BIS #7133 GuRaM SYMBIOS at DB Chhotaudepur

By Fr Chris Ferreira for BISMumbai

152 youngsters from the Salesian houses from the regions of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh (GuRaM) attended the zonal SYMBIOS 2024 at Don Bosco, Chhotaudepur, on 20 and 21 January 2024. 

This event was organised by the youth of SYM Alirajpur under the able guidance of their animator, Fr Cyril D'Souza, and the Zonal Youth Delegate, Fr Ajay Shelke. The theme of the event was ‘Live the Salesian Spirit: Lead with Love, Learn with Purpose’. 

On the morning of 20 January, SYMBIOS commenced with fresh enthusiasm as some lively icebreakers were organised to help the youngsters feel at ease and get to know each other. The participants were later divided into teams, which would be used for the sessions, games and activities to follow. Sessions on tribal identity - rights and awareness, love and relationships, media awareness, and leadership were conducted by Salesian priests - Fr Ajay Shelke, Fr Ashwin Macwan, Fr Daresh Rathwa, and Fr Mayank Parmar. Fr Rockey Shah, of the Diocese of Jhabua, was invited as a resource person. One of the participants, Akash Rathwa, praising the choice of the sessions, said, "These insights are precisely what the young need to be empowered in the present scenario of the nation."

After lunch, there was an exploration of the campus through a treasure hunt that took the youth through every nook and corner of the campus. Animated games played on the turf kept the spirits of the participants high until dusk. During the Eucharist, in the evening, Fr Shelke sharing his personal vocational journey in the homily, invited the youth to embark on this voyage of discovering how God is calling them to be consecrated religious too. Mass was quickly followed by a praise and worship session led by Fr Parmar with songs of devotion that helped the participants feel a deeper connection with God. 

After supper, the participants gathered around the campfire all decked up in improvised costumes and ready with impromptu gigs. The campfire was planned along the lines of the event’s theme. The night of games, songs and drama ended with some energetic dancing to the timli music.

The next day commenced with the Holy Eucharist, during which Fr Carlos George quoted examples of youth from Don Bosco’s oratory who eventually became his Salesians. Cl. Vinay Ganawa, then presented the Strenna of the Rector Major.

The programme's finale was the grand cultural presentation that brought together a fusion of the tribal and cultural aspects of the places in the GuRaM region. After the vote of thanks by Fr Shelke, a valedictory function was held to award the winning team. Souvenirs were then distributed to all present as a memorial of the event and as a reminder that one must learn and lead, just as Don Bosco would want his youngsters to be!