ROME, (C.M. Paul) – The Don Bosco Community at the Salesian University (UPS) Rome, is well known on campus for its celebrations. It has about 60 members (5 staff and 55 students from some 20 or more countries). Besides some 2,000 day scholars, we have about 250 staff and students living in seven communities on campus.
In the second semester, the DB community keeps the day of the continents. It celebrates Africa,America, Europe and Asia… Usually every Thursday is also kept as the Community Day. (on week-ends some students and professors go out to help in the parishes).
Thursdays are more welcome for us than Sundays which are normally very hectic with priestly duties. However, on Thursdays we have half hour extra sleep and solemn Eucharist in the evening (unlike Sunday, need not get up early for Mass and no sermons to prepare).
There is always something special for dinner on Thursdays. May be an aperitivo or a digestivo, and sometimes beer and pizza.
Today (Thursday) is the Asia Fest (12 May). Our Spanish born rector (two communities have Indian Rectors) keeps Asia Day for the last, as we have special chicken and pork preparations as well as several other dishes… today we started cooking for dinner after lunch… We are 21 Asians, majority fromIndia. Others are a Catholic priest and a Buddhist lay man from Japan, a priest from Philippines, a priest and a lay brother from Korea, and a priest from East Timor.
Normally, the dining room is decorated with big posters showing off the countries.
We had special liturgy and singing. Food items will be prepared for dinner which would run into almost two hours with country wise PowerPoint presentations, community songs, video clips of cultural traditions etc.
These days we are also holding university sports tournaments. Our Community team has entered quarter finals for Basket Ball. (Though, this afternoon, we lost badly against the Philosophy students from San Tarcisio, an off campus Salesian community).
Other games in the tournament are football and volley ball…
In the second semester, UPS keeps the “festa del popolo.” Each day, there are cultural festivities during the main morning break, 15 minutes. Students of the participating countries come out in their traditional attires and fineries. They are mighty pleased to show off their dances on the stage put up in the Central Plaza of the University and share sweets and drinks from their countries…
It is very interesting to see, how students and professors turn up from all directions, from the lecture halls into the piazza… This year 13 courtiers are participating in the events coordinated by the Campus Ministry Team.
Festa del Popolo started on Monday (9 May) with Romania as patron… Their Ambassador to the Holy See inaugurated the festival along with the Vice-Chancellor of the University.
The participants at all the events are a mixture of priests, nuns and laity. Great photo opportunity to catch them out of their “habits”…
Next Monday, most students will submit their projects. After 24th May, feast of Mary Help of Christians, a major feast at the University… it is time for the academic year end… and final exams which last till the end of June.