1 December 2013


The "Feast of the Province" in the past chiefly focussed on the exemplary life of the patron saint, in our case,St. Francis Xavier, seen as a model for imitation. Traditionally, it was also a Day of Gratitude and appreciation of the person and performance of the Provincial Superior and therefore a celebration centered around an individual, hence, Provincial Day or at the local level, Rector's Day. Now that this official annual celebration has been termed "Province Community Day" is there any shift of emphasis or significant change in the understanding of this particular festivity in our present Salesian context? I believe Provincial Community Day more often, a Provincial Community Evening" is not a mere social ritual celebration limited to a devout Eucharistic Liturgy and a sumptuous dinner fellowship, in the provincial house or any one community of the province. Rather, in Post Vatican terms, it is the theological understanding and experiencing the Call to be and live in community that is rooted in the Divine Community of God, the Holy Trinity. The Provincial Community Day may be considered an annual "community building exercise" fostering a genuine oneness of heart and mind among the confreres of the province. May I observe that the "Province" is not only a legal term to indicate territorial bounds. To be a member of the Salesian Congregation, we enter through the canonical doors of a province. Our belonging is always registered through the process of selection, admission and profession in a province. In the Congregation we all are members of a Provincial Community. We do not "belong" to the local community where we exercise our assigned ministry. Our loyalty to the Congregation is expressed through our deep sense of belonging to the province. In fact, a confrere needs official permissions and motivating reasons to shift from one province to another. Has this always been our understanding? This principle is vital to the healthy life of the Provincial Community and must be clearly explained to Novices and young Salesians. Recalling this principle by senior Salesians is perhaps even more important. Polarization and disintegration of the provincial community takes place when confreres develop a greater belonging to a local community that belongs to the province. May the Provincial Community Day of Mumbai province on the feast of our patron, St. Francis Xavier, awaken in us a fresh missionary spirit and a convinced commitment of belonging, as Prophets of fraternal life