Monday, December 31, 2018

BIS #5720 SCOUTS GUIDES AT BOSCOREE 2018 SAY: “H IS W”

NASHIK, DEC 31, 2018: Today, 31 December 2018, the Scouts and Guides at the 13th National Boscoree shook off the fatigue, exhaustion, and tiredness of the arrival and inaugural ceremony. Geared up and raring to have a day filled with fun activities, projects, they were up at the call of the bugle. 

In typical scouting style, beginning with BP’s six exercises and the Scout’s Own, the scouts and guides prepared for the inspection and flag break. Organised i
n their respective sub-camps, following the official procedure and in a true spirit of scouting, the Scoutmasters and Guide Captains together with the Salesians fathers, brothers, and nuns participated wholeheartedly in the varied activities.

The morning was dedicated to multiple activities simultaneously in sub-camps. A select number of Scouts and Guides were selected from each troop to work on pioneering projects. The Scouts and Guides were keenly focused on the job-at-hand; carrying staves twice their size, lashing these together with the requisite knots that they have learnt. Thoroughly enjoying the experience of putting their heads and hands together, projects like ‘signal tower’, ‘monkey bridge’, etc. were erected in record time.

A celebration of colours ensued during the ‘rangoli’ competition bringing out the brightest colours one could imagine with intricate and creative designs on the theme, ‘Health-Harmony-Holiness’.  Alongside, a few other scouts and guides busied themselves producing paintings and works of art. The special theme highlight of the day was ‘Health’. Judges, comprising of senior scoutmasters, guide captains, leader-trainers and the Scout District Commissioner of Tamil Nadu inspected the projects and the artwork, evaluating these meticulously.

Soon, the noontime sun allowed the campers to take a break and head to the lunch counters, where steaming hot food awaited the hungry bellies. Immediately afterward, the campers returned were back to spruce up their tents and the campsite surroundings with a variety of Scouting gadgets. Plate rack, shoe rack, towel line, mug-holder, and pot hanger were few of the gadgets lined up at the campsite.

A session on ‘Health is Wealth’, in the language of preference: Tamil, English, and Hindi allowed the scouts and guides to introspect, be informed and take a pledge to keep healthy always. The session focused on ‘6 tips to maintain a healthy body’,  ending with a 12-point resolution, that included saying no to junk food, segregation and correct disposal of garbage, building healthy and happy, positive relationships and giving up spending too much time on smart gadgets. The interaction, sharing and learning at the session provided a good level of participation for the eager-to-be-healthy campers.   

The not-to-be-outdone scouts and guides encouraged and inspired by their sub-camp chiefs and trainers put up a fantastic physical display in their respective sub-camps post-tea.

The lowering of the Flag ceremony at sun-down, also marked the last sunset of 2018, with the participants of the 13th National Boscoree all eager and ready to welcome the New Year 2019 with choral recitations, theme presentations and a moment of spiritual awareness at 00:00 hrs.

The Chief Guest at yesterday’s inaugural ceremony, Ann Choi, Deputy Commissioner of the Scout District of Hong Kong said, “This is my third visit to India and yes, I have been to Panchmarhi earlier and experienced the camps. But here, in Nashik, at this Boscoree, I am deeply touched by the warmth, eagerness, enthusiasm, and spirit of the scouts and guides. Yes, this is something I will take back to Hong Kong as fond memories.”

Sunday, December 30, 2018

BIS #5719 Ms Ann Choi from Hong Kong inaugurates BOSCOREE 2018 at Nashik


The 13th National Boscoree began with great pomp and fanfare with 4058 scouts-guides and 477 officials and dignitaries gathered on the Father Sean McFerran Parade Ground, Divyadaan. The solemn inaugural ceremony began at 14:00 hours and showcased varied cultural performances portraying the grace and colour of the different regions of western India, particularly from the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.


The scouts and guides from Dakor, Ahmednagar and Kawant enthralled the gathering with their spirited enthusiasm swaying to the beats of the dhol, the lezim and the cymbals. The Salesian students of Divyadaan Salesian College of Philosophy enhanced the ceremonial extravaganza with their polished band pieces.  The percussionists from Sacred Heart School, Nashik provided the local flavour with the feisty rhythmic Nashik Dhol.

Further on, the ceremony struck a solemn note as the dignitaries were escorted by the colour party to the stage at the call of the bugle. This was followed by the flag break, the national anthem and the scout prayer song.   Immediately thereafter,   17 groups representing the scouts and guides from the different Don Bosco and Auxilium schools participated in a brilliant and highly disciplined march past to the beats of ‘Colonel Boogey’.  The Chief Guest, Ms Ann Choi, the Deputy District Commissioner of the Scout Association of Hong Kong took the salute. A serene and synchronized prayer dance by the students of Kilbil School, Nashilk was then followed by Father Ian Doulton, the Boscoree Camp Chief welcoming the gathering and encouraging the scouts to be strong and self-reliant. “Scouting is a way of life that reminds you that today you are a young citizen of this great country but before long you will be a full-fledged adult citizen of India.” said Father Doulton.

The Boscoree Souvenir was released by Ms Choi, and a few of the eminent dignitaries addressed the camp. These were Sister Rita Dora the Provincial of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Mumbai Province; Father Godfrey D’souza, Salesian Provincial of Mumbai; Father Robert Simon - the Don Bosco Youth Association Delegate for South Asia; Bishop Lourdes Daniel of the Diocese of Nashik; Dr. Ravindra Singhal, Commissioner of Police, Nashik City and Ms Ann Choi. “We need you to be ambassadors for Scouting,” said Choi as she encouraged the scouts to continue the scouting legacy of instilling leadership, character and service and declared the 13th National Boscoree open.

