FR. PASCUAL CHAVEZ UNVEILS THE CENTENARY PLAQUE OF SALESIAN ARRIVAL IN NORTHEAST  by Fr. Johnson Parackal
    Guwahati, Jan. 17. 2018 Salesians in Northeast India will celebrate the centenary of their arrival in 2022. Launching the Centenary year celebrations of the arrival of the Salesians in Northeast India [12.1.1922 -12.1.2022] and to celebrate the ``Miracle of Mary Help of Christians`` - the Province of Guwahati, Fr. Pascual Chavez, former Rector Major and the 9th successor of Don Bosco unveiled today  the centenary plaque erected in the picturesque garden at the provincial headquarters, Guwahati - in front of Becchi -a beautiful re-creation of the Becchi of Turin, Italy.
    Attended by about a hundred Salesian family members, co-operators and past pupils, Fr. Chavez reminisced `what would have been northeast without the Salesians?` and what a difference the presence of the Salesians have made to this region. He called on the Salesian family members and friends present on the occasion to continue the legacy of Don Bosco - offering the very best to the poorest and the least. Quoting the title of a recently published booklet: `Don Bosco Passport: A Global Reality`, Fr. Chavez said that Don Bosco has truly become a global reality, especially so in northeast, perhaps even more perceptibly and tangibly than the way it is in Patagonia- South America.
    The first group of catholic missionaries to arrive at the region [Shillong] were the Salvatorians [SDS] from Germany in 1890 under the leadership of Fr. Otto Hopfenmuller. The entire region which was known as the `Assam Missions` in those days was entrusted to their care. However, the work of the Salvatorian Missionaries came to an abrupt end with their expulsion from the country due to the World War I in 1915. In the following years, the Jesuits from Calcutta looked after the spiritual needs of the faithful.
    The Salesians came to northeast India in 1922 and with them, the mission work received a big boost. Guwahati had India`s first formal Don Bosco School in 1926. It proved to be the launch pad for the Salesians to spread out to various parts of Northeast at the service of humanity.
    Salesian works and activities grew in leaps and bounds and in 1959, Guwahati was established the first province in the region and the mother Salesian Province by virtue of being the region`s first. Guwahati was the largest province after Chennai until its bifurcation in 2012 for forming the Shillong Province. This was the second division of Guwahati province; the first was in 1981 to give birth to Dimapur Province.
    Today, for almost a century, the Salesians have been at the vanguard of academic education, technical training, health services, promotion of culture and language, youth empowerment, women empowerment and special services to the young at risk in the region.
    Truly Don Bosco has become a Passport to millions in Northeast and in the entire country and even beyond - a Global Reality.
    Posted by Mukhim Rodrigues Bivan