ROME – A hall mark study on Blessed Michael Rua’s governance of the Salesian congregation in the aftermath of Don Bosco’s death conferred doctoral degree in Spirituality on Guwahati province Salesian Fr Joseph Vettath from the Theology Faculty. Over 60 Salesians and well wishes were present at the defence held at the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), Rome, 14 January.
Hailing from Kerala, Fr. Vettath, 46, is 18 years priest and has served in the formation sector as Socius and administrator in the novitiate at Sunnyside, Shillong and Dean of Studies & Vice Rector and successively Rector at Pre-Novitiate House Bosco Mount, Tura. He has a diploma in Pastoral Counselling and Religious Formation from National Vocation Service Centre, Pune (2000). He did his Master’s degree (2006) in Spirituality from UPS-Rome with magna cum laude. Besides shortly joining the Spirituality faculty at Sacred Heart Theological College Shillong, Dr. Vettath will also be visiting professor at the national Don Bosco Renewal Centre Bangalore.
Bl. Michael Rua’s Style of Governance
The doctoral dissertation The mode of government of Blessed Michael Rua, Rector Major of the Salesian Society (1888-1910) offers a descriptive practical synthesis of the fundamental orientations, choices and characteristics of the government of Don Rua, the first Successor of Don Bosco.
The defence panel included five professors along with dean of Theology faculty Dr Zevini, UPS Registrar, guide Dr Aldo Giraudo, and readers Dr Francesco Motto and Dr. Joe Boenzi.
During 22 years of Don Rua’s rule the number Salesians increased to over 4,000 members spread over 300 houses. Don Rua’s 12 member general council accompanied him for 20 years.
“I am amazed at the candidate’s capacity for work, his tenacity to examine the handwritten reports of 22 years of the General Council meetings and other primary sources in Italian,” said his guide Dr Giraudo complimenting the work.
“The work is well done, ample and responds to the exigencies of the topic pertaining to an unexplored personality,” said founder director of Salesian Historical Institute, Rome, Prof. Francesco Motto commenting on the work which ran into 717 pages printed single space.
Fr Motto has officially invited Dr Vettath to be present in Turin in October this year for the international conference marking the opening of the death centenary of Don Rua.
Fr Boenzi instead recommended that Dr Vettath brings out his research in a four volume publication, highlighting Don Rua’s style of government towards, Rector, Salesian Cooperators, Formation and Salesian Mission-charism.
Golden Jubilee: 33 confreres studying abroad
Out of 408 confreres in the province, 24 are doing higher studies in Europe (UPS-7, Testaccio-3, Gerini-3, Crocetta -1, Jerusalem-6, Belgium-2 and Germany-2) and another 9 in the U.S. and elsewhere.
“Higher education is a need, and not a luxury,” insists Guwahati provincial Fr Joseph Almeida.
“In fact, we Salesians in Guwahati (or the North-East) are moving into the so-called the second stage, the first one being the frontline mission activities. Even now the needs of mission ad gentes are high (we have 40 parishes spread in ten different dioceses of the 15 North-Eastern dioceses and also other youth ministry activities). While we continue on the frontline missions, our role now, is also to animate,” explains Fr. Almeida marking the golden jubilee of the province this year.
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