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Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) Rural Trip

By BIS correspondent
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Mumbai, Jan. 20. A group of 7 youth and 2 adults accompanied by Fr. Cleophas Braganza left Don Bosco Youth Services, Mumbai on December 31, 2013 for a visit to some rural areas in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. As a preparation for the bicentenary of the birth of St. John Bosco, the motive of the trip was to visit and know more about Salesian presences and their activities in rural areas of the province, interact with the youth and promote the SYM, have an experience of the liturgy, culture and lifestyle of the people, and envisage future collaboration between DBYS and the rural youth groups.
The group arrived at Ahmednagar and stayed at Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra, and participated in the New Year's Mass at St. Anne's parish. On New Year's Day, they went to a village where a social worker explained the watershed concept and other empowerment projects. They also met the women of the village self-help group. In the evening, after visiting the Salesian communities of Savedi and Bhingar, they had an opportunity to interact with the youth of St. Anne's parish.

On the 2nd of January they group proceeded to Nashik, where they met the Salesians at the parish and the novitiate, and visited the sisters' novitiate and Maria Vihar.

On the 3rd morning, they had a short but meaningful forum with the brothers at Divyadaan, followed by Mass and breakfast. Besides meeting the youth at the parish and the Satpur mass centre, they also visited the Shrine of the Infant Jesus, St. Anne's cathedral and the St. Patrick's parish, Devlali. One of the youth commented, 'An unexpected bonus was having Bishop Lourdes Daniel speak to us and give us his blessing'.

On the 4th morning, half the group returned to Mumbai while the rest headed to Nagpur, where they stayed at the Salesian community of Jaitala.

On Sunday the 5th, they participated in the Eucharist and other activities animated by the youth of Our Lady of Fatima parish. One of the youth commented, 'It was a nice experience meeting the dynamic youngsters at the end of the programme'. They then visited St. Charles' seminary, St. Francis de Sales' cathedral and the historic Deeksha Bhoomi where Ambedkar embraced Buddhism.

Arriving in Raipur - Chhattisgarh on the 6th morning, they were met by Bosco Monteiro and his family. Early the next morning, he drove them to the tribal missions of Barbaspur in the diocese of Ambikapur, where they had an amazing experience with the hospitable Oraon tribals, chatting, singing and dancing with them, and sharing their food. Staying there, they became aware that the people were content with their simple lifestyle, even though they didn't have access to higher education and modern technology.

Back in Raipur on the 9th, they had a session with some priests and religious gathered for a youth ministry course at the DPC, before the return journey to Mumbai.

When asked to share their experience the youth said, ''We learnt a lot through our practical experiences with the youth and the people in the places we visited. Our interaction with the youth opened us to new initiatives, filled us with enthusiasm looking at their dedication, and encourages us to envision future collaboration and exchange programmes. Our sincere gratitude to the Salesians who hosted us and guided us around. This trip is memorable because we saw firsthand how the faith is lived and celebrated in different cultures, and that provokes many questions about our own approach to life and faith. It also helped us realise how much we are blessed and how we become richer by sharing.''
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