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Venezuela – "Your presence fills us with encouragement, comfort and hope": Rector Major returns

2 weeks 6 days ago

(ANS - Caracas) - "Hello, Don Bosco, Saint, you young in heart!" So the children of the "Father Luciano Costalunga" welcome house sang at the "Simon Bolivar" international airport in Maiquetía to welcome the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime. "The X Successor of Don Bosco," comments Fr Rafael Montenegro, appointed Provincial of Venezuela, "comes to us for the second time, to support us, to encourage us with his word, his affection and - above all - his presence. It is an important moment as a Salesian Family: he comes to be among us, to animate us to continue to give answers, to work among people, especially among young people, with our Salesian style."

At 4 pm on February 6, 2020, the Rector Major left the airport's Arrivals gate, greeting those waiting for him. He was welcomed, with gestures of great fraternity, by his Salesian confreres, and was then accompanied to the Provincial House, where he was welcomed by young Salesians in initial formation, staff, members of the Salesian Family and students of the Don Bosco Technical School.

"We could see that his presence filled us with courage, comfort and hope. It revives our commitment to continue building our future on the basis of the values ​​of the Gospel," commented a Salesian who was waiting for him with warm expectation.

"Encourage all of us Salesians to continue fighting for young people. His visit is very special, because he wants to be at the side of the young," added another Salesian. And yet another continues: "I thank God for the presence of the Successor of Don Bosco, especially for the historical moment we are going through. His presence will spiritually encourage the Salesians and the Salesian Family. We look forward to hearing your message." Finally, Fr Montenegro hopes that this visit of the Rector Major "will be an opportunity to renew our serious, strong and determined commitment to building the civilization of love in our country ... We need it so much!"

The Rector Major shared dinner and evening prayers in fraternity with the community of the Provincial House. At the end of the day he offered the Salesian "Good Night" with a message full of hope and joy for this new meeting with his confreres from Venezuela.

In fact, Fr Á.F. Artime visited the Salesians of Venezuela as early as 2014 at the beginning of his six-year term. Now, on the threshold of the 28th General Chapter, he has returned, and has begun his second visit with simplicity and joy. "I want to be with my confreres to accompany them, to be with them, and to show them that I always think and pray for the whole Salesian Family in Venezuela and, especially, for young people," the Rector Major said.

  • Venezuela
  • VEN VENEZUELA
  • Rettor Maggiore
  • Ángel Fernández Artime
  • Visita di Animazione
    Gian Francesco Romano

    RMG – GC28: video on Salesians in the world available online today

    2 weeks 6 days ago
    RMG – GC28: video on Salesians in the world available online today

    (ANS - Rome) - Oratories, schools, Vocational Training Centers, parishes, universities, apostolate programs, social and development projects ... All that is most typical of the Salesian charism and mission is summarized in 4 minutes and 33 seconds of video, now online and available to everyone so as to present to the world, a few days from their 28th General Chapter, who the Don Bosco Salesians are and what they do.

    Produced by IME Comunicazione in collaboration with ANS, and with the data provided by the General Secretariat of the Congregation, the video presents in an appealing fashion how the dream of “a priest from the end of the 19th century lived so that young people could be happy now and for eternity.”

    The video is available on ANSChannel in six language versions - Italian, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Polish - each accessible in the respective channel.

    • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
    • CG28
    • Comunicazione Sociale
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Lithuania – Don Bosco returns ... to Telšiai, too!

      2 weeks 6 days ago
      Lithuania – Don Bosco returns ... to Telšiai, too!

      (ANS - Telšiai) - Telšiai is a Lithuanian town of about 30,000 inhabitants, located in the Samogitia region, a north-western region of Lithuania and the last land of Europe to be evangelized. Here, for some time now, the spiritual sons of Don Bosco have been active with a small presence, still not canonically erected, and who, faithful to the charism of their founder, never miss an opportunity to spread the Gospel message in the Salesian style. And what better occasion than the Feast Day of Don Bosco to boost their activities?

      In fact, even in Telšiai, Don Bosco was celebrated in a big way, arousing the interest of young people and the enthusiasm of educators and faithful. The affection for the Saint of Youth has well taken root: the urn containing a relic of Don Bosco arrived in the town and in the school where the Salesians now work well before they arrived. It was March 2014 and a festive procession of over 600 young people, preceded by the band, paraded from the school to the cathedral, where they entered the notes of the song "Giù dai Colli, or Down from the Hills".

      And in January 2020, the name of Don Bosco resounded in Telsiai, too, and in particular in the "Borisevicius" school and in the parish "Assumption of Mary", the only one in the whole diocese to have an altar dedicated to the Father and Master of Youth.

      Among the most engaging and incisive initiatives was the testimony of an oratorian from Volpiano, now an established chef and well-known face of Lithuanian television, who transmitted the passion and importance of the Salesian oratory in his life to the young high school students. The culmination of the celebrations was reached with the solemn conclusion of the novena dedicated to Don Bosco, which offered ample opportunity to make the faithful passionate about the charism of the Saint of young people.

      "We believe that Don Bosco himself has prepared the entry of his children into this town. For this reason, we hope that here a spring will soon begin for our mission among the young," affirms enthusiastically Fr Onorino Pistellato, SDB.

      The Salesians in Telšiai are mostly active in a state-run Catholic school, which includes the entire school cycle, from elementary to high school, with a total of 630 students and 56 teachers. In the institute, the work of animation is broad, promising; to this, there is the pastoral ministry in the parish and throughout the territory and, as a prospect, in the oratory.

      The presence in Telšiai is also a mirror of the international aspect of the Salesian Congregation - and of its mission. With the arrival, from the house in Vilnius, on which Telsiai depends, of two young missionaries, to whom a third will soon be added, four continents will be represented: Europe, Asia, America and Africa. 

