BIS #7029 Annual Vocation Team Meet at DBL

By Ms Shinu Jose for BISMumbai

The Annual Vocation Team Meet was held at Don Bosco, Lonavla, on 19 and 20 August 2023. The meeting was attended by 80 participants, including 15 Salesians and two religious sisters. 

The Meet began with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Fr Blany Pinto, the Rector, during the homily, likened Jesus' concern for children to the responsibility of every member of the Salesian Family in not alienating youth from faith through unwelcoming behaviour. Promoting a welcoming stance is vital for vocation ministry and a hallmark of a Salesian community. 

After lunch, Fr Velasli Bandya, the Provincial Vocation Animator, warmly welcomed all the participants and gave an overview of the two-day Meet. Fr Pinto, addressing the gathering, said that the Meet serves as a refreshing reminder of the Vocation Teams' goals, enabling a collective exchange of insights on unit activities and fostering inspiration for novel endeavours. The shared province plan offers guidance for local plans, while the strength of unity empowers and propels everyone towards shared objectives. During the session led by Fr Bosco Carvalho on the ‘Role of Vocation Promoters’, he emphasised that all individuals, through Baptism, contribute to the Church's mission. He likened vocation to unwrapping a gift from God, guiding young people through stages like building bonds, positive influence, community reflection, and understanding the Salesian charism.

The Provincial, Fr Savio Silveira, visited Lonavla and addressed the gathering later in the evening. Apart from sharing the statistics of Salesians in the province and updating them about the various new initiatives, Fr Silveira stressed three important avenues the vocation teams need to focus on: to help youngsters hear and understand God’s call, to invite senior college and graduate youth to consider Salesian life, and to encourage the vocation of the Salesian Brother.

During the Eucharist on the morning of 20 August, Fr Silveira contemplated the virtues of the Syro-Phoenician woman and encouraged Vocation Animators to nurture the same attributes within themselves, specifically highlighting Initiative, Perseverance, and Serenity. Later that morning, Fr Pinto conducted a session on the ‘Art of Salesian Encounter, Accompaniment, and Discernment’. He shared that Don Bosco is the model when it comes to the art of accompanying the youngsters. Reflecting on the incident of Bartholomew Garelli,  Fr Pinto then proposed seven stages in the process of accompaniment.

Fr Bandya then presented the Province Vocation Plan Evaluation of the past year  and also proposed lines of action drafted for the period of 2022-2025. Based on these guidelines, the local vocation teams discussed them in their respective groups and drew up their local vocation plan. After presenting their plans to other vocation teams, the Meet concluded with Fr Bandya and Fr Pinto expressing their gratitude to the local vocation teams for the hard work they put into vocation animation.

The Annual Vocation Team Meet was an opportunity to get acquainted with the common goal of vocation animation, and to work with greater coherence. The two days were also an opportunity for the vocation teams to meet the aspirants and experience their life at Don Bosco, Lonavla.