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Syria - The Rector Major from Aleppo: “You can see and feel it, there’s so much hope!”

1 week 4 days ago

(ANS - Aleppo) - After Damascus, Aleppo. The Rector Major's journey continues through the main cities of Syria, in places marked by the suffering of war, but also by the hope of those who, like the Salesians and the youths of the Salesian houses, have decided to continue to believe in a future of peace and prosperity.

After arriving in the city on the afternoon of Saturday 7 April, the X Successor of Don Bosco visited the city the next day when he recorded a video-message.

“Today is Sunday, April 8, 2018. Here in Aleppo we find ourselves in the same place where our confreres sent us their Christmas greeting. I am very happy to be here with all these young people, the Salesian Family, our sisters of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, our brothers, all as one family and Salesian Youth Movement, here to say a word to all our Salesian world, to the Salesian Family in the world, to our confreres and sisters and to all the young people who can listen to us.

I am happy to tell you that we have come to pray for peace, to pray for a meeting between peoples, cultures and religions and also to ask the Lord that with our human freedom this war and destruction is never repeated.

I must tell you that we are struck by so much destruction, so much pain, so many deaths, for 102,000 people who have been injuried by bombs and more than 3-4-5 million Syrians who have left Syria. This is really painful.

But I want to tell you something else that you can see and feel: there is so much hope!

First, because in faith, even more so during this Easter season, one truly feels that life continues, and that life, fraternity, help is possible, that the Lord supports everyone, all believers of any creed towards the one and only God. We see that life returns, that there is a real desire to rebuild fraternity, to living side by side, to continue serving one's own people, those who follow, those who were born in these years.

Dear Salesian Family, dear young people, let me ask, above all, for understanding, a look of tenderness for these confreres, sisters, friends, for a prayer with faith to the Lord, so that they do not lack for strength. And I continue to appeal again to fraternity and solidarity, to help those who have lost everything, with a large embrace and a strong feeling of friendship towards our Salesian reality, which is very beautiful, Christian and also simply of Aleppo citizens and of Syria.

To all of you a big hug and a greeting from everyone.

Bye Bye and Shukran Shukran”

In the afternoon, after having met several Syrian prelates for lunch, the Rector Major celebrated the Eucharist, wherein 13 Salesian Cooperators took their vows; a meeting followed with high school and university students and then with a number of Salesian Cooperators, including some from Damascus and Kafroun, who gave their testimony of the ongoing war to the Rector Major.

“Father Angel has truly moved us in these last few moments! He has truly been a father and brother for everyone. He listened to us, told us he shall continue to pray for us and that he will speak about the Salesians and young people in Syria to the entire world,” concluded the Social Communication Delegate of the Middle Province East (MOR), Sally A-Jamra.

  • Siria
  • MOR
  • Rettor Maggiore
  • Ángel Fernández Artime
  • Guerra
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Papua New Guinea – Media Education Seminar for Catholic Schools of Port Moresby

    1 week 4 days ago

    (ANS – Port Moresby) – The 2nd Media Education Seminar (MES) for Catholic Schools of Port Moresby was held on Saturday, 7th April 2018, at the Emmaus Conference Centre Hall. Seven Catholic schools of Port Moresby participated in the program. In an era marked by the growing popularity of fake news, the purpose of the Media Education Seminar is to give the students a critical understanding of the media and an ability to enable them to creatively use the media to spread positive stories.

    By Abigail Seta

    “To be good journalists, you have to know the elements of writing articles,” said Fr Ambrose Pereira, SDB, CBC’s Secretary for Communication and Youth at the start of the seminar.

    The program had three sessions. The first session saw MES animator Sheryll Isoaimo dwell on Writing articles. She highlighted the 5Ws and 1H and with the help of examples gave the students the rules and components of writing articles. The students where then given time to rework the articles they had written.

    In the second session, MES animator, Ian Zuasula shared with the students the different parts of a newspaper and gave them the understanding of the anatomy of a newspaper. He also highlighted the different sections that can form part of their school newsletter.

    The third session saw the students working on producing their school newsletters by using what they learnt in the first two sessions and presenting their work.

    “Learning how to write articles and creating school news reports and bulletin board displays is what struck us most in the session today,” Caritas representatives stated.

    Another school, Don Bosco Technological Institute representatives stated that this session motivated them to revive their school news bulletin using the knowledge they gained from the seminar.

    The students of the M’ville Express brought out the best newsletter with a variety of articles, poems and programs.

    The next MES will dwell on the audio and visual media and will be conducted from 4 to 6 May at the Sivarai Namona Centre in Bomana.

    Source: AustraLasia

    • PGS
    • Papua Nuova Guinea
    • Comunicazione Sociale
      Gian Francesco Romano

      India – Making Dreams Come True

      1 week 4 days ago

      (ANS – Mumbai) – The Mission of the Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS) is to provide hope for those with little hope of a future, and the Salesian-run organisation - working in communities in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh - has successfully lived up to its mission, arming the poor - like Sharmila Thale - with tools and skills to make a livelihood.

      By Karen Laurie

      Thale, a member of the Shri Ganesh Self-Help Group (SHG), resides with her family at Wadala in Mumbai. A few months ago, she lost everything due to a short circuit accident in her area. The fire destroyed all that she possessed, her home, household items and other belongings. When her family was rendered practically homeless, she approached DBDS and its Executive Director, Father Rolvin D'Mello, for help.

      DBDS, true to its calling, came to her aid, when she shared her dream of starting a small sandwich business to provide for her family. DBDS first trained her to manage the small-scale business, and then provided a sandwich maker - through sponsorship from Auxilium India (Seregno, Italy), which is a voluntary organisation that has worked in conjunction with Don Bosco for a decade.  

