Wednesday, January 30, 2019


by Father Christopher George 

KAPADVANJ, JANUARY 29, 2019: ‘Salesian Parents’ Day’, a gathering of parents and family members of the native Salesians from Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh was celebrated at the Don Bosco Campus, Kapadvanj on January 27. The theme ‘Holiness for You Too’ was celebrated with 55 enthusiastic participants, not counting children and the Salesians.

A wonderful expression of Salesian Family spirit, this fellowship gathering provided a good chance for the Salesian confreres to express their gratitude to their parents. Father Mayank Parmar, Rector-Parish Priest of Don Bosco Kapadvanj welco
med the participants in the name of the Salesians and invited the mothers of the Salesians to light the lamp and commence the celebrations.

Father Ashwin Macwan compeering the programme asked the parents and family members to feel at home since they were amidst their sons who were trying to be faithful to the mission and vision of Don Bosco. Father Dinesh Vasava originally hailing from the south Gujarat tribal belt conducted a session of ice-breakers and action songs to enliven the proceedings.

The solemn Eucharistic celebration at noon was presided over by the newly ordained, Father Justus Mendis, Principal of Don Bosco English Medium School Dakor, while Father Parmar shared the homily reflection on the day’s Gospel drawing examples from daily lives.

Father Kansinh Mathew Katara, a native Bhil hailing from Rajasthan, currently serving as an administrator at Don Bosco Dakor gave a rousing speech in Hindi with a powerpoint presentation, focusing on the life and work of Don Bosco who invited his mother, Mamma Margaret and other parents to collaborate in his initiatives for the young.

Father Pravin Makwana, currently serving as an administrator at Don Bosco Kawant, speaking in Gujarati, emphasised the life of the parents of Don Bosco. He presented the noteworthy qualities of Mamma Margaret citing examples and anecdotes about her experience with the boys at the Oratory of Don Bosco.

The celebration comprised native Bhil and Gujarati Salesians and their family in traditional colourful attire, who were very pleased with the work done by the Salesians across the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan in Western Central India. The Salesian mission here comprising Self Help Groups, schools, oratory centres, boarding/hostel facilities, human rights interventions, catechetical production and dissemination, and youth development programmes are well appreciated by the families and relatives.

The celebration concluded with the Salesians and their parents pledging to live up to the Strenna 2019 of the Rector Major 'Holiness for You Too', in selfless loving of the other in their daily lives, witnessing to the Good News in the highly polarised religio-political times. K. C. Mal, the dad of Father Ashwin Mal, hailing from Jhabua District in Madhya Pradesh said, “Hope this celebration of the Don Bosco movement will help us as parents and you our sons to be able to influence more vocations for the Salesian Congregation.”



by Prashant Gaikwad

PUNE, JAN 21, 2019: The National Fire and Evacuation Day was observed at Don Bosco, Yerwada with Don Bosco High school, Safe Kids Foundation-Honeywell India, and Fire Brigade-Pune Municipal Corporation jointly organising a ‘School-Building Model’ competition for all the schools across Pune.

Almost 25 schools participated. There was a rangoli competition on the theme 'fire safety' as well. As a part of their ‘Awareness through demonstration and training’ programme, Fire Brigade of PMC displayed a live demonstration of fire-fighting and fire-safety.

The demonstration showcased hands-on drills of how to extinguish fires of different types with different types of extinguishers. The fire-fighting van of the brigade demonstrated how they control fire in various scenarios using a number of fire-fighting tools and equipment.

The Divisional Fire Officer (PMC), Sunil Gilbile described to the students the background and importance of National Fire and Evacuation Day. “Even a child can save lives of many people in case of a fire. Therefore, you all must be very much alert and must act smartly to save your own and others’ lives. Use the skills that you will acquire during today’s demonstration in your day-to-day life,” Gilbile said.

Teachers, Wali, Suryakant, Pranali, Sayma and students Tanish Das, Aditya Sawant, Nidhi Agarwal, and Pragati Chavan from standard seven participated in mock drills.

“I felt very proud after the drill of extinguishing the fire,” Das said. Agarwal added, “I was scared to see the fire at first but the officer's support made me fulfill the task confidently. It’s a lifetime learning experience for me.”

“The demonstration and drills will be very useful for all the students and teachers. We got to know the simple and effective techniques to extinguish a fire as well as save lives in case of fire,” Wali, a teacher said.

The fire brigade officials were then felicitated by Principal Father Bosco D'Mello, who also advised the students to be vigilant in avoiding incidents of fire as well as fight bravely and tactfully by following all the safety measures.


by Brother Jittin Mathew 

MUMBAI, JANUARY 29, 2019: In an effort to show gratitude for the generosity and sacrifice of their benefactors, the management, staff, and boys of Bosco Boys Home (BBH) organised a ‘Thanksgiving Day’ at Don Bosco School, Borivli on January 26.

The programme began with the Rector of Bosco Boys Home, Father Corlis Gonsalves welcoming the Chief guest Father Solomon Rapol, the Rector of Don Bosco School and Parish, Borivli and the well-wishers.

Father Gonsalves thanked them for their kindness shown towards the boys and invited them to enjoy the show presented by the boys. The boys welcomed everyone present with a freestyle cum hip-hop fusion dance with six songs infused.

The highlight of the day was the musical ‘Armaan Sab Ka’ (everyone’s dreams and desires) performed by the boys. It was a musical play based on the life of an orphan, who grew up on the streets, encountered many helping hands in his life and how after landing in BBH, fulfills his dream (armaan) of attaining happiness and freedom, thereby overcoming his inner struggles.

The play was directed by Nizamuddin Shah and his team from Jannat Media Production. The welcome dance was choreographed by Anup Kashyap and his team from Muskaan foundation. The play was written by Cleric Jittin Mathew.

“It was a wonderful experience for me. It was the first time that I did a musical. The story felt so real because everything I acted on stage, I do every day in Bosco Boys Home,” Om Pendekar, an actor in the musical said.

