by BISMumbai Correspondent

As across India millions were busy with observing and celebrating the auspicious northward movement of the sun, revelling in the passage from wintry chill to sunny days, in gratitude for a bountiful harvest, with flying of kites and consuming of 'til sweetmeats', the MumbaiSalesians' new priests continued with their itinerary as per schedule amidst warm welcomes and cheerful felicitations.

Visiting Don Bosco Senior Secondary School at Seawoods Dharave-Nerul on 13 January 2020, Fathers Bosco Carvalho, Clarence Martis, Jerome Aruldas, Mavron Fernandes and Xavier Bandya were accorded a warm reception by Father Barnabe D'Souza-Incharge and Director of Salesian Facilitation Services, together with the resident community. A well animated Eucharistic celebration, followed by an intense interactive session with the students and staff, with a campus tour culminated in a delicious lunch-spread, allowing the new priests to experience the cordial warmth of the Salesians and collaborators.

On 14 January, even as the Church in India commemorated Blessed Devasahayam Pillai - the 1st Indian Catholic layman to be beatified, the new priests began their day at Don Bosco High School Borivli. Father Solomon Rapol-former Novice Master and currently Rector and Parish Priest at Borivli welcomed the visiting priests together with his community. A solemn Eucharist for the Catholic students of the school was followed by a Q&A session wherein the new priests spoke of their vocation journey, ending with a fraternal agape at lunch.

Afternoon saw the new priests walk across the road to the other side, practically reminiscent of the famous Beatles' walk, where they were enthusiastically welcomed by the Salesians, teachers, boys and staff of Bosco Boys' Home. It was an afternoon of good cheer amidst the exuberant youngsters, who showered love, regaling the new priests with a wonderful felicitation programme, coordinated by Father Corlis Gonsalves-Rector and Principal BBH, and his team. It was a sort of homecoming for Father Xavier Bandya who had spent time here prior to his ordination and had gained the affection of the boys.

15 January was a day well spent at Don Bosco High School Naigaon, where the new priests were welcomed by Fathers Orville Coutinho-Paris Priest/Administrator and Glen Fernandes-Principal/SYM Coordinator. The highlight was the solemn Eucharist for the Catholic students and staff, after which an interaction-cum-felicitation ceremony led onto a festive lunch, warming hearts and uplifting spirits.

Father McEnroe Lopes-MumbaiSalesians Vocation Promoter reiterated, "It was a befitting celebration of warmth, radiating sunshine and setting hearts aflame, as the new priests inspired and encouraged the young to discern the call of God, respond promptly and commit to being good christians and upright citizens always seeking to serve humanity."