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Together Towards The Future

Message As I look back at the days of the chapter, I stand in admiration and gratitude to the Lord for the fraternal and cordial spirit that prevailed all through the chapter days. One could not ask for a greater participation, involvement and commitment of each chapter member to the work on hand. An intense desire to improve and bring about the necessary changes in our life styles and in the way we exercise our apostolate for the needy young of our province was paramount and openly noticeable. A spirit of solidarity and fraternal cordiality were hallmarks of the atmosphere that prevailed all through the chapter days. The resolve to become persons of God with greater intensity and effectiveness, the desire to live our lives in fraternal communities with greater personal Fr. VM Thomas SDB involvement and mutual sharing of our personal gifts of grace and Provincial, Guwhati nature were the guiding principles in the formulation of the final chapter document which charts for us our way forward in the years ahead. As we now launch forward in the direction that the chapter has set for us, it is necessary that we carry forward the spirit and atmosphere that prevailed during our chapter days. In times of stress, conflicts and confrontations in communities, the chapter members from those communities should make it a point to recall the spirit of cordiality that prevailed during the chapter, the fraternal atmosphere that underlined the group discussions and meetings, the openness, trust and serious dialogue which made the plenary sessions productive of serious results. These are the elements that will help us resolve the differences and conflicts that come along the way of being effective in our shared mission in fraternal communities. In this Jubilee Year of Divine Mercy we are called to be agents of God's mercy and forgiveness at every level of our personal and community living. Forgiveness and reconciliation are fundamental ingredients in the recipe for fruitful and effective community living. Even though the tendency to identify ourselves along communal and ethnic parameters was pointed out as a potential weakness of our province, it was wonderful to see every member of the provincial chapter transcending the divides of linguistic and parochial identities, and engage in open dialogue with an appreciation of the riches that can be derived from our cultural diversities. All of us need to have greater appreciation of this reality about our province: the differences in our identities contribute to the various colours that constitute the wonderful mosaic that is our province. Only this mutual acceptance, appreciation for one another, the willingness to encourage each other, avoiding at all times the terrorism of gossip and backbiting will make us truly effective in the mission that is entrusted to us on a province level. May God enable every Salesian in our communities in the Province, to become Mystics in the Spirit in our personal life, Prophets of Fraternal Life in our community living and Servants of the Young in our apostolic endeavours, to be faithful to our Salesian mission. May the ever present Mother and Patron of our province, Mary Help of Christians, accompany us in our journey of faith; may Don Bosco, our father and founder, lead us along the way.

Don Bosco's house

to bring home his dreams

A small structure to fuel big dreams -NEWSLINE Correspondent

“The house has been designed and built in a way to resemble the one where Don Bosco was born and spent his childhood. The architecture of the house was similar to those in the hillside hamlets of Becchi, Italy, nearly 200 years ago. This replica has 40 paintings depicting different phases of Don Bosco's life. The paintings will give an idea to the present generation about Don Bosco's vision of life and education,” affirmed Fr. V.M. Thomas, Provincial. Fr. Thomas, who conceptualized the entire project, said that the prime objective of this venture was to inspire the younger generation of the Northeast to dream big, like the saint. “Don Bosco was born in a poor family and lost his father at the age of two.

Poverty was a hindrance in John Bosco's schooling. His early years were spent as a shepherd and he received his first instruction from a parish priest. Despite such a tough life, Don Bosco dared to dream big from his small house at Becchi and, finally he succeeded in becoming a great educator across the globe. Both his house and his mother were great motivators for him. So I have decided to build a replica of his house to tell the story of Don Bosco's life, struggle and dream to the present generation,” Fr. Thomas said. Fr. Thomas said that there is a plan to convert the house into a museum in the near future and a mustvisit place for the younger generation. He said that the house was also a part of his initiative, Becchi to Guwahati, on the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco. 2016 March


he province has erected, on the provincial house premises at Panbazar, the replica of the house at Becchi in Italy, in which Don Bosco spent his childhood. The replica of the house of Becchi, a bicentenary tribute to the 'Saint of the Young', was blessed, on the feast of Don Bosco, 31st January, by Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati. Fr. Porcu Mario, the 98 year old Italian missionary of the province, gave a moving message on the occasion. He believes that this replica will inspire the youth to dream big like the 19th century Italian Catholic Priest.


-Fr. Joy Kachapally, Fr. Francis Hembrom & Fr. Bivan R. Mukhim


he members of the 19th Provincial Chapter of the province came together at Don Bosco Provincial House, Panbazar, on 15th February 2016. They met in the afternoon and felicitated the senior confreres (75 plus) who have walked the length and breadth of the province. “We are standing on the shoulders of giants,” Fr. VM Thomas said. “The elderly Salesians have shown us the way and they have lived their Salesian life to the full,” Fr. Thomas continued. Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, Archbishop Emeritus and Diocesan Administrator of Jowai and Bishop Emeritus of Tezpur, Robert Kerketta, Fr. Mario Porcu, Fr. Battista Busolin, Fr. Alfred Marzo, Fr. Edward D Souza, Fr. CV George, Fr. KA Thomas, Br. Aloysius Indwar, Fr. Joseph Pazhakadavan, Fr. Kuriala and Fr. PJ Thomas were felicitated on this occasion.


