Annual Visitation of the Future Salesians.

Rev. Fr. Provincial welcomed by the savio's.

Rev. Fr. Provincial welcomed by the savio’s.

Azimganj: In the happy and joyful mood of Christmas and new year, the provincial of Kolkata came to visit Savio Bhavan[ the formation house of Kolkata province] on 13th of January 2013. The staff members of Savio Bhavan along with aspirants and pre-novices were really glad to have him in their midst. He was like living Don Bosco, who had come to visit the future Salesians of the congregation.

He was welcomed warmly by the community members of  Savio Bhavan and then they sang a welcome song for him. Meanwhile each members’ joy and happiness was doubled by the short visit of Fr. Jose[ the vice-provincial of Kolkata]. Community was really lucky to have both provincial and vice-provincial. This was the first time that both of them were present together in Savio Bhavan. His main purpose for visiting the community is to see how the Salesian conferrers of Kolkata are working in this formation house. He stayed in our community for four days. During his stay he presided over the Eucharistic celebration every day for the community, as well as for the two different courses, PNC and 1st years. His homily and goodnight talks were really inspiring ones. “I was truly fortunate enough to meet him and talked with him personally about my vocational journey on religious life”, expressed by one of the community members.

His presence was felt and touched by every member of the community and even by the non-teaching staff, cooks and farm workers.


Savioites head towards Behrampore to express their faith.

The Pre-Novices and the Aspirants of the Savio Bhavan along with Fr. Rector and Br. Assistant moved out of Savio Bhavan for the church of Mary help of Christians in Behrampore for the Annual Eucharistic procession on 2nd of December.The Savioites reached quite early so that they could have some time for seeing a new parish and its surroundings. The Holy Eucharist began at 2 O’clock which was presided over by His Holiness Rt. Rev. Joseph Gomes, the Bishop of Krishnagar. It was also a day kept for the reception of the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation. There were 20 young people receiving Holy Communion and 14 received Confirmation. His holiness spoke about the need of deeper faith and devotion to the sacraments and our fidelity to it. The church was packed with the faithful of near and far villages of the parish. There were many priests from nearby parishes.

After the Holy Mass the procession began from the parish and took its route along the YMCA ground going to the Rabindra Sadan and returning back along the SP Bungalow. There was variety in ways of our expression of our faith to our lord Jesus by means of religious dances, Bhajans, music, rosary prayers and hymns in various languages. It was a perfect expression of our faith. The Savioites were behind the Blessed Sacrament saying their prayers and singing hymns.

Finally the procession concluded in the parish compound with a small talk by the Parish Priest of Chapra, who very nicely presented the theme of faith and the problem of Christians in expressing their true faith in Jesus Christ. His Holiness gave us the final Blessing and a vote of thanks was read which was concluded with light refreshment.

All of us holding together

Azimganj, 16th October: The community of 2012-13 had its conception on 1st of June with the arrival of the Pre-Novices and it was made complete with the coming of the aspirants on 26th June. Since then three months have passed and the community has grown both in relation and information. The superiors decided to have the community month on the month of October because of other activities and the absence of other members after that, therefore the community month was decided to be held between 30th of September till 17th October.

The two weeks celebration came to its end with the beginning of three days of celebration on 15th of October with the felicitation and the thanksgiving ceremony for the Non-Teaching staff at 4.15pm. This was followed by the reception of Fr. Rector from the MHC garden where Fr. Rector was carried on a carriage as the boys danced the traditional steps of Adivasi culture and led him to the nearest airport and then he landed at Savio Bhavan by a flight for the opening ceremony of the community day. The capos of various groups led Fr. Rector for the washing of the feet in Santhali tradition followed by surprise welcome of Rev. Fr. Punchakunnel Joseph, former Novice Master, Rector of Salesian College, Sonada and a Missionary in Bolivia for 25 years. Then the organizing group began the evening with the opening prayer service where the members got an opportunity to express their gratitude to others. This led to the solemn dinner in an open air surrounding in the basketball ground named HOTEL ALPONSA where the members had to sit according to their lot and as they were having their dinner Br. Arvind was conducting an interview of all. Many said it was their first experience, for few it was something new and for some it was very delighting. The day one ended with dance.

The main day saw its beginning with the solemn Eucharistic celebration in the chapel lead by the breakfast and community games like thousand goals and Rugby during which the boys expressed their joy by putting colors on each other. In the afternoon the boys had an experience of ‘Happy hour’ where they were asked questions on the community the Delhi group stood first. In the evening after an hour of Eucharistic adoration we had a family gathering where the Savio group presented the spiritual bouquet to father Rector. This was followed by grand dinner. The day was ended by kissing of the relic of Don Bosco.

The third day had its speciality of its own. The boys had cooking picnic in their respective apostolic group succeeded by an open lunch in the football ground. This was accompanied by a game of bingo. In the evening the boys had a trip to Chandabagh, a farm land under the Salesians about 20 mins from Savio Bhavan where they had rosary and tea. As they returned back they were shown the movie ‘Chak de India’ emphasizing on the community and team spirit.  The long awaited community day of Savio Bhavan ended on 17th October.

Priest inspires boy to join pre-novitiate

Pinku Peter with an ever smiling face.

AZIMGANJ, (Mohan Kisku) — Peter Pinku Ansari alumnus of Don Bosco School Bandel though born in Kolkata belongs to the parish of the historical Marian Shrine at Ranaghat. Hailing from a Bengali family of Don Bosco Para, Peter, 19 years old, has his parents as well as four brothers and two sisters. He lost his eldest brother two years ago.

Peter and his school friends joined a vocation camp in Krishnagar and got selected to go to the Aspirantate at Savio Bhavan. As many of his friends left the Aspirantate, Peter also found it difficult and miserable to continue his vocation to follow Christ.

It was then, to his good fortune, that Peter met a priest (name with held) at Bandel with whom he started sharing about his life. After talking to the priest, Peter felt satisfied and got peace. The priest also motivated him to go ahead in his Salesian Vocation.

“My desire now is to give peace to others by taking care of those who have lost meaning in their lives and have bad attitudes,” says Peter who plays tabla, football and is an avid reader of story books.

Peter says, “I want to bring young people to Christ by listening to their problems and suffering of life which they are going through in their day to day life.”

Peter insists, ‘In this life nothing satisfies one but only Jesus who gives peace and can satisfy our souls.’

Describing Peter, a fellow candidate Johny Soren says, “He is very simple, humble and frank in sharing with his friends.”

Lone survivor among 12 from Kandhamal


Firoj from Kandhamal

AZIMGANJ, (Bernard Mardi): Firoj Kumar Digal is one of 12 candidates of 2012-13 batch of pre-novices who started one year preparation for novitiate at Savio Bhavan, early June.

Firoj, 20 years old, hails from a village called Chhadakia in Kandhamal district of 

Odisha notorious for anti-Christian persecutions since August 2008.

Fourth son of Gopinath and Anusaya Digal, Firoj has two brothers and three sisters.

“There were 12 friends of Firoj from Odisha in the aspirantate. Even though all of them left, he is determined to go ahead in his vocation,” says Rector Fr. Samuel Mondol regarding Firoj’s vocation.

Firoj completed his high school education from Ganjam Malanchal Ucho Bidya Pitha hostel which is also a school. Despite being a non–Christian boarding school, Firoj recalls the fervent recitation of the Holy Rosary at the hostel.

“After completing class XII studies, I have been passionately looking for a religious congregation,” says Firoj recalling his vocation story.

One day, one of my friends gave me a small sheet of paper which contained the address of Fr. Samuel Mondol and then on it is history.

For the first time Firoj came into contact with Salesians on 25th June 2011, when Fr. Samuel Mondol, the present Rector of Savio Bhavan called him on the phone.

Concerning his apostolic ministry as Salesian, Firoj says, “I want to save souls of the young people by being available to them.”

In respect of his personal qualities Fr. Samuel says, “I found him very dutiful, responsible, and eager to learn. He has knack for practical things (like electronic work).”

Mathematics, especially ‘cost accounting’ is his favourite subject. He is also good at playing Harmonium (traditional hand operated musical organ) and Cricket.

Athlete, musician and dancer wants to be priest

Athlete, musician and dancer -Arpan Munda

AZIMGANJ, (Augustine Toppo) – Arpan Munda is good at sports, music and dancing. His favourite subject for study is English language. Arpan, 19 years old, plays volley ball and guitar. At school he stood first in 600 mt race and long jump and was an “A” grade dancer. Now he has joined the Salesians of Don Bosco pre-novitiate to become a priest.

“As a Salesian priest I want to work for youth because they are the powerful strength of society and to glorify God,” says Arpan Munda recalling Jesus Youth celebration at Bandel, as his most memorable event in life.

“Arpan is very much interested in his vocation and has determination to achieve his goal in his life. He is sociable with his superiors and with his companions, devoted to duties or tasks assigned to him. He is also a man of sports and cheerful.” says Fr. Rector of Savio Bhavan Fr Samuel Mondol.

“I get lots of inspiration from Salesian priests, and the hard work they do. They do not have any selfish motivations,” says Arpan who spent six years in the boarding.

“When I was studying in primary school, I used to observe the Salesian priests, boarding boys and girls. I found them very smart and cheerful. I started thinking what makes them so happy, and got inspiration to go to Don Bosco boarding and to find out even though my parents did not want me to go as I was the only one at home,” recalls Arpan narrating his vocation story.

Arpan’s first contact with Salesians was with Fr V.L. Paul then director of St Albert’s Boarding and parish priest of Monsadah, in North 24 Parganas, a parish on the Indo-Bangladesh border.

Belonging to Scheduled Tribe from Srimantopur village under Gopal Nagar Police Station in North 24 Parganas dist of West Bengal, Arpan did his schooling at Genrapota High school staying at Monsada boarding. He completed pre-college studies fromDonBoscoSchool, Bandel.

Toppo wants to be model

Toppo enhancing his computer skills.

AZIMGANJ, (Arpan Munda) – Pre-novice Augustine Toppo who hails from Pardeepa in Jharkhand state belongs to Dalmandi parish and wants to be a top model Salesian.

“When I grow up I want to be model for the young people and to be a leader,” says Augustine who plans to dedicate his life for them.

His aim in life is to preach the good news of Jesus to all the people.

‘’I find Augustine a jovial chap, and contented pre-novice. He is very optimistic, hard working, responsible and reliable,” says Rector Fr Samuel Mondol.

His memorable events with Salesian’s thus far are the vocation camp at Hatia and community day at Bandel.

Born sixth son of a devout Catholic family of Patras and Anjela Toppo, Augustine has five brothers and a sister. Belonging to the Oraons tribe, Augustine did his primary studies in a school located near home. However for his high school, he bicycled 5 Km to Turbunga.  His desire for offering himself to the Lord grew when he was just finishing his high school, while writing his board exam.

He lost his mother when he was preparing for his class-X exams.

Fr. Sunil Kerketta, the vocation promoter of Salesian Kolkata province advised him to attend the vocation camp held at Don Bosco Hatia near Ranchi, state capital of Jharkhand.

At the camp, Augustine was selected for the Kolkata province and joined the aspirantate at Savio Bhavan for a year-long coaching in English language. Then he went to Don Bosco Bandel in Hooghly district for his class XI-XII studies and returned to Savio Bhavan as a pre–novice for 2012-13.