BIS #6873 ‘Come, Follow Me’

By Cl. Ethan Fortes for BISMumbai

The community of Don Bosco, Lonavla, along with the Salesian Novices, organised a two-day ‘Come and See’ Camp for the boys aspiring to discern their vocation and become Salesians on 14 January 2023. Around 76 boys from Salesian institutions and parishes all over the province were present for the camp.

In the morning, the boys arrived along with their regional vocation team animators and were welcomed by Fr Blany Pinto, the Rector. Fr Joyston Machado introduced the team of animators to the boys, while also briefing them on the various parts of the house and the focus of the aspirantate. With a few ice-breakers, the campers broke for lunch, wherein they interacted with the aspirants.

In the afternoon, Fr Pinto showed the boys a video on Don Bosco, and explained to them the uniqueness and importance of our personal choices. He added that it is God who bestows us with gifts and talents and we in turn make personal choices to respond to these gifts. These personal choices are meant to be more altruistic and other-oriented. The aspirants organized a series of animated games in the evening for the boys to interact with each other.

The newly ordained priest, Fr Kiran Ruptakke, celebrating the mass was the highlight of the evening. He shared how he had been inspired by the calling of Matthew, and how his ordination theme was derived from the same. He also invited the boys to be open to God’s call and to seek guidance from the staff at Lonavla in order to understand and discern the vocation that God calls them to. The aspirants and camp boys also had some time for interaction with Fr Ruptakke wherein they asked questions about his journey to priesthood.

The next day, a few Salesians shared their experience of their time as aspirants at Don Bosco, Lonavla, and how it helped them understand and discern God’s call in their life. Some of the aspirants also shared their experience and lifestyle at Lonavala. The camp ended with the campers filling in their admission application to join the aspirantate. In conclusion, Fr Machado spoke of the role of Mary in the life of everyone who comes to a Salesian house. He asked the campers to look back at the whole camp and to pick out what they have gained from their stay at Lonavala, and how they would implement it in their lives.

In their vote of thanks, the boys told the community that they were inspired by the various activities conducted in the aspirantate and were appreciative of the lovely interaction they had with the residing aspirants.