Thursday 9 October 2014

Lay collaboration at Don Bosco Kurla

The lay collaborators at Don Bosco Kurla impressed the whole gang of formators last night: Krishnamoorti, Soman, Amarr, Annabelle, Prasanna.... Very much part of the Salesian movement, very much Salesian, whatever the religion. Impressive was also the level of collaboration with the Salesians: much appreciated the trust, sharing of responsibility, respect. The sense of belonging was quite palpable, and one after the other we heard them saying: I am blessed to be here, I am delighted to be part of what is happening here.

Amarr Prabhu shared his own life story: from reluctant ITI student at St Joseph's to Principal of the same ITI. Touching and moving.

Annabelle shared about the participatory method of education, like involving the students in working out punishments for infringements or absenteeism; the joy in seeing young people from rather weak backgrounds making it big, going on to be productive, happy, supportive of their families; teaching them the need to give back what their families have given them. I liked also her phrase, 'conditional love.' There's something to that! God does have conditions, it's not that he is happy with whatever choices we make, regardless. Very definite boundaries!

And I was thinking: in the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus breaks out, and demands that we break out, of minor authenticity into major authenticity: from the minor authenticity of being a good Jewish priest, a good Jewish Levite, to the major authenticity of the Samaritan, who allowed his humanity to recognize the humanity in the man left for dead, and to reach out and do whatever it was that was necessary. To follow Jesus is to live at that level, the level of major authenticity. Strangely, then, the minor authenticity of being truly Christian coincides with the major authenticity of being truly human, or else runs the risk of sinking into mere tribalism, as when our heart beats only when Christians are persecuted.

Wonderful to see also the whole educative-pastoral community clearly committed to Don Bosco's fundamental option for poor youngsters. The Salesian movement exists only because of this option. Without it we are nothing. Good to say that clearly, and to try to live by it. "The best to the least," as Pascual Chavez said in his visit to Kurla years ago. "The best to the periphery," as Pope Francis likes to say. Or else, getting the periphery into the best we have to offer. Otherwise, nothing!

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