Category Archives: Salesian College Sonada

Flaws in Seminary Training Exposed

Book cover: A Bumpy Ride

Book cover: A Bumpy Ride

KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – The Author of ‘A Bumpy Ride’, a college lecturer, who also has over 15 years’ experience of training candidates to religious and priestly life in seminaries in India, looks realistically at the trials and experiences Seminarians go through during their ‘bumpy ride’ along the lengthy road of training. Darwin might well have called the entire process the ‘survival of the fittest’ in a complex socio-religious environment. The lecturer-turned author however uses humour and anecdotal evidence to suggest there are alternative methods that could be set in place to produce more balanced ‘human products’ for today’s world.

“The flaws in the systems used for trainees in (active) religious Orders, that are seldom brought to the attention of ordinary people, continue even today. Seminarians, like the protagonist in the Book, who keep being misunderstood or misrepresented, have compelled me to write the book,” says author of the book ‘A Bumpy Ride’ published in February 2012.

The Author, Trophy D’Souza, who has travelled widely and who has worked in different countries [including India, the UK, the USA, East Africa and the Gulf], and who now has three books to his credit,  says, “someone has to tell their stories so that at least some constructive measures can be taken …. even behind convent walls.”

Author : Trophy D'Souza

Author : Trophy D’Souza

The 220-page book published by Author House USA, which is also an e-book, is an effort to send a strong message to religious Managers, and Superiors, to look at their systems and their ‘Manager Training’ programmes so that people in their charge should not have to undergo agonizing humiliation and unnecessary suffering.”

The book tells a true story of the fulfilment of a dream a little boy had. Set in the 1960s and 1970s, the book speaks of his determination to reach his goal in spite of subtle discrimination, apparent injustice and calculated opposition under insensitive and incompetent religious Managers, or Superiors. It also reveals how his faith and his determination help him to persevere and to reach his goal.

The book is partly set in the Southern Indian state of Kerala and to a large extent moves up northeast to Calcutta on the banks of the HooghlyRiver and Darjeeling on the foothills of the Himalayas.

The main character of the book is a boy, Ralph: who tells his story as a grown-up once he has achieved his dream. It is the story of his resilience, his faith and his resolve to succeed.

There are also four of his tutors who influenced him in his efforts to train himself up: mainly Tristan, Sonny, Father Thomas and Father Job. Zack (his brother) was quite an influence, and also his support all along. There were also two seniors who influenced him in his crucial decision: Rev Barnabas and Father Sean.

The author says, “It will appeal to readers because it is inspirational and motivational, and does not seek to condemn, but rather to pick up the pieces and to move on.”

Ralph’s fan avidly reads the book

Ralph’s fan avidly reads the book

All along, the book strives to keep hope going, and so will appeal to those who struggle through life, the oppressed and the targeted, and those who are constantly looking for light at the end of the tunnel. Even religious Managers are human and so can be affected adversely by human pressures. The Author also thinks that the book could act as a sort of manual for fledgling Managers who may often have responsibility thrown at them unexpectedly, and who could perhaps find answers and solutions.

“It is as relevant for religious Managers as it is to management circles in the wider world,” the author says, “because the usual culprits: corruption, arrogance, intransigence and mismanagement easily creep in, even at the highest levels, in all sorts of organizations.  Basically people are human and so are prone to deviate from ethical values and to be led on by personal interests.”

The author insists that “the narrative seeks to inspire and not to condemn.” The book “should also be eagerly read by trainees, junior employees and young people, who should find strength and inspiration from the many anecdotes and situations presented,” he says.

“The story takes place in religious and Christian settings which were thought of as ‘holy of holies’ [or traditional bastions of goodness, correctness and justice], where no wrong doing was possible… Ralph wanted me to tell it all.”

The author explains, “in a very realistic and witty way, all this is exposed, and yet without aspersions being thrown around. It is different also because the ‘subject’ of the book instead of being vindictive shows compassion and forbearance, and shows unusual persistence to ‘chase his dream… He was eager that I tell his story, so that others could be inspired.’”

The final bit of advice from the Author is, “Seminarians too (and trainees) need to face reality, to know that they will never find ideal people – always good, kind and supportive, but that they need to learn to cope with adversity in a positive yet challenging way.”

Pls chk the link for more details: http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000513086/A-Bumpy-Ride.aspx

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Filed under Bandel seminary, Bumpy Ride, Don Bosco Bandel, Salesian College Sonada, Seminary formation, Trophy D'souza

New Book on Mother Teresa and Globalization Released in Rome

Prof Sergio releases Mother Teresa book while author and Indian students look on, 27May 2011.

