Celebrating “Faith and Values” end in grand Success

Celebrating “Faith and Values” an initiative of the Salesian Province-Chennai, Vellore region, came to a close with a meaningful and prayerful experience of the Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Salesian Provincial of Chennai Rev. Fr. Don Bosco and concelebrated with over fifty Salesian priests from all over the province.

    Thanks to the creative vision of “Deepagam”, a Salesian centre that promotes Faith and Values that this event was conceptualized and celebrated as a Mega event “Celebrating Faith” took place on 29th October, 2023 with more than 2000 participants (children, youth, adults, Salesians and the Salesian Co-operators), and many more viewers around the globe.

    The Rectors and the laity from the twelve presences’ of Vellore region gathered under the guidance and leadership role of Fr. Jesudoss, the Director of “Deepagam”Fr. John Christy the Director of Youth Ministry and Fr. Christopher the Director of the Social Action Ministry in the province of Chennai, in order to prepare for the event. It was resolved that the event shall be hosted at Don Bosco, Katpadi. The Rector, Fr Sundarnot only graciously agreed to host the celebration, but also agreed to take responsibility to organize the transport, meals and all logistics needed for a successful event.

    The celebration began with the registration of participants beginning at 7:00am followed by breakfast. As the participants were registered, they were welcomed with the music of the brass band and by various Biblical characters, bringing the celebration to life.

    The celebration of “Faith and Values” began with the welcoming of the Bible. The Bible (mega size) was brought in procession to the main stage led by the Pascal candle. The Bible and the Paschal Candle were received by the Salesian Provincial-Chennai, Fr. Don Bosco and was assisted by the provincial Councillors and Rectors present. The celebration was declared open with an opening prayer and a solemn blessing to all the participants gathered for the event.  

    After the opening ceremony, the participants were divided into various groups according to their age and sent to different halls for the animation. The children were animated by Fr. Kirubagran, sdbon theme: “Jesus grew in stature and wisdom”. There were about 600 children from class 6th to 10th standard in this group. Mr. Victor and Pastor Ravi entertained the children with action songs and puppet shows to educate them in faith. The children were active and alive in learning gospel values.

    The “Youth” being the target group were given the main preference in talks and the use of the digital media. Fr. John Christy and his team comprising of Fr. Jerry sdb, FrSiluvai and Fr. Christopher animated these young people and made them come alive. There were about 500 youth who were participants drawn from parishes of Vellore zone. Fr. Jerry spoke to them on the need to have a deep “Faith in God.” Fr. John Christy unfolded to them the need for having “Faith in oneself.” Fr. Christopher implanted in them the need for “Faith in Others.”The animation was brought to a crescendo by Fr. Siluvaiwho spoke to them about “A Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body”where awareness was created on the culture of “use”, “abuse” and addiction among the young especially with Alcohol.

    The third group were the adults who were about 500 in number including parents. Fr. Maria Arulraja SJ led the team of animators. Fr. Jesudoss the Director of Deepagam assisted with biblical action songs and group discussion. Father Maria Arulraja animated the people with his knowledge and experience in lay apostolate and the responsibility in preaching and living the word of God in the society as light that shines in the darkness.

    The afternoon was dedicated to cultural shows, drums, music, Biblical characterizations, and exhibitions that were well prepared and staged by the various communities from the region. The whole afternoon was lively, colourful, entertaining and enjoyable

    The grace filled moments of the day was the prayer and worship and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Fr. Sunder led the prayer service with hymns of praise and worship coupled with a short homily. It was truly a moment of personal spiritual experience. FrJesudoss with the help of “Ten Commandments” prepared the participants to experience God’s forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation. All the Priests (Salesian and Diocesan) who were available offered to administer the sacrament of reconciliation to the participants. This time of reconciliation was a moment of grace as the participants sought the mercy of God with devotion and faith.

    The climax of the whole day was the solemn Eucharistic celebration which was presided over by Rev. Fr. Don Bosco the provincial and concelebrated by over 40 priests. Besides the participants, a large number of the religious, Salesian co-operators and members of the Salesian family joined the Eucharist with joy. The Word of God was broken by Fr. Jesudossin his homily on the love of God and the love of Neighbour.

    The singing was done the choir which was headed by Fr. Balasingam and Mr. Daniel who did a good job by selecting simple hymns known to all which made the entire congregation to participate in the liturgy actively and prayerfully. A fitting and joyful anthem composed by Fr. Raj Michele and Mr.Gnanam added to this celebration which depicted Salesian spirituality of Joy and Optimism. A colourful panel of privacy and sanctity prepared by Fr. Mark and his team invited the participants to enter into the sacrament of reconciliation. 

    “Deepagam” recognizes in a very special way Mr.Sagayadoss who generously sponsored 500 bibles, and took time to attend the celebration of “Faith and Values” of the young. The Provincial honoured him for his generosity and highlighted the fact that the Bibles he sponsored was a testimony to his faith.

    Kudos to the DIBICA team which took the responsibility to create the logo and make it known to the province. They also meticulously captured the entire event and professionally edited it for the mainstream media. We appreciate Fr. Ernest Rosario, the head of the team and to Fr. Sagayaraj for his contribution as the assistant director who made it possible to broadcast this event.

    The celebration did face challenges. Transport and accommodation of all the participants was one of the difficulties we encountered. There were many who would have liked to attend the event, but finance and transportation factors, constrained and limited the number of participants. The ultimate dream of providing each participant with a Bible fell short as it became impossible to find sufficient sponsors.

    Fr. John Alexander flagged off the participants and encouraged them to celebrate their faith as they made their way home. Fr. John Christy the Youth Ministry delegate proposed the vote of thanks. The distribution of Bible to every family and a youth Catechism for every youth and a Children’s’ Catechism book for children.

    The participants left the campus with their precious gift held proudly in their hands. The whole celebration came to a close by 6:00pm.

    Fr. John Alexander, the Vice Provincial, took the privilege to announce the next venue for the celebration of the “Faith and Values.” Sacred Heart College-Tirupattur will host the next celebration of “Faith and Values” in Tirupattur region.

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    The Citadel
    Vellore – A.Kattupadi

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