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Madagascar - Education and evangelization: Salesian missionary presence in country's south-west

1 week 4 days ago
Foto Facebook: don Giovanni Corselli e mons. Rosario Vella

(ANS - Ankililoaka) - In Ankililoaka, in the south-western area of ​​Madagascar, the Salesian mission represents an important point of reference for the local population. The Salesians of Don Bosco are concerned with offering them hospitality, medical assistance, education, but - above all - help and hope. One of them, Fr Giovanni Corselli, a missionary in the country for almost 40 years, interviewed by the news agency Fides, describes how his life changed when, in September 2019, he arrived in the missionary district of Ankililoaka, where he had started the Salesian work with the current Bishop of Moramanga, Mons.Rosario Vella, SDB, back in September 1981.

“After having always been in small villages, in the field,” writes Fr Corselli, “at the age of 76, they appointed me director here in Ankililoaka. It is important for us to be close to people. In our community we strive to carry out work of evangelization and human promotion by trying to educate young people and the population to work together, stimulating them to reflect and seek their own autonomy. The main problem,” continues the missionary, “is that of water, of which unfortunately we have seen a dramatic decrease in recent years. The rains have decreased and for an agricultural population that expects everything from the rains it becomes problematic to be able to make ends meet. This year it has rained almost nothing and people have collected little. In its social structure, the population retains many characteristics of village life. Most retain the traditions of the ancestors. The Coronavirus pandemic has also been added, which continues to rage and has increased the restrictions, which for the people who live day-by-day, become unbearable.”

“Of course,” explains Fr Giovanni, “in this context, the last thing parents think about is the education of their children. Despite the presence and use of social media, the population is not very open to the outside world. This creates a lot of difficulties for education and evangelization, our main objectives. For this reason, we try to let the little ones study, to educate the parents and, indirectly, to direct them to profitable activities of various kinds in order to become autonomous. In Ankililoaka we have 14 elementary schools in the villages with a school population of 2,599 pupils, a large middle school and a high school with around 750 pupils. In addition, the Trinitarian Sisters of Valenza, who work with us, run a dispensary and an elementary and kindergarten school with about 700 students.”

“Wherever I worked,” concludes the missionary, “both in Tulear in the context of parish activities and neighborhood animation, vocational school, women's promotion, elementary school for recovery, and in Benaneviky, a very extensive first evangelization missionary district, with connection difficulties, elementary schools in the villages, construction of wells, I was able to see that for the people we are a point of reference, and that they need to be helped, encouraged, animated and supported. We do not get discouraged and we entrust ourselves to the Lord and to the Virgin Mary Help of Christians and even if progress is very slow we continue to fight and encourage.”

Source: Fides

  • MDG MADAGASCAR
    Virginia Nitto

    Senegal - Young people from Tambacounda engaged in agroecology

    1 week 4 days ago
    Senegal - Young people from Tambacounda engaged in agroecology

    (ANS - Tambacounda) - "Cultivating the skills of young people. Formation in agroecology in Tambacounda (Senegal)". This is the name of the project that the Salesian NGO Bosco Global has recently started with the support of the “Fons Menorquí de Cooperació Internacional”. The initiative is encouraging and was received with great enthusiasm by 10 young people, boys and girls, students of the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Tambacounda and their families, about 50 people.

    Thanks to this project, some of the young people are already thinking about the possibility of setting up a business, which could market the organic products of their crops. At the end of the strictly agroecological training, in fact, they will also be offered a course on how to obtain microcredits. The young people of the project are well aware that solidarity must be global, aimed in all directions.

    What gives greater hope for this project is the certainty that it will lead to the creation of a true and proper school.

    Young people are learning organic farming techniques, soil enrichment and the optimization of the most precious resource: water. The young people have already been assigned rural plots and some of them have already started working.

    Furthermore, the initiative was designed with a gender perspective, which seeks to reduce gender inequality by empowering women. It will also help curb desertification and enrich the soil that is now depleted due to a lack of nutrients and water and climate change, which is shortening the rainy season.

    In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, young people are fully aware that the relationship of human beings with our mother Earth must change radically.

    A short video is also available on the YouTube channel of the NGO Bosco Global, in which the young participants in the project tell their testimonies, explaining the value that this initiative has for them.

    • AFO AFRICA OCCIDENTALE FRANCOFONA
    • ONG
      Virginia Nitto

      Zambia - Rapid growth of Salesian lay vocation

      1 week 5 days ago
      Zambia - Rapid growth of Salesian lay vocation

      (ANS - Kabwe) - In Africa, the expansion of the Catholic Church and the Salesian Congregation is ever faster and the Association of Salesian Cooperators is no exception. In fact, there are already many well established local centers and, above all, an ever-increasing number of new members.

      Kabwe, which is part of the "Mary Help of Christians" Vice Province of Zambia-Malawi-Zimbabwe-Namibia (ZMB), is a city with two Salesian parishes, which are entrusted with many mission stations, primary and secondary schools, a home for street children, oratories and, recently, the Novitiate has returned to this city after nine years.

      The 25 members of the Association of Salesian Cooperators of the local center animated by the Salesian community "Blessed Artemide Zatti" come from both Salesian parishes. Most are women; then there is a good number of teachers and faithful, all deeply committed to the work of parish evangelization. Furthermore, on January 31, another group of 11 aspirants began the formative journey, which will last three years and which will be accompanied by the Formation Councilor and Delegate for Social Communication, Fr Ignatius Musenge.

      The Salesian Cooperators experience the joy and satisfaction of their apostolic commitment by directing the oratory, carrying out daily work, accompanying youth groups or even simply living their vocation as teachers in their respective schools. Belonging to both Salesian parishes in Kabwe, they also form a natural bridge between the two communities and hope to be able to open another center soon.

