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Brazil - Salesian Panamazzonia Meeting: the Synod summons us!

16 hours 35 minutes ago

(ANS - Campo Grande) - On the morning of 12 April, Pope Francis participated in the opening of the preparatory work for the Synod of Bishops for the Panamazzonia Region, together with about thirty delegates from all over the world. The Pope, with cardinals, bishops and laity, discussed steps to be taken for that synod, which will develop the theme "new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology." The Salesians, missionaries by nature, feel deeply involved and called upon by this appointment.

Over the centuries, and with moments that have been significant, others contradictory, the Catholic Church has marked the history of the Amazon. Cardinal Claudio Hummes, President of the Panamazzonica Ecclesial Network (REPAM), said: "The Church in the Amazon needs to renew her presence, to establish new paths, to help her get up from her chair, so that she walks towards the outskirts, towards the most needy places."

The term "Panamazzonia" was defined on 7 August 2014, describing under this term the whole of those South American countries that have in their territories large parts of the Amazon forest: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela and Suriname.

On April 19-22, eight representatives of the missionary animation of the Brazilian Provinces of Brazil-Campo Grande, Brazil-São Paulo and Brazil-Manaus plus cities and towns of Peru and Ecuador met at the Salesian Institute of San Vicente, in the Campo Grande Province, to reflect together on the Synod on Panamazzonia. The meeting was led by Fr Martín Lasarte, of the Missions Dicastery, and accompanied by the Coordinator of the Campo Grande Pastoral Team, Fr Wagner Luís Galvão.

"The Campo Grande Province has a centenary experience among the natives, which is a treasure for the world, for the Congregation and for the whole Church," said Fr Martin Lasarte. "We are discussing with the missionaries of various Provinces to prepare for the Synod on the Panamazzonia. In November, we count on reflecting on our past, on our historical heritage as a Province, on the improvements made and on the challenges we face. We have great challenges in our pastoral work with the indigenous peoples in the midst of this large territory called Amazzonia and particularly in the Mato Grosso. Could our presence be more meaningful, especially because of our youthful and educational charism?"

This is why Fr Lasarte invited everyone "to encourage and maintain this missionary spirit. And let's not think simply of the missions between Xavantes and Bororo, but to have a missionary zeal in all Salesian activities."

  • Brasile
  • BCG
  • Sinodo per la regione Panamazzonica
  • Missioni
    Gian Francesco Romano

    East Timor – The First Salesian community celebrates 70 years

    16 hours 35 minutes ago

    (ANS – Fuiloro) – Don Bosco Fuiloro rises on 145 hectares of agricultural land in the Far East of East Timor, the first Salesian Boarding school after the second missionary expedition landed in 1946. Due to bad roads, it takes at least 6-7 hours from the capital Dili to reach this remotest presence in East Timor. With 70 years of history, thousands of former boarding students, this Dom Bosco ETA (Escuela Agricola Tecnica) school has faced many challenges.

    It was twice discontinued: once for the country's turbulent social and political situation (1975-1988), and more recently (2015-2017) for a number of external reasons. Don Bosco Fuiloro Alumni can be found in any part of Timor, serving their country in many important roles.

    The SDB community consists of Rector Fr. Transfiguracão Antonio Pinto, 3 priests, one Salesian Brother and two practical trainees, and is the core animating nucleus of the large Educative-Pastoral Community with the Agricultural School (200+ students, boys and girls), High School (1000+ students), services to the Salesian Family (Fuiloro FMA community is 1 km away, Don Bosco Alumni and ADMA). It is also involved in pastoral ministry to the many chapels of the nearby Los Palos (SDB) parish.

    The large agricultural compound serves partly as the training ground for ETA students and agriculture. There is also a huge challenge of sustainability of the mission in Fuiloro. There is a small pig farm and a cow and buffalo farm. Many of the infrastructures from the time of the Portuguese are in dire need of renovation or complete reconstruction, so the community prays for help and support from overseas agencies.

    In spite of the not-so-favourable economic situation (no current subsidies from the government) the lay mission partners are very dedicated to their job as teachers and instructors. The community is very grateful, especially to the ongoing support from the Australian Salesian Mission Office (ASMOAF, Executive Director Br. Michael Lynch, SDB).

    The boarding school with its daily Eucharistic celebration is also a fertile ground for vocations; this year, a Grade 12 student joined the Los Palos prenovitiate and the vocation tradition is very much alive. At present there are three aspirants in their 'live in' experience – a combination of study and assistance. Another community of Los Palos (7 SDB, 25 prenovices) is located just 30 minutes away by car, and there is much mutual support.

    Fuiloro Don Bosco, with its 70 years long history, goes ahead, despite the many challenges, to the benefit of the poor rural youth of East Timor.

    Source: AustraLasia

    • Timor Est
    • ITM
    • Rurali
    • Anniversari
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Republic of the Congo - Support for modernization of vocational training

      16 hours 35 minutes ago

      (ANS - Brazzaville) - "My dear young people, I do not recommend penance and discipline, but work, work, work!" (MB IV, 216). This is what Don Bosco used to say, in one of his many exhortations to the youngsters to motivate them towards concrete and active commitment to society. The Salesians, his heirs, have always accompanied young people in training for work, aware too that effective tools are required to offer real opportunities to young people. For this reason, at the Vocational Training Center (CFP) of the "Cité Don Bosco" center in Brazzaville, in the Republic of Congo, a project entitled "Support for the modernization of vocational training" was launched.

      The project starts this next May and lasts until October. It involves three fundamental areas: the skills development of teachers; the purchase of new equipment; the creation of new sectors and new vocational training workshops.

      The first point also refers to activities for the expansion of the library, the resolution of logistical problems related to the transport of teachers and an improvement of their salaries, the granting of scholarships and their ongoing technical-pedagogical formation, to be carried out abroad.

      The purchase of new equipment foresees buying modern high-quality tools and instruments for courses in the Electro-technical field; Air/Con & Heating Systems; Lathing-Welding and Carpentry, as well as providing the necessary tools for the creation of a driving school within the Auto Mechanics course, so as to equip students who leave the course with a driving license, on passing a test, of course.