During the felicitation, Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, Fr. Mario Porcu and Fr. Battista Busolin talked to the Chapter members. Archbishop Thomas spoke on the greatness of the Salesian work in the North East. He appreciated the contributions of


the Salesians in shaping the Church in the region. He said that the young people who were trained in some of the Salesian schools and institutions were the ones who spread the message of Christ to those areas where evangelization was prohibited by the government. Nonagenarian Fr. Mario Porcu wished the Chapter members and spoke on the life of Don Bosco. He related that at the tender age of two Johnny had to live a life of an orphan and it is due to this experience that he was able to be a father to boys who were deprived of a parent's love. He also referred to the dream at nine and said that the dream has become a reality in the way that the Salesians of Don Bosco have carried forward the mission and vision of Don Bosco. Fr. Battista Busolin exhorted the members to celebrate the liturgy with decorum. He said that this could be one of the deliberations of the Chapter. He enthralled the members present with his inimitable skill at imitating the cock crowing. A commemorative tree planting was done in front of the newly built “Becchi House” by the elderly confreres. Tea was served in the lawn. After tea, Fr. Joe Mannath, national secretary of CRI, New Delhi, and Fr. Hector D'Souza SJ, former Jesuit Provincial of India, animated the Chapter members. In his exhortation, Fr. Joe Mannath said that there should be fulfillment in the religious vocation of a priest. He spoke of the recent survey in America in which he said that doctors, professors, pastors and priests were interviewed about who were living the most satisfying professional life. The survey showed

Fr. Hector D Souza, spoke to the Chapter members on the theme “Towards a new vision for ING SDB. At the beginning of his talk he appreciated the Salesian missionary work in North East India. He referred to the rich cultural heritage of the congregation serving the mosaic of cultures in North East India. He acknowledged that the Salesians were blessed with human and material resources in both urban and rural areas. He challenged the chapter members to be aware of the viruses of ethnic divisiveness, financial mismanagement and sexual misbehavior. Fr. Hector D Souza also spoke on three scents, taking the cue from Pope Francis. He spoke of the scent of the sheep, the scent of the library and the scent of the future. He said that we need to revisit our relationship with the poor of God. “One of the challenges facing us today is finding a way to help the Universal Church benefit from the values of various cultures in North East. To this end, we need to pay particular attention to three dimensions: Depth (both in studies and in spirituality), Creativity (learning new techniques that help us in accompanying men and women in their search for truth), and Life in the Spirit (without which we have no depth). The recollection for the Chapter members began at 5:00 pm, animated by Fr. Puthenpurakal Joseph, Director Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures, Shillong. He based his recollection talk on 1) The hard sayings of Jesus, 2) The hard sayings of Don Bosco, 3) Primacy of God in the life of every Salesian, 4) Primacy of God: a cultural challenge, 5) Be saints and the 6) Irreplaceable role of the Holy Spirit. “The Provincial Chapter is a propitious moment to examine

the Salesian heart of the province and the heart of each Salesian,” he said. The recollection talk was followed by personal adoration and confessions. At 7.00 pm there was the community adoration. The Good Night talk was given by Bp. Robert Kerketta, bishop emeritus of Tezpur. In his talk he recalled how the Church was established in the North East and how we need to have the sense of the Church and be part of it. He concluded by imparting his Episcopal blessing to the chapter members. On Tuesday, 16th February, at 6.30 am, the inaugural Holy Mass was presided over by Arch. Thomas Menamparampil assisted by Fr. Januarius Sangma, Vice Provincial and Moderator of the Chapter and Fr. KJ Thomas, Economer of the province. His Grace began by commenting on the entrance hymn 'Be still and know that I am God” saying that this is what actually constitutes the Primacy of God. He shared his experiences of being with the people of Asia - China, Philippines and Malaysia which has deepened his conviction that people appreciate SILENCE. The Asian soul is intertwined with sacred silence wherein he/she encounters the divine. It is in silence that we find God. The Chapter is an occasion to review our past, correct our present and look ahead with great hope. He too urged the members to be deeply rooted in Christ. He challenged them to be communitarian and to learn to dialogue with each other. While appreciating all the innovative services offered to the young and the society at large, he too cautioned the Chapter members not to be just activists. Appreciating all the infrastructure build up, he urged the members to infuse “spirit into our structures”! On 17thFebruary, the second day of the Chapter, the members gathered in groups for Lectio Divina and Morning Prayer. Most Rev. John Moolachira, the

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that the life of the priest is the most satisfying one. He also said that in the year of mercy all are invited to live a more committed life and to devote it to become authentic persons of God. He too exhorted the members to speak more of Jesus and less of Don Bosco.


Archbishop of Guwahati, was the main celebrant at the Holy Mass. Welcoming the Archbishop, Fr TO Jose spoke of the simplicity and spirituality of the prelate. In his homily, the Archbishop thanked profusely the Salesians for the enormous work they are doing for the Church in the Archdiocese. He spoke about the dangers of global culture and how the Salesians must present God to the secular world. He wanted them to be builders of communities. Commenting on the passage about the preaching of Jonah, the Archbishop said that God cares for everyone and he wants to impart forgiveness to all. At the end of the Mass, Fr. Januarius thanked the Archbishop for accepting the invitation to preside over the Eucharist and to address the chapter members. A casual and personal phone conversation with Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, the central minister of state for sports and youth affairs who was in the city, resulted in his addressing and interacting with the Chapter members at 8.30 pm of this second day.


On 18th February, the third and last day of the Provincial Chapter, the members gathered in the Church for Morning Prayer at 6.30 am. After the Morning Prayer, Fr. Stephen Mavely preached the meditation. In his reflection, taking a cue from congregations that are slowly disappearing, Fr. Mavely warned the Chapter members to move from the maintenance mode to a vibrant creative mode by being mystics, prophets and servants. He spoke of the dangers of playing the role of the victim and wanted the members to come out of their past painful experiences. He invited all the Chapter members to become vibrantly being aware of God and contribute towards enhancing the ministry that Don Bosco began among the young.


