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RMG - January 9, 1921-2021: centenary of episcopal ordination of St. Luigi Versiglia

2 weeks 3 days ago
RMG - January 9, 1921-2021: centenary of episcopal ordination of St. Luigi Versiglia

(ANS - Rome) - In Fr Luigi Versiglia, missionary and superior of the Salesians in China, there was always a great desire to acquire the virtues necessary to become a good missionary, convinced that at the basis of every apostolate for souls there must be profound piety, union with God and entrustment to Mary Help of Christians. At the beginning of Lent in 1920 he sent all the confreres a circular in which he summarized his thoughts in five points that became known as the five commandments of the missionary:

1.    The missionary who is not united with God is a channel that's detached itself from the source.
2.    The missionary who prays a lot will also do a lot.
3.    Love souls very much; this love will master all industries to do them good.
4.    Always aspire to the best in and of everything; but always be satisfied with what happens.
5.    Without Mary Help of Christians, we Salesians are nothing.

In the 1920s the Holy See decided to elevate the Salesian Mission in China to an Apostolic Vicariate and despite the fact that Fr Versiglia, in the immense humility that distinguished him, considered himself lacking any ability and virtue and the necessary strength to assume roles of responsibility and with his insistence on being exonerated from leadership positions, he was appointed Bishop and Apostolic Vicar of Shiu-chow.

His episcopal consecration took place on 9 January 1921 in the cathedral of Canton by the hands of Mons.De Guébrand, assisted by the Bishops of Hong-Kong and Swatow and in the presence of the Superiors of the various Missions, representatives of the French, Italian and Portuguese, Spanish, and American clergy, and a crowd of faithful that had flocked from all over, as well as from the "Schola Cantorum" of the Macao Orphanage. “In verbo tua laxabo rete” (At your word I will let down the net): this is the motto chosen by Bishop Versiglia.

On becoming bishop, Mons. Versiglia did not change his habits; he continued to sacrifice himself for his confreres and for the Chinese and lent himself to any task, role or service: typographer, sacristan, gardener, house painter, even barber. When the Salesians arrived in Shiu-chow, the Mission owned nothing but a poor residence in a narrow street that ran along the ancient city walls but, over the years, Bishop Versiglia worked to raise funds and, thanks to his zeal and innate gifts as an architect, he designed schools, residences, small churches, a cathedral, a shelter for the elderly, a dispensary, and their construction followed.

In 12 years of mission, from 1918 to 1930, Bishop Versiglia was able to work wonders in a land not always favorable to Catholics. The intrepid bishop stopped before nothing, not even the famines, epidemics, the defeats that presented themselves to him and his collaborators, not always humanly rewarded: apostasy, slander, abandonment, misunderstanding, cowardice ... But it was all overcome thanks to prayer, intense and constant. A donation in the style of the Good Shepherd that will be sealed with the blood of martyrdom on February 25, 1930.

  • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
  • Luigi Versiglia
    Virginia Nitto

    RMG - Blessed Titus Zeman, witness of hope

    2 weeks 3 days ago
    RMG - Blessed Titus Zeman, witness of hope

    (ANS - Rome) - January 8 is the liturgical memorial celebration of Blessed Titus Zeman, a Slovak Salesian priest, who died in hatred of the faith at the age of 54 (Vajnory, January 4, 1915 - Bratislava, January 8, 1969). He was beatified on 30 September 2017 in the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava. “By this, we came to know love: He gave His life for us; thus we too must give our life for our brothers” (1 Jn 3:16). It was in listening to this Word of God during the celebration of the Eucharist that Titus Zeman felt in his heart the inspiration and strength to sacrifice his own life for the salvation of vocations, overcoming fear and declaring himself ready to follow the will of God, trusting in divine mercy and hoping for eternal life. His offer, repeated several times during the dangerous years: “Even if I lost my life, I would not consider it wasted knowing that at least one of those I had helped became a priest in my place” is for us a seed of hope and trust in new generations.

    His life offered for the salvation of vocations and "perseverance in the vocation", the 18 years of suffering in prisons or in conditional freedom and, above all, his death contributed, concretely, to the building up of the Church and of the society of the time. First of all, they allowed about twenty young people to reach the otherwise impossible goal of the priesthood; he thus encouraged many others to “not let their hope be robbed”, and generated in the Salesians a mentality of vocation ministry which has allowed the Congregation to never completely die out in those lands (since January 1969, the month of Titus' death, and in the years immediately following, more than 100 vocations flourished in secret prayer groups near Bratislava, to limit oneself to just one example).

    The then provincial Fr Andrej Dermek SDB said on the day of the funeral: “a few dozen Salesian priests thank you for their priesthood”; even the regime's spies present at the funeral attest to his martyrdom and suffering “for the faith and the Slovak people”. The very conversion of Judge Pavol Korbuly, responsible for the condemnation of Zeman but who later became a Christian, and ready to ask forgiveness together with his family for having condemned “about twenty innocent Salesians”, is a fruit of the martyrial life of Blessed Zeman.

    The Communist director who had fired him in 1946 also converts, like others he meets during his years in prison. The presence of Fr Titus therefore flourishes in encounters that change many lives, and bring them closer to the Lord. It should also be remembered that - among the clerics brought by Zeman to Turin - some returned to Slovakia, others remained abroad with teaching positions, and still others became missionaries. On the day of his funeral, there was also the testimony of a Lutheran pastor, a sign that the very blood of the martyrs “creates” an ecumenism that breaks down barriers and generates brotherhood.

