BIS #7112 Fr Rafael Bejarano Rivera Visits INB

By Fr Sunil Pinto for BISMumbai

Fr Rafael Bejarano Rivera SDB, the Social Ministry Delegate from the Salesian Youth Ministry Department in Rome, graced the Salesian Province of Bombay (INB) with his presence from 20 to 23 November 2023. Accompanied by Fr Joe Prabhu - National Executive Director of Don Bosco Youth at Risk Forum (DBYaR), and Fr Francis Bosco - National Director of Don Bosco for Migrants (DB4M), Fr Rivera's visit was marked by moments of profound connection, inspiration, and a shared vision for a brighter future for the youth at risk.

Upon his arrival in Mumbai, Fr Rivera's first destination was Shelter Don Bosco, Wadala, where he attended the monthly mela for the Young at Risk. His ability to instantly connect with the youth was evident as he engaged with them through interactive activities, embodying the compassionate spirit of Don Bosco himself.

The subsequent days saw Fr Rivera visit two Salesian Institutes, Don Bosco, Nerul, and Bosco Boys Home, Borivali. Here, he engaged in dialogue with the staff of the institutes and witnessed first-hand the transformative activities and works carried out for migrants in the city. 

The highlight of Fr Rivera's visit was his journey to Nashik. Here, he met with representatives of YaR and Social Works in INB. He presented the Salesian Youth Ministry - Frame of Reference, particularly Chapter Seven, which deals with ‘Activities and Works of Salesian Youth Ministry’. He encouraged all those working at the grassroots level to feel they belonged to the mission of Don Bosco and that their contributions would play an important part in the re-formulation of this frame of reference. He invited the Salesians and staff to share their experiences and challenges while engaging with the marginalised in their respective areas.

Fr Rivera then briefly visited Shelter Don Bosco, Nashik, where the resident children put up a felicitation programme for the distinguished guests. Fr Rivera too, joined in the moment and taught the children some dance steps, much to the delight of the children and others present there. 

Later that day at the monthly recollection, his talk to the novices and post-novices centred on Article 33 of the Salesian Constitutions and the Gospel passage from Luke 7:11-17. Through illustrations and dramatisation, he highlighted the significance of this passage to Don Bosco and the Salesian mission.

Fr Rivera's visit to INB was not just a journey through cities but a pilgrimage of hope, touching the lives of many. His interactions, teachings, and the joy he shared have left an indelible mark, inspiring many to continue bringing hope and light to those in need.