Don Bosco Mumbai
Ivan Rodrigues sdb AHMEDNAGAR, JUNE 29, 2009: The solemnity of the St. John the Baptist was celebrated with much devotion at St. John’s Church, Ahmednagar Camp on Sunday June 28, 2009.The theme for the solemnity was “Peace and Reconciliation.” Before the Eucharistic celebration there was a short procession around the church with the portrait of John the Baptist in the act of baptizing Jesus. Taking the cue from John the Baptist, “He must increase and I must decrease” the principal celebrant Fr. Ajit Munis sdb asked the people to allow Jesus to take the prime place in their lives. Citing various examples from the Christian point of witness, while breaking the Word of God Fr. Francis Patekar sj., called on the people to be ambassador of peace through reconciliation. The mass was well animated by the parish council and the choir well prepared by Fr. Michael Bansode. St. John’s church has a custom to invite the newly ordained priestly for their annual parish feast. Frs. Ajit and Francis were ordained priests in December 2008. After mass they felicitated with the traditional turban (pheta), a bouquet of flowers and a coconut. The students of standard tenth and twelfth were also felicitated who have passed their board examinations 2009 in the first attempt. This was followed by a dance “Jai Ho”, a game of housie and distribution of prizes.
Claudina Pinto MUMBAI, JUNE 29, 2009: The Annual General Body Meeting of the Salesian Cooperators of the Mumbai Province was held on June 28, 2009 in the AV hall at the Provincial House, Mumbai.53 Cooperators from all over Mumbai were present for the same. The meeting started with a con-celebrated mass. The main celebrant was Reverend Fr. Provincial Michael Fernandes. In his homily he spoke on laity and their rightful place and functions in the church. He mentioned that there are two states in the church: Clerical state and Lay state. Further he explained these states. They have fundamental equality but functional inequality. We can see in the church as Pyramidical Structure or Collaborative Structure. In the Collaborative Structure there is lot of scope for the Laity in the Church. He encouraged the co operators to collaborate in the activities of the church.After the mass Fr. Eliaz Dias in his power point presentation explained the identity of the cooperators, their history and the different activities of the co operatives in the province of Mumbai. Minutes of the previous AGM and the activities of the co operators were read out by Mrs. Philomena Mendes. Mr. Christopher Gomes read out the statement of accounts for the year 2008-09. With some clarifications the accounts were passed. Fr. Eliaz Dias appraised the co operators about the forth coming activities in the province which would include seminars, recollections, picnics, retreats, out reach programmes and joint meetings of the Salesian Family. He invited the co operators to take active part in the programmes organized for the Salesian Family this year.Mrs. Claudina Pinto proposed the Vote of Thanks. She thanked Fr. Provincial for celebrating mass, Fr. Dias and Sr. Phyllis Fernandes fma, for their encouragement and all the co operators for their presence. The meeting ended at 7. 30 p.m.
The most startling finding of the project is that height has nothing to do with race or genetics, only with environment. Kids grow in the same way in the first five years if you give them all that they need. And part of what they need is breast-feeding.
The study involved countries such as India, Ghana, Oman, Norway, the US and some others. The finding is so startling that the US government has not yet accepted it. Garza said that the US finds it difficult to accept the fact that there is no difference between Indian and Ghanian and Omani children and American children.... And, I guess, governments such as the Indian now have no excuse in terms of race or genetics; if children fail to grow, it is entirely a matter of environment.
The study evoked understandable reactions from the formula-feed lobbies, but it appears that that opposition has largely died down. Perhaps it is time for Salesians to get interested in child growth standards?
BOSCO INFORMATION SERVICE # 1415
LONERGAN CONFERENCE AT BOSTON
Ivo Coelho sdb
NASHIK, JUNE 25, 2009: I gave my lecture at the 36th Lonergan Workshop, Boston College, on Monday, June 22, 2009, at 7.30 p.m. Risky time, because it comes at the end of a long and full day, with 4 lectures in the morning, a workshop in the afternoon, and another 2 lectures after that. But there was a decent crowd, and they all sat up when they heard that I was going to try to apply part of Lonergan's method to a reading of Sankara as interpreted by Richard De Smet, SJ.
De Smet, as most of those who have studied either at JDV or Divyadaan will remember, was our Indology professor at JDV (he died 10 years ago). What I did was to use Lonergan to go over De Smet's work on Sankara. De Smet clarified the concept of person, showed how it was hammered out by Christian theologians precisely in their effort to speak about God (Trinity and Christology), and how it was then applied to all human beings (where the Romans had considered only Roman citizens as persons, slaves, for example, being non-persons). De Smet then went on to clarify how the Brahman of the Upanishads was really personal, and not impersonal as most Indologists seem to hold, because 'person' simply means a being who is intelligent and free. He also suggested that Sankara provided a good notion of the human person - most of the other systems in India being somehow dualistic.
In my paper, I used Lonergan's transposition of the metaphysical category of person into the 'psychological' category of subject in order to read Sankara again. My hunch was that it would be easier to find matter on consciousness and subject in Sankara and the Indian tradition, than matter on person. I suggested that there were clues in Sankara that suggested that we could find both divine and human subjects in his work.
The participants of the conference were impressed by the kind of dialogue work that De Smet had been doing. Very few of them had even heard of him. I think this was a good tribute to this great and good man, who is considered by some Indologists as one of the contemporary Vedantins of India.
Perhaps we could look forward to using Lonergan to read the Indian texts further.
BOSCO INFORMATION SERVICE (BIS) MUMBAI Don Bosco Provincial House,
Matunga, Mumbai - 400 019
Nerul Correspondent NERUL, JUNE 24, 2009: Don Bosco Senior Secondary School, Nerul held its first annual prayer service on June 15, 2009. The staff and students welcomed their new Manager Fr. Vivian D’Souza, their new Principal Fr. Anthony Fonseca and their administrator Fr. Monty Rodrigues. The school head girl of 2008-2009 Mishita Kodnani read out a welcome address which was followed by floral felicitations. Fr. Vivian D'Souza, Fr. Anthony Fonseca and Fr. Monty Rodrigues came up on stage to light the lamp to usher in the new academic session. After which a Prayer Song by students of class VII and VIII followed. The prayer song beautifully ushered in the reading of Psalm 119:12-20. Various intentions for the needs of the school and the world at large were recited. The prayer dance which was put up by the students of class VIII brought out the traditional Indian form of prayer. Quotes on Education were read by students primarily as a sign of looking ahead to an enriching academic year. Fr. Vivian gave a pep talk to the present students asking them to work hard and prepare themselves for the challenges that lie ahead. The event concluded by the Vote of Thanks delivered by one of the students.
KAPADVANJ, JUNE 18, 2009: I learned about Gram Sabhas as a boy in my school days and later as an MSW student, but I had never witnessed one or been part of the show. But now that we have started working with the rights-based approach and encouraging people’s participation, as soon as we got news of the Gram Sabha scheduled for Vadaali, we took charge and started mobilizing the people. We went door to door visiting every house in the village and asked people to come for the meeting.
Vadaali is a group Panchayat, and three other villages are also part of it. So, we began with a general meeting with the people of Bapajinamuvada, where we gathered a majority of the women and a handful of the men folk. We conscientized them about their right to attend the Gram Sabha, and also informed them of the date and the time of the Gram Sabha.
On the day of the meeting, our team reached the venue before time, but we realized that none of the people from the village had come yet. So, we got into our jeep and went straight to Bapajinamuvada. We reminded the people of the Sabha that was to happen that day, and managed to convince five women to come with us to the venue. On reaching there, we found that the Sabha had just begun. Since the Talati had given us permission to participate in the Sabha, and had also scheduled time for us to speak to the people about the NREGA and other issues, we were eager for people to attend. How disappointed we were when only five women showed up!
The meeting began with an official from the health department explaining the latest government scheme regarding health. After this, the TDO addressed the people, and asked them to present the needs of their village. At this point, it seemed that this Sabha would be no different from all the others in the past, with the officials taking centre stage and the people remaining silent. But just as the TDO was about to conclude, I saw a flock of women entering the Panchayat office and literally shouting at all the people present there. These were the women of Vadaali village, and they came in a group of more than 50. They insisted that their village had a severe water problem and demanded that it be solved that same day!
I could see that our efforts had been useful, that these women had come with their arguments well thought out. Ultimately, the sarpanch and the Sabha agreed that the women would get their water the next day. Their demands energized the entire assembly and within the next few minutes, another group also came out very strongly with their demand for water. These people too, were literally shouting at the officials present at the Gram Sabha.
At this point, I noticed one of the men speaking forcefully, but could not understand what exactly he was saying. However, the women at the meeting immediately pounced on him and did not let him get a word in edgeways. I later gathered that he was opposing the women’s demands, and that they silenced him with the argument that it was they, the women, who had to manage the difficult task of fetching water.
After pacifying the women by promising them that water would reach their village the very next day, the Talati ended the meeting. I heard all the men murmuring that this was the first time that the women of Vadaali and Bapujinamuvada had entered the Panchayat office. They had never before been part of the Gram Sabha.
