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By Francis Hembrom sdb
Guwahati, Dec. 15. Rome: (14 December) The Salesian Congregation completes 150 years on 18 December 2009. As a mark of solemn commemoration, the Rector Major together with his Council leads the whole Congregation in ''renewing the Profession'' of total fidelity and commitment to Don Bosco from the very cradle of Salesian life - Valdocco, Turin. The historic commemoration recalls the day when 18 youngsters aged 15-24, gathered at Don Bosco's room to commit themselves as Salesians! Among them were Michael Rua who eventually succeeds Don Bosco and John Cagliero, the first Salesian Bishop and Cardinal and a zealous missionary in South America.
We the 600+ Salesians at UPS were singularly privileged to have had the 9th Successor of Don Bosco lead us in ''renewing'' our Profession on 14 December. It was an intense moment of spiritual renewal. This solemn act was witnessed by Mother Reungoat, the Mother General of the Salesian Sisters, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart (members of the Salesian family who take care of the Aged Salesians at UPS), Salesian Cooperators and a host of other friends and well-wishers.

Speaking in his inimitable style, it was a ''Father'' speaking to his Sons full of  love and with a great vision for the future. ''We have a new story to write'' he began, ''a story written with fidelity and fecundity by those 18 boys.'' He highlighted four salient features of that historic day:
1. They chose to remain with Don Bosco: It was a conscious decision to remain. It was a condition for  Consecration and such a consecration was for a Mission - for the young! We may remind ourselves of Cagliero's oft-quoted line, ''Monk or no monk, I will be with Don Bosco!''
2. To go along with Don Bosco ''in halves'': It was a shared mission in everything - in work, in all joys and sorrows. The little band of those 18 teenagers and young adults all fired with zeal to launch out into the deep for the salvation of the young. It is a call to be conscious of the common mission we share and never lose sight of our commitment.
3. To ''reclaim'' the spiritual apostolic project of Don Bosco: Fidelity to the Constitution was the actual 'secret of success'. The young pioneers became as it were, ''little replicas'' of Don Bosco himself. A return to Don Bosco  (GC 26) is the guarantee of our charismatic Identity. Hence, the urgent need, or better still the obligation ''to know, to love, to pray and to live'' our Project of Life.
4. A daily commitment and a total offering: Our mission requires a daily fidelity and a total generosity to God and man. The history of the Congregation in the past 150 years has been a history of fidelity, generosity, commitment and continues to be so. The Salesians pioneers and others after them have given us shining examples of absolute fidelity. We are called upon to emulate their example. Spiritual strength comes from the Lord and hence ''just a closer walk with Thee''- attitude in fulfilling our mission.

In his concluding remark, Very Rev. Fr. Chavez exhorted us: ''Let us follow the Dream of Don Bosco.''

We are the proud inheritors of the Dream Don Bosco had. The Dream must go on and on! We dream the dream that he dreamt. Let us be ''dreamers'' as he was.


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