Thursday, July 29, 2010


Understanding is the word, I grapple with everyday of my life here at Divyadaan. From the time I entered till date, my life, Salesian Vocation, as a matter of fact, has been a task and concern to understand and know my growth. I firmly, believe that all “I am” today is because of my parents, my family, my friends, my Salesian family and all those whom I know. It’s because they understood me, with and in love. It is a blessing from God that I am here in the studentate of philosophy. My being here and doing philosophy is my love for wisdom, i.e. God. And I make efforts to see and feel God in everything in this beautiful world. Understanding God and others, even myself, is a Gift. And I must say that if God has given me this gift to understand, it is to give my all to Him in my vocation. And it is only through learning and living, through life and experience that, one comes to understand the Truth.

Spirituality is not a thing to be acquired or achieved once and for all, but to know and understand progressively through life-experiences. It must become part of life, as a whole – living in holiness. I am fascinated with the question – When did Don Bosco not pray? That which was asked at the time of his canonization. His life was prayer; his dedication in what he did; his love for poor abandoned youngsters; his motto: to save souls; his love to give Christ; his love for the Church; the Sacraments and the Priesthood which he lived till his death; his zeal to send missionaries all over the world; and his initiatives to work for the kingdom of God. Here was a man filled with God’s love and spirit. I strive daily to follow Christ, in the Don Bosco way, for I feel blessed to walk in his footsteps.

It has been two years and six months that I have professed this way of life and I find joy in living this way. I believe He understands me , no matter who I am ? Where I am? What I am? and How I am? Life is a mystery and ultimately it is life that brings me to a realization, a realization that you and I will only understand this mystery we are humbly open to this Understanding.

Staying here in Divyadaan, I have learnt that it is important to keep learning always, and learning through life experiences whether good or bad, through reading and reflection which helps me to grow up as an analytical and critical person, the application of my viewpoints and experiences, and arriving at a synthesis of life for the betterment of self. I have also learnt through relationships that enable both the one speaking and the one listening, and through prayer and reflection. It is in all this that somewhere, something will happen! This happening is the Understanding of my life and Spirituality. One may ask When will it happen ? I really do not know but being in his presence, sharing my life genuinely with the others is my task. Then hopefully, I will understand the Understanding.

I believe, this Understanding is something that happens to me and in me. It will come about only if I am passionate about it and living it – consciously or unconsciously. And if one is passionate about God and lives a spiritual life 24x7, then surely one will be truly a spiritual person. This does make a difference in one’s life. Thus, I invite myself and you all, to relish such spiritual moments be it in family prayer (the rosary, the morning prayer, night prayer) or be it in the community. Without doubt, with hearts and minds united, and being open to sharing with one another, our life will come to this real Understanding, i.e. GOD.

Cl. Romero D’souza, sdb.

Mass media … What is it?

We are living in a media-saturated age. We are witnesses to an unprecedented torrent of media messages that are making an impact by leaps and bounds. The mass media are the fruit of human ingenuity, research and hard work, passed on, with accelerated quality, potential and reach, form one generation to the next. They have shrunk the huge ‘undiscovered’ world of Christopher Columbus to the ‘global village’ of Marshal McLuhan and, from there, within the span of less than half a century, to the computer friendly ‘global living room’ of Bill Gates and his contemporaries. In order to clarify our idea of mass media further we could look at the following eight points.

1. Varieties of Mass Medium

There were times when the human being was constrained only to the limited print media like newspapers and magazines. Today however we can boast of variety of mass medium that we can have access to. Besides the development in the print media we also have audio-visual media like radio, transistor, taper recorder, digital camera, television, VCR, large screen films, LCD projectors, computers etc. The revolution in the communication technology and electronic media has further introduced us to satellite channels, e-mail, websites and a host of internet facilities. Different styles, contents, channel, sites abound in each of them. Whilst there are some fundamental ethical principles which we might advocate throughout this diversity (respect for other people, non-advocacy of racial hatred, telling the truth, etc), it would simply be silly to expect the same values in a documentary and a sitcom, a children’s magazine and an adult web-site. Generalized assessments and judgments are risky in so diverse a territory.

2. Plurality of Mass Media Theories

Besides the plurality of the mass mediums there are also numerous theories about how media affects people and that there are periods when scholars seem to agree that media effects are powerful and other periods when they tend to think that media effects are weak. It all seems to depend upon which theories of ‘how the media work’ are in vogue with the social scientists who study the media. Theories arise, seem to be useful, are tested and generally found wanting in one respect or another, and are replaced by other theories.

3. Negative Outlook towards the Media

Talk of values often leads to criticism forgetting the positive contribution of the media. The older generation for example tends to point to the media for the destruction of the traditional value system and its forgetfulness by younger generation. The religious leaders blame the media for the lack of congregational attendance and diminishing spiritual values. While we all speak from our particular bias (that depends upon our social, political, religious and educational context), we need to become more and more aware of it so as to transcend it as much as possible to increase objectivity in our media perception and attain a balanced evaluation of media.

4. Shallow and Limited Vision of Media

TV and other media are sometimes seen as something unserious, if not frivolous, whose main role is just to provide entertainment. Without forgetting their fun dimension that brings joy and laughter to the tension filled human life we need to recognize their deeper significance. We need to broaden our outlook of how media can be used in variety of manners for our personal as well as social growth in the field of psychology, politics, education and spirituality. Instead of limiting the usefulness of media for purely recreational purpose, we could extend it further for informative and educative purpose.

5. Difficulty in Scientific Measurement of Mass Media Effects

We all spend a great deal of time watching television, listening to the radio, reading magazines and newspapers, surfing internet for diverse web-sites and getting engaged with the e-mails. Yet, so many media researchers tell us that the effects of media on individuals seem to be trivial. That is, it is not possible to prove, scientifically, that media effects are powerful. While one may not able to demonstrate and measure the effects of media scientifically, one can not deny the fact that media are powerful and have a profound impact on people’s lives and our social and political order.

6. Diversity of Media Audiences

While we look at the variety of media available at our disposable, we also need to keep in mind the media audiences which too are diverse and varied. Just as there is enormous diversity within the media so too are media audiences diverse and varied. From a child to an adolescent and further to a fully grown adult everyone in the society is exposed to media in some way or the other. The diversity of media audience does not only consist in the age difference but it also depends upon gender difference, cultural heritage, social background, work experience, educational qualification and a whole lot of other factors. In fact each human person with its own mind and specific social, cultural, educational and religious upbringing provides a variety to the media audience. We need to take care not to assume that TV watchers, internet users and filmgoers are naïve, uncritical and impressionable. There is considerable sophistication and discernment in the way in which millions of people handle this aspect of their lives.

7. Diverse Effects of Mass Media

The media have sizable direct impact on the public. Besides the often-mentioned intended effects, they also include many unintended effects. We could delineate them as follows. Intended effects include: (1) the influence of commercial advertising on buying behaviour; (2) the impact of mass media political campaigns on voting; (3) public service announcements’ efficacy in promoting beneficial behaviour; (4) the role of prolonged multimedia campaigns in changing lifestyles; (5) monolithic indoctrination effects on ideology; and (6) the effects of mass-mediated ritual displays on maintaining social control.

The most often cited unintended effects of the mass media include: (1) the impact of programmes involving violence on viewers’ antisocial aggression; (2) representation on the media as a determinant of social visibility; (3) biased presentation on the media as influencing the public’s stereotyping of groups; (4) effects of erotic materials on objectionable sexual behaviour; (5) modes of media presentation as affecting cognitive styles; and (6) the impact of introducing new media on pubic thought processes.

