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Salesian Family Congress 2015 begins in Kolkata

By Joaquim Fernandes, sdb
The Rector Major Don Angel Fernandez Artime addresing the #SFC2015 at Don Bosco Liluah, Kolkata-India
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Mumbai, Sep. 26. The South Asia Salesian Family Congress 2015 began today in Don Bosco School Liluah, Kolkata. The mega-event commemorating the conclusion of Don Bosco's Birth Bicentenary is organised under the auspices of the SPCSA [Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia], co-ordinated by Fr. Noel Madhichetty - Salesian Family Delegate South Asia and convened by Fr. Nirmol Gomes - Provincial of Kolkata. The event-theme ''One Family One Mission of Don Bosco'' unites 2000 participants from 11 groups of the Salesian Family.
The inaugural Eucharist was presided over by Archbishop Thomas D'Souza of Kolkata with the Provincials of South Asia as primary concelebrants and a large number of priests, religious, lay consecrated. In his homily, Archbishop D'Souza invited the participants to live the dream of Don Bosco in generosity and loving-kindness.

This was followed by the felicitation of the various guests and dignitaries, with Fr Ivo Coelho - the General Councillor for Formation delivering the inaugural message. He invited the participant to ''rejuvenate, renew and revive the spirit of Don Bosco as a movement of peoples with and for the young.''

Post-noon, His Excellency the Governor of West Bengal Shri KeshariNath Tripathi, delivered the inaugural address and opened the Salesian Family Congress Exhibition. He appreciated the immense service rendered by the Salesian Family, recollected the words of Don Bosco ''that you are young is enough for me to love you very much'' and invited the participants to ''be passionate like Don Bosco... create a situation of love, a vast network of people to take upon issues at various levels, ever ready to join hands for the uplift and betterment of youth.''

Fr Maria Arokiam Kanaga - Regional Councillor South Asia delivered the key-note address 'One Family One Mission -A Vision for the Salesian Family in South Asia'. He invited the participants to a paradigm shift emphasising '' we need to shift from congregational individualism to networking; from apostolic genericism to Salesian identity, target and spirituality; from welfare model works to rights based approach; from institution building to movement building.''

The afternoon witnessed visual presentations of the various groups of the Salesian Family in South Asia, with palpable excitement to welcome the Rector Major Fr Angel Fernandez Artime on his maiden visit to India and to the City of Joy. The long awaited moment arrived at 17:30 hrs when Fr Maria Arokiam welcomed the Rector Major with a floral & shawl present saying ''Don Bosco is among us. This is what we have been waiting for.''

A lively and interactive panel discussion co-ordinated by Mr Conrad Saldanha brought up the serious issues that needed prioritisation, reflection and transformation. The panellists and the other members of the SFC2015 engaged in a dialogue of understanding, reflecting aloud and exploring avenues to further the One Family One Mission of Don Bosco. The Rector Major also blessed rosaries and released the Salesian Family Directory and the Bicentenary Souvenir - Don Bosco, A Symphony of Grace.

A cultural programme of graceful variety and heart-warming photo-ops with the Rector Major was followed by the 'Good Night' in which the Fr Artime offered 3 criteria for the Salesian Family in South Asia, ''Respect and value each member of the family, Love each other, Grow in communion between the groups. This motto you have chosen is really wonderful, this motto is good for the entire Salesian Family the world over. Isn't it true we have such a wonderful Salesian Family in this world?'' A resounding yes with broad smiles brought up dinner on a day full of mixed emotions, joyous associations and familial spirit after the heart of Don Bosco.

The Rector Major's Good Night can be accessed at Don Bosco South Asia YouTube Channel

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