'I'm sorry'. It means be gentle, be grateful and ask for forgiveness," he said, adding, "I pray for the Salesians. I thank God for them, I ask for God's blessings on them. May be continue to make the Shrine to help us to do what Jesus wants us to do."
With the curtain falling on the morning celebrations, all eyes will now move to the special Festive Jubilee Eucharistic celebration that will begin on the shrine grounds at 5.30pm and will be presided over by Father Angel Fernandez Artime, the Rector Major of the Salesians, the 10th successor of Don Bosco.