☼ DON BOSCO LONAVLA
The Salesian province of South India saw very few aspirants from the Bombay and Goa regions because not many parents were willing to send their children down to Tirupattur. Recognising the need, Fr. Mauro Casarotti, the then Rector of Don Bosco, Matunga, in 1957 floated the idea for a separate Aspirantate for the Bombay and Goa regions and the place he had in mind was Lonavla. In spite of many hurdles strewn across his path, his dream materialized with the approval by the then Provinicial Fr. Archimedes Pinazzi. Work began quickly and in June 1962, approval for Classes VIII and IX was granted but the building was not ready. Having heard of the Salesian need, Mr. D.C. Nazir, a Parsi from Lonavla offered one of his bungalows. Fr. Hubert DíRosario, Fr. Eliseus Bianchi and Fr. Rubio took possession of the Nazir Bungalow with the first Rector, Fr. Joseph Murphy leading the community. On June 28, 1962, Don Bosco Lonavla officially commenced its academic year with 31 students under one roof in the Nazir Bungalow.
On March 19, 1964, the new building was inaugurated and the Apostolic School was shifted to the new premises which was followed by the appointment of Fr. Mauro Casarotti as its Rector. Meanwhile, the candidates volunteering to join the aspirantate were increasing. Hence, in 1967, taking charge from Fr. Casarotti, Fr. Antonio Alessi began the second phase of construction. In 1969, the time had finally come to pass over the leadership to an Indian Salesian, Fr. Olivio Miranda. The same year, the new chapel was blessed by Bishop William Gomes. In 1975 a separate school block was set up.
To date, Lonavla has given to the Mumbai Province more than two thirds of its total Salesian Confreres.
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