The highlight of the event was the unveiling of the ‘I Love Boscoree’ selfie point by the Chief Guest. The installation is sure to be a fascinating crowd magnet over the next 2 days.

The inaugural ceremony concluded with a performance of the Boscoree 2018 theme song with Father Doulton, the Camp Chief dispersing the gathering.  





The students of Don Bosco and Auxilium, Savedi, Ahmednagar, staged a brilliant dance performance of Maharashtrian culture. They combined traditional folk dances of the farming and fishing communities and finished off with the famous film song ‘Malhari’. The over 40 strong dance troop shook the ground with their electric performance, much to the audience’s amusement.

The students of Don Bosco Dakor put up a medley of Gujrati folk dances. The couples were clad in bright and shiny cultural costumes and gyrated to the tunes of folk songs.

The students of Don Bosco Kawant showcased their Ratwi culture in true Ratwi spirit with live music and a dance performance that proved to be a visual spectacle. Besides their periodic yelling and feet-tapping music, they entertained the crowd with the spectacular dance formations which demonstrated excellent balance and skill.

Camp Chief – Father Ian Doulton welcomed all the Scouts and Guides who had come from all over India and Nepal, for the 13th National Boscoree. He quoted Lord Baden Powell, “We ought to strive to leave this world a little better than we found it,” to inspire the young Scouts and Guides to give their best not only during the Boscoree but even in the events of daily life. He went on to give a succinct explanation of the theme of the Boscoree namely, Health, Harmony and Holiness. He indicated "...the connection between good physical health and a good all-round personality is very crucial and important as is harmony. It is the need of the hour of today and holiness can be achieved in the simple events of life."

Nashik City Police Commissioner, Dr Ravindra Kumar Singhal, who was the Guest of Honour, delivered a fiery speech to the assembly. He congratulated the organizers saying, "I commend the discipline of the students and the helpfulness of the Salesians in educating the school students across Maharashtra. You students , scouts and guides, with your disciplined lifestyle and example can do whatever you set your mind to, provided you are willing to work hard to achieve it."

Ms Ann Choi, the Deputy District Commisioner of Scouts and Guides, Hong Kong, stressed the relevance of the theme. She spoke of the benefits of health, harmony and holiness and how the Scout and Guide Movement is directed towards achieving them. 

Fr Godfrey D’Souza, Provincial of the Mumbai Province, used the story of the good wolf and bad wolf to drive home the point that good must be done and evil must be avoided at all times. He encouraged the students to take the first step in this direction during the Boscoree and carry forward all that they learn here to the places they come from.

Sr Rita Dora, Provincial of the FMA province of Mumbai, informed the gathering of the excitement that has been steadily building up among the organizers over the past 18 months. She encouraged the participants saying, "make the best of the opportunities that will come your way over the next few days."

Fr Robert Simon, National Delegate for Groups and Movements, congratulated both participants and organizers for making this mega-event a reality. He emphasized the cultural dimension of the Boscoree and indicated its potential to help all the participants to grow in Health, Harmony and Holiness.

Bishop Lourdes Daniel, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Nashik, extended a warm welcome to all those gathered, saying, "I am very happy seeing so many people from all over the country and beyond. I ask you Scouts and Guides to live up to the promises you made at your initiation."



BIS #5718 GET SET GO: BOSCOREE 2018

by BIS Media Network

NASHIK, DEC 29, 2018: The 13th National Boscoree, a gathering of the Don Bosco Scouts and Guides is all set to commence in Nashik from December 30, 2018, to January 3, 2019. Organised by the Salesians of Don Bosco, 4815 participants are expected to participate in this mega extravaganza themed 'Health, Harmony and Holiness'.

In the pre-camp preparatory days on December 27 and  28, the Boscoree organisers assessed the preparation made thus far, focusing on sorting of souvenirs, camp book, staves, and the Teenager magazines into sub-camps. Each committee is finalising the preparations with Father Savio Silvera, Father Glenford Lowe, and Father Ian Doulton closely monitoring the completion of preparations.

All the subcamp chiefs with their assistants and team are working on tent pitching. BOSCOREE 2018 is awaiting the participants, preparing their campsites to welcome the Scouts and Guides who are expected from all over the country, pitching tents, organising their camp areas, erecting the flagpoles, and preparing their camp gates. While a good deal of work was accomplished there are still things to check off the list.

The following schools - Little Flower School Imphal, Auxilium Higher Secondary School Meghalaya Shillong, Don Bosco Chingmerong Imphal, Don Bosco High School Satgaon, St. Thomas high School Tinsukia, Don Bosco School Siaha Mizoram, Auxilium Convent School (New Church, West Bengal), Don Bosco Higher Secondary School Umswai, Don Bosco School Mao Gate, Holy Child School Guwahati, St. Mary's Convent School Geyzing, St. Mary's Rosseta Guide Company Chenikuthi, St. Anthony's Higher Secodary School Shillong, St. Joseph's High School Moranhat, Assam, St. Mary's High School, Barpeta Road, Assam, St. Xavier's (Don Bosco) Harmulty, Lakhimpur, DBHS Karbi, Little Flower Higher Secodary School Dibrugarh, Assam - have already arrived at the campsite, even though many of their trains were delayed by seven to nine hours. Father Rolvin D’Mello, Father Ajoy Fernandes, Brother Neville are coordinating the travel arrangements.

The food committee on its toes since the morning of December 27 has been catering to 250 organisers reaching a total of 380 people (250 organizers and 131 participants) for breakfast and lunch on December 28.

