The General Councillor for Formation, Fr Ivo Coelho in his opening address said, the joint meet was planned and prepared with much anticipation to study and reflect on the challenge of this world, how Salesians need to be prepared to live in this new world. Hence the theme, towards a Salesian proposal for formation in a digital world: Educational Ethics and Pastoral Aesthetics. Today, everything is digital and we need to explore and learn how to continue responding to God’s call not just in the initial formation but, all through life” added Fr Coelho.
“Social Communication is about culture, symbols; about human beings coming together to share. And so the coming together of the commissions for Social Communication and Formation is a synergy of understanding and working for the mission of Don Bosco after the image of the Good Shepherd the ultimate communicator”, commented the General Councillor for Social Communication, Fr. Gildasio Mendes in his message. All communication is not just for giving information but must eventually become formation because, the content of all communication is the Word of God, and the Good Shepherd said Fr. Mendes.
The Provincial of Guwahati Fr. Januarius officially welcomed the delegates and gave a brief geographical, spiritual and cultural background about the North East region of India. The Provincial of Bangalore Fr. Jose Koyichal, provincial in charge for formation and the Provincial of Chennai Fr. K.M. Jose, provincial in charge for social communication also spoke on the occasion and exhorted the participants to discern, reflect and come out with concrete strategies and insights to answer to the challenges of formation in the digital world.
The joint meet began with a festive inaugural mass at 6:30 am with Fr. Ivo Coelho as the main celebrant. The inaugural programme began at 09:00 am with the traditional welcome of the dignitaries and their messages. Later, both the groups met separately to continue with their discussions and presentations of reports for the rest of the day.
The first day ended with an energetic family circle offered by the students of Don Bosco Institute to the participants at the amphitheatre. The Archbishop Emeritus, Most. Rev. Thomas Menamparampil was present on the occasion and it indeed added more grace to the occasion. The splendid and colourful display of the typical tribal dances of the north east performed by the students interspersed with lot of lively singing and dancing made the evening very memorable. During this occasion, Fr. Gildasio Mendes released the book “Values Must Come Alive” written by the Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, and the first copy was handed over to Fr. Ivo Coelho, the General Councillor for Formation. The students were at their best expressing their love for Don Bosco in a truly Salesian family spirit.