ROME– The Administrator of the International Theological Studies centre at Gerini Institute Rome, Prof. Sergio Pierbattisti, a former missionary inAfrica, released a new book on Mother Teresa, 27 May.

The book entitled: Mother Teresa and the Globalizing World, is the doctoral thesis of Salesian Fr Antony Vayalil of Kolkata who completed his PhD in Missiology from the Gregorian University Rome, in June 2008.

The Indian students of theology at Gerini Institute, overlooking the high security Italian prison at Rebibbia where Mehmet Ali Agca, John Paul II’s assassin, spent 29 years, felicitated the author in a fellowship Indian meal prepared entirely by them.

Dr Vayalil holds a Master’s degree in Systematic theology fromSacredHeartCollege, Shillong and a bachelor of Philosophy from Salesian College Sonada,Darjeeling.

His book focuses on Mother Teresa as a universal missionary sans frontier, whose primary objective was to help the poorest of the poor deprived of a life without basic human dignity.

Dr Vayalil argues that the experience ofMacedoniaborn Mother Teresa ofCalcutta(1910 to 1997) is applicable in today’s globalizing world. He further insists that Mother Teresa is the model for missionaries as she “masterfully balanced the elusive margin between a contemplative and active missionary.”

Mother Teresa was beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II, 18 October 2003.

The 355 page book published by Calcutta Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (CCCRS) in 2011, apart from being academic, is the fruit of years of service as delegate for Missions in Kolkata province. The cost of the book is not mentioned.

Conversant in Italian, Fr Vayalil is at present in the Salesian community of San Callisto Rome, engaged in catechetical ministry and faith formation of pilgrims who visit the famous catacombs of San Callisto.

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Memories of Indian “Summer Priest” in Germany

Book Cover of “Summer Priest” with Prof Thuruthiyil’s photo in set.

LAMMERSPIEL IN MUHLHEIM AM MAIN, Germany (C.M. Paul) – It is rare that an Indian priest celebrates 25 years as summer priest in a German parish. Not only, he has also published a book to mark the occasion. Salesian priest Prof. Scaria Thuruthiyil former dean of the Philosophy Faculty at the Salesian University (UPS) Rome is currently in Lammerspiel in Muhlheim near Frankfurt. He celebrates the silver jubilee of his arrival in St. Lucia parish, Lämmerspiel, Saturday 17 July, with a solemn Eucharist at 6 P.M., followed by reception open to all the parishioners of both St. Lucia and St. Sebastian (Dietesheim) parishes.
“I have been coming to this parish each year since 1985 at least for one month,” says 63 year-old Prof Thuruthyil who heads a massive fan club in the region.
“My book in German will be released during a reception held in my honour to celebrate 25 years as “summer priest” (sommerpfarrer),” says Prof Thuruthyil who was recently appointed rector of the professors community, St Dominic Savio at the UPS Rome.
“When I come here [in Germany], I substitute the parish priest who goes for his holidays. Since last 15 years this parish has been amalgamated with neighbouring parish (St.Sebastian, Dietesheim) and I look after both the parishes,” says Prof Thuruthyil who has been honoured in 2006 with “Ehrenplakette in Bronze der Stadt Muhlheim” by the Mayor Bernd Muller of Muhlheim which has over 28,000 inhabitants.
“I thought of writing a small book of memories (entitled Sommerpfarrer) for this memorable occasion,” says Prof Thuruthyil.
Author of 14 Books
Giving details of the book, he says “it contains 47 anecdotes with a sketch drawing for each anecdote, besides a forward and a dedication.”
Incidentally, the cartoonist is the parish priest of the neighbouring parish of Sts. Markus and Maxmillian Kolbe. An excellent cartoonist, Fr. Dekan Schmitt-Helferich, has done the sketches in homage to Prof. Thuruthyil.
The 100-page book contains remembrances of persons and interesting events, both joyful and laughable experiences of these past 25 years.
“It is meant as my personal gift to the parishioners who have been very friendly to me for all these past years: a celebration that could last for a while with some good laughs and cheery anecdotes,” says Prof Thuruthyil hoping his writing would also inspire hope and optimism.
There has been an overwhelming response to the venture and the first edition of 850 copies of the book is already running short and I am thinking of ordering a second edition to be at hand soon.
A couple of people who read the manuscripts are highly appreciative of the book and have already asked for the second volume of the book to be written.
Author of 14 books in English, Italian and Malayalam, Prof Thuruthiyil’s latest 358 page book in Italian is entitled “Principi e valori educativi, nella tradizione Indiana.” It is due for release in September 2010.
Born in Pala
Born in the diocese of Pala, Kerala in 1947, Fr Thuruthiyil studied in Bandel, Salesian College Sonada Darjeeling, UPS Rome and Jnanadeepa Vidyapeeth Pune.  In 1972 as professor of Philosophy at Salesian College, Yercaud, Tamilnadu, Prof Thuruthiyil founded the SSGY (Social Service Guild Yercaud) – an organization of Religious men and women formed to coordinate various initiatives for the poor. The SSGY continues to be a well-run organization to date.
He was ordained priest in Pala (1977) and was appointed Administrator and vice Rector at Don Bosco Tech New Delhi and became professor of Philosophy at Salesian College Sonada (1981-1984). After completing doctorate in Philospohy from UPS Rome, Fr Thuruthiyil returned Kolkata where he worked as assistant parish priest at Kalyani and professor of Philosophy at the Morning Star College regional seminary Calcutta where seminarians from 28 dioceses studied.
From 1988 Prof Thuruthiyil has been at the UPS Rome as well invited professor at the Università di Roma, La Sapienza, Dept. of Ethnic Religions (2003 onwards). From 2004 he also lectures at BEDA Pontifical College (Philosophical Anthropology and History of Modern and Contemporary Philosophy) Rome.
Contact email id for greetings: scaria.thuruthiyil@gmail.com

