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Rector Major Inspires Young Salesians In Pune
By BIS Correspondent
Mumbai, Mar. 24. PUNE: Rector Major Father Angel Fernandez Artime, the 10thSuccessor of Don Bosco, the head of all institutes of the Salesians of Don Bosco worldwide in over 130 countries and 15,000 institutes received a rousing welcome to Sacred Heart Parish and Don Bosco High School and Junior College in Yerwada on March 24, while on his visit to meet the Salesian Family. He arrived in Pune earlier in the day and spent his morning with the young Salesians in-formation at Koregaon Park.
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Father Artime got a glimpse of the local culture as he rode to the parish on a chariot. Amidst the thunderous sound of dhols (drums), he was treated at the gate with a local welcome drink, adorned in traditional attire, led in procession by Lezim dancers, who performed a rural Maharashtrian dance.

High tea followed. The Rector Major took time to personally greet representatives of the various Salesian groups, obliging them with photographs, and gracing them with his blessings.

''The Rector Major's visit to Pune is an extraordinary event. As a person, he is very much down to earth, easy to approach and talk. All this will have a very strong positive impact on the school and community in the city,'' Cyril Asirvadam, a Sacred Heart parishioner said.

The Rector Major was then led in procession with a prayer dance by the Don Bosco Junior College students to celebrate the Holy Eucharist for over 1500 faithful who had gathered.

In his homily, Father Artime expounded on the Gospel of the Samaritan woman, speaking of her life-transforming incident, when Jesus looked on her with dignity, despite her iniquities. ''Let's find Jesus as the Samaritan woman found Him. It will give us a lot of hope,'' he said, adding, ''Pope Francis believes in the prayers of one for another. I invite you to pray for others. Pray for all those we carry in our hearts and pray for those who deserve our compassion.''

Father Artime kept his promise to the Holy Father Pope Francis - while at a private audience with him - of speaking of the Pope's Madonna wherever he went. He urged the faithful to constantly seek recourse to the Blessed Mother, whose prayers never fail.

A cultural programme followed, beginning with the Bosco Band performance and prayer dance by Don Bosco High School, Yerwada. Auxilium Convent Lonavla presented a Maharashtrian cultural dance. The youth of Sacred Heart Parish Yerwada showcased with a cultural dance depicting 'Incredible India'.

''The presence of the Rector Major is not less than the presence of Don Bosco among us for me. I feel very lucky to meet him,'' Manjusha Thorat, teacher of Don Bosco High School said.

The  Rector Major was then felicitated by the different units of the Salesian family: priests and brothers, sisters, Co-operators, past pupil, school staff, youth groups, Salesian boarding, and parish council units. Also present were Father Godfrey D'souza, Mumbai Salesian Provincial, Father Malcolm Sequeira, Vicar General of the Diocese of Pune, Father Horacio Lopez, Secretary to the Rector Major, Father Savio Silveira, Vice Provincial of Mumbai province and Father Manuel Murzello, Provincial Economer.

The Rector Major released a book, 'Salesian Contribution to the Ahmednagar Mission', a theological, historical, and pastoral study authored by Rector and Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Parish, Father Michael Bansode.

A  cultural dance 'Jagran Gondhal' by Don Bosco Savedi, a Vote of Thanks by Father James Tuscano, provincial councillor, and the singing of the Salesian anthem closed the day's proceedings.

The Rector Major ended his Pune sojourn with the traditional Salesian 'Good Night', a practice started by Don Bosco, who would give his oratory boys a good night thought before they went to bed. '' First, we have gathered here together as Christians and friends of the great charism of Don Bosco. Your presence here speaks a great deal. I want to thank each one of you for everything.''

''Second, our Salesian charism is very simple: we have a familiarity which we have lived today. One of the things we need to affirm is the human rapport we have with each other. In this way, we will communicate Jesus and His Gospel. Always have recourse to the Blessed Mother, our Madonna. Grow in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.''

''Third, I was awestruck with our youngsters, with the way they sang and danced. Congratulations! I am very proud of you! May the good Lord live in us,'' the R

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