8. Personal Responsibility in Media

Finally, it is the responsibility of each one to be self-critical in our role as media consumers/users. We often live in an illusory world thinking that we reign supreme in our own consciousness, that we are masters of what our minds accept or reject. One needs to become aware of the “mirage image” provided by the media and realize how the few self-appointed elites with their multinational industries and desire for total media control and try to manipulate people’s mind with ideas. What each one of us accepts or rejects, what we think and decide…all these are heavily influenced by the media bombarded messages. One needs to bear personal responsibility to the problem of how much control we have over our minds and how susceptible we are to being influenced (if not manipulated) by the media.

Fr Robert Pen, sdb


DIVYADAAN, JULY 19, 2010: On July 16, 2010, the third year students of philosophy from Divyadaan - Salesian Institute of Philosophy - Nashik, made a visit to the production plant of the Mahindra and Mahindra Company at Satpur, Nashik. This visit was part of their course that they were doing on industrial sociology. The visit was well guided and planned by Miss Asha Sabarwal of the Employee care and Administration section, Automotive Sector, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd.

The tour began with a power point informative presentation on the company’s history, its development across the globe, the car models in vogue and the achievements of the company till date. The students were then led to different workshops where the Mahindra models of Logan, Xylo and Scorpio were being manufactured. Each of the three workshops was huge with the latest hi-tech equipments and there were even imported Japanese robots that processed the body of the vehicles. The machines were also handled efficiently by competent employees. This blending of human being and machine power gave a finesse to the automobiles that was astonishing. The engineering supervisors at different workshops gave lucid explanations on the complex process of the birth of a vehicle, and the actual assembling of a car which the students witnessed with their own eyes complemented this information. The accommodation and functioning of heavy machinery was exceptional and reflected the mind of a genius organization.

The relationship between the company and workers was made known by the various schemes offered for the benefit of the employees. The products of Mahindra that have spiraled upward are an outcome of this professional relationship.

The students dived into the discipline of the industry and made an enriching experience of it. A keen interest was seen by the fact that the students posed queries, clarified many a doubt and gathered a lot of good information. This academic visit was certainly made possible by our lecturer and our principal who gave the students an impetus to enter into the world of industries, become aware of the technology involved and broadly analyse its role in moulding society.

Cl. Bosco Carvalho, sdb

Sunday, July 18, 2010



On June 30, 2010 as we keep a filial remembrance of our father and founder, St. John Bosco, one could not ask for something greater than to have his Lordship Rt. Rev. Lourdes Daniel, the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Nashik and the Bishop of Amravati, to pay a visit to Divyadaan. It was indeed a privilege to have him among us.

During his short visit, his Lordship assured the staff and students of Divyadaan of his prayers and wished them all the best as they continued their intellectual pursuits during this scholastic year. He was taken up by the vibrant energy of the community and was also pleased to see the way in which the activities of the house were being organized with certain finesse.

The community of Divyadaan hope and pray that this visit may be one of the many visits of his Lordship to our community.

Cl Mario D’Couto sdb


DIVYADAAN, JULY 1, 2010: On June 20, 2010, eighteen young dynamic clerics of Divyadaan began yet another year of their apostolate in the Jawahar-Mokhada region. It began with an orientation programme conducted by Fr. Anaclete and his team at the ‘Jungle Camp’, Walwande.

The programme was well planned and conducted. It was very informative, wherein the staff by means of power point presentations and clippings beautifully summarized the aims and objectives of the Salesians in the Jawahar-Mokhada region. The brothers were guided into knowing the different tribes, cultures and festivals of the people of the region. This opened up many ignorant minds to new and amazing facts about our very own people for whom we work for.

The brothers were then asked to share and evaluate their past experiences of working in that region with the people. This interaction kept the staff upbeat about the progress at various schools and took into consideration a couple of points that needed to be reconsidered and worked upon. This enriching experience came to an end with a meaningful talk given by Fr. Anaclete who encouraged and thanked the brothers for all their hard work. He also invited them to continue the good work of teaching at the various ashrams/schools in that region. He urged the brothers to be apostles of Don Bosco who wore his heart on his sleeves for his boys and maintained life long relationship with all those under his care.

