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Healthful Eating for Healthy Life: Seminar at DB Tirupattur

INM BIS Correspondent
Tirupattur, 2 August 2013:  “You are what you eat” – so goes the adage. If that is so, it is time you took a second look at what’s in your plate, say students of Don Bosco, Tirupattur, after a lively and appetizing seminar on healthful eating.  The seminar was a real eye-opener for the youngsters who took part in it. A healthy life needs a healthy diet, was the argument of Dr. Geetha Devendiran who led the stimulating seminar at Don Don Bosco Matriculation School, Tirupattur, on 30 July.

A healthy diet is that which supplies all essential nutritional components for the body—adequate fluid, essential amino acids from protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and adequate calories. These requirements can be met from a variety of sources, plant or animal-based. A healthy diet supports the energy needs of the person and provides for human nutrition without exposure to toxicity or excessive weight gain from consuming excessive amounts.

Poor eating habits lead to poor health, said the learned Doctor; hence the need to educate young people to eat right. Taste alone should not be the criterion for the choice of food. The thing is, your taste buds are very obedient; they will adapt to whatever food you give them consistently. They will also adapt according to the kind of thoughts you choose to have about the food you are eating. In short, you have the power to make your food more or less “tasty” by giving it mental and emotional meaning.

The doctor listed out for the students the food components they need in order to grow strong and live healthily – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and of course plenty of water between meals. The importance of other nutrients like oil, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc was highlighted. She also cautioned them about the dangers of junk foods, roadside foods, sugary carbonated drinks, packaged food all of which tend to contain many harmful things.

In order to live a healthy and happy life, the youngsters were advised to have three meals a day, to take fiber-rich food, green and leafy vegetables, sprouts, etc and regular exercise.

Extraordinary Visitation at Becchi Don Bosco

James Sundar SDB

Fr. Andrew Wong SDB, the Regional Councillor for EastAsia-Oceania region, currently on Extraordinary Canonical Visitation of the Province of Chennai on behalf of the Rector Major, began the visitation of individual communities on 31 July with the visitation of Becchi Don Bosco, Kavarapettai. On his arrival at 8 a.m. he was welcomed with arathi and ponnadai, in typical Tamil style. Fr. Joseph Jeyaraj, the Rector, introduced Fr. Wong to the community welcomed him on behalf of everyone.

During his first conference to the community at 9 a.m. the Visitor read article 104 of the General Regulations and the letter of the Rector Major regarding the visitation. In his talk he highlighted two aspects of the extraordinary visitation. First, he explained to the community the difference between the extraordinary visitation and the apostolic visitation of the Bishop. Secondly, he emphasized the aspect of communion, mostly basing himself on the letter of the Rector Major. He stated that the purpose of this visitation was to verify, on behalf of the Rector Major, the situation of religious life and disciple in the community and to strengthen our spirit of communion in the Congregation.

After the opening talk, Fr. Wong divided the community into various groups to evaluate the implementation of the recommendations of the previous canonical visitation done by the Provincial. After the group discussion, each group presented its report. The visitor thanked everyone for the very warm welcome accorded to him and for their availability.

Fr. Andrew Wong begins Extraordinary Visitation of Chennai Province

Ravi Aruldass SDB

Fr. Andrew Wong SDB, Regional Councillor for East Asia-Oceania, officially inaugurated his 4-month-long Extraordinary Visitation of the Province of Chennai during a Solemn Holy Eucharistic celebration on 30th July 2013, at the SIGA hall in Chennai.  All the leaders of the communities and a large number of confreres from the houses of Chennai city, along with the boys from Rinaldi Juniorate were present for the celebration.

Before the Eucharist, the Provincial Fr. Jayapalan Raphael welcomed the Extraordinary Visitor on behalf of all the Salesians and members of the Salesian Family.

During the Eucharist, Fr. Wong re-echoed the words of the Holy Father Pope Francis to the youth in Rio, “Go, Proclaim the Gospel … and make disciples,” inviting each one to fulfill the mandate we all have received of evangelizing the world.

After the Eucharist, addressing the Salesians, Fr. Wong highlighted three things that the Rector Major wanted him to share with the confreres of the Province:  Salesian Brother Stephen Sandor, Year of Faith and the encyclical Lumen Fidei, and Project Europe.

Bro. Stephen Sandor of Hungary, who died a martyr’s death in his own country on June 8 1953, will be beatified on 19 October. The Rector Major wants this to be an occasion for the whole congregation and for every province to reflect upon the significance of the Salesian Brother in the congregation. He quoted Fr. Juan Vecchi who once said that, without the Brother, the Salesian Congregation would lose its identity.  Fr. Wong highlighted the vocation of the Slaesian Brother and the responsibility of the whole province and every confrere to work towards promoting the vocation of the Salesian Brother.

As we enter the fourth quarter of the Year of Faith, it is opportune, he said, to familiarize ourselves with the encyclical Lumen Fidei that Pope Francis issued on 5th July. It is a beautiful presentation on Faith that was begun by Pope Benedict the XVI and completed by Pope Francis.

The Project Europe, begun in 2006, needs the attention of everyone in the congregation. Europe that once was the land of missionaries has now become a mission land. Due to the sharp decline in vocations and the aging of confreres, the situation of the Congregation – and the church – in Europe is critical. With the launching of Project Europe, a small number of Salesians form other countries, particularly from Asia, have been going to Europe as missionaries. While it is a good sign, it is not without its difficulties. It is not easy for many in Europe to accept the fact that Europe is a mission land, needing missionaries from outside. The extreme type of secularization of European society also becomes a great challenge for the missionaries opting to work there. In the midst of material wealth, there is a high level of spiritual poverty. Hence, Fr. Wong said those who opt to go as missionaries should be deeply rooted in the Salesian vocation, the Salesian spirit and the Salesian charism.

The paucity of vocations the aging of those who are there has necessitated the re-dimensioning of several provinces in Europe. In this connection Fr. Wong said that soon the six provinces of Spain will be reorganized into two.

Earlier in the day, Fr. Wong also addressed the Rectors and leaders of communities. He also met with the Provincial Council on 29 July.

Sporting Extravaganza at Dharmapuri Don Bosco College

Matthew Adukanil SDB

The Seventh Annual Sports Day at Don Bosco College, Dharmapuri, kicked off exactly as scheduled at 9.30 a.m. on 26 July and was as colourful as ever. The NSS volunteers turning out in their smart white uniforms piloted the Chief Guest’s motorcade to the assembled college sports lovers, waiting eagerly to showcase their sporting talents. A cool morning with some harmless stray clouds here and there provided the ideal weather for a day of grit and sweat. The Chief Guest, Mr. Ratinasamy, Project Officer of the Government Women’s Development programmes, was visibly impressed by our students’ smart turnout.

The opening ceremonies got under way with a neatly packaged and smartly costumed march-past of various contingents of both boys and girls. The innovative and well-accoutered   costumes of the marchers did not fail to catch everyone’s eye. Clearly the march-past is becoming more and more competitive year after year and pageantry is becoming a growing trend.

Sporting events got off to a smooth start after the opening ceremonies, speeches and rituals. The college Physical Education coach, Mr. Xavier Denies, is a gold medalist in hockey at the national level and he has shown class in making Don Bosco College, the number one college for sports in the Periyar University, garnering state and national level honours for the college.  Under the guidance of the Vice- Principal, Fr. Daniel Ambrose, and the executive talents of Mr. Denies an impressive sports event was rolled out on the campus.

Apart from the usual keenly fought track and field events for the students, a relay race, a walking race and ‘breaking the pot’ were some of the items for the staff. There was also keen competition among the various Houses for tent decoration with much investment in time and material. The Chief Guest for the closing ceremony was Mr. Uma Sankar Rao, Senior Manager of Karur Vyasa Bank. The events came to a happy close by 2 p.m. with the overall championship cup, full and spilling over with thrills, going to the plucky — and lucky— Computer Science Department.  

Sacred Heart College enters the elite group

Fr. Maria Arokiaraj SDB

Double celebrations rocked the campus of Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, on 17 July 2013 –the successful outcome of the NAAC team visit and the inauguration of the reach-out programmes for the academic year 2013–2014. Fr. Maria Susai SDB, the former Principal, and Fr. A.T. Thomas, the former Additional Principal, were the chief guests of the day.

The Peer Team of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) visited the college in April 2013 for the third cycle of accreditation. The result of the NAAC team visit and evaluation: a fabulous ‘A’ grade, with a very good CGPA of 3.43 out of 4. With this score, Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, joins an elite group of colleges in India.

This assessment and accreditation is an affirmation by the highest national body of the quality of education provided by SHC. During the celebration, the former Principal, the Additional Principal and the IQAC members in particular were congratulated. During the staff meeting, immediately after the formal function, the former Principal, Fr. Maria Susai, gave a vivid account of events leading up to the NAAC team visit. Prof. Henry Rosario, the IQAC convener, thanked everyone, big and small, by name. He reminded everyone that we should follow the recommendation of the NAAC team and that quality was more a matter of the mental makeup of the individuals in an organization than anything else. The Rector and the Principal congratulated and thanked everyone responsible for this good showing. Laddus were distributed to all students and the rest of the day was declared a holiday. As a mark of appreciation, the staff were served a good lunch. Encouraged by the NAAC team’s observations, the college is now working towards greater excellence to achieve the status of a full-fledged University.

An education that does not reach out to the society is not worth its name. Realizing its importance, Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, inaugurated a slew of reach-out programmes, under the banner of ‘SHELTERS’ for the new academic year. The entire college, about 4,000 young people, participated in it. ‘SHELTERS’ is an umbrella organization encompassing all associations of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities of the college, namely, AICUF, NCC, NSS, Media Forum, Consumer Forum, Fine Arts Club, Sports Club, Youth Red Cross, Rotaract, Rovers, Matru Nataka Iyakkam, EDP Cell, SHESRA, and Red Ribbon.

After the procession of the office bearers into the Hall, a soul-lifting prayer service and the investiture ceremony followed. It was a proud moment for the office bearers to receive the insignia and a moment of resolve to carry out their duty to the best of their abilities. The entire student community took an oath, resolving to join hands to take forward their learning to the society, making the society a better place to live in.

A detailed PowerPoint presentation showcased all the proposed activities of various departments. The chief guest, Fr. A. T. Thomas, pointed out that the college was the best place to build their strengths and he encouraged the students to use every opportunity to grow from strength to strength. The spectacle came to a close with the National Anthem.  

Thoughts and Theology of Pope Francis: Pope’s Day Seminar at DBTC, Kavarapettai

James Sundar SDB

The “Thoughts and Theology of Pope Francis” was the theme of the annual seminar marking Pope’s Day celebrations at Don Bosco Theological Centre (DBTC), Kavarapettai, Chennai, on 29 June.  The participants were the Salesian students of theology and a few invited priests, religious and lay folk including some youth.

The tone was set through a creatively designed prayer service centred around “poverty”, a frequent and favourite theme in Pope Francis’s many homilies and public and private utterances ever since his election to papacy.

Fr. Victor Antonyraj, principal of DBTC, welcomed the gathering and spoke about the relevance and significance of the seminar theme.

Theology student Justin Prabakar SDB set the ball rolling with a stirring presentation on, “Francis: Pope for a New Era”. In his presentation he gave the audience a glimpse into the recent book, “On Heaven and Earth – Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century”. The book, originally published in Spanish in 2010, in fact, is co-authored by the Pope himself when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires and a highly respected Argentine Jewish rabbi, Abraham Skorka, who is also a biophysicist by profession. The book, written in the form of a conversation between these two religious leaders who have been friends for a long time, touches on a wide variety of topics including justice, religion, prayer, euthanasia, women, abortion, divorce, money, poverty, politics and power.

Guest speaker Sr. Margaret FMA spoke on “Pope Francis and the Christian Mission,” emphasizing the perspective of women empowerment and liberation, which is seen as a theme close to the heart of Pope Francis. In her well-reasoned paper she touched upon two important things: first, the fact that the mission of God is primarily directed to the poor and secondly, the issue of gender justice and equality as an integral part of the Christian mission. She exhorted the participants to give adequate space for women to exercise their role in the various ministries of the Church.  

The presentations of the theme were followed by a vigorous workshop during which the participants, divided into four groups, deepened their insights and understanding of the themes dealt with by the speakers. This was followed by a Panel Discussion moderated by Fr. Arul Kumar, the Professor of Canon Law at DBTC.

The whole programme was organized by the second year theology students.

DBTC Kavarapettai: New Academic Block and Academic Year Inaugurated

James Sundar SDB

The new academic block of Don Bosco Theological College, Kavarapettai, was blessed and inaugurated by Fr. Jayapalan Raphael, Provincial, at 9 a.m. on Friday 7th June in a brief and simple ceremony, invoking God’s choicest blessings on the students, staff and all who had helped to make the edifice a reality.

This was followed by the inauguration of the academic year 2013-2014 which began with a solemn inaugural Eucharist in the college chapel presided over by Father Provincial during which he invoked the blessings of the Holy Spirit on all the students and faculty as they were beginning another year of theological studies. 

In his homily he urged the budding theologians to receive, rely upon and respond to the power and the gifts of the Holy Spirit while they pursued their theological study.

At the inaugural function of the academic year which was held in the Bosco Hall Fr. Joseph Jeyaraj, Rector of the college, welcomed the gathering and felicitated the chief guest. Fr. Victor Antonyraj, the Principal of the college, presented the annual report of the previous academic year. The report highlighted the special achievements of the academic community during the year, particularly the affiliation of the college to the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), Rome.

Fr. Cassius Correya, the Dean of the college, delivered the inaugural lecture entitled “Avery Dulles and Apologetics” – a study based on the theology of Avery Dulles, the American Jesuit theologian and Cardinal. His lecture was divided into three parts. First, he introduced Cardinal Avery Dulles to the gathering. Secondly, Fr. Cassius spoke about the theology of Dulles from the perspective of Apologetics. Finally, he gave the practical implications of Dulles’ theology, which is quite appropriate to the Asian context. 

In his presidential address, Fr. Jayapalan Raphael drew the attention of the students to the need for in-depth study of theology and highlighted the four functions of theologizing namely, catechetical, apologetical, polemical and homiletical.

The function came to a close with the releasing of the handbook of the new Academic year and the vote of thanks raised by Deacon Mariadoss. The entire inaugural function was organized by the deacons and the Holy Eucharist was prepared by the third year students.

Fr. Arokiadoss awarded Master’s Degree in Salesian Spirituality

Christy Antony SDB

Fr. Arokiadoss Lourdusamy of Chennai Province defended his Master’s thesis in Spiritual Theology (with specialization in Salesian Spirituality) on 10 June 2013 at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. His thesis, “Salesian Presence & Assistance: Formative Spirituality For Youth In Tamilnadu,” met with much appreciation particularly for its ‘relevance to the times’. 

The examiners remarked that the author approached the topic with great clarity of objective in order to ‘to re-emphasize and interpret Presence & Assistance based on the signs of the times as a necessary and relevant part of formative spirituality for the youth of today. The work, they felt, could be a great contribution towards reinterpreting ‘Salesian Presence among the young’ in Tamilnadu. 

Fr. Aldo Giraudo, the guide of the research work and a well-known authority on Salesian Studies in the world today, while lauding the work said, “this work, with its clarity and scientific approach, is worth deepening further for a doctorate.” Fr. Sahayadas Fernando, who was the president of the panel of examiners conferring the degree, remarked that the candidate had exhibited a level of proficiency on the subject matter that drew the admiration of the examiners.

Thanking the professors and the audience, Fr. Arokiadoss expressed his sense of joy and satisfaction at having been able to apply his mind to a topic so central to the Salesian Charism and Salesian style of educating the young.

Summer Camps in Jawadhi Hills

Emmanuel SDB

Around 1200 children and 50 teachers from 60 villages of Jawadhi Hills participated in a series of summer camps organized in six different zones by Don Bosco Jawadhi Hill in association with the Christian Medical College, Vellore. While the camps at Valliyur, Veerpanur, Kalyanamanthi and Puliyur were held on 2-11 May those at Jamunamaruthur and Kovilur were held on 13-22 May.

 

A slew of lively programs loaded with fun and adventure kept the kids busy right through the camp days. In the process they learnt a number of useful things such as folk-arts, scouting, life-skill education, science through handicrafts, basics of nutrition, maths, yoga and English. They also had ample opportunities to showcase their talents by taking part in in various competitions like singing, dancing, drawing, skit, camp fire, treasure hunt, etc.

The camps were meticulously planned by Fr. Robert Alphonse, Fr. Pitchai Muthu, Dr. Anu and Dr. Shanti and ably executed by Brothers Emmanuel, Sagayaraj, Sekar and Antonyraj along with the volunteers, Night School Coordinators and the CMC Staff. The programmes were well appreciated by the local people and the village leaders; they have asked for more next summer.

The Jawadhi Hills (aka Javadu) are an extension of the Eastern Ghats spread across parts of Tiruvannamalai and Vellore districts in the northern part of Tamil Nadu. They lie about 2500 to 3500 feet above sea level and stretch across an area of 80 x 30 km. These hills are famous for sandalwood and many varieties of fruit-bearing trees. The population of these hills consists of tribals and other backward communities.

Salesian involvement with the people of these hills began in 1976 with the Italian Salesian missionary Fr. Angelo Codello launching many developmental works among the tribal people of the area at the request of the District Collector. Today our involvement in Jawadhi has grown considerably and includes various tribal development programmes, social ministry, community college, hostels for tribal children, evening study centres, parish ministry and so on.

13 Salesians Take Final Vows in Chennai

On 30 May, Bro. Antonysamy Vanathian made his final commitment to the Lord as a Salesian Brother during a solemn Eucharist at Rinadi Juniorate in the presence of a large number of his relatives and friends as well as Salesians and members of the Salesian Family. The two-hour-long impressive ceremony focused on the meaning of religious profession and the special significance of the vocation of the Salesian Brother. Most of the Salesian Brothers in the Province were present on the occasion.

Fr. Jayapalan Raphael, Provincial, during his homily touched upon the origin and history of the Brother vocations in the congregation from the time of Don Bosco himself. After the Holy Mass Brother Antonysamy was warmly felicitated.  

Earlier, on 24th May, 12 scholastics made their final commitment at a solemn ceremony held at Don Bosco Shrine, Ayanavaram, Chennai. They  are John Wilson, Regan Jude, Rozario Devadoss, Selvaray Xavier Raj, Samynathan James Raj, Vincent Prabu, George Joseph, Inniyasi Robert, Thomas Sathianathan, Bharathi Singarayar and Nellapatti Lawrence  and Savari Lourduraj.

Fr Jayapalan Raphael, the Provincial, who received the profession and delivered the homily spoke of the beauty and the blessings of giving oneself fully to God in service. 

IAS/IPS Awareness Camp – 2013 Edition

Joseph Leo SDB

The second edition of the IAS/IPS Awareness Camp organized by Don Bosco Vazhikaatti (DBV) was conducted in May this year at Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, Perambur. This dream project of DBV consists of a 10-day intensive residential training program for specially selected Class XI students from Don Bosco Institutions and Parishes in Chennai Province who aspire for Civil Services examinations. Fifty students participated in the camp this year.

This camp was inaugurated on 1st May in the presence of Mr. Shankar IRS, Mr. Karthick Manickam IRS, Asst. Commissioners of Income Tax Department, Tamilnadu. Fr. Pathiaraj, Rector, Don Bosco Hr. Sec. School, Perambur, Mr. Kaliamoorthy, Retd. Prof. Presidency College, IAS/IPS aspirants and their parents were present for the inaugural function.  Chief guests Mr. Shankar and Mr. Karthick delivered their keynote address in which they encouraged the IAS/IPS aspirants to keep on striving and never to be discouraged.

