The Province of Chennai is currently the largest in India, with 372 professed Salesians and 19 novices. In the Good Night on 17 March, the Provincial, Fr Raphael Jayapalan, spoke about the province.
“Without doubt, the province has been blessed with a good number of vocations and a number of pre-novices , novices and students of theology. An aspirantate for missionary vocations was started recently in Perambur. “The province is 80 years old. It has 21 parishes, 29 youth centres, 46 schools, 18 orphanages, boarding schools , hostels for boys and girls, 3 hostels for young workers, 25 hostels for young people, 281 evening schools for poor children.
The great Salesian family and network have the highest number of vocational schools in India, second only to the government. In the Province of Chennai it provides professional training with two polytechnic colleges, one Agricultural Institute, five formal professional schools and seventeen non-formal training centres, plus eleven centres of education at university level.
“The Province is attentive to the signs of the times, while remaining faithful to the charism and spirit of Don Bosco. This is evident from its various activities and apostolates, and its services for young people, especially those most in need.” There are well-tested specialized services for street children and sick children, for the elderly. There is also a ministry to people in the slums, prison ministry, pastoral care of Gypsies and self-support groups.
Particularly relevant are the service and ministry to young people affected by HIV/AIDS. There are two programmes. The first of these is the Hospitality House ANBAGAM , known as “Pope John ‘s Garden” which houses 45 children, boys and girls, aged between 3 and 22. The other is the halfway house in Vellore, which provides care and family support for 180 sick children in their homes.
Social Communication is also important. The Don Bosco Institute of Communication Arts (DBICA) is a school of graphic arts and visual arts, with professional activities and entertainment, and there is the publishing centre for ARUMBU Publications.
The province also has a missionary outreach. One Salesian was sent recently to Hong Kong to work with young Asian migrants, and there are others in Canada. A start has been made in the UAE and it is hoped to start soon in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Everything is done in the name of Don Bosco who is ” well known, loved and imitated by young people. We, his followers, try to be faithful and credible. We are determined to offer new hopes and respond to the deep aspirations of young people, forming them to be honest citizens and worthy sons of God.”
First Published by InfoANS