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Iraq – Pope Francis: "God is merciful and the most blasphemous offense is to desecrate His name by hating our brothers and sisters"

1 month ago

(ANS - Baghdad) - A journey to bring hope to an entire people; a journey to the roots of the Abrahamic religions; a journey to reaffirm the value of brotherhood among all peoples: there are many readings that can be given to Pope Francis' trip to Iraq. A little more than three days, but which will remain engraved in the history of the country, of the pontificate of Pope Francis and in his personal life. As he said while greeting the crowd at the "Franso Hariri" stadium in Erbil: "Iraq will always remain with me, in my heart".

As pastor of the universal Church, in the first public meeting, the one with the Iraqi bishops, clergy and religious communities, on Friday 5, in Baghdad, the Holy Father thanked the bishops and priests for having remained close to their people despite the last decades of suffering and trials. He encouraged them to persevere in this commitment, “in order to ensure that the Catholic community in Iraq, although small as a mustard seed (cf. Mt 13: 31-32), continues to enrich the country's journey as a whole.” Words that take on even more value if one remembers where they were pronounced: the Syrian-Catholic Cathedral of "Our Lady of Salvation", where, in 2010, 48 faithful died in an attack.

The following day, having reached the Plain of Ur, the land of Abraham - recognized as "father" by the three monotheistic religions - the Pontiff sent a message of unity and spirituality, but also of concreteness. In fact, he summed up his message in the motto: "Let us look at the sky and walk the earth". This is why he underlined that in today's world, "which often forgets the Most High or offers a distorted image of Him, believers are called to bear witness to His goodness, to show His paternity through our fraternity", and he recalled at the same time that "God is merciful and that the most blasphemous offense is to profane His name by hating our brothers and sisters."

Yesterday, Sunday 7 March, the Pope visited the Autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, moving between Mosul, Quaraqosh and Erbil: three key places, hit in different ways by the wave of fundamentalist delirium.

In Mosul, the Pontiff read the prayer of suffrage for the victims of the war, and also begged God that "those who caused such harm to their brothers and sisters repent, touched by the power of your mercy".

In Qaraqosh, welcomed by a cheering crowd, he heartened Christians with words of faith: “Now is the time to rebuild and start over, relying totally on the grace of God, who guides the fate of every man and of all peoples. You are not alone. The whole Church is close to you, with prayer and concrete charity.”

Finally, in the Erbil stadium, the Pope presided over the Eucharistic liturgy in front of ten thousand faithful. Recalling the many wounds that have marked the whole country, in general, and the Christian community in particular, he again indicated the way to follow: “Jesus shows us the way of God, the one He walked and on which He calls us to follow Him … He sends us, not to proselytize, but as His missionary disciples, men and women called to testify that the Gospel has the power to change lives.”

  • Iraq
  • Papa Francesco
  • Chiesa
  • Fratellanza
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Brazil – A new Salesian presence in the State of Piauí

    1 month ago
    Brazil – A new Salesian presence in the State of Piauí

    (ANS - Oeiras) - The Salesians of Brazil, specifically, of the Recife Province (BRE), in the north-east of the country, launched a new presence last month, at Oeiras, which is also the first in the whole state di Piauí, among the poorest in the Brazilian federation. The two Salesians in charge of this outpost have their objectives very clear: to educate and evangelize young people in the style of Don Bosco.

    Here is their story of the very first days of mission, sent by Fr Zé Pereira, responsible for the presence, in which he is joined by the Salesian in formation Amós Santiago de Carvalho.

     

    February 6: The heat of these days has reached 40 degrees; we will also collaborate with the parish priest of the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary, where we live, which has 25 rural communities. We intend to have a festive oratory in each of these rural communities with the help of the animators we shall prepare.

    February 8: This morning I was in the bakery having a coffee and a guy approached me to polish my shoes. I started a conversation. "Don't you have a father or a mother?" His grandmother had died a few days ago, he's 18 years old, he got together with his girlfriend and he has a three-month-old daughter. The honesty of this boy reminded me of that dialogue between Don Bosco and Bartolomeo Garelli. I gave him a tip, a loaf of bread and some coffee; he left happy and grateful, his name is João Marcos. It is to help these poor children that Don Bosco invited us to Oeiras, in the Piauí sertão. "... Until my last breath it will be for you". And I also remembered the Salesian brother Zé Maria who, in Juazeiro do Norte, created the Shoe Shine Club to help and promote the poor children of Cariri.

    February 9: Tomorrow, Amos and I will visit Fr João de Deus, here in Oeiras; during the conversation we will ask him: a window in the program on Radio Cristo Rei, one in the program "Time of Peace" by Fr João Carlos, and another to talk about Don Bosco's charism (With Don Bosco and the Times).

    February 10: Today we went to speak with Fr João to ask for his help in acquiring good land so that the Congregation can build a Youth Center in the future. He told us that he will find it for us soon, "because young people deserve to have the Sons of Don Bosco here" and, he added: "It is the hand of God that is blessing us with your presence here". He has been parish priest in Oeiras for 40 years. He created six agricultural schools, a radio station, built the church of the Holy Family, which is now the parish where he works, and countless social projects to help needy families. And he dug many wells and cisterns in the rugged lands of Piauí. He is a giant.

    • Brasile
    • BRE BRASILE RECIFE
    • Nuova Presenza
    • Missioni
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Italy – Foggia Salesians relaunch mission for young people with "Family Community"

      1 month ago

      (ANS - Foggia) - The Salesians of Foggia, who have always been motivated by the desire to welcome, educate and care for the neediest young people according to Don Bosco's educational principles, have thought of a new initiative: a "Family Community" to welcome minors in difficulty. The project, which has already been approved and started, is nearing completion, but still needs the support of women and men of good will.

      Don Bosco realized that "for many young people any effort would be useless if they were not given a place to stay". For this reason, in the Candelaro district of Foggia - one of the most difficult and with fewer opportunities in the Apulian city - the Salesians are present with a work that includes, in addition to the parish, the oratory and the association “Sacro Cuore ”, and which just over a year ago was embellished with an artistic mural representing Don Bosco, as a symbol of hope and redemption for the entire district and above all for the youth population.

