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The Catholic Archbishop of Shillong Archdiocese, Most Rev. Victor Lyngdoh today, March 13, 2022 unfurled the flag of the Salesian of Don Bosco of Don at Bosco Technical School at Laitumkhrah, Shillong herlding the year-long centenary celebration of the arrival of the Salesian congregation in Shillong, on this day, a century ago.
The sombre function commencing the year-long celebration was held in front of the statue of Don Bosco, the founder of the Salesian congregation at the entrance of the premier technical school of North East India.
Way back on January 12, 1922, eleven Salesians of Don Bosco with missionary zeal came as missionaries to Northeast India. They landed in Guwahati on the 12th January 1922 and came up to Shillong on the 13th January, 1922.
The group was led by a charismatic and able leader Mgr. Louis Mathias who later became the first bishop of Shillong in 1934 and was then transferred to Chennai as its Archbishop. The eleven pioneering missionaries were – Mgr. Louis Mathias as the leader, Fr. Giovanni Deponti, Fr. Emmanuel Bars, Fr. Giuseppe Gill, Fr. Giuseppe Hauber, Fr. Paolo Bonardi, Bro. Pietro Aprile, Bro. Mario Calzi, Bro. Agostino Conti, Bro. Laureano Santana and Bro. Gumersindo Cid.
They hailed from four different European countries, namely, Italy, France, Spain and San Marino. These missionaries through their hard work and dedicated service to the Church and to society have laid a solid foundation for the years to come.
The simple programme started at 10.30 a.m. with the unfurling of the Salesian flag by Archbishop Victor Lyngdoh in the presence of the Provincial of Shillong Province, Fr Paul O Lyngkot, Vice Provincial, Fr John Zosiama, Salesian fathers and clergy and a few Salesian Co-operators.
The function was also marked by singing of the jubilee anthem and invocation of Mother Mary, who is also the patroness of the Salesian congregation.
This was followed by a short process from Don Bosco Technical Shool to the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christian, Laitumkhrah, Shillong via grotto for the Holy Mass.
The solemn and glitering procession was led by cross bearers, who carried the crucifix and exposition of the Bible signifying the revival of the Gospel by the arrival of Salesian Missionaries in North East India, after the Salvatorian Missionaries abruptedly left these hills due war.
The Cathdral Band decked in Whie and Blue dresses played the band intermitently along the road and also inside the Cathedral to resonate the services put by the Salesian congregation in North East India.
The procession converged at the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians for the Holy Mass. Archbishop Victor Lyngdoh was the main celebrant, celebrated the Holy Mass along with the Provincial, Fr Paul O Lyngkot u Provincial, Vice Provincial, Fr John Zosiama, Vicar General of Shillong Archdiocese, Fr Richard Majaw and Father Pascal Lyngdoh of Cathedral Parish, Laitumkhrah, Shillong
Speaking at the Holy Mass, Archbishop Lyngdoh thanked God for the Selesian congregation for their work of evangelize and also for the spread of education in the North East.
During the Holy Mass, the Co-ordinator of the Centinery Celebration of the Arrival of the Salesian congregation in Nort East India, Father A.L. Jose gave a short history of first Salesian Missionaries who arrive in North East India.