Each day started with yoga to refresh the mind followed by Holy Mass to feed their souls. The aspirants were given practice to read daily Newspaper effectively. After their breakfast they had an inspirational hour during which eminent personalities interacted with them to clarify and sharpen their goals. Coaching for IAS/IPS exam was held in two sessions for the first batch and second batch in the morning. The paper I sessions were handled in the morning by experts from Prof. Kaliamoorthy’s team. Paper II syllabuses CSAT were handled by Mr. Jerome and Mr. Roche. Personality development Skills by Mr. Einstein and the general mental abilityby Dr. Vijayakumar.

In the evening, the trainees had an hour of vigorous field games (football, volley ball, basketball, etc) in teams, 15 minutes of voice culture and an hour to study and practice their daily sessions.  Books related to mains & CSAT syllabus were made available to them during their study hour.

The day usually ended with Potential Identification hour, during which the trainees had an opportunity to showcase their talents through Quiz on General Knowledge & General Science and competitions like Street Play on Social issues, Speech Competition on Social Evils, Views on News, etc.,

On the final day of the program the trainees were given a test and an evaluation form to submit their feedback on the IAS/IPS Exam coaching sessions and whatever they may have learnt through the camp. The overall feedback indicated that trainees are becoming confident of taking up the IAS/IPS examination and that they really want to continue the training program for the next 5 years, that is until they complete their college degrees.

The program ended with the valedictory function, at which Mr. S. N. Sesha Sai, IPS, Inspector General of Police, Enforcement, was the chief guest. In his valedictory speech he encouraged the aspirants to have a desperate desire to achieve their goals.

Chennai Vocation Camp 2013 – Days of Non-stop Learning and Serendipitous Discoveries

Louis Kumpiluvelil SDB

The 21-day-longVocation Camp 2013of the Province of Chennai which openedon May 1 is going on full steam these days at Don Bosco, Tirupattur. The 84 participants include 9 college graduates, 20 Class XII and 55Class X boys from the six dioceses ofthe province –Ooty, Dharmapuri, Vellore, Chinglepet, Pondy and Madras-Mylapore. The camp is the culmination of a year-long work carried out by the provincial vocation promoter Fr.Parthibanraj.

In the course of the past year, Fr.Parthiban visited scores of schools and parishes to speak to students about Don Bosco and the Salesian Congregation. He personally contacted 3,375 boys who had expressed not only a desire to know more about Don Bosco but also wanted to find out if they had a Salesian vocation. He kept in touch with them through letters and invited them for a one-day camp conducted in six different locationsin Tamil Nadu in the month of January. Fr.Partiban then personally visited the families of the 270 boys who attended the one-day camps in order to get to know them better. Subsequently some 170 boys had signed up for the 21-day camp, but many could not make it to the camp as their college exams were postponed due to the recent political disturbances in the state.

The Camp is designed to give the youngsters a wholesome experience of Christian and Salesian life as well as an opportunity to reflect seriously about whether God is calling them to a life of priestly or religious consecration. The fun-packed three weeks of intense living,along with the carefully planned inputs, is expected to open them to the mystery of the world within and the world around them,leadingthem to a deep encounter both with the self and with God.

The programme offers a possibility of non-stop learning and serendipitous discoveries for the youngsters, helping them to get to know themselves better and improve their interpersonal and communication skills.The daily activities include prayer and liturgy, class and study, games and entertainments and opportunities for exercising their personal gifts and talents. As many as 16Salesian priests, a Salesian Brotherand a few lay professionals including doctors and psychologists will deal with an array of topics such as health and hygiene, intellectual development, social issues of the day, culture and its expressions, group experience, Christian and Salesian vocation, religious life, the Word of God, Sacramental life, Don Bosco and the Salesian mission in the Church, etc. Finally, on the last day of the camp the parents of the participants will meet with the youngsters and the Salesians in the camp.

In the day-to-day running of the programme, camp chief Bro. Augustine Arulraj is ably assisted by a team of three Salesian scholastics and five senior aspirants. The Community of Don Bosco, Tirupattur, has gone out of its way to make the camp an unforgettable experience for the participants.

800 get jobs at DB Vazhikaati Job Fair

Fr. Joseph Leo SDB

Don Bosco Vazhikaati (DBV), Chennai, and DB Tech, Chennai, jointly organized a Job Fair on 27 April 2013 at in Thiruvallur, a semi-urban area with great employment potential for skilled, semi-skilled, unskilled candidates from various institutions in the district.

DBV Job Fair 2013 was unique in initiating the process through networking. The event was well backed up by Christ College, Madras Social Service Society (MSSS), St. Anne’s Matriculation School and St. Francis De Sales School.

Dr. P. Venugopal, Member of Parliament, Tiruvallur, inaugurated the Fair in the presence of Fr. Arul Raj, VG, Archdiocese of Chennai, Fr. Sebastian, Principal, Christ College, Fr. Joseph Leo, Director, DBV, Fr. Raymond, parish priest, St. Francis De Sales Church, and Sr. Amali, Principal, St. Anne’s Matriculation School. Thiruvallur.

Fr. Joseph Leo, Director of DBV honoured the clients and initiated the interview process. Corporate Houses like MRF, Café Coffee Day, Maruti Suzuki, Shoppers Stop, Univercell, Godrej and Boyce, Hotel Savera, Pest Control India Pvt Ltd, Grameen Koota, IM Gears, etc were among the 44 companies that participated in the Job fair. There were more than 2,500 candidates of whom nearly 800 were selected on the spot and given provisional Offer Letter from the respective companies and many more are expected to receive call letters for the final interview from the Companies that participated.

This unique event proved beyond doubt that Networking paves the way for success.

First Annual Day at Don Bosco College of Education, Dharmapuri

Matthew Adukanil  SDB

It was a historic moment in the annals of the newly launched Don Bosco College of Education at Dharmapuri. Staff and students joined together with great enthusiasm and joy on 12 April to celebrate the First Annual Day. A lot of work and good will had gone into the preparation of the stage and venue of the event. The entire campus was not only tastefully illuminated with mellow serial lights but also the entire path to the venue was spruced up for the occasion by the spunky college students.

Rector of the College Fr. Bellarmine Fernando SDBwelcomed the gathering and made some pertinent reflections on the teachers’ vocation. The Most Rev. Dr. Lawrence Pius, bishop of Dharmapuri,presided over the function and distributed the prizes. He made some thought-provoking observations on the educational scenario in Tamilnadu. He complimented hundreds of teachers who work withpassion,often for a meagre monthly salary of Rs 2,000 whereas their counterparts in government schools draw handsome salaries of up to even Rs 45,000 a month. He drew the attention of the audience to several engineering colleges that are closing down in the state due to poor enrollment and commercialization of education.

Fr. Maria Louis SDB, the principal, read out an information-packed annual report which was suitably supported by attractive photos of various facets of the college of education. The students entertained the audience with a number of items like dances, mime and skits. The theme of the skits revolved around social evils like drinking, poor food habits, cell phone addiction etc. In particular the imaginative mime on cell phone mania caught the attention of the audience. Distinguished guests included the former Rector Fr. SusaiLourdusamy and former Principal of Don Bosco College Fr. C. M. Varghese. The colourfully executed programme came to a happy end by 8 p.m. The way things are going andjudging from the rush for admissions for the next batch, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this College is bound to make a good Salesian impact on  the next-generation teaching community of Tamil Nadu.

Incidentally, the College Annual Day also marked the fifth and last annual day celebration for theTeacher Training Institute functioning in the same campus which is in the process of being phased out due to lack of students. Certainly changes are quick and furious in today’s fast-paced world.

Annual retreat for domestic staff of Don Bosco institutions

by Fr. Sagayaraj Philominathan  SDB

More than 300 domestic workers from various Don Bosco institutions in the province of Chennai took part in retreats held at five different locations such as Chennai (DB Egmore), Polur (Agro-Tech), Vellore (Don Bosco), Tirupattur (Don Bosco), Pondy, and Tirukazhukundram, between 5th and 16th March.

Addressing the participants at each location, Fr. Sagayaraj, the Provincial Economer, highlighted the significance of this annual event that comes in the middle of the holy season of Lent. He told them it was a moment to pause, to shut out the outer world (as much as possible) in order to examine one’s inner world, to take stock of the situation, to do some course correction and finally to re-launch one’s spiritual journey with renewed vigour and resolve.

During the morning sessions, the animators focused on two aspects of spiritual renewal: firstly, helping the participants understand better the content of Faith, and secondly, helping them to get a deeper awareness of their obligations to God and to neighbor through a reflection on the Ten Commandments. Through music and video presentations, they created an environment that helped them get into a reflective mood.  The animators spoke of the importance of asking God for the strength to overcome one’s hurt feelings and to understand the need to forgive and to be forgiven, the need for repentance and reparation.

The highpoint of the post-lunch session was the Eucharistic adoration during which the animators took the participants on an ‘intimacy trip with God’, the essence of which could be summarized thus: “Never forget to pray. God lives. He is near. He is real. He is not only thinks of us… He deeply cares for us. He is our Father. He is accessible to all who will seek Him”.

The retreat at each location concluded with a solemn Eucharistic celebration during which the participants had an opportunity to share the personal experiences they had during the retreat. “It was indeed an uplifting experience,” said one participant. “Fighting the battles of our daily life, we get tired, weary and emotionally drained. Spending time alone with God opens up our vision. This retreat was like receiving a spiritual shot into our veins,” said another. 

The programme was organized and animated by the Provincial  Economer Fr. Sagayaraj  Philominathan, who was ably assisted by a team of six priests, namely, Fr. Paulraj Amalraj, Fr. Parthiban, Fr. Paul Mark, Fr. John Borg, Fr. John Kennedy and Fr. Mathew Rajan.

Another “Job Mela” by DB Vazhikatti: 600 students land lucrative jobs

Fr. Joseph Leo SDB

Don Bosco Vazhikaati, Chennai, along with Don Bosco College, Dharmapuri, conducted another mega Campus Recruitment drive at the college premises on 9 March in which more than 1500 final-year students from various colleges in the district took part. Some 30 Business Organizations like MRF, Café Coffee Day, KFC, Mahindra Finance, TNQ Books and Journals from Chennai and SRM Hotels, Maruti Suzuki, Le Royal Meridien, SRM Hotels, Pest Control India Pvt Ltd, Lifestyle Stores, Vee Technologies (Salem), and Fidelity (Bangalore) were present on the campus to pick the candidates of their choice. Nearly 600 students were selected on the spot and given offer letters.

The Campus Drive was inaugurated by the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by Fr. Bellarmine Fernando, Rector of Don Bosco College, who in his pep talk to the assembled students, remarked,  “What used to be a herculean struggle in former times has now become a celebration! Such is the transformation that is taking place in our society today, and we are all happy about it.”

The role of Don Bosco Vazhikatti, the Career Guidance and Job Placement cell of the Salesian Province of Chennai, is to liaise between job seekers and job providers, said Fr. Joseph Leo, Director of Vazhikatti, in his introductory talk to the students and the representatives of the Business Houses. Vazhikatti also takes pains to prepare prospective candidates by helping them to fine tune their communication skills and interview techniques.

If at one time “campus recruitment” was considered the privilege only of students in the high-profile institutions of the country, for several years now, Don Bosco Vazhikatti has been bringing that privilege to thousands of students from rural areas in the state, including first-generation learners. You no longer have to be in a top-notch institution —which is often beyond the reach of most ordinary students from rural educational institutions— to bag the jobs that you want to, is the message that Vazhikatti is conveying to the student community.

The success of the drive was greatly due to the meticulous preparation undertaken by Don Bosco Vazhikaati and the staff of Don Bosco College under the guidance of Fr. Daniel Ambrose, Placement Director and Mr. Anand, Placement Coordinator. Both the students and the Business Houses were delighted with the drive and its outcome — the former got the jobs they wanted and the latter got the workers they were looking for.

Brain-teasing, Nerve-racking and Fun-generating IT Fest at Yelagiri Hills

Bro. Arokia Anbu SDB

The 2013 edition of the intramural IT Fest was celebrated by the Department of Computer Science and Applications of Don Bosco College, Yelagiri Hills, on 2 March. The Fest was inaugurated by the Mr. Lawrence Mohanraj, Deputy General Manager (Academic) of IBM India. College Principal Fr. Gregory Thaddeus SDB delivered the inaugural address.

Delivering the keynote address, Mr. Mohanraj gave the students a glimpse into “Today’s Tech Trends”, particularly focusing on how today’s fast-growing technology addresses the tough questions that keep coming up from the fields of Mobile Computing, Business Analysis, Cloud Computing and Social Networking (MACS, for short).

The Fest is one of the important co-curricular activities of the @IT Association of the students of the college. It aims at sharpening the students’ capacity to learn from one another and to explore and exhibit their IT skills in front of others at a one-day forum.

The highlight of the day was a slew of brain-teasing, nerve-racking and fun-generating competitions, such as: Wobbling Mind (technical quiz), Virtual Dreams (web designing in one hour), Program Dexterity (debugging errors in programs), Venture Capital (advertising IT products), ViewPace (digital poster making), Pixa Talk (digital collage making on a given theme), Dumb Charade (describing an IT product by acting it out while another has to find what it is in 1 minute), and Mock Interview (testing the Final Year student’s preparedness to face hard .

For the competitions, students were divided into ten groups, each group bearing the name of an Open Source Operating System. The overall championship was won by team UBUNTU and the Stars of the Fest were Sujith Kumar and John Paulraj of BCA Final Year.

“It was a great day of learning for us,” said a final year BCA student, “learning new things, learning to be creative and learning to organize events.” Another summed it up thus, “Tired minds and joyful hearts at the end of an action-filled day,” added another.

Multidisciplinary Workshop on Nanomaterials at S. H. College, Tirupattur

Fr. Theophil Gregory SDB

A mind-blowing encounter with the small, small world of nanomaterials! And the occasion was a CSIR-sponsored one-day multidisciplinary workshop onthe“Role of Nanomaterials in Energy and Environmental Sectors”at Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, to mark the National Science Day, on 28 February. The Workshop focused on imparting basic knowledge about nanomaterials and their potential applications in science and technology. The event was organized by the Department of Physics in collaboration with the recently launched Fr. Abraham Panampara Research Centre (APRC) of the Sacred Heart College. Director of the Research Centre, Fr. Dr. C. M. Varghese SDB, delivered the keynote address. Fr. Panampara was the first Indian Principal of the College.

The workshop brought together,on a single platform, a number of eminent scholars and experts from various fields to share their views and expertise. Dr. Francis P. Xavier SJ, Director, Loyola-ICAM College of Engineering and Technology (LICET), spoke on the “Importance of energy and environment” while Dr. G. Sekaran, Chief Scientist and Head, Environmental Technology Division, CLRI-CSIR, gave a stimulating lecture on “Advanced Industrial Waste Water Treatment”, an area of research very much related to textile and leather industries. Dr. Sekaran invited the young researchers to join hands with industries and contribute to both science and society.

Eminent Professor Dr. B. Viswanathan, Director (NCCR), IIT, Madras, generated great interest among the students and scholars with his stimulating presentation on  “Fuel Cells in Alternate Energy”. Dr. L. John Kennedy, Assistant Professor, VIT University, Chennai Campus, exposed the role of “Nanomaterials in supercapacitor applications”, while . Dr. J. Judith Vijaya, Assistant Professor, Catalysis and Nanomaterials research Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Loyola College, Chennai, spoke on the role of “Nanomaterials in Photocatalysis”.

Speaking on the significance of the workshop, the organizing secretary Prof. Fr. TheophilAnand SDB said it was an occasion to expose the students and the research scholars to the latest developments in the area of nanomaterialsand to highlight the multidisciplinary nature of today’s developments in science and technology.

The National Science Day is celebrated in India on February 28 each year to mark the discovery of the “Raman effect” by Indian physicist, Sir C. V. Raman, on 28 February 1928, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930.  He was the first Asian and first non-White to receive any Nobel Prize in the sciences. Before him, another Indian, Rabindranath Tagore, had received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

Fr. Guezou Memorial Trophy inaugurated at Yellagiri Hills

Bro. Arockia Anbu SDB

The Don Bosco Centre, Yellagiri Hills, celebrated the golden jubilee of the arrival of Fr. Francis Guezou SDB on Yellagiri Hills and the beginning of the Don Bosco mission for the tribal people there. To keep alive his memory the community of Don Bosco Centre, has launched a football tournament under the banner of Fr. Guezou Ever-Rolling Trophy.The tournament was inaugurated on 16 Feb at IdayaDeepam Novitiate grounds.

The tournament was open to all the Don Bosco institutions in Yellagiri and its vicinity. Eleven teams participated in the keenly fought tournament – Don BoscoAspirantate, Don Bosco Matriculation School, SH College Aspirants, Guezou Hostel Boys, Don Bosco-Jolarpettai, Don Bosco-Gandhi Nagar, Athanavur Youth Club, GuezouIllam Boys, PappaDuhayon Hostel Boys, Bosco Soft and Don Bosco Centre. The tournament was inaugurated by the YellagiriPanchayat President Mr. Achudan on Feb 16. The players were provided with a good lunch by the organizers.

After a keenly fought semi-finals, held on 17 Feb, Papa Duhayon Hostel and Don Bosco Centre, Yellagiri Hills, qualified to meet each other in the finals, which proved to be a thriller. Both the teams having scored 2 goals each during regulation time, the match went into extra-time, and finally ended in a tie-breaker in which PappaDuhayon beat Don Bosco Centre to grab the coveted trophy. Runners-up, Don Bosco Centre, were given the Fr. Rector Ever Rolling Trophy.

The trophies were distributed by the former president of Yellagiri Hills Panchayat, Mr. Ponnurangam. The presence of five qualified referees, under the leadership of National Referee Mr. Edwin Louis, a Don Bosco past pupil, gave the tournament a professional touch.

Over 500 get jobs through Don Bosco Job Mela at Thirukazhukundram

Fr Leo Joseph

A mega campus drive foropening up wider employment opportunities for Polytechnic students was organized at Don Boscso Polytechnic College, Tirukazhukundram, Chennai, on 23 Feb by DB Vazhikaatti, the Chennai Province’s career and employment cell. Some 2800 students from 26 Polytechnic colleges in Tamil Nadu took part in the job mela that gave the students an opportunity to interact with leading companies and industrial houses and opt for jobs that suited their talents and tastes.

Representatives from 34 companies such asRane TRW, Visteon Automotive Systems, MaruthiSuzki, MichelinTyres were present on the campus to meet prospective job seekers.As a result, 512 students received job offer letters on the spot from 30 various companies. Visteon Automative Pvt. Ltd was the leading recruiter with 213 candidates. Some 1200 candidates were shortlisted for the second level of interviews. The selection of candidates was based on written tests and interviews.

The whole event was planned and executed by Don Bosco Polytechnic College in collaboration with Don Bosco Vazhikaatti, the vocational guidance and job placement cell of the Province of Chennai. Through the help of college principals and placement officers, DB Vazhikaatti contacted final year students with 60 per cent marks and no arrears and prepared them to face the interview by giving them certain job skills and techniques.The Company executives conducted tests and interviews to select candidates of their choice.

