by Jaya Mary Pedathala & Leon Cruz Rathinam for BISMumbai

The Salesians of Don Bosco and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians hosted a ‘Vocation Day’ at Divyadaan: Salesian Institute of Philosophy, Nashik on 01 February 2020, from 10.00 a.m. to 04.00 p.m. for Catholic students in and around the city of Nashik. The campus buzzed with activity, fun, joy and excitement as 98 enthusiastic and vibrant youngsters of standards VIII to XII from the neighbouring schools, hostels, boardings, colleges and parishes (Don Bosco, Kilbil, Nirmala Convent, St. Philomena’s - English and Marathi medium, St. Patrick’s - Devlali and St. Francis Xavier’s) participated in the event. The sole purpose of this day was to inspire the youngsters to hear the voice of the Lord and get a first-hand experience of interacting with nuns, priests and brothers of 13 congregations and 1 diocese in the Church.

Beginning at 09:00 a.m. with the registration of the participants, followed by refreshments, everyone proceeded to the main hall for ice-breakers after which they were divided into 10 groups. Father Robert Pen-Rector Divyadaan, warmly welcomed the participants and religious, and wished them blessings for discerning God’s will in their lives. Father Bosco Carvalho accompanied the Mercy Band, novices of Sacred Heart Training Centre, and the Divyadaan brothers led the gathering into prayer and praise, singing and dancing to popular gospel songs. Father Renold Lemos brought out the meaning and implication of the ‘call’ of God through creative role-plays enacting the various call narratives in the Bible - Jeremiah, Moses, Peter and Mary. He quoted the example of famous football stars, beauty pageant title holders, engineers and other successful individuals who left behind their rich and promising careers to follow the voice of the Lord. He challenged them to listen to the voice of the Lord and to find out God’s will for them. Sister Jaya Mary Pedthala, conducted a 45-minute Q&A interactive session, where the participants were made to sit in groups along with nuns and priests, to put forth questions, doubts and clarifications related to vocation. A 05-minute video presentation on the work and charism of each of the 13 congregations and 1 diocese, followed.

After group photographs and lunch, the participants were invited to take a tour of the vocation stalls showcasing different charisms and mission, to get a glimpse of different congregations with take-away brochures, key chains, bookmarks, and pamphlets. A moment of prayer and adoration to listen to that inner voice which would help them choose the right vocation - the vocation for which they were born and through which they would find true happiness and meaning in life. brought the day to a close. The Vocation Day ended with a cup of tea and warm, friendly farewells.

Highlights of the day included the interaction of 45 priests, nuns and brothers with each other and with students; teachers, catechists, religious and youngsters visiting the Vocation Day selfie-point; and creative stalls set up by the 13 congregations and 1 diocese. Divyadaan seemed no less than mini-Vatican. A youngster expressed that “it was really enjoyable to be present for such a lively and learning event.” A novice of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians said that she was strengthened in her own vocation and commitment looking at the youngsters. This joint collaboration between various congregations and the Diocese of Nashik displayed a passion for youngsters as well as the urgency for facilitating vocations to the Church.