Bosco Samaikya: Youth Spirituality Centre (handed over to the Diocese of Kadapa in 2010)
The idea of Bosco Samaikya Ashram was there since 1998. Bishop S.A. Arulaiah, the Bishop of Kadapa had asked Fr. Chinnappa Thomas, the Parish Priest of Punganur, to look for a land between Pakala and Punganur as in this stretch of 80 kms there was no Catholic presence. There are very few Christians in the 3 mandals of Chowdepalli, Somala and Sodum the erstwhile Punganur Taluk. On the 1st of October 1988 the bishop had bifurcated the Punganur Taluk of 6 mandals from Madanapalli Parish and established the Punganur Parish.
After some search for a suitable site Fr. C. Thomas with the help of Mr. Naineri Chinnappa of Marlapalli fournd a site of two and half acres on the Punganur – Kalor road three kilometres away from Sodum town Panchayath. With Rs. 1,00.000 provided by the Bishop we registered this two and half acre site, leveled it and fenced the property. Even today this land is in the name of Kadapa Diocesan society.
Fr. C. Thomas with the help of Holy Family sisters, who were residing in Marlapalli, started frequenting the villages of Sodum mandal. A chapel dedicated to Young Jesus of Nazareth (Yuva Yesu Mandiram) was constructed, blessed and inaugurated by Bishop Mallavarapu Prakash in 2000. Eventually with help from Salesian Missions Newrochelle, the Salesian presbytery building, multipurpose hall with kitchen, dining hall, toilets etc, the girls’ hostel were constructed. With help from other sources five cottages with toilets were constructed.
While Fr. C. Thomas used to come and stay on and of from Don Bosco, Marlapalli, on the 3rd, July 2001, the Arogyamatha sisters from Kadapa were invited and started staying to do mission work. On noting that this mission center was not suitable for the people to approach as it was 3 kms away from Sodum mandal headquarters a land was bought and a chapel dedicated to Mary Mother of God was constructed at Sodum town panchayat. Thus the site with the constructions at Gonguvaripalli was available for the youth Ashram of Bosco Samaikya.
Bosco Samaikya Ashram is a spirituality centre in the Indian context of Ashram for youth. We conduct retreats for the youth here and also we are available to conduct retreats, seminars, courses outside on the themes of Dharma (Justice), Satyam (Truth), Prema (Love), Shanthi (Peace) and Ahimsa (Non-violence). To the Kingdom values we add other themes like forgiveness, religious tolerance, fraternity and unity among youth. We have a Gurukula for orphan and destitute children, tuition centres for Play-schools for Pre-school children as activities of the Ashram. Pioneers are Fr. C. Thomas and Arogyamatha, JMJ and Salesian sisters. It is attached to Punganur community and is not yet canonically erected community.
As the Gurukulam children- both boys and girls could not be assisted properly and they were disturbing the silent atmosphere conducive for the retreat Fr: Provincial asked me to close down the Gurukulam, but the local people and the sponsors were appreciative of The Gurukulam conducted for the orphan. At present there 13 orphan and destitute children- both boys and girls in the Gurukulam. They are in different boarding homes or under the guardianship of relative. They come to BSA, thrice a year -2 days in Dasara Holidays.2 days in sankranthi Holidays and for a month of summer course in spoken English, classical dance & music. They are assisted well during the month long summer course.
The one month summer course in the month of May for spoken English, classical dance and music is conducted every year since 2003. It was primarily for youth is now extended to children above years. The Brothers and sisters who come every year for the apostolate help in conducting these popular courses.
Due to lack of personal- a young priest or a Brother we are not able regularly to conduct weekly moral classes for the School children in Sodum. We intend to have also Sunday oratory in Gongivaripalli village and a volleyball team at Sodum.
Though facilities are there the youth programmes, recollections and retreats are not common as expected. As the Bishop-takes the Mission Stations, appointing a diocesan priest as parish priest we intend to help in the Missions as and when needed in pastoral ministry and the administration of mass and sacraments with one more young priest in the staff of BSA, we will be able to do much good to the with different activities proposed above.
SCOPE (as and when it was with the Salesians of Hyderabad)
a) To conduct youth leadership weekend courses, retreats, to foster unity and fraternity with the motto: One for all and All for One, with live-in experience for groups of youth. There is a provision for senior students and young adults to live and stay together for short periods of praying together and sharing a common meal and of satsang and recreation.
b) Though meant primarily for youth, this center welcomes also adults, young at heart, for Upadesa and for short stay for recollections, retreats, short courses and counseling.
c) The Ashram aspects of Gnana, Bhakti and Karma are encouraged for the concept of Samaikaya with instance on Karma Margam (Yoga).
CHITTOOR DT– 517123