The job mela was inaugurated by Fr. Antonyraj, vice provincial of Chennai, and presided over by Fr. Louis Rayar, chancellor of the diocese of Chinglepet, in the presence of Mr. Jeeva, HR manager of Maruti Suzuki, Chennai. Fr. Jeffrey Gladstone, Principal of DB Polytechnic College, welcome the clients and the students.

Maranodai – A New Church Blessed

Fr. Joseph Kamalesh SDB

On 11 Feb, the Most Rev. Dr. Antony Anandarayar D.D., archbishop of Pondicherry, blessed the magnificent newly-built church dedicated to Mary Assumed into Heaven at Maranodai, a village near Villupuram in Tamil Nadu. Fr. Jayapalan Raphael SDB, Salesian Provincial of Chennai, numerous priests and religious men and women and some 3000 parishioners took part in the ceremony. The solemn event was the culmination of three days of festivities which started with the hoisting of the flag on 9th Feb by the Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Antony SDB, Bishop Emeritus of Dharmapuri. On 10th Feb, four priests belonging to this parish concelebrated the Eucharist and led the colourful car procession in honour of the Queen of Heaven. 

Gedilam-Maranodai, belonging to the archdiocese of Pondicherry, had for long been a sub-station of Irundai parish, with a small chapel built in 1970. In 1996, Maranodai along with 12 villages scattered within a radius of 25 km and stretching across the two taluks of Ulundurpet and Panrutti was separated from Irundai and constituted into a parish and given to the Salesians of Don Bosco. Fr. Francis Sebastian SDB, the first parish priest, and the others who came after him, pumped new life into the Christian community and put the parish and the villages around it on the road to development in all aspects.

The people of the parish are very poor, mostly landless dalits who work as daily labourers for the higher caste land owners. Today the parish of Maranodai-Gedilam is all abuzz with activities, ushering in a new era of hope for the people. There are two schools, boarding houses for boys and girls, computer and tailoring centres, a dispensary, women empowerment programmes, village outreach programmes, supervised evening study centres, etc.

Speaking on the occasion, Fr. Francis Bosco, the Rector, said the new church was the realization of a long-cherished desire of the parishioners who also generously contributed their mite towards the completion of this grand edifice. It stands as a symbol of their identity and an expression of their faith. The Parish Priest Fr. Pappuraj thanked the benefactors, parishioners, friends and well-wishers who had contributed in one way or other towards the construction of the church.

After the solemn services, food was served to all the people who attended the celebrations. To mark this event an audio CD “Nambi Vandhen” and a booklet containing the history of this Church and the miraculous statue of Our Lady in the church were released by the Archbishop.

Salesian Cooperators: Zonal Conference and National Advisory Council

Fr. K.J. Louis SDB

The eighth assembly of the Southern Zonal Conference of the Salesian Cooperators of India was held on 16 February 2013 at the Don Bosco Provincial House in Chennai, back to back with the meeting of the National Advisory Council on February 17. The twin events brought 39 Cooperators from ten provinces of India.

Fr. Jayapalan Raphael SDB, the Provincial of Chennai, inaugurated the Zonal Conference on 16 Feb and explained to the participants the main elements of the “Salesian Family Charter”. It was followed by a presentation by Fr. Stanislaus Swammikannu on “A Call to Holiness of the Laity – 50 years after the Vatican II”. In the post-lunch session, Fr. Noel Maddhichetty, National Delegate for Salesian Cooperators, presented the highlights of the 6th World Congress of Salesian Cooperators, held on 6 to 9 November 2012 in Rome. He briefed the members about the amendments made in the Statutes (Project of Apostolic life) of the Association by the World Congress. Mr. A. B. Bosco, Councillor in charge of Formation, spoke on the theme of "Mary and Don Bosco".

The meeting of the National Advisory council began with the Eucharistic celebration on 17 February. Mr. K. V. Francis, member of the World Council representing India, guided the proceedings of the day. The NAC unanimously agreed to hold the South Asian Regional Congress in 2015 to mark the bicentenary of the Birth of Don Bosco. It was announced that during the Congress in 2015, the election of the World Councillor would be held and that in 2016 all the provinces would have to hold elections to choose new members to the Provincial Councils of the Salesian Cooperators. The importance of the formation of the members, particularly that of the aspirants, was highlighted during the discussions. It was agreed that for the training of those in initial formation all provinces would follow the manual "Discerning our Call". 

The general assembly of the Zonal Conference ordinarily meets once a year and acts as a forum for reflection, study and exchange of ideas and experiences regarding the life and mission of the Salesian Cooperators. The members of the Conference are the Coordinators, Secretaries and Administrators of each of the provinces and their SDB and FMA Provincial Delegates and the SDB and FMA National Delegates.

The National Advisory Council consists of the Provincial Coordinators of all the provinces of India, along with the Northern and Southern Zonal Coordinators, the National Formation councillor and the SDB and FMA National Delegates.

Mr. T. Aseervatham, South Zone Coordinator, organized the zonal conference and the meeting of the National Advisory Council, with the guidance of Fr. Deva Joe, the SDB Provincial Delegate and Sr. SusaiPushpam, FMA Provincial Delegate, with the full support of the Provincial Council of Chennai Province. Fr. Noel Maddhichetty moderated the discussions on both the days.  Sr. Christina Kharkonger, the newly appointed FMA National Delegate gave an inspiring message during the meeting.

The two-day programme concluded with a pilgrimage to St. Thomas Cathedral, St. Mary's Co-cathedral and the shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni at Besant Nagar. The members returned home with a resolve to pump new life into their association by enlisting new members and imparting to them a solid and systematic formation.

Empowered for Employment – SIHARAM 3E students

Fr. Ernest Rosario SDB

On 9 February the first batch of students successfully completed the six-month exclusive residential training in professional English and communication,under the auspices of Don Bosco Institute of Professional English at SIHARAM, Thiruvannamalai.

The course was launched in August 2012, under the brand name “Triple E” (English for Empowerment and Employment), directly targeting the needs of rural youth who often have good grades but lack essential English communication skills and thereby lose many golden opportunities for employment in leading companies. 

They underwent exclusive and systematic residential training in communicative English soft skills and basic computing skills for the past 6 months.

The training has obviously given them tons of self-confidence and boosted their self-image and, of course, opened for them a new world of opportunities. Now they feel prepared to go out and claim their rightful places in the world of commerce and industry.

Conferring the certificates to the trainees, Director Fr. Ernest Rosario said the transformation these youngsters underwent was like that of the larva developing into a butterfly! We wish them all success.

CRAB 2013 – Design Fair at DBCAD, Chennai

By Fr. Paulraj SDB

 

‘CRAB Fest’ is already a byword on Chennai’s campuses and proved to be a huge crowd-puller. Mind you, it has nothing to do with our sideways-walking crustacean friends. It is just an acronym for ‘Creative Arts and Business’, a brainchild of the students of Don Bosco College of Art & Design (DBICAD), Chennai.

The CRAB Fest is a one-of-its-kind Design Fair, aimed at making students understand the role of creative expressions in the Art, Design and Communication industry. Basing on the theme 'Dreams become Stories', the 2013 edition of CRAB Fest showcased the many ways of creative storytelling, through innovative competitions.

The two-day fest was inaugurated by cine actor Sarath Kumar, President of the South Indian Film Artistes’ Association and Member of the TN Legislative Assembly, at the college campus on 8 February.

Addressing the students, Mr. Sarath Kumar said, “God does not like monotony. Creativity is his essence and a little bit of it he has put into each one of us.” He encouraged the students to work hard, unravel the creativity kit in them and pursue their dreams. Creativity should be the very essence of the life of an art-and-design student, said the noted actor. As if to motivate his young listeners, he shared with them several facets of the tough way to success that he himself took and challenged them to become creative and constructive contributors to society and to the world of the poor like the late TN political leader Mr. Kamaraj and Don Bosco the great educator saint.

Other dignitaries present for the Inauguration were: Br. Julian Santi, veteran artist and graphic designer, Fr. Harris, Director of DBICA, Fr. Sagayaraj D. J., the Principal of DBCAD, and Fr. Paulraj, the Dean.

The fest saw the students exploring their creativity through innovative competitions. Events like 24 Carat GSM (Paper Jewellery Design), Newspaper Fashion Draping, T-Shirt Painting, Face Painting and Clay Modelling had the participants pushing their creative skills to their limits. The winners were awarded medals and certificates.

The highlight of both the days was the VazhukuMaram (greasy pole) contest, which proved to be an absolute crowd puller. In this hilarious contest, racing against a ticking clock, teams had to form themselves into a pyramid andgrab the treasure perched atop a 15-foot greasy pole while their opponents kept obstructing them by splashing water on them.

The other attractions of the days were the WWF (Words Wrestling Federation), JAM (Just a Minute) which was a platform for the students to unleash their oratorical skills. The Fest concluded at 6.00 p.m. on 9th February, with a short closing ceremony, presided over by Mr. Bhimsingh Lenin, the well-known editor in the cine field. The overall trophy was won by the Indian Maritime University, Chennai, while Stella Maris College, Chennai, and Sacred Heart College, Tiruppattur, secured the second and third places respectively.

Dancing for a Cause – DOBODA Season 2

Fr. Ravi SDB

The Dance Club boys of Don Bosco, Egmore, in collaboration with the world-renowned John Britto’s Dance Company, gave a scintillating display of art and dance at DOBODA Season 2 on the 26th and 27th January in aid of Don Bosco School students at Madhuranthagam village in Chengelpet District, the majority of whom are first generation learners. The proceeds of the entire programme will be utilised to provide student scholarships and better facilities at the village school.

DOBODA Season 2 proved to be bigger and brighter than Season 1 with three shows and 300 dancers and 15 leading schools and colleges participating. Innovative dance styles as different as Street Jazz, Lyrical Jazz, Spanish Bullfight, Contemporary Dance and Hip-hop were performed amidst dazzling lights and cheering crowds.

Tamil Cinema celebrities Santhanam, Jayam Ravi, Sneha and Prasannna were special guests to promote the event.

A folklore performance by Madhuranthagam students delighted the audience and demonstrated that they were equal partners of the event, not merely beneficiaries.

Provincial Fr. Jayapalan, Bro. Julian Santi, Fr. A.T. James, Fr. Harris, Fr. Y. L. Irudayaraj and Fr. Isaac were special guests of honour. “DOBODA is about good people coming together for a noble cause and its aim is to foster creativity, collaboration and concern for others among students, teachers, parents and friends connected with the school”, said Don Bosco Rector Fr. John Alexander. “What started as a mustard seed a year ago has now grown to be a sturdy plant, and with God’s blessing will grow to be a mighty tree and a universal movement for solidarity,” he added.

“Don Bosco School has played an important role in my career as they gave me the platform to start my dance company,” said John Britto, founder and art director of the collaborating dance company. “As past pupils of Don Bosco, this is the best way to give back to our school and for a good cause through dancing”, he added. DOBODA Season 1 raised funds for Sagayathottam school and its Facebook account currently has over 150,000 followers. 

Alumni Day at Don Bosco College, Dharmapuri

Fr. Matthew Adukanil SDB

Year by year our alumni are growing in strength. The annual celebration of Alumni Day at Don Bosco College, Dharmapuri, on Jan 26,  2013 witnessed to this heart-warming fact. Naturally the college management and  the staff are pleased with this development, thanks to God’s abundant blessings.

he young college has fixed January 26, the Republic Day as the day for the annual homecoming of all its alumni and alumnae. In its sixth year the seminar hall was packed with eager faced past students, once more breathing the welcome air of their alma mater and renewing their ties with the college. They heartily welcomed the new Rector, Fr. Bellarmine Fernando SDB who gave them a stirring message about living life meaningfully.

In the general assembly student after student from various departments spoke glowingly about their days in the college. Some recounted their struggles and experiences of a different kind elsewhere. A few volunteered to sponsor a deserving student. Some alumni are already in responsible positions in society. Prior to the general body gathering students met in their own respective departments with their staff. The management provided lunch for all on the occasion.

As they made their way back home they have already decided to be back next year for the day even in greater  numbers.

Don Bosco spreads ‘Magic of Love’ in Tirupattur

By Tamil Selvan SDB

A month-long preparation preceded the feast of Don Bosco and concluded with a colourful cultural programme in the evening of 30th January and a solemn Eucharistic celebration on 31st morning, presided over by the Most Rev. Dr. George Rajendran SDB, D.D., the newly appointed bishop of the Syro-Malabar diocese of Thuckalay in south Tamil Nadu.

The highlight of the cultural programme was the “Magic of Love”, a one-act musical play staged by the aspirants. A novel feature this year was the presence of the parents of the aspirants at the celebration. The experience made the parents of the aspirants feel that they are truly a part of the Salesian Family.

The month-long preparation consisted of a gamut of activities, both recreational and spiritual. Divided into six teams named after Salesian places of great historical significance such as Becchi, Chieri, Valdocco, Valsalice, Piedment and Turin, the aspirants had a series of competitions such as DB Talks, DB Quiz, DB Nite, DB Olympics, DB Novena, DB Serenade and the like. It was indeed a holy and wholesome exercise that helped deepen the aspirants’ knowledge of Don Bosco and strengthen their devotion to him, besides, of course, sharpening their skills in teamwork, communication and interpersonal relationship.

The presence of Bishop George Rajendran, the fourth Salesian bishop in Tamil Nadu, who had been raised to episcopacy on 16 September 2012, added an air of solemnity and splendour to the event.

Don Bosco Month and Vocation Day at Tirupattur

Br Tamizhselvan SDB

A slew of programmes such as daily inspirational talks on Don Bosco, quizzes and serenades, Bosco nites and novenas, competitions in singing, essay writing and drawing marked the “Month of Don Bosco” at the aspirantate in Tirupattur.

A highpoint of the celebrations was the colourful Vocation Day celebrated on 22 January with the presence of 14 newly ordained priests belonging to the provinces of Chennai, Tiruchy and New Delhi. The new priests spent the whole day interacting with the aspirants and the students in the school, sharing their vocation stories with them and responding to their many questions about the meaning of religious life and priesthood. They also addressed the students during the school assembly and celebrated the Eucharist for them. It was indeed a very special moment for the students and the aspirants. 

In the evening the focus was on the vocation of the Salesian Brother. Five Salesian brothers—Bro. Joseph Das, Bro. Meril, Bro. Christuraj, Bro. Fellipe and Bro. Gil Da Costa—addressed the aspirants, sharing with them their expectations and experiences as Salesian Brothers. The interaction with the Brothers helped the aspirants to deepen their understanding of the vocation of the Brothers and the significant roles they play in the Salesian Congregation and in the church.

Footboard travel to attract sanction of removal from schools and colleges

By Fr. P. T. Joseph SDB

The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Chennai Traffic Planning, Mr. S. Sivanandam, presided over the Road Safety and Traffic Rules Awareness seminar conducted by the SIGA Polytechnic College, a Don Bosco Institute, for their 250 young diploma engineers on the college campus. The primary purpose of the seminar was to fulfill the demand of the TN Government to organize awareness programmes for college students on the dangers of footboard travel that now attracts sanction of removal from school.

The seminar also showed the management’s commitment to participate in the Decade of Action for Road Safety, declared by UN General Assembly for the period 2011-2020 that aims to reduce road traffic deaths around the world. It is estimated that 5 million lives could be saved on the world’s roads during the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. According to UN statistics, globally 3500 people die on the road every day.

The TN Government has ordered the Principals of all the Government and Self-Financed institutions to conduct awareness programmes for the student community. According to the Government order, the school may take action for removal of repeated offenders from the rolls after notice to the parent. This order follows the Madras High Court direction to the Government to analyze the cause of accidents, to enforce strict adherence to traffic rules and to deliberate on the safety measures to be taken to avoid accidents in future. 

The DCP in his visual aided presentation highlighted the statistics of Chennai road accidents and discussed with the students the efforts taken by the traffic department in regulating the growing traffic alongside the Metro-Rail construction work. During the one-hour presentation on 20 January 2013, the DCP pointed out that fatal road accidents were caused not only by the rider’s carelessness but also due to other factors like road conditions, environment, machine condition and pedestrian behaviour. He did not rule out drunken driving as a major cause of accidents on our roads.

The DCP educated the staff and students on the importance of planning the route of the journey to avoid the rush and stress on the road. In his presence, the student community, led by Campus Minister Fr. Mani Lazar SDB, took oath to obey traffic rules and save lives.

College Principal Fr. P. T. Joseph SDB, in his message, appreciated the TN Government and in particular Chennai Traffic Police Department for their commendable efforts in reducing accidents and saving lives on the city roads. The College Health and Safety Officer, Mr. Rohan, coordinated this event.

‘DB MUSE 2013’:Literary Festival at DB College, Dharmapuri

Matthew Adukanil SDB

‘Age cannot wither him, norcustom stale his infinite variety’– the tone was set with these opening words of the welcome speech for the2013 edition of DB MUSE, the annual Literary Festival at Don Bosco College, Dharmapuri, on 23 January. MUSE, by the way, is the acronym for ‘Marvellous Universe of Spell-binding English’. The focus of the festival this year wasWilliam Shakespeare to whom his own memorable compliment to Cleopatra was justly returned in the above words. A rich spread of ‘God’s plenty’, picked from the immortal bard’s 37 plays was quickly laid out in an hour-long speech on Shakespeare’s personality by the Chief Guest Dr. V. Abarasi, Head of the Department of English, Government Arts College, Salem.

Present at the daylong literary festival were staff and students of nine colleges from Dharmapuri, Salem, Krishnagiri, Tirupattur and other places.Fr. Matthew Adukanil of the English Department, welcoming the gathering, opened a small window to Shakespeare’s genius. Fr. Bellarmine Fernando, the Rector, felicitated the gathering making a rousing appeal for a better tomorrow for the young.

The main events of the day were an intercollegiate literary quiz covering a medley of items like Shakespeare quotes, Shakespearean characters, Shakespearean phrases, phonetic transcription, tight corners, word hunt etc. Video clippings from Shakespeare’s life and plays whetted the literary appetite of the audience. The chief event of the afternoon was a skit competition from Shakespeare’s select plays. The trial scene of Antonio from the Merchant of Venice, the  assassination of Julius Caesar, the murder of Desdemona  etc. were  some of the highlights of this keenly fought competition in the  original Shakespeare script  with  matching costumes.

Dr.Anbarasi , in her talk on Shakespeare’s personality, highlighted  among others, the dramatist’s deep insight into life, his  keen  psychological insight, his enduring appeal, his feminist appreciation  and his moral vision qualifying him as a teacher ‘not of an age but of all ages.’ Prof.Leelavathi, head of the Department, proposed the vote of thanks.The day came to an exciting finish with the prize distribution by Fr.  SiluvaiMuthu, the principal.Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, were the lucky winners of the top spot in both the quiz and skit events. The event definitely brought Shakespeare closer to the minds and hearts of the college going youth.

Provincial Chapter opens at Kavarapettai

By Fr. K.J. Louis

The Provincial Chapter 2013 of the Salesian Province of Chennai started off with a solemn Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Most Rev. Dr. A. M. Chinnappa, Archbishop Emeritus of Madras-Mylapore, at 6.30 a.m. on 7 January at Becchi Don Bosco Theological Centre, Kavarapettai, in the presence of representatives of the Salesian Family. The members were put into the “chapter mode” the previous evening through a thought-provoking talk on “Atheism of Consecrated Life” by Fr. Stanislaus Swamikannu.

Delivering his inaugural address, at 9.00 a.m., the Provincial, Fr. Jayapalan Raphael, said the Chapter was not only a moment of special grace for the province but also a point of arrival and a point of departure— a point of arrival inasmuch as it brings us to a new understanding of the province, its mission, its strengths, its weaknesses; a point of departure, inasmuch as it puts us on the road to renewal, following the call to be ‘witnesses to the radical approach of the Gospel’. He also brought to the assembly the fond wishes of the Rector Major.

Salesian Archbishop Most Rev. A. M. Chinnappa, in his message to the members of the Chapter, highlighted the ‘radical’ nature of the Chapter theme. He said Salesians are not generally considered radicals in the Church, but by our vocation we are called to work at the grassroots level, among the lowliest of people, particularly the young who are poor and at risk. And that is being radical. He challenged the Chapter members to come up with a credible methodology of witnessing to the radical approach of the Gospel.

Messages from Fr. Cereda, General Councillor for formation, and Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Regional Councillor for South Asia, were read out after which the representatives of the Slaesian Family – the FMA Provincial Sr. Magnificat, the SMA Mother General Sr. Jayarani, the VDB Responsible Ms. Teresa, the Coordinator of Salesian Co-operators Mr. John Bosco, the President of the Past Pupils Mr. Antonyraj—offered their felicitations and good wishes to the members of the Chapter, expressing their affection and gratitude to the Province and affirming their solidarity with it in true Salesian Family Spirit.

After the inaugural formalities, the 96 participants, of whom 91 were voting members, sat through in rapt silence listening to the Provincial’s Report on the State of the Province. The five-part, 76-page report laid before the members a very frank and forthright account of the following aspects of the province: the statistical data of the province, the apostolic activities carried out by the communities, the functioning of the various commissions, the financial administration of the province and an overall evaluation of the province.

The day’s programme concluded with a lively discussion on the report of the provincial during which he was able to clarify various aspects of the report in the midst of great Salesian camaraderie.

Eight Salesians ordained priests in Chennai

By Fr. K.J. Louis

Eight Salesian seminarians were ordained priests on Thursday, 27 December, at the sprawling grounds of the historic Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes at Perambur, Chennai, by the Most Rev. A. M. Chinnappa SDB, archbishop emeritus of Madras-Mylapore. Joining the archbishop at the solemn 3-hour-long ceremony were some 200 priests and over 2000 people.

Fr. Jayapalan Raphael, Provincial of Chennai, welcomed the ordaining prelate Most Rev. A. M. Chinnappa and the eight candidates for ordination, Deacons Gasper Charles, James Bernard, Joseph De Souza Kamalesh, Joseph Franklin and SelvarajVaraprasadam of Chennai Province, Franklin Kuzhandaieasu and Gabriel Karunairaj of Trichy Province, and  TamizhSelvamAnthoniMuthu of New Delhi Province. Fr. Albert Johnson, Provincial of Tiruchy, then presented the candidates to the ordaining prelate.

Addressing the newly ordained during his homily, the archbishop placed before them the figures of Moses and St. Paul as eminent models for priests at all times – the former as a true leader of his people who was also a mediator between them and God, and the latter the apostle of Christ, a servant of the Gospel and a teacher of faith. Quoting from Vatican II`s GaudiumetSpes and Ad Gentes, he reminded them of the importance of being men of dialogue – dialogue with cultures, dialogue with religions and dialogue with the poor. But he said it is more important for priests to move from dialogue to being with and living with the poor to understand them and to identify with them. As Salesian priests, he told them they had to be not only in constant dialogue with the world of youth but also servants of youth.  

“It was a moving experience for me to be here this evening to witness the ordination of so many priests, said a college student who took part in the service. “It helped me understand to some extent what God and the church expect from the priests… and how noble and holy the call to priesthood is,“ said an elderly participant.  “A priest can do so much good. Our children are so happy to spend time with priests. We really need to pray for holy priests these days,“ said another, a mother of our kids.

New Altar Servers’ Group launched in Chennai

By Jefferson SDB

Don Bosco Youth Services, Chennai, organized a day of live-in programme for the Altar Boys and Girls of all the Salesian Parishes in the Province at Lourdes Shrine, Perambur on 2 December. The meet, christened BAGS, brought together 130 altar servers, both boys and girls, from the parishes of Ayanavaram, Perambur, Vyasarpady, BasinBridge, Sathyamoorthy Nagar, Korukupettai and from their respective sub-stations participated in the meet which was built around the theme, “Rooted in Christ, Firm in Faith”.

After registration, Fr. Jefferson, the Director of Youth Services in the Province of Chennai, welcomed the participants and explained to them the objective of launching Bags in our province of Chennai. He referred to the Altar Servers as future youth leaders in our parishes. He said the objective of Bags was to offer the altar servers orientation and formation with regular follow-up programmes at the local and province level. The programme envisaged is geared to the empowering of our altar servers to become future animators and youth leaders at the parish and province level.

The opening session was animated by Fr. Ratchagadass which was much appreciated by all. After refreshments the children were divided into two groups; one group was animated by Fr. Mani and the other was by Mr. Denis and Mr. Francis who dealt with the topic, “Responsibility of altar servers in the Church”. After a sumptuous meal and interactive games organized by Brothers John Sankar, Arun and William, the afternoon session was animated by Fr. John Kennedy who spoke on the theme, “Altar servers as the promoters of faith in the church”. The day ended with a meaningful Eucharistic celebration. Group discussions, group dynamics, fun and frolic made the sessions very lively. The participants appreciated the programme and pledged to attend regular follow-up programmes to build a better altar servers group in our Salesian parishes. All the participants received some holy articles as mementos for being part of Bags arranged by Youth Services.

Chapter Members Warm Up With a Day-long Meeting

by Louis Kumpiluvelil SDB

The members of the upcoming Provincial Chapter had a preliminary meeting on 3 December at the Citadel to familiarize themselves with the study documents and the procedures of work of the Provincial Chapter which is scheduled to begin on 6 January 2013. The day-long meeting, held at the DBICA hall, began with the presentation of the Creed produced by Fr. Jesudoss Perianayagam, after which the Chapter Moderator Fr. Antonyraj Chinnappan welcomed everyone and introduced the day’s agenda.

Fr. Provincial then welcomed everyone and thanked the members of the Preparatory Commissions which produced the draft documents after several sittings and many days of hard work. The Provincial announced that the tasks assigned to the Preparatory Commissions have been done to everyone’s satisfaction and that they had no more role in the Chapter. It was the prerogative of the Chapter to constitute various commissions to study the documents, he said.

Fr. Provincial then introduced the guest animator, Jesuit Father Jerry Rosario, well-known author, activist, preacher and pastor, and invited him to address the assembly. In an hour-long presentation, Fr Jerry developed the theme, “Witness to the Radical Approach of the Gospel” dwelling on the concepts of Why chapter, Meaning of Witness, Gospel values, Radical approach of being Prophets, Mystics and Servants. He concluded by saying that the Pre-Chapter phase should be time to “Disturb and Dialogue”, while the Chapter phase should “Discern and Decide”, and the Post-Chapter phase should “Direct and Dedicate”.

The members examined the draft documents on the main theme, namely: Witnessing to the Radical Approach of the Gospel, with its threefold sub-themes, i) Mystics in the Spirit, ii) Prophets of Fraternity, and iii) Servants of the Young and the three additional themes opted by the Province, namely, iv) Revision of Formation Directory, v) Implementation of Economic Directory, and vi) Evaluation of Technical Institutes.The working papers, organized into a single booklet, were given to every member for personal reading and study in the coming days. The themes were briefly presented by the respective heads of the Preparatory Commissions which had prepared them. All the six drafts documents were unanimously approved themembers.

The draft Rules and Regulations of the Provincial Chapter were presented by the Moderator and after discussion and modifications, they were unanimously approved by the members. The timetable of the Provincial Chapter was also approved unanimously.

The new Commissions were formed by giving members the opportunity to opt for the themes they liked. The Commissions met together and elected their presidents and secretaries.  

From among the heads of the Commissions three were elected by secret ballot to be part of the Steering Committee.

Councillor for Social Communications Visits Chennai Province

by Fr. Paulraj Amal SDB

Fr. Filiberto Gonsalez, General Councillor for Social Communications from the Salesian Headquarters in Rome, was on a two-day visit to the Chennai Province on 20-21 November. Besides visiting a number of Salesainpresences in the city, Fr. Filiberto had a special meeting with the confreres from the city and the members of the social communication team.

On his two-day visit to the Province of Chennai, Fr. Filiberto was given a firsthand experience of the variety of Salesainworks carried out in Chennai. Some of the presences that were lucky to have him were: Missionary Aspirantate – Perambur, Leprosy and HIV centre – Pope John Garden, and AnbuIllam – MKB Nagar, St. Bede's, SIGA and of course DBICA, the Province Communication Centre. Undoubtedly, the visitor was overwhelmed by the services that the province offers to the young, especially to the street children. On 21 Novemberat 4.30 pm, Fr. Filibertowas given a solemn welcome by the staff and students of DBICA and Don Bosco College of Art and Design.After the function, Fr. FIliberto personally interacted with all the staff and many students.

At 7 p.m., at the DBICA Hall, Fr. Filiberto addressed the Salesians in the city of Chennai. Speaking in English to some 70 Salesians, he highlighted the important elements of Salesian Communication system. He said our system should be based on God, Persons, and Christian values in order to be effective and authentic in media ministry. There was also a moment for questions and clarifications. The visitor answered the questions and clarified the doubts much to the satisfaction of all.

On the second day, Fr. Filiberto met the members of the Social Communication department at St. Bede's. During his talk, which was to be the most important moment of the day, Fr. Filiberto explained the importance of having a communication team, capable of networking with other sectors of the Province. Besides, he put into evidence the qualities of the SC Delegate and communication dimension that should permeate all activities of the Salesian works in the Province. He expressed admiration for the way the ministry of communication is carried out in the Province. Fr Harris, Director of DBICA, presented the overall plan and communication activities carried out in the Province and outside the Province.

Earlier in the day, Fr. Filiberto visited St. Thomas Mount, Mahabalipuram – a town of sculptures which flourished in seventh century AD. He also called on Archbishop M. Chinnappa SDB of Madras-Mylapore at the Archbishop's House. He visited the Cathedral and prayed at the tomb of the Apostle St. Thomas kept in the crypt.

‘Salesian Youth Force’launched in Chennai

by Fr. Jefferson Suresh SDB

Don Bosco Youth Services, Chennai, organized a meeting of Catholic youth from the Salesian parishes of Chennai city on 11th Novemberat St. Mary’s Co-Cathedral to start off a Salesian Catholic Youth Group. Over 100youth from the six Salesian parishes of Chennai responded to the invitation of Fr. Jefferson Suresh, the Director of the Youth Service, who had met them earlier in their own parishes and gathered at St. Mary’s to envision for themselves a Salesian Catholic Youth Group. The group called itself “Salesian Youth Force” (SYF). The SYF wants in due course to become part of the wider network of Salesian Youth Movement.

After an initial pep talk and welcome by Fr. Jefferson, a 20-minute soul-lifting prayer and praise session before the Blessed Sacrament, organized by Bro. Sankar and Fr Mani Lazar, helped the youngsters  to become Christ-focused and spiritually motivated. Fr Mani Lazar, who led the service, invited the youth to look at their lives as a gift to be shared and to offer everything to Christ.

After getting spiritually charged, the group spent another 20 minutes for ice-breaking and team-building exercises, helped by the students of theology from Becchi, Kavarapettai. Fr Jefferson then presented them anaction plan that he summarized in four words – Lead, Plan, Decide and Act (LPDA).

The youngsters then formed into smaller groups, according to their parishes, in order to draw up an action plan, to spell out their expectations and mode of functioning they would adopt for the SYF. After thirty minutes of discussions in the groups,  the secretaries of each group presented the ideas which emerged in the groups. A working committee consisting of representatives from each parish was set up to take forward the action plan. Plans are afoot to launch SYF in all the parishes in the province.

The participants were delighted with the programme. It was a unique opportunity for them to meet likeminded young people from other parishes and to share one’s ideas and opinions on issues facing contemporary Catholics and the Church in the world.

Magsaysay awardee dedicates Don Bosco Roundabout at Dharmapuri

by Mathew Adukanil SDB

Close on the heels of the inauguration of the B.Ed. College in our campus there took place the dedication of the ‘Don Bosco Roundabout’ (roundthana) at the Sogathur crossroads on 31 October. At the simple ceremony, Fr. Bellarmine, the Rector, said a prayer invoking God’s blessings on all motorists using the four roads that meet at this circle. The distinguished guest of the day, this year’s Indian winner of the prestigious Philippine Ramon Magsaysay Award (aka ‘Asian Nobel Prize’), Mr. Kulendai Francis dedicated the Don Bosco Roundabout to the public in the presence of Highway officials and other dignitaries. At a function held later in the college auditorium Mr. Kuldendai Francis also distributed scholarships of Rs 5,000 each to 60 needy students of Don Bosco College.

The Don Bosco Roundabout project is the fruit of a joint public-private collaboration between the Highway Department and Don Bosco College. Its construction and maintenance is by the college whereas the government supplies power and water connections. Now Don Bosco shows the way to visitors proceeding to Hogenekel waterfalls from Dharmapuri town, as well as for motorists taking the Adiyaman bypass road which runs near and parallel to the Chennai-Salem National Highway. Hopefully Don Bosco will save precious lives at this junction where reckless driving has claimed quite a few young lives this year.

During the scholarship distribution function the college took the opportunity to join thousands of well wishers in congratulating Mr. Kulendai Francis, our close neighbor and philanthropist in Krishangiri district on winning this much-coveted award.

He is the first person ever from Tamilnadu to win this Asian humanitarian cause award. There is no lobbying or recommendations for this award and it is given purely on merit. Mr. Kulendai Francis runs a very successful NGO known as IVDP or Integrated Village Development Project in Krishnagiri.

He helps thousands of deserving students to pursue their education, apart from funding entire educational institutions. Hailing from Salem district, he started the IVDP in 1989 and has built over 331  small check dams over 22 years. He has organized over 8200 Women’s Self Help Groups with nearly 134,000 members. During the felicitations programme he promised also to donate a water purification plant for the college and additional study scholarships for 40 more girl students.

New B. Ed. College opened at Dharmapuri

by Mathew Adukanil SDB

Another feather in Don Bosco’s cap. A dream come true at last for the students of Don Bosco College of Arts and Science, Dharmapuri, and numerous other hopeful teacher aspirants in and around Dharmapuri.

Four years of toil and longing finally bore fruit on 22 October 2012 when Fr. Jayapalan Raphael SDB, Chennai Salesian Provincial, inaugurated the new Don Bosco College of Education in the presence of dignitaries, staff and students.

Right at the start, the provincial solemnly garlanded the statue of Mary, Help of Christians, at the entrance to the Salesian residence as all the Salesians, staff and students joined hands in prayerful thanks to Mother Mary. Significantly the first line  on the back drop during the inaugural function succinctly summed it all up in the words ‘Mary did it all.” Without her special aid this college would not have crossed the numerous hurdles on its path. Among the battery of certificates and documents needed the latest is the Pollution Free Certificate. Though the college is situated near the government forest with abundance of fresh, clean air such a certificate is mandatory today.

As the sun is setting on the existing not-so-old Teacher Training Institute in the campus the new professional college is taking wings, coming as a great boon to fuel the dreams of the young people of this backward district. Efforts to start this B.Ed. College were first made during the rectorship of Fr. Johnson, continued through that of Fr. Lourdusamy Susai and crowned under the present rector, Fr. Bellarmine Fernando. Fr. Maria Louis, the new principal, has also been associated with this venture from the beginning. A big thanks is due to Fr. John Bosco for his ready assistance and Fr. Provincial for financial support.

Felicitations were offered by several speakers during the cultural function. Among them was Mr. Ravi, former secretary to Dharmapuri town council, who also was very supportive of this venture. This is the third B.Ed. College in the Salesian Province of Chennai, the other two being the ones at Karaikal and Vellore.

DBVazhikatti launches its flagship programme in Puducherry

DB Vazhikatti launched its flagship programme “Vetri Urudhi” – a career guidance programme for Classes X and XII— in the Union Territory of Pondicherry on 19 October. The programme was inaugurated by the H’ble Minister for Education, Thiru. T. Thiyagarajan,at the Govt. Girls Hr. Sec. School, Kathirkamam, Puducherry. The Minister also released ‘Uyair  Kalvikku Vazhikaatti’, a  booklet by Fr. Joseph Leo SDB.

Present were also the Director of Education, Thiru. E. Vallavan, the JointDirector of Education, Thiru. S. Kritinaarasu , the CEO, Thiru. R. Kallaiselvan ,Fr. Joseph Leo, sdb, Director of Don Bosco Vazhikaatti , and Fr. Tharsius,parish priest of Holy Spirit Church, Puducherry.

Copies of ‘Vettrikku Vazhikaatti’ – a book on career guidance— were distributed to all the 1000 children from the six schools around who participated in the programme.

All the guests appreciated the initiative taken by Don Bosco Vazhikaatti in bringing out such informative books for the students of Class X and XII.

Minister for Education Thiru T.Thiyagarajan and the Director of Education, Thiru. E Vallavan, declared that Vettrikku Vazhikaatti’will be made available to all the 10th and 12th students throughout the state in order to help them in their pursuit of knowledge and to reach optimalperformance in the examinations.

Mr. R. Somasundaram,Asst. Headmaster, Govt. Hr  Sec school. Kathirkamam welcomed the gathering and Mr. A. Thimoth delivered the vote of thanks.All the students present were guided through the career guidance programme by Mr. Michael, Coordinator of Don Bosco Vazhikaatti.

The Programme was coordinated by Fr. Edward, SDB, Director of Don Bosco Vazhikaatti in Puducherry.

University Awards for Chennai Salesians in Rome

by Antony Christy SDB

Three confreres from Chennai Province were honoured at the solemn inauguration of the new academic year of the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome on 16th October 2012. Fr. Bosco Augustine and Fr. Cassius Correya were lauded for their splendid performance last year in the faculty of Theology and Fr. Arokiadoss was awarded the Best Student of the department of Spirituality for the year 2011-2012.

At the inauguration of every academic year, the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), Roma, has the tradition of honouring and encouraging the finest performers of the previous year.The inauguration of the year 2012-13, the 73rd year of the Institute and the 40th year after it became a University, was held on 16 October, 2012. The function was presided over by Professor Andrea Riccardi, the Minister for International Cooperation and Immigration, in the presence of Very Rev. Fr. Pascual Chavez SDB,the Grand Chancellor of the University and Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation. It was a moment of glory for the province of Chennai as three of its members were honoured for their splendid academic performance.

Fr. Bosco Augustine and Fr. Cassius Correya completed their Master’s degree in Systematic Theology and defended their theses in the last academic year, with a summa cum laude (Optimum grade).They were given the University’s Medal of Honour in appreciation of their work.Fr. Arokiadoss who completed his first year of License in Salesian Spirituality was given the ‘Best Student’ award.

Provincial Secretaries of South Asia meet

By K. J. Louis SDB

Chennai, Aug. 26. The Secretaries of the 12 Provinces of South Asia met at Don Bosco Provincial House, Chennai, on 24-25 August for a two-day study, reflection and sharing of ideas on the role and functioning of the provincial secretariat. An important objective of the meeting was also to review and update the web-based `SDB South Asia Data Bank project` that was initiated about two years ago. 