      This helped her start a small stall where she began selling different types of sandwiches. Today, Thale earns around Rs 900 per day. Her story does prove that hard work, mixed with a helping hand from concerned institutions like DBDS, helps dreams come true.

      ''I am very grateful to Don Bosco Development Society for training me in this business and helping me become self-reliant,'' Thale said. Father D'Mello too expressed his joy adding, ''We are glad to see Sharmila standing on her own feet and I am grateful to Auxilium India for their help and support.''

      Source: Don Bosco India

      • India
      • INB
      • Opzione Preferenziale
      • Donne
      • Sviluppo
        Gian Francesco Romano

        Syria – Rector Major bears a smile of Damascus

        1 week 5 days ago

        (ANS - Damascus) - While East of the Syrian capital, Damascus, the war continued, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, accompanied by his Secretary, Fr Horacio López, was in the Syrian city committed to bringing, as Successor of Don Bosco, comfort, joy and hope to a population wounded by over 7 years of war.

        The Rector Major arrived in the city on Thursday 5 April. In the early afternoon, accompanied by several young people, in a spirit of pilgrimage he made the journey of the Apostle Paul and reached the church of St. Anania. There was a recital of the story of the conversion of St. Paul, after which Fr Á.F. Artime pronounced a few words of commentary, emphasizing how important it was for everyone today to change their lives by directing it towards God.

        The day concluded with the celebration of the Eucharist at the church of St. Paul in the area of Tabbala, in Damascus, and with words of encouragement to the many who approached him.

        The next day, Friday, April 6, the Rector Major first gathered with the Salesians of the local community to listen to their problems and challenges and to offer his accompaniment. Then, in the afternoon, he participated in a festive meeting with all the children, teens and young people of the oratory - for a total of about 1,000 people. "He was asked to pose for pictures and took selfies with all those who asked him!," said an amazed Sally A-Jamra, the Social Communication Delegate of the Middle East Province (MOR).

        The afternoon continued with traditional performances by the oratorians, to which Fr Á.F. Artime himself responded by playing the guitar much to the joy and satisfaction of everyone present. The Rector Major himself then presided over Mass in the courtyard of the house, then freed a dove in flight, a sign of peace for the city and the country.

        Finally, quoting Don Bosco, he told the young people present that they had stolen his heart, and that during the evening spent with the center's Pastoral Educational Community, he said, answering all the questions addressed to him, he was happy to have found the second Valdocco in Damascus.

        All photos of the Visit are available on ANSFlickr

        • Siria
        • MOR
        • Rettor Maggiore
        • Ángel Fernández Artime
        • Guerra
          Gian Francesco Romano

          Honduras – WYD symbols arrive in Salesian houses

          1 week 5 days ago

          (ANS - Tegucigalpa) – The World Youth Day (WYD) is a great youth gathering that attracts hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world at each edition. The next WYD is scheduled in Panama for 2019 and, while preparations in Panama are underway, the symbols accompanying this event are traveling across the globe: the Pilgrim Cross and the icon of Mary "Salus Populi Romani" have arrived in the Diaconate "Immaculate Conception" of the archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, in Honduras.

          On 9 April, 2017, Palm Sunday, in Rome, Pope Francis entrusted the WYD symbols to young Panamanians: thus began the pilgrimage of the cross and the Marian icon, first to the dioceses of Panama and, later, to other countries of the Americas.

          In the first week of April 2018, the Salesian parish "Mary Help of Christians" hosted and held the two symbols in the name of the Diaconate of Tegucigalpa. The activities planned for the occasion were attended by young people from different parishes and, amid songs and prayers, a large procession was held on the main avenue leading to the parish church. The curiosity of many people watching from their windows to witness the passage of the two symbols represented the effectiveness of the testimony of the many young participants.

          Then, in the parish church, the Eucharist was celebrated, presided over by Fr Guido Maroto, SDB, and concelebrated by Fr Lenin Cruz, of the parish "El Calvario". During the homily by Fr Cruz, much attention was paid to the importance of "Easter joy in youth, because only in the life that Jesus gives us is that full happiness our heart seeks." Fr Cruz also encouraged everyone to live the WYD with joy and hope, and to cultivate in Honduras the seed of the Gospel, sown by the young people themselves.

          At the end of the Eucharist there was an opportunity for the various delegations for a moment of veneration and prayer before the two symbols, as well time for some souvenir photos.

          "The visit of these symbols to Salesian parishes commits us to continue to walk with young people in Easter joy and with our hand in the hands of Mary, our Mother," one of the supervisors declared.

          • Honduras
          • CAM
          • GMG2019
          • GMG
            Gian Francesco Romano

            RMG - The Poster of Salesian Holiness - 2018

            2 weeks 1 day ago

            (ANS - Rome) - On the occasion of the second Seminar to promote the causes of beatification and canonization of the Salesian Family, which will be held in Rome from April 10 to 14, 2018, the Poster of the Salesian Holiness has been updated.

            Compared to the last edition of 2014 there are various news items of recent years: the beatification of Fr Titus Zeman, the Venerability of Fr Giuseppe Arribat, of msgr Stefano Ferrando, Fr Francesco Convertini, Fr José Vandor and mgr Ottavio Ortiz Arrieta, as well as the new Servants of God: Fr Rodolfo Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo.

            In total the Postulation concerns 169 people of which 9 Saints, 118 Blessed, 16 Venerable and 26 Servants of God. Overall, there are 51 causes being followed.

            The graphic design was curated by Andrea Cugini, of the Salesian Graphic School of Milan, with the collaboration of Fr Erino Leoni, Director of the Postnovitiate of Nave (Brescia).

            The poster with images of the Saints, Blessed, Venerable and Servants of God of the Salesian Family presents original photos that narrate the reality within which these men and women expressed their full devotion to God and to humanity. Through the real vision of their faces it is possible to exit the forms of a certain traditional iconography to recover the universal vocation to holiness within the plot or fabric of everyday life.

            "Seeing them side by side shows how much our brief history is already marked with a great number of saints and candidates for sanctity," commented Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, Postulator General for the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family. 'Their closeness and visibility provoke wonder and gratitude and stimulate emulation, as Pope Francis recalled on the occasion of the All Saints Day of 2017: 'The saints are not perfect little models, but people marked by God. We can compare them to the stained glass of the churches, which let the light enter in different shades of color. The saints are our brothers and sisters who have received the light of God in their hearts and have transmitted it to the world, each according to their own tone. But all were transparent, they struggled to remove the stains and the darkness of sin, so as to let pass the gentle light of God. This is the purpose of life: to let in the light of God, and also the purpose of our life.'"

            The Poster

            • RMG
            • Santità Salesiana
            • Comunicazione Sociale
              Gian Francesco Romano

              India – Don Bosco on front page of “The Times of India”

              2 weeks 1 day ago

              (ANS – Mumbai) – The Don Bosco High school of Matunga, Mumbai, which recently celebrated its 75° anniversary of educational service to young people was the protagonist of an important communication operation to promote info on Don Bosco and the validity of his educative system throughout India. Several students of the institutete, accompanied by their Principal, participated in the program “The Times of India Newspaper in Education” (TIMES NIE) produced firsthand a special issue of... “The Times of India Student Edition”, entirely dedicated to the presentation of the Salesian education.

              The TIMES NIE is a program established in 1985 that included over 90 thousand students of 2000 schoosls in India. Thanks to this program, the supplementary issue for young students The Times of India Student Edition is published, associated to The Times of India, which with its 800 thousand daily copies is the most widely read in English in India.

              The student edition of this past 26 March is the work of the team of Don Bosco High School, Fr Fernandes, the Principal, and three teachers, as well as six students.

              In the various pages, besides pages dedicated to the traditional items of interest to the young readers, there are reports on the various activities of the Don Bosco High School, and more generally, Salesian education: the testimony of past pupils, presentation of the Preventive System, experiences of the system in the world...

              “The Times of India building looked like a castle of sorts – said one of the students –. We met Dr Ram Chaddha, our alumnus, who shared anecdotes from his school days and his inspiration to become a doctor. He gave us a new insight into what it means to be a Boscoite! We marvelled at the intricate processes involved in the production of a newspaper. We caught the waft of the printing ink and whirring of the incessant machines at the press that gave us a sense of excitement. The process was 80 percent automated right from the unwrapping of the reels to the packaging of the newspapers. We thought that newspaper production must be a cakewalk, but when we visited the press we witnessed the efforts put in behind the scenes. Wielding the quill is no mean task! At the same time, it was interesting to note the important role photojournalists play in a media house. A newspaper is a fine blend of creativity, mechanisation and automation. It was an enriching experience we will always cherish.”

              Credits: TIMES NIE

               

              • India
              • Comunicazione Sociale
              • INB
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Lebanon - Rector Major: "What strength, what resistance, what dignity in these people I have met!"

                2 weeks 2 days ago

                (ANS - Al Fidar) - Yesterday, Wednesday, April 4, the Animation Visit of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, to the Salesian presences in Lebanon continued with his visit to Al Fidar where a Vocational Training Center and a reception house offering informal educational courses is located. The Rector Major spent the whole day talking with the Syrian and Iraqi students and the refugees from the center.

                Fr Á.F. Artime was extremely impressed by his meeting with the refugees and on his Facebook page he expressed all his emotional involvement:

                "The testimony of those young families, married couples with young children, and young people (more girls than boys) who left their country and are now in Salesian houses ... I am talking about refugees of Syrian and Iraqi origin. Today was a very special day. I was in a Salesian oratory with a hundred boys and girls, with several young married couples with their children, with a number of young refugees also from Syria (as were the young families) and with a group of 12 girls and two boys coming from Iraq. And I must tell you that  I was very much "touched" in my heart by their dignity, by their ability to overcome suffering. They danced and sang (in a very beautiful way) ... because they do not allow anything or anyone to turn off their smiles, at least in many moments. And I am happy because Salesian houses, like other houses of the Latin Church and the Maronite Church, are a protection, a refuge, for the displaced in a country, Lebanon, which is at peace, but which is in a state of very difficult religious and social equilibrium. And I encouraged my Salesian brothers, Salesian sisters and the Salesian Family to continue to SIDE WITH THE POOR AND THE 'OUTCASTS' - as Pope Francis says - ALWAYS. ALWAYS WITH THEM."

                In the afternoon the program of the Rector Major's visit continued with the traditional appointments of each animation visit: the meeting with all the Salesians present in the country for an update on the life of the Congregation and to listen to their concerns and their observations on the local reality.

                At the end of the day there was a meeting with the local Salesian Family, the recitation of Vespers and the thought of the Salesian "Goodnight."

                {gallery}Libano - Profughi siriani e iracheni 2018{/gallery}

                • Libano
                • MOR
                • Rettor Maggiore
                • Ángel Fernández Artime
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  India – Don Bosco Green Alliance powers its Web Portal

                  2 weeks 2 days ago

                  (ANS – Mumbai) – At a time when headlines of major news organisations focus on air pollution, the Great Pacific garbage patch, the Pacific trash vortex and the collapsing glaciers, there comes news of hope, and the Salesians of Don Bosco are leading the way in fostering this hope by adding a touch of green to a global picture being sullied by shades of grey. 

                  An initiative by Salesian India, the “Don Bosco Green Alliance”, is leading the way to teach a generation of young people, from Don Bosco institutions and organisations, throughout the world, to use our God-given natural resources in a responsible manner, in a bid to foster hope for future generations.

                  The Alliance, on April 1, powered its global web portal www.dbgreen.in in a bid to streamline its effort to push the green agenda and to garner more support for its eco-friendly initiatives not just in India but in foreign shores.  

                  The user-friendly web presence paints a pretty picture of our planet. Users will now have access to a wealth of green information at the click of a button. Pictures of youth, the main stakeholders, in the Alliance are clearly apparent on the website, pointing to, and underlining with no uncertain terms, the urgent need to work together for a brighter and a cleaner future.

                  “Young people take up the challenge,” reads the first-deck header that welcomes web-users. Below is text that encapsulates the mission, “We are working to create an environment that is safe and caring for all life on the planet, while building up a new generation of environmentally committed citizens and leaders.”

                  “Combatting pollution, reducing global warming and eliminating disposable plastic. In each of these areas, we partner with ongoing global campaigns promoted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) or other international organisations. We have set specific targets to be achieved for each of the campaigns that we engage in...”

                  The “Priority Area” link underlines just why three main priority areas have been singled out. “The environmental crisis we are presently facing is easily the biggest threat to the planet - to humans and to every species on this earth,” it reads.

                  “Green Champs” makes users aware of the clean-up drives, awareness promotion rallies and campaigns, exhibitions and competitions, exposure visits, environmental education programmes and eco clubs being undertaken by the Alliance.  

                  “Don Bosco Eco Concerns,” it reads, “an initiative by Don Bosco Tiruchy, India has been promoting Green Lifestyles in Don Bosco campuses with a specific 10 Point Green Programme. These Green Programmes are aimed at educating and empowering young people to protect and nurture the planet.”

                  The 10 Point Green Programme includes increasing green cover, reduction in the use of non-degradable materials, increasing the usage of renewable sources of energy, zero wastage in the campus, promotion of organic farming, home vegetable and herbal gardens, preserve and conserve water, clean and green environment, healthy organic food habits, usage of eco-friendly products and environment education for all.

                  It must be noted that the Alliance is a growing network, with new members constantly joining. The members, besides working on the key priority areas of the Alliance, are also involved in various other environmental initiatives, based on local needs and challenges.

                  The “Join the Alliance” tab offers web users an opportunity to make a difference. “We warmly invite Don Bosco institutions (schools, colleges, training centres, youth centres, care centres, parishes) and organisations (environmental, social, cultural, pastoral) across the world to become members of the Don Bosco Green Alliance,” a message reads. Filling a web-based form with basic information is all it takes to get started. “At the time of registering, please state at least three such definite commitments that you would wish to make...”

                  • India
                  • Ambiente
                  • Creato
                  • Comunicazione Sociale
                  • Sito
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    Lebanon – Visit of the Rector Major

                    2 weeks 3 days ago

                    (ANS - Beirut) - At the end of the Intermediate Plenary Council and the celebrations of Easter rites, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major, accompanied by his Secretary, Fr Horacio López, left for an animated visit to the Salesian presences in Lebanon. The Rector Major departed from Rome Fiumicino airport on the evening of Monday 2 April and landed in the night in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon.

                    At the airport, Fr Á.F. Artime was welcomed by a delegation of Salesians, including both the Provincial of the Middle East (MOR), Fr Munir El Rai', and the appointed provincial, Fr Alejandro José León Mendoza.

                    After a few hours of rest, yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, April 3, the X Successor of Don Bosco met the Provincial Council. Then, during the Eucharist with his confreres, the 10th Successor of Don Bosco preached a brief homily in which he reiterated the themes of the Easter celebrations to instil a message of hope and optimism: Christ is risen, wars and violence still express the existence of evil, but thanks to faith, Christians are aware that it is precisely passing through the Cross that one reaches resurrection.

                    After the celebration, the Rector Major visited the shrine of Harissa - located about 20 km north of Beirut and dedicated to the Madonna with the appellation of Our Lady of Lebanon.

                    The Salesians of Don Bosco have been present in Lebanon since 1952 and currently animate two canonically erected houses: in Fidar and in El Houssoun.

                    {gallery}Libano - Visita RM 2018{/gallery}

                    • Libano
                    • MOR
                    • Rettor Maggiore
                    • Ángel Fernández Artime
                    • Visita di Animazione
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      India – Studio Don Bosco Inaugurated at Kapadvanj

                      2 weeks 3 days ago

                      (ANS – Kapadvanj) – The Salesians of Don Bosco in Kapadvanj, on April 1, inaugurated Studio Don Bosco, a new initiative of the AmrutDhara Catechetical Centre, to produce audio-video narrations, jingles, audio-books, podcasts, spiritual audio-video reflections, voice-overs, and backing tracks for vocalists in the region.

                      by Father Dinesh Vasava & Cleric Sachin Tribhuvan

                      In his welcome address, Father Mayank Parmar – Rector of Kapadvanj Don Bosco Society said, “Studio Don Bosco is more than just a long-felt need. It is the hope and advancement of AmrutDhara to reach out through a state-of-the-art infrastructure to the catechetical needs of the Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan region where the Salesians of Don Bosco accompany the young.” Further elaborating, Father Parmar added, “Studio Don Bosco is being initiated in a small way with very minimal investment. Hopefully, in the years to come, it will be a full-fledged professional studio that will help produce materials for value-education, life-skills and spiritual animation.”

                      Father Arackaparambil said, “It has been a long desired dream that AmrutDhara develop in keeping with the times. This Studio Don Bosco will hopefully manage to create a spiritual & social awakening in this our region and eventually contribute with its own audio-visual aids for the themes of social harmony, solidarity and universal brotherhood. My wish is that under the able guidance of our confreres here, this Studio Don Bosco will evolve into a full fledged Media Centre that will reach out to many more young people bringing them closer to God.”

