Sunday, 25 July 2010

Don Bosco Suket

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.

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