by Aliester D’souza for BISMumbai

The community of Don Bosco Lonavla celebrated the Silver Jubilarian Father Bernard Fernandes on the evening of 18 January 2020. Father Fernandes had served as Principal for 09 years and had spent 19 years in Lonavla at different times along his Salesian journey.

The high point of the celebration was the well-animated Eucharistic celebration. It was attended by the Confreres, the aspirants, apostolic boys, and the teachers. Fr. Fernandes, in his homily, acknowledged the immense support of his teachers in his formative years. He also remembered with fondness two of his teachers at DB Panjim who were his benefactors. He said, "I yhank Gof for all you teachers for your daily sacrifice and commitment out of love for the students."

Later on, in his thanksgiving speech he said, "as the years pass by, I am more greatly convinced of the power of prayer, especially that of children." He asked the aspirants to continue to pray for his good health that he may continue to 'SERVE HUMANITY LIKE JESUS', fulfilling the Sacerdotal Motto he had taken 25 years ago.

After the mass, a short felicitation programme by the aspirants was organised, after which the teachers met with Father Fernandes and spent time recollecting with nostalgia, of days gone by.

Father Fernandes was at Lonavla 04 years as a student, 02 years as practical trainee, 04 years as vice-principal and 09 years as principal. This Silver Jubilee celebration was a happy occasion for the boys to get to know him, and to acknowledge, as was rightly said by the boys in the address, "this community of Don Bosco Lonavla stands tall on the shoulders of great and hardworking visionaries who have laboured here."