One hundred and ninety mobile toilets are installed in the camp area with all the washrooms and toilets of the Don Bosco School and Kilbill School made available. A total of 54 housekeeping staff are working round the clock to maintain cleanliness, hygiene, and sanitation.

The programme committee is rehearsing for the grand opening ceremony, peace rally, grand campfire, and valedictory function. The unique feature of this edition of the Boscoree 2018 is the Digital Campfire, without using wood, ensuring that along with a no-plastic focus, the entire event is eco-friendly.

The work of sorting 4,500 camp kits containing 45,000 different souvenirs for 16 sub camps has also been completed. A total of 76 Rovers and Rangers from Naigaon, Nashik, Alirajpur, Lonavla, and Dakor are participating as volunteers. Prominent local newspapers in Nashik like the Sakal, Lokmat Times, Maharashtra Times, Pudhari, Loksatta, Divya Marathi, Punya Nagari, carried 'curtain raiser' articles on  December 27, 2018.

''There's a lot of excitement and enthusiasm in the air. With all the scouts and guides arriving tomorrow, we will be truly on course,'' Father Ian Doulton, 13th National Boscoree Camp Chief said.

Friday, December 28, 2018

BIS #5717 5,000 Don Bosco, Scouts and Guides arriving for BOSCOREE at Nashik

Mumbai, Dec. 28. The 13th National Boscoree, a gathering of the Don Bosco Scouts and Guides is all set to commence in Nashik from 30 December 2018 through to 03 January 2019. Organised by the Salesian Province of Mumbai Province, 4815 participants, are expected to participate in this mega extravaganza, themed 'Health, Harmony and Holiness'. 

Scouts and guides from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Punjab, etc., including those from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Pondicherry and Nepal are participating in the event. A massive total of 141 units from 22 states and 2 Union territories from the Salesian and FMA institutions belonging to the 12 provinces of India will experience living in 200 tents spread over 16 sub-camps. Don Bosco and Kilbil schools along with Divyadaan Salesian College of Philosophy, Salesian Training Institute, Sacred Heart Training Centre and Maria Vihar will be hosting this mega event. 

The theme of this BOSCOREE 2018 focuses on the impression that the scouts and guides leave on the society and environment around them. The BOSCOREE Programme Committee has set out five objectives for the 13th National Boscoree: To promote a healthy lifestyle, to build harmonious bridges with people and environment, to become noble and holy souls, to radiate the Salesian charism of Don Bosco and St. Mary Mazzarello, and most importantly to give the scouting movement greater visibility across  India. The entire BOSCOREE is an opportune moment to educate the youngsters about the 'Great Commandment of Love'''. The Three Loves—Love of God, Love of Neighbour and Love of Self—resonates well in the 3-H formula: HEALTH-HARMONY-HOLINESS.''

The catchy BOSCOREE Anthem penned by Father Savio Silveira sdb is set to music by the famous musician Louiz Banks. Singers Father Sunil Pinto, Archana, and the students of Don Bosco International School - Matunga blended their voices under the guidance of sound engineer Neil D'Souza. The anthem is choreographed by the scholastics at Divyadaan Salesian College of Philosophy Nashik. 

The BOSCOREE 2018 will be a 'green' event without flex banners, plastic cutlery, styrofoam decorations, etc., in keeping with the pledge to stop polluting the environment with one-use plastic. Decibel levels during the entire event will be monitored closely, ensuring that sound and noise pollution is minimalized. 

The 13th National BOSCOREE will be remembered for a lot of records. A total of 4564 participants (2067 Scouts, 1547 Guides, 169 Scout Masters, 137 Guide Captains, 111 Salesians, 42 FMAs, 477 Host Province team) from 141 Institutions belonging to 22 Indian States, 2 Union Territories, and 2 Countries will be under 200 tents spread over 16 sub-camps from 30th December 2018 - 3rdJanuary 2019! Eight sub-camps have been allotted for 77 Units with Scouts and Guides, three sub-camps have been set aside for 22 Units for exclusively Guide Companies and five sub-camps will accommodate 42 units having Scout Troops.

Father Glenford Lowe, Programme Coordinator BOSCOREE 2018 says ''planning for and preparing the programme for the Boscoreehas not only been a humungous enterprise but an exercise in endurance, expertise and excellence, and I am happy to share this journey with all the scouts and guides, most especially with the youth and lay collaborators together with the young Salesians in formation.''

Father Godfrey D'Souza, Mumbai Salesian Provincial in his message says, ''Don Bosco would tell his youngsters to run, jump, shout, dance and have fun but not to sin. The purpose of scouting is to actively engage and support young people in their personal development, empowering them o make a positive contribution to society. May this Boscoree and this togetherness help each one to expand their horizons through rich interactions and may your colours bring out the beauty and the grandeur of India that is made up of a variety of peoples yet ONE.''

Sister Rita Dora Thomas, Mumbai FMA Provincial welcomes the participants with, ''you have the joy of staying together, sharing, caring, and living out the objectives of scouting and guiding [...]

The inauguration is to take place on Sunday 30th December 2018 at 3.00 pm by His Lordship Bishop Lourdes Daniel, Bishop of Nashik Diocese, in the presence of Dr. Shri Ravindra Kumar Singhal, Police Commissioner of Nashik. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

BIS #5716 GOD CALLED AND THEY ANSWERED

by Karen Laurie

MUMBAI, DEC 22, 2018: Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, welcomed three new priests, Father Rudolf D’Souza (37), Father Justus Mendis (31), and Father Sunil Pinto (29) into the Catholic Church through the Sacrament of Holy Orders at the Shrine of Don Bosco’s Madonna, Matunga, Mumbai on December 22, 2018.

