Dimapur (India). From 1 to 4 November 2023, at the Dimapur Don Bosco Institute for Development and Leadership (DBIDL), a meeting for the Province Delegates of the Salesian Family took place with the presence of Salesians of Don Bosco, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and representatives of the other groups of the SF.
The experience was prepared and coordinated from Rome by a team of FMA AND SDB animators of the Salesian Family: Fr. Joan Lluis Playa SDB, Central Delegate of the Rector Major for the Secretariat of the Salesian Family; Mr. Domenico Duc Nam SDB, World Delegate for the Past Pupils and Salesian Cooperators (ASSCC); Fr. Alejandro Guevara SDB, World Spiritual Assistant for ADMA; Sister Leslie Sandigo, General Councilor for the Salesian Family; and Sister Lucrecia Uribe FMA, World Delegate for ASSCC and for ADMA. Also present were Fr. Joseph Pauria, Province of Calcutta (INC), Province delegate for the SF; and Fr. Mathai Kottarathil, Delegate for the SF of the IND Province.
The team and participants were 39 in total including SDB, FMA, Salesian Cooperators (SSCC), Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), Past Pupils of Don Bosco, Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC), Volunteers of Don Bosco (VDB), Catechist Sisters of Mary Immaculate Help of Christians (SMI), Disciples (DISC), Sisters of the Visitation of Don Bosco (VSDB), and Volunteers with Don Bosco (CDB). All were solemnly welcomed with shawls and stoles, according to local tradition.
The meeting began on 1 November 2023, with the Eucharistic Celebration and welcome greeting from the Provincial of Dimapur (IND), Fr. Jose Kuruvachira. Fr. Playa then gave the introductory report on the objectives and purposes of the meeting.
Fr. Joseph Manippadeth, Delegate of the Salesian Family for South Asia, presented a strategic plan and guidelines for the future, with growth opportunities for the Salesian Family based on updated statistics. Starting from the presentation, the assembly discussed in small groups knowledge and good practices and future plans to strengthen ourselves as SF, which were then presented in the assembly.
The following day, Sister Leslie Santigo led the morning session on the theme “Animation and Accompaniment of the Salesian Family”. Through engaging dynamics, such as the escape room and the walk in the museum, together with Sister Lucrecia Uribe she spoke about Prophecy: being a charismatic family in the Church, being communion in synodality, being a shared mission. Sister Lucrecia and Fr. Alessandro Guevara explored the objectives of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA) and the Marian identity of the Salesian Family.
On 3 November, in the SDB Provincial House in Dimapur, a joint session took place between the Delegates for the Salesian Family and the Delegates for Youth Ministry of South Asia, led by the General Councilor for Youth Ministry of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr. Miguel Ángel García, on the theme “Salesian family with a strong apostolic spirituality”, focusing on collaboration and joint action between SF and YM in favor of young people.
On the last day, the Salesian meeting had the special feature of the presence of Fr. Biju Michael, Regional Councilor for SOUTH Asia, who celebrated the Eucharist and offered a report on the psychological needs of individuals. The day ended with the formulation, editing, and approval of the meeting manifesto.
Other aspects that made the days engaging and interesting were the presentation of the charismatic identities of the different Groups of the Salesian Family, as well as the sharing of best practices by the SDB and FMA Provincial Delegates.
The visit to the SDB Provincial House for dinner with the YM delegates and the visit to Dimapur college gave color to the experience, reinvigorating the body and spirit with typically Salesian joy, enthusiasm, and family spirit. In closing, Fr. Joseph Manippadeth expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all those who organized, hosted, and participated in the meeting.