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SPCSA Assembly 2018 reflects on the Theme ''Nation Building, the Constitutional Way''
By Father Joaquim Fernandes sdb
Mumbai, Mar. 3. The 18th Salesian Provincials Conference of South Asia (SPCSA) Assembly was held on 27 -28 February 2018 at Don Bosco Provincial House, Kolkata. Father Nirmol Gomes, the Provincial of Kolkata, welcomed. Bro. Jean Paul Muller the Eonomer General, Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, the Regional Councillor, all the Provincials, Provincial designate of Guwahati and Shillong, Secretary of SPCSA, all the Provincial Delegates and heads of all the Commissions.
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Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga delivered the Keynote address on the theme ''The Heart of Educating India''. He presented the topic dividing it into four parts: The heart of Education, The situation of education in India, Exploring alternatives and Don Bosco, the Great Educator. He said that education meant the building of human persons as considered by Vivekananda. Education must be for freedom and human dignity and not slavery. A challenge for Salesians, Religious and Educational Societies is to become prophets.

The first presentation was by Prof. Om Prakash Mishra and eminent scholar who has served also in his illustrious career also as the Pro-Vice Chancellor of IGNOU spoke on ''Nation Building, the Constitutional Way.'' Prof. Mishra's thoughts dwelt on the political ideology of the major parties - Hindutva ideology, the communist ideology the Congress ideology. He said that the Congress ideology has penetrated deep which is an ideology of inclusion. The Constitution which has the liberal nationalism protects us. The people of India have a connect in the relationship with the Constitution. India should become not a global power but a global player. We should move ahead with positive idealism.

Father George Thadathil, Principal, Salesian College, Sonada, spoke on ''The Challenges and prospects of Christian Education in Contemporary India''.  The enterprise of education we Christians are engaged started with the process of reforms. The modern Constitutional vision is the same as our Christian and Gospel vision. We need to be very perceptively engaged with what is happening in India. The Models we have before us are the following: 1) The crusade model which asks to resist, fight and challenge; 2) The diasporic model which asks to flourish and do the work where you can and 3) The Martyrdom model: Christian-ness as a natural outcome of martyrdom. For preserving our right to education which we are assured by the Constitution as a minority right we need vigilantism.

The second day of the assembly began with a hymn to Don Bosco and a short prayer invoking God's grace by Father Albert Johnson. Father Tom Uzhunnalil who was invited to speak to the Assembly was welcomed by Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga and honoured with a shawl. Father Tom shared his experience about the terrorist attack in Yemen, his abduction, life in captivity and his release.
The first session was on Don Bosco Green Alliance (DBGA) by Father Savio Silveira. It will be an international collective of young people from DB institutions and organizations that contribute to global environmental action, thought and policy. The mission is to create a safe and caring planet, building internationally committed leaders and citizens.

The various reports from the various SPCSA Commissions and Networks were presented and discussed and the budgets and plan for the region approved by the SPCSA.

''SPCSA in the last 6 years has grown - more professional, scientific, more publication, more collaboration and the presentation he said showed clearly that lots of works are done'' said Father V M Thomas, Provincial of the Province of Guwahati.

Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga expressed appreciation and gratitude to the Networks. He said he was very proud of our region and thanked the network heads in a special way starting from the Secretary to everyone of the members. He mentioned specially  the members from Sri Lanka for their presence and assured them support from the region. Father Maria went to say that probably the best and powerfully working Region is the South Asian region as this region has the same language, more networks and regular meetings. It is good to think of networking with other religious to widen our impact and reap better results. Thus we have to begin to be people of communion. Let us thank God for our growth exponentially. Father Nirmol Gomes was thanked for the organization of the assembly.


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