      {gallery}Lituania - Festa DB 2020{/gallery}

      • Lituania
      • ICP ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE SPECIALE PIEMONTE E VALLE D'AOSTA
      • Festa Don Bosco
      • Nuova Presenza
        Gian Francesco Romano

        RMG – The revised Manual of Salesian Prayer and other aids to prayer

        3 weeks ago
        RMG – The revised Manual of Salesian Prayer and other aids to prayer

        (ANS – Rome) – The revised Manual of Salesian Prayer requested by General Chapter 27 is in the DTP phase. The title continues to be In Dialogue with the Lord, and various language versions are ready (Italian, UK English, US English, Spanish, Portuguese, French), while others are being prepared.

        In the meantime, the experimental version of the prayer App called Salesians@prayer is already functioning and can be downloaded from Google Play or App Store: (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dosatic.salesiansbook) 

        As of now, the App contains the revised In Dialogue with the Lord and the old version of the Salesian Proper, as well as a space for GC28 Prayers.

        The Salesian Proper is in the process of being revised, taking into account the newer Saints and Blesseds of the Salesian Family. Work on the Italian version of the Missal and the Lectionary is nearing completion, but we have still to begin work on the Prayer of the Church. There remains the work of translation into different languages.

        The Salesian Proper contained in IBreviary will be updated in due time. This App remains a very good option for members of the Salesian Family who want to find “everything in one place.”

        Ivo Coelho, SDB

        General Councillor for Formation

        • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
        • Formazione
        • Preghiera
          Gian Francesco Romano

          United States – Salesian Family Youth Center gets support from Latin America

          3 weeks ago
          United States – Salesian Family Youth Center gets support from Latin America

          (ANS – Los Angeles) – Fr Juan Carlos Quirarte from Mexico Guadalajara, and James Areiza from Colombia Medellin, spend one week working at the Salesian Family Youth Center in Los Angeles. Their main objective was to strengthen the great job being done at “Boyle Heights” in Los Angeles, where over 1,900 children are served yearly.

          The project started by analyzing the reality at the Salesian Family Youth Center. They analyzed personnel, processes, clients, and reviewing how the club is doing in general. They found out some strong points like motivated staff, good organizational structure, great location, good collaboration with St Mary’s church, among others.

          All this analysis was done by meeting with all personnel at different levels of responsibility and reviewing the 2018-2021 strategic plan. They contacted them if what is being written is being put into practice in the daily activity.

          As a result of this analysis, they also gave some recommendations; among them, we have:

          – To improve the visibility of the club. Making sure there are clear signs and motivational posters around the club. They also suggested it may be a good idea to paint a mural at the entrance of the club.
          – Salesian ongoing formation. It was recommended that the team and the children have a precise Salesian ongoing formation. This formation must be something that is combined with professional development.
          – Develop an emotional salary concept at the club, understanding that money is not everything, and the question is how the club can motivate its employees emotionally.
          – Ongoing recruitment activity was suggested that the club should continuously recruit children not only at the beginning of the year and during the summer camp.
          – Develop collaboration among all the Salesian presences in Los Angeles as it is being done with St Mary’s church.

          The visit of these two Salesians is part of the strengthening project of the social works at the regional level, where 18 countries are participating.

          Since 1966, the Salesian Family Youth Center of Los Angeles – located within walking distance of more than 13,000 elementary, middle and high school students – has served the Boyle Heights and City Terrace communities by providing positive after-school activities and low-cost alternative programs for thousands of at-risk and economically disadvantaged youth between the ages of 6 and 18. To inspire and enable the young people of Boyle Heights and the surrounding communities to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens and to support their families in this effort.

          Source: Salesian Bullettin

          • SUO STATI UNITI OVEST
          • Stati Uniti
          • Pastorale Giovanile
            Gian Francesco Romano

            Italy – "Give more to those who've had less". Fight against educational poverty must involve entire community

            3 weeks ago

            (ANS - Rome) - 57 partners including non-profit organizations, local authorities and schools, 14 implementation sites - 11 of which are located in the South - more than 80 committed operators, 3000 minors as recipients: these are the figures of the “Salesiani per il Sociale APS” initiative entitled "Give more to those who have had less", selected by the social enterprise "Con i Bambini - With Children" in the context of the Fund to combat child educational poverty. The project has now reached its halfway point: after a year and a half, events and seminars are being organized in all local offices to present the local project, the activities carried out and the prospects for the final period.

            The first of these public events took place in Trapani with the presence of schools, teachers, school managers. The mayor of Trapani also attended, as did staff from the city's social services, and Fr Giovanni D’Andrea, Provincial of the Salesians in Sicily. The meeting was coordinated by the local team and the national project manager, Andrea Sebastiani.

            In the project, the involvement of not only children but also adults (teachers and parents) as figures to be qualified and developed in their educational role was important.

            “It's not just a matter of providing new or additional knowledge and skills, but of enhancing and rediscovering the skills they already possess,” explains the national manager, Andrea Sebastiani. “In particular, the actions of the project that have this tension are pedagogical counseling aimed at class councils and the training of teachers and parents.”

            A second level of the project was working as a network with the various educational agencies in the territory: in fact, participatory courses were developed at each location to draft, seal and soon implement Local Education Contracts (CEL). In this way, the educational challenges and objectives of the various territorial realities and age groups of the minors were identified; in this way it becomes possible to enhance the value and put in a network what the entities already do.

            The third level of intervention concerned adolescents directly. "In the operational offices, training courses have been activated in high schools that have, as their aim, to work on self-esteem, motivation and aggregation through sports, creative and artistic and digital activities and support to studying," says Roberto Maurizio, scientific manager of the project.

            Dr. Sebastiani concludes: "Education is never a private or self-referential fact, but a matter of community, as well as the fight against educational poverty, which must involve all the actors of the community in order to become an 'educating community'."

            {gallery}Italia Dare di piu 2020{/gallery}

            • Italia
            • Salesiani per il Sociale APS
            • Educazione
              Gian Francesco Romano

              RMG – Rector Major on Animation Visit to Venezuela

              3 weeks 1 day ago
              RMG – Rector Major on Animation Visit to Venezuela

              (ANS - Rome) - In his recent meeting with journalists in view of the Congregation's 28th General Chapter, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, was asked what the Salesians are doing in Venezuela. The Rector Major replied by talking about the concrete, even financial, help being offered to needy families and clarified: "The Salesians always remain at the side of the population in times of difficulty." To show even more the closeness of the whole Congregation to the Venezuelan people, exhausted by years of suffering, starting tomorrow, Thursday 6 February, until Tuesday 10, Fr Á.F. Artime will be on an Animation Visit to Venezuela.