      Finally, taking into account the demands of the local labor market and the interests of their students, the managers of the CFP of Brazzaville intend to start new courses in Construction, Renewable Energies, Maintenance of Computers and Networks, electronic and audiovisual equipment.

      The project, accompanying young people towards their employment, will involve economic benefits for the children or young people, first of all, but also for their families and the whole local context; it will also promote social peace as it removes young people from the dangers of those who recruit them in illegal activities.

      At the numerical level, this initiative aims to improve the training and formation of 21 teachers, and to increase the students by 3000 in the next 3 years.

      • Repubblica del Congo
      • ATE
      • Formazione Professionale
        Gian Francesco Romano

        Mexico - Rector Major: "Don Bosco's criterion was charity for the neediest, especially for young people"

        1 day 16 hours ago

        (ANS - Tijuana) - The stay of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, in Mexico, was brief, but his passage in each place and his words will remain long in the hearts of lay people, Salesians, Salesian Family and above all the local young people. The last two days were characterized by visits that were deep and deeply moving. The X Successor of Don Bosco was able to see the work being done by Salesians with the young, the poor, the immigrants.

        To the prenovices, the elderly Salesians and the novices from the Antilles, Ecuador, Haiti and Mexico, he said, "It is not enough to be with the young ... We Salesians have the young in our hearts, the neediest ... And first of all we are men of God. God is at the center of our lives."

        In Tijuana he was with the young people of the Salesian Youth Movement. "What would Don Bosco do in Tijuana, on the border?", asked a young man. "The question is not easy," the Rector Major replied. "Don Bosco did not have recipes for every situation ... But I am convinced he would not have looked for what to do, because he was certain of what he felt in his heart: a boundless love for his children. Don Bosco would have tried to take care of the adolescents, so that no one would ensnare them."

        Saturday 21 was the Rector Major's last day in the Mexico-Guadalajara Province and the reality of immigration was at the center of his attention. In the Salesian Refectory "Padre Chava" he presided over the Eucharist with the Salesians and their collaborators who, together, assist more than a thousand people every day. Underlining the difference in motivation between a social center and a Salesian center, he recalled that "Don Bosco's criterion was charity for the most needy, especially for young people."

        Then, in the area known as "the lighthouse", where the border line between Mexico and the United States begins, he personally observed the drama of countless families divided by a wall: on the Mexican side, fathers and mothers who'd been expelled; on the American side, children and young people who, having been born in the USA, could stay there.

        In a moment of sharing with his confreres, the Rector Major made it clear that what was being done by the Salesians on the border was good, but it was not yet enough: "We must do more."

        He also expressed this same conviction in a video.

        Photos of the visit are available on Flickr

        • Messico
        • MEG
        • Rettor Maggiore
        • Ángel Fernández Artime
        • Migranti
          Gian Francesco Romano

          Porto Rico – Salesian Missions launches Puerto Rico hurricane fundraising campaign to aid ongoing relief and reconstruction efforts

          1 day 16 hours ago

          (ANS – San Juan) – Salesian missionaries continue to respond to critical needs of victims of Hurricane Maria, which devastated communities across Puerto Rico in September 2017. To aid these ongoing relief and reconstruction efforts, Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, has launched a new fundraising campaign to help aid this work.

          While the official death toll is listed at 64, unofficial accounts have it significantly higher at more than a thousand. Puerto Rico has had homes, schools and other buildings destroyed. The hurricane dismantled the island’s electricity and communications system and cut off more than 3 million men, women and children from crucial humanitarian assistance. Residents were cut off without food, water, electricity or shelter from the harsh weather conditions.

          More than six month later, the rest of the world has moved on to the latest news, but Puerto Rico is still struggling with the aftermath of this monstrous storm. Children and families live in roofless, severely water-damaged homes with exposed power lines, crumbling walls and empty food pantries. They stand in long lines waiting to purchase food, water and other basic necessities, with no guarantee of getting what they need. Nearly 200,000 people are still without electricity, unable to heat or cool their homes, store food properly or accomplish day-to-day tasks.

          Salesian missionaries have six communities in Puerto Rico, including two in San Juan and one in each of the communities of Catano, Aíbonito, Aguadilla and Orocovis. Salesian sisters are also working in the communities of Aguadilla, Orocovis and Santurce. Because Salesian missionaries and sisters are living in the communities in which they work, they were among the first to respond with shelter and humanitarian relief, even when their own buildings and facilities were affected.

          “If there’s a way to help, we’ll always find it,” says Sister Magna Martinez, a Salesian missionary serving at Colegio Maria Auxiliadore (Mary Help of Christians) in San Juan. Sr. Martinez and her colleagues remain passionately committed to helping the countless families who lost everything in the storm. Her words reflect the Salesians’ faith and tenacity, even as official relief efforts fall significantly short in meeting the ongoing and widespread need.

          Back in September, immediately after the storm’s danger had passed, Sr. Martinez and her colleagues ventured into the streets of San Juan to assess damage and minister to victims. “When we saw their homes, our hearts were crushed,” recalls Sr. Martinez. “We didn’t have much to offer but realized: We have the school. We have the cafeteria. We can clean it all out and host as many people as we can.”

          In those initial, chaotic days, Maria Auxiliadore filled with children and families with nowhere else to go. A similar scene played out across the island. Salesian missionaries opened their doors to both victims who needed help and to organizations seeking a central, trusted location to distribute it. In the community of Cantera, for example, volunteers from the Salesian youth center accompanied Father Carlos Piantini into the streets, visiting 500 families whose homes had been destroyed and delivering what small items of relief they had on hand.

          “According to residents, Fr. Piantini and his volunteers were the first people to show up,” says Franklin Ortega, executive director of the Don Bosco Salesian Foundation, who toured Puerto Rico with Father Francisco Batista, provincial of the Antilles region, after the hurricane.

          In Orocovis, Ortega reports missionaries lent space to the Department of Family Services, whose building was destroyed by the storm. From these new headquarters, officials were able to assist local residents (as many as 4,000 of whom desperately needed emergency shelter). And in Aguadilla, Sr. Maritza Ortiz and her fellow missionaries from Casa Juan Bosco fanned into the surrounding neighborhoods, checking on residents—especially the elderly and those who lived alone.