    As Pope Francis said: “This fidelity to the style of Jesus — which is style of hope — even to death, would be called by a most beautiful name by the early Christians: “martyrdom,” which means “witness” ... a name fragrant with discipleship. Martyrs do not live for themselves, they do not fight to affirm their own ideas, and they accept having to die only out of fidelity to the Gospel.” (Audience of 28 June 2017).

    • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
    • Titus Zeman
      Virginia Nitto

      United States - The commitment of "Salesian Missions" in favor of migrants

      2 weeks 4 days ago

      (ANS - New Rochelle) - On the occasion of the World Day of Migrants, celebrated all over the world last December 18, “Salesian Missions”, the Salesian Mission Office of New Rochelle, highlighted its commitment in favor of migrants.

      According to the International Migrant Stock 2019, the number of international migrants reached 272 million in 2019, continuing an upward trend in all regions of the world. This is an increase of 51 million migrants since 2010. The UN also reports that in 2019 Europe hosted the largest number of international migrants (82 million), followed by North America (59 million), North Africa and Western Asia (49 million).

      Very often it is the younger ones who leave their homeland in search of a better job, education and lifestyle. Many of them choose to leave, but many others are forced to migrate to escape poverty, violence or conflict; others are displaced by the effects of war or climate change. The UN notes that many young people leave their country for humanitarian reasons, as refugees and asylum seekers.

      All over the world, Salesian missionaries look after these young people and provide them with educational services. Young migrants, on their journey in search of a new lifestyle, often face rejection, homelessness, exploitation and delinquency. They also risk becoming victims of trafficking in human beings.

      "Salesian programs help young migrants to adapt to the new environment through language training and thanks to workforce development programs," said Fr Gus Baek, Head of Salesian Missions. "Lack of work is one of the main causes of emigration. Young people leave their countries of origin in search of a better life. In addition to helping young migrants, Salesian missionaries are working to create new educational and work opportunities in the countries from which young people leave, as an incentive to stay at home," he added.

      “Salesian Missions” also recalled that the Covid-19 pandemic has hit migrants hard. Far from home, often without a steady job, many are left homeless and without any source of income. Salesian missionaries - in particular in India, Guatemala, Peru and Spain - have concentrated on giving further support to migrants.

      To know more and in detail about the actions in favor of migrants, please consult the “Mission Newswire” website.

      • Migranti
      • Missioni
      • Stati Uniti
        Virginia Nitto

        RMG - Accompanying the first steps like Don Bosco

        2 weeks 4 days ago
        RMG - Accompanying the first steps like Don Bosco

        (ANS - Rome) - The process of disseminating "Young Salesians and accompaniment – Orientations and Guidelines" continues and the seed video for January occupies a special place. It is Don Bosco's month: the video begins in his room in Valdocco, where it all began. Kept there now is a small seed measuring 10 x 5 cm, the tiny notebook on which Michele Rua, aged sixteen, wrote on January 26, 1854: “On the evening of January 26, 1854 we gathered in Don Bosco's room; with Don Bosco himself, Rocchietti, Artiglia, Cagliero and Rua. A practical exercise of charity towards one's neighbour, with the help of the Lord and of St. Francis de Sales, was proposed to us; and later to take a promise, if it seems possible and convenient, to make a vow to the Lord. From that evening the name Salesian was placed on those ready to do the same.

        There could be no more effective testimony of how Don Bosco accompanied his young people and how fruitful his walking alongside them was. He welcomed the "five loaves and two fishes" they had to offer and opened in front of them boundless horizons, of which we are now a part.

        The accompaniment of every child, of the groups, of the environment is at the heart of youth ministry, supporting the openness to life of anyone who enters the houses of Don Bosco. It becomes the mark of quality of those centers dedicated to the accompaniment of those oriented towards Salesian life, such as aspirants, in all the variety of their forms, and pre-novitiates.

        The appeal that Don Bosco makes to us from Valdocco with this 3-minute video message is to recover this treasure. It is a charismatic talent whose modernity was strongly recalled to us by the synod on young people and Christus Vivit. It becomes a responsibility for the Salesian Family that the Church entrusts to us for today. In “Young Salesians and accompaniment” this is the focus from number 109 to 118.

        Giorgio (ITA), Kenneth (ENG), Anselmo (PT), Jean Paul (FRA) and Brandon (ESP), who produced the video, leave us three questions with which to welcome the seed, make it sprout and bear fruit. Among them: What is the standard and the 'health' of my province regarding personal accompaniment within the youth ministry, as it usually takes place in the various communities? The concluding caption: “At Valdocco as in Emmaus: walking side by side lights up the heart”.

        Here, the link to the video.

        • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
        • Accompagnamento
        • Giovani
          Virginia Nitto

          Thailand - Share the joy of Christmas in times of pandemic

          2 weeks 6 days ago
          Thailand - Share the joy of Christmas in times of pandemic

          (ANS - Bangkok) - Since the beginning of December 2020, Thailand has been facing a new increase in Covid-19 cases. This has prompted civilian authorities to impose stricter restrictions to control the spread of the virus. Schools, cinemas and other meeting points were promptly closed. As for liturgical functions, especially in the diocese of Bangkok, the authorities still allow their celebration, provided that the places follow strict measures.

          In light of these new measures, the usual Christmas celebrations, with moments of sharing and joy, did not take place. However, this did not prevent the Salesians of the Parish of Mary Help of Christians from giving life to actions of solidarity. Under the guidance of the parish priest, Fr Aaron Alcoseba, and the parish council, the project “Sharing the joy of Christmas - From us to you” was launched. The latter saw the participation of many faithful, who donated money and other essential materials to help those most in need.

