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Editor Glorious Steve sdb Sub Editor R. Kirubagaran sdb Associate Editor Stafford Mantel Editorial Team A. Raj sdb Joe Andrew sdb Prof. Victor Louis Joe Mannath sdb Francis Karackatt sdb George Plathottam sdb Ralin Desouza sdb Savio Silveira Advisory Council K. Maria Arokiam sdb Stanislaus Swamikannu sdb K.J. Louis sdb Financial Advisor Philominathan Sagayaraj sdb Design and Layout M. Remo Reegan Raj Dharani Roy Chowdary Editorial Office Don Bosco Bulletin, The Citadel, 45, Landons Road, Chennai 600 010. Tamilnadu. Phone: (044) 26612138. Fax: (044) 26411310.

75 years of

Creative Fidelity

Times are new, ways are new; but, the commitment remains the same

75 Years of joyful Service Editorial 5 Filling heaven with souls!

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Printed and Published by Y.F. Balasamy Yettukury on behalf of Salesian Publishing Society 45, Landons Road, Chennai 600 010 and printed at SIGA Press, 49,Taylors Road, Chennai - 600 010. Editor : Glorious Steve

Bible 6 Samuel prophet and king-maker


Salesian 4 The official groups of the salesian family 12 Envisioning a brighter future 26 Salesian news

8 Become like little children


Media Matter

28 Church news 32 Stories for radiant living

11 News paper is more of news or paper?

Students plus 16 Learning and remembering

Regulars 30 Humour 34 Children’s page

Current Affairs 31 Letters from the heart Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009




n the previous article in the month of January, I explained how Don Bosco founded the first four groups of the Salesian Family, vig. The Salesians. The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, with Saint Mary Dominic Mazzarello, of the Co-operators, and The Association of Mary Help of Christians. He was not simply the founder of these groups. In fact by creating an all-embracing family atmosphere, within and outside his houses, he not only originated a particular style of personal relationships and of authority, but, guided by God, he gave rise to a charismatic identity that

If on one hand one cannot attribute all the developments of the Salesian Family to Don Bosco, since his heritage is not a “museum” but a living reality; on the other hand, all the subsequent foundations in the Salesian Family are attributable to his own apostolic plan, as has been so often said by his successors, guarantors of the authenticity of his spirit and of the Salesian mission. The miraculous expansion of the Salesians and of Salesian work in the world was certainly the fruit of the co-involvement of so many apostolic forces, especially of the


THE OFFICIAL GROUPS OF THE SALESIAN FAMILY The Salesian Family of Don Bosco is made up of three central groups (SDB, FMA, Cooperators) to whose foundation he himself gave much time, energy, and formative and organizational expertise, because they constituted the key and nucleus of his work, and of a constellation of many other groups. From him the Association of Mary Help of Christians took its rise. (CIC 2). was shared and was capable of being shared, which finds its expression in the Salesian spirit and mission. In this way the, the action of the Holy Spirit guided Don Bosco to give life to various apostolic forces. The first, (but not the only ones) being those founded by himself. His original plan, not fully realised in his own lifetime, remained a driving force to be developed. The Salesian Family with its innumerable groups is the obvious historical proof of this. 

Cooperators. Even today we can say that this involvement of the Salesian Family continues to be the secret of the expansion of Salesian work, in all parts of the world. To commit ourselves, therefore to know and love the Salesian Family and help it grow, has been and will continue to be a common characteristic of the common Salesian vocation. Also at the same time, the secret of the fruitfulness of this great spiritual and apostolic movement, which had its origins in the heart of Don Bosco. Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

Don Bosco had therefore begun his work on behalf of poor boys founding the Salesian Congregation SDB standing for Salesians of Don Bosco, then the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), the Salesians-Cooperators (SSCC), and the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA). But all this was only the seed spoken of in the Gospel; that tiny seed which has a great future ahead of it: to become a great tree. For all the Sons of Don Bosco, nowadays this image has become an icon, and all those who know about it speak with full awareness of “the tree of the Salesian Family”. At the moment there are twenty three groups officially accepted as being part of this great family. It is already a tree with many branches, each different from the others but animated by the same charism: there are groups with members male and female consecrated in the religious life, members belonging to secular institutes and lay people. Their areas of apostolate are also different: some are working in the field of education, others in health services, other in human development or the world of social communication. But all of them with common elements and a common identity that finds its origin in the great heart of the Founder, Don Bosco, now so well-known in all parts of world.

Pascual Chavez Villanueva sdb

E d i tor i a l

Filling heaven with souls!


n a column named ‘bizsense’ in The Week magazine, David Brooks said, “There are four steps to every decision. First, you perceive a situation. Then you think of possible courses of action. Then you calculate which course is in your best interest. Then you take the action. Over the past few centuries, public policy analysts have assumed that step three is the most important.” Practically all neoliberal models of economic growth and the entire development model trusted on the assumption that people are seriously engaged in rationally calculating and maximizing their self interest. But the financial meltdown seems to show that this seriousness did not reflect in their third step of calculating which step is in their best interest and the fourth step of taking action. We are startled to read about the Satyam fiasco. By this India is not isolated. America is in a much bigger mess. Stating from Intel, Honeywell, Ingersoll-Rand and Starwood Hotels many other big companies have failed to withstand the current crisis. On the one hand the scam of 7000crore shook the nation but on the other hand no media highlighted the state of 53,000 employees of Satyam and the thousands of companies who started laying off their employees. This is a more pertinent question than thousands of crores which seem to irk minds of many. Thousands of companies have disappeared during the current economic meltdown. We can imagine

the number of people particularly the youth who are thrown out of various such companies and organizations. Apart from these organizations, companies and the employees who are affected there are the investors who made these companies flourish. I have one very important question in mind: What have they left behind for all these people who slogged for the success of these companies? There is no report saying such people were compensated. While this is the plight of the companies that sprout today and disappear tomorrow, we celebrate the 75 years of joyful service of the Chennai province. Imagine a congregation that is meaningfully present in 130 countries within 150 years of its foundation. This makes the salesian congregation the fastest grown among religious organizations. An amazing time of about one year and one month only required for the congregation to set up the mission works in each country. This again shows we have overcome the political, eccelesial, social and economic barriers at an amazing speed and established ourselves in the whole world particularly those countries that need us the most. With the same pride we may assert that Chennai province has done wonders in South India and later in Tamilnadu and in the recent years within the province. What a marvelous development! At this juncture I would like to ask a pertinent question. For the 20 years of amassing $2 billion revenue through Satyam, Ramalinga Raju was chosen and named the Ernst Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

& Young Entrepreneur in the year 2007. For 75 years of uplifting the society, we should be named as the ‘Scoical Entrepreneur’ of Tamilnadu. That would be a fitting response from those in power for an organization that forged ahead with a struggle both from inside and outside and in spite of it has realized the dream of Don Bosco in a worthy manner. Why is this partiality? Even the personal money earned is appreciated and acclaimed, while a true service for the upliftment of the people is not even recognized. The words of Albert Schweitzer is consoling. He said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” Service to the youth as envisioned by Don Bosco is the only virtue that will ennoble us Salesians. “One Act of beneficence, one act of real usefulness, is worth all the abstract sentiments in the world,” said Ann Radcliffe. After all, all these 75 years are the strengthening of the foundationlaid by Don Bosco through sacrifice and hard labour. Isn’t it surprising when Rector Major says, “ Build a vast movement for the salvation of the young.” It is not a call to build empires full of wealth and money, but, heaven full of souls. That is the service required of us though it calls for sacrifice.

Glorious Steve sdb Editor 



amuel was the last of the Hebrew Judges and first of the Major Prophets who stood outside the role of a leader to serve as a conscience for the King. Therefore, Samuel was an important transitional character in the history of Israel. He was the first to inaugurate under divine direction the Israelite kingdom and of its firm establishment in Davidic line by anointing King Saul and King David. The name Samuel signifies “name of God” or “his name is El (God)”. He was the eldest son of Elkanah and Hannah; had three brothers and two sisters, plus half brothers and half sisters. Ramah was his home town in the mountains of Ephraim north of Jerusalem. He was dedicated to the Lord according to a Nazirite vow by his mother even before he was born and Eli the priest of Shiloh raised him. His occupation was to be Judge and Prophet in Israel. The story of Samuel begins with peculiar circumstances of his birth. As Hannah, the mother of Samuel was barren for 19 years; she had promised to consecrate and dedicate to God’s service any son she might bear. Her prayerful request was granted graciously. And so in accordance with this vow, she took Samuel, when he was weaned, to the sanctuary at Shiloh and offered him as a perpetual Nazarite. Here the priest Eli trained him for the priesthood until twelve years of his age. His call to monarchic leadership is dramatically narrated. While sleeping in the sanctuary Samuel received the call of God. Eli instructed Samuel how to respond to the call of his name. He replied saying “Speak Lord, your servant listens”. Once Samuel responded, God told him in a vision the wickedness of Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas and their destruction. The iniquitous deed of his two sons brought misfortune and downfall upon Eli and his family. The prophecy was fulfilled when both men fell in the battle against the Philistines, who 

