Kolkata Salesian wins first Pascual Chavez Award for Innovative Ministry
Kolkata,(C.M. Paul) — The Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia (SPCSA) conferred on Don Bosco Prison Ministry (DBPM) Kolkata Province, its first Pascual Chavez Award for innovative Salesian Ministry in South Asia on 5 April, 2013. The award was handed over to the founder-Director of DBPM, Fr. Scaria Nedumattathil on the occasion of the SPCSA General Assembly which took place at Don Bosco Institute, Guwahti on the same day.
Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga, the Salesian Regional Councillor for South Asia, handed over the cash award of Rs. one lakh to Fr. Nedumattahtil, and the citation to Fr. Thomas Ellicherail, the provincial Superior of Kolkata Province in which the DB Prison Ministry has originated and evolved. The award has been instituted in the name of the current Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation, Fr. Pascual Chavez, the ninth successor of Don Bosco.
Don Bosco Prison Ministry is the brain child and fruit of passionate pioneering efforts of Fr. Nedumattathil when he was in Berhampore (West Bengal) where the State has one of its main correctional Homes. The vision of DBPM is “to restore freedom, honour and diginity to every one behind the bars”, and to this end it has taken as its mission, “to reform, release, rehabilitate and to reintegrate prisoners”.
Through the DB Prison Ministry, the Salesians have been providing to the helpless prisoners free legal assistance, counseling, and various Skill training programs for their rehabilitation. The prisoners are also provided opportunities for sports and games, and holistic growth by way of music and cultural programmes. DBPM reaches out to the prisoners` children as well, with special programmes, as these are deprived of parental care and assistance. Fr Nedumattathil stated that the direct beneficiaries of the ministry are about 25,330 prisoners and the indirect beneficiaries are about 45,000 family members of the prisoners.
Conferring the award to Don Bosco Prison Ministry, Fr. Maria Arokiam pointed out that “the basic purpose of the award is to make known innovative ministries according to our Salesian Charism carried out in a substantial way over the years, and in an innovative manner, which is worthy of imitation by other Salesians in other provinces and in the entire congregation.”
Don Bosco started youth ministry visiting under trials.
John Bosco, a young priest at Turin, Italy, in the eighteen forties, started to visit prisons and remand homes to assist young jail inmates. Later he founded a society known as the Salesians of Don Bosco, with welfare of youth as its main focus.
Presently DBPM is a worldwide organization with same objective. Salesians of Don Bosco, of Kolkata, India, began a pilot project for the welfare of prisoners, especially the young jail inmates, twenty years ago, in 1995 at Berhampore Central Prison in West Bengal / India.
Today Don Bosco Society, through its units, is reaching out to young offenders all over the world.
Don Bosco Prison Ministry takes permission from the appropriate Government Authorities ( Department of Prisons, Director General of Prisons, Inspector General of Correctional services or any other proper channel) to undertake welfare activities for prisoners in varies locations. Identified activities are implemented in collaboration with local jail authorities. END
AWARD CITATION : http://www.st-anna-krefeld.de/uploads/pdfs/DonBoscoIndia/AwardI.pdf