The Salesian Family Delegates from South Asia gathered in Dimapur Province from October 31 to November 4 with a mission to cultivate unity, strategize for growth, and channel the teachings of Saint John Bosco, the driving force behind the Salesian Family organization.
The assembly brought together 39 Delegates of Salesian Family Members like Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), Salesian Co-operators (ASC), Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), Association of Don Bosco Past Pupils (ADBPP), Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC), Volunteers of Don Bosco (VDB), Catechist Sisters of Mary the Immaculate Help of Christians (SMI), Disciples (DISC), Visitation Sisters of Don Bosco (VSDB), and Volunteers with Don Bosco (CDB).
Father Joan Luis Playa SDB, the Delegate of the Rector Major for Salesian Family, Br. Domenico Duc Nam SDB, Delegate for Salesian Past Pupils and Co-operators, Father Alejandro Guevara SDB, in-charge of ADMA, Sr. Leslye Sandigo FMA and Lucrecia Uribe FMA, Central Delegates of Salesian Family, Co-operators, and ADMA were present for the animation. The event also saw the presence of Father Joseph Pauria, the Provincial in charge of the Salesian Family in South Asia.
Fr. Joseph Manippadam the Salesian Family Delegate for South Asia, and Fr. Mathai Kottarathil SDB, the host Province Delegate, ensured the smooth execution of the program. The inauguration was marked by a solemn Holy Eucharist by Fr. Manippadam setting a spiritually rich tone. Fr. Jose Kuruvachira, the Provincial of the Salesian Province of Dimapur, extended a warm welcome to all the delegates, and Don Joan Luis Playa SDB initiated the animation session. The participants were greeted with traditional indigenous attire.
The event served as a platform for strategic planning and engaging discussions. Fr. Joseph Manippadam presented a comprehensive strategic plan, shedding light on growth and potential opportunities for the Salesian Family. The presentation sparked lively group discussions, delving into pertinent insights and future plans to strengthen the Salesian Family. The assembly also shared and discussed best practices presented by various groups.
Throughout the event, attendees participated in enlightening sessions conducted by distinguished speakers such as Sr. Leslie Santigo FMA, Father Alejandro Guevara SDB, and Sr. Lucrecia Uribe FMA, with topics, the animation and accompaniment of the Salesian Family, the foundation and objectives of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), and the Salesian Family's Marian identity.
Reflective activities added an innovative touch to the event. Participants were engaged in group discussions and participated in a ‘museum walk,’ silently choosing pictures representing Synodality and sharing their interpretations and insights. Fr. Playa also shared information about an association of parents of Salesian fathers in Uruguay, hinting at the possibility of future membership in the Salesian Family. Additionally, the World Councillor for the Salesian Co-operators offered insights into the governance structure and upcoming celebrations for the 150th anniversary.
Featuring a joint session between the Delegates for the Salesian Family of South Asia and the Youth Ministry Delegates of South Asia, emphasis was placed on collaboration and unity in working for the young people in the charism of Don Bosco. The final day of the event was graced by Fr. Biju Michael, the Regional Councillor for South Asia, who celebrated the Holy Eucharist. A morning session by Fr. Biju Michael delved into the psychological needs of individuals, highlighting the importance of inclusion, influence, affection, fostering understanding and collaboration within the Salesian family while respecting individuality.
Fr. Joseph Manippadam presented a draft of the manifesto, reflecting on the deliberations of the Salesian Family meeting, which was unanimously accepted and passed after extensive discussions and edits. The event wrapped up with participants reflecting on their takeaways, which included gratitude, a sense of family unity, enthusiasm, and growth in the Salesian spirit, leaving them committed to continuing their journey in Synodality.
The closure included a heartfelt vote of thanks from Fr. Joseph Manippadam expressing his gratitude to all involved in organizing and hosting the gathering. As participants embarked on their onward journey, a prayer from Exodus 3 accompanied them, providing inspiration and blessings for their mission ahead.
At the end of the meeting, each one’s experience was gratitude, oneness of the family, enthusiasm and growth in Salesian spirit and to walk in synodality to the future. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks by Fr. Joseph Manippadam expressing thanks for Joan Playa for his great passion that he ignites into the group, sisters Leslie and Lucrecia who used modern techniques in their session, Br. Dominic Duc Nam in charge of cooperators, Fr. Alejandro Guevara, local delegate Fr. Mathai Kottarathil, the community, the provincial and his team, and the local team of fathers for all the arrangements. The prayer taken from Exodus 3 accompanied the participants on their onward journey to fruitfulness of the common mission.