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News - Salesians of Don Bosco

Vatican - Marriage with a surprise: Pope Francis celebrates

Gian Francesco Romano
4 weeks 2 days ago
Vatican - Marriage with a surprise: Pope Francis celebrates

(ANS - Vatican City) - "It was an extremely interesting surprise, a wonderful experience!" Fr Renato dos Santos, a Brazilian Salesian priest, serving at the Vatican's Dicastery for Communication, enthusiastically narrates the episode he witnessed last Saturday, July 14, at the church "Santo Stefano degli Abissini" in the Vatican: the Pope who, to everyone's surprise, decides to celebrate the marriage of a Swiss guard and his Brazilian girlfriend.

The most surprised of all, said Fr dos Santos, were the other priests who concelebrated, as the spouses were aware of the choice of Pope Francis. "Never in my life would I ever have thought of entering the sacristy of a chapel of the Vatican and finding there the Holy Father sitting, smiling, happy, joyful, very natural. It was he himself who made the decision to preside over this marriage," testified the Salesian.

Initially, the chaplain of the Pontifical Swiss Guard was to preside over the celebration, and for this reason the priests present in the sacristy began to wonder if the Pope had come only to "say a few words, leave a message." Great was their amazement, therefore, to see that "the Pope was there to preside over the celebration."

This choice of the Pope, together with his manner, characterized by "inner serenity, simplicity", the Salesian continues, were an evident sign of the Pope's attention to "the sheep of his parish, like a true parish priest."

"He used to do these things often as a parish priest, as a bishop and as a cardinal in Buenos Aires, but here in the Vatican it is the first time that I see him personally celebrate a marriage," said Fr dos Santos.

In the homily, as usual, the Pope presented three key words: "to begin", with reference to the new life as a couple undertaken by the spouses; "Stop", in the difficult phases, to have the courage to look each other in the eyes and forgive; and "resume the journey", deciding to continue to love each other.

At the end of the celebration, Fr dos Santos commented to the Holy Father: "What nostalgia for the time of the parish!" And Pope Francis promptly replied: "It is precisely why I came here!"

  • Vaticano
  • Papa Francesco

    Honduras - Card. Rodríguez Maradiaga: "They are destroying a brother country, which really does not deserve this injustice"

    Gian Francesco Romano
    4 weeks 2 days ago

    (ANS - Tegucigalpa) - Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Salesian, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, prays, suffers and cries for the Nicaraguans, while he warns President Ortega that "dictators cannot go forward." According to the CNN report regarding the Secretary General of the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights, Álvaro Leiva, the wave of violence that hit four municipalities near Managua last Sunday caused at least 10 victims, adding to the other 273 already counted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH).

    Neither the hundreds of dead, nor the thousands of people who suffer, open the heart of President Ortega because "we witness the lack of political will of the government to dialogue sincerely," say the bishops of Nicaragua.

    During the Sunday Mass in the Cathedral of Tegucigalpa, in Honduras, the Salesian Cardinal stressed that in Nicaragua power wants to silence the voice of truth and justice, and that for this reason we must "help those who are resisting with faith" in that country.

    The prelate has called for a national dialogue to begin and a call to end the post-election crisis resulting from a presumed fraud in the 2017 general elections. To look for a way out of the crisis, in March a process called "pre-dialogue" began; moderated by the UN representative in Tegucigalpa, Igor Garafulic, it aimed at achieving a dialogue.

    "Dialogue is the path to take; let's stop with pre-dialogues, which we see are ridiculous; it is the moment when we must drive out the enemy, free our people, so that we truly come to understand each other as brothers," said Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga.

    For their part, the Bishops of Nicaragua have sent a pastoral message: "In recent days, repression and violence by pro-government paramilitaries have intensified towards people who are protesting civically. We profoundly deplore so much death, so much pain and so much suffering for our people."

    The bishops also invite to unite in concrete gestures to seek peace: "a day of fasting, Friday, July 20, in reparation for the desecrations made in recent months against God; and a month of intercession, from 15 July to 15 August."

    The message of the bishops ends by stating that "evil has strength when we allow it" and strongly urges "not to be accomplices of evil."

    • Honduras
    • Nicaragua
    • Cardinali
    • Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga
    • Violenze
    • Vescovi

      Mexico - Solidarity between Syria and Mexico: "We know your situation isn't easy either"

      Gian Francesco Romano
      4 weeks 2 days ago

      (ANS - Guadalajara) - Last April, when Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major, visited the Province of Mexico-Guadalajara, only a few days had passed since his previous visit to the young people and Salesians of Syria.

      During his stay in Syria, the Rector Major spoke of hope in a place where it was difficult to hope, but he was able to do so thanks to the testimony of the many young people he met: generous young people, who despite the difficulties of the war, knowing that X Successor of Don Bosco would soon be visiting Mexico, decided to make a gesture of fraternal solidarity towards their Mexican peers.

      A very real gesture: they collected 200 dollars, which they consigned to the Rector Major to be destined for a Salesian house in need in the Guadalajara Province. The chosen house was in Nuevo Laredo, in the State of Tamaulipas, where the Salesians animate an oratory in an area marked by the entrenched presence of criminal groups.

      While in Guadalajara, and while visiting other cities of that Province, the Rector Major spoke to the young people and the Salesians present of his meetings in Syria. His words also touched the hearts of the young Mexicans, who wished to replicate with their own gesture of solidarity towards the young Syrians. And so, during the provincial feast of the oratories, held in Nogales, Sonora State, from 27 to 30 April, an amount of 350 euros was collected, to be sent to Syria.

