BIS #6817 SYMBIOS 2022: Self, World And God

By Cl. Melton Suares for BISMumbai

On 21 and 22 October 2022, 380 youth from across 29 Salesian institutions of the Province of Bombay participated in SYMBIOS 2022 at the Don Bosco campus in Matunga. The theme of the event was ‘Do all through Love’. The topics that were touched upon were represented by the acronym ‘SWAG’ which stands for ‘Self, World, and God’.

The main highlight was the Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, in thanksgiving for the canonisation of Saint Artemide Zatti on 21 October. He was a Salesian Brother who was the director of San Jose Hospital in Argentina for nearly 40 years. Amidst the many hardships of life, he went about with a spirit of serenity and joy typical of St John Bosco. Already while he was alive, he was considered to be a saintly man and known as the ‘Holy Nurse of Patagonia’ and the ‘Relative of the Poor’. Fr Á. F. Artime invited the young to inculcate a strong sense of belief like Saint Zatti.

An eco-campfire was organised soon after dinner. A variety of programmes were presented by the youth from various Salesian institutions, each highlighting values related to the topics of the event: self, world and God. Since it was also the birthday of Ms Ridhima Pandey, a well-known climate activist from Uttarakhand, who was invited as resource person for the event, there was a short felicitation for her during the event.

Early next morning, the popular gospel band 'Echoes of Zion' captivated the crowd with their heart-thumping music and melodious singing, lifting the spirits of all participants. After breakfast, input sessions were held pertaining to the theme. Ms Pandey, shared her life story, arousing in the youngsters the enthusiasm and the need to do their bit in helping protect mother Earth. Mr Denzil Rodrigues gave a session on ‘Financial Management’ and explained how young people can smartly and efficiently buy shares in the stock market. Psychologists from Don Bosco Prafulta, Andheri, held various discussions on the topic of ‘Care for Self’.

An exhibition of dance forms highlighting the various cultures of the Province was held. Following this, the Rector Major and the youth had a lively dialogue, song and dance. He joined the youth for lunch, and they went on to gather around him for photographs. His actions were true to his words: ‘We Salesians exist because of you, my dearest young people.’

The concluding eucharist was presided over by the General Councillor for South Asia, Fr Biju Michael. In his homily, he stressed on the fact that all are special in the eyes of God and therefore it is the duty of every person to bear good fruit.

Team building and fun telegames were conducted according to the various institutions. In addition, a lively and energetic Zumba session was held. Though initially shy, the youth immersed themselves actively in the dance without inhibitions.

This in fact summarises SYMBIOS 2022. It was a time to come together, to learn something new, and to celebrate the richness of the Don Bosco Way and the potential of young people.