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Italy – "Don Bosco House Museum", 3 days of celebration for inauguration

3 weeks 5 days ago

(ANS - Turin) - The initiatives for the inauguration of the "Don Bosco House Museum" are just a week away. The new museum set up has been completely renovated, features the places of the origins of Don Bosco's educational and spiritual adventure. Next Friday, 2 October, in the presence of the Rector Major and other prominent figures, the press conference will take place for the presentation of this new center which stands where the Salesian charism was born, renewed to make the huge cultural, devotional and identity heritage of Valdocco available to pilgrims and tourists in a completely new form.

The entire series of events will also be accessible remotely thanks to the digital live coverage curated by ANS.

The press conference on Friday 2 will be held at 11:45 (UTC + 2) at the entrance of the museum and will be moderated by Fr Giuseppe Costa, SDB, spokesman for the Salesians. The Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, will sit at the table of speakers: the well-known art critic Vittorio Sgarbi; Alessandro Isaia, Secretary General of the Turin Culture Foundation; Sergio Sabbadini, Head of the architectural project; Massimo Chiappetta, Head of the museographic project; Fr Cristian Besso and Stefania De Vita, in charge of the museological project.

At the end of the press conference, these last three will be the guides who will accompany the day's guests on a preview visit to the new museum space.

The day's activities will end with an aperitif offered by the students of the Vocational Training Center (CFP) of Valdocco under the "good night" arcade.

On Saturday 3 October the inauguration of the "Don Bosco House Museum" will take place in the presence of the civil and religious authorities. At 11 local time, the journalist Antonio Labanca will start the presentation of the restoration works. Once again, as “landlord”, the Rector Major will speak, followed by presentations by Anna Laura Orrico, Undersecretary of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and for Tourism; the greetings from the President of the Regional Council Alberto Cirio and the Mayor of Turin Chiara Appendino; and exhibitions by those responsible for architectural works and museographic and museological projects.

An emotional video about the museum will serve as a prelude to the symbolic ribbon cutting, while the morning will end again with the offer of an aperitif by the students of the CFP of Valdocco.

Finally, on Sunday 4 October, the celebratory triduum will end with a Mass to be presided over by Fr Ángel Fernández Artime at the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians (9:30 am) and with the official opening of the museum to the general public.

All the events of the three days can be seen across the globe thanks to the live coverage curated by ANS and broadcast digitally: on the ANSChannel YouTube channel in the original Italian version; and on the ANS Facebook page with comments not only in Italian but also in English and Spanish.

Finally, it should be noted that all the events have been designed and prepared to comply with the precautionary measures to prevent Covid-19 infections.

  • ICP ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE SPECIALE PIEMONTE E VALLE D'AOSTA
  • Musei
  • Rettor Maggiore
  • Ángel Fernández Artime
  • Luoghi Salesiani
    Gian Francesco Romano

    RMG – World Day of Migrants and Refugees

    3 weeks 5 days ago
    RMG – World Day of Migrants and Refugees

    (ANS - Rome) - On Sunday 27 September the Church celebrates the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, on the theme of internally displaced persons (IDPs), chosen by Pope Francis, with the motto: "Like Jesus, forced to flee."

    Worldwide, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), last year there were 45.7 million internally displaced persons, or people forced to flee their homes due to persecution, climate change, poverty, conflict or other reasons, but without the possibility of actually leaving their country.

    In his message for this day, the Pope proposes six pairs of verbs to meet the Lord in the face of the displaced with concrete actions: you have to know in order to understand, you must be close in order to serve, listen to be reconciled, share to grow, be involved to promote and cooperate to build.

    The Salesian Congregation welcomes this challenge among the priorities of the Sector for Missions for the next six-year term, with the intention of intensifying the work that many Salesian communities all over the world do alongside young people in difficulty who have been forced to flee their homes.

    For example, in Palabek in Uganda, and in Kakuma, Kenya, the Salesian communities live in refugee camps, while in South Sudan, in Juba, and in Syria there are many displaced people being helped through material aid, education and pastoral animation. The greatest trials are the uncertainty about the future and the "paralysis", or limbo, in which many feel imprisoned due to the vulnerabilities of their situation.

    The work of the Salesians is a constant accompaniment to give hope to the new generations through schooling and vocational training courses of various kinds, to teach jobs that can be used to match the demands of the labor market and, at the same time, to transmit an outlook of faith through catechesis, the celebration of the Eucharist and various activities.

    The hope is that sensitivity towards this frontier of today's world will grow, to nurture Don Bosco's missionary dream and coordinate for an even more effective and incisive commitment.

    • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
    • Missioni
    • Rifugiati
    • Migranti
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Ecuador – Fr Rubinsky Sanchez, SDB: he fought hunger

      3 weeks 5 days ago
      Ecuador – Fr Rubinsky Sanchez, SDB: he fought hunger

      (ANS – Machala) – In Fr Rubinsky Sánchez's diary, the date of 12 March is highlighted with a spherical shape so as not to forget it. From that day on, the life of this Salesian priest and the community of Machala took a 180° turn. It was no longer possible to be near the parishioners or to accompany the children in the playground. The directive was clear: stay at home so as not to catch the coronavirus.

      The first days of this new normal, he describes them as taken from a "horror movie", because there was nervousness and panic in the population because of the messages circulating in the media and social networks. Food and certain medicines became scarce and compulsory confinement aggravated the situation of the poorest.

      Faced with this situation, Fr Rubinsky's pastoral work focused on how to help the families served by the Salesian community during the hardest weeks of the pandemic. A good number of them suffered a hard blow to their economy, as their income depended on informal trade and they could not go out on the streets to work. "If the coronavirus doesn't kill us, my family and my children will starve," was what we heard on the news.

      At the end of March, he saw a light of hope for assisting the poorest. On a call on his mobile phone, he heard: "Father, I want to help your parish because you (the Salesians) are doing wonderful work with the people." It was a great emotional moment because this benefactor had committed to donating 500 food kits.

      And now what do we do, was the question that Fr Rubinsky asked himself. Calling people to the parish or to the community would have created crowds and chaos. So, following the example of Jesus and Don Bosco, as a community they made the decision to go out to meet the people most in need.

      During those weeks, even though the number of infected people had been growing rapidly, and in the surroundings of the community one could hear of people dying from the virus, their commitment to helping people was stronger than their fear of the disease; there being a priest called them to share their pain for the death of a loved one and to make them feel that the Church and the Salesians were with them. 

      "I'm one of those who get into the van and go and give a hand to the people. I am not looking for death, I am not looking to get infected, but I do not like to be locked up, I am not a father who stays behind the desk," said the Father who experienced a similar situation in April 2016.

      At that time, he was the parish priest in Manta and felt, in person and at the forefront, the destruction and death caused by an earthquake. His attitude was the same then; he went out to talk to the families who were sleeping in the streets and he gave them food coupons. This experience was valuable in knowing how to properly channel the donations received.

      It was then that, together with Fr José Luis García and a group of lay people and young people, he formed a group that was at the forefront of helping and accompanying hundreds of families. Protected by gloves, glasses and a mask, he organized the delivery of food kits to the poorest sectors served by the Salesian mission: Nuevo Pilo, Venezuela, Voluntad de Dios, El Bosque, Alcides Pesántez and Rayito de Luz. In 20 days he travelled through these neighbourhoods where he distributed, at first, 500 food kits and then 1,000 more that reached the community.