          The donations were directed to four social centers, which take care of the marginalized:

          1. The House of Hope in Nonthaburi, which takes care of 96 poor children and young people;
          2. The “Santa Chiara” House, run by the Franciscans, which welcomes and cares for people affected by HIV;
          3. The House of God the Father, which takes care of the poorest children and in particular of those who do not yet have citizenship documents;
          4. “Bethany House”, run by the Camillian nuns and intended for the care of the elderly.

          All these activities have brought joy to both those who gave and those who received. The solidarity initiatives have sparked hope in the marginalized people of society who, in the midst of this second wave that is afflicting Thailand, are those who suffer the most from its consquences.

          • THA THAILANDIA
          • Thailandia
          • Natale
          • Coronavirus
            Virginia Nitto

            Vatican – World Day of Peace celebrated on January 1, 2021

            2 weeks 6 days ago
            Foto: © Servizio Fotografico Vatican Media

            (ANS - Vatican City) - On January 1, at the beginning of each new year, the Church celebrates Mary Most Holy Mother of God and it is to her that the prayers and hopes of peace for the world have been entrusted in this 2021 which has just begun. In fact, January 1st is also the day on which World Day of Peace is celebrated.

            On the occasion of this important anniversary, Pope Francis drew attention to the theme of the culture of care as a path to peace.

            The culture of care as “a common, supportive and inclusive commitment to protecting and promoting the dignity and good of all, a willingness to show care and compassion, to work for reconciliation and healing, and to advance mutual respect and acceptance,” and “...a Culture of Care as a Path to Peace... to combat the culture of indifference, waste and confrontation so prevalent in our time.” This is the fulcrum of the Holy Father's Message for the 54th World Day of Peace.

            Pope Francis also reserved a special thought for the year that has just ended, noting that the sufferings suffered by humanity in 2020, above all the Covid-19 pandemic, are evidence of how much it is necessary to take an interest in one another. We cannot think of building peace if “we give in to the temptation of being disinterested in others” and if we don't help those most in need.

            Therefore, peace can be built, the Holy Father emphasizes, only if we find it within ourselves and in those close to us, but above all by taking care of those in need. It is a new culture that must grow to “defeat indifference, defeat the gap and rivalry, which unfortunately prevail.”

            Finally, Pope Francis concluded with the hope that peace reigns everywhere: in hearts, in families, in work, in nations. It is peace, the Pontiff repeats, what we need, today that life is touched “by wars, by enmities, by so many things that destroy… we want peace. And this is a gift.”

            The full text of the Pope's message is available here.

            • Vaticano
            • Papa Francesco
            • Pace
              Virginia Nitto

              RMG - Fr Joan Lluís Playà's message in view of Salesian Family Spirituality Days 2021

              2 weeks 6 days ago
              RMG - Fr Joan Lluís Playà's message in view of Salesian Family Spirituality Days 2021

              (ANS - Rome) - “We must deepen in our hearts this sense of hope of our spirituality, to be a stimulus for it in the environments in which we find ourselves. I therefore invite you to participate with joy, in a family spirit, feeling the unity of all the Groups of the Salesian Family, in these Days.” With these words, the Central Delegate of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family, Fr Joan Lluís Playà, invites us to take part in the forthcoming Spirituality Days of the Salesian Family.

              The Days will be held from 15 to 17 January 2021 and will have a special feature this year: they will take place online. In recent months, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have become accustomed to relating to each other in a different way but, even at a distance, the Days will be a time of sharing and communion. Fr Playà's complete message is available in Italian, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, on the various language channels of ANS Channel.

              • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
              • Giornate di Spiritualità della FS
              • Famiglia Salesiana
                Virginia Nitto

                Brazil - RSB-Social and Salesian Province "St Pius X" launch "Generation 2030" project

                3 weeks ago

                (ANS - Porto Alegre) - The "Rede Salesiana Brasil de Ação Social" (RSB - Social) and the "St Pius X" Salesian Province of Brazil-Porto Alegre launched the "Generation 2030" project on 8 December last, in the presence of the executive directors of the RSB - Social, Fr Waldomiro Bronakowski and Sr. Silvia Aparecida. The event was also attended by Fr Gilson Marcos da Silva, the Brazil-Porto Alegre Provincial, and Fr Sebastião Bueno, provincial delegate for social works.

                The date chosen for the launch of this project - designed to ensure the financial sustainability of social works - is especially significant. In fact, on 8 December the Salesian Family celebrates both the feast day of the Immaculate Conception and the meeting of Don Bosco with the young Bartolomeo Garelli. Following the example of Don Bosco, "Generation 2030" is a project that emphasizes the charismatic experience of the people assisted in the context of social works and which fosters the role of young people. The latter are seen, in fact, as potential agents of social transformation in their respective territories.

                During the presentation event, the project's basic concept was explained, its origin, its structure and the process that led to its development. “Generation 2030” aims to be a model for the whole of Brazil, especially in the context of social works. Also during the presentation, some essential aspects for the feasibility of the project were highlighted:

                - Active participation of management teams;
                - Prompt and strategic support and action from the Province;
                - Transparency in consultations towards formation, fostering charism and building a culture of social planning and design.

                The video of the project presentation is available on the RSB YouTube channel.

                Source: RSB-Social

                • Brasile
                • BPA BRASILE PORTO ALEGRE
                  Virginia Nitto

                  India - Salesian “Don Bosco High School - Matunga” receives prestigious awards

                  3 weeks ago
                  India - Salesian “Don Bosco High School - Matunga” receives prestigious awards

                  (ANS - Mumbai) - The Salesian “Don Bosco High School - Matunga” in Mumbai has been constantly acknowledged as one of India's best schools. It is well known for its relentless pursuit of excellence in the demanding field of education. In addition to academia, it is also considered one of the most important institutions in India in the field of sport.

