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SPCSA Vision Building Meeting Starts Off in Guwahati

By Frs. Jayaprakash & Antony
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Guwahati, Apr. 3. The SPCSA (Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia) Vision Building Meeting commensed in Don Bosco Institute, Joypur Kharguli, Guwahati today, 3 April. Fr. Maria Arockiam Kanaga, the Regional Councillor for South Asia, the 11 Provincials of India and the Vice Provincial of Sri Lanka, Fr. Maddichetty Noel, the Secretary of  SPCSA, SPCSA Commission heads, Directors of Development Offices, and specially invited resource persons were present for the meeting. The meeting is to conclude on 4th April.
Fr. V.M. Thomas, the Provincial of Guwahati Province hosting the meeting, welcomed the participants with an inspiring address in which he extended a ''welcome to the world of Ideas'' and challenged the participants to be open to the changing times with new and creative responses. Asking the Salesians to take on new attitudes, capabilities and behaviours, he exhorted them to create a Valdocco of the present times and to dare and Hope like Don Bosco and early Salsians.

Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga in his key note address explained the purpose of the vision building meeting and exhorted everyone to think out of the box to achieve this. He told them that the Salesian charism is a growing charism which is very open and adaptable to the challenges of changing times. He pointed out to certain areas of importanace to be re-examined with regard to the mission and services to the youth, especially the target group, the areas of ministry, the quality and span of youth animation, etc. He said that all the salesians need to be ''creative misfits'' (mystics)  and ''loving agitators'' (prophets), and Servants of the young the way our one and only Master would like us to be.

Mr Amitab Behar, Director of National Foundation of India, the main resource person, speaking on international and national perspectives on planning, policies and advocay for youth, challenged the assembly to listen to the narratives of anger coming from the youth today, and to their aspirations as the vision building exercise goes ahead.

Fr. Jerry Thomas, Director of College of Social Work, Jorhat, the second resource person, critiqued the prevalent  style of youth services and  asked for some paradigm shifts, and proposed a concept called ''Fifth Space''  (a space that the youth can call their own apart from the conventional four spaces they share with others ) in planning the youth ministry of the future.

The South Asian Commission Heads also presented to the assembly the vision of their respective commissions for the coming years and what priorities they would propose in making these vision realistic in in South Asia.

Mr. Khilesh Chaturvedi, Director ASKcom, led the participants to break into groups to discuss on the issues and areas of concern for the youth in South Asia, what should be the Salesian response, what are the implications on the Salesians' current structures and functioning, and how they have to be dealt with. Mr. Chaturvedi is the expert who will be coordinating the sessions on vision building in the scheduled two days.

At the end of the day's sessions Fr. Maria Arokiam released the new Salesian Family Directory, handing over the first copy to Fr. Michael Peedikayil, the provincial of New Delhi province, and to Mr. Rajesh Gupta, the World Confederal member of Don Bosco Alumni.

The day ended with a musical evening and felicitation dinner at the Provincial House Lawns sponsored by a Don Bosco Guwahati Alumnus, Amit Kumar Jain and his friends. Familiar Salesian spirit and  spontaneous sharings by some participants lightened the mood of  the evening compered by Fr. V.M. Thomas, the host Provincial.

The Vision builiding meeting will be followed by the SPCSA annual General Assembly and Council Meeting, on 5th and 6th April.
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