      In this story, what matters less is the amount sent, on both sides. What is significant, however, is that none of these young people remained insensitive to the suffering experienced by other boys and girls. Each of them, young Salesian oratorians, both in Syria and in Mexico, wanted to give as much as they could to send a hug to their distant peers.

      "Thank you for your prayers and for this beautiful expression of solidarity," wrote Fr Alejandro León Mendoza, Provincial Economer of the Middle East, thanking them for the gesture of solidarity reciprocated by the Mexican oratorians. "We know," he added in an email last 11 July, "that not even your situation is easy."

      • Messico
      • MEG
      • Rettor Maggiore
      • Ángel Fernández Artime
      • Siria
      • Violenze

        Belgium – New website for Salesian Province of Belgium North and Netherlands (BEN)

        Gian Francesco Romano
        4 weeks 2 days ago
        Belgium – New website for Salesian Province of Belgium North and Netherlands (BEN)

        (ANS - Leuven) - The "St John Berchmans" Province of Northern Belgium and the Netherlands (BEN) launched its new website on July 13th. "With this site we want to bring into the network, as an image of our Province, what is our core business: to be a family at the service of young people," explained the provincial leaders of communication.

        "We want to create a site for men and women, young people, boys and girls ... And we want to address a wide audience, so we chose to create a site that presents and narrates the vast reality of the Flemish and Dutch Salesian Family."

        The family atmosphere is in fact transmitted right from the site's homepage which opens with the colorful image of a vast movement of active and joyful people, as it explains: "Don Bosco today are the Salesians, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and many other common people who work daily and with their hearts for the young. Everyone has their own identity, but they all share the same roots."

        From the first page of the site it is then possible to access 21 different sections; illustrated therein, and in detail, are social projects, work in education, the network of Salesian youth organizations, groups of the Salesian Family, opportunities for volunteering and spiritual growth, communication services, the story of Don Bosco …

        Above all, the site intends to be a gateway to the beauty of Salesian reality in the territories of BEN. Already in the last year, the Province shared through its channels 240 articles, namely "stories that testify to the joy of the Gospel", and that try to illuminate the world "with more joy, more love, more faith."

        Well connected with social networks and structured to facilitate the sharing of content, the website will also be updated thanks to the reports and content sent by visitors to dbmedia@donbosco.be 

        The new website can be reached at: http://www.donbosco.be

        • Belgio
        • BEN
        • Sito

          Guatemala – Circular Solidarity: when the poor help the poor

          Gian Francesco Romano
          1 month ago
          Guatemala – Circular Solidarity: when the poor help the poor

          (ANS - San Benito Petén) - At the mission of San Benito Petén, in Guatemala, a container with food and medicines for the local people came from Canada in early 2018. Among the articles received there were also 10 cases of protective masks for nurses; definitely too many for the mission, they proved to extremely useful to help the villagers affected by the eruption of the volcano "Fuego" last June 3.

          When Fr Giampiero De Nardi, an Italian Salesian missionary in San Benito Petén, found all those boxes at the beginning of the year, he rejoiced for the generosity, but thought: "What am I going to do with all these? Even if we used a dozen every day in our dispensary, they would be enough for fifty years!"

          Yet, after a few months, these masks turned out to be among their most useful assets when his parish took part in the extraordinary collection of aid for the victims of the Fuego volcano. Together with the bandages he had found stacked in the container, the masks for rescuers and nurses arriving in the affected area proved to be a blessing, with the community of San Benito acting as intermediary. "Apparently the donation the Lord had sent to me, but not for my parishioners!," commented the Italian missionary.

          The Salesian parish of San Benito Petén also distinguished itself in the vast show of solidarity for the populations hit by the disaster by organizing a collection of goods in two phases: the first, immediate, of foodstuffs and medicines; the second, of money, to be sent together with the other parishes of the Vicariate of Petén. "The response was very generous ... We live far from the areas hit by the eruption of the volcano, but we share with the areas affected by this disaster the difficulties of every day," said the Salesian.

          In fact, what is most striking are two elements: the foresight of Providence, and the solidarity of the people despite their few resources. Fr De Nardi testifies: "a poor country is showing in all emergency situations a commendable generosity."

          For more information, visit the website: www.missionidonbosco.org 

          {gallery}Guatemala - Aiuti da San Benito a Fuego{/gallery}

          • Guatemala
          • CAM
          • Disastri
          • Salute
          • Solidarietà
          • Missioni
          • Missioni Don Bosco

            South Sudan - Alternative holidays ... Or rather, missionary!

            Gian Francesco Romano
            1 month ago
            South Sudan - Alternative holidays ... Or rather, missionary!

            (ANS - Tonj) - For the eighth year, students, parents and collaborators of the Salesian House in Sesto San Giovanni, Italy, spend several weeks of their summer break in the city of Tonj, South Sudan, to serve and bring help to the local population.

            Six students attending the Sesto San Giovanni vocational courses in thermal-hydraulic, electric and motor repair/installations departed for South Sudan along with two parents. The project also involves other members of the Salesian Family as well as friends and supporters of Don Bosco from a number of Lombardia-region contexts ranging from the Salesian past-pupils of Treviglio to the volunteers of Vallecamonica.

