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Seminar on Salesian Brother

By Cl. Lazarus Lepcha sdb
Bottom: Novices in discussion about the Vocation of the Salesian Lay Brother. Top: (from L to R) Br. Thomas Srampickal, Br. Lawrence MOndol, Br. TV Johny.
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Kolkata, Dec. 2. .   SILIGURI:  Nazareth Bhavan, the Salesian Novitiate of Kolkata province in Siliguri organized a daylong seminar on the Salesian Brother on 29 November, where both the novices and Salesian brothers presented papers on the vocation, identity and apostolate  of the Lay Salesian  and held serious discussions to the benefit of the participants.
Br. T.V. Johny's key note address ''Salesian Brother: A challenging vocation to respond to the needs of today's young people,'' paved the way for the rest of the lively sessions of the seminar. Besides the presentation his own personal story of living the vocation of the Lay Salesian with joy and contentment clarified the rather oft misunderstood vocation of the Brother. ''Vocation is the individual and specific call of God, to be a priest or a brother, but the choice is ours,'' said Bro. Johny. The anthem of the Salesian Brothers added colour to the dynamic key note address, unambiguously projecting the identity of the  Brother, stating ''We are the Salesian Brothers together following Jesus, the Don Bosco's way''.

Bros. Lawrence Mondol and Bro. Roy John as moderators of the 11 sessions of the day, helped the seminar to delve into the research works of novices on various themes, such as Vocation of religious brother in the church, Vocational identity of Salesian Brother and his apostolate, characteristics of the Lay Brother, and his spiritual life.

Beside this, Novices Emmanuel Nayak  and John Rabha gave a brief summary of the lives  of Bl. Zatti and Venerable Simon Srugi which made it clear to the participants that the vocation of the Brother offers clear possibility to achieve sanctity, finding and living it through the ordinary happenings of the day.

The seminar was an eye opener to most of the participants concerning the completeness and meaningfulness of the vocation of the Brother while placing it along with priestly vocation.

The panel discussion in the evening was a God-sent opportunity to listen to the many stories of the Brothers.  ''Brother, you have lived so long as a Salesian Brother, have you ever felt the indifference of the priests towards you in the Salesian Congregation?'' asked novice Shyamol to Bro. KJ Thomas, who in return gave a na�ve grin and replied, ''I did my duties with mission oriented mind of Christ, and they did theirs; I am happy with my vocation.''

Bro. Johny also emphasized the fact that whether we are salesian priests or Brothers we should be genuine.  Bro. Lawrence in sharing his vocational journey spoke with nostalgic feelings the cherished memories of the initial years and  how he made the choice to become a Brother.  He acknowledged that he is ever happy and cheerful in his vocation.

As the panel discussion came to a closure, the Vice Rector of novitiate  Fr. Motilal Kisku thanked the panelists, the novices, and Fr. Johny, the chief mentor of the seminar, bringing the day to a very happy and contended conclusion.



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