“Jesus calls each one differently. Some like Saint Paul he actually drops off a horse and rubs it into them that He is the one who calls them for greater things. For others like Saint Matthew, a profound look of compassion and a simple ‘Follow me’ is all it takes for a man to give up his possessions and follow the Lord. Mine has been no extraordinary journey but a feeling that snowballed into a desire that further developed into a conviction,” Father Pinto said.

Father Pinto felt attracted to the priesthood as a young altar server in Mumbai. “As a child, I was aware of the respect priests received, the grandeur of their vestments, the reverence with which they celebrated Holy Mass. What also contributed was that my parents, grandmothers, catechism teachers, spoke highly of the religious,” Father Pinto said. “My mum prayed for me to become a priest. She wanted one of her children to become religious.”

“My family would visit the Shrine of Don Bosco’s Madonna quite often as we were devotees. On one occasion – while I was in kindergarten - I was playing in the Shrine office, when Father Aurelius Maschio, the then Shrine in charge, who was seated behind his desk called me and said, ‘You will be here one day’.”

“Years later while staring at a picture of Father Maschio in our seminary at Nashik, my mum recounted the incident to me. Together we could see the hand of God gently leading me into the Salesian congregation.”

Father Pinto, the second of three siblings, heard God call him at a school retreat in class 10. He was grappling with the pressures of adolescence and low self-esteem. During Holy Adoration, the world didn’t seem on his shoulders anymore, he was on Gods shoulders. Deep within his heart, he felt Jesus telling him, “Come, follow me.”

Tears welled up in his eyes and as they rolled down his cheek, he felt a peace that surpassed all understanding and he decided to ‘follow Him’. The whole hour with Jesus is etched in his memory forever. For the remainder of the retreat, he was as peppy as a child with candy, latching on to every word by the Salesian priests conducting the retreat.

Father Pinto was so fascinated with the tales of Don Bosco that he lapped up the invitation to attend the Salesian mission camp at Ahmednagar, where he ate with villagers, worked with them, and made friends with like-minded youth living the same experience.

Unsatiated, he signed up for a more intense camp with the Salesians in Gujarat for eight days. He followed it up with a vocation camp in Don Bosco Lonavla, after which he made it his motto: “Monk or no monk, I want to be with Don Bosco.”

“My family stands witness to the blessings and miracles they have experienced ever since I left home to be a priest,” Father Pinto said, adding, “On a personal front, my talents have doubled in the Congregation and there have been a number of opportunities to bloom and grow.”

In the 13 years that followed, Father Pinto underwent wholistic - human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral -  formation. It included spiritual activities like daily mass, retreats; practical training in various settings, like schools, parishes; academic study and all the passions of a Salesian including sports, learning instruments like guitar, trumpet, composing music, drama - it was a roller-coaster ride!

As Father Pinto looks back at his experience in the Adoration Chapel in high school, to his initiation into the priesthood in the Catholic Church, he said, “Jesus calls people in different ways, the call in itself is a process and has matured. I am forever grateful.”

Reaffirming Father Pinto’s words is the story of Father Justus Mendis, who received his call in a very ‘different’ way. A vivacious lad of the Mumbai suburbs, Justus Mendis, did all the things most little boys would do. He spent longs hours playing with friends, never missed an opportunity for a jovial prank and loved being on the playground just as much as he detested books. Indulgences like sweets and ice-creams, uninterrupted TV time are what he perennially desired. He was a regular seven-year-old full of life and promise.

And then the unthinkable happened. “I woke up one morning and tried getting out of bed but couldn’t feel my feet. With great difficulty, I pulled myself up and struggled to the washroom, after what seemed like a mile!”

“The easiest task of brushing my teeth seemed like a nightmare. My hands were numb, I couldn’t even hold the brush. I didn’t know what was happening to me and couldn’t express it to my parents,” Father Mendis said.

Assuming it to be one their son’s ploys to avoid morning tuitions, Father Mendis’ father decided to personally drop him to the class. It was there that the teacher realised, he could not even hold a pencil. She informed his parents, who had to carry him out to the nearest hospital.

Father Mendis was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system causing paralysis - a rare disease in a child.

While the parents grew increasingly desperate, watching their younger of two sons slip away, they were advised by a well-wisher to attend Tabor Ashram- a Catholic spiritual retreat centre. They went with hope and returned with faith! For the first time, in a few days, Father  Mendis was able to raise his hands and pray before the Blessed Sacrament. During the course of the retreat, he found the strength to eat his first meal, by himself, in a long time.

The family returned home, to God. The family rosary was never missed, more prayers were said, Holy Mass became very meaningful, prayers groups were welcomed home. One such visit by his then principal, also the assistant parish priest moved Father Mendis deeply. “For a priest, that too my principal, to come to my house, his words of encouragement and prayers touched me a lot. I made a personal commitment to offer my life up to God in thanksgiving,” Father Mendis said.

Spiritually invigorated, Father Mendis took baby steps back to normality. “I underwent treatment and physiotherapy. I had to learn to walk and write again. Within six months I could attend school. Within a year, I was running like other children. As the years went by I would always say my personal prayers but my personal commitment to God seemed to fade away.”

Fast-forward to high school, the visit of a Salesian vocation promoter jogged Father Mendis’ memory about his childhood commitment. So when asked what he wanted to be on growing up, the answer was – “a priest.” He stayed in touch with the vocation promoter, attended the Salesian vocation camp and 13 years since is a priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

While Father Pinto responded to God’ call in is his adolescence and Father Mendis in his childhood, for Father Rudolf D’Souza the turning point was in his youth. The only son to his parents, he felt it his duty to provide for his family. And so he did.

