Fr Pascual Chávez Villanueva, the ninth successor of Don Bosco, was given a warm welcome to Calcutta, the “City of joy” along with Fr Juan J. Bartolome, Secretary, Fr Adriano Bregolin, Vicar General of the Rector Major, in the morning hours of 5th November 2013. This animation visit to Kolkata Province comes before the Rector Major meets with Provincials from South Asia in a few days time.
Many Salesians and past pupils were already at Dum Dum airport by 7.30 AM with garlands, bouquets, and excitement written on their faces. Then the Rector Major departed for Don Bosco Self Employment and Research Institute (DBSERI) at Mirpara, on the outskirts of the city, where he later met the students at the Institute. Fr Maria Arokiam Regional, Councillor South Asia, Fr Thomas Ellicherail, Provincial Kolkata and Fr Godfrey D’Souza, Provincial Mumbai were also present.
A special flower coronation ceremony was held for the Rector Major. Later, four hundred enthusiastic young students and seventy five teachers led the dignitaries in procession to the hall where an official welcome ceremony was held.
Fr Mathew Manianchira, Rector DBSERI, welcomed Fr Chávez and gave a description of the activities in the Institute. He also showed appreciation for the Pascual Chávez Award 2012 which was presented to the Institute for innovative Salesian Youth Ministry in South Asia.
Fr Chávez then interacted informally with the students and compared Don Bosco and Mother Teresa for their love for the poor and said that they worked for peace along the lines of love, justice and solidarity. He encouraged the students to be dreamers like them, spoke of the great opportunities available in the institute, advised the students to develop their talents and encouraged them to be pro-active citizens. At question time some of the students talked about various topics like religious tolerance, women’s empowerment and relationship matters.
A special DVD was presented to the Rector Major named “Towards the Silver Lining” directed by Bhabani Tamuli, a teacher at the institute, on the life of Ritu, a physically challenged student in the institute.
Then the Rector Major and his team moved to Don Bosco, Liluah, where Fr Chávez presided at the Holy Eucharist in the presence of 5,000 youngsters. In his homily Fr Chávez highlighted these points: Salesians are called to be good shepherds of today; the young people are at the centre of our Mission; Salesians bring the young closer to Jesus through the Gospel – the good news.
After the Eucharist there was a felicitation program during which cultural dances were staged. Talking to the young Fr Chávez shared his vocation story and exhorted them to leave their foot prints so that others may walk on them, and to be like the Salome fish that always swim against the current.
The program ended with fireworks at 8.30 PM, but the youngsters were so happy that they continued dancing for a very long time.
Source: Info ANS