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Czech Republic – Salesian honey in České Budějovice

1 month 1 week ago
Czech Republic – Salesian honey in České Budějovice

(ANS – České Budějovice) – The Salesian Youth Center in České Budějovice has entered new waters with its “Salesian honey” project and, as a result,  has broadened and deepened its educational influence.  

Since 2013, the “Salesian honey” project has resided in the thoughts of the current Director of the Salesian Youth Center Ondřej Trojek. He explained that “the idea was conceived at a lecture I attended and I must admit that the other attendees were more enthused about the idea than I was. The thought had been slowly ripening in my mind and awaited the right moment and the right people”.

This year’s beekeeping season is considered one of the worst and most difficult ones in the last couple of decades. Since its founding, the history of the Salesians proves that no beginnings are as smooth as one may imagine. On the contrary, they are always arduous and demanding. In a similar fashion, the “Salesian honey” project also does not lie on a bed of roses. Yet on December 8th, we  launched the sale of the first batch of Salesian honey which is a high quality, honest, and original product. The vision of the “Salesian honey” project is to serve as an impetus of new financial support to the Salesian Youth Center in České Budějovice, which will enable to continue the work with youths throughout České Budějovice.

Due to the financial backing of the City of České Budějovice, we were not only able to purchase essential beekeeping equipment, but also beekeeping suits for children and thus enable children to visit our beekeeping sites. For many of these children, this was their first encounter with beekeeping and with the life of a honeybee. After witnessing the childrens’ bright, sparkling eyes above the open beehive where they had the opportunity to observe worker bees, drones and the queen bee alone.  We are convinced that this is the way forward.

The story of the “Salesian honey” project is interwoven with dozens of enthusiastic people who participate in this project (i.e, employees of the Salesian Youth Center in České Budějovice, members of the local Salesian Cooperators community, friends and friends of their friends). The fact that this story of honey connects us and enriches us is the most fun aspect of the whole beekeeping experience. We cannot forget that the key elements of the “Salesian honey” project are children and youths, who have the opportunity to become (at least for a short moment) beekeepers and get to know bees themselves, as well as the beekeeping craft from up close.

At the beginning of the Oratory, many people surrounding Don Bosco considered his ideas and work with the youth as foolishness. Perhaps, the Salesian Youth Center in České Budějovice is finding itself in a similar position. Still, we believe that we are becoming a part of something new and that in a few years, our “Salesian honey” will be a household favorite and available for sale throughout all of the Czech Republic and also in the Italian Torino in Valdocco - the cradle of the Salesian family.

“Everything began quite inconspicuously in the morning of the celebration of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on December 8th, 1841. In the same year, Fr Cocchi opened the first Oratory in Torino.” The founder of the Salesian Order Don Bosco recalls and continues: “I kneeled and prayed the Hail Mary.” After forty-five years he told his Salesians: “All the gifts that we received from heaven, are the fruit of that initial Hail Mary prayer, which I prayed with fervor and honest intention.” Similar to Don Bosco before 179 years, the Salesians in České Budějovice have entered a new phase this time connected to beekeeping.

Further information and products here: www.salesianskymed.cz 

{gallery}CEP - Miele 2020{/gallery}

  • CEP REPUBBLICA CECA
  • Rep Ceca
  • Oratorio
  • Sviluppo Sociale
  • Creato
  • Ambiente
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Brasil – Spiritual Exercises in the midst of a pandemic

    1 month 1 week ago
    Brasil – Spiritual Exercises in the midst of a pandemic

    (ANS – Colônia) – To make the annual Spiritual Exercises in the midst of a pandemic. That was the challenge. The subject was discussed at a meeting of the Rectors of communities in a virtual meeting. We settled on a hybrid. Thus, a small group would be in the Conference Home of Jaboatão; the others, in their own houses, would follow the common part online and make the best they could in their own community.

    From 23 to 27 November, a group of 7 Salesians were in Cologne (Jaboatão) and 30 other confreres took part in their own communities. A Salesian sister also joined the group in the Conference Home. The common moments, transmitted through the Youtube Channel (Northeast Salesians) were the two talks (9:30 and 14:30) and the good night (21 hours); in the home community, the Eucharistic celebration (in the morning) and the special celebration of each day (in the evening).

    The preacher, Fr. Francisco Alves de Lima (Fr. Chicão) was in Santa Izabel do Rio Negro, a Salesian mission in the heart of the Amazon forest. From there he sent the written material and the videos with the talks. In the written material were the texts for deeper reflection, which went out by email to the confreres. On whatsapp, the confreres received the special celebrations of each day and the links to the talks and the good nights.

    The opening of the retreat was transmitted live, with a moment of prayer, communications and the introductory word of Fr. Provincial. The first talk did not arrive on time. The first day was one of disagreement and problems with the transmission. The following days the talks and the good night flowed regularly.

    In Jaboatão, we found a Retreat House, which had been renovated well, presenting itself clean, organized, and functional.

    In the evaluation, through an online form, 30% of the confreres responded about their personal experience, content and modality of the retreat. Here are some transcribed testimonies of the evaluation.

    Personal experience of the retreat:

    "Without any doubt, although he was not visible, the Holy Spirit acted! Better than many others...".

    "It was the first retreat I made in this format. I tried to live well all the moments as if it were a retreat in person. Moments of prayer, visit to the Blessed Sacrament, Eucharist, prayers...".

    Content of the Retreat:

    "I really liked the theme and the preaching. They were very clear and often even strong. It provoked us a lot".

    "It was the appropriate time for a review and nurturing of one's own vocation".

    Special modality of this Retreat:

    "I believe it was very opportune, in this time of pandemic, to be able to follow this method. There were limitations, but we made the retreat. This was important for me. My personal experience was very fruitful. I would like to thank you".

    "Interesting, even if there are some drawbacks. The reading of the text on the computer screen was not too tedious, keeping the ability to hold my attention. It could be used on other occasions, for confreres of a certain age".

    At the final good night, Fr. Provincial in Brasilia, taking part in the Cisbrasil meeting, thanked the preacher, praising the quality of his contribution and drawing lessons from the hybrid form of the Retreat. At the end, he opened a window of hope: he announced that the provincials agreed that in 2022 the novitiate in Curitiba would be transferred to Jaboatão.

    Fr. João Carlos Ribeiro, SDB

    • Brasile
    • BRE BRASILE RECIFE
    • Ritiri Spirituali
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Palestine – In Bethlehem, bread is hope

      1 month 1 week ago
      Palestine – In Bethlehem, bread is hope

      (ANS - Bethlehem) - The Salesian bakery in Bethlehem is a beautiful reality that has been producing bread for the community for more than 100 years. Born to churn out loaves to be consumed inside the orphanage, today with its proceeds it contributes to the maintenance of the vocational training school within the mission and grants scholarships to students who are not financially able to contribute to their own education.

      In synergy with other associations in the area, the Salesians have set up an important network of solidarity to identify the people most in difficulty and support them on their path full of obstacles.

      More specifically, thanks to "The Union of women", to "Lifegate for Reabilitation", which is committed to assisting about 250 people with disabilities from 3 to 25 years old, and to "Effetà", which guarantees schooling to 190 deaf children, the religious manage to distribute about 450 loaves every day to those most in need.

      Each loaf of bread given tells a particular story, of families struggling to make ends meet because in addition to the already complicated context of the place where they live, they have to face the obstacles that fate has not spared them.

      Muhammad's family, made up of 5 people, has to deal every day with the mental illness that has affected two of them, the father and one of the children. Unfortunately, Muhammad is unable to work and for their family to be able to save 250 shekels every month (what they would otherwise spend to buy bread) makes a real difference.

      The bread that Hala receives every day tells another story of pain: “My name is Hala Jarayseh, I am a mother of 5 children. My husband died 16 years ago and I have to provide for my family alone. I work in the department of the Women's Union, at the center for people with disabilities Al-Basma, but due to the economic crisis after the coronavirus and the blockades that have led to lower wages, I cannot cover all the expenses. I was included among the beneficiaries of the free bread of the Salesians: a really great help for our family. It allows us basic food coverage in our routine. I would like to thank all those who work for this precious support, so useful for women like me, who have to manage a family.”

      The challenge is to be able to increase the number of beneficiaries and for this "Missioni Don Bosco", the Salesian Mission Office of Turin, has decided, through a dedicated project, to help the Salesians in Bethlehem so that they can churn out more loaves of bread to donate.

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

      • MOR MEDIO ORIENTE
      • Palestina
      • Fame
      • Sviluppo Sociale
      • Povertà
        Gian Francesco Romano

        Italy – 21st Exhibition of Nativity Scenes in Basilica of Mary Help of Christians

        1 month 1 week ago
        Italy – 21st Exhibition of Nativity Scenes in Basilica of Mary Help of Christians

        (ANS - Turin) - “The enchanting image of the Christmas crèche, so dear to the Christian people, never ceases to arouse amazement and wonder. The depiction of Jesus’ birth is itself a simple and joyful proclamation of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The nativity scene is like a living Gospel rising up from the pages of sacred Scripture.” So writes Pope Francis in the opening words of his Apostolic Letter Admirabile Signum. And it is for this reason and with this spirit that the tradition of the Exhibition of Nativity Scenes in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians is renewed again this year in Turin. With a novelty: that this year it will be open to visitors online, in order to offer anyone who wishes the opportunity to share the pleasure of the nativity scene in a free and open manner.

        The Exhibition of Nativity Scenes in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians was born from an idea of ​​Fr Mario Morra who, for numerous editions, managed the initiative, then followed in 2016 by Fr Alberto Guglielmi who organized the exhibition according to geographical areas: Asia- Oceania, Africa, America, Europe. Renzo Bailo, in charge of the volunteers of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, is carrying on the tradition trying to innovate it by creating collaborations that vary from year to year, under the supervision of Fr Cristian Besso.

        On 8 December, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Msgr. Cesare Nosiglia, bishop of the diocese of Turin, in addition to blessing the nativity scene in the Basilica, visited the interior of the Exhibition of Nativity Scenes to greet the nativity scene makers of the XXI edition.

        The exhibition this year consists of 83 works and presents different thematic paths. Like the one dedicated to wooden nativity scenes, the one dedicated to the “creativity” nativity scenes, the one that refers to the Neapolitan tradition, and the one… “on Don Bosco's way”.

        “This year's collection features three installations dedicated to Don Bosco,” explain the curators of the exhibition. “In iconic form, they represent three fundamental aspects of his experience of faith: the special relationship with his mother, Margherita, his poor origins at the Becchi, the devotion to Mary in the name of Help of Christians. Admiring the 'Salesian'  crèches we can relive the atmosphere of the young people gathered in Valdocco around Saint Giovanni Bosco in anticipation of Christmas.”

        The online visit presents an extensive photographic and descriptive report of each location, so as to allow each visitor to relive the joy of Christmas that each nativity scene transmits, in a mixture of different styles and materials.

        To view, please visit: www.presepi.basilicamariaausiliatrice.it 

        • Italia
        • ICP ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE SPECIALE PIEMONTE E VALLE D'AOSTA
        • Presepi
        • Natale
          Gian Francesco Romano

          Hungary – Virtual Advent Retreat for young people

          1 month 1 week ago
          Hungary – Virtual Advent Retreat for young people

          (ANS - Budapest) - This Advent is certainly not the same as in previous years. The pandemic and the consequent isolation do not allow people to get together – in person - to prepare for Christmas. Thus, the Salesians, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) and numerous collaborators of the Salesian mission in Hungary decided to offer young people an online retreat, which was attended by over 150 young people of different ages.

          The Salesian Youth Movement (SZALIM) invited young people to participate by registering on their Facebook page. Subsequently, the members were divided into age groups to then take part in the e-retreat that took place last November 28th.

          The participants between the ages of 24 and 35 were led by Fr Kirner Zoltán, SDB. The meeting, divided into three different parts, was characterized by moments of reflection and prayer. Also on the same day, a retreat for young people between 15 and 23 years old, led by  Mr Molnár-Gál Béla, Salesian Cooperator. Here, the young people were invited to listen and to prepare themselves with joy for the coming of the Lord. The retreat took place in a serene and confidential atmosphere and during the day the participants had the opportunity to dialogue with the Salesians and with the FMA.

          Finally, the age group between 12 and 14 gathered under the guidance of Sr. Kovács Katalin, FMA. It was a precious moment for the younger participants, who were able to share their experiences and dialogue with each other. Precisely these moments of sharing serve to bring the youngest closer to God, but also to feel closer to one another.

          The Advent retreat was an ideal time for everyone to reflect on the closeness of Jesus and to deepen the mystery of the Incarnation. In other words, the virtual Advent retreat was a "spiritual medicine" for young Hungarians in this pandemic period.

          The Salesians also wished to thank the Hungarian government, which provided financial support for this online retreat.

          {gallery}UNG - Ritiro Avvento Online 2020{/gallery}

          • Ungheria
          • UNG UNGHERIA
          • Ritiri Spirituali
            Gian Francesco Romano

            Italy – Opening of diocesan inquiry for beatification and canonization of Servant of God Mons. Giuseppe Cognata

            1 month 1 week ago
            Italy – Opening of diocesan inquiry for beatification and canonization of Servant of God Mons. Giuseppe Cognata

            (ANS - Tivoli) -  Taking place on Saturday 12 December at the Bishop's Curia of Tivoli in a climate of solemn simplicity was the official opening of the diocesan inquiry for the beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Mons.Giuseppe Cognata(1885-1972), of the Pious Society of Saint Francis de Sales, Titular Bishop of Farsalo, former Bishop of Bova, Founder of the Institute of the Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart. The diocesan bishop, Mons. Mauro Parmeggiani, presided over this act.

            In his speech, Mgr. Parmeggiani also wanted to update the message of this Cause of Beatification, entrusting to the Servant of God “all the victims of Covid and the healthcare personnel who are working to fight this terrible virus. But, to Mons. Cognata, victim of calumny and lies, I would like to ask to intercede so that in the Church and in society the spread of that other virus from which Pope Francis never ceases to warn: calumny, slander, falsehood. That through the intercession of Mons. Cognata we can all learn to be frank and respectful of each other.”

            And he continued: “I like to think how this beginning of the diocesan investigation falls a few days after Pope Francis announced a year dedicated to St. Joseph, the patron saint of our Mons. Cognata. The Saint of silence, obedience, fatherhood, trust in God ... all attitudes that Mgr. Cognata tried to live fully.”

            On behalf of the entire Salesian Family, the Rector Major brought his greeting. In particular, in the light of the Strenna for 2021, entitled “Moved by hope:'See, I am making all things new' (Rev 21,5)”, he underlined how in the face of the pandemic, “we Christians must have our own way of living this reality as believers. A year in which we can say that our brother Mons. Giuseppe Cognata took the 'beautiful vaccine of forgiveness'. For him, forgiveness was the norm of life, in living a life of suffering, but a life full of the sense of God, of faith and of the expectation of a justice that, without a doubt, he thought God would give.”

            Mother Graziella Benghini, Superior General of the Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart (SOSC), expressed the joy and thanks of her entire Institute for this event of grace.

            The Servant of God Mons. Giuseppe Cognata with his oblative spirituality, "Oblatus est quia ipse voluit" (he offered himself because he himself wanted it) is the singular incarnation of that chain of holiness of the Salesian Family which, beginning with the venerable Andrea Beltrami and continuing with Augusto Czartoryski, Luigi Variara, Laura Vicuña, Eusebia Palomino, Alexandrina da Costa, Nino Baglieri, Vera Grita and the numerous martyrs, he made visible and embodied in a special way the oblative dimension of the Salesian charism as an intimate desire to participate in the redemptive sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of souls, and which recalls how the fecundity of the Da mihi animas depends on the asceticism of the cetera tolle.

            The opening act of the investigation is visible at the following link.

            {gallery}Italia - Apertura Inchiesta Causa Cognata 2020{/gallery}

            • Italia
            • Giuseppe Cognata
            • Santità Salesiana
            • SOSC Salesiane Oblate del Sacro Cuore
              Gian Francesco Romano

              India – Abandoned child laborers return to their families as fine gentlemen 18 years later

              1 month 1 week ago
              India – Abandoned child laborers return to their families as fine gentlemen 18 years later

              (ANS - Salem) - They had been abandoned when they were just three or four years old, but a jumble of twists and turns in the last 15 years has made them meet again with their mother and their relatives: they are Kumar and Rajkumar and the Salesian work for the most needy minors, "Don Bosco Anbu Illam" (DBAI), from Salem, where the boys grew up and thanks to which they were educated, allowed reunification.

              The relationship of the two boys with the Salem DBAI began in 2006 when during an intervention the staff of the Salesian Childline initiative, the officers of the Department for Child Labor and other social workers discovered that in the Andipatti area Panangadu there were over 30 children involved in the production of silver anklets. Among these, there were also Kumar and Rajkumar.

              As a first step in their rehabilitation, the minors were welcomed at the DBAI, and they immediately started looking for information on these two siblings. They could not remember their parents or where they were.

              They started from the owner of the anklet workshop, Mr. Selvam, and through multiple and articulated passages they went back to the family of origin. Their father, who had entrusted them to Mr. Selvam because he could not keep them, was now dead; but the mother, an older sister and several uncles were still alive and the two brothers wanted to see them again.

              This is how their meeting was organized and on 29 October, in the structures of the DBAI, in the presence of the district manager for the protection of minors, Ms Uma Maheswari, Fr Raj and other local authorities and prominent figures, as well as other protagonists of the research, Kumar and Rajkumar, after 18 years, are finally reunited with their families.

              • India
              • Bambini di Strada
              • Giovani a Rischio
              • INT INDIA TIRUCHY
              • Lavoro Minorile
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Spain – Formation meeting on pastoral dimension of Salesian Social Platforms

                1 month 1 week ago
                Spain – Formation meeting on pastoral dimension of Salesian Social Platforms

                (ANS - Madrid) - “Pastoral care must be that which gives the most profound meaning, the source of inspiration, the fundamental purpose of all our educational and social action,” said Fr José María Blanco, coordinator of the Salesian Social Platforms of the Salesian Province "Spain – St James King" (SSM), at the end of the first formative meeting of the coordinators of the pastoral care of the territorial delegations of the Salesian Social Platforms.

                Initially scheduled for last May, but then postponed due to the pandemic and finally carried out in digital mode, the meeting was attended by 25 local coordinators of the Platforms ministry - people in charge of animating pastoral care with the educational team of each platform and who are part of the local work teams; also participating, Fr Xabier Camino, Provincial Delegate for SSM Youth Ministry.

                The work began with the statement contained in the Framework Plan for the Social Platforms Ministry which reads: “When we talk about pastoral action, we are talking about a way of living and taking care of others. It is the pedagogy used by the 'Good Shepherd' in the Gospel, who is none other than Jesus of Nazareth. This way of living and accompanying people is the model that all Salesian educators have, whatever our field of action.”

                Fr Camino, from the SSM Province, pointed out: “The proposal is to accompany the pastoral dimension in social platforms, a nuclear and transversal dimension that crosses all that we are and do, all that, in the style of Don Bosco, we offer to the most vulnerable children and young people, as well as to their families, and to guarantee their integration into the organic ministry of each House and Province.”

                Subsequently, Fr Blanco indicated how each Platform is called to implement, starting from the Framework Plan for the Social Platforms Ministry, its own Local Plan, “which guarantees the care of this dimension, through simple but significant proposals.”

                Some of the good pastoral practices already started in some local delegations were then illustrated: the "Dar por dar" experience carried out in some residential structures in Zuen Etxea, or that of "Chalak", carried out in Burgos; the methodology for applying one's own pastoral plan implemented by the “Pan Bendito” Platform in Madrid; or the inter-religious celebrations of the Social Platform of Ourense.

                “This step we are taking is important,” added Fr Blanco, explaining that the focus this year, as always, is “to pay particular attention to the care and accompaniment of people. This is the fundamental objective of pastoral care.”

                “The members of the teams,” he concluded, “not only need professional qualifications, resources ... but also to take care of their interiority, of reasons for hope, of roots for their commitment, of spaces to share their faith with other people ... and this pastoral plan tries to make it a reality on all our platforms.”

                • Spagna
                • Piattaforme Sociali Salesiane
                • Pastorale Giovanile
                • SSM SPAGNA SAN GIACOMO MAGGIORE
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  Nigeria – Salesian Missions ‘Clean Water Initiative’ provides funding for clean water access in 5 communities

                  1 month 1 week ago
                  Nigeria – Salesian Missions ‘Clean Water Initiative’ provides funding for clean water access in 5 communities

                  (ANS – Abuja) – Five communities in Nigeria have clean water access thanks to donor funding through the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.” Borehole projects have been completed in Alaenyi, Umuaju, Bagbe, Nsasak Afaha and Neke. Due to geographic conditions, there is very little potable water in this region, and people—mostly women and children—are forced to travel long distances to access clean water for their daily needs or rely on rain and river water, which can sometimes be contaminated.

                  UN-Water estimates that worldwide 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and by 2050, the world’s population will have grown by an estimated 2 billion people, pushing global water demand up to 30 percent higher than today. One in four primary schools has no drinking water service, with students using unprotected water sources or going thirsty.

                  The new boreholes provide clean water, reduce outbreaks of waterborne diseases and eliminate the need for traveling hours each day in search of water. Poor residents of these communities, students, and women and children will benefit from these boreholes. Children can remain in school instead of searching for water. Women no longer have to travel long distances, often risking their lives just to find a water source.

                  “The water projects we fund ensure that Salesian programs around the globe have access to safe, clean water for the health and safety of those we serve,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Ensuring access to clean water brings a sense of dignity to communities and promotes proper hygiene. This also reduces the number of waterborne illnesses that can affect those in our schools, keeping them away from important study time.”

                  Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and the second strongest economy in the Continent, also has extreme rates of poverty with 100 million people living on less than $1 a day. About 64 percent of households in Nigeria consider themselves to be poor while 32 percent of households say their economic situation had worsened over a period of one year, according to UNICEF. Poverty still remains one of the most critical challenges facing the country and population growth rates have meant a steady increase in the number of people living in conditions of poverty.

                  • Nigeria
                  • AFW AFRICA OCCIDENTALE ANGLOFONA
                  • Acqua
                  • Procure Missionarie
                  • Missioni
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    RMG – Fr. Koyickal appointed as Provincial of India-Bangalore Province

                    1 month 2 weeks ago
                    RMG – Fr. Koyickal appointed as Provincial of India-Bangalore Province

                    (ANS – Rome) – On 10 December 2020, the Rector Major, Rev. Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, with the consent of his Council, nominated Rev. Fr. Jose Thomas KOYICKAL, SDB as the 8th Provincial of the Salesian Province of Sacred Heart, Bangalore, India for the six-year period of 2021-2027. The Province has 373 confreres who work in 44 communities in the States of Karnataka and Kerala in India. The Province also regularly sends missionaries to Nepal.

                    Fr. Jose Koyickal takes up the baton of leadership from Fr. Mathew Thonikuzhiyil, SDB (Fr. Joyce) who ably served the Province in the last six years. Fr. Jose Koyickal has been serving the Province since 2015 as the Vice Provincial and has been a Provincial Council member since 2010.

                    Fr. Koyickal made his First Profession at Mount Don Bosco, Kotagiri on 24 May 1984 and after his theological studies at Kristu Jyoti College, Bangalore, was ordained a Priest at St. Mary’s Church Moozhoor on 2 January 1995. He was born on 22 January 1965 to Thomas and Annamma and has 3 brothers and 2 sisters. One of his sisters is a religious belonging to Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul.

                    After his study of Philosophy and BA in English Literature at Salesian College, Sonada, Fr. Koyickal did his Practical Training at Don Bosco Irinjalakuda and Don Bosco Aluva. Before proceeding to theological studies, he completed MSW (Master of Social Work) from Sacred Heart College, Thiruppattur (1989-1991). He secured his PhD in Social Work from Bharathidasan University, Trichy in 2009.

                    Before being appointed to be the Provincial, Fr. Koyickal has served as Rector and Manager of Don Bosco College Angadikadavu and as HoD of Social Work Department in the same College. Prior to that he taught in Don Bosco College, Mannuthy. Before that he served as Director of the Don Bosco Snehabhavan Annexe at Kochi, as Assistant Parish Priest and Administrator of St. Stephen’s Church, Thope, Kollam and as Executive Director of FCDP (Social Work).

                    During his years of service and especially in the last six years as Vice Provincial and General Coordinator of Youth Ministry in the Province, Fr. Koyickal has become known among his confreres for his human and Salesian qualities, especially for his kindness, simplicity, understanding, prayerful and friendly approach and for his capacity for planning and administration.

                    • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                    • INK INDIA BANGALORE
                    • Ispettori
                    • Nomine
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      RMG – Winter session of the General Council

                      1 month 2 weeks ago
                      RMG – Winter session of the General Council

                      (ANS - Rome) - The winter session of the General Council is currently underway at the Salesian Headquarters. During this session, which began on 1 December and will end on 28 January 2021, the General Council is dwelling on the appointment of several new Provincials, on the study of various branches of the Congregation, on the Council's own formation, and on the collegial review in implementing the six-year Program of the Rector Major and of the General Council - program which has just been published in the Acts of the General Council n° 434, currently in Italian and English, soon also in other languages.

                      In the Rector Major's accompanying Letter to the Program, he wrote the six-year term called for audacity, prophecy and fidelity. He also examines the current "time of precariousness" and then invites the Congregation to use "a believing way of looking at reality and the world". Then follows a presentation, almost "by concentric centers" of the programmatic lines of action of the Rector Major and his Council for the six-year term with a precise definition of the "clear priorities". All this, taking care to follow up on the invitation left by Pope Francis at the 28th General Chapter: "dream ... and make others dream".

                      The winter plenary session of the General Council sees the in-person participation of almost all its members: only the General Councilor for Social Communication, Fr Gildásio Mendes dos Santos, continues to participate in the meetings in digital mode.

                      In addition to dedicating itself to the animation and governance of the Congregation, with its gaze projected over the entire six-year period, the General Council is also involved in another type of activity at this time: in these days of plenary session, the environments of the Salesian Headquarters and the spaces are being re-arranged so that all the Councilors have adequate spaces for their animation service.

                      The six-year program of the Rector Major and the General Council is currently available in Italian and English on the sdb.org website.

                      {gallery}RMG - Sessione Consiglio generale inverno 2020{/gallery} 

                      • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                      • Consiglio Generale
                      • Rettor Maggiore
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Hungary – Hungarian Salesian Caritas collects food to help needy

                        1 month 2 weeks ago
                        Hungary – Hungarian Salesian Caritas collects food to help needy

                        (ANS - Kazincbarcika) - The Caritas group of the Salesian parish of Kazincbarcika, belonging to the "St Stephen King" Province of Hungary (UNG), participated in a food collection to help the poorest families as we approach Christmas.

                        The spirit of Christmas is giving to those in need. For this reason, the Hungarian Food Bank organized a vast national food collection program between 27 and 29 November in which about 6,000 volunteers reached out to poor families, those most affected by the pandemic crisis.

                        In around 160 villages and towns, 250 collection points were set up and customers in shops and supermarkets were encouraged to buy extra food items to donate to the needy. The response was more than positive and the volunteers were able to donate 50,000 packages to the poorest families. An operation in which the Caritas group of the Salesian Parish of Kazincbarcika also took part. Collaborating with a local supermarket, the team supported the cause, thus helping those who struggle to put food on the table.

                        The organizers were amazed by the involvement of the volunteer students from the “St Francis de Sales” Secondary School and the “Irinyi János” Technical School. Their contribution was considered truly significant and remarkable, and for this reason it was greatly appreciated by the local Caritas team.

                        This food collection comes in a very significant period, namely Christmas. It was an important gesture for many families who, unfortunately, are suffering serious economic difficulties. The Caritas group claims to have been able to touch the power of love and charity first hand. Nobody held back; on the contrary, they opened their hearts and provided great support in times of need.

                        “It was really nice,” explain the local Caritas, “to see many benefactors, despite the difficulties imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, wanting to give their contribution and show all their generosity.”

                        {gallery}UNG - Raccolta Caritas SDB 2020{/gallery}

                        • Ungheria
                        • UNG UNGHERIA
                        • Solidarietà
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          RMG – New Provincial of Antilles appointed

                          1 month 2 weeks ago
                          RMG – New Provincial of Antilles appointed

                          (ANS - Rome) - The Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, with the consensus of his Council, has appointed Fr José Pastor Ramírez as Provincial of the Salesian "St John Bosco" Province of the Antilles for 2021-2026. Fr Pastor Ramírez is currently Rector and Parish Priest of the "St John Bosco" house in Santo Domingo, Director of the Antilles Salesian Library, and also offers the service of Chaplain of the Sovereign Order of Malta in the Dominican Republic.

                          José Pastor Ramírez was born on March 28, 1959, in Jarabacoa, near La Vega, Dominican Republic, the first of six children. Growing up in a peasant family, which passed on the values ​​of the Christian faith to him, he first met the Salesians at the oratory of Jarabacoa, where he spent his childhood and early adolescence.

                          He completed his novitiate in Villa Mella, Dominican Republic, and made his first vows on August 16, 1980; after making his perpetual profession on 15 August 1986 in Tlaquepaque, Mexico, he was ordained a priest in his hometown on July 22, 1989.

                          His curriculum is wide-ranging: after his formation in Philosophy (Baccalaureate) at the Seminary "St Thomas Aquinus" in Santo Domingo, and Theological formation (Baccalaureate) at the Institute of the Risen Christ in Guadalajara, Mexico, he studied Mathematical Physics at the National University “Pedro Henríquez Ureña” (from 1981 to 1985); he specialized in Spiritual Theology at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome (from 1994 to 1996); Clinical Psychology at the Catholic University of Santo Domingo (1999 -2003); and holds a Masters in Systemic Family Therapy from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (2007-2009), as well as having completed Transactional Analysis courses at "Farma Green", and various distance vocational training courses.

                          He was accredited at the Hahnemannian International Institute (Online Argentina - from 2005 to 2006) and attended the Spiritual Accompaniment course at the National Center for Salesian Youth Ministry (2010-2012) in Madrid, Spain. He obtained a diploma in "Leadership and Management of Education" from Barna, a Diploma in Family Constellations from the Center for Human Integration, accredited by the University Extension of the Domus CUDEC®️ Group, in Mexico (2016 to 2018), and the diploma in Educational Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuropsychology in 2019-2020 at the Neuropsychology Formation Center of the Dominican Republic, based in Santo Domingo.

                          He was Director and Pastor of the “Don Bosco” house in Santo Domingo (2000-2002 and from 2019 to today); at the provincial level, he has already served as formator, Delegate for Youth Ministry, Vicar (2000-2002), and Provincial (2002-2008).

                          From 2009 to 2017, he served at the Salesian Generalate in Rome as World Delegate of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco and World Coordinator of the Salesian Family. He was the creator of the Joint Formation Program (PROFOCO) of the Salesian Family.

                          Fr José Pastor Ramírez takes up his new post on Saturday 26 December during the Eucharist which will be celebrated during the Assembly of the Confreres in Pinar Quemado, Jarabacoa. 

                          • ANT ANTILLE
                          • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                          • Nomine
                          • Ispettori
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Zambia – "House of Hope" for children most in need

                            1 month 2 weeks ago

                            (ANS - Makululu) - The Salesians of Don Bosco of the "Zambia-Malawi-Zimbabwe-Namibia" Vice Province (ZMB) own land in Makululu, Zambia, where they would like to build a "House of Hope" for street children with addictions or are mentally disturbed. The house, according to the intentions of the Salesians, is to be built next to the existing house, called “Ciloto”, which in the local language, Bemba, means “dream”.

                            Specifically, the aim of the project is to create a home and provide specialized care for street children aged between 8 and 15 with addiction problems or mental disorders. The project involves the construction of the house, the purchase of necessary equipment and the provision of food and assistance to at least 10 minors, 24 hours a day, with individual psychological therapy and psychiatric treatment.

                            The construction of a residential building, bathrooms and a water well is also foreseen. Furthermore, the house will also be used to welcome the children who wander the alleys of the neighborhood of the nearby slums of Kabwe.

                            “This place will be the first stage of a process of adaptation and recovery of the children, in view of their reintegration into society,” explain the Salesians of the Don Bosco Salesian Missionary Foundation in Warsaw, Poland, which sponsors the project. “The children will be examined by a psychologist and psychiatrist and, depending on their needs, the necessary treatments and therapies will be implemented. The expected length of stay will be 3 to 6 months. Depending on their progress, the children will then be transferred to the existing 'Ciloto' house where social reintegration will continue.”

                            The children who already attend "Ciloto" today - 40 residents in the orphanage and about 35 who attend the center during the day - are minors who have been rejected by their families, who were unable to cope with their problems. The children were thrown out of their homes due to problems with the law, addictions, or mental disorders. The actions taken so far are bearing fruit: eight of them have returned to their families. But not all problematic minors can enter directly into “Ciloto” programs. Those coming straight from the street face a number of problems that pose a threat to children who have already faced them. And it is for this reason that now they want to erect this new "House of Hope" that can prepare the most needy minors to reach their "dream".

                            The Don Bosco Salesian Missionary Foundation has given itself a year to collect the funds and build everything. “I believe that together we will be able to carry out this project for the good of the poor young people in Zambia,” the Polish Salesians conclude.

                            For more information, visit https://fundacjadonbosco.org or write to biuro@fundacjadonbosco.org 

                            • Zambia
                            • ZMB ZAMBIA MALAWI ZIMBABWE NAMIBIA
                            • Polonia
                            • Missioni
                            • Giovani a Rischio
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              Italy – Opening of diocesan inquiry into Cause of Msgr. Giuseppe Cognata, SDB

                              1 month 2 weeks ago
                              Italy – Opening of diocesan inquiry into Cause of Msgr. Giuseppe Cognata, SDB

                              (ANS - Tivoli) - Taking place Saturday, 12 December, at 11:00 local time, at the Episcopal Curia of Tivoli, is the opening of the diocesan inquiry into the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Msgr. Giuseppe Cognata (Agrigento, 14 October 1885 - Pellaro, 22 July 1972), of the Pious Society of St. Francis de Sales, titular bishop of Farsalo, former bishop of Bova and founder of the Institute of the Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart (SOSC). The event will be chaired by Msgr. Mauro Parmeggiani, Bishop of Tivoli and Palestrina.

                              “The announcement, given in full pandemic, on April 18, that Pope Francis authorized the opening of the Cause, cheered many bishops, priests, men and women religious, and lay people who awaited this good news with patient and trusting hope, together with us, his spiritual daughters,” commented Mother Graziella Benghini, SOSC Superior General.

                              “Allow me a comparison,” continues Mother Benghini, “like the shepherds, in the darkness of night, they were enlightened by the good news and the event that had been awaited for centuries, so too when it seemed that nothing came to light, while the world was scared by Covid-19, suddenly the light of a new sun came to illuminate the life of the Salesian Family, of us Oblates, and of the whole Church ... And like in the dark night of Bethlehem, a light pierced the darkness because the Son of God became man and He came to bring the true light, so too we hope that the opening of the diocesan inquiry for the beatification and canonization of Msgr. Cognata be a reason for everyone's commitment to witness truth and justice, of which the Servant of God was an exemplary model.”

                              Although the restrictions due to the pandemic prevent the event from being celebrated with in person, it shall be possible to watch the event online thanks to the live broadcast of the ceremony, open to all, at the Facebook Page and YouTube Channel on 12 December at 11:00 (UTC +1).

                              Further information is available at the website - https://www.salesianesosc.it/home  

                              • Giuseppe Cognata
                              • Santità Salesiana
                              • SOSC Salesiane Oblate del Sacro Cuore
                              • Italia
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                RMG – "God does not allow Himself to be defeated in generosity". Rector Major's Missionary appeal for 2021

                                1 month 2 weeks ago

                                (ANS - Rome) - Yesterday, 8 December, a date dear to the Salesians, because it marks the beginning of Don Bosco's work in favor of poor and abandoned young people, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, launched an appeal inviting Salesians to discern if they are willing to put themselves at his disposal as missionaries ad gentesad exterosad vitam throughout the world.

                                Fr Á.F. Artime emphasized that, were it not for Don Bosco's missionary spirit and the missionary generosity of the first Salesians, the Salesians today would probably be just a small Congregation with few members in Italy. Thanks to Don Bosco's missionary spirit and zeal, today the Salesians continue their mission as "witnesses-signs" of God's saving Love for poor and marginalized young people in the most diverse cultural and religious contexts in 134 countries.

                                With this appeal the Rector Major invites all Salesians of all the Provinces of the world to relive the generosity and missionary vitality of the Congregation's beginning, and to respond to the missionary needs of the Congregation, in particular:

                                -       in the presences in the Amazon and in several missionary frontiers of Latin America;

                                -       in the Salesian presence at the service of refugees and in the new frontiers of Africa;

                                -       in Lithuania, Bulgaria and in the other new frontiers of Project Europe;

                                -       in Azerbaijan, Laos, Nepal, Mongolia, Yakutia;

                                -       in the numerous presences in the islands of Oceania.

                                The Rector Major writes in his missionary appeal: “Let us keep in mind that God does not allow Himself to be defeated in generosity. Certainly, a greater missionary generosity will stir up a renewed vitality in the Province and, God willing, also new vocations to replace those who depart for the missions."

                                The letter of the Rector Major's missionary appeal is available, in various languages, in the attachments at the bottom of the page.

                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                Vatican – “With a Father's Heart”, Pope Francis announces jubilee year in honor of St. Joseph

                                1 month 2 weeks ago
                                Vatican – “With a Father's Heart”, Pope Francis announces jubilee year in honor of St. Joseph

                                (ANS - Vatican City) - "WITH A FATHER'S HEART: this is how Joseph loved Jesus, called in all four Gospels 'the son of Joseph'." Pope Francis begins with these incisive words in his Apostolic Letter Patris Corde, published on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Quemadmodum Deus decree, with which on December 8, 1870, Blessed Pius IX declared Saint Joseph Patron of the Catholic Church. And to worthily celebrate the anniversary, the Holy Father has also announced a special jubilee year in honor of St. Joseph. The news also filled the Salesian Congregation with joy and satisfaction, which also boasts the Artisan of Nazareth, the Carpenter, among its Patrons.

                                In the letter Patris Corde the Pope shares "some personal reflections on the extraordinary figure" of Saint Joseph, reflections that the pandemic has motivated even more to sharing. The crisis generated by Covid-19 has, in fact, highlighted that our lives are woven and supported by ordinary people - usually forgotten - who do not appear in the headlines of newspapers and magazines or on various stages, but who, without a doubt, are writing the decisive events of our history today. People like St. Joseph,  “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”

                                Subsequently, the Pope lists the many peculiar traits that make the Spouse of the Virgin Mary a model of father for humanity: “...a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.... The world needs fathers," the Pontiff asserts again, and this is the reason for this special reference by the Pope to the figure of St. Joseph, " a father realizes that “he is most a father and an educator at the point when he becomes ‘useless,’ when he sees that his child has become independent and can walk the paths of life unaccompanied,” a father who always knew that that Child was not his, but had simply been entrusted to his care.

                                In a certain sense, concludes Pope Francis, we are all always in the condition of Joseph: a shadow of the one heavenly Father, who “'causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous'” (Mt 5, 45); and a shadow following the Son.

                                In support of the letter Patris Corde, the Holy Father also promulgated a decree to grant the gift of special indulgences on the occasion of the Year of St. Joseph (8 December 2020-2021) to all the faithful who will recite any legitimately approved prayer or act of piety in honor of St. Joseph, especially on the recurrences of March 19 and May 1, on the Feast Day of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, on St. Joseph's Sunday (according to the Byzantine tradition), on the 19th of each month and every Wednesday, day dedicated to the memory of the Saint according to the Latin tradition.

                                The complete text of the decree is available on the website of the Holy See.

                                • Vaticano
                                • Papa Francesco
                                • San Giuseppe
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  Sierra Leone – Don Bosco Youth Centre in Dwarzak Parish

                                  1 month 2 weeks ago
                                  Sierra Leone – Don Bosco Youth Centre in Dwarzak Parish

                                  (ANS – Freetown) – Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries on earth. More than 60 percent of the population live on less than €1.06 per day. Thirteen years of war and the Ebola epidemic wreaked havoc on the country. More than 500,000 people were displaced, and more than 60,000 children orphaned and left homeless. The Salesians arrived in Freetown in 1994 and had set themselves to witness God’s love for the country’s young people by developing the various works typical of Don Bosco’s spirit — shelters for street children, schools, youth centres and parishes.

                                  Young people, especially, face significant challenges in accessing education: with too few teachers, and school buildings destroyed in the war, resources are thin. And persistently high illiteracy rates mean that an estimated 70 percent of Sierra Leone’s young adults are out of work or under-employed. Many families are single-parent households, with children on their own most of the day as their parent struggles to provide for the family out of what meagre income he or she may scrape together.

                                  Many children and young people live on the streets and are prone to involvement in gangs, theft, begging or prostitution. Addiction to alcohol, tramadol, or marijuana is common and the devastation brought by the recent Coronavirus is widespread among the city’s street youth.

                                  Girls and young women are especially vulnerable. Close to 200,000 young girls and older women were sexually assaulted during the decade-long civil war, according to aid agencies.

                                  The Dwarzak Centre offers these young people a space in which to enjoy leisure and sports, get help with schoolwork, a meal, and personal and spiritual accompaniment in a safe and healthy environment, which is otherwise non-existent in the city of Freetown. Salesians promote an attitude of service in the children, teenagers and youth, helping them to become true witnesses of the values they embrace and preparing them to be honest citizens and good, God-fearing people through Christian formation.

                                  Each day 50-100 children between the ages of 7 and 18 (boys and girls) participate in regular recreational, educational and spiritual activities in the Youth Centre. 50 youth receive nutritional assistance three times a week and 80 children receive educational and spiritual assistance at the youth centre six days a week. These activities promote an enriched environment where youth feel secure and free.

                                  Additional activities hosted by the Don Bosco Youth Centre include table tennis, educational films, storytelling events, spelling and quiz competitions, and brass band, keyboard and singing instruction. The Youth Centre also organises sports programming six days a week with soccer and basketball training, friendly matches in Lungi and Freetown, and league competitions. The Salesian centre also serves as a training and meeting place for animators and educators.

                                  To provide this necessary service for the neediest children and young people in Don Bosco Youth Centre in Dwarzak Fr Sergej and the Salesians need our love, prayers and financial support.

                                  To better know the Salesian Work in Freetown

                                  Source: Salesians Ireland

                                  • Sierra Leone
                                  • AFW AFRICA OCCIDENTALE ANGLOFONA
                                  • Giovani a Rischio
                                  • Missioni
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    Czech Republic – Farewell to legendary Bohemian Salesian Fr Benno Benes (1938-2020)

                                    1 month 2 weeks ago
                                    Czech Republic – Farewell to legendary Bohemian Salesian Fr Benno Benes (1938-2020)

                                    (ANS - Prague) - On 1 December 2020, in Prague, in the home that houses the elderly Salesians run by the Sisters of St Carlo Borromeo, the former Provincial of the Czech Republic (CEP) Fr Benno Benes has died. Protagonist of Salesian life since the times of communist oppression (1968–1990), after the collapse of the regime he became Provincial of the "St John Bosco" Province of CEP in the years 1993-1999, and gave a strong impetus to growth and development of the Salesian charism in the country.

                                    Coming from Northern Bohemia, in the so-called Sudetenland, Fr Benno spoke fluent Czech and German, having a mother of German nationality. He met the Salesians at the time of the persecution of the Catholic Church (1948-1989), initially as a boy, in his city of birth, Osek, and then, in the 1960s, when he moved to Prague, where some Salesians had remained present in clandestinity, doing manual work.

                                    Fr Benno was ordained abroad in a clandestine manner in 1972 in Poland by the laying on of hands and the consecratory prayer of the archbishop of Poznan, Msgr. Antonio Baraniak. From 1973 until 1992, during the years of so-called normalization in the then Czechoslovakia, Fr Benes held the role of Provincial Vicar. During this period of persecution for the Catholic Church and its members, he organized clandestine Salesian structures, fostered the Youth Ministry, especially through activities on weekends and summer holidays, and looked after the growth of spiritual vocations in the Salesian Family.

                                    In this way, at the end of communist totalitarianism, there were 200 Salesians, 35 Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, 400 Salesian Cooperators and 70 Don Bosco Volunteers.

                                    Great were the harvests of his work of animation and government after the "Velvet Revolution" of November 1989: with Fr Benes as Provincial, the Salesians of the Czech Republic founded in Prague the Institute of Theology and Social Pedagogy "Jabok", the “Portal” Salesian publishing house, and several new youth centers in Ceske Budejovice, Plzen, Teplice; moreover, they returned to the houses they had built before the World War, in Prague, Pardubice, Ostrava and Brno.

                                    The memory of Fr Benno Benes will remain engraved with golden letters in the hearts of the Czech Salesian Family,” concludes Fr Zdenek Jancarik, Director of the Czech Salesian Bulletin.

                                    • Rep Ceca
                                    • CEP REPUBBLICA CECA
                                    • Decessi
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      Argentina – Joy of giving (and giving oneself) more and better

                                      1 month 2 weeks ago
                                      Argentina – Joy of giving (and giving oneself) more and better

                                      (ANS - Formosa) - "In the beginning, there was shame and mistrust. They asked me: 'What are you a teacher of?', and I felt like answering: 'Whatever you have to do.'" Thus speaks Ivan Peñalva, a 25-year-old law student, and for three years a member of the "Proyecto Universitario Misionero" (PUM) group, initiated by the Salesian Youth Movement of the Córdoba Province. He recently started a new volunteer service and what follows is his story of commitment and donation to children in need.

                                      A few months ago we received the proposal to attend the “Don Bosco House” in Formosa. There the children have breakfast, do their homework and catch up with their lessons. It is a pleasant and joyful educational environment where, in addition to studying, young people are listened to, accompanied and loved. 

                                      We volunteers work together with the professionals of the House, trying to do so with freedom and creativity, as Don Bosco taught us. Our task is to provide school support to children who have difficulty in carrying out virtual lessons for various reasons (lack of computers or internet, for example).

                                      It was a gift from God in these times of pandemic, an enormous joy to be able to be with children again after a long time, now in the "formal" educational environment, where I had never happened to be.

                                      I have many things left of this Salesian Youth Volunteer, including the looks of the children, those of the first day and those of today.

                                      Those discouraged looks that were there at the beginning, those curt answers to some personal questions no longer exist; now the gazes are of joy, the greetings are warm and the answers to any question must be accompanied by a "well, let's keep talking later, now let's do our homework."

                                      It is inevitable to think of what Don Bosco said: "It is not enough to love young people, they must feel that they are loved." When you offer your time and will, they reward you with their trust, their love, their joy and their responsibility.

                                      This experience is beautiful and it is a unique space which, as a Salesian animator, helps me to continue to form and learn in order to be able to give myself more and better to others.

                                      Source: Don Bosco Norte

                                      {gallery}ARN - Volontario 2020{/gallery}

                                      • Argentina
                                      • ARN ARGENTINA NORD
                                      • Volontariato
                                        Gian Francesco Romano
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