International Symposium on Salesian Charism concluded

Shillong: The International Symposium on the Salesian Charism and Don Bosco in Northeast India was held at Sacred Heart Theological College, Mawlai from the 20th –23rd September, 2022. The Symposium was held as part of the centenary celebration of the first arrival of the Salesians of Don Bosco to Northeast India in 1922. The three full days Symposium was packed with many resource persons from different parts of the mission of the three Salesian provinces of Guwahati, Dimapur and Shillong of Northeast India. The attendees of the symposium are mostly from the different congregations of the Salesian family. Fr. Philip Barjo, the Rector of Sacred Heart Theological College, in his welcome speech welcomed everyone to the Symposium and added that such event will help everyone to go back to the spirit of the father and founder - Don Bosco. Fr. Jose Chunkapura, the President of Sacred Heart Theological College introduced the Symposium as the way to get back to the footsteps of the founder. Fr. A.L Jose, the organizer of the Symposium read out the message of the Rector Major, who wish all the Salesians working in Northeast India to have a fruitful centenary celebrations.

    The first resource person of the Symposium was Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, who spoke on the topic of ‘the Salesian Contribution towards the Emergence of the Northeast as a Peaceful and Spiritually Inspiring Region’. Archbishop Thomas is a well known ‘peacemaker’ to most of the ethnic conflicts of the tribes in Northeast India. In his talk he mentioned that the Salesian presence in Northeast India has made a tremendous change among the tribes to live in peace with one another. ‘The peaceful coexistence among the tribes in Northeast India is mostly the contributions of the Salesians missionaries’ he said. Practically all the major tribes of Northeast India are being presented by the different resource persons who have been working as missionary or belonging to those tribes. Bishop George Palliparampil presented the Salesian missionary works to the East Arunachal Pradesh, Fr. Roland Kharkhrang of the Khasis and the Jaintias, Fr. Jose Chemparathy of the West Arunachal Pradesh, Fr. John Zosizma of the Mizos, Fr.Jogesh B. Sangma of the Garos, Fr. Ishorary Sebastian of the Boros, Fr. Joseph Pulinthanat of the Tripura region, Fr. Jonas Kerketta of the Adivasis of Assam, Fr.Paul Panachickal of the Rabhas, Fr.Joseph Teron of the Karbis and Tiwahs, Fr. Lukose Cheruvalel of the Assamese. Besides all these presentations on the contribution of the Salesian Charism among the different tribes of Northeast India, there were also different resource persons who spoke on different themes such as Fr. Roy Anthony Parackal on the Preventive System, Fr. Thomas Manjaly on the Salesian Charism: A journey of the past and trajectories for the future, Fr. Thattil Umbavu Joseph on Tribal Languages, Fr. Parankimalil John on the contribution of the Salesians to Education, Fr. Parackal Johnson on Youth Ministry, Fr. Arickat Davis on Integral Human Development, Fr. George Maliekal on the 100 years evangelizing mission and Fr. Barnes Mawrie on Catechesis. In between or before the presentation of the resource persons there were different animations such as choir, prayer dance, reading of the scripture and prayer performed by the novices of the different congregations of the SALESIAN family and the choir groups that are closely associated with the Salesians.

         The arrival of the Salesians to Northeast India in 1922 has brought a tremendous change to the living condition of the different tribes of Northeast India particularly in forming the Diocesan clergy of the different Dioceses in Northeast India. Fr. Richard Majaw, the Vicar General of the Shillong Archdiocese said that the Salesians played a vital role in forming the diocesan clergy. In his short message, Fr. Richard Majaw reminded of the salesians’ contribution such as the St. Paul Seminary, Christ King College and Orien Theological College for forming diocesan clergy. Sr. Maria Goretti, the Provincial of the MSMHC Shillong Province also gave her short message and thank the Salesians for their contributions towards their congregation. Fr. Paul Ophindro Lyngkot, the Provincial of the Salesian Province of Shillong thanked all the participants of the Symposium and invited them all to remain faithful to the charism of Don Bosco.

    The Symposium which was aired LIVE on the YouTube Channel of Don Bosco Media Network and on Local Cable Network Channel 279 was also participated by many on ONLINE Platform through ZOOM Meet arranged by St. Anthony’s College. It was very unique in which all the attendees actively participated in all the talks and presentations. After every presentation of 40 minutes or more, 20 minutes were given for questions, clarifications and interactions on the topic of the presentation. Most of the attendees online as well as offline clarified their doubts and questions the resource persons during the interaction period. The Symposium ended successfully on the evening of Friday, the 23rd September, 2022.


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