Immediately after graduation, he took up a job to support his parents. He had to work away from home in Mumbai, to make this possible. It was during these times of solitude that he was reminded of his decision at a class 10 retreat, to commit his life to God.

His mind kept wandering back to his only experience with the Salesians, as a volunteer for the Shelter Mela, a fun-festival the Salesians hold for street children. As a college student, Father D’Souza had a close encounter with Salesian priests during this experience. So he picked up the Madonna magazine, the largest selling English Catholic periodical in India, produced by the Salesians of the Mumbai province, and contacted the vocation promoter.

Full of fervour, he joined the Salesians to serve the young, in the footsteps of the Founder, Saint John Bosco. Breaking the news to his parents he anticipated would not be easy, being the only child. His gracious parents soon embraced their son’s choice. “For my family, it is a preparation for a wedding,” Father D’Souza said, speaking of his Ordination to the Priesthood on December 22.

While Father D’Souza’ vocation story had a fairy tale ending, the plot was dramatically laden with triumphs and tribulations. He recalls the time he had to bid adieu to the staff and students of the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Chinchwad Pune, where he was placed for practical training.

“The members of the community and students, who come from economically poor backgrounds had a farewell for me. Each student said a poem, a speech, a song, and there were so many of them. I realised that I must have touched their life, that’s why they were so grateful. I felt very grateful to God for my vocation,” Father D’Souza said.

Another incident that serves as a motivation for him is during his tenure at the same Institute. For the course in draughtsmanship, there was just one girl enrolled in a class of boys. It made her feel extremely out of place and disappointed despite having enrolled in the course with great enthusiasm. Father D’Souza – then a brother – coached her in English and encouraged her all through.

She passed with flying colours and secured a very good job, never failing to call the Institute and express her gratitude. But there were also moments of disappointment like when Father D’Souza was publicly scolded for not completing a task by a superior or when he had a tough time dealing with a trouble-making student unresponsive to any intervention.

“We go through the same experiences, the same turmoil, and the same happiness. We are no different than others. We just get more opportunities to pray, to make a retreat, " Father D'Souza said, adding, "Being a priest is a privilege, a blessing!”

Sunday, December 23, 2018

BIS #5715 "I AM JOSEPH; DO YOU HAVE ROOM FOR MARY AND JESUS?"


by Meryl D'Lima

KUWAIT, DEC 22, 2018: The Ray of light, the Faith and Light Community from the Saint Therese of the Child Jesus parish in Kuwait organised a session of Christmas carols for those with intellectual disability (special needs), their families and friends on December 11 and 17.

The carol singers visited 10 families on their caroling journey this year. The newly elected core team of the community, Coordinator Joshua Ratos, members Sweedle D’Souza, Christopher Rozario, Anthony Alleluya,
Meryl D’Lima with friends from the community, Nibin Joseph (guitarist), Michelle D’Costa, brothers and sisters with special needs, continued the caroling tradition that began two years ago.

“I was feeling so happy to sing and visit my friend’s home,” Xyruz Mago who represented St. Joseph, said. Sheetal D’Souza and Angel D’costa both played the role of Mother Mary on each of the two days while Kenny Dias proudly carried the Star. The goal this year was to visit families, introduce the newly elected core, and most importantly to spread the Christmas message of hope, peace, joy, and love.

The caroling was entitled, "I am Joseph, do you have room for Mary and Jesus?" The carol singers began their journey by knocking on the door of each of the families they visited. When the door was opened Joseph said, "I am Joseph do you have room for Mary and Jesus?” When the family answered, “Yes”, Mary and Joseph entered along with the carolers singing Christmas Carols.


“I felt really nice visiting my friends and making their families smile. I loved singing and dressing as Mother Mary,” Sheetal D’Souza, who represented Mother Mary on day one, said. 

Scripture passages taken from the Gospel of Luke announcing the birth of Jesus Luke 2:1- 6, and the shepherds and the angels Luke 2: 8-20 were read. This was followed by a prayer praising God for sending His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, as well as a prayer for the intentions of the family that they may prepare room for Jesus Christ in their hearts this Christmas season, and to spread the love, hope, joy, and peace of Jesus Christ to everyone they meet.

The prayer ended by reciting an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. After the prayer, Mary and Joseph went to each family member with baby Jesus asking each of them what gift they would like to offer Jesus on His birthday. Though the journey lasted for 15 minutes or so. It was enjoyed by each one present with a smile and gratitude for the time spent together.

“The carol singing organised by Faith and Light in our home was a very memorable moment. Our kids loved it especially our daughter Calin Mariah Jithin. May God bless the Faith and Light team and all the wonderful people behind it,” Jithin James Thomas and Rony Jithin, the parents of Calin Mariah Jithin, who recently joined the Faith and Light Community said.  

Friday, December 21, 2018

BIS #5714 SYMBIOS MUMBAI



by Father McEnroe Lopes

MUMBAI, DEC 20, 2018: One hundred and fifty-six youth from the Mumbai region of the Salesian Youth Movement celebrated its annual festival, SYMBIOS based on the theme Youth, Encounter, Service (#YES) on December 13.

The inaugural address was given by a team from #SaferRoadsOrlem campaign and focused on spreading awareness on mishaps that happen due to driving on the wrong side of roads.

The #SaferRoadsOrlem campaign began on October 7, 2018, to spread awareness about road mishaps that have taken place in Orlem, Malad. Every evening residents of Orlem come out on the road from 7.00 pm - 9.00pm with awareness banners.

