Saturday, November 11, 2017


by Karen Laurie

MUMBAI, NOV 11, 2017: Salesian institutions in India - and Mumbai in particular - have a lot to be excited about. Firstly, three Matunga-based institutions in central Mumbai, namely the Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna, St. Joseph's High School and Don Bosco High School mark major milestones, and secondly, Father Ángel Fernández Artime, the Rector Major of the Salesians, also St. Don Bosco's successor will be present in the city from November 11 to 13 to add to the celebratory fervour.  

As a prelude to the celebrations in store, The Examiner, the Catholic weekly publication run by Archdiocese of Mumbai - in its latest edition - bore a majestic image of the Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna on its cover page, announcing the Diamond Jubilee of the Shrine, the Platinum Jubilee of Don Bosco High School and the Centenary of St. Joseph's High School, a stone's throw away from the sprawling campus.

Father Aurelius Maschio, the Salesian pioneer, is credited with spearheading the establishment of several Salesian institutions across the city. Fast forward the decades, and today, the three institutions together, true to the vision, offer holistic, life-long learning which empowers children to be architects of their own lives and ambassadors of good, compassionate, just and productive citizenship deeply rooted in the values of St. John Bosco.

Father Artime's presence further highlights the importance of the events. He is slated to arrive in Mumbai at 8.25 pm on November 11. Father Godfrey D'Souza, the Provincial, Father Savio Silveira, the Vice Provincial, will be amongst a host of other dignitaries present to receive the Rector Major on his first ever visit to the city. 

Once there, at around 9.30pm, he will be welcomed by youth and the Salesian family. The next morning, November 12, following breakfast, Father Artime will visit Shelter Don Bosco, a Salesian-run home working with the Roofless and Rootless street children of Mumbai. 

Youth will take centre stage, by putting on display the rich cultural heritage of India through a range of performances. Shelter boys will set the tone with a welcome song and cultural dance. Youth from Borivli-based Bosco Boys Home will perform a thematic dance and youth from Bosco Snehalaya will perform a Gujarat state folk dance.

The Rector Major will then release two books, 'Forever Grateful to Don Bosco' - the success stories of YaR. YaR stands for 'Young at Risk' and 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. An After Care Directory- for youth at risk above 18 years- will also be launched. 

Father Artime will then address the gathering on a range of issues. The Rector Major will also interact with the youth before leaving for the Provincial House in Matunga. A presentation of bouquets and memento will be made, before the Salesian family members begin a short interaction. At 4pm, the Rector Major will proceed to Bianchi Hall, where the Don Bosco Youth Centre (DBYC) and Divyadaan - Salesian Institute of Philosophy - band will perform a series of songs. A book release is scheduled, following which the Rector Major will address the gathering.

On November 12, a series of Jubilee Masses are scheduled at the Shrine. The first of which begins at 6am, followed by 7am. Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes will celebrate the 8am holy Eucharist, Bishop Barthol Barretto will celebrate the 9.30am holy Eucharist, while His Eminence Oswald Cardial Gracias will celebrate the 11am holy Mass.  

The Rector Major will preside over the festive Jubilee Eucharistic celebration on the Shrine grounds at 5.30pm. A choir from Divyadaan will add their musical magic to the special celebration. Following Mass, the Rector Major will be escorted to Don Bosco High School (DBHS) for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, where the release of the book on the Jubilee of the institution, a prayer song, a welcome song and a musical play, have been planned. The Rector Major will then address the gathering. Father Artime ends his India visit on November 13, when he leaves for Rome. 

There's no doubt that the Salesian Family will partake in the Jubilee celebrations, but the extended family - namely the laity - will also join forces to witness history being retold and new pages of history being written.

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