“Every child has a dream i.e. armaan in his life. He may or may not fulfill it. It is the responsibility of the society to help every child to fulfill his armaan and make his dream a living reality because “Armaan Sab Ka,” Shah, the director of the play said.

 “The musical was really inspiring. It deeply touched and underlined the undercurrents of what goes on in the life of street boys and how they could be helped. It was an educative, emotional comedy-drama with a very important social theme and a Christian message,” Vaneesa Lobo, a benefactor said.

“In fact, it was Deacon D’Souza, who conceptualized and proposed, encouraged and made this musical (his idea) a reality- Armaan Sa Ka!” Father Gonsalves, the Director of BBH, said, adding, “The purpose of organising this event was to thank the benefactors and sponsors who have supported us and also to extend our gratitude to the volunteers who come and render their services and selfless sacrifice.” 

The vote of thanks was given by Deacon Romero D’ Souza, the Perfect of Studies. He extended his gratitude to all who were present for the musical play and invited each of them to spend some quality time with the boys whenever they could.


by Sheena Aery

VADODARA, JAN 29, 2019: The staff and students of Don Bosco High School (DBHS), Vadodara celebrated Republic Day on January 26 with a cultural programme comprising of speeches, a patriotic dance, and a flag-hoisting ceremony.

The Rector and Principal, Father Anthony Pinto and the Chief guest Doctor Parth Modi and his parents were escorted to the dais by the scout troop. Students from standard three to twelve, staff, parents, and ex-students were also present to celebrate the 69th Republic Day.

Doctor Modi is an alumnus of DBHS, Vadodara having passed out in 2008. He had secured 96% at HSC (Science) and stood first in the school. He then did his MBBS (2008-2014), Masters in General Surgery (M.S – 2014-2017) from B.J Medical College, Ahmedabad, and is presently a Senior Resident Doctor, Department of Neurosurgery Gobind Ballabh Pant Hospital, New  Delhi.

Doctor Modi had the honour of hoisting the national flag and awarding certificates for inter-house drama, science exhibition, and general proficiency at a prize distribution ceremony.

Addressing the students, Doctor Modi said, “15 years ago, one day, I saw a dream – to become a doctor, and held onto it so bad that the entire universe conspired to help me achieve it. I want to thank all my teacher’s and Alma Mater to help me become who I am today.” He urged the students to dream big and quoted J.F Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Doctor Modi was presented with a token of appreciation by Father Anthony Pinto, for securing the first rank at the All India National Entrance for super-specialty Neurosurgery and for consenting to be the chief guest for the 69th Republic day.


By BIS Correspondent 

MUMBAI, JAN 29, 2019: St. Joseph Industrial Training Institute [SJITI] successfully concluded a ‘Train the Trainer’ programme for 35 pre-vocational education instructors of the Maharashtra Technical School from January 2 to 25 at the Don Bosco Centre for Learning (DBCL) campus at Kurla, Mumbai.

SJITI-DBCL was selected from among five other bidders on the basis of excellent past experience of skilling and quality of training by the Department of Technical Education of Maharashtra State, the official body responsible for implementing and monitoring the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) across Maharashtra.

The Pre-vocational Education Scheme is over five decades old and is implemented by all the government and private technical schools, where technical subjects are taught in standards nine and ten, in addition to academic subjects, to prepare candidates for the Maharashtra State Secondary Certificate examinations.

This twenty-one day ‘Train the Trainer’ hands-on intensive programme is focused on effective implementation of the NSQF curriculum, adoption of new pedagogy, hands-on skilling, planning precise instructions, industrial visit, project work, entrepreneurship, Industry 4.0, personality development, and the preventive system of Don Bosco.

Father Colbert da Silva, Rector DBCL Kurla, addressed the valedictorians saying, “I urge you dear instructors to treat the students as your own kids, even as you put into the practice whatever knowledge and skills you have acquired during this training.” He further added, “The association built during these 21 days will not end, as the doors of DBCL are always open and you are most welcome any time.”

Amarr Prabhu, Principal of SJITI, said, “I am grateful and overwhelmed for the confidence and trust exhibited by the Department of Technical Education by entrusting SJITI-DBCL Kurla the opportunity to conduct this Train the Trainer, and I do hope that this collaboration will bear much fruit.”

Officers from the regional office present at the valedictory ceremony were: A. D. Shinde - Assistant Director, Gaikwad - Inspector RO, V. Shanke - Officer DEVEO, and Manjrekar - Officer DEVEO.

Shinde thanked DBCL for the commitment with which the training was conducted, saying, “I sincerely thank SJITI-DBCL for contributing to the state mission of skilling Maharashtra.” Gaikwad said, “I am greatly indebted to SJITI for accepting to organise and conduct this training programme and ensuring a high standard of delivery.”

Expressing their gratitude, the programme participants in their evaluative feedback said, ‘we are grateful to SJITI-DBCl for the high-quality content-oriented training and it is our humble request that similar training is organised more often at DBCL Kurla’.

The core objectives of this technical skilling programme are: self-discovery by the pupil of his own ability and aptitude, making him more alert and active; knowledge of industry, its methods of production, and effect on everyday social and economic life; satisfaction through self-expression by certain work while manufacturing articles; application of good design and good workmanship in any manufactured product; the ability to use tools and material for production; knowledge in selection, purchase, use, and care of manufactured articles both for use in house and in occupational life; ability to make sketches and drawing for constructional purpose and to read technical illustration in books and journals; basic knowledge in the use of tools, machines, material, and process to carry on educational and professional work at the scientific or technological level.


by Father Richard Burkhao

AURANGABAD, JANUARY 29, 2019: Over 300 children from 17 villages participated in Bal Melawa - a children’s gathering, to honour Saint Don Bosco at the community of Don Bosco, Waluj on January 27.

The villages are part of a village education programme being undertaken by the Salesians. Buses were organised to pick up and drop the children, who arrived in Waluj at 9 am. The programme began at 9:30 am with a short prayer service conducted by Father Pratap Damor, the in-charge of Don Bosco, Waluj.