            A first group reached the mission shortly after mid-June; a second in the first half of July. Waiting for them all were the smiles and hugs of many grateful South-Sudanese children and youths.

            Also alongside the volunteers is Fr Omar Delasa, Salesian, Head of the association that promotes this twinning, the NGO: "Tonjproject Onlus".

            The objective of the missionary expedition is to bring help to the hospital that the association has built and officially inaugurated on July 26, 2014, thanks to the precious contribution of the Pesenti Family of Bergamo. The volunteers are responsible for the ordinary and extraordinary maintenance of the hospital and of the small house of the volunteers, especially the infrastructures' electrical/plumbing systems.

            For one, the students of the Vocational Training School in Sesto San Giovanni have studied and installed a photovoltaic system for producing electricity, and set up a water purification system for the water well.

            In Tonj, volunteers, young and old, discover themselves to be bricklayers, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, nurses, farmers and animal breeders. And throughout, they spend these two months of alternative vacations wherein they come to know, learn and put their skills in their respective fields into practice!

            {gallery}Sudan del Sud - Da Sesto a Tonj{/gallery}

            • Sudan del Sud
            • AFE
            • ILE
            • Scuole
            • Formazione Professionale
            • Volontariato
            • Missioni
            • Solidarietà
            • Salute

              Italy - Prof. Fr Mauro Mantovani, SDB, elected UPS Rector for 2nd three-year term

              Gian Francesco Romano
              1 month ago
              Italy - Prof. Fr Mauro Mantovani, SDB, elected UPS Rector for 2nd three-year term

              (ANS - Rome) - The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, with a rescript dated 3 July 2018, in response to the request of the Grand Chancellor of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, appointed Prof. Mauro Mantovani, SDB, as UPS Rector for a second three-year term (2018-2021).

              Fr Mauro Mantovani, ordinary professor in the Faculty of Philosophy, was born in Moncalieri, province of Turin, on 3 January 1966. He has been a Salesian since 1986 and a priest since 1994. He received a Doctorate in Philosophy from the Pontifical University of Salamanca, Spain, and a Doctorate in Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas "Angelicum". After being Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy (2006-2012) and of the Faculty of Sciences of Social Communication (2012-2015), and Vice President of the UPS (2009-2015), he began his first three years as Rector on 15 July 2015. Since 24 October 2016, he has been President of the Conference of Rectors of the Roman Pontifical Universities (CRUPR).

              • Nomine
              • UPS
              • Mauro Mantovani

                Vatican - Salesian Cardinal Charles Maung Bo among Youth Synod Delegates

                Gian Francesco Romano
                1 month ago
                Vatican - Salesian Cardinal Charles Maung Bo among Youth Synod Delegates

                (ANS - Vatican City) - In view of the Synod of Bishops on "Youth, faith and vocational discernment", scheduled from October 3 to 28, 2018, at the Vatican, the Holy Father has appointed four Delegate Presidents, among whom Burmese Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Salesian, Archbishop of Yangon.

                The role of the Delegate President, whose office ceases with the dissolution of the meeting for which he is appointed, foresees:

                -       guiding the work of the Synod according to the faculties attributed in the delegation letter, according to the order of the work established;

                -       to attribute to some Members, when the opportunity arises, particular tasks so the assembly can work in a better way;

                -       sign the proceedings of the assembly.

                The other appointed Delegate Presidents are: the new cardinals Louis Raphaël I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, and Désiré Tsarahazana, archbishop of Toamasina, in Madagascar; and the card. John Ribat, of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, archbishop of Port Moresby, in Papua New Guinea.

                With the appointment of Card. Bo as Delegate President, the Salesian presence at the Youth Synod is enriched with yet another important piece, which already includes, among ascertained members, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, one of the chosen by the Union of Superiors General (USG) ); and Fr Rossano Sala, as Special Secretary for this Synod.

                To these we must add the names of the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco who can or may participate in various categories: by right, as elected by the episcopal conferences, nominated by the Holy Father, or as collaborators, auditors or assistants. Their names will be known once the Press Office publishes the official list of participants.

                • Vaticano
                • Charles Maung Bo
                • Cardinali
                • Sinodo sui Giovani

                  Thailandia – Salesian Thai Students win international academic awards in Maths

                  Gian Francesco Romano
                  1 month ago
                  Thailandia – Salesian Thai Students win international academic awards in Maths

                  (ANS – Hatyai) – Two Salesian Students in the Science, Mathematics, English Program, namely Kanisorn Kiratipongwut from the Saengthong Vitthaya Salesian School, and Miss Patnicha Daosodsai from Thinadukro Salesian Sister School Hatyai, Songkhla, Thailand, have brought great fame to the Thai nation and to their schools by winning international academic awards in Mathematics as representative students of Thailand in the Bulgaria International Mathematics Competition.

                  Mr. Kanisorn Kiratipongwut won:

                  -      1st place Medal and Trophy, Team Award

                  -      3rd place Medal and Trophy, Individual Group Award

                  -      Merit of Individuals Award.

                  In the Elementary Mathematics category, Miss Patnicha Daosodsai, now studying in Mathayom 4 at Trium Udom Suksa, won:

                  -      2nd place Medal and Trophy, Individual Group Award

                  -      3rd place Medal and Trophy,  Team Award

                  -      Bronze Medal, Individuals Award.

                  The entire Thai Salesian Province proudly congratulates these two brilliant Thai students for their BIMC & WYMIC 2018 Academic Awards.

                  • Thailandia
                  • THA
                  • Studenti
                  • Premi e Riconoscimenti

                    RMG - Strenna 2019: "'So that my joy may be in you' (Jn 15:11). Holiness for you, too!"

                    Gian Francesco Romano
                    1 month ago

                    (ANS - Rome) – Today, 13 July, Rector Major Fr Ángel Fernández Artime released the presentation of the 2019 Strenna. "This is a great opportunity to offer several notes for the development of the theme. There is no other pastoral element that the Rector Major offers, in the name of Don Bosco, to the whole Salesian world." The title that will accompany the 2019 journey is: 'So that my joy may be in you' (Jn 15:11). Holiness for you, too.'

                    Although it is the Rector Major's task to prepare and present the text each year, Fr Á.F. Artime emphasizes that this Strenna "is the fruit of a dialogue in the World Council of the Salesian Family which, fortunately and by grace, has much to do with this ecclesial moment of the Synod, and also with the last appeal that the document of the Synod launched on the theme of holiness."

                    The document presented today to the Salesian world consists of nine paragraphs. In the seventh, the Rector Major insists on an essential reality of holiness and he does it through a question: "what does 'holiness for you too' mean?" It is an exciting topic that this question offers, and even more exciting is the answer to each of the Salesian Family members. "Holiness is not an “extra”, an optional and a goal only for some. It is life to the full, according to God’s plan and gift. It is therefore a path of humanisation."

                    Daily sanctity has become a reality in the lives lived to the full in the Salesian charism. We are thus invited not to forget that in the course of history Salesian holiness has become visible, embodied, with proper names, people: Zeman, Stuchlý, Lustosa, Zatti, Srugi, Sandor, Lunkenbien and Simão Bororo, Comini, Ana María Lozano, Laura Vicuña, Alexandrina Maria da Costa, among many others ...

                    Fr Á.F. Artime goes on to say that the presentation of the Strenna 2019 "is a magnificent opportunity to be in harmony with the summons the Holy Father addresses in the Apostolic Gaudete et exsultate, which has much to do with our Salesian charism. Don Bosco was a great teacher in this sense, with the ability to inspire and accompany his children on the paths of daily holiness."

                    "What is important is to be holy, not to be declared as such," emphasizes the Rector Major. "The canonised saints are like the façade of a church; but the church contains many precious treasures inside, which however remain invisible."

                    The full presentation of the Strenna of the Rector Major for 2019 is available on the sdb.org website.

                    • RMG
                    • Strenna 2019
                    • Rettor Maggiore
                    • Santità
                    • Santità Salesiana

                      Brazil - United in the mystery of Lamb of God, engaged with Church and indigenous cause

                      Gian Francesco Romano
                      1 month ago
                      Brazil - United in the mystery of Lamb of God, engaged with Church and indigenous cause

                      (ANS - Campo Grande) - Next Sunday, 15 July 2018, the 42nd anniversary of the martyrdom of the Servants of God Fr Rodolfo Lunkenbein, SDB, and Simão Bororo will be celebrated. On this subject Fr Gildásio Mendes, Provincial of the Brazil-Campo Grande Province (BCG), wrote: "This year, this event acquires a special ecclesial and Salesian importance because the diocesan process of beatification and canonization in progress of these two Servants of God expresses in a significant way the gift of the Holy Spirit at a meaningful moment for our Province and for our Church."

                      The testimony of Fr Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo this year is more relevant than ever;
                      first, for the 125th anniversary of the launch of the Salesian missionary presence in Mato Grosso, with celebrations beginning June 18th and ending in January 2019: every goal or achievement of this kind always presupposes a previous contribution of holiness.

                      Then, because it falls on the path of preparations for the special Synod for the Panamazzonica region much wanted by Pope Francis, scheduled in October 2019. A synod that aims to "identify new ways for the evangelization of the people of God in the areas of the great Amazon, especially of the indigenous peoples."

                      The figure of the indigenous catechist Simão, moreover, is also viewed as a valid example, especially in relation to the Year of the Laity promoted by the Brazilian Episcopal Conference, since it represents a Christian model "who was able to assume his vocation with evangelical rootedness, had the experience of inculturation of the Gospel in his life, witnessed his faith in Jesus Christ and shared the joy of the Gospel with his people and the missionaries."

                      And finally, the model of these two martyrs is also a concrete starting point for the guiding theme of the next 28th General Chapter: "What kind of Salesians for today's young people?"

                      "Fr Rodolfo and Simão," continues Fr Mendes in his letter, "were testimony to a faith in the Risen they lived in their daily service, in fraternal contact with people, in work, in the preaching of the Word and in catechesis, in ordinary prayer, in their love for Our Lady, in joy and in their evangelical commitment to the indigenous cause. In celebrating the 42 years of the martyrdom of Fr Rodolfo and Simão Bororo, we have many reasons to thank God for the gift of holiness in the Church and in the Salesian Congregation."

