Goa Salesians celebrate “Triple Jubilee”
Tuesday, September 6 marked the ‘grand finale’ of a ‘triple Jubilee’ celebration for the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) in Goa. The Holy Eucharist Celebration was led by SDB Rector Major Rev Fr. Don Ángel Fernández Artime at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Panaji.
The year 2022 is a significant year for them. They have completed 75 years of their service, their first school has completed 75 years and the shrine of our lady Fatima has completed 52 years. The shrine completed 50 years in 2020 but the celebration was postponed due to the corona pandemic.
The celebration started on 24 January 2022 with the solemn concelebrated mass of St. Francis de Sales. The Provincial of the Salesian Province of Panaji, Father Felix Fernandes, presided over the inaugural Eucharist celebrations at the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, to mark the beginning of the celebrations of 75 years of Salesian presence in Goa.
THE JOURNEY OF SALESIANS IN GOA
In 1906, Dr. Wolfango da Silva, Dean of the Medical College of Goa and Director of the Government Hospital had expressed his fond desire of having the Salesians of Don Bosco in Goa. He had written on youth, saying that if anybody wanted to do something serious about saving the youth of Goa, (and it needed saving) the Salesians had to be called in.
Dr. Wolfango had the joy of seeing the Salesians in Goa in his last years.
The journey of Salesians in Goa started with a priest and a football. Around one year before Indian independence; on the night between 4 and 5 April, 1946, at about 11 p.m. a Salesian priest Fr. Vincent Scuderi arrived in Goa.
On the very first day of his arrival, Fr. Scuderi began bouncing a football in front of the house. That was the first step towards the 75 years of service for the people of Goa. At that time Goa was a Portuguese-ruled territory.
Fr. Scuderi was the founder of the Salesians in Goa, the story about him is that he spent his first night in the house that soon became the first Salesian house in Goa. He won the hearts of that area with his smile and a football. Though that football the priest started giving lessons to the boys in carpentry, and also gave birth to a technical school even before the ‘Don Bosco Escola Primaria’ (Don Bosco Primary School) came into existence.
Still for many people who have been at Don Bosco Panaji the names of Fr. Vincent Scuderi, Fr. Joseph Moja, and Fr. Joseph Carreno may sound quite familiar. Senior citizens who pray at The Shrine of Our Lady Fatima remember them and some even have stories about these priests.
Six months later a batch of six Salesians was sent to Goa to assist him, but Fr. Scuderi with the help of Bro Cajetan lobo had already started a primary school (Portuguese language), daily orator, boarding, carpentry and a chapel that became the reason for the growing number of the faithful for service.
The English primary school was started the following year in June, this school is celebrating its diamond jubilee this year. The foundation given by Fr. Scuderi nurtured over the years by many others who came after him. The number of Salesians who contributed to the growth is very long and is still growing. The Salesians have never lose focus from imparting education and working with youth.
The presence of Salesians in Goa grew throughout years.
58 years later, in August 2004, the Konkan vice province (dependent on the Bombay province) was inaugurated with Fr Loddy Pires as its superior. Three years later in 2007 the province of Panaji was established, comprising the entire state of Goa with the districts of Kolhapur, Ratnagiri, Sangli and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra and Belgaum, Bagalkot, Dharwad, Gadag, North and South Kanara and Udupi in Karnataka.
Don Bosco Panaji has been playing very important role in the growth of the state, country and the world since its beginning. For the Goan people it is more than a landmark institution. Alumni of Don Bosco Panaji can be found in countries all over the world and they will always vouch for the education they received at this institution.
Vinay Rao, an AI architect based in California, USA is one of the alumni of this institution, talking to The Goan he said, “One thing that stood out about my education at Don Bosco was that it was truly secular. We were all treated equally as students and there was no religious categorization whatsoever. That spirit has even endured the test of time. Forty-plus years later, we batch mates still keep in touch with each other and when we get together, it was as if we never left school.”
Another alumnus Cedric Vaz, now an engineer and businessman, said that the school prepared him well for the future and made him confident to deal with any situation. One thing that the school teaches to its student is that ‘One needs to work smartly to achieve one’s dreams.’
“At Don Bosco Panaji and in every Salesian Institution across Goa, coastal Karnataka and southern Maharashtra, we Salesians together with all our lay collaborators continue to be faithful to the educational philosophy of our Father and Founder St. John Bosco where every educational and pastoral activity is infused with Loving kindness towards all and more specifically towards the young and the marginalized. We believe that this key ingredient coupled with holistic education will enable every person to discover its God given potential and thus grow into being an upright and worthy citizen in today’s global society.” Current rector and the principal of Don Bosco, Panaji, Fr. Avin Carvalho said while speaking to the media.
PREPARED FROM MEDIA REPORTS.