A Dream turns into Reality
Dear friends (Alumni),
HAPPY FEAST OF THE BICENTENARY OF THE BIRTH OF DON BOSCO!
When Johny Bosco had a dream at the age of nine his eldest brother thought he was crazy and some of the neighbours wrote him off as a dreamer. But his saintly mother had a hunch that probably God had designs for him. Her three boys went their separate ways but Johny, the youngest, decided he would become a priest and work for deprived and abandoned youth. Soon Johny as a priest (Don Bosco), took on the establishment and set up organizations to address the youth issue.
In the 19th Century, when religious movements and Christian organizations were under scrutiny and were being suppressed by the secular authority, Don Bosco, almost singlehandedly organized groups and societies that would initiate and support educational and social ventures. He founded religious Orders for men and for women and other lay organizations that would support these initiatives. Don Bosco never forgot his roots. The loss of his father when he was only two years old, due to a severe bout of pneumonia, left a void that psychologists and sociologists believe propelled him into starting off the dynamic ventures and initiatives that made a difference to society. With no father-figure around he depended on his mother while growing up. She, in turn, watched over him and supported him even during his early days at the fledgling projects he started for young people. In fact, she played a powerful role in shaping his personality and giving him a sense of direction. The realization of Don Bosco’s dream today (2015). The Head of the Salesian family is the Rector Major. The present Rector Major is Father Angel Fernandez Artime, who was elected on 25th March 2014. The Society has 94 geographical provinces each of them headed by a Provincial. The Rector Major and his General Council of Advisers have a six-year term and are chosen by representatives from all the provinces in the world who form the General Chapter. Each local community is headed by a superior who is called a Rector who is appointed for a three-year term.
The Salesians today operate shelters for homeless or at-risk youths; Universities, colleges, schools; technical, vocational, and language instruction centers for youth and adults; and boys’ clubs and community centers. In some areas, they run parishes. The Salesians are also active in publishing and in communication activities, and in educational-pastoral work across the world. The Salesians publish their official publication, the Salesian Bulletin, in 32 languages. In India, the Salesians started India’s first Catholic University, in Guwahati, Assam: Don Bosco University. Don Bosco established the SDBs, the FMAs the Salesian Cooperators and another worldwide group called the Past Pupils (Alumni) (of the SDB & of the FMA). The Past Pupils are men and women who as young people attended a Salesian college, school, club, or parish. They bring to the workplace, the home, and to society the special Salesian ‘charism’ of joyful service that they imbibed during their student days. Young people today across the world stand in endless queues to enroll in a Don Bosco institution, or proudly proclaim the ‘Salesian’ experience they treasure. The Salesians [men and women Orders, and associate Institutes] celebrate the bicentenary of Don Bosco’s birth on 16th August 2015. Dear Alumni, you are the largest group in the family of Don Bosco and we are all proud of you. We pray for you daily and bless you. With much love and appreciation,
Your loving Father and friend,
Fr.Mathew Pulingathil SDB
Salesian College Siliguri Campus.