      "I would arrive, knock on the door, talk to them and know their situation, before handing out the food. You can't imagine the excitement they had, some were even dancing for joy because they had nothing to eat anymore. But I didn't just give them something to take to the table, I also shared a word of encouragement so that they wouldn't lose hope for better days," says Fr Rubinsky as his eyes moisten and his voice breaks due to the harsh realities he knew up close.

      Then, the aid from Don Bosco Mission arrived and he went out again to deliver the $60 cards so that the families could buy food in the supermarkets. More than 600 cards were distributed and this aid still continues through the "Daily Bread" campaign.

      On these long walks he encountered really difficult situations, such as a household where the four members were disabled and could not move around on their own. He went to a supermarket, did their shopping and personally took the food bags to them.

      Through the contacts of Fr Rubinsky, a company in the city donated 27 thousand litres of milk. The Salesian parish worked as a collection centre and, together with Caritas of the Diocese, this product was distributed to different churches and later delivered to the parishioners.

      Despite being in constant contact with people, he has not contracted the virus. He has had three tests and all have come back negative. Who do you thank for this protection? Well, he does not hesitate to say that it has been the protective mantle of Mary Help of Christians, whose figure he placed at the entrance to the community to block the entry of the Covid-19 and to look after his Salesian brothers who are elderly: Father Arturo Gallardo and Father José Luis García.

      "I have asked God to protect me and Mary Help of Christians to shelter me. Since I was a novice I have been very devoted, I believe in her very much, and I ask her to end this because it has brought so much pain to the people." 

      During this time, there were also many moments of anguish that prevented him from sleeping. It was then that he began to write at night and in a notebook, he wrote the "Story of a Pandemic". In those writings, he captured his emotions, the feelings of the parishioners and helped him to channel all the stress and worry he felt at the time.

      Father Rubinsky considers that the main challenge of the present times is to continue being with the people, to continue being a light through our animating presence as a Salesian community. He considers these moments as stages that have marked his personal and religious life, because they have allowed him to strengthen his vocation of service and to thank God for continuing to give him the gift of life and the opportunity to continue to demonstrate his love for the most needy.

      • Ecuador
      • ECU ECUADOR
      • Coronavirus
        Gian Francesco Romano

        Indonesia – Further exploratory visit to Ruteng diocese on Flores island

        3 weeks 5 days ago
        Indonesia – Further exploratory visit to Ruteng diocese on Flores island

        (ANS – Ruteng) – The first goal of the Salesians is to serve the Church and young people. So, the Salesians are happy to accept whatever work could be given to them, because they are serving the Catholic community with the charism of Don Bosco by evangelizing poor young people and encouraging vocations. For this reason, after the first exploratory visit last October 2019 to the three dioceses of Flores Island (Ruteng, Maumere and Ende), on 13-17 September the “St. Louis Versiglia” (INA) Vice-province Superior, Fr Andrew Wong, accompanied by Br. Bernardinus Mei, paid a visit to the Ruteng diocese, emerging as the possible new presence of the Salesians of Indonesia in this mostly Christian island located in the Eastern part of Indonesia (East Nusa Tenggara).

        On 14 September both of them traveled from Jakarta to Ruteng - the capital of Manggarai district, Flores. In Ruteng they met the recently ordained Bishop, Siprianus Hormat, before evening prayer in his residence.

        On September 15 in the morning, there was an official meeting with the bishop, who opened the meeting by greeting both Salesians and presented his large diocese and its history, which goes back to the early years of the 20th century. The Catholic faith has been planted there since the first baptism on 17 May 1912 in Jengkalang, Reo (north of Manggarai district), then with the establishment of mission schools in Labuan Bajo, Reo, and Ruteng. On 23 September 1920, a permanent mission in Ruteng began, slowly developed into the Ruteng Apostolic Vicariate, and officially became the Ruteng Diocese on 3 January 1961, with its first bishop Wilhelmus Van Beckkum, SVD.

        The current bishop, Bishop Siprianus Hormat, is the fifth bishop of Ruteng and the fourth son of Manggarai. The diocese has one Pastoral Centre, six Educational works, one minor seminary, two intermediate Seminaries, three postulates or aspirants, three novitiates, two charitable social works, and three health works. Ruteng diocese has 89.7% Catholics - 851,609 of a population of 950,000, with 176 diocesan priests and 116 religious priests (SVD, OFM, SMM, SC, OSM, CRS and SDV), 184 male religious (CSA, SVD, OFM and SMM) and 526 religious sisters, divided into 86 parishes and 4 deaneries: Ruteng, Labuan Bajo, Borong and Reo. Most of the religious houses are concentrated in the city of Ruteng – 54 of them.

        In turn, Fr Wong continued the exchange with gratitude for his welcome and hospitality. The INA Provincial said that since he was appointed as the Salesian Superior of Indonesia, he observed that many Salesians came from eastern Indonesia and particularly from Flores. Then he began to consult different diocesan priests, bishops and also the Papal Nuncio in Jakarta. There was a converging suggestion to open ministries in Flores. All of those consulted indicated Ruteng diocese as a place to be and to serve for the Salesians.

        In the following discussion in which also the Vicar General Fr Alfons Segar and Fr Max Haber were involved, some possible kinds of apostolic work were spoken of that might be fitting for the Salesian charism in Ruteng diocese: parish, youth centre, TVET (non-formal vocation training centre), centre of Marian devotion (there is a strong Marian devotion in Flores), looking after school dropouts.

        On 16 September, together with the bishop, the two visitors went to Borong Vicariate, East Manggarai, and then they visited the Minor Seminary of Pius XII in Kisol: 400 students of junior and senior high school. The visitors were introduced to classrooms, dormitories, chapel, and libraries. There were two points that struck them: the young seminarians are well-educated from a spiritual, intellectual and human perspective; also the well-prepared (MA degree in education in many fields of languages, history, counselling or guidance) formators both priests and practical training brothers or clerics from the diocese, as well as from several religious congregations. So, the candidates could see a variety of different spiritualities during their stay. In this way, the graduates of Kisol minor seminary are much appreciated in the local Church.

        On 17 September, Fr Wong and Br Mei traveled back to Labuan Bajo and also had time to look at the Minor St. John Paul II Seminary. On 18 September 2020, the second exploratory trip to Flores ended and both visitors returned to Jakarta by Batik Air.

        “We ask your prayers during this delicate period of discernment, as to when, where and how to start our first Salesian presence on Flores island,” Br Mei concludes.

        Source : AustraLasia

        • INA INDONESIA
        • Indonesia
        • Missioni
          Gian Francesco Romano

          RMG – “Animating and Governing the Community - The Ministry of the Salesian Rector”: Interview with Fr Martoglio and Fr Coelho on the 1st part of the document

          3 weeks 6 days ago
          RMG – “Animating and Governing the Community - The Ministry of the Salesian Rector”: Interview with Fr Martoglio and Fr Coelho on the 1st part of the document

          (ANS – Rome) – The video presentation of the first part of Animating and Governing the Community: The Ministry of the Salesian Rector is available on YouTube (links below), along with other animation aids for the communities, which is going to be disseminated via email to all Provinces and Rectors. The video, originally in Italian, has been dubbed in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

          The video consists of an interview with Fr Stefano Martoglio, Vicar of the Rector Major, and Fr Ivo Coelho, General Councillor for Formation and deals with “The Salesian consecrated identity,” which is the first of the three parts of the document that was released during General Chapter 28.

