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News - Salesians of Don Bosco

Vatican – Emperor of Japan confers Order of Rising Sun to card. Raffaele Farina, Salesian

1 month 3 weeks ago
Vatican – Emperor of Japan confers Order of Rising Sun to card. Raffaele Farina, Salesian

(ANS - Vatican City) - During an emotionally moving ceremony held yesterday, Thursday 27 June, at the Japanese Embassy to the Holy See, the Salesian Cardinal Raffaele Farina, archivist and librarian emeritus of the Holy Roman Church, was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, gold and silver star, conferred by the Emperor of Japan.

Present for the occasion: Ambassador Yoshio Matthew Nakamura and Ms. Ambassador Reiko Nakamura; Dr. Teruyo Shimasaki, Councilor and Members of the Embassy; Rector Major Fr Ángel Fernandez Artime; Fr Francesco Cereda, his Vicar; Msgr. Piero Marini, former Master of Papal Ceremonies; and the new Salesian bishop Msgr. Alberto Lorenzelli, auxiliary bishop of Santiago de Chile.

Card Farina was awarded for his "contribution to the strengthening of friendly relations between Japan and the Holy See."  Among the specific motivations of the honor mention was made of his precious work in favor of the "reorganization of the historical documents of the Edo period collected by the Salesian missionary Fr Mario Marega", that is related to the period of prohibition of Christianity in the Japanese region of Bungo.

It is in the "Edo period" (1603-1868), in fact, that the Tokugawa family reached the phase of maximum political-military power, which corresponded to a policy of isolation during which there were real carnages of Christians, above all in the Nagasaki area.

The reorganization of those documents is of immense value, because it allows framing the Christian presence in Japan from the very beginning (the oldest text collected by Fr Marega even reports the arrival of Christianity in Japan, in 1549) and then in the periods of the "kakure kirishitan" (hidden Christians).

In his thanksgiving speech for the awarding of such a fine honor, card. Raffaele Farina listed several episodes that linked him to the world of Japanese culture and spoke of some important Japanese figures with whom he has developed ever closer relationships over the years - including, first and foremost, comm. Tatsuro Takatsu, great benefactor of the Salesian Pontifical University.

Furthermore, he also mentioned what he said in 2013, in the presence of the Emperor of Japan, on the occasion of the Centenary of the Sophia Univiersity of Tokyo: “I spent my life in teaching and above all in the direction of a University; I dealt with Libraries and Archives, but also with Cultural Institutions, the environment where the happy synthesis between science and art takes place, between the search for truth and beauty. I experienced how science, knowledge, culture and art constitute a bridge between different cultures, religions and nations: a bridge of friendship and peace that helps peoples to understand each other, help each other and make international coexistence more humane.

In this light, I would like to tell you that I am happy to be here withyou and to profess to you with simplicity and sincerity that I love Japan and admire the Japanese people.

{gallery}Premio al card Farina - 2019{/gallery}

  • Vaticano
  • Giappone
  • Cardinali
  • Premi e Riconoscimenti
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Spain - "Oye ... buenos días", supportive and educational book of "Misiones Salesianas" in harmony with values ​​of Don Bosco

    1 month 3 weeks ago

    (ANS - Madrid) - A solidarity book that arises almost by chance, through the messages of encouragement that a father left to his son every day so that the boy could look at them during school recess or at any other time of day. This book was born as the Salesian "good morning", that message that Salesians from around the world bring to the children of their schools, institutes, centers or oratories. It is a short message, but it helps to raise one's eyes to God, a message that encourages and gives strength. The book on solidarity has as its protagonist the little Adael who started reading the messages as: "(have a) happy day, smile, have fun, thank, learn, listen, share ..." and he learned to keep them all like little treasures.

    The book's first page presents the child's face with six words, six messages, so profound and so current: "Say please", "Forgive", "Say thank you", "Listen, learn, share", "Take advantage", "smile". In a society that lives fast, always on the run, without a moment to enjoy a small word, a smile, a gesture that speaks of forgiveness, at least this small book invites children to learn the fundamental values ​​for coexistence.

    The great thing about this book is that when Adael grows up and the positive messages of values and attitudes have changed, it begins to design the things that father and son had shared, hobbies, pastimes and dreams. And its illustrations were part of a message and a lifestyle.

    The result of this daily hobby of drawing in the morning and transmitting positive messages and values ​​in line with the Salesian charism is a book designed for children, but also for adolescents and young people, entitled: "Oye ... buenos días" (Hey .....good morning). It is a work of Pablo Souto, member of the Communication and Marketing Department of "Misiones Salesianas", the Salesian Mission Office of Madrid.

    More than 70 pages to read and color, with a small selection of all the drawings made in recent years. A book that contains a different "good morning" for each day and with positive messages applicable at school, at home, with friends or in the family.

    The proceeds from the sale of this book, which can be purchased on the Misiones Salesianas website, will be donated to Salesians in 134 countries on five continents, to offer quality education and to achieve the integral development of children and young people, especially the most disadvantaged.

    • Spagna
    • Procure Missionarie
    • Libri
    • Solidarietà
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Myanmar – "Opera Don Bosco Foundation" offers young an opportunity for redemption

      1 month 3 weeks ago

      (ANS - Yangon) - Myanmar is a state that remains among Asia's poorest, with 32.7% of the population living below the poverty line and with an economy that suffers from decades of stagnation and isolation. There are many young people living on the street, on the margins of society, often in inhuman conditions and without access to education. It is precisely to offer a future to these young people that the "Opera Don Bosco Foundation" has been active in Myanmar for years now.

      Through numerous vocational training projects, the Foundation offers young people an opportunity to redeem themselves. Among the Salesian works in Myanmar, there is the "Don Bosco Vocational Training Center" in Myitkyina, in the north of the country - an area hit by numerous conflicts - where 32 girls and 73 boys from very poor families of the region are hosted.

      Here, thanks to the Foundation, over the past 11 years, at least 500 students have completed their studies, obtaining a certificate in carpentry, mechanics, welding, tailoring, knitting and embroidery. The center also has internal and external rooms and reception areas dedicated to students, in which they can also practice sports such as volleyball, football and kickball. Now the intention is to further expand the accommodation, creating new environments for hospitality and a conference room.

      The "Opera Don Bosco Foundation" is also present in Myanmar with the center of Chantagon, managed by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Here, a covered courtyard was built where - in the style of Don Bosco - the poorest children can meet to play, to recover the lost school years or to learn a trade.

      Also, in Mandalay, there is also an educational center where children can live and study. The objective is now to expand the educational offer and support a sports project aimed at recovering street children.

      And again, in Anisakan-Nazareth, there are 153 boys who are preparing for public school exams and who are attending various courses in music, football and theater.

      But there's more; in Hlaing Thar Yar, on the outskirts of Yangon, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians run a kindergarten for children aged 3 to 7 years.

      The "Opera Don Bosco Foundation" joins the appeal launched in recent days by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Salesian, Archbishop of Yangon and President of the Federation of Episcopal Conferences of Asia, to "put an end to all armed conflicts afflicting the Country."