                      • Brasile
                      • BCG
                      • Santità Salesiana
                      • Martiri
                      • Rodolfo Lunkenbein
                      • Simão Bororo

                        RMG - Salesian Historical Research n. 70

                        Gian Francesco Romano
                        1 month ago
                        RMG - Salesian Historical Research n. 70

                        (ANS - Rome) - Don Bosco's commitment to the literacy of young people, the role of Salesians in spreading devotion to Mary Help of Christians in Poland, together with a critical edition of the unpublished speech of Giovanni Bosco seminarian on St. Bartholomew Apostle: this and much more featured in Issue Number 70 (January-June 2018) of "Ricerche Storiche Salesiane" (RSS), the bi-monthly magazine of religious and civil history, published by the Salesian Historical Institute (ISS).

                        In the STUDI sector, there are two essays:

                        Don Bosco for the literacy of young people in the mid-nineteenth century is the study of Vito Maurizio, who examines Don Bosco's contribution to the education of young illiterates of the working classes who generally did not have access to school, children he met at the oratory "Saint Francis de Sales" founded by him. It was probably not Turin's first, but he knew how to answer to the needs of his young people with determination. 

                        The Salesians and the promotion of the cult of Mary Help of Christians in Poland is the research paper of Jan Pietrzykowski, professor at the University "Card. Wyszyński" of Warsaw and director of the Warsaw Province archives. Don Bosco was among the first devotees to Mary under the title of Help of Christians. When Salesians arrived in Poland at Oświęcim in 1898, and rebuilt the church of the Holy Cross, they immediately named and dedicated it to Mary Help of Christians and placed a copy of the image of the "Madonna of Don Bosco" at the altar. In addition to Oświęcim, the Congregation also runs the shrines of Mary Help of Christians in Przyłęków, Twardogóra and Rumia, as well as nine parishes and two central churches under the same title. The Salesians, moreover, contributed to the establishment of the compulsory feast of Mary Help of Christians, on May 24, in all the dioceses of the country.

                        In FONTI – sources:

                        The speech in honor of St Bartholomew the Apostle composed in Piedmontese by the seminarian Giovanni Bosco (1838), edited by Aldo Giraudo, professor of the Salesian Pontifical University. This is a critical edition and translation of the unpublished speech in Piedmontese dialect by Giovanni Bosco seminarian, recited at Castelnuovo in the church of the Confraternita, on the occasion of the feast of St. Bartholomew the Apostle in 1838. The document, recently discovered, reflects the sensitivity of the young Bosco, the tastes of his listeners and the practices of popular religiosity of that specific historical moment.

                        Completing the text, in the NOTA sector, is an essay on: Don Francesco Convertini. Profilo biografico, by Grazia Loparco, professor at the Auxilium Faculty; a number of Reviews and Reports, and the Bibliographic Repertoire: 2016-2017, edited by Cinzia Angelucci and Stanisław Zimniak.

                        • RMG
                        • Ricerche Storiche Salesiane
                        • ISS
                        • Maria Ausiliatrice
                        • Don Bosco

                          Bolivia - "We are not made to be sad, but to be happy": V American Missionary Congress

                          Gian Francesco Romano
                          1 month ago

                          (ANS - Santa Cruz) - The fifth American Missionary Congress (V CAM) began on July 10th with the presence of about three thousand people from all over the world. The Salesians of Bolivia are part of the team that welcomes the missionaries who have reached the heights of Bolivia to reflect on a theme that never goes out of fashion: "America on a mission, the Gospel is joy."

                          Sister Cilenia Rojas, General Coordinator of V CAM, expressed her own joy at the event and stated that "when people get involved, they then give consistency to the event, which stops being just an activity for meeting, but it becomes, instead, a new way of rethinking how we can renew ourselves in the mission."

                          The V Congress is animated from the morning with prayer and presentations that seek to be enlightening, suggestive and provocative for the work to follow. Many missionary testimonies then emerge in the working groups, experiences that allow people to broaden their visions, and all this enriches the event's participants.

                          "May our welcoming the missionaries of all America help us, as Salesians and as a Province, to strengthen our missionary commitment there where we find ourselves and, above all, in missionary work," said Fr Javier Ortiz, Provincial of the Salesian Province of the Bolivia.

                          V CAM is a great missionary event, a time of grace to live a new Pentecost, where a missiological reflection on the life and situation of the Church in the American continent is promoted, but which also tries to look to the future to plan and develop pastoral commitments and actions in a missionary key and to help the local Churches in their pastoral conversion.

                          The presentations of last July 11th took place at the "Don Bosco Coliseum" and saw Msgr. Guido Charbonnea, Bishop of Choluteca, in Honduras, speaking of the attitude and the prophetic tone of the missionary who lives the joy of the Gospel. "In our world full of bad news, the proclamation of the Gospel is the joyous announcement of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And it is also the power of God for the salvation of all believers," he explained, adding, "We are not meant to be sad, but to be happy."

                          The V CAM ends tomorrow, Saturday, July 14, with a novelty: the parishes and the families of Santa Cruz will welcome the participants and share the missionary experience.

                          • Bolivia
                          • Missioni
                          • BOL

                            Italy - Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians together: with the Pope, in the Church, at the service of the young

                            Gian Francesco Romano
                            1 month ago
                            Italy - Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians together: with the Pope, in the Church, at the service of the young

                            (ANS - Rome) - Men and women consecrated to God, who share the charism and the mission and work fraternally and in a spirit of fidelity to the Church and the Pope for young people from all continents, especially the poorest and most needy: with these few words, the meaning of the joint meeting held yesterday, 11 July, between the General Councils of the Salesians (SDB) and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), at the Generalate of the latter. Leading the work session was the reflection on the next Synod of Bishops on "Youth, faith and vocational discernment" by Fr Rossano Sala, SDB, Special Secretary for this Synod.