          This part sees our consecration from the point of view of our mission, which is not so much “working for young people” but “being signs and bearers of God’s love to them.” It talks about how we Salesians share in this mission precisely as consecrated people – Brothers and Priests – among the many others who partake in the same mission. It highlights the Rector’s role as guardian of Salesian identity rather than manager of the Work and invites him to exercise authority as a brother among brothers: “Strive to make yourself loved.” 

          The video will be accompanied by a PowerPoint /PDF presentation and a handout, aimed to facilitate the personal study and the community sharing, ending up with four questions touching the main points emerged from the video interview. For those interested  – individual and communities - there is digital open forum on the same questions, where opinions can be shared with confreres of other Regions and provinces - the same link will be available in the handout.

          Communities are invited to make use of these tools as a help for reading and digesting the first part of Animating and Governing the Community: The Ministry of the Salesian Rector over the next three months, from October to December 2020.

          Formation communities, instead, have been invited to study Young Salesians and Accompaniment: Orientations and Guidelines with the help of the “video-seeds” that will be disseminated in monthly basis, from September 2020 – already sent – to June 2021.

          The video interview on YouTube

          • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
          • Formazione
          • Stefano Martoglio
          • Ivo Coelho
            Gian Francesco Romano

            Italy – Book presentation: "Don Silvio Galli, prete delle Beatitudini"

            3 weeks 6 days ago

            (ANS - Chiari) - “I'm nothing but a poor priest, I have nothing but the priestly robe I am wearing. It amazes me too that all people afflicted with problems, sometimes unsolvable, turn to me. I give my blessing also to their families, then I send them away with the conviction that if they pray and do so with faith their problems will be solved.” These words, said by Fr Silvio Galli, introduce an intense and participatory evening dedicated to the presentation of the book "Don Silvio Galli, prete delle Beatitudini - priest of the Beatitudes", in an event held on Friday 18 September in Chiari (Brescia, Italy) at the Salesian Institute "San Bernardino."

            Promoted by the Salesian community and the "Centro Auxilium", the initiative saw the presence of over 500 people, a sign of the interest and reputation for holiness that accompanies this Salesian of Don Bosco who was born in 1927 and died in 2012.

            The meeting was moderated by the journalist Clara Campani, who interviewed and conversed with Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, author of the book and Postulator of the Cause of Beatification of Father Galli. Fr Cameroni offered a number of interpretations of the figure and work of Father Galli: priest of welcome and hospitality, builder of peace, minister of reconciliation, sacrificed for the good of his neighbor. Even as a boy, his had been a life marked by a profound spiritual experience, as revealed by the written request to be admitted to the novitiate, when he was not yet 15 years old: “Oh how much I desire this! This is stimulated by a mysterious voice that speaks to my heart, an even mysterious force that pushes me more and more to God, a great peace that tells me how beautiful it is and how much more beautiful it will be to serve God. I do not understand the greatness of this double grace that God has given me. However, I feel so unworthy.”

            This "dream" that he wanted to fulfill came true through his words and gestures, which continue to be a strong provocation that shakes consciences, having wanted to share the poverty of Jesus with respect to a culture marked by consumerism and the search for exclusively material well-being. Without proclamations, with the eloquence of life, he made the evangelical choice to be poor and to serve the poor in the name of Jesus. The poor would remain his recipients until the end, against all forms of their being cast off, set aside, and indifference.

            The evening ended with a moment of prayer and with the announcement of the opening of the diocesan inquiry into the Cause of Beatification on Sunday 11 October which will be chaired by the bishop of Brescia, Msgr. Pierantonio Tremolada. On this occasion the Rector Major will be present, signifying the esteem and gratitude of the Salesian Family for this son of Don Bosco.

            As one of those present testified: “He was a great Priest, a true Father for all of us, in contact with him we felt his great love which he gave to everyone.”

            Audio of the evening

            Short video

            {gallery}Chiari - Don Galli 2020{/gallery}

            • Italia
            • Silvio Galli
            • Santità Salesiana
            • Pier Luigi Cameroni
              Gian Francesco Romano

              France – Salesians arrive in Guadeloupe

              3 weeks 6 days ago
              France – Salesians arrive in Guadeloupe

              (ANS - Les Abymes) - Last Sunday, 20 September, the Salesian priest Fr Christian Tshala, SDB, took possession of his new parish. What makes this event special, in itself similar to many others, is the fact that it is a "first Salesian presence" in Guadeloupe, an overseas region of the French Republic, located in the middle of the Antilles, in the Caribbean Sea.

              Fr Tshala, a Salesian missionary born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but belonging to the "France-Belgium South" Province (FRB), reached the island of Guadeloupe on 31 August, accompanied by Fr Pierre Gernez, who became parish vicar, and by lay collaborator in the Salesian mission Arthur Massiet du Biest, of the association “Le Valdocco”.

              Guadeloupe clearly represents a privileged mission field for the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco: it is the most disadvantaged Department in the French Republic and has a large youth population - with a third of the population under the age of 20, of which about 20% lives below the poverty line. Furthermore, 20% of young Guadeloupans leave school without qualifications and the absenteeism rate is the highest of all the French departments; not to mention the unemployment rate among young people between 15 and 29, equal to 43.7%.

              Sensitive to the worrying situation of most of the young people, Msgr. Jean-Yves Riocreux, bishop of Basse Terre, the capital of Guadeloupe, invited the Salesians to settle in his diocese.

              The arrival of the Salesians in Basse Terre foresees a double involvement:

              The animation of a parish. Archbishop Riocreux has entrusted the parish of "San Luca", in the city of Les Abymes, to the Salesians. It is a municipality of 58,500 inhabitants that includes several working-class and poor areas and a very important school complex (with schools, colleges, general, technological and vocational).

              The Christian community is very lively and youth ministry is very developed, with several hundred children attending the Catechism, sees the presence of French Scouts, school chaplaincies, a youth orchestra, a large group of altar boys.

              A socio-educational presence among young people in difficulty. The idea is to create, with the involvement of the inhabitants and local collaborators, a local association according to the model of the "Le Valdocco" association and which is part of the "Don Bosco Action Social" network.

              Arthur Massiet du Biest, sent by the association for this purpose, will accompany the development of this socio-educational project, based on three axes:

              - street animation and organization of leisure time and recreation (trips, camping trips);

              - educational and scholastic support, as well as help with orientation and vocational integration;

              - support for parenting;

              The parish is ready to make the premises available to this new association and the public authorities (state and local authorities) are ready to support the functioning of this new association. But the association also needs material resources to be able to start its activities.

              For more information visit the website: https://www.donbosco-actionsociale.org/ 

              • Francia
              • FRB FRANCIA BELGIO SUD
              • Guadalupa
              • Nuova Presenza
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Venezuela – A "back to school" marked by hunger and fear of Covid-19

                3 weeks 6 days ago

                (ANS - Caracas) - Venezuela has gone from being South America's richest country to a situation comparable to that of the poorest nations in Africa. The economic, political and social crisis that the population has been suffering places them in conditions of extreme poverty. Without food, water, electricity, medicine, fuel and, moreover, with the constant threat of the coronavirus, going back to school becomes a risk for minors.

                The situation is critical for the entire population, but the pandemic is the least of concerns for families. The priority is not the fear of contagion, but being able to eat. The average daily income of a Venezuelan is the equivalent of 0.55 euros. The conclusion is clear: everyone is poor today.

                Inflation gallops to record highs and to get food, fuel or medicine people have to stand in endless queues. Thus children and young people become the most vulnerable segment of the population. A recent study reveals that the nutritional status (height/age ratio) of children in Venezuela is more similar to that of African countries such as Nigeria or Zambia than that of any other neighboring country.

