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''Don Bosco Does not Belong to the Salesians alone,'' - Bishop of Agartala

By Joseph Pulinthanath sdb
The Holy Mass at Don Bosco Parish Agartala was the high point of the Inauguration of the Bicenennial celebrations in Tripura
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Shillong, Aug. 17. ''Don Bosco does not belong to the Salesians alone, but to the whole Church,'' said Bishop Lumen Monteiro CSC, DD, Bishop of Agartala at the Holy Eucharist, the high point of the celebrations held last evening, 16 August, to mark the inauguration of Don Bosco's Bicentenary year at Don Bosco Parish Agartala.
A variety of programmes marked the inauguration of the bicentenary year of Don Bosco's birth in the Tripura region.

The premises of Don Bosco School Agartala turned into a festive ground today when hundreds of students from all schools run by the Salesian Family in the state came together at Don Bosco School Agartala to celebrate together the Birthday of their friend and Father Don Bosco.  The participating schools - Don Bosco School Agartala, Auxilium School Agartala, Don Bosco Schools of Bishramganj Parish, St. Xavier's School Pathaliaghat, Don Bosco School Baijalbari, Don Bosco School Mandwi and Ferrando Rehabiliation Centre Agartala, busied themselves with a host of well planned activities and competitions including Football, Kabbadi, Throw ball, Choir, Dance and Drama competitions.

Various groups of students and young people paid homage to the statute of Don Bosco that adorns the Bankumari trijunction on the Agartala Khayerpur bypass road. The statue, erected in public space in 2011, remains a singular act of homage by the Tripura Government in acknowledgement of Don Bosco services to the people of the state. The parish level celebrations in the evening also began with homage to St. John Bosco at this monument.

Hundreds of parishioners and inmates of Salesian Family institutions, co-operators, past pupils, pre-novices and other faithful walked in procession to the Church where Most Rev Lumen Monteiro CSC DD, the Bishop of Agartala hoisted the Bicentenary Flag.

The presence of a number of priests from SVD and Holy Cross congregations including the Provincial, Fr. KJ Abraham CSC and sisters from in and around Agartala reflected the truth that Bishop Monteiro reiterated in his homily that  ''Don Bosco does not belong to the Salesians alone, but to the whole Church.'' In a wonderful homily on Don Bosco that Bishop Lumen delivered at the Holy Eucharist that inaugurated the Bicentenary celebrations at Don Bosco Parish Agartala, he said, ''Not just the Salesians alone, but everyone who deals with youth in whatever settings must learn from St.John Bosco.''

Over 500 people participated in the Holy Mass that the Bishop presided over. The Prelate also called upon the Salesian Family to initiate activities for the welfare of the youth in Agartala town.

The program that followed the Holy Mass, in which the various Salesian Family institutions in the parish participated, highlighted the cultural variety of Tripura and celebrated the person of Don Bosco. The Provincial of the Holy Cross, North East India province, Fr. KJ Abraham, CSC spoke at the occasion and called Don Bosco an immensely 'popular saint, perhaps second only to St.Francis of Assisi.''

To mark the Bicentenary year, two lines of action have been chalked out. First, coaching classes for the poor children of the neighborhood at Don Bosco, jointly organized by Don Bosco School Agartala and the Past Pupils; Second, a program for special care of the youth of Agartala town, to be implemented jointly by the Co-Operators with the support of St. Joseph's and Don Bosco Parishes.

The day's programs came to an end with a delicious meal for all sponsored by the Salesian Co-operators.
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