New Delhi, Okhla, Feb. 6, 2019: 5TH FEBRUARY 2019 (TUESDAY) The 8th Provincial Chapter of the Province of Jesus the Good Shepherd (INN) on the theme “What Kind of Salesians for the Youth of Today ?” commenced on 5th February 2019, at 5:00 p.m. in Bosco Hall at Don Bosco Provincial House, New Delhi.
Fr. Jose Parappully, the moderator of the Chapter, welcomed the chapter members and congratulated everyone for being punctual and appreciated ‘hundred percent attendance’ of all the chapter members.
Thereafter, Fr Joy Jacob, the Rector of Provincial House welcomed the Salesians to the provincial house and instructed them about the facilities available to make everyone feel at home.
The recollection talk given by the Moderator had its theme “Looking Back and Looking Forward”. He said that the recollection was very much part of the Chapter and served as an aid to put all the members into the mood of the Chapter. The talk began with the hymn to the Holy Spirit (Classical Hymn Veni Creator).
Fr. P.O. Jose at the very outset invited all the members to return to the General Chapter 27 that had the following themes: Mystics in the Spirit, Prophets of fraternity and Servants of the Young. He further mentioned that the present chapter analyzes specially the third theme of GC 27 namely Servants of the Young. During the course of the talk Fr. P.O. Jose posed relevant questions to check our living of the previous chapter. With the help of the icon of GC 27 (the wine and the branches), Fr. Jose made it clear that the theme of the present chapter is a follow-up of the last Chapter. He ended his talk by suggesting a new icon (Jesus washing the feet of his disciples) in order to better understand the current theme accurately.
The members had an opportunity to make their confessions after the talk. An adoration service facilitated by Fr. P.O. Jose brought the moments of recollection to a close. Fr. Jose Mathew, the provincial in his goodnight talk exhorted the chapter members to celebrate the Chapter with an attitude of openness.
A sumptuous dinner sponsored by the community of Don Bosco School, Alaknanda added a festive mood to the celebration of the Chapter.
6TH FEBRUARY 2019 (WEDNESDAY)
SESSION 1: INAUGURATION
The Provincial Chapter members gathered in the Bosco Hall at 9.00 am for the inaugural function. His Lordship Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, General Secretary of CBCI was the chief guest. Rev. Fr. Joe Mannath and Mr. Percival Holt were the other main guest speakers for the occasion. Fr. Jose Parappully, moderator of the chapter briefly introduced the chief guest. Fr. Jose Mathew, the Provincial of the Salesian province of New Delhi welcomed him officially with a bouquet of Flowers. Fr. Joe Mannath and Mr. Percival Holt too were presented bouquets of flowers as a gesture of welcome.
The inaugural ceremony began with the Bible procession during which a hymn was sung. The Bible was enthroned in the front of the hall. It was followed by the hymn to the Holy Spirit and prayer for the Chapter. The entire assembly was led into audio Lectio Divina on the gospel of the day by Fr. Jose Parappully.
The prayer moment was concluded with a minute of silence in memory of the deceased Salesians since the 7th Provincial Chapter held in 2015. They are the following: Br. Andrew Jojo, Fr. Padamattumel Varkey, Fr. Joseph Naikamparambil, Fr. Brian Kevin Diamond and Fr. Varappilly Jose.
Fr. Jose Parappullly invited Rev. Fr. Joe Mannath to address the assembly. Fr. Joe highlighted the three strengths of the Salesians, namely, Family spirit, enthusiasm for Don Bosco, our Founder and focus on the mission. Talking on one weakness, he underscored our failure to pass on Jesus to the young. Citing Fr. Pascual Chavez he pointed out that we failed to give spiritual accompaniment to the young. Further he quoted Fr. EgidioVigano who has said that the Salesian makes holiness charming. He said, “If we are to make holiness charming then there is reason to be.”
Then Fr. Jose Parappully gave a brief introduction to Rev. Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas and called upon him to address the august assembly. In his 20 minutes address Bp. Theodore elaborated the following characteristics of the priests:
- The young do not want arrogant priests and religious
- Salesians as models for the young
- Salesians as carriers of Joy and Hope
- Salesians as courageous leaders
- Availability to the people beyond our schedules
He emphasized the above basing himself on Evangelii Gaudium, the encyclical of the Holy Father Pope Francis. He gave a clarion call to the assembly stating in absolute clear terms that our duty is to be evangelizers. We must call on the name of Jesus when we need to without fear. In his final exhortation he asked the Salesians to be innovative in evangelization of North India. Finally, he invited the Salesians to collaborate with the Church, working hand in hand with the bishops of dioceses.
After the speech of Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas Fr. Jose Parappully introduced Mr. Percival Holt, President of ICYM to the assembly and invited him to address the chapter members and the guests present.
Mr. Percival had two parts to his speech. In the first part he highlighted the key moments and his experience of the Synod on youth in October, 2018 in Rome where he was representing India. He summarized the synod with two key words listening to the Young and their accompaniment. He explained that listening entails creating time and space so that the young can share their stories with the priests. Citing a Salesian of Goa he stated that if the young are not the domain of the Salesians it is a disaster. He further asked the Salesians to apply heart rather than their mind in their service to the young.
The inaugural function concluded with presenting of tokens of appreciation to the chief guest and other special guests. The assembly dispersed for the photo session and tea.