                      Studio Don Bosco is dedicated to the memory of Father Edward Rathod, SDB, who wanted to enhance the lives of people, especially the young through music, song & dance when he was a resident at the Kapadvanj Don Bosco Campus. Adept at Bharatnatyam, he animated his companions during his formative years and was also talented in putting up notice board displays, backdrops and house system boards. He was known, appreciated and popular for his original Gujarati plays, prayer-services, bhajans, katha-recitals. An avid lover of music, Fr. Rathod also composed Gujarati hymns for the purpose of catechesis and spiritual animation of his boys and villagers; was very popular in the villages of Narukot and in Dakor; and was also a great promoter of vocations to the Church in Gujarat. Conducting catechism classes, animating the prayers and breaking the Word of God were his personal passions. Post-ordination, Father Rathod endeared himself to the people in Kapadvanj with his well prepared animation-sessions, talks, value seminars and katha-recitals. Managing AmrutDhara - the Salesian Catechetical Animation Centre, for a short time, for the Gujarat-Madhya Pradesh-Rajasthan region - Fr Edward wanted to reach out to the marginalized and the unreached through his hard work and vision to do something great for his people. Unfortunately a road accident cut short this vibrant life in 2001.

                      The highlights of the newborn Studio Don Bosco is professional multi-lingual quality work in a comfortable work environment through the services of a professional film industry audio engineer, with special focus on booth recording, editing, mixing and mastering with ProTools catering to diverse clients – individual, schools and institutions. As part of the work scheme, Studio Don Bosco will produce audio-video narrations, jingles, audio-books, podcasts, spiritual audio-video reflections, voice-overs, and backing track for vocalists. “Gujarati Bhajans, Scouting Songbook and Video Homilies are the immediate tasks that Studio Don Bosco will engage in,” said Father Dinesh Vasava, Director of AmrutDhara Don Bosco. 

                      • India
                      • INB
                      • Comunicazione Sociale
                      • Musica
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Netherlands – Missionary life: will of God and a blessing

                        2 weeks 4 days ago

                        (ANS – Amsterdam) – “I would like to share three main answers or motivations that I have been able to provide for myself during past months in Belgium North - Netherland province: Grace of God - Vision of Faith - Prayer.” Speaking thus is Cl. Cirilo de Deus, a Timorese Salesian Missionary.

                        It is the grace and will of God 

                        Nothing is impossible for God. The story of Jonas in the Bible makes me think about my life. God sent Jonah to Nineveh to ‘facilitate’ the repentance of the sinners but he tried to escape at the beginning of his vocation - mission. He refused to cooperate with God. It is interesting that Jonah was not able to go about his own plan as he wanted to. At the end, God is able to make him cooperate and even ‘enlarged’ his own vision. I consider my missionary life to be the grace and will of God because of my daily challenges I experience: the language barrier, the cultural shocks (in big and small sizes), the (cold) weather, the style of life, the way of living the faith. All of these life difficulties have impact on my missionary life. Sometimes I wanted to do things in my own way and according to my whim. Yet, I have learned so far that God has made me humble and grateful in following him wherever He may lead me. He does everything to me as he did to Jonah.

                        The vision of faith 

                        As a human being in the secularized world it is difficult to accept something beyond the explanation and proofs provided by science. How to find God in such a world which is heavily influenced by scientific dictate? I do not believe in the dualism between science and faith. I affirm that God intervenes in our life. If I look back and reflect what I have experienced, it was God’s care and protection. He did not let me alone in time of difficulties. And He would always be with me in every circumstances, as he promised: "I am with you always, even to the end of the ages.” (Mat 28,20)

                        Prayer 

                        I am powerless to control the world even myself when I face difficult situation. I need someone who understands me deeply. He is God. I brought everything that I felt and experienced and expressed it through my daily prayer. This has been a reliance which I have rebuilt in myself since my first dream to become a missionary when I was still a novice. Until now, thanks be to God, I maintain this contact with the Lord through daily prayer both in community and personal prayer such as: rosary, thanking the Lord before sleep and wake up, etc. That is the strongest point in my life that I do regularly and trying to faithfully and devoutly fulfilling them. I have experienced that the Lord heard my cries

                        These are the three reasons that strengthen me and keep me happy and optimistic as a missionary. 

                        I am joyful in my assignment here in Amsterdam (Netherlands) with four confreres from our province, Belgium North and Netherlands. We are a multicultural community of Belgian, Indonesian, Indian and Timorese. Our community mission is entrusted with four parishes, five churches, at distance of seven kilometer away from our community. We have just begin new pastoral activities for youth such a sort of Lectio divina and Taizé style prayer gathering.

                        We hope that through the intercession of our Mother everything will be better in the next year and bring more fruits to the Kingdom of God.

                        • Olanda
                        • BEN
                        • Missioni
                        • Testimonianza
                        • Preghiera
                        • Progetto Europa
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          Tanzania – Death of Fr Richard Mtui in a road accident

                          2 weeks 4 days ago

                          (ANS – Shinyanga) – On the night of March 29th and 30th, Fr Richard Mtui, SDB, died in a road accident while traveling back to his Don Bosco Didia Community in Tanzania. Until now Fr Richard had been the Rector of Don Bosco Didia, a presence in the northern part of Tanzania, where the Salesians have an apostolic school for both boys and girls, totalling about 1200 students.

                          Fr Richard was traveling back from a funeral of his aunt. At the time of the accident he was in a semi-public vehicle, a Toyota Noah. The driver of the vehicle apparently tried to overtake a stationary truck but in the process was met with an oncoming vehicle. Reconstructing the facts from the police, it appears that there was a head-on collision. Fr Richard died on the spot.

                          Fr Mtui was born on 19 June 1977 in Mbahe Bondeni, Tanzania, entered the Novitiate of Debre Zeit, in Ethiopia, in 2000, made his perpetual vows in 2009 and was ordained priest in 2011. In his service to the Congregation and to the young, before being appointed Director of the Salesian community in Shinyanga, he had also held the position of Economer in Embu, Kenya, from 2011 to 2016.