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Fr Thuruthiyil Made Rector of Professors’ Community at UPS Rome

Prof Scaria Thuruthiyil SDB

ROME – The Superior of the Universita’ Pontificia Salesiana (UPS) Vice-province communicated, 21 June, Prof Scaria Thuruthiyil as Rector of  UPS Dominic Savio professor’s community. He succeeds eminent professor Fr Morand Wirth during whose tenure Fr Thuruthiyil was the Catechist.
The official announcement reads: “The Rector Major with his Council has approved the nomination of  Fr. Thuruthiyil Scaria, as new Rector of the community of S. Dominic Savio” for a triennium 2010-1013. To him goes our congratulations and wishes for the service of guide and animator of the community and of the confreres”.
One of the features Fr Thuruthiyil, formerly of Kolkata province, introduced as catechist in his community was the weekly Saturday afternoon outings for the elderly confreres who were confined to the infirmary and could venture out, if provided the occasion.
Former dean of UPS Philosophy Faculty Fr Sacria is also an accomplished author of 13 books in English, Italian and Malayalam.
A new book on Indian educative principles and values in Italian language by an Indian professor at the Salesian University (UPS) Rome is ready for release shortly. This is the second book launched on Indian topic in Italian language by Prof Thuruthiyil.The 358 page book entitled “Principi e valori educativi, nella tradizione Indiana” is being published under the Edizioni Progetto Cultura Collana Quaderna di Ricerca.
Born in the diocese of Pala, Kerala in 1947, Fr Thuruthiyil studied in Bandel, Salesian College Sonada Darjeeling, UPS Rome and Jnanadeepa Vidyapeeth Pune.  In 1972 as professor of Philosophy at Salesian College, Yercaud, Tamilnadu, Prof Thuruthiyil founded the SSGY (Social Service Guild Yercaud) – an organization of Religious men and women of Yercaud formed to coordinate various initiatives for the poor of the region. The SSGY continues to be a well-run organization to date.
He was ordained priest in Pala (1977) and was appointed Administrator and vice Rector at Don Bosco Tech Delhi and became professor of Philosophy at Salesian College Sonada (1981-1984). After completing doctorate in Philospohy from UPS Rome, Fr Thuruthiyil returned Kolkata where he worked as assistant parish priest at Kalyani and professor of Philosophy at the Morning Star College regional seminary Calcutta where seminarians from 28 dioceses studied.
From 1988 Prof Thuruthiyil has been at the UPS Rome as well invited professor at the Università di Roma, La Sapienza, Dept. of Ethnic Religions (2003 onwards). From 2004 he also lectures at BEDA Pontifical College (Philosophical Anthropology and History of Modern and Contemporary Philosophy) Rome.
Among over 40 Salesians from India in the UPS-Rome Vice-Province are the Superior (Fr Joaquim D`Souza, INB) and Rector of Don Rua community (Fr Jose Chunkapura, INC). There are also 12 Professors and over 30 Salesian students spread out among eight communities in the vice-province.

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Rāmānuja’s Thought Spells End of Caste System

Fr Francis Vattukulam, SDB

ROME – An Indian doctoral student presenting Rāmānuja’s philosophy at the Salesian University Rome (UPS), 15 June, has argued the end of caste system on grounds of equality and unique status of human beings. Rāmānuja was 11th century philosopher from Tamil Nadu. Though born a Brahmin, he taught both upper and lower caste people the way to God through bhakti mārga, realized more specifically through the path of self-surrender (prapatti). The president of the five member defence panel, UPS Pro-Vice-chancellor and Philosophy Faculty Dean Prof. Mauro Montovani declared panel’s verdict granting him “the highest marks” awarded to a doctoral candidate.
“Caste system,” says Fr Francis Vattukulam, “embodies a fundamental denial of equality and fraternity since it creates classes based on birth and profession. The division is based on the higher and the lower, the pure and the impure, and the sacred and the profane. There is no role for fundamental rights in a caste-ridden society, let alone a discussion about rights.”

Being Awarded "the highest marks"

Salesian Father Vattukulam of Bangalore province states “from a philosophical foundation the dignity of man definitely lies in being created in the image of God. This aspect of being created by God, in His likeness and as His mode (prakāra) wins for him/her an absolute value and dignity vis-à-vis God’s existence and dignity.
Fr Vattukulam 39, who did his research under the guidance of former Dean of the UPS Philosophy Faculty Prof Scaria Thuruthyil SDB insists, “the point of relevance for us here is that, the nature of every individual self (jīva), applies not only for the Brāhmaņa, Kșatriya and Vaiśya, but also to those condemned to remain in the fourth caste and those termed as Casteless and Untouchables, for they are also governed by the same principle and have the same characteristics. Therefore we cannot predicate of a differentiating characteristic between one person and the other on the basis of their birth or the occupation that one follows. Everyone shares in the same level of dignity that God has bestowed on the human being. This is what comes to be affirmed by Rāmānuja.”
“Vattukulam followed basically a descriptive-analytical method in articulating Ramanuja’s understanding of man, as well as in delineating the origin and import of caste system, giving at the same time due attention to present the same from a philosophical prospective,” says Prof. Thuruthyil commenting on candidate’s research methodology.
Fr Vattukulam was fortunate to have as his second guide the Dean of the Faculty of Missiology at the Gregorian, Fr Christopher Shelke SJ, a social activist who made a name with his work among under privileged people in Maharashtra.

Fr. Francis with members of the defense panel.

The third reader, Prof Maurizio Marin SDB is professor of ancient philosophy at UPS Philosophy Faculty.
In addition, Fr Vattukulam’s vast experience of studying philosophy and theology as well as teaching philosophy in various academic institutions in Kerala, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka exposed him to the plight of the oppressed classes.
He will shortly take charge as Principal and Dean of studies at Don Bosco College, Keezhmad, Aluva in Kerala.
Photos by Fr Varghese Kaplikunnel SDB

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Indian Priest Defends US Youth Ministry Model

Fr Manuel Kadankavil of Kalyan diocese.

ROME — Fr. Emmanuel Kadankavil of Kalyan-Mumbai diocese has successfully defended his doctoral thesis on a U.S. model of youth ministry in catechetics, 7 June, at the Salesian University Rome.
“Realizing the urgency of intervention in the field of youth ministry and the need for providing a stronger foundation and vision to today’s youth ministry, I did a research on the relevance and importance of the model of youth ministry propounded by Maria Harris, an renowned American author and faith educator,” says Fr. Kadankavil.
The topic of his three years of research and study was:Maria Harris’ Model of Youth Ministry: Integrating the Psychological and Spiritual Dimensions –  An Analytical Critical Study
He says that his youth ministry experience both with the Salesians in Kolkata province and in the diocese of Kalyan-Mumbai, aw well as two years as chaplain at the University of Tor Vergata, Rome, motivated him to pursue his doctoral research on the theme.
He develops the topic by dwelling upon the five-fold dimensions of the model, viz., Didache, Leiturgia, Koinonia, Kerygma and Diakonia, giving emphasis to the psychological and spiritual dimensions of it.
Prof . Cyril De Souza SDB guided the study. The other professors on the examination panel were Prof. Jerome Vallabaraj SDB and Prof. Medeiros Damasio SDB.
“The uniqueness of the American author and teacher Maria Harris’ model consists in the fact that she has propounded a theory-based model of youth ministry which is holistic and integral,” opines Fr Kadankavil.
He adds, “my research is unique in as much as it is the first of its kind.”
Following an analytical and critical methodology he has highlighted the need for reformulation and adaptation of the youth ministry model to each situation and context. The basic approach to the research was one of theological and anthropological.
Born on 18th November 1966 in Thudanganad, Kerala, Fr. Kadankavil did his initial seminary formation with the Salesians of Don Bosco. As regent he taught literature and music in Salesian College Sonada, Darjeeling. In 1988 he joined the diocese of Kalyan and served as pastor, teacher and administrator in the diocese. He also holds a BA Hons. degree in Arts and Literature from North Bengal University, and a Diploma in Counselling and Spirituality from the Dharmaram University Bangalore.

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