After meditation, the chapter members gathered around Fr. Provincial to wish him on his birthday. The first session of the day began at 8.30 am. After prayer and roll call, Fr. Francis Hembrom read out the report of the proceedings of 17 February 2016. There followed clarifications and modifications on the report. The Moderator then invited Fr. Francis

Fernandez to chair the session and to present the revised draft of the three themes of the working document on the review of the implementation of the GC 27 in the communities and the province. The assembly went through the revised version article by article. As the session concluded, Provincial announced that Fr. Basanes had already landed. However, he reached the provincial only after the lunch. He was warmly welcomed in the traditional way. At 2.30 pm, the assembly resumed its work. The Moderator made some remarks regarding OPP which he said was not going to be taken up for discussion. After consulting the Provincial and others it was decided to entrust the formulation of the OPP to a committee. The OPP thus prepared would be discussed, approved and adopted during the meeting of the Rector, Parish Priests and Leaders of communities. At the 4.00 pm session, the Chapter documents on the implementation of GC 27, and on the reshaping the Salesian presence in the province. The “listening” and “interpretation”sections of the documents were voted as whole, while the section “the way forward”was voted paragraph by paragraph. Fr. Francis Fernandez chaired the session. Voting took place by a show of hands. All the 56 chapter members were present for the voting. The observers were asked not to take part in the voting. The voting proceeded very smoothly, and the chapter documents received a unanimous yes on all its sections. After the voting was done, the Provincial concluded the chapter with his concluding remarks. He thanked Fr. Januarius for moderating the Chapter efficiently. He thanked the members of the preparatory commission, the members of the Provincial Council, Secretaries, drafting committee, scrutineers, bell ringer, sacristan, observers and all the members of the Chapter. The members then proceeded to the Church for the Holy Mass and the celebration of the birthday of Rev. Fr. Provincial.

Union Minister addresses Chapter Members -Fr. Francis Hembrom


hri Sarbananda Sonowal, the minister of state for Sports and Youth Affairs, Government of India, spoke to the 19th Chapter members on February 17, in the Provincial House, Guwahati, and shared his experiences as a student of Don Bosco School, Dibrugarh. Fr Provincial welcomed him as the past pupil of Don Bosco who is interested in the affairs of the Don Bosco society. He began his interaction with the Chapter members by inviting questions. The questions put to him dealt with the migration of youth from Northeast to the rest of India, lack of a professional skill institute in the region, his plan for skilling northeast youth, etc. Feeling as if “in the classroom” he shared his ideas on promoting the Assamese language, the other languages, skilling youth, and thus harnessing “youth power”, for a developed India.

He became nostalgic about his school days in Don Bosco Dibrugarh which gave him a solid foundation. He was grateful for all life's values he had learnt in the school especially though the Moral Science classes. “Being a product of Don Bosco, I am always grateful to what the society has given me,” he said. “The Moral Science subject taught to us in the school helped me to be charitable and a person with values,” the minister continued. He mentioned that Don Bosco School is the only school that gives all round development to the students. He encouraged the Chapter members to make good resolutions and deliberations to be able to give the best to the young people of the region.

Fr Guillermo Basañes begins the extraordinary visitation of the Province


he extraordinary visitation of the province of Guwahati began on 19th February. Rev. Fr Guillermo Basañes, General Councillor for the Missions, is the extraordinary visitor and he will be in the province till 25th May 2016.

Welcoming the visitor to the province, Rev. Fr. VM Thomas said that the visitation is a time for renewal and introspection on our mission for the young. He said that the province is happy to have Fr. Basañes as the visitor. “He is a person who knows the pulse of the

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-Fr. Zachary Varickasseril


confreres and who easily connects with everyone.” Fr. Provincial told the confreres that the visit would give new life and hope to be united to the spirit ofour father St. John Bosco and to work wholeheartedly for the growth of the mission. He also mentioned that the province has challenges and problems and that the visitor would be able to help each confrere walk the path set by Don Bosco. Fr. Damian Basumatary read the letter of the Rector Major announcing the details of the extraordinary visitation. Through this letter, the Rector Major invited every confrere to share the concerns of the province with the visitor to facilitate him in rendering a better service to the province Fr. Guillermo Basañes said that he has come to encourage and help to live the resolutions that were made during the provincial chapter. “My concern is to sit and listen to confreres one by one and to learn from what you do,” Fr. Basañes said. He asked every

confrere to be open and speak to him frankly and that this would result in the good of the province. He spoke on the role of the Rector in a community and said that the Rector in a community is a brother among brothers who hold him in esteem. “A Rector is the one in authority and he has to fulfill his authority as a service by listening attentively to the need of every confrere in a particular community,” he said. As a concluding remark he asked everyone present to be more and more 'merciful Salesians.'


-NEWSLINE Correspondent



he province is blessed with four new priests.

FR. THRENIUS N. SANGMA: Fr. Threnius Sangma was ordained priest by Rt. Rev. Andrew Marak DD, Bishop of Tura, on 30th January 2016 at St. Peter's Church, Purakasia, South Garo Hills of Meghalaya in the presence of several priests, religious and thousands of faithful. A large

number of non-Christians witnessed the ordination. He was accompanied by his parents, relatives and many Salesians. The ordination ceremony was conducted in a very prayerful atmosphere and the whole liturgy was well prepared. Bishop Andrew spoke of the call of God and how people must appreciate the call to the priesthood. He

The bishop added that a good family is important for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life. The bishop asked the parents to live good Christian lives and to encourage their children to offer themselves for the service of the Church. “A good Catholic family is the cradle for vocations to religious and priestly life,” the bishop said. Fr. Threnius Sangma celebrated his thanksgiving and first Mass on the feast of Don Bosco in his parish Church. A large number of Salesians joined in the concelebration. FR. JOSEPH PAU LIAN MUNG: Fr. Joseph Pau Lian Mung was ordained a priest of God by the Bishop of Aizawl, Rt. Rev Stephen Rotluanga, on 20th January 2016 at Holy Cross Church, Champhai, Mizoram. The new priest was presented to the altar by his parents accompanied by Fr. Januarius Sangma, Vice Provincial of Guwahati. A big number of religious and priests and lay people took part in the ordination Mass. Bishop Stephen spoke of the priestly duties of the one who is called and appointed by God. “It is a privilege to be called by God to serve Him and His people as priests and religious,” the bishop said. He reminded that the role of a priest is to teach, to love and to sanctify. In his sermon, he also stressed the importance of the vows. “Today the practice of the vows of poverty, obedience and chastity are so important, particularly in this world where communication has taken the upper hand,” he added. The bishop exhorted all those present at the occasion to pray for the newly ordained priest and for more vocations to priesthood and religious life. The newly ordained became emotional in his thanksgiving speech. He broke down when he mentioned his grandparents and parents who were instrumental in his priestly and Salesian vocation. “My parents instilled in me the reverence I need to give to God. If I am ordained a priest today it is because of them,” he said. He also expressed gratitude to the Salesian congregation and the

province of Guwahati for the trust and confidence placed in him. Fr. Joseph Mung celebrated his first thanksgiving Holy Mass at his native village Bukphir on 21st January 2016. FR. JOACHIM PUMAH: Fr. Joachim Pumah, the first Priest from the Salesian parish of Amkachi, was ordained on 10th January 2016 by his Lordship Rt. Rev Paul Mattekatt, DD, the Bishop of Diphu at St. Paul Catholic Church, Amkachi. He was accompanied to the altar by his parents and relatives in the midst of thousands of faithful who had gathered to witness this solemn even of a priestly ordination. About 35 priests concelebrated in the ordination Mass. A resident of Mawpynjeng in the Karbi Anglong district of Assam, Fr. Joachim Pumah is the first Salesian priest from the Tiwa tribe. A son of Mr. Nicholas Malang and Mrs. Maria Goretti Pumah, Joachim was a boarding boy at the Parish in his younger days. Bishop Paul Mattekatt said that ordination is an opportunity to thank God for the great grace showered not only on the newly ordained but on his family, the village and the parish. He urged the new priest to keep in mind the great grace that God has bestowed on him during this year of mercy. He said: “Leading God's faithful in the sacrament of reconciliation would be a way to help people in their spiritual life, and how you can help them understand the reality of God in their life.” While expressing his gratitude to God and to all the people who have helped him to be a priest, Fr. Joachim said that he was inspired by the simplicity and sacrifice of the Salesians who worked in the Karbi Hills. After the ordination Mass there was a programme to felicitate the newly ordained priest. Fr. Quirinus Syiemlieh SDB, the Parish Priest, welcomed the gathering. FR. KEROBIN MINJ: The priestly ordination of Fr. Kerobin Minj took place on Tuesday, 5th January 2016, at the Holy Family Catholic Church, Rajawal, Gumla, Jharkhand. Rt. Rev. Paul Alois Lakra, Bishop of Gumla, ordained him a priest in the presence of more than 35 priests and many religious and people who had gathered to witness the event. Another Salesian, Deacon Sudhir Xalxo from the province of Kolkata,was also ordained a priest along with Fr. Kerobin. The celebration was solemnly and devoutly conducted, befitting the occasion.

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reminded the newly ordained 'to be holy and to live what one preached.' He quoted the Holy Father Pope Francis who said that a priest is not an administrator but a person of prayer. He asked that every priest surrender himselftotally to God in prayer. He encouraged the newly ordained to reflect on the Word of god, prepare his sermon well and then preach.


The new priest was accompanied by his mother and family members from his village of Natawal to the Parish. The bishop in his sermon exhorted the newly ordained to be committed to their priestly office and in the practice of the religious vows. He asked the newly ordained to develop a love for the people of God and work towards establishing God's kingdom on earth. “You have been chosen by God for His work

and your lives are a service for God and His people,” the Bishop said. Everyone appreciated the way the ordination ceremony and the felicitation programme were organized. Fr. Kerobin Minj celebrated his First Holy Mass in his home village of Natawal on 6th January.

APOSTOLIC ASSIGNMENTS of the new priests Fr. Minj Kerobin- Assistant Parish Priest and Vice Principal (Umswai) Fr. Pumah Joachim- Assistant Parish Priest (Umswai) – till May 2016 Fr. Pau Lian Mung Joseph- Vice Principal & Assistant Parish Priest (Haflong) Fr. Sangma N. Threnius- Headmaster [English Section] and In-Charge of Aspirants (Barpeta Road)

Province felicitates the New Priests -Cl. Francis Kujur




he province felicitated the five newly ordained priests on 19th February 2016 at Don Bosco Provincial House, Panbazar. Fr Guillermo Basañes, General Councillor for the Missions, the extra-ordinary visitor to the province presided over the Holy Mass and congratulated the newly ordained. Fr. Joseph Mung, Fr. Kerobin Minj, Fr. Threnius Sangma, Fr. Joachim Pumah and ad gentes missionary to Africa Fr. Paulus Guria were the newly ordained who were felicitated. (Fr. Paulus had already been serving in Africa and had come home for his priestly ordination at Tezpur)

Fr. Basañes, while congratulating the newly ordained priests, wished them success intheir mission and a fulfilled life as Salesian priests. He encouraged them to live a life of total dedication to the Gospel of Christ and the mission of St. John Bosco. At the conclusion of the Holy Mass, the mission councillor asked the new priests to bless all those present in the Chapel. Fr. VM Thomas, provincial, offered words of congratulations on behalf of the province. He said that formation is the duty of every confrere and what the new priests are is because of the contributions

made toward their formation by every confrere of the province. He encouraged the new priests to place their trust in God. He also told the newly ordained priests to keep God in their mind and let Him be their guide. He quoted the words of David to Abiathar in the 1st book of Samuel, “Stay with me. Fear nothing; he that seeks your life must seek my life also. You are under my protection." He exhorted the new priests to

remember to always stay with the Lord who will be their protection. Fr. Threnius Sangma, on behalf of the newly ordained Salesians, expressed their gratitude to the confreres for the support and encouragement showed during the days of preparationfor and on the day of their ordination.

Colourful Conclusion of the Golden Jubilee of Bengtol Parish -Fr. Francis Basumatary

In his sermon, Bishop Pulloppillil called upon the faithful to unite as a family on the values taught by Christ. "This parish has been the epitome of Christian faith. I call upon the parishioners of Bengtol to live the faith more radically and serve the Church as good Christians, building a family of God,” the bishop said. The bishop recalled the contributions of the Salesians and, in particular, that of Fr. Joseph Zubizaretta who pioneered the opening of the parish. “It was by his visionary leadership that Fr. Zubi was able to increase the number of Catholic villages to the whole of the present day Chirang district and parts of present Kokrajhar district,” he said. The bishop also reminded that the parish of Bengtol had given birth to numerous parishes. Fr. VM Thomas, the provincial, said, "Golden jubilee is an occasion to honour people who have offered their service to the Church and the society and have taken the place to greater heights. Let us cherish this moment and thank God for the missionaries who have toiled and worked hard in the parish to bring the

Gospel of Christ to the lives of the people of Bengtol.” At the inaugural programme of the Golden Jubilee, Fr. Siby John, the Rector, told the people: "The jubilee reminds us of the grace of God that has been channeled through the people who worked and the events that transpired in the past fifty years.” Fr. Francis Basumatary, the Parish Priest, said that the parish belongs to the people, all of whom have been instrumental in its growth. The parish was officially inaugurated on 24th June 1966 with Fr. Joseph Maria Zubizaretta as its first parish priest. The parish was carved out of Barpeta Road Parish by late Rt Rev. Orestes Marengo, SDB the then bishop of Tezpur. On 5th February 2016, Mr. Kampha Borgoyary, Hon'ble Deputy Chief of Bodoland Territorial Council, laid the foundation stone for a memorial park and released the souvenir of the golden jubilee on the occasion. Former priests who had served the parish, priests and religious from the parish and achievers from the parish were also honoured during the jubilee celebrations.

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he golden jubilee celebration of Blessed Michael Rua Parish of Bengtol, culminated with a colourful cultural ceremony on Sunday, February 7th 2016. The Bishop of Bongaigaon diocese, Msgr. Thomas Pulloppillil, was the main celebrant of the festive Mass, with the presence of over 30 other priests as concelebrants and over ten thousand faithful.


‘Province initiates Youthopia’ to motivate youth -NEWSLINE Correspondent


s part of the initiative to promote Don Bosco's system of educating the youth, the province initiated Youthopia to inspire and motivate college students to remain on the right track regarding their career and life. The concept took shape on 31st January 2016. A total of hundred boarders of Cotton College and Arya Vidhyapeeth College, Guwahati, gathered at the Provincial House, Panbazar, for a motivational workshop.

need to prepare themselves for their future. “Today many college goers are often misguided and suffer from depression because of various external factors. Under Youthopia, we will guide them to take the right decision so that they can channelize their energy and talents in the right direction,” Fr. Thomas said. He also stressed on the need of young people to adapt themselves to their studies and the need to look ahead to the future with confidence.

Fr. VM Thomas, Provincial, welcomed the college students and motivated them on life's path and the

The Salesian Parish of Shallang hosts the Annual Diocesan Youth Convention


-Fr. Albert Thyrniang SDB



rayers echoed loud and clear at the 9thAnnual Diocesan Youth Convention organized by the Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM), Nongstoin Diocese, at Shallang Parish in South West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya from 8th to 10th January. Over 1000 young people took part in the youth convention of the diocese.

Alfred Marzo, the Assistant Parish Priest, Fr. Bartholomew Marak SDB, the Sisters and the parishioners for successfully hosting the three-day convention. He congratulated the youth leaders for the success of the convention. He hoped that the youth, the future of the Church,would continue to play a vital role in the Church and the society.

Bishop Victor Lyngdoh of Nongstoin diocese was the main celebrant at the Holy Mass. He expressed happiness and congratulated the Parish Priest, Fr.

Being the year of mercy, the Bishop spoke on the mercy and goodness of God. “Just as God is merciful we must also be merciful,” the bishop said. He

narrated the touching story of the missionary Ms. Gladys Staines, who forgave those who killed her husband and her two sons by setting fire to their jeep on Christmas Eve. The Bishop said that forgiving and being merciful is hard; but being followers of Christ who practised and preached forgiveness we must do the same, especially to those who harm us. He urged the youth to be agents of mercy and forgiveness. Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who was also present on the occasion, appealed to the youth at the Convention to engage themselves in a “powerful prayer” for peace and prosperity in the state of Meghalaya.

Meanwhile, impressed by the energetic and lively gathering of thousands of youth and the faithful of West and South West Khasi Hills region, the Chief Minister said that it was a befitting way to start the year with the young people converging together to motivate and enlighten each other with knowledge and wisdom. Quoting a number of verses from the Scriptures, the Chief Minister said, “We are so blessed to have a beautiful land and we are a beautiful people. If we connect with our past, we will know that God Himself sent the Gospel to us”. The Chief Minister was visibly emotional as he sang two verses from a Garo prayer at the end of his address.

Don Bosco School, Tura hosts ICYM Tura Diocese Youth Meet -Fr. Albert Thyrniang


he 25th youth convention of Tura Diocese was held from 14th to 17th January 2016 in the Don Bosco mini stadium, Tura. Over 1500 delegates from 43 parishes of Garo Hills, besides representatives from Shallang parish and Shillong, participated in the four-day programme. The grand silver jubilee convention was inaugurated by former Lok Sabha Speaker and present Tura MP Shri Purno Sangma on 14thJanuary. Speaking on the occasion he urged the youth to move from reservation to competition, from acquiring degrees to acquiring skills, from a subsidy culture to a loan culture and from seeking government jobs (employment) to self employment. He also stressed the importance of preserving the environment.

birthday. During the homily he lashed out at the bandh and violent culture in Garo hills. “It is unChristian and inhuman as the poor suffer,” he said, talking of bandhs. He also exhorted the youth to work for the eradication of social evils in the society. The concluding Mass, attended by more than 8000 people, was presided over by Rt. Rev Andrew R Marak, Bishop of Tura. He urged the youth to be caring and not to be indifferent to the cry of those in need. Referring to the prevailing violence he sadly said, “the blood of our brothers and sisters is crying in the Garo Hills.” He also exhorted the youth to hold the sacrament of matrimony in utmost seriousness. The convention came to a close on 17th evening with the ceremonial lowering of the ICYM flag.

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Fr. Batista Busolin SDB celebrated the Eucharist for the youth on 16th January on the occasion of his 95th


Principals' Training Programme held -Fr. Ignatius Gari

Educational Psychologist and Founder-Designer, Shishuvan School, Mumbai. The programme was inaugurated by Fr. Johnson Parackal, Director of Don Bosco School Excellence Mission (DBSEM). He spoke of the need to have regular trainings so that the best are given to the leaders of schools and the best is thus given to the beneficiaries.


three day training programme for school principals of the province was held from 5th to 7thFebruary at Don Bosco Provincial House, Panbazar. Mr. Spokey Wheeler, International School Inspector and a Business Performance Coach with seven years Indian experience in quality and leadership development, animated the Don Bosco school principals along with Kavita Anand,

The purpose of the Adhyayan training is to establish global standards for Indian education as a roadmap towards the creation of a good school for every child; to promote the leadership of teaching and learning; to embed a sustainable paradigm shift towards differentiated learning; to create a practitioner led strategy for school review and improvement for educators, by educators, of educators and to work with schools and networks on governance that enables and supports shift/transformation.

Adhyayan Training for Teachers -Mrs. Ruth Gomes, (Teacher, Don Bosco School- Panbazar)




two-day training programme was organized for the teachers of the province at Don Bosco Institute, Guwahati, by the Adhyayan team on 29th and 30thJanuary 2016. Adhyayan is an education movement of Indian and international educators, dedicated to improving the quality of leadership and learning in schools. The programme was inaugurated by Fr VM Thomas, Provincial, in the presence of Fr. Johnson Parackal, Executive Director of DBI and in-charge of Don Bosco School Excellence Mission (DBSEM), an initiative to improve qualities of schools in the province. The Adhyayan team consisted of Mrs. Viveki Pasta from Adhyayan, Mrs. Prerna Yadav and Ishita Sanyal

from The Heritage Schools, Delhi and Mrs. Mansi Arun. The team coordinated together to train the teachers for effective teaching in school. “These teachers are trained and they will, in turn, train the teachers in their schools. This is the Training of the Trainer programme,” Viveki Pasta said. In his inaugural speech, Fr. VM Thomas, Provincial, challenged the teachers to take the training seriously and to learn so that they could change the situation of the schools. “This training is to empower the teachers so that they can empower the students,” Fr. Thomas said. He implored the teachers to cooperate in the common mission of educating young minds. “You

Sobha for Assamese Speaking Catholics of Boko Parish -Fr. Vincent Xalxo


he Third Annual Catholic Asomiya Sobha 2016 of St. John Bosco's Parish, Boko, was held at Nowapara village from 15 -17 January 2016 with the main objective of familiarizing the people with the Scriptures. Rev. Fr Maria Susai, Parish Priest of Nowgaon Kathiyatoli, Rev. Fr Nicodim Aind, Headmaster, Don Bosco School Damra, Rev. Fr Paul Rabha from Don Bosco Institute, Guwahati and Rev Fr Wilson Minj, Parish Priest of Hahim were the resource personnel. The sobha commenced with the welcoming of the guests. After the lighting of the lamp and formal welcome speech, the

He asked the teachers to give opportunities to students in their learning process. “Children succeed when opportunities are given to them at the right time. You need to respect their multiple intelligence and bring out a good result from the child,” he added.

faithful gathered for the Holy Eucharist presided over by Fr. Maria Susai. Through well prepared animation talks and meaningful celebration of the Sacraments, the people were taught the Scriptures and introduced to a genuine love for the Word of God. In the evening of 16 January, a Marian procession was held and on 17 January after the solemn Eucharistic celebration, people took part in the Eucharist procession walking along the village streets. It must be mentioned that Nowapara village has only one Catholic family and it has remained faithful in the faith despite opposition from the villagers.

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are part of the legacy of Don Bosco, you are cofounders of his educational system, you are partners in this and together we can transform our schools by building up the capacity and empowering the students,” he said.


“UNITED IN CHRIST”: 3rd Annual Sobha of Kokrajhar Parish Bro. Benjamin Indwar


he three-day annual sobha of Kokrajhar parish was held from 22nd to 24thJanuary 2016. The sobha was well organized and the theme “United in Christ” was lucidly expounded by different speakers. The animators in their discourse with the faithful interpreted the Word of God assuring that only in Christ do we find our purpose of life and our salvation. Bishop Thomas Pulloppillil, the bishop of Bongaigaon diocese, graced the celebration with his presence on the final day of the sobha. He administered the sacrament of confirmation to the youth of the parish. Fr. PA Peter, the Parish Priest, said that the coming together of the faithful gave a faith-lift to the Christian community in the parish. The sobha is also

a time of grace for those who are facing persecution on account of their faith, to strengthen and deepen their faith in Jesus who inspires and calls us to follow in His footsteps.

Annual Sobha of Damra Parish

-Bro. Benedict Sangma



he annual sobha of Damra Parish was held from 21 to 24 January. The sobha was inaugurated by Fr Crosper Sangma, the Chancellor of the archdiocese of Guwahati. The theme of this year's annual sobha was “Jesus is the Fountain of Mercy”. The prayer moments were


animated by Fr. Rony VC and the team from Divine Retreat Centre, Khetri. A big group of faithful had gathered for the sobha. Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati presided over the concluding Mass on 24th January and administered the sacrament of confirmation to over 150 youth of the parish. Around 80 communicants received First Communion on the day. Fr Milon Narzary, the Parish Priest, welcomed the Archbishop and exhorted the people to be agents of mercy.

Bosco Reach Out distributes solar lanterns -Fr. A. Jayaprakash

osco Reach Out, the social development office of the Province, has decided to adopt several villages in the state of Assam and distribute hi-tech solar lamps to the villagers not only to dispel darkness but also as a tool to achieve 100 per cent literacy, economic well-being, good health and connectivity. The solar energy project of BRO promises to bring sunshine into the lives of several villagers of Assam through multiple benefits.


Rongjuli block of Goalpara district of Assam on 3 February. Next, we will distribute the lamps among 1,000 families in 19 villages in the Baksa and the Karbi Anglong districts of Assam. Bosco Reach Out will not just confine itself to the distribution of solar lamps, but use it as tool to achieve literacy, connectivity and ensure health for the poor villagers,” affirmed Fr. K.J. Thomas, Executive Director of BRO.

“In the first phase of the project, we distributed 157 solar lanterns in two non-electrified villages in the

Fr. Joseph Teron, BRO Associate Director, said that many villagers wished to read and write but could not do so because of the non-availability of electricity. Thus, he said that in the Rongjuli block many children cannot go to school during daytime as they must work for a livelihood. But they can do so in the evening, darkness being the only constraint. “Since villagers at Rongjuli are now equipped with solar lamps, we will also impart lessons to them,” Fr. Teron said. The programme has been supported by IIFC (Indian Infrastructure Financial Ltd), SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India), New Delhi and AEDA (Assam Energy Development Agency), Guwahati.

Blessing of the bust and plaque of Don Bosco in Boys' Home, Tura -Fr. Ranjit Xalxo


he bust and plaque of Don Bosco was blessed in Boys' Home, Tura, on 31st January, 2016 by Rt. Rev. Andrew R Marak, Bishop of Tura. Speaking on the occasion, the bishop revealed that the first film he saw as a young boy was on Don Bosco. What he learned from the film was on the importance of reading the Scripture, revealed the bishop.

The HSSLC and SSLC students of the Boys' Home and Auxilium convent, Tura, entertained the gathering through their songs. Earlier, Fr. Albert Thyrniang, Rector, while welcoming the guests, quoted from the book, Don Bosco's Gospel Way to say that Don Bosco has handed down to all his sons and daughters the spirit of friendship, warmth, acceptance and hospitality.

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Those present for the function included Fr. Busolin Battista SDB, priests and religious sisters, the parishioners and religious communities in and around Tura. Representatives of the Salesian Cooperators, Don Bosco alumni, teachers and the non-teaching staff were also present.


First Catholic Varsity participates at National University Festival -Fr. CM Paul


ssam Don Bosco University (ADBU) becomes the first organized by the Association of Indian Catholic University and the first Don Bosco Institution to Universities (AIU) with support from take part in the National University Youth Festival the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, Govt. of India. A 24-member ADBU contingent led by Assistant professors Mr. Kaushik Bhuyan and Miss Yurthingla P. participated at the 31st Inter University Youth Festival called “Brahmaputra Mahotsava 2016� for eastern India. Hosted at Tezpur University in Upper Assam from 3rd to 7th January with a five-day programme the event was inaugurated by Prof. Biren Dutta, eminent educationist and former president of the Assam Sahitya Sabha and also a participant at the first national youth festival held in 1954.

Bp. Akasius Toppo blesses Khokhabasti Church -Fr. Thaddeus Kujur



he new village Church of Khokhabasti under Tangla Parish was blessed by Bishop Akasius Toppo of Tezpur on February 28. A huge number of Catholics attended the Church blessing. A good number of Priests and religious were also present at the celebration of the Holy Mass. Shri Santius Kujur, honourable Member of Parliament, was also present at the blessing of the new Church.


The church was constructed with donation made from the MP fund by Mr. Santius Kujur. The parish priest of Tangla Parish, Fr. Sebastian Edathumparanbil, expressed gratitude to the honourable member of the parliament for the donation towards the building of the village Church.

The bishop exhorted the people to visit the Church regularly and pray for special graces during the year of mercy.

Former Minister Jairam Ramesh encourages students to capture opportunities -Fr. Bivan R. Mukhim

is a reputed institution in the country and I know the students are in safe hands,” he said. Fr. Johnson Parackal, the Executive Director of Don Bosco Institute, welcomed the former union minister and presented him a coffee table book Becchi to Guwahati.


ormer Union Ministry for Environment and Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh, urged the students to have a broader horizon of thoughts and go beyond North East India to explore the available opportunities. While speaking to the students of Don Bosco Institute of Management at the institute auditorium on 4th January 2016, Shri Ramesh asked the students to have passion for the subject and to know what is happening in the market from business magazines and newspapers. “Get good exposure regarding business and business related matters by spending time in reading and gathering information and prepare yourself,” he said. He added that as students of management, one should be “a computer-friendly, a business-friendly and an economic-friendly person.” He also said that personal interest and motivation and the application of it is a must to succeed in business. He congratulated the management and the staff for the interest manifested towards the students. “Don Bosco

Guwahati Archbishop releases a Book on Fr. Mathew Pulingathil -Fr. Zacharias Varickasseril

A new book, titled “In His Name” [Recalling Past Memories] was released by Archbishop John Moolachira on 31 January, 2016, at Don Bosco Provincial House, Guwahati, on the occasion of the Feast of St. John Bosco. It is the autobiography of Fr. Mathew Pulingathil SDB, an outstanding Salesian Missionary who has contributed much to the growth of the Salesian Missions in Northeast India for over half a century as a missionary, teacher, formator and Provincial of the Provinces of Guwahati and Dimapur. The book recounts his life and works, as he continues to be an inspiring Salesian missionary and educator.

The office of the Deputy Commissioner, Chirang District of Assam, awarded Fr. Siby John, Rector and Principal of Don Bosco School, Bengtol with the “Best Teacher's Award” for his contribution and commitment in encouraging poor students to undertake vocational education. The award was in recognition for his excellent efforts shown in the field of academic management. The award was presented on the Republic Day 26th January 2016, at the District Parade Ground, Kajalgaon, Chirang.

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Fr. Siby John receives Best Teacher's Award


Sports events at Don Bosco Boko -Fr. Saju Kariyil


he two-day annual sports events were organized in Don Bosco School, Boko, on February 19 and 20. Colourful fusion dances of Northeastern cultures, taekwondo demonstrations, drill displays, march past competitions, club wise preparations of creative pandals with lots of traditional and innovative exhibits were part of the Bosco Institute, army officers from Boko cantonment and celebration besides the sports events. neighbouring school principals were present during the Fr VM Thomas, provincial, Fr Johnson inauguration programme as guests. Parackal, Executive Director of Don

Friends of Don Bosco Meet & Feast of Don Bosco -NEWSLINE Correspondent


n January 30th, the eve of the feast of Don Bosco, a get-together of the friends of Don Bosco was organized at Don Bosco Provincial House, Panbazar. Many government officials and dignitaries graced the occasion with their presence. The friends of Don Bosco meet is an annual event of the province to acknowledge the contributions of the civil society towards the Don Bosco institutions in the state of Assam.


At the province level, the Feast of Don Bosco was celebrated on January 31, with priests and religious from the nearby houses and communities joining


together to thank God for the gift of St. John Bosco to the Church. The evening began with a prayer service organized by the community of Don Bosco Institute at St. Joseph's Co-Cathedral Church. Later the invited guests proceeded to the lawn of the Provincial house for the blessing of the 'House of Becchi' and the fellowship meal. Fr. Mario Porcu greeted the guests and spoke to them on the humble origin of Don Bosco and on his dream and his commitment to helping boys do something worthwhile with their lives.

CRI Northeast Region Concludes Year of Consecrated Life at Diphu -Fr. Jimmy Sangma

he different religious congregations of the Northeast gathered at Diphu on 23rd January 2016 to bring to close the year-long celebrations of the Year of Consecrated Life. About 350 odd religious converged for the occasion, thereby witnessing the joy of living the religious life. The day-long celebration also saw the encouraging participation of provincials and congregation level leaders of various congregations. The programme began around 9.30 am with a short prayerful inaugural function. Fr Cyriac, the CRI President of Diphu local unit welcomed the gathering and felicitated the eminent guests with a Karbi muffler (poho) and bouquets.


James Thoppil of Kohima Diocese, were some of the distinguished guests who briefly spoke during the inaugural session. Fr Joseph Benedict Mathias SJ, Rector of St Peter's Pontifical Seminary, Bangaluru enlightened the gathering on “The challenges to religious life in India today� with his insightful talk. Sr Joy Monteiro BS, Provincial of Bethany Sisters was the second speaker. She dwelt on the theme of consecrated life as well and beautifully presented her thoughts through a PowerPoint presentation. She stressed on the need for authentic living out of the Consecrated Life and spoke of the need to give due recognition to women religious for their contribution in the mission of the Church.

Fr VM Thomas SDB, the CRI national president, Bishop Paul Mattekatt of Diphu Diocese, Bishop

The students of Don Bosco Junior College, Diphu and Little Flower School, Manja added extra colour to the programme with their entertaining cultural items which was indeed a treat to watch. The participants were later welcomed to Don Bosco Junior College, Diphu for the tea and refreshments.

North East Skill Conclave -NEWSLINE Correspondent

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r VM Thomas, Provincial addressed the participants of the North East Skill Conclave organized by Federation of Industry and Commerce of North Eastern Region (FINER) on 3rd February 2016 at NEDFI House, Guwahati. The Honourable Minister of State on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India, Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy was the Chief Guest. Fr Benny Alex, the Rector of Don Bosco Technical School, Maligaon presented a paper on 'Formal Education versus Skill Development in North East India'.


University of Science and Technology awards Fr. VM Thomas -Fr. CM Paul


he Education Research & Development Foundation (ERDF), Guwahati, presented the ERDF Excellence Awards 2015 to 18 eminent citizens of Assam who played a major role in various fields and contributed immensely to the society. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi gave away the awards, on 20th January, at the University of Science and Technology, Meghalaya (USTM) at its Techno City campus located on the outskirts of Guwahati. The Chancellor of USTM, Dr. Mahbubul Hoque, in his welcome speech, said that the ERD Foundation has constantly endeavoured to felicitate and encourage eminent personalities and to motivate people to carry on dynamic activities in diverse fields. National president of the Conference of Religious India, Fr V.M. Thomas, Provincial of Guwahati as well as Chancellor of Assam Don Bosco University was the only priest among the ERDF award recipients. The award was presented to Fr V.M. Thomas as acknowledgement of his contribution to

youth development and education in the North Eastern region for over 40 years. The citation reads:“The award is presented for his outstanding contribution in building educational institutions and for motivating the youth for positive social transformation.”Presenting the award to Fr. Thomas, Assam Chief Minister Shri Tarun Gogoi said, “the awards are the appreciation of the hard work and dedication to the state and the nation as a whole.” He lauded the sacrifices undertaken by the winners and said, “many have become successful because they were able to challenge the situation.”



istory has proven that young people have been at the “vanguard of social changes”. Many revolutions were led by young students. Some of the best examples are the Naxal movement in the 60s and 70s in West Bengal, All Assam Students Union agitation in 1985, and the anti-Mandal agitation in North India in 1990. An important phenomenon of the twentieth century was the emergence of youth as a major force in national movements in different parts of the world including India. The youth are told over and over again that they are the future of the society. This future, it seems, does not want to be bullied, but wants to rightfully claim their place and role in society


Today the youth are not ready to be oppressed anymore. They are ready to question, debate and dissent and march out en masse to make their voice heard.


Every Salesian seeks to be on the side of the young because it believes in the worth of each of them; he has confidence in them, and he trusts in the power of education and the wisdom of faith. Working with the young, every Salesian believes in the possibility of creating a more just and loving world. When St. John Bosco founded the Salesians, his mission was clear and simple: to be a friend to, and advocate for young people, especially the poorest and most marginalized among them. Wherever the Salesians work and live, our vision and mission is the same: to be a friend to the young, following in the footsteps of John Bosco and inspired by the love of Christ the Good Shepherd. Fr. Bivan Rodriques Mukhim

The elderly Salesians have shown us the way and they have lived their Salesian life to the full

Fr. PJ Thomas

Fr. Alfred Marzo Fr. Battista Busolin Fr. Joseph Pazhakadavan

Br. Aloysius Indwar Bp. Robert Kerketta

Fr. KA Thomas Fr. Mario Porcu Fr. Kuriala

Fr. CV George Fr. Edward D Souza

Arch. Thomas Menamparampil


Chief Editor : Fr. Bivan R. Mukhim n Associate Editor : Fr. Zacharias Varickasseril n DTP : DBI, Guwahati Email: /

2016 March Newsline  

Newsletter of Don Bosco Province, Guwahati

2016 March Newsline  

Newsletter of Don Bosco Province, Guwahati