                Faced with this situation, the Salesians denounce the oppression suffered by the population and continue to stand alongside those most in need. The main help consists in the distribution of food, water and hygiene products. They do this especially among the children who every day participate in one of the seven programs that the “Red de Casas Don Bosco” has throughout the country. But they also help returning migrants, organize “solidarity pots”, community kitchens, in parishes and accompany indigenous communities in the Amazon.

                “The coronavirus emergency has aggravated the humanitarian crisis that began in 2016 and from which there is no way out. At the moment the coronavirus is the least of our concerns, even if infections and deaths are on the rise, without the real figures being known,” the Salesian missionaries explain.

                The "Red de Casas Don Bosco" Civil Association offers every day, in its seven centers, more than 700 breakfasts and meals to children in vulnerable situations, as well as hygiene kits. “If it were not for this support they'd have nothing to eat, and we have more and more cases of malnutrition,” says Leonardo Rodriguez, Director of these Salesian social works.

                Thanks to the support of the Salesian Mission Office of Madrid “Misiones Salesianas”, the program offers children a personalized basket for breakfast and lunch, while social distance and hygiene measures are being maintained at all times.

                But the uncertainty of this month also affects the return to school. In many places there are no teachers because they have not been paid and in most schools it is impossible to implement sanitation measures due to structural deficiencies. In consideration of this situation, the "Red de Casas Don Bosco" has implemented an emergency education mode in its seven programs, with the enrollment of 4,184 children and adolescents.

                Amid difficulties, the Salesians, as Don Bosco would have done, continue to help and instill hope in the population.

                • Venezuela
                • Fame
                • Povertà
                • Coronavirus
                • Scuole
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  RMG - Secretariat of Salesian Family: first steps of new 6-year term

                  4 weeks ago
                  RMG - Secretariat of Salesian Family: first steps of new 6-year term

                  (ANS - Rome) - The Salesian Family, that vast movement of persons dedicated to the salvation of young people in the following of Don Bosco, is a living organism, which has taken on an increasingly central role in the consideration and apostolate of the Congregation. The Rector Major's reference to the Salesian Family in the closing address of the General Chapter, in this sense, is truly significant: “The Salesian Family, together with the reality of the mission shared with the laity, will be the point of arrival and the guarantee of the Salesian mission ... This is an essential charismatic element, much stronger today than in Don Bosco's time ... This is why I invite you to continue to believe in the Salesian Family.”

                  The first element of novelty, testimony to the vitality of the Salesian Family, was the renewal of the team of the Salesians of Don Bosco present in the Secretariat for the Salesian Family: Fr Joan Lluís Playà succeeded Fr Eusebio Muñoz as Delegate of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family; Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, former Spiritual Animator of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), continues to be part of the Secretariat, but as Postulator General for the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family; Domenico Nam has taken on the positions of World Delegate for the Salesian Cooperators and for the Past Pupils of Don Bosco, previously assigned to Fr Giuseppe Casti and Fr Jayapalan Raphael; while the new Spiritual Animator of ADMA is now Fr Alejandro Guevara.

                  With the offices renewed, the first digital contacts were then made. Attention was paid to requests from the Provinces or from specific groups of the Salesian Family from different parts of the world: animation of the Spiritual Exercises, participation in provincial meetings, meetings with the Past Pupils of the Provinces of East Asia, meeting with ADMA Primary… Without neglecting the translation of the book of the Salesian Family.

                  From 10 to 12 September the team of Salesians of Don Bosco present in the Secretariat gathered, and on 11 September, in particular, they took part in the Plenary meeting of the Secretariat, which was also attended by Sr. Maria Luisa Miranda and Dina Moscioni, who were already members; and Margarita F. and Antonio Boccia, whom the Rector Major recently appointed members of the Secretariat.

                  They were days of acknowledging the character of the Secretariat as an organ at the service of the Rector Major for the animation, formation and coordination of the Salesian Family; reflection on the functions to be assumed and on the way to organize; preparation of the part of the six-year program corresponding to the Salesian Family in the light of the nuclei of animation proposed by the Rector Major; and reasoning on how to face the next Days of Spirituality of the Salesian Family.

                  “Here, in a nutshell, are the first steps taken in this new 6-year term, while we continue to trust in the enveloping love of God who has given His Church the gift of our Salesian Family,” concludes Fr Playà, Delegate of the Rector Major for the Family Salesian.

                  • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                  • Famiglia Salesiana
                    Virginia Nitto

                    India – Delhi Police awards Don Bosco Alaknanda Counselor for counseling COVID Delhi Police personnel

                    4 weeks ago
                    India – Delhi Police awards Don Bosco Alaknanda Counselor for counseling COVID Delhi Police personnel

                    (ANS – New Delhi) – Ms. Anjali Tresa Veliath, Counselor at Don Bosco School, Alaknanda, New Delhi, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by S.N.Shrivastava IPS, Commissioner of Police, Delhi, for her extraordinary, dedicated service in counseling the Covid-19 Delhi Police personnel.

                    The sudden spread of Covid-19 brought the life of people to a standstill globally. A new disease, huge stigma, an enormous amount of fear, lack of information all added to the agony. As the nation went to a total lockdown, there was chaos all over and the Delhi Police had to safeguard the people of Delhi. While dealing with the people many of the police personnel got infected. As Delhi Police officials felt the need to give psychological support to their staff members at this hour of crisis, they reached out to various institutions and organisations. A team of 23 committed and qualified psychologists and counselors supported by psychiatrists and doctors took up the challenge, aiming at ‘Wellness for Delhi Police’.

                    Anjali Tresa Veliath, School Counselor of Don Bosco School, Alaknanda, holding a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) with a few years of experience in counseling was approached by Mr Sakhi John of ‘Distress Management Collective India’ asking for her support in this endeavour. She was more than happy to take up this responsibility from 5 May 2020 and reached out to patients who were assigned to her. Anjali says: “Initially it was a bit difficult for me as I found that many weren’t ready to get counseling support. But slowly I managed to win them over. I have given psychological support and solace to more than 200 Police Personnel.”

                    The general impression she got was that the biggest problem people had was the fear of death as they were scared by the news of the shocking fatality rates from countries like Italy, Spain, USA, etc. The second aspect was isolation; nobody wanted to be in quarantine. The third one was stigma; some of them even asked her whether their own people will accept them once they go back to their houses. This fear made many conceal their Covid-19 Positive status from their family members.

                    With sentiments of satisfaction after receiving the Certificate of Appreciation from S.N.Shrivastava IPS, Commissioner of Police, Delhi, Anjali affirms: “Never have I experienced anything like the impact of Covid-19. These sessions of counseling with Covid-19 patients were different because it was more of a crisis management and the effort was more on the mitigation of fear. I had to do it on war-footing as there were many people to be addressed on a single day.”

                    Fr. Babu Varghese SDB

                    • India
                    • Coronavirus
                    • Scuole
                      Virginia Nitto

                      Italy - XXX Marian Day of ADMA

                      4 weeks 1 day ago
                      Italy - XXX Marian Day of ADMA

                      (ANS - Turin) - "Dream and make people dream". This is the motto of ADMA's XXX Marian Day held in Turin on Sunday 20 September with about 400 participants including adults and young people. A somewhat special day, because it was marked by the handover of the animation of the Association from Fr Pierluigi Cameroni to Fr Alejandro Guevara. An atmosphere of celebration and gratitude marked the event, with moments of participation and emotion, such as the delivery of a beautiful photo album and Marian stoles. Renato Valera, President of ADMA, coordinated the day, underlining how Mary Help of Christians always accompanies the Association.