The aim is to prevent all especially bikers from riding on the wrong side of the road. This has now become a movement of citizens coming together to stand up and fight for a cause. Moira Fernandes and Neel Patel addressed the youth about the issue.

Fernandes first spoke about the beginning of the campaign, how it got people involved and the change one needs to bring in to make a difference. Patel then spoke about the use of social media that has helped in spreading this campaign.

Workshops were then conducted by Father Ashley Miranda, Father Mylin Noronha, and Blue Ribbon movement. Father Miranda’s session focused on youth, ethics, and morality. During the session, he stressed on different moral issues the youth have to deal with and a moral response that one needs to give. 

Father Noronha then spoke about different types of people that youth come in contact with and appropriate responses. Blue Ribbon movement held sessions on service that promotes youth activists.

Harold D’Costa, a cybersecurity expert, who assists the Maharashtra and Goa police in solving cyber crimes, then made participants aware of the dangers of being on social media. He highlighted the precautions that must be taken and shared his experience of working in this field for the last 15 years. 

The youth put up presentations to enhance the theme on the topics,  #YES to Family, #YES to Environment & #Yes to Spirituality. The day ended with telegames and moving to the beat of Zumba for the youth.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

BIS #5713 AWARENESS SESSIONS FOR MIGRANT WORKERS

by BIS Correspondent

MUMBAI, DEC 19, 2018: Around 70 people, including migrant workers, factory owners, and resource people attended the awareness sessions on addiction, tuberculosis, and HIV/ AIDS conducted by Don Bosco Balprafulta Suraksha Migrant Desk (DBBP)at Baiganwadi, Govandi on December 16.

There were different speakers invited to address a host of issues. Doctor Sangeeta and Aarti from Niramay NGO spoke about addiction, Ankush from Saksham Jan Urja (TISS) discussed tuberculosis (TB), and Eliyaz from Apnalay NGO created awareness about HIV/AIDS.

The session on addiction began at 10:30 am, wherein Doctor Sangeeta, with the help of a PowerPoint presentation and a video, explained the ill effects of drug use and how one can stop an addiction.

In the second session, Ankush from Saksham Jan Urja (TISS) showed those present a video on tuberculosis to raise awareness and later had an interaction with the migrants to address their queries.

In the third session, Eliyaz from Apnalay NGO spoke about HIV/AIDS where he began with a story and then informed the migrants about the disease. Aarti, from Niramaya NGO, also informed them about the difference between TB and HIV.

In the end, the DBBP staff thanked the resource persons and migrants for their presence and collected their feedback.

BIS #5712 SPORTS MEET 2018 – 2019

by Rosy Stephen

LONAVLA, DEC 19, 2018: The much-awaited Annual Sports Day was held on December 15, 2018, with great zeal and excitement at Don Bosco High School and Junior College, Lonavla.

The programme began with the comperes welcoming the gathering and emphasised on the importance of sports in a child’s life. The Chief Guest, Cdr. Gaurav Seth took the salute of the impressive march past of the students, coupled with some stirring marching music by the band.

The students entered into the spirit of the occasion in a grand way with the oath being administered by the school captain. An energizing equestrian display set the tone for the rest of the event. The students displayed mass drill, Zumba, taekwondo, pyramids, and gymnastics mesmerizing the audience with their energetic performances. Once the races began, the air was filled with cheering and tons of encouragement for the young athletes.

Students of classes 5 to 12 competed in events including sprints and relays. Fun games with parents, staff, and tug-o-war between the houses added to the enjoyment.

The overall champions’ trophy was awarded to the red house after which the programme was concluded by expressing gratitude to all those responsible, especially Father Velasli Bandya, the vice-principal and Dinesh D’Souza, for making the event a grand success.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

BIS #5711 POSTER HIM TO FOSTER HIM

by Brother Telston Lobo

KAWANT, DEC 17, 2018: A poster competition based on the theme of Christmas was held for boarders of Don Bosco, Kawant on December 15.

The youth were given some id
eas about Christmas and the look of a crib so as to boost their imagination which would eventually lead them to creatively sketch their posters. The boys felt one with their drawing and painting as they tried their skills in capturing baby Jesus in the manger, and his joy-filled parents.

The boys said that it was a learning experience for them as they got to use their imagination and creativity. For some it was an amazing experience collaborating with their partners, putting ideas together and cooperating with each other to come out with the perfect scene of Bethlehem. While some drew the Bethlehem scene, some drew a generous red Santa Claus with his bag full of gifts.

“One must have the necessary instruments, a clear idea of what has to be put on the poster and do it wholeheartedly,” Anand, a student, said. The onlooking staff was in awe as they observed the boys use their imagination and hard work to come out with wonderful pieces of art.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

BIS #5710 SYMBIOS PUNE 2018

by Brother Joyston Machado

Pune, Dec 10, 2018: Over 200 Catholic youth, aspirants, sisters, and brothers from in and around Pune, Chichwad, Lonavla, and Karjat gathered in Sacred Heart Parish, Pune for Symbios 2018 on December 9.

Symbios is a Salesian Youth Movement which connects youth from the north, south, east, and west. The event was planned and came to fruition in coordination with ICYM, Pune diocese youth movement.

The day was planned with a range of activities and a platform for interaction for the youth. On arrival, the youth were welcomed by a group of brothers who helped them with registration and a fulfilling breakfast.

The event began at 9:15 am with a flash mob dance led by the brothers of Theology along with the youth, encouraging all to mix around and mingle. The Rector of Sacred Parish, Father Michael Bansode welcomed the youth after which a prayer service highlighting the presence of God was led by the youth.

