by Father Dinesh Vasava for BISMumbai

Escorted in a delightful procession with 'timli' dance and songs, having been welcomed earlier upon arrival by the Salesian community, ancillary staff and boarders at Don Bosco ChhotaUdepur, the MumbaiSalesian New Priests on the final destination of the Gujarat leg of their honeymoon were felicitated with flowers and shawls at the celebratory and ceremonial school assembly.

Invited to introduce the newly ordained to the school, Father Dinesh Vasava said, "God called these young men to follow Christ in the Don Bosco way. In the same manner He continues to call each of us, but it all depends on our response." Father Mavron Fernandes shared a story, with a value message saying, all of us have worked here in Chhota; Father Jerome as a practical trainee, while the rest had spent time during the summers gone by." The students posed few questions like, "how did you feel the call of God?, who inspired you to join?, now as priests what will you do? and how many years did it take for you to become priests?" Responding to the questions, the new priests encouraged the students to "be attentive to the voice of God and eagerly respond, allowing God to direct your lives."

Next on the cards, was a village tour. One of the staff members accompanied the new priests to Sinhadha, and Burdwad. In both villages the new priests interacted with SHGs (Self Help Group) of both men and women. The villagers were thrilled to welcome the new priests in their midst, greeting them with smiles and posing for photos.

Father Jerome presided at the concelebrated mass in the evening, stressing the importance of prayer and commitment to God, detailing the new priests summer ministry at Chhota - Father Clarence in 2008 as pre-novice; Father Xavier in 2011 as a first year philosophy student; Fathers Bosco and Mavron in 2017 as students of theology. After mass the priests blessed the children, after which a wonderful felicitation programme by the boarders allowed Father Brian Boothello, Rector Don Bosco Chhota to assure the newly ordained of daily prayer and bid farewell, while Father Xavier Bandya proposed the vote of thanks.

With this halt at Chhota, the New Priests having ended their Gujarat visit, departed for maximum city Mumbai.