India – The curtain rises on the Team Visit to South Asia: “Forward together on the path of the 28th General Chapter”

by Fr. Sebastian Fernando

The Team Visit to the Salesian South Asia Region began on Wednesday 1 March 2023, as scheduled. Still ongoing at the “Don Bosco” Provincial House in Hyderabad, India, the theme is developing : “Forward together on the path of the 28th General Chapter”.

At the opening of the proceedings, addressing the 126 members present, coming from all over South Asia, the Rector Major, Don Ángel Fernández Artime summarized that the Team Visit is a tool for animating the General Council and at the same time an experience of communion in the Congregation. He stated: “It is a precious moment for the 12 Inspectors and their Councilors of the Region to live and experience this communion. This makes us more aware of our charismatic identity and of the communion that unites us as brothers of the same family. We are here much more to listen and learn from you too, rather than to give you advice. I am convinced that Don Bosco and our Mother Mary Help of Christians are accompanying us on this significant journey.”

The central speakers of the first day were Fr Joe Mannath, who presented the theme “The state of religious life in the region”; Fr Biju Michael, the Regional Councillor, who spoke about “The state of the Salesian Region, today and in perspective”; Don Ivo Coelho, General Councilor for Formation, and Don Gildasio Mendes, General Councilor for Social Communication, who illustrated the topic “The growth of charismatic identity”. Finally, based on the contributions of the Provincial Chapters of the region, Fr Robert Pen, Regional Delegate for Formation for South Asia, presented a “SWOT” analysis (Strengths, Areas for Improvement, Opportunities and Risks) of the Region.

After each presentation, time was set aside for questions and clarifications and comments were made on the themes. In the afternoon, however, the participants divided into specific groups to discuss the challenges and practical applications of living the life of the Salesian charism and charismatic identity.

The reflections and lines of action developed by the groups were then presented to the common assembly. The lively interaction of the participants underlined the richness of the Salesian charism and the importance of presenting it creatively to young people.

The day ended with the community prayer of Vespers and the Salesian “goodnight” offered by Fr Roshan Miranda, Superior of the “St. Joseph” Vice Province of Sri Lanka (LKC), who recounted the difficult moments that the country is going through due to of the economic and financial crisis that has affected the entire nation.

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The society of St. Francis de Sales or Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), is a religious Congregation founded by St. John Bosco in 1859 in Turin, Italy for the purpose of helping, educating and training poor boys. To date, services of the Salesians have spread to 131 countries in the world. In Sri Lanka, the very first Don Bosco Centre was established in 1956 at Negombo. The Salesians of Don Bosco have, to date established 18 centres in different parts of the country. 


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