      “In a neighborhood lacking in educational opportunities, we will try to give more to those who have had less from life. Our future 'home' will be a small village in solidarity where education, love and sharing will be the 'glue' of the days,” explained Fr Antonio Carbone, Director of the Salesian community of Torre Annunziata and President of the Social Promotion Association "Piccoli Passi Grandi Sogni – Small Steps, Big Dreams" – an association that will be in charge of managing the new structure and that already animates seven of them: two in Torre Annunziata (Mamma Matilde and Peppino Brancati), one in Caserta, one in Naples, and the other three in Puglia: in Bari, Cisternino and Corigliano d'Otranto.

      “Whoever loves, educates and welcomes is the fil-rouge that accompanies our service as Salesians in Foggia. We propose to take care of children, young people, of those situations that require greater educational attention,” added Fr Luigi Cella.

      The inauguration of the structure is scheduled for the end of May, the actual start of the activities in the summer. The work will also be carried out thanks to the help of the General House of the Salesians, the DON BOSCO NEL MONDO Foundation and a public contribution from the Puglia Region. To cover all expenses, in particular, for the purchase of the kitchen and furnishings, the "Piccoli Passi Grandi Sogni" association has also promoted an online fundraiser.

      Further information is available on the Facebook page of "Piccoli Passi Grandi Sogni APS".

      • Italia
      • IME ITALIA MERIDIONALE
      • Giovani a Rischio
        Gian Francesco Romano

        RMG – VII video-seed, “CREATING TRUST”: at heart of the Preventive System

        1 month 1 week ago
        RMG – VII video-seed, “CREATING TRUST”: at heart of the Preventive System

        (ANS - Rome) - The seventh episode based on the document “Young Salesians and accompaniment - Orientations and Guidelines” has been released. The video-seed explores the themes presented in the 4th chapter: “Understanding what the Spirit is saying”. These are important and also critical aspects of formation, as clearly emerged from the research on accompaniment, which was attended by over 4,000 respondents, mostly young Salesians.

        These are the subtitles found in the text, between n ° 152 and n ° 166:

        10   Respecting confidentiality and creating trust.

        11   Returning to the Preventive System.

        12   Learning by experience.

        13   Spiritual accompaniment as holistic.

        The insistence on trust, which cannot be imposed, but only earned, is the fruit of both the charismatic strength of the Salesian roots - as the letter from Rome of 1884 recalls - and the strong signs, positive and negative, that emerged from the research. Among these, the many difficulties encountered due to insufficient respect for confidentiality. We read at n ° 155 of the text: "As Fr Paolo Albera says, there is such a close correlation between confidentiality and trust that even a slight 'leakage' in the first causes the almost complete and immediate loss of the second."

        Equally, the strong reference to the model of the Preventive System is both a return to the Valdocco of the origins, as well as a response to situations that must be purified and corrected. “Becoming aware of the operative model of formation is, therefore, important and urgent. By bringing the operative model to light, we can look at it critically and decide whether it needs to be changed.”

        In our opinion, the conformation model of formation is uncomfortably close to the Repressive System, and cannot go along with the Salesian spirit (see Constitutions Chapter 2). We need to look at it honestly, and have the courage to go back to the Preventive System. The recommendation of Don Bosco to the young first Rector of the Congregation, Michael Rua – Studia di farti amare (Strive to make yourself loved) – is inscribed on the cross given to us at our perpetual profession, and cries to be put into practice, with the invaluable comment on it that is the Letter from Rome.

        To access the video on YouTube, click here.

        To access this and the previous videos, with related materials to encourage reflection and sharing in the community, enter the "multimedia" section of the page dedicated to Formation on the Congregation's website: https://www.sdb.org/en/Departments/Formation/Multimedia 

        Everything available there can be downloaded, including videos.

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

          Mexico – Fr Hugo Orozco on Extraordinary Visit to MEM

          1 month 1 week ago
          Mexico – Fr Hugo Orozco on Extraordinary Visit to MEM

          (ANS - Puebla) - Fr Hugo Orozco, Regional Councilor for Interamerica, began an Extraordinary Visitation to the Province of Mexico-México (MEM) in the middle of last month on behalf of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime. As part of the various stages of the visit, on Saturday 27 February, he met the representatives of the Salesian Family present in the State of Puebla in the city of Puebla: Salesians, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Salesian Cooperators, Past Pupils, Volunteers of Don Bosco and "Damas Salesianas".

          In his meeting, held in person since the restrictions due to the pandemic were partially eased in those days, Fr Orozco first met and greeted all the representatives of the various groups, praising them for their commitment and encouraging them for future work.

          Then, he highlighted the great work done by the various groups of the Salesian Family in their different areas of intervention, as well as the valid, diverse and widespread initiatives with which they responded to the health emergency that affects the whole world. In this sense, he underlined, by way of example, the great work carried out by the Salesian Cooperators of the Interamerica Region through the program "Vamos en la misma barca" (Let's move forward in the same boat), which brought together - and brings together - thousands of volunteers and which put the Salesian world, including from other Regions, in contact with the Rector Major, thus giving a sense of unity to the work of the Salesian Family.

          Subsequently, referring to the message of the Rector Major's Strenna for 2021, "Moved by hope: 'See, I am making all things new' (Rev 21,5)", he shared some ideas with those present. First of all, he clarified that hope is not a blind optimism "that things will go well ... Our hope has a lot to do with our faith, that is, with the conviction that God does not leave us, that He accompanies us, that even in that step that is darker there is a little light that makes us walk.”

          He then spoke of the “places of hope”, that is to say of those sources proper to the Salesian charism where members of the SF can find hope, and then share it with others, especially with those who need it most.

          He identified the first of these places in friendship, a proper Salesian experience, because, he said: "We provide the possibility, we ensure the possibility for people to become friends, for boys, girls ... We as educators want to become their friends to promote them.”

          The second he identified in the "maybe" or "who knows" of Don Bosco, as of Fr Luigi Variara, of Mother Mazzarello ... of all those great saints and founders, who were able to open new opportunities starting from a small glimmer of possibility. Like Don Bosco who, coming out of the “Generala” juvenile prison in Turin, asked himself: “Who knows, had these youngsters had a friend outside…”. "There are two places of hope for us in the Salesian Family: friendship and perhaps those that allow us to glimpse a different panorama," concluded Fr Orozco.