The entire experience left me questioning myself and all that I have picked up from my books and other studies. This Gram Sabha was a new form of education, real and unedited!
LONAVALA, JUNE 13, 2009: “Here I am, this is me, there’s no where else on earth I’d rather be, here I am still young and strong, Right here in this place were I belong…..” These words from the song “Here I am” sung by Bryan Adams aptly expresses the sentiments of all the Fathers, Brothers, Staff, students and the boarders who began the academic year at Don Bosco, Lonavala. The series of welcomes began with the arrival of the four Salesian Confreres who form part of the community, namely Fr. Lorenzo D’souza, Principal and Prefect of Studies; Fr Thomas Chalissery, Administrator; Br. Savio D’mello, Catechist and Fr. Salu D’souza, Confessor. On June 11, the Salesian community welcomed the aspirants and apostolic boys. This year there are 19 Apostolic boys in the VIII, IX and X and 10 in the XII. The boys began their stay with full gusto by playing games and preparing for the school prayer service. Fr. Thomas D’costa , the Rector gave an opening talk to the community and the boys and introduced the new members of the Salesian Staff. The Fathers in turn spoke to the boys and gave them general instruction in their particular sectors. The school had its welcome ceremony on June 12. The academic year at Don Bosco Lonavala began with a spiritually prepared Prayer Service with the theme “SHINE LIKE STARS”. The gathering was welcomed by Fr. Thoma D’costa the Rector, who introduced the salesian staff to the school. In his message to the students he said “ In life we always need to give the first place to God, the second to our Neighbour, and the third place should be for ourselves, only then can we Excel and do well in our life”. The new Principal Fr Lorenzo D’souza welcomed the students and the staff along with the three new teachers Mrs. Gauri Chambalkar, Mrs. Sreekumari Sashikumar and Ms. Shrutika Dharak. During the assembly Fr Lorenzo said “Every star has a light of its own through which it shines. Like stars each one of us has our own strength and talents, we need to utilize them and excel.” Truly an enthusiastic take off for the Don Bosco shuttle at Lonavala.
Savio D’souza PUNE, JUNE 13, 2009: After a dedicated contribution to the Salesian houses during the two month summer apostolate, the brothers of Don Bosco Youth Centre were back to Pune on the 5th of June for another year of theology studies.On the 7th of June the community was glad to have Fr. Provincial, Fr. Vice - Provincial and Fr. Economer for the team visit. The brothers were grateful to Fr. Elson for organizing a two day session on administration and teaching the brothers to learn the Bosco Pack with the help of his co-team members. The sessions were certainly of great help to the brothers.On the following day the whole community of DBYC headed to the papal seminary (JDV) as the new academic year began which culminated with Eucharist and the inaugural lecture on “Media and religious understanding”.To have a deeper understanding of learning methods in theology, Fr. Kenneth Pereira took a short session with the brothers at DBYC thus making it motivating with his clear and profound thoughts.Even while our deacons are preparing for their forthcoming exams some are busy with their coursework and while the new hubbies are getting into a staid study of theology…DBYC still remains a happening house with the upcoming new apostolate this weekend.
Cl. Mylin Noronha NASHIK, JUNE 12, 2009: The staff and students of Divyadaan began their new academic year on the 11th of June 2009, by invoking the Holy Spirit to grant them the gift of wisdom as they continue on their quest for truth. The day began with the solemn celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the Divyadaan chapel. The community was blest to have Fr. Provincial to preside over the Eucharist. He was also accompanied by Fr. Vice Provincial. The Eucharist was also attended by the members of the neighbouring religious communities. In his homily Fr. Michael Fernandes stressed on how lives can change when touched by the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist was followed by a short snack which preceded the inaugural programme in the new academic block. The programme began by invoking the Holy Spirit with the lighting of the lamp and the singing of a bhajan. Then, the Rector, Fr. Savio D’souza welcomed the gathering. After the principal Fr. Robert Pen presented the annual academic report, Fr. Provincial inaugurated the new academic handbook and calendar. In his message he urged the students to be attentive in class, enjoy philosophy and reflect o what is taught. The inaugural lecture was delivered by Fr. Keith D’souza sj, who is a professor at the Archdiocesan Seminary in Mumbai. His talk was entitled ‘Reading Texts with Paul Ricoeur.’ In what he called a meditation rather than a lecture, he guided all to understand a text as mediated. He stressed on the approaches to interpret a text and how this interpretation should lead to action. At the close of the programme Fr. Valerian Periera proposed the vote of thanks. The program ended with the brothers singing two choral pieces to end the program on harmonious and melodious note.