Dr. Dnyaneshwar Patil Nill, the Sarpanj (Village head) of Naigaon, Bakwal Nagar, Jogeshwari, and Kamlapur, was the chief guest for the programme. While addressing the gathering, Dr. Nill congratulated and appreciated the Don Bosco institution for its wonderful initiative, not just for the programme but for its vision and mission for the rural areas.

Following breakfast, fun-filled fete games were organised by the youth group of St. Alphonsa Church, under the guidance of Father Richard Burkhao, the administrator of Don Bosco, Waluj. A varied and colourful cultural programme was then put up by the children from each village.

The event concluded at 5:30 pm, after which the children were dropped to their respective houses. Many children said that they had a wonderful time and wished it could be organised once again. “I have never seen such well-organised programme for the village children,” Dilip Loankar, the Principal of a school from Padampur village, present at the event, said.

Thursday, January 24, 2019


by Debjani Bhattacharya

NAVI MUMBAI, JAN 23, 2019: Don Bosco-Nerul celebrated its thirteenth Annual Thanksgiving Day on January 17 and 18 with joie de vivre.

Father Ajoy Fernandes, Director of Prafulta – Matunga and Don Bosco Research Centre- Matunga presided as the chief guest on January 17, while  Father Adolph Furtado, Vice Rector and administrator at Bosco Boys Home, Borivli graced the occasion on January 18.

The Guests of Honour were the students of class X and XII and their parents on January 17, while the Vice-Chairpersons of the Parent Teacher Association on January 18. The other dignitaries included Father Bonnie Borges, the manager, Father Donald Fernandez, the Principal, the headmistress and supervisors of the school.

The dignitaries were escorted to their seats followed by the pinning of badges. The programme commenced with the tiny tots of pre-primary welcoming the gathering with a welcome dance. A prayer dance was presented by the students of class one and two.

This was followed by the prize distribution ceremony, where the Chief Guest gave away prizes to the students with 100% attendance and the general proficiency awards for meritorious performances in academics, sports, and co-curricular activities held throughout the year.

Speaking on the occasion Father Fernandes emphasised the need of ‘Celebrating life’ the way it presents itself every day and making the most of it. Father D’Souza wished that love and kindness should rain in every home where children learn not only to respect and honour but also be tolerant and faithful.

The annual report guided the audience on the visual journey of the scholastic year 2018-19 synopsizing most events, activities, and happenings. A coffee table book,‘ Our Journey’  illustrating the vibrancy of the Institute, the progress of the students, milestones achieved in the last three years through pictures and articles was released by the Chief Guest.

The most awaited amalgamation of song, dance, and drama, ‘The Lion King’ based on the theme of the year ‘Listening and Accompaniment’ was then presented. The musical emphasised the art of listening that is reciprocal for teachers, parents, and children. Several values were carried home by the audience like ‘Being brave doesn’t mean you go looking for trouble’ or  ‘Don’t dwell too much on the past’.

"Playing a negative character isn’t really easy as you have to go against the ethos you stand for but we take lessons for life from such characters," Nigel George of class IX, who played the role of Scar in the musical said. “The stellar performances mesmerised and entranced the audience throughout and was akin to experiencing a broadway show,” Shikha Verma,  a parent said.

The programme culminated with the vote of thanks proposed by the Principal, Father Fernandez who said it was planning, hard work, teamwork, and minute detailing that made the Thanksgiving day worthy to be etched in one's memory forever. The audience dispersed with the catch-line of the play on their lips, ‘Hakuna Matata’ meaning ‘No worries’.


 by Sayali Anil Patare

PUNE, JAN 23, 2019: On the onset of Makar Sankrati, Don Bosco Primary school, Pune organised a ‘Kite Festival’ for all the parents and students of class one to four, bringing to life the festivities on January 18.

The programme took place on the school premises in the afternoon and was lead by teachers Archana Misal and Sharon D’Souza under the guidance of the Principal, Father Bosco D'Mello and Sangeeta Patil, the supervisor.

The programme commenced with a prayer service helping students know the importance of Makar Sankranti. The day is believed to be the commencement of the Spring season in India.

According to legend, Makar Sankranti commemorates the father-son relationship. In lieu with this, fun games were conducted by the class teachers for the students and their fathers, so as to share and uplift familial bonds. The mothers also participated enthusiastically. Kite-flying by the fathers and sons was the highlight of the event.

Parents and students were given spot prizes to keep the momentum going. The highest soaring kite award was bagged by Atif Sayyed from standard 4A and his father. “I am so happy to win this prize for the second time in a row. I’m thankful to my dad for teaching me to fly the kite,” Sayyed said.

Awards were also given for hand made kites, which were bagged by Mujavar Sayyed of standard 2A and Maverick Naigam of standard 1C. The award for unique kite was won by Annam Hansel of standard 1C.

“ I would like to thank the Principal, Father Bosco D'Mello and all the primary school staff for giving us an opportunity to make some time for our kids and spend quality time with them. Also I am very grateful for having got a chance to re-live my childhood,” Zameer Sayyed, a parent said.

I thank the management for a wonderful experience that we as parents could share with our children. This is the only school which takes the effort to have such events to strengthen familial bonds,” Anil Sahane, a father said.

“I am so happy my parents came to school for me and also played all the fun games with me,” Cynthia Salve of standard 1B said.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


by Priya Sahdevan

MUMBAI, JAN 22, 2019: New Year started with the remembrance of Saint John Bosco and his work at Shelter Don Bosco, Wadala, with the organisation of the monthly 'mela' for street boys on January 20. Around 55 youth from the age group of 10 to 30 years participated in the mela from different areas of Mumbai and Thane.

The day began with registration and welcoming the street boys with breakfast. This was followed by activities like colouring competition, key chain making, hair cut, bath, and clothes distribution for the youth.

Father Gregory Almeida, Director of Shelter Don Bosco, gave the boys an introduction to Don Bosco’s work with the Young at Risk; how his love and care changed the boys from wolfs to lambs. Arthi Jadhav from Niramaya Foundation coordinated an awareness programme on the prevention of HIV/AIDS which was organised by TATA Power.