      During the Extraordinary Visitation, conducted on behalf of the Rector Major by Fr Václav Klement, Extraordinary Visitor "ad nutum" and "pro tempore", the Salesian Cooperators gave voice to their joys and their daily challenges. Some of the points highlighted were: how to effectively help the poor, how to “rejuvenate” their presence and how to get younger members.

      Those involved in the Oratory, on the other hand, highlighted how often they find themselves faced with the poor understanding of the parents as regards Don Bosco's educational system. The lack of training materials, such as a Don Bosco film, adequate literature on his educational system and the lack of materials relating to the Salesian Family, constitute a challenging problem.

      Despite the difficulties, the lay Salesian vocation continues to grow in this part of the Salesian world.

      • ZMB ZAMBIA MALAWI ZIMBABWE NAMIBIA
      • Salesiani
      • Salesiani Cooperatori
        Virginia Nitto

        Ecuador - Salesian missionary work continues even in midst of pandemic

        1 week 5 days ago
        Ecuador - Salesian missionary work continues even in midst of pandemic

        (ANS - Quito) - At the beginning of the pandemic, many of the parents of the children hosted at the Wasakentsa Mission called their children home for fear that they could be infected with Covid-19. To respect demands for social distancing, many young people thus returned to their respective homes.

        However, this situation turned out to be a little more complicated than expected, both for the young people and for the parents, as educating their children from home was not an easy task. This situation seriously jeopardized students' academic performance. Thus, at the request of the parents and with the consent of both the institutions and the Wasakentsa mission, all the students returned to class, receiving lessons from Monday to Friday and giving priority to teaching the most important subjects.

        The pandemic did not prevent the Salesian missionaries of Wasakentsa from traveling through the jungle to visit the various Achuar communities. One of them is Fr Agustín Togo, who says that during the pandemic, the NAE (Achuar Nationality of Ecuador) sent people trained in the communities of the Amazon to hold workshops on the preparation of natural medicines. “For the inhabitants of these communities,” explained Fr Togo, “it's very important to take advantage of the benefits of plants."

        Even when there are no protective devices such as masks or when it is difficult to find Western medicines, Fr Togo asks to be treated with the tools available to us, always relying on God. “Faith in God,” he says, “is very important to overcome the pandemic, as is helping each other.”

        In the Wasakentsa Mission, however, it is not just about medical treatment and the pandemic. Fr Togo himself is developing various projects, such as devoting himself to sports and writing a booklet on football. The booklet will highlight the human values of sport, which are often also linked to cultural and Christian values. It will therefore not just be a set of rules and description of the discipline, but a real guide for those responsible for the formation of students.

        The brochure will be written in Spanish, but the idea of translating it and adapting it to the Achuar language, to make it easier to understand in Amazonian communities, is being considered.

        • Ecuador
        • ECU ECUADOR
        • Missioni
        • Coronavirus
          Virginia Nitto

          Brazil – New horizons of Salesian communication in the Country

          1 week 6 days ago
          Brazil – New horizons of Salesian communication in the Country

          (ANS - Brasilia) - The annual national meeting of the Provincial Social Communication Delegates of the Salesian Network of Brazil (RSB) took place digitally from 23 to 26 March. The representatives of the six Provinces of the Salesians of Don Bosco and of the 4 new Provinces of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians present in the country took part.

          In addition to evaluating the work done in the sector in 2020, defining the programmatic lines of work in the communication area of ​​the entire RSB, and encouraging spaces for comparison, dialogue and sharing of good practices, the digital meeting provided, on the third day, Thursday 25 March, the presence of some special guests.

          In the first place, the executive Directors: of the General Network (RSB), Sr. Silvia Aparecida da Silva; of the network sector dedicated to social initiatives (RSB-Social), Fr Waldomiro Bronakowski; and of the schools (RSB-Schools), Sr. Adair Aparecida Sberga; and then prof. Adauto Soares and Drs Leila Iannone and Lara Cristina Borges, authoritative officials of UNESCO (the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture) in Brazil.

          On the occasion, Sr. Marcia Kofferman, Head of Communications in the RSB, illustrated to the guests the journey made in the Salesian world in the educational field, and presented the reality of the RSB in its 106 schools, 109 social units, 13 university institutions and 11 institutions of social communication. She also indicated the possibility that, in the near future, there may be a commitment of greater closeness and partnership between RSB and UNESCO.

          For her part, prof. Soares, economist and philosopher, active at UNESCO in the field of communication and information, said she was impressed by the vastness and quality of the RSB, as well as by its attention to edu-communication and the level of use of new technologies.

          Then Dr. Iannone, past pupil of the FMA of São Paulo, spoke of the importance of innovating the training curricula of educational centers in this time of enormous changes, giving space both to the skills of Information and Communication Technologies, and to socio-emotional skills.

          On the last day, Friday 26 March, instead, the work sessions focused on the theme "Parameters of institutional quality for schools", with Sister Silvia Fonseca, who is also one of the members of the working group for the development of the document on these parameters; she presented in detail the parts of the institutional document that refer to the dimension of communication.

          • Brasile
          • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
          • Comunicazione Sociale
          • Educomunicazione
            Gian Francesco Romano

            RMG – EAO Eco Team on Igniting Ecological Education, Spirituality and Solidarity in the Region

            1 week 6 days ago
            RMG – EAO Eco Team on Igniting Ecological Education, Spirituality and Solidarity in the Region

            (ANS – Rome) – On the occasion of the solemnity of the feast of Annunciation, 25 March 2021, the East Asia-Oceania (EAO) Eco Team gathered online to also share the good news of how each Province or Delegation in the region joyfully moves towards radical ecological conversion which responds to both the cry of the poor and cry of the earth. The presence and accompaniment of the EAO Regional Councillor, Fr. Joseph Nguyen Thinh Phuoc SDB, was very helpful and encouraging.

