by Elizabeth Soares & Bernard Fernandes for BISMumbai

Following a summer break, the Don Bosco Matunga local vocation team had an online Google Meet on 01 August 2020. The team comprises Rector-Father Crispino D’Souza, Elizabeth Soares, Jancy Dharamraj and the newly appointed Mumbai Salesians' Vocation Animator Father Velasli Bandya.

The meeting began with the opening prayer by Father D'Souza, after which Father Bandya introduced himself as the new Vocation Animator for the Salesian Province of Bombay [INB], mentioning his work with the aspirants at Lonavala, where he is presently based. Father D'Souza added a few striking qualities and talents of Father Bandya in his welcome speech, pointing out that he was a gifted artist and a skilful basketball player, and "we are happy to have him with us to direct and guide us in the policies and guidelines of the Province to foster vocations in the campus." Thereafter the team school staff representatives Elizabeth Soares and Jancy Dharamraj introduced themselves, both expressing their desire to continue and work for vocations drawing students closer to God and making Don Bosco truly alive in our midst.

At the recently held Principals’ meeting, Father Blany Pinto-Rector Don Bosco, Lonavla, suggested a recollection for the Catholic students and thereby identify probable vocations. A process is already on at DB Matunga where a list of vocation probables is maintained incorporated with regular follow-up sessions. Mention was made of the time spent with these vocation probables in the last academic year especially the 02 sessions on Thursdays with 85 young Catholic boys of Classes 5 and 6. The students were trained to play square ball and basketball followed by an input session by Father D'Souza. The other boys from Classes 8 ,9 and 10 were met individually. There were some who seemed positive towards the vocation to priesthood but wished to complete their SSC in Don Bosco and then join Lonavala. Father D'Souza briefed Father Bandya on the staff in-charge of catholic vocation students in various classes-Dharamraj taking care of Classes 5 and 6, while Soares follows-up Classes 7-10.

The last quarter of the meeting was spent to plan for the month of August 2020. The activities included some practical steps for a sustained follow-up of the Catholic students showing much promise towards the priesthood.

· To mail Father Bandya the list of the names of the students shortlisted in Classes 5 to 10.

· Virtual Mass on 15 August for shortlisted students, followed by addressing the Catholic students for 30 or 45 minutes thereafter, by Father Bandya.

· Designing colourful posters for vocation animation by Fathers D'Souza and Velasli.

· Recollection for the Catholic students, to be coordinated by DB Matunga Assistant HeadMistress Christina Mascarenhas.

The DB Matunga Local Vocation Team continues to trust zealously in the Almighty, the protection of our Blessed Mother Mary Help of Christians, and the guidance of St. John Bosco.