|This strategy planning meeting was attended by about 60 delegates, presidents and other office-bearers from across eleven provinces of India, hosted by the Past Pupils Association of the Guwahati province. The motto of the association, ``Remain United and Help One another`` was evidently reflected in the manner in which the members interacted with one another and shared their ideas.|
Father Januarius Sangma, the Vice Provincial of Guwahati Province, extending a warm welcome to the gathering, conveyed the affectionate greetings of the Provincial, Father V.M. Thomas who could not be present on the occasion. He welcomed the delegates to Guwahati - the Gate way to North East. ``Guwahati is truly blessed, as you can see, with the beauty of the mighty Brahmaputra, keeping us fresh bringing us happiness because wherever there is water there is fertility, there is life``.
Father Albert Johnson, its National Delegate, on the occasion, read out the message of Father Maria Arokiam, the Regional Delegate for South Asia. He addressed the members, saying, ``I wish to thank all of you for your constant affection for the Salesian family and your strong adherence to your vocation to the Salesian family``. ``You are the secular arm and wings of the Salesian Family,`` he added. He exhorted the members to pray for the welfare of Salesians all over, as much is happening in the Salesian world. He concluded his message with a prayer and wishing success on the national meeting.
Father Johnson Parackal, the Executive Director, in his address to the members, said that Don Bosco Institute is extremely happy to host the national meeting of the Don Bosco past pupils of India and said that this is a golden opportunity to strengthen the bond of the union of Don Bosco Past Pupils. He expressed the hope that the ``deliberations of this meeting will have lasting impact in the way the association function and wished happy stay and success on the meeting``.
In his address, the National Delegate, Father Albert Johnson congratulated everyone and expressed the hope that the past pupils association will grow like the Brahmaputra. He cautioned the gathering regarding the identity of past pupils and said that the ``identity of the past pupils comes from the person of Don Bosco`` and so, for him, it was important to maintain this identity, else the members will get stuck to one institution and one activity leading to stagnation. Speaking further on the occasion, he said, ``We belong to Don Bosco who has given us a project of life`` and asked everyone to ``be clear of their identity`` and cling to Don Bosco to remain dynamic in their activity. ``As sons of a dreamer, we have a dream to be realized... a goal to be achieved...and a mission to be carried out``, he concluded.
Mr. Khetan Gala, the National President of the Federation presented a brief report of the past activities of the association, including those of the NCM meetings held in Chennai and in Hyderabad. He gave an account of their visits to few Don Bosco Institutions in Shillong and interactions with students with a view to invite them and thus widen the sphere of activity of the association. He also read out the plans of the association for 2018. The subsequent meetings will deal with matters pertaining to the smooth functioning, difficulties faced in implementing its programmes and activities, venue and planning for the next national congress etc.