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Brother Jose Puthenpurackel elected Brothers' National Delegate

By C.M. Paul
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Kolkata, Jan. 6. Bangalore - The 8th Congress of the Salesian Brothers of South Asia held at Don Bosco Skill Mission, Bangalore, from 30 December 2018 to 3 January 2019 elected Brother Jose Puthenpurackel of Calcutta province as the new national delegate for Salesian Brothers in South Asia region comprising of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Brother Puthenpurackel succeeds Brother Biju Joseph Poonamkavil of Dimapur province as delegate.

The theme of the 5-day Congress was: 'Salesian, be a Faithful Witness'.

A total of 130 Salesians participated in the congress, including 98 Brothers and 32 priests.

After serving as Vice-Principal and Principal of prestigious educational institutions of Calcutta province at Park Circus and Liluah, Brother Puthenpurackel is currently on an education mission as Principal of the first co-education Secondary School in Calcutta province among the Santal tribals of Murshidabad district at Azimganj.

Brother Puthenpurackel 47 years old, who holds three Masters Degrees in Sociology & Social Anthropology; Psychology, and Management besides two post graduate diplomas in Human Resource Management, and School Leadership and Management believes in providing quality education opportunities for tribal children.

In the past two and half years, Brother Puthenpurackel with the help of Don Bosco Alumni of earlier institutions where he served and with the help of friends and well wishers was able to set up a library with large collection of academic books in English and Bengali, a computer lab with 30 computers, 8,500 sq. ft. assembly hall area, and bring about total transformation in the school infrastructure and academic progress.

Brother Puthenpurackal does not hesitate to say, ''The school that used to have failures every year in the Board Examinations has for the past two years not only has 100% of the students passing the boards, even produced a state topper from the ST category Miss Roshni Hasda from this school. To impart skill training to senior girls along with academics, a tailoring unit with 30 machines too has been set up.''

Former Dean of Studies at Don Bosco Vidyaniketan Kalyani and Salesian College Sonada, Brother Puthenpurackel believes that, ''given the facilities and training, Santal tribal children can compete with their peers in any other prestigious English medium schools.''

Speaking about his plans for the Salesians Brothers of the region for the next five years, Brother Puthenpurackel says that a concerted effort would be made, ''to promote the vocation of the Salesian brother and make it known among priests and the faithful besides helping brothers to deepen their Identity, Visibility, and Credibility.''

Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, Salesian Bishop George Rajendran of Thukalay, General Councillor for Formation Father Ivo Coelho, Economer General from Rome Brother Jean Paul Muller, and Regional Councillor for South Asia Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga along with all 12 Salesian provincials of the region graced the 8th Brother's Congress with their presence at various moments.

The regional superior Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga delivered the Presidential Address while Economer General Brother Jean Paul Muller gave the key note address stressing ''the identity of the Salesian Brother as an apostle of Christ capable of proposing relevant solutions to the various challenges faced by the youth of South Asia.''

The reflections during the Congress were facilitated by the inputs of four resource persons  including Salesian Scripture Scholar Brother Abraham M. Antony who dwelt on the theme of Salesian Brothers as personal witnesses of the Lord from a biblical perspective.

Formation Councillor Father Ivo Coelho considered the Post-novitiate Formation of the Salesian Brother while Psychologist Fr. Edison Fernandez reflected on how to be a witness, drawing inspiration from the New Testament, the life of Don Bosco, and the Salesian tradition.

Administrator of Bosco Boys Home Borivli Father Adolf Furtado elaborated on how to be a witness to the youth of our times and challenged each participant to come up with three innovative responses to the concerns of the young.

The zonal meetings, the province-wise interactions, the religious-profession-wise sharing, and the various group discussions offered all the participants ample opportunities for airing their views and contributing their share to enrich the Congress.

The participants had the chance of listening to a panel of four speakers: the parents of a Salesian Brother, a Salesian Co-operator and two married men who were formerly Salesian Brothers.

There was also an open question-and-answer session, with Father Ivo Coelho, Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Brother Jean Paul Muller and Father Silvio Roggia, a member of the Formation Department in Rome.

Brother Puthenpurackel says, ''The entire Congress proceedings were characterized by a very serene, joyful and fraternal atmosphere. A good mix of both senior and junior confreres contributed to the richness of the Congress.''

Brothers' Congress concluded with a statement which listed action plans for three areas concerning Identity, Visibility, and Credibility of vocation to the Brotherhood.

Some of the plans include deepening Salesian Brother's spiritual testimony; promotion of Brother's vocation; and providing life sketches of famous Brothers in local languages in the coming four years.


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