Salesians end 75 years in Goa

Sep 02, 2022 | 04:49 IST

Salesians end 75 years in Goa

Cedric Silveira

It was in 1946 that the Salesians of Don Bosco first landed in Goa with the arrival of three Italian pioneers, the late Fr Vincent Scuderi (the founder), the late Fr Joseph Carreno (the builder) and the late Father Joseph Moja. Today, 75 years later, looking back, one can only thank God for bringing the Salesians to Goa where they created an indelible impact on the lives of young people, the poor and the marginalized.

No one will ever know what Fr Scuderi dreamed the night he arrived in Panjim, April 4, 1946. I wonder if he envisioned the extent of Salesian work that would spread throughout Goa. It is said that the day after he arrived, he enthusiastically pumped his football which he had bought in Bombay and started bouncing it in front of the house. The boys gladly came to play and with the few Portuguese words he knew, he started an Oratory. With the help of Brother Cajetan Lobo and local help, he then started a Portuguese primary school. To overcome his dilemma of how to make people aware of their activities, Father Scuderi started a monthly magazine or newsletter called Oratorio Salesiano and a weekly in Konkani called Aitarachem Vachop.

However, the first mission of the Salesians was to acquire land on which to build an Oratory for their activities with young people, a Sanctuary and a school. With the help of government authorities, they acquired about 40,000 square meters of land in Panjim where presently there is a magnificent shrine, a magnificent school, a university building, an oratory and extensive playgrounds. The chapel in honor of Our Lady of Fatima was built in 1949, however, it was in 1972 that the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima was built in the Gothic style and Italian design. This year, it celebrates 50 years since its creation. The English school of Don Bosco, Panjim was inaugurated in June 1947 with 36 pupils and three teachers. Father Moja was the manager. In 1970 the evening school was started and seeing the need for a higher secondary school, the Higher Secondary Junior College was started in the year 1995. In 2001 the BCA course was started and in 2004 the course BPEd was also introduced. Today the college also offers BBA, BBA (T&T), BAMC and BSW/MSW courses.

From Panjim the Salesians moved on to other parts of Goa. In 1962, an agricultural school and a boarding school in Sulcorna were created. Then in 1973, a technical school, a mass center and an oratory were created in Fatorda. Today, it has an engineering school with four successful courses.

Later in 1987 a major mass center started for the people of Odxel. In addition to work for the young people of the village, there was a retirement and entertainment center on the edge of Odxel beach. It was in addition to the Animation Center and the Benaulim Youth Center in the same year. Today, the provincial house stands in Odxel. In addition, in 1990, a parish, a school and a boarding school were established in Tuem. And in 1994, in Loutulim, the Don Bosco Technical Institute where the professions of steel fabrication, carpentry and electrical repairs are dispensed, was born.

In 2004, a vice-province was formed, which in 2007 became the full province of Panjim (Konkan). Currently, the province comprises two houses in Maharashtra, ten houses in Goa and six houses in Karnataka. Institutes grouping schools, high schools, colleges, open schools, activity centers, technical centers, youth centres, village development programs, agricultural training school and orientation centres.

Looking back, Don Bosco, Odxel was just a hut that served as a picnic spot for boarders and confreres from Panjim, while Don Bosco’s land, Sulcorna was dense jungle. It took the Herculean efforts of the Salesians to transform these places into what they are today.

Reverend Father Scuderi’s entrepreneurial spirit, which began only with his barracks, a dilapidated bicycle and a typewriter – coupled with the Stentorian and dedicated efforts of the group that followed him to Goa, has without any doubt sowed the seeds of a rich harvest. However, if we go back in time, the fact remains that the enthusiasm and support of people to accept the Salesian works played an equally important role in helping them get to where they are today. today.

On September 6, to commemorate the end of 75 years (diamond jubilee) of Salesian presence in Goa, 75 years of the school of Panjim and 50 years of the Sanctuary of Panjim, there will be a Mass which will be celebrated by the successor of Don Bosco and the Rector Major of the Congregation, Rev. Father Angel Fernandez Artime. The following day will be the installation ceremony of the Rev. Br Clive Telles as the fourth Provincial of the Province of Panjim. He succeeds Fr. Felix Fernandes, who served a six-year term as Provincial of the Province of Panjim-Konkan. Fr Clive, currently Director of DBSSS, Panjim, has served as Vice Provincial for the past three years. It is certainly a moment of pride and joy for all students, teachers, alumni and supporters of Don Bosco institutions across Goa.

Comments are closed.