Father Jesudoss SDB defends His Doctoral Thesis at the Salesian University

By C. M. Paul

L to R: Registrar, Pasqualetti, Jesudoss, Lever snd Devadoss with Sr Gannon on the big screen. Photo by C.M. Paul - View actual size

L to R: Registrar, Pasqualetti, Jesudoss, Lever snd Devadoss with Sr Gannon on the big screen. Photo by C.M. Paul - View actual size

ROME, Italy – Fr Jesudoss Perianayagam of the Communications Faculty made history in the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) by being the first student to have doctoral defence where his reader from the United States joined the five member examination panel by internet video conferencing, 25 March. His 495 page doctoral thesis is entitled: The learning impact of Tamil cinema in the lives of street children: an empirical research and its relevance.

The panel of examiners included his guide Prof Fabio Pasqueletti, co-guide Professor (Sr.) Marie Gannon FMA, a former lecturer at the UPS who relocated to her home province (SUO) last year, UPS Registrar, second reader Prof Devadoss Sagayaraj and president Prof. Franco Lever, the dean of the Social Communications faculty. Over 60 students and professors were present for the defence held in the Faculty`s Aula Uno.

Comments from the examination panel

“It was a privilege for me to guide the doctoral thesis. It has enriched me while opening a new window for me,“ said prof. Pasqualetti commenting on the written work.

Sr Gannon praised the three instruments used for research, namely: survey, interview and the observation of street children in their natural surroundings.

“I  am very delighted to see that you have dedicated your research  to examine the work of our confreres in youth ministry. I am proud of your work,” said prof. Lever. Prof Devadoss instead played the devil`s advocate and put the candidate on the spot to clarify several issues which he handled deftly.

Long and Tedious Research

Fr. Jesudoss spent five months in field trips to collect data and interview in four major cities of Tamilnadu (Chennai, Salem, Coimbatore, and Tiruppur) collecting data sample from 451 street children, both boys and girls representing different socio-cultural, educational, economic and ethnical backgrounds.

Differing from the Frankfurt School and the culture industry theory of Adorno, the researcher adopted Facauldian understanding of cinema which helps the children to build their identity and facilitate the children to determine their life choices by themselves. The children are able to integrate the cinema contents to their everyday life positively. He has also highlighted the subaltern perspectives in the context of Tamil cinema which he reads as “today, the Tamil cinema as a popular culture has broken the hegemony and dominance of a minority group and has thrown open its portals for a more democratic participation of all.“

Ambitious Media Project for Street Children

“I have an ambitious media project through which I propose to involve street children from all over India, to be protagonists in learning, earning, producing and marketing media products,“ says Fr Jesudoss himself an accomplished musician, composer and lyrist. Over 50 of his religious song compositions are used in the Radio Vatican Tamil programme. He has also produced several audio cassettes of devotional songs both in Tamil and Malayalam.

Fr Jesusdoss (45) served as parish priest and youth ministry in the province of  Chennai, and Thanjaur diocesan youth director  as well as assistant director of Don Bosco Oratory at Sampierdarena in Genoa (Italy) for three years before he started his doctoral studies at Salesian University Rome in 2005. Originally belonging to the Liguria-Toscana province, currently he is member of the recently unified Rome province. END

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An Indian on Italian TV

ROME, Italy – An Indian Salesian formed part of a television panel discussion commenting on Pope`s Angelus message, 1st March, in the Italian television RAI-International. Fr Vijaya Bhaskar Thathireddy of Hyderabad province currently doing his doctoral studies in the Faculty of Philosophy, Salesian University Rome (UPS) teamed up with two others from the UPS Don Bosco Community Frs. Manuel Ernesto Grandja (Spain) and Besa Dieudonne` Kalumbu (Congo) along with Marianna Polsinelli, youth animator of Sora diocese, Italy.

Photo Caption: L to R: Marianna, Thathireddy, Sr Myriam, Msgr.Kasteel, Gianluigi, Dieudonne and Ernesto in the RAI studio.

Photo Caption: L to R: Marianna, Thathireddy, Sr Myriam, Msgr.Kasteel, Gianluigi, Dieudonne and Ernesto in the RAI studio.

The panelists shared the meaning of lent and fasting in the different parts of the world, including India, Europe and Africa. While Fr Ernesto responded to the question of fast for Salesians and the youth they serve, Fr Dieudonne` explained the meaning of Christian charity in the context of Africa.

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Fr Thathireddy spoke of the intercultural context of fasting and its significance in India tracing back to the concept of fasting, upa-vasa (upa= `near`, vasa = `to live`). Meaning, living close to God and to the fellow beings, hence solidarity with the persecuted Christians.

The youth animator Marianna shared her experience of the young people`s attitude towards Lent and fasting.

Monsignor Karel Kasteel, Secretary General of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, presided over the Cristianita` (Christianity), RAI-International television`s premiere religion and culture programme. Sister Myriam Castelli anchored the 40-minute live-programme broadcasted, Sunday 1 March 2009 noon (11:50 to 12:30) Italy time.

During the programme a young singer of the sacred music Mr. Gianluigi Serapiglia sang a song in keeping with the pope`s Angelus message and Lent.

Cristianita` proposes and comments on the Pope`s Angelus message addressed to the faithful gathered in St. Peter`s Square, Rome. Author and presenter of the program Sr Myriam engages various experts and guests chosen from prelates, professionals and artists to comment live from the RAI studio linking the pope`s message. Sr Myriam a journalist nun belongs to the Daughters of St Paul congregation is well known and loved by millions of Italians living abroad.