Fr. Cleophas Fernandez, Director, National Biblical Catechetical Liturgical Centres (NBCLC), Bangalore, India, addressing the participants of the seminar at the valedictory function appreciated the participants and organizers for facing three challenges in the seminar, namely, addressing the all important topic of prayer, the challenge of praying with children, and also of attempting this in the multicultural contexts. He pointed out that agencies involved in religious education in certain European countries have addressed the reality of multiculturalism seriously. He lauded the organizers and mentioned that this Salesian venture to explore the area of praying with children in multicultural contexts was a timely step in the right direction.
The proceedings of the seminar for the third and final day began with a nature meditation at 6.30 AM by Fr. Sandesh and Deacon Shekar, both Franciscan Friars. The creativity and the profound reflections that characterised it were surpassed by the simplicity involved making it a highly feasible methodology with children.
The workshop at 9.00 AM led by Fr. Mathew Thomas and Fr. Kuriakose Pallikunnel on the current innovative practices of praying with children and youth drew out from the participants the whole spectrum of practices existing in the various regions of India and also highlighted path-breaking inter-religious prayer initiatives launched by individuals and centres.
The session at 11.00 AM a session with a difference led by Sr. Amala, Maria Kripa, Bangalore, on using the body in song and dance as a method of prayer was picked up enthusiastically by the participants.
The session on Eco-spirituality for Children by Fr. George Kollashany, SDB, Tarunmitra Ashram, Patna was another eye-opener for the participants about how vital it is to orient the children about nature, its appropriate use and preservation.
The plenary session at the end of the seminar cum workshop brought to focus the strategies to be employed in taking the movement forward. Strategies were prepared at national, regional, local and individual levels with appropriate mechanisms suggested for its implementation. Dissemination, competency building and scaling up the processes were the other issues addressed in this effort of guiding the young towards God experience in the multi-religious contexts in our settings across the country.
Fr. Mathew Panamkattu sdb.