              After the reception at the airport and the transfer to the Provincial House of Caracas tomorrow evening, the official activities will start the next morning with the meeting with the Provincial Commissions, in Caracas. In the afternoon, however, the Rector Major travels to Los Teques to meet the Salesians in formation and celebrate the Eucharist.

              On Saturday, 8 February, the central act will undoubtedly be the Eucharist celebrating the installation of the new Provincial of the Salesians of Venezuela, Fr Rafael Bernardo Montenegro Latouche, at the Temple of Don Bosco in Altamira, Caracas. Other important moments include the meeting with the Salesian Family in the morning and one with the bishops in the afternoon.

              On Sunday 9, there is the solemn Mass at the "La Dolorita" center in Caracas; in the afternoon, his participation in the National Youth Meeting.

              Monday shall be especially busy, what with meeting Salesian educators, the Eucharist in the "Boleita" center, in Caracas, and two meetings with two groups of the Salesian Family who are very present and active in Venezuela: the "Damas Salesianas" and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

              Finally, Tuesday, he has meetings scheduled with the new Provincial and his Council, and then with all the Directors of the Salesian works.

              "We joyfully announce the visit of the Rector Major to our San Luca Province of Venezuela," announced the Social Communication Office of the Province. "Fr Ángel wanted to return to visit us and to share the experience lived in recent years in the animation of the Congregation worldwide, when we are by now on the threshold of the 28th General Chapter. He is the Don Bosco of our time, so we cannot miss the opportunity to meet on different occasions to continue to deepen our charism and our way of educating in the reality we live in."

              • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
              • Rettor Maggiore
              • Ángel Fernández Artime
              • Venezuela
              • VEN VENEZUELA
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Italy – A new residential shelter in Turin-San Paolo

                3 weeks 1 day ago
                Italy – A new residential shelter in Turin-San Paolo

                (ANS - Turin) - The offer of the "This is my home" program of the Salesians of Turin doubles: the inauguration of the new temporary residential shelter for young adults and of the new Caritas premises took place last Saturday, 1st February, at the Salesian oratory "San Paolo".

                The project was carried out by the Salesians of the work with the contribution offered by a benefactor and has the aim of offering a solution to those young university students or workers, Italian and foreign neo-adults, who need, in their path of independence, a temporary residence with the formula of social housing.

                The inaugurated spaces, which benefited from the renovation, include the Caritas premises located inside the building and an adjoining apartment that will accommodate up to 7 young people.

                The new structure adds to the housing community opened at the same building in October 2016 in which 12 unaccompanied foreign minors entrusted to the Salesians by the Office for Foreign Minors of the Municipality of Turin were welcomed.

                The new house is part of the welcoming path of the parish and the oratory of San Paolo, which contribute with many volunteers to the practical and educational management of the two communities for the most fragile young people, and of the Caritas listening center, a true "lifesaver" for the growing needs of the families in the neighborhood.

                “We consider it important to place small signs, which however speak. Such is this new residence for young people facing adult life, where it is intended to put the sign of sharing between different nationalities," said the director of the work, Fr Alberto Lagostina.

                The inauguration of the new house saw the participation of over 100 people. After Fr Lagostina's greeting, Councilor Sonia Schellino, Deputy Mayor of the city, congratulated the Salesians for the project, which constitutes a valid contribution to the community and concrete help to the most fragile categories.

                The President of District 3 of the Municipality of Turin, Francesca Troise, spoke, saying she was  greatly satisfied with the collaboration that has existed for years with the Salesian reality of San Paolo.

                Finally, the Provincial of the Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta Special Circumscription, Fr Enrico Stasi, intervened and wished to underline the beauty of this new experience, stating that it represents a new perspective for all the Salesians in Piedmont who want to support those young people oriented towards experiences of cohabitation, service and shared growth.

                The inauguration then ended with the traditional ribbon-cutting, the visit to the premises and a convivial moment. 

                {gallery}Inaugurazione housing sociale ICP 2020{/gallery}

                • ICP ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE SPECIALE PIEMONTE E VALLE D'AOSTA
                • Italia
                • Giovani a Rischio
                • Migranti
                • Opzione Preferenziale
                • Torino
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  South Sudan – Robert Ocan, the hero who saved over 7,000 people from death

                  3 weeks 1 day ago
                  South Sudan – Robert Ocan, the hero who saved over 7,000 people from death

                  (ANS - Pajok) - Robert Ocan is 33 years old. He studied Computer Science in South Sudan and was a professor of Chemistry and Mathematics in his city, Pajok, 15 kilometers from the border with Uganda, when the war reached the almost 50,000 people living there. In April 2017, it was the second time he had to flee for the same reason, but this time he didn't do so alone.

                  Married and with two young children, as soon as Robert heard the rebel gunfire in the city center, he organized not only his and his family's escape, but also the escape of almost 7,000 other people. Thanks to his mobile phone, he warned the school teachers to bring the children into the bush. "They ran, escaped with what they were wearing and had no water or food with them," recalls Robert.

                  He had already had to flee on another occasion with his parents during the war of independence in Sudan. But this time, on arrival on Ugandan soil, everything was easier because Uganda is a country welcoming refugees. "UNHCR buses took us to Palabek, the last refugee settlement that was opened in northern Uganda."

                  Since then, the people who fled with him, and others who came later - more than 53,000 in total today - all live together in the Palabek camp. "Robert is the mediator of any conflict among the refugees, but also the highest authority of the refugees before those who manage the settlement. He has continuous meetings with UN authorities and the Prime Minister's office and regularly visits every part of the camp to check that everything is in order," explains Mariatzu, a refugee who arrived with him from Pajok.