                      Fr Cameroni retraced the journey of almost 14 years, describing what animating ADMA meant for him, looking at Don Bosco, apostle of the Help of Christians and founder of the Association: “The Association grows and matures to the extent that each member feels the call to respond to a grace received, to 'give back' or rather to share and spread the grace experienced, because faith is strengthened by giving it: this translates into a living and dynamic presence in one's family, in the workplace, in participating in the formative and prayer life of the Association, in dedicating time and energy to ADMA… Our Lady has always guided us in these years, she has inspired us in many circumstances without being too tied and bound to projects and programs. Christian life, like education, is like a river that should not be reined in too much, but left free in its path: accompanied, not forced or constrained ... One of the realities that most helped me to grow spiritually was the great ability to share life and faith especially during retreats and spiritual exercises. Communion in God creates very strong bonds between people and strengthens the believing experience and the vocational identity of each.”

                      Fr Alejandro Guevara shared his life story and how he arrived at this mission entrusted to him by the Rector Major. Fr Roberto Carelli presented the formative journey of the year 2020-2021 entitled "Dream and make dream", inspired by the slogan of Pope Francis addressed to the Salesians at the conclusion of the General Chapter: “Don Bosco dreamed and made people dream. But his dreams were not an escape from reality, on the contrary, an immersion in reality, and they did not have to do with sleep and inertia, but with vigilance and works, not with purely human genius and resourcefulness, but with the inspirations and fruitfulness of God. The invitation to dream and to make people dream urges us to take care of formation, that of young people as well as that of adults, because it encourages us not to stop at facts, not to drown in occupations and concerns, and asks us to place ourselves, according to the spirit of Don Bosco, in the perspective of God, in the perspective of grace, faith, vocation and mission, praise and service of God, of a contemplative and non-operative life not closed in on itself but dedicated to others, especially if they are poorer.”

                      In the afternoon, in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, there was the participatory Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr Leonardo Mancini, provincial of Piedmont-Valle d'Aosta, during which 6 aspirants shared the joy and grace of joining ADMA and of the Salesian Family. A day of grace with many gifts and reasons to pray, to give thanks, to entrust and to continue dreaming!

                      {gallery}ICP - ADMA{/gallery}

                      • ADMA
                      • Italia
                        Virginia Nitto

                        United States - “Salesian Missions” highlights life-changing humanitarian aid for young people around the world

                        4 weeks 1 day ago
                        United States - “Salesian Missions” highlights life-changing humanitarian aid for young people around the world

                        (ANS - New Rochelle) - “Salesian Missions”, the Salesian Mission Office of New Rochelle, has joined humanitarian organizations and countries around the world in commemorating the International Day of Peace, which is celebrated every year on 21 September. The General Assembly of the United Nations declared the International Day of Peace as a day dedicated to fostering the ideals of peace among all nations and peoples. This year's theme is "Shaping Peace Together" and invites everyone to celebrate the day by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the global pandemic.

                        All over the world, Salesian missionaries have responded to the needs caused by the pandemic by providing assistance programs to young people, children and their families. On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, "Salesian Missions" highlighted the humanitarian aid programs, which are capable of changing the lives of many young people.

                        INDIA

                        Thanks to funding from "Salesian Missions", the Anma Integrated Development Association (AIDA) was able to support 13 farmers by donating tea plants to them. The Salesian missionaries in India, aware of the difficult situation in which the workers employed in the tea plantations work, are working to offer the laborers opportunities to break the cycle of poverty in which they often find themselves.

                        SOUTH AFRICA

                        The Salesian missionaries, supported by the donors of “Salesian Missions”, have provided food rations to vulnerable families and, in the coming weeks, a second delivery of food parcels is expected. In South Africa, further donations have come from “Don Bosco Mondo” and will allow the start of substantial production of masks.

                        SOUTHERN SUDAN

                        The students who attend the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Juba have received scholarships to contribute to their formation and continue their studies. Scholarships, which focus primarily on female students, cover 50 percent of the tuition and make it much easier for young women to get an education.

                        THAILAND

                        A donor from Salesian Missions has decided to pay for the studies for two brothers. Funding was provided to the Hua Hin Vitthayalai Salesian school, located in the city of Hua Hin. The father of these children is paralyzed and cannot work; the mother barely earns enough to buy food and pay rent and electricity. The family did not have the extra money to pay for school fees, so donor support was key to providing the brothers with an education.

                        • Pace
                        • Missioni
                        • Stati Uniti
                          Virginia Nitto

                          Lithuania - Fr Massimo Bianco, Salesian: "Mission before a territory is a way of life"

                          1 month ago

                          (ANS - Vilnius) - Fr Massimo Bianco, SDB, has been a missionary in Lithuania for twenty years. He is 57 years old, lives and works in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, in a large suburban parish.  

                          “Being a missionary is responding to a call, which I have matured for a long time,” he says. “I had spent three summer experiences in Africa, precisely in Nigeria, in the end I 'landed' on European soil, but I gradually understood that mission before a territory is a way of life. Even if the standard of living here is different from Africa, the need for evangelization in a secularized and post-Soviet world I would say is the same: here you meet people who are not physically malnourished, but are malnourished in spirit. Here I replied: 'Here I am! Send me!' to the One who is the source of every missionary call.”

                          Fr Massimo explains that in recent years he has tried first of all to listen, to fit into a different culture with respect, patience and progressiveness: the language, the climate, the people, the faith lived in small communities were various aspects to be integrated, a little bit at a time. “In the face of moments of loneliness and difficulty,” he continues, “I try not to lose heart. Of course, the moment comes, sooner or later, when you ask yourself: 'But what am I doing here?' It is therefore a question of overcoming the temptation to let go, at the same time you realize that you carry within yourself a disease called 'protagonism and efficiency', driven by the human desire to always see results, but often this is not possible, at least in short term. In these cases, the life of prayer and the support of the Salesian and parish community in which I live help me a lot.”

                          As a Salesian of Don Bosco, Fr Massimo feels the task and the desire to make children and young people aware of the figure of Don Bosco, the Saint of the young, in a particular way. “This requires on my part to struggle with the temptation of a mediocre life that is satisfied with the 'minimum acceptable result',” he underscores. “So always start again, keep the missionary fire alive in your heart, continue until I pass the baton to others, when God wills, with the awareness that it is worth working for the Kingdom of Heaven. It's not just a matter of understanding that the Lord sends us to proclaim His Word, but it is a matter of becoming the voice of that Word ourselves, with our presence and our testimony.”

                          Source: Fides (http://www.fides.org/it/news/68647-EUROPA_LITUANIA_Verso_la_Giornata_Missionaria_La_missione_prima_di_un_territorio_e_uno_stile_di_vita_dice_un_missionario_salesiano_a_Vilnius

                          • Lituania
                            José Luis Munoz

                            Italy - Rosignano Monferrato and Mons. Ernesto Coppo, apostle of the three worlds

                            1 month ago
                            Italy - Rosignano Monferrato and Mons. Ernesto Coppo, apostle of the three worlds

                            (ANS - Rosignano Monferrato) - The town has a centuries-old history, a source of important historical essays, all linked to the strategic position of the town, “sentinel of Casale”, a perennial seat of military garrisons. On the Sasso that dominates the town is the 12th-century castle and the parish of San Martino emerges on the opposite hill.