The meeting was animated by Fr Maria Arokiam Kanaga, the Regional Councillor for South Asia, Fr. Maria Lawrence, the Regional`s secretary, Fr. P. T. Joseph, the webmaster of Don Bosco South Asia, and Fr. Gregory Thaddeus, Director of Bosco Institute of Information Technology, Yellagiri. Fr. Earathara Antony, the South Asian Delegate for Social Communication was also present. Fr Noel Maddichetty, secretary of SPCSA, was responsible for organizing the meeting.

Fr. M. A. Kanaga, in his keynote address, invited the secretaries to keep in mind the identity and tasks of the Secretary as outlined in art. 159 of the General Regulations. The Secretary, he said, is ex-officio the actuary, notary, chancellor and archivist of the province. He participates in the meetings of the Provincial Council and carries out an important service for the orderly life of the Province and its history. He is often described as “the hand and the memory“ of the provincial and the Council. The regional called for greater professionalism in all aspects of the working of the secretariat, and exhorted the secretaries to preserve and promote the “culture and heritage“ of the congregation and to make good use of the facilities that today`s new media offers for the promotion of our mission. 

Fr P. T. Joseph, the webmaster of Don Bosco South Asia, gave the participants a low-down on the SDB South Asia Online Data Bank Project that was launched about two years ago. The programme envisages a complete, reliable and easy-to-access data bank of information on the Salesians of Don Bosco and their works in South Asia. It was pointed out that the progress of the project was rather slow. Fr Joseph explained that the Online Project is to be executed stage by stage and that stage 1 (personal profile of SDBs) is expected to be over by 31 December; part 2 will focus on the institutional profile, and part 3 will deal with the works and activities of the Salesians in South Asia. 

Fr Lawrence spoke of the urgent need to move from a paper-based functioning of the office to an online one. Many practical aspects of online data harvesting, storing and interpretation were discussed. The problems related to Digitization and Digital Preservation of data and the advantages of free and open source programmes such as Greenstone, Xena, etc were also discussed. The importance of using the Congregation`s website (www.sdb.org), the Salesian Digital Library (SDL) was also highlighted. 

Fr Thaddeus spoke about the need for an integrated data base and a system for online monitoring of tasks. Fr Earathara Antony spoke of the need for data collection of the Salesian publications in India.

Youth Discover the Awesome Power of Compounding

by Jefferson Suresh SDB

Einstein once said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it, he who doesn't, pays it.” Well, 78 young people from our various Youth Centres in Chennai Province discovered the truth behind compounding and a lot more, during a two-hour workshop on “Financial Education” at Basin Bridge, Chennai, on 20 August. The programme was organized by the Provincial Youth Services team led by Fr. Jefferson Suresh, youth director of the province and led by Dr. Justin, a SEBI-certified Financial Education Trainer, in collaboration with SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India).

The objective of the workshop was to impart some ‘financial education’ to the youth from the lower income sections of society and to train them to manage their personal finances effectively. The workshop also aimed at promoting investor awareness and education. Dr. Justin’s very competent handling of the subject brought alive abstract concepts like ‘savings and investments’, ‘time value of money’, ‘basics of budgeting’, ‘inflation’, ‘power of compounding’, ‘risk and return’, ‘asset allocation strategy’, ‘investor protection and grievances.’

SEBI is the regulatory body for the investment market in India. Its duty is to protect the interests of investors in securities and to promote the development of the securities market and to regulate it so as to establish a dynamic and efficient Securities Market contributing to Indian Economy. The SEBI, established in 1992, is a vital component in improving the quality of the financial markets in India, both by attracting foreign investors and by protecting Indian investors. 

Participants of the workshop were selected from our Youth Centres and included inters, seniors and volunteers. Welcoming the participants, Fr Jefferson said, “These days, young people earn money and spend money, and those who don’t have it, borrow it, often at exorbitant interest, and fall into the proverbial debt-trap.” Experience with the youngsters in our Youth Centres had taught him that most of them were very poor at managing their money. “Financial education”, he argued, “is the only way to help them make sound financial decisions in everyday life and to achieve lifelong prosperity; it was also the only way to empower them to avoid financial disasters in life.”

The workshop was held in Tamil and the participants were delighted with it. For many it was a first experience of entering into the mysterious world of finances.        

DB Sagayathottam: Annual sports day

by Anbu Francis SDB

A lively march-past, an impressive mass drill and an awesome pyramid show marked the opening of the 21st Sports Day at DB Higher Secondary 

School at Sagayathottam on 17 August. Fr. Anthonysamy, rector and correspondent, welcome the gathering and Fr. Maria Ashok Kumar honoured the dignitaries with ponnadai and gifts. Declaring the sports meet open, Dr. J. Madhavan, M.Sc., B.Ed., M.B.A., Ph. D., professor at Loyola College, Chennai, said “academics and sports are the two eyes of education”. Sports and games, he said, teach us unique values and discipline that the classroom often may not give.

Quoting the example of Sachin Tendulkar and Vinoth Komle, who were both record breakers in their younger years, the learned Professor said, Sachin continued to shine and break records even to this day, while Komle is not anywhere today, because he did not correct himself when his coach pointed out his mistakes.  

The Professor appreciated the Salesians’ work of educating the poor, particularly those in rural areas like Sagayathottam. He pointed out that, given a little help at the appropriate time, rural children would do as well as the urban kids.

The track events started after the Olympic torch relay. The excellent performance of the students, both boys and girls, in the track events, and the meticulous arrangements captured everyone’s attention.

Mr. Nagarajan, the chairperson of the local body, speaking on the occasion, said he was proud of the Don Bosco institution in his constituency. He noted that Christianity is the only religion which tries to transform  society through education and medical help; it has been doing it for the past 2000 years and still continue to do it. He thanked the Salesians for the service they render in his locality. He also promised to help the school in all possible ways. Fr. Sagayaraj Philominathan, Provincial Economer, Bro. Baron Tyrone SDB from the Provincial House, Fr. Sagayaraj Devadoss SDB, Principal, Don Bosco College of Communication, Chennai, Mr. Victor, professor at Loyola college, Chennai, Mr. Kathavarayan, the panchayat president, Fr. David OMI, Rector of OMI Philosophate, Perambakkam, were the distinguished guests of honour for the occasion.

Br. Baron Tyrone gave away the trophies and prizes to the winning houses and students. The overall championship trophy this year went to Bosco House. The events of the day ended with the vote of thanks by the Asst. Headmaster Mr. Karthick and the singing of the national anthem.

The Don Bosco Higher Secondary School in Sagayathottam was started 21 years ago to offer quality education to orphans and poor children of the outlying villages of Vellore district. Currently there are over 700 students in the school. The school was upgraded to Higher Secondary level only last year.

A Sports Day with a Difference at Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur

by Kasi Sagayaraj SDB

The vast college playground wore the look of an exhibition ground, with tents and pavilions and scores of colourful charts, posters, and banners showing spectacular moments in sporting history, famous sporting events, sports stars, and the like. It was a spectacular show by all accounts, and a Sports Day with a difference, at Sacred Heart College on 17 August.

The chief attraction this year was not only the champions performing on the field, but the innovative, informative and exciting Sports Pavilions put up by the various departments. The pavilions were constructed around the theme, ‘Science behind Sports’. One could see the students’ creativity and innovativeness as each group strove to outdo the other. Every one of the pavilions was worth a visit. 

The idea was to make the sports day an educative event, involving everyone, and not just the athletes only. Whereas on a normal sports day one watches only athletes in action, here, on the other hand, one had much more to see, learn and enjoy. Each pavilion turned out to be a showcase of sports-related information.

The day began with a prayer song seeking God’s blessings on all. College Principal Fr. Maria Susai welcomed the gathering, while Fr. A. T. Thomas, Additional Principal, honoured the chief guest, Mr. C. Thirugnana Durai, a national athletics coach and former Olympian.

The Olympic torch arrived, carried by a rider on horseback and the sports day was declared open by the chief guest. While one pronounced the oath, all participants pledged to take part in the games in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of their teams.

The chief guest, Mr. Thirugnana Durai, with a creditable record of athletic achievements behind him, such as gold in 4 x 100m and bronze in 100m at SAF Games, gold at the World Railways Athletics Championship in Poland, and having represented India at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 for 4 x100m, had every right to lecture the students on the do’s and don’ts of athletics, and even to offer a critique of their performance on the track. And the students listened to him with rapt attention. Concluding his presidential address, he exhorted them to dream big, aim high, and never mind the setbacks. “Life is a two-sided coin,” he told them, “on one side there is success, on the other, failure. One should be ready to accept both, not only in sports, but in every aspect of life.”  

Giving away the prizes to the winners, the chief guest congratulated all the participants for their enthusiastic participation and spirit of hard work.  The BBA Dept (Shift II) won the overall championship, as well as the Best Tent-Pavilion award; the Dept of Commerce won the award for the march past.

Don Bosco Perambur: Parents Meet Future Missionaries

by Christopher SDB

The newly started Missionary Aspirantate at Don Bosco, Perambur, Chennai, held its first “Parents’ Day” on 12 August. The parents of the 

aspirants were invited to come and spend a day with their sons and find out for themselves what life was like in the aspirantate. And they came, they saw, they prayed, they interacted and they understood it was not just another school, not even just another boarding house, but a home with a difference. They saw their sons doing all that boys of their age would be doing anywhere— singing, dancing, playing, praying, studying, working and whatnot – but all these with a difference.

After arrival and breakfast, the parents met with the members of the community in a friendly interaction to get to know each other. They were welcomed by Fr Pathiaraj Rayappan, the rector, who also introduced to them the community members. Fr Sundararaj, the principal and dean of studies, explained to the parents how, besides the usual school curricula, the aspirants had the opportunity to engage in various personal and group activities, thereby enhancing their knowledge of our religion, church affairs, and even socio-political matters; they would also acquire many useful skills, such as, language skills, communication skills, leadership skills, management skills, etc. Bro. Anandaraj, the administrator, briefed the parents about the nitty-gritty of the administration of the house, particularly the financial aspects.

Fr Pathiaraj spoke to them about Don Bosco and the Salesian Congregation, its charism, its mission and the concept of “mission ad gentes.” It was this last point, he said, that set this aspirantate apart. While candidates in our other aspirantes are generally prepared for future work within the state or within the country, the missionary aspirantate was meant to prepare future Salesians who would be ready to work anywhere in the world. He pointed out how, in the past, India and Tamil Nadu had received many missionaries from other countries. Now, as many countries in the world need Salesian missionaries, it was our turn to prepare them and send them, wherever they may be needed. The present batch of aspirantrs, he said, were the first group of volunteers in this pioneering missionary project of the province of Chennai.

The parents interacted with the Salesians, seeking information or clarification on various matters regarding the life and activities of their sons. The aspirants, in their turn, entertained and enlightened their parents with a short cultural programme on the theme of “vocation”. An interesting video clipping on the life and activities of the aspirants was also shown.

The highpoint of the day was the Eucharistic celebration, after which Fr. Jayapalan Raphael, provincial of Chennai, addressed the parents on the significance of a missionary aspirantate and interacted with them, giving them a chance to share their experiences and expectations. After a fraternal meal together, the parents spent the rest of the day with their sons and returned home happy and, of course, carrying many beautiful memories in their hearts.

St Joseph’s, Katpadi – Bridge Course for ITI students

“Herova Zerova?” (Want to be a Hero or a Zero?) was the theme of the 18-day-long (18 July to 5 August) Bridge Course for the first year ITI students of St. Joseph Boys’ Home, Katpadi, Vellore. Organized in the style of a summer camp, the event proved to be a bonanza for the students, most of whom hail from rural backward areas of the district and often find it hard to cope with the demands of modern technical education. 

The objective of the course was to boost up the self-confidence of the new comers through a crash course in general knowledge, spoken English, communication skills, leadership skills and catechesis, and basic psychology. Realizing that in today’s industry, mere knowledge of a trade was not enough to get ahead, and seeing how the rural youth were losing out in the job market, St. Joseph’s Industrial School, under the leadership of the Rector and Principal, Fr. John Louis, decided to launch the project. The chief resource persons were Mr. Selvanathan from Bangalore and Mr. Santo from Deepagam, Chennai. The course was inaugurated by Bro. Expedit Lobo SDB, FCA, Chartered Accountant and former Provincial Economer and currently counsellor at Don Bosco Polytechnic College, Tirukazhukundram.

Some of the topics dealt with in the sessions were Building self-confidence, Time management, Goal-setting, Public speaking, Perseverance, and Motivation. The students were greatly motivated to live a purposeful and meaningful life. This could be clearly seen in the feedback received from the students. “Now I feel I can stand up before anyone and express my thoughts in a confident manner,” said one participant, “I don’t feel so scared anymore.” Another had this to say, “I always wanted to be a self-confident and persevering person, but did not know how. Now I think I know how to proceed.” At the end of the programme the students were given participation certificates.

Another unique event during the programme was a crash course in Catechism for the Christian students, to motivate them to play their rightful role in today’s society as committed young Christian leaders.  The course content consisted of Bible study, Church history, the sacraments, evangelization. Utilizing the resources and expertise of Deepagam, the Don Bosco Catechetical Centre in Chennai, the students were put through a two-day seminar. The objective was to motivate them to be good Christians in society and to

To make the students to grow morally well and the possibility of promoting vocations to religious life, this was organized. Knowing the importance for evangelization and catechizing, Fr. John Louis, the Rector availed this programme at the beginning of the academic year.  For all these above mentioned reasons, Mr. Santo was a helping hand. He dealt about the Bible, the Christian History, the sacraments, the historical Bible characters through movies, and about the creation.

The programme was called to a close with a Eucharistic celebration at 12.00 pm, presided by Fr. Micheal and at the end of the mass, he was thanked and honoured.

All these facilities were given, so that they students grow in various fields as they commence their carrier of studying. Let us (Salesians) all serve the young at their tables, so that they may come closer to Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally along with Fr. Rector, the assistants Bro. Labo Infant and Bro.Cruz Sagayaraj who have helped in various ways, wished all the first years ALL THE BEST. It is our duty to protect and help the youngsters to grow …………

Loyola wins Don Bosco Volleyball Trophy

by Kasi Sagayaraj SDB

The silver jubilee edition of the Inter-Collegiate Don Bosco Volleyball Tournament, organized by Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, concluded on Sunday 5th August 2012.  Loyal College, Chennai, clinched the trophy defeating Jamal Mohammad College, Trichy, in a hard-fought 4-set thriller, 25-21, 25-15, 16-25, 25-18. Loyola established its supremacy from the start, winning the first two sets. Thereafter Jamal made a spirited comeback to win the third set. Bu in the fourth set Loyola, with three national players on their side, pounded the field and wrapped up the game with a comfortable 25-18 victory.

The tournament attracted eight teams from the different universities of Tamil Nadu, namely, Loyola College (Chennai), St. Joseph’s College (Tiruchy), Jamal Mohamad College (Tiruchy). D. B. Jain College (Chennai), Hindustan Arts and Science College (Chennai), Dr. M. G. R. Arts and Science College (Hosur), Don Bosco College (Dharmapuri) and Sacred Heart College (Tirupattur).

At the end of the preliminary rounds, Loyola and DB Jain qualified from Pool A and St Joseph and Jamal Mohammed from Pool B. In the semi-finals, Loyola overcame a spirited challenge from St Joseph’s in a hard-fought 5-set thriller, while Jamal Mohammed had the better of DB Jain in an easy 3-set win, clearing the way for a battle of wits between two traditional opponents, Loyola and Jamal, in the finals.

The tournament was inaugurated by Mr. M. S. Dayananth, Manager of State of Bank of India, Tirupattur Branch. Fr. K. M. Jose SDB, Rector of the College, Fr. Maria Susai, Principal, and Fr. A. T. Thomas, Additional Principal, were in attendance at the inaugural function. At the concluding programme, Mr. M. Nagarajan, Superintendent of Police, Tirupattur, gave away the prizes and honoured the players.  Best attacker: Muralidaran (Jamal), best setter: Sagaya Amal (Loyala), and best blocker: Surya (Jamal) were given medals and cash awards. The presence of national players like J. Benil, Karthick and Muthukumar (all from Loyola) added lustre to the tournament.

Sacred Heart, once known as the “Volleyball Giant” of the University and the State, were outclassed on every front. “We were not good enough to play in this tournament, though we thought of ourselves as a good team, said the crestfallen captain of the Sacred Heart, “we failed to justify people’s expectations.” The Tournament was started in 1988 on the occasion of the Death Centenary of Don Bosco and is one of the prestigious volleyball trophies in the state and attracts top-level teams.

Sacred Heart College Tirupattur: 36thGraduation Day

by Kasi  Sagayaraj SDB

A hush fell over the huge gathering at the DB Indoor Stadium as the solemn procession of over 1200 young scholars, all arrayed in their cap-and-gown academic regalia, filed into the stadium for the 36th annual graduation ceremony at Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, on 5 August.

Delivering his convocation address, the Joint Director of Collegiate Education, Vellore region, Mr. M. Mohanam told the new graduates to be passionate about whatever they do and to never forget that perpetual optimism was a force-multiplier. “The academic distinction you are receiving today,” he told them, “should make you better learners, and not half-baked pundits”. Urging the students to be wise in making their life choices, he said “every choice matters, as it enables you to go from who you are today to who you want to be tomorrow. The world re-opens every day for you and you should re-enter it with ever greater aspirations.” Noting that there was a race for quality and excellence in today’s world, he affirmed that only those who cultivate the spirit of dedication, integrity, honesty, objectivity, sympathy and social responsibility will be able to make their mark. While much is talked about human resource development, what really mattered was human self-development, he pointed out. Any development activity, he said, begins with self-development, which is the essence of human resource development. 

He went on to explain that self-development was possible through improving one’s knowledge, attitude, skills and self-determination. It begins with self-awareness and the realization of one’s weaknesses and strengths. While getting a basic knowledge to survive in a demanding environment is the beginning of success for the young graduates, if they do not keep up the intellectual tempo, they will soon lose out.

Presenting the annual report, the principal of the college Fr. A. Maria Susai listed out the special programmes offered, and the modern facilities made available to students such as INFLIBNET (information and library network) facility in the library, smart classrooms and video-conferencing.   

It is interesting to know that though the academic headwear and gown are nowadays seen only at graduation ceremonies, there was a time when students and faculty wore them on a daily basis out of necessity to keep themselves warm in the unheated lecture halls of the earliest universities of Europe, beginning from the 12th century.

No wonder in the 1970s there used to be protests in some Indian campuses against the wearing of academic gowns at convocation ceremonies, considering them as meaningless vestiges of a medieval practice. In fact, once during a convocation ceremony at the University of Madras, the new graduates appeared with the slogan, “We want jobs, not gowns” painted on their gowns. But today, the cap-and- gown culture seems to be making a comeback.

Bosco Explodes in Show of Talent (BEST) at Dharmapuri

by Mathew Adukanil SDB

The day-long cultural extravaganza, christened `BEST 2012` (Bosco Explodes in Show of Talent) at Don Bosco College, Dharmapuri, on 10 August 2012 proved to be a colourful super campus thriller. This fourth edition of the annual cultural festival of the college saw a veritable explosion of talents on stage, almost like a cloudburst in these monsoon starved times. Without doubt, this adrenalin pumping, keenly contested cultural fest takes the cake among all the campus events of the year.

Fr. Bellarmine Fernando SDB, the Rector, who declared the event open found a full throated echo from the student body when he declared that Dharmapuri district would no longer remain backward, and Don Bosco College would assure that. The students understandably let their hair down merging with the mood of the day so much so the Principal Fr. Siluvai Muthu SDB himself was in a mood for singing and dancing as he greeted the students.

