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'Incredibly Northeast' Finale concludes the Bicentenary Youth Expo

By Youth Expo Media Team
The Holy Mass on the final day of the DB Bicentenary Youth Expo, Shillong
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Shillong, Apr. 29. Sunday was a proof that Shillong is hard to beat in celebrations. Forget the inclement weather, over 20,000 people thronged Mini Stadium in Laitumkhrah area of the Capital city on Sunday, 26 April, eager to be part of the grand finale of the Don Bosco Bicentenary Youth Expo that had the city buzzing for four days on end with an array of exciting offers and activities.
The Holy Eucharist in the morning, presided over by Bishop Victor Lyngdoh of Nongstoin, along with 75 priest-concelebrants and attended by the mammoth gathering of faithful was the high point of the day. In his homily Bishop Lyngdoh, terming Don Bosco 'a preacher of the gospel of liberation,' underscored the relevance of the Saint in today's world. The need to ''dream with and for the young'' he said, ''is today more urgent than ever, and we pray that  Don Bosco may inspire us all to do it''. The occasional drizzle that interspersed the holy Mass did not dampen the spirit of the participants a bit.

The cultural program in the afternoon which literally brought the Expo to an end was one of a kind - an assortment of the creme de la creme of Northeast sights, sounds, beats and rhythms. Lapping it all up were the 20,000 strong audience led by heavyweights like Mr Alexander Laloo Hek, Minister for Registration and Stamps, and several other departments of the Government of Meghalaya, Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil SDB, Apostolic Administrator of Jowai Diocese, and a host of other dignitaries.

Fr. George Maliekal, Provincial of Silchar welcomed the chief guest, guest of honour, other dignitaries and everyone present. Fr. Provincial also thanked all who worked hard to make the Expo such a resounding success, especially vice provincial Fr Paul Olphindro, who was the Chief Coordinator of the event. The Guest of Honour, Archbishop Menamparampil, in his talk invited everyone to be like Don Bosco a 'great game-changer'.

The Band piece by Savio Juniorate and the 'Bi-centenary anthem' by the Choral Evangelists of Shillong set the tone for what turned out to be two hours of exhilarating cultural fiesta. The cultural presentations from various parts of the Silchar Province were of a quality befitting the solemnity of the occasion. Be it the Hojagiri dance from Tripura, the Bengali dance from Silchar, the Cheraw from Mizoram, or the 'Shad Khad-ar Lyngdoh' from Nogpoh, there was about them a streak of perfection and an exactitude that made it a pleasure to watch. The same was true also in the case of 'Don Bosco Forever'- a choir piece by the Shillong region and the dance story ''Ka Laho Bet ka Samen Kynthai'' by the Jaintia region.

Mesmerized by the scintillating performance, the Chief Guest  Mr Hek, lauded the Youth Expo for helping the young to explore and exhibit their talents, for promoting national and regional integration of cultures.  He hoped ''the celebrations proved to be, for all in the Salesian Family, an occasion to renew and re-affirm their commitment for the cause of the young''.  After the speech he distributed prizes to the winners of various competitions and also released the music album  'Petals of Harmony' produced by St Anthony's College, Shillong.

The Cultural Program and the Expo itself came to a close with a few still moments of prayer during which the entire gathering thanked God for all His blessings. When the Savio Juniorate Band signalled the end of the Expo, with their piece, ''We thank you O Lord for Don Bosco'', over 20,000 hearts in unison knew they had just been through an experience, the good effects of which would linger within them for months to come, if not years. Ms Rwmani Debbarma, a participant from Tripura seemed to echo the sentiments of most participants at that moment when she said, '' This gonna stay with me for a while... this gonna make me nostalgic!''
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