          That help remains crucial, even now. Sisters Martinez and Ortiz continue to provide food, clothing, small household items and even mattresses to those who have yet to recover from Maria’s damage.

          Karla, for example, is a mother of two whose family still lives in a home that would likely be condemned on the mainland. Yesenia struggles to meet basic needs for herself and her young son Jordan, who remains traumatized by the storm. And Doris suffers from a respiratory illness that requires supplemental oxygen—something she can’t always use, because electricity to her home is sporadic. Today, all three women persevere, in part, because of Salesian missionaries.

          Although they are not students at the school, Karla’s children have found respite at Maria Auxiliadore while their mother works to rebuild. There, they enjoy meals, clothes and relief from worry as they play games with their peers. Missionaries have released videos of their ongoing work on the island.

          Far too many residents still struggle to restore a sense of normalcy to their lives, which has been challenged by the absence of adequate assistance. Officials estimate that it will take billions of dollars, and perhaps decades of effort, to rebuild Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and economy. And it’s difficult to see where the money will come from, when traditional means of income—agriculture, tourism and manufacturing—have been crippled, if not completely destroyed. For this reason, missionaries also hope to leverage their local relationships in order to connect families with the resources they need, including financial assistance for purchasing materials to reconstruct their homes.

          In response to the overwhelming need, Salesian Missions has launched their Puerto Rico fund. Those who want to support these efforts are urged to make a donation online at salesianmissions.org/prhurricane.

          Source: Mission Newswire

          • Porto Rico
          • ANT
          • Disastri
            Gian Francesco Romano

            Mexico - Rector Major: "We are sharing a precious mission for young people"

            4 days 16 hours ago

            (ANS - León) - The Rector Major began Thursday, 19 April, at the Don Bosco Institute of León, in the State of Guanajuato, where about a thousand students and other students of the "Niños Don Bosco" project received the message of the Salesian "good morning" by Fr Ángel Fernández Artime himself: "Continue to live this house with enthusiasm." Then, turning to the students of the institute, he added: "I am convinced that when you'll be in university ... or when, in a little while, you'll start working, you will continue to feel the years that you lived here, inside your heart."

            To the educators, the 10th Successor of Don Bosco offered a message of gratitude for "this work of art you are doing with these young people." Together, Salesians and lay people, he continued, "we share a precious mission."

            Subsequently, in the National Shrine of St. John Bosco, Fr Á.F. Artime met the representatives of the Salesian Family. Acknowledging the common charism and the specificity of each group, he invited those present to have "open doors", alluding to the need to not act as closed groups, but on the contrary, to operate with openness and a "heart ready to meet the other." In this sense, he also insisted on "communion among ourselves", a testimony that each member of the Salesian Family is summoned to give. And finally, he urged everyone "to continue to grow", in reference to each group of the Salesian Family being called upon to continue to grow and expand.

            At the center of the day, there was the Eucharist, concelebrated by about 60 Salesian priests, before numerous young people of the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM).

            Then, at the "Ciudad del Niño Don Bosco", the Rector Major listened carefully to the reflections and testimonies of some young people of SYM and then presented them with some challenges and dreams. To those who spoke about the importance of the oratory in their lives, Fr Á.F. Artime invited them to collaborate so that other children can live what they had lived in the oratory. To one who told of his experiences as a volunteer in Bolivia, and also expressing the desire to repeat the experience in a more demanding context such as Syria, the Rector Major answered with an exhortation to continue to prepare - for example, by learning the Arabic language – a means to better offer one's own contribution in that land and context.

            Photos of the visit are available on Flickr

            • Messico
            • MEG
            • Rettor Maggiore
            • Ángel Fernández Artime
            • MGS Movimento Giovanile Salesiano
            • Famiglia Salesiana
              Gian Francesco Romano

              Italy – Websites of Valdocco and Catacombs of San Callisto renewed

              4 days 16 hours ago

              (ANS - Rome) - Valdocco, the beating heart of the Salesian world; and the catacombs of San Callisto, a space rooted to the origins of Christianity, for decades  entrusted to the care and responsibility of the Salesian Congregation, are both places of great spirituality and pilgrimage, and recently they have renewed their digital spaces, and now present their new websites.

              Announced at the end of the most recent Spirituality Days of the Salesian Family, the new website dedicated to the Salesian Motherhouse, www.valdocco.it, opened this April. Characterized by a fresh and simple graphic layout, it immerses the user in the generous complexity of Valdocco: the first access screen to the site - designed specifically by the artist and painter Br Luigi Zonta, a Salesian Coadjutor, - immediately reveals the different co-existing realities via interactive hotspots.

              The site is divided into several sections and can be quickly viewed by the scrolling of a single page which immediately unveils the diverse richness of the cultural, religious and formative offer of the "Casa di Don Bosco." Through the new website it is indeed possible to reach the entire "digital galaxy" hosted “in fact” inside Valdocco: the site of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians; its reception and hospitality facilities, the services available to pilgrims; the "Missioni Don Bosco" association; the Salesians of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta (ICP); the parish "Mary Help of Christians"; the Oratory Valdocco; the Valdocco Middle School; the Youth Ministry of the ICP; the Vocational Training of Valdocco and of the Piedmont Region; and the Salesian University College.

              The site of the Catacombs of San Callisto is one of the largest and best preserved in Rome. Sixteen popes, tens of martyrs and many Christians are buried within the complex. The Salesians have been entrusted to the care of all this enormous sacred, historical and cultural heritage site. The new website - www.catacombe.roma.it - ​​is a means to access this capital: there is news on the history and symbolism of the catacombs, description of the itineraries and environments to be seen, references to inscriptions, historiographical anecdotes, archaeological interpretations ... And, of course, sections with all the practical information for visiting pilgrims.

              Characterized by a strongly visual compact and able to immediately capture the viewer's attention with evocative images of the whole complex, the site is available in six languages: Italian, English, Spanish, French, German and Polish. It also contains special modules for booking groups and Mass celebrations.

              • Italia
              • ICP
              • Sito
              • ICC
              • Valdocco
              • Catacombe
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Chile - 100th Anniversary Celebration of Mary Help of Christians parish in Puerto Natales

                4 days 16 hours ago

                (ANS - Puerto Natales) - The community of Puerto Natales commemorated the centenary of the parish "Mary Help of Christians" on Sunday, 15 April.

                Puerto Natales is a Chilean port city located at the southern end of the country. It is the capital of the province of Última Esperanza, or Last Hope, where the marvelous Towers of the Paine rise. About 25 thousand people live in the area.

                In addition to a school attended by more than 1,200 students, the Salesian presence in the city consists of an oratory, several social works and a parish to which many chapels are related. It is a purely missionary presence, it being the only parish of Puerto Natales – and it is, of course, Salesian.

                It was created on 23 February 1918. It was later moved to its current location on December 29, 1918, and inaugurated on March 9, 1930. To build it, under the name of "Our Lady of Carmen", was the then bishop Msgr. Pedro Armengol Valenzuela; subsequently, his successor, mons. Abraham Aguilera Bravo, Salesian, gave it the official name that has accompanied its one hundred years of pastoral service: "Mary Help of Christians". Among its many tales, one is Fr Egidio Viganó who, as Rector Major, gave the parish the painting that dominates the temple, the work of the artist Mario Bogani, where the imposing Towers of Paine and the maternal presence of Mary Help of Christians appear.

                To celebrate the parish's important anniversary, the faithful participated en masse at the Eucharist presided over by Msgr. Bernardo Bastres, bishop of Punta Arenas, and concelebrated by Fr Carlo Lira, Provincial of the Salesians of Chile; also present: Fr Carmelo Moler, Director of the Lyceum "Msgr. Fagnano" of Puerto Natales; and Fr Sergio Astorga, Director of the community, before various regional and local authorities.

                "To celebrate one hundred years means to thank God for all the good done," said Msgr. Bastres during the Eucharistic celebration." Subsequently, Fr Lira blessed the baptismal font given to the parish church.

                Taking advantage of the occasion and in the context of the anniversary, Fr Lira visited the school in Puerto Natales and offered the Salesian "Good morning" with a message to all the young students and officials present. "It is a historic moment of celebration for the 100 years of the presence of parish life in the city of Puerto Natales. It is a moment of celebration, of joy, of gratitude," said Fr Lira.

                • Cile
                • CIL
                • Anniversari
                • Vescovi
                • Bernardo Bastres
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  Mexico - Rector Major: "Dare to take courageous steps to share the spirit and mission of Don Bosco with laity"

                  5 days 16 hours ago

                  (ANS - Amatitán) - On Wednesday 18 April, the Salesians of the Mexico-Guadalajara Province (MEG) met with Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, X Successor of Don Bosco, at the House for Spiritual Exercises "Betsaida" in Amatitán, about 40 km from Guadalajara, on a day marked by fraternity and proximity.

                  It was the first time that all the Salesians of MEG met in Amatitán; every year they do gather here for the Spiritual Exercises or for the weeks of ongoing formation, but only in groups of 40-50 confreres. The possibility of meeting the Rector Major was also meaningful, since on this special occasion he fostered a true meeting between almost all the Salesians in the Province.

                  By helping the Salesians present to understand the current state of the Congregation, the Rector Major shared his thoughts on the different challenges the Salesian Society is facing, challenges also found at the "Christ the King and Mary Help of Christians" Province of MEG.

                  Fr Á.F. Artime urged his confreres to "dare to take courageous steps to share with the laity - with greater determination - the spirit and mission of Don Bosco."

                  The Rector Major spoke with the Salesians of MEG for four hours, always in an atmosphere of great clarity, without neglecting a loving and enlightening word for every circumstance.

                  At various points during his talk, Fr Á.F. Artime offered very specific and concrete indications and, in some cases, asked the General Councilor for Social Communication, Fr Filiberto González - originally from the Province - to take notes on his behalf in view of the forthcoming Extraordinary Visitation to which these will conduct between August and November.

                  To better understand the physiognomy of the MEG Province: it was erected in 1963 by separation from what was previously one sole Province of Mexico. It currently has 166 Salesians distributed in 24 canonical communities, the last erected in 2017. Given the territorial configuration of the Province and the needs of many young people who dream of crossing the border with the United States, seven centers are especially significant for their being on the border between the two countries; from West to East: Tijuana, Mexicali, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad Acuña, Piedras Negras and Nuevo Laredo.

                  Photos available on Flickr

                  • Messico
                  • MEG
                  • Rettor Maggiore
                  • Ángel Fernández Artime
                  • Filiberto González
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    Venezuela - A country without a future: but the Salesians remain alongside the population

                    5 days 16 hours ago

                    (ANS - Caracas) - "I have eight children and I cannot even go to protest, because if they kill me ... What will happen to them? They make us stay in silence through fear. But there is no food. My husband and I have two jobs each and even that is not enough," says a Venezuelan mother crying. This is the reality that the Salesians in Venezuela have to face every day: families that cannot give the basic necessities to their children. "They are a generation that will not grow up healthy, a generation of lost opportunities," say the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco.

                    Venezuela today is experiencing a tragedy. "Supermarkets are empty. Each person can buy just 2 pieces of bread a day and the queues are so long that sometimes people have to ask for a work leave," says Dr Alessia Andena, of the Salesian Mission Office in Turin. Besides the scarcity of food, there is the problem of inflation that drives up prices daily. A third problem comes from the lack of medicines or access to them. "There are people who die from diseases that could easily be cured," adds Dr. Andena.

                    Since the crisis began, over four million Venezuelans have fled the country and millions of people need help to survive. Those who have left in most cases are well-trained professionals, so that the country faces an even starker and more difficult situation for the future. The situation of instability has meant that violence has grown and has spread even among the youngest.

                    "This dramatic situation is seriously affecting the activities of the Salesians in the country. For example, it was necessary to close a boarding school, given the lack of food for the residents ... The children go to school without receiving the necessary food, which is why many people arrive to the lessons already hungry or faint," continues Dr Andena.


                    Everyone is experiencing very difficult moments. Many minors are abandoned, young people do not see a future for themselves, many families are forced to break up because the parents leave to go abroad ... In this situation the Salesians remain by the population's side, accompanying and helping people to the best of their ability.


                    Various Salesian Missionary Offices, including those of Turin and Madrid, are committed to sending aid to Salesian works in Venezuela.

                    • Venezuela
                    • VEN
                    • Povertà
                    • Missioni Don Bosco
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      India – Don Bosco Tech AIDA graduates 64 new trainees in the hospitality, beauty industries

                      5 days 16 hours ago

                      (ANS – Dimapur) – In Nagaland, located in the northeast of India, Salesian programs are working to help poor youth who have dropped out of school gain the skills needed for employment. Salesian missionaries have been educating poor youth in the region since 1969. In response to rising youth unemployment, they launched Don Bosco Technical Institute in 2012. Students focus on learning specialized skills through vocational training while also taking additional courses in grooming, social skills, computer skills and English.

                      Today there are four Don Bosco Technical Centers in Nagaland each with a separate focus, including AIDA Don Bosco complex, Working Women Center, Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Dimapur district and the Don Bosco Youth Center in Wokha district.

                      Recently, the Don Bosco Tech AIDA graduated 64 trainees who come from 18 different tribes within the northeast region. Graduates received certifications in hospitality, food and beverage service, and assistant beauty therapist.

                      The officer on special duty to government of Nagaland, national disaster management, Johnny Ruangmei, was a guest of honor at the graduation. According to an article in the Nagaland Post, at the graduation, Ruangmei lauded the initiative taken by Don Bosco Tech to provide skill training to dropouts, particularly in subjects that are much needed in the local economy and abroad.

                      “It is praiseworthy that these dropouts become employable and are in demand across the world,” said Ruangmei at the graduation according to the article. “Whether you are a matriculate or a doctorate degree holder, it is important to be trained in a specific field. Skill matters today because it will help you to start your own business tomorrow.”

                      The state coordinator of placement, Anita Kuphu, noted that Don Bosco Tech works for the development and education of the young especially those most at risk through its schools, colleges, universities, technical schools and youth centers, and many more interventions.

                      In the article, Kuphu further highlighted the unique selling points of Don Bosco Tech such as regular assessment of trainees through weekly tests and monthly assessment, parent meetings, eight-hour training six days a week, training in basic computing, communicative English and soft skills. These additional services run parallel to the training, which includes practical and theoretical lessons along with industrial visits and guest lectures. She noted that 13 recent graduates are already working overseas.

                      Access to professional training and workforce development services is highly valued by youth in India given the current state of the country’s economy. With more than 1.2 billion people, India has the world’s fourth largest economy and, according to UNICEF, is home to one-third of the world’s poor. Close to 217 million of India’s poor are children. Although more than 53 million people escaped poverty between 2005 and 2010, most remain vulnerable to falling back below the poverty line.

                      India’s youth face a lack of educational opportunities due to issues of caste, class and gender. Almost 44 percent of the workforce is illiterate and less than 10 percent of the working-age population has completed a secondary education. In addition, many secondary school graduates do not have the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s changing job market.

                      Source: Mission Newswire

                      • India
                      • IND
                      • Formazione Professionale
                      • Educazione
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Mexico - "Don Bosco is always alive": first day of Rector Major's visit

                        6 days 16 hours ago

                        (ANS - Guadalajara) - The Rector Major's first day in the Mexico-Guadalajara Province was spent in animation and government, with his meeting the Provincial, Fr Hugo Orozco, and the Salesians of the Provincial Council. The activity took place in the Provincial House, in the Chapalita area, on the morning of Tuesday 17 April.

                        During this meeting, the Fr Á.F. Artime was able to measure and evaluate the current state of the Guadalajara Province, an analysis from which light and shadow emerged, with a review of the results achieved and tasks yet to be realized, and presented his vision of the whole Salesian Congregation. The meeting took place in a climate of dialogue during which each member of the Provincial Council was able to express his own feelings and thoughts on the path of the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco in the central and northern part of Mexico.

                        Later, Fr Á.F. Artime presided over the Eucharistic concelebration in which, alongside the Provincial and his Council, several Salesians from various parts of the entire metropolitan area also took part. In his homily, the Rector Major recalled those in Syria who identified themselves with Don Bosco and continued to carry out their mission, be they Salesians, young or lay collaborators. He also mentioned his recent visit to Syria, which ended just a few days ago, done to express his solidarity towards that population tested by the war and to be near them.

                        In the evening, at 7:30 pm, the Rector Major presided over the prayer of Vespers in the auditorium of the Salesian Superior Institute of Tlaquepaque, also in Guadalajara; prayer gave way to a simple evening wherein representatives of the various groups of the Salesian Family present in the city were able to embrace, in a figurative and real sense, the Successor of Don Bosco; for his part, he offered a simple "good night" message, and once again recalled all the young people and Salesians in Syria suffering because of the war.

                        In the Rector Major's honor, the young people of Tlaquepaque offered a short musical about Don Bosco and the Oratory of Valdocco, while the Rector Major emphasized that young people, both from Syria and from Mexico, indeed testified with all their enthusiasm that "Don Bosco is always (and very much) alive."

                        • Messico
                        • MEG
                        • Rettor Maggiore
                        • Ángel Fernández Artime
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          Morocco - "Now I understand Don Bosco!" Muslim teachers visit Salesian sites

                          6 days 16 hours ago

                          (ANS - Kenitra) - The Salesian center of Kenitra, active in Morocco since 1937, organized a visit to the Salesian Sites from 9 to 17 April. Attended by seven teachers, all Muslims, they were accompanied by the Director of the institute, Fr José Antonio Vega.

                          In the Salesian school of Kenitra, the professors are exclusively Muslim and the course on Islam is mandatory. The Salesian charism is, however, well-known thanks to the constant presence of Salesians among the young and many educators consider themselves "Salesian Muslims."

                          On this occasion, Fr Vega organized a formation program that included a visit to all the Salesian sites: Valdocco, the city of Turin, the Becchi, Colle Don Bosco, Chieri ... The Salesian communities of Colle, Chieri and Valdocco, aware of this experience, invited the group to share meals with them, to learn more about the meaning of this initiative.

                          The Salesian center of Kenitra now has 1,400 students and 80 Muslim teachers. The different sectors of the Salesian center (kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school) live the ongoing dialogue with the Muslim world in their own daily lives, apply Salesian pedagogy, respect their surrounding world and bear witness with the utmost respect.

                          Don Bosco is known and loved by everyone. For this reason, it seemed that the time had come to respond to suggestions from the professors themselves who had expressed a wish for formation as Salesian "cooperators", and wanted to learn about the sites where Don Bosco was born and had lived. At the beginning of the school year this idea was proposed to a small group and some accepted, paying the costs of their trip themselves.

                          The aim of the initiative is so professors, teachers, parents, young people and past pupils may live this profound experience of Salesian spirit and content.

                          All the participants returned to Morocco, happy and admired: "I have known Don Bosco for years, but now I am able to understand much more and above all the reason for his work for the young," said one of the teachers at the end of the experience.

                          The Salesian center in Kenitra is completed by a small parish for foreigners, mainly young African university students, which brings together circa one hundred faithful from about 30 different countries at its Sunday Eucharist.

                          "In everything we do, we want to be a little bridge (which is the meaning of the name Kenitra) between Christians and Muslims. This small church 'of testimony' in a city that is 100% Muslim is significant for the life of the Church," the Salesians in Morocco concluded.

                          • Marocco
                          • ICP
                          • Luoghi Salesiani
                          • Islam
                          • FRB
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Colombia - Salesian University Foundation established

                            6 days 16 hours ago

                            (ANS - Bogota) - On 9 April the Salesian University Foundation received its approval by Colombia's Ministry of National Education, a dream the Salesians have held dear since the Seventies, via the resolution granting its judiciary status "as an institution of higher education with the character of a University Institute."

                            The National Council of Higher Education (CESU) - a body which plans, counsels, coordinates, offers recommendations in the field of higher education, and assists the Ministry of National Education in achieving the aims and purposes of achieving the nation's Quality standards - approved three universities, including the "Salesian University Foundation – UNISAL", on the same date.

                            CESU is a collegial body composed of representatives of the academic and scientific communities, of the country's productive sector, and of official institutions involved in the development of the field of higher education. For this reason, the "recognition as legal entity" assigned to the Salesian institution is of great importance for the development of the educational process.

                            "The Salesian University Foundation is an Institution of Higher Education of the Salesian community, founded by St. John Bosco," states the text of the Colombian University Observatory. "Its Rector Major is Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, and the project leader is Fr Leonardo Gómez."

                            Fr Jaime Morales Alfonso, SDB, Provincial of the Salesian Province of Colombia-Bogota (COB) and Fr Leonardo Gómez Hernández, SDB, Rector of the Salesian University Foundation, said: "The news reaches us at this Easter time and the last and final approval of this project was taken at the CESU meeting on January 31, 2018, the day of St. John Bosco. These signs encourage us to put all our energy into this new field of our mission for young people, preferably those of the working classes."

                            Now, after this fundamental passage, comes the phase of so-called institutionalization, that is, the passage that must translate and transform what has been written in the project into actual fact. The first task is to establish the University Community in charge of promoting the entire consolidation process; subsequently, the first faculties are to be prepared starting the first half of 2020: Agro-Industrial Engineering, Energy Engineering, IT Engineering, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Chemistry, and Community Education.

                            • Colombia
                            • COB
                            • Università
                            • IUS
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              Guatemala - "Hogar Pope Francisco": a blessing for the poorest

                              1 week ago

                              (ANS - San Pedro Carchá) - The "Sisters of the Resurrection" are an indigenous Q'eqchi religious congregation. Established in San Pedro Carchá, Guatemala, in 1977, on the initiative of the Salesian Fr Jorge Puthenpura, it was welcomed as the 22nd group of the Salesian Family in 2004. The Congregation promotes projects of evangelization and the promotion of human values in various geographical areas, including Alta Verapaz, Quiché, Izabal and Petén.

                              Fr Puthenpura, the founder, and the Sisters of the Resurrection reopened the "Hogar Pope Francisco" structure which takes care of malnourished people and the needy in the village of Tz'unu'z. Mgr. Nicolás Thevenin, Apostolic Nuncio in Guatemala, and Msgr. Gerardo Flores, bishop emeritus of Veracruz, took part in the event.

                              The home for minors began its activities 35 years ago, but the Congregation was later forced to suspend its services. However, on seeing the need for such a center for the local population, the Sisters of the Resurrection decided to reopen it on July 28, 2014, under the name "Hogar Papa Francisco."

                              The center welcomes people in need in two ways: a permanent care center that is offered to elderly and abandoned people; and temporary assistance for those recovering their health as a result of some illness. Both forms of assistance are free of charge. They also provide help in the administration of medicines, meals, accommodations, clothes washing, pre- and post-natal care, post-operative convalescence, transfer of patients to public hospitals or clinics ...

                              Currently the house can accommodate up to 25 people with their respective companions. The direct and individual assistance and care are offered by four sisters of the Congregation, who strive to maintain the climate of home and family throughout their services.

                              The ceremony of inauguration and blessing of the premises was attended by many local farmers, elderly, young people, children and families with limited resources who shared their testimony on being treated and rehabilitated at the center. Also present were friends and collaborators of the "Talita Kumi" Foundation, civil and religious authorities of the country and representatives of groups that support this service to the most disadvantaged.

                              "The Congregation invites all those who wish to contribute through voluntary service or donations to participate, so that this center doing good for the poorest can grow," said Mother Zoila Caal, Superior of the Congregation.

                              {gallery}Guatemala - Hogar papa Francisco 2018{/gallery}

                              • Guatemala
                              • CAM
                              • Suore della Resurrezione
                              • Salute
                              • Anziani
                              • Malattie
                              • Vescovi
                              • Famiglia Salesiana
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                Great Britain – People’s bishop gets Bharat Gaurav Award

                                1 week ago

                                (ANS – London) – A Catholic Salesian bishop from the remotest corner of northeast India was awarded “Bharat Gaurav Award” at a ceremony held at U.K. House of Commons in British Parliament London on April 13th, 2018. Bishop George Palliparambil, of Miao diocese in East Arunachal, is the first Catholic Bishop to get this award.