      • Myanmar
      • MYM
      • Fondazione Opera Don Bosco Onlus
      • Formazione Professionale
      • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
        Gian Francesco Romano

        Italy – From “Youth Synod 2018” towards SDB/FMA General Chapters

        1 month 3 weeks ago
        Italy – From “Youth Synod 2018” towards SDB/FMA General Chapters

        (ANS – Rome) – Five months after the previous Joint Council Meeting on January 17, 2019, the two General Councils of the SDB and FMA met this time at the General House of the Salesian Sisters on the afternoon of June 26th. The main theme of the shared encounter was inspired by the “Synod of Bishops 2018” (Youth, Faith, Vocational Discernment) leading to forthcoming General Chapters of SDB (Valdocco, February 2020) and FMA Institute (Rome, September 2020).

        The main inputs to the encounter were provided by Fr Rosanno Sala, SDB (Special Secretary to the 2018 Synod), on the “Christus Vivit” Apostolic Exhortation (chapters 7-8) and Sr Runita Borja, FMA (General Councilor for the Youth Ministry), on the emerging points of GC24: Listening to the Young, Journey with Mary, Missionary Synodality and Hope-filled reading of present reality. After their talks followed a traditional mixed Groups and Assembly sharing, with several points of inspiration emerged:

        • Main attention was on HOW do we LISTEN and ACCOMPANY the young people personally and also as a community;
        • We need to always focus on the encounter with the poor and marginalized youth, who are the heart of Don Bosco and Mother Mazarello. Today it would mean also a specific focus on youth struggling with drug addictions;
        • We need to not only read the 'Christus Vivit' but also study and own its main inspirations;
        • We need to find courage to change our structures and lifestyle according to the needs of the concrete young people around us: Who are we for?
        • Open questions are making our life healthier: What kind of Salesians for the Youth of Today? or Who is moving our Life? Are we moved by the Youth and by the Spirit?

        In his Good Night Talk, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime reflected on the thousands of youth in need or at risk who are daily being saved in Salesian houses around the world on a daily basis. Children and young people who are welcomed and loved in the SDB and FMA education and works finding their salvation. The necessary change in and of our lives wished through the General Chapter journeys (SDB - GC 28 and FMA - GC 24) may happen only if we open our hearts daily and give our lives to the young. Only we mustn't ever let them stay alone in our playgrounds, but join them, be among them, so that we may experience that the young are saving us - as nicely expressed already by the late Fr Juan E. Vecchi!

        We firmly believe that the Salesian Family is growing through simple life sharing, praying and sharing meals, in the family spirit atmosphere with simplicity and an open heart. Another stop on our common journey of the two General Councils offers much inspiration. The plentiful informal exchanges of experiences during meal times also fosters a mutual understanding of Salesian charism in different forms: “The recognition that without the other the members of a particular Group cannot be themselves ought to be an awareness cultivated by all SF groups.” (Salesian Family Identity Charter, art. 10).

        • Consiglio Generale
        • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
        • CG28
          Gian Francesco Romano

          Italy – San Salvario house: scents and flavors of home

          1 month 3 weeks ago
          Italy – San Salvario house: scents and flavors of home

          (ANS - Turin) – Held yesterday, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, was the inauguration of the Social Housing project "San Salvario house - A colored corner in San Salvario ... scents and flavors of home" of the parish of Saints Peter and Paul of Turin, entrusted to the Salesians of the "Saint John the Evangelist" community.

          Since yesterday, the Social Housing project of San Salvario offers a space of welcome and growth for Italians and foreigners aged between 18 and 39 - students, workers and neo-adults who have come out of reception paths for unaccompanied foreign minors – and who, with the help of qualified educators, will be able to become protagonists of their own personal development within society.

          To give greater value to the project is also the social context in which the social housing is located, that is in the San Salvario district, characterized by a very varied social and cultural fabric known for its youthful nightlife.

          This social residence is the result of a tender by the "Compagnia di San Paolo - Housing Program", in which the parish of "Saints Peter and Paul" participated, with the support of the Italian Episcopal Conference and the "Magnetto Foundation", which made the restoration works of the parish rectory possible.

          During the inauguration of the social house, Fr ​​Mauro Mergola, SDB, as parish priest of the Santi Pietro e Paolo parish, explained the meaning of the project: "Like Don Bosco, we too try to listen to the young, to their situations, and together with them we try to give answers, so that no youngster feels excluded."

          After the interventions of the representatives of the Compagnia di San Paolo and the Municipal Council of Turin, Fr Enrico Stasi, Provincial of the Salesians of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta, also spoke; he said: "This is a project of the Church of Turin of which the Salesians are a living part, a Church that enters into an alliance with all those who want the good of the people and of the young."

          The event continued with the consignment of the house's keys to the young persons hosted, the presentation of an "evangelical icon" dedicated to the event, and an intervention by Msgr. Cesare Nosiglia, archbishop of the city, who declared: "You must consider this house, dear young people, your home, giving all the necessary contribution so that it may be a house of peace, of serenity, of welcome, of dialogue, of meeting, of mutual respect, of help with each other. Do not consider yourself guests, but owners."

          The final part of the event saw the unveiling of a statue of the Madonna, the opening of the door of the house by Archbishop Nosiglia and the blessing of the premises.

          {gallery}Salesiani San Salvario Housing - 2019{/gallery}

          • Italia
          • ICP
          • Giovani a Rischio Sociale
          • Accoglienza minori
          • Accompagnamento
          • Migranti
          • Rifugiati
            Gian Francesco Romano

            Thailand – Cycling with the Blind

            1 month 3 weeks ago
            Thailand – Cycling with the Blind

            (ANS - Bangkok) – This year in Thailand marks the 80th anniversary of the "Foundation for the Blind". For the occasion, the Foundation, with the patronage of the Queen of Thailand, organized the event "Bike With the Blind", under the theme: "Ride for Sharing".

            The event, which will have its final stop on 7 July, is chaired by Khan Prachuabmoh, president of the Foundation, and by Fr Charles Velardo, SDB, a member of the Foundation's Board of Directors and responsible for the activities.

            This initiative, organized with normally sighted people pedalling together with the visually impaired, started in Chiangmai last January 27th. From there, the ride reached Nakorn Ratchasima on February 10th, in Khon Kaen on March 10th, again in Chonburi on May 12th, in Surat Thani on June 9th and is expected to arrive in Bangkok on July 7th.

            The main purpose of this activity is to showcase the skills learned by the blind to the general public. Over time, they have trained hard and with this ride have finally had the chance to show what they have learned in recent months.

            For seeing people who joined the initiative, instead, it was an opportunity to help the blind, to make them feel involved in normal sports activities and to raise awareness of society towards them.

            Cycling with the blind is not the only initiative that Salesians carry out in Thailand. In the Pakkret district, in fact, the Congregation runs the Skills Development Center for the Blind, while in Sampran the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians run a Skills Training Center for Blind Women.

            These two centers are an integral part of the "Foundation for the Blind".

            {gallery}THA - In bici con i ciechi 2019{/gallery}

            • Thailandia
            • THA
            • Disabilità
              Gian Francesco Romano

              Nicaragua – New study opportunities for young people

              1 month 3 weeks ago
              Nicaragua – New study opportunities for young people

              (ANS - Managua) - The "Pbro Salvador Cafarelli SDB Motorcycle Maintenance and Repair Laboratory-School" of Managua has just been inaugurated in these past few days, a workshop financed by Swiss Cooperation in Central America and realized in collaboration with the Don Bosco Youth Center and "Casa Pellas", an important Nicaraguan company active in the resale and rental of vehicles.

