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Kenya – President of “WorldSkills International” visits “Don Bosco Boys Town”

1 day 3 hours ago
Kenya – President of “WorldSkills International” visits “Don Bosco Boys Town”

(ANS – Nairobi) – Outgoing Honorary President of “WorldSkills International”, Mr. Simon Bartley – OBE FWS visited “Don Bosco Boys Town” (DBBT) in Nairobi. While addressing trainers and students, he urged the youth to embrace globalization that will go a long way in fulfilling the world’s future needs. “The future of our world is in the hands of our young people of today,” he said. Mr. Bartley further eulogized the late Jos de Goey, President and Chair of the WorldSkills Board as a visionary, charismatic and devoted leader in youth empowerment.

The mission of WorldSkills International is to raise the profile and recognition of skilled people, and show how important skills are in achieving economic growth and personal success. This resonates with Don Bosco Tech Africa’s mission of enhancing youth development in Africa through efficient resource management and Skill Training.

In attendance was Don Bosco Tech Africa (DBTA) Executive Director Fr TJ George, Fr Benn Agunga, Principal of DBBT, Mr  Julius K Serem and Mr Tom Olang’o, both from the Technical and Vocational Education Training Authority (TVETA). The team proposed the formation of the Kenyan Chapter of the WorldSkills International, where Br John Njuguna, the Deputy Director of DBTA, is a national steering committee member.

The climax of this engagement was a high-profile dinner attended by Dr Kevit Desai, Principal Secretary, State Department of East African Community (EAC); Ms Joyce M. Njogu, Head of Kenya Association of Manufacturers Consulting; Prof Eric Okoth Ogur, TVET Advisor to the Education Cabinet Secretary; and Dr Kipkirui Langat, Director General of the TVET Authority.

Fr TJ George shared a Job Service Manual developed by DBTA with the guests. The officials pledged their commitment to support the DBTA programs that are tailored to empower the young generation.

  • AFE AFRICA EST
  • Formazione Professionale
  • Don Bosco Tech Africa
  • Personaggi illustri
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Italy – GC28: Work Tool presented

    1 day 3 hours ago
    Italy – GC28: Work Tool presented

    (ANS - Turin) - "The fire and the canoe". With this beautiful image, Fr Andrea Bozzolo, SDB, professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Turin Section of the Faculty of Theology of the Salesian Pontifical University, presented the Working Tool of the 28th General Chapter (GC28) to the capitulars gathered in the Teatro Grande of Valdocco.

    The fire of the Spirit of God marks and illuminates the course that the Chapter canoe must follow. Embarked on it, the Salesians must stay the course together with the young people who row vigorously, all facing the same goal that is the objective of the Chapter, made up of three groups: the priority of the mission for young people, with all the challenges it implies, the profile of the Salesian, and the co-responsibility with the laity.

    The starting point are the Provincial Chapters, the contributions received from the individual Salesians, and the reflections of the young people. The Precapitular Commission on the theme of the Chapter, made up of 13 Salesians from all regions of the world - including Fr Bozzolo himself - has transformed all of this into a text that challenges the Chapter members; now it's up to them to deal with it via the method of discernment, which is not a technique, but a spiritual-practical art, the wisdom or knowledge of those who know how to listen and how to speak frankly.

    The Chapter - it has been remembered - is not a "parliament", but knowing how to recognize God in the voice of one's brothers.

    Hence the successive stages that will lead to choices, through the triple sieve: recognize-interpret-choose.

    Always in the light of the Word of God, of the indications of the Church, of the spiritual heritage of Don Bosco.

    And it will be a new Pentecost. This is everyone's wish and will.

    Photos on ANSFlickr

    • CG28
    • Italia
      Gian Francesco Romano

      India – Pappu Shukla, saved from child trafficking: "I'll never forget what ‘Don Bosco Ashalayam’ did for me"

      2 days 3 hours ago

      (ANS - Ashalayam) - "Don Bosco Ashalayam" is a Salesian NGO that works for the rehabilitation of street children in India. The Salesians provide assistance to all children in difficulty, regardless of their religion, caste or gender. More than 500 children currently reside in the 23 shelters in Ashalayam and they benefit from educational and recreational opportunities. Through its presence on the streets and the courses and programs offered in slums and railway stations, the Salesian NGO provides assistance to thousands of street children every year: over 80,000 children have benefited in three decades.

      Don Bosco Ashalayam's "Childline" is a free telephone line that works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and which, via the number 1098, street children can call anonymously. The Salesian house "St John Bosco" in New Delhi, through the Salesian welcome center "Don Bosco Ashalayam", manages the "Childline" to guarantee the rights of children in difficulty and to provide them with specific care and protection.

      This Salesian work operates closely with the police, health services, the juvenile court, transport companies, media and communication agencies and local communities with the aim of making the rights of children known and, at the same time, to provide protection services to the most vulnerable and neediest children.

      Pappu Shukla was only 7-years-old and playing on the street with his older sister when he was deceived by a man, who eventually took him to his car and kidnapped him. When Pappu got out of the vehicle, he did not know where he was, but was told that he would have to work as a servant.

      Today Pappu Shukla is 17-years-old and is an example of Salesian educational work for children's rights in India.

      "Those people were horrible. Often they got drunk and beat me, so after a while I decided to run away," remembers Pappu. "After running and wandering about a lot I got on the first train I saw and got to the end of the line. The last stop was Calcutta station, but I had nowhere to go. Fortunately, an operator of the Salesian 'Childline' project found me while I was wandering around the train station. I didn't know which state or city my parents came from and nobody had reported my disappearance, because we were very poor, so they couldn't find my family."

      "The Child Welfare Committee," the boy continues, "decided to send me to Ashalayam and, although to date I haven't been able to track down my parents, I'm happy, because the Salesians have given me a new family."

      "Thanks to the Salesians," says Pappu Shukla, "I passed the [school] exams and now I'm studying Graphic Design at the University of New Delhi. I have come a long way and I'll never forget what Ashalayam has done for me."

      Source: Misiones Salesianas

      • India
      • INC INDIA CALCUTTA
      • Ashalayam
      • Giovani a Rischio
      • Bambini di Strada
        Gian Francesco Romano

        Spain – "Enredados" campaign: accompanying families in digital environment and for a secure Internet

        2 days 3 hours ago

        (ANS - Madrid) - The Safer Internet Day was celebrated on 11 February. Concerned about this reality, at the beginning of the new academic year, the Salesian centers launched the "Enredados" campaign, an initiative that comes from the "Spain-St James Major" (SSM) Salesian Province, which wants to help families to answer, together with their children, the traditional questions of today's parents: “What are they doing online all that time? What are they looking for in social networks? Are they making good use of technology? How and why should they be in that digital environment?"

        Families are offered tools and resources to accompany children and young people in the digital environment. And every quarter a job proposal to be developed in the family will be published.

        Fr Fernando García, coordinator of the Schools of the SSM Province, explains: "With the end of this first quarter of courses, the 'Enredados' campaign has come to light. It is an initiative that we coordinated within the pedagogical area of our Province to help the parents of our students in the difficult task of accompanying and educating their children in a digital environment. The 'Enredados' project was born to get closer to families, to count on them and to provide them with reflections and materials that help them communicate with their children."

        The first theme proposed concerned privacy and the next one, in March, will focus on healthy habits in the use of the internet and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), trying to avoid addictions; the course will end with an interesting proposal for reflection on "personal relationship-virtual relationship."

        "Enredados" offers a series of tools to talk about these topics at home with the children, as well as informing them about fundamental aspects of the use of ICT and providing support to help families build their children's personalities in a digitalized world.

        For this reason, the Salesian pedagogical team proposes work based on dialogue, in search of the opportune moment, and with an invitation to reflect together, as adults are also users of the network and may be vulnerable themselves and not enjoy a safe digital environment.

        The materials available on the innovation portal: innovacion.salesianos.es/enredados/ offer families guidelines for dealing with the topic with their children.

        The Safer Internet Day is an event promoted by the INSAFE / INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, and is addressed to everyone with an invitation to use technology in a responsible, respectful, critical and creative way.

        With the aim of underlining the positive character of the Internet, the slogan of this 2020 was: "A better Internet starts with you: together we learn cyber security"; a motto that invites you to join the global movement, to participate and to take advantage of the best of the Internet to bring people together.

        • Spagna
        • Internet
        • SSM SPAGNA SAN GIACOMO MAGGIORE
        • Comunicazione Sociale
          Gian Francesco Romano

          Italy – GC28, the Chapter "machine" begins to move: Secretaries and Moderators elected

          2 days 3 hours ago

          (ANS - Turin) - The General Chapter is a great two-faced "machine". The first, very important, is the spiritual charismatic one, custodian of the great hopes of the entire Salesian Family. The second, minor but necessary for the functioning of an authentic choral participation, is the IT network, the true nervous system of the chapter body.

          Yesterday morning, Monday 24 February, the language translation test trials and a test on the votes were carried out. 222 voters contributed to fine-tuning the system.

          This was followed by the appointment of the Secretaries, proposed by the Regulator and voted by the assembly. Fr Enrico Gaetan, Fr Luca Barone and Fr Daniele Merlini were elected.

          It was then the turn of the moderators. The following were elected: Fr Manuel Cayo, Provincial of Peru (PER), Fr Jose Kuruvachira, Provincial of India-Dimapur (IND) and Fr Manuel Jimenez Castro, Visitor of Africa Congo Congo (ACC).

          The capitulars then immersed themselves in the individual reading of the Regulations and then divided into the four commissions on the subject and the one (one) on the juridical subjects.

          Today, Tuesday 25, will also be marked by small, but important procedural steps: approval of the GC28 Regulations is expected early in the morning; two sessions of presentation of the Chapter Work Tool are scheduled immediately afterwards - the text drawn up by the two Precapitular Commissions appointed by the Rector Major (the one on the theme of the Chapter and the one on the juridical aspects) which serves as the basis for discernment and which is structured around the three fundamental themes of the GC28:

          - mission priority with young people;
          - profile of the Salesian today;
          - mission shared between Salesians and lay people.

          The last activity of the day will be the presentation of the final summary of the contributions of the commissions on the Report of the Rector Major, with the opportunity then for the Rector Major to answer to the comments.

          Photos on ANSFlickr

          • CG28
          • Italia
            Gian Francesco Romano

            RMG – February 25: 90th anniversary of martyrdom of St Luigi Versiglia and St Callisto Caravario

            3 days 3 hours ago
            RMG – February 25: 90th anniversary of martyrdom of St Luigi Versiglia and St Callisto Caravario

            (ANS - Rome) - In one of his dreams Don Bosco had seen two large chalices rise to Heaven, calices with which his children would water the Salesian mission in the East: one was full of sweat and the other of blood. After a few decades, Fr Luigi Versiglia from China would have written to another Salesian who had given him a chalice: “May the Lord ensure that I return the chalice that has been offered to our Pious Society. May it overflow, if not with my blood, at least my sweat!"

            Luigi Versiglia was born in Oliva Gessi (Pavia) on June 5, 1873. At the age of twelve, he entered the oratory of Valdocco where he met Don Bosco. Ordained priest (1895), after being Director and master of novices in Genzano di Roma, he led the first Salesian missionary expedition to China in 1906. In 1918, the Salesians received the mission of Shiu Chow from the Apostolic Vicar of Canton. Fr Luigi Versiglia was appointed Apostolic Vicar and on 9 January, 1921, he was consecrated Bishop. He was a true shepherd, entirely devoted to his flock. He gave the Vicariate a solid structure with a seminary, houses of formation, himself designing various residences and shelters for the elderly and needy. He looked after the formation of the catechists with true conviction.

            Callisto Caravario was born in Cuorgné (Turin) on June 8, 1903, and was a student at the Valdocco oratory. In 1924, still a cleric, he left for China as a missionary. He was sent to Macau, and then for two years on the island of Timor, edifying everyone with all his goodness and his apostolic zeal. On May 18, 1929, Msgr. Versiglia ordained him a priest.

