The closing ceremony of the Platinum Jubilee of the Bethany Educational Society® Mangalore was celebrated with great enthusiasm and exuberance
Mangaluru: The culminating ceremony of the Bethany Educational Society’s Platinum Jubilee, orchestrated with grandeur, unfurled its splendour at Bethany Educational Society Mangalore on Monday, September 18, 2023.
The Thanksgiving Mass at Sabastian Church Bendur, Mangalore, was presided over by Most Rev Dr Peter Machado, the Archbishop of Bangalore, and concelebrated by Most Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, Bishop of Mangalore Diocese, Most Rev Dr Gerald Issac Lobo, Bishop of Udupi, Most Rev Dr Ignatius D’Souza, Bishop of Bareilly, and Most Rev Dr Ignatius Mascarenhas, Bishop of Simla-Chandigarh. Many priests of the Diocese, religious priests, alumni priests, religious, parents, staff, students, and well-wishers of BES participated in the Eucharist.
In his eloquent homily, Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha illuminated the laudable accomplishments of the Bethany Educational Society in the noble pursuit of educating underprivileged children, especially the girl child. He expounded on the profound role of an educator in guiding and transforming students into responsible and conscientious citizens. He also applauded the Bethany congregation for their collaborative spirit in the parishes of the Diocese of Mangalore and for being agents of value-based education and social transformation through their teaching of catechism, pastoral services, and social action.
Thereafter, floral tributes were paid to the Servant of God, Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas, at his tomb by the Bishops, Sr Rose Celine, the Superior General, the President of BES, and the representatives among the staff and students.
Subsequently, at 5.30 p.m., an august formal stage program unfolded within the hallowed St Sabastian Platinum Jubilee Hall, Bendur, Mangalore. Rev. Sr Rose Celine BS, the President of Bethany Educational Society, presided over the function. Her presidential address reverberated with admiration for the monumental strides taken by the visionary Founder RFC Mascarenhas of Bethany, and the four founding members in their unwavering dedication to providing quality education, even in the remotest rural corners. She emphasised the contributions of BES, which have left an indelible mark on the diverse landscape of India, spreading from the northern regions of Punjab and Haryana to the shores of Kanyakumari in the south, spanning from the north-eastern corners to the expansive west, and transforming thousands of young hearts and minds through education. BES has a clear vision and a goal: ‘Transformative Education for Fullness of Life for All, especially the Poor and Girl Children’, as in the Gospel of John 10:10. Focusing on the three BES conventions, she said, ‘it has paved the way for a unique methodology, infusing the vision and core values into the very fabric of their educational pedagogy to promote multiple intelligences. The introduction of human rights and the teaching of the Preamble of Indian Constitutions in all the BES schools have prepared a generation for peace, harmony, and communal solidarity. A litany of gratitude was expressed to all the past and present Council of Management for their yeoman services for BES.
The chief guest of the function, Most Rev. Dr Peter Machado, Archbishop of Bangalore, inaugurated the Platinum Jubilee Education Project. One of the special features of Platinum Jubilee was to support 75 young, poor rural girls from different provinces all over India. Bethany Educational Society, with the support and contribution of their staff, benefactors, and well-wishers, has collected a fund from which each one of these deserving girls will be gifted with Rs 1,00,000 to train themselves in vocational skills. He congratulated the Bethany congregation and the BES for their collaborative ministries and especially for implanting the love of the gospel among the children in their educational ministries.
Mrs Alka Bhutani, a proud alumna of St Theresa’s High Secondary School Karnal, a unit of Bethany Educational Society, represented all the alumni of BES on the stage. With sentiments of gratitude, she said BES has transformed her life. The moral science classes became the marrow of her being, these classes have guided her moral and emotional GPS to face the challenges of life and separate the weeds from the wheats. She highly appreciated the humanism that is inculcated in her to respect and cherish each other in the way each one is made to celebrate one’s uniqueness and potentialities.
The Platinum Jubilee Souvenir was released by the Honourable Mr. U T Khader, Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. Addressing the gathering, he said, “The Christian community has contributed a lot to the unity, fraternity, and integral growth of the nation and society. The education and noble values received in Catholic educational institutions have become a source of strength and instilled confidence in him. A proper education sets people up to grow personally, professionally, and socially. It can awaken joy, curiosity, and a deep desire to solve problems and help others. Teaching a student can inspire them to pursue leadership roles and positively impact those around them. He congratulated Sr Rose Celine and the BES for their enormous contribution in the field of education.
Speaking on the role of educators, Honourable Mr Vedavyas Kamath, Member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly from Mangalore City, South Constituency, said, ‘Deep down, every good teacher knows the impact and importance of education. It is not just about learning reading, writing, and arithmetic at school. Instead, it is about gaining the knowledge and skills needed to become a better person and create a better society to live in.
The guests of honour on the stage included Rev. Fr Vincent Monteiro, – Parish priest of Bendur, Most Rev. Dr Ignatius Mascarenhas, Bishop of Shimla-Chandigarh, Most Rev. Dr Ignatius D’Souza – Bishop of Bareilly, Sr Linette AC, representing Asst. Superior General Apostolic Carmel, Fr Melwyn Pinto SJ, Rector St Aloysius College, Mangalore.
The priorities of the BES Platinum Jubilee were depicted through a colourful programme by the students of BES schools. The four priorities of the Platinum Jubilee year, viz., ‘upholding justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity; promotion of peace and harmony; caring for Mother Earth; and education for excellence & self-reliance, were showcased by the students. Certainly, it was a feast for the eyes and left a long-lasting impression on the gathering.
Sr Sandhya BS, the Secretary of BES, welcomed the gathering and acknowledged their association with Bethany and BES. Sr Philomen Saldanha, BS, the member of the Council of Management, proposed a vote of thanks. Mrs Jasmine Moreira, St. Theresa School, Bendur, and Mrs. Reena Saldanha, St. Joseph School, Kankanady, compered the programme. With a fellowship meal, the programme came to an end. Definitely, it was a memorable event for all. Virtual livestreaming of the event enabled thousands of students, alumni, and BES associates to participate in the Platinum Jubilee.
Photos by: Stanley Bantwal