            The sharing of best practices, environmental activities and awareness campaigns created a venue to:

            -      allow the coordinators to be familiar with what’s happening and get in touch with the right people in their respective Salesian localities;

            -      and enrich and inspire each other on how to animate the Salesian eco-movement and involve more young people to be active stewards of the Common Home.

            The second agenda of the meeting was to put a collective effort as one region in preparation for the World Earth Day on 22 April 2021 with the theme “Restore the Earth”. Truly moved by hope, various suggestions and ideas were solicited from the Eco team members and still in the process of discussion. This first concrete eco-solidarity in the region hopes to boost up awareness and formation among our Salesian youth and help them live the spirituality of ecological conversion in a Salesian way.

            In his address, Fr Nguyen Thinh Phuoc emphasized the Salesian way of bringing our youth into this direction: “We are evangelizers. We tackle these issues not only on human perspective but mainly from faith perspective. That’s why we have to read Laudato Si' carefully and be connected with the creation”. He also shared, “From the Congregation perspective, we are implementing the line of actions according to the Rector Major’s guidelines related to our eco groups and have discussed during the Provincial meetings, among the Economers and many more. In the next meeting of the General Council, these issues will be brought up into discussion to see how the regions are moving and animating. I’m very happy that in the EAO Region we have been doing a lot of things and overcome language barriers. Thanks to Fr. Vaclav Klement, SDB to set up this one very effectively.”

            He finally affirmed everyone and uplifted them with these words: “The system is very fluid. Continue the movement no matter how little it is, and may this movement become a tree for everyone to benefit.”

            Taichi Miranda

            • Asia EstOceania
            • Ambiente
            • Creato
            • Joseph Nguyen Thinh Phuoc
            • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
              Gian Francesco Romano

              Italy – Volunteer work, workshops and sports… “Casa Valdocco” Day Center starts up again

              1 week 6 days ago
              Italy –  Volunteer work, workshops and sports… “Casa Valdocco” Day Center starts up again

              (ANS - Torre Annunziata) - The Salesian presence in Torre Annunziata, a town on the outskirts of Naples, represents an educational oasis in an area full of challenges, significantly increased and aggravated, moreover, by the pandemic. For this reason, the reopening of the Salesian Day Center "Casa Valdocco", animated by the Salesians and their lay collaborators, after almost two months of closure due to the Covid-19 emergency, is a ray of hope for those children who most need a friendly presence at their side.

              The minors who attend the day center are sent there by the social services of Area N.30 (Municipalities of Torre Annunziata, Boscoreale, Boscotrecase, Trecase) upon notification by the schools and by the Social Service of the Juvenile Justice Center for restorative justice paths.

              They are young people who already have difficult contexts behind them and who have spent the last few months experiencing further difficulties. "They remained closed in their homes, where often, in a single room, attempts were made to follow Distance Learning (DAD), sharing the same mobile phone between several brothers, unable to have a confrontation with peers and educators," explains Fr Antonio Carbone, Director of the Salesian house in Torre Annunziata.

              In this year of DAD, the Salesians and their lay collaborators at Casa Valdocco have put in place many strategies to reduce the growing school evasion. And now that the center can finally restart, they have provided for a reshaping of the activities and educational interventions aimed at the many young people followed by the operators of the Center.

              It starts at 8.30 to encourage those who are unable for various reasons to participate in the DAD, and continues in the afternoon with the study space and workshops.

              The innovative aspect of the new phase of this service is the creation of an educating community in which the outdoor educational experience is favored, further to the traditional indoor one: a perspective of leaving the physical space of the Day Center in favor of an educational strategy in which to bring together the social, cultural, sporting and voluntary experiences of the territorial network.

              The approximately 40 beneficiaries are involved, for example, in volunteer projects, as well as in urban redevelopment interventions. In this way, in addition to enjoying open spaces and receiving educational content, they also act in favor of the community.

              The activities are the most varied and include workshops of legality, creative writing and artistic recycling, without forgetting the courses and workshops of pizza-making, boxing, pastry-making, cafeteria-service, sailing, volleyball, football, dance, rugby, small artistic works ...

              All this, thanks to the planning, integrated services and collaborations developed by the non-profit organization "Piccoli Passi Grandi Sogni aps – Small steps, big dreams" belonging to the network of Salesians for Social APS.

              • IME ITALIA MERIDIONALE
              • Coronavirus
              • Educazione
              • Italia
              • Giovani a Rischio
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Democratic Republic of Congo – First activities of new Provincial: two Curatorium

                2 weeks ago
                Democratic Republic of Congo – First activities of new Provincial: two Curatorium

                (ANS - Lubumbashi) - On Saturday 20 March, the day after his inauguration as Provincial of the Central Africa Province (AFC), Fr Guillermo Basañes led a Curatorium at the "St. Francis de Sales" Theological Studentate to review the resolutions adopted last year and give indications for this year to guarantee quality formation to the religious in initial formation. In addition to Fr Basañes, Fr Manolo Jiménez, Provincial of the Vice Province of Africa Congo Congo (ACC), Fr Innocent Bizimana, Provincial of Madagascar (MDG), and Fr Alphonse Owoudou, Regional Councilor for Africa-Madagascar, were also present.

                In the afternoon the team continued their pilgrimage to the Kafubu valley for a second Curatorium, this time at the "St John Bosco" Institute, where 73 young Salesians study philosophy. After the presentation of the reports planned for the meeting, respectively on community life, academic activities and the functioning of the bursar's office, the members of the Curatorium took the opportunity of Vespers to greet the large formation community of Kansebula, where the elderly Salesians of the Province also live. It was a good opportunity for the new Provincial and for the Regional to thank the formation team for the work of accompanying the young people in formation.

                In all the appointments the Provincials conveyed the concern of the Rector Major for the care of vocations in AFC, and their importance for the mission, not only in Africa and Madagascar, but for the whole Congregation and the whole Church.

                • Rep Dem del Congo
                • AFC AFRICA CENTRALE
                • Guillermo Basañes
                • Alphonse Owoudou
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  Spain – Easter meetings organized by Salesians will bring together about 2,000 young people in complete safety

                  2 weeks ago
                  Spain – Easter meetings organized by Salesians will bring together about 2,000 young people in complete safety

                  (ANS - Madrid) - The Easter Triduum is the culminating moment of the entire liturgical year and is a living expression of the faith of millions of people around the world. Aware of this, the Salesians in Spain are preparing the Easter youth meetings. About 2,000 young people, according to forecasts, will participate in this experience of meditation on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, always in compliance with health measures: some in local centers, others through the online broadcasts of some religious celebrations and moments of encounter.

                  The two Salesian Provinces of the country, Spain-St James the Greater (SSM) and Spain-Mary Help of Christians (SMX) have organized these Easter meetings in recent months, which will take place from 1st (Holy Thursday) to 4th April (Easter Sunday). And the Salesian houses are now focusing on the so-called "urban Easter", the celebrations within the centers themselves, without moving away, and involving, in addition to the youth groups, also the families of the children, their educators and the members of the Salesian Family.

                  Already during Lent, the Salesian centers have developed various initiatives to prepare for Easter. Retreats were held for educators and youth leaders, special celebrations for children, adolescents and young people, days of coexistence in schools and youth centers, spiritual exercises for religious….

                  For the SSM Province, the invitation for this 2021, adapted to current limits, is a local, flexible and versatile proposal. "We are convinced that this invitation is an opportunity to call the entire educative-pastoral community of Salesian works around the local celebration of Easter. In fact, the animation and experience of the Easter Triduum was planned for each work, calling together all the pastoral environments of each house, as well as the groups of the Salesian Family," explains Fr Xabier Camino, Delegate for Youth Ministry of SSM. And, as in previous years, the goal is to promote the integration of young people in the celebrations of their parish communities.

                  In line with the pastoral campaign of the year, the SSM Province proposed "Hope gushes out" as the Easter motto. “We hope that this initiative will help us to continue to be pastorally creative in this different time that we want to live with Christian hope”, concludes Fr Camino. Thus, reflection materials were prepared for groups divided into three age groups (17 to 20, 21 to 25, and 25 and up), as well as prayer proposals, motivational videos and group reflections.

                  In the SMX Province, the motto chosen for this year is "We are one", in line with the pastoral campaign of the last two years. “The celebration of Easter is an invitation to unite with Jesus in His way of giving Himself totally, which leads us to the fullness of life. And it is by uniting with Him that we build the Christian community in which 'We are one'. This year we hope it will be an opportunity to build together this community which, united with Jesus, is a witness of the Resurrection,” explains the Provincial Delegate for Youth Ministry, Fr Jordi Lleixà.

                  • Spagna
                  • SMX SPAGNA MARIA AUSILIATRICE
                  • SSM SPAGNA SAN GIACOMO MAGGIORE
                  • Pasqua
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    India – Rise above disability: inspiring story of five students

                    2 weeks ago
                    India – Rise above disability: inspiring story of five students

                    (ANS - New Delhi) - Ricky Singh is a first-year student of Graphic Design at the Don Bosco Technical Institute (DBTI) in Okhla, New Delhi. Ricky has been deaf and dumb from birth and there are four other companions who live the same condition in the Salesian institute. All five are able to communicate with each other and with others thanks to sign language, and are happy and proud of their academic environment, because teachers and classmates are also learning this form of communication, which makes their life easier and happier. Indeed, the Don Bosco Technical Institute offers everyone the opportunities to excel in life.

                    As the Greek politician and orator Demosthenes said: "Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises". Accompanying and supporting each other in research, learning and other activities, these students are courageously facing life's challenges, transforming them into opportunities for growth.

                    Ricky Singh, who hails from the Umarlia district in Madhya Pradesh, with eyes full of joy, confirmed this: “Though I am hearing and speech impaired, I am happy that God has gifted me with lots of other qualities and talents. It helps me to do things differently and grow together with other trainees of the institute. I feel happy, and I am proud to do this course at Don Bosco Technical Institute, Okhla.”

                    After attending the St Francis School for the Hearng Impaired in Lucknow, Ricky learned about the programs of the Salesian Institute in Okhla and the opportunities offered to young people in need. The institute takes care of the general development of its students through various curricular and co-curricular activities, and also offers sessions and stimuli for personal growth.

                    Despite the many challenges, their presence in the institute is an inspiration for other students and a stimulus to be positive and to value the talents and skills given by God, in the knowledge that anyone who dares to dream can work hard and transform those dreams in reality.

                    • India
                    • INN INDIA NEW DELHI
                    • Disabilità
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      Sierra Leone – Urgent aid for hundreds of children who have lost everything in a fire

                      2 weeks 1 day ago
                      Sierra Leone – Urgent aid for hundreds of children who have lost everything in a fire

                      (ANS - Freetown) - The capital of Sierra Leone is once again the scene of a tragedy of immense proportions: a vast fire that broke out on Wednesday night in the suburb of Susan Bay, near the bay of Freetown, destroyed more than 10 hectares of land covered with shacks and huts in wood and sheet metal. Over 500 of these houses are reduced to ashes and more than 5,000 people have lost everything, including more than 600 minors, boys and girls, beneficiaries of the socio-educational programs of the Salesian "Don Bosco Fambul". The Salesians have already announced that their doors are open to welcome, help and protect, especially children, adolescents and mothers with small children.

                      “We have lost everything. We got out as fast as possible as soon as we heard the shouts 'Fire, fire!' We were on the street, without food since that day and without knowing where to go, because I am taking care of my grandmother who is very old,” says Yaikain, one of the girls hosted at “Don Bosco Fambul” and who, like hundreds of children, urgently needs help.

                      In just four hours, and for reasons still unknown, the fire spread through the wood and cardboard that shaped most of the humble houses. Apparently there are no victims, but there are about 80 injured and more than 5,000 displaced.

                      “Children, adolescents and mothers with babies know they have a safe place to go to at 'Don Bosco Fambul',” says the Spanish Salesian missionary Fr Jorge Crisafulli.

                      The Salesians have already acted in this way in other similar tragedies, opening their doors and offering all possible help to the most needy population.

                      They did so during the Ebola epidemic in 2015, welcoming orphaned minors; in December 2016, when another fire in the Angola Town suburb left hundreds of people homeless; they did it again in August 2017, when the Salesian courtyards became the new home for dozens of people for several months, when a landslide on the "Sugar Loaf" hill caused over 1,000 deaths and hundreds of injuries and displaced persons; and, finally, they did so during the confinement for the Covid-19 pandemic, hosting dozens of children.

                      “Many children we had rescued from the streets and reinstated with their families lived there. Many minors from the anti-violence program, saved from prostitution, also survived crammed into these humble shacks. More than 600 boys and girls we serve in our programs have lost everything in the Susan Bay fire, so we urgently need help to cover their basic needs,” adds Fr Crisafulli.

                      The Salesians, who are collaborating with the government, the mayor's office and other NGOs active in Freetown, are clear. “We will help those who have lost everything by giving them shelter, clothes, hygiene products, food and medicine, so we will in turn need urgent help for hundreds of minors,” concludes the Salesian missionary.

                      • Sierra Leone
                      • AFW AFRICA OCCIDENTALE ANGLOFONA
                      • Disastri e Calamità Naturali
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        RMG – The General Councillor for Social Communication meets with a group of communicators to study the Salesian digitization project for Salesian regions

                        2 weeks 1 day ago
                        RMG – The General Councillor for Social Communication meets with a group of communicators to study the Salesian digitization project for Salesian regions

                        (ANS – Rome) – On March 26th, the General Councillor for Social Communication, Fr. Gildasio Mendes, met with a group of Salesian Communicators from different Regions of the Salesian world to continue the study of the seventh area of the Project of Animation and Government of the Rector Major and his Council (2020-2026) named “Technology, Information and Networking”.

                        The online meeting, coordinated by Fr. Ernest Rosario, from India, was attended by Fr. Harris Pakkam (Vatican), Fr. Ricardo Cámpoli (Argentina), Fr. Mariusz Jawny (Poland), Fr. John Paul Swaminathan (France), Fr. Javier Valiente (Spain), Fr. Jerome Quinto (Philippines), Fr. Donnie Duchin (Philippines), Fr. Jiji Kalavanal (India), Fr. P. T. Joseph (India), and Fr. Michael Makri (India).

                        Initially, Fr. Mendes spoke about how communication has taken the centre stage all around the globe during this COVID crisis and of how important it is to families, education, business, religion and education. He highlighted that we as Salesians are responding creatively and actively to the Covid Crisis with many educative, communicative initiatives and actions of solidarity taken by all Provinces around the globe.

                        During the meeting, each of the participants shared the digital projects they are developing in their Provinces and contributed concretely indicating necessary steps we have to take together to continue to advance and implement the digitization in our communities and provinces.

                        Fr. Mendes reinforced the importance of supporting digital transformation, modernization and technological innovation in the Provinces always working closer to the Social Communication Delegate and the Salesians, and moving forward together, collaborating and working on communication, considering the charismatic and the Salesian educative mission.

                        The next meeting of the group will be on August 24th, 2021.

                        Fr. Ernest Rosario, SDB

                        • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                        • Gildasio Mendes dos Santos
                        • Comunicazione Sociale
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          Italy – Mediterranean Region Councilor visits community of "Don Bosco" International Institute of Turin-Crocetta

                          2 weeks 1 day ago

                          (ANS - Turin) - Fr Juan Carlos Pérez Godoy, Councilor for the Mediterranean Region, visited the specific formation community of the “Crocetta” Theologate of Turin on Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 March. The main purpose of this visit was the possibility of gaining a deeper knowledge of this international institute dedicated to Don Bosco, which is currently preparing about forty young Salesians from different Provinces for the priesthood. The Regional Councilor, as President of the Curatorium of this house, wanted to have direct and personal knowledge of this important Salesian reality.

                          Fr Pérez Godoy arrived early Wednesday afternoon and met with the Director, Fr Marek Chrzan, his vicar, Fr Andrea Bozzolo, and the Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Fr Cristian Besso. Then, at 6 pm, he attended a meeting of the formation team and members of the House Council.

                          Then he took part in the solemn celebration of the first vespers of the Annunciation after which he offered the community a significant thought of the "Salesian goodnight", underlining the importance of the formative stage of the theologate.

                          During the evening the community expressed thanks to the Regional Councilor for his visit, with a small tribute and some songs, which Fr Pérez Godoy himself also skillfully joined in. After dinner, a fraternal meeting was organized with the Regional, above all by the young Salesians in formation belonging to the Provinces of the Mediterranean Region, but also open to all those who wanted to dialogue with him. Fr Pérez Godoy spoke about his vocation and his Salesian experiences, and then he answered the questions addressed to him, which touched on the themes of the Mediterranean Region and formation in general.

                          The following morning, Thursday 25, the General Councilor presided over the solemn Eucharist with Lauds; in his homily he underlined the connection between the Salesian pastoral dimension and the attitudes of Mary in the Annunciation, to show how this feast is important for the Salesian charism.

                          Then he spent the morning carrying out various talks, both with some formators and with the students and, in the early afternoon, he left for Rome to participate in the intermediate session of the General Council.

                          For its part, the community of the “Crocetta”, thanks to this visit, was able to enjoy another particular sign of the closeness of the members of the General Council to the formative reality underway in Turin.

                          {gallery}ICP - Perez Godoy a Crocetta 2021{/gallery}

                          • Italia
                          • Formazione
                          • Mediterranea
                          • Juan Carlos Pérez Godoy
                          • ICP ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE SPECIALE PIEMONTE E VALLE D'AOSTA
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Democratic Republic of Congo – A six-year term under St. Joseph's protection

                            2 weeks 1 day ago
                            Democratic Republic of Congo – A six-year term under St. Joseph's protection

                            (ANS - Lubumbashi) - On 3 March the "Assumption of Mary" Province of Central Africa (AFC) had the joy of receiving the announcement of the appointment of its new Provincial, Fr Guillermo Basañes; the following day it was able to learn about the entire new Provincial Council, in which the Rector Major, welcoming the discernment carried out in the last two AFC Provincial Chapters, has now appointed a Delegate for the Provincial Delegation of the East, which includes the communities of Goma, Bukavu and Uvira. Finally, on Friday 19 March, on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, joy reached its climax with the inauguration ceremony of Fr Basañes.

                            Representatives of the various branches of the Salesian Family, as well as several Salesians and novices, took part in the celebration held in the "Regina Mundi" Chapel of the "Imara" Salesian Institute in Lubumbashi. The Mass was presided over by the Regional Councilor of Africa-Madagascar, Fr Alphonse Owoudou, and also saw the presence of Msgr. Gaston Ruvezi, Salesian, bishop of Sakania-Kipushi, and Fr Manolo Jiménez, Superior of the Vice Province of Africa Congo Congo (ACC), who came to take part, the following day, in the Curatorium of the Theological Studentate “St John Bosco” Institute in Kansebula, but also for a fraternal visit to the Salesians in his jurisdiction.

                            During the celebration, the new Provincial entrusted the entire 6-year term to Saint Joseph, this on the day of his liturgical memorial and in the special year that the Holy Father has dedicated to him.

                            After the Mass, a moment of fraternal sharing followed in the courtyard of the institute. Everything took place in simplicity and in Salesian joy.

                            {gallery}RD Congo - Insediamento Basanes 2021{/gallery}

                            • AFC AFRICA CENTRALE
                            • Rep Dem del Congo
                            • Guillermo Basañes
                            • Alphonse Owoudou
                            • Insediamenti
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              Mexico – From Saltillo to California: a success story

                              2 weeks 1 day ago
                              Mexico – From Saltillo to California: a success story

                              (ANS - Saltillo) – Every day many people cross the border between Mexico and the United States in search of a better life. But not all have the same chances of social redemption. Of course, when you have a good education, everything is easier. This is the success story of Pedro Eduardo Valdés Sierra, a student of Mechatronic Engineering at the "Don Bosco" Technological Institute in Saltillo, Mexico, who obtained a working stay in California, United States, thanks to an internship at the company “Tesla”, an iconic company in the most advanced engineering and technology sector.

                              Today the young man narrates his experience with satisfaction and gratitude and shares advice for all those who want to work and study at the same time.

                              “Working while studying is a commitment and requires a great responsibility. I thank the 'Don Bosco' Technological Institute for supporting me and allowing me to have this great experience,” he says.

                              “Doing my internship abroad is a great experience and here I can continue to get an excellent level of learning, as well as new challenges to face,” adds Pedro Eduardo.

                              The assignment that was entrusted to him for the internship is to collaborate on a project to install and improve electrical systems, pneumatic and hydraulic controls; at the same time, he will be able to help update and adapt various automation systems and integrate new production lines.

                              "Everything is different at Tesla. There's a lot of planning; it's a great work culture," he explains happily.

                              In this semester, moreover, Pedro is called to combine the internship at Tesla with the lessons of the Institute, which, given the situation, he can also fulfill remotely. All this, he reiterates, is a wonderful opportunity for academic, professional and human growth.

                              • Messico
                              • MEG MESSICO GUADALAJARA
                              • Tecnologie
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                Spain – First 50 years of Salesian "St Joseph the Artisan" in Elche

                                2 weeks 4 days ago

                                (ANS - Elche) - The Salesian center "St Joseph the Artisan" in Elche, which offers secondary school, baccalaureate and vocational training, is celebrating 50 years of work this year at the service of training young people to the benefit of local businesses, to which it offers technically and humanly qualified people. "Decades of constant educational work, with the Salesian style that is our trademark," summarizes Fr Miguel Gambín, director of the Salesian house.

