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Don Bosco Visits the Tea Gardens
By KNOTS Correspondent
Kolkata, Jun. 30. Don Bosco (DB) was accorded a soothing and green welcome on 28th June, 2011 at 5.15 PM at DB Oodlabari in the Himalayan foothills, despite the overcast sky. As the new day dawned on 29th June, DB was charmed by the smiling faces of over 650 school children along with their parents. Later during the day, DB went to Patibari - one of the sub-stations of DB Oodlabari , where over 5000 people, despite the monsoon showers accorded a grand welcome to their Father.
The evening of 28th June merged into the night, with prayers and songs sung by the local people of Oodlabari, joined by the Salesian confreres.

The children of the school, the teaching and non-teaching staff along with the parents and guardians joined in the chorus of praise and thanksgiving in homage to DB at 8.30 AM in the school assembly hall. Introducing the lighting of the lamp Mrs. Sucharita Bhattacharya, the commentator said, ''Let DB bless us, the way he blessed the boys at his oratory and changed their darkness into light.''

During the welcome speech Fr. Thomas Ellicherail the provincial said, ''DB Oodlabari is privileged to host DB, as the first institution in our province. Therefore I congratulate you for your beautiful presentation of your hearts to DB as he enters our province through Oodlabari.'' Fr. Provincial invited the students to grow up with a sense of God, morality, brotherhood, sharing and solidarity with the poor, as DB exhorted his children.

The presentation was followed by the offering of flowers and garlands by everyone present. DB left for Patibari at 10.30 AM while the children shouted, ''Long live Don Bosco!''
Patibari is a sub-station of DB Oodlabari. An amazing crowd of over 5000 awaited him.  After the welcome ceremonies the Holy Eucharist was celebrated, which was followed by the homage ceremony.

After spending around four hours at Patibari, DB left for Salesian College Sonada, up in the mountains.

Attached to the Salesian Community at Siliguri, Oodlabari Mission with a resident community since 2007, looks after the children of the tea garden labourers and employers.
Fr. Mathew Panapurayil, Fr. Reginald D'Silva, Fr. Pius Kerketta along with the Staff members made the day memorable for all the children, parents, parishioners and friends.
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