The recent weeks have been busy ones here at Sacred Heart Theological College…
Towards the end of February and in early March, we were privileged to have the visits of many bishops and other officials attending the CBCI meet in Guwahati. (Our own brothers – eight of them – were at hand to render yeoman service in the organization of the meeting.) All the visitors to Don Bosco museum were left spell bound by their experience. The brief glimpse that the museum offers of the richness of North-East India left their jaws dropping in sheer wonder and admiration.
On 3 March we were happy to have an extension lecture on "Inter-religious Harmony" by Dr. M.D. Thomas National Director, Commission for Religious Harmony, New Delhi. Presenting a vision for harmony he elucidated different dimensions that it comprises like communal harmony - between all communities; inter-religious harmony – between different religious creeds; social harmony - integration of all in equality and justice; and, national integration – wherein all Indians are affirmed as members of the wonderful unity that is India. The talk was followed by a very lively discussion that clarified many misconceptions and challenged the audience to a new vision of peace and harmony.
5 March was a red-letter day in the history of Don Bosco Museum, with the visit of Smt. Sonia Gandhi, the Chairperson of the UPA. What made this visit notable - in addition to the person of Smt. Gandhi - was the stringent security arrangements made in anticipation. Not all of us were fortunate to listen to her but we were proud to read her comments in the visitors book: "I have travelled and been to museums in different parts of the world, but I have never visited such a detailed and spectacular collection of tribal art and culture. I am truly impressed and I offer my compliments to all those who have worked to set up this museum." Some pictures of the visit are also available here.
Life goes on with its fair share of ups and downs. We've had our fair share of quakes and tremors – three in the last 3 weeks. While none of them come anywhere near the intensity of what hit Haiti and Chile, let us say, they do remind us of our being in a high-risk zone as far as earthquakes are concerned.
And before I forget we cannot fail to mention the noise that has become part of our lives. From 25 February we have begun the process of repairing the oldest building of our complex – which houses the offices, class rooms and reception area. Having stood the test of time for 72 long years there was a growing awareness that it needed major maintenance work. While we put up with the noise and the dust for now, we realize that it is going to pave the way for a better and brighter tomorrow as far as the facilities our college will offer by way of academic infrastructure and aesthetic beauty to the surroundings.
And just yesterday – 14 March – we celebrated our parish feast. Sacred Heart Parish, Mawlai is one of the biggest in the archdiocese of Shillong. About 10,000 people gathered for the Eucharistic celebration at 10 am presided over by our Archbishop Dominic Jala – who hails from the parish. At the eucharist we were also privileged to participate in the sacerdotal ordination of Deacon Phramsingh, a member of the Claretian congregation. He is the latest in the long line of priests and religious that our parish has offered to the service of the Church. At 2 pm 8,000 of the faithful took part in the Eucharistic procession that wended its way through the streets of the parish. Singing devotional hymns and joining in litanic prayer, assisted by a beautiful choir and the Savio Juniorate band, many of the first timers (like this blogger) were edified at the faith and deep devotion of the participants. Well, that's it for now…till the next posting, "Keep well and enjoy the Lenten season"…