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Discerning Future Leadership
By Father Joaquim Fernandes
Mumbai, Mar. 6. Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, the Regional Councillor for South Asia visited the Salesian Province of Mumbai for the consultation process to find the pulse of the Salesians in a bid to choose a leader who will guide the Province for the next six years given that Father Godfrey D'Souza, Salesian Provincial of the Mumbai region will complete his term on October 7, 2019.
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During his address in Mumbai, Father Kanaga presented a synopsis of the letter of the Rector Major, Father Angel Fernandez Artime to 70 Salesians present for the consultation process meeting. ''It is a democratic process yet the selection of the candidate is done through nomination process,'' he said when referring to the process of nominating a new Provincial for the Mumbai Province.

''We take our consultation very seriously. We could do a consultation with each one of you filling a form and sending it across, but why do we take the trouble of travelling, talking to conferrers, and going through a process of discernment? It is because it is a serious exercise to which all confreres must contribute,'' Father Kanaga stressed.


''What is the process of appointing a Provincial? First it is the consultation. The second is the consolidation of the report coming out from the consultation. The Regional has that duty of putting together the result and creating a dossier that informs the General Council members about the state of the Province, the quality that they expect from the new Provincial, their opinions on the new candidates, and a study of the character of the person they propose. This document has a lot of details.''

''Then there is a summary where you are being asked to state your views both positive and negative regarding the present status of the Province and three urgent needs that the new provincial should see to in the next six years and the qualities you expect from your leader. Then you are asked to propose three candidates because we are not in an election, voting for one issue and excluding the others.''

Father Kanaga requested the group of Salesians gathered to reflect, think, and pray before filling up the consultation forms and handing it over to him. The data will be then be analysed for the selection process and the narrowing down of the right candidate for the role of leadership will take place.

''Consultations for provincial councillors or provincials are not elections, they are consultations, that is why there could be more than one person who could be capable of fulfilling the office of a provincial in a good way. So, I recommend you don't mention just one name and leave out the others.''    

''We classify voting according to various categories, one according to age groups, then suggestions from Rectors, who they see as a possible candidate.''

Father Kananga also presented an overview of the Salesian congregation and stated that at as per the 2018 statistics there are 14,055 Salesian confreres, around 128 are Salesian Bishops, 430 novices, with 173 leaving the organisation in the last year.

''The places where the numbers are going up is South Asia. Among the regions, the Mediterranean region has the highest number, around 2900 in all and our region (South Asia) is the second biggest, just around 50 less. So by the time we reach the General Chapter, this region will be the largest region in the world,'' Father Kananga said.

''Among the countries which have Salesians, the largest country is India, which has 2700 Salesians in 11 provinces but our region has more because we have confreres in other countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Yemen, UAE etc. Twenty percent of the congregation is Indian. Salesian Sisters are a little less than us, they are a little less than 12000.''

Father Kananga will now follow the same process at Don Bosco Baroda, Nashik, and Pune to complete the consultation process with the rest of the Salesians from the province of Mumbai.

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