On the 26th November 2009, Fr. Michael Fernandes, our Provincial came to St. Dominic Savio's Andheri for his official provincial visitation of the community. He arrived at 02.00 pm and he was welcomed by the Rector and some of the confreres of the community and the boarders got together and sang a welcome song. He began his visitation with Prafulta and Balfrafulta by meeting the staff of Prafulta at 02.30 pm. Fr. Godfrey D'Sa the Director of Prafulta welcomed Fr. Provincial and introduced him to the staff. He gave a brief description of the works and activities that are being done by Prafulta and the team of experts of Doctors and Therapists that make up Prafulta. There was a discussion that followed and Fr. Provincial said a few words in appreciation of the great work being done by the experts and Prafulta and congratulated them for being involved in this field of counselling and therapy.
At about 03.45 pm the Balprafulta team next met the Provincial and once again Fr. D'Sa introduced the Provincial to the team after which he gave an idea of the works and activities being carried out by Balprafulta. Mr. Santosh Shinde then highlighted some undertakings that were carried out by Balprafulta and some of the cases of child labour they were looking into. The meeting with them got over at around 04.40 pm.
At 05.00 pm Fr. Provincial had his conference with the confreres of the community. He spoke on aspects of community living and how we can help sustain community living and growth by accepting one another.
At 06.00 pm he met the Salesian Cooperators and spent some time with them. He shared some news of the salesian family and informed them of the new members of the salesian family such as the VDBs (Volunteers of Don Bosco) and the ADMA (The devotees of Mary Help of Christians) and the Mamma Margaret group (parents of salesians). At the end of the meeting the Cooperators who were present took a photograph with the provincial and the delegate of the Cooperators, Fr. Godfrey D'Souza.
Fr. Provincial and Fr. Godfrey with the Cooperators
At 07.00 pm Fr. Provincial went to meet the children of the Evening Study Classes. They assembled on the first floor of the school building in front of the Principal's office and put up a small programme for Fr. Provincial reading out an address and a dance by the girls. Fr. Provincial thanked the group and the children and encouraged them to make the best of the facilities available for their study, recreation and growth.
The girls of the ESC dancing
Some of the children of the ESC watching the dance
A closer view
After this Fr. Provincial met the Past Pupils at 07.30 pm. and Fr. Blaise Fernandes the Delegate of the Past Pupils asked each member to introduced themselves. Fr. Provincial informed the PPs to have a vision and to see how they could be involved in a greater way in reaching out to the marginalized or to see if they were able to adopt a muncipal school and help the children in such settings. He also suggested that he would be happy to see either the cooperators or past pupils running some of the institutions such as the Shelter Home in Lonavla or Karjat or even taking up the Evening Study of the children from the bastis and slums.
It was already 08.15 pm and the salesian community gathered around the provincial for dinner. After dinner there was a short good night prayers and after that a welcome address read out by Master Steven Fernandes and then Fr. Provincial gave the good night to the boarders.
At the Eucharist with the Provincial
On the 27th morning, the community gathered together for meditation at 06.10 am and then went for the Eucharist with Fr. Provincial as the celebrant. All the boarders were present for the Eucharist and sang well during the mass.
At 08.00 am we had the school assembly of the secondary students with the scouts leading Fr. Provincial, Fr. Rector, Fr. Principal and Fr. Vice Principal. Fr. Godfrey D'Souza the Rector of the Institute introduced the Provincial to the gathering and informed them that this visit of the provincial was an official visit that is made once every year. The students had as their theme "Save Water, Save Life.' They put up a skit showing how water should be saved and conserved and that one should take care of this precious gift that preserves and sustains all life.
The skit put up by the boys
Some of the salesians present at the school assembly
The students watching the school programme
Fr. Provincial addressing the school gathering at the Assembly
At. 09.00 am there was the Primary school assembly and once again Fr. Provincial was present for this gathering of the primary kids. The kids began with 'If I were a butterfly.....' and then put up a couple of songs to welcome Fr. Provincial. They also put up a skit that conveyed a message that said if Love is what we first seek, all the other things such as wealth and success automatically follow.
The primary section with their welcome song
Say it with flowers
After the School assemblies the Provincial had time to go around the campus and meet the confreres. At. 01.30 pm he had a staff meeting of all the staff members: the Kindergarten, the Primary, Secondary and NIOS together. Fr. Rector welcomed the provincial once again and for the records he informed the provincial that the school has a set of dedicated and committed teachers who give their life to the kids in instilling right values and principles. Fr. Provincial in his talk to them gave them five points of effective teachers. After his talk he asked them if they would like to say or share anything with him. They commended on the salesian staff and the way things were done and that there were a lot of changes for the good and that the school was clean.
At 02.30 pm there was the assembly of the Pre-NIOS and the NIOS in the school hall. A welcome address was read out to the Provincial and a floral tribute was given to welcome him. With this the provincial had met all the groups in the complex.
At Assembly with the Pre-NIOS & NIOS
Fr. Provincial saying a few words to the NIOS school
At. 03.00 pm he had the concluding conference to the confreres of the community and a few points of appreciation and some suggestions for improvement. After the conference we had a photograph together with Fr. provincial and all the boarders before he left for the Provincial House.
A group photograph with Fr. Provincial
It was nice having Fr. Provincial, our Don Bosco in our midst, for the last day with us.
Welcome again Fr. Provincial.