                                In these 50 years, many things have happened at the Salesian center that are worth mentioning. And Fr Gambín adds: “The persistence of an educational center for fifty years means talking about thousands of young people who have passed through its classrooms, its courtyards and its premises, and who have brought with them a baggage of training, shared dreams and hopes that will stay with them for life. Moreover, during these years many young people have been inserted into the job market, and have managed to find a place in the world, even if they have everything against them.”

                                To commemorate the 50th anniversary of its foundation and to celebrate its bond with the citizenship, the Vocational Training Center has decided to offer a monument to the city of Elche. Specifically, it is a 1.80 meter high statue of the "Lady of Elche", made with metal sheets welded by the students of the Mechanics course.

                                The proposal for this gift was formulated to the mayor of Elche, Carlos González, during a visit that he granted, last March 17, to Fr Gambín and to the management team of the center, made up of the heads of the Vehicle Sectors, Administration and Formation Cycles.

                                It was thus decided that next May 6 will be the day of the solemn celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the work, and that on that occasion the mayor will visit the Mechanical Department of the institute; then, a commemorative plaque will be unveiled; finally, the sculpture of the Lady of Elche will also be unveiled, which will have its permanent home in the rotunda in front of the institute's entrance.

                                The mayor of Elche also thanked students and teachers for the implementation of these initiatives; while the Director of the Salesian house thanked the City Council for their collaboration and concluded by saying: “There is a lot to remember, to continue dreaming of the future.”

                                • Spagna
                                • SMX SPAGNA MARIA AUSILIATRICE
                                • Anniversari
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  Philippines – Youth continue studies thanks to scholarships

                                  2 weeks 4 days ago
                                  Philippines – Youth continue studies thanks to scholarships

                                  (ANS - Calauan) - Two youth attending the “Don Bosco” Technical Vocational Center in Calauan, Philippines, continued their studies thanks to scholarship funding provided by donors of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The financial assistance received will enable the students to gain the education needed to find and retain stable employment either locally or internationally. Don Bosco Calauan provides education in automotive servicing, motorcycle small engine servicing, computer systems servicing, electrical installation and maintenance, and shielded metal arc welding.

                                  “We at Don Bosco Calauan are grateful to Salesian Missions for the support you have given us especially in this great moment of crisis,” said Father Jeffrey L. Mangubat, administrator and technical director of Don Bosco Calauan. “We thank you for being part of our mission in cutting the vicious cycle of poverty among youth as we provide them quality technical education and training which will bring them to obtain a decent future. The students and their parents are very grateful for this wonderful opportunity.”

                                  The Salesians are regarded as the single largest provider of vocational and technical training in the world. They offer more than 1,000 vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools around the globe. This training provides youth the practical skills to prepare for employment and helps them lead productive lives while becoming contributing adults in their communities. These programs go beyond educating. They also assist youth with making connections within industries and preparing them for the process of searching, finding and retaining employment.

                                  “We know that access to education lays the foundation for a better future for all youth and that work must continue even as we face a global health crisis,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “In many countries around the globe where poverty is high and access to education is not universal, it is crucial that Salesian missionaries continue to offer technical and vocational training to as many youth as possible to ensure that they have access to long-term stable employment.”

                                  Since 1950, Salesian Missions has been providing crucial help in the Philippines - working with at-risk youth, impoverished families and disaster victims. Humanitarian agencies warn of the dangers faced by the most disadvantaged children in the Philippines. According to UNICEF, there are at least 1.2 million children between the ages of 5-15 who are out of school and are being left behind. In addition, children born into the poorest 20 percent of the population are almost three times more likely to die during their first five years as those from the richest 20 percent.

                                  • Filippine
                                  • FIN FILIPPINE NORD
                                  • Educazione
                                  • Scuole
                                  • Formazione Professionale
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    Poland – "St Joseph" Salesian parish of Przemyśl celebrates patron, archdiocese entrusts itself to him

                                    2 weeks 4 days ago

                                    (ANS - Przemyśl) - In the year especially dedicated to St Joseph, on the day of his liturgical feast, last Friday 19 March, the Salesian parish of Przemyśl, dedicated to St Joseph, celebrated its patron saint - who is also one of the patrons of the whole Congregation - with a solemn Eucharist presided over by the metropolitan archbishop, Msgr. Adam Szal, who also entrusted the entire archdiocese to the Custodian of the Redeemer.

                                    On behalf of the entire parish, those present at the ceremony were welcomed by Fr Bogdan Nowak, parish priest and director of the local Salesian community, belonging to the Poland-Krakow Province (PLS).

                                    Msgr. Szal, in his homily, observed that Saint Joseph had, has and will have many devotees. Among them, St. Józef Sebastian Pelczar, bishop of Przemyśl, patron saint of the current diocesan pastoral year, has a special place. "He, among other things, in 1921 wrote a special pastoral letter for Lent dedicated to St. Joseph. In the same letter he wrote that one should look at the dignity of Saint Joseph, at his virtues, at how to venerate him, in what to follow him. And in many writings he repeatedly returned to the idea and the need to honor St. Joseph," said the archbishop.

                                    The prelate then added that Saint Joseph has not exhausted his mission with his earthly life, but continues to intercede for those who invoke him: “Today, when we see how the Church is mortally threatened by the temptations of evil, we invoke him with all the more reason with this beautiful prayer made by Pope Leo XIII, so that, as he did for the Holy Family, he may take care of the Holy Church.”

                                    And he exhorted everyone to take an example from his meekness and his humility. “He is a model of faith and trust in God in difficult and hopeless situations. St. Joseph teaches us to be courageous in facing adversity. He teaches us patience and perseverance ... ” After the Eucharist, the archbishop blessed a painting of St. Joseph, the result of the generosity of the parish community, who will visit the homes of the Salesian parish, following a lengthy pilgrimage program.