                  In November and December 2020, two leading journals conducting education surveys in India - Education Today and Education World - published the list of the best schools in India and their respective states for the academic year 2019-2020.

                  The "Don Bosco High School - Matunga" school was ranked first in Mumbai and second in all of India. The schools were rated on ten metrics: academic reputation, individual attention, infrastructure provision, innovative teaching, safety and hygiene, sports education, value for money, holistic development, quality of leadership management and curricular activities.

                  Furthermore, on December 30th, Education Today awarded it a first place ranking, in the whole of India, in the "Parents Choice Award" category, the award related to the choice by parents, as regards boys' schools.

                  Also, Education World awarded the school a tenth place, nationally, and third in the state of Maharashtra and in the city of Mumbai. This time, the criteria for awarding the prize were: the well-being and development of teachers, the competence of the teaching staff, sports and curricular education, the provision of infrastructure and the like.

                  Fr Bernard Fernandes, the principal of “Don Bosco High School”, said he was happy to receive this good news. "There could be no better way to end the year than to be winners of these awards," he said. "We are happy to have received these awards, especially in a difficult year like 2020. Our school has a strong Salesian culture and ethics, and it is this good foundation that has allowed us to reach this level of excellence."  

                  • India
                  • Mumbai
                  • INB INDIA MUMBAY
                    Virginia Nitto

                    Spain - Solidarity initiatives of "Mary Help of Christians" Province

                    3 weeks ago

                    (ANS - Seville) - The Salesian houses of the "Mary Help of Christians" Province were filled with solidarity in this Christmas season. What better way to celebrate the arrival of “Baby Jesus” than to offer some of what we have to those most in need?

                    The Kilo Operation is one of the most popular initiatives in Salesian houses, as in the case of El Campello, La Línea, Córdoba, Cadiz, Alicante, Palma del Río, Malaga, Ibi, Villena, Valencia, Elche, Utrera, La Almunia, Úbeda, La Palma del Condado, Malaga, Mérida, Huelva, Utrera, Zaragoza, Mataró, Trinidad, Martí-Codolar, La Mina, Ciutadella and Alcoy, and many others.

                    This year, Kilo 2020 was marked by the needs created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Students and teachers gave their contribution and 2,200 kilos of non-perishable food were collected for 70 families. The initiative was disseminated and promoted by many local institutions.

                    Also, the 26th Potito Operation took place from 17 to 19 December, which is expected to reach 10,000 units collected. Led by the DOSA Youth Center and the NGO Bosco Global, about 350 volunteers went to the city's pharmacies and supermarkets in small groups of five people to respect the anti-Covid measures, asking for solidarity from the people of Cordoba on behalf of entities such as Cáritas, ADEVIDA, the Food Bank, or the Franciscans of the White Cross.

                    "This year we had the support of the students of our Salesian school, of the school of la Salle and of the Trinitarios. And there were also volunteers from the Don Bosco Foundation, Hermandad del Prendimiento, many parents, teachers, Past Pupils, Salesian Cooperators, Association of Mary Help of Christians ... ", the Salesian house in the San Lorenzo district reports.

                    The Youth Ministry of the Salesian House of La Línea de la Concepción devised three initiatives to make the personal circumstances of the neediest in the city "different and more joyful", especially during the Christmas period. The first of these was the traditional food collection campaign (the well-known Operation Ton), the second was aimed at the different day centers and the elderly of the Asansull association, and finally, with the third initiative there was the adhesion to the "Tu Casa Azul" project, which consists of finding homes for those families who have to travel to the reference hospitals in Seville.

                    "In these times, it is fundamental to show the importance of values such as affection, empathy and kindness. With these initiatives we also try to unite the younger and older generations, showing affection through a greeting card and succeeding, on many occasions, in filling a symbolic void," adds the Salesian community.

                    • SMX SPAGNA MARIA AUSILIATRICE
                    • Spagna
                    • Natale
                      Virginia Nitto

                      Ecuador - First formation workshop of "Red América Social Salesiana"

                      3 weeks 4 days ago

                      (ANS - Ecuador) - "Red América Social Salesiana", the Network of social works and services for young people at risk in America has organized the First Formation Workshop on leadership and the reduction of inequalities from 25 November to 9 December. Through 3 virtual events, an attempt was made to motivate and train Salesian social works across America in terms of female empowerment, leadership and reduction of inequalities. About 80 people took part, including educators and those responsible for social works, from more than 10 countries of the continent.

                      The training began on 25 November with the presentation: "Leadership and reduction of gender inequalities". Four female leaders from different fields participated, enriching the exchange of experiences and testimonies of empowerment. One of the main lessons learned is that work must be done to strengthen the spaces in which women can become political, economic, social and cultural references, based on criteria of empathy and social awareness. The starting point is education and public policy generation, and also every single action we take on a day to day basis, as it depends on all of us to build a world free from gender stereotypes, where girls feel free to be who they want to be.

                      These days of formation affirm the conviction that all of us can be the engines of change, and thus achieve the 5th goal of sustainable development: "End all forms of discrimination against women and girls". As “Red América Social Salesiana” we hope to propose different training spaces like this in 2021; this will help strengthen the work we do for our children and adolescents to offer them a life of dignity and full of opportunities.
                      We are signs and bearers of God's love for children and young people at risk!

