Past Pupils

Don Bosco loved his boys – every single one of them who passed through the Oratory – and his boys in turn loved him.  Leaving the oratory did not mean that they were forgotten by their father and mentor Don Bosco who continued to keep track of them, welcome them, guide them, admonish them if necessary and demonstrate his deep concern about their spiritual life.

In answer to the deep love of Don Bosco, on June 24, 1870 on the occasion of the feast of St. John the Baptist – Don Bosco’s name day feast – a dozen old boys went to the oratory under the leadership of Carlo Gastini, who always considered the oratory to be his second family, in order to greet Don Bosco and spend time with him. It was in the year 1878 that Don Bosco proposed a “Mutual Aid Society” to the Old Boys to face up to the current difficulties, even financially.

However, it was only in 1911 that under the stewardship of Fr. Philip Rinaldi a formal structure was created during the 1st International Congress of the Old Boys who thereafter assumed the nomenclature of “Past Pupils”.  It was, while he was the Rector Major of the Salesian Society, that Fr. Rinaldi a simple and paternal person, adopting a language of authority, declared that the organization of Past Pupils must be included in those “novas familias” that have flourished in the Holy Church thanks to Don Bosco.

Fast Forward to June 1962 – a small group of 31 young lads joined a new institution being set up by the Salesian of Don Bosco in the picturesque little hill town of Lonavla nestled midway between the cities of Mumbai (then Bombay) and Pune (then Poona). The institution known as “Don Bosco Apostolic School” was meant to nurture vocations to the Salesian Society and had as its first Rector the dynamic Fr. Joseph Murphy.  The school was housed in a residential property known as Nazeer Bungalow while awaiting construction of their own building a stone throw away on a hillock on the road to Tungarli Lake.

The seeds planted in June 1962 began to bear fruit and over the past 60 years has churned out many dedicated Salesians who have carried the vision of Don Bosco throughout the Province of Mumbai which was formed in 1972 and even to the shores of missions in Africa.  Subsequently, aspirants who studied in Don Bosco Apostolic School, Lonavla became the “Founding Fathers” of the fledgling Province of Panjim (Goa).

The institution grew and became the cynosure of everyone’s eyes as far as scholastic education is concerned.  Subsequently the Pre-University stream was introduced and junior college was added in 1975 and the school moved to a new building..

Standing staunchly by the side of their Salesian companions were and still are the Past Pupils of DB Apostolic/High School/Junior College and Pre-University. While not formally inducted into the Provincial Federation of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco, the Boscoites Lonavla have their own informal Past Pupils group.  The members are totally committed to the ideals of Don Bosco and remain ever grateful for the Salesian education they have received.

The love the Past Pupils of DBL have for their Alma Mater and their passion to keep its flag flying high can be witnessed by the enthusiasm they display when it comes to giving back to the school in whatever way they can.

In this the Diamond Jubilee year the DBL Past Pupils from all parts of the globe are congregating virtually to plan and celebrate this milestone in a fitting manner.  It is an occasion when the Rector of DBL, the House Council and the Core Planning Committee invite all Past Pupils to gather virtually – due to restrictions imposed by the Pandemic – and contribute in whatever way you can to make this celebration a grand success.

As a postscript it may be mentioned that steps are being taken to create a formal local unit of the “Association of Past Pupils of Don Bosco Lonavla”.  We are looking forward to all DBL Past Pupils enrolling as members as making this a model unit both at the Provincial and National level.

God bless you all.  Stay safe.  Take care.