Poona Diocese, Pune, India — On 21st August 2021, Mgr. Thomas Dabre, Bishop of the Poona Diocese, ordained the Salesian new priest Michael Gaikwad at the Sacred Heart Parish, Yerwada, Pune at 9:30 AM (IST). The celebration was physically attended by the Salesians of the Mumbai Province and it was aired online through Facebook and Youtube in Thailand, Cambodia and Australia, countries on the vocational journey of Fr. Gaikwad.
The new Salesian priest was born in 1984 in Pune, India from the family of Dominic and Margaret Gaikwad. He applied to the ad gentes missions and did his practical training at the Don Bosco Sihanoukville and Don Bosco Kep communities of Cambodia, before travelling to Melbourne, Australia for Theology studies. He was ordained deacon on 5th December 2020 and travelled to India in the middle of the difficulties due to pandemic restriction.
Rev. Mgr. Thomas Dabre underlined the Evangelical meaning of a native Indian going to the ad gentes Mission. “It is the time that the ad gentes Mission is not only for Westerner missionaries, but as for everybody. I find very great that one of us has accepted the courage to go beyond, to the Missions, to Cambodia,” he said during the Homily.
At the end of the ceremony, Fr. Michael thanked his family, friends and all the Salesians involved in his formation in three provinces: Mumbai, Thailand/Cambodia and Australia. He included also the parish priests of the Sacred Heart Parish of Yerwada, in which he has grown his own Faith.
He celebrated his first Mass at the following day, on 22nd August in the same Parish. As soon it is possible to travel, Fr. Michael will arrive in Cambodia to continue his missionary and educative service for the Cambodian children and youth.