          • Messico
          • MEM MESSICO MÉXICO
          • Visita Straordinaria
          • Hugo Orozco Sánchez
          • Speranza
            Gian Francesco Romano

            United States – “Salesian Boys and Girls Club” Centennial Celebration

            1 month 1 week ago
            United States – “Salesian Boys and Girls Club” Centennial Celebration

            (ANS – San Francisco) – In a virtual presentation, San Francisco Mayor, London Breed, commemorating the 100 year history of the Club, proclaimed February 6th as “Salesian Boys’ & Girls’ Club Day” in San Francisco. In the video, the Mayor, along with North Beach Supervisor, Aaron Peskin, Executive Director, Randal DeMartini, and members of the Club’s Board of Directors, staff, and alumni, recognized the accomplishments of the Club.

            It was a grand day and kicked off what will be a yearlong celebration acknowledging the Club’s success during its 100 year history.

            Established in 1921 to cater to Italian immigrant boys that lived in the North Beach District in San Francisco at the time, the Club now serves both boys and girls throughout the City and the Bay Area. The Club boasts of alumni that have gone on to become pillars of the San Francisco Community. Among its ranks can be found successful entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, judges, professional athletes, and even a former mayor.

            In addition to presenting the Club with a key to the City and a plaque recognizing the work it has accomplished in its 100 year history, Mayor Breed also ordered the lights of City Hall and Coit Tower to be illuminated in green and gold, reflecting the Club’s colours. It was a fine tribute to the Club and recognized the Club’s commitment to working with the youth of San Francisco for years to come.

            During the year the Club will commemorate its history with pole banners throughout the City. Plans are in the works for virtual and, hopefully, in-person reunions. A documentary is also being produced to show at future Club events. The Club hopes to culminate its Centennial Celebration with a Gala Event in October at the Fairmont Hotel.

            Russell Gumina

            Former Executive Director, SBGC San Francisco

            • Stati Uniti
            • SUO STATI UNITI OVEST
            • Anniversari
              Gian Francesco Romano

              RMG – Fr Basañes appointed Provincial of Central Africa

              1 month 1 week ago
              RMG – Fr Basañes appointed Provincial of Central Africa

              (ANS - Rome) - On 2 March, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major, with the consensus of the General Council, appointed Fr Guillermo Basañes as Provincial of the “Our Lady" Province of Central Africa (AFC), in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for the 2021-2027 term.

              Fr Guillermo Basañes Luis was born on 19 October 1965 in Washington D.C. (United States), and is also of Argentine citizenship. He entered the "St Michael Archangel" Salesian novitiate in La Plata (now South Argentina) on 11 February 1985, made his first religious vows on 31 January 1986, and his perpetual vows on 24 November 1991 in Buenos Aires.

              He did his Theology studies in what will be his new Province at Lubumbashi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and there he also received the lectorate in 1992, and the acolyte in 1993. He was ordained a deacon in Luanda, Angola, in 1994, and a priest in San Isidro, Buenos Aires, on August 12, 1995.

              Fr Basañes worked in the "Dom Bosco" community of Palanca, Luanda, for three years, before going to study in the Faculty of Educational Sciences (FSE) of the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome, "San Giovanni Bosco" community. He then returned to Luanda, as Director of the "Dom Bosco" work in Palanca, on November 15, 2001. He was appointed Councilor of the Vice Province of Angola in January 2003, Vicar of the same on December 5, 2003, as well as Provincial Delegate for Formation from 2004 to 2005, the year he was appointed Superior of the Vice Province of Angola (ANG). On 28 March 2008, he was appointed General Councilor for the Africa-Madagascar Region; and on 27 March 2014, he became General Councilor for the Salesian Missions.

              He holds a Baccalaureate in Philosophy, Baccalaureate in Theology, and a Licentiate in Educational Sciences. He speaks Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese and French.

              From 1 September 2020, in the Communities of St. Joseph and Rome Sacro Cuore respectively, he was appointed by the Rector Major for Extraordinary Visits, a mission he was carrying out in the Vice Province of Tropical Equatorial Africa (ATE) at the time of his appointment.

              {gallery}RMG - Basanes AFC 2021{/gallery}

              • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
              • Guillermo Basañes
              • AFC AFRICA CENTRALE
              • Nomine
              • Ispettori
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Spain – Salesian parishes reflect on their identity and mission as "outgoing people of God"

                1 month 1 week ago

                (ANS - Madrid) - The Congress of the Salesian Parishes of Spain took place online on 19 and 20 February, created to give continuity to the journey begun with the similar congress in 2017 and inspired by the National Congress of the Laity which took place in February 2020, at the instigation of the Spanish Bishops' Conference.

                The event of this past 19-20 February served to share the work carried out by parish priests and lay people under the motto "The Salesian parish, outgoing people of God", and also provided an opportunity to offer good practices and testimonies relating to the paths envisaged by the Congress of the Laity.

                The meeting, which began on Friday 19th at 11:30 am, had as its main presentation the one entitled "A welcoming, close, empathetic and collaborative priest" offered by Msgr. Antonio Vadell, auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Barcelona. On Saturday the meeting continued with the report "The parish within a Salesian work", held by the General Councilor for Salesian Youth Ministry, Fr Miguel Angel García Morcuende - who encouraged those present to rethink the present and the possibilities parishes in the light of the Salesian charism; and continued with the speech "People of God going out: memory and future of the Congress of the Laity", by Ana Medina.

                “We need creativity, the noisy presence of young people. Being a friendly face of the complex reality of youth. It is up to us to accompany and awaken young people, so that they may be the prophets of this time,” explained the General Councilor in his speech. Which concluded by saying: "We must build the house on the rock, a house that is the community of God, aware that if the Lord does not build the house, our efforts will be in vain, but also aware that God needs workers to send out." 

                According to the National Coordinator of the Salesian Parishes, Fr Miguel Angel Calavia, the objectives of the meeting were to make the reflections of the National Congress of the Laity become concrete in the Salesian reality, reflect on the identity and mission of parish priests and, finally, offer good practices and testimonies relating to the paths identified in the last Congress of the Laity.

                In addition to the reports mentioned, the meeting also included some workshops on specific topics, held by Xavier Morlans, Ana Arbona, Pedro Vilchez, Manuel Olid, Myrian Navarro, Fr Álvaro Ginel and Franciso Javier Cruz.

                More information here

                {gallery}Spagna - Congresso Parrocchie 2021{/gallery}

                • Spagna
                • Parrocchie
                • Pastorale Giovanile
                • Miguel Angel Garcia Morcuende
                • Pastorale
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  Nigeria – Salesians for Development: the “St. Joseph’s Farm” initiative

                  1 month 1 week ago
                  Nigeria – Salesians for Development: the “St. Joseph’s Farm” initiative

                  (ANS – Sagamu) – In Sagamu, Ogun State, south-western Nigeria, the Salesians are working since 2014. Actually the Salesians community oversees parish ministry, missionary out-stations, youth pastoral ministry, chaplaincy and Agro-Projects in the diocese of Ijebu Ode, in which it is located. Among their project, the flagship is the “St Joseph’s Farm”, a Centre for training, Research and Production.

                  With a population of near 256,000 with a mix of Christians, Muslims and traditionalists, Sagamu is known for its agricultural products such as cocoa and kola nuts. The region’s rich vegetation and large masses of unoccupied or unused land continue to attract a lot of people to develop an interest in agriculture. Yet, the region is bedevilled with high rates of unemployment, underemployment and a low rate of formal education.

                  St Joseph’s Farm initiative is situated on 25 hectares acquired by the Salesians. It is planned as a centre of excellence for crop production, animal farming, research and training especially for youth and smallholder farmers.

                  The Salesians have started a project aimed at:

                  -      Providing a good opportunity for food security with the intention of generating income for the employed young people and other poor persons, especially widows and girls;

                  -      Improving the method of crop production in a sustainable manner, market and innovative technology access;

                  -      Access to climate resilient techniques and practices in order to increase smallholder farmers’ productivity and revenue in a sustainable way;

                  -      Providing a platform for practical experience for farmers and farmers-to-be within the locality;

                  -      Increasing employment opportunities for smallholder farmers in general, however it will target specifically poor youth and women in the locality;

                  -      Aiding in curbing the menace of irregular migration and providing income for many vulnerable people.

                  St Joseph’s Farm, in the next years, will concentrate enormous skills and energy in the promotion of crop production for the poor residents, community and the environs. Selected crops for the farm will include lettuce, cabbage, ugu, cucumber, maize, soybean, cassava, yam and any other essential crop according to season and demand. The farm will also have a greenhouse.

                  Each training session is expected to have 100 participants involved in the farming activities with prior attention given to poor women and girls. Indirect beneficiaries are expected to be over 5,000 involved in the value chain of the project.

                  Target Groups:

                  -      Poor and vulnerable young people across the country;

                  -      Women and girls;

                  -      Students from Don Bosco technical and vocational schools;

                  -      Graduates from Agriculture institutions;

                  -      Potential migrants and returnees;

                  -      Researchers in the field of agriculture;

                  -      Small scale farmers;

                  -      Families already in agriculture.

                  Source: Salesians Ireland

                  • Nigeria
                  • AFW AFRICA OCCIDENTALE ANGLOFONA
                  • Rurali
                  • Agricoltura
                  • Sviluppo Sociale
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    India – “Snehotsava”: a Festival of Friendship

                    1 month 1 week ago
                    India – “Snehotsava”: a Festival of Friendship

                    (ANS – Bangalore) – Bosco Youth, Bangalore Zone, organized “Snehotsava: A Festival Of Friendship” as part of the Zonal Convention at Don Bosco Church, Lingarajapuram. It was an event meant to give young people an awareness on relationships. Fr Joe Kokandathil SDB was the chief Resource Person for the day. 120 Bosco Youth from 6 Bosco Youth units of Bangalore Zone actively participated in the programme. 10 Salesians (priests and brothers) and 2 Salesian Sisters were present for the event. Snehotsava was indeed a rejuvenating experience for the young people after a year-long gap due to the pandemic and other related issues. SNEHOTSAVA had the special privilege of being visited by Rev Fr Biju Michael SDB, the Regional of South Asia, and Rev Fr Robert Simon, the National Coordinator for Don Bosco Youth Services.

                    Snehotsava began with a formal inauguration ceremony. Fr Aloysious Santiago, the Parish Priest and Rector of Lingarajapuram, was the chief guest. In his presidential address, he spoke to young people about the need for authentic and true relationships.

                    Fr Joe Kokandathil began the morning session with Mindfulness Meditation and then through a series of practical exercises he helped young people to deal with their emotions. The young people really enjoyed those exercises. In the afternoon, Fr Joe spoke on relationship, especially cautioning the young people on the various blocks or obstacles that may prevent true and authentic relationships.

                    Once the sessions were over, there was a Panel Discussion where young people were given the opportunity to speak about their perspectives on Parent-child relationships, relationships among friends, and relationships between a boy and a girl. Fr Joe Tony Previnth SDB and Sr Alice Chacko FMA spoke on one’s Relationship with God and Relationship in Religious Life respectively.

                    Mrs and Mr Monica Sagayaraj, a couple from Don Bosco Church, Lingarajapuram, were invited to talk about the bond of love between them. After each of them spoke, the floor was open for questions and clarifications. The young people asked some relevant questions and the discussion truly became a time of great learning.

                    Snehotsava had a beautiful moment of blessing when Rev Fr Biju SDB, the Regional of South Asia, and Rev Fr Robert Simon, the National Coordinator for Don Bosco Youth Services, paid a visit. They were welcomed by the youth with friendship bands.

                    Snehotsava was the first youth gathering that Fr Biju attended after he took over as the Regional of South Asia that once again made the Province of Bangalore very proud. In his talk, he spoke on love and friendship from the Biblical point of view and stated that friendship is one of the highest forms of love. Then Fr Simon reminded the Bosco Youth that they were part of a Global Youth Movement and invited the participants to retain their identity as Salesian youth wherever they might be.

                    Snehotsava was concluded with a vote of thanks by Fr William D'Souza SDB, the Regional Director of Bosco Youth, Karnataka.

                    Source: Don Bosco India

                    • India
                    • INK INDIA BANGALORE
                    • Michael Biju
                    • Pastorale Giovanile
                    • Giovani
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      RMG – Videos of Salesian Missionary Day 2021 are ready

                      1 month 1 week ago
                      RMG – Videos of Salesian Missionary Day 2021 are ready

                      (ANS - Rome) - The videos of Salesian Missionary Day 2021 are ready "One Father, one Family - Missionary Solidarity as First Announcement". They come from all over the world, as a witness to the unity of the Salesian Family, which has set itself in motion to respond to the needs of the poorest and announce the message of the Gospel. “Feeling like children of the same Father and, therefore, brothers, is the most beautiful and important challenge that we can carry out, showing our solidarity with everyone, starting with the simplest gestures,” affirm the Sector for Salesian Missions.

                      There are six videos: five regional and one summary, made thanks to the contribution of the Southern Italy Province (IME).

                      In Africa, the variety and enormous wealth of peoples and cultures found themselves united in the fight against Covid-19, and all the communities in the 42 countries with a Salesian presence responded promptly, understanding how important everyone's contribution was, also through simple and apparently small gestures, involving many different people. As the video summarizes: "The sweetest streams of solidarity are those that flow sideways".

                      In Europe, the closures imposed by the pandemic have not stopped the evangelizing zeal and new ways of staying close to young people have been devised, such as the online oratory created in Slovakia: even the digital world can be a field of Christian testimony. “We are close to the people and bring God into the digital world” is the meaning of this contribution.

                      In South Asia, in India, migrant workers, discarded by society, met the smile and the open heart of a vast movement of people who took care of them, fulfilling the motto "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam", "All the world is a family". "The heart of the lonely, jobless, stranded migrant longs to reunite with his families thousands of kilometers away" states the video.

                      The video of America narrates the experience of the "Fundación Don Bosco" in Peru, which having seen how the pandemic has increased the gap within society and has affected the poorest families, has put into practice the preferential option for the poor and was able to show the merciful face of Jesus. “The love of the Father is unconditional and inclusive of all, especially those at the peripheries,” states the fourth video.

                      From the East Asia and Oceania region, and in particular in Thailand, the splendid collaboration between the groups of the Salesian Family has made explicit the meaning of feeling like a family in which everyone takes care of the others: "We are all in the same boat," as Pope Francis recalled in prayer in front of a deserted St Peter's Square on 27 March 2020. “The Salesian Family comes together to serve the human family” is the message, in summary, of the last video.

                      Salesian Mission Day invites everyone to mobilize with solidarity, as a sign of hope and the first proclamation of faith. It calls to be united in one family to go out to meet the neediest brothers with acts of charity inspired by faith in God the Father.

                      All the videos are available, in Italian, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, on the Youtube channel “Sector for the Salesian Missions”.

                      • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                      • Missioni
                      • Video
                      • Comunicazione Sociale
                      • Giornata Missionaria Salesiana
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Equatorial Guinea – Study, sport and joy in Real Madrid sports school "Don Bosco-Malabo"

                        1 month 1 week ago

                        (ANS - Malabo) - Almost a hundred children in need in Equatorial Guinea participate in the socio-sports school project that the Real Madrid Foundation has opened at the “Don Bosco” school in Malabo, the country's capital. Through the practice of football and basketball, boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 17 learn values ​​and improve their academic performance. The current pandemic situation and last year's compulsory lockdown prevented sporting activities, but not the accompaniment of children and their families.

                        Gill, Urbano, José Felipe, Melisa, Teresa, Bisila ... are just some of the children who benefit from the socio-sports school project carried out in collaboration between the Real Madrid Foundation and the Salesians of Malabo. This school, in fact, is one of the 21 socio-sports schools opened in 14 countries on three continents since this alliance between the Salesian Mission Office "Misiones Salesianas" of Madrid and the institution of the "Los Blancos".

                        From Monday to Friday, students go to the “Don Bosco” school in Malabo to wear their uniforms and participate in sports and recreational activities specially designed for them. Through playing football and basketball they learn the values ​​of team play, but also improve their eating habits, hygiene and academic performance.

                        For kids, sport is an outlet and a means of socialization that helps them develop on a human and educational level. Mayoka is a 16-year-old girl who plays basketball in the “Don Bosco” school in Malabo: “What I like most is the joy and the atmosphere of camaraderie between us. They help us with our studies and we really enjoy learning the sport we like; indeed, we wouldn't mind if it were every day of the week!”

                        During the school year, at the institute, the goal in the first quarter is to get to know the participants and explain the activities, with friendly tournaments. In the second quarter, the emphasis is on training the coaches and supporting the project beneficiaries in the studies, through reinforcement lessons.

                        Last year, the pandemic stopped all activities due to the mandatory lockdown decreed by the government starting in March. However, the school continued to operate online, accompanying children and their families with advice on how to prevent contagion and awareness talks and proper hygiene.

                        This year the activities continue according to the limits of capacity and all necessary preventive measures: use of masks during tutoring, disinfecting hands before entering the playing field or in any activity organized by the school and measuring the temperature of the participants before they enter the sports complex.

                        What does not change, despite the circumstances, in the socio-sports schools of the Real Madrid Foundation is the joy and the motto that benefits thousands of vulnerable children all over the world: “They play, we educate”.

                        • Guinea Equatoriale
                        • ATE AFRICA TROPICALE EQUATORIALE
                        • Procure Missionarie
                        • Sport
                        • Misiones Salesianas
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          Malta – Turning Burundi’s Child Street Beggars to School Children

                          1 month 1 week ago
                          Malta – Turning Burundi’s Child Street Beggars to School Children

                          (ANS – Sliema) – The Maltese National Federation of Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco and the “Association des Anciens de Don Bosco au Burundi” have launched a new project “Giving Every Child a Chance – Helping Poor Burundi Children”. This partnership project is supporting 38 children who are among the poorest in Burundi as they are orphaned children who do not have the means to attend school and spend their time on the streets living the life of beggars. The aim of the project is to support these children in their education as well as to support some of their mothers to help them earn a living and teach them skills on healthy cooking, budgeting and try to help them access work to earn a living.

                          The project started in September 2020, with the Maltese National Federation launching an appeal to benefactors to help us fundraise toward this project and ADB Burundi. The project includes:

                          - Integration, animation, and supervision of children through games, singing and dancing.

                          - Purchase of school uniforms and stationary.

                          - Monitoring of children's school education.

                          - Support, supervision and training of mothers.

                          - Help children revise lessons and do their homework.

                          - Paying for School fees for children.

                          The children’s attendance at school has now become regular and they also have been introduced to prayer. For Christmas, the 38 children were, for the first time, taken to the local church to celebrate Christmas. They were given new T-shirts with the picture of Don Bosco and Mary Help of Christians.

                          The project has also brought positive results in the locality where those children were born and live. Most of these children were beggars and wandered the streets, but after taking them to school and providing them with after school activities, child begging on the streets has declined. This positive change impressed people in their locality and brought much satisfaction to their mothers.

                          For the feast of St. John Bosco, the Burundi Past Pupils organised a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Mary Help of Christians in Buterere. On the feast day, they celebrated mass in their parish Pacis Regina of Kinando. After mass, the children and their mothers were invited for a meal to celebrate the feast of St. John Bosco.

                          {gallery}Malta - Burundi - Bimbi aiutati da ExDB{/gallery}

                          • Malta
                          • Exallievi
                          • Burundi
                          • Povertà
                          • Bambini di Strada
                          • Scuole
                          • Educazione
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Bolivia – Bolivia Provincial, Fr Juan Pablo Zabala, rest in peace

                            1 month 1 week ago
                            Bolivia – Bolivia Provincial, Fr Juan Pablo Zabala, rest in peace

                            (ANS - La Paz) - With deep sadness, but at the same time with the certainty that the Merciful Father has already welcomed him into Heaven, the Salesian community of Bolivia (BOL) announced that yesterday, Monday 1 March, BOL Provincial, Fr Juan Pablo Zabala Torrez, SDB, died in the city of La Paz, due to COVID-19. "Let us pray for his eternal rest and give thanks to God for his life and ministry," said the religious of the "Our Lady of Copacabana" Province on Facebook.

                            Fr Zabala was born on 15 January 1965 in La Paz, Bolivia. He carried out his novitiate at Santa Eulalia, Peru, made his first religious profession on 12 February 1985 and perpetual profession on 31 January 1992 in La Paz. On 24 September 1994, he was ordained a priest in La Paz-El Alto.

                            He had been Vicar of the "Paul VI" Theologate community of Cochabamba in 1998-99, Director of the "Don Bosco" Institute of the same city from 1999 to 2005, and Vicar of the "Don Bosco Institute" of La Paz since 2017.

                            For the BOL Province he had also been Secretary (1997-99), Councilor (1999-2002 and 2017 – to present), Vicar (2002-2005), and Delegate for Provincial Services-Educational Centres (2004-2005).

                            He had also previously held the position of Provincial of the BOL Province in 2005-2011.

                            • Bolivia
                            • BOL BOLIVIA
                            • Decessi
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              Brazil – Fr Gabriel Romero's Extraordinary Visitation to BRE Province has begun

                              1 month 1 week ago
                              Brazil – Fr Gabriel Romero's Extraordinary Visitation to BRE Province has begun

                              (ANS - Recife) - Yesterday, Monday 1 March, the Extraordinary Visitation of the Salesian Province of "St. Luigi Gonzaga" of Brazil-Recife (BRE) officially began. The Extraordinary Visitation, carried out every six years by the Rector Major or his delegate, is being carried out on this occasion by Fr Gabriel Romero, Regional Councilor for America South Cone, a territory that includes the Provinces of the Congregation present in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay. Opened yesterday, the visit will last for almost three months, until next May 22.

                              Having been elected Regional Councilor at the Congregation's 28th General Chapter, held last year, and due to the slowdown in travel due to the pandemic, the one that began yesterday is the first Extraordinary Visitation conducted by Fr Romero.

                              "It is certainly my first visit to a Province as a Councilor. I'm learning to speak Portuguese, so a first challenge will be to be able to listen well and speak with all my confreres, with young people and lay people. And, above all, to know the beauty and reality of the Salesian mission in the Northeast of this beautiful country that I am getting to know, which is Brazil. It shall be very nice to be able to share these months with all of you!" Fr Romero said to the "Nordeste Hoje" provincial bulletin team.

                              And then he added: "The Rector Major sends his greetings to all the confreres of the Province, especially to the elderly who always pray for the Congregation and who support it with their prayers and their bearing witness. And, yes, he also sends an exhortation to encourage the Salesian brothers to always work among the young and to strengthen our identity of consecrated life, as consecrated Salesians. This is the strongest message that the Rector Major wants to send to us Salesians, to the Province."

                              The Extraordinary Visitation began with Mass on Monday morning, and immediately continued with a moment of dialogue with the community of the Provincial House. Fr Romero spoke to the Salesians present about the various aspects of community life and the mission of animation of the Provincial Center.

                              At the Provincial House the visit will continue until Thursday 4 March, and will include a moment of personal dialogue of the Regional Councilor with each Salesian and with the heads of the Shared Services Center to learn about the reality of community life and the mission of the Provincial Center. At the end of the visit, Fr Romero will leave in writing some guidelines for the future journey, which he will do in all the communities he will visit.

                              Source: Nordeste Hoje

                              • Brasile
                              • BRE BRASILE RECIFE
                              • Gabriel Romero
                              • Visita Straordinaria
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                India – Energy Forever for a green future: Solar Powered SPCI house

                                1 month 1 week ago
                                India – Energy Forever for a green future: Solar Powered SPCI house

                                (ANS – New Delhi) – “That's one small step for a man; a giant leap for mankind”. Neil Armstrong's immortalised words hold good for anything important that we initiate, however insignificant it may appear. It holds good for the inauguration of the new 45-kilowatt solar power plant on the grid and rainwater-collectors at SPCI Don Bosco House, New Delhi on 23 February 2021. Supported by Jugend Eine Welt, in partnership with Don Bosco Network- Bosconet, this installation is one vital step towards fulfilling the Salesian congregational ambition of greening all Salesian campuses worldwide by 2032.

                                Don Bosco Network's vision has always been in alignment with the environment actions outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals while also resonating with Pope Francis' call to care for our common home- the Earth. In December 2019, the Salesian Energy Forever Conference reflecting on an appropriate Don Bosco response to the environmental crisis impacting the young people we care for and serve, enumerated concrete actions that the Salesians worldwide could take to make an important difference.

                                Don Bosco Network actively promotes many of those green initiatives: greening campuses with clean renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, promoting afforestation and green cover, greening training, updated green skills and promoting jobs in green sectors, e-learning, efficient natural resource management through rainwater harvesting, waste management, etc.

                                Fr. Biju Michael SDB, the Regional Superior, and Fr. Davis SDB, Provincial, Salesian Province of Delhi inaugurated the 45 KW on-grid solar plant at the Don Bosco SPCI House in Dwarka, New Delhi, putting it on the green map of Don Bosco India. On the proud occasion, Fr. Biju Michael acknowledged the instrumental role of Don Bosco Network in conceptualising and successfully implementing this important contribution towards achieving the goals of the Energy Forever initiative in India. He especially appreciated the Director, Fr. Noel Maddhichetty SDB, and Fr. Santhanam Ubagaram SDB, Assistant Director, as well as the team, for this commendable achievement.

                                Don Bosco Network continues its commitment to the various green goals established by the Energy Forever Conference because Energy Forever is the way to a future forever for the young people; especially those in vulnerable situations in India and around the world.

                                • India
                                • INN INDIA NEW DELHI
                                • Creato
                                • Ambiente
                                • Michael Biju
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  RMG – Many innovations in new volume of Don Bosco's Letters

                                  1 month 1 week ago
                                  RMG – Many innovations in new volume of Don Bosco's Letters

                                  (ANS - Rome) - The ninth volume of Don Bosco's Letters, edited by Fr Francesco Motto, SDB, former Director of the Salesian Historical Institute (ISS) and current president, has been in bookstores for days now, published by the LAS Publishing House of the Associazione Cultori di Storia Salesiana (ACSSA). A volume of 605 pages, containing 469 letters, written and sometimes only signed by Don Bosco in the three-year period 1884-1886 (lett. 3956-4424). A complex of texts that, it can be said, somehow rewrite the story of Don Bosco at the end of his life.

                                  40% of the letters are unpublished, thus many unknown correspondents to Salesian history come to light.

                                  The country boy from Castelnuovo has come a long way: in the 1880s the name "Don Bosco" resonated in Italy and abroad, including the icy Magellanic lands and various torrid cities in India.

                                  Many letters (about a third) are written in French, a language that Don Bosco barely knew. The fact is not irrelevant: Don Bosco's various trips to the Côte d'Azur, the triumphal trip to Paris in 1883, the edition of "biographies" in French, had made him known across the Alps as the nineteenth-century Saint Vincent de Paul. It is above all a circle of French benefactors, some of whom are very generous, who had been supporting the Salesian work in those years.

                                  Furthermore, in the three-year period considered, we find a seventy-year-old Don Bosco who was seriously ill. In many letters he is forced to justify the delay in answering, their brevity, bad spelling, the need to use a secretary…. Yet he never ceases to write personally to particular civil and religious authorities, to some confreres, to certain benefactors, to illustrious figures never known in person.

                                  Like the other previous volumes, this ninth volume of letters also makes it possible to distinguish between those penned by Don Bosco, those of which he wrote the minute (then copied by the secretary and signed by him), the letters written by others and simply signed by him, the printed circulars prepared by the collaborators, but always bearing his signature.

                                  Highlights are Fr Rua and two editors of the "Salesian Bulletin", Fr Bonetti and Fr Lemoyne, the latter in particular who became Don Bosco's secretary in those years and secretary of the Superior Chapter. To him we owe moving letters to individual Salesians, some circulars, the circular naming Fr Rua as Vicar of Don Bosco with full powers (1885) and, above all, the two letters from Rome of 1884.

                                  If Don Bosco's childhood, his youth, the very first experiences of Valdocco are well known, for the adult Don Bosco and for the elderly Don Bosco the main and unavoidable source are his letters: a sort of daily autobiography. All that remains is to wait for the last volume of the correspondence, the tenth, which will collect the letters of the year 1887, January 1888 and those found after the publication of the individual volumes. The final one will also offer the overall indexes of the saint's entire epistolary corpus, with almost 5,000 letters.

                                  • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                  • Don Bosco
                                  • Storia
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    Malawi – The ZMB Vice-province extraordinary visitation commenced in Malawi

                                    1 month 1 week ago
                                    Malawi – The ZMB Vice-province extraordinary visitation commenced in Malawi

                                    (ANS – Lilongwe) – The 3-month long extraordinary visitation of ZMB Vice Province of Mary Help of Christians (Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia; canonical erection in 1998) started in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi on February 19, 2021 with the arrival of the Visitor, Fr Václav Klement from Rome. The aim of each Extr. Visitation is to foster deeper communion with the Rector Major and the whole society, animating the confreres with the Valdocco message of GC28 and contribute to the provincial journey discernment with the past 6-year evaluation.

                                    After the Superior of the Vice-province, Fr Chris Rychcik, with his Youth Ministry Delegate, Fr Chris Kunda, and Lilongwe Rector, Fr Michael Mbadama, welcomed the visitor at the airport, the first community of Don Bosco Lilongwe started immediately. After 26 years of Salesian presence in this landlocked African country we have now two canonical communities of Lilongwe and Nkhotakhota (230 km from the capital on the Malawi lakeside). In Malawi there are 11 Salesians (only 3 of them are coming out of Africa – from Poland, Vietnam and South Korea) and 15 prenovices (heading from all 4 countries of ZMB vice province).

                                    The harvest in Malawi is plentiful, a small number of Salesian in two communities attends to two large parishes with 26,000 Catholics organized in 93 small Christian communities and six schools with a total youth population of almost 14,000 students. Both communities in Malawi closely accompany the young people also through the SYM and Youth Centers, with the presence of young people of different religions background. The Salesian Family is still in the rooting stage with one center of Salesian Cooperators, DB Past Pupils and ADMA respectively.

                                    Mostly rural structure of Malawi with not-yet-well developed educational system makes the Charism of Don Bosco very relevant. The young Catholic community that celebrates this year only 120th Birthday (1901-2021) is very vibrant and the local vocations to priesthood and religious life are numerous.

                                    Held during the visitation was a blessing of the boarding house of Don Bosco High School in Nkhotakhota (capacity of 150 boys) built with the generous help of the Rector Major and the Visitor was able to see probably one of the largest Salesian parish schools in Africa, Tsabango Primary and John Lee Memorial Primary schools in Lilongwe with more than 11,000 students (grade 1-8).

                                    The Extraordinary visitation is opened exactly 5 years after the previous, held by Fr Americo Chaquisse, in 2016. God willing, from Malawi the Visitor will continue towards Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe with all the necessary precautions of the pandemic times. The schools in Malawi were just reopened after another 5-week period of closure.

                                    The ZMB Vice Province has 14 Salesian communities (two of them not-yet canonical) in 4 countries, with 3 houses of formation (pre-novitiate, novitiate and postnovitiate) with some 116 Salesians (average age of 42) including 13 Salesian Brothers, one Salesian Bishop and 10 novices. Most of the works are parishes, with a growing number of schools with boarding houses and first works for the youth in need and youth at risk. Every year also a good number of missionary volunteers from other other continents are involved in the ZMB Salesian mission.

                                    {gallery}ZMB - Visita Straordinaria 2021{/gallery}

                                    • Malawi
                                    • Václav Klement
                                    • ZMB ZAMBIA MALAWI ZIMBABWE NAMIBIA
                                    • Visita Straordinaria
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      India – Young women in legal trouble learn job skills

                                      1 month 1 week ago
                                      India – Young women in legal trouble learn job skills

                                      (ANS – Ravulapalem) – Twenty-three young women who lived at the Salesian Surakshita Home, located in the town of Ravulapalem in Andhra Pradesh, India, were supported through funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. Surakshita Home provides living facilities for young women who have been in legal trouble. There are dorms, bathrooms, a dining hall, a work room and a training hall.

                                      When young women enter the program run by Surakshita Home, they are given clothing and proper nutrition. They are sent for a medical examination and women with special health needs receive individual follow-up care. They are also able to access a counselor and legal support for their cases in court. In addition, the young women are empowered with information about their rights, and they access training in tailoring, maggam embroidery and other handicrafts.

                                      During the five months that funding was provided, 23 women completed their coursework. The goal was to help them learn skills for employment so that they can live independently. They also stitched 10,000 masks and distributed them in the neighboring villages as part of helping with the COVID-19 pandemic response.

                                      After the program, some young women found work in tailoring shops while others were able to do dressmaking and embroidery work for themselves. Four of the young women were given tailoring machines so that they could launch a small business to become self-sufficient.

                                      Once they are released from the program, women are integrated back into society. Salesian staff members visit parents and guardians, and they help young women go back home if possible or find other reasonable accommodations.

                                      “This program is giving young women in trouble with the law a second chance at life,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Salesian programs not only educate, but they prepare young people for work in fields that are hiring and jobs are available.”

                                      India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.

                                      Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.

                                      Source: Mission Newswire

                                      • India
                                      • INH INDIA HYDERABAD
                                      • Donne
                                      • Formazione Professionale
                                      • Lavoro
                                      • Procure Missionarie
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        RMG – Two important publications on Salesian meditation released

                                        1 month 2 weeks ago
                                        RMG – Two important publications on Salesian meditation released

                                        (ANS - Rome) – At the beginning of Lent, the Formation Department of the Salesian Congregation released two important publications on Salesian meditation. Below is the letter with which Fr Ivo Coelho, General Councilor for Formation, presents the two texts to the Provincials and Provincial Delegates for Formation.

                                        Dear confrers,

                                        I am happy to be able to present to you The Practice of Meditation in the Prayer of the Salesians of Don Bosco (accessible by clicking here), fruit of a seminar organized by the Formation Sector in Rome, 10-12 May 2018. The aim of the seminar was to clarify the place of meditation in the tradition and life of the Salesians of Don Bosco and to offer guidelines in this area. We asked ourselves three fundamental questions: what is Salesian meditation? Why should we meditate? And how do we meditate? To our pleasant surprise, the seminar had surprisingly positive echoes from around the Salesian world, and not only from those involved in initiating young novices and Salesians into the art of meditation. This strengthened us in our determination to make available the fruits of our seminar, and this is what we are happy to be able to offer you at this moment.

                                        The book includes, obviously, the four main papers presented at the seminar: Notes for a “brief treatise” on meditation at the origins of the Society of St Francis de Sales, by Giuseppe Buccellato; Learning to meditate with St Francis de Sales, by Eunan McDonnell; Meditation as Lectio Divina, by Giuseppe M. Roggia; and Three perspectives on the importance of Christian meditation, by Xabier Blanco. These have been revised by the authors and edited by Giuseppe Buccellato.

                                        Buccellato is also responsible for the Pointers and Suggestions for Daily Meditation (accessible by clicking here) that form a second contribution to the process, an aid for initiating people to meditation in the early phases of initial formation. It can be used with profit both by formation guides and by those going through these phases, but also by anyone, individuals or communities, who would like to renew their way of practising the half hour of meditation that is part of our Salesian way of life.

                                        Our little seminar was a beautiful learning experience for us who participated in it. It began with a sharing of our own experiences of meditation, which was then illuminated by the four papers. This process led to a rather rich discussion and to some practical conclusions, which were shared in a letter sent to all the provinces and which may be found also in the present book. From Buccellato we learnt that Giulio Barberis, the first novice director of the Congregation, used to dedicate the first period of the novitiate, no doubt at Don Bosco’s urging, to initiation to meditation. Don Bosco insisted on the affective dimension of meditation – something that, as Eunan McDonnell reminded us, is at the very heart of the teaching of St Francis de Sales. In turn, St Francis’ insistence on the place of the Word of God in meditation has been ‘canonized’ by Vatican II, as Giuseppe M. Roggia pointed out. Salesian meditation today, therefore, is very much lectio divina: listening to, reflecting on, praying over and allowing ourselves to be carried by God’s Word and his Spirit. Xabier Blanco in his turn took us to the person and example of Jesus himself. Jesus prayed because he felt the need to pray, because he loved. People today, including the young, seem to be rediscovering the need for silence and for prayer. This is what the young people told us during the Synod on youth, faith and vocational discernment. The Salesians of today are, therefore, certainly invited to give an adequate response to them. When the people of God ask for bread, we cannot give them stones.

                                        Dear confreres, the practice of meditation, as Don Bosco saw, is fundamental to our vocational fidelity and to our mission. Our Constitutions put it beautifully: “For us mental prayer is essential. It strengthens our intimate union with God, saves us from routine, keeps our heart free and fosters our dedication to others. For Don Bosco it is a guarantee of joyous perseverance in our vocation.” (C 93)

                                        The Practice of Meditation in the Prayer of the Salesians of Don Bosco is being made available at the moment in digital format. This does not exclude the possibility of some provinces or regions going into print, though this would obviously entail a further checking of the text. Since all of the material included in the book is original, so there is no question of seeking further copyrights: it would be enough to indicate your intentions to us in the Formation Sector. 

                                        I hope this work will serve to awaken a renewed interest in and appreciation of the very important element of Salesian prayer that is our daily meditation. The season of Lent that we are just beginning is a favourable time to listen to and meditate on the Word, which calls and moves us to conversion.

                                        A warm thanks once again to all those who contributed to the seminar: our four contributors, Giuseppe Buccellato, Eunan McDonnell, Giuseppe M. Roggia and Xabier Blanco; our editor Giuseppe Buccellato; the many confreres who helped in the translations; and the members of the Formation Sector, most especially Silvio Roggia who has been the driving force behind the arduous efforts of gathering the contributions, seeing to the translations, and bringing the whole project to completion.

                                        Affectionately,

                                        Ivo Coelho, SDB

                                        • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                        • Formazione
                                        • Meditazione
                                        • Ivo Coelho
                                          Gian Francesco Romano
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