Father Stanley Fernandes, the Director of ICYM Pune, Father Michael Bansode, Father Ajay D’monte, Father Richard D’Silva, Father Jesu Robinson, and Father Johnson Kshirsagar lit the lamp and invoked God’s blessing. Elaborating on each aspect of the theme for Symbios, special persons and resource personnel were invited for the youth.

To start their session, a team of family members titled SHY group belonging to the Sacred Heart Parish shared their views on Youth and Family. The wisdom of real family life through group discussion with members of the group brought a lot of richness to this session.

One of the aspirants from Lonavla, Venus James remarked about the session on family saying, “I learnt that family is very important, without family what would be my life. I learnt that the most important thing is to give my parents a big hug and tell them how much I love them.”

A brief break and moments of interaction followed the session, after which the youth reassembled to listen and learn about the second aspect of the theme on Media and the Young. Father Lester with the help of a few youngsters from the two parishes of the dioceses conducted the session through a lively debate. The youth presented their issues on the boon and the bane of the media after which the general audience was asked to question, and choose for themselves whether they wish to stand on the side of media or against it.

Sister Manisha Parmar from the Assumption sisters, said, “The session was very helpful and enriching. It has enlightened many of us nuns who really are unaware of the media. The debate was thought-provoking and it helped me to be responsible with great freedom.”

The brothers from the Theologate organised lively and enthusiastic games by dividing the youth into 20 teams, electing a captain and enabling them through the help of fixtures and rotation to have a taste of 10 creative and exciting games.

The group was then led into the hall for the third aspect of the theme on Youth and the Church. Father Allwyn Misquitta in his multi-lingual style began his session by leading the youngsters into prayer, praise, and worship. The need of the young person and the call of the Church to be awakened leaders in the Church was his main subject.

Amalu Alex, a youth representative from Carmel parish said, “The session on the Church was very truthful and relevant, it spoke a lot about our life and our relationship with the Church. I was also privileged to attend Father Allwyn’s earlier inner healing services and this personal encounter with him, in reality, was great, but attending this was really amazing and spiritual.”

The peacefulness and deep thoughts about the reality of life and Church was immediately followed with a thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration. Father Savio Silveria, the Chief Guest celebrated Holy Mass and invited the youth to become the prophets of the 21st century. 

Following Holy Mass, Father Kshirsagar expressed the vote of thanks with a deep sense of gratitude to each and every individual who led the planning and who worked together in the execution of Symbios 2018. 

Sherin Raj, the President of the youth at Sacred Heart parish, expressed her experience of the day saying, “Through the three features of the theme on Church, Family and Media I came to know that how we as youth have an important role to play in all these three aspects of our life; there were fun and games too which made the whole day enjoyable, spiritual and an overall good experience.” 

BIS #5709 DON BOSCO SNEHALAYA IMPRESSES COLLECTOR

by BIS Correspondent

VADODARA, DEC 10, 2018: Sixty-seven children – joined the staff and management of Don Bosco Snehalaya, to welcome Shalini Agrawal, the Collector, who visited the institution for an inspection of the premises on December 5.

Don Bosco Snehalaya works for the marginalised children in Vadodara district. It was set up in 2001 for the holistic development and rehabilitation of children in need of care and protection. The institution provides basic and n
ecessary facilities and services besides shelter, food, and clothing to the young at risk.

Agrawal was impressed with the facilities she witnessed during her visit. She wrote, in the guest book, “I visited the institute today and received a very warm welcome by the loving children and staff. I was happy to see the cleanliness, the kitchen was very clean. The kids were studying. They have made beautiful pieces of art and craft. Football and basketball are the favourite sports of the children. The staff is dedicated and committed. Wishing the children and staff the very best in their future and life. May God bless you all.”

Thursday, December 6, 2018

BIS #5708 NEW COURSES FOR UNDERPRIVILEGED YOUTH


by brother Sanjay Ninama

KARJAT, DEC 5, 2018: Karjat-based Don Bosco Yuva Sanstha, a technical training institute for underprivileged youth in skills of fabrication, turning, fitting, welding, and air-conditioning repairs, added two new feathers to its conveyer belt of achievements, namely a two-wheeler mechanic course and a gas pipe technician class, to help empower youth.

Father Godfrey D’Souza, the Provincial of Mumbai province, Neera Asthana, the deputy general manager corporate communication and corporate social responsibility of Mahanagar Gas Ltd (MGL Company), Vinod Negi and Arvin from MGL team were present at the inauguration ceremony.

The students of Don Bosco technical institute organised a small programme for the guests. It began a welcome song followed by a dance. The Provincial then blessed the new gas pipe technician class, and Asthana cut the ribbon.

The two-wheeler trade was blessed by Father Manual Murzello, the Economer of the Mumbai province and the ribbon was cut by the Rector Father Anthony Santarita.

The Provincial then expressed his gratitude to the MGL Company for their financial support. “We have begun to celebrate Christmas here by sharing and helping each other,” Father D’Souza said.

Asthana then addressed the students saying that the aim is for youth to learn well and bear fruits in their life. “You have all the facilities provided here, make the best use of it,” Asthana said. After which, the principal expressed his words of gratitude to the Provincial and the MGL team for coming and making this event a successful one.  

BIS #5707 SALESIAN PROVINCIAL COMMUNITY DAY CELEBRATION


by Father Joaquim Fernandes

MUMBAI, NOV 5, 2018: Nearly 100 Salesian confreres along with the provincial councillors and most of the animators of communities, from the Salesian Province of Mumbai celebrated Provincial Community Day at Saint Dominic Savio, Andheri, Mumbai on December 3.