The brothers were grateful to the staff at the ‘Jungle Camp’ for the guidance and the help provided. They have pledged to be catalysts of change in this region thus heralding a brighter and stronger future for our country.

Cl Sunil Pinto sdb


ROME, JUNE 18, 2010: It is an historic detail, confirmed by each of the four evangelists, that from the outset of his evangelising activities (cf. Mk 1:14-15), Jesus called some to follow him (cf. Mk 1:16-20). These first disciples of his thus became "companions throughout the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out amongst us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day he was taken up from us" (Acts 1:21-22).

Evangelisation and vocation thus become two inseparable elements. Furthermore, a criterion of the authenticity of good evangelisation is its ability to give rise to vocations, to see to the growth of projects of gospel living, to completely involve those who are evangelised to the point where they become disciples and apostles.

Following on from the Strenna for 2010, “Lord, we want to see Jesus”, about the urgent need to evangelise, I am making a heartfelt appeal to the Salesian Family now to feel the urgency of, the need to call others.

Dear brothers and sisters, every member of the Salesian Family, I therefore invite you to be true spiritual guides for the young, like John the Baptist pointing out Jesus to his disciples and telling them: Look, here is the Lamb of God!” (Jn 1:36), so they can follow him to a point where Jesus, aware that they are following him, turns to them directly with the question: “What are you looking for?” and they, overcome with the desire to profoundly get to know who this Jesus is, ask him: “Rabbi, where do you live?” (Jn 1:38), and he invites them to share the experience of being with him: “Come and see”. They will have experienced something immensely beautiful from the moment they “came and saw where he was staying and they remained with him” (Jn 1:39).

Here then is the pedagogical direction we must take:

1. Return to Don Bosco:

Make the Valdocco experience our own; it creates a family environment of great spiritual worth, one of apostolic involvement and spiritual accompaniment which is sustained by intense love for the Church and the world.

Show the beauty, the appropriateness of our Salesian vocation for today and its variety: a life completely given to God in the service of the young is well worth living.

Live our lives and help the lives of others to be understood as vocation and mission. And all this as a great gift which is experienced with God at the centre, in fellowship with all consecrated men and women dedicated to the poorest and most needy.

2. Become Don Bosco for the young people of today

Be aware of the central, obvious place of consecrated persons in the carrying out of the Salesian mission. This was Don Bosco's belief and experience.

Create a culture of vocation as was the case at Valdocco, one marked by seeking the meaning of existence, with transcendence as its horizon, sustained and supported by profound values, a planning mentality, and aimed at a culture of fellowship and solidarity.

Ensure accompaniment through the quality of our personal lives, our education to love and chastity, our responsibility for history, starting them out in prayer, apostolic involvement.

Make the Salesian Youth Movement a privileged place for the journey of vocational discernment: where young people experience and show how the current of communion flowing around Don Bosco, his pedagogical values, and Salesian Youth Spirituality results in a volunteer movement and projects of life.

Fr Pascual Chávez Villanueva sdb


NASHIK, JUNE 12, 2010: The Feast of the Sacred Heart and the inaugural day was an auspicious combination at Divyadaan this year. This annual academic exercise consisted of the solemn inaugural Eucharist and the inaugural ceremony.

“The new year brings new learning”, were the words of Fr. Ajoy Fernandes, vice Provincial of Salesian Province of Mumbai, who presided over the inaugural Eucharist. While stressing on the blending of philosophy with our mission he said: “Our study is the journey of life, faith and love in view of the mission.” He drew inspiration from the Holy Trinity as being a blend of presence, purpose, wisdom and love. Further he added: “Philosophy should help us reach the mountain peak along a treacherous journey from where we are able to gaze at the intricate connection of life. The invocation of the Holy Spirit is like having a torch lit in the darkness for the clarity of the mind. We may at times loose sight of our friends or may be our purpose; hence to live life we not only need a mind but also a heart. The Sacred Heart enables us to connect to these with love since it loved us first.”

After the Eucharist the inaugural ceremony of the new academic year 2010-11 took place in the academic block. Following with the lighting of the lamp, Fr. Savio D’Souza, the Rector, welcomed the gathering. Fr. Robert Pen, the Principal, then presented the academic report of the year 2009-2010, after which Fr. Ajoy released the new academic calendar and declared the year open.

The key-note speaker of the day was Rev. Fr. Edison Fernandes, who holds the chair of educational psychology in Divyadaan. He enthralled everybody with his systematic exposition of his doctoral thesis: “A Phenomenological Exploration of Discrimination as perceived by International students: implications for Formation and Philosophy”. He dealt with the issue of discrimination enumerating its various causes like culture, name, race, colour of skin etc. According to him this only results into foreign students getting stressed, overworked and depressed.

In his opinion, this sensitive issue being of much importance deals with the harsh reality of discrimination as many theories have emerged about the dynamics of discrimination but few from the perspective of the victims of discrimination. Hence he drew his own method of research which was a laborious redaction from a vast data taken from personal interviews. He mentioned that philosophy tends to neglect empiricism and thus called for a combination of empirical findings and theory. He concluded with the message for all philosophy students to “uphold a philosophical option for the poor, marginalized and discriminated”.

Cl. Denver D’Silva sdb


NASHIK, JUNE 7, 2010: The first year philosophy brothers of Divyadaan ensued towards Trimbakeshwar for their first picnic of the academic year 2010-11. The Staff and the students decided to go to Trimbakeshwar, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. In order to get there they climbed the Brahmagiri - the origin of the river Godavari. It was a timely outing for the brothers to freshen up before they began their philosophical endeavours.

The journey began at 2 pm in the afternoon with the brothers getting ready in their hiking attire. Reaching the holy place by 2:45 pm, the brothers climbed to the summit of the Brahmagiri. At Trimbakeshwar the brothers learnt the significance of the place. A sage narrated the story of the genesis of the river Godavari. According to him anyone who came to this place was sure to attain salvation. He stated that the river Godavari took its course from here and a dip in this sacred water would cleanse one’s sins. He gave an example of a certain sage Gautam, who, after having committed a sin by murdering a cow had bathed in this river and was washed clean. The brothers on their way up the mountain were exposed to the culture of the place; the beautifully carved caves, the staircases, the statues and the old uninhabited houses created an atmosphere of wonder. After reaching the source of the river Godavari and enjoying the cool breeze, the brothers came hopping down to head back home.517E3D1D7AEC44E7888D23B241BBC715@Natasha

As the brothers returned from their religious trek, a sense of awe gripped them as they pondered on the mystery of nature and that of the supernatural phenomenon. It was indeed an experience that they would never forget. The brothers realized that it was the faith of the people alone that helped them live on in life as they witnessed many a pilgrim trekking on to meet their God.

Nelson Mudaliar sdb



On the feast of the Visitation of Our Lady, Fr. Manuel, Fr. Santarita, Fr. Jeffery, Fr. James Tuscano, Fr. Cletus and Fr. Savio D’Souza gathered together at the Salesian Training Institute to commemorate twenty-five great years of living the Salesian call to holiness.

With grateful hearts the jubilarians said, “God Tussi Great Ho!” as they echoed sentiments of thankfulness and praise to the Lord for choosing them to be humble instruments through which HE would work wonders in the lives of all to whom they would be Sent In Love. The jubilarians stated that the Lord had worked marvels in their lives. It was through Him alone that they could reach out to touch and transform the lives of many. They all believed that through these twenty-five years they had many ups and downs but the love that they received from their superiors, companions and friends encouraged them to persevere and be faithful to their vocation. They called the gathering to put their trust in Jesus and to bank on His love, for without Him they would be nothing.

After the Eucharist, a short family circle was staged. A sumptous meal provided by the STI community enhanced the celebrations.