                            In Rosignano, Don Bosco found fertile ground, thanks also to the impulse of the parish priest, Mons. Giovanni Bonelli, his fraternal friend. Vocations flourished copiously. Famous was the "sentinel of the Oratory", brother Marcello Rossi who for decades was the faithful guardian of the first house founded by the Saint in Valdocco. And then again the Sorbone sisters, including Sister Angelica, pioneer and provincial in Argentina and Chile, and Mother Enrichetta, Vicar General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians until 1942. And then again, among the many vocations, the brothers Fr Arturo and Fr Dante Caprioglio. Among all these extraordinary Salesian vocations, the figure of Mons. Ernesto Coppo, Bishop and Salesian Missionary in the United States, Australia and Italy, stands out.

                            Mons. Ernesto Coppo was born on February 6, 1870, in the Stevani district of Rosignano. He began his studies in the house that Don Bosco opened in Borgo San Martino. Among Ernesto's companions is the young Pietro Ricaldone, from Mirabello. Here they both meet Don Bosco, an encounter that will mark their lives.

                            He concluded his formation in the seminary of Casale and on 7 August 1892 he was ordained a priest. The following year he entered the Salesian novitiate in Foglizzo, and on 4 October 1894, he made his perpetual profession in the hands of Blessed Fr Rua. In 1898, at the head of a group of Salesian priests, he reached New York to carry out a demanding and courageous apostolate at the service of migrants who had come to America in search of a better future.

                            "Twenty years of mission absorbed all the forces of Fr Coppo in the service of emigrants and their youth, both from a religious, social and civil point of view," remembers Fr Ricaldone years later.

                            This surge of faith and service to his neighbors most in need brought him to Australia in 1923, at the Apostolic Vicariate of Kimberley. Consecrated Bishop at the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, he departed for Kimberley to be among the indigenous people. These are years of intense pastoral work: he reaches distant villages, meets families, gives impetus to the human needs of work, formation, development, the Gospel. The organizational and pastoral experience learned in America he makes available to his Australian people.

                            Back in Italy, he becomes a formidable animator for the Missions. Fr Ricaldone, who became Rector Major, remembers him thus: "Mons. Coppo aspired to declare himself an old Missionary Bishop and with insistent zeal, he invited his listeners to think about the needs of the Church in the most remote missions". Until the last moment, he lived the priestly magisterium, ceasing his earthly existence in Ivrea where he had gone to preside over a Marian Congress, on the evening of 28 December 1948, at the age of 78.

                            The hometown, where Mons. Coppo returned many times, during this 2020 remembers the 150th anniversary of his birth. It celebrates him as an example of missionary commitment and evangelizing passion of enormous relevance: for his intelligent work among migrants in America, for the support and promotion of the Australian indigenous peoples, for his patient and welcoming charity towards all those whom he met also in Italy.

                            José Luis Munoz

                            India – "E-Oratory" created by young people for young people

                            1 month ago

                            (ANS - Mumbai) - A group of children from a slum located near Mumbai, with the mobile phone of one of their parents, hunger in their bellies and enthusiasm in their hearts, reinvented Don Bosco's oratory at the time of Covid-19: 4 or 5 very young people gave birth to the “Don Bosco E-Oratory” of Navi Mumbai, an online oratory whose beneficiaries are scattered throughout various states of India. Every day there are about 250 children and young people who "attend", even thousands of kilometers away from each other.

                            In normal times, the Salesian Oratory of Navi, on the outskirts of the Mumbai megalopolis, used to offer hours of recreation and learning to about 250 children. But like all aggregation centers, with the outbreak of the pandemic, it has been closed for months.

                            “When we went around for our food relief measures, the children themselves would say: 'Please open the school campus, we want to come play and study.' We could not do so, for their safety,” say the local Salesians. “Then they themselves told us: 'send us some fun videos and suggest us something we can do in small groups in our own place. And so we did.”

                            At that point, the first 4-5 children borrowed a mobile phone from one of their parents and listened to a couple of educational stories from an animator, who also offered them a few suggestions for group activities. The children, in response, made funny videos, with dances and games, and sent them back to the oratory's coordinator. And seeing how much fun the little ones were having, their neighbors started to participate too.

                            “As the number of groups grew, we asked the help of a group of volunteers in Navi Mumbai, who call themselves, ‘Team Spreading Smiles’. They now organize regular fun activities and learning programmes. They teach story-telling, maths, drawing, craft and origami, life skills for kids (e.g., good touch-bad touch) and language. They conduct competitions and quizzes… ”

                            The presence of this E-Oratory is even more significant considering that these children's government schools do not have online classes.

                            The E-oratory started on 7 July with only 4 or 5 children, but it spread like wildfire among the children of the slum of Navi Mumbai, and then, through word of mouth among parents, also among the children of workers currently living in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.

                            “When their families were in Mumbai, the children came to our oratory. Now they have returned to their villages of origin, but the little ones continue to 'attend' our 'E-Oratory' every day,” said local Salesians.

                            Those in charge of other oratories who are interested in joining the Navi Mumbai "E-Oratory" can write to: principal.nerul@sdbinb.in or donbosconerul@gmail.com.

                            {gallery}INB - E-Oratory{/gallery}

                            • India
                            • INB INDIA MUMBAY
                            • Oratorio
                            • Coronavirus
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              Madagascar – Solidarity and prevention to help the needy and protect against infections

                              1 month ago
                              Madagascar – Solidarity and prevention to help the needy and protect against infections

                              (ANS - Antananarivo) - Madagascar is also still struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only because the new coronavirus has infected 15,925 people with 216 victims in the country, but also because the lack of international tourists due to the blocking of flights and travel has generated enormous problems for the tourism industry and all the related activities it generates. Faced with this situation, the Salesians have worked out a detailed plan to help, as far as possible, the people most in need, starting with those closest to their environments.

                              The Sons of Don Bosco have been present in the great “Red Island” since 1981. Today their presence is articulated in a Vice-Province dedicated to Mary Immaculate with 11 houses. From the “Notre Dame de Clairvaux” center in Ivato, on the outskirts of the capital, Antananarivo, the Salesians issued a report on the support they have been offering.

                              In the first place, even if due to the closure of the schools the teaching work is very limited, the Sons of Don Bosco are continuing to pay the salaries of employees regularly, and indeed, in consideration of the current economic situation, they have distributed a one-off bonus to them. Also, resident workers forced to remain in the Center despite the restrictions are granted a salary increase of around 15%.

                              Thinking of the students and their families, the religious of the Ivato center distributed a package with 8 kg of rice, 2 kg of dried vegetables, and a bar of soap to all the students. Each week they also distribute another package containing 5 kg of rice and 1.5 kg of dried legumes to final-year students - 85 young people - when they return home at the weekend. And a second distribution of rice and dried vegetables has already begun to all the center's students forced to stay at home.

                              A similar service, with a small package of rice and dried legumes, is also given to the students of the oratory recovery school. And in the cases of greatest difficulty they have come to know about - for example, when both parents of the children have been left without income - the Salesians have also given cash aid.

                              From the point of view of prevention, moreover, in the center of Ivato, the health provisions are being strictly observed: soap and water are present in many areas of the center, masks are made available and social distance is maintained in common areas such as the classrooms, the refectory, the study room and the dormitory.

                              {gallery}MDG - Lotta a Covid-19 - 2020{/gallery}

                              • Madagascar
                              • MDG MADAGASCAR
                              • Coronavirus
                              • Solidarietà
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                RMG – Video launch of interview with Fr Stefano Martoglio and Fr Ivo Coelho

                                1 month ago
                                RMG – Video launch of interview with Fr Stefano Martoglio and Fr Ivo Coelho

                                (ANS - Rome) – Released at the beginning of July was the video interview with the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, and the Councilor for Formation, Fr Ivo Coelho, presenting the document “Animating and Governing the Community - The Ministry of the Salesian Rector.” On Thursday 24 September an interview with Fr Stefano Martoglio, Vicar of the Rector Major, and Fr Coelho will be available on the first of the three parts of the document entitled "The Salesian consecrated identity."

                                Br. Raymond Callo, a lay Salesian member of the Department for Formation, introduces the aforesaid interview and the animation material that will accompany it with a 3-minute video, available starting today on ANSChannel. It gives us an idea of the emerging themes and suggestions offered for reflection and sharing on this part for the next three months.

                                The choice made during the 28th General Chapter was to invite the various Salesian communities in 2020/21 to make their own "Animating and Governing the Community - The Ministry of the Salesian Rector", while the initial formation communities in the same period focus their attention on “Young Salesian and Accompaniment – Orientations and Guidelines”. For the following year, 2021/22, the path is exchanged, to complete the dissemination of the two documents in the first two years of the sexennium.

                                • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                • Formazione
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  Canada – Remembering Fr. Romeo Trottier, SDB (1937-2020)

                                  1 month ago
                                  Canada – Remembering Fr. Romeo Trottier, SDB (1937-2020)

                                  (ANS – Sherbrooke) – Fr. Romeo Trottier, SDB, passed serenely from Sherbrooke, QC, into eternity at 4:20 a.m. on Sunday, September 13. In faith, we trust that he didn’t stop at the Pearly Gates but continued until he reached the Salesian Garden and was welcomed by Don Bosco, the Madonna, and the pantheon of holy Salesians.

                                  Fr. Romeo was 83 years old, was professed as a Salesian for 65 years, and was a priest for 54½ years. He’d been suffering from leukemia for about two years, continuing his ministry of Canadian Salesian communications as best he could. He was taken to University Sherbrooke Hospital (CHUS) on Saturday, September 5 with breathing difficulty, and on Wednesday, September 9 was taken to Fleurimont Hospital to receive palliative care.

                                  Fr. Romeo was one of the great men of the one-time Canadian delegation and Canadian vice province, where he passed his entire Salesian life except for his studies in New Jersey, New York, and Italy. “He was an expert in Salesian spirituality, the key person in the creation of the Canadian vice province in 1988, and a model of friendly presence to the young even in his 80s,” writes Fr. Rich Authier, former superior of the vice province.

                                  Fr. Romeo succeeded Fr. Ron Quenneville as provincial delegate for Canada in 1976 and served for 12 years until the erection of the vice province. For many years (starting around 1990), he edited Canadian Salesian news in a couple of formats, and after the untimely death of Fr. Paul Cossette in 2013, he also took over Carrefour Salésien, the Canadian Salesian Bulletin.

                                  Fr. Romeo came from a small town called Proulxville, near Three Rivers, Que., where he was born to Donat and Aline Carpentier Trottier on the feast of the Assumption in 1937 and baptized the next day at the parish church of St.-Severin. The town may be small, but the Trottiers were a large family: Fr. Romeo had six brothers and six sisters, and he landed almost exactly in the middle of the procession, the sixth-born.

                                  Romeo attended the local elementary school from 1943 to 1950. Like many of our Canadian confreres, he owes his vocation (after God and family) to the recruiting efforts of the legendary Fr. Pierre Decarie. Fr. Decarie came to Romeo’s school in the spring of 1950 to speak to the youngsters about Don Bosco and the Salesians, and he also mentioned the seminary in Newton, NJ, and the summer camp in Ellenville, NY.

                                  Romeo had already taken the entrance exam for the Three Rivers diocesan minor seminary, but he showed an openness to the Salesians. Mr. and Mrs. Trottier consented for Romeo to go to Newton. There were already many Canadians studying there, who came to number about 20, including youngsters who headed south with him.

                                  Romeo had never been farther away from home than Montreal. But in July 1950 he set out for Ellenville, and in the fall to Don Bosco Seminary. He liked his first-year experience, even though he had to learn English. The Canadian aspirants attended separate classes until they were proficient enough in English gradually to be integrated into the regular classes. Romeo particularly liked his classes taught by Son of Mary Dominic DeBlase, Bro. Peter Granzotto, and Bro. Vince Zuliani.

                                  In 1951 the aspirantate was transferred to Haverstraw, NY, as Don Bosco Juniorate under the directorship of Fr. Joseph Caselli, who was a very understanding superior.

                                  Desiring “to be a good Salesian and worker in the Lord’s vineyard,” Romeo entered St. Joseph’s Novitiate in Newton on September 7, 1954. He was part of a very distinguished novitiate class, Fr. Aloysius Bianchi’s first as master of novices. They lived in the “gray house,” the so-called Horton mansion. Some of the others in the class were Tony Ambrogio, John Blanco, Francis Bracchi, Bob Falk, Barney Hagus, George Hanna, Jean-Paul Lebel, Orlando Molina, Gerard Richard, and Alfred Rinaldi. They made their first profession on September 8, 1955.

                                  Following graduation from Don Bosco College in 1958, magna cum laude, Bro. Romeo was sent to the Don Bosco School in Jacquet River, NB, for three years of practical training (1958-1961). It was a small, rather insular boarding school with about 100 boys, fifth to eighth grade. He made his perpetual profession in 1961 at St. Louis de Kent, NB.

                                  When it was time to study theology, Bro. Romeo had the luxury of a fine cruise across the Atlantic—at the time that was less expensive than flying. While some of the Canadian theologians went to Lyons or Castellamare, Bro. Romeo was the only one who went to Rome. He took the “propedeutic” or preparatory year of non-theological studies. The purpose of this program eluded him then and still did till the end of his life.

                                  In 1962 he moved up to Turin and enrolled at the PAS—the famous “Crocetta” theologate (taking its name from the neighborhood). Unfortunately, he arrived too late to have been taught by the Ven. Joseph Quadrio, but he remembers that the seminarians prayed at the holy priest’s bedside the night before he died, October 23, 1963. He was privileged to take courses with some of the Congregation’s most distinguished professors, such as Fr. Domenico Bertetto, Fr. Agustino Favale, Fr. Antonio Javierre (the future cardinal), Fr. Pietro Brocardo, and Fr. Eugenio Valentini.

                                  His classmates in Turin and Rome included George Hanna, and schoolmates included Angelo Amato (another future cardinal), Emilio Allué, Javier Aracil, John Blanco, John Basso, Tom Juarez, Jeremiah Reen, and Earl Bissonnette.

                                  In 1965 the main campus of the PAS was shifted to its new location in Rome, and Bro. Romeo was in the first “senior” class there. That gave him an opportunity to witness the last session of Vatican II and take part in the closing Mass, December 7, 1965. He vividly remembered the Council’s closing with its many speeches on December 8.

                                  Ordination to the priesthood came at the hands of the cardinal vicar, Luigi Traglia, on March 5, 1966, at St. John Bosco Church in Cinecittà. His mother and one sister were able to come and spend a few days in Rome. He earned an STL from what had become the UPS (instead of PAS).

                                  Being present for the closing days of Vatican II was a special experience, and most special was a post-ordination audience with Pope Paul VI with the class’s parents, each newly ordained greeting the Pope. He told the newly ordained, “Wherever you go, be priests of the Council”—which, obviously, stuck with Fr. Romeo.

                                  Fr. Romeo’s first priestly assignment was to Seminaire Salésien in Sherbrooke, Que., where he stayed for 15 years (1966-1981), teaching Latin, religion, English, and art history at various times, and also at various times responsible for student life and discipline. At the time the school enrolled about 80 pupils, all boarders. The following year (1967), it opened to local day students. In these years he earned a Bachelor’s degree in education from Quebec City’s Laval University (1972) and a Master’s degree in pastoral education at the University of Sherbrooke (1973).

                                  In 1975 he was appointed director of the community and school, serving two terms (till 1981). Simultaneously, from 1976 he was superior of the Canadian delegation, till 1988. This responsibility entailed visiting the houses, overseeing the delegation’s finances, and working in collaboration with the provincial in New Rochelle. He collaborated with three provincials—Frs. Sam Isgro, Dominic DeBlase, and Richard McCormick—but enjoyed most working with Fr. Dominic, whom he found particularly affable.

                                  Then he collaborated for nine years as vice provincial (1988-1994, 2006-2009) with Fr. Richard Authier when the Canadian delegation was elevated to a vice province (1988-2009). Around 1988 he was named Salesian provincial delegate for the Canadian Cooperators, serving them officially until 2018.

                                  His influence with the Cooperators was tremendous. According to Rosa D’Addario, their former coordinator: “In all things Salesian [he was] definitely the authority, most informed. With regard to others, encouraging, loving, attentive, a caring listener with a delightful sense of humor, warm, enthusiastic, friendly, approachable, wise, and compassionate; always made you feel welcome and completely at ease. He always participated in regional encounters.” She adds, “Fr. Romeo was a great person, and I will really miss him!”

                                  When his term as director in Sherbrooke ended, in 1981 he moved to Ste. Claire Parish in Montreal as an assistant. When Fr. Jean-Paul Lebel volunteered for the missions and left for Rwanda in 1983, Fr. Romeo succeeded him as pastor and director, serving till 1995. In 1984 he was one of the province’s delegates to GC22.

                                  A short stint at Maria Ausiliatrice Parish in Riviere-des-Prairies, Montreal, followed (1995-1996) before he was sent back to Sherbrooke as director for two more terms (1996-2002). He remained thenceforth in Sherbrooke, doing multiple jobs at times, including community treasurer, pastoral ministry, Cooperators, communications, etc.

                                  Fr. Romeo listed parish work, his years of theological study, and student life in Jacquet River as his most enjoyable experiences as a Salesian. He retained happy memories particularly of Fr. Ted Ciampi and Fr. Paul Avallone, two of the founders of Salesian work north of the border, and of Fr. Joe Caselli and Fr. Maurice Petit.

                                  Fr. Mike Mendl, SDB 

                                  • Canada
                                  • SUE STATI UNITI EST E CANADA
                                  • Decessi
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    Ethiopia – Salesian commitment in one of African countries most affected by Covid-19

                                    1 month ago
                                    Ethiopia – Salesian commitment in one of African countries most affected by Covid-19

                                    (ANS - Addis Ababa) - Covid-19 cases in Ethiopia are growing rapidly every day and are approaching 70,000, with over a thousand confirmed deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The World Health Organization has included Ethiopia among the 13 African countries most at risk for the spread of coronavirus.

                                    One of the sectors most affected by the presence and spread of the virus is the education system. The pandemic has led to the closure of schools and universities, since March 2020. This situation has put the authorities, the Ministry of Education, institutions, parents and students in an unprecedented situation.

                                    More than 26 million young people and children are unable to attend school.

                                    The Ministry says it is studying the conditions for reopening schools, but that a solution has not yet been found. Suffice it to say that Ethiopian schools house on average between 50 and 60 students in a single class. Consequently, it is very difficult to maintain a safe social distance between students, as any one desk is generally shared between 2-3 children.

                                    Despite the concerns of schools and trade unions, all school buildings, including the Salesian ones, have thus remained closed. The vocational training centers, at the moment, are considering restarting, welcoming only a limited number of students.

                                    The interventions of the Salesians in Ethiopia, however, have not been limited to the field of education and school. In recent months, the resources made available by the Salesians have also been invested in the purchase and distribution of basic necessities, such as sanitary kits, food rations, containers for water, clothes and blankets. Also, there have been numerous programs to raise awareness of the virus and the risks it entails.

                                    The Salesians of all the communities present in Ethiopia have been taking part in the fight against Covid-19, together with the Capuchin and Ursuline nuns, and various lay collaborators in the mission.

                                    {gallery}AET - Scuole Covid-19 - 2020{/gallery}

                                    • Etiopia
                                    • AET AFRICA ETIOPIA
                                    • Coronavirus
                                    • Scuole
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      Brazil – "Rádio Dom" joins "Brazil Salesian Network of Social Action"

                                      1 month ago

                                      (ANS - Curitiba) - "Rádio Dom" is a Salesian, social and youth communication vehicle that was established in 2017 in the city of Curitiba, in the State of Paranà, with the intention of being a bridge between the voiceless and society. In this commitment to promote freedom, dignity, youth leadership and fostering the discovery of oneself and one's talents, the radio station promotes the vitality of many adolescents and young people in a state of vulnerability by providing socio-educational resources. Now “Rádio Dom” becomes part of the “Brazil Salesian Network of Social Action”, thus giving greater impetus to the dissemination of the various initiatives carried out by Salesian social works.

                                      The radio currently has six studios in two States. Of these, three are in detention units for young people in conflict with the law. With more than 45 volunteers, including speakers, journalists, technicians and planners, the broadcaster has a vast program that embraces formation, education, Salesianism, social life and music. Having the Salesian Province of Brazil-Sao Paulo as its promoter, it has become an element of contact with young people and allows the members of the Salesian Family and the sympathizers of Don Bosco to have access to information on social works, as well as topics relevant to marginalized young people.

                                      The radio is currently growing and its web platform has reached over a million hits. Much appreciated for its programming and its social projects, it believes in and puts into practice the fundamental principles of online youth animation. In collaboration with Vatican Radio, it broadcasts the voice of the Pope, gives space to round tables on youth leadership, growth, evangelization and dignity and never forgets to take a look at the poor. And all this it does with and for young people.

                                      Its social-oriented programming allows listeners to become aware of the needs of the community every day and offers a sense of community. The debates, symposia and partnerships with public youth organizations also intensify the depth of the topics covered and put all those who otherwise would have no voice on the agenda.

                                      Also, together with the Salesian University Center of Sao Paulo (UNISAL), "Radio Dóm" curates a space on youth vulnerabilities where some young people are trained to work and to accompany young people in prison.

                                      The most successful project of "Rádio Dom" continues to be the one that gave it life: communication education for young people in prison and interned in socio-educational institutions. The boys in prison, in fact, cannot appear via video, and if they did they would risk increasing the stigma their condition already often causes them. The radio, on the other hand, provides the ideal solution, giving them the opportunity to express themselves with respect for the dignity of every human being. From this project others were born which focused on this audience, which tries to show children and society that the crime that these young people may have committed does not really say who they are, does not sum them up and does not limit them.

                                      For more information on Radio Dom or other Salesian social works throughout Brazil, visit the Union For Life (UPV) or download the UPV application available for Android and iOS.

                                      Ronnaldh Oliveira, SDB, and the Communication Team of Rádio Dom

                                      • Brasile
                                      • BSP BRASILE SÃO PAULO
                                      • Radio
                                        Gian Francesco Romano
                                        Checked
                                        29 minutes 28 seconds ago
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