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Salesian Rector Major visits Dimapur
By Father Jonas Kerketta, SDB
Mumbai, Sep. 12. From 10 to 14 September, Fr Angel Fernandez Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians, is visiting Dimapur, Salesian Province of Dimapur, which includes the Northeast Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Upper Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. On the afternoon of 10 September, he was warmly welcomed by Father Jose Kuruvachira, provincial of Dimapur Province, by Salesians and other members of the Salesian Family at Dimapur Airport.
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The youthful music bands from Don Bosco School, Palin (Arunachal Pradesh), and Don Bosco School, Dimapur, as well as the 'Naga warriors' and traditional dancers added colour to the reception accorded to the Rector Major, his secretary Fr Horacio Lopez SDB, and Fr Maria Arokiam Kanaga SDB, Regional Councilor for South Asia. The accompanying parade provided by 20 bikers of the Nagaland Motor Cycle Club from Dimapur airport to the Provincial House Dimapur was spectacular. Another reception was organized for the Rector Major in the Provincial House.

At 6:30 pm, around 350 Don Bosco alumni from the aforementioned states gave a rousing reception to the Rector Major. In his message, Fr �ngel, 10th successor of St. John Bosco, said he was greatly impressed to meet such vibrant units of the Don Bosco alumni in this part of the globe. He told them not to remain just cherishing the happy memories of being Don Bosco past pupils but to actively live the values they have imbibed from their 'alma maters'.

On 11th morning, the Rector Major was given a public reception in the premises of Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, Dimapur. Over 1,000 youth attended the programme. Dignitaries present on the occasion included: Bishop James Thoppil, DD of Kohima, Bishop Joseph Aind SDB, DD of Dibrugarh, Bishop George Palliparambil SDB, DD, and Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Panipitchai SDB, DD of Miao (Arunachal Pradesh), Shri  Kevin (Deputy Commissioner of Dimapur), Mr. Francis Ngajokpa (former Minister, Govt. of Manipur), the Riverbelt Colony chairman and the village council, many Salesians and Salesian Family members.

In his five years since 2014 as Rector Major, Father Angel has visited most of the 134 countries where the Salesians work and has met around 12,000 out of the +14,000  Salesians. In today's message he appreciated the great work done by the Salesians, the members of the Salesian Family and the teachers, especially in the field of education in this region. He gratefully acknowledged the presence of the four Bishops who had come to express their solidarity with the Salesians and their Rector Major. To the youth of this colourful region, he said that every Salesian is born precisely for their welfare. He enthralled the audience as he played guitar and sang three Spanish melodies accompanied by his secretary Fr Lopez SDB.

Speaking earlier, the Dimapur District Commissioner exhorted the youth to gratefully accept the guidance offered by the Salesians and the teachers and not to be misled by social media.

Bishop James Thoppil gratefully acknowledged the services of the Salesians and the Salesian Family, especially in the Diocese of Kohima. He appreciated the encouraging visit of the Rector Major.

Shri Francis Ngajokpa, former Minister, Govt. of Manipur, exhorted all to appreciate the great service the Salesians render at the cost of great sacrifices. He highlighted the importance of honesty and forgiveness as taught by the Salesian system of education.

The public reception in honour of the Rector Major was enlivened by the scintillating performance of Jhumur Dance by the youth of Tinsukia, Tribal Steps by Don Bosco College Itanagar, traditional songs by Kohima Parish, Kuki Dance by Mary Immaculate Parish Imphal, the choir by Don Bosco College Kohima, Bihu Dance by Don Bosco College Golaghat and Rongmei Dance from Don Bosco College, Maram-Manipur.
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