BIS #6167 Don Bosco Snehalaya at Vishwamitri celebrates 'Season of Creation'

by Brother Royston Colaco for BISMumbai

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed,” this quote of Mahatma Gandhi aptly elucidates the fact that in the name of development, man has indulged in activities such as deforestation, overgrazing, encroachment into forest lands, overuse of groundwater, use of plastics, and thus, there is a need for conservation and judicious use of resources.

The Season of Creation is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversion, and commitment together. In his message for the Season of Creation 2020, Pope Francis stated that we are called to protect creation–The Season of Creation is a sacred time to remember, return, rest, restore, and rejoice.

Celebrations of the Season Of Creation which is an annual ecumenical event held from 01 September to 04 October 2020 began at Don Bosco Snehalaya with great fervour with an inaugural prayer service attended by the children, staff and management. All those in attendance pledged to take every possible step to care for our Common Home. So with a message of love and care for nature, began the Season of Creation, adhering to the call of Pope Francis to pray for the Care of Creation, with an evening prayer for Our Earth. On 10 September, the Salesian confreres of Snehalaya as part of their monthly recollection reflected on Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si. To help the boys explore the unfolding wonders of God’s creation and to lead them to praise and thank God, every Saturday evening an animated prayer service was organised.

With the aim of enhancing creation, the boys at Snehalaya were encouraged to plant trees in the campus. A number of new saplings were thus planted. The boys were also instructed that it isn't enough to just plant trees and that they also needed to take care of them. With the intention to make a difference, in their spare time they took care of the trees in the campus, digging around them, removing weeds and watering them. The repotting of the plants in the house was also done. This was a firsthand experience of working with their hands and feeling the earth.

The daily Good Night focussed on being stewards of God’s gift of creation. A G.K. Quiz on a variety of topics connected with Ecology such as wildlife, climate change, pollution, etc., was organised on 24 September, to increase their knowledge and develop a taste for matters concerning planet Earth. The boys expressed their Respect for Creation and their commitment to Protecting Creation with their willingness to spend 1 hour every Sunday morning in cleaning the campus. World Cleanup Day 19 September, was a much awaited event. Despite COVID-19 playing spoil-sport, preventing the boys from going out to the neighbourhood to carry out clean-up drives, it could not dampen their spirit. The boys, staff and Salesians got together and cleared out the clutter from various offices and storerooms in the institution.

On 09 September, the boys expressed their thoughts through beautiful posters with eye-catching messages which were displayed on the corridors for all to view, while the tiny tots of Snehalaya were engaged in a colouring activity on the theme of Creation. They also took part in a T-shirt painting competition and a rangoli competition on 16 and 23 September respectively. Each presentation done by the teams was unique and worth appreciating and very creatively brought forth the message of the 3 R’s -reduce, reuse, recycle.

The celebrations of the Season of Creation will proceed to a conclusion with the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of Ecology on 04 October. However this is only the beginning, as the entire Snehalaya Parivaar pledges to carry this forward, to be considerate towards and protect the environment.