Elias Dias sdb
The Southern Zonal Conference of Salesian Cooperators was held on February 14, 2010 at Don Bosco provincial house, Matunga. The members of the southern provinces of India; Fr. K. J. Louis, national delegate of the Salesian Cooperators and Mr. K. V. Francis, councilor and the cooperator participated in it.

The programme began with the Holy Eucharist in the crypt by Fr. Michael Fernandes, Provincial and other concelebrants. At the beginning, Fr. Elias Dias, provincial delegate of Mumbai province, welcomed the gathering and introduced Fr. Michael to the assembly. It was followed by self introduction by other members of the conference. In his homily Fr. Michael said that God wants us to be happy. After explaining the false notion of happiness he mentioned that the way of the Beatitudes is the true way to happiness. Happiness does not consist of what we have but what we are.

The official meeting of the conference was held in the A. V. hall of the Provincial House. Mrs. Frieda D’Souza welcomed the guests and presented a rose to all as a token of friendship. Sr. Phyllis Fernandes, national delegate of FMA conducted the prayer service.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and passed. During the morning session using PPT Fr. K. J. Louis gave an insight on the Preventive System of Don Bosco. He believed that when young people are surrounded by healthy and empowering environment and wise educators they would naturally grow and blossom, hence the first pre requisite for implementing Don Bosco’s educational system is the homely environment be it in the school, home or any where else. The environment could be characterized by reason, religion and kindness. Therefore the chief concern of the educator would be to create and maintain the right environment.

In the Preventive System the educators approach would be of accompaniment rather than supervision. The tern accompaniment implies that the educators are also on a journey along with the young. They are part of the system. The accompaniment becomes possible only in the climate of friendship, trust and genuine affection. In brief Be there, Be aware and Care. ‘Being there’ implies being present to the young and with the young and it is the key to a wholesome healthy and happy environment.’ Be aware’ implies having deep understanding of the young and their world. ‘Caring’ implies having heart of a father. It is not enough to love them but they must know that they are loved. In Don Bosco’s system whatever be the responsibility of the educator being there, being aware and giving care takes precedent at all times.

In the second talk Fr. K. J. Louis highlighted the characteristics of Christian leadership using the word charisma as an acrostic i.e. concern, health, action, result, influence, sensibility, motivation and affirmation.

Post lunch all the provinces read their reports about the implementation of the resolution of the Chennai Congress: Return to Don Bosco, return to the young.

A discussion was held on the Article 36 of the Project of Apostolic life. Mr. K. V. Francis read the minutes of the meeting held in Rome and informed that he had a very fruitful world council meeting. The meeting was mainly to discuss the organizational challenge and finalization of PAL document before the world congress 2012.

Mr. Wilfred Rebello proposed the vote of thanks and Ms.. Jacqueline from Chennai thanked the Mumbai province for hosting the meeting.