                      Facebook: América Social Salesiana
                      Twitter: @salesianos_RASS
                      YouTube: América Social Salesiana
                      Instagram: Americasocialsalesiana

                      • Ecuador
                      • Red América Social Salesiana
                        Alessandro Parrozzani

                        Vatican - Validity of Diocesan Inquiry into Cause of Servants of God Rodolfo Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo

                        3 weeks 4 days ago
                        Vatican - Validity of Diocesan Inquiry into Cause of Servants of God Rodolfo Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo

                        (ANS - Vatican City) - The Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in the Ordinary Congress of 16 December 2020, after examining the Acts of the diocesan inquiry carried out, from 2018 to 2020, in the Diocese of Barra do Garças (Brazil) on the life and martyrdom, on the reputation of martyrdom and signs of the Servants of God Rodolfo Lunkenbein, professed priest of the Society of St. Francis de Sales, and of Simone Cristiano Koge Kudugodu, known as "Simão Bororo", replied in the "affirmative" as regards the legal validity of that investigation. The document, signed by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, confirms that the testification and documentary proofs have been collected according to the established norms.

                        Commenting on the document, the Postulator General, Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, underscored that “this is a great milestone, the result of the work carried out with passion and competence in the diocesan phase. A special thanks goes to the members of the diocesan Tribunal, to the Vice-Postulator Fr Paulo Jácomo Eduardo, to Fr João Bosco Maciel for their generous dedication, and to Dr. Lodovica Maria Zanet for her constant and qualified collaboration.”

                        Fr Gildásio Dos Santos Mendes, today General Councilor for Social Communication and who in his capacity as Provincial of the Campo Grande Province has supported the Cause with determination, expresses his joy as follows: “This news, which arrived at Christmas time, is a special gift for the whole Church, the Salesian Family and indigenous peoples from all over the world. It is also an invitation to continue praying for the good outcome of the Cause itself, and a stimulus for all of us to live our vocation in following Christ with hope, in fidelity to Don Bosco our father, who taught us by his example, that holiness is the main goal of our life.”

                        Now the Congregation for the Causes of Saints will proceed with the appointment of the Relator and an external Collaborator for the preparation of the "Positio super martyrio", that is the volume that presents and examines the life, the material and formal martyrdom of the Servants of God, the reputation of martyrdom and signs.

                        • Vaticano
                        • Santità Salesiana
                          Alessandro Parrozzani

                          Uganda - Salesian missionaries of Palabek provide food aid to 800 people

                          3 weeks 5 days ago
                          Uganda - Salesian missionaries of Palabek provide food aid to 800 people

                          (ANS - Palabek) - The Salesian missionaries of the Palabek refugee camp provided food aid to 800 people thanks to the support of Salesian Missions, the Salesian Mission Office of New Rochelle, USA.

                          The Palabek refugee reception camp currently hosts more than 56,000 refugees and asylum seekers. It was officially established in April 2016 to reduce congestion in the larger refugee camps in the northwestern part of Uganda. Several agencies are involved in the provision of food and education within Palabek. While some have left due to the pandemic, the Salesians have remained.

                          Even before COVID-19, living conditions in Palabek were not easy. Food distribution was scarce and there were difficulties in accessing clean water. With the arrival of the pandemic, everything has become even more complicated. The amount of food delivered to refugees once a month was reduced by 30%, classes and activities were suspended, and episodes of violence, alcoholism and teenage pregnancies began. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warns that, unless urgent measures are taken to address the situation, levels of acute malnutrition are set to rise, especially among children.

                          “With the support of Salesian Missions we were able to make about 800 bags of food in November,” said Fr Ubaldino Andrade, a Salesian missionary who works in Palabek. “We'll be able to supply almost the same amount to the Christians in the camp as well as provide blankets, buckets, cooking oil and soap.”
                          Fr Ubaldino added: “This donation is highly appreciated because there are hunger, malnutrition and other nutritional deficiencies among the refugees. This creates a lot of frustration, anger and other social disturbances. The Salesians distributed many tons of food and clothing, especially to the poorest. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many families were also supported with seeds and agricultural tools.”

                          Salesian Missions

                          • Uganda
                          • Palabek
                          • AGL AFRICA GRANDI LAGHI
                            Alessandro Parrozzani

                            RMG - 50th anniversary of Dies Natalis of Servant of God Carlo Braga

                            3 weeks 5 days ago
                            RMG - 50th anniversary of Dies Natalis of Servant of God Carlo Braga

                            (ANS - Rome) – 3 January 2021 marks 50 years since the death of the Servant of God Carlo Braga, born in Tirano (Sondrio) on May 23, 1889, and died in San Fernando (Philippines) on January 3, 1971.

                            Abandoned very young by his father and orphaned by his mother, Carlo was welcomed first by the FMA of Tirano and then by the Salesians of Sondrio. Providence offers him the extraordinary opportunity to meet Fr Michele Rua, Don Bosco's first successor, who opens the way for the boy to become a Salesian. Fr Rua smiles upon Carlo and, repeating the gesture that Don Bosco had once made with him, puts his hand inside his own and says to him: “We will always be friends”. Certainly, Carlo Braga will have no lack of difficulties at every stage of his life - as a novice, cleric, even provincial -, materializing in prudential postponements and sometimes taking the form of slander: but he will have learned to face them by now. Meanwhile, he becomes a man capable of radiating an extraordinary joy, humble, active and with a delicate irony: all characteristics that indicate his sense of equilibrium and reality. Under the action of the Holy Spirit, Fr Braga himself develops a radiant paternity, which is joined by a great tenderness for the young people entrusted to him.