                          “We pray for the eternal repose of Fr Richard at this moment we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. May the Lord of the resurrection grant him the joy of seeing our Father in heaven and also bring spiritual consolation to the family and to all of us,” said Fr Simon Asira Lipuku, SDB, Provincial of East Africa Province.

                          • Tanzania
                          • AFE
                          • Decessi
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Brazil - Cradle the dreams of Indian children

                            3 weeks 1 day ago

                            (ANS - Iauaretê) - Loss of traditional indigenous values, alcoholism, degradation. The damage of colonialism, amplified by globalization, continues to seriously endanger thousands of ethnicities in South America. This is the context in which many children grow up in Iauaretê, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, a remote district inhabited by 35 communities of 16 different ethnic groups, where alcohol smuggling and drug trafficking worsen a social scenario that is already strongly compromised.

                            Here the Italian Salesian missionary Fr Roberto Cappelletti tries to protect the childhood of children, with the occasional help of several Italian volunteers and in collaboration with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. They are the children of underage mothers, forced to leave their homes by their parents on being discovered with pregnancy. Outcast, relegated to the margins of society, these young women are forced to play a parental role without having the tools, completely alone, and without the help of their families of origin.

                            Abandonment and solitude represent the daily landscape of the children whom the Salesian missionary takes care of, via providing hot meals, helping in their studies and education, in moments of play and reading, providing health care and often also a place to stay for the night.

                            Meanwhile, the construction work for a family home that can accommodate them comfortably has already started. Thinking of all the needs involved, Fr Cappelletti has planned to equip the house with 50 hammocks: in fact, in the heart of the Amazon forest, hammocks are used, not beds, hammocks being part of the local cultural heritage and are, in fact, the most practical solution on which to find rest.

                            The simple project of Fr Cappelletti has found the generosity of many. Missioni Don Bosco of Turin has adhered to the proposal and asked to run with the "Rete del Dono" the half-marathon of 18 March promoted by Santander in the Parco del Valentino. 24 runners, both professionals and amateurs, ran to raise awareness and to give their economic contribution to the project called "50 hammocks for 50 little indios" by Fr Cappelletti: all "proud to run for Don Bosco", as one of the marathon runners wrote at their first collaboration with the Salesians. 

                            Currently, funds have been raised for 40 of the 50 necessary hammocks, while Missioni Don Bosco continues to encourage its benefactors to complete the work.

                            Even with simple means we can counteract the social degradation that so many indigenous peoples suffer. The protection of minorities, of the most isolated ethnic groups, starts with the protection of the little ones.

                            • Brasile
                            • Missioni
                            • Missioni Don Bosco
                            • Indigeni
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              France - Video-competition on agricultural culture: 5 participations and 5 prizes for Pouillé Salesian campus

                              3 weeks 1 day ago

                              (ANS - Angers) - The national competition celebrating agricultural culture is a video competition organized by the French cooperative bank "Crédit Mutuel". Every year, the jury establishes a theme and rewards the best videos at the national and departmental level. This year the theme was "Agriculture of the future", and the Salesian agricultural school "Bac Pro Paysage" in Pouillé, near Angers, won the 1st national prize.

                              In the last five years, the students of the first year of the agricultural institute, the landscaping department, have always participated in the competition. Supervised by Fabrice Fouchet and Florence Brault, they benefit from a flexible time schedule and program, thanks to an enthusiastic and comprehensive team of instructors.

                              The students made several videos: one on a company of gardeners who go about on bicycles, another on ecological pastures, a third on a breeder robot ... This year, at the Paris Agricultural Show, they learned they had won the 1st national award , an award that is accompanied by a check for € 5,000 to finance their educational trip to Ireland ...

                              Here is the video that won the first prize.

                              In 2014, the theme of the competition was "Tomorrow's work in our farmlands". The team of the Salesian Institute was motivated and imaginative and at its very first participation obtained a prize, a 4th place in the standings and a check for 1000 € (used for the trip to Portugal).

                              In 2015 the theme was "Becoming an agro-journalist". The students redoubled their efforts and the results were seen: 2nd national prize and the 1st departmental prize: a total of € 3,000 won and a trip to Italy.

                              Other satisfactions arrived in 2016 in the competition, its theme: "The energies in our farms", when the group decided to explore various issues on the topic including reports on wind and water mills, the use of methane power plants, the electric car, energy saving ... Last year, thanks to the video on the theme "Land and Soil", the students made videos on the gardens of the castle of Angers, the theme park, “Terre Botanique”, the lands of the Loire ...

                              "We are happy to organize this event ... to raise public awareness of the agricultural world," said Dr. Jean-Louis Bazille, President of the Federation of Crédit Mutuel Agricole et Rural, during the awarding of prizes to the winning students.

                              Source: Don Bosco Aujourd'hui

                              • Francia
                              • Rurali
                              • Formazione Professionale
                              • Premi e Riconoscimenti
                              • FRB
                              • Comunicazione Sociale
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                RMG - Fr Ángel Asurmendi Martínez new Provincial of Spain-Mary Help of Christians

                                3 weeks 2 days ago

                                (ANS - Rome) - As part of the work of the Plenary Intermediate Council, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, with the consensus of the General Council, appointed Fr Ángel Asurmendi Martínez as Provincial of the "Spain-Mary Help of Christians" (SMX) Province yesterday, March 28, for the six-year 2018-2024 period.

                                Fr Ángel Asurmendi Martínez was born in Mendavia, Navarre, Spain, on February 27, 1952. After the novitiate at Godelleta, between 1970 and 1971, he made his perpetual profession as a Salesian of Don Bosco on 15 June 1980 in Huesca, and was ordained a priest in Barcelona on 29 May 1983.

