In our fast evolving world anything that lasts for 25 years is ordinarily considered prehistoric, ancient and very often also redundant. But there are some things that stand the test of time and attain meaning precisely because of that.
December 17 2008 was one such significant day as Nashik celebrated 25 years to the day when Fr. Diego Nunes - Principal of Don Bosco School, Nashik, was ordained a priest at Uttan.
The day began with the community gathering round Fr. Diego to pray for him and to thank God with him. At 11 am the jubilarian was welcomed with showers of rose petals along with his family members for a felicitation program organized by the staff and students of Don Bosco School, Nashik.
The students vied with each other to express their joy at the accomplishment of this milestone. A powerpoint presentation summarised the journey that Fr. Diego has taken in the last 25 years and the songs and dances all focussed on fidelity and gratitude. Special mention must be made of a skit highlighting the key elements of the Salesian system of education. The festive lunch for invitees followed in the school quadrangle which had been beautifully decorated for the occassion. The teachers of the school, some parents and religious from the city had been invited to felcitate Fr. Diego.
All this, however, was merely a prelude to the central moment of the celebration - the Thanksgiving Eucharist - presided over by Fr. Diego - which began at 6:30 pm. A prayer dance by the children of Satpur; some very beautiful and harmonious singing by the brothers of Divyadaan; an inspiring homily by Fr. Robert Pen; and a symbolic procession with 25 lamps carried by religious, lay people and children; all made for a prayerful and truly worship-ful moment. After the Eucharist it was the turn of the Don Bosco parishioners to wish and congratulate Fr. Diego. The novices of STI used the medium of music to describe the call of Fr. Diego, and they were followed by dances and songs, both classical and modern. Finally, it was the turn of the jubilarian to express his thanks for a day celebrating his fidelity and dedication. He left to all a message on the need to share our gifts even while he thanked the Lord and others who had helped him weather the storms of the years. In the hearts of all those who had spent the day celebrating fidelity rang the words of the beautiful hymn rendered in 3 voices by the Divyadaan community -
All thru the years, you have been at my side, O Lord
All thru the years, you have been my guide, O Lord
All thru the years, you have taken my hand in yours,
Kept me in your love.
And in my nothingness and in my lowliness
I sing your praises, Lord, I sing your faithfulness
And then my heart o'erflows in joy and gratitude
And I adore you, Lord!