                            In 1906 he became a Salesian and in 1914 he was ordained a priest. With the outbreak of the First World War, he was recruited into the army. At the end of the conflict, after being miraculously healed of the "Spanish flu" through the intercession of the Help of Christians, he asked to be sent on a mission to the Far East. In 1919 he arrived in Shiuchow, in southern China; here he met Mons. Luigi Versiglia, today a saint. In 1930 he became Provincial of China, giving a significant boost to the development of the Salesian missionary work. The orphanage in Macau and five large centers in Hong Kong are opened; he founded the first Salesian school in Beijing: Don Bosco's dream was fulfilled. In 1950 the Salesian house, in clear expansion, saw its dreams interrupted by communism: all education, charity and evangelization activities were closed. The collapse of so much work does not demoralize him.

                            He was sent to the Philippines where he started the Salesian presence, becoming a Visitor in 1958. His zeal and enthusiasm infect other missionaries. He maintains a holy friendship for all the families of the confreres, benefactors and students. He enchants everyone with his generosity and gratitude, dictated by his big heart. At the basis of all these extraordinary qualities and deeds, he accomplished is his intimate union with God, his love for Jesus, a secret will to give himself to the Lord. As a simple confrere, he dedicated himself to a finer work: that of confessor for young people and spiritual director of consecrated souls.

                            He had participated in seven General Chapters, bringing them a note of his own enthusiasm, joy and optimism; he knew the Congregation like the old Salesians of Don Bosco's school; he had been a pioneer of the Kingdom of God. He can then say with a smile to the young Filipino novices that he thought of Heaven as if he already had it. The Lord wanted that his death leave the same impression that he had always transmitted in life: always cheerful, ready for anything, observant in his religious duties and always punctual wherever and whenever duty called. And so, at 5.30 am on January 3, 1971, this herald of the Gospel returns his soul to God, after having worked with tireless zeal in the vineyard of the Lord. The Cause of Beatification was launched in 2014.

                            The Rector Major speaks of him in the Strenna 2021, presenting him as a witness of hope: "In the Servant of God Fr Carlo Braga, we find an example of pastoral intelligence both in his tireless dedication to the missions and in the accompaniment of the members of the Salesian Family. Without losing heart, but with the hope proper to those who place their faith in Christ our Lord, he knew how to have the patience that Don Bosco so much recommended to be able to accompany young people in building a mature personality. This patience was the fruit of the love that flowed in his missionary heart, which allowed him to build bridges between cultures and not to erect barriers. The call he felt, to promote unity among people, helped him to overcome the differences that could arise between others, convinced that he was always supported by divine grace, which generates the culture of encounter."

                            • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                            • Carlo Braga
                              Alessandro Parrozzani

                              RMG - Rector Major's official comment on Strenna 2021 has been published

                              3 weeks 5 days ago
                              RMG - Rector Major's official comment on Strenna 2021 has been published

                              (ANS - Rome) – Published on 29 December was the official comment of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, on Strenna 2021: "Moved by hope: 'See, I am making all things new' (Rev 21.5)". It appears in five languages: Italian, English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

                              Just four days after the launch of the Strenna 2021 video, the main animation tools for the Salesian Family for 2021 are now available. In the meantime, the provincial translators of the Salesian Regions and the Delegates for Social Communication are engaged in translations into other languages. The official commentary is available on the portal www.sdb.org and consists of 18 pages divided into 6 parts and ends with a prayer to Mary, Mother of Hope.

                              {gallery}POSTER STRENNA 2021{/gallery}

                               

                              • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                              • Rettor Maggiore
                              • Strenna 2021
                                Alessandro Parrozzani

                                Spain - "Reconoce" officially constitutes itself as an association

                                3 weeks 6 days ago

                                (ANS - Madrid) - On the occasion of the International Volunteer Day, 5 December, the "Reconoce" project was officially established as an association with the signing of its founding act at the headquarters of the Youth Council of Spain (Madrid).

                                The "Reconoce" project, which aims to certify the skills acquired in volunteer programs to improve the work profile of participants, celebrated the official deed of incorporation as an association with the participation of the presidents of the three promoting entities: María Valencia de Didania of "Federación de Entidades Cristianas de Tiempo Libre", Pilar Blasco of the "Confederación Don Bosco", and Elena Cabezas of the "Scouts de España"; also present, Elena Ruiz Cebrián, president of the Youth Council of Spain, and Luis Caballero, representative of INJUVE (Instituto de la Juventud de España).

                                “This project is essential for all young people, as the skills acquired during volunteering can be fundamental in the selection process,” said Elena Ruiz Cebrián.
                                Luis Caballero said: “A team of young people has developed a valid and rigorous instrument. It's a product of great value with great potential and to exploit it this specific and legal definition was needed to make it evolve into a project as its own proper entity. It is recognized as a priority for INJUVE because it is born of young people and also links non-formal education and non-formal education for employment.”

                                Santiago Domínguez, president of "Reconoce", said, “The more than 20,000 young people from all over Spain who are part of 'Reconoce' are the real engines of social change, and must be considered by all as the entrepreneurial fabric for their unique skills acquired during the voluntary service.” The president concluded his speech with a phrase from Don Bosco “You young people are responsible for your future.”

                                • Spagna
                                • SSM SPAGNA SAN GIACOMO MAGGIORE
                                  Alessandro Parrozzani

                                  Italy - Don Bosco in the front line army of white coats

                                  3 weeks 6 days ago
                                  Italy - Don Bosco in the front line army of white coats

                                  (ANS - Turin) - A popular American TV series was "ER”,  about doctors on the front line. But if we look around us, we discover that its protagonists are not fruit of the imagination, because they do really exist and live near us. 