            On February 25, 1930, the two missionaries were travelling by boat for a pastoral visit when a gang of Bolshevik pirates intercepted them. The Communists climbed on board and, finding three young catechists, wanted to take them away with them. The two missionaries interposed and were attacked and tied, while the pirates ransacked their possessions. One of the bandits, snatching the crucifixes from a catechist, shouted: “Why do you love these crosses? We hate them with all our souls!" The young women were able to see the missionaries confess to each other in a low voice before being shot in a forest. Thus the two chalices dreamed by Don Bosco were raised to Heaven!

            John Paul II beatified them on May 15, 1983, and canonized them on October 1, 2000. On the occasion of the beatification, he said: "The blood of the two Blesseds is at the foundations of the Chinese Church, just as the blood of Peter is at the foundations of the Church of Rome."

            Because of this anniversary, the Provincial of the “Mary Help of Christians” Province based in Hong Kong is promoting a series of events from February 25 to November 13, and issued a message in which he said: “I hope that through the various activities that we are organizing this year we will know how to learn the spirit of martyrdom from these two Saints ... Every Christian participates in the 'white martyrdom' if he puts the Gospel into practice and carries his own cross. Let's model ourselves on the example of Saints Luigi Versiglia and Callisto Caravario!”

            • Luigi Versiglia
            • Callisto Caravario
            • Santità Salesiana
            • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
              Gian Francesco Romano

              Italy – GC28: unity and diversity on the world horizon and in local communities

              3 days 3 hours ago
              Italy – GC28: unity and diversity on the world horizon and in local communities

              (ANS - Turin) - Diversity of faces and multiplicity of languages are the expression of the variety of cultures and situations in which Don Bosco's educational experience is embodied. There is no lack of fraternity, which creates bridges on every occasion in which there is a border to overcome and a thought, an experience, a tradition and a history to understand.

              The Salesians of the world, and with them the groups of the Salesian Family, the lay people and lay collaborators, the young people, are all represented in Turin-Valdocco in the 28th General Chapter.

              Unity and diversity are clearly present, in the respect and acceptance of the opinions of others, especially when they express the diversity in which the Salesians and the educational communities they represent are active.

              All of this was amply represented in the first week of the Chapter work, starting with the Rector Major's Report, presented personally and with the collaboration of the General Councilors. Three whole evenings dedicated to their examination followed in Regional groups coordinated by the Regional Councilors.

              It is not an assembly of shareholders of an industry, not a political assembly with factions with conflicting interests that are economic, of prestige, or ambitions: repeatedly and in different words, the ecclesial nature of this ample and numerous assembly has been marked and highlighted every day by prayer, in linguistic groups, too. And the week that begins includes the celebration of Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

              Ample time was spent in three mornings to meditate and pray on the three nuclei into which the central theme is divided: Salesians for today's young people. And Saturday 22, the official and formal beginning of the GC28, the follow-up to what was clearly indicated in an article of the Constitutions of the Salesians of Don Bosco was followed: "Through the General Chapter the whole Society, letting itself be guided by the Spirit of the Lord, seeks to know, at a specific moment in history, the will of God for a better service to the Church."

              Chapter work continues with the Presidency of the Rector Major and the coordination of the work led by the Regulator Fr Stefano Vanoli. The week also begins with the activation of the procedures necessary for the proper functioning of the assembly in all its components: approval of the Regulations, appointment of secretaries and moderators, establishment of study commissions.

              Not to be missed, the fact that paper has almost completely disappeared and photocopies rendered useless. Each chapter member moves in the company of his PC: in it, there is everything he needs to read; with it, he shall proceed to vote; connected to it, each capitular has already experienced the simultaneous translation of the interventions.

              Photos on ANSFlickr

              • Italia
              • CG28
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Italy – GC28: Official opening of work sessions in Turin-Valdocco

                5 days 3 hours ago
                Italy – GC28: Official opening of work sessions in Turin-Valdocco

                (ANS - Turin) - The official opening of General Chapter 28 took place on the morning of 22 February in Turin – Valdocco, after a week of work, almost a preparation and even a foretaste of what the life and experience of a chapter assembly that widens its gaze to the 132 Nations represented by the 242 Salesians present is.

                The morning began with the Eucharistic celebration in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. It was presided over by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

                At 10.30 am, the Chapter Assembly met in the Teatro Grande inside Valdocco and began work with prayer and singing of the Veni Creator Spiritus and the prayer to Don Bosco proclaimed in multiple languages.

                Fr Stefano Vanoli, Regulator, coordinates the work of the Assembly and, alongside Chapter members, were many Salesian guests, including Cardinals Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, Tarcisio Bertone, Ricardo Ezzati, and a number of Bishops.

                After attending Mass, Mrs. Chiara Appendino, Mayor of Turin, sent a greeting address presented at the Assembly.

                The Bishop of Turin, Monsignor Cesare Nosiglia, who will be present on 29 February, also sent a message.

                Speaking, representing the groups of the Salesian Family, were Mother Yvonne Reungoat Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and Mr. Renato Valera, President of the "primary" Association of Mary Help of Christians.

                Cardinal João Braz de Aviz again took the floor; in addition to his greeting address, he made explicit in his own words the ecclesial context in which a general chapter acts.

                Fr Angel Fernandez Artime, Superior General, gave the opening speech.

                Then Fr. Stefano Vanoli, Regulator, finally declared the work of the General Chapter 28 formally and officially open.

                The morning's work ended with the song Sub tuum praesidium.

                Photos on ANSFlickr

                • Italia
                • CG28
                  Jesus Jurado

                  Italy – CG28, official opening: "A strong time of meeting, of prayer and of discernment"

                  5 days 3 hours ago

                  (ANS - Turin) - Don Bosco is certainly happy and rejoices at hearing the expressions uttered on the official opening morning of General Chapter 28.

                  Several times, in the greetings, those who took the floor or sent a message referred to the origins and to Valdocco.

                  Turin's Mayor, Ms Appendino, recalls that "seed that, in just over two centuries of history, has left indelible marks and contributed to strongly connote the character of our city." And today that character is still present in the city of Turin: "like the activities of the Salesian congregation, it's reflected in the continuous commitment to educate young people, to teach to be supportive and attentive to the weakest, to welcome without prejudice those who leave their own country of origin and dreams of building a new life for themselves."

                  Monsignor Nosiglia, Bishop of Turin, highlights the current relevance of Don Bosco's educational experience: "from the wealth of experience that Don Bosco has left us, we can today also draw several fundamental features of each educational action: the authoritativeness of the educator, the centrality of the personal relationship, education as an act of love ('a matter of the heart,' as Don Bosco would say), the integral formation of the person, co-responsibility for the construction of the common good."

                  With a gaze to the Salesian Family, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, Superior General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, highlighted the opportunity and necessity of each Chapter Assembly in the world horizon (the FMA are also preparing to celebrate their General Chapter): "They are precious opportunities to revive today the apostolic and missionary passion that nourished the beginnings of the Salesian Family and that we try to keep alive today."

                  Thanks and best wishes also on behalf of all the laity of the Salesian Family were expressed by Renato Valeria, President of the "primary" ADMA of Turin who thanked participants for their presence and offered his best wishes for "a strong [intense] time of meeting, of prayer and of discernment."

                  Cardinal João Braz de Aviz offered his message to speak of an ecclesial horizon open to the present moment. It is in this context that a renewed document dealing with the relationships of consecrated life in the Church (mutuae relationes) is now at the final stages. He continued with the presentation of some current challenges for consecrated life.

                  First of all, he mentioned, those involving formation choices. Then he underlined the attention that must be paid to give a just and renewed importance to man-woman reciprocity. Another open challenge is that which concerns the service of authority. Last but not least, is the challenge that awaits the management of ecclesiastical assets dependent on institutes of consecrated life.

                  Photos on ANSFlickr

                  • Italia
                  • CG28
                  • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
                  • Yvonne Reungoat
                  • ADMA
                  • Cardinali
                  • Famiglia Salesiana
                    Jesus Jurado

                    Italy – CG28 official opening, Rector Major: We are “an assembly of consecrated men, gathered in the name of the Lord”

                    5 days 3 hours ago
                    Italy – CG28 official opening, Rector Major: We are “an assembly of consecrated men, gathered in the name of the Lord”

                    (ANS - Turin) -The Rector Major began with several words of thanks for the many guests, Salesians and representatives of the groups of the Salesian Family. For Fr Angel, too, the first focus is that of a prophetic and hopeful gaze for an especially significant commitment: "responsibly guiding and animating a charism of the Church, for the Church and for the world, aroused by the Spirit."

                    And it is with this focus and this task that, as Salesians, there is to be renewed "the responsibility of guiding communion and unity of life in the Congregation" with a single interest: taking care of the interests of God.

                    As Fr Luigi Ricceri stated in General Chapter 20: "Ours is not an assembly of shareholders of an industry, it is not a political assembly with factions with conflicting interests that are economic, prestige and ambition. We are here as Church - better, an assembly of consecrated men, gathered in the name of the Lord, totally devoted to a supernatural ideal."

                    In moving on to the specific theme and objectives of the GC28, the Rector Major focused on a few objectives.

                    First of all, by underscoring that we must "give absolute priority to the Salesian mission with today's young people, and among them giving priority to the most needy, the poorest and most abandoned.

                    Who is the Salesian who goes to meet young people today? What is his profile? The one that has Don Bosco as a model.

                    With Don Bosco as a model, saying Salesian today should be the same as saying:

                    - consecrated man of deep faith;
                    - apostolic passion for young people;
                    - son of God who knows he is and feels like a father to young people;
                    - charismatic identity of everyone who enriches the Church with the charism of Don Bosco and creates ecclesial communion;
                    - always faithful apostle of young people, always flexible and creative;
                    - always educator, always friend of young people."

                    Today, even more than in other times, the Salesian lives together with the laity in mission and formation. And in this area there is to go further, and Fr Angel hopes that the General Chapter "will perhaps consider some of these points on which to push our discernment", to overcome resistance in the mission shared with the laity, to grow in reciprocity in relations between Salesians and lay people, with a joint formation.

                    General Chapter 28 is a great appeal or summons at this hour, as already indicated in the convocation letter: “we shall be called to discern with realism, courage and determination, the orientation of the path to embark upon in this 21st century, in a very special ecclesial moment of renewal and purification."

                    The “business” started by Don Bosco has to be continued, as he himself said to Fr Giulio Barberis in 1875: 'You will complete the work, which I begin; I sketch, you will spread the colors [...] I make a rough draft of the Congregation and I will leave it to those who come after me to make the good [beautiful] copy.' Fr Angel concludes:
                    "I think that with the GC28 that we start today we will clean up other parts of the sketch that Don Bosco left us, since the Holy Spirit continues to illuminate us even today to be faithful to the Lord Jesus in faithfulness to the charism of the origins, with the faces and music and colors of today."

                    At 12.30, the Regulator on behalf of the Rector Major formally and officially opens General Chapter 28, placed under the protection of Mary with prayer and singing Sub tuum praesidium.

                    Photos on ANSFlickr

                    • Italia
                    • CG28
                    • Rettor Maggiore
                    • Ángel Fernández Artime
                      Jesus Jurado

                      Italy – GC28: concert in Basilica of Mary Help of Christians

                      6 days 3 hours ago
                      Italy – GC28: concert in Basilica of Mary Help of Christians

                      (ANS - Turin) - The Concert offered on late Wednesday evening in the Basilica of Maria Ausiliatrice is one of the appointments that are periodically performed in the Basilica itself as the result of the collaboration with the Turin Conservatory of Music that has been active for three years.

                      Occasions, of course, which highlight and enhance the acoustic characteristics of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians and even more allow young talents to perform and thus offer good music to listeners. On the evening of Wednesday 19 February, the first beneficiaries were the Capitulars, who were thus able to also nurture their spirit with the beauty of music, in view of the intense weeks of work that await them.

                      Fr Maurizio Palazzo, responsible for the musical activities of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, titular organist and director of the Choir, is the drive behind a series of initiatives which, as per Salesian tradition, find a root in Don Bosco.

                      Those who know the saint of young people know how much he cared about music as a lively food or fuel for education. "An Oratory without music is like a body without a soul", is one of the most famous sayings of the Saint of Youth.

                      The Choir, made up of about 50 volunteers, are joined by a network of multiple collaborations throughout the year, both for singing and for the orchestra, which globally reach up to 200 units.

                      Photos on ANSFlickr

                      • CG28
                      • Musica
                      • Basilica Maria Ausiliatrice
                      • Italia
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Venezuela – Cattle thieves once again threaten lives of students and workers of Salesian school in Barinas

                        6 days 3 hours ago
                        Venezuela – Cattle thieves once again threaten lives of students and workers of Salesian school in Barinas

                        (ANS - Barinas) - The social situation in Venezuela worsens day by day, as if political and economic problems weren't enough. The Salesian Congregation works among young people and this was confirmed by the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, during his visit to the country a few weeks ago. He himself explained: "In my heart, I simply carried the desire to accompany, to support, to see how they are ... I found dignity, integrity, strength, the desire to continue working day by day to continue to build and," he concluded, I'm saddened by what is happening ... I am worried about my Salesian confreres, for our works."

                        A few days ago, in fact, what happened in 2015 happened again: "violence against the Salesian Agricultural Center of Barinas." "About 110 students, managers, teachers and workers who live in the Salesian Agricultural School are in danger for a series of violent acts that have intensified since February 2, 2020, with the presence of unknown persons arriving at the institute - burning land, killing and stealing cattle," wrote Briceida Morales.

                        Despite the decree of a precautionary agri-food measure that is supposed to safeguard the 1,894 hectares of the Salesian Agronomic Technical School of Barinas, a decree issued by a regional court on May 12, 2010, according to Fr Bernardo Ramírez's report - SDB, Director of the Institute - since the beginning in February they have witnessed true raids, with people transported by car and truck to the institute's grounds to set fire to pastures and other structures specially designed for animals.

                        On that occasion, a group that identified itself as workers of the National Electricity Cooperation (CorPoElec) entered the territory by cutting down the fence, trees and burning a "small forest" maintained and cared for by 215 students from the country's different states. In addition, on that same occasion, the criminals set fire to a truck and burnt the electrical panel of a pump that supplied the institute with water.

                        Fr Ramírez denounced that, in the attack suffered on February 12, about 20 hectares of land were burned and 40 farm animals were stolen or killed, including cattle and dairy buffalo.

                        This deplorable situation touches the reality of an institute that accompanies the formation of 110 young internee students, who are acquiring very useful skills for the area, as well as that of the center's 80 workers.

                        The Salesian Agricultural School of Barinas is an innovative center in the Venezuelan educational system and educates under the motto: "School that teaches by working and producing." The educational work makes rational use of the land and its natural resources with students carrying out their agricultural and livestock practices.

                        Source: Qué Pasa en Venezuela - Social Communication Office of the Venezuelan Province

                        • Venezuela
                        • VEN VENEZUELA
                        • Violenze
                        • Agricoltura
                        • Rurali
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          Spain - "BoscoSocial" Foundation tries to meet migrants' needs

                          6 days 3 hours ago

                          (ANS - Madrid) - "BoscoSocial" is a Salesian organization which groups together the work of three entities of social platforms spread in various autonomous Spanish communities: "Boscos" in the Basque Country, Navarra, La Rioja and Cantabria; "JuanSoñador" in Galicia, Asturias and Castile and León; and "Pinardi Federation" in Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha. Among the various programs supported by "BoscoSocial", those aimed at migrants stand out, both in terms of training for better access to the labor market and in terms of social support, with the creation of relationship groups between migrants to encourage integration into their new country.

                          Pinardi Federation, with young migrants. Abdalah is a 24-year-old Palestinian migrant from a refugee camp in Lebanon, part of one of the projects of the Pinardi Federation of Madrid. Helped by educators, Abdalah is taking many steps forward, as part of a project that seeks to offer him everything he needs in the country he has chosen in order to get out of his situation of injustice.

                          "Malaikas": women in a vulnerable situation. Many kilometers from the capital, in Galicia, but with the same objective, the "JuanSoñador" Foundation, also from "BoscoSocial", carries out the "Malaikas" project. Aimed at women between 19 and 75 at risk of social exclusion, in a situation of vulnerability and of different nationalities, the program is developed in Coruña, Ourense, Lugo and Vigo. In 2019, more than 650 women from over 45 nationalities participated. "Malaikas" tries to break the isolation of migrant women, provides meeting spaces, creates circles, networks and alliances, which encourage the empowerment of women to face their life plans within the migration process.

                          In Bilbao, "shared accommodation." In Bilbao, the "Boscos" Foundation has launched the project called "Zuen Etxean", which offers refuge and accompaniment in social inclusion to young people in situations of vulnerability through coexistence in shared housing with a Salesian community. "For these young people - says a Salesian who shares his life with them - this time with us is like an oasis in which they can take their life and decisions more calmly, and continue to fight for that dream which, for various reasons, they could not fulfill in their places of origin or that they did not see as feasible while they were there, and that now, from afar and after other experiences, some see that they can indeed face it, even in another way."

                          "BoscoSocial" projects include youth assistance programs and all have an impact, in one way or another, on the growth of social justice. Over 14,000 people, preferably children, adolescents and young people at risk of social exclusion, and almost 1,400 families are assisted thanks to the work of over 400 educators and contract workers and more than 230 volunteers. 

                          {gallery}Spagna - BoscoSocial 2020{/gallery} 

                          • Spagna
                          • Migranti
                          • Società
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Italy – GC28: Prayer and study continue, discussion in commissions and fraternity

                            6 days 3 hours ago
                            Italy – GC28: Prayer and study continue, discussion in commissions and fraternity

                            (ANS - Turin) - The Rector Major, Fr Angel Fernandez Artime, recalled General Chapter 20: “Historians, theologians, politicians and organizers are not enough to carry out the necessary discernment and renewal: men called spiritual are needed, men of faith, sensitive to the things of God and ready for courageous obedience, as was our Founder."

                            It is in this context that the mornings of 19-20-21 were dedicated to reflection and prayer. The three interventions can be found on the sdb.org site, section dedicated to GC28.

                            Fr Rossano Sala, professor at the Salesian Pontifical University and former Special Secretary of the Synod on Young People, offered his proposal for meditation in the context of the first nucleus of the chapter theme: young people.

                            He first examined the inspiring criteria of Jesus' action towards young people, and then invited to examine and discuss the profound reasons for Don Bosco's vocational choices. These had some important moments in the discussion with the wisdom of Fr Cafasso and the meeting with young prisoners, in the experience of the shepherdess dream, in the strong and decisive dialogue with the Marchesa di Barolo. The meeting with this holy woman, sincerely concerned about Don Bosco's health and mission among young people, was resolved on the day when the holy educator communicated his decision:

                            My answer is already thought out. You have money and will easily find as many priests as you want for your institutes. This is not the case with poor children. Right now, if I retire, everything goes up in smoke, so I will continue to do what I can for the Refuge, I will cease from regular employment and I will deliberately give myself to the care of abandoned children."

                            In the context of the Salesian's profile, Fr Eunan McDonnel, Provincial of Ireland, immediately recalled that the distinctive feature of Salesian spirituality is sweetness and loving kindness. "There is nothing as strong as sweetness and nothing as sweet as true strength" (St Francis de Sales).

                            The question "what kind of Salesians for today's young people" should be enriched with other questions: "What does God expect of us. Do we know what God wants us to be? Lord, what kind of Salesians for today's young people?"

                            To find an answer, it is necessary to learn to listen because “if and when we listen to God, the script changes. We no longer go according to our expectations, but we discover that God offers us even greater possibilities than we could have imagined." Consequently, discernment becomes prayerful discernment and "one can be capable of a style which is that of contemplation in action, imitating Don Bosco," as Blessed Filippo Rinaldi also recalled: "If you want to live according to the spirit of Don Bosco, you must not never lose sight of his inner life ... continually united to God in prayer."

                            Fr Luis Fernando Gutierrez, National Delegate for Youth Ministry in Spain, offered his reflection on the third nucleus: that of sharing mission and formation with the laity.

                            First of all, there is the synodal style, which recalls how the mission is a task entrusted by God, and nobody is its master.

                            Discernment is the heart of pastoral care, because its first task is to meet God in every person's life.

                            To support this journey, the Salesian must live in humility, which supports the path of mediation: "Let us not forget that we are only mediators. The problem of pastoral care is mediation." The Baptist is the model: "It is better that He grows and I diminish."

                            The Salesian is called to live and share the tent of the mission, in the unity and consequentiality of the vocation and mission in the name of Don Bosco and of the Salesian charism: to build the future with humility, joy and hope.

                            In the second part of the meetings, six work sessions were dedicated to the study and deepening of the Rector Major's Report on the state of the Congregation.

                            Photos on ANSFlickr

                            • CG28
                            • Italia
                            • Pastorale Giovanile
                            • San Francesco di Sales
                            • Laici
                            • Sinodo sui Giovani
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              Venezuela – “Some think it's not worth spending on children. I think it's a good investment for the future”: Fr Rino Bergamin, SDB

                              1 week ago
                              Venezuela – “Some think it's not worth spending on children. I think it's a good investment for the future”: Fr Rino Bergamin, SDB

                              (ANS - Caracas) - In recent years, Venezuela has been experiencing truly sad conditions. Who would have imagined hearing sad and dramatic stories of hungry or sick people dying from lack of medicine? A few years ago it was said of Venezuela: "the millionaire nation of America", or "Saudi Venezuela." Today, the images tell us of a country in a deep crisis, shaken by poverty and hyperinflation. In the midst of this chaos, men emerge who do not speak much, but do a lot for the poor, children and young people. This is the case of Fr Rino Bergamin, founder of the "Don Bosco House" in Sarría, in Caracas.

                              Through the reception centers and shelters, Fr Bergamin helped over five thousand children and elderly people living in the streets, at risk, abandoned or mistreated by their families. In 2016, he said: "We don't want money. We only ask the government to give us the opportunity to buy food for sick children and adults."

                              Fr Bergamin was born in Campigo, a burgh of Castelfranco Veneto (Treviso, Italy), on March 13, 1932. On August 1, 1945, at the age of 13, he entered the Salesian house in Castelnuovo Don Bosco. At 16, he expressed his desire to go to the missions ad gentes and on 22 November, 1952, he left for Venezuela. He became Venezuelan in his heart and also obtained citizenship.

                              His work in the "Red de Casas Don Bosco" was his passion. "I didn't work alone," he explained in an interview. "Many are the people who have dedicated their lives and who have contributed to giving an effective response to the basic needs of children living in particularly difficult situations. Some people are suspicious of this job; others think it's not worth spending money, time or effort on children. Personally, I think it's a good investment for the future."

                              Fr Bergamin was called the "Don Bosco of the 90s". About him, they wrote: “This humble person is facing, as the bravest of men, some of the most serious problems of our city, such as drug addiction and child prostitution among the so-called street children. Many stories are told of this great priest. One of them tells of a boy who has lived on the street since he was five years old. He was taken to the hospital and he asked about his father. A doctor then asked him, 'Who is your daddy?' He replied: 'Don Rino'.”

                              In 2018, Fr Bergamin was diagnosed with lung cancer. After a year of suffering, the Lord called him to Himself on February 13, 2020, while he was again in Italy, at Castello di Godego.

                              • Venezuela
                              • VEN VENEZUELA
                              • Decessi
                              • Giovani a Rischio
                              • Opzione Preferenziale
                                Jesus Jurado

                                Italy – GC28: Prayer, meditation, discussion in regional groups to explore chapter experience

                                1 week ago
                                Italy – GC28: Prayer, meditation, discussion in regional groups to explore chapter experience

                                (ANS - Turin) - In the beginning homily, with the words of the 20th General Chapter, the Rector Major recalled that “True fidelity to Don Bosco consists not in copying him externally, but imitating Don Bosco in his fidelity to the motions of the Holy Spirit." And this is why February 19-20-21 are dedicated to reflection, study, prayer, personal talks: three days of spirituality and study to enter increasingly more into the General Chapter's atmosphere and contents.

                                On the aforementioned mornings, there are three meditation proposals offered by:

                                - Fr Rossano Sala, on "The priority of the Salesian mission among today's young people";
                                - Fr Eunan McDonnell, on: "The profile of the Salesian today";
                                - Fr Luis Fernando (Koldo) Gutierrez, on: "Together with the laity in mission and formation."

                                Hours of listening and personal meditation precede the Eucharistic Concelebration before lunch.

                                The two work sessions that follow in the evening are experienced in Regional groups. The aim of the study and talks is to "discern the priority challenges of the Congregation and identify the fundamental processes and interventions that must mark the 2020-2026 term."

                                The study takes place in successive times and modalities. The group study and discussions, always with reference to the Report of the Rector Major, precede the discussions in the Assembly. The discussion will also be resumed at the end of the Chapter “so that each Region studies its own situation and offers the Rector Major and the elected General Councilors the lines of action to keep in mind for the Region in view of the Rector Major's animation and government project and of the General Council for the six-year term, 2020 – 2026."

                                A path therefore articulated, which foresees sessions for Commissions and the Assembly, personal study, group study, elaboration of a first summary document, reviewed and re-proposed by the Rector Major.

                                To help begin to summarize what has been elaborated in the Commissions, corresponding at first to the Salesian Regions, a group identified by the President is at work, made up of the following chapter members: Fr Gabriel Romero (ARN), Fr Igino Biffi (INE ), Fr Marcello Baek (KOR), Fr Pierre Célestin Ngoboka (AGL).

                                We are before the beginning of a sharing process that will certainly accompany the examination of Chapter's specific theme with a horizon projected onto local realities and to the Provinces for animation and government in the forthcoming six years.

                                Photos on ANSFlickr

                                • CG28
                                • Italia
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  Italy – GC28: increased ANS live broadcasts. Mass and Chapter's official opening session on Facebook, Saturday

                                  1 week ago
                                  Italy – GC28: increased ANS live broadcasts. Mass and Chapter's official opening session on Facebook, Saturday

                                  (ANS - Turin) - To bring the contents and spirit of the 28th General Chapter of the Salesian Congregation to all the Salesian houses across the globe, there is nothing better than making it possible for everyone to access Valdocco, at least online. For this reason, also considering the popular results obtained, the live broadcasts on ANS Facebook page have multiplied: already tonight, 20 February, at 7 PM (UTC+1) it will be possible to listen to the Salesian "Good Night" of the Postulator General of the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family, Fr Pierluigi Cameroni; while on Saturday 22, the Mass and the official opening session of the GC28 will be broadcast.

                                  After this first preparatory week to Chapter work, with the presentation of the reports of the General Council on the six-year term just ended and the introduction to the three thematic groups, next Saturday the GC28 will fully enter into the heart of the matter.

                                  The opening Mass, in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, will be broadcast live in the original language at 8:00 am (UTC + 1). Subsequently, the official opening session will be broadcast from the Teatro Grande di Valdocco with the live broadcast available in four language channels (Italian, English, Spanish and Portuguese).

                                  Numerous civil and religious authorities are expected to attend the solemn ceremony: the mayor of the city of Turin, Chiara Appendino, was invited; the archbishop of Turin, Msgr. Cesare Nosiglia; Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; numerous Salesian cardinals and prelates: Cardinals Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Tarcisio Bertone and Ricardo Ezzati; Monsignors Enrico dal Covolo, Adrianus van Luyn, Mario Toso, Vitaliy Krivitskiy, Calogero La Piana, Peter Štumpf, Joaquim da Silva Mendes, Luc Van Looy, Ludwig Schwarz, and others.

                                  The participation by the Superiors Major and Directors of the Salesian Family will also be very large and of great importance. In fact, there will be:

                                  - Mother Yvonne Reungoat, Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians;

                                  - Antonio Boccia, World Coordinator of the Salesian Cooperators;

                                  - Renato Valera, President of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA) Primary;

                                  - the World Heads of Don Bosco Volunteers and Volunteers with Don Bosco;

                                  - the Presidents of the Confederations of the SDB and FMA Past Pupils, Michal Hort and Maria Maghini respectively;

                                  - Dina Moscioni, General Coordinator of the Witnesses of the Risen One;

                                  - Mother Graziella Benghini, General Superior of the Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart;

                                  - deacon Guido Pedroni, General Custodian of the Community of the Mission of Don Bosco;

                                  - Fr Joe D’Souza, SDB, founder and superior of the Disciples;

                                  - Fr Jonas Abib, SDB, founder and superior of Cancão Nova;

                                  - Mother Teresia Furuki Ryoko, Superior General of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus;

                                  - Sister Luigina Bellomo, Vicar General of the Apostles of the Holy Family;

                                  - and Delegations and representations of other groups still.

                                  After Mass and greetings, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major, will deliver the opening speech, at the end of which the Chapter Regulator, Fr Stefano Vanoli, will officially declare the GC28 open.

                                  Stay tuned via the ANS Facebook page.

                                  • Comunicazione Sociale
                                  • CG28
                                  • Famiglia Salesiana
                                  • Chiesa
                                  • Vescovi
                                  • Cardinali
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    Brazil – Networking and the Salesian answer to young people in conflict with the law

                                    1 week 1 day ago
                                    Brazil – Networking and the Salesian answer to young people in conflict with the law

                                    (ANS - São Paulo) - In the week of 10-14 February, the National Councilor of the "Salesian Network Brazil - Social Action", which corresponds to the Region of the Americas and the South Cone, and the Coordinator of the network "America Social Salesiana", which corresponds to the Inter-American Region, respectively Fr Agnaldo Soares and Fr Juan Carlos Quirarte, met in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, to share strategies and networking experiences.

                                    The meeting focused on the extent reached by Salesian works as regards its attention to young people in conflict with the law and on the relevance and forms of influence that Salesians can assert, both with the judicial authorities and with the governments of Brazil and of Mexico.

                                    The exchange of experiences and their proximity to the concrete practices of some works of the State of São Paulo has allowed to deepen the importance and urgency of qualified support to minors who have broken the law, to involve the latter in efforts to prevent relapses, that is, in the work of recovery and reintegration in the family and in the community, in education and employment.

                                    Already known in Salesian circles is the experience of "socio-educational measures" in Brazil, which concern the accompaniment of minors on probation and the accompaniment in the provision of community services for those young people who are sent to Salesian social works for the care of children in various stages of  their legal process.

                                    In the same way, the two Salesians also visited those institutions that look after young people who live in a controlled environment, that is, those who are serving their legal measure of internment, but who see the Salesian institutions allied in the accompaniment during their trials. These procedures have been initiated in several social works in Mexico and have made it possible to share enrichment models from both regions since, due to the specific situations of violence in Mexico, deemed urgent is the need to create specialized protection houses for young people who wish to abandon armed groups and groups linked to organized crime, as well as for those who are ending their precautionary measures but find their reintegration into their own context impossible.

                                    For this reason, the wealth of the network makes it possible to appropriate the model of the Salesian protection houses of the Province of Colombia-Medellín in order to create a similar model in Mexico.

                                    Finally, the meeting also allowed to share the ways in which both Salesians are involved in government structures to collaborate online with other similar institutions and to promote public policies in favor of young people who find themselves in these vulnerable conditions: in fact, the large majority of the children who are involved in socio-educational measures have been – first, and at the same time - victims of a system that marginalizes, excludes and does not offer them the traditional protection factors.

                                    • Brasile
                                    • Messico
                                      Jesus Jurado

                                      India – "Salesian Social Forum" meets in Ravulapalem

                                      1 week 1 day ago

                                      (ANS - Ravulapalem) - Fourteen Salesians, seven from the Chennai Province, five from the Hyderabad Province and two from the Bangalore Province, attended a three-day meeting (3-5 February) of the Salesian Social Forum held at the headquarters of the Salesian NGO PARA (People's Action for Rural Awakening) in Ravulapalem at what is also home to the "Center of Justice and Peace", the psychosocial services and legal assistance center of the Hyderabad Province.

                                      Much of the meeting's first day was dedicated to the research of the group's identity in the wider context of the rediscovery of one's individual identity: a process that requires abandoning the superstructures of roles to recover one's individuality and common humanity, remaining open to everyone's contributions and without making disparities on a clerical or seniority basis.

                                      Subsequently, the group engaged in an in-depth analysis of the country's current socio-political situation, marked by an erosion of democracy and the emergence of worrying extremist tendencies. The Forum unanimously expressed itself on the need to speak openly to the authorities as a means of safeguarding democracy and the Constitution.

                                      During the work sessions, the issue of protection of minors and cases of sexual abuse and power, both in the Church and in society, were also addressed. After lengthy discussions, the participants focused on strategies to prevent the formation of structures that lead to abuse of power, such as avoiding the culture of privileges.

                                      In this struggle for justice, the participants called for the need to put pressure on the media and authorities to bring to light the rampant and daily abuses suffered by the population belonging to the humblest castes and tribals.

                                      In the course of the work, an analysis was made to see how much the theory corresponds to daily practice in Salesian life, regarding the three areas of obedience, poverty, chastity, community life and mission.

                                      Finally, they asked to bring the requests and the vision of the SSF to the General Chapter of the Congregation, which is taking place in Turin-Valdocco these days, and to work to integrate good practices that promote Gospel values and Human Rights.

                                      • India
                                      • INH INDIA HYDERABAD
                                      • Società
                                      • Politica
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        Italy – GC28, Rector Major: "Continue to be educators and evangelizers of young people with faith and hope"

                                        1 week 1 day ago

                                        (ANS - Turin) - After the presentations of the General Councilors, the Rector Major took the floor yesterday afternoon, 18 February. For the first time in the Cingregation's history, the Report was broadcast live via social media, namely on Facebook: a useful communication method to reach many lay people and members of the Salesian Family as well. Words, the Rector Major's, which are also the result of the multiple experiences lived in his personal meetings throughout his six-year term: over 13,000 confreres reached and met. "What is the status of our beloved Congregation?": The question presented at the beginning of the Report found answers where the lights outnumbered the shadows.

                                        “The visibility and credibility of our consecrated life has diminished: it is a weakness and also a permanent challenge, which is faced with faith and courage: the more than 400 novices who begin Salesian life every year are a gift that confirm that our Congregation has not lost its loyalty," said the Rector Major.

                                        It must be said that the tasks entrusted by the 27th General Chapter at its conclusion (belonging more to God, to the confreres, to the young) are tasks that have been taken on and have made their inroads.

                                        The Congregation continues to be a missionary congregation in the multiple contexts in which it is present: where Christianity is a minority, for example in an Islamic or Buddhist context, or where a consolidated presence continues, as in the Amazon where there are 47 communities and 245 Salesian confreres. This missionary vocation can only but grow in its availability to solidarity between the Provinces through the exchange of confreres.

                                        "As Salesians we continue to be educators and evangelizers of young people": we privilege evangelization, there is more attention to accompaniment, we involve families more.

                                        "As a Congregation we feel an active part in the Church, in union with Pope Francis, always ready to accept his indications as highlighted in the recent Synods on the family and young people."

                                        Manifold and numerous are our efforts where the migration phenomenon or the reality of refugees and migrants is strong.

                                        All this acquires more consistency, as Salesians animate increasingly more educational communities with the laity and other members of the Salesian Family.

                                        There is no shortage of challenges and appeals.

                                        First of all that of formation, to strengthen and give greater Salesian charismatic identity in the years of initial formation, without forgetting all the years or stages of life.

                                        It is always necessary to continue to accept the appeal of young people, who first of all ask for presence and accompaniment: "Take the journey with us, we need your presence," the reminder.

                                        We must continue to accompany those who are engaged in government duties, first of all Provincials and their Vicars.
                                        Words of encouragement are offered by the Rector Major to continue in fidelity after even difficult and painful moments, and today the Congregation is more purified, more robust, more serene.

                                        A Congregation that grows continuously also in economic solidarity, especially in coping with the many situations where the effort to live the ordinary and to provide for the costs for formation falter. Providence and many benefactors are not lacking.

                                        The poorest young people, sharing the mission with the laity, being actively present in the digital reality, are still other challenges that the CG28 must study.

                                        The study, in fact, continues over the next days with moments of reflection, prayer, comparison in the regional groups.

                                        • Italia
                                        • CG28
                                        • Rettor Maggiore
                                          Gian Francesco Romano
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