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Tripura Salesian Family rallies around Youth for the Bicentenary Finale
By Joseph Pulinthanath sdb
Shillong, Aug. 18. Curtains came down on the year long celebrations of Don Bosco's birth bicentenary with a region level two-day Youth Meet at Tripura's capital city, Agartala, 15-16 August 2015. Church personnel cutting across congregations joined the 1500-strong youth that gathered at Don Bosco Agartala for the finale of the celebrations.
The differently abled youth of Ferrando Convent perform Hojagiri dance during bicentenary celebrations
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The two-day program commenced with the screening of a 10-minute movie on the life and works of Don Bosco.  Shri Daniel Jamatia Member of the Legislative Assembly, and a past pupil himself, was the chief guest at the inaugural function called Don Bosco an unparalleled Educator of Youth and congratulated the Salesian Family on the occasion. He also inaugurated the Don Bosco Exhibition prepared by different Salesian Family institutions in the state. The Exhibition highlighted the life of Don Bosco and the various types of services being rendered at different Salesian institutions in Tripura.

In typical Salesian fashion, the youth occupied the centre stage throughout the event. The animation sessions taken by Sister Celine D'Cunha, Tarun Kanti Debbarma and Father Paul Panachickal had the young people reflecting on the power they wielded and the challenges they faced in the present day world. In the Eucharistic celebration held in the evening, Father Hormis John, the Vicar General of the Diocese and the main celebrant, spoke of Holy Mother Mary assumed into heaven, as a model par excellence for youth.

The celebrations on 16th August, the actual Birthday of the saint, began in the morning when the congregation gathered in front of the statue of Don Bosco at the tri-junction outside the campus and paid homage to the saint.

The high point of the day was the solemn Bicentenary Holy Eucharist presided over by Most Rev Lumen Monteiro CSC, DD and joined by other priest celebrants from different parishes and communities. The congregation numbering over 1500, consisted mostly of young people. In his homily, Bishop Monteiro highlighted the importance Don Bosco gave in his educational system to the Holy Eucharist and to Mother Mary. Don Bosco is given to the universal Church because he exemplifies in his mission, a truth about God and His love, in this case His love for the young, said the Bishop. For the Agartala unit of Salesian Cooperators, the day had an added significance. Eight new members made the promise during the solemn Eucharistic celebration.

After the Holy Eucharist, Bishop Monteiro released a 120-page Bicentenary souvenir painstakingly prepared by a team headed by Sister Celine D'Cunha FMA. Besides thematic pieces related to Don Bosco, the Souvenir also gives an account of the history and activities of each Salesian institution in the state.

The program also offered the young an opportunity to showcase their talents. In the cultural program held on both the days, groups of youth from various institutions danced with gay abandon. The near perfect feel that most dances had was proof that much effort and earnestness had gone into their preparation.

The preparations for the Tripura region celebrations began months in advance when a committee was formed with Father Sunny as the Convener and Mr. Manoj Jamatia as the Coordinator of the celebrations. Various Committees consisting of members from all components of the Salesian Family were set up and responsibilities shared.

Unprecedented camaraderie and collaboration among all component groups of the Salesian Family characterized the run up to the bicentenary celebrations. The member groups of the Family are the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), the Missionary Sisters of Mary help of Christians (MSMHC), the Visitation Sisters of Don Bosco (VSDB), the Association of Salesian Cooperators (ASC) and the Salesian Past Pupils. Fr. Benny Moshahary, the SDB Delegate for Tripura Salesian Family called the event and the opportunity it offered, 'one of the bicentenary gifts of Don Bosco to Tripura.' Father Sunny, the Convener thanked everyone and said he hoped the conclusion of the celebrations was 'just the beginning of greater commitment and dedication to the cause of youth'.
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