The presentation was given by Arajit Singh, a social worker working with drug addicts and HIV/AIDS infected people. He succinctly made the boys aware of HIV/AIDS through case studies. The boys were given time for interaction with the speaker to clear any misconceptions like mosquito bites, eating together, sharing clothes cannot spread HIV.

After the interactive session, lunch was served to the boys, following which a movie was screened for them. The mela wound up on a cheerful note with the street boys expressing their gratitude to the staff of Shelter Don Bosco for the care and love meted out to them.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


by Chris Valentino

DAKOR, JAN 21, 2019: The Salesians of Don Bosco at Kapadvanj and Dakor organised the Salesian Youth  Movement (SYM) Youth Unity Fiesta / Yuva Ekta Mahotsav for the Diocese of Ahmedabad, in association with the Indian Catholic Youth Movement Ahmedabad (ICYM) and the All Gujarat Students’ Development Movement (AGSDM) at the Don Bosco Dakor Educational Complex on January 19 and 20. A total of 145 young adults participated at this festive extravaganza with the theme, ‘Holiness Means… Love of Self and Love of Neighbour’.

The festive proceedings began with registrations and a short inaugural prayer service on January 19, with the release of the balloon rosary, followed by a session of ice-breakers. After the initial mixers, the participants were animated in different groups by social activists, human rights personalities, and critical thinkers on various topics. Some of the topics under consideration were: discernment on the importance and participation in a democratic process, my rights-my choice, participation in good governance as an informed citizen.

The youth discussed the present socio-political situation in India, the climate of growing polarisation, and the inability of young leaders to emerge with a clear purpose and vision. As a consequence of the discussion, the youth were guided to reflect critically on their own personal integral development and to become aware of their responsibility to transform the Church and society by taking up leadership roles for a better India.

Father Mayank Parmar sdb, Director of DRISTI Don Bosco Kapadvanj, said, “This Youth Unity Fiesta was conceived as a platform to enable our youngsters to be able to intervene at the right time with the right purpose and intention to transform themselves and thereby enable the betterment of the Church and society.”

Father Irwin Lasrado sj, Director of the AGSDM, said, “This is a wonderful initiative for the youth of Ahmedabad to ask critical questions, understand the prevalent situation, and commit themselves to a long-term action plan that will effect change in Indian society.”

The youth reflected on the beliefs, experiences, roles, skills, and duties of the elected representatives from the local bodies till the parliamentary body. The youth were motivated to start from the panchayat to reach the parliament as responsible citizens. Eminent personalities from the social and human rights areas interacted with the participants enabling them to be aware and be proactive. Among them, Hasmukh Christian, Ratilal Jadhav, Kirit Mahida, Shobna, Shashikant, Anand Mazegaonkar, along with the Salesian Fathers, FMA nuns, Jesuit fathers, and the Diocesan fathers animated and enlightened the youth.

“This is a triveni sangam and together we have to enrich, encourage and motivate ourselves to be more responsible citizens who will participate dutifully to foster good governance in order to transform our Church and society,” Diocesan Youth Director, Father Vikram Mahida said.

Archbishop Thomas Macwan of Gandhinagar celebrated the Holy Eucharist and invited the youth to come together for the common good, doing away with all differences, and uniting for a common cause to acknowledge the zeal for a better society that believes in loving oneself and reaching out in love to others. “I congratulate and appreciate this venture for the foresight and wisdom with which it is organised to inspire and motivate our youth,” Archbishop Macwan said.

The two-day fiesta also included tele-games, garba, orchestra, action-songs, and creative displays of collage and rangoli on the theme of participation in the public political sphere.

“I sincerely hope that with our encouragement and accompaniment, the youth of this diocese will be able to reach that holiness which is possible for all of us in our daily lives. This is what I wish and pray for,” Father Bastin Thomas, Rector of Don Bosco Dakor said. “This is a great occasion to see so many enthusiastic youths willing to commit for the betterment of society,” FMA nun, Sister Hilda Braganza, Superior of Pushpanjali Dakor said.

“What we have begun here, we will continue and we hope to bring out our next issue of the Jyot on this specific theme,” Ripal Dabhi, Editor of Jyot said. “We can only go forward from here, together,” Vijay Parmar of the SYM said.

This first-ever collaborative venture ended with the youth committing themselves to a concrete action plan, pledging to meet again to position themselves as responsible citizens and probable leaders within the church and for India.


by Father Christopher George

RATH VISTAR, JAN 21, 2019: The Salesians of Don Bosco working in the Rath Vistar region of ChhotaUdepur, Kawant, Narukot organised the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) Tribal Youth Forum at Don Bosco Narukot on January 20. Comprising a total of 96 tribal youth from Jalod, ChhotaUdepur, Narukot, and Kawant, the theme for the occasion was ‘Don Bosco’s Missionary Zeal for the Tribal Peoples’.

Father Pravin Makwana sdb delivered the keynote address inviting the gathered tribal youth to learn from their elders and to emerge as game-changers in a society that is fast developing. He said, “Don Bosco sent his very first missionaries to work among the tribal people and following in his footsteps, the pioneering Salesians in Gujarat embarked on the adventure of education and social uplift among the tribal people of this region. We have come a long way since then, and now we have to come together to carry forward this zeal of Don Bosco.”

Father Stanny Fereira sdb, Salesian pioneer in the Rath Vistar region challenged the youth to live up to their identity. “It is now your task to live up to the great tribal ideals of self-worth, valour, and commitment to a cause. You have to acknowledge, accept, and own up your tribal identity which is getting lost in modern day development. You are the future of your community, the future of our society, and the future of India. You must rally together in unity so that you will be at the forefront of leading the change in mindsets and act with commitment,” Father Fereira said.

Father Ajit Munis, Rector at Don Bosco Narukot celebrated the Holy Eucharist and invited the young to make determined choices and witness the values of the Good News in their lives.