                            In his presentation, Fr Sala illustrated the Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod on Youth. The document, he said, is the result of "the convergence of listening to everyone", why it represents "an updated and realistic reference framework on the global youth condition", as well as being "a unitary and synthetic collection of the issues to be discussed."

                            Of the Instrumentum Laboris, Fr Sala emphasized the prospects, namely of accompaniment, a guiding theme of the Strenna 2018, too. It is, in fact, accompaniment that is the "presupposition for every Christian proclamation" and it is only in that perspective that we can speak of a journey of faith and that youthful leadership can be fostered - as indeed happened in the preparation of the synod.

                            Therefore, after having indicated positive and negative aspects regarding the conditions of today's youth – as in "paralysis before important decisions, but also of spiritual nostalgia" - the reflection led to a rethinking of the vocational dimension as a whole, which must lead to the "creation of a vocational culture that enhances and appreciates every type of calling."

                            Along with many questions and healthy provocations, the speaker finally indicated priorities for action for the two congregations: the primacy being assigned to the daily presence alongside the young, the quality of spirituality and testimony, the spirit of family, the commitment to give more to those who received less.

                            At the end of the presentation the SDB-FMA Councilors, divided into groups, elaborated reflections and resonances on how the two congregations are touched by the synod, what the respective contributions to the universal Church can be and what post-synodal path to foresee.

                            After a moment of sharing in an assembly debate, the work sessions closed with the summaries of Mother Reungoat and the Rector Major.

                            • Italia
                            • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
                            • Salesiani
                            • Consiglio Generale
                            • Sinodo sui Giovani

                              Nicaragua - "In the midst of anguish and pain, the Nicaraguan people haven't lost hope"

                              Gian Francesco Romano
                              1 month ago
                              Photo: celebration of the feast of the blessed Sr. Maria Romero Meneses, FMA

                              (ANS - Managua) - The Nicaraguan nation is experiencing one of the deepest crises in its history. A people that has denounced the arbitrariness of the government, which represses it, annihilates and arrests it. No one can go out to "protest", not even in the presence of international human rights organizations. The population is experiencing much pain and anguish.

                              The national dialogue has been interrupted. The bishops of the episcopal conference continue their pastoral mission by accompanying the people. On Monday, July 9, they embarked on their visit to the Department of Carazo, in the municipality of Diriamba, massively besieged by paramilitaries, police and government groups.

                              On their arrival, they were physically and verbally attacked, in a premeditated way. The delegation was led by the Apostolic Nuncio, mgr. Waldemar Stanilaw Sommertag, from the Archbishop of Managua, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, and his auxiliary, mgr. Silvio Báez, together with other priests who retreated as they went to free refugees in the minor basilica of San Sebastian.

                              The pressure was so great that it resulted in beatings. In the middle of the struggle, the auxiliary bishop and several priests were injured and access to the temple was prevented. Government-related groups have others believe, by their actions, that the Church supports violence.

                              On the same day, the parish church of St. James the Apostle in Jinotepe was sacked by paramilitary groups and groups affiliated to the government, who entered the church violently to destroy what they could.

                              The government of Daniel Ortega has launched a strong and clear threat against the Catholic Church. By all possible means, they want the population to believe that the church is promoting violence. For their part, the bishops reaffirm their commitment to the population, remaining close to those who suffer, and on the side of those being besieged by the ideology of a ruler who clings to power, who has lost all credibility and promotes a "camouflaged peace".

                              The Salesians continue to firmly stand by and accompany the locals and to adopt security measures. The Salesian center of Managua, for one, is back to its normal activities. In Masaya, the violence has not stopped, while threats of looting the temples continue. In Granada, the Salesian house continues with its activities, but the Eucharistic celebrations take place behind closed doors.

                              In the midst of this anguish and pain, the Nicaraguan people have not lost hope. Today, Wednesday 11 July, an army raid is scheduled in Moninbó, Masaya district. For Friday 13, instead, a 24-hour national strike has been organized.

                              • Nicaragua
                              • CAM
                              • Violenze
                              • Chiesa
                              • Vescovi

                                Philippines – New water project provides clean, fresh water to 2,000 residents

                                Gian Francesco Romano
                                1 month ago
                                Philippines – New water project provides clean, fresh water to 2,000 residents

                                (ANS – Dacudao) – Poor youth and their families attending the Mary Help of Christians parish, located in Dacudao, Mindanao island, Philippines, have access to clean, safe water thanks to funding provided by Salesian Missions’ “Clean Water Initiative.” The Salesian parish continues to care for more than 1,400 Catholic families who live in the surrounding five local villages. They attend services in the 24 chapels dispersed in the area.

                                The parish also holds spiritual formation, meetings and other pastoral activities or gatherings for its parishioners. The parish also offers a small farm next to the church, which contributes to the daily sustenance of the Salesian community in Calinan. A water system is set up in Dacudao that provides an adequate safe water supply to about 2,000 residents.

                                Recently work needed to be completed to improve this water system. With the funding provided by Salesian Missions, the project entailed the installation of water pump and pump house, water tanks and pipelines. An 8-inch, 100-meter deep water well borehole with a 6-inch casing was dug followed by the installation of a water pump. Constant discharge pumping tests were done and the construction of a pump house was also completed. The construction of the raised water storage stand and the installation of a water tank completed the project.

                                Residents of Dacudao are happy that they now have an additional source clean water. Many nearby residents are able to conveniently access water from the faucets strategically located in the farm. The new water supply was also effective in helping those affected by the December 2017 typhoon, Tropical Storm Vinta, which damaged a large area in Mindanao including those living in Calinan, Davao.

                                Flooding in many areas near the Davao River caused residents to be temporarily evacuated. Some of the families were evacuated to the church parish where they sought refuge from the storm and flooding. The completion of the water project was very timely as it provided the evacuees clean and potable water for their daily needs. In addition, the new water system supplies the irrigation requirements of the farm. With it, the farm is expected to increase production of fruits and vegetables for the families that live near the farm.

                                UN-Water estimates that worldwide 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services, and by 2050, the world’s population will have grown by an estimated 2 billion people, pushing global water demand up to 30 percent higher than today. UN-Water also indicates that around 1.9 billion people live in potentially severely water-scarce areas. By 2050, this could increase to around 3 billion people.

                                “Having access to clean water is essential for the health and safety of those we serve around the globe,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Improving water and sanitation facilities like this project in the Philippines brings a sense of dignity for the children we serve and ensures that teachers and students are working and learning in an environment that promotes proper hygiene and has safe drinking water. This reduces the number of waterborne illnesses that can affect those in our schools, keeping them away from important study time.”

                                Throughout the Philippines, Salesian missionaries offer a variety of educational and social development programs for youth, many with an emphasis on recreation and sports activities. The goal is to provide the opportunities necessary to gain an education and skills training to break the cycle of poverty and retain long-term employment.

                                Source: Salesian Missions

                                • Filippine
                                • FIS
                                • Acqua
                                • Missioni

                                  Bolivia - "The first thing a missionary must do is to know how to transmit faith"

                                  Gian Francesco Romano
                                  1 month ago

                                  (ANS - Santa Cruz) - On 10 July, the V American Missionary Congress (CAMV) opened in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and was inaugurated with the presentation of Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Delegate of Pope Francis, who encouraged over three thousand participants to be "credible through testimony." The Salesians of Latin America, and of the world, participate in this great event. One of them, in the name of the Rector Major, is Fr Martín Lasarte, of the Missions Dicastery.

                                  "The Missionary is like a candle. He lights the light and passes it on to others. To be an evangelizing missionary is to bring the light of Christ, but to bring it, we must first light it in our hearts. Every Christian must make the Gospel shine in his or her life and spread the joy of the Word of God to others," says Fr Lasarte.

                                  "It is a great joy to be in this blessed land! This is the first time I have been in Bolivia," continues the Salesian, a Uruguayan Salesian missionary who has worked for many years in Africa, in Angola, and currently serves the Congregation at the Salesian Missions Dicastery.

                                  During his stay in Bolivia, Fr Lasarte will also visit the Province, the Salesian communities and the Salesian houses in order to know and encourage the missionary Spirit. "Participation in this great event makes me realize that in Bolivia a great movement has awakened and that this is, without a doubt, a missionary community, a missionary Province, a living Province that will have a future," he adds.

                                  Fr Lasarte was asked to visit the Salesian communities to encourage various pastoral proposals and to accompany Salesian missionary volunteer service. In this regard, he says: "It is wonderful to make young people passionate about service and mission and if this becomes reality, the Province, the mission, the charism, will have a great future ahead."

                                  "The first thing a missionary must do," he urged, "is to know how to transmit faith in a natural way, with joy, bearing witness with love and with words. The missionary is called to evangelize, sometimes leaving his communities, leaving everything behind him, to sow hope and the Gospel."

                                  This V American Missionary Congress highlights the challenges of ecclesial communities, that is, to create missionary groups that keep alive in communities, parishes and families the meaning of "going out to go to the encounter, the meeting with others, and bringing the Gospel."

                                  • Bolivia
                                  • Missioni
                                  • Chiesa

                                    Italy - Farewell to Fr Luigi Melesi, the "jail priest" who took weapons away from Red Brigades

                                    Gian Francesco Romano
                                    1 month ago

                                    (ANS - Lecco) - As an authentic spiritual Son of Don Bosco he never resigned himself to considering the worst of the criminals as unrecoverable and in all he sought "that accessible point to the good" from which to initiate a change in life's direction. After a life spent in this manner, yesterday, Tuesday, July 10, Fr Luigi Melesi died in Lecco.

                                    Born in Cortenova in 1933, already during the course of his formative journey he lived the Salesian mission among the boys of the "Ferrante Aporti" reformatory in Turin. From 1960 to 1967, he worked in the Salesian center of Arese, entrusted to the Salesians after having been a juvenile prison of the Beccaria National Association. In 1967, he led the first group of 25 young people in Brazil, beginning, together with Fr Ugo De Censi and Fr Bruno Ravasio, "Operation Mato Grosso".

                                    After returning to Italy and serving as a Director in Darfo, he returned to Arese, and while he continued to accompany the boys sent to him by juvenile courts throughout Italy, he was called by the then archbishop of Milan, card. Giovanni Colombo, to work as a chaplain in the "San Vittore" prison in Milan.

                                    There Fr Melesi served for 30 years, meeting prisoners of every race and religion, becoming their friend and brother. During his service behind bars, he met terrorists, burglars, murderers, criminals, but also many simple people, in prison for lesser crimes. His style consisted in never putting the crime at the center, but the person.

                                    The surrendering of weapons, a real arsenal, by the terrorists of the Red Brigades, which took place in the archdiocese on 13 June 1984 into the hands of card. Carlo Maria Martini - of whom Fr Melesi was an intimate collaborator and advisor - was in fact preceded by Fr Melesi's precious and indispensable work of accompaniment and mediation.

                                    In recent years he shared his experience through conferences, meetings, rallies and various publications - including the interview book "Prete da galera", or “Jail Priest”, by Silvio Valota.

                                    Recognizing his skills as a communicator in 2013, the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome awarded him the Honoris Causa degree in Social Communication Sciences.

                                    His spiritual heritage can be condensed into some of his famous expressions: "It is not possible to help a person change his life for the better if one does not go to his side, if one does not take up his story ... A person, to become good, must feel loved."

                                    • Italia
                                    • ILE
                                    • Decessi
                                    • Carceri

                                      Syria - There is still hope in Aleppo: testimony of Fr Luca Pellicciotta

                                      Gian Francesco Romano
                                      1 month ago
                                      Syria - There is still hope in Aleppo: testimony of Fr Luca Pellicciotta

                                      (ANS - Aleppo) - Aleppo is Syria's martyr city. A city deeply wounded, in its buildings, but above all in the souls and in the hearts of its inhabitants. To many people, the war has stolen years of serenity and normality, but Aleppo wants to be reborn. It is a city that does not give up and tries to slowly return to normal.

                                      Fr Luca Pellicciotta, SDB, speaks of this city "of paradoxes", Aleppo, a city he says has not only found suffering, but also a lot of hope.

                                      "There is a desire to be reborn, to sit at a bar and have a tea or an ice cream to cool the hot hours of the day. There is a desire to dance, to shout, to run, perhaps even without measure, but it is normal after a war that has blown up every measure," says Fr Luca.

                                      A war that has lasted many years, but which has not affected the faith of the Christians who live here. "I am being enriched of the depth and faith of Christians in Aleppo," continues Fr Luca. "Here faith is not a label, a slogan, a mask to put on and take off when necessary. Here, faith is life. Christians know what it means to believe in God when their life is hanging from a bomb that could fall near or on you."

                                      In fact, the Salesians in Aleppo continue to nourish faith and hope, remaining always operational, as they did during and throughout the darkest days.

                                      "Many have closed, barred their doors. The Salesians have not! Don Bosco would be satisfied with the loyalty and love of the Aleppo kids," he adds.

                                      The children of Don Bosco, in Aleppo, also have a great fortune: that of having many young people around the world who pray constantly for them. "We continue to deliver this gift of prayer," says Fr Luca, "which is the only truly useful thing for a true and radical spiritual renewal of Aleppo."

                                      {gallery}Siria - Aleppo don Pellicciotta{/gallery}

                                      • Siria
                                      • Aleppo
                                      • MOR
                                      • Violenze

                                        Italy - Prof. Pasqualetti new Dean of UPS Social Communication Sciences Faculty

                                        Gian Francesco Romano
                                        1 month ago
                                        Italy - Prof. Pasqualetti new Dean of UPS Social Communication Sciences Faculty

                                        (ANS - Rome) – On 28 June, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians and Grand Chancellor of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) in Rome, appointed prof Fabio Pasqualetti as the new Dean of the Faculty of Social Communication Sciences (FSC) for the 2018-2021 triennium. 

                                        Prof Pasqualetti, a Salesian priest, is Emeritus Professor of Theories and Research in Communication at the Soc Com Faculty where he teaches "Introduction to Communication Sciences", "Communication and Development" and "Public Opinion".

                                        After his diploma in Chemistry at the Industrial Institute of Cremona, he graduated in Pedagogy at the University of Parma. In 1994, he completed his Master's in Telecommunication at the University of Michigan; his thesis: "Pietro Barcellona. Critical narrator of Modernity and guardian of the Human."

                                        In December, Prof Pasqualetti obtained the title of Doctor of Social Sciences at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome. He is a much-appreciated lecturer and has more than twenty years of teaching and research experience.

                                        He is the author of numerous academic papers; among his recent publications: Pasqualetti F., Giovani, fede e vocazione cristiana nell’era della tecnologia digitale., in «Salesianum», LXXIX, 231-256, Roma, LAS, 2017; La verità ci farà liberi? Big data e società del calcolo. Il culto del dataismo e le sue conseguenze, in Paola Springhetti – Renato Butera (Edd.), La verità vi farà liberi (Gv 8,32). Fake news e giornalismo di pace, Roma, LAS, 2018, 143-166.

                                        In a letter sent to colleagues, students and friends of the UPS, the newly-appointed Dean recalled the recent invitation by Pope Francis to "make the school an educating community, wherein teachers and students are not connected only by an educational plan, but by a program of life and experience, able to educate to mutual reciprocity between different generations." To this regard, he cited three essential criteria: identity, consistent with the values ​​of the university; quality, as a safe beacon to illuminate study initiatives; and the goal of the common good.

                                        Prof Pasqualetti succeeds Prof Fr Peter Andrew Gonsalves, SDB, Professor Emeritus of Communication and Education, who will continue to teach at the SC Faculty.

                                        • Italia
                                        • UPS
                                        • Comunicazione Sociale
                                        • Nomine
                                          ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana