The Community with Fr. Arokiam, the Regional Superior of South Asia
The notice boards were up and there was excitement in the air among the boys as they were waiting in their formal attire for the Regional Superior to arrive on Sunday, 29 August 2010. Fr. Arokiam's Bolero turned into Dominic Savio's from the Tolani gate at 06.35 pm. The bells were rung and the boys came rushing down to meet and greet Fr. Maria Arokiam, Regional Superior of South Asia of the Salesians.
The boys sat around and had a welcome song ready for Fr. Arokiam. Fr. Godfrey D'Souza, the Rector introduced Fr. Arokiam to them and informed them that he had come on an official visit to meet the Salesians and see the works that are going on and listen to people if there were any problems and appreciate all the good that is being done. On this official visit he would see all the activities and departments and meet all the staff possible. He was here just for a day and we had to make the most of his presence and time definitely was not enough for the complex house that St. Dominic Savio's is.
He had a formal introduction to the visitation with a prayer service in the evening and he gave a conference to the community and made himself familiar with the works and activities of the institution..
We began the 30 August in prayer at 06.10 am and Fr. Arokiam preached the meditation on the themes of GC 26 after which we went for mass which was well animated by the boarders.
The Eucharist with the boarders
The school assembly began at 08.00 am with the Chief Guest Fr. Arokiam marching in accompanied by Fr. Edwin Colaco, Mrs. Vidya the Supervisor and Fr. Godfrey D'Souza the Rector while the students welcomed the guest with a round of applause.
Fr. Godfrey was invited by the compere to introduce the Chief Guest, Fr. Arokiam to the school. Among the many things that Fr. Rector said was that Fr. Arokiam had a Ph.D in Philosophy and was a very simple and unassuming person warm and friendly in spite of the many important posts he help in the Chennai Province he hailed from. He was elected to the General Council as Regional Superior in the last General Chapter help in 2008 in Rome.
After the welcome of Fr. Arokiam by Fr. Godfrey, the students presented a bouquet of flowers as a token of appreciation and love.
The School Captain presenting the bouquet
The VII A were conducting the assembly this morning and for their theme they took, 'Building a world filled with Peace and Harmony'. They enacted a skit in which two families constantly fought and it never seemed to end. But it was the gentleman in the home of the D'Mello's that made his wife see the wisdom of being kind and forgiving and creating pockets of peace and harmony.
At the end of the skit and a song that was sung in keeping with the theme of 'Care for Creation' Rev. Fr. Arokiam was invited to say a few words. He spoke of cultivating good values and it was Don Bosco's desire to always instill in the young to be good people in their faith and honest citizens. He also told them that they should be happy being in a Don Bosco institution as we are connected to all the Don Bosco schools as we are presently in 132 countries of the world.
Fr. Arokiam spoke of how we are all connected to each other: God, us and the world and that we need to take care of everyone in and around our world and during our lives.
He was then invited to give away the cash prizes of the elocution competition recently held in the school.
Fr. Arokiam addressing the assembly
Giving away the prizes
The main purpose of Fr. Arokiam's visit was to meet each salesian and listen to them and the next couple of hours was left just for that.
At. 01.30 pm we had a meeting with the entire staff: Pre-Primary, Primary and Secondary; the NIOS and the office staff.
With the staff members
Having finished with the school Fr. Arokiam then went to Prafulta and Balprafulta to meet with them and spend the next three hours with the entire team.
With the staff of Prafulta
A brief presentation was made on the services that Prafulta offered – counseling, career guidance, diagnostics, psychotropic medication, remedial education, occupational therapy and several training courses and programs. Fr. Arokiam was impressed with the variety of psychological services offered as also the vast number of people Prafulta reached out to. Addressing the doctors and psychologists he said, “I cannot overstate the need for psychological help in today’s world, not just in general, but also for religious, priests, and all those who work with other people. This area of growth has largely been neglected and hence greater focus is required on healing the psyche.” The Regional congratulated this unique work and asked Prafulta to encapsulate it in a module so that could be replicated in other parts of the world.
With the staff of Balprafulta
The Social Workers of Balprafulta made a powerful presentation of their work with exploited and marginalized children. The Regional felt happy that Balprafulta was focused on securing specific rights for children viz. Child Protection and Child Participation. He commended the organization on the strategies used in networking and advocacy. He emphasized that the need today is not just uplifting victims in society, but going further and changing political and socials structures that cause injustice and deprive children of their childhood.
In the evening there were three groups lined up to meet Fr. Arokiam, the ESC (Evening Study Classes Children) met Fr. Arokiam at 06.15 pm and put up a couple of songs, read their report and all the wonderful work happening in the ESC.
A welcome song by the ESC
A floral presentation by a student representative
The next group were the Cooperators who were ready and already around for a while. Fr. Godfrey introduced Fr, Arokiam and a short report of the activities and programmes were mentioned by Triffy. Mrs. Agnes Santos gave a bouquet of flowers on behalf of the Cooperators.
Agnes saying it with flowers
Fr. Arokiam informed the Cooperators that they were very important as they were the arms of Don Bosco in the world and it is through them that the spirit of Don Bosco lives on by being good parents and leaders in the various positions they are in especially in the field of animation in the parishes and youth centres.
The Past Pupils were the last group that met Fr. Arokiam. They too turned out in large numbers. They also had a report read out with the actvities that were had during the entire year and the plans for the future. They were an enthusiastic lot and in his talk to them Fr. Arokiam told them that the spirit of Don Bosco could penetrate the world through them and that it was important that as past pupils they needed to get into politics to chage the corrupt system and make things right. As a body of past pupils they had the power to empower others.
At 08.30 pm Fr. Arokiam had his report ready and got the community together to share with them his impressions, observations and recommendations. We had a moment of prayer thanking God for all His blessings and graces and for all that was happening in our Community for the good of the young.
Moments in front of the Lord
After dinner he left for Bosco Boys Home, Boriivili. It was indeed a packed day for Fr. Regional. The boarders wished him well on his journey ahead.