                                He served several houses and communities, first in the Spain-Barcelona Province, then, after the fusion, the Spain-Mary Help of Christians: he was (DIRETTORE O RETTORE) Director of Sant Vicenç dels Horts (1996-2000), Rector (2000-2006) and Principal (2005-2006) in Sarrià, then Rector in Can Prats (2006-2008).

                                For the Province of Barcelona, he served as Coordinator of the Pastoral and School Ministries, and was Provincial Vicar and Councilor for Formation from 2006 to 2008, then Provincial in the following six years (2008-2014).

                                With the birth of the SMX Province, in 2014 he was appointed again as Provincial Vicar and Councilor for Formation, positions he still holds.

                                "Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak several times with the Rector Major, who expressed his trust and the trust of the members of the General Council in me, and this gives me the hope and the realism to face the task," said Fr Asurmendi Martínez. "I was lucky enough to receive the call as I accompanied the confreres who were doing the spiritual exercises in Solius. The atmosphere of prayer and the Word of God commented by Fr Juan José Bartolomé facilitated the internalization of the assignment."

                                Fr Asurmendi Martínez will succeed Mons. Cristóbal López Romero, who Pope Francis appointed Archbishop of Rabat, Morocco, last December 29th. The inauguration ceremony of the new SMX Provincial is scheduled for May 5, as part of the Provincial feast scheduled in Horta, in the presence of the Vicar of the Rector Major, Fr Francesco Cereda, representing Fr Á.F. Artime.

                                The SMX Province, based in Seville, has more than 400 Salesians and 76 canonically erected houses, spread in the territories of Andorra, Catalonia, Aragon, Valencia, Balearic, Castilla La Mancha (Albacete), Andalusia, Extremadura, Murcia and Canary Islands.

                                • RMG
                                • Nomine
                                • Ispettori
                                • SMX
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  RMG - Deliberations on General Chapter 28

                                  3 weeks 2 days ago

                                  (ANS - Rome) - In the thought of the "Salesian Good Night" offered to the community of the Central Salesian See, yesterday, 28 March 2018, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, presented the decisions taken with the General Council regarding General Chapter 28 (CG28).

                                  "At the end of the Plenary Intermediate Council we have important news for the Congregation and the Salesian Family," the Rector Major said. "Today we have concluded the Intermediate Council and can give the news regarding the General Chapter 28."

                                  First, he read from his letter with information soon to be released with the next few, and then he spoke of the greatness of this forthcoming event and the meaning of the site where the Chapter will meet.

                                  The first element presented by the Rector Major was the CG28 theme. "We have chosen as the title: What kind of Salesians for the youth of today? With this theme we want to discuss the profile of the Salesian of today and also of tomorrow, to enable us to give the best possible answers to young people, especially the poorest and those who need it most ... We will also have to face an important number of judicial issues with which we intend to help the mission, issues that need attending to nowadays."

                                  He spoke of the location for the celebration of the CG28: it will be held in Valdocco, in Turin. This great Salesian event begins on Sunday 16 February 2020 and end on 4 April. Finally, he declared, "As Regulator of General Chapter 28, I have appointed Fr Stefano Vanoli." Fr Vanoli is currently Secretary of the General Council.

                                  "What should the profile of the Salesian be today and in the future?" asked Fr Á.F. Artime "Today's reality is not the same as forty years ago and even the answers cannot be the same. We want to answer faithfully to the young people of today and of tomorrow. Young people today live different situations compared to forty years ago ... Today's young people live different situations, even from those of only a few years ago. They are immersed in a digital world, in the exciting world of youth voluntary work, in the reality of vocational training, in the painful reality of exploited young people, of young immigrants. These realities have a force unknown to us, situations that we did not talk about 30 or 40 years ago."


                                  "Today the Salesian mission in the world is carried out, thank God, by being immersed in the realities of our missions shared between Salesians and laity ... and through fidelity we must open ourselves to this reality ... I invite you to pray from this moment."

                                  • RMG
                                  • CG28
                                  • Ángel Fernández Artime
                                  • Laici
                                  • Giovani
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    RMG – Appointed new Provincial of Middle East Province

                                    3 weeks 3 days ago

                                    (ANS - Rome) - As part of the work of the Intermediate Plenary Council, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, with the consensus of the General Council, appointed Fr Alejandro José León Mendoza as Provincial of the "Jesus Adolescent" Province of the Middle East (MOR) for the six-year term, 2018-2024.

                                    Alejandro José León Mendoza was born in Mérida, Venezuela, on 17 September 1979. He completed his novitiate in San Antonio de los Altos between 1997 and 1998, made his perpetual profession as a Salesian of Don Bosco in the Basilica del Colle Don Bosco on 16 September 2007, and was ordained priest in his hometown on July 31, 2010.

                                    After spending two years in Egypt, at the Cairo-Zeitun house, and completing his formation between the "Crocetta" Theologate in Turin and the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) in Rome, he worked at the Salesian house in Damascus between 2011 and 2015, holding the roles of Rector, Treasurer and Director of the oratory.

                                    For the Province, in 2012 he was appointed Delegate for Missionary Animation and in 2015 the Provincial Economer.

                                    Fr León Mendoza, who succeeds Fr Munir El Rai at the leadership of the Province, will take up his new post at the end of next August.

                                    The MOR Province includes the Salesian houses of Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestine.

                                    • RMG
                                    • Nomine
                                    • MOR
                                    • Ispettori
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      Argentina - "Laboratory students begin to arrive ... mostly poor": "San José" Vocational Training Center

                                      3 weeks 3 days ago

                                      (ANS - Salta) - When the afternoon is about to end, after the noise of the backpacks being dragged has stopped resounding on the sidewalks and the parish has said farewell to the faithful of the 7.30 pm Mass, a few blocks from the center of Salta, in calle Caseros 1250, the lab students begin to arrive. They come from different neighborhoods, most poor and some have not finished school, but they are there because they want to do something with their young lives.

