Sonada, 7 November 2019 — Salesian College Sonada welcomed Salesian Cardinal Charles Bo archbishop of Yangon Myanmar on 7th November at a special assembly in the college auditorium. On his first visit to Sonada 6th November the Salesian cardinal had lunch at Siliguri campus and dinner at Bishop’s House Darjeeling.
Cardinal Bo is third Cardinal to visit Salesian College. Earlier visitors were Cardinal Valerian Gracias of Bombay (1950 to 1978) and Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo of Ranchi.
On 7th November the cardinal had Eucharistic celebration at the college chapel with seminarians and college faculty.
For the special assembly for college students and faculty, the cardinal was accompanied by Salesian Provincial of Kolkata Dr Nirmol Gomes, Vice-Provincial Dr Joseph Pauria, and Secretary of the Office of Social Communications of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC) in Manila Dr George Plathottam an alumnus of the college.
The programme started at 9:30 am, with a Don Bosco hymn and a solo Nepali dance by Neha Chettri from English department 1st year welcoming the guests. It was followed by a short felicitation by garlanding (khaddas) done by the Student Council.
Fr George Plattotham delivered a speech, which mainly focused on “Who Cardinals are? and the policies and issues which is taking place in Myanmar.”
The Principal Dr George Thadathil, stated how Salesian College Sonada impacted within these 77 years quoting, how alumni have impacted the college motto “Flamma Ardens et Lucens” rendering a post modern version in English as “Flame which flashes and flaunts.”
The Cardinal who is also president of FABC released a 450 page book entitled “Salesian College – A History that Speaks Today” and handed over the first copy to Fr Gomes.
An 8-minute video clipping entitled ‘Vision of Peace’ showcased the current sociopolitical situation in Myanmar especially under the military regime and controversial Rohingya refugees crisis.
The programme concluded with a speech by cardinal Bo who addressed the policies, issues and turmoil’s of Myanmar’s different ethnic groups . “Everyone is equal in the rule of law – May it be, both for the powerful or the powerless,” he quoted.
After a short live interview on Radio Salesian by RJ Bryan, the cardinal met with the Catholic leaders of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri dioceses. In the meeting cardinal shared news of Church in Myanmar as well as highlighted the involvement of lay people in the church.
Report by Jenith Sinha.
Photo by Riwaj Diyali