                  Robert is just one of many refugees and he receives no salary for his work, but does so voluntarily; he is also involved in all the educational projects that the Salesians have undertaken in Palabek.

                  The young man says he is optimistic: "I have a hope of peace because Don Bosco is contributing to creating a new generation of young people: the generation that brings peace. Don Bosco offers formation, a great humanitarian and pastoral service and, above all, gives us hope for the future and trust in our capacities."

                  His dream, as with all refugees, is to return to South Sudan, but acknowledges that "it will take a few years. It is not enough for peace agreements to be signed. Clashes must end, free elections must be held, whoever wins must be recognized as the winner, a government must be formed and we all must start working together for peace. To do all this, at least five years must pass."

                  • Sudan del Sud
                  • Uganda
                  • Rifugiati
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    Thailand – XII General Chapter of “Sisters Servants of Immaculate Heart of Mary” (SIHM)

                    3 weeks 1 day ago
                    Thailand – XII General Chapter of “Sisters Servants of Immaculate Heart of Mary” (SIHM)

                    (ANS – Ratchaburi) – From 1-5 February 2020, the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (SIHM) held their XII General Chapter at Bann Pornpatchara Hatainiramol, Ratchaburi Province, with the theme: “SIHM: the living message of the Mission of Love and Service in the midst of the present world.”

                    Bishop Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil, SDB, the Bishop responsible for the SIHM Congregation, graced the occasion by presiding the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the opening of the Chapter. Noted was also the presence of Fr Surachart Kaewseni, the representative of Bishop John Bosco Panya Kritcharoen, the local Ordinary, Fr John Bosco Dheparat Pitisant, the Provincial of the Salesian Province of Thailand, and Sr. Theresa Kohasuwan, the representative of the Provincial of the FMAs.

                    The Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was born through the initiative of Bishop Gaetano Pasotti, SDB, the head of the first Salesian missionaries to enter Thailand. The Bishop announced the official establishment of the Congregation on 7 December 1937 in Bangnokkhuek, Samut Songkhram Province. There were 7 young women working at the kitchen of the Salesian seminary in Bangnokkhuek; they started their novitiate on 8 December 1937 to lay a strong foundation to their religious life.

                    Bishop Gaetano Pasotti invited two FMA Sisters - Sr. Antonietta Morallato, Novice Mistress, and Mother Luigina Di Giorgio, the first Directress, to help in the initial formation of the candidates. They stayed on in this responsibility from 1941 to 1964. After a period of intensive formation, the first group of 6 novices made their first religious profession. From this small, humble beginning, the Congregation started to send the Sisters to work at the various churches of Ratchaburi Diocese.

                    In 1964, Mother Agatha Ladda Satvinit was elected by the members to be the first Thai General Superior.

                    In 1987, the SIHM Congregation became officially a member of the Salesian Family. To distinguish the charism and apostolate of the SIHM are the educational commitment, also carried out through different institutes, and a zealous missionary service. 

                    At present, the Congregation has 96 members working in 4 dioceses – in Ratchaburi, Surat Thani, Bangkok and Chiangmai. Aside from this, there are 5 members working as missionaries in Cambodia. There is also one native member among the missionaries there.

                    {gallery}THA - Capitolo SIHM 2020{/gallery}

                    • Thailandia
                    • THA THAILANDIA
                    • Suore Ancelle del Cuore Immacolato di Maria
                    • Famiglia Salesiana
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      RMG – Orientations and guidelines on Salesian personal accompaniment to be released during GC28

                      3 weeks 2 days ago
                      RMG – Orientations and guidelines on Salesian personal accompaniment to be released during GC28

                      (ANS – Rome) Young Salesians and Accompaniment: Orientations and Guidelines will be released during General Chapter 28 (GC28).

                      Fruit of a long process of collaboration between the Formation and Youth Ministry Departments, the Orientations and Guidelines were approved by the Rector Major and his council in June 2019. The process involved two international seminars, a survey involving young people and Salesians in initial formation as well as their spiritual guides, the publication of the findings (M. Bay, Young Salesians and Accompaniment: Results of an international survey), a first draft of the Orientations and Guidelines by a small team along with the Formation Department, and the study and contributions of the Rector Major and the members of the Council resulting eventually in the approval of the text.

                      The structure of the text is dictated by the process of discernment. A first part, Recognizing, presents the study of Salesian personal accompaniment and topics emerging from the study. A second part, Interpreting, reflects on the emerging topics in the light of the Salesian tradition. A third part, Choosing, presents strategies for improving personal accompaniment in the processes of formation.

                      The study brought to light the close link between Youth Ministry and initial Formation. If the Salesian Youth Ministry involves personal accompaniment and vocational discernment, Salesian vocations emerging from these processes will be much better prepared for their formation journey.

                      Another insistent note was the request coming from those in formation for genuine freedom of choice of a spiritual guide. The Orientations and Guidelines meet this request by insisting on the Preventive System as the model of formation, and by changing certain parts of the Ratio that spoke of the Rector of the formation community as the spiritual director proposed to, though not imposed on, confreres in formation. Especially when formation tends to remain at the level of external conformity, rather than going down to the level of motivations, attitudes and convictions, and when there is fear rather than mutual trust and confidence, there is the risk of reducing personal spiritual accompaniment to “one of the obligations to be met” if one is to “get through” and “survive.” By inviting formators to gain the confidence of those entrusted to them, the Orientations and Guidelines are, in fact, going back to the heart of the Preventive System expressed so marvellously by Don Bosco in his 1884 Letter from Rome.

                      An important strategy is the preparation of formators and spiritual guides. Over the years, the Congregation all over the world has learned to prepare professors for its formation houses. The challenge before it now is to make equally systematic the specific preparation of formation guides for the service of formation. One of the concrete results is the three-module School of Salesian Spiritual Accompaniment, the first module of which will be offered in English in September 2020 and in Italian in April-May 2021. 

                      Ivo Coelho, SDB

                      • Formazione Iniziale
                      • Formazione
                      • Accompagnamento
                      • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Vietnam – R.I.P. Fr John Nguyen Van Ty, former Salesian Provincial

                        3 weeks 2 days ago
                        Vietnam – R.I.P. Fr John Nguyen Van Ty, former Salesian Provincial

                        (ANS – Ho Chi Minh City) – With loving memory and gratitude, the Province of Vietnam-Mongolia sorrowfully announces the Heavenly Home Return of one of its members, the beloved Fr John Nguyen Van Ty, SDB. After a short period of a critical sickness, surrounded by his confreres, he passed away on 29 January, 2020, at the age of 76, after 59 years of religious life and 49 years of priestly life.

                        Fr John Nguyen Van Ty was an orphan at his childhood, raised by the Daughters of Charity and embraced by the Salesians as a teenager. He belonged to the first group of Vietnamese novices (1959) under the guidance of Fr Andrew Majcen, the founder of Salesian works in Vietnam.

                        After his initial formation in Hong Kong (China) and Rome (Italy), he returned to Vietnam and assumed different responsibilities, such as Principal and Rector of the Technical School. At the end of the Vietnam War, he took up the role of Superior of the Delegation as all missionaries were expelled by the new regime.

                        Together with his Delegation council, he animated and led the remaining Salesians to enter the new way of life and apostolate in a Marxist–socialist society, living and working with the poor people in villages and farms and, at the same time, figuring out how to serve the young in an atheist society, in particular, focusing upon vocation ministries in spite of inner and outer difficulties.

                        As the situation was being politically improved and more young people joined the Salesian Society, the Salesian Delegation was raised into a Vice-Province in 1984 with his continuing leadership. During a six-year break from leadership, he was appointed as the Novice Master (1991-1997) and appointed again as a Provincial in 1997.

                        Finishing his office as provincial, he was sent by the Rector Major for a renewal course to Berkeley, then to the Mongolia mission. It was there that he almost collapsed with severe heart attacks. Recovering and returning to Vietnam, he dedicated his life to giving conferences to the novices and conducting retreats to various members of consecrated congregations, as well as lectures in various seminaries until his recent final illness.

                        The Vietnamese Salesians are deeply grateful to Fr John Nguyen Van Ty as he guided the Delegation (then the Vice-Province and finally a Province) through various unseen difficulties caused by our historical situation. In spite of human limitations and possible human errors during his leadership, one may say that the Salesians in Vietnam have been led by him to live faithfully to Don Bosco’s mission to the poor youth and to the missionary spirit!

                        The whole Salesian Family of Vietnam, especially the Don Bosco Past Pupils would and shall remember Fr John very much!

                        The Sower went out to sow the seeds. The seeds that had been sown by Fr John Nguyen Van Ty have grown and born fruits with more than 400 Salesians SDB, among them, more than one hundred have been called to be ad gentes missionaries in all five continents.

                        The Funeral Mass was held at “Don Bosco” Xuan Hiep church, Thu Duc, Ho Chi Minh City, at 8 o’clock on 1 February, 2020, presided by the Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese, Mgr. Joseph Nguyen Nang, with three other bishops and more than 180 priests from other dioceses and congregations who concelebrated with him. During the Mass, Mgr. Nguyen Nang reminded people about joy in the Catholic faith when a good Christian, a holy priest has passed away to return to God and mentioned the dedicated services of Fr John, not only in the Salesian Congregation but also for the needs of the Church in Vietnam and evangelization in the world.

                        • VIE VIETNAM
                        • Vietnam
                        • Decessi
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          Rwanda – Meet Uwiringiyimana Grace, young girl studying welding at Don Bosco Rango TVET

                          3 weeks 2 days ago
                          Rwanda – Meet Uwiringiyimana Grace, young girl studying welding at Don Bosco Rango TVET

                          (ANS – Rango) – Uwiringiyimana Grace is a young girl who has decided to do away with the cultural beliefs that ladies can’t pursue technical studies, especially welding courses formerly attributed to men only. After realizing that the welding sector could provide her a better living, Grace decided to enrol at Don Bosco Rango TVET School.

                          She said that the welding trade is the career of her choice because she loves it. Apart from that, she was inspired by those already practicing the welding job.

                          “I have been inspired by welders when I saw how they make doors. That's when I decided to join this career,” she said.

                          Uwiringiyimana is in level three in the welding trade. The young girl is optimistic that at the end of her studies, she will be able to land her dream job or create her own welding workshop.

                          “I hope that after my studies, as soon as financial means are available, I'll be able to set up my own workshop where I can practice my profession,” she explains.

                          Uwiringiyimana encourages other young girls to join Technical and Vocational formation and trades, adding that young girls should not underestimate TVET studies: they are the same as other courses.

                          “There are some who try to discourage me, asking if I am not ashamed as I am the only girl in a group of many boys,” she says. “I say no, I am here to study and not to have any other affairs with boys. This is a profession for all of us. You can't tell which one is for men and which one is for women,” she adds.

                          Don Bosco Rango TVET School is located in the Huye District of the Southern Province of Rwanda. The School is owned and managed by the Salesians of Don Bosco. The centre of Rango was initially established to accommodate young Salesians preparing to become priests, living there and attending classes in Nyakibanda. Now it serves as the site for Technical and Vocational Education for young people, a large number of them coming from poor families.

                          Fr Turabanye Jean Pierre Turabanye, the school's director, says that this year, 2020, the school has had a larger number of students’ registration compared to the 65 students of last year. “We have more than 100 students already registered to start the Classes. We have students who come from all around and they are enrolled in six vocational training courses, notably, Construction, Carpentry, Hospitality, Sewing, Hairdressing and Welding… And the Hairdressing section was recently added to educate how to take care of hair, skin, nails…”

                          Moreover, students are offered lunch at no cost, thanks to the help of donors, and Don Bosco Rango TVET School provides other forms of support, which include facilities for sports, student field visits, etc.

                          “As for staff, there are ten teachers, the Deputy in Charge of Studies, the Deputy in Charge of Discipline who is assisted by two German volunteers, so the centre has sufficient staff to be able to supervise young students,” Fr Turabanye said.

                          This year the “Don Bosco Tech Africa” organization, which started six years ago, is committed to helping improve the quality of vocational training in Africa and this year Don Bosco Rango TVET school has been selected among the centres in Africa which will benefit from aid for modernization through technical training.

                          • Rwanda
                          • AGL AFRICA GRANDI LAGHI
                          • Ragazze
                          • Donne
                          • Formazione Professionale
                          • Scuole
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Austria – Volunteer service: welcome to "Don Bosco Volunteers"

                            3 weeks 2 days ago

                            (ANS - Vienna) - The Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Austria invite young men and women from European Union countries to volunteer in Austria. The joint initiative aims to promote voluntary commitment in the service of children and young people in Austria and Europe.

                            “Many people experience that volunteering enriches others' lives and their own. With 'Don Bosco Volunteers' we are strengthening a significant bond between faith and social commitment in Europe," said Fr Petrus Obermüller SDB and Sister Maria Maul FMA, respectively Provincial of the Salesians of Don Bosco and Provincial of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Austria.

                            Through the European project "Time for young people", through the European Solidarity Corps, five volunteers are currently working in Don Bosco's structures in Austria. As volunteers they make an important contribution to society and the Church and make important personal, social, cultural and religious experiences during their service.

                            The 25-year-old Noemi, from Hungary, has been working for five months (and will continue to do so until June) in the "Don Bosco" schools in Vöcklabruck and has many contacts with the students: "I spend most of my time helping out at Caffè Mazzarello in the school. This is the heart of the school when it comes to sharing. I think it's really special. I am also delighted to be able to participate in the 'Confronto' meetings, where I meet active and motivated young people."

                            Furthermore, once a week Noemi goes with Sister Zäzilia Holzer, FMA, with the ludo-bus in the individual neighborhoods of the city, to let the children play: “Even without a good knowledge of German, we can understand each other well. At the same time we have fun. All children need a carefree time to play!"

                            And while learning the language, Noemi gives some English lessons and also helps in the care of the garden: “I really like it here. I am happy to have been so warmly welcomed in this beautiful country."

                            The "Don Bosco Volunteers" association is an institution recognized in the European Solidarity Corps and since September 2019 allows five European volunteers to spend ten months in the structures of the Salesian Family in Austria. Until March it will be possible to apply for a volunteering experience starting from September 2020.

                            To apply and for further information: volunteers@donbosco.at and visit www.donbosco.at/volunteers 

                            • AUS AUSTRIA
                            • Austria
                            • Volontariato
                            • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
                            • Unione Europea
                            • Europe
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              India – Prafulta Convocation Ceremony for ABE Teachers held in Mumbai

                              3 weeks 2 days ago
                              India – Prafulta Convocation Ceremony for ABE Teachers held in Mumbai

                              (ANS – Mumbai) – The Convocation Ceremony for 42 Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE-Archdiocese of Bombay) Teachers, trained in “Basic Skills in Counselling” conducted from June-November 2019, by Mumbai Salesians' “Prafulta-Centre for Psychogical Wellness”, was held on 19 January 2020, at St. Andrew's College Bandra. Prafulta has been conducting this course for the past 14 years.

                              The representational theme for the convocation was RAINBOW: 'Reverence' involved lighting of the lamp by Fathers Dennis Gonsalves, Godfrey D'Sa, Magi Murzello, along with Shalu Mehrotra and Rachna Jog, followed by 'Aloha' a welcome song, after which was 'Invoking God's presence' in the form of a well synchronized prayer dance. Next was 'Nostalgia' a power-point presentation on the course learning. 'Blissful' felicitations of the guests with handmade cards and key chains, led onto 'Ode' a sharing by 02 teachers of the magical memories through this course. 'Wow' was the reception of course-completion certificates from the Chief Guest Father Dennis Gonsalves - ABE Secretary.

                              One of the teacher participants said, “I would call these 100 hours, a journey within. More than anything, this course has empowered me to understand the feelings of others and at the same time scrutinize my own thought processes,” while another chipped in saying, “More than ever, our children today need our emotional support and understanding. This course has helped me to accept and understand the variety of children I encounter in my all-inclusive classroom and be present for each of them.”

                              Initiated way back in 2005, Prafulta’s “Teacher Counselor Course” (as it was then named), has till date trained 777 teachers from 133 ABE schools. Father D'Sa-Director, Prafulta going down memory lane described, “this course started with the vision of transforming every school into a home, where the environment becomes more child friendly.” Shalu Mehrotra, Course coordinator/facilitator since its inception, shared, “a follow-up study reveals that even after several years, there was an attitudinal change in many teachers, helping them be more empathetic towards their students, assisting these with issues of relationships, stress, self-esteem, and conflict with parents/peers, etc.”

                              A few school principals present on the occasion, too acknowledged the important role these teachers were playing in the lives of children, especially with those that needed extra attention and care. Father Gonsalves emphasized, “training in counselling skills for teachers is the need of the hour and I pledge my total support to training such as this.”

                              Source: Don Bosco India

                              • India
                              • Prafulta
                              • Psicologia
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                Italy – "Young in search of life's meaning, of hope for the future": Feast of Don Bosco in Valdocco

                                3 weeks 3 days ago

                                (ANS - Turin) - The feast of Don Bosco has ended in Valdocco, Turin, the city of Don Bosco. As the Rector Major wrote in the book "The city of Don Bosco", "the true city of the Saint were the young"; in fact, the Saint of Youth identified himself with the city where thousands of boys lived on the street, in the avenues, in the outskirts, and dedicated himself to them to give them three things: “a house where to feel like family, a father who listened to their problems, and a promising future.”

                                The celebration of the feast day of St Giovanni Bosco began on January 31 in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Valdocco, the beating heart of Salesian spirituality. The celebrations in the Basilica were continuous and with various groups.

                                Presiding at the 11:00 Eucharist was Msgr. Heriberto Bodeant, bishop of Melo, Paraguay. “In this Mother House, on this holy day dedicated to Don Bosco, we cannot neglect the fact that we feel like the essential nucleus of a large family that wants to embrace the young people of the world,” said Fr Guido Errico, Rector of the Basilica, during the homily.

                                The courtyards of Valdocco were full of young people as they were in Don Bosco's time and when Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major, greeted the pilgrims, it seemed that it was Don Bosco himself who had come to meet the young people coming from many parts of the world. The 10th Successor of Don Bosco presided over the Eucharist in the afternoon, at 6:30, with the young people of the Salesian Youth Movement. He affectionately addressed them: “Dear boys and girls of all the places of our beautiful Salesian world, and all of you present in this beautiful Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, I have prayed for you. I think, my dear young people, that praying for you is a beautiful expression of affection. Know that the most precious thing in our life is Jesus Christ, who has conquered us and who is in love with us ... It is the unique and greatest thing that Don Bosco has offered to his children.”

                                The last Eucharist of the day was presided by the archbishop of Turin, Msgr. Cesare Nosiglia, who in his homily recalled the work of Don Bosco for the young people of his time. “Young people, as Don Bosco teaches, are always present, even if they seem absent: they do it with unusual languages, but very clear to those who can interpret them. Only by accepting and understanding these languages ​​can we enter their inner world and establish a contact not only external, but deeply and amicably ... After all, they continue to be young in search of the meaning of life, of sincere affection, of joy and hope in the future.”

                                {gallery}Italia - Festa Don Bosco a Valdocco 2020{/gallery}

                                • Italia
                                • Don Bosco
                                • Festa Don Bosco
                                • ICP ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE SPECIALE PIEMONTE E VALLE D'AOSTA
                                • Rettor Maggiore
                                • Ángel Fernández Artime
                                • Giovani
                                • MGS Movimento Giovanile Salesiano
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  Brazil – Closing of diocesan inquiry into cause of martyrdom of Servants of God Fr Rodolfo Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo

                                  3 weeks 3 days ago
                                  Brazil – Closing of diocesan inquiry into cause of martyrdom of Servants of God Fr Rodolfo Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo

                                  (ANS - Meruri) - On 30 and 31 January, on the occasion of Don Bosco's feast day, the diocesan inquiry of the cause of martyrdom of the servants of God, namely Fr Rodolfo Lunkenbein, SDB, (1939-1976) and Simão Bororo (1937-1976) closed in the Salesian mission of Meruri, State of Mato Grosso (Brazil).

                                  On the evening of January 30, the last session of the process took place, chaired by Msgr. Protógenes José Luft, bishop of Barra do Garças. The following were present: members of the tribunal, the Postulator General of the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family, Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, the Vice-Postulator, Fr Paulo Eduardo Jácomo; Joao Bosco Maciel who collaborated in the diocesan phase; Fr Natale Vitali, Regional Councilor for America South Cone, Fr Gildásio Mendes dos Santos, Provincial of Brazil-Campo Grande (BCG); Fr Joseph Grünner, representing the Province of Germany; several Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians; the ADMA group of Meruri and members of the Bororo Indigenous community.

                                  In front of the large picture of Fr Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo were the boxes containing the documents of the Inquiry. In the context of a celebration of the Word and through readings recalled were the values of martyrdom, the testimony of faith, inculturation of the Gospel, defense of indigenous peoples made by Fr Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo who with their blood sealed an alliance of fraternity and peace at the service of the Bororo people.

                                  Extremely evocative were the signs and rites proper to the Bororo culture that accompanied this ceremony: songs, ritual dances, and two large pariko, headgear of macaw feathers worn on the forehead exclusively by men during the funeral rite. All those present were able to perceive that an event of great historical and spiritual significance was taking place for the Church of Mato Grosso, for the Salesian Family and the Indigenous community, in light of the recent Synod of Bishops on the Amazon.

                                  On the morning of Friday 31 January, the solemn Eucharist took place on the feast day of Don Bosco, presided by the diocesan bishop in an atmosphere of joy and gratitude.

                                  Fr Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo wrote, with numerous other martyrs, one of the most glorious pages of the Amazon. They participated significantly and meaningfully in the passion, death and glorious resurrection of Jesus, fighting, giving their lives to defend life, dignity and the rights of the Bororo people and of all indigenous peoples.

                                  {gallery}Brasile - Fine inchiesta Lunk-Simao 2020{/gallery}

                                  • Brasile
                                  • BCG BRASILE CAMPO GRANDE
                                  • Rodolfo Lunkenbein
                                  • Simão Bororo
                                  • Pier Luigi Cameroni
                                  • Santità Salesiana
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    Slovakia – Commemorating Fr Ernest Macák, SDB

                                    3 weeks 3 days ago
                                    Slovakia – Commemorating Fr Ernest Macák, SDB

                                    (ANS - Bratislava) - The Salesian Family of Slovakia lived the month of January 2020, the Salesian month, celebrating the centenary of the birth of Fr Ernest Macák, a faithful and upright Salesian, contemporary of Blessed Fr Titus Zeman. Fr Macák, who was Provincial of the Salesians in the 1990s, passed away on 13 October 2016, and is highly esteemed for his holy life, one of profound prayer and full of Salesian spirituality.

                                    The celebrations in his honor took place in several cities, on the occasion of his birth (7 January), his baptism (11) and his name day (12).

                                    In the Provincial House, in Bratislava, a Eucharist was celebrated. It was presided over by Fr Andrej Kňaze, Provincial Economer, who for three years had Fr Macák as confessor. Preaching the homily was Fr Marián Valábek, a member of the Provincial Council when Fr Mackál was Provincial. “He knew how to live baptism and the priesthood heroically, albeit in a simple and everyday way. He was a seeker. His example and the books he left us can help us in our search for God," testified Fr Valábek.

                                    After the celebration, the unveiling and blessing of a commemorative plaque of Fr Macák took place in front of the parish church. Fr Kňaze offered his testimony on Slovak Catholic radio: "Truly one felt so much wisdom, so much holiness in the meetings with him ... A holy Salesian".

                                    In Košice, in the Salesian house of Kalvaria, a moment of Eucharistic adoration was organized during which the Salesians and lay people present were able to meditate on the thoughts of Fr Macák. In the following commemorative event, two Salesians, Fr Vincent Feledík and Fr Ladislav Miko, commemorated the man. “He excelled in the care of the confreres and young people. He tried to do everything to save vocations - especially the weaker ones.” Their words were then accompanied by songs from the Psalms and by reading several unpublished meditations of Fr Macák on the Our Father.

                                    Finally, in Žilina, the teachers of the Vocational Training Center and Salesian school "Saint Joseph the Worker" also celebrated Fr Macák. During the Mass for the opening of the new school semester, Fr Ján Holubčik, Delegate for Youth Ministry, presented the life story of Fr Macák and encouraged the teachers to follow his example in working with the boys.

                                    Michaela Štubňová

                                    {gallery}SLK - Don Macak 2020{/gallery}

                                    • Slovacchia
                                    • SLK SLOVACCHIA
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      Italy – New IFMA website is online

                                      3 weeks 3 days ago
                                      Italy – New IFMA website is online

                                      (ANS – Rome) – On St John Bosco’s Feast Day, the FMA Institute communicates the Good News of the creation of a new space for Institute ‘InFormation’, the IFMA website: www.cgfmanet.org 

                                      The FMA Institute is living a time of grace as it journeys towards GCXXIV, urged by Mary to “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5) and in harmony with Pope Francis who calls us to newness in the spirit of the Gospel “new wine, new wineskins.” It is precisely the contemporary context with the Educommunication challenges, youth cultures, new educational frontiers that challenges us to inhabit the Digital Communication Ecosystem with awareness and prophetic strength, to give visibility to the mission.

                                      Pope Francis gives us the theme for the 54th World Social Communications Day 2020 “That you may recount... (Ex 10:2) Life becomes history”, which highlights how the heritage of Memory is especially precious in communication. There is no future without being rooted in lived history. Memory should not be considered as a ‘static body’, but rather a ‘dynamic reality’. It is the memory that gives us stories, hopes, dreams, and experiences from one generation to the next.

                                      The intent of the IFMA Web Site as a new ‘InFormative’ space is to broaden our gaze on a world in constant change, interacting with the various audiences, so that all may be Interlocutors capable of giving sense and meaning to experience and Co-creators of Good News.

                                      The heart of the Website is the Infosphere environment, a network of information interconnected with each other, which challenges the FMA Institute to be there in the heart of Contemporaneity, enriching the universe of its educational, communication, evangelizing, socio-political, ecological mission, offering ‘InFormative’ opportunities for sharing life and culture, meaning and opinion, dialogue and participation.

                                      IFMA, by generating news and telling it, gives visibility to the Salesian Charism in the fabric of multicultural relationships and expressions, promoting Formation for Interculturality, the development of a Vocational Culture, the search for new ways for Education, Communication, and Evangelization.

                                      Amid the cacophony of voices and messages that surround us, we need a human story that can speak of ourselves and of the beauty all around us. A narrative that can regard our world and its happenings with a tender gaze. A narrative that can tell us that we are part of a living and interconnected tapestry. A narrative that can reveal the interweaving of the threads which connect us to one another,” wrote Pope Francis in his Message for the 54th World Social Communications Day.

                                      Stories mark us, shape our convictions and behaviors, can help us understand and say who we are. Through the IFMA website, FMA, Salesians, Laity, and young people of the Salesian Family can tell the Good News about the life and mission of the Provinces in the different contexts of the FMA Institute.

                                      • Italia
                                      • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
                                      • Sito
                                      • Comunicazione Sociale
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        Italy – Rector Major: "May Don Bosco help us to not disappoint the aspirations of our young people"

                                        3 weeks 6 days ago

                                        (ANS - Turin) - Valdocco is celebrating. Today, January 31, 132 years since Don Bosco's departure for Heaven are being celebrated. Yet, even after all this time, his presence is constant, alive, almost real. These days, hundreds of people have passed through the Salesian places: they kneel at the feet of the Help of Christians and then go to visit the imposing relic of the Saint of Youth. Virtually everyone passing puts their hand on the glass, as if they wanted to say something to Don Bosco. The Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, has been in Valdocco, and yesterday, recalling the visit of Pope Francis in 2015, he invited the whole Salesian Family "to not disappoint the aspirations of our young people."

                                        Already yesterday, hundreds of boys and girls passed before Don Bosco's tomb. A teacher, leading a group of children, told them when she found herself in front of the relic: "Don Bosco was a saint who dedicated his life to kids who had neither home nor family. He welcomed them all, educated them and then trained them as professionals for life. He helped them change their lives." Then she added: "If Don Bosco had not existed, these children probably would not have had a home, let alone a family. This saint you see now has done a lot, but truly a lot for the poor kids."

                                        Last night, January 30, the eve of the feast of Don Bosco, Fr Á.F. Artime animated a moment of prayer in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians and recalled the words that Pope Francis said when he visited that Basilica in 2015.

                                        "The Pope left us three tasks that we must commit ourselves to carrying out. In the first place, he said that the souls of boys and girls are open to life and to the encounter with God, and we as the Salesian Family must accompany them in this essential phase." Then, he invited the whole Salesian Family to collaborate with the fundamental objective of "saving souls, working with young people and serving the poorest." And he concluded by asking everyone “to not disappoint the profound aspirations that young people have. What aspirations? The need for life, openness, joy, freedom, future and to collaborate in building a more just and fraternal world."

                                        At the end of the celebration, the Rector Major approached Don Bosco's altar and, from the same place where the Saint's body is located, he imparted the blessing of God to the whole Salesian Family in the world.

                                        • Italia
                                        • ICP ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE SPECIALE PIEMONTE E VALLE D'AOSTA
                                        • Valdocco
                                        • Don Bosco
                                        • Festa Don Bosco
                                        • Rettor Maggiore
                                        • Ángel Fernández Artime
                                          Gian Francesco Romano
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