From 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. a total of 46 events in dance, mimes, skits, variety show and random dancing were gone through in quick succession without any hitches, thanks to good planning and stage management. All items were educative and carried messages relevant for the times. Among the themes highlighted by our young artists through their performance on stage were various current problems and challenges facing the nation such as women empowerment, female foeticide, women`s education, cell phone misuse, political corruption, religious harmony, and role models for today’s young such as the  first Indian woman astronaut Kalpana  Chawla, Mother Teresa, and Kiran Bedi. An amazing range of skills like jugglery, karate moves, body building, karagam dance, acrobatic stunts were on show – indeed, a sumptuous feast for the eyes, music for the ears, and joy for the heart.

Apart from the stage items of the day a number of other contests like painting, poetry writing, rangoli, had been conducted off stage prior to the festival day. Creativity and innovation certainly ruled the day as many in the student body of two thousand plus found some avenue or other to flaunt their talents.

Local dignitaries like Bishop Lawrence Pius of Dharmapuri diocese,  BSNL Divisional Engineer, Rotary Club President Mr. Anand and others  felicitated the participants.

A number of regional TV channels and newspaper reporters covered the event. The judges for the event were media artists and producers from Chennai and Coimbatore.

The whole event was organized by the Department of English under the able guidance of Fr. Daniel Ambrose, the vice-principal. Incidentally the same English Department were the winners of the coveted BEST trophy—for the third time in succession.

SIHARAM launches ‘English for Empowerment and Employment’

By Ernest Rosario SDB

A totally residential and professional training course in spoken English was officially launched on 3rd August 2012 under the auspices of Don Bosco Institute of Professional English at SIHARAM, Thiruvannamalai. The six-month long training is directly targeting the needs of rural youth who often have good grades but lack essential English communication skills and thereby lose many golden employment opportunities in leading companies. The course is offered under the 3E brand name, ‘English for Empowerment and Employment’, on completion of which the students will receive the "Certificate in Professional Communication" (CPC).

In the first batch there are 35 students.  They will be systematically trained in speaking, reading, writing and listening skills. Further, they will be empowered with soft skills along with basic computing skills. Job placement will also be facilitated after the completion of the course. The Institute is also contemplating weekend and part-time courses as and when the demand arises.

It is the first time that, in the Province of Chennai, a totally residential and professional training programme in spoken English is being attempted. Fr. Antonyraj (Vice Provincial), Maria Arockiaraj (HOD, Dept. of English, Sacred Heart College), Fr. Francis Xavier (Parish Priest, Thiruvannamalai), Fr. Joseph Leo (Director, DB Vazhikaatti), Bro. Anandaraj sdb (English Teacher, Don Bosco, Perambur) were the guests of honour at the launching of this innovative programme. 

Speaker of the Assembly inaugurates Children’s Parliament at Anbu Illam

by John Wilson SDB

The Hon’ble Speaker of the Tamil Nadu State Legislative Assembly, Thiru D. Jayakumar B.Sc., B.L., presided over the 27th Annual Day celebrations of Don Bosco Anbu Illam, Royapuram, Chennai, on 1st August. The Hon`ble Speaker also conducted the swearing-in ceremony for the members of Children’s Parliament and distributed educational materials to the children. The Child Policy document and the Annual Report were released by the Hon`ble Speaker. Mr. E. R. Palini, 5th Zone Chairperson & Mrs. S. Nagamma, B.A., 22nd Ward Councillor, graced the occasion as guests of honour. Fr. Sebastian Vanathian, Assistant Director, Programs welcomed the gathering. Fr. Johnson Bashyam, Director DBAI, Chennai welcomed the chief guest.

 Addressing the gathering, the Hon`ble Speaker said he was proud to be a Don Bosco alumnus. He appreciated the Fathers and Sisters who work in Don Bosco schools and follow the values, principles and teachings of the great educator Don Bosco. He reminded the elders present that parents had an obligation to support and motivate their children to work hard and come up in life. He promised he would ensure that a better building is put up for the children at the Royapuram Shelter Home and better facilities provided for them. In his inspiring talk, he pointed out that our society would not develop unless and until we give better facilities for our children and youth. The children and the young people were impressed by the friendly way he spoke and interacted with them.

Nearly 800 children, community members, well-wishers, Volunteers and DBAI staff participated in the program.

DB Vazhikatti to conduct Career Guidance and Motivation Seminars in all Corporation Schools of Chennai

by Leo Joseph SDB

Don Bosco Vazhikaatti, the Career Guidance Cell of the Province of Chennai, has received permission from the Department of Education of the Corporation of Chennai to conduct career guidance and motivation seminars in all the Higher Secondary schools of Chennai Corporation. The programme was launched by the Mayor of Chennai on 31 July at the Corporation School in Kolathur, North Chennai, in the presence of Fr. Jayapalan Raphael, the Provincial, and Mr. N. Venkatesan IAS, the Commissioner of Education of Chennai Corporation.

Inaugurating the programme, the Worshipful Mayor of Chennai, Mr. Saidai Duraisamy, lauded the efforts of Don Bosco Vazhikatti in empowering the children of the Corporation schools who are often neglected by the public.

A New book on Career Opportunities named “Uyar Kalvikku Vazhikaatti” was released by the Mayor and Fr. Provincial.

All the Class XII students of the school in Kolathur participated in the programme. The students were delighted. One remarked, “I never knew so many possibilities were open before me. This seminar has motivated me to strive harder and to aim high.”  Fr Leo Joseph, Director of Don Bosco Vazhikatti, said  Don Bosco Vazhikatti is an initiative  of the Salesian province of Chennai which believes that education is the best  way to empowerment.     

Convocation Day at BIIT, Yellagiri

by P.S. Arockia Anbu SDB

Bosco Institute of Information Technology (BIIT), Yellagiri, celebrated its convocation day on 28 July. Forty-four students were given diploma certificates in PGDIT (Post-graduate Diploma in Information Technology) by Mr. Pius Prasad, Vice President (HR), Huawei Technologies, Bangalore. Medals were given to those who excelled in various fields.

Delvering his convocation address, Mr. Prasad reminded the students that success was a journey and not a destination. “Success,” he said, “is getting along with most people, not getting ahead of others.”  Mr. Prasad, who is a past pupil of Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, and a HRD specialist, exhorted the students to take care of simple values like cleanliness, punctuality, initiative, acceptance of mistakes and learning from others.

Fr. Stanislaus Swamikannu, Rector of the Institute, in his address to the gathering, highlighted the relationship between education and spirituality. He said, “education without spirituality is a body without life.”

This is the fourth annual convocation, since the inception of BIIT in 1998.

S. H. College, Tirupattur: Annual retreat for students

by Wilfred D’Souza  SDB

More than 600 students took part in the three-day spiritual retreat held on 27-29 July for the Catholic students of the College. The programme was animated by the Most Rev. Lawrence Pius and Fr Jayakumar MSFS, who were ably assisted by a team of lay persons, Bro. K. P. Jeevankumar, Bro. Shaju Jose and Bro. Anand. The day-students were accommodated in the hostels for the occasion to help them take full part in the programme.

In the evening of 27th July, the Rector of the College Fr. K. M. Jose SDB introduced the animators of this annual soul-cleansing event and welcomed the students to make the best of this opportunity to recuperate their spiritual energies. He told them it was a moment to pause, to shut out the outer world (as much as possible) in order to examine one’s inner world, to take stock of the situation, to do some course correction and finally to re-launch one’s spiritual journey with renewed vigour and resolve. After a melodious song led by Bro. Shaju that put the participants into a calm and reflective mood, Bro. Anand took over the first session which introduced them into the spiritual journey they intended to undertake. After supper the students came back for another session led by Fr. Jeyakumar that highlighted the importance of conversion of heart.

The next day, after a beautiful celebration of the Eucharist and breakfast, Fr Jayakumar took the participants on an intimacy trip with God which could be summarized as, “Never forget to pray. God lives. He is near. He is real. He is not only thinks of us… He deeply cares for us. He is our Father. He is accessible to all who will seek Him.” The morning sessions focused on understanding our need to forgive and to be forgiven, the need for repentance and reparation. The post-lunch session continued on the morning’s theme, but with special emphasis on tackling the hurt feelings we collect and harbor in our hearts as we go along life’s journey. The preacher insisted on the importance of asking God for the strength to overcome the deep hurt feelings we hold within us. God’s grace, he said, is the only sure means for freeing oneself completely of the hurts we keep locked up in our hearts.  

During the evening session, priests were available for the sacrament of reconciliation which was availed by many. After supper there was an inner-healing session along with the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during which prayers were offered for the healing of the inner wounds of the students and their family members. If, as Mother Teresa has said, “Prayer is not asking; but putting oneself in the hands of God, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts,” then this adoration service was prayer at its best.

On the final day, after two early morning sessions by Fr. Jayakumar, Bishop Lawrence Pius of Dharmapuri diocese took over the sessions. The bishop’s free and friendly approach and his simple and clear exposition of Christian teachings delighted the student community. His interactions with the students helped to deepen their understanding of the Church and the challenges facing the Church and the faithful in these times.  

The retreat concluded with a solemn Eucharistic celebration in the afternoon, presided over by the Bishop. During the celebration, the students had an opportunity also to share the personal experiences they had during the retreat. The retreat concluded with a tea around 5.00 p.m. “It was indeed an uplifting experience…,” said one participant. “Fighting the battles of our daily life, we get tired, weary and emotionally drained. Spending time alone with God opens up our vision. This retreat was like receiving a spiritual shot into our veins,” said another.

The students were truly grateful to the college for organizing such a spiritually enriching experience. Read More..

Feast of Mary Magdalene at Gengavaram

by David Maria Selvam SDB

The annual feast of St. Mary Magdalene at Gengavaram, a substation of St. Antony’s, Veeralur, was celebrated with great solemnity on20-22 July. The 3-day celebration which began with the flag-hoisting and Holy Mass by the parish priest Fr. Thamathiruthuvam culminated with a grand  Eucharistic celebration and car procession on 22 July. The second day was set apart for the personal renewal of the parishioners through Eucharistic adoration during which the sacrament of reconciliation was administered.

Fr. Amala Vinodh presided over the festal Mass on the final day. Through his ‘participatory homily’ he brought out the greatness of Mar Magdalene, the sinner turned saint.

The boarders from the Children’s village at Adamangalam were part of the celebrations on all the three days. Fr. David Maria Selvam, the Assistant Parish Priest, lowered the flag around 11.30 p.m. on the final day marking the end of the grand celebrations.

According to some theologians, Mary Magdalene was a prominent disciple and leader in the early Christian community that promoted women's leadership. It was to her that the Risen Lord first appeared. The first message she was given was to announce to Peter and the others that "He is risen!"(Mt. 28:7 Mk. 16:9-11 Lk. 24:10 Jn. 20:2). Some scholars refer to her as "the apostle to the apostles". She is the first to announce the resurrection and to fulfill the role of an Apostle, namely, someone sent by Jesus with a special message or commission, to spread the "good news". The first message she was given was to announce to Peter and the others that "He is risen!"(Mt. 28:7 Mk. 16:9-11 Lk. 24:10 Jn. 20:2).

Pope Benedict XVI once spoke about Mary Magdalene, referring to her as "a disciple of the Lord who plays a lead role in the Gospels." "The story of Mary of Magdala reminds us all of a fundamental truth," Pope Benedict said. "A disciple of Christ is one who, in the experience of human weakness, has had the humility to ask for his help, has been healed by him and has set out following closely after him, becoming a witness of the power of his merciful love that is stronger than sin and death."

DB Katpadi hosts All-India Tournament

By Simolin SDB

The Don Bosco School campus in Katpadi turned into a veritable mini Olympic village as 748 young sportspersons from schools across the country landed there on 12 July to participate in a three-day, all-India inter-school tournament in Basketball, Table Tennis, Shuttle Badminton and Ball Badminton. The event was organized in connection with the Silver Jubilee of the priestly ordination of Fr. John Santhosam, Principal of Don Bosco, Katpadi.

In all, 107 teams from four states (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa and Maharashtra) participated in the event. Organizing an event of this magnitude and complexity was no mean task; it required exceptional capacity and the Physical Education teachers of the school proved they were equal the task. The mega sports event created great enthusiasm in the school as well as in the entire town. 

The event was inaugurated by on 13th morning by Mr D. Thiyagarajan, Chennai Customs sports officer.  On 15th Mr G. V. Selvam, Vice-President of Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT),  Chennai, was present to felicitate the participants and the winners to give away the prices and trophies.  In Basketball, 32 teams competed and Kamala Subramanian Matric. Hr. Sec. School, Tanjore, won the first prize, while Dindukal N. S. V. V. Pattuveeranpatti Sports Hostel were the runners up. Don Bosco, Cochin, won special award for Basketball. In Badminton (Shuttle) 40 teams competedand Perks Matric. Hr. Sec. School, Vellore, won the first place. In Table Tennis 45 teams competed and Mount St. Joseph Hr. Sec. School, Thiruvannamalai, won the trophy. In Badminton (Shuttle) 40 teams competed, and Mount St. Joseph Hr. Sec. School, Thiruvannamalai, came as winner and Sun Beam Matric. Hr. Sec. School, Vellore, came as Runners up.

1200 Teachers attend Seminar on Don Bosco’s Educational Method

by Louis Kumpiluvelil SDB

Nearly 1200 teachers from 51 Salesian schools in the Province of Chennai took part in a series of five one-day seminars, from 23 to 27 July, on Don Bosco’s Educational Method, conducted by Fr Peter Gonsalves SDB from the Salesian Pontifical University, Rome. The programme was organized in response to the Rector Major’s call to focus on the ‘Pedagogy of Don Bosco’ as the central theme for the second year of the three-year-long preparation for the Bicentenary of Don Bosco’s birth in 2015.  

With masterly skill, Fr Peter took the participants on a guided tour of the whole gamut of Don Bosco’s system of education, explaining its aims, its key principles, the values underpinning it, and the attitudes and skills expected of the educator.

He highlighted particularly the three key elements of the system, namely,

 Reason, Religion and Rapport (relationship). Quoting psychologist Carl Rogers, who had famously said, “… learning rests not upon the teaching skills of the leader, not upon his curricular planning, not upon his use of audio-visuals… No, the facilitation of significant learning rests upon … the relationship between the teacher and the student,” Fr Peter said Don Bosco started out with the same intuition, but a good hundred years before Rogers.

Speaking on the role of the educator/parent, he said, the whole system stands on the “presence” of the educator/parent in the midst of the 

students/children. That, he said, is the fulcrum around which the entire system moves. He described it as a welcoming presence, a creative presence, a loving presence, a motivating presence, an incarnational presence (getting into their shoes). Such a presence helps the student to grow and to glow, giving full expression to his personality. Hence, as against the “repressive method”, Don Bosco’s is an “expressive method” of education. Though Don Bosco called his method the “Preventive System” to contrast it with the “Repressive System” that was prevalent in his day, the expressive characteristics of his system are the more important ones.

The seminar was conducted in five different regions of the province, namely, Pondicherry (115 teachers), Tirupattur (122), Vellore (189), Chennai (English – 400), Chennai (Tamil – 200). Every participant was given a copy of Fr Peter’s book, “Don Bosco’s Way, a South Asian Perspective”. A Tamil edition of the same, translated by Fr. Maria Louis, was given to the Tamil speaking participants. The entire five-day programme was coordinated by Fr Antonyraj , the Vice Provincial.

Don Bosco, Tirupattur: Fr Castelli Memorial Football Tournament

by Tamilselvan SDB

The 2012 edition of Fr Angelo Castelli Memorial Football tournament, held on 20-23 July at Don Bosco Tirupattur, saw eight Salesian schools and eight other Salesian Houses including five Formation Houses (Tirupattur Aspirantate, Thanjavur Aspirantate, Coimbatore Pre-novitiate, Yellagiri Novitiate, Yercaud Philosophate) of the Provinces of Chennai and Tiruchy battling it out on the football pitch.

The tournament was started in 2008 in memory of Fr Angelo Castelli who had spent most of his 48 years in India at Tirupattur, as confessor and spiritual director of the aspirants and Salesians. The objective of the tournament was to bring together the Formation Houses of the Provinces of Chennai and Tiruchy to celebrate the memory of a Salesian who had touched the lives of so many young people and Salesians through his quiet, simple, austere and holy life. The tournament, originally intended for the Formation Houses only, gradually opened its doors to Salesian schools and Salesian Houses.

While at the finals of the school level matches this year, Don Bosco, Perambur, got the better of St. Gabriel’s, Broadway, among the Salesian Houses, Salesian College, Yercaud, beat BICS, Yellagiri to claim the Castelli Trophy.

To the admiration of all, the matches were conducted with the finesse and efficiency of an international meet, with the players and ball boys marching in and the FIFA anthem playing before every match. The presence of Mr. Edwin Louis, AIFF Referees’ Instructor and Technical Supervisor added to the dignity of the day.

Fr Angelo Castelli, born in Italy in 1910, came to India as a missionary in 1936, after a stint in the Italian army. He did his novitiate as well as philosophical and theological studies in Tirupattur and was ordained a priest in the Sacred Heart College chapel in 1945. In 1947, he obtained Indian citizenship.

US Professor inaugurates Tamil Sangam at DBTC, Kavarapettai

by Ananda Rex Michael SDB

The ‘Tamil Sangam’, one of the Student Forums at Don Bosco Theological Centre, Kavarapettai, was inaugurated on 24th July. Dr. Perundevi Srinivasan, Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Siena College, New York, presented an enlightening inaugural lecture on “Stories of Flesh: Colonial and Anthropological Discourses on the South Indian Goddess Mariyamman.“

Fr. Victor Antonyraj, Principal of DBTC, welcomed the gathering and highlighted the importance of theologizing in one`s vernacular. In his presidential address, Fr. Joseph Jeyaraj, Rector of DBTC, pointed out that language played a vital role in priestly ministry, and that  to become an effective pastor, one must become an efficient communicator. He further expressed his earnest hope that the Tamil Sangam would serve as a good platform for students to master the skills of communication.

In her Inaugural address, Dr. Srinivasan explained how the deity named “Mariyamman” became the “goddess of poxes and rain” in South India, prayed to particularly during temple festivals and when the population was afflicted by poxes. As she verbalized it, “the worship of Mariyamman has encountered the colonial rhetoric of `medical benevolence` in the form of smallpox vaccination.”

Bro. Jeyan Joseph, one of the participants, said the meeting gave him “an insight into how religion was used by science to eradicate small pox and how scientific inventions were put to the common good through religious rituals.”

As outlined in the Formation Plan of DBTC, the “Tamil Sangam” is a Forum through which the students get the special opportunity to foster their literary and leadership skills. The Forum offers them a valuable opportunity to arrange meetings, talks and debates and to become proficient in Tamil.  Besides, it also brings them in contact with enlightened and eminent speakers and writers.

Sacred Heart College: Mega Science Exhibition

by Kasi Sagayaraj SDB

More than 400 students from 84 schools of Vellore District took part in a mega Science Exhibition at the Don Bosco Indoor Stadium of Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur on 19 July. The exhibition organized by the Department of Social Work in association with Puthia Thalamurai News Channel, showcased the creative spirit and innovative skills of students in fields such as solar energy, pollution control, air purification, windmills, tissue cultivation, satellite launching and the like.

The best three innovations from junior and senior categories were selected for the final competition which will is scheduled for 22 August 2012 in Chennai. The winners were given medals and shields. All the participants were also given certificates. The teachers and parents and the public were delighted to see the amazing ‘inventions’ of the budding scientists.

Professors from the Science Departments of the College, who were the judges, said deciding the winners was tough because the exhibits were all so well done.

At the closing function, Mr. Pon Kumar, Chief Education Officer of Vellore District, said it was through events like these that we can discover the future Ramanujans, C.V. Ramans, and Homi Bhabhas of India. He further highlighted the need to encourage the scientific temper in our institutions and in the society in general so that inquisitive and innovative young minds will find the necessary stimulus and conducive atmosphere to seek scientific solutions to the many problems the country faces.

The staff and students of the MSW Department of the College did a great job in coordinating the entire work especially in getting so many students from so many schools in the district involved in the project.

Sacred Heart College: Students’ Associations inaugurated

by Kasi Sagayaraj SDB

The inauguration of the Students’ Associations at Sacred Heart College (Shift I), Tirupattur, was held on 16th July 2012. Mr. Siva Kumar, CEO of Prabha Engineers, was the Chief Guest. Fr. (Dr.) D. Maria Antony Raj SDB, the Vice Principal and the Controller of Examinations, led the investiture ceremony, during which the secretaries of the Associations received an insignia and took the pledge to be instruments of peace serving the college, the society and one another.

Fr. K.M. Jose, Rector of the College, in his welcome address exhorted the students to extend their best collaboration and solidarity to fulfill the mission of the college.

Addressing the students, the chief guest urged them to make use of the opportunities the associations offer in order to increase their knowledge and to develop their talents. He exhorted them to believe in themselves and to strengthen their self-confidence and acquire problem solving skills by taking part in out-of-classroom activities.

The presidents of the Associations were introduced on the stage and the annual plan of each Associations was presented to the audience.

The college cultural team performed a fabulous dance which was indeed a feast both for the eyes and the ears.

The college this year has 27 students’ Associations, 13 of which are academic and 14 non-academic like AICUF, NCC, NSS, Media Forum, Consumer Forum, Fine Arts Club, Sports Club, Youth Red Cross, Rotaract, Rovers, Maatru Nataka Iyakkam, EDP cell, SHESRA and Red Ribbon.

Seminar brings the curtain down on the Year of Catechesis

by Fr Ignatius Clement Antony SDB

“Catechesis, essential ingredient for a vibrant Church” was the theme of a two-day seminar held on 14-15 July at the Salesian Provincial House, Chennai, marking the conclusion of the Year of Catechesis in the province. The seminar, involving the entire Salesian Family, brought together 186 participants, consisting of leaders of communities, parish priests, school principals and representatives from the other groups in the Salesian Family such as the FMA, SMA, MSMHC, SMI, VDB, Cooperators and DB Alumni.

Fr Jayapalan Raphael SDB, Salesian Provincial of Chennai and Coordinator of the National Catechetical Directory document, in his presentation on “Catechesis in context” demonstrated how our mission should flow from the challenges seen in the Indian context. To understand our context, it is first of all essential, he said, to understand India's rich history and heritage, its strengths and its weaknesses.

Fr. A. Sebastian, the TNBC secretary for Catechesis, speaking on ‘the Mission of Evangelization’ said the Church in India has to realize her mission through a communion of life, becoming inculturated into every civic community; through a communion of truth, by engaging constantly in a dialogue-of-life with all people and through a communion of love, by reaching out to those most in need.

Fr James Theophilus, Director of the Bible Institute, Poonamallee, spoke on ‘the Message and the Content of Catechesis’ referred to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) as the most substantial and authoritative exposition of the contents of all of Catholic doctrine after the Second Vatican Council.

Sr. Teresa Joseph FMA, CBCI Secretary of the Commission for Dialogue and Ecumenism spoke on ‘Pilgrim people – the Catechists and the Catechized’ pointed out that while the catechist may propose to the catechized activities that are adapted to their age, mentality, capacity, needs and interests, no particular approach, method or activity can replace the spirit of faith of the catechists and their deep desire to communicate God’s life to their people through their personal witness.

Fr. Laurence Culas, the CCBI Secretary for Catechetics, shared his ideas on the “Pedagogy, Approach and Methods used in Catechesis”. To be faithful to their vocation as spiritual pedagogues, he said, catechists have to study and imitate God’s own divine pedagogy revealed in the Bible. It is essentially pedagogy of respectful and loving dialogue with human beings. It prepares the minds and hearts of believers for what God wishes to reveal.

The Most Rev. Antony Devota, Bishop of Tiruchy and Chairman of CBCI and TNBC Commissions for Catechetics, presided over the Eucharistic celebration on the final day and spoke on the theme of “Called to be sent forth as witnesses of the Risen Lord”.

The workshop, in five groups, on the final day helped the participants not only to deepen the insights presented by the speakers, but also to identify the most urgent challenges facing the catechetical mission in our context and to propose ways and means of making the lay catechists in the parishes and catechism teachers in the schools to be more effective teachers of faith.

Among the other highlights of the seminar were a Bible-based songs and mime performance by the Divine Inner Light Youth Ministry (DILYM) group and a 75-minute long multimedia presentation, Satchia Vazhvu Sathiama? (Is life witness possible?), staged by the Deepagam Cultural Team.

Fr Clement Antony SDB, Director of Deepagam and the chief organizer of the seminar, said the seminar was a point of arrival and a point of departure inasmuch as it helped participants to gather up the fruits of the catechetical year and come to the “Door of Faith” (Porta fidei) with a better understanding of the implications of one’s faith.

Sagayathottam: House System, Students’ Clubs and Literary Associations inaugurated

by Br. Anbu Francis SDB

It was an action-packed day for the students of Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, Sagayathottam, on 13 July, with the inauguration of various extracurricular activities. While Mr. M. Ravi, the local MLA, inaugurated the House System and the Student’s Clubs, Fr Antonyraj, the Vice Provincial of Chennai, launched the Tamil and English Literary Associations and blessed the new laboratories.

The inauguration of the House System began at 10.30 a.m. with a lively march-past and a spectacular mass drill and pyramid show that involved the entire student community. In his inaugural address, Mr Raja, the MLA of Arkonam constituency, spoke about the various free schemes that the Tamil Nadu Government has introduced for the welfare of the students, at the end of which he gave away free textbooks to the students.

The Vice Provincial Fr Antonyraj, while urging the students to take full part in all the activities and opportunities the school offers, cautioned them not to neglect the spiritual aspects of one’s life. It is spirituality, he said, that sustains us in difficult times, and it must be nurtured with care and given its due importance especially during one’s youth. He also honored the group leaders with badges. The cultural programmes staged by students representing the various houses were enjoyed by everyone.

The day’s events were a powerful reminder to both students and parents of the important role extracurricular activities play in the all-round formation of the students, and in opening up future careers for them. Today, what the world of work looks for in the candidates is not mere academic performance, not mere for knowledge of the subjects. Organizations and job recruiters look for candidates who are good in self-expression, communications skills, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, etc. It is through various extracurricular activities that young people develop these qualities.

National Convention of Young Religious in India 2012

by Fr David Mariaselvam SDB

The 4-day National Convention of Young Religious in India, with the theme ‘Leadership for Consecrated Life 2020’, was inaugurated at 6 p.m. on 9 July at Don Bosco Technical Institute, Okhla, New Delhi. 

In his thought-provoking inaugural address, Montfort Brother Mani Mekkunnel, National Secretary of CRI, exhorted the 250 participants, in the age group of 30-35 years and representing more than 100 religious congregations of men and women in India, to celebrate the Lord of Presence. Quoting from Vatican II, he said the Lord of Presence (where are two or three in my name, there am I in their midst) is very much forgotten these days. He spoke about the new cancer called irrelevance which is eating up the spirit of the consecrated life. The solution to this killer disease, he said, is possible only by making our life relevant according to the needs of the time.  

Bro. Mekkunnel said, during the convention the participants would reflect on 12 goals during the meeting, including good governance in religious congregations, learning modern technology to be effective leaders and partnership and networking for evangelical effectiveness. They would prepare strategies about how to face the challenges of the modern world.

A novel aspect of this convention is that it is a paperless conference where everything is done through laptops and the proceedings are telecast live on the web.

The first day concluded with an ice breaking session by Fr. Joe Arimpoor SDB.

Grand Eucharistic Procession at Polur

by  Bro. Arulanandam SDB

Thousands participated in a prayerful Eucharistic procession held on 6 July at Polur in preparation for the parish annual feast. The precession was led by Fr Stanislaus Swamikannu, former provincial and Rector of Don Bosco Centre, Yellgiri.

The procession that began at 8.30 p.m. after a solemn Holy Mass at Don Bosco Agro-Tech wound its way to the parish church through streets beautifully illuminated and decorated with flags and festoons. The sight of people walking devoutly in single file on either side of the road, holding lighted candles, signing and praying was indeed a moving experience and a cause of edification to people of all faiths, all along the route.

The Blessed Sacrament was carried by the chief celebrant in a decorated vehicle while the children of the Sacred Heart Convent moved in front of the vehicle strewing flowers along the way. On reaching the parish church, the service concluded with a final blessing.

In his homily, Fr. Stanislaus drew the attention of the people to the ever-abiding presence of Jesus in the midst of his people. He said Jesus chose to be present with us in the form of bread and wine as a sign of his sacrificial love and to be a bridge between God and people.

The faithful were happy that they had been able to take part in a prayerful, devout and spiritually enriching service and with a feeling of being strengthened in their faith.

Fr Joy Kurian SDB, parish priest, thanked the people for their devout participation and cooperation. He thanked the community of Don Bosco Agro-Tech for their generous help and cooperation in making the event a memorable one.

Don Bosco Gandhi Nagar: New Rector takes charge

Fr Aulandam Perianayagam was installed as the Rector of Don Bosco Orphanage, Gandhi Nagar, Vellore, by Fr. Raphael Jayapalan, Salesian provincial of Chennai, on 6th June, during a Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr. Jayapalan, in the presence of Salesians from the neighbouring communities and a large number of students.

Before the Eucharistic celebration, Fr Jayapalan highlighted Fr. Arul’s simple lifestyle, sincere relationship and deep concern for others. Delivering the homily, Fr Lourdusamy, principal of the B.Ed. College, spoke of Jesus the Good Shepherd as the model par excellence for every community leader. He made reference to the many qualities of the Good Shepherd that were happily present in Fr Arulanandam, the new Rector of this great institution.   

Congratulating Fr. Arul during the post-Eucharist felicitation programme, Fr. Provincial said Don Bosco, Gandhi Nagar, was an institution very dear to him because he himself was a product of it, and that he had chosen Fr. Arul to lead this community because of the Good-Shepherd-like qualities in him, qualities like his fatherly concern for all, his love for the poor, his attentiveness to the weaker ones, and his capacity to keep the flock together.

The history of Don Bosco, Gandhi Nagar, goes back to 1928 when the Salesians arrived in Vellore to take over the mission of North Arcot. At that time, the Salesians were given charge of an existing lower elementary school with just 80 pupils in three classes. From then on, it kept growing steadily and in 1956 it was shifted to its present premises in Gandhi Nagar. At present the boarding house has 263 boys mostly from the far-flung villages of the district.

Over the past eight decades, this institution has played a key role in the transformation of the entire district, primarily by empowering the poor and weaker sections of the people through education. Today its sprawling campus has two Higher Secondary schools (one under state board and the other under Matriculation board), a large boarding house for poor students, a hostel, a Youth Centre, an Evening Study centre, and a vibrant outreach programme for the children of beedi workers.

Don Bosco, Tirupattur, breaks out of tradition: Nursery and Primary School launched

by Br. Arockia Tamizhselvan SDB

The 66-year-old Don Bosco Hr. Sec. School, Tirupattur, has finally broken out of tradition to add a Nursery and Primary school on the campus. On 27 June, Fr Jose Kochamkunnel, Rector and Correspondent of Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, inaugurated the new school in the presence of several distinguished guests and some 150 delighted parents and well-wishers. For the moment, the new school has started off with LKG, UKG and Class I and 85 students in all.

The starting of the Nursery and Primary schools will remain an important watershed in the history of the institution, and will bring in a new era of opportunities for the people of the locality. It removes a big lacuna from this otherwise beautiful and attractive campus. Not having the lower classes in the premises was a big deterrent for the public who wanted to get their wards admitted in this school. The public will only be too happy with the present decision of the management.

The Don Bosco Matriculation School, Tirupattur, has a long and interesting pre-history. It was started as Sacred Heart High School in 1946 in the Salesian House campus (the College didn’t exist then) under the leadership of the then Provincial Fr Josè Carreño, and the Rector Fr John Med. The first scholastic year began on 17th June 1946 ‘with a triduum of intercession to the Holy Spirit for light and grace’. It was intended to be a school exclusively for aspirants to Salesian life. Right from the beginning, it remained a High School, having only Form IV, V, & VI (equivalent of Class IX, X and XI) and no Middle or Primary sections. Three years later, in March 1949, the first batch of 18 students sat for the Matriculation examination (Form VI) of the University of Madras. (In those days, Matriculation schools were directly under the University and not under the control of the state government). The official recognition of the school, however, arrived only in April 1951.

In 1968, the school was shifted to its present campus and re-named ‘Don Bosco Matriculation School’. It continued to remain a High School, exclusively for the aspirants. Day scholars from nearby places began to be admitted from the early 1970s and a little later a hostel was opened to accommodate students from distant places. Another novelty is that at present the Higher Secondary, Primary and the Nursery schools are all headed by lay persons.

SHC Tirupattur: Training Programme for Fine Arts Students

by Fr. Sagayaraj Kasi SDB

A two-day training programme was conducted for the students of the Fine Arts Association of the Sacred Heart College in order to sharpen their artistic skills with the help of professional trainers. Every year, the Association conducts such programmes to help the students acquire skills related to the fields of their specialization. The focus this year was on developing basic skills in portrait drawing, colour painting, thermocol cutting, 3D cutting as well as stage management.

The training was imparted by three trainers—Mr Victor, Mr Chandrasekhar, and Mr. Vimal— from Chennai Fine Arts College. Around 50 students took part in this training. The event was held in the Mother Teresa Hall, under the guidance of Vice Principals (both Shifts) and with the collaboration of faculty members, Prof. J. Jacob Stanley, Dr. V. Collings Arun Prakash and Prof. R. Veeraragavan.

“Xpressions 2012” – Art Exhibition by Chennai DBCAD Students

by Paulraj Amalaraj SDB

Chennai July 7, 2012: ‘Xpressions 2012’, an exhibition of artworks by the UG and PG students of Don Bosco College of Art and Design (DBCAD), Chennai, was inaugurated by the renowned art director and critic  Padmashree Thota Tharani on the 5 July 2012, at Gallery II of the Chennai Lalit Kala Akademi (National Academy of Fine Arts), the premier fine art institution of the Government of India to promote, spread and develop Indian fine art culture.

 

Xpressions 2012 by DBCAD was on display at the Lalit Kala Academi from July 6 to 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Xpressions 2012 is without doubt, a great opportunity for the students to showcase their talents to the discerning public. The exhibition was declared open by Padmashree Tota Tharani, in the presence of Rev. Dr. Jayapalan Raphael, SDB, Chairman – Don Bosco institutions, Northern Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Andamans, Fr. Harris , Director, DBCAD, and other distinguished artists and art critics.

The Inaugural ceremony started with a prayer song and the Lighting the lamp as a symbol of seeking the blessing of god. It was then followed by the felicitations of the chief guests by Fr. Harris, the Director of DBCAD.

Speaking on the occasion Padmashree Thota Tharani said he was impressed by the creative works of the students.  The distinguished art critic lauded in a special way the students’ pencil sketches, dry pastel works, stencil cut and photography. The renowned artist had a word of advice for the upcoming young artists. He told them to work more on water colour as a foundation for other levels of creative expressions. The Chief Guest also gave them tips on how to come up in life – by working hard with sincerity and dedication— and never to shy away from experimenting. Dr. Jayapalan, speaking on the occasion, said the works of art reveal the three dimensional thinking of the students – the present, past and the future.

The exhibition is one of its kind, and focuses on the academic work that the students engage themselves in as part of their studies. At DBCAD, the students are encouraged to explore different mediums, both conventional as well as experimental, and are offered an opportunity to select majors of their choice. Some of the subjects covered during their studies are as varied as Material and Methods, Geometry and Structure and Sustainable Design & Solutions.  The year ends with a display of their wide range of works done during their study.

Some of the works on display at ‘Xpressions 2012’ are:

•          Still life sketching

•          Oil painting

•          Ink work

•          Collage

•          Illustration

•          Product design

•          Creative designs

•          Book illustrations

•          Photographs on urban culture graffiti, emotions, textures, color, and other interesting topics.

Directory of Don Bosco Works for the Young at Risk Released

by KUMPILUVELIL Louis SDB

A comprehensive Directory of the Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk (YaR) in India was released on 5 July at Don Bosco Centre, Yellagiri, by Fr Stanislaus Swamikannu, former provincial of Chennai and director of Don Bosoc Centre. The 280-page colourful and elegant volume, with eye-catching photos and extensive statistics, unfolds the story of how the Salesians of Don Bosco in India have gradually come to claim their rightful place among the most neglected and vulnerable children and youth of the country.

The Directory documents the origins and the steady growth of a work for the Young at Risk (YaR) that started four decades ago and today engages hundreds of Salesians and collaborators across 73 cities and towns in India.

A discovery the Directory throws up, which might surprise even the Salesians themselves, is the fact that the 225 YaR centres across the country reach out to a whopping 292,407 at-risk young people nearly on a daily basis! This is ample evidence that the Salesians have finally arrived where they are meant to be—among the poorest and the weakest.

The volume includes a heart-warming section of “Success Stories”. They are stories of young people whose lives have been transformed after they came in contact with YaR centres across India. It is a must read: stories that disturb, stories that delight; stories that tug at your heartstrings.

The Directory, a first attempt by the YaR National Forum, has succeeded in documenting the origin and development of every YaR centre in the country, with detailed facts and figures indicating the kind of services each centre offers and the number of beneficiaries, etc. The extensive statistics which run through nearly a hundred pages will be an eye-opener to everyone, including those engaged in YaR work. It will be an excellent tool for better coordination, animation and planning for those involved in YaR ministry at all levels. It will also facilitate networking and promote liaison and collaboration with like-minded organisations including Government agencies. A work of this kind is bound to bring greater visibility and credibility to the National Forum and to the individual YaR centres and thus help mobilise resources to take forward their programmes and projects.

The Directory is compiled and published by Bosco Institute of Social Sciences (BISS), Bangalore, under the direction of its Director Fr Francis Chittilappilly, on behalf of the National Forum for the Young at Risk, New Delhi. It is designed and printed by Don Bosco IGACT, Kochi.

BOSCO Fashions at Don Bosco SIHARAM!

Bosco Fashions’, a unit of BASE (Bosco Academy for Skill Training and Employment) and a branch of SIHARAM, Thiruvannamalai, was solemnly inaugurated on 24 June 2012 at 05.00 p.m. by Most Rev. Dr. Soundararaju SDB, Bishop of Vellore, in the presence of Fr. Jayapalan Raphael SDB, Provincial of Chennai, and several other dignitaries including priests, religious and the public. Bosco Fashions, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, is set up with the help of Don Bosco Jugend Dritte Welt of Bonn, Germany, and launched in collaboration with S&S Fashions Pvt. Ltd. It is designed to provide young people on-the-job training and employment in the garment industry.

In the first phase, Bosco Fashions will offer free training and job placement to around 250 deserving youth from Thiruvannamalai and its vicinity. The unit at this stage will focus on producing production of men’s shirts, both for local and international market.

Don Bosco SIHARAM, with its vision of Education, Employment and Empowerment, has been serving the rural and the marginalized youth of Thiruvannamalai district in many holistic ways for the past several years. Now, the launching of Bosco Fashions may be considered the first humble step towards our larger dream of establishing a Don Bosco Rural Technology Park.

It has always been the aspiration of Don Bosco to offer the best for the least, and hence we have made all efforts to house the best technology resources and infrastructure, which will be placed at the service of the deserving rural and marginalized youth. This venture of ours is expected to bring about decent livelihood in a short term for many unemployed and underemployed youth (especially those below the Poverty Line) in and around Thiruvannamalai. Garment production is a good business vertical which can provide training in a short time and also provide jobs for hundreds at the same time. Through this we are also aiming to create a stable revenue stream to support the other parts of our mission. Tamil Nadu enjoys a special place in the garment making sector. Thiruvannamalai, where we are located, has a lot of scope for providing training and production. The name of the village where we are located is “ADAIYUR” which in the native language means ‘a place of garments’. A happy coincidence this, perhaps, but it certainly gives us an additional impetus to transform not only Adaiyur but the entire district into a synonym for garment industry.

Salient aspects of this venture:

-          Targets deserving poor youth between 18 to 30 years;

-          Annually trains 120 candidates in garment related jobs;

-          Equips the youth free of cost with technical skills and soft skills;

-          Provides stipend during the training period;

-          Provides a decent livelihood on completion of training;

-          Trains on latest machines;

-          Provides employment close to homes;

-          Provides free hostel accommodation for those who need at the cost of the company;

-          Envisions social equality;

-          Generates a revenue stream for the mission;

-          Eliminates the dependency on foreign funds;

-          Puts all the infrastructure to maximum use;

-          Imparts Christian values and forms good citizens;

-          Involves all departments of the ‘Province Youth Services’ in the formation of the young;

-          Utilizes the CSR funds of the partnering company for neighbourhood welfare;

-          Gets a share from the annual profit and uses it for the expansion of the infrastructure;

-          Ensures a Salesian touch both in the training and production premises;

-          Creates network with corporate world to expand the visibility of our services;

-          Unites employers and employees, trainers and trainees under the umbrella of ‘Don Bosco’;

-          Builds reputation in the field of skill training;

-          Facilitates easy bidding of local and government projects and funds;

-          Monitors the welfare of the employees and promotes best practices in the industry;

-          Creates support services like hostels, canteen, crèche in the interest of the employees;

-          Encourages young entrepreneurs;

Aims to set up professional courses in Apparel CAD/CAM and Fashion Technology in collaboration with the partnering company.

New Missionary Aspirantate opened in Chennai

by Christopher SDB

On 29th June,  the Solemnity of St. Peter and Paul, the new Missionary Aspirantate for Southern India was inaugurated by Fr. Jayapalan Raphael, Provincial of Chennai, at Don Bosco, Perambur, Chennai, during a solemn Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Most Rev. Joseph Anthony Irudayaraj SDB, bishop emeritus of Dharmapuri, in the presence of a large number of Salesians and members of the Salesian Family. 

Present on the occasion were Fr. George Thannickal, the South Asia Delegate for Missionary Animation, and Fr. Noel Maddhichetty, the Secretary of the Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia.  The new House of aspirants, with thirteen candidates this year, is headed by Fr Pathiaraj Rayappan. It is the second missionary aspirantate in India, the first being the one at Sirajuli in Assam, started a some seven months ago.

During the inaugural function, the Provincial Fr Jayapalan read out the Rector Major’s letter of approval, and the messages of the General Councillor for Missions Fr. Klement Vaclav and the Regional Councillor for South Asia Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga. In his message, the Rector Major lauded the “generous initiative of Chennai province which has so many youngsters available for mission ad gentes,” and said it was significant that this work is being launched on the day of the greatest missionaries and apostles of the Church, Peter and Paul.

Fr Jayapalan said it was indeed a historic moment for our Congregation and for the province as it marked the first institutionalized response to the Congregation which brought Don Bosco to India through so many European missionaries in the past.

Fr. Vaclav, in his message stated, “This institution reconnects us to Ivrea, Italy, one of the best known of the many missionary aspirantates in Europe, which was initiated by Blessed Philip Rinaldi in 1922. Like Don Bosco, he said, Don Rinaldi believed in the generosity of the young. From Ivrea, young boys of just 15 to 18 years of age, after a preparation of 3 years, were sent to mission ad gentes in all the continents. South Asia and, indeed, the province of Chennai itself, have been the recipients of these missionaries who have done so much for the Church and the Congregation. Don Bosco Perambur is a concrete sign of your response to that call.” It is hoped that Perambur will recreate the Ivrea experience.

At this moment, we cannot forget the fact that in the past 100 years, 460 Salesian missionaries came to India from the West. The vast majority of them – 95 per cent, in fact—came between 1922 and 1960, and were the fruits of Ivrea. Fifteen of them are still happily with us in India, 10 in the provinces of Guwahati-Silchar, two in Delhi, one each in Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai. As if to repay the huge debt we owe to these valiant men, in the last 30 years, the provinces of India have sent out some 150 missionaries, of whom 120 were assigned to Africa. In recent years, a few have been sent to Europe as well. Every year, a small number of Indian Salesians keep opting for the foreign missions.  The opening of the new missionary aspirantate is expected to give a fillip to the missionary spirit in the provinces and bolster missionary enthusiasm among the young people of this region.

The opening of the aspirantate was also the occasion to bid farewell to three of our confreres , Fr. Solomon Kolandaiswamy (to Uganda), Fr. Balasamy Yettukuri (to Italy) and Bro. Leo Dhanraj (to Austria) who have opted for mission ad gentes this year.

Seminar on Religious Freedom at DBTC

By Ananda Rex Michael SDB

June 29, Chennai:

`Religious freedom: the Path to Peace` was the theme of a half-day seminar organized by the second-year students of theology at the Don Bosco Theological College (DBTC), Kavarapettai, on 29th June as part of the Pope’s Day celebrations. The theme, based on Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the World Day of Peace 2011, was developed by two students, Bro. Jayan Joseph Sebastian SDB and Bro. Renigo Roy Pannerselvam SDB. Sr. Rosalia FMA responded to the papal document, particularly looking at it from the Indian-Christian context.

In his Presidential address, Fr. Joseph Jeyaraj SDB, Rector of DBTC, said: “Living in the context of the plurality of religions, communal prejudices and growing secularism, the message of the Holy Father urges us to acknowledge the centrality of the spiritual dimension in every person and the freedom to profess it“.

Bro. Jeyan presented the first part of the Pope`s message, in a paper entitled: ‘`The Importance of respect for the spiritual dimension in human beings.’ In his well-prepared presentation, he pointed out that religious freedom is not the exclusive patrimony of believers, but of the whole family of earth`s peoples. The sincere search for God, he said, has led to greater respect for human dignity. “Christian communities, with their patrimony of values and principles,” he said, “have contributed much to making individuals and peoples aware of their identity and their dignity“.

Bro. Renigo exposed the second part of the papal document in a paper entitled, “Realizing the indispensable role of religion for the integral growth of society’.  Emphasizing the importance of religion, he said, “A society should not monopolize a particular religion; rather, it should encourage every citizen to practice his/her own religion.” Moreover, he said, society should offer every religion equal esteem and dignity.

Responding to the papal message, Sr. Rosalia FMA, a guest-speaker, highlighted some of the core elements in the Pope`s Message, elucidating them with her own life-experiences as the Founder-Director of an Ashram that fosters inter-religious dialogue and harmony. She warmly exhorted the audience to come together with people of other faiths and, with great openness and respect, to listen to each other and share God-experiences.

The lively group discussion and question time that followed, was moderated by Fr. Cassius Correya SDB, the Dean of DBTC. Participants appreciated the seminar for its relevance to the context in which we live.

DBTC, now in its fourth year of existence, is an institute of theological formation for the Salesians of Don Bosco, It is envisioned also to serve, in the course of time, as a Centre for Religion and Culture. Every year, on 29th June, the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, is ear-marked as ‘Pope’s Day’ at the college and a half-day Seminar on a papal document is conducted for the benefit of the students as well as others who wish to attend.

Chennai BIS correspondents hone their reporting skills

by KUMPILUVELIL Louis SDB

A two-day workshop on the basics of ‘News Writing and Reporting’ was held on 23-24 June at the SIGA Communication Lab, Chennai, for the correspondents of Bosco Information Service (BIS) of the Province of Chennai. The workshop, led by Fr. Louis Kumpiluvelil SDB, the BIS Coordinator of the Province, was attended by 26 young Salesians representing various communities of the province. The workshop dealt with the art of gathering news as well as writing, editing, and uploading the story on the Province website.

In the opening session, Fr. Louis gave a stimulating presentation on the basics of news reporting, laying particular emphasis on using the tried-and-tested Five W’s and one H— WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW—

 the essential building blocks of news writing. He said the reporter is expected to use his creativity to craft the opening paragraph, known as the “lead”, using the five W’s and the H in such a way that it arouses the reader’s curiosity to read further. In the news story, he said, the answers to the five W’s and H are to be organized in a structure that journalist call the “Inverted Pyramid,” which means putting the most important and essential facts at the top of the story and the other details below in decreasing order of their importance.

Moving from theory to practice, the participants showcased their reporting skills by writing actual reports online which were projected on the screen for public discussion and critiquing which proved to be a great learning experience for the whole group. One said, “I feel I have learned a lot in these two days, and I am determined to sharpen my writing skills further.”  Another said, “Earlier I used to write without a proper method, now I think I know how to do it.” 

A good story, as they say, should have not only words but pictures too, for a picture is worth a thousand words. Journalists use images to increase the impact of their stories.

Fr P. T. Joseph SDB, the web-master of donboscoindia site, explained to the participants the art of selecting and re-sizing the image to suit web conditions, using Picasa software. Fr Joseph also explained the nature and the working of the donbosscoindia website and its many value-added components as well as the policy guidelines regarding online networking among the Salesians in South Asia.

Another interesting session was the demo and hands-on practice in registering oneself online to access the reserved area of the website, and the updating of each one’s profile (curriculum vitae) there. On their return home, the participants were expected to help the rest of their community members to update their profiles online, in view of building up an accurate and reliable online database of the Salesians in South Asia.

New Academic Year, New Faces at Dharmapuri

by Fr. Matthew Adukanil SDB

Fr. Bellarmine Fernando SDB was installed as the new Rector of Don Bosco College, Dharmapuri, by Fr. Jayapalan Raphael SDB, Provincial of Chennai, on 19 June during a solemn Holy Mass in which also our close collaborators from a few religious congregations took part. Fr. Bellarmine 

said he was looking forward to a new kind of experience at Don Bosco, Dharmapuri, which he felt would be quite different from all his previous assignments in the province. His enthusiasm and dedication is clear from the way he is seen present at his office desk from early morning to late in the evening. The vast Salesian experience he brings with him augurs well for the future of this mission.

Fr. Provincial addressed the junior students at the morning assembly and the seniors during the afternoon assembly. He congratulated the New Rector Fr Bellarmine and the new principal Fr. Siluvai Muthu who steps into the shoes of Fr. C. M. Varghese, the founder and first principal of the college. The phenomenal growth of the college is a tribute to his stellar performance and unremitting toil as a principal.  The outgoing rector Fr. Lourdusami Susai was also fondly remembered and prayed for on the occasion. The college now enters a new phase of its life with both new Rector and new Principal at the helm.

Don Bosco Mission Dharmapuri is also hopefully and eagerly looking forward to receiving of recognition for its much longed for B. Ed. College.

New Academic Year at Sacred Heart College inaugurated

by Fr. Sagayaraj Kasi SDB

A brief but memorable ceremony marked the beginning of the new academic year at Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur. The day began with invoking the blessings of the Almighty through a solemn celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the beautiful shrine of the Sacred Heart,

 presided over by FrJayapalan Raphael SDB, provincial of Chennai. The formal opening of the academic year was held at the Don Bosco Indoor stadium with more than 3000 students and 130 faculty members taking part. 

Fr Jose Kochamkunnel SDB, Rector of the College, welcomed the gathering while Fr Maria SusaiAdaikalasamy SDB, Principal, introduced the new Salesians on the staff and the office bearers of the various departments.

Delivering the keynote address, the Provincial FrJayapalan called upon the faculty and students to brace themselves up for the challenges of the coming year with confidence and competence. He urged the student community to develop a thirst of knowledge and to snatch every opportunity that the campus offers in order to acquire knowledge and the skills needed to be effective and responsible citizens in today’s world. He paid tribute to the memory of Fr Abraham Panampara SDB, former Professor, Principal and Rector of the College who passed away at the age of 83 following a road accident near Vijayawada on 11th June. His 16-year-tenure at the Sacred Heart included 12 years as its Principal. He is fondly remembered by one all for his great compassion for the poor and needy students, he said.

The programme came to an end with a delightful performance of folk music (Thuduppu) staged by the Maatru Nadaga Iyakkam.

New Academic Year and Installation of New Rector at DBTC, Kavarapettai.

By Ananda Rex Michael SDB

The inauguration of the academic year (2012-2013) of the Don BoscoTehological College, Kavarapettai, was held on 07th June, 2012. Fr. Jayapalan Raphael SDB, Provincial of Chennai, presided over the inaugural Eucharist, during which he also installed Rev. Fr. Joseph Jeyaraj SDB as the new Rector of DBTC.

In his presidential address during the solemn inaugural function, the Provincial FrJayapalan, reminded the students of the great importance of holiness and learning in the life of a priest. He said priests, as pastors of souls, need to have the right balance of heart and mind, reason and feeling, body and soul, and to be humanly integrated.  These qualities can only be acquired, he said, by constant and persevering daily efforts during the years of formation.FrJayapalan took the opportunity also to place on record the valuable contributions of Fr. Bellarmine Fernando, the outgoing Rector, who had nurtured this new theological institution from its start three years ago and brought it to its present status. He also welcomed the new Rector Fr. Joseph Jeyaraj, and Fathers Cassius Correya andBosco Augustine, who have just joined the faculty, after their studies in Rome.  Fr Provincial had a special word of welcome to the 14 first-year students. Fr. Bosco Augustine presented the inaugural address on the theme: “Resurrection Rediscovered as Redemption in Dr. Francis Xavier Durrwell CSSR.”

Fr. Joseph Jeyaraj, the new Rector of DBTC, welcomed the dignitaries and Fr. Victor Antonyraj, the principal of the College, presented the Report of the academic year 2011-2012. The Report highlighted the major events and landmarks of the previous academic year.He said, DBTC, entering its fourth year,has 51 students from the four Salesian provinces of Chennai, Tiruchy, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

The function came to a close with the releasing of the college handbook for the new academic year by the Provincial.

Vocational Bible School

Celebrate Scripture-2012

Holy Spirit Church, Tagore Nagar, Puducherry – 8

The Vocational Bible School (VBS) began this year on 23rd April with the title “Celebrate Scripture – 2012”. The inaugural function of this summer camp was held on 24th April Fr. Tharsius, the parish priest was the chief guest. In his inaugural speech Fr. Tharsius instructed the children to read the Word of God daily and to make use of this opportunity to know God and His love more and more. The beneficiaries of this VBS, about 60 boys and girls were divided into four teams. This year the teams were labeled with the names of the Biblical mountains such as Sinai, Carmel, Tabor, and Calvary. The children were instructed everyday to take part actively in all the activities of the VBS with the consciousness that they are doing everything for Jesus. The camp lasted about two weeks from 23rdof April to 6th of May.

Morning Assembly: Every day the children assembled in front of the statue of St. John Bosco for the Morning Prayer and talk. The daily prayer services were animated by different teams. The Morning talks were given by the priests and the teachers. The team which got the highest points on the previous day hoisted the flag on the following day during the assembly.

Bible Classes: Every day the children were conducted with one hour and fifteen minutes of classes on prepared biblical themes. The students were divided into three categories according to their age. The students of classes 5th to 8th were taught the parables of Jesus and this helped the children to know more about the parables of Jesus and their core messages. And the students of classes 9th to 12th were taught the important and the core messages from the epistles of St. Paul. Every day the life histories of different saints were narrated to the children. And they were encouraged to memorize the bible verse every day. The daily notice boards were prepared by the children everyday basing on the theme of that particular day.

Competitions: In order to help our children to develop and exhibit their talents for religious activities every day the different competitions and biblical games were conducted. Children took part in them actively. The Marian day competitions, Bible day, Bible exhibitions, Bible Quiz, fancy dress and camp fire were the highlights of this VBS during which the children indeed displayed their creativity and spontaneity.

Picnic cum pilgrimage: The children were taken for an outing combined with pilgrimage on 4th of May. During this outing the children paid a visit to the Sacred Heart Basilica, the church of Our Lady of Angel (White church) and the church of Our Lady of Lourds at Villianur, the renowned churches in Puducherry union territory. And for their lighter and fun moments during this outing they too spend few hours in a lake park namely ‘Usudueari’ and the children’s park of the Adithya Vidaysaram International School.

The Concluding and the valedictory Function: On 6th May evening we had the concluding and the valedictory function of the VBS. The children exhibited their talents and skills to the parents and the gathering through the cultural programmes. All the camp participants were awarded with prizes for their active participation and involvement. In his speech Fr. Tharsius, the Parish priest encouraged and congratulated the children who took part in the VBS 2012. He instructed the children to keep up the fervor and the enthusiasm in learning the Word of God. With this the two weeks of VBS came to an end. Surely these 15 days were of fun and joyful to the children as they were learning the Word of God.

Pre-Perpetual Course

“Preparation for final vows”  is an one month course for those Brothers who are due for perpetual profession next year. There are 48 young brothers attending this course.  10 brothers belong to our INM province. This course is an in-depth program that analyzes clearly the issues that young religious face and also provide ways to be aware and to solve those Issues. We are being given opportunity to analyse different dimensions of Religious life and challenges of Evangelical vows. The young brothers also underwent an Intensive group process which unleashed the mind blocks and worries. Brothers are given opportunity to understand better themselves and to be aware of the situations where they live in. The young Brothers are well animated by the Resource persons Fr.Loddy Pires, sdb, Fr. Joe Mannath sdb, Fr. Joe Thannickal,sdb and Fr. Marcel Linkan sdb.  Sincere thanks to all the fathers who made it possible for us to attend this course.

Br. Lawrence Nellapathi

Don Bosco Vazhikatti Chennai organises coaching camp for Civil Services Exam

Chennai, May. 2  An innovative 10-day residential coaching camp for Civil Services Examinations was launched at St Bede`s Hr Secondary School on May 01, 2012 by Fr. Jayapalan Raphael – Provincial of Chennai. 

45 class XI students from different Salesian schools and parishes in the province were selected through a careful process of psychometric and aptitude tests. The initiative is facilitated by Don Bosco Vazhikatti.

Mr. Nandha Kumar IRS, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Tamilnadu, delivered the key-note address.  A rigorous schedule led by professional trainers from reputed IAS/IPS academies will familiarise the candidates with the nitty-gritty of Civil Services exams and preparation methods. The programme envisages intensive summer coaching camp every year with continuous and systematic follow-up throughout the year till the candidates complete their college degree, by which time they are expected to be fully prepared to attempt the UPSC exams. 

“Don Bosco Vazhikatti intends to launch a new batch every summer for the next five years,“ said Fr Leo Joseph, Director of Don Bosco Vazhikatti. Read More..

 

 

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