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Chennai Vocation Camp 2013 - Days of Non-stop Learning and Serendipitous Discoveries

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Chennai, May. 8. The 21-day-long Vocation Camp 2013 of the Province of Chennai which opened on May 1 is going ahead full steam these days at Don Bosco, Tirupattur. The 84 participants include 9 college graduates, 20 Class XII and 55 Class X boys from the six dioceses of the province - Ooty, Dharmapuri, Vellore, Chinglepet, Pondy and Madras-Mylapore. The camp is the culmination of a year-long work carried out by the provincial vocation promoter Fr. Parthibanraj.
In the course of the past year, Fr Parthiban visited scores of schools and parishes to speak to students about Don Bosco and the Salesian Congregation. He personally contacted 3,375 boys who had expressed not only a desire to know more about Don Bosco but also wanted to find out if they had a Salesian vocation. He kept in touch with them through letters and invited them for a one-day camp conducted in six different locations in Tamil Nadu in the month of January. Fr. Partiban then personally visited the families of the 270 boys who attended the one-day camps in order to get to know them better. Subsequently some 170 boys had signed up for the 21-day camp, but many could not make it to the camp as their college exams were postponed due to the recent political disturbances in the state.

The Camp is designed to give the youngsters a wholesome experience of Christian and Salesian life as well as an opportunity to reflect seriously about whether God is calling them to a life of priestly or religious consecration. The fun-packed three weeks of intense living, along with the carefully planned inputs, is expected to open them to the mystery of the world within and the world around them, leading them to a deep encounter both with the self and with God.

The programme offers a possibility of non-stop learning and serendipitous discoveries for the youngsters, helping them to get to know themselves better and improve their interpersonal and communication skills. The daily activities include prayer and liturgy, class and study, games and entertainments and opportunities for exercising their personal gifts and talents. As many as 16 Salesian priests, a Salesian Brother and a few lay professionals including doctors and psychologists will deal with an array of topics such as health and hygiene, intellectual development, social issues of the day, culture and its expressions, group experience, Christian and Salesian vocation, religious life, the Word of God, Sacramental life, Don Bosco and the Salesian mission in the Church, etc. Finally, on the last day of the camp the parents of the participants will meet with the youngsters and the Salesians in the camp.

In the day-to-day running of the programme, camp chief Bro. Augustine Arulraj is ably assisted by a team of three Salesian scholastics and five senior aspirants. The Community of Don Bosco, Tirupattur, has gone out of its way to make the camp an unforgettable experience for the participants.
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