Father Godfrey D'Souza, Provincial of the Salesian Province of Mumbai, flanked by the provincial councillors, presided over the solemn Eucharist at 6.00 pm at the Chapel of Saint Dominic Savio.

Father Provincial gave a brief introduction during the Eucharistic celebration. He enumerated the four stages of Spiritual Growth by Morgan Scott Peck, a famous American psychiatrist. Stage one, he said, was a Separation from God - chaos. This is the classic ‘sinner’ stage where the individual is separate from God and therefore in spiritual darkness and moral chaos.

Stage two, he added, is Institutional / Fundamental - after reconciliation with God, the new believer will join a church/ministry/sect. Stage three is the Individual-Seeker stage, wherein healthy believers will grow as individuals and develop an identity separate from the group. They’ll start to question doctrines that don’t really gel with the Scriptures or make sense. They’ll seek truth - reality - beyond the limitations of their sect and elders, that is, if they sense they’re in error in one area or another.


Finally, in stage four, he said, believers, develop a living relationship with God, rather than just knowing about Him. This is the goal of Christianity and explains why the Gospel of Christ is called the 'message of reconciliation'. He thanked God for the Graces which have been showered on the Salesian Province of Mumbai and thanked all the leaders of the community for sharing the mission of Christ and Don Bosco.

Father Gregory Almeida, provincial councillor, then shared his reflection during the homily on the life of Staint Francis Xavier and how he consolidated Christian faith in India. “What was the secret of his success?” he asked, adding that when Xavier arrived in Goa, India, on May 6, 1542, he came to be admired for his ability to live and work side by side with the poor, seeking more converts.

The secret of his success, Father Almeida, said, was the regular spiritual exercises, his priority to the vow of Obedience and Poverty, his love for children, apostolic zeal, and above all his love for God. Though he passed away at a relatively young age, Xavier had accomplished much in his life. He interspersed the reflections with the Provincial Chapter documents and requested everyone to introspect into their lives and find how God calls us to be faithful to our mission.

He narrated the example of the football-playing Salesian priest Father Marciano “Rocky” Evangelista, who started Tuloy Foundation Inc., a home and training center for street children in Metro Manila in 1993.  He started the Tuloy center in the Philippines, with 10 lay volunteers in 1993. It helps ‘poor and abandoned children to regain self-worth and dignity, giving them a chance for a better life, acquire Christian values and habits for a decent, humane and Christian life, and develop the skills and training for self-reliance and integration into society’. This whole work runs on Divine providence and entirely by lay collaborators.

An informal gathering around Father Provincial led by a group of confreres, began at 8.00 pm. Words of appreciation and thanks were expressed towards Father Provincial and the provincial council by Father Brian Moras, Rector of  Saint Dominic Savio Andheri, the host community which was instrumental in organising the Province Community Day celebrations. It was a happy occasion since they begin celebrating the Golden Jubilee of their institution. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

BIS #5706 REACHING FOR THE STARS!

by Rosy Stephen

LONAVLA, DEC 4, 2018: A day before the Russian Soyuz spacecraft launched its latest mission to the International Space Station, students of Don Bosco Lonavla participated in a seminar on the theme of Space science, which involved satellite development, construction and launch on December 1 and 2.


The guests – Suresh Naik, the mission mentor, and Ex-Group Director ISRO, Present Chairman International Space Society, and Leena, the project head, were welcomed during the inauguration ceremony. Ruth Dethe, the Principal and Father Velasli Bandya, the Vice Principal felicitated the guests.

Naik then gave a presentation showcasing his role in the construction of satellites. He has worked with many satellites launched by ISRO, namely Aryabhatta, Chandrayaan, and Mangalyaan. He also discussed the different parts of rockets and launching of satellites, different types of satellites, and various challenges faced by scientists during the launch.

He focused on the life of an astronaut in space and the various difficulties faced by them. The workshop began soon after the inauguration, with 13 students participating. The youth got a hands-on experience. They were guided by Rajat Sharma, B. Tech, throughout the session.

On December 2 at 4:00 pm, the satellites that were constructed were launched with the help of a drone. Many students, enthusiastic parents, and teachers witnessed the incredible event. The programme concluded with a prize distribution ceremony. The students were honoured with medals and certificates. 

BIS #5705 DOMESTIC HELPERS DAY OUT

by Ramona Crasto

KUWAIT, DEC 4, 2018: Salmiya Parish Youth (SPY) Kuwait organised the annual Domestic Helpers Day for 100 deserving
domestic helpers on November 30.

Youth members of SPYorganised a fun-filled picnic for the maids and drivers at a chalet in Kabd. Joyalukkas Jewelry were the main sponsors for the event. This has been the seventh consecutive year of this initiative. The event began with Holy Mass being celebrated by SPY's youthful Spiritual Director Father Lionel Braganza, after which breakfast was served.

During the day, SPY members organised many games and activities after segregating everyone into groups. This was followed by a lively jam session after which lunch was served. The afternoon continued with more games and a vibrant fashion show. The event ended with prizes distributed to the winning team who played all the games with great enthusiasm. In the spirit of Christmas, hampers were gifted to all maids and drivers.

One of the guests Juliana D'Souza thanked SPY and said, "We are extremely grateful for this wonderful day and wish Father Lionel and SPY God's abundant blessings."

“Our main goal is to spread joy and happiness amongst these hard-working individuals who work 24x7 with almost no appreciation. It was a day well spent with the domestic workers who don’t see their own family very often. I am very thankful to all those who helped make this event a success and would urge more youth to be a part or contribute towards such causes,” Kiran Clement, a member of the youth group, said.