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Salesians strive to enable the Young to build the Nation in the Constitutional Way

By Father Joaquim Fernandes SDB
SPCSA Council and Delegates meet, 2019
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Mumbai, Mar. 1. The 20th Salesian Provincials Conference of South Asia ( SPCSA)  Assembly comprising of the Provincial Superiors, SPCSA Secretary, delegates  from the Provinces and networks attended the SPCSA General Assembly held  on February 27 -28 at Don Bosco Institute of Development and Leadership, Dimapur, Nagaland, India.  
Father Maria Arokiam  Kanaga, Regional Councillor for South Asia, celebrated the Eucharist and then officially inaugurated the three year preparation for the centenary of the Salesian Missions in Northeast India to be celebrated in 2022. Father Guillermo Basanes SDB, General Councillor for the Salesians Missions, Rome, hoisted the Centenary Flag. The SPCSA reflected on the theme ''Salesians towards Nation Building''.

Father CC Jose, Rector of Don Bosco College, Itanagar, and overseer of the Centenary Celebrations in 2022, highlighted the importance of the preparatory years. There are three themes that will form part of the preparatory activities: 2019 - Imparting Gospel Values and Catechetics, 2020 - Youth Ministry, and 2021 - Salesian Spirituality.

Father Jose Kuruvachira, Provincial of the Salesian Province of Dimapaur, in his welcome address spoke about the brief history of the Province of Dimapur, which came into being in 1982 and comprises of the states of  Arunachal Pradesh, Upper Assam, Manipur and Nagaland.

Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, before launching the Preparatory Years praised the zeal and the hard work of the pioneering  Salesians and their successors who have toiled hard in the vineyard of the Lord which gave birth to three Salesian Provinces in North East India: Dimapur, Guwahati and Shillong.

The inaugural programme was interspersed with items such as Prayer Dance by Don Bosco Higher Secondary School,  Chakhesang dance by the Don Bosco Tech students  and the Centenary Anthem by Don Bosco School children.

The General Assembly began with the presentation of the minutes of the 19th SPCSA Assembly  by Father Albert Johnson, secretary of the SPCSA. The keynote address was delivered by Father Polycarp Xalxo, sdb from the Don Bosco College, Golaghat, Assam. He presented a research paper on the topic - Nation Building in the Constitutional way: What type of Salesians do we need today?  He presented the precarious scenario of the Indian politics. He affirmed that the constitution is very relevant today as it gives legitimacy and the right to liberty, justice, equality and fraternity.  The Constitution is a reasoned and deliberated text which safe guards citizens of our country.  

He dwelt on the topics  of Nationalism,  Indian Nationalism and Constitution of India.  He focused on the topic 'What type of Salesian we need today for nation building in the Constitutional Way?'  The Salesian as an educator of the young, needs to be a prophet of secularism, democracy and fundamental rights.  The type of formation he gives to the young should be an antidote to communalism, politicisation of religion and violence.   As an educator the Salesian should be someone who is engaged in tackling India's widespread illiteracy, the phenomenon of boys and girls dropping out of school, caste discrimination, and uneven economic development by industrialist.  A Salesian should live by the values he believes in.

Father Maria Charles, Director, DBYA explained the Don Bosco Youth Policy - A framework of Reference and thanked all his collaborators for helping him to create the policy for our South Asian Region.  This will be fine tuned, edited and sent to the respective provinces in our region.

On Day two Father Godfrey D'Souza, Salesian Provincial of Mumbai celebrated the Eucharist and thanked all the SPCSA members for their support for the past few years.  He completes his six year term in the SPCSA.  In his homily he exhorted each one to be effective priests and love the charism of Don Bosco and to place their trust in Divine Providence.
Each Province Delegate and the Don Bosco Youth Animation Center presented the strategies implemented on the theme given by the SPCSA '' Nation Building in the Constitutional Way'' in their various provinces.  It was a great to see the synergy among the Don Bosco Institutions who have organised quizzes, seminars, completions, training programmes, poster captions etc.  This was followed by the 12 Networks explaining their Innovative Approaches and Challenges in their respective areas of work viz Education and Spreading the Gospel Values.

The Salesian Facilitation Office (SFO) co-ordinated by Dr. Father Barnabee D'Souza will synergize the meta data and give a strategic perspective to the region's thrust and core area competencies and create impact analysis for better decision making process by the Salesians Provincials for their region. He gave a brief concept paper on the strategy to converge our various works in the South Asian Region through research and development.      
Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga launched the new booklet published by Father Maria Charles Antonysamy sdb, Director of Don Bosco Youth Animation, New Delhi.  The series of booklets gives an overview of the various topics dealt on Nation Building viz Good Governance for Progress of the Nation, Social Justice for Human Development and Peace, Duties for Healthy Democracy, My  Country is My Family, Building a Truly Secular Nation, Right to Freedom of Speech and  a Quiz on Indian Constitution etc.

Father Joaquim Fernandes, Regional Delegate, BOSCOM discussed the branding  and the strategic positioning and segmentation of the new Don Bosco India website He gave the blueprint of the website and discussed the content and design developed for the website.   A Branding template for all our websites/ collaterals in the South Asian Region with the registered Trade Mark would be sent to all the Provincials to be incorporated in our South Asian Region.  

Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga dwelt on the topic of  an association of the Salesians in the Secular World. He mentioned that many former Salesians who have worked with our institutions but have found their own calling and wanted to form a group under the banner of Salesians in the Secular World. It is a good idea to work on common causes and the target group of which is poor and abandoned boys and girls.  This group is not under the aegis of the Rector Major but just a group which desires to keep the charism of Don Bosco alive.

SPCSA Innovative Awards

The Salesian Provincials Conference of South Asia Innovative award was presented by Fr Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Regional Councillor for South Asia to Fr K M Jose, Salesian Provincial of Chennai on behalf of the Surabi Trust for their work towards empowering women.  They were instrumental for conducting a comprehensive awareness and sensitization campaign on integrated health care for adolescent girls and women entitled '' My Body My Right''. This programme is an integrated menstrual hygiene management awareness programme conducted for thousands of girls.  The ultimate goal of the project is to promote gender equity and good health among girls.

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