Don Bosco Chhotaudepur presented a skit on the use of social media. Don Bosco Kawant showcased a thematic presentation on ‘Being in Touch with God.’ Don Bosco Narukot presented a skit on ‘Green India’. Fathers Evangelo D’Souza, Ajit Munis along with Salesian Coadjutor Anthony Manickam animated the youth during the group discussions, inviting them to more responsible participation in the change-making process.

Along with serious discussions, group interaction, and action-plan commitment, the youngsters also had a jolly time in preparing rangoli, collages, painting, etc. The day was interspersed with action songs, claps, yells, and a whole lot of euphoric festivity in true Salesian style, peppered with traditional tribal gusto and vigour.

“This was a very challenging task, with so many difficulties but we pulled it off. Hope this gathering will enable greater future initiatives for, with and of the tribal youth aspiring to holiness with our listening and accompaniment,” Father Shaun D’Lima, who coordinated the event said.


by Jasmine Filipe

KUWAIT, JAN 21, 2019: The Catechism Ministry of St. Therese of the Child Jesus parish in Kuwait, conducted a symposium on ‘The Catholic Creed’ at Don Bosco School on Friday, January 18.

The symposium commenced at 8 am with a prayer led by catechist Genevieve Monteiro. Hilda Alphonso, the Catechism Ministry coordinator welcomed all the catechists and invited Father Francisco Pereira, the Catechetical Director of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia, to cut the ribbon and declare the symposium open.

A special booklet compiling the summary of the programme was presented to Father Pereira, Father Blany Pinto, Parish Priest of St. Therese parish, and Francis Sam, catechism coordinator. Vincent Rego was the emcee for the event that was attended by 70 catechists of the parish and a few invitees from neighbouring parishes.

The symposium, the first of its kind, was aimed at providing an opportunity to catechists to study the roots and history of the Creed, we profess. Each class from grade 1 to 13 showed great creativity in presenting a portion of the Creed assigned to them in 25 minutes through PowerPoint presentations, discussions, debates, skits, games, video clips, and audio clips.

Each class displayed a poster which summarised in pictorial form the entire matter and handouts with key references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Sacred Scripture were distributed.

“The symposium was excellent and served the great purpose of learning while presenting the tenets of our faith. This innovative idea by our Catechetical Director was excellent, ” Francis Sam, the catechism coordinator for the Vicariate said.

“It was interesting. The skits, charts, and handouts made it easier to understand the Creed,” Albertina Pereira, a catechist from the parish of Our Lady of Arabia said.   

All who participated in the event commented that its success was due to the involvement, planning, and creativity of the class leaders together with their respective teachers ably aided by the Catechism Core Team and Edward D’Souza, member of the Core Team, who coordinated the whole programme.

“I was truly blessed to attend the symposium. It has enlightened me and given me a deeper understanding of the Creed which will help me to pray it more fervently and meaningfully,” Winston Alphonso, a parishioner and the photographer for the occasion said.

The symposium ended with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist during which Father Pereira thanked and congratulated the catechists for their excellent efforts in presenting the Creed and encouraged them to continue to keep this learning ongoing.

Friday, January 18, 2019


by BIS Correspondent

MUMBAI, JAN 17, 2019: A National Seminar was held on January 8 and 9 at Mumbai University, Kalina, Mumbai, on the theme of ‘The Kristapuran and Sant Sahitya,’ in honour of the fourth death Centenary of Father Thomas Stephens sj (1549-1619). It was organised by the Gurudev Tagore Chair of Comparative Literature University of Mumbai; inspired by the twenty-three-year work of  Dr. Father Nelson Falcao sdb on the Kristapuran.

The Head of the Department, Dr. Anil Sapkal worked with Dr. Falcao for a year to plan the seminar, to invite various eminent speakers and academicians from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and to present their well-researched papers. The speakers, as well as the participants, were on a national and international level.

The seminar began with the unveiling of a portrait of Fr. Thomas Stephens sj,  by the Chief Guest, Professor Dr. Sadanand More, the recently appointed Adhyaksha of Maharashtra rajya  Sahitya Sanskruti Mandal.  After that followed the talks by Dr. Anand Patil who spoke on, ‘The Kristapuran, Sant Sahitya, Dalits and Injustice’. 

Writer and Publisher, Ramdas Bhatkal spoke on, ‘Kristapuran, Theism, Atheism’.  Professor Sadanand More spoke on, ‘Kristapuran, Anthropological Philosophy, and Justice’.   Fr. Dr. Nelson Falcao sdb was the main speaker and he presented the main and important ideas in his Bija-bhashan or the root-talk. Dr. Falcao gave an all-around presentation on the theme of ‘Kristapuran, Sant Sahitya, Puranas and Influences’.

Besides the above four talks, during the afternoon of the first day and the whole of the second day, the following talks were given:  Dr. Kalyan Kale, the ex-head of Marathi department of Pune University spoke on ‘Kristapuran and various editions’;  Dr. Cecilia Carvalho - ‘The Influence of Sant Sahitya on the Kristapuran’;  Dr. Anupama Ujagare – ‘Kristapuran and Kristayan of Narayan Vaman Tilak’; Dr. Balkrishna Lalit – ‘The Language of the Kristapuran’;  Father Francis de Britto -  ‘Kristapuran and the Bible’; Dr. Aparna Sabne – ‘Kristapuran and Sant Chokhomela’;  Dr. Annie Royson – ‘Kristapuran, Puranas in Marathi and translations’; Dr. Vedashree Thigle – ‘The Svarup (form) of the Kristapuran: Special and Relevant Contribution’;  Dr. Prajakta Shitre – ‘The Sant Sahitya at the Time of the Kristapuran’;  Dr. Bhaskar Hande – ‘Kristapuran and Art’;  Dr. Anil Sapkal – ‘Kristapuran and Sant Sahitya – Synthesis and Recapitulation’.   There were in all seventeen papers, with speakers cutting across states, cultures, religions, and languages.

Thomas Stephens set foot on Indian soil in 1579, making the country his home for 40 years until his death. He was born at Clyffe Pipard, Bushton, Wiltshire, England in 1549 and died in Goa, India, in 1619. His father was also named Thomas Stephens (Stevens) of Bushton, and his mother’s name was Jane.  Stephens studied at the Winchester College till the age of eighteen (1567).

During the persecutions and conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants in England, Stephens managed to escape to Rome. In Rome, he entered the Society of Jesus on October 20, 1575, and began his studies in preparation for the priesthood in the Society of Jesus.  Having heard and read the letters of St. Francis Xavier sj from India, inviting young people to the great harvest of Indian mission, he opted for Indian missions and with due permissions left Lisbon by sea on April 4, 1579, and arrived in Goa via the Cape of Good Hope, by October 24, 1579.  He worked in India for the rest of his life i.e. for forty years (1579-1619), 39 years in Goa and one year in Vasai.

Enamoured by the rich Indian tradition, zest for spreading God’s Word, and seeing an urgent need of Christian literature in Marathi language for the new-converts, Father Stephens went on to narrate the life of Jesus Christ, the  Kristapurāṇa, interpreting it in the Hindu-Vaiṣṇavaite tradition, just as St. Paul interpreted the faith in Greco-Hebrew categories and St. Thomas Aquinas in Scholastic terminology.  The Kristapurāṇa, a Christian Biblical Epic, is a classical example of Hermeneutics for the world to see.  It could be called an ‘Indian Bible.’  The original text is in Sanskritized ancient Marathi, consisting of about 11,000 verses.

The Sanskritized Marathi Poetry has been translated into Marathi Prose and also English Prose. In both the translations the original text has been given side by side in Devanāgiri and Roman Scripts respectively.  Through the Kristapurāṇa one can get a glimpse of the immense treasure which is part of Indian Christian heritage;  one can discover the wealth of Eastern, Indian Wisdom;  one can taste and see the mysterious riches of the face of Christ painted, interpreted, expressed in Hindu-Vaiṣṇavaite tradition.

Using the literary style of the Hindu Purāṇas, The Kristapurāṇa traces the history of salvation from Creation to Parousia, the focus being on the life of Jesus Christ.  Besides the monumental Kristapurāṇa, Stephens also wrote two other important works:  A Marathi, Konkani Grammar (Arte de lingoa Canarim) and a book on Christian Doctrine in Konkani language (Doutrina Cristam). Thomas Stephens is well known in several Indian Universities for his early (XIV century) literary contribution to Marathi Literature and culture of India.

After every session which consisted of three or four presentations of papers, there followed a small discussion or classification of ideas. During the short exchanges and discussions, various viewpoints emerged. Dr. Sadanand More, President of Maharashtra rajya  Sahitya Sanskruti Mandal said, “The word ‘Mission’ cannot be translated in Marathi. Wherever there is humanity there will be injustice, inequality, violence, and hatred. Kristapuran and Sant Sahitya is a help to build justice, unity, and peace. Among various Christian Puranas which were composed between 16th to 19th centuries mostly by foreigners, Kristapuran seems to be the only one that fits into the frame of Mahakavyas;  it is a Great Biblical Epic.”

“In all the Puranas the weaving thread is the eradication of human injustice, striving for classless and casteless society, equality of all, and peace among all. We need critical, just, and right interpretation and hermeneutics of Puranas,” Dr. Anand Patil, retired English Professor, Comparative Studies, Kolhapur said.

“Kristapuran and Sant Sahitya have three common weaving threads and they are:  ‘Bhakti’, ‘Sarveshwar, One God,’ and ‘Sarvadharmasamabhava’,” Dr. Ramdas Bhatkal, Gandhian, writer and publisher, Popular Prakashan, Mumbai, said.

Dr. Fr. Nelson Falcao sdb, professor of Philosophy and Theology,  speaking of his 23-year long journey with the Kristapuran, said, “Kristapuran is born out of the whole great Indian tradition of Puranas. Thus, there are many similarities and differences between the Kristapuran and the Sant Sahitya.”

“The Kristapuran could be called a Mahakavya because it fulfills all the necessary conditions required for being one such. The two critical editions of Dr. Falcao, both in Marathi and English and his forthcoming translations will help the research at college and university levels,” Dr. Kalyan Kale, ex-head of Marathi department, Pune University, said.

“The Kristapuran is teaching us that all religions should come together through interreligious dialogue and cooperation, and work out Sarvadharmasamabhav, peace, harmony, and non-violence,” Father Francis de Britto, Ex-Editor of Suwarta Magazine, said.

“The composition of the Kristapuran is much influenced by Sant Sahitya. Thomas Stephens read several Puranas and composed the Kristapuran according to the style and format of Indian Puranas,” Dr. Cecilia Carvalho, Marathi author, Ex-Principal of St. Gonzalo Garcia College, Vasai, said.

“There are some similarities and differences between the Kristapuran of Thomas Stephens and the Kristayan of Narayan Vaman Tilak,” Dr. Anupama Ujagare, said. “In the Kristapuran there are beautiful words of praise sung for the Marathi language.  Also, Dr. S.G. Tulpule has words of praise for Thomas Stephens for his Kristapuran. The Kristapuran falls under Smruti and it is a Mahakavya,” Dr. Balkrishna Lalit, Member of Marathi Abhyas Mandal, Savitribai Phule, Pune, Shirur Mahavidyalaya, Pune, said.

“There are a lot of similarities and differences between the Kristapuran and the Abhangas of Sant Chokhomela.  Both try to eradicate injustice, inequality, and differences based on caste. Both stand for human justice, equality, and casteless society,” Dr. Aparna Sabne, retired Marathi guide, Pune, said.

“The Kristapuran is the first retelling of the Bible; there being no Biblical translations before this text, this turns out to be the first indirect translation of the Bible into Marathi poetry,” Dr. Annie Royson, Ph.D. on the Kristapuran, said. Dr. Vedashree Thigle, Principal at Dindori College, Nashik said, “Human beings cannot digest the Great God, Sarveshwar. Kristapuran is full of values of life and of truth.”

“Thomas Stephens is the Shakespeare of Konkan and contemporary of the real Shakespeare of English Literature; both are from England;  Thomas Stephens is the first grammarian. He spent one year at Vasai (1611),” Father Francis Correia, ex-Editor of Suwarta Magazine, co-Editor presently, said.

“The Kristapuran is a Mahakavya. Thomas Stephens is a Marathi Poet.  Kristapuran is full of values of life. Jnana is common to all peoples,” Dr. Meela Gokhale, said. Dr. Anil Sapkal, Head of Marathi department, Mumbai University said, “The Kristapuran is a monumental work;  it is part of the syllabus in several universities and it calls for interdisciplinary studies.”

Thursday, January 17, 2019


by Shanti Fernandes

KUWAIT, JAN 16, 2019: Sixty-one catechists of St. Therese of the Child Jesus Church attended a retreat on the theme ‘Clay and Potter’ on January 12, conducted by Father Francisco Pereira, the Catechetical Director of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia. This annual event is marked as an important date in the life of a catechist in the region.
Father Pereira welcomed all the catechists and set the mood for the retreat by exhorting all to remain meditative throughout. A table was beautifully arranged with five jars that represented the five virgins who entered the wedding reception with sufficient oil to light their lamps. Six empty jars depicted the empty lives of people which Jesus would fill with his fire of love and mercy provided they follow him devotedly.

The first session included two hours of meditation on various topics in 10 different rooms. Every room contained a variety of pots, posters, and written material for the group to reflect upon. The pot on the right represented the potter, the small pot in the center with a candle represented Christ and the one on the left with unique containers exemplified the fragility of human life.

The participants were asked to visit each room, reflect on the topics, and ponder on the recurring thought, ‘Which Pot Am I?’ Every exercise was deeply linked to one's outer as well as an inner orientation with Biblical references.

After meditation, the catechists were asked to share their reflections with their partners. Then, Father Pereira connected the reflections on the pot to one’s daily life. This was followed by an hour of adoration where Father Pereira called the participants to submit every cell in their body to God by singing the hymn ‘Have Thine Own Way Lord.’

“Much appreciate the efforts taken by Father Franco Pereira, Francis Sam, Father Blany Pinto, and the parish catechism core to arrange such spiritually nourishing retreats for us, catechists.  I am very pleased and proud to be a part of this ministry. This retreat taught me how to be completely submissive and trust God at all times and always be the clay and let God be my potter, letting Him design me as He wills,” Catechist Rositta Lawrence said.

Father Blany Pinto, the Parish Priest, ended the retreat by expressing his gratitude to Father Pereira for his spiritual and Biblically linked retreat, as well as those who made the recollection a success.


by Deacon Romero D’Souza

MUMBAI, JAN 16, 2019: A Young at Risk (YaR) staff meeting themed, ‘Youth at Risk and the Preventive System’ was held on January 12, with 20 staff and five Salesians in attendance at the Bosco Boys Home (BBH) in Borivli.

The idea for the seminar was conceptualised at the YaR commission meeting held on July 22, 2018. Father Corlis Gonsalves, Director, and Rector of BBH welcomed the staff for the meeting after which Father Anthony Patole spoke about the importance of the seminar and introduced the speakers. The event featured three sessions: Reason expounded by Father Christopher George, Religion by Father Leon Rodrigues, and Loving Kindness by Father Ashley Miranda.

Father Christopher George shared his insights on the topic of ‘Reason’ wherein he addressed responsibility, functional values, firmness with flexibility, a proper understanding of freedom, rules, and principles to be seen as security and safe zone, ways of expression in the development process, and progress of a child. He had practical exercises in which he made the staff critically think and act on issues, context, and situations.

Father Leon Rodrigues in his session shared about the truths of ‘Religion’ which is basically seen in giving importance to life and living it, the sense of duty and faithfulness, the love to be of service, and above all to develop a friendly and loving relationship with God and others. He also made them the participants reflect on who is God and what God-experience is all about in their lives and in the lives of whom they come in contact with especially the children under their care and protection.

Father Ashley Miranda spoke about ‘Loving Kindness’ in which he dealt largely with the topics of availability and appreciation, patience and love, kindness and generosity, listening attitude, and to always be of help to the young. He then elaborated on the different types and kinds of abuses namely: physical, sexual, psychological, and verbal. He concluded with the understanding of beliefs with respect, reverence, dignity, and awe to the children.

In the afternoon, the post-lunch session was conducted by Deacon Romero D’Souza in which he briefed the social staff about the negative impact of 3 I’s: imperfectness, insultiveness, and ignorance; the importance of 3 H’s - happiness, health, and holiness and its connectedness to the YaR project.

Deacon Romero D’Souza also spoke about the Preventive System of Don Bosco based on the ABC: awareness and attitude, beliefs and balance, challenges, convictions, and commitment to life. He further invited the staff to grow in networking opportunities, to stay connected with each other as well as other NGO’s to have shared ideas and responsibilities.

The staff then shared their projects, activities, concerns, and experiences at their respective centers. This gave an insight into the different YaR connected works conducted at the centers. The staff also evaluated the day’s programme.

As a group, it was decided that a gathering or meeting like this should be held once every two months. It was agreed that a Whatsapp group would boost inter-staff networking. Father Anthony Patole concluded the event by presenting the vote of thanks.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


by Ratandeep Chawla

MUMBAI, JAN 14, 2019: The 4th edition of ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’, a festival of feelings conceptualised by Shalu Mehrotra was held by Prafulta Psychological Services on January 13 at St. Dominic Savio High School in Andheri for students of class five, six and seven from various schools in Mumbai.

The objective of this event was to create awareness among the students about their feelings and to help them express difficult feelings like anger, fear, jealousy, sadness in an appropriate manner.  The event was all Khushi or joy for the 350 children that participated in the programme and for the team of 60 counsellors and college students of St. Xavier’s who facilitated it.

Different time slots were given to each standard, beginning with class five at 9 am, class six at 10.30 am and class seven at 12 pm. Each session was for 1 hour 15 minutes, which comprised of a number of full-filled activities. The children were welcomed and emoticons drawn on everyone’s fingers.

The session began with an animated entrance into the mela where a story was narrated about a girl called ‘Pari’ who experienced various emotions during the course of the day. These emotions were labelled in the story as Ms. Bulbuli (happiness), Mr. Gusselal (anger), Mr. Ghabruchand (nervousness), Ms. Dukhiyari (sadness) and Mr. Jaljalan (jealousy).  The children were then assisted to integrate these emotions within their body and thoughts. “I really enjoyed the event and want my brother to attend this programme next year as he gets angry most of the time,” Pratik,  a standard six student, said.

In the later session, the counsellors and facilitators were constantly helping the children articulate their emotions on paper through drawing or writing. Those children who had emotional difficulty were identified and attended to separately. As a follow-up, their parents/school will be sensitised and emotional help will be provided.

Finally, in the last session through song and dance they understood that it was okay to experience different emotions; yet to act impulsively overcome by emotion may not always be healthy. Students were also taught to speak about their emotions to trusted people like teachers, friends, and counsellors.

While the students were engaged in the Festival of Feelings, parents who had accompanied their children to the festival, had a separate hour-long session on ‘Effective Parenting’. Experienced psychologists addressed a number of queries and concerns of parents. “There is a lot of aggression in children. They know what is right and wrong, yet they choose the easier option,” a parent pointed out.

The special highlight of this year’s workshop was that not only mothers but many fathers were in attendance. The interaction with parents was not just about academics, parents expressed concerns about their children’s behaviour, social media habits, and other areas of wellbeing. “While we know most of the things, such sessions help you open up your thought process,” a father said.

It was a fulfilling experience for the organisers as well as the counsellors to be engaged with young energy at the festival. “It felt good to be young again,” a counsellor, said. In the days and months to follow, Prafulta looks forward to continuing working with these children and their parents, thus building a more resilient and happy society.


by BIS Correspondent

KUWAIT, JAN 14, 2019: Fourteen of the twenty-one members of the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) at St. Therese of the Child Jesus parish in Kuwait were inducted during the concelebrated Holy Mass on Sunday, January 6.  Seven members were out of the country. The Holy Mass was celebrated by Father Lionel Braganza, concelebrated by Father Derick Misquitta, Rector of the community and Father Blany Pinto, the parish priest.

The induction took place during the festive Holy Mass of the Epiphany of our Lord. In his homily, Father Braganza highlighted the role of the star in guiding the Magi to Baby Jesus. He reminded the PPC members that they were leaders of various groups, associations, and language communities; exhorting them to be a star guiding the respective group members and parishioners to Jesus.

The induction ceremony followed the homily and the parish priest invited all the PPC members to come forward to the altar. The new members then took their oath of office and professed their allegiance to the person of Jesus Christ and to the teachings of the Catholic Church. At the end of Holy Mass, the parish priest thanked the outgoing PPC members for their three years of dedicated service and congratulated the new PPC members while assuring the prayers and support of the clergy and the entire parish.

On the following day, January 7, the outgoing and the freshly inducted members gathered for camaraderie. The evening began with a prayer and the Gospel reading on the Magi. Father Francisco Pereira explained the Gospel text laying emphasis on the Magi who came to adore and offer gifts to the Lord. Father Pereira exhorted all the PPC members to adore the Lord and offer time and talent for the welfare of the members of the ministries which they were representing.

Prayer was followed by light moments of games. Through various ice-breakers organised by Lloyd D’souza, the PPC members got acquainted with one another and through a value game learnt the importance of working in a team. The evening ended with a sumptuous meal.

Thursday, January 3, 2019


By Father Christopher George SDB

Mumbai, Jan. 3. The 13th National Boscoree 2018 culminated today, 03 January 2019, with the valedictory ceremony on the Father Sean McFerran Parade Ground, at Divyadaan Salesian College of Philosophy, Nashik. Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Don Bosco South Asia Regional Head of Operations was the Chief Guest for the Closing Ceremony. Other guests of honour were: Sister Rita Dora Thomas, Provincial of the Sisters of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians Mumbai, Father Godfrey D'Souza, Salesian Provincial Mumbai and Father Maria Charles, Director Don Bosco South Asia Youth Animation.

The Boscoree 2018 Camp Chief, Father Ian Doulton, welcomed the dignitaries and introduced Father Kanaga, while Father D'Souza and Sister Thomas felicitated the Boscoree Core-Committee with souvenir mementoes commemorating the 13th National Boscoree.

Two books were launched as part of the closing ceremony: A research study, ''Children of Migrant Construction Workers in six Indian Cities,'' authored by Dr. AjoyFernandes, Director of Don Bosco Research Centre (DBRC) Mumbai and ''Gospel Stories'', the revised and enlarged version, volume two, penned by Father Kanaga, an acclaimed scholar on the philosophy of Swami Vivekananda and widely lauded author of original and creativepopular books.

Addressing the scouts and guides, Sister Thomas said, ''This Boscoree 2018 has been a wonderful experience of SDB-FMA collaboration and hope this will not just be a one-time event, rather something to be lived continually.''
Father D'Souza thanked the entire organizing team for the wonderfully coordinated collaborative effort to ensure that this Boscoree2018 was a memorable event of helath, holiness and harmony.

Father Charles congratulated the Mumbai Province and highlighting the relevance of the Boscoree2018 theme for nation-building, he said, ''This has been one of the best gathering of scouts and guides from all the Don Bosco and FMA schools from across India.''

Father Kanaga provided 3 pointers, saying, ''You scouts and guides are the future of the country so it is your duty to be responsible, care for the environment and to cultivate a relationship with God.''

With the lowering of the flags in true scouting style and with patriotic fervour, the Boscoree flag was handed over by Father Charles to Father Januarius S Sangma, the Salesian Provincial of Guwahati to host the next edition of the scout-guide extravaganza, the 14th National Boscoree.

Extending his gratitude on behalf of the hosts and to all who shouldered the responsibility of planning and executing the 13th National Boscoree 2018, Father Doulton, the Camp Chief  brought the 3-day mega scouting event to a close by lowering the National Flag as the entire campsite reverberated with the National Anthem.