Personality for Imitation - 14

Samuel prophet and king - maker

Samuel has been regarded in dignity and importance, occupying the position of a second Moses in relation to the people. In nobility of character and utterance, also in fidelity to Yahweh, Samuel equaled Moses. also captured the Ark of the Covenant. The news of capture of the ark apparently caused the death of Eli, and Samuel succeeded him as priest. During Samuel’s youth at Shiloh the Philistines had inflicted a heavy defeat Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

against the Israelites at Ebenezer, and placed the land under Philistine oppression. When Samuel gained quickly the national prominence as a prophet, he was soon recognized as the spiritual leader of his people. After a succession of defeats, he led Israel to victory over the Philistines. He gathered the people as an army at Mizpah (loftiest hill in the central Palestine). When the Philistines marched towards Mizpah to attack the newly amassed Israelite army Yahweh’s thunderstom led to their defeat and panic-stricken flight. The fleeing Philistines were slaughtered by the Israelites. At the very spot where 20 years previuosly Israel was routed, Samuel erected a commemorative pillar, named Ebenezer, and there was a long period of peace thereafter. For the rest of his days, Samuel functioned effectively as a judge at Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah, the three chief sanctuaries. In his home and judicial center was Ramah he built an altar. Unfortunately Joel and Abiah, Samuel’s sons did not follow the good example of their father. Since they were failures the elders of Israel demanded kingship like every other nations ‘to judge them and to fight their battles’. Samuel was alarmed, displeased and reluctant by their request. He saw this as a fundamental shift in Israel’s commitment to the covenant; an act of disloyalty to Yahweh. However, Yahweh convinced Samuel to accept their proposal and to warn them, to let them know the costs involved in their decision. Yahweh too revealed to Samuel what he must do, how he would meet the future king. He met Saul when the latter was


looking for his father’s missing donkeys; and the Lord confirmed him to anoint. Samuel’s first anointing of Saul was done secretly; as Saul would need to grow into his position in order to garner the support of his fellow countrymen. Later Samuel called the people to Mizpah for the purpose of selecting a king – by casting lots. And Saul was chosen and anointed formally in front of the entire nation, during which he delivered his farewell speech. The new ruler soon fell out of favour with Samuel, due to disobedience and political expediency to Yahweh. He foretold Saul’s loss of the throne, and was then divinely instructed to anoint David as king, the son of Jesse, in succession to Saul. Having fulfilled this commission, Samuel retired to Ramah, where he stayed till his death at the age of eighty. Samuel has been regarded in dignity and importance, occupying the position of a second Moses in relation to the people. In his exhortations and warnings the Deuteronomic discourses of Moses are reflected and repeated. He delivered the nation from the hand of the Philistines, as Moses from Pharaoh and the Egyptians. He opened up a new national era of progress and order under their desired Kingship’s. Thus, like Moses, he closed the old order and established the people with assurance of national prosperity and greatness. In nobility of character and utterance, also in fidelity to Yahweh, Samuel equaled Moses. As a prophet, Samuel held all the spiritual power in his hand. He had a special connection with God- as to hear the voice of God in ways that most of the people couldn’t. He was favourable to God’s will always. And so he was able to reprove, rebuke, exhort and endeavour to awaken the people from their sinfulness to repentance. He summoned Israelites to fasting and prayer, and thus prepared them to gain massive victory over Philistines. It was during his ministry that God shifted Israel’s political system to Monarchy. These are big achievement in a human sense. Yet to give up all this, as man of prominence and importance, and to play the second fiddle under someone else is really due to largeness of one’s heart. He must have had difficulty in passing off his own power of autonomy to Saul’s head. It is never easy to retire voluntarily from power, position and public life to a private, quiet life. But his spirit of piety, sacrifice and loyalty to Yahweh, made to uphold his prophetic role. He is a prototype to be imitated for today’s leadership and authority.


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Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

W E LL - B E I N G


any years ago I read the story of a small boy and his father who were playing out in the garden. They came upon a small rock (a big one for a little boy). The father asked his son to move the rock from one place to another by making use of anything around him. The boy tried to move the stone with his hands but it would not budge. He tried tying a rope around it, but could not shift the stone. He came running from a distance and tried to push the stone. He tried to move it with a small crowbar, using it as a lever. He could not push it. He looked at his father with dismay. His father lovingly asked him, “Have you tried making use of everything around you? Try to look carefully, son.” The little boy could not see anything else around him. The father put his arms around his son, looked deeply into his eyes and said, “You did not ask me to help you. You could have made use of me!” The little boy looked at his father with love and admiration and embraced him. One day when Jesus was busy healing and talking to Pharisees and other disciples, a group of mothers brought their children to be blessed by Him. At that time no one spoke of child rights and children were not respected. The disciples seeing that the master was busy and thinking that Jesus may not be interested in meeting the children, scolded the mothers who brought the children to Jesus. But Jesus in turn scolds the disciples and tells his disciples “Do not stop the little children from coming to me, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these. And then He blesses them. (Mt. 19: 13-15). In the same Gospel (Chapter 18: 1-5), we read about the disciples asking Jesus “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child and set him in front of the disciples and said, “I assure you that unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever makes himself lowly like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.” 

Become like little children Why did Jesus make such a strong statement? He gives the reason also. He proclaims, “whoever makes himself lowly is the greatest in the Kingdom.” Children are lovable because they are humble, they are filled with awe, they are innocent, they are eager and they have a teachable spirit. Children love to be taught, they are curious and hence their mind is open to truth. Little children are willing to live by faith. They trust their parents and friends and they are not afraid of anything when their parents are close to them. They are humble. They know they need their parents and loved ones to look after them and care for them. They like to ask questions, often very silly questions. But this is what makes them lovable. Christ is asking us to become like little children if we are to enjoy the benefits of God’s kingdom. As we grow older we

Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

become more secure. We stop learning. We become manipulative and deceptive and we lose our genuineness. Christ is telling us, don’t become old and stop learning. Sometime ago I received an e-mail forward entitled ‘The Rose’. It was the first day of college and the professor introduced himself and challenged the

As we grow older we become more secure. We stop learning. We become manipulative and deceptive and we lose our genuineness.

W E LL - B E I N G At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be. She taught them that it is never too late to learn, you just don’t stop learning.

students to get to know someone they did not already know. A young girl by name Sue stood up to look around, when a gentle hand touched her shoulder. She turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at her with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eightyseven years old. Can I give you a hug?” Sue laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and they embraced each other. “Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” Sue asked. Rose jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids...” “No seriously,” Sue continued, she was curious to know what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age. “I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” Rose replied with a smile. After class they walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. They became instant friends. Sue was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with her. Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students.. She was living it up. At the end of the semester the students invited Rose to speak at their football banquet. They never forget what she taught them. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this Whiskey is killing me! I never get my speech back in order, so let me just tell you what I know.” As they laughed she cleared her throat and began, “We do not stop playing

“We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.” because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are a few secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success. First of all, you have to laugh and find humor every day. Then you’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!” She continued, “There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eightyseven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change.” “And finally”, she added, “Have No regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.” Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

Let us learn from little children. Let us humble ourselves to learn more. Let us like little children be not ashamed to ask for help when needed. Rose was not ashamed to go to college when she was 83 years old. All of us suffer from different kinds of poverty. It could be material poverty, spiritual poverty, emotional poverty, intellectual poverty, social poverty or ethical poverty. When we are materially poor we do not hesitate to ask for help. But the other kinds of poverty also challenge us to ask for help. We have to humble ourselves like little children and seek help from others in order to live a meaningful life. The meaning of the first Beatitude “Blessed are the poor in spirit” means to recognize ones inner poverty. Jesus was not afraid of asking for help. He went to John the Baptist for training. He even asked John to baptize him. He asked his disciples who were very close to Him to stay awake with him in his hour of grief. Jesus in fact did not achieve much. He empowered his apostles and disciples and got their help to expand his Kingdom. So many family problems can be solved, so many suicides can be avoided, and so much of inner happiness can be obtained, if only we could stop and look at our inner poverty and seek help and advice. We have to become like little children.

Joe Andrew sdb 



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Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

me d i a


n all media education seminars and workshops some questions are asked often. Questions that emerge about newspapers are aplenty. They are interestingly inquisitive. Why headlines in the newspapers differ? How a headline is decided? In the world full of news with internet on its peak, what news makes it to daily news of a newspaper? What are the enigmas that surround the editorials? On his visit to India recently, a Belgian friend asked me about the relevance of news that are printed in the last page of ‘The Hindu’? What does it matter to India, of the traffic jam of six hours in New York? There are some who asked me about how some letters to the editor always get published and some never even acknowledged? These and many other questions make one wonder whether a newspaper is made of news or paper? Newspaper made of news would simply mean that anything that is newsworthy and maintains its accuracy and truthfulness. In every circumstance they get reported. Made of Paper would mean the policy of the management and the power with which the newspaper management would like to see the world through the news published in the newspaper. We have had scandalous editorials written after receiving ransom and advertisement contracts. In such case, can we expect any news on a company that is being favorable to a newspaper but dipped into a symbol of national shame? All the leading national newspapers have been victims of such a reality. It is interesting to take a journey through some of the famous quotes on newspapers and understand all the questions in the light of those quotes. A few of them answer the questions and a few probe the credibility of newspapers further. Mark Twain was not wrong when he said that advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper. A newspaper reader should know that


News paper is more of news or paper?

no newspaper will report contrary to its interests. George Orwell realized this very early in his life and said that no news is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.

Mark Twain wittingly said that if you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. One should never believe that all that happen all over the world exactly fill day’s newspaper. There are lot of events that happen and don’t reach newspaper room or else newspaper is not in a reach or it just rejects for the reasons of its own. A newspaper in ordinary circumstances acts as a mouthpiece. A mouthpiece will never speak out anything that will harm its interests. Mark Twain wittingly said that if you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. One should never consider particularly of an opinionated writing that the newspaper is right. A reader should always critically analyze what he/she reads. As Stevenson remarked let us not forget that the ‘newspapers editors are men/women who separate the wheat from the chaff and then print the chaff. Thinking along Erwin Knoll sarcastically said that everything you read in newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge. One needs to stay in touch with the origin of the news. For example, if a paper heavily relies on one side of version during conflict, it means nothing more than that the newspaper has already taken its side for survival. Survival can range from survival of the newspaper in a foreign land, advertisements or awards newspaper has received or looking forward to receive. The newspaper may not need in anyway the other party for anything at all. You can think of a conflict situation and apply this theory to test the fact. James Fenimore Cooper once said that if the newspapers are useful in overthrowing tyrants, it is only to establish a tyranny of their own. The newspapers in India at times are nothing short of establishing tyranny. The orchestrated opinion polls and silencing opposite views are all part of this process. This is both frightening and fearsome. We could only hope along with ever relevant Billy Graham, the American Evangelist that God is unchanging in His love. He loves us. He has a plan for our life. We don’t let the newspaper headlines and policies frighten us. God is still sovereign; he’s still on the throne. No matter a newspaper is made of news or paper.

A. Raj sdb 11

Envisioning a brighter future

6th Congress of the Salesian Brothers of South Asia


he 6th Congress of the Salesian Brothers of South Asia started off in style on 30th December 2008 with Rev. Br. Claudio Marangio SDB, the Economer General who is on his maiden visit to South Asia. He green signalled a triumphant procession towards the SIGA auditorium with the Bosco Cubs, Scouts and Guides opening the procession. This moment also saw some 75 balloons released to herald the Platinum Jubilee wishes of the members of the Congress to the Provincial and the Confreres of Chennai. The Economer General, flanked by Rev. Fr. Maria Arokiam, the Regional of South East Asia, Rev. Fr. Stanislaus Swamikannu, the Provincial of the Host Province, and Provincials from the other 8 Provinces of the Region marched along with the Brothers who had turned up in large numbers. The inaugural session began with the traditional welcome and a moving multimedia presentation about the deceased Salesian Brothers.

be less Salesian and in the end the mission itself would run the risk of losing its specific nature. The second day was a day of intense activity wherein several pressing issues concerning the vocation to Brotherhood were discussed and one got to hear very interesting insights. Presiding over the Eucharistic celebration Bishop Soundaraj Periyanayagam, the Bishop of Vellore. In his homily, speaking about the complementary nature of Brothers and Priests in the Church, stressed on the need for bringing in the God-element back into the world. The assembly also rejoiced with Br Jerome Lyngdoh (ING) at the gift of life that he received this day way back in 1939.

Few questions also came up for discussion regarding the media ministry in the fields of web, Radio and Television, Cinema and in the print media.

Tackling core issues head-on

Main input session: Media and IT

In response to the question as to how could Brothers make a significant contribution to the world of work, especially through policy making government bodies, Br Savio suggested that besides collaborating with the local, civic and governmental bodies and organisations, we need to `enter politics`. He recommended that we float a `political party` not directly but by training our youth to do so, within the existing structures. This would also train our youth in leadership.

Fr Harris Pakkam, the Director of Don Bosco Information and Communication Arts (DBICA), animated the participants

In order to gain greater and effective visibility in order to promote this vocation, it was suggested that we get involved in

In his inaugural address, the cynosure of the day, Rev. Br. Claudio Marangio, spoke in clear terms what he intends the Salesian Brother to aspire for in this new world. He quoted Fr. Vigano`s letter ``The lay element in the Salesian Community``, and earnestly exhorted the members of the Congress to go through the same for a greater clarity with regard to their own identity. Finally, he stated categorically that without the lay element represented by the Salesian Brother, the Salesian community would 12

of the Congress on a pertinent and a very pressing topic, ``The Salesian Brother and the Challenges of Media and New Information Technology. He began by presenting the unprecedented growth and the massive impact the new information technology is exercising in the present world. He said that the virtualization of the human interaction throws open a wide range of possibilities for human beings such as cyber communities, virtual education, virtual friendships, virtual organizations, virtual politics and the like. He urged, ``as most of the world is already literated in terms of computer and digital technology.

Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

sa l es i an catechism classes, altar boys association, formation and training of BCCs, social networking groups, different movements along with other NGOs, and in the various commissions at the Province level. Br Simon from Kolkata rightly stressed the need to overcome `insecure humility` and if need be, be aggressive in grabbing opportunities to shine out and earn respect for work well done. Addressing the need for greater awareness and appreciation of the vocation to Brotherhood, especially among our own confreres, Fr Berger cautioned that we should not take for granted that we all understand the Constitutions and other prevalent ideas about the meaning of vocations to Brotherhood. Fr Amalraj and Br PM Thomas were of the opinion that we need to present new role models for young people, especially from that of our own region. Br Cyriac, from example and experience, proposed that pre-novices and aspirants be invited to spend a week or two with the communities where Brothers are actively involved in apostolate. Br Das requested the Provincials to take stern action against those who consciously and continuously dissuade candidates and Brothers from following their vocation as Brothers. Discussing possible strategies to see qualitatively bigger number of Brothers, Br Savio proposed that we contact the families, and not just the boys alone. Br PM Thomas reminded that we need the support of our Priest confreres as spiritual directors, superiors, confessors. Br Valeri (ING) reminded that rather than blame Brothers for lack of substance, we need to ensure that we do not admit candidates with intellectual difficulties and promote them as Brothers, if they fail to reach the standards needed for a Priest. Lesser intellectual capacity cannot be anymore considered a possible criteria for one to become a Brother, he warned.

The Formation debate The discussion on the DCT Course conducted in Shillong was the most heated. Some wished to know why seven Brothers of the 22 who began since 2005, discontinued mid-way the two year course. Responding to this, Fr James Poonthuruthil (IND) stated that perhaps the senior Brothers who were sent for this course, found it difficult to sit through the classes and examinations. In the first year itself, during his tenure as the President of the college, one was recalled by the Provincial he was also senior, the other left the congregation. One discontinued to discern his vocation and has now the permission to pursue his theological studDon bosco fEBRUARY 2009

ies as a cleric. Br Valeri informed the assembly that the course was meant as part of the initial formation and not for senior Brothers well advanced in age. Responding to the present crisis, Fr EA Thoms, said that perhaps, due to lack of sufficient numbers, the prescribed syllabus and procedures are not strictly followed. However Fr James Poonthuruthil was of the opinion that the formulated syllabus be seriously adhered to. Designed specifically for the Brothers, it would be detrimental for the formation itself if the form and content were compromised on, he added. Br Castilino, a past pupil of the institute, clarified that the `specificity` of the course lay both in the presentation of the professor and equally on the student. The assembly finally proposed and decided upon a five-member committee to study the post-novitiate formation (at Kalyani) and the specific formation course (DCT, Shillong) and suggest to the SPCSA the best course of action for the future: Br Ramesh Durairaj (Chairperson), Fr John Berger (Rector of Kalyani), Br PA Jose (INC), Br Biju Joseph (IND) and Br N. Shaji (INK).

Envisioning the future After lunch, Br Meril, with great joy, announced the election of Br Ramesh Durairaj (INB) as the chairperson of the Brothers commission. Having completed discussing the agenda for the floor discussion, Br Chinnabathuni Gregory, the Convenor of the 5th Salesian Brothers` Congress, then read out the verification report of the resolutions adopted by the different Provinces after the previous Congress. Invited to share some significant experience or event in their Salesian life, Br Savio D`Mello (INB) shared his working experience with the CBCI as the youth animator for the 15 dioceses of the Madhya Pradesh-Chattisgarh region. Br K.J. Thomas (INN) shared his life journey since his joining the Salesian congregation, without forgetting to mention that his heart was still in the Kolkata Province. Br Christopher (LKC) showed a piece of Sri Lankan life, especially the challenges of a Salesian Brother, since the Lankan island is yet to really physically `see` Brothers except Br Garniga, the Provincial Economer. After lunch and after tea, the steering committee got to serious discussion mode to draw up the final statement of the Congress. The first draft of the same was presented to the general 13

sa l es i an assembly in the final sitting of the day. The suggestions and observations of the participants were taken note of and the finalised text would be issued the next day morning during the concluding ceremony. After an animated rosary service by Fr Antony Christy (INM), Fr Loddy Pires, the Provincial of Panjim, gave the goodnight. Appreciating Br Meril the convenor, he referred to him as a luminous, visible star! Touching upon the various aspects of formation and basing his experience, he stated that time spent in discernment and reflection on the vocation is indeed a very valuable time. The participants then left for St Bede`s school for supper.

Not the end, but a renewed beginning The grand finale of the Salesian Brothers` Congress and the passing on of the baton to the new team was held this morning (January 3, 2009) in the Deepagam Hall, Provincial House Campus, Chennai. With the Congress accepting the statement and resolutions drafted by the steering committee (on the basis of the interactions of the Congress), the Statement now serves as a lighthouse for all the activities that we would be engaged in, with a renewed vigour. The new Chairperson of the Brothers` Commission, Br Ramesh Durairaj (INB), on behalf of the assembly, felicitated Br Meril (the Convenor) for his sincere hard work and skilled organisation of the Congress. First thing in the morning, the assembly restudied the edited draft of the statement and resolutions of the Congress and approved it after some minor modifications. The Brothers, in the final Statement of the Congress, set before themselves specifically four goals to be achieved by the next Congress (in 2013). The goals pertain to taking responsibility for one`s own vocation, promote awareness and appreciation for the vocation to Brotherhood, a greater social consciousness and responsible use of media for personal enrichment (which would in turn aid the mission) and development of those with and for whom we work. 14

Corresponding lines of action at the personal, Province and Regional level too were drawn up to practically live the commitment made in the statement. These include participation in personal growth programmes, involvement in catechetical and faith-formation activities (and in the process also enhance the visibility of the Salesian Brother), joining the vocation ministry team of the Province, go for higher qualification as per need (especially in media and IT), and meticulously plan the regular upgrading of the specific formation programmes offered at Kalyani and Shillong. Br Meril in his vote of thanks, during the post-communion period, made special mention of Br Joseph Das who was his constant support and guide in the planning and organisation of the Congress. Besides presenting the key note address, Br Das was also instrumental in finalising the main theme and the sub-themes too. He concluded with a fervent appeal, ``... anchored to the values of our calling as Salesians Brothers, let us continue to reach out to the young, attuned to the times and the need.`` As a sign of handing over the baton to the newly elected Province delegates and the chairperson, Br Meril, handed over a copy each of the Statement and resolutions of the Congress. While he thanked all those who coordinated with him right since the convocation of the Congress, there were many hands who worked, mostly behind the scenes. These people too need a special mention: Br Anandraj and Cl. Lourduswamy (the Secretaries), Mr Rajarathnam (looking into the organisational details), Fr Harris and his team from DBICA, Fr Christy and his collaborators who animated the moments of liturgy, Br Maria who arranged the accommodation, Br Kulandaiyesu who was incharge of the food, the communities of the Province of Chennai who hosted the participants and also those Brothers (John, Smith and company) who saw to the petty - but important - details of the Congress. Rev. Joseph Antony, the Bishop of Dharmapuri presided over the Holy Eucharistic celebration of the day and recalled with great joy his long standing interaction with the Brothers, several of whom are his own batchmates. The morning concluding ceremony was coordinated by Br Vincent Castilino.

Conclusion May our Father and founder, Don Bosco who so marvellously responded to the needs of the his times and our saintly model Bl. Artemide Zatti who brought Salesian pedagogy to bear on a new field of apostolate, inspire us to become in the Congregation, a new presence in the modern world. May Our Lady Help of Christians, who enables every apostle to be a new incarnation in the world, accompany us in our journey towards the fulfilment of our commitment.

Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

Lourdusamy Sdb and Vincent Castilino

sa l es i an

Statement and Resolutions of the Brothers Congress


n the 150thyear of the foundation of our Congregation, we, the 95 Salesian Brothers and 23 Salesian Priests from the 11 Provinces of South Asia region, gathered together at the Citadel - Chennai, India in fraternal union for the 6thSalesian Brothers’ Congress of South Asia and inspired by Don Bosco’s motto ‘da mihi animas cetera tolle,’ studied the theme, ‘The Salesian Brother for a new world according to Don Bosco’s Charism’.

b) Enrich the faith of the youth through involvement in catechetical and faith formation activities and in the process enhance visibility of the Salesian Brother.

The presence of Br Claudio Marangio, the first Brother elected as the Economer General, who represented the Rector Major and Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga, the Regional Councillor of South Asia, added greater significance to this event.

d) Involve proactively in the lives of the marginalised by boldly networking and collaborating with GOs and NGOs.

The 6thCongress was specifically marked by an atmosphere of prayer, joy and optimism that was further augmented through the active presence, initiative and leadership of the younger generation of Brothers. The Congress was well planned and executed with the active support of the host Province in a true spirit of brotherhood. The main theme was elucidated through the following input sessions: 1. The Salesian Brother and the Challenges due to Faith and Spiritual Crisis in the New World 2. The Salesian Brother and the Socio-economic Challenges of the New World 3. The Salesian Brother and the Challenges of the New Media Information and Technology Having spent time together, as a group and as individuals, in studying the theme and other relevant issues concerning the life, mission and vocation of the Brothers, we, the Salesian Brothers of the South Asia region hereby set before ourselves the following goals: 1. To take personal responsibility for our own growth and vocation. 2. Create awareness for a greater appreciation of the vocation of the Salesian Brother. 3. To be more conscious ourselves and also create awareness among the young of the social evils that threaten to create imbalance in the society and cause inequality. 4. Utilise responsibly, the great potential of media and information technology, for our own growth and the development of those with and for whom we work.

To achieve these goals, we resolve to carry out the following: Individual level: a) Participate in at least one personal growth programme, before the next Congress, that will enhance our optimism and joy in our vocation.

c) Moving beyond our structured life and institutions, become more aware and sensitive to the realities of injustice, corruption and religious fundamentalism.

e) Become media-savvy to be a well-informed person and to utilise media and information for the mission in order to enlighten young people of the possibilities and dangers of Mass media.

Province level: a) Ensure that the vocation ministry team has a Brother involved in it for greater visibility especially during vocation promotion and follow up. b) By an adequate formation, training and support, the Province will facilitate social consciousness through involvement in contextual issues. c) Qualify Salesian Brothers, with necessary aptitude, in the various fields of apostolate, particularly, in media and technology.

Zonal/Regional level: a) Organise at the zonal level a programme for personal formation at least once before the next Congress. b) Act upon the findings of the Committee set up to evaluate the future course of action regarding •

the post-novitiate formation at Kalyani and

the specific formation of the Salesian Brothers at Shillong.

The Provincial delegate/Chairperson of the national commission of the Brothers, will ensure that these resolutions are verified and evaluated during the annual meeting of the Brothers. Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009


stu d ents p l us

13. Learning and remembering - 1 Many students try to memorize information they don’t fully understand which is an important reason why information doesn’t ‘stick.’ Try to understand the information before you try to remember it.


ear Students, we have been learning about notes taking which precedes the actual learning and remembering. It is very important because you will remember only what you have with you in the form of notes. In this phase we shall learn about the actual way in which the process of real learning and remembering should take place, if you wish to make the best of yourself as a student. Remember studying involves two activities: the learning and remembering of information. Many students view studying as merely rereading their textbook chapters and lecture notes. However, this method is usually ineffective when learning new information. Even after rereading the material several times, students still have difficulty remembering it because it was probably never encoded into their memory system. Let see some strategies .

Make the Material Meaningful It’s difficult to remember information that is confusing and doesn’t make sense, and often the author’s explanations of concepts and vocabulary terms are unclear. Instead of trying to remember the author’s words, put the information into your own words as your words are likely to be more meaningful than the author’s. In addition, try to “personalize” the information by thinking of examples and relating it to other information you’ve learned or your own life experiences.

Organize the Information Organizing material into meaningful categories helps you learn and recall information more efficiently than studying separate pieces of information. For instance, if you have numerous vocabulary terms to learn, group them into categories according to the textbook heading they come under rather than studying them individually.

Use Imagery Since our memory for pictures is often better than our memory for words, creating mental pictures can enhance your memory of verbal information. High-image words which easily lend themselves to visualization are remembered better than abstract or low-image words 16

Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

stu d ents p l us and enhances your comprehension and retention of the material.

Review Often

Mnemonic devices Mnemonic devices are memory tricks that are used to remember factual information such as a list of words or phrases, and they often produce a visual image in the learner’s mind. Some common mnemonic devices include acronyms, nonsense words, nonsense sentences, and rhymes. Example: To remember the colour of rainbow (Violet , indigo ,blue,green,yellow, orange and red.) you can make an acronym by taking the first letter of each word and rearranging them to make the word VIBGYOR .

Rehearse Using Elaboration Rehearsal is the conscious repetition of information. There are two types of rehearsal: rote rehearsal and elaborative rehearsal. Rote rehearsal consists of repeating the same words over and over again with little or no variation. This is not a very effective method for learning and remembering new information because often the full meaning is not grasped. Elaborative

rehearsal, on the other hand, involves expanding on the information by analyzing it further and relating it to information already stored in your memory. This type of rehearsal is much more effective for encoding information into your long term memory for retrieval later.

Study Actively As mentioned previously, studying does not consist of passively rereading your text, lecture notes or study sheet. Instead, actively think about the information by explaining the information out loud to yourself using your own words. In succeeding sessions, try to recite the information a little differently each time by rewording it or thinking of different examples. In addition, you should also think critically about the information you’re studying by noting relationships among ideas, asking yourself “how” and “why,” comparing and contrasting information, determining the significance of events, etc. Actively thinking about the material numerous times and in several different ways helps keep the information “alive” in your short term memory Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

Ideally, you should review after each lecture and after reading each textbook chapter. After each lecture, read through your notes and highlight key points or use the left margin of your paper to indicate important information such major concepts, vocabulary terms, possible test questions, etc. Also check for inaccurate and/or missing information Since much of what we learn is forgotten quickly, frequent reviewing helps to keep the information fresh in your mind. As you review, identify early on information that is confusing or difficult to understand and seek clarification. Know what you don’t know!

Space Your Studying When preparing for a major exam, avoid cramming! Instead of trying to learn and remember several weeks worth of information a day or two before an exam, spread your studying out over several days. Material should be studied in small amounts - perhaps one chapter or topic a day depending on the amount and depth of the material. You can begin by studying the oldest information first and end with the most recent information. Each day the material that you studied the previous day(s) should be reviewed before beginning the next topic. Overlearn! Even when you think you know the material, study it some more. Learning and remembering do not occur accidentally. They both require a great deal of time and effort. I am sure most of you will have the exam fever very soon. This and the forthcoming issues will help you to remember all that you study and write them well during your final exams.

Merlyn Ross Dear students, write to about the problems and anxieties you face in your studies. They will be addressed in the forthcoming issues. 17


75 years of

Creative Fidelity

Times are new, ways are new; but, the commitment remains the same The Chennai Province of the Salesians, are rejoicing and thanking the good Lord, for what He has accomplished through them, in the span of the last 75 years.


Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009



aint Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, 1542-1621, delivering the presidential address of a new academic year of the then Roman College of the Jesuits, today the prestigious Gregorian University, began with: New times, new ways, the same commitment. His times and ways were evidently new, as they are very much today. These memorable words, therefore serve as a sure basis for reflection, as the Chennai Province of the Salesians, are rejoicing and thanking the good Lord, for what He has accomplished through them, in the span of the last 75 years. That the times we live in, are very different from those of our dear father and founder, and also remarkably different from the early years, many decades of the province, needs no proof whatever. Those who have celebrated the diamond or golden jubilee of their religious profession, and to a large extent also the silver jubilarians, will even more readily agree with this idea. Think of the media, the means of transportation, the conveniences, not to speak of comforts, so easy of access, new methods of the apostolate. In the late 50s, the Salesian house in Tirupattur did not have a refrigerator. After much discussion, it was felt that the time was not yet ripe to have one. The Rector, however provided a mud water cooler,(Cooja) to each priest. Fr. James Oreglia, whom many will remember, said: “Wonderful, each priest has been given a refrigerator�. As for conveniences, Rev. Fr. Corcoran, had to travel as the attender of an English soldier from Mettupalayam to Matunga, since Fr. Careno, the provincial, could not afford to give him the money for the ticket. After reaching the station he lingered on the platform and slipped out when the ticket examiner moved off, and walked to Matunga.

That ways are new, quite different from earlier ones, is also equally clear. From the religious habit to civil dress, T.V, Computer, Cell Phone, internet, from compulsory Latin in the priestly curriculum of studies to its total removal, vernacular in the liturgy, football and other games played with the cassock on, and some even sleeping with it?? After having learnt to eat with cutlery, not without some difficulty, and then dispensing with it without any difficulty, from home visits rare and of short duration, to far more frequent and longer ones, from fluency in one’s mother tongure, a coveted honour, to some discomfort at expressing oneself well in English; from punctuality to the tick of the clock to being almost next to impossible to be the last for any function; from the houseful presence of the members for the various community activities to their occasional presence, because today the mission determines community life. Well, the list could be made much bigger. The commitment, to be sure, has not changed, except may be that it has beDon bosco fEBRUARY 2009

The Salesian house in Tirupattur did not have a refrigerator. After much discussion, it was felt that the time was not yet ripe to have one. The Rector, however provided a mud water cooler, (Cooja) to each priest. come more human, less legal, more spontaneous, less artificial. And it is on this commitment to Don Bosco that we need to reflect upon sincerely and deeply, at this historic moment of the province. The fidelity to our commitment is far from easy, given the facility with which contracts are broken, the prevailing loss of the sense of sin, a culture of comforts with an insatiable hunger for more and better. 19


“You have your work, your schools, Orataries, and houses for boys, but you have only one treasure: the pedagogy of Don Bosco.


Yet, our Platinum Jubilee celebrations will be sterile, unless we return to Don Bosco, “Which means loving him, studying him, imitating him, invoking him and making him known. It also means applying oneself to getting to know his story and to a study of the origins of the congregation, constantly listening to the expectations of the young and the challenges of today’s culture”.(GC 26, p.23). In simple words, the Don Bosco of history must become the Don Bosco of today through us Salesians. This is the challenge of the commitment which has been, is and will ever be the same, inspite of different ways in human life. And we have Christ and the Church as our model. The Church of today is the Christ of history in time and space. The Salessian congregation of today is the extension of Don Bosco in time and space. Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

We need to pay particular attention to Don Bosco’s three great loves: Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Mary help of Christians, the Pope. “Cheerfulness, which according to Fr. Caviglia, “is the eleventh Commandment in the houses of Don Bosco”, must be a priority, as also optimism. Hard work and Don Bosco used to say: “One who does not work, is not a Salesian” (DB); the preventive system, our father’s precious heritage to us, needs to be studied, appreciated, and above all practised. And the following is surely very enlightening “You have your work, your schools, Orataries, and houses for boys, but you have only one treasure: the pedagogy of Don Bosco. In a world where boys are betrayed, withering away, crushed, exploited, subjected to psychoanalysis, the Lord has entrusted you with a pedagogy which highlights respect


An unshakable never failing devotion to Don Bosco is one of the vital aspects of our Salesian life.

for the boy, his greatness and his weakness, his dignity as the child of God. Preserve it, update it, strengthen it, enrich it with all modern discoveries, adapt it to the youth of the twentieth century, to their problems which don Bosco could not have known. But for heaven’s sake, preserve it! Change everything, if needs be even close your houses, but preserve this treasure, teaching thousands the way to love and save boys who are Don Bosco’s heritage.” (Rev. Fr. P. Duvallet, apostle of the re-education of youth). Don Bosco’s insistence on Holy Communion and the sacrament of reconciliation must not be overlooked. A fitting conclusion to what I have said will be : “An unshakable never failing devotion to Don Bosco is one of the vital aspects of our Salesian life. The first desire, the zealous concern of each Salesian must be to follow Don Bosco and to do what he Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

taught and left as our heritage and tradition. The main tenets of our tradition and the living out of our vocation are: a life of mortification, incessant work, observance of the rules and unity of spirit, the lustre of purity, the Marian devotion and the Eucharistic piety, zeal for souls, the preventive system; It is thus that we carry out the obligations we have assumed and which we would like to preserve full and intact” (Fr. Vallino). Concluding, we have, to use a very happy expression of Rev. Fr. Vigano, “ with seventy-five years of history, we shall have centuries of future”, if these platinum Jubilee celebrations lead every Salesian to a greater commitment to Don Bosco our father and his charism, living and active in the Congregation today. Abraham Kadaplackel sdb 21


Today there are 2300 Salesians in India working in 351 Institutions. 22


he Salesian society of Don Bosco was founded 150 years ago in Turin, Italy, by St. John Bosco, popularly known as Don Bosco. Around 47 years later, the first Salesians left for India and Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

reached Thanjavur, on 14th January, 1906, under the leadership of Fr. George Tomatis. Without delay the newcomers took charge of a small orphanage and elementary school of the parish. They also began an industrial school for the poor youth of the locality. That was a small beginning and there was no turning back. Today the Salesians are running


The sons of Don Bosco have always been socially conscious in their task of forming not only good Christians but honest and committed citizens.

hundreds of schools, technical schools, colleges, youth centres and homes for thousands of young people all over India. Today there are 2300 Salesians in India working in 351 institutions. The Indian chapter of Salesian history reveals their closeness and love for the poor. Among them, the poor youth have always taken the centre stage. The sons of Don Bosco following the example of their founder Don Bosco, have always been socially conscious in their task of forming not only good Christians but honest and committed citizens. In 1922 eleven Salesians under the dynamic leadership of Fr. Louis Mathias reached Shillong to start the Salesian work in North India. In 1926 Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

India became a Province, with St. Thomas the Apostle as its patron and Shillong was chosen as the headquarters. In 1934, the Indian Province was divided into two – the North Indian Province of St. John Bosco and the South Indian Province of St. Thomas, the Apostle, with headquarters in Vellore. The new Province started off with great enthusiasm and optimism, with Fr. Eligio Cinato as provincial. The province had only 49 professed members, for canonically erected houses (Tardeo in Bombay, St Mary’s in Madras, Don Bosco in Vellore and the Salesian House in Tirupattur) and eleven other presences, A novitiate was started in 1934 itself at Tirupattur 23

COVER STORY with 10 novices (six Europeans and 4 Indians) who made their profession on 29 January 1935. In 1937 the Provincial House was shifted from Vellore to Madras (St. Mary’s Cathedral) and some months later, to The Refuge on Broadway. As the number of missionaries from abroad started dwindling during World War II, Fr. Jose Carreno, that great visionary with eyes always on the future, opened in 1943 a house for aspirants in Tirupattur. Over the years it became a flourishing nursery of vocations. Preparing the men who would soon be needed for the everexpanding province of South India. Today the South Indian Province has been further divided into 7 provinces (Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trichy, Konkan and Sri Lanka) and Chennai remains the glorious mother Province. It has indeed been a great history of service and growth! Today the Chennai Province alone, with its headquarters in Kilpauk, Chennai, can boast of 49 presences in North Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar islands and one community in Fujairah (UAE). The Salesians in Tamil Nadu began their mission mostly in neglected rural areas such as North Arcot and in the cities they searched out mostly slum areas where the poor lived. Today they run schools, colleges, youth centres, entrepreneurship training institutions, boarding homes and orphanages to look after the needs of young people. Except for three or four prestigious schools, the vast majority of the institutions cater to the needs of poor and neglected youth. In north Tamil Nadu, i.e. Chennai Province, we manage more than thirty schools, 7 institutions of higher education and 10 technical schools (ITI). Our Anbu Illams cater to the needs of street and slum children. 24

Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

Don Bosco Alumni is the largest structured Alumni in the whole world. Schools such as Don Bosco, Egmore, St. Mary Bede’s A.I. Higher Sec. school, St. Mary’s A.I. Higher Sec. school, Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur etc. can boast of many prominent past pupils. The Tennis champions Amirtharaj brothers; World Chess champion Vishwanathan Anand; Booker award winner, Arvind Adiga; politicians like Dayanithi Maran, Karthi Chidabaram and Sun TV proprietor Kalanidhi Maran; actors like Radha Ravi, Karthik Muthuraman, Surya Sivakumar; Karthi Sivakumar and Jeeva; film directors like Vishnu Vardhan; music directors like Yuvan Shankar Raja and Karthik Raja are all past pupils of Don Bosco schools. The late A. G. Kripal Singh (the test cricketer with a century on debut), A. G. Milkha Singh, V .B. Chandrashekar (recent national cricket selector), and Dinesh Kaarthik who is currently

Don Bosco Alumni is the largest structured Alumni in the whole world. a key member of the Indian cricket team are also from St. Bede’s. At the threshold of international cricket are also young fast bowler Yo Mahesh and the left-handed opening batsman Abhinav Mukund who are currently playing for India “A” and India under -19 respectively. The prestigious band of Don Bosco alumini includes Muruganandam IAS,

COVER STORY ernment. The Province of Chennai was a pioneer in this effort. Community Colleges are a new phenomenon reaching to the unreached. Similarly other attempts to reach the dropouts such as transit schools and rehabilitation centres have been taken up by Chennai Province. Salesians are known for technical education of the poor. Rather than large engineering colleges, the Salesians mainly started ITIs because that is from where they could reach out to the poor youth and the dropouts of the educational system. Today BICS is offering computer training to rural youth.

Naveen Sona IAS (Commissioner of Sales Tax), Thomas Varghese (Retd GM Southern Railways), Ashwin Vaidya; (Scientist), Dr. J. C. Ravi Ramalingam (KKR-ENT Hospital), Dr. Vijay Sankar (Oncologist) and actors Sibiraj, Silambarasan, Vishal, Ilavarasi (World Carrom Champion), Gana Ulaganathan, Neil Dramond (Singer), Nepolean Einstein, Vishvanathan (former Anna University Vice-Chancellor), Niladri Bose, RJ in Hello FM, Vijay Athiraj, T.V. Artist and many others. Starting from the early 1980s, the Salesians started developing in a significant way their mission for the young people at risk. The main targets of this concern are the street children, child labourers, bonded children, refugee children, sexually abused youth, school dropouts, juvenile delinquents and the like. Child protection initiatives, such as Child Line India, are worthy of mention. Employment of young people has been another intense concern of the Salesians. Don Bosco, Vazhikatti, through its career guidance, job placement initiatives, and employability

Platinum Jubilee projects: Sponsoring 75,000 childern, planting 7,500 saplings, providing 7,500 jobs for poor youth, consructing 75 houses for the poor. training and entrepreneurship-oriented education, has helped thousands of young people to find a job and a secure future. Total literacy drive is another social ministry of considerable importance. The majority of the Houses have taken up such a ministry in their neighbourhood by running evening schools. Many collaborate with the literacy mission of the GovDon bosco fEBRUARY 2009

In Chennai, Communication and Media services are rendered through DBICA, Arumbu monthly magazine, Arumbu Publication SIGA and BICS. Recent foundations in Chennai Province have been in the rural and most neglected areas. The call of Don Bosco to his sons is to dream great things for the poor. The Salesians of today are challenged by the sight of youth caught in the clutches of poverty, illiteracy, exploitation, religious fanaticism, superstition and moral degradation. The Platinum Jubilee slogan is educate, empower to review, renew and relaunch into this world where the young and needy are waiting for us. As part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations we are looking forward to sponsoring 75,000 children through our sponsorship programme – Educare, of which 7,500 poor children will be helped this year. A massive tree plantation campaign with 7500 plants is also on the anvil. 7500 jobs for deserving youth is also planned for this year. As a continuous effort towards helping the poor, we will be constructing 75 houses for them poor. Maria Charles sdb 25

sa l es i an


B R I E F L Y Fr. Cyril Tirkey sdb, Awarded Fr. Cyril Tirkey, Director of Rural Resource and Training Centre, Umran, Meghalaya, a Training unit of Bosco Reach Out was conferred with ``Bharat Jyoti Award`` and ``Vikas Rattam Award`` by India International Friendship Society for his achievement and contribution in the area of Social Work and Development respectively The event was held on 2nd January 2009 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on the occasion of Global Friendship Day Celebration.

Meeting of young Salesian volunteers from Poland Between 6 and 12 January there was a meeting of young Polish. The young people involved are carrying out their voluntary service in various Salesian centres in Zimbabwe and Zambia, belonging to the Vice Province hosting the meeting and in Uganda which is part of the “Saint Charles Lwanga” Vice Province of Africa Great Lakes (AGL). Because some red-tape difficulties prevented some volunteers working in Zimbabwe from entering Zambia, the second part of the meeting was held in Hwange, in Zimbabwe.

The meeting was chaired by Fr Stanisław Rafałko, Director of the Salesian Missionary Centre in Warsaw. The aim was to enable the young volunteers to share their own experiences as new missionaries in a different situation such as Africa. In addition to opportunities to share, to reflect and to pray together the days included time for study of the themes of evangelisation in Africa and inculturation which were introduced by various Salesians, including the Superior of the Salesians in Zambia, Fr Jósef Czerwiński.

The volunteers were able to visit the Cathedral in Lusaka and pray at the tomb of Cardinal Adam Kozłowiecki who died in 2007, as well as Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. There are 18 MWDB volunteers at present in Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Perù and Palestine, in addition to Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. (ANS)

The Salesians and Europe On 19 January, Fr Vaclav Klement, Councillor for the Missions of the Salesian Congregation, took part in a meeting organised by the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Holy See, Dr. Pavel Vošalik, to present the situation and the work of the Salesians in the world. Present at the meeting, one that is held every month were 22 Ambassadors of countries accredited to the Holy See and members of the European Community and also 5 Ambassadors of candidate countries. Promoted by Ambassador Vošalik in agreement with the Presidency of the Council of Europe which since 1st January has been in the hands of the Czech Republic the meeting was held in Palazzo Cardinal Cesi, in via della Conciliazione. Speaking to the Ambassadors, Fr Klement presented the figure of Don Bosco and the Salesian Congregation emphasising especially its missionary commitment. In quoting the statistics – 16.000 priests ands brothers, 500 novices in about 130 countries – the Councillor for the Missions mentioned the characteristic feature of the way Salesians work: the Preventive System, the gift that Don Bosco gave to the Church and to Society, 26

ing countries 1000 support and educational projects. Among the new frontiers on the continent of Europe to which the Salesians are directing their efforts are the gypsy and “rom” children and young immigrants.

and a commitment to all-round development and evangelisation. The Councillor for the Missions told the Ambassadors about the International Congress on “The Preventive System and Human Rights ,” held in the first days of January and mentioned some of the results. Fr Klement briefly described some of the missionary frontiers on which the Salesians are working in Africa, such as Sudan and Mozambique, and in Asia and also the new Project for Europe, according to the wishes of the Holy Father in order to re-launch the mission of education in the old continent. He also mentioned “Don Bosco Network” involving 7 European NGO in Belgium, Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy, with over 200 volunteers engaged in various developDon bosco fEBRUARY 2009

“Naturally we are faced by many challenges in our mission,” the Councillor for the Missions said in conclusion. “I invited some Salesians who are working in Europe to say what they would ask from you, Ambassadors. Here are some of the requests: • Giving more attention to the promotion of the human rights of children and young people and encouraging formation; • Putting the resources of Catholic missions into development and education; • Increasing the economic support given to the NGO involved in jointly financed projects and not considering as being in opposition pastoral work and development projects; • Providing more information about plans regarding Europe and the possibility of taking part in seminars for study and reflection; • Giving support to projects of international voluntary service. (ANS )

sa l es i an

University Approves Media Courses of DBIICE DB MIDEA, a registered society (Don Bosco Media Initiatives for Development, Empowerment and Awareness) of Province of Trichy functions as `alaihal MIDEA` for productions and DBIICE for training. The University has approved the courses under IECD (Institute for Entrepreneurship and Career Development) that has been established for promoting entrepreneurship and career development among the students and non-students youth.

Bharathidasan University of Trichy has approved five diploma courses and weekend courses in media studies of DBIICE (Don Bosco Institute of Information and Communication Excellence), training wing of `Don Bosco MIDEA`, the communication centre of the Province of Trichy.

The courses shall be offered in following five courses; Diploma in Visual Editing (Final Cut Studio), Diploma in Television Production, Diploma in Animation and Graphics (Multimedia), Diploma in Video and Radio Jockeying (Compeering) and Diploma in Film Technology. Currently the courses will be for six months. The term of the courses shall be January to June and July to December.

India – Free from poverty It was Mother Teresa who inspired and encouraged the work of Bro Mathew Thaiparambil SDB who is in charge of the “Don Bosco Self Employment Research Institute (DBSERI)” in Calcutta. Brother Thaiparambil spoke about the centre during the Congress on “The Preventive System and Human rights.” Begun in 1978, DBSERI is one of the most important educational institutes in the city of Calcutta. The enormous demand from youngsters who had given up school and wanted to be able to enter the work force led the Salesians to think about the best way to respond; today more than 550 youngsters are following the two-year training courses. The educational projects provided by the DBSERI have created a process that has led to the setting up of more than a hundred small business enterprises that enable other youngsters to find work. The success of the institute is based on the conviction that all young people, especially the poorest and those most vulnerable ought to have the chance to enjoy their own rights in society, so as to be able to contribute to the development and


B R I E F L Y A Salesian as Consultant to the Congregation for the Clergy Among the new Consultants to the Congregation for the Clergy appointed by the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, for the five-year period 2008-2013, is Fr Enrico dal Covolo, Postulator General for the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family.

Born in 1950 at Feltre, in the Province of Belluno, Fr dal Covolo has a degree in Classics and teaches Ancient Greek Christian Literature at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. (ANS)

Bal Mela 2008 Liberating Difference

the prosperity of the country. The DBSERI project, which has at its heart the idea of “increasing” confidence in the young, their rights, discussion and dialogue with others, has a specific programme for girls. In India, as in many other countries, women are struggling to make their way in society in that too often traditional culture assigns them a role with very little autonomy, a mentality that is very widespread especially in the (ANS) poorer areas. Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

Second year in succession, the 19th of December - the day commemorated as Liberation of Goa, has been different for children less fortunate at Don Bosco Panjim. Over 994 children from different parts of Goa, under the care of various NGOs, or from various slum areas, where social activities are being conducted by Don Bosco Institutes, rallied together for a full day program called the `BAL MELA`. More than 175 volunteers, most of them students and well-wishers from in and around Panjim, as well as those belonging to different NGOs, helped in organizing the event. The event was organized by the Don Bosco `Youth at Risk` (YaR). 27





Economic crisis: Latin Caritas Internationalis is launching an America to face emergency appeal for the suffering people ‘enormous stress’ in 2009 of Gaza after a bomb on Friday destroyed

The global economic downturn has cast a pall over the new year in Latin America. While the region’s leaders initially struck a positive note, abroad, most are now drafting plans to create jobs, keep financial systems from wobbling in case of a prolonged recession. Experts say the crisis will hit poor Latin Americans hardest. It will increase unemployment, pushing more into the informal economy -- without insurance, pensions or other benefits -- and widen the gap between rich and poor. Economic hardship and cuts in social spending may trigger discontent reflected at the polls or in the streets. (CNS)

Pope says Christians must work, pray, convert for Christian unity Full Christian unity will be a gift from God, but it is something Christians themselves must work for, pray for and experience personal conversion in order to receive, Pope Benedict XVI said. Dedicating his weekly general audience Jan. 21 to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the pope said God wants Christians to be one, but that can happen only through deeper unity with Christ. The theme of the 2009 week of prayer was “That they may become one in your hand,” a quote from the Book of Ezekiel in which God tells the prophet to take two sticks, representing his divided people, and join them (CNS) together. 28

one of the aid organization’s medical clinics. The clinic, in the Al Maghazi district of Central Gaza, was completely destroyed in a bombing that also flattened four homes. At least another 20 homes sustained heavy damage in the blast. Families had already fled the area, so Caritas reported no injuries. The aid organization has five other medical clinics in Gaza. With their appeal, they are hoping to raise more than $2 million for a sevenmonth program. Close to 900 Palestinians have died after two weeks of fighting, and U.N. officials say that 40% of the dead are women and children. Meanwhile, the priest of Gaza’s Catholic parish, Father Manuel Musallam, spoke of the “extreme fear” of the Gazans. He told Caritas by telephone from Beit Hanoun in Gaza today, “There is extreme fear everywhere here. The bombs the Israelis are dropping are literally cutting through people and through homes. Night and day the sound of children crying is everywhere. The people here don’t sleep. They have lost everything. “70,000 people are living in schools and they

are very cold. The ones who haven’t gone to schools are living in their bathrooms or stairwells because they are afraid of being injured by shattering glass from bombs. There is no water here. We are almost out of diesel for our generator that we have allowed people to come and cook from. When the diesel runs out, we will have nothing. “There are dead bodies lying on the streets. The clinics are carrying out operations on the floor. Women have no place to give birth. One pregnant woman was shot on her way to a clinic to give birth. They tried to save the baby but he, too, was dead. “Life and death for people in Gaza is the same.” (

CHRISTMAS HOPE DAWNS IN IRAQ Iraqi bishops are welcoming signs of friendship extended to Christians of their country this Christmas. The prelates said gestures from authorities and religious leaders are a sign of greater efforts to end the anti-Christian discrimination in the nation. They told AsiaNews that the gestures are “small signs of hope” that things can change for the Christian community. For example, last Saturday, an Iraqi civil leader in Baghdad organized a public Christmas party to show support for Christians. The event was complete with a Christmas tree, Santa Claus, figures of Mary and the Child Jesus, and an Iraqi flag. The party was presented as recognition for those who have been extraordinary in interreligious dialogue, and as a message to the thousands of Christians who have emigrated that they are wanted back home. Along the same lines, Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

Bishop Rabban Al Qas of Amadiya reported that the Kurdish television station of his area had announced that Christmas Mass would be transmitted directly. And Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk affirmed that he had received visits from delegations of various groups -including Arabs and Kurds -- to “congratulate the Christian community for Christmas.” “Even among so much persecution,” he said, “we can fee a climate of greater solidarity.” (


Pope congratulates Obama on Inauguration Day Pope Benedict XVI, congratulating Barack Obama on his inauguration as U.S. president, prayed that he would remain steadfast in his dedication to promote understanding, cooperation and peace in the world. The pope, in a Jan. 20 telegram, told Obama that he prayed God would “grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities.” Popes traditionally send a telegram of congratulations to new presidents of the United States on the day of their inauguration. In his message to Obama, Pope Benedict said he prayed, under the new president’s leadership, “may the American people continue to find in their impres-


BRIEFLY For 830 years, Apostolic Penitentiary has focused on forgiveness

sive religious and political heritage the spiritual values and ethical principles needed to cooperate in the building of a truly just and free society.” The pope said he hoped the future of

the United States would be “marked by respect for the dignity, equality and rights of each of its members, especially the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice.” (CNS)

AUSTRALIAN PRELATE TO PRIESTS: KNOW YOUTH CULTURE The key elements of World Youth Day were the Pope’s presence, the experience of faith and love, and the numerous crowds of young people, says the Australian bishops’ conference president. Archbishop Philip Wilson said this in a presentation given to seminarians, postgraduate students and faculty at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, the conference reported. He spoke about World Youth Day in Sydney, saying that it was “an extraordinary experience for all who took part.” The prelate pointed out some factors that contributed to its success: “There is a faith experience within a community of prayer. There is fun and a positive experience of our common humanity. “One of the results is that lots of people fall in love. They then form deeply Christian Catholic homes. These then take root in our local Church.” The archbishop noted the increase in priestly vocations after the youth gathering, though he pointed out that this is not the only way to measure success. He explained: “The measure is a spike in the experience of faith in the lives of those who go. There is space for the Lord to act. It is an opportunity to come together and experience a common

faith -- to meet those who believe what I believe. “The media give a message that if you believe you are isolated. WYD counters this by showing that there are people who believe. “It is an opportunity to deepen the experience. Young people need an experience of fun and the joy of coming together in the ordinary aspects of life and to enjoy being alive.” Archbishop Wilson asserted that the Pope’s presence with the youth is a key element of success. He underlined the overall effect on the Australian dioceses: “Communities were generous in their hospitality and because of their willingness to be open and generous they received a lot in return.” The prelate concluded by exhorting his audience to minister to youth by meeting them where they are at. He pointed out: “If we are to engage with young people we have to enter into dialogue. […] There has to be a willingness to share -- they are wanting to share the deepest reality in their lives. “We have to understand the culture of young people so as to be able to dialogue. We have to understand their lives -you have to be a student of culture if you are to work as a priest.” ( Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

The crimes the Catholic Church considers to be most serious are investigated and punished by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but the Vatican also has a specific office for helping the guilty find forgiveness and reconcile with God and the church. In matters related to the conscience of individual Catholics, the work of the Apostolic Penitentiary, headed by U.S. Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, is probably the most secret of any Vatican office. The Apostolic Penitentiary’s work is covered under the sacramental seal of confession. The low profile of the office combined with the seriousness of the sins brought to its attention probably explains why members of the media flocked to a Jan. 13-14 symposium on the history of the Apostolic Penitentiary and of the sacrament of penance. Cardinal Stafford told reporters Jan. 13 that the penitentiary deals with five specific cases: a man who directly participated in an abortion and later wants to enter the priesthood; priests who have broken the seal of confession; priests who have offered sacramental absolution to their own sexual partner; desecrating the Eucharist; and making an attempt on the life of the pope.




Mathematical Conversions

Maths teacher was teaching mathematical Conversions Teacher : If 1000 Kgs= 1Ton.Then how much is 3000 Kgs Santa : Ton!Ton!Ton!

to be the richest trick dog in country . I performed before kings. I was in the army and circus.” “Hey!” said the neighbour. “He can talk. Why do you want to sell him for just 100 rupees “ “Because,” said the seller, “I’m getting tired of all his lies.”


Final Examination Santa reported for his university final examination, which consists of “Yes/No” type questions. He takes his seat in the examination hall, stares at the question paper for five minutes, and then in a fit of inspiration takes his purse out, removes a coin and starts tossing it, marking the answer sheet Yes for Heads and No for Tails. Within half an hour he completes the paper. During the last few minutes, he is seen desperately flipping the coin, muttering and sweating. The examiner, approaches his and asks what is going on. Santa replies, “I’m rechecking my answers and I don’t think I did very good.”

Multiplication TEACHER: Cindy, why are you doing your math multiplication On the floor? CINDY: You told me to do it without using tables!

Lying Dog A man tried to sell his neighbour a new dog. “This is a talking dog,” he said. “And you can have him for 100 rupees.” The neighbour said, “Who do you think you’re joking with this talking dog stuff? There is no such animal.” Suddenly the dog looked up with tears in his eyes. “Please buy me, Sir,” he pleaded. “This man is cruel. He never buys me a meal, never bathes me, never takes me for a walk. And I used

TEACHER : “Can anybody give an example of COINCIDENCE?” JOHNNY: “Sir, my mother and father got married on the same day, same time.”

Religious man VS The atheist A very religious man lived right next door to an atheist. While the religious one prayed day in, day out, the atheist never even looked twice at a church.However, the atheist’s life was good, he had a well-paying job and a beautiful wife, and his children were healthy and goodnatured, whereas the pious man’s job was strenuous and his wages were low, his wife was nagging every day and his kids wouldn’t give him the time of the day. So one day, deep in prayer as usual, he raised his eyes towards heaven and asked:“Oh God, I honour you every day, I ask your advice for every problem and confess to you my every sin. Yet my neighbour, who doesn’t even believe in you and certainly never prays, seems blessed with every happiness, while I go poor andsuffer. Why is this?” And a great voice was heard from above:”BECAUSE HE DOESN’T BOTHER ME ALL THE TIME!”

God- The Artist A Sunday school teacher began her lesson with a question. “Boys and girls, what do we know about God?” A hand shot up in the air. “He is an artist!” said the kindergarten boy. “Really?! How do you know?” asked the teacher. “You know – Our Father, who does art in Heaven.”

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Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009


Letters from the heart


ommunication nowadays is so varied, e.g. telephones, e-mails, blogging etc. But the oldest form of communication, is letters! We are about to read two letters-one from a father to his kids and the other from a journalist who knows that he is about to be killed. US President-elect, Barack Obama, wrote a simple, yet powerful and encouraging letter to his daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7. In his letter, he said that he entered the race for the White House because of what he wanted for them and for every child in the nation. When he was a young man, he thought life was all about himself, but when the two of them came into his world, his thoughts changed. “I realized my own life wouldn’t count much, unless I ensured that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours”. Obama’s desires included: challenging and inspirational schools for children, equal opportunities to go to university, well paid jobs with benefits, e.g. health care and pension plan, and encourage development of new technology and inventions. He also spoke of his vision of a ‘changed’ United States that reached beyond race, religion, gender and region. He would not send young Americans to war unnecessarily. He wanted his daughters to grow into compassionate, committed women with no limits to their dreams and achievements. The next is a part of an editorial titled “And they came for me”. “I have been a journalist for a long time, 2009 will be “The Sunday Leaders “ 15th year. During this time, Srilanka

In his letter, he said that he entered the race for the White House because of what he wanted for them and for every child in the nation. has deteriorated a great deal. A civil war and terror has become the order of the day. Murder has become the primary tool whereby the state seeks to control the organs of liberty. Today it is the journalists, tomorrow it will be the judges. For neither group, have the risks even been higher or the stakes lower. Why then do we do it? I too am a husband and father of three children. I too have responsibilities and obligations. Is it worth the risk? Friends tell me to revert to a better and safer livelihood. Others, including political leaders on both sides, have induced me to take to politics, even offering me ministries of my choice. Diplomats, recognizing the risk journalists face in Srilanka, have offered me safe passage and the right of residence in their countries. I was never stuck for choice, but there is the call of conscience. Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

“The Sunday Leader” is a controversial newspaper. The articles are supported by evidence. From the free media, you learn the state of your nation managed by people you elected. Sometimes, it is not pleasant, but while you grumble, the journalists who inform you, do so publicly and at great risk to themselves. That is our calling, and we do not shirk it. We agitated against state terrorism and openly stated that Srilanka is the only country in the world to bomb its own citizens. We were labeled traitors, and if this be treachery, we wear that label proudly. Many suspected “The Sunday Leader” has a political agenda, which it does not have, Neither should our distate for war be interpreted to mean that we support the Tigers. The LTTE is one of the most ruthless and blood thirsty organizations. On two occasions, I was brutally assaulted and on another occasion my house was sprayed with machine gun fire. Despite the government’s assurances, there was no serious police inquiry and the attackers were never caught. I therefore believe the attacks were inspired by the government. In some places, he also mentions that the Srilankan President, Mahinda Rajapakse, was his close friend once but was now keen to wipe him off from the face of the earth. When I am finally killed, it will be the government that kills me. I know it is a matter of time before I am killed. However, if we do not speak out now, there will be no one left for those who cannot speak. On January 8, 2009, Lasantha Wickramatunga, editor of “The Sunday Leader” in Srilanka, was shot dead by two gunmen on a motorcycle. The unique thing about this editorial is that it was written with an awareness that his end was near.

S. Rajvee, 31

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here was a blind girl who hated herself just because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her lover for he was always there for her. One day the blind girl told her lover that if she could only see the world, she would marry him. After a few days, someone donated a pair of eyes to the blind girl so that she could see everything, including her lover. Her lover asked her, “Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?” The girl was shocked when she saw that her lover was blind too, and she refused to marry him. Her lover walked away in tears saying. “Just take care of my eyes dear.” Only few people remember what life was before, and who had always been there with them even in the most painful situations. Hold every person close to your heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you have lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones.

The Fern and the Bamboo


ne day a man was so dejected, that he decided to quit his job, his relationship and ultimately he wanted to end his life. Before that he wanted to have one last talk with God. He walked into the woods and knelt down and cried out saying, “God, can you give me one good reason as to why I should live? My family and friends hate me and I don’t like to live at all. God replied, “Son, look around. Do you see the fern and the bamboo?” “Yes”, the man replied. “When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.” He said “In the third and fourth year too, there was still nothing from thebamboo seed. But I would not quit.” He replied “Then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the 32

earth,.and within a few months, the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.” He said to the man.”Did you know, my child, that all this time that you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots?” “If I did not quit on the bamboo, will I ever quit on you? Don’t compare yourself to others, God said. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both made the forest beautiful.” Similarly, joys and sorrows are both essential to our lives. Remember that God will never give up on you, so never, ever regret a day in your life. For good days give you happiness and bad days give you experiences. Both are essential to life.

The Pandit


nce upon a time a foolish Brahmin came to visit Birbal with a strange request. He wanted to be addressed as ‘pandit’. Now, the term ‘pandit’ refers to a man of learning. But unfortunately this poor brahmin was uneducated. Birbal tried to explain the difference to him saying that it was not correct to call an uneducated man a pandit, and because of this it would be improper to call him so. But the silly Brahmin had his heart set on this title. So, as usual, Birbal had a brilliant idea. He said that as the Brahmin was an uneducated man, he should hurl abuses and stones at anyone who dared to address him by the very same title he wanted. Then Birbal called all his servants to himself and ordered them to call this lowly Brahmin a ‘pandit’. The Brahmin was very pleased. But the moment the servants started calling him ‘pandit’ he pretended to be very angry and started to abuse them loudly. Then he picked up a few stones and hurled them in their direction. All this shouting and screaming drew a crowd. When people realised that this Brahmin was getting angry every time anyone called him ‘pandit’, they all started to tease him. Very soon the whole town started referring to him as ‘pandit’ much to his delight. The foolish brahmin never realised why people were calling him in this manner, but he was extremely pleased with the result. He thanked Birbal from the very bottom of his foolish heart.

Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

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Natural Course Of Life

Parable Of The Pencil


he Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box.

“There are 5 things you need to know,” he told the pencil, “before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget them, you will become the best pencil you can be.” You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone’s hand. You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you’ll need it to become a better pencil.


rich man asked a Zen master to write something down that could encourage the prosperity of his family for years to come. It would be something that the family could cherish for future generations. On a large piece of paper, the master wrote, “Father dies, son dies, grandson dies.” The rich man became angry when he saw the master’s work. “I asked you to write something down that could bring happiness and prosperity to my family. Why do you give me something depressing like this?” “If your son should die before you,” the master answered, “this would bring unbearable grief to your family. If your grandson should die before your son, this would also bring great sorrow. If your family, generation after generation, disappears in the order I have described, it will be the natural course of life. This is true happiness and prosperity.”

You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make. The most important part of you will always be on what is inside. On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write.

Creative Solitude


The pencil understood and promised to remember, and went into the box with purpose in its heart. Now replacing the place of the pencil with you. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best person you can be. You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in God’s hand, and allow other human beings to assess you for the many gifts you possess. You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, by going through various problems in life, but you’ll need it to become a stronger person. You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make. The most important part of you will always be on what is on the inside. On every surface you walk through, you must leave your mark. No matter what the situation, you must continue to do your duties. Allow this parable on the pencil to encourage you to know that you are a special person and only you can fulfill the purpose for which you were born.

ccording to a Greek legend, in ancient Athens, a man noticed the great storyteller, Aesop, playing childish games with some little boys. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in such frivolous activities. Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string and placing it on the ground. Then he said to the critical Athenian, ‘Now answer me this riddle, if you can. Tell me what the unstrung bow implies.’ The man looked at it for several moments, but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. After a while Aesop explained, ‘If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it.’ Like the bow people too need to relax. We all need to take time to rest. A certain amount of loosening, diversion and entertainment can equip us for greater action.

A.J. Frank sdb

Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009



Find the old-man-out: BALET RACIH NACIMORA


Who does Andy go swimming with? Connect the dots from 1 to 75 to find out.


Re-arrange the letters in each of the following line to spell the names of certain Indian States.


Which mouthpiece should the frog use to play his music?


Answers for the January 2009 Brain Teasers

1. Black dot should have been in the place of white and vice-versa. 2.

3. The ball of wool comes from sheep “C” . 4. (The number in the tail is 3 times the difference between the numbers in the wings).

Printed and Published by Y.F. Balasamy Yettukury on behalf of Salesian Publishing Society 45, landons Road, Chennai 600 010 and Printed at SIGA Press, 49,Taylors Road, Chennai - 600 010. Editor, Glorious Steve 34

Don bosco fEBRUARY 2009

Don Bosco Magazine  

A Family Magazine