                                  They are the heroes of our day, men and women who wear their white coats every day with the fearless pride of a uniform. And there are also the chaplains who for a year, all together, have faced Covid-19 with admirable courage and faith. We, therefore, wish to thank all these extraordinary people for what they have been and are doing with the most moving and praiseworthy impulse of charity. Let us start first of all with the health workers, doctors, nurses, and especially all those who are past pupils of the Salesian Schools and continue their profession with the same spirit of St John Bosco, alive and active alongside them in this daily battle.

                                  Among the chaplains, special thanks to Fr Mina Yussef Wakim, a Salesian priest. He carried out his ministry in Turin in the ICP Province, but as soon as he graduated in Psychology on March 18, 2020, he wanted to lend a hand to help people where they were most needed it in dealing with the pandemic. Divine Providence led him to carry out a period of volunteer work at the "City of Health and Science" University Hospital of Turin, as chaplain. From the beginning of September, Fr Mina was officially hired at ASLTO 3 as a professional collaborator and chaplain of the Rivoli Hospital. From the very first moment, everyone noticed the typically Salesian joyful spirit and enthusiasm that guide Fr Mina in his service as chaplain. When he visits the sick, he presents himself first of all as a Salesian and bearer of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. His mission is at the service of patients, those who care for them, doctors, nurses and all the staff of the hospital. With priceless human warmth, patience, gentleness and the ability to meet with others, he brings the spirit of Don Bosco to the hospital setting in a very effective way; his presence, alongside the health workers, bringing comfort, consolation, hope.

                                  With his availability, 24/7, and his constant visits to patients, especially those who have contracted Covid-19, Fr Mina helps the sick and the staff of the Rivoli Hospital to feel and experience the joy of Sunday, that is Jesus himself who goes to look for his favorite children wherever fate has led them. In other words, he is an example of how the Church reaches out to everyone, especially those in need without ever making them feel alone. Thanks to Fr Mina, we are reminded of the way in which Don Bosco lived the cholera epidemic that broke out in Turin in 1854. With a highly courageous spirit Don Bosco had convinced a large group of about thirty boys from the oratory to serve those afflicted by cholera, without ever being afraid, trusting in the protection of the Virgin Mary.

                                  • Italia
                                  • ICP ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE SPECIALE PIEMONTE E VALLE D'AOSTA
                                  • Coronavirus
                                    Alessandro Parrozzani

                                    Italy - Lombriasco Beekeeping Project 2020

                                    3 weeks 6 days ago
                                    Italy - Lombriasco Beekeeping Project 2020

                                    (ANS - Turin) - Apicoltura Lombriasco 2020 is a project conceived by Net4Grow, coordinated by Daniel Ormen, and the Salesian Agricultural School of Lombriasco, directed by Fr Marco Casanova, in collaboration with various sector technicians and professionals.

                                    The first objective is to create vocational training courses dedicated to young students of the Salesian Agricultural Schools and professionals in the field, attentive to the world of beekeeping of the future and to safeguarding the species and the environment.

                                    The course started with great success on November 17th at the Salesian Agricultural School of Lombriasco in collaboration with AgriPiemonte Miele, the sector's representative body, of Turin. This course, free of charge, is reserved for the fifth grade of the Salesian Institute and sees the participation of an entire class.
                                    A second step will be dedicated to setting up an experimental area called "flowered meadow" which, together with the positioning of the hives, will complete the process of fostering awareness of the new "natural" cultivation systems that respect the earth, the eco-system, species protection and human health.

                                    The final step is to create a network between professionals in the sector, technicians and students of the Salesian Agricultural Schools across the globe, to generate exchanges of technical-training experiences on bees and the environment, and to encourage school-work alternation for experience practice in several countries.
                                    The start of the project would not have been possible without the precious contribution of Hobby Farm of Biella (Riccardo Rubatto), which supplied 10 hives and the material for the workshop, from the Bricco Gioino (Marco Trinchero) agricultural company which provided bees and technical-practical skills, and to the young past pupil of the Agricultural School of Lombriasco Alessandro Appendino of the company who carefully follows the health of the bees.
                                    At the same time, it is our duty to thank the teachers of the Salesian Agricultural School of Lombriasco, who from the beginning gave their availability and actively participated in this important experience.


                                    www.salesianilombriasco.it
                                    Facebook: Scuole Salesiane Lombriasco
                                    www.net4grow.com
                                    Facebook: Expo Lombriasco Agricultura

                                    Dr. Daniel Ormenus
                                    Responsible for "Solidarity of Don Bosco - Youth in Agriculture" project

                                    Salesian Agricultural Schools in the world

                                    {gallery}ITALIA PROGETTO APICULTURA{/gallery}

                                    • Italia
                                    • ICP ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE SPECIALE PIEMONTE E VALLE D'AOSTA
                                    • Scuole
                                    • Agricoltura
                                      Alessandro Parrozzani

                                      Benin - Commitment of "Don Bosco Houses" for family ministry

                                      4 weeks ago
                                      Foto: Foyer Don Bosco Facebook

                                      (ANS - Cotonou) - Established in 2015, the "Don Bosco Houses" (Foyer Don Bosco) are an initiative of the Salesians of West Francophone Africa (AFO), which brings together Catholic married couples for moments of prayer, sharing their family experiences, and the accompaniment of young people to marriage.

                                      “We felt the need for a proposal inspired by the Salesian spirit in favor of Christian married couples,” recalls Fr Adolphe-Marie Akpoué, Salesian, the project's initiator. At the time, the religious was parish priest of the parish dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua near Zogbo, in Cotonou. “In Zogbo I saw a team of committed lay people who, for three months, prepared young couples for marriage. But there was no structured movement for already married couples,” explains Fr Akpoué.
                                      It is in this context that in 2015 the idea of the "Don Bosco Houses" was born. “In response to the appeals of the 2014 and 2015 Synods of Bishops on the family, we started the first cell of the 'Don Bosco Houses' movement in Africa and Madagascar,” he explains.

                                      The genesis of the "Don Bosco Houses" movement on a world level goes back, in fact, to much earlier: it was 1965, in Spain, when the project of the "Don Bosco Houses" (Hogar Don Bosco) took off as a form of ecclesial movement of Christian spouses and family apostolate, inserted in the Salesian charism and inspired by the spirituality of Don Bosco. In Benin, the "Houses of Don Bosco" today have 20 couples as members and 15 pairs of sympathizers, who are involved in various activities related to family ministry.

                                      Alfred and Andrea Avodaho, doctor and nurse, have been coordinating the “Don Bosco Houses” in Benin for five years. The groups hold monthly meetings for the exchange and sharing of experiences. They also animate the School for Marriage in collaboration with the parish commissions for family ministry, and at the same time hold periodic meetings and assist their members in difficulty.

                                      According to the explanations of the coordinating couple, “this Salesian movement allows couples to re-appropriate the teachings received during the preparation for marriage, to follow post-marriage formation, and to strengthen the bonds of trust and love within couples.” After five years of existence, the time has come to take stock and identify the perspectives of the movement.

                                      “What a movement does is the assimilation of its identity by its members,” adds Fr Akpoué, who for this reason recommends to the couples of the movement in Benin, “to try to know and live more the Salesian spirit of sweetness, charity, patience, simplicity, trust and - above all - the family spirit.”
                                      The Avodaho family seems to be aware of these challenges and, together with the couples who are members of the movement, want to extend them to various parishes where the Salesians are present in Africa. In this way they want to work so that, “in families, the relationship between husband, wife and children can always improve, thanks to the appropriation of Christian family values.”

                                      Juste Hlannon
                                      Source: La Croix (Africa) - https://africa.la-croix.com/au-benin-les-foyers-don-bosco-sinvestissent-dans-la-pastorale-de-la-famille/

                                       

                                      • Benin
                                      • AFO AFRICA OCCIDENTALE FRANCOFONA
                                        Alessandro Parrozzani

                                        Italy - Rector Major presents Strenna 2021 to FMA

                                        4 weeks ago
                                        Italy - Rector Major presents Strenna 2021 to FMA

                                        (ANS - Rome) - The Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, presented the Strenna 2021 on December 26 "Hope moves us: Behold, I am making all things new (Rev 21,5)", to a group of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the FMA Generalate in Rome. Reflection on Hope was introduced with a video presentation of the Strenna 2021, produced by the Department of Social Communication.

                                        The video is set in the city of Naples (Italy) in an intertwining of images and testimonies of young people and educators; the problems and hardships of today's society are presented: dignity, integration, loneliness, injustice, poverty and several places and experiences to learn and exercise hope today.
                                        The Rector Major, allowing time to be asked a few questions, spoke on the main themes of the Strenna 2021.

                                        Questioned on current affairs

                                        We cannot ignore current affairs and, therefore, as the Salesian Family and as Christians, what responses to give to continue to express the certainty of being "moved by hope"? It is God in His Spirit who makes "all things new". As a Salesian Family we need to reflect the love of God, that light that makes all things new, be a ray of hope, the hand that helps change values and visions.

                                        Transforming difficulties into opportunities to seek authenticity and true and transforming encounter.

                                        How can we foster communion, unite our efforts for a more just and better society? Don Bosco lived his whole life moved by hope, facing many painful situations. He taught that the journey of faith and hope give the strength and courage to act and bring about changes.

                                        Don Bosco looked beyond problems, and his strength was faith and hope. The Salesian answer to the present moment is to propose a journey of authentic faith and to form oneself for hope in the certainty that God is near, supports and accompanies.

                                        Witness hope

                                        In inspiring and encouraging young people to live life as a celebration and faith as happiness In prayer, as a school of hope, where the encounter with God, the Love that saves, is renewed. Prayer that is listening and encounter, transforms and opens mind and heart to service, solidarity and peace.

                                        In action, in living the sense of fatigue of daily life, committing oneself to transform situations of precariousness, hunger, poverty into full life for others and for young people.

                                        In suffering, allowing oneself to be educated by God, to overcome the most difficult moments by taking a "step forward".

                                        Recognizing oneself in the pain of the other, opening oneself to solidarity, to human brotherhood as it was for Mother Maddalena Morano FMA, who spent her entire life for the poorest, the most needy and marginalized, always with a gaze of hope.


                                        With Mary, Star of Hope

                                        Look to Mary, who in her Yes to God has awakened all hope for humanity. She experienced loneliness in the announcement of the Angel, the suffering in seeing her son misunderstood, rejected, she experienced pain under the Cross, but she remained with the disciples "Mother of Hope".

                                        The Mother General of the FMA Institute, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat concludes: "Hope is a gift from God and a commitment to translate it concretely as the Salesian Family, uniting the many lights of hope present in the hearts of the poorest throughout the world."

                                        Sr Gabriella Imperatore, FMA

                                        {gallery}ITALIA RETTOR MAGGIORE PRESENTA LA STRENNA 2021 ALLE FMA{/gallery}

                                        • Italia
                                        • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
                                        • Rettor Maggiore
                                        • Ángel Fernández Artime
                                        • Strenna 2021
                                          Alessandro Parrozzani
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