Memorable line from Bishop Lourdes Daniel at his installation this morning: "What do I expect from you? Nothing. Because I believe God has given you everything. All I say to my priests is: pray every day."
Bishop Lourdes Daniel was installed as the third bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Nashik at a ceremony this morning at St Philomena's Convent grounds. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Metropolitan Archbishop of Mumbai, performed the installation. He was accompanied by Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes of Gandhinagar, Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai, Bishop Valerian D'Souza, Bishop Thomas Dabre of Pune, Bishop Thomas Elavanal of Kalyan, and Bishop Allwyn Fernandes of Sindhudurg.
In his speech, Bishop Vally reported a layperson telling him: "I have travelled the length and breadth of the country, and have met many priests, but none so outstanding as Fr Lourdes Daniel."
Bishop Lourdes Daniel considers Bishop Vally as his mentor and guru. As a young priest, Fr Vally was his parish priest and principal at Dehu Road. Lourdes joined the diocese of Pune after working for a while, and then Vally was his bishop. Later he served as spiritual director in the Papal Seminary - Bishop Vally said that many others had many degrees after their names, but all wanted to go to Lourdes for direction - and then as Vally's Vicar General. He was appointed Bishop of Amravati about 3 years ago. Bishop Lourdes said he loved his diocese of Amravati and his priests; he accepted the new appointment out of obedience, and because he believes God is working always.
Bro P.M. Thomas, SDB, first principal of Don Bosco School, Nashik, passed away in the early hours of this morning, 12 December 2010. He had been in the ICU for an infection of the pancreas the last week.
The details of the funeral are awaited. The funeral will most likely be on Tuesday, 14 November 2010.
Bro Thomas was born 20 August 1934. He made his first profession on 24 May 1955, and his perpetual profession on 24 May 1961.
Please pray for Mr Agnelo D'Souza (behind STI, opposite Fab India) who passed away a few days ago. He was just 49 years old. The funeral was held this morning. He leaves behind his wife and two sons, Aldrich and Adlon.
Bro Ajay Shelke celebrated his birthday yesterday, 23 November 2010.
Sujata Castelino's brother met with an accident a couple of days ago, and is still in the ICU at Suman Hospital, College Road.
We have two Salesian provincials on the campus, Fr Michael Fernandes (Mumbai) and Fr Ian Figueiredo (Konkan). Don Bosco school felicitated Fr Michael on the Silver Jubilee of his ordination this morning.
The Nashik Diocesan Altar Servers Rally will be held at St Ann's Parish, Nashik Road, Sunday, 28 November 2010. All youth who wish to help are most welcome.
Mrs Mala Robins, guru of the Bal Yeshu Academy of Dance & Music, held an "Arangetram" for 4 young dancers: Akshata, Aishwarya, Poornima, and Shreya, at Raosaheb Thorat Auditorium, Law College, near KTHM College, Gangapur Road, Nashik, at 1730 hours.
Arangetram is the first public performance of young students. It is like their graduation ceremony, and a very important occasion. One of the four students has been in training for 12 years, one for 8, and the other two for 6. The guru decides when they are ready for their Arangetram.
Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Robins on this important occasion.
A group of some 18 altar servers, boys and girls, left for Mumbai with Ms Stella and Bro Velasli, to participate in the Altar Servers' Rally tomorrow at Don Bosco Matunga.
After several changes in plans, they left in a mini-van provided by Mr Claude Noronha. Their parents and the parish team were there to see them off.
The trip has generated great enthusiasm among the youngsters. We hope all goes well, that they have a good experience meeting other altar servers at the Rally, and that they have a safe trip back home.
Robinhood Nair (s/o Sandra Nair) and Candida Santos will be getting married at Secunderabad on Wednesday, 17 November 2010. We wish the new couple God's blessings and protection, and we pray for the two families too. Special wishes to Mr and Mrs Nair.
Bishop Lourdunada (Lourdes) Daniel hails from Pune, and belonged originally to the Diocese of Pune, where he was a much appreciated spiritual director, and eventually vicar general of the diocese. He was appointed to the see of Amravati in June 2008. In December 2009, when Archbishop Felix Machado was appointed to the see of Vasai, Bishop Lourdes Daniel was appointed Apostolic Administrator of Nashik, a task which he fulfilled with much enthusiasm and commitment, spending 2 or 3 days every month in the diocese, visiting each and every parish, and making himself available for various functions in the diocese.
Yesterday, at 1600 hours, Fr Ravi Tribhuvan, Chancellor of Nashik diocese, made the official announcement, before a small group of consultors and parish priests, that Bishop Lourdes Daniel had been nominated to the see of Nashik; he was asked to be Apostolic Administrator of the now vacant see of Amravati.
Bishop Lourdes is a kind-hearted person who cares deeply for people, and is deeply spiritual. Nashik diocese is fortunate to have a pastor like him. As we welcome him, we assure him our prayers and support.
Breaking news: NEW BISHOP FOR NASHIK: BISHOP LOURDES DANIEL. The news was announced at 1600 hours at Bishop's House, Nashik. Nashik now gets a bishop, almost a year after Abp. Machado was appointed to Vasai. Congrats Bishop Lourdes, and welcome to Nashik!
The Interparish Football and Throwball Tournament 2010 is just over.
Don Bosco Girls won the Throwball Tournament, winning two consecutive games in a set of three with the only other competitor, a formidable St Patrick's Girls team. Congratulations to both teams.
St Patrick's Boys instead won the Football Tournament, with a 1-0 lead over Don Bosco Boys. Our boys put up a very good show despite all the problems we had this year of getting a team together. Congratulations to both teams, and to Sacred Heart Igatpuri and St Ann's Nashik Road too.
A warm word of congratulations to St Patrick's for the magnificent way they organized the Tournament, and for all the trouble they have taken.
This year we have rolling trophies besides cash prizes. The Throwball trophy will probably be making the rounds of the houses of the team members...
A busload of Std IX students participated with the PT sirs and our brothers in the GroMo 2010 - a Jamboree for Don Bosco schools - at Don Bosco Lonavla. They came back full of excitement and very enthusiastic about their experience of sleeping in tents in the open, putting up projects, the final Campfire, the food, and so on.
The GroMo 2010 is in preparation for the National Boscoree 2010, which will take place at Dimapur in North East India. We have not planned to send our scouts because of the great distances, but our scouts seem eager now to go....
The annual Interparish Football and Throwball tournament is approaching: Sunday, 7 November 2010. Furious practices are going on, with the boys trying to get a team together, and the girls also. Yesterday I think the girls' team practiced a full 3 hours, from 0900 to 1200, on the Divyadaan grounds.
Fr Tony George, SJ, parish priest of Holy Cross, has been quite unwell since 2 October 2010, with chicken guniya complicated by severe diabetes. He was admitted to St Elizabeth's Hospital, Mumbai, on 3 October, and was discharged just yesterday, but is still in Mumbai, at Seva Niketan, recuperating. Please keep him in your prayers.
The Don Bosco School athletics team did very well at the recent Inter-School Sports meet at Bhosala Military School grounds, Nashik, 4-6 October 2010, coming out as champions and qualifying for the Divisional Level sports at Jalgaon.
The under-17 relay team consisting of Anthony Mohite, Pramod Thapa, Abhijeet Singh and Joel Mohite came first, while the under-14 relay team (Tejas Thakare, Arun Chellapan, Akash Sitoke, Debamit Kar and Himanshu Malunjkar) came second. Anthony Mohite and Pramod Thapa stood first and second in both the 100 m and the 200 m runs. Joel Mohite came first in the 400 m run, while Akshay Chandekar came third in the same run. Abhijeet Singh stood first in shotputt and long jump, and third in the javelin throw. Tejas Thakare came first in the under-14 100 m dash.
Congratulations to all our sportsmen and to their coaches!
Good outing to Sanjivan Ashram, Sinnar, yesterday. 5 young people, 8 MPh brothers from Divyadaan, Bro Rickson and I set out from Don Bosco Parish at around 0715 - by rick and bus to Nashik Road Bus Station. Amol and Gloria joined us there, while the Holy Cross Youth proceeded on bikes. We met up at Sinnar Bus Station, and walked the 3 kms. to the ashram, which is hidden in a clump of trees on the right of the Nashik bypass - the road from Sinnar to Gothi. No board and no publicity, so one has to know where to go. I think we were at the ashram by 0930 or so... Swami was busy with some friends of his from Kalyan, who were helping him with his visa work. We had snacks, and then Swamiji joined us, answering questions, telling us about his 62 years in India (he arrived in 1948, went for a home visit only in 1983, spent some 14 years in his ashram at Panchavati, behind the Sundarnarayan Temple, and then, in 1987, came to Sinnar to set up Sanjivan Ashram at its present location).
The first house to be built were the two rooms where he now lives and works. Later on the temple and the other house were built (in 1990), and finally the two rooms at the back.
It was amazing to see the photos of the early days: not a tree in sight, not even grass. And now: it's beautiful. Great contribution to the ecology. Swami does not believe in cutting the grass. The villagers keep telling him to cut the grass, but he says it's the hair of the earth: just as our hair is given to keep our brains cool, so grass is given to keep the earth cool. Very true.
Unfortunately there is very little water in the talav. Most of it seeps away, since it is on the upper part of a gentle slope towards the road. And no sign of the ghorpad.
We had mass at 1130 or so, and then games, and lunch, and then it was time to move back to Nashik... 5 youth from Devlali turned up during mass, they came on bikes (it is only 12 kms to Bhagur to Sinnar, they said), and spent a lot of time searching for the ashram.
The gospel lent itself to the day: living in a spirit of thanksgiving, making life eucharistic. We gave thanks for the great beauty of the earth, the trees, the grass, the water, the fresh air, the amazing silence when there is absence of traffic noise... for Swamiji's extraordinary life of witness and courage and joy and even humour...
The youth from the various parishes of Nashik and Igatpuri will go to Sanjivan Ashram, Sinnar, tomorrow, Sunday, 10 October 2010, to meet one of the legends of Nashik - Swami Shilananda, SJ, all of 83 years old, and fighting fit.
Youth of Don Bosco will meet at the parish at 0645 hours, and take a bus to Nashik Road Bus Station, where we hope to meet up with the other youth (from Holy Cross and St Ann's). St Patrick's youth will proceed directly by bike, and the Igatpuri youth will also reach Sinnar by themselves. Some brothers from Divyadaan will also be joining us.
From Nashik Road we take a bus, hopefully latest by 0800, for Sinnar. From Sinnar to the Ashram is a walk of about 3 kms., but there are also rickshaws for those who want.
At the Ashram, we will meet Swamiji, have some snacks, then the Sunday mass, followed by lunch (each one to carry!). By 1530 we hope to move back towards the city.
So: travel expenses to be borne by each one; lunch to be carried too. Plus a Rs 50 per head contribution towards snacks.
The Mission Fete / Dassera Dhamaka is set to begin this evening at 1700 hours, and is expected to go on up to 2200 hours. The usual array of food stalls (veg and non-veg), games stalls, and the Garage Sale. So do come all of you for this good cause.
The evening mass will be celebrated as usual, in the usual place - Don Bosco Church. No change of venue or timing, therefore.
The Std IX boys of Don Bosco are leaving for a 3 day camp to Jungle Camp, Valwande village, near Jawhar. Jungle Camp is a site run by the Salesians; Fr Anaclete D'Mello is currently residing there with some staff. We wish the boys and the scout masters the very best, and a thoroughly enjoyable time outdoors.
The Extraordinary Visitation began this morning, with Fr Maria Arokiam greeting the parishioners at the end of the 7.00 a.m. mass at Don Bosco. He then went over to Satpur, where he concelebrated the Eucharist. At the end of the Eucharist he was given a satkar, after which he planted two trees near the grotto of Our Lady. After this he had a meeting with the parish council. The members made two requests: (1) that Dominic Savio be erected into a parish; (2) that they be given mass on Wednesdays so that people can make the Perpetual Succour novena.
Fr Maria Arokiam, SDB, General Councillor for South Asia of the Salesians of Don Bosco, has already arrived at Divyadaan, where he has begun the Extraordinary Visitation. He will visit our parish on Sunday, 19 September 2010, and the school on 20 September 2010. The program is as follows (those involved in the various meetings please take note):
Bro Velasli gave an opportunity to the Sunday School children last Sunday to make their confessions. While the children were being prepared in their respective classes, Fr Nelson and I were available to hear their confessions. Almost all the children seem to have made their confessions. A very good experience, something which Bro Velasli hopes to repeat at least every three months. And perhaps, on some occasions, he might invite also the parents to participate...
Lorraine and Cecil Goveia celebrated their Silver Wedding on 14 September 2010. Raul and Ryan had come down; Royston could not as he is away in the US on training. The mass was presided by Fr Luis Heredia, parish priest of Todiwala Road parish, Pune, who is Lorraine's cousin. Congratulations to the silver couple!
Fr. A.U. Jose's mother Mariam passed away on 16 September 2010 at the age of 98. Fr A.U. Jose, who teaches at Divyadaan, has just left for Kerala to attend the funeral. RIP and our sincerest condolences to Fr A.U.
A three day workshop on Economics is being held at Divyadaan from 9 to 11 September 2010. Prof. Philip McShane from Canada will be conducting the workshop, and he will be happy to interact with economists, industrialists, and people involved in business and management from Nashik and around. Those interested please contact Fr Robert Pen, Principal, Divyadaan, at email@example.com. A notice has been put up on the parish notice board.
Bro Velasli has just completed the list of Catechism children of Zone A, and has been busy sending SMS reminders to the parents regarding the Sunday Catechism class. He will soon do the same for Zones B and C. So you parents might be getting regular such SMS's (from my number, really, since Velasli does not have a cell phone), reminding you to send your children...
If anyone has problems of reaching the children to the parish, please let us know. This is a problem we have to tackle. I am sure ways can be worked out to remedy the situation.
There are other who have problems with tuition classes. Parents, try dialoguing with the tuition teachers, see if some adjustment is possible. The Sunday Catechism is important, since most Catholic schools in Nashik do not have Religious Instruction during school hours. And of course the Sunday Mass: we really cannot afford to have our children missing Sunday mass the whole year - and I think this is happening!
3 youth - Nikhil, Rephan and Delvin - turned up for the youth meeting.
We read and commented on the shortest book of the whole Bible - St Paul’s Letter to Philemon. Finding this 'postcard' was the first thing - it is sandwiched between Titus and Hebrews. After reading the letter, we commented a bit on it. Philemon is written by Paul from jail at Ephesus.
Jail (not prison) was for undertrials, and the one jailed had to even sometimes pay his own rent for the jail (as Paul seems to have certainly done in Rome), and his relatives and friends had to provide him with food, clothing, money, etc.
This sheds light on the situation of Onesimus, a slave belonging to Philemon. Older exegetes thought that Onesimus was a runaway slave, and that Paul was sending him back to his master, with exhortations to kindness. Now some scholars tend to think that he was actually sent by Philemon to help Paul in jail. In jail, Onesimus was converted to Christ and baptized by Paul; but Paul, not wanting to detain him, was sending him back to his master, with exhortations that he be received no longer as a slave but as a brother in Christ. Paul even adds that he is ready to make up for whatever financial loss Philemon might undergo.
Great example of Christian authority: though Paul has the authority to command Philemon, he prefers to appeal to his faith and to his love for Christ, for him, Paul, and for Onesimus.
It is possible that this is the same Onesimus mentioned by Paul in Colossians 4:9; and that this Onesimus went on to become bishop in Colossae.
The rest of the meeting was dedicated to discussing the forthcoming picnic to Sinnar, and the Interparish Football and Throwball Tournament. It was suggested that one of our youth be contacted to organize the Don Bosco team.
Fr Joaquim D'Souza, SDB addressed the Don Bosco school assembly yesterday, 30 August 2010. It turns out that this was the very first time he was addressing the assembly after the new building had been built. Strange, because he has been General Councillor in charge of the Asia Region for a number of years, and, besides, visiting professor at Divyadaan every year! A great oversight on our part.
By now all of you must have heard about the sad incidents at Kilbil St Joseph's last week. Alleging disrespect for Indian culture, a group of activists from a certain party attacked the school, causing damage worth at least Rs 80,000 to furniture and building.
People have a right to question, and even to disagree. Do they have the right to inflict damage on property or on persons? And is that Indian culture?
The Interparish Youth Animation Program at Divyadaan has just concluded. About 45 youth attended, from the 4 city parishes plus Igatpuri, including 3 from our own parish (Sophie, Ross and Nikhil).
Fr Anton D'Souza, Diocesan Youth Coordinator, began the sessions with an input on the ICYM - Indian Catholic Youth Movement. He encouraged everyone to feel part of the diocesan, national and even international Catholic youth scene, and said that he would soon be organizing a meeting of Presidents and Vice Presidents of the parish youth groups of the diocese.
Fr Robert Pen took the next two sessions on Emotional Growth, dealing mainly with anger and fear. His lively and friendly communication was appreciated by all. The brothers of Divyadaan were also a great help. A tag line: Stephen Covey's 90/10 principle: 10% of life is what happens to you; 90% follows from how you react to it.
The Program ended with the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist. Wonderful theme of the one family under God our Father: Isaiah speaking of all nations streaming to Jerusalem, and Jesus saying that people will come from East and West and take their places at table in the kingdom of heaven.... And the little gathering of youth as part of the ongoing fulfillment of that prophecy.
A warm word of congratulations to Sagar and Shirley, the two prime movers of the event.
Next appointment: Sunday, 10 October 2010, outing to Swami Shilananda's Ashram, Sinnar. We meet at 0830 at St Ann's Nashik Road, and from there make our way, by line bus, to Sinnar. From Sinnar, a short 3 km. walk to the Ashram, which is on the Sinnar Gothi road. Come with lunch as well as swimming togs - hoping that Swamiji's 'swimming pool' will be full thanks to the good rains. There might be a small charge for the snacks which will be provided.
The leaders of Zone A met on 17 August 2010. Those present were: Mr Robin Susainathan; Mrs Mabel De Souza; Mrs Sujata Castelino; Mrs Letitia John; Mr Henry Menezes; and myself.
The first point on the agenda was the election of a new Zonal leader, since Mrs Blessy Lewis has said that she will not be able to continue this year. The group warmly placed on record their appreciation for the services rendered by Mrs Lewis during the past year. They went on to elect Mr Henry Menezes as Zonal leader. Since they were not able to find an area leader, Mr Menezes will continue to carry out that responsibility too.
The second point was an update on the prayer meetings. Since the statue of Our Lady is going around the houses, the prayer meetings will be suspended. Each area leader will draw up a list of houses that are willing to receive the statue; Mr Menezes will coordinate 4 areas, while Mrs Mabel De Souza will coordinate her own area as well as Eden Gardens.
The third point was a Zonal outing. The place proposed was Swami Shilananda's Sanjivan Ashram, Sinnar. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a free date till November 2010. The matter will be taken up once again at a future meeting.
I congratulated the Zone, and especially Mr and Mrs Claude Noronha, for the lovely item they put up (Wedding at Cana). I also congratulated Mr and Mrs Robin for the wonderful dance by their troupe.
Yesterday turned out to be a busy day. The morning mass was anticipated to 0630; Fr Felix Fernandes presided. There followed the Don Bosco school flag hoisting ceremony, with Dr Vikas Ghogate as chief guest. Later Fr Nelson and team went to Satpur, where the feast day mass was at 1130, followed by a saha-bhojan for more than 400 people; the team returned only by 1600 hours. In the meantime, I was called on an emergency basis to bless the sakhar-puda ceremony of two young people, Sunil Gaikwad (Nashik Road) and Shweta Tupe (Pune) at the house of Mr and Mrs Bansode, Rohit and Amit's parents. By 1600 preparations were on for the Academy. The mass began at 1830 hours, the president being Fr Nelson, who preached the history of salvation from the Khristapurana, how Lucifer and his angels refused to do sastanga-namaskar to God, and how eventually God sent his Son, and Mary's sharing in Jesus' resurrection. Among other intentions, the mass was offered also by the Catholic employees of Mahindras.
The academy began at around 1945, with 14 items: band pieces by STI and DD; solo dances by Mary and Rinelda; group dances by the Satpur youth, Maria Vihar boarders, and Mrs Robins' troupe; skits by Nirmala Home and Zone A (a very French Jesus, played by Nicola, turning water into wine at the request of Mary, wonderfully done, thanks to Claude and Claudine Noronha); music by Bosco and Fr Nelson, and by Bosco's students Diana, Mellita and Isha; two wonderful choir pieces by the Capuchins and Divyadaan.
Thanks to Nikhil and Tina for doing the compering, and to all who participated.
The under-17 Don Bosco school football team had 3 or more matches yesterday. I went to watch a bit of the last match: they were playing Boys' Town. I was lucky to see two exciting goals, one by Boys Town, and the other by our own team. Unfortunately, our team lost (this was the semi-finals) - perhaps because they were too tired from 3 earlier matches, while Boys Town was quite fresh with only 1 earlier match. Congrats to our lads, anyway! They have been practising quite regularly, and we have some very good players, as Fr Diego told me.
One great difference is the size of the ground: our own ground is not quite full size, so when a team plays on a regular full size ground, they tend to be at a disadvantage. Some of this can be offset by rigorous stamina training, perhaps, according to the opinion of experts (mainly Velasli, Rickson and Ajay).
Practices are going on furiously for the forthcoming Marian Academy on 15 August, at around 1930 hours, after the evening mass.... I hear Zone A every day, or perhaps every other day, practising in the hall. Every now and then also strains of trumpets from Bosco and Fr Nelson... Then there are surely band pieces under new and old band masters: Bosco at Divyadaan, and Fr Nelson at STI... The youth were practising diligently for some days; of late they have not been heard.
Vianney Sunday was celebrated in our parish on 8 August 2010. The parish felicitated all priests who help with masses and other pastoral services to dinner. Unfortunately Fr Nelson, our parish priest, was held up at a function at Nashik Road, and could not make it for the Sunday evening mass.
We wish all our priests a happy feast day, and assure them our prayers.
"First Choice," a spanking new state-of-the-art Mahindra Service Station, was inaugurated this morning by Mr Rajeev Dubey in the presence of Fr Michael Fernandes, SDB provincial, and others.
The new complex facing Maria Vihar will eventually include also a Technical School (of a new kind... still in the planning phase) directed by Fr Anton D'Souza, SDB, and a shopping complex on the outer fronts.
We hope that the youngsters of our parish will make use of the facilities offered by the Technical School. For that we need to get moving with our statistics. Although we are not yet sure of what facilities will be offered, it will not be a bad idea to get together a list of youngsters, with their educational qualifications and aspirations, especially in the Satpur sector...
Sheldon, Sujata Castelino's nephew, has undergone an operation for the ear this evening. He is recovering at New Satyam Hospital opposite the Telephone Exchange. Prayers for his recovery. Get well Sheldon!
The parish council of DB sector met this evening at 1730 hours as usual. About 14 religious, mostly women, and 8 laypeople attended. The agenda including planning for the Marian Academy on 15 August; and the request to the Salesian provincial for land for a new parish church.
Fr Nelson reminded the council of what the provincial had said: to improve the functioning of the SCCs, the catechism classes, the youth group, the Sunday Collections, the Church support, the attendance at Sunday masses. An interesting discussion followed, with several practical suggestions, among which that the Parish Priest should pay pastoral visits especially to families that were not regular. A list of catechism children is being drawn up by Bro Velasli, and each zonal priest in charge and the parish priest and zonal and area leaders will follow up the attendance. The parish councillors will also be reminded to attend the meetings, and efforts will be made to revive the SCCs.
Please pray for Mrs Naheeda Sheikh, popularly known as Bhabhi, who has been ailing the last week. She had to be hospitalized for a stomach condition, and was just discharged last evening. Fr Nelson paid her a visit together with Bros Rickson and Ajay.
On 13 August 2010, we expect the visit of Fr Klement Vaclav, SDB, Salesian General Councillor for the Missions. Fr Klement is a native of the Czech Republic, has worked several years in Korea, and speaks Korean fluently. Before being elected Councillor for the Missions at the last General Chapter, he was Regional Councillor for East Asia.
Fr Klement will celebrate the Eucharist for the Salesians of the campus at 1545 at the Divyadaan chapel.
This is his very first visit to India and to Nashik.
Fr Franco Pereira, SDB was here the other day. We took the chance to invite him to address the school assembly, which he readily accepted. Despite the rain, he gave a talk to the students, with the Std X boys standing in the two corridors. Thank you, Fr Franco!
Fr Franco, for those who do not know, is currently posted in Kuwait, where he helps with the parish and school.
Mother Virginia Marchetti, FMA, celebrates today 70 years of religious profession. There will be a Eucharist at 1030 hours in the SHTC hall, the president being Fr Ashley Miranda. The FMA provincial and her team are here; several other sisters are also expected for this extraordinary occasion. Unfortunately none of Mother's relatives could come, but there will be a few Italians, guests of Sr Aruna Castelino.
Our warmest wishes to Mother Marchetti on this jubilee. We remember with great affection her loving and caring ways. She always had a good word for all the fathers and brothers, and great concern. Thank you, Mother. Our prayers and love.
Pray for Rita D'Souza and John Borde who were involved in a little accident yesterday, as both were returning home after mass in the evening. Rita has sustained scrapes and cuts on one side, while John might have injured his back. Hopefully nothing serious for both of them.
The accident happened on Don Bosco Marg, just outside Kilbil. Rita was on her two-wheeler, while John was walking in a black raincoat. With the rain and the black raincoat, Rita must have not seen John.
Congrats to the Divyadaan brothers - and the Tanmaya novice - for the fine performance of Lawrence Waddy's The Prodigal Son. It was obvious that a lot of effort and thought went into the performance. Everyone did well. Sunil Pinto sang wonderfully as the father, Malton was the typical confused young man as the younger son, Rohan was a strong and solid elder son, and Larsen Iyengar as the chief devil was very good too. The parable never fails to move.
What struck me once again in Waddy's interpretation of the parable is that, once the tempters fail with the younger son, they move their efforts to the elder son, making him angry and resentful that his waster brother is coming back. And in fact, that was Jesus' point: his parable was directed mainly to the Pharisees.
The hall was full last night, and I got the impression that there were several people from Devlali and Holy Cross, besides religious and our own parishioners, school staff and children. Adrian even came all the way from Igatpuri.
A small group of youth from the Don Bosco sector paid a visit to Satpur this morning: Suraj, Sushma, Sophia, Mellita, Rephan and Delvin, and Bro Rickson. It was a good idea, and one that seems to have worked out at short notice. Some of the youth had never been to Satpur, some had not seen the renovated Church, and some spent their earlier childhood at Satpur. They joined the mass at 0830 and then met the Satpur youth - about 8 of them.
The Satpur youth are some 40 or 50, but some are working, others probably have things to do on Sundays.
We had lectio divina, and then a round of introductions and sharing. Sandeep Ohol, President of the Satpur group, requested more sharing of information. We said that the next event was the Marian Academy on 15 August, and invited the Satpur youth to put up an item. They readily agreed. Later, on 22 August, a youth animation program was being planned at Holy Cross Church. We also mentioned the outing to Swami Shilananda's ashram at Sinnar (10 October), the Football and Throwball Tournament (7 November), the get together (29 December), the animation program at Igatpuri (January), etc.
We exchanged emails and telephone numbers. Suryakant offered to send messages also to the Satpur youth.
A very fruitful meeting, all in all. Everyone seemed quite happy with the event. Thanks especially to Suryakant for the mobilization.
Fr Michael Fernandes, provincial, and Fr Ajoy Fernandes, vice provincial, are currently in Nashik for the annual "Team Visit". This evening they are in STI; tomorrow morning in Divyadaan; and tomorrow evening in Don Bosco. Fr Elson Barretto, provincial economer, was unable to come for reasons of health.
Bro Alex Gonsalves, SDB, gave a talk to the Don Bosco school assembly this morning. He spoke about his 24 years of work in Ahmednagar. In 24 years, he and BGVK were able to carry out watershed projects in 22 villages of the taluka. Where formerly people were with difficulty getting one crop, now they are able to get three crops in a year. The average village income has gone up many times. Bro. Alex invited the school kids to do their little part for ecology: growing trees in little plastic bags, planting them where they could, using water sparingly, recycling waste water, etc.
Bro Alex was given the Indira Priyadarshini national award, and the Vanashri Maharastra state government award for his work.
A DVD of his work is available: it records the transformation of Dongargan, a village that is famous for its Sitechi Nhani and its ancient tamarind trees.
The Don Bosco school, boarding, technical school, parish, and development work at Narukot near Jambughoda in the Panchmahals District of Gujarat. Land gifted to us by Mr Piloo Mody. Wonderful place in the forest. Utterly beautiful scenes in the hills around.
Our Bro. Ajay Shelke did a year of practical training at Narukot...
I have always been saying that we ought to communicate more with our parishioners. How many of our parishioners know about the works of the Salesian province of Mumbai, for example? or of the works of the FMA, and the UMI, and the FHIC?
Here is a small start: Salesians in the Gujarat region. I say Gujarat region, because the houses spill over into neighbouring Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
I have just put up a blog entry about Suket in South Rajasthan, so that is more or less seen to.
In the state of Gujarat we have: a parish, school, neighbourhood classes, and work for street boys at Baroda; boardings, schools, parishes and development works at Narukot, Chhota Udepur, Kawant, Tanakhla, Dakor; an aspirantate, parish, catechetical centre and development work at Kapadvanj. The people in all the places apart from Dakor are adivasis belonging to the Rathwa tribe, also known as Bhilalas.
In Madhya Pradesh we have a boarding, school, technical school, parish and development work at Alirajpur, and a hostel for school youth at Jhabua. The people here are adivasis belonging mostly to the Bhilala and Bhil tribes.
Some views of Don Bosco Suket - the school, the parish residence, the children. The Mission Fete 2009 collection of Rs 50,000 was sent to Don Bosco Suket. Fr Paul Antao, the Parish Priest and Manager of the school, has established three scholarships with the money: two of Rs 15,000 and one of Rs 20,000. The Hindi medium unaided school was up to Std VII; it was recently expanded to Std X. It used to be an aided school once; the people running it at that time thought that it was too much trouble to stay aided, and so voluntarily gave up the aid. It would be an uphill task now to get the aid back. The fees are Rs 50 a month, so the difficulties of running the school can be well imagined. Apart from the financial aspect, there is the difficulty also of finding good teachers.
St Michael's Parish, Salawad, Suket, has a small group of 1,400 parishioners largely clustered around the parish church. The men folk mostly work in the Kota stone quarries that abound in the place. They also cultivate the fields, which were gifted to the church and its people by some past ruler of the place.
We have 2 young men here in Nashik from Suket: Salesian novice Prince Bundla at STI, and Bro Clement Mathera at Divyadaan. The parish has given several priests and religious to the church, including a Salesian from another province, Edward Sacrawat. Lack of educational opportunities has, however, affected the fortunes of this hardy group of people in the southern tip of Rajasthan. With the upgrading of the school, there are hopes of returning to past glory, when Suket, with its school and boarding, used to be one of the well-known places for education in the Church of North India.
The Salesian pioneers of this mission were Frs Elson Barretto (now Provincial Economer) and Matthew Katara. Fr Paul Antao, the present parish priest, used to be administrator and teacher at Divyadaan.
Don't miss the blue skies of Suket - I have seen such blue only in the Italian skies! The famous Italian - or Mediterranean azurro... The climate is extreme: bitterly cold in winter, horribly hot and dry in summer. But you can't deny the beauty of the place.
The French Capuchin pioneers were of course creative: it is said that they had an underground pool beneath the Outhouse, where they could sit in the water during the summer. Sadly in disuse now, the pool must be full of snakes and things. Waiting for some enterprising Salesian missionary to clean up the place and revive old ways! Perhaps some future lad from Nashik....
For more photos, feel free to look up my albums on Facebook.
5 youth turned up for the meeting this morning: Nikhil, Kenneth, Sophia D'Souza (new), Sushma and Suryakant. Rephan turned up towards the end. Delvin and Mellita were held up by their tests (tuition classes). Bro. Rickson was there of course.
The scripture input was about the Call Narratives: we compared the Call of the Disciples in the four gospels, and found that St John's account was significantly different. However, nothing to get panicky about: the four gospels are like four photographs of Jesus, all taken by people who loved Jesus and were fascinated by him. The sessions ended with 5 minutes of prayerful silence.
1. Communication circles. Suryakant has drawn up two circles, one with those who are regular for meetings, the other for those who are not. However, it was decided that he would also launch free SMSs to all. Besides, Nikhil agreed to begin a Facebook community called "Don Bosco Youth Group, Nashik". I offered to give him an updated list of youth.
2. I informed the group that I had written to Bishop Lourdes Daniel about the proposals of the Interparish Youth Leaders meeting, and that I was awaiting a reply. Copies had been sent to the Parish Priests and youth animators / leaders.
3. Suryakant said that 3 of them had met on Tuesday. They had planned for the Academy item as well as for the Mass Animation.
4. Calendar of our group for the year:
1 Aug: Outing to Satpur: 0830 mass followed by meeting with Satpur youth
15 Aug: Item for the Marian Academy
22 Aug: Interparish Youth Animation at Holy Cross.
29 Aug: Mass Animation
10 Oct: Interparish Outing to Swami Shilananda's Ashram, Sinnar. Organizers: Don Bosco Youth
17 Oct: Mission Fete
31 Oct: Mass animation
7 Nov: Interparish Football and Throwball Tournament.
16 Dec onwards: Carol Singing
29 Dec: Interparish Youth Christmas Get-together
9 Jan: Interparish Youth Animation, Igatpuri
29 Jan: Item for Don Bosco's Academy
30 Jan: Parish Feast of Don Bosco, mass animation
13 Mar: Interparish Youth Recollection at St Patrick's. Organizers: Don Bosco Youth
Lent: animation of one Friday way of the Cross
Good Friday: animation of one Station of the Way of the Cross
Pity we could not agree on a common date for an overnight picnic - perhaps to Lonavla, or if not, to Karjat. For Lonavla, if we want to go to Don Bosco, we will have to find time during the Diwali vacations. Otherwise there are the Jesuit holiday houses like Stanislaus Villa, Lonavla, or perhaps St Mary's Villa if that is still functioning... In Karjat we have a new building at Don Bosco's, with a large campus that includes a little hill... and perhaps the facility of a resort run by a parishioner from Wadala West.
The PTA meetings of primary and secondary schools (Don Bosco) concluded this morning, with the parents and teachers passing the proposal for a raise in fees so that the 6th Pay Commission might be at least partially implemented.
Fr Diego also communicated to the body about the recent pressure from some private TV channel to dismiss two teachers who have been recently employed, on the grounds that they had not completed their internship.
The DB church has acquired new furniture and a new washbasin in the sacristy, together with new vestments, sacred vessels, etc.
The sanctuary sports two images of Our Lady - in addition to the statue of Mary Help of Christians that was already there. Not too happy with the aesthetics as well as the theology... I know there is a non-linear theology of church spaces, but probably we have moved beyond that - or at least we might have to completely redesign our churches to integrate once more a non-linear catechesis and praying space.
In the meantime, the painting of the parish cum residence is moving to a completion.
Ajay, Rickson and Velasli are back - a bit tired and shaken, but otherwise fine, except for Ajay who has a fracture on his nose, which will need time and rest for healing. Fr Nelson went down to Andheri to get them back, after making sure that the B.Ed. admissions were done. Thanks very much to him for all the trouble.
Our warmest thanks also to Fr Joaquim Fernandes, Fr Bosco D'Mello, and Mr Nazareth Denis who drove to Bhivandi all the way from Mumbai in the night to pick up our brothers, and take them to the hospital at Andheri. Thanks also to Fr Godfrey D'Souza and Edwin Colaco and the community of Dominic Savio Andheri for taking care of our brothers.
Our three brothers Ajay, Rickson and Velasli were travelling back to Nashik last night by bus, when their bus braked very sudddenly. A few passengers were injured, including Ajay. They were taken to the Indira Gandhi Civil Hospital, Bhivandi. The police were recommending not to make an FIR. In the end, some Salesian priests and personnel from Provincial House were able to reach Bhivandi and transfer the brothers to Andheri.
It is not clear yet whether Ajay has been admitted to Holy Spirit. From what I hear, all 3 brothers are resting in the Province Infirmary at Dominic Savio, Andheri.
Ajay and Velasli are due to finalize their admissions to the B.Ed. course this morning. Fr Nelson is trying to ensure that, and then he will move to Mumbai to see the brothers.
Your prayers are requested.
Update, 1100 hrs: Just spoke to the brothers. Ajay seems okay. He is going to the doctor at Holy Spirit once again just now, perhaps he might need a minor surgery. Fr Nelson is at the College seeing to the admissions, and will move to Mumbai after that.
6 people turned up for the Youth Group meeting: Kenneth Noronha, Nikhil John, Sushma Shrivastwa, Suryakant Shrivastwa, Delia Fernandes, and Tina Thomas. We had lectio divina on the gospel of the day: Martha and Mary. After the reading, we kept 5 minutes of silence, and then shared what happened during that time. Then time for questions on the text.
Accounts of the picnic were presented: it was decided to keep the balance for future activities.
A report of the Interparish Planning for Common Events meeting was given.
We discussed a bit about the mass animation and academy item. Bro Rickson will find a new hymn to learn. On Tuesday, at 1930, there will be a practice for the academy item.
Elections will be held when the group is somewhat more stable.
Suryakant was asked to drawn up two telephone 'chains'.
The Don Bosco Parish, Nashik blog is now Don Bosco Parish and School, Nashik. (We have been recommended to have a blog for the institution, so... this is an experiment.) With the new title goes a new photo of the building - freshly painted and bright.
We had an informal meeting of youth leaders and animators from the 5 city parishes (that includes Igatpuri), to plan common activities for the year. The following were suggested:
22 Aug: Animation Program. Suggested venue: Holy Cross. In charge: Holy Cross and St Ann's.
10 Oct: Outing to Swami Shilananda's Ashram, Sinner. In charge: Don Bosco.
7 Nov: Football and Throwball Tournament. Suggested venue: Divyadaan. In charge: St Patrick's.
29 Dec: Youth Get-Together. Suggested venue: Divyadaan. In charge: St Ann's.
9 Jan: Animation Program. Venue: Igatpuri. In charge: Igatpuri.
13 Mar: Lenten recollection. Venue: St Patrick's. In Charge: Don Bosco.
I informed Fr Anton D'Souza (Divyadaan) about the meeting a bit late: he is out of town at the moment. He is the Diocesan Youth Coordinator, and it would have been good to have him around, especially now that he is based here in Nashik.
The youth and animators were urged to be in constant communication with their Parish Priests and Priests in charge.
A letter will soon be sent out to Bishop Lourdes Daniel, Fr Anton D'Souza, Parish Priests and Priests in charge.
Wonderful day at Igatpuri for the youth group. There were 12 of us, including Bro Rickson and me, which means 10 youth. Not many, but good enough. And good fun. Fr Ashley was kind enough to drop some of us at Mahamarg, and we hopped into a battered Kasara ST that was already on its way out. We were at Igatpuri phata by nine-ish, then the little walk through green paddy fields to Golden Resort, nestling in the crook of the hills along a sparkling stream. But we were in for a disappointment: the boss who happened to be in attendance said there was no more Rs 50 per head entrance to the pool; take the whole day package of Rs 300 or leave it, he said. We decided to leave it. After a little attempt to explore the stream, we decided to get to Igatpuri, park at the parish, celebrate mass, and then go to the falls.
We reached the parish more or less dry, after one of the proverbial showers of Igatpuri. Mass at around 1200 after hanging around a bit (we reached when the 1000 mass was going on). Hot samosas very kindly ordered by Fr Santiago, the young Dominican parish priest. Then to the waterfalls behind Satyagiri: full and overflowing thanks to the strong shower after mass. Ryan and Adrian from the Igatpuri youth group joined us and showed us how to get right above the main waterfall. Bit of a climb, but not difficult. The view was breathtaking, the water pure and clear. Great fun and great pictures. Far better than anything Golden Resort could have offered. The best things in life are still free, thank God! Fresh air, great rain, falling water, astounding greenery....
Lunch at 1600, and then the shuttle back to Nashik at 1810. (Only, platform 4 at Igatpuri is about the filthiest I have seen. Awful, really, the stench of rotting stuff. Strengthened my resolve never to throw anything out of the train window... but then, where to throw it?) Great ride back in the shuttle (which should be called rattle, but I really enjoyed the noise), with Cardinal's Hat moving all around the train in queer ways....
Thanks to Nikhil, the chief organizer, who really went out of his way, and very efficiently too; and to Sushma, and the whole gang that turned up.
The Haiti Collection has come to Rs 42,000 which has been sent to the Salesian Rector Major through the Maschio Memorial Foundation, Matunga, Mumbai.
The Mission Sunday Fete Collection 2009 came to Rs 50,000, which has been sent to the Salesian school at Mikhelpura-Salawad, Suket (Rajasthan) with the purpose of establishing scholarships for students of Stds X and XII.
The Marian Academy will be held after mass on Sunday, 15 August 2010. Rehearsal will be at 1600 hours on Thursday, 12 August 2010. Bro Velasli Bandya and the Catechism children have taken charge. Zones are invited to give their items to Bro Velasli asap.
The youth group is organizing a PICNIC on Sunday, 11 July 2010, to Igatpuri. The plan is to spend a couple of hours in the swimming pool of Golden Resort, which is a rather beautifully situated place and quite reasonable in its rates, and then perhaps walk around, celebrate the Sunday eucharist in the parish, have lunch, and so on.
We are planning to take advantage of the passenger train to and from Igatpuri, which is very economical - below Rs 10.
Lunch to be carried by each one. Snacks will be provided.
We are still calculating the per head charge.
Those interested in coming please contact NIKHIL JOHN, at 93719.38798.
Divyadaan began its new academic year on 11 June 2010, with Fr Ajoy Fernandes, Vice provincial of the Mumbai province, presiding at the inaugural Eucharist.
Fr Robert Pen, Principal, read the annual report, and Fr Edison Fernandes gave the inaugural lecture, summarizing his PhD thesis on discrimination suffered by foreign students in the Philippines, and applying it to formation.
The number of students is down this year - somewhere between 50 and 60. But the new feature is the presence of the Capuchin students, with their own residence on the campus. A new beginning.
Fr Vinod Mascarenhas has not been well - a few days ago he suffered another bout of vertigo. He seems better now, and even celebrated the evening parish Eucharist yesterday. He told me that the last time was 3 years ago, in Rome... Our prayers, Fr Vinod.
Tomorrow morning I leave for Boston, where I will present a paper at the Annual Lonergan Workshop at Boston College run by the Jesuits. I will be back by 1 July 2010.
My paper is entitled "Retrieving Good Work: De Smet on Sankara". I am attempting to read the work of Fr Richard De Smet on Sankara by using the method of interpretation provided by Fr Bernard Lonergan, SJ.
On a more practical note: even if I am absent, I hope the SCC's will continue... May I invite the area leaders to begin again for the new academic year?
Schools have begun today in our parish... As I write I hear the honking of vehicles and the excited din of youngsters as they finish their first (half) day of school. All the best to you management, staff, and students, for the coming year. A year of challenge to move from extrinsic to intrinsic education, given that all students have to be compulsorily promoted up to Std VIII. We have to help them to learn for the sake of learning - to awaken in them their God-given inborn desire to know, to learn, to explore...
Bro Neville D'Souza arrived from home yesterday, and left the same evening for Jhabua, M.P., where he will be doing his practical training at Jyoti Bhavan Hostel. All the best, Neville, and thanks for your presence in our community, our parish, and especially for all the good work with the youth at Satpur.
The latest SDB provincial circular assigns three brothers to Don Bosco community, Nashik: Ajay Shelke, Rickson Fernandes, and Velasli Bandya. The three are already here, and are busy trying to get admissions in neighbouring colleges. Let's hope all goes well, and that they get admitted to the colleges of their choice. In the meantime, a very warm welcome to all of them.
Bro Johnson has already reached Don Bosco Kawant, where he will be doing practical training. Bro Neville is at home, and will be here 13 June, on his way to Jyoti Bhavan hostel, Jhabua.
Today is the feast of the Blessed and Most Holy Trinity.
Appropriately enough, yesterday Swami Shilananda sang (atrociously, but still) Vande Saccidanandam, a very beautiful and rather well-known hymn to the Holy Trinity composed by the Bengali convert, Brahmobandhab Upadhyaya. Sat = Being, Cit = Consciousness-Knowledge, Ananda = Bliss; a very good approximation for the Father, the Source of All, the Son, the Word, and the Spirit who is Joy and gives Joy. (Note that the Father is called Paramesvara, highest Lord, but not Brahman. The Son is called Sabda, Word.) Despite subaltern sensitivities, it is impossible not to appreciate the beauty of this hymn!
I reproduce here the text and translation of this wonderful hymn which draws on all the riches of the Vedas and Upanisads that Brahmobandhab knew so well. (The English translation here is mine, quite literal; a freer and in that sense better translation is given further below.)
Sr Rita, FMA left for her new assignment (Bandra, Mumbai) this morning.
Sr Flora, UMI left for Chaibasa a couple of days ago.
Sr Maria Jose, UMI will be leaving soon.
Fr Edison Fernandes left for Pune on 26 May. Fr Wyman is also on transfer and will be leaving soon. Fr Valerian has shifted from Divyadaan to STI. Fr Vinod is officially still at STI for half a year, but will probably be more out than in, seeing that he is substituting others, etc.
Bro Leon Cruz Ratinam made his perpetual profession on 24 May 2010, and will proceed to Pune for his theological studies. We are proud of Leon: he is from our parish, and some will remember that he volunteered his services as sacristan for 3 years before joining the Salesians.
A great big thanks to these and all the others who are on transfer. Thank you, dear sisters and fathers, for your presence in our parish and your ministry.
In the meantime we welcome a whole new group: Sr Florie D'Mello, FMA, who returns to our parish; Fr Felix Fernandes who has also been here before; the Capuchin fathers and brothers.
I am sure I have missed out a whole lot of people: could someone please help?
Fr Nelson is away at home for holidays, and will be back by 3 or 4 June. Fr Diego is also out till about the same date. In the meantime, the painting of the parish and residence is going on. The church, however, will not be inconvenienced, seeing that it has already been painted some months ago.
A few youngsters from the youth group (Sheona, Nihil, Sushma and Suraj) went to Sanjivan Ashram, Sinnar, for an outing yesterday (29 May 2010). Swami Shilananda, SJ (Peter Julia, Spanish by birth) runs this ashram (has been running it the last 20 years or so). He was earlier at Panchavati, and used to be a familiar figure in and around Nashik. Swamiji shared about his life, his mission, the ashram, his worries about who would take over the ashram (he is 85 now). He has been cycling to the Himalayas (Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri), and to Goa. After a stroke 4 years ago, he is not able to cycle anymore. Explaining the positive attitude of the Church towards other religions, and the seeds of the Word that they contained, he quoted the famous Upanisadic hymn, and challenged the youngsters to move from the Unreal to the Real, from Darkness to Light, from Death to Immortality. The allure of secularism!
Swami looked well, despite his ill health of some years ago. The place is quite dry right now, at the height of summer, but still charming: I spotted a ghorpad creeping into the cavities in the pond, and a lovely multicoloured bird which was possibly a woodpecker (he had made 2 lovely round holes in a dead tree trunk). The place is even more wonderful after the rains. We ought to make time to visit it then. Swami welcomes families and groups, and it would be a good idea for small groups from the parish to pay him a visit now and then. It could also serve as some sort of recollection and prayer moment.