                                    The celebration ended with the entrustment, before the Blessed Sacrament, of the entire archdiocese and the entire parish community to St. Joseph, first by Archbishop Szal and then by Fr Nowak and some lay representatives of the community.

                                    {gallery}PLS - Parrocchia San Giuseppe{/gallery}

                                    • Polonia
                                    • PLS POLONIA KRAKÓW
                                    • San Giuseppe
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      RMG – A new edition of the Accompaniment Course for recently appointed Provincials

                                      2 weeks 5 days ago
                                      RMG – A new edition of the Accompaniment Course for recently appointed Provincials

                                      (ANS - Rome) - The Accompaniment Course for recently appointed Provincials is being held from 21 to 31 March 2021 at the Salesian Headquarters in Rome. For ten days, six Provincials of as many Salesian Provinces of Europe have the opportunity to learn and discuss the roadmap for the current six-year term directly with the Rector Major and his Council, while experiencing Salesian communion and getting to know the organisms and the central structures of the Congregation better.

                                      The following take part in the Course, which is coordinated by the Vicar of the Rector Major, Fr Stefano Martoglio:

                                      • Fr Tadeusz Jarecki, Provincial of Poland-Warsaw (PLE);
                                      • Fr Ianos Andreasfalvy, Provincial of Hungary (UNG);
                                      • Fr Marcin Kaznowski, Provincial of Poland-Krakow (PLS);
                                      • Fr Manuel Fernando Garcia, Provincial of Spain-St James Greater (SSM);
                                      • Fr Martin Hobza, Provincial of the Czech Republic (CEP);
                                      • Fr Tadeusz Itrych, Provincial of Poland-Piła (PLN).

                                      There are two especially noteworthy elements of this edition of the Course. First, the fact that it takes place in presence. It is, in fact, the first accompaniment course for the new Provincials which is carried out with the live in-person participation of those concerned since after the 28th General Chapter. Although digital meetings are now widely used by the members of the General Council for the animation of Provinces, groups and communities, the possibility of carrying out the Course in person, with all that this modality entails, certainly represents a message full of meanings and an undoubted success for the quality of the meeting.

                                      The second novelty is also linked to this aspect. Normally, in fact, the Course for new Provincials takes place during the plenary sessions of the General Council, in summer and winter; this time, however, it takes place during an intermediate session - while some of the members of the Regional Councilors are engaged in Extraordinary Visits - and precisely for the specific purpose of recovering some of the time spent during these months in which live meetings were not in any way programmable.

                                      The activities and contents of the program remain the traditional ones, aimed at promoting an integral care of the Provincial's person - in his spiritual and pastoral dimension, his physical health ... - and to allow knowledge of:

                                      • the relevant legal elements in their own service;
                                      • the specific features of the task of animation and government of the Province;
                                      • identity and religious discipline;
                                      • the work and activities of the various Sectors and Departments present at the Salesian Headquarters.

                                      After the first day of presentation and introduction to the work sessions, the program officially opened on Monday 23 March with the intervention of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, who illustrated the Project Guidelines of the six-year term to the Provincials.

                                      Formation then continues in the various appointments and talks with the Vicar of the Rector Major, Fr Martoglio, with the Sector Councilors, Fr Ivo Coelho (Formation), Fr Miguel Angel García Morcuende (Youth Ministry), Fr Gildasio Mendes (Social Communication), Fr Alfred Maravilla (Missions) and Bro. Jean Paul Muller (Economics), as well as with those in charge of other central services of the Congregation.

                                      • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                      • Ispettori
                                      • Corso Ispettori
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        RMG – Meeting of Central Commission of Salesian School of America (ESA)

                                        2 weeks 5 days ago
                                        RMG – Meeting of Central Commission of Salesian School of America (ESA)

                                        (ANS - Rome) - On Tuesday 23 March, the meeting of the Central Commission of the Salesian School of America (ESA, in Spanish), made up of representatives of the four areas of the continent, took place in digital mode.

                                        Participants included: Sr. Adair Aparecida Sberga, Sr. Ana Paula Costa e Silva, Sr. Altagrace Mathias, Fr Carlos Montoya, Fr Luis Adolfo Tórrez, Sister Myriam Celeste Benítez, Rossanna Benítez and Sr. Patricia Parraguez, together with the representatives of the Sector (for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians) and of the Youth Ministry Department (for the Salesians), respectively Sr. Ivone Goulart Lopes and Fr Claudio Cartes.

                                        In the first part of the morning, after the prayer, together with Fr René Santos the Commission worked on the advancement of the ESA Identity Card, which aims to be a common point of reference for the construction of the pastoral educational projects of the Salesian Family schools on the continent. The purpose of this document will be to help form a critical conscience and transform societies starting from the Salesian proposal of integral formation.

                                        Later, together with Sr. Patricia Parraguez and Sergio Garay, from Chile, they worked on the document on strategic planning, based on the four axes that emerged from the fourth ESA meeting (ESA IV), namely: attention to educational needs of the pupils of the Salesian schools; ongoing formation of educators; qualification of the pastoral educational proposal; and institutional management.

                                        Finally, the participants also worked on the significance of the Salesian school which seeks to advance in a system of quality assurance in schools.

                                        All these documents, the fruit of the work of the commissions, seek to promote identity, networking and synergy in favor of the thousands of children, adolescents and young people who attend the approximately 900 schools - of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Salesians of Don Bosco, the Daughters of the Divine Savior and the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary - who are part of the ESA network.

                                        • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                        • Scuole
                                        • Pastorale Giovanile
                                        • Famiglia Salesiana
                                          Gian Francesco Romano
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