                                      The "San José" Vocational Training Center (CFP) operates in the structures of the "Ángel Zerda" Salesian Institute and offers free vocational training to young people and adults in situations of social marginality. Like the other 13 centers of the same type, distributed throughout the country, they conceive of education as a tool for transforming reality and a channel of and for social inclusion.

                                      The purpose of this project, approved and supported by the Planning and Development Office of the Salesian Province of Northern Argentina (ARN), is "to reduce the unemployment and job insecurity of those people who, due to their socio-economic vulnerability, do not have access or have not completed their basic education, nor have they obtained professional qualifications," as reported by the same office.

                                      The "San José" CFP offers a socio-educational proposal for non-formal education that provides a quick entry into the world of work. In this way, it fully fulfills the Salesian educative-pastoral proposal, which works to support and promote the poorest. Furthermore, the formation and support proposals are completed by the offer of a snack to all participants.

                                      The opening of the "San José" CFP in 2015 was a response of the Salesian Family to the difficult working conditions in the province of Salta, and is in line with Pope Francis's request to be an "outgoing Church": a Church that is inclusive, that shortens distances and engages in concrete works and deeds to accompany the most needy.

                                      Since its opening, hundreds of young people and adults have already passed through this school and have managed to challenge themselves to improve their self-esteem, safety, spirituality, job opportunities and their quality of life.

                                      For the Salesians, the education and formation of the young are the essence or reason for life: without them, the Salesian vocation loses its true horizon. 

                                      {gallery}Argentina - CFP San Jose{/gallery}

                                      • Argentina
                                      • ARN
                                      • Giovani a Rischio Sociale
                                      • Opzione Preferenziale
                                      • Formazione Professionale
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        Japan – First national assembly on Vietnamese migrant ministry in Japan

                                        3 weeks 4 days ago

                                        (ANS – Tokyo) – At the present time there are about 200,000 Vietnamese migrants resident in Japan, a good number of them are Catholics. The proposals of the first General Assembly on Vietnamese migrant ministry (Tokyo, March 13) are very concrete and viable. These are the first impression after this important meeting.

                                        By Fr. Mario Yamanouchi, SDB

                                        After the first stage of an individualistic approach to the Vietnamese migrants' pastoral care, the first ‘General Assembly’ met to share the current experiences of many initiatives at the diocesan and religious congregational level. Some of these ministers are also lay activists for human rights, called in Japan 'help group' or 'cooperatives' who work at the airports, among other places, when some are about to be deported to their country of origin and know the local laws better than the mafias involved in human trafficking. Indeed, famous Japanese agencies called 'Haken Gaisya' are dedicated simply to human trafficking and able to cheat family members with many tales about romantic Japan. In Ho Chi Min City, there is also a center for unwanted children of women who became pregnant in Japan. This is just one of the many stories told during the Assembly.

                                        As Salesians we could do something – link, for example, Salesian parishes in both countries, get in touch with the agencies or enterprises that receive Vietnamese workers. But the migrant numbers are growing. The estimates are about 230,000 Vietnamese, and if one counts the children of Nepalese and Filipinos, the numbers rise to about one million.

                                        Two Salesians – Fr. Mario Yamanouchi and Fr. Takei - together with three other CONFER members (Association of Major Religious Superiors of Japan) took part in the meeting.

                                        The Assembly was organized by the Catholic Commission for Migrants and Refugees of Japan in the headquarters of Japan's Catholic Bishops Conference in Shiomi and was presided by Nagoya's Bishop Michael Matsuura Goro who represented the whole bishops' conference. More than 40 Vietnamese and Japanese participants from religious congregations, lay people involved in this ministry, participated. A few professionals in human rights and advocacy contributed to the quality discussions.

                                        The Salesians of Japan would like to contribute effectively to the needs of Vietnamese migrants in Japan, especially as their numbers are growing and some of them have been living here already for the past 20-30 years and the second generation is already present. Since an effective help to the migrants cannot be done only by few, there is a strong need of networking among all congregations and dioceses involved as well the mutual information and cooperation network between the Catholic Church in Vietnam and Japan.

                                        Operative conclusions of the meeting:

                                        1. Ensure each parish or local community offers an effective welcoming environment for the migrants with their Eucharist, confessions or other necessary sacramental and pastoral services, visit to the sick and people in difficulty.
                                        2. Awareness-raising campaign in the parishes about the situation of Vietnamese migrants and distribution of adequate leaflets with necessary basic information in both Japanese and Vietnamese languages. Also, a phone hot line in both countries.
                                        3. Inform the Catholic community about the real situation of the migrants and distribute leaflets so both sides – Vietnamese and Japanese – learn and know about the dangers and the possible help available to the migrants. In difficult cases there is a need of professional assistance, such as lawyers, counselling.
                                        4. As there are already appointed episcopal vicars for the migrants and refugees, it is also important that in each of the 16 dioceses of Japan there is one delegate with their team of priests, religious and lay persons who focus on the Vietnamese people.
                                        5. After setting up a diocesan migrant ministry structure, each bishop could ask help to other bishop in Vietnam or some religious congregations who have communities in both countries. Indeed networking among dioceses and religious congregations became already a strongly felt need.
                                        6. Many religious houses open their doors for weekend encounters of Vietnamese migrants for their prayer meeting, meals and life sharing, including also one with overnight hospitality. On the next day, the guests continue to the Sunday parish Mass and this experience may become a start of vocation journey in Japan.

                                        Source: AustraLasia

                                        • Giappone
                                        • GIA
                                        • Migranti
                                        • Vietnam
                                        • Chiesa
                                          Gian Francesco Romano
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                                          ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana