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Chile – Pope's brief meeting with Juan Namuncurá, relative of Blessed Ceferino

23 hours 4 minutes ago

(ANS - Temuco) - Before celebrating Mass in the city of Temuco last January 17, Pope Francisco met Juan Namuncurá, a relative of Salesian Blessed Ceferino Namuncurá (1886-1905), together with a group of Argentines.

The Holy Father had decided in advance that in Temuco he would reserve some time for a meeting, even a short one, with some people of Argentinian nationality he wanted to see and listen to personally for a short while.

Among those received by the Pope: Mario Cafiero, political leader; Eduardo Valdés, former Argentine ambassador to the Holy See; Juan Namuncurá, whose great-uncle was blessed Ceferino Namuncurá, in turn the son of the indigenous leader Manuel Namuncurá. Joining this group, at the invitation of the first three, was Juan Carlos Reinao Marilao, a medical doctor, politician and Chilean Mapuche leader, who has been mayor of the town of Renaico since 2017 and is President of the Association of Chilean Municipalities with Mapuche Mayors.

A few months after the Pope's visit to Chile, Juan Namuncurá decided to write a letter to the Pope. Mario Cafiero and Eduardo Valdés served as facilitators so that the missive of almost four pages reached its goal as it, indeed, did.

"Dear and and most respectable Francis, I am Juan Namuncurá, preceded by the fame of the actions of my ancestors - the most famous and beloved of which, as far as recent times are concerned, is my great-uncle, Ceferino, or Zeffirino, our little Sapphire."

Thus began the letter the Pope received and read, its purpose immediately explained: "I wish to be 'a bridge for your brothers' who, on a person level and as a consequence of the times, are not only those who once inhabited the communities, today commonly called 'Mapuche', but all of society."

In his letter to the Pope, Juan Namuncurá expressed his wish to continue "the inheritance and commitment of the family lineage" by seeking together "with a small group of brothers (...) new roads and bridges, based on peace and harmony" centered on the concept of "democratization of indigenous peoples."

After reading the letter, the Pope invited Namuncurá to meet him in Chile and to speak personally about these problems, outside the official agenda. This was the theme of the dialogue in the improvised sacristy of Temuco. Juan Namuncurá described the dialogue as "very concrete and profound", but did not specify the terms of the exchange. He also expressed surprise at how the Pope recalled the letter's details, taking noting that several themes and expressions were also adopted in the homily given a little earlier. "I admired," Namuncurá said, "the enormous intellectual speed of Francesco", from whom he hopes to receive support for his initiative and with whom he will remain in contact in the future to advance the conversations begun in Temuco.

  • Cile
  • Papa Francesco
  • Mapuche
  • Ceferino Namuncurà
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Burkina Faso - Construction of a Women's Promotion Center started

    23 hours 4 minutes ago

    (ANS - Kouba) - Thanks to the joint efforts of numerous Spanish Salesian entities, a Women's Promotion Center is taking shape in Kouba, at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Recently the first images of the center have arrived, a center promoted by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians as part of a vast socio-educational project.

    Kouba is currently in the second construction phase of the large socio-educational, cultural and sporting complex for children, girls and young people that the FMA have planned over a period of 5-10 years. The complete project will include a nursery school, primary and secondary schools, a shelter for girls with limited resources, an oratory open to the neighborhood with sports facilities and educational workshops of various kinds and, of course, the Women's Center offering apprenticeships and fostering literacy.

    This center was born to address the precarious situation experienced by many women and young people by providing qualified skills and professional training in sectors such as catering, tailoring, information technology and hairdressing. The project includes courses of literacy, support for work placement, education in values, attention to the use of free time; its main objective is to train girls and women so they can work and get out of poverty.

    As for the Women's Center, work started in December 2017 and should be completed in 10 months.

    The global project has the support of the Spanish Salesian NGOs "Solidaridad Don Bosco", "VOLS" and "Jóvenes y Desarrollo", of the "MadreSelva" Foundation, of the FMA, and of the Austrian NGO "Jugend Eine Welt-Don Bosco", and the support of various public bodies.

    The educative-pastoral community of the "Spain-Mary Help of Christians" Province, of the Salesians of Don Bosco, played a key role in supporting this project - and to other Salesians in Burkina Faso - through the "Sowing opportunities in Burkina" campaign, thanks to which over 50,000 euros were collected and sent.

    To date, a first phase of the project has been completed with the construction of a tower water tank, which has the ability to supply the entire complex, and a training course in horticultural techniques for a hundred women in the area, a land particularly arid where the optimization of resources is essential to ensure good and proper nutrition for the local families.

    • Burkina Faso
    • AFO
    • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
    • Donne
    • Ragazze
      Gian Francesco Romano

      India – Sad Demise of Father James Poonthuruthil SDB

      23 hours 4 minutes ago

      (ANS – Shillong) – Father James Poonthuruthil SDB, Rector and Professor at Sacred Heart Theological College Shillong and former Provincial of Dimapur Province, passed away on January 21 at NEIGRIHMS (North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences) in Shillong, Meghalaya, after being seriously hurt in a road accident on 14 January while travelling from Shillong to Guwahati in Assam. He would have turned 63 on January 27.

      By Father George Maliekal, SDB

      The Tata Nano car he was travelling in rammed into a stationery truck on NH-6 at Umsawnongkharai near Nongpoh in the Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya. The police, along with sisters and fathers of Nongpoh parish, rushed the injured first to Nongpoh Civil Hospital and later to NEIGRIHMS.

      The team of doctors at NEIGRIHMS conducted surgery on him to stop the swelling and brain hemorrhage.  On Friday, 19 January, a tracheostomy was also performed. But he responded little to the round the clock medical attention that was given him. He passed away at 7:55 PM, 21 January.

      Father Ponthuruthil's body was taken to the Sacred Heart Theological College and placed in the Shrine of the Sacred Heart. The requiem Mass was held at 5.00 PM on 22 January, after which the body was taken to Salesian College Dimapur in Nagaland for burial at 2.00 PM, 23 January.

      Father  Poonthuruthil, the former Provincial Superior of Dimapur Province, with a doctoral degree in Moral Theology from Alfonsiana, Rome, with the thesis ''Towards Responsibility: A Study of Erik H Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development and Viktor E Frankl's theory of Logotherapy'' served the Church in Northeast India in various capacities.

      He was registrar of the Sacred Heart College from 1988 to 1992; and from 1994 to 1995. He was rector of the Salesian College of Higher Education, Dimapur, during 1995-2001. He became the president of the Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong, in 2003, a post he held for three years. He was then appointed as Provincial Superior of the Salesian Province of Dimapur, Nagaland, from 2006 to 2012. A year later, he was appointed director of Integrated Training for Laity and Religious and as Rector of the Mathias Institute, Mawlai. Last May, he had also become Rector of the Sacred Heart Theological College Shillong.

      • India
      • IND
      • INS
      • Decessi
        Gian Francesco Romano

        Peru - Salesian Family close to the Pope

        1 day 23 hours ago

        (ANS - Puerto Maldonado) - An indescribable feeling: the experience of Peru's Salesian Family during various meetings with Pope Francis these past few days. In the capital, Lima, and then in Puerto Maldonado, young people, Salesian religious, representatives of missions and indigenous peoples accompanied by the Sons of Don Bosco, had the opportunity to display their affection to the Pontiff and to listen to his words of hope and of encouragement.

        On the first day of the Pope's Apostolic Voyage to Peru, Friday 18, the Salesian Family and many other young Catholics gathered n the capital along the Papal route. Besides songs and prayers, the young welcomed the Pope by exhibiting a large statue of Mary Help of Christians. Passing along "Avenida Brasile", the Pope gave his blessing to all those present. In the evening of this festive day, a crowd of young people, accompanied by the Provincial, Fr Manolo Cayo, waited for the Pope to appear under the balcony of the Nunciature. "If this was the first day ... what will the next few days be like?," said Provincial enthusiastically.

        In fact, the second day saw the Salesians play an even greater role in the program of the papal trip, thanks to Fr Diego Clavijo, Salesian missionary, and the deacons of Achuar origin of Kuyuntsa, at the Eucharist presided by the Pontiff in Puerto Maldonado for all the indigenous peoples of the Amazon.

        On the occasion, Pope Francis spoke very clear words in favor of respect for the original peoples of the Amazon, who "have never been so threatened in their territories as they are now", because of "neo-activist (extraction) policies and the strong pressure of large economic interests that direct their greed on oil, gas, gold, agro-industrial monocultures", but also from the "perversion of certain policies that promote the conservation of nature without taking into account the human being and, in concrete terms, of you Amazonian brothers who live there."

        To thank the Pontiff for his presence and for the attention he is dedicating to the Amazon - also highlighted by the appointment of a special assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region in 2019 - Fr. Clavijo and the Achuar who accompanied him donated a colored stole and wrote a letter to the Holy Father "to ask him to promote a Church that is born in Amazonia, with its own ministers."

        • Perù
        • Papa Francesco
          José Luis Munoz

          Colombia - Cimac/Nac-Mesoamérica Meeting

          1 day 23 hours ago

          (ANS - Bogotá) - The XXth meeting of the CIMAC/NAC-MESOAMERICA region was held at the Salesian Institute "Leo XIII", Bogotá, on January 8 and 9. The organization includes 14 Provinces of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Salesians and Daughters of the Divine Savior in the areas of Central America, Mexico, Antilles and North America. Twenty-three people took part, representing and referring to hundreds of educational centers of the Salesian Family scattered among 13 countries, involving tens of thousands of children, adolescents and adults being formed every year.

          The meeting served to renew awareness among the participants of the identity of the Salesian Network of Schools, in which religious and laity share the Salesian charism and style of management through projects, processes and programs deriving from a convergence of work-related guidelines.

          Fr Jaime Morales, Provincial of Bogotá, led the prayer and welcomed the Salesian School of America (ESA, in Spanish). Fr René Antonio Santos, of the Youth Ministry Dicastery (PG) and Sr. Ivone Goulart Lopes, PG, coordinated the formative session.

          Work proceeded with the verification of ESA IV, held last May, and the results from the first meeting "Cumbayá I" up to "ESA IV". The gains obtained from the exchange of experiences and good practices in ESA IV guided the lines of action for the region, in consideration of the main educational needs of the continent.

          Fr Hector Ugarte and Sr. Arelys Paulino, representatives of the CIMAC/NAC-MESOAMERICA region, presented the work methodology and the path taken by the central commission, organized in three work areas. The work for commissions of the various Provinces aimed to:

          a) analyze what has already been done in each Province to answer to the set challenges and objectives;

          b) present a variety of proposals on what remains to be done. These responses were the basis for the elaboration of a regional work plan.

          The participants then discussed processes to be activated in the next 4 years, based on the ESA IV guidelines, and the work program; the objectives to be achieved and the timetable for the next meetings in the region were also elaborated.

          All participants in the CIMAC / NAC-MESOAMERICA meeting will also participate in the XXV Inter-American Congress on Catholic Education, organized by the CIEC,  also to be held in Bogotà.

          • Colombia
            José Luis Munoz

            Spain - Salesians and businesses reflect on the improvement of Vocational Training

            1 day 23 hours ago

            (ANS - Madrid) - On 18 and 19 January, the Salesian Provincial Office of Madrid was the location for the IV Meeting of the Vocational Training Groups (VT) in Europe, which brought together the coordinators of the Salesian Centers for Vocational Training and partner business companies operating in this area. Present: Fr Fabio Attard, General Councilor for Youth Ministry.

            During the first day, about 25 Salesian VT leaders from Italy, France, Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Spain spoke about how to revitalize, improve, expand and coordinate the Salesian Technical-Vocational Centers in Europe. The General Councilor for Youth Ministry, Fr Fabio Attard, emphasized the need to assume a vision of leadership in order to strengthen and increase Vocational Training.

            Also presented: how VT functioned in the Spanish educational system; the experience of exchange students with other Salesian centers across Europe; the dual school-VT of Spain and Italy, and Erasmus+ program of overseas apprenticeship.

            On the second day, company representatives from the companies collaborating with the Salesian VT centers joined the meeting: Neobis, FEDA, Clece, FIAT Chrysler Automobili (FCA, Spain), Hoffmann Group, Robert Bosch (Spain), Schneider Electric (Spain), Tetra Pak, Xerox (Spain) and ENI (Italy). Discussions focused on the relationship between Salesians in Europe and companies, curating and coordinating reciprocal needs, and the inclusion of  VT pupils into the firms and the job market.

            Juan Seoane, of the German Dual Entrepreneurial Training (FEDA), presented the training experience that the "Salesianos Atocha" center is carrying out in collaboration with the German Chamber of Commerce. Then there was a round table discussion on the different models of formative collaboration of the Salesian centers.

            A profile of the modern 21st century student was then drawn. What the companies look for are: technically qualified professionals, with special attention to the use of new technologies, the knowledge of various languages, a commercial or business mindset, communication skills and the ability to work in a team; also, the importance to the human formation of the pupil: integrity, responsibility, humility and the desire to learn are some of the values that businesses recognize and acknowledge in Salesian students.

            Fr Fabio Attard concluded the meeting by saying that events of this kind are "an opportunity to continue with our efforts and commitment in the accompaniment of young people." In this regard, he pointed out that for many young people, Vocatonal Training was their last chance to secure and guarantee a future for themselves.

            • Spagna
            • Formazione Professionale
              José Luis Munoz

              Spain - Salesians and "Festo" sign national collaboration agreement for Vocational Training

              4 days 23 hours ago

              (ANS - Madrid) - The German company "Festo", specialized in automation and industrial development 4.0, will provide training to the teachers of Spain's Salesian Vocational Training Centers (CFP). The agreement was signed on 15 January by Fr Juan Carlos Pérez Godoy, Provincial of the Salesian Province "St James Major" (SSM), and Xavier Segura, Director General of Festo, in the Provincial house of Madrid. Also present at the signing: Mr. Santiago Elorriaga, SDB, Coordinator of Vocational Training of SSM, and the members of the Provincial Council.

              The agreement is national in scope and consolidates the collaboration that the Salesians and Festo have already previously established and maintained in a more informal fashion. The German company, in addition to offering technical and training consultancy to Salesian teachers, shall also provide access to its materials and educational equipment at advantageous economic conditions.

              Dr Segura explained that Festo has always offered its services starting from an "educational vision", with the aim of ensuring that "technology reaches people as quickly as possible." This vision is accentuated even more today, with "ongoing technological and social change", which makes training essential, especially "for young people." Moreover, he said that "we must continue to enhance vocational training, a sector in which the Salesians have been, are and will be a point of reference."

              In the same vein, Fr Pérez Godoy said, "Vocational Training is the flagship" of the Salesians. He also mentioned the difficulties sometimes arising in keeping the formation of young people updated, cutting edge, and expressed appreciation for the collaboration with Festo in this task.

              Finally, Mr Elorriaga underlined the importance of the ongoing preparation of the teaching staff of the Salesian centers to give the students the best possible training and greater opportunities for job placement.

              The "Festo" company is a global supplier of automated solutions that use pneumatic, electronic and network technology for all types of processes and industrial activities. They supply individual components and complete systems as well as technological and commercial consulting and training.

              The Salesians in Spain run 50 CFPs, with about 16,000 students and 1,000 teachers, as well as the Salesian Social Platforms which offer professional training, thanks to the support of companies from different sectors.

              Furthermore, in recent months, the Salesians in Spain have signed collaboration agreements for professional training with other major companies, such as  “Schneider Electric”, “Hoffmann Group” and “Siemens”.

              • Spagna
              • SSM
              • SMX
              • Formazione Professionale
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Argentina - Farewell to Fr Juan Picca, SDB

                4 days 23 hours ago

                (ANS - Buenos Aires) - Fr Juan Picca, SDB, passed away on Wednesday, January 17, in Buenos Aires. "We thank the Lord for the life of this talented confrere, a tireless worker and a creative and responsible priest," commented Fr Luis Gallo, Secretary of the Vice Province of the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome (UPS). "I have no words with which to thank God for our dear Father Juan ... Were it to me, I would make him saint right away! He will continue to accompany us from heaven, no doubt."

                Juan Vicente Picca was born on 11 October 1938 in San Luis to Juan Domingo and María Cioffi, parents of five children. He entered the Salesian aspirantate of Bernal in 1950, undertook the novitiate in 1956 and made his first profession as a Salesian on 31 January 1957.

                He was sent to study in Rome during the years of the Second Vatican Council, a privileged witness of that fundamental event of the Church and a listener of the Council Fathers who used to visit the Roman universities to present their first concise summaries.

                Ordained priest in March 1966, Fr Picca continued his theological studies in the then Salesian Pontifical Athenaeum (PAS), subsequently obtaining a Doctorate in Biblical Studies at the "École Biblique" of Jerusalem. After returning to Rome, he obtained a doctorate in Theology at the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), and became a teacher of Sacred Scripture for 39 years at that same University, between 1968 and 2008, while hold various positions within the same institution - a catechist of the students of theology, community counselor, and he served in the Deanery of the Faculty of Theology.

                From 1985 to 2008, he was also Prefect of the UPS Central Library, which in the last years of his administration was completely computerized and became one of the most modern and technological of its kind. In 2009, he returned to Argentina to serve at the "ISET" center. From 2011 to 2015, he was Director of the "San Carlos" Salesian community in Buenos Aires, and in 2016 he was awarded the "Divino Maestro" prize.

                Fr Picca was also a scholar of Salesianity and knew how to transmit his love for the Congregation to his students. He is remembered by all as a laborious, simple, austere and merciful man, and a good priest, always willing to serve when and where asked.

                • Argentina
                • ARS
                • Decessi
                • UPS
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  India – Don Bosco Youth Film Festival of India 2018

                  5 days 23 hours ago

                  (ANS – Mumbai) – Short films carve out a space for voices often quelled in the world of big-budget blockbusters! It's these voices that the organisers of the Don Bosco Youth Film Festival of India (DBYFFI), Boscom South Asia seek to amplify when the third edition of DBYFFI under the banner of 'Youth for Life' is conducted on January 18 and 19.

                  By Karen Laurie

                  Nearly 100 venues across 20 states in India will screen 34 short films that have been meticulously selected by a panel of experts from amongst hundreds of submissions. The themes treated in the short films focus on eco awareness, respect for parents and teachers, alcoholism, social media addiction, teenage problems, peer group pressure, social responsibility, sense of God, ethics of relationships, friendship, hard work, creativity and oppression amongst others.

                  The various categories for the festival include drama, animation, inspirational, comedy, bio-drama, animation and live action, and biopic animation. Titles like ''Class of rowdies'', which focuses on the plight of a young teacher who meets a class of rowdy students, or ''The right decision'', a film that stresses on the values of education and hard work, will feature prominently among titles like, ''Thank you teacher'', ''Teenage love'', ''Study hard'', ''A cup of positivity'' and ''Happiness''.

                  The films to be screened have been directed and produced in countries like the US, Australia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Singapore, South Africa, France, Germany, Malaysia, UAE and India. The shorts range from one minute to 19 minute productions and seek to stress on messages that would lead to a better world.

                  The name Don Bosco is synonymous with youth and in tune with the vision of its founder, DBYFFI seeks to re-launch and rekindle positivity into the personal realms of youth and society at large. Youth, today, are engaged so intensely with the visual media, rather than listening to eloquent discourses and their hearts are ever-so-receptive to film, hence DBYFFI is a unique tool to talk to the youth in the language and setting that they connect with so easily.

                  ''Under a short time, we are back again to unite under the banner of our founder for the third season of Don Bosco Youth Film Festival of India. This is indeed a unique event that is uniting Salesian presence across pan-India in collaboration with Government Colleges and Secular Institutions. This is a wonderful opportunity given to Boscom South Asia (Don Bosco Communications) to glorify the name of Don Bosco and to meaningfully celebrate our cause for the young through the screening of these short films, the festival includes film screenings, and discussions with the youth, with a host of Film Directors participating across India. I would like to thank my Social Communication Delegates from all the Indian Provinces who work to make this Film Festival a grand success,'' Father Joaquim Fernandes SDB, Delegate, Boscom South Asia, said.

                  More info at: 

                  Source: Don Bosco India

                  • India
                  • Comunicazione Sociale
                  • Festival
                  • Cinema
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    Syria - "Enlightening the future": educational and economic support for young people

                    5 days 23 hours ago

                    (ANS - Damascus) – Since last year, the Salesians in Syria have increased their efforts to develop the skills of young people, so that, despite the war that has been devastating the country since 2011, they can more easily find a job and so generate income for themselves and their families. To this end, the Sons of Don Bosco have developed new initiatives in favor of young people, consisting mainly in offering real economic help to support the costs and fees of university courses and vocational training.

                    Following the nationalization of the country's schools, imposed in 1928, the Salesians do not have formal education centers in Syria. This is why this project is particularly important and is also supported with conviction by the Salesian Mission Office in Madrid.

                    Since last March 25, thanks to the project, young people have benefitted from an initiative that offers them the opportunity to enroll in a wide variety of technical and vocational training courses, mainly related to the learning of Information Technology and English, while another 20 young people have received financial support to obtain their school certificates and attend university.

                    In total, therefore, the initiative has successfully supported 45 young Syrians in developing their personal and technical skills, through professional courses and academic studies, increasing their chances of finding a job and earning income to support themselves and their families.

                    Another 6 people have received support through the supply of equipment and tools to start or develop an activity or firm in various small business sectors - such as hairdressers, restaurateurs, pastry chefs ...

                    The Salesians of Damascus monitor the beneficiaries monthly and foster their awareness of the significance and relevance of this program: a long-term investment on them and on the future of young Syrians.

                    Source: Misiones Salesianas

                    • Siria
                    • Educazione
                    • MOR
                    • Giovani
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      Peru - Salesian craftsmanship again at center of papal celebrations

                      5 days 23 hours ago

                      (ANS - Puerto Maldonado) - After three days in Chile, Pope Francis reaches Peru today, January 18, the second and last stage of his apostolic journey to South America. Also in Peru to accompany the celebrations of the pontiff there will be a bit of "salesianity" - as previously in Iquique, where to adorn the altar of the mass there were 12 thousand traditional aluminum flowers by the Salesian past pupil Humberto Alache. This time, however, it is a crucifix and chairs for the Pope, all works created by the youth of the "Taller Don Bosco", to be used tomorrow, January 19, in Puerto Maldonado.

                      "We want this to be the Christ that the Pope, with his presence, will bless; it will be the Christ of Pope Francis," says Msgr David Martinez de Aguirre, bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Maldonado.

                      "The crucifix and the chairs were made by young members of the Don Bosco Artesanos," explains Agustín Guzmán, from the Don Bosco parish of Puerto Maldonado. The 'Taller (workshop) Don Bosco' was created by the Salesian priest Ugo de Censi at the beginning of the 90s, "to offer some work and education to people with low income," he adds. Today, woodworking, stone, bronze and weaving products are being produced at the laboratory.

                      With the Christ, the three chairs have also arrived, and will be on the stage of the meeting, the central one reserved for Pope Francis.

                      Attention is drawn to the fine details of the chairs, like the furrows carved in the armrests. "The furrows are used to understand who worked; they are the children of peasants and those lines are reminiscent of the furrows of the plow," continues Guzmán.

                      The crucifix also stands out for its fine finish and detailed work. Made entirely of wood and oil painted, it will be placed on a large wooden wall behind the Pope.

                      "Under the crucifix there will be bamboo rods and chairs in front," adds Paula Franco, responsible for the preparation of the venue for the celebration of the Pope, who emphasizes how the whole setting was designed to make the Pope feel inside of a community.

                      After the Pope's visit, the crucifix will remain in Puerto Maldonado, in the chapel adjacent to the city's Cathedral.

                      Source: Periodista Digital

                      • Perù
                      • PER
                      • Arte
                      • Papa Francesco
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Chile - Pope Francis to religious and clergy: "the People of God do not wait for, nor need superheroes"

                        6 days 23 hours ago

                        (ANS - Santiago) - It was with a climate of joy and celebration that the priests, consecrated persons and seminarians welcomed Pope Francis to the cathedral of Santiago for their meeting together. "We have long been awaiting you," said Salesian Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, archbishop of Santiago, at the beginning of his opening address.

                        The Pope used the "Peter-community" analogy as the experience of the apostles always had this dual aspect, that is, the personal and the community. They go together hand-in-hand and cannot be separated. He said we were, yes, called individually, but always to be part of a larger group. "There is no vocational selfie. The vocation requires that another person takes a picture of you: what can we do?"

                        Pope Francis also referred to the scandals of which some priests marked themselves. The Pope had previously met privately with several victims of abuse by priests and religious. He, too, felt the suffering of the victims, their families and felt the pain of that part of the ecclesiastic community that remained faithful: "I know the pain that the cases of abuse against minors have meant and I attentively follow all you do to overcome this serious and painful evil. Pain for the damage and suffering of the victims and their families, who saw the trust placed in the ministers of the Church betrayed."

                        The Pope spoke of Chile and the challenges before which we sometimes isolated ourselves. "We forget that the promised land is in front of us. That the promise is yesterday's, but for tomorrow. And we can fall into the temptation to close off and isolate ourselves to defend our positions that end up being nothing but nice monologues."

                        The Pope added that, "the People of God does not wait for, nor does it need superheroes; they wait for shepherds, consecrated persons, who know compassion, who know how to stop before those who have fallen."

                        He concluded by inviting the entire assembly to prepare "a kind of spiritual testament" in their hearts, adopting as a role model Chilean Salesian Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez, and to renew one's own 'yes' to God with "that beautiful prayer that begins by saying: 'The Church that I love is the Holy Church of every day ... yours, mine, the daily Holy Church of every day ... '".

                        {gallery}Cile - Incontro Papa Francesco e religiosi{/gallery} 

                        • Cile
                        • CIL
                        • Papa Francesco
                        • Ricardo Ezzati
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          Haiti - Prayer and remembrance 8 years after the earthquake

                          6 days 23 hours ago

                          (ANS - Port-au-Prince) - Friday, January 12, 2018, exactly 8 years after the terrible earthquake that lacerated the country, a Eucharistic commemoration was held at the National School of Arts and Crafts (ENAM) in Port-au-Prince, the country's first Salesian center. The ceremony was presided by Fr Morachel Bonhomme, Vicar of the Vice Province of Haiti, and gathered a large number of Salesians, post-novices, aspirants, prenovices, staff and teachers from ENAM and the Little Schools of Father Bohnen (OPEPB).

                          In his homily, Fr Bonhomme began by reminding all the faithful of the importance of spiritual life for Christians. He insisted on making it clear that we were always to be ready to meet the Lord. Our whole existence belonged to God: "If we live, we live for the Lord, if we die, we die for the Lord."

                          The celebration recalled many episodes among the many people who still remember the painful events of 8 years ago. Many prayed for the over 200 Salesian students who perished that day, for the Salesian Coadjutor brother Hubert Sanon, the first Haitian Salesian, and for three other Salesian youngsters: Wilfrid Atismé, Valsaint Vilbrun and Pierre-Richard René.

                          In the afternoon, the Salesians headed to the University of Quisqueya where two of the young Salesians are buried, killed by the earthquake. In a room built for the occasion, the Salesians recited the Vespers, prayed for all the students who died at the site, beginning with the three Salesians in formation at the time. The whole day was spent in an atmosphere of profound meditation and reflection on the fragility of  human life. 

                          {gallery}Haiti - ottavo anniversario terremoto{/gallery} 

                          • Haiti
                          • HAI
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Brazil - The cause of Fr Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo: a great event of both Church and Congregation

                            6 days 23 hours ago

                            (ANS - Meruri) – On January 31, in Meruri, the diocese of Barra do Garças, Brazil, opens the diocesan inquiry into the martyrdom of the Servants of God Fr Rodolfo Lunkenbein, Salesian priest, and Simão Bororo, a layman, killed on July 15, 1976, in the courtyard of the Salesian mission of Meruri. Their cause of martyrdom is a living sign that God has blessed the Congregation and the Church with His love and grace, especially in Brazil.

                            "Incredible how this cause has struck the hearts of so many people in the Mato Grosso Province, in Salesian Brazil and in the Church. The example of faith and love for the Kingdom of God of Fr Rodolfo and Simão is truly a sign and a call to renewal and missionary ardor," comments Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, Postulator General for the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family. "Father Rodolfo and Simão are part of that long line of Catholic missionaries and indigenous people murdered as they accompanied, evangelized and fought alongside the Indians for their rights. The struggle for the defense of the earth, of the peoples that inhabit it and its immense natural, cultural and spiritual riches, has been and is still fertilized by the blood of martyrs."

                            For the opening of the diocesan process, the Provincial of Brazil Campo Grande (BCG), Fr Gildasio Santos, addressed a message to his confreres, to the educative-pastoral communities and to the Salesian Family, inviting them to live this gift with participation. He also emphasized how Fr Lunkenbein and Simão lived a true encounter with Jesus Christ, sealed a deep alliance in blood by giving themselves: "a covenant of hearts and dreams in missionary lands."

                            On the occasion, the writings of Fr Lunkenbein shall be discussed; in his letters, homilies and other interventions, he showed his missionary heart and the prophetic power of the Gospel in promoting justice and solidarity. In his last writings, allusions to death often appear: "Even today, a missionary must be willing to die to do his duty. The help you give us shows that you have clearly understood what it means today to be a Christian: to sacrifice oneself with Christ, to suffer with Christ, to die with Christ and to win with Christ for the salvation of the whole world of our neighbor." (Letter to his countrymen dated 11.08.1975).

                            • Brasile
                            • BCG
                            • Indigeni
                            • Rodolfo Lunkenbein
                            • Simão Bororo
                            • Santità Salesiana
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              Nepal – Nepal Don Bosco Society hands over earthquake resilient school to villagers

                              1 week ago

                              (ANS – Sindhupalchawk) – The Salesian NGO “Nepal Don Bosco Society” marked its 25th year of service to the people of Nepal by handing over a fifth earthquake resilient school to villagers at Kallery in Sindhupalchawk district, central Nepal, some 90 kilometers east of Kathmandu. A total of ten schools in remote and inaccessible areas affected by the recent earthquake in Nepal (2015) are being got ready to be handed over.

                              By Fr C.M. Paul, SDB

                              The handing over ceremony took place 11th January 2018 at Kallery Basic School in the presence of Shri Yuvaraj Dulal, a local Member of the Legislative Assembly; President of the School's Founder Body, Headmaster Shri Yajanath Dungal; and other dignitaries of the district administration.

                              The inauguration of the school building consisted of the unveiling of the dedication plaque and the handing over of six keys to the six classrooms to the headmaster.

                              In return, the school and local authorities read out a letter of appreciation signed by the MLA, President of the School Founder Body and the headmater. The chief guest at the event, the MLA handed over the framed letter along with a ceremonial shawl to Rector of Don Bosco School Lubu Fr Abraham Kannattu.

                              Today the primary school has 85 students from kindergarten to grade four.

                              Speaking at the event witnessed by people of the entire village, both young and old, the Coordinator of the Rehabilitation Project of Nepal Don Bosco Society, Fr Augusty Pulickal, told the teachers and local people, “we hope that in the next academic year the number of students will increase to 105.”

                              He also appealed to the local administration to come forward and do what was required to furnish the classrooms which are equipped with state of the art electrical and other basic fittings.

                              The newly constructed school building has two blocks of three spacious classrooms each with a capacity of 40 students. The total capacity of the six classrooms: up to 240 students.

                              The funding for the construction of the ten schools came from “Don Bosco Jugend Welt Austria”.

                              The history of Nepal Don Bosco Society began in 1992. The Silver Jubilee (1992-2017) was celebrated on 11 November 2017 at Don Bosco School Biratnagar. The Nepal Don Bosco Society is engaged in a variety of ministries dedicated to the country's young people - two technical schools, four academic schools, three social outreach centers, four boarding houses, and several non-formal education centers. They also run a number of social programs, such as scholarships for students and emergency response projects as in the aftermath of the tragic earthquakes of 2015.

                              Source: Don Bosco India

                              • Nepal
                              • INC
                              • Scuole
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                Ecuador - 130 years of Salesian presence

                                1 week ago

                                (ANS - Quito) – The first Salesian missionaries landed in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on January 12, 1888. For this reason, on the exact day of the anniversary, last Friday, the "Sacred Heart of Jesus" Province of Ecuador (ECU) commemorated its 130 years of educational and pastoral work in favor of the young and the needy families.

                                The work of the Salesian then began on January 28, 1888, when missionaries arrived in Quito and managed the Catholic Protectorate of Arts and Crafts at the request of the then President of Ecuador, José María Plácido Caamaño.

                                The news of this event reached Don Bosco the following January 30, a day before he passed away. It was, indeed, the last mission that Don Bosco blessed. The death of the Founder, however, did not stop their work; on February 5, they welcomed the first student in the Protectorate and on February 18 inaugurated the festive oratory with many children attending.

                                On 30 August 1896, the first Salesian house opened in Quito, the first of many. In 1893, the Salesian houses of Ecuador went to constitute a Vice-Province, and in the same year, it was elevated to a Province, withthe canonical decree, however, published only in 1902.

                                Today, the Province of Ecuador includes 24 centers that host 159 Salesians, including 110 priests; there are also 31 Salesian educational centers (CES) teaching approximately 32,000 children and young people, and 40 oratories with about 1,200 animators and over 11,000 young people.

                                Also worthy of mention are the social programs of the "Ecuador Salesian Project" which promotes the integral development of children and adolescents at risk; the "Children of the Streets - North Zone" project which in 2017 alone provided assistance and care for 2,581 children and young people from various provinces of the country; the Missionary Youth Volunteering, in 35 years of existence, has placed 2,226 volunteers at the service of the poor and needy; and the Salesian Youth Movement, which brings together about 4,000 young people.

                                The missionary character is also a characteristic feature of the Province itself, visible in the apostolic accompaniment of the communities of the indigenous Shuar and Achuar; through the Amazonian houses of Bomboiza, Sevilla Don Bosco, Macas, Wasakentsa, Yaupi and Taisha; and in the Andean missions, thanks to the centers of Cayambe, Zumbahua, Simiátug, Facundo Vela and Salinas de Guaranda, which serve a total of 189 communities.

                                • Ecuador
                                • ECU
                                • Anniversari
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  Australia - 2018 as “Year of Youth”

                                  1 week ago

                                  (ANS - Perth) - Because of the Synod on Youth, scheduled from October 3rd to 28th, several dioceses all over the world have chosen to dedicate 2018 to a renewed and more specific commitment to listening to and the journey with the young, especially as this approach is shared in those dioceses where the bishop is a Salesian.

                                  "The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has announced a ‘Year of Youth’ commenced on the First Sunday of Advent, 3 December 2017 until 25 November 2018, focused on the engagement and faith development of young people aged 12 – 30 year olds. The theme for the Year of Youth is ‘Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy. Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment,’” wrote Mons Timothy Costelloe, Salesian, Archbishop of Perth in a recent pastoral letter.

                                  “I am also asking parish and communities to engage a ‘Year of Youth Action Team’ – made up of a variety of adults and young people in your community to prepare activities for the Year of Youth. (…) I also encourage young people (aged 12 – 30) to step forward to become ‘Year of Youth Ambassadors’ in their local communities. They can be a voice and advocate for the initiatives of the ‘Year of Youth Action Team.’”

                                  “In this year,” continues Mons Costello, “we hope to come together to engage with more young people in our Church. We need to spend these next twelve months as local communities, working together across Parishes, High Schools, University Chaplains... (…) Beyond the sacrament of Confirmation, we need to support them [the young people] and nourish their spiritual life across our whole Church community. Even if you have only a limited number of young people involved in your church, perhaps this could be your opportunity to ask parishioners to invite their children and grandchildren to the church or also to reach out to the Catholic schools nearby and getting them involved in your local parish.”

                                  The Perth archdiocese is also happy to host the next Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) in December 2019. This event was announced few weeks ago in Sydney, the venue of the 2017 ACYF.

                                  It is worth noting that the Episcopal Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands (PNG-IS) has decided to dedicate 2018 to young people, pointing out in the letter of induction of the year several concrete examples for Youth Ministry, which take up themes typical of Salesian reflection, such as the connection between Family and Youth Ministry and attention to young people outside the school system.

                                  The population of PNG-IS is composed mostly of young people, many of whom are Christians and many benefit from Salesian accompaniment.

                                  • Australia
                                  • AUL
                                  • PGS
                                  • Papua Nuova Guinea
                                  • Isole Salomone
                                  • Sinodo sui Giovani
                                  • Giovani
                                  • Vescovi
                                  • Timothy Costelloe
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    Philippines – Don Bosco Pasil affected by Fire

                                    1 week 1 day ago

                                    (ANS – Cebu) – Fire broke out at 12:26 PM of Sunday, January 14, just about 600 meters from the Don Bosco Youth and Training Center, Pasil. Barangay (village) Pasil is one of the poorest and most heavily populated sections of Cebu City. It took more than two hours for the firefighters to control the conflagration. Fire fighters declared the fire under control by 2:54 PM, Sunday. 

                                    The fire's official minimum toll thus far: 3,260 persons, 634 families and 283 houses have been affected, with the majority of homes completely burnt, and four people presumed dead. A portion of Don Bosco Youth Training center was damaged – the rooms of some of the Salesians, their private chapel and the roof of the rectory and training center.

                                    The Salesians have been working at this site for about 50 years, administering the Parish of St. Nino (population of 50,000), the Youth Center - Oratory, the Vocation Training Center, and variety of social services to the local population.

                                    The Rector Fr. Lamberto Paradiang SDB, together with four other Salesians present at the site of the blaze, were forced to evacuate. They took refuge in the building of St. Nino Parish. They are now back supervising relief and assistance efforts to the fire victims and have opened the Youth Center facilities to the families who have lost everything.

                                    The SALVO team of Fr. Arvin Abatayo, SDB, and the Youth Ministry Commission of the FIS Province under Fr. Joriz Calsa, SDB, have started to organize emergency assistance and have called for public support via social media.

                                    The Salesians of Pasil are grateful for everyone’s prayers and support. The rebuilding of nearby houses and the SDB community will start soon, hopefully also with your help!

                                    Inquiries for donations and assistance can be made through: - 

                                    Fr. Lamberto Paradiang, SDB – Tel: (+63 917 625 3787)

                                    Salesian (FIS) Provincial House, Tel: (+63 32 346 5766)

                                    {gallery}Filippine - Incendio DB Pasil 2018{/gallery}

                                    • FIS
                                    • Filippine
                                    • Disastri
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      Democratic Republic of the Congo - Portrait of young Joseph

                                      1 week 4 days ago

                                      (ANS - Lubumbashi) - "Joseph arrived at 'Bakanja Ville', the Salesian center in Lubumbashi dedicated to the first reception of street children, last May," says Delphine Morin, a volunteer at the same center. "It was a street kid who found him and took him to the center. The child was in a bad state: he had continuous epileptic seizures, which left him weakened and frightened, and a nasty wound to the tibia that prevented him from walking. Communication with him was not at all easy: with mental retardation, he barely spoke and seemed to have his head perpetually in the clouds."

                                      At first Joseph slept a great deal to recover from the epileptic fits and to heal his leg. With the help and work of many people, Joseph was healed and started to feel well at the Salesian center. At Bakanja Ville he was given a cure to control and reduce his epileptic attacks, until they disappeared.

                                      During the child's recovery, social workers tried to establish a dialogue with him, but Joseph insisted only on repeating 'Mwambui' when he was asked about his mother, a term that in the local language refers to a woman who has had twins.

                                      One day, Elie, a young boy recently welcomed at the center, said he knew Joseph's mother, a street vendor at M'zee Kabila's market. For days, social workers went out to look for her, but without results. Until the story was repeated! A newcomer to Bakanja Ville said he knew Joseph and his family, of whom he had been a neighbor. The social workers got back on their feet and in the end they managed to track down Joseph's family! Ready to celebrate the funeral, believing he was dead: the child had simply walked from home and had been unable to find his way back.

                                      The day after the mother arrived in Bakanja Ville: the reunion with her son was a beautiful moment!

                                      What would have happened to Joseph if he had not been welcomed to Bakanja Ville? Where would he be today? Every day we welcome dozens of children with stories similar to Joseph's. They are children marked by life, abandoned and on the margins of society, who come to us for help.

                                      {gallery}AFC - Piccolo Joseph{/gallery}

                                      • Repubblica Democratica del Congo
                                      • AFC
                                      • Opzione Preferenziale
                                      • Giovani a Rischio Sociale
                                      • Bambini
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        Spain - A solidarity movement to support the poor

                                        1 week 4 days ago

                                        (ANS - Madrid) - The Christmas season has just passed, a very meaningful period of the year, in which the Salesian Family intensifies its commitment to the most needy. The majority of solidarity campaigns developed in past weeks are traditional events in Salesian houses, but they are always able to renew hope, to set new goals and to persevere in the mission of caring for the young, the poorest, together with their families, without other distinctions.

                                        In recent weeks, in collaboration with Caritas, tons of non-perishable food and hygiene products have been collected in many Salesian houses through schools, youth ministry centers and parishes.

                                        The "Kilo Solidario" was promoted right across the country, from the "Spain-Mary Help of Christians" to "Spain-Saint James Major" Provinces. "Open the door of solidarity" was, for example, the motto of the Salesian house in Cadiz for the collection of over 8,000 kilos of food; while "sowers of stars" were chosen by the Youth Center "Puertobosco" for the collection of goods in favor of the neediest families in Puertollano.

                                        Also worthy of mention is the "Food for Africa" ​​campaign, in favor of Sierra Leone, which collected 8,000 kilos of foodstuffs in the homes of Deusto, Logroño, Pamplona, ​​Azkoitia, Donostia, Rentería.

                                        In the Salesian centers of Andalusia and Extremadura, the "Potito Solidario" campaign was carried out, aimed mainly at the collection of products for children, especially for newborns and babies.

                                        From the Platforms of Social Education (PES) of Sant Boi, Martí-Codolar and Mataró a "patronage" initiative was launched towards those children who, due to the economic situation of their families, would not otherwise have received gifts for "the Feast of Kings", on the day of the Epiphany.

                                        There was also space for art, with projects carried out in the youth centers of Castile and León: thanks to four festivals held in León, Valladolid, Villamuriel and Zamora, the young people were able to express their commitment to a better world in an artistic way and to organize a food tasting of fair trade products to raise people's awareness towards poverty and inequality.

                                        Other examples of solidarity initiatives carried out in Spain's Salesian realities for Christmas were the solidarity week of Huesca or the beneficial sonata of "zambomba" in Huelva, organized by the Salesian Youth Center "Carabela" for the benefit of Banco Alimentare, the food bank.

                                        {gallery}Spagna - Solidarieta Natale 2017{/gallery}

                                        • Spagna
                                        • SSM
                                        • SMX
                                        • Solidarietà
                                        • Natale
                                          Gian Francesco Romano
                                          1 hour 2 minutes ago
                                          ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana