“I see no gaps between the pioneering missions and the university project,” says Visitor
Guwahati – “Study becomes youth ministry,” said Don Bosco worldwide mission head Fr Guillermo Basanes addressing the first Salesian university community in the English speaking world at Assam Don Bosco University Guwahati at its Azara campus, 12th May 2016.
The words of Don Bosco, who told his boys “For you I study, for you I work, for you I live, for you I am ready, even to give my life,” must have been at the back of Fr. Basanes mind when he said it.
In his concluding remarks to the university community consisting of nine Salesian students and seven Salesians from six provinces, the Extraordinary Visitor to the province of Guwahati said, “While studying with and accompanying young people, you not only do youth ministry, but also become promoters of the university.”
Among the nine young Salesians were students hailing from the Salesian provinces of Calcutta, Guwahati, New Delhi, Shillong and South Sudan, and seven staff from Guwahati, Dimapur and Calcutta provinces.
Besides, Salesian students and faculty members, religious communities represented include Fransalians, Holy Cross, Pallotines, Claretians, Order of the Imitation of Christ, and several congregations of religious sisters. There are also diocesan priests from Calcutta, Jhansi, Tura and Udaipur dioceses.
While complimenting the staff and students from different provinces, the visitor expressed his desire for more active collaboration with all the members of the Salesian Family in the South Asia region for this “mega University project of the Salesians.”
Fr Basanes went on to recommend that each of the 12 South Asian Salesian provinces could meet together at least once or twice a year to be briefed on the progress of the university project to solicit their active collaboration in sending Salesians to work and study in the university.
In clarifying any lingering doubts and allaying the fears that could lurk in the minds of some Salesians in India that the university project is “an unconnected reality with the charism of the pioneering missionaries,” Fr Basnes insisted saying “I see no gaps between the pioneering missions and the university project.”
“The university project is continuation of the missionary spirit, to provide the same service of higher education to needy youth,” said the Visitor emphasizing the fact that he is “loosing his time (9 to 12 May) in the university, is meaningful in itself.”
The visitor spent one hour each talking to every one of 16 Salesians in the university community, and encouraged them saying, “Keep / make the university [accessible] for the poorest youth of northeast India.”
In conclusion, Fr Basanes encouraged the university community to promote the alumni association.