                                “This award felicitates people with extraordinary excellence in their fields and make India proud,” says Pt. Suresh Mishra President of Sanskriti Yuva Sanstha, an NGO working with the vision of promoting Indian culture and society.

                                “You are one of the iconic personalities of our nation who always encouraged each and every one to bloom into a next idol of tomorrow. You are the pride of our country and we feel privileged to recognize your contribution with Bharat Gaurav Life Time Achievement Award 2018,” the citation read.

                                Started in 2012, the Bharat Gaurav Award” is in its sixth year.

                                In a colourful ceremony that was graced by eminent personalities from around the world, including National Award winning Film Director Shri. Madhur Bhandarkar, Bishop George moderated a seminar on “Rich Indian Culture” prior to the award ceremony.

                                In his award acceptance speech Bishop George underlined his lifelong commitment and concern for young people’s education and health; promotion of indigenous methods for envirornment conservation, and upholding of traditional tribal values of valour, dignity and honest work.

                                Alumnus of Salesian College Darjeeling Class of 1977, Bishop George, 63 years, heads the remotest diocese in northeast India. 

                                Born in Kerala south India, Bishop George has been working in northeast India for over 40 years. From 1979 to 1982 Brother George organised the migrant tribal students from Arunachal and Tripura who were in Shillong to get admissions, find rented facilities and mediated with the landlords to help them.

                                After his priestly ordination, in 1983 Fr George started the first residential school at Tinsukia to train tribal youth from neighbouring Arunachal state in schooling habits.

                                In 1990 he started Seva Kendra, an NGO for developmental activities. He also started the first private school and hostel in Borduria village in 1992.

                                Fr George held many rounds of discussion with Arunachal tribal leaders to eliminate the killings of babies born with any physical or mental defect and to avoid keeping the dead bodies in the villages on platforms. Mother Teresa's help was taken to look after the children born with deformities. “It worked very well to educate people on hygiene helped to initiate burying of the dead,” Bishop George recalls with a tinge of pride.

                                In 1997 Fr George started economic and developmental activities like providing water pipeline in Ngissa village, tea saplings in Neotan area, and promoted dairy farming by giving animals.

                                Fr George provided medical help, held health camps, and trained village level health workers. Today there is a network of 17 rural dispensaries and one hospital coordinating all health care in the region with more than 80 volunteer health workers.

                                Many tribal women who could not have formal schooling have found employment through skills training in tailoring and beautician courses.

                                Ordained Bishop of Miao in East Arunachal Pradesh in 2006, the remotest diocese in northeast India, Bishop George helped make giant strides in the education field with the establishment of 47 schools in the remotest corners, as well as many hostels. In 2014 the Venerable Uktara Bethany College was started at Namsai.

                                The construction of the cultural centre at Miao to preserve, protect and promote indigenous culture was started in 2017.

                                Negotiations are on to start a university in Borduria area and a College in Kanubari area of Longding district.

                                Bishop George has set up several NGOs to deal with education, environment, preservation and promotion of local cultures and dialects, and hopes to set up a cultural centre in Miao by the end of 2018.

                                • Gran Bretagna
                                • India
                                • Vescovi
                                • George Palliparambil
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  Vatican - The Church for Amazonia, Amazonia for the Church

                                  1 week ago

                                  (ANS - Vatican City) - On 12-13 April, 2018, the first Pre-Synodal Council Meeting of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region was held, presided by Pope Francis. The Salesian of Tuyuca origin Fr Justino Sarmento Rezende, the first indigenous Salesian ordained priest, 24 years ago, also took part.

                                  Attended by the 18 members of the Council (which includes the Salesians mgr. Edmundo Ponciano Valenzuela Mellid, archbishop of Asunción, in Paraguay, and Msgr. José Ángel Divassón Cilveti, former Apostolic Vicar of Puerto Ayacucho, in Venezuela) and 13 experts, the draft of the Preparatory Document for the Synod was examined, with the Synod scheduled for October 2019 on the theme: "Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology."

                                  After related proposals for improvement, the document was approved by the Council and shall now be transmitted, together with a questionnaire, to all Episcopal Conferences and other bodies involved to start pre-Synodal consultations.

                                  "The Church is watching us. It is with us with its heart and mind, placing in the people of Amazonia the hope of receiving important contributions, so that the Church may be at in time grow increasingly rooted at the local and more universal level," said a satisfied Fr. Rezende.

                                  Fr Rezende was also the author of one of the reports presented to the Council, which he did on Thursday 12. In addition to expressing his joy at being able to meet Pope Francis for the first time, he expressed his wish, on behalf of the indigenous peoples, to "give thanks for the many missionaries, priests, bishops who gave their lives for us, the peoples of Amazonia and the indigenous peoples. Some were martyred to defend us and many of them acquired an indigenous face, learning its culture, language, traditions, and today they are buried in mission lands. (...) Thanks to this missionary work, many lay people in the Church, catechists, extraordinary ministers, religious and priests have emerged. And this is the face we must offer as a Church."

                                  According to the Salesian, the Synod shall be "a very important moment to show the ways of the Church in our region and to propose new paths, keeping in mind our Christian life and our commitment to the defense of nature, our way of living the economy, sustainability, pastoral life ... "

                                  "We, indigenous peoples, evangelized and evangelizers, can contribute to the enrichment of our Church," concluded Father Rezende.

                                  • Vaticano
                                  • Papa Francesco
                                  • Sinodo per la regione Panamazzonica
                                  • Indigeni
                                  • BMA
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    Syria - "We offer our prayers for the security, victory and the liberation of Syria from all kinds of war and terrorism"

                                    1 week 1 day ago

                                    (ANS - Damascus) - With a joint communiqué, John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East; Ignatius Aphrem II, Syriac-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and of the whole East; and Joseph Absi, Greek-Melchite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, condemned the bombings carried out by the United States, United Kingdom and France on the night between 13 and 14 April on several Syrian sites. The statement says:

                                    1.   This brutal aggression is a clear violation of the international laws and the UN Charter, because it is an unjustified assault on a sovereign country, member of the UN.

                                    2.   It causes us great pain that this assault comes from powerful countries to which Syria did not cause any harm in any way.

                                    3.   The allegations of the USA and other countries that the Syrian army is using chemical weapons and that Syria is a country that owns and uses this kind of weapon, is a claim that is unjustified and unsupported by sufficient and clear evidence.

                                    4.   The timing of this unjustified aggression against Syria, when the independent International Commission for Inquiry was about to start its work in Syria, undermines of the work of this commission.

                                    5.   This brutal aggression destroys the chances for a peaceful political solution and leads to escalation and more complications.

                                    6.   This unjust aggression encourages the terrorist organizations and gives them momentum to continue in their terrorism.

                                    7.   We call upon the Security Council of the United Nations to play its natural role in bringing peace rather than contribute to escalation of wars.

                                    8.   We call upon all churches in the countries that participated in the aggression, to fulfill their Christian duties, according to the teachings of the Gospel, and condemn this aggression and to call their governments to commit to the protection of international peace.

                                    9.   We salute the courage, heroism and sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army which courageously protects Syria and provide security for its people. We pray for the souls of the martyrs and the recovery of the wounded. We are confident that the army will not bow before the external or internal terrorist aggressions; they will continue to fight courageously against terrorism until every inch of the Syrian land is cleansed from terrorism. We, likewise, commend the brave stand of countries which are friendly to the Syria and its people. 

                                    We offer our prayers for the safety, victory, and deliverance of Syria from all kinds of wars and terrorism. We also pray for peace in Syria and throughout the world, and call for strengthening the efforts of the national reconciliation for the sake of protecting the country and preserving the dignity of all Syrians.

                                    Source: Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East

                                    • Siria
                                    • MOR
                                    • Guerra
                                    • Chiesa
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      RMG - Mexico is ready to welcome the Rector Major again

                                      1 week 1 day ago

                                      (ANS - Guadalajara) – A popular old Mexican saying states "there is no deadline that is not respected." And the Salesian Family of the Mexico-Guadalajara Province (MEG) is happy to see that this is indeed the case: today, 16 April, the waiting ends because the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, returns to Mexico to meet his confreres and all those who share the charism of Don Bosco and carry out its mission.

                                      by Édgar Velasco

                                      Almost a year ago, in fact, early May 2017, the 10th Successor of Don Bosco visited the country, and specifically the Mexico-México Province, which covers the southern part of the country. Now he returns accompanied by his Secretary, Fr Horacio López, by Fr Filiberto González, General Councilor for Social Communication, originally from that Province, and by Fr Timothy Ploch, Councilor for Interamerica Region, but this time he will be visiting the MEG Province, which covers the western and northern areas of Mexico, of a powerful Catholic and Salesian tradition.

                                      Fr Á.F. Artime sets foot on Mexican soil in the capital of the state of Jalisco, Guadalajara, this evening, Monday 16. For him, an intensive week begins: for starters, the Rector Major will dedicate two days to meeting with the Provincial Council, first, and then with the Salesians of the Province, after which he will visit various Salesian centers and houses.

                                      On Thursday 19 there will be a meeting with the MEG Salesian Family, hosted in the National Shrine of "St John Bosco", located in the city of León, State of Guanajuato, where he will celebrate Mass for them. In the afternoon he will meet the young people of the Salesian Youth Movement in Ciudad del Niño, a center that is part of the "Niños Don Bosco" Project.

                                      The next day he will reach Tijuana, a city on the United States border, where he will dialogue with the young people of the Salesian centers in that part of the country, with an appointment at the "Don Bosco" oratory.

                                      On Saturday 21, again in Tijuana, he will visit the Salesian Refectory "Padre Chava", which offers hospitality, food and other services every day to about a thousand migrants and homeless people of all origins, and he will meet the Salesians and the Family Salesians present on the Mexico-United States border strip, mainly of Baja California.

                                      To prepare the meeting with the Successor of Don Bosco, the Social Communication team promoted several initiatives, including a video.

                                      • RMG
                                      • Messico
                                      • MEG
                                      • Rettor Maggiore
                                      • Ángel Fernández Artime
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        Egypt - Rector Major concludes visit to Middle East

                                        1 week 1 day ago

                                        (ANS - Cairo) - "You are the future of Egypt: in science, in culture, in industry ...". With these words full of encouragement for the construction of a reality made of prosperity and peace, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians, greeted the young students of the Salesian presence in Alexandria, Egypt, the last stage of his visit among the houses of the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco in the countries of the Middle East.

                                        The Rector Major's journey to the Land of the Pyramids began in the late evening of April 9, with his arrival in the capital, Cairo, directly from Beirut, Lebanon.

                                        Fr Á.F. Artime spent the following day entirely in the city, visiting both houses - Rod El Farag and Zeitun - and meeting with the Salesians present throughout the country in the morning and with the members of the local Salesian Family in the afternoon.

                                        Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12, the 10th Successor of Don Bosco spent in Alexandria where he was received with great enthusiasm by all: Salesians, school staff and students of the various levels of the institute, which includes kindergarten, elementary, middle and high schools, and the Italian “industriale” secondary school.

                                        Fr Á.F. Artime dedicated some of his time to each. He animated the Salesians, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Salesian Cooperators active in the city. Then he made himself available with patience and kindness to the many requests for photos and selfies, coming mainly from the children and youngsters of the oratory, all of Muslim faith.

                                        Then he talked with the students of the various courses of the Salesian institute and pointed out to them the example of the first students of Don Bosco: like them, even the youths who study today in Egypt and are formed as honest citizens will know how to set and lay the foundations of a new development that will benefit the entire nation.

                                        Finally, speaking to the teachers, he reminded them that more than the concepts or notions of their individual academic subjects, the students will remember forever their attitude, the love received from them, why he encouraged teachers to follow and practice the Preventive System.

                                        Fr Á.F. Artime, accompanied throughout the journey by his Secretary, Fr Horacio López, then left for his journey to Rome. 

                                        {gallery}Egitto - Visita RM 2018{/gallery}

                                        • Egitto
                                        • MOR
                                        • Rettor Maggiore
                                        • Ángel Fernández Artime
                                        • Islam
                                          Gian Francesco Romano
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                                          ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana