by BISMumbaiCorrespondent

The COVID-19 has impacted so many across the world. It continues its relentless assault in every part of the world, and yet life and living must go on. Amidst the lockdown, with restrictions gradually being eased, there is a sigh of relief. Yet, there are places and peoples, still unable to congregate, pray or worship as a community of believers in many places. This year, due to the catastrophic disaster, many such faith-celebrations have to be downplayed. Every year, 24 May is a solemn festivity for the Salesians of Don Bosco across the world, celebrating Mary Help of Christians. This also is the day when most Salesians renew their evangelical vows and young men make their final religious commitment, making a perpetual profession as sons of Don Bosco in the Society of St. Francis deSales.

MumbaiSalesians' welcomed 05 young men, who made their final commitment, with their perpetual profession as Salesians of Don Bosco for life. Celebrated in 04 different places, across the Salesian Province of St. Francis Xavier Bombay [INB], Clerics Alex Carvalho, Agnel James, Avil Correa, Nathanael George and Lawrance Vincent made their final profession at Matunga, Andheri, Lonavla and Nashik respectively. At Matunga, Father Ashley Miranda-ViceProvincial received the vows of Cleric Carvalho. At Andheri, Father Brian Moras-Rector Dominic Savio Boys' Home, received the vows of Cleric James, while Father Blany Pinto-Rector Don Bosco Lonavla received the vows of Clerics Correa and George and Father Robert Pen-Rector Divyadaan and Chancellor Nashik Diocese, received the vows of Cleric Vincent. At various other places in different communities of the Province, 11 young Salesians renewed their first vows. Meanwhile, in NorthEast India, at SunnySide in Upper Shillong, 02 MumbaiSalesians, Novices Suares Melton and Kalayil Mathew, made their 1st Religious Profession along with 27 of their companions from across India, in a solemn Eucharist.

Earlier the 05 young Salesians had participated in an online 01-week pre-perpetual course animated by Father Miranda, with specific focus on 'living consecrated life fully', studying and reflecting on the Salesian Constitutions, the Evangelical Counsels, and the Salesian Charism. Father Savio Silveira MumbaiSalesians' Provincial still under lockdown at Valdocco, had on 16 May, during the afternoon session, addressed the 05, inviting them to "study Don Bosco intelligently and make the necessary reflections for a sustained programme of life and action as committed Salesians." From 17 - 23 May, Father Vinod Mascarenhas animated a 01-week online retreat on "God wants me to...", inviting each of the participants to find out - who is God for me?, what does God want of me? and what am I here for? For the retreat, 02 candidates from the Salesian Province of Panjim [INP], Clerics Jayson Fernandes and Cleric Royal Fernandes based at Shirva also took part.

Festivity curtailed, physical participation at the Holy Eucharist restricted and with strict social distancing norms followed as expected, 24 May 2020 will forever be remembered in history, as the COVID-19 year of renewal of vows and the final religious profession.The pandemic is a veritable challenge, yet life commitments and actions, serve as timely reminders of the motherly accompaniment of Mary Help of Christians for the sons of Don Bosco.