by Fathers Sunil Pinto and Dinesh Vasava for BISMumbai

In the ever happening never-a-dull-moment Don Bosco Campus at Makarpura Road in Vadodara-Gujarat, 05 January 2020 was no ordinary 1st Sunday of the New Year. Already, the nightfall of Saturday witnessed the arrival of 03 newly ordained MumbaiSalesian Priests, Fathers Bosco Carvalho, Clarence Martis and Mavron Fernandes, after the long haul from Narukot.

With night gradually making way for a new morn on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, the Don Bosco Roman Catholic Parish of the Diocese of Vadodara, administered by the Salesians of Don Bosco of the Bombay Province [INB], experienced the magnified radiating brilliance of the early morning sun as the newly ordained Father Bosco Carvalho presided at the 09:00 a.m. Eucharist in English inviting the congregation to ponder, “What gifts are we offering Christ?', while a little later, at the 10:15 Eucharist in Gujarati, Father Mavron Fernandes reflected, “the manifestation of Christ is something that could happen to us even in the normal daily routine of our lives.”

Post-Eucharist, the 03 priests interacted with the Sunday School Catechism students and the youth of the parish for a hearty and fruitful discussion on Vocation and Vocational Discernment, with relevant pointers from Pope Francis’ Christus Vivit. The young people were seemingly quite thrilled with the opportunity to interact with the handsome young men who have chosen to commit themselves to the call of God, the Don Bosco way. A quick dash despite the scorching noon-day sun, seeking out the Nuns of the FMA and Carmel Convents in the company of Father Dinesh Vasava, Vocation Promoter-Gujarat Region, enlivened proceedings leading onto an appetising lunch.

In the afternoon, Don Bosco Snehalaya at Vishwamitri, a shelter home for the young-at-risk reaching out to children in need of protective care through holistic education and skilled rehabilitation, hosted the newly ordained. A short informal Chai pe Charcha session was followed by the finals of the Christmas Cup 2.0, where the fathers greeted the players and handed out awards. Father Clarence Martis gave an inspiring talk saying, “We receive many things in life, many good things. However, we stop with saying Thank You. That is not enough. It is always important for us to pay it forward. This must show in our actions that come out of gratitude for what we have received.”

The newly ordained then returned back to the Don Bosco Makarpura Parish Church for the evening Eucharist where Father Clarence Martis presided and broke the Word of God to a delighted crowd of faithful, who thronged after the Eucharist to seek the blessings of the new priests.

Five days into the New Year and this is nothing as yet, with more in the offing for the honeymooning new priests who have a packed itinerary visiting Don Bosco presences across four states, inviting the young in all these institutions to be good human beings and upright citizens in the month dedicated to the father and friend of youth, Don Bosco.