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.