              The school-laboratory can count on all the elements necessary for a theoretical-practical quality learning environment: from curricular development with technical assistance from the Yamaha brand to cutting-edge equipment and materials.

              For Swiss Cooperation, education is fundamental for the growth of developing countries; for this reason it has been investing in Nicaragua for over 10 years, supporting vocational training and technical education.

              As part of its Employment Skills Development Program, implemented by Swisscontact, it contributes to reducing poverty and vulnerability of Nicaraguan youth through training courses that correspond to current market needs.

              The young people participating in this course have the opportunity to develop their technical skills in repairing and maintaining motorcycles, as well as entering the world of work, as employed mechanics or starting their own motorcycle repair shop.

              As part of this joint commitment, "Casa Pellas", strengthened by its experience, has taken on the commitment to support the laboratory-school with equipment and tools and through the improvement of the technical skills of motorcycle mechanics teachers - who will be duly formed in Japan by Yamaha. In this way, the young people coming out of the “Pbro Salvador Cafarelli SDB center” will obtain certified, up-to-date, quality formation.

              The program also includes a free online course on motorcycle road safety - a value shared by Casa Pellas, Don Bosco Youth Center and Swiss Cooperation; therefore the young students of the laboratory-school will be able to obtain a double certification, as motorcycle mechanics and road safety professionals.

              For the Don Bosco Youth Center, these technical courses allow young people to learn specialized skills and thus achieve means to live honestly. For this reason the Salesians in Managua invite all young Nicaraguans to visit their center to learn more about these vocational training opportunities, and are pleased to inform that scholarships covering up to 90% of the total course costs are available.

              This is only the first of ten workshops that will be set up or adapted, under this program, in various Vocational Training Centers throughout Nicaragua.

              By F. Cardoza – G. Arévalo

              Source: La Jornada

              • Nicaragua
              • CAM
              • Formazione Professionale
                Gian Francesco Romano

                RMG – New Superior of AET Vice Province appointed

                1 month 3 weeks ago
                RMG – New Superior of AET Vice Province appointed

                (ANS - Rome) - As part of the work of the General Council, and with the consensus of the other members of the Council, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, has appointed Fr Medhi Hailemariam as Superior of the Africa-Ethiopia Vice Province (AET) for the six-year period between 2019-2025.

                Fr Medhi Hailemariam was born in Awo, Ethiopia, on 1 October 1974. He completed his novitiate between 1994 and 1995 at the Salesian house in Addis Ababa-Gotera, made his perpetual vows on 19 August 2001 in Addis Ababa; and was ordained a priest on 4 May 2003 in Adigrat.

                Between 2003 and 2006 he served in the community of Adua, first as Vicar, then as Parish Priest and Economer. He then spent several years in Rome (2006-2009 and 2014-2016) to perfect his studies at the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), years interspersed with work performed in Kenya at the Salesian formation house in Nairobi-Utume ( 2009-2013).

                He currently resides in Addis Ababa and serves as Director in the Mekanissa community; he is also Provincial Councilor and Delegate for the Salesian Family.

                Fr Hailemariam succeeds Don Estifanos Gebremeskel.

                • RMG
                • Nomine
                • Ispettori
                • AET
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  Great Britain – El Pilar's visit to SJBC Battersea is enriching for all

                  1 month 3 weeks ago
                  Great Britain – El Pilar's visit to SJBC Battersea is enriching for all

                  (ANS – London) – Last week, St John Bosco College students spent time with some of their peers from “Colegio Salesianos El Pilar”. The 24 students and 2 teachers visited from Soto del Real, near Madrid, as part of the Erasmus scheme, and they stayed right next door to the school, at the Don Bosco Centre in Salesian House.

                  Ms Tharsis, SJBC’s Head of Modern Foreign Languages, said their students enjoyed sharing lessons with their visitors in the mornings, and everyone had great fun when the Spanish students made delicious tortillas in the school kitchen with two classes of Year 10s.

                  Ms Tharsis said the time in school also included a workshop focusing on the value of learning other languages. This featured presentations from some SJBC teachers whose first language is not English, and provided the opportunity to hear first-hand experiences of the difficulties of settling in a new country without knowing the language. One of the teachers accompanying the group, Cristina López Rogel, said this part of the visit was especially important for her students, as “they have met Spanish speakers who moved to UK without knowing English, and they had hard times because they could not rely on other people. These kind of experiences told by teenagers made our students appreciate the opportunities they have to learn English every day at school.”

                  Ms López Rogel said, “The main objective of this trip was to practice the English language, to learn the English culture and enrich the coexistence of our students. Also, to take advantage of the opportunity to be in a Salesian school in a different country, where the values and the daily routines are very similar to ours.”

                  El Pilar has been bringing a group of students from 3º ESO (14-15 years olds) to Battersea for four years, and plan to continue the relationship. “We really enjoy sharing the same familiar environment as in our Salesian school in Spain. For the students, it is such a great feeling to know that Don Bosco is the same all around the world and that they have the opportunity to experience it,” said Ms López Rogel.

                  For both sets of students, this was a valuable and enjoyable opportunity to practice their language skills and learn more about each other’s cultures, and for the Spanish group, there was time for outings in the afternoons, to get a full flavour of London. “Our students loved the animals and dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, although we didn’t have a lot of time to spend there. They enjoyed very much walking along the banks of the Thames and visiting the Tower of London, Big Ben and Westminster Palace. Of course, they loved going shopping in Camden Town and Piccadilly as well.”

                  The sightseeing trips also had an educational aim. “The students worked in groups of 6 people. Every day they had some riddles to solve related to places that we were going to visit around the city. Therefore, they had to pay attention and watch the things and monuments carefully, because they will get points by solving the riddles and clues,” Ms López Rogel explained.

                  The exchange experience is also interesting for the staff involved. Rediscovering the city with their students and seeing how they enjoyed learning new things was a great joy for the teachers accompanying them. Ms López Rogel said, “The main difference we find is in the educational system. I teach Science and I could say that in the UK you have better materials and more laboratories than us. This allows you to teach Science in a more practical way than in the Spanish system. A fact that draws my attention was the laboratory assistant in the school. It is something that we don’t have in Spain and it is a clear example of this difference of investment.”

                  Ms Tharsis is also enthusiastic about the value of such exchanges, and hopes to take a group of SJBC students to Spain soon, and the visit from El Pilar has fired enthusiasm from students to be involved in that. Back at El Pilar, this year’s group will give talks to younger students, to motivate them in their learning, and to inspire the next group, who will visit in June 2020.

                  Ms López Rogel summed up the importance of exchange visits: “I think they are very enriching activities for all of us. Students enjoyed it a lot, became more responsible, got more self-sufficiency and learnt to share with the group. For teachers, although this kind of trip is exhausting because we are together 24/7, it helps to create a very different relationship with your students that in a classroom will be impossible.”

                  Meanwhile, in Madrid ... Salesian College Farnborough students spent a wonderful week at El Pilar! The Lower Sixth Spanish language students attended lessons and worked with their El Pilar peers on various projects. The students stayed with families, which created a total immersion experience in the Spanish language and culture, and they enjoyed visits to Toledo and Madrid. 

                  By Clare Lewis

                  {gallery}GBR - Scambio culturale - 2019{/gallery}

                  • Gran Bretagna
                  • GBR
                  • Spagna
                  • Scuole
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    RMG – A moment of gratitude at feast of Rector Major

                    1 month 3 weeks ago
                    RMG – A moment of gratitude at feast of Rector Major

                    (ANS - Rome) - The future saint of the young was just one day old, on that 17th of August 1815, when his parents Francesco Bosco and Margherita Occhiena brought him to be baptized, with the name of Giovanni Melchiorre. "At Valdocco various festivals were organized with solemn liturgical functions, rich poetic-musical academies and illustrious guests ... In Turin the feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24) was the patronal feast of the city and of the diocese, celebrated even with a cannon shot and the blank shots of the troops' rifles," writes the Salesian historian, Fr Francesco Motto. "The young people of the very first Valdocco oratory began that day to celebrate Don Bosco and offer him flowers, believing it to be the name day. Don Bosco let him do it and did it all his life." So now this feast has become a heritage of the history of Don Bosco's Successors.

                    During the homily of the Mass celebrated yesterday, June 24, for the feast of gratitude to the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime said: “On the feast of Don Bosco and on the feast that we celebrate today for the Rector Major, the first thing I must to do is to give thanks to each one of you, because nothing can be done without the presence of you lay people and Salesians ... Without the silent and hidden service, it would not be possible to reach the whole Salesian world. Your work is something transcendent, many times we do not know where your work and your message arrive ... Today it certainly becomes a moment of gratitude."

                    Fr Á.F. Artime concentrated his words in thanks to each of the Salesians and lay people who collaborate in the mission of Don Bosco, and congratulated the Salesians who are celebrating an important anniversary this year: "Celebrating an anniversary is a sign of fidelity to God and to the mission with the young," he said.

                    In a very significant way he then indicated to all: Fr Francesco Maraccani, for the 65 years of Religious Profession; Fr Luigi Fedrizzi, for 50 years of ordination; and then, for the "Silver Jubilee" of the 25 years of ordination: Fr Stefano Martoglio, Fr Francisco Santos, Fr Horacio López, and Fr Saimy Ezhanikattu.

                    Also present at the celebration was Msgr. Alberto Lorenzelli, Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago de Chile, who offered the Rector Major a beautiful reliquary with a first class relic of Don Bosco, "so that, in the Salesian Central Headquarters, Don Bosco will always help us to love God and the young people to whom we are sent."

                    {gallery}RMG - Festa RM 2019{/gallery}

                    • Rettor Maggiore
                    • Ángel Fernández Artime
                    • RMG
                    • Don Bosco
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      United States – Culture Prize to Indian Salesian Fr Abraham Kavalakatt

                      1 month 3 weeks ago
                      United States – Culture Prize to Indian Salesian Fr Abraham Kavalakatt

                      (ANS - New York) – There was a large audience last Wednesday, June 19, at the Consulate General of Italy in New York, for the awarding of Indian Salesian Fr Abraham Kavalakatt with a Plaque of Merit from the "Pantheon Foundation". The prize was awarded to him for his voluminous book: "Wonderful ways of God. The teaching of the Church on the salvation of non-Christians."

                      A rich parterre of illustrious guests was present, from the Consul General of Italy, dr. Francesco Genuardi, to cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, dr. Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, to prof. Luigi Frati, former Rector of the Sapienza University of Rome.

                      The Salesian's book, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, one year after its publication continues to arouse an interest that is higher than expected. "Everyone is looking for God in some way and the question of salvation," Fr Kavalakatt explained. "It is a theme of strong resonance, today as well as before the Second Vatican Council, which produced studies, involved experts and theologians and which had a gradual historical development."

                      The text gathers in 750 pages the teachings of the Council Fathers of Vatican II and then the pontifical Magisterium of John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, reporting also the echoes, the adhesions and the criticisms raised, internal and external to the ecclesial community.

                      As Cardinal Maradiaga pointed out, the text represents an in-depth and valuable work on the "relationship between theology of religions and salvation of non-Christians, which has become more acute since Vatican II." "The Magisterium, naturally," the cardinal added, "did not stop at the Council" but "in relation to the theological discussion and with the increase in interreligious dialogue, in different spheres and at different levels, the Popes continued teaching on these issues ... And as often happens "after the magisterial pronouncements, theological reflection takes up again and deepens the topics dealt with."

                      Among "the most moving and innovative pages", "in the path of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ who reaches 'others' (non-Christians) in 'wonderful' ways'," the cardinal pointed out those dedicated to the most recent teachings of Pope Francis, where it is easily understandable that "the door of salvation is narrow, but always open to all."

                      The appointment was an occasion for reflection and debate on the search for God and the possibility of salvation in Christ, offered to all men and women.

                      • Stati Uniti
                      • Libri
                      • Teologia
                      • UPS
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Chile – Lay person's role in Church today: you, what do you have to say?

                        1 month 3 weeks ago
                        Chile – Lay person's role in Church today: you, what do you have to say?

                        (ANS - Santiago) - There is no doubt that the question of what the role of the laity in the Church today is remains a theme currently much in vogue for various reasons; for the scarcity of clerics, or for the more significant presence and the rediscovery of the laity in the mission of the Church. For this reason on Saturday, June 22, about 100 people, belonging to different groups of the Salesian Family, gathered in the auditorium of the "Salesianos Alameda" educational center in Santiago, and participated in the debate entitled: “The role of the laity in the Church of today”, conducted by the well-known theologian Antonio Bentué.

                        The lecturer, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of Chile, focused his discourse starting from a sentence of the letter sent by Pope Francis to the people of God in Chile, where he writes: "the Church needs that you do the identity card of adults, spiritually speaking adults, and have the courage to tell us how you feel and what you think."

                        For prof. Bentué, the Holy Father's letter was an appeal to be unafraid, because the times of crisis that the Chilean Church is experiencing can be a sign to return to the essence of Christianity.

                        Regarding the role of the laity, the theologian said that the main question we must ask ourselves is: "How coherent were we with the magisterium of the Church?" He also emphasized the great fraternal responsibility that the laity have in helping "consecrated brothers" to carry out their pastoral work.

                        "I believe these comparisons and debates are an incentive to continue the commitment to take on our true role as lay people. I think there is a lot of work to do, but people are increasingly involved. If everyone does their part, we can make things better," said Rocio Olivé, of the Salesian Family group  Cancão Nova."

                        For Manuel Poza, permanent deacon of the “San Giovanni Bosco” parish, the initiative was positive and what was presented by prof. Bentué is in tune with what the Holy Father wants: "That the laity do not have so much dependence on priests and at the same time there is real collaboration between the two groups. The laity are eager to propose ideas to improve our Church and our relationship with consecrated persons."

                        The meeting had a second moment in which those present were able to ask questions to prof. Bentué. At this stage, other very important topics were debated, such as, for example: "What do we do with education to the faith?" "What is the essence of Christianity", and "When did we leave Jesus outside our church?"

                        • Cile
                        • CIL
                        • Laici
                        • Chiesa
                          Gian Francesco Romano
                          ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana

                          Vatican – Emperor of Japan confers Order of Rising Sun to card. Raffaele Farina, Salesian

                          1 month 3 weeks ago
                          Vatican – Emperor of Japan confers Order of Rising Sun to card. Raffaele Farina, Salesian

                          (ANS - Vatican City) - During an emotionally moving ceremony held yesterday, Thursday 27 June, at the Japanese Embassy to the Holy See, the Salesian Cardinal Raffaele Farina, archivist and librarian emeritus of the Holy Roman Church, was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, gold and silver star, conferred by the Emperor of Japan.

                          Present for the occasion: Ambassador Yoshio Matthew Nakamura and Ms. Ambassador Reiko Nakamura; Dr. Teruyo Shimasaki, Councilor and Members of the Embassy; Rector Major Fr Ángel Fernandez Artime; Fr Francesco Cereda, his Vicar; Msgr. Piero Marini, former Master of Papal Ceremonies; and the new Salesian bishop Msgr. Alberto Lorenzelli, auxiliary bishop of Santiago de Chile.

                          Card Farina was awarded for his "contribution to the strengthening of friendly relations between Japan and the Holy See."  Among the specific motivations of the honor mention was made of his precious work in favor of the "reorganization of the historical documents of the Edo period collected by the Salesian missionary Fr Mario Marega", that is related to the period of prohibition of Christianity in the Japanese region of Bungo.

                          It is in the "Edo period" (1603-1868), in fact, that the Tokugawa family reached the phase of maximum political-military power, which corresponded to a policy of isolation during which there were real carnages of Christians, above all in the Nagasaki area.

                          The reorganization of those documents is of immense value, because it allows framing the Christian presence in Japan from the very beginning (the oldest text collected by Fr Marega even reports the arrival of Christianity in Japan, in 1549) and then in the periods of the "kakure kirishitan" (hidden Christians).

                          In his thanksgiving speech for the awarding of such a fine honor, card. Raffaele Farina listed several episodes that linked him to the world of Japanese culture and spoke of some important Japanese figures with whom he has developed ever closer relationships over the years - including, first and foremost, comm. Tatsuro Takatsu, great benefactor of the Salesian Pontifical University.

                          Furthermore, he also mentioned what he said in 2013, in the presence of the Emperor of Japan, on the occasion of the Centenary of the Sophia Univiersity of Tokyo: “I spent my life in teaching and above all in the direction of a University; I dealt with Libraries and Archives, but also with Cultural Institutions, the environment where the happy synthesis between science and art takes place, between the search for truth and beauty. I experienced how science, knowledge, culture and art constitute a bridge between different cultures, religions and nations: a bridge of friendship and peace that helps peoples to understand each other, help each other and make international coexistence more humane.

                          In this light, I would like to tell you that I am happy to be here withyou and to profess to you with simplicity and sincerity that I love Japan and admire the Japanese people.

                          {gallery}Premio al card Farina - 2019{/gallery}

                          • Vaticano
                          • Giappone
                          • Cardinali
                          • Premi e Riconoscimenti
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Spain - "Oye ... buenos días", supportive and educational book of "Misiones Salesianas" in harmony with values ​​of Don Bosco

                            1 month 3 weeks ago

                            (ANS - Madrid) - A solidarity book that arises almost by chance, through the messages of encouragement that a father left to his son every day so that the boy could look at them during school recess or at any other time of day. This book was born as the Salesian "good morning", that message that Salesians from around the world bring to the children of their schools, institutes, centers or oratories. It is a short message, but it helps to raise one's eyes to God, a message that encourages and gives strength. The book on solidarity has as its protagonist the little Adael who started reading the messages as: "(have a) happy day, smile, have fun, thank, learn, listen, share ..." and he learned to keep them all like little treasures.

                            The book's first page presents the child's face with six words, six messages, so profound and so current: "Say please", "Forgive", "Say thank you", "Listen, learn, share", "Take advantage", "smile". In a society that lives fast, always on the run, without a moment to enjoy a small word, a smile, a gesture that speaks of forgiveness, at least this small book invites children to learn the fundamental values ​​for coexistence.

                            The great thing about this book is that when Adael grows up and the positive messages of values and attitudes have changed, it begins to design the things that father and son had shared, hobbies, pastimes and dreams. And its illustrations were part of a message and a lifestyle.

                            The result of this daily hobby of drawing in the morning and transmitting positive messages and values ​​in line with the Salesian charism is a book designed for children, but also for adolescents and young people, entitled: "Oye ... buenos días" (Hey .....good morning). It is a work of Pablo Souto, member of the Communication and Marketing Department of "Misiones Salesianas", the Salesian Mission Office of Madrid.

                            More than 70 pages to read and color, with a small selection of all the drawings made in recent years. A book that contains a different "good morning" for each day and with positive messages applicable at school, at home, with friends or in the family.

                            The proceeds from the sale of this book, which can be purchased on the Misiones Salesianas website, will be donated to Salesians in 134 countries on five continents, to offer quality education and to achieve the integral development of children and young people, especially the most disadvantaged.

                            • Spagna
                            • Procure Missionarie
                            • Libri
                            • Solidarietà
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              Myanmar – "Opera Don Bosco Foundation" offers young an opportunity for redemption

                              1 month 3 weeks ago

                              (ANS - Yangon) - Myanmar is a state that remains among Asia's poorest, with 32.7% of the population living below the poverty line and with an economy that suffers from decades of stagnation and isolation. There are many young people living on the street, on the margins of society, often in inhuman conditions and without access to education. It is precisely to offer a future to these young people that the "Opera Don Bosco Foundation" has been active in Myanmar for years now.

                              Through numerous vocational training projects, the Foundation offers young people an opportunity to redeem themselves. Among the Salesian works in Myanmar, there is the "Don Bosco Vocational Training Center" in Myitkyina, in the north of the country - an area hit by numerous conflicts - where 32 girls and 73 boys from very poor families of the region are hosted.

                              Here, thanks to the Foundation, over the past 11 years, at least 500 students have completed their studies, obtaining a certificate in carpentry, mechanics, welding, tailoring, knitting and embroidery. The center also has internal and external rooms and reception areas dedicated to students, in which they can also practice sports such as volleyball, football and kickball. Now the intention is to further expand the accommodation, creating new environments for hospitality and a conference room.

                              The "Opera Don Bosco Foundation" is also present in Myanmar with the center of Chantagon, managed by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Here, a covered courtyard was built where - in the style of Don Bosco - the poorest children can meet to play, to recover the lost school years or to learn a trade.

                              Also, in Mandalay, there is also an educational center where children can live and study. The objective is now to expand the educational offer and support a sports project aimed at recovering street children.

                              And again, in Anisakan-Nazareth, there are 153 boys who are preparing for public school exams and who are attending various courses in music, football and theater.

                              But there's more; in Hlaing Thar Yar, on the outskirts of Yangon, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians run a kindergarten for children aged 3 to 7 years.

                              The "Opera Don Bosco Foundation" joins the appeal launched in recent days by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Salesian, Archbishop of Yangon and President of the Federation of Episcopal Conferences of Asia, to "put an end to all armed conflicts afflicting the Country."

                              • Myanmar
                              • MYM
                              • Fondazione Opera Don Bosco Onlus
                              • Formazione Professionale
                              • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                Italy – From “Youth Synod 2018” towards SDB/FMA General Chapters

                                1 month 3 weeks ago
                                Italy – From “Youth Synod 2018” towards SDB/FMA General Chapters

                                (ANS – Rome) – Five months after the previous Joint Council Meeting on January 17, 2019, the two General Councils of the SDB and FMA met this time at the General House of the Salesian Sisters on the afternoon of June 26th. The main theme of the shared encounter was inspired by the “Synod of Bishops 2018” (Youth, Faith, Vocational Discernment) leading to forthcoming General Chapters of SDB (Valdocco, February 2020) and FMA Institute (Rome, September 2020).

                                The main inputs to the encounter were provided by Fr Rosanno Sala, SDB (Special Secretary to the 2018 Synod), on the “Christus Vivit” Apostolic Exhortation (chapters 7-8) and Sr Runita Borja, FMA (General Councilor for the Youth Ministry), on the emerging points of GC24: Listening to the Young, Journey with Mary, Missionary Synodality and Hope-filled reading of present reality. After their talks followed a traditional mixed Groups and Assembly sharing, with several points of inspiration emerged:

                                • Main attention was on HOW do we LISTEN and ACCOMPANY the young people personally and also as a community;
                                • We need to always focus on the encounter with the poor and marginalized youth, who are the heart of Don Bosco and Mother Mazarello. Today it would mean also a specific focus on youth struggling with drug addictions;
                                • We need to not only read the 'Christus Vivit' but also study and own its main inspirations;
                                • We need to find courage to change our structures and lifestyle according to the needs of the concrete young people around us: Who are we for?
                                • Open questions are making our life healthier: What kind of Salesians for the Youth of Today? or Who is moving our Life? Are we moved by the Youth and by the Spirit?

                                In his Good Night Talk, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime reflected on the thousands of youth in need or at risk who are daily being saved in Salesian houses around the world on a daily basis. Children and young people who are welcomed and loved in the SDB and FMA education and works finding their salvation. The necessary change in and of our lives wished through the General Chapter journeys (SDB - GC 28 and FMA - GC 24) may happen only if we open our hearts daily and give our lives to the young. Only we mustn't ever let them stay alone in our playgrounds, but join them, be among them, so that we may experience that the young are saving us - as nicely expressed already by the late Fr Juan E. Vecchi!

                                We firmly believe that the Salesian Family is growing through simple life sharing, praying and sharing meals, in the family spirit atmosphere with simplicity and an open heart. Another stop on our common journey of the two General Councils offers much inspiration. The plentiful informal exchanges of experiences during meal times also fosters a mutual understanding of Salesian charism in different forms: “The recognition that without the other the members of a particular Group cannot be themselves ought to be an awareness cultivated by all SF groups.” (Salesian Family Identity Charter, art. 10).

                                • Consiglio Generale
                                • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
                                • CG28
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  Italy – San Salvario house: scents and flavors of home

                                  1 month 3 weeks ago
                                  Italy – San Salvario house: scents and flavors of home

                                  (ANS - Turin) – Held yesterday, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, was the inauguration of the Social Housing project "San Salvario house - A colored corner in San Salvario ... scents and flavors of home" of the parish of Saints Peter and Paul of Turin, entrusted to the Salesians of the "Saint John the Evangelist" community.

                                  Since yesterday, the Social Housing project of San Salvario offers a space of welcome and growth for Italians and foreigners aged between 18 and 39 - students, workers and neo-adults who have come out of reception paths for unaccompanied foreign minors – and who, with the help of qualified educators, will be able to become protagonists of their own personal development within society.

                                  To give greater value to the project is also the social context in which the social housing is located, that is in the San Salvario district, characterized by a very varied social and cultural fabric known for its youthful nightlife.

                                  This social residence is the result of a tender by the "Compagnia di San Paolo - Housing Program", in which the parish of "Saints Peter and Paul" participated, with the support of the Italian Episcopal Conference and the "Magnetto Foundation", which made the restoration works of the parish rectory possible.

                                  During the inauguration of the social house, Fr ​​Mauro Mergola, SDB, as parish priest of the Santi Pietro e Paolo parish, explained the meaning of the project: "Like Don Bosco, we too try to listen to the young, to their situations, and together with them we try to give answers, so that no youngster feels excluded."

                                  After the interventions of the representatives of the Compagnia di San Paolo and the Municipal Council of Turin, Fr Enrico Stasi, Provincial of the Salesians of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta, also spoke; he said: "This is a project of the Church of Turin of which the Salesians are a living part, a Church that enters into an alliance with all those who want the good of the people and of the young."

                                  The event continued with the consignment of the house's keys to the young persons hosted, the presentation of an "evangelical icon" dedicated to the event, and an intervention by Msgr. Cesare Nosiglia, archbishop of the city, who declared: "You must consider this house, dear young people, your home, giving all the necessary contribution so that it may be a house of peace, of serenity, of welcome, of dialogue, of meeting, of mutual respect, of help with each other. Do not consider yourself guests, but owners."

                                  The final part of the event saw the unveiling of a statue of the Madonna, the opening of the door of the house by Archbishop Nosiglia and the blessing of the premises.

                                  {gallery}Salesiani San Salvario Housing - 2019{/gallery}

                                  • Italia
                                  • ICP
                                  • Giovani a Rischio Sociale
                                  • Accoglienza minori
                                  • Accompagnamento
                                  • Migranti
                                  • Rifugiati
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    Thailand – Cycling with the Blind

                                    1 month 3 weeks ago
                                    Thailand – Cycling with the Blind

                                    (ANS - Bangkok) – This year in Thailand marks the 80th anniversary of the "Foundation for the Blind". For the occasion, the Foundation, with the patronage of the Queen of Thailand, organized the event "Bike With the Blind", under the theme: "Ride for Sharing".

                                    The event, which will have its final stop on 7 July, is chaired by Khan Prachuabmoh, president of the Foundation, and by Fr Charles Velardo, SDB, a member of the Foundation's Board of Directors and responsible for the activities.

                                    This initiative, organized with normally sighted people pedalling together with the visually impaired, started in Chiangmai last January 27th. From there, the ride reached Nakorn Ratchasima on February 10th, in Khon Kaen on March 10th, again in Chonburi on May 12th, in Surat Thani on June 9th and is expected to arrive in Bangkok on July 7th.

                                    The main purpose of this activity is to showcase the skills learned by the blind to the general public. Over time, they have trained hard and with this ride have finally had the chance to show what they have learned in recent months.

                                    For seeing people who joined the initiative, instead, it was an opportunity to help the blind, to make them feel involved in normal sports activities and to raise awareness of society towards them.

                                    Cycling with the blind is not the only initiative that Salesians carry out in Thailand. In the Pakkret district, in fact, the Congregation runs the Skills Development Center for the Blind, while in Sampran the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians run a Skills Training Center for Blind Women.

                                    These two centers are an integral part of the "Foundation for the Blind".

                                    {gallery}THA - In bici con i ciechi 2019{/gallery}

                                    • Thailandia
                                    • THA
                                    • Disabilità
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      Nicaragua – New study opportunities for young people

                                      1 month 3 weeks ago
                                      Nicaragua – New study opportunities for young people

                                      (ANS - Managua) - The "Pbro Salvador Cafarelli SDB Motorcycle Maintenance and Repair Laboratory-School" of Managua has just been inaugurated in these past few days, a workshop financed by Swiss Cooperation in Central America and realized in collaboration with the Don Bosco Youth Center and "Casa Pellas", an important Nicaraguan company active in the resale and rental of vehicles.

                                      The school-laboratory can count on all the elements necessary for a theoretical-practical quality learning environment: from curricular development with technical assistance from the Yamaha brand to cutting-edge equipment and materials.

                                      For Swiss Cooperation, education is fundamental for the growth of developing countries; for this reason it has been investing in Nicaragua for over 10 years, supporting vocational training and technical education.

                                      As part of its Employment Skills Development Program, implemented by Swisscontact, it contributes to reducing poverty and vulnerability of Nicaraguan youth through training courses that correspond to current market needs.

                                      The young people participating in this course have the opportunity to develop their technical skills in repairing and maintaining motorcycles, as well as entering the world of work, as employed mechanics or starting their own motorcycle repair shop.

                                      As part of this joint commitment, "Casa Pellas", strengthened by its experience, has taken on the commitment to support the laboratory-school with equipment and tools and through the improvement of the technical skills of motorcycle mechanics teachers - who will be duly formed in Japan by Yamaha. In this way, the young people coming out of the “Pbro Salvador Cafarelli SDB center” will obtain certified, up-to-date, quality formation.

                                      The program also includes a free online course on motorcycle road safety - a value shared by Casa Pellas, Don Bosco Youth Center and Swiss Cooperation; therefore the young students of the laboratory-school will be able to obtain a double certification, as motorcycle mechanics and road safety professionals.

                                      For the Don Bosco Youth Center, these technical courses allow young people to learn specialized skills and thus achieve means to live honestly. For this reason the Salesians in Managua invite all young Nicaraguans to visit their center to learn more about these vocational training opportunities, and are pleased to inform that scholarships covering up to 90% of the total course costs are available.

                                      This is only the first of ten workshops that will be set up or adapted, under this program, in various Vocational Training Centers throughout Nicaragua.

                                      By F. Cardoza – G. Arévalo

                                      Source: La Jornada

                                      • Nicaragua
                                      • CAM
                                      • Formazione Professionale
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        RMG – New Superior of AET Vice Province appointed

                                        1 month 3 weeks ago
                                        RMG – New Superior of AET Vice Province appointed

                                        (ANS - Rome) - As part of the work of the General Council, and with the consensus of the other members of the Council, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, has appointed Fr Medhi Hailemariam as Superior of the Africa-Ethiopia Vice Province (AET) for the six-year period between 2019-2025.

                                        Fr Medhi Hailemariam was born in Awo, Ethiopia, on 1 October 1974. He completed his novitiate between 1994 and 1995 at the Salesian house in Addis Ababa-Gotera, made his perpetual vows on 19 August 2001 in Addis Ababa; and was ordained a priest on 4 May 2003 in Adigrat.

                                        Between 2003 and 2006 he served in the community of Adua, first as Vicar, then as Parish Priest and Economer. He then spent several years in Rome (2006-2009 and 2014-2016) to perfect his studies at the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), years interspersed with work performed in Kenya at the Salesian formation house in Nairobi-Utume ( 2009-2013).

                                        He currently resides in Addis Ababa and serves as Director in the Mekanissa community; he is also Provincial Councilor and Delegate for the Salesian Family.

                                        Fr Hailemariam succeeds Don Estifanos Gebremeskel.

                                        • RMG
                                        • Nomine
                                        • Ispettori
                                        • AET
                                          Gian Francesco Romano

                                          Great Britain – El Pilar's visit to SJBC Battersea is enriching for all

                                          1 month 3 weeks ago
                                          Great Britain – El Pilar's visit to SJBC Battersea is enriching for all

                                          (ANS – London) – Last week, St John Bosco College students spent time with some of their peers from “Colegio Salesianos El Pilar”. The 24 students and 2 teachers visited from Soto del Real, near Madrid, as part of the Erasmus scheme, and they stayed right next door to the school, at the Don Bosco Centre in Salesian House.

                                          Ms Tharsis, SJBC’s Head of Modern Foreign Languages, said their students enjoyed sharing lessons with their visitors in the mornings, and everyone had great fun when the Spanish students made delicious tortillas in the school kitchen with two classes of Year 10s.

                                          Ms Tharsis said the time in school also included a workshop focusing on the value of learning other languages. This featured presentations from some SJBC teachers whose first language is not English, and provided the opportunity to hear first-hand experiences of the difficulties of settling in a new country without knowing the language. One of the teachers accompanying the group, Cristina López Rogel, said this part of the visit was especially important for her students, as “they have met Spanish speakers who moved to UK without knowing English, and they had hard times because they could not rely on other people. These kind of experiences told by teenagers made our students appreciate the opportunities they have to learn English every day at school.”

                                          Ms López Rogel said, “The main objective of this trip was to practice the English language, to learn the English culture and enrich the coexistence of our students. Also, to take advantage of the opportunity to be in a Salesian school in a different country, where the values and the daily routines are very similar to ours.”

                                          El Pilar has been bringing a group of students from 3º ESO (14-15 years olds) to Battersea for four years, and plan to continue the relationship. “We really enjoy sharing the same familiar environment as in our Salesian school in Spain. For the students, it is such a great feeling to know that Don Bosco is the same all around the world and that they have the opportunity to experience it,” said Ms López Rogel.

                                          For both sets of students, this was a valuable and enjoyable opportunity to practice their language skills and learn more about each other’s cultures, and for the Spanish group, there was time for outings in the afternoons, to get a full flavour of London. “Our students loved the animals and dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, although we didn’t have a lot of time to spend there. They enjoyed very much walking along the banks of the Thames and visiting the Tower of London, Big Ben and Westminster Palace. Of course, they loved going shopping in Camden Town and Piccadilly as well.”

                                          The sightseeing trips also had an educational aim. “The students worked in groups of 6 people. Every day they had some riddles to solve related to places that we were going to visit around the city. Therefore, they had to pay attention and watch the things and monuments carefully, because they will get points by solving the riddles and clues,” Ms López Rogel explained.

                                          The exchange experience is also interesting for the staff involved. Rediscovering the city with their students and seeing how they enjoyed learning new things was a great joy for the teachers accompanying them. Ms López Rogel said, “The main difference we find is in the educational system. I teach Science and I could say that in the UK you have better materials and more laboratories than us. This allows you to teach Science in a more practical way than in the Spanish system. A fact that draws my attention was the laboratory assistant in the school. It is something that we don’t have in Spain and it is a clear example of this difference of investment.”

                                          Ms Tharsis is also enthusiastic about the value of such exchanges, and hopes to take a group of SJBC students to Spain soon, and the visit from El Pilar has fired enthusiasm from students to be involved in that. Back at El Pilar, this year’s group will give talks to younger students, to motivate them in their learning, and to inspire the next group, who will visit in June 2020.

                                          Ms López Rogel summed up the importance of exchange visits: “I think they are very enriching activities for all of us. Students enjoyed it a lot, became more responsible, got more self-sufficiency and learnt to share with the group. For teachers, although this kind of trip is exhausting because we are together 24/7, it helps to create a very different relationship with your students that in a classroom will be impossible.”

                                          Meanwhile, in Madrid ... Salesian College Farnborough students spent a wonderful week at El Pilar! The Lower Sixth Spanish language students attended lessons and worked with their El Pilar peers on various projects. The students stayed with families, which created a total immersion experience in the Spanish language and culture, and they enjoyed visits to Toledo and Madrid. 

                                          By Clare Lewis

                                          {gallery}GBR - Scambio culturale - 2019{/gallery}

                                          • Gran Bretagna
                                          • GBR
                                          • Spagna
                                          • Scuole
                                            Gian Francesco Romano

                                            RMG – A moment of gratitude at feast of Rector Major

                                            1 month 3 weeks ago
                                            RMG – A moment of gratitude at feast of Rector Major

                                            (ANS - Rome) - The future saint of the young was just one day old, on that 17th of August 1815, when his parents Francesco Bosco and Margherita Occhiena brought him to be baptized, with the name of Giovanni Melchiorre. "At Valdocco various festivals were organized with solemn liturgical functions, rich poetic-musical academies and illustrious guests ... In Turin the feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24) was the patronal feast of the city and of the diocese, celebrated even with a cannon shot and the blank shots of the troops' rifles," writes the Salesian historian, Fr Francesco Motto. "The young people of the very first Valdocco oratory began that day to celebrate Don Bosco and offer him flowers, believing it to be the name day. Don Bosco let him do it and did it all his life." So now this feast has become a heritage of the history of Don Bosco's Successors.

                                            During the homily of the Mass celebrated yesterday, June 24, for the feast of gratitude to the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime said: “On the feast of Don Bosco and on the feast that we celebrate today for the Rector Major, the first thing I must to do is to give thanks to each one of you, because nothing can be done without the presence of you lay people and Salesians ... Without the silent and hidden service, it would not be possible to reach the whole Salesian world. Your work is something transcendent, many times we do not know where your work and your message arrive ... Today it certainly becomes a moment of gratitude."

                                            Fr Á.F. Artime concentrated his words in thanks to each of the Salesians and lay people who collaborate in the mission of Don Bosco, and congratulated the Salesians who are celebrating an important anniversary this year: "Celebrating an anniversary is a sign of fidelity to God and to the mission with the young," he said.

                                            In a very significant way he then indicated to all: Fr Francesco Maraccani, for the 65 years of Religious Profession; Fr Luigi Fedrizzi, for 50 years of ordination; and then, for the "Silver Jubilee" of the 25 years of ordination: Fr Stefano Martoglio, Fr Francisco Santos, Fr Horacio López, and Fr Saimy Ezhanikattu.

                                            Also present at the celebration was Msgr. Alberto Lorenzelli, Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago de Chile, who offered the Rector Major a beautiful reliquary with a first class relic of Don Bosco, "so that, in the Salesian Central Headquarters, Don Bosco will always help us to love God and the young people to whom we are sent."

                                            {gallery}RMG - Festa RM 2019{/gallery}

                                            • Rettor Maggiore
                                            • Ángel Fernández Artime
                                            • RMG
                                            • Don Bosco
                                              Gian Francesco Romano

                                              United States – Culture Prize to Indian Salesian Fr Abraham Kavalakatt

                                              1 month 3 weeks ago
                                              United States – Culture Prize to Indian Salesian Fr Abraham Kavalakatt

                                              (ANS - New York) – There was a large audience last Wednesday, June 19, at the Consulate General of Italy in New York, for the awarding of Indian Salesian Fr Abraham Kavalakatt with a Plaque of Merit from the "Pantheon Foundation". The prize was awarded to him for his voluminous book: "Wonderful ways of God. The teaching of the Church on the salvation of non-Christians."

                                              A rich parterre of illustrious guests was present, from the Consul General of Italy, dr. Francesco Genuardi, to cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, dr. Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, to prof. Luigi Frati, former Rector of the Sapienza University of Rome.

                                              The Salesian's book, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, one year after its publication continues to arouse an interest that is higher than expected. "Everyone is looking for God in some way and the question of salvation," Fr Kavalakatt explained. "It is a theme of strong resonance, today as well as before the Second Vatican Council, which produced studies, involved experts and theologians and which had a gradual historical development."

                                              The text gathers in 750 pages the teachings of the Council Fathers of Vatican II and then the pontifical Magisterium of John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, reporting also the echoes, the adhesions and the criticisms raised, internal and external to the ecclesial community.

                                              As Cardinal Maradiaga pointed out, the text represents an in-depth and valuable work on the "relationship between theology of religions and salvation of non-Christians, which has become more acute since Vatican II." "The Magisterium, naturally," the cardinal added, "did not stop at the Council" but "in relation to the theological discussion and with the increase in interreligious dialogue, in different spheres and at different levels, the Popes continued teaching on these issues ... And as often happens "after the magisterial pronouncements, theological reflection takes up again and deepens the topics dealt with."

                                              Among "the most moving and innovative pages", "in the path of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ who reaches 'others' (non-Christians) in 'wonderful' ways'," the cardinal pointed out those dedicated to the most recent teachings of Pope Francis, where it is easily understandable that "the door of salvation is narrow, but always open to all."

                                              The appointment was an occasion for reflection and debate on the search for God and the possibility of salvation in Christ, offered to all men and women.

                                              • Stati Uniti
                                              • Libri
                                              • Teologia
                                              • UPS
                                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                                Chile – Lay person's role in Church today: you, what do you have to say?

                                                1 month 3 weeks ago
                                                Chile – Lay person's role in Church today: you, what do you have to say?

                                                (ANS - Santiago) - There is no doubt that the question of what the role of the laity in the Church today is remains a theme currently much in vogue for various reasons; for the scarcity of clerics, or for the more significant presence and the rediscovery of the laity in the mission of the Church. For this reason on Saturday, June 22, about 100 people, belonging to different groups of the Salesian Family, gathered in the auditorium of the "Salesianos Alameda" educational center in Santiago, and participated in the debate entitled: “The role of the laity in the Church of today”, conducted by the well-known theologian Antonio Bentué.

                                                The lecturer, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of Chile, focused his discourse starting from a sentence of the letter sent by Pope Francis to the people of God in Chile, where he writes: "the Church needs that you do the identity card of adults, spiritually speaking adults, and have the courage to tell us how you feel and what you think."

                                                For prof. Bentué, the Holy Father's letter was an appeal to be unafraid, because the times of crisis that the Chilean Church is experiencing can be a sign to return to the essence of Christianity.

                                                Regarding the role of the laity, the theologian said that the main question we must ask ourselves is: "How coherent were we with the magisterium of the Church?" He also emphasized the great fraternal responsibility that the laity have in helping "consecrated brothers" to carry out their pastoral work.

                                                "I believe these comparisons and debates are an incentive to continue the commitment to take on our true role as lay people. I think there is a lot of work to do, but people are increasingly involved. If everyone does their part, we can make things better," said Rocio Olivé, of the Salesian Family group  Cancão Nova."

                                                For Manuel Poza, permanent deacon of the “San Giovanni Bosco” parish, the initiative was positive and what was presented by prof. Bentué is in tune with what the Holy Father wants: "That the laity do not have so much dependence on priests and at the same time there is real collaboration between the two groups. The laity are eager to propose ideas to improve our Church and our relationship with consecrated persons."

                                                The meeting had a second moment in which those present were able to ask questions to prof. Bentué. At this stage, other very important topics were debated, such as, for example: "What do we do with education to the faith?" "What is the essence of Christianity", and "When did we leave Jesus outside our church?"

                                                • Cile
                                                • CIL
                                                • Laici
                                                • Chiesa
                                                  Gian Francesco Romano
                                                  ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana