AZIMGANJ, (Fr Samuel Mondol) – The community of Savio Bhavan, Azimganj consisting of pre-novices and aspirants celebrated its silver Jubilee, 6th October. The Holy Eucharist commenced at 10.00 a.m. with Bishop Joseph Gomes, the Presiding over with the concelebration of some 40 priests. Numerous Sisters from the neighbouring communities and the district of Murshidabad participated in the celebration. Fr. Prabhu Dayal Ekka, the Vice-Rector of the Community welcomed everyone and hightlighted the siginificance of the celebration. Referring to the priests, clerics who were once the inmates of the Community as the ‘visible signs of God’s grace and blessings’, he echoed, “During this Eucharistic celebration we thank God not only for visible blessings but also for invisible graces and blessings.”
The fact that the President of the celebration, Bishop Joseph Gomes was the first in-charge and then the First Rector of the Community, added greater significance to the celebration. “I am extremely happy to be here and I can recall every detail of the humble beginning of the institution”, commented his Lordship. The Liturgy of the Word had the theme of the ‘Jubilee’ running through. All the three readings were preceded by commentary by the Master of Ceremony, Fr. Prabhu Dayal.
The melodious singing by the Prenovices and the aspirants added much charm to the celebration. In his homily Bishop Gomes recounted the great hardships the first batches of aspirants had to put up with as they were temporarily housed at Don Bosco Azimganj from 1985-1987 as the building of Savio Bhavan was under construction. It was very similar to the inconveniences that Don Bosco and his boys faced in the few rented rooms of Pinardi shed in the initial days of the Oratory (1845-1851).
Looking at Fr. Alancheril Sebastian present at the altar, Bishop Gomes recalled Fr. Sebastian’s initiative of setting up an aspirantate for fostering local vocations. He underlined the close collaboration of Fr. Pathiyamoola Thomas, the then Vocation Promoter and the Vice-Rector, the assistants especially Fr. Nedumkallel Jaison and Br. P.J. Joseph of Happy Memory, the local economer who painstakingly followed up the building construction. Soon after the Holy Mass there was a variety cultural programme staged by the Savios. The Orchestra “River” by Anand Shankar played by 28 boys clad in bright yellow Silver Jubilee jerseys set the tone for the progamme.
Fr. Samuel Mondol, the Rector welcomed everyone to the Celebration. “We are indeed privileged to have all of you. Thank you for responding to our invitation”, commented Fr. Mondol. He also appreciated the great hard work of the past Staff members. “We are reaping today what has been sown by our predecessors”.
He voiced his gratitude, “On this occasion of the Jubilee, we thank Fr. Provincial, Fr. Vice-Provincial and Fr. Economer for their constant help, guidance and support in our work of formation. We thank the communities of Don Bosco Welfare centre, the Parish and the Sisters of Charity at Shantinilaya for their nearness and help in every possible.”
He also thanked all the benefactors, past pupils and friends for their nearness and support. A spontaneous item was staged by the past pupils led by Fr. Badal Bishorup Ghosh, currently a priest of Krishnagar Diocese, belonging to the First batch of Savio Bhavan along with Fr. Shanti Soren SDB. They enacted the fatherliness of Bishop Joseph Gomes while he was their Rector and sang a song to the delight of the audience. Thereafter, a group photo was taken of all the participants of the Jubilee celebration.
A sumptuous meal prepared by Fr. Alphonse Soreng, the Administrator and his team, was served to all. The fathers, brothers and clerics were given jerseys as a souvenir of the Silver Jubilee celebration as they left for their destinations with memories to linger in their hearts for many days to come.
Savio Bhavan blessed and inaugurated on 25th March 1987 has given to the Church and the Congregation more than 25 priests and religious. Formerly only an aspirantate for apostolic boys, since 2005, Savio Bhavan has been looking after two groups of formees: the Prenovices and the aspirants. Currently there are 24 aspirants and 11 prenovices at Savio Bhavan led by six staff members with Fr. Punchekunnel Joseph who was 25 years a missionary at Bolivia as its Confessor.