Celebrations began to Mark 200 Years Since the Birth of Don Bosco

DB YEAR 2Rector Major Says the BICENTENARY YEAR is a “Year of Grace” to Be Experienced With “Deep Gratitude” and “Great Joy”

A year of celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Saint Don Bosco began to mark the bicentennial of our Founder and Father DON BOSCO. All our communities of??????? FMA INDIA and the SDB have had solemn inaugural ceremony to mark the beginning of this great year of Don Bosco – 16 August 2014 to 16 August 2015

Here below is the opening message for the BICENTENARY YEAR, given by Father Ángel Fernández Artime, SDB, Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation and the 10th Successor of Don Bosco. The address was given Aug. 16th at Colle Don Bosco, near Turin, Italy.

Opening message of the Rector Major – Father Ángel Fernández Artime for the BICENTENARY YEAR

199 years ago, on a day like today, a child came into the world, John Melchior Bosco, in these very hills, the son of humble peasant folk. Today, as we begin the Bicentenary of this historical event, we thank God profoundly for what he did through his intervention in history, in the real history of these hills that make up the Becchi. In one of the articles of the Salesian Constitutions, it says that “With a feeling of humble gratitude, we believe that the Society of St  Francis de Sales came into being not merely as a human venture but by the initiative of God… Through the motherly intervention of Mary the Holy Spirit raised up St John Bosco to contribute to the salvation of  youth. The Spirit formed within him the heart of a father and teacher, capable of total self-giving … The Church has acknowledged God’s hand in this, especially by approving our Constitutions and proclaiming our Founder a saint.”
DB YEAR 1The Salesian charism is the gift which God, through Don Bosco, has given the Church and the world. It was formed over time, from Mama Margaret’s knees to friendship with good teachers of life and especially through everyday life in the company of young people.
Today we find ourselves as the Salesian Family of Don Bosco, a Salesian Religious Family, along with many civic and Church authorities, friends of Don Bosco, and young people, amidst these very same hills where he was born, declaring the beginning of celebrations for the Bicentenary of his birth. After three years of preparation and one of celebration, the point of arrival will be next August 16, 2015 when it will be 200 years since he came into the Church and the world for the good of young people.
The Bicentenary of St John Bosco’s birth is a jubilee year, a ‘year of Grace’ which we would like to experience within the Salesian Family as deep gratitude to the Lord, humbly but with great joy, since it is the Lord who has blessed this beautiful spiritual and apostolic movement founded by Don Bosco under the guidance of the Help of Christians. It is a jubilee year for the more than thirty groups who make up this great family, and for many others who, inspired by Don Bosco, his charism, his mission and spirituality, are hoping to gain recognition as members of this family.
It is a jubilee year for the entire Salesian Movement which in one way or another makes reference to Don Bosco in their initiatives, activities, proposals, and who share his spirituality and efforts for the good of the young, especially those who are most in need. For all of us throughout the Salesian world this Bicentenary aims at being not just a time of simple celebration but a valuable opportunity offered us to look back with gratitude, to look at the present with confidence, and to dream of the future of the Salesian Family’s evangelising and educational mission with the energy and novelty of the Gospel. It is an opportunity for courage and a prophetic outlook, allowing ourselves to be led by the Spirit who will always lead us to the newness of God.
We believe this Bicentenary will be an opportunity for a true pastoral and spiritual renewal in our Family, an occasion for bringing the charism to life and making Don Bosco relevant, as he has alwaysbeen for the young. We believe that it will be an opportunity for living the Mission entrusted to us with renewed vigour and conviction on behalf of children, teenagers, older youth around the world, especially those most in need, the poorest and most fragile.
DB YEAR 4The Bicentenary will be a time when, as a Salesian Family, we will continue following Don Bosco’s example as we go out to the physical, human peripheries of society and the young. As then with Don Bosco, the Bicentenary year and the road we embark on need to be a time for contributing what in all humility lies at the core of our charism: our determination to interpret the social situations, especially those involving the young, which affect us today; our commitment through clear choices on behalf of young people who are marginalised or at risk of being such; our faith and complete confidence in them, in each young person, in his or her possibilities and capabilities; our certain belief that they are good of heart, whatever their story, and have the opportunity to become masters of and play a key role in their own destiny; our remaining by their side if they will accept us, to help them develop their talents to the full, fully develop their vocation as Christians and human beings.
And finally, this Bicentenary should also evoke the memory of so many men and women who have heroically given their lives for this ideal, in some of the most difficult and extreme conditions in the world. This is a triumph, an inestimable treasure which only God can give proper value to.
With this belief, we feel more encouraged not only to admire Don Bosco, not only to DB YEAR3perceive the relevance of his gigantic stature, but to feel strongly and absolutely committed to imitating the man who left these hills to go to outlying Valdocco, and the rural periphery of Mornese to involve others with him, anyone and anything that would be in favour of the young and their happiness in this world and in eternity.
From this hill at the Becchi we now declare the year of Celebration of the Bicentenary of Don Bosco’s birth open. May he bless us from Heaven and may he help us obtain the grace to make our commitment and our dream a reality.
Father Ángel Fernández Artime, SDB

Centenary Celebration of the of death of Sr. Angela Vallese, the First Missionary (INC)

Holy Child, Auxilium, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi DSCF6771(Sr. Celine Alex) To the melody of let all proclaim to the Glory of the Lord, with flags in their hands the Sisters and young people marched to the Chapel to praise and thank God for the unique gift of this valiant missionary, our beloved Angela Vallese.

There was indeed the true fragrance of genuine sanctity and fervent missionary ardour in the hearts of all present and this was very evident too. The beautifully prepared, meaningfully celebrated and actively participated liturgy had very special touches.

DSCF6716Rev. Fr. K.U. Mathew sdb celebrated the Eucharist and gave a very thought provoking homily. The very presence of our dear Mother Provincial Sr. Maria Pettayil and the members of all the communities of Delhi Region did add a very festive touch to our celebrations.

To climax it all there was a special missionary pledge which planted in the hearts of all a burning zeal to be missionaries in the world.

On this great and significant day of the death Centennial of our first Missionary sister, Sr. Angela Vallese, we, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, commit ourselves, to live that same, audacious, missionary spirit, inflamed and fired with the zeal of the Da Mihi Animas coetera tolle, placing all our faith in God alone, overcoming all difficulties and DSCF6761barriers, in the trust we place in Him, to dare and do, in total dedication and obedience, all for His glory and the good of souls, thus faithful to the charism towards missionary horizons, making the dream of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello come alive today, with a generous and unconditional answer : “ I’ll GO” .

“I ‘ll Go”, Yes “I’ll Go wherever you lead me Lord…”


Nine new members for the Province of Shillong

first profession2

The Newly Professed with Fr. Guillermo Basanes SDB, Councillor for Missions

Nine tribal women hailing from the three tribes of Meghalaya state in Northeast India today pledged their lives for the service of humanity through their First religious profession in the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians at Mary Our Help Training Centre Bellefonte, Shillong.

first profession

Fr. Guillermo Basanes SDB giving the crucifix to the Sisters

After completing their two years of Novitiate the novices today (August 5, 2014) through a solemn rite of religious profession during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist made their nuptial covenant to the Lord.   The Holy Eucharist was presided over by Fr. Guillermo Basanes SDB, General Councillor for Missions along with many other priests. Among the priests present was Fr. T. C. George SDB, South East Asia Delegate for Missionary Animation.  During the homily, Fr. Guillermo invited the newly professed to be strong in their determination of following the Lord, he said, “Today you are pronouncing publicly for ‘one year’ but you are saying ‘forever’ in your heart”. Another point of reflection he made was that the Sisters should be ready to encounter and mingle along with everyone they meet in their mission be it children, young people or adults. The whole celebration took place in an aura of a serene and divine spell of the Bellefonte Chapel which made the event so heavenly coupled with the melodious choir under the guidance of Sr. Catherine Susngi.  Guided by their motto “Keep your roots deep in Him” (Col. 2:7) the Sisters freely and entirely dedicated their lives for the welfare of young people. On behalf of Mother General, Sr. Isabella Suja, Provincial welcomed the Sisters to the Institute as members with temporary vows. DSC06554The province at large rejoiced at this great gift of the religious vocation of the nine Sisters and assured them of their support of prayers.

Those present for the occasion were the Sisters from the different communities of the province, the candidates from the formation houses, the parents and relatives of the newly professed sisters.

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Thirteen women said their “YES” forever (INS)

13 Perpetually Professed Sisters

13 Perpetually Professed Sisters singing their Magnificat

It is a day of great joy and jubilation for the FMA Province of Shillong as we witnessed the courageous and total “YES” of the 13 sisters – Sr. Anita Dhar, Sr. Aprilda Pasi, Sr.  Brigitha Marak, Sr. Ephrina Rympeit, Sr. Evalyne Dhar, Sr. Euginia Kyntiewlin Susngi, Sr. Olda Mary Shangpliang, Sr. Pherdalin Thongni, Sr. Plenish Marak, Sr. Rina Kharthangmaw, Sr. Rosaline Warbah, Sr. Teilanda Syngkon and Sr. Therina Mallai who pledged their fidelity to live for God forever on August 4, 2014 at St. Dominic Savio Church, Mawlai. The sisters belonging to the 10 Parishes of 4 Dioceses of North East India were accompanied by Sr. Isabella Suja, Provincial and their parents to the altar of sacrifice bearing in their hands a lighted candle- symbolic gesture of their total gift to the Lord as a beacon of His love to the world. DSC06337It is also an occasion to express gratitude to God for the fidelity of the 3 sisters who celebrated their silver jubilee- Sr. Iris Suchiang, Sr. Jubil Mary Dkhar and Sr. Lily Mary Kharbuki. Archbishop Dominic Jala SDB, DD of Shillong Archdiocese along with a good number of concelebrants offered the holy sacrifice. The Archbishop with his thought provoking homily invited the families to be homes of love, prayer, forgiveness, unity and become a sign of God’s love to the world. Being the year of the family, he emphasized much on the need to strengthen the bond of family love. He reminded the assembly that religious life too is a call to witness the same love of God to the world. The rite of the perpetual profession reached its climax with the solemn profession of the vows by the sisters which was followed by the solemn prayer of consecration.


Crowning by Archbishop Dominic Jala SDB DD

The ‘Veni Sponsa Cristi’ was intoned while the Archbishop crowned the sisters with a pink Crown a symbol of their covenant made with Christ. It was befitting moment to thank God for His fidelity as the newly perpetually professed sisters burst forth into a hymn of thanksgiving to God with their Magnificat.

The harmonious voices of the choir under the direction of Sr. Teresa Kamsuan added cadence and symphony to the celebration. The whole assembly shared the day’s celebration in a fraternal meal at Sacred Heart Convent after the Holy Eucharist.

IMG_0774The grand celebration brought happiness to everyone with the generosity of the sisters which speak volumes of God’s love and fidelity for humanity. We congratulate and pray that they remain faithful forever to the covenant they have made with God.

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Diamond and Golden Jubilee Celebrations (INB)

 Province of St. Mary Mazzarello, MumbaiJubilee 2014 FMA MUMBAI  INB  5A Celebration of Fidelity

(Sr.Caroline Menezes) Yes, that is what Jubilees are: A celebration of God’s fidelity towards humankind and our response to His faithful love. So it was fitting to praise and thank God for the Divine grace and for the cooperation of our dear Sisters in His Divine plan, because the two together unfold great and beautiful marvels.

Jubilee 2014 FMA MUMBAI  INB 13rd August 2014, dawned with the chiming of the Jubilee bells in honour of our Daimond jubilarian, Rev Sr Ruth Misquitta and the five Golden jubilarians, Sr Audrey Dias, Sr Sylvia Fernandes, Sr Beatrice Monteiro, Sr Gladys D’Souza and Sr Philomena D’Souza. Sr Rita Fernandes ushered us into the spirit of the jubilee with the well animated Morning Prayer. The prayer helped us go back to the Biblical spirit of the jubilee. At the end of it we congratulated the jubilarians and marched with them to the refectory for breakfast.

Jubilee 2014 FMA MUMBAI  INB 2The Eucharistic celebration began at 10.30 a.m. which was presided over by Rev Bishop Agnelo Gracias and concelebrants by five priests. The entire liturgy was very meaningfully animated by the sisters of Auxilium Convent, Wadala. Bishop Agnelo in his homily spoke about jubilee being a “Celebration of Fidelity”. It’s an occasion to look in the past and remember all that God has done in our lives and Jubilee 2014 FMA MUMBAI  INB  4be thankful to Him. It’s also an invitation to look towards the future with the hope that God will continue to walk beside us.

After Mass we gathered in the hall to felicitate our jubilarians. Rev Sr Caroline D’Souza along with her team compered the programme. At the beat of the music the jubilarians solemnly entered the well decorated hall and were greeted with a loud applaud. Our 6 sisters cut their jubilee cake while the congratulation song was played. Rev Sr Phyllis Fernandes raised the toast recounting in brief the self-giving of our dear jubilarians and thanking them. 

Jubilee 2014 FMA MUMBAI  INB 8 Then Rev Sr Wilma D’Souza felicitated them on behalf of all the Sisters of the Province  and presented  to them a bouquet of flowers and a gift. The felicitation programme followed with a song presented by the Sisters and students of Auxilium Convent Pali, a dance by the students of Auxilium Convent, Wadala and a skit cum dance by the students of Mazzarello Youth Centre, Wadala. An Audio-Visual Presentation prepared by Sr. Hilda Braganza, Sr. Perpetual Ferrao and Sr. Phyllis Fernandes was presented which beautifully brought out the precious life of the Diamond and Golden jubilarians. The programme concluded with a Jubilee song sung by the Sisters of the Province. Then Rev Sr Joanita prayed the grace before meals and we feasted with a delicious and sumptuous lunch.

Jubilee 2014 FMA MUMBAI  INB 6Dear Srs Ruth, Audrey, Philomena, Beatrice, Sylvia and Gladys we thank God for your life of faith, labour of love and enduring hope. May God accompany and bless God bless you now and always.



Jubilee 2014 FMA MUMBAI  INB 3 As Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, we joyfully commit ourselves to follow Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd and lovingly dedicate ourselves to educate young people in the Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello way.  Thomas Goodwin rightly said: “Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.”  And yes, indeed, we are grateful for all the blessings and marvels that have marked the lives of these our dear jubilarians.

Jubilee 2014 FMA MUMBAI  INB 7 CONGRATULATIONS! Dear Sr. Ruth Misquitta, Sr. Audrey Dias, Sr. Beatrice Monteiro,      Sr. Gladys D’Souza, Sr. Philomena D’Souza and Sr. Sylvia Fernandes and may God bless you.