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Brazil – The Festive Oratory, an educational and pastoral heritage of the Church, Belém archdiocese to start festive oratories

1 week 5 days ago

(ANS - Belém) - Created by Saint Filippo Neri (1515-1595) in Rome, re-thought and re-launched by Don Bosco in Turin, both diocesan priests, the festive oratory will soon be part of many parishes of the Archdiocese of Belém.

The festive oratory is an educational and evangelizing experience for children and young people. It is based on informality, achieved through the promotion of sport, leisure, healthy and safe entertainment. According to Don Bosco, the goal of the oratory is to form "good Christians and honest citizens."

The festive oratory will soon be a feature of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Belém as a strategy to bring young people together to promote their human formation and evangelization. This educational-pastoral activity is part of the Youth Sector Project of the Archdiocese of Belém, conceived by the auxiliary bishop of Belém, Salesian Msgr. Antonio de Assis, in charge of accompanying the youth and referent for the North II Region.

The objective of the archdiocese's Youth Sector is to establish 50 festive oratories in 2018 in the metropolitan region's most diverse areas, especially in the peripheral communities where juvenile crime is widespread; currently, 25 parishes have already adhered to the initiative. For the activities to be carried out safely and with the necessary preparation, a program of three training sessions for voluntary animators is under way.

During the second training session, held on Saturday, 6 January, there were 96 volunteers, young people and adults, representing various parishes, new communities of consecrated life and religious communities. Also present were four priests and five religious.

On the occasion, Fr Josué Nascimento, SDB, spoke about the historical aspects of the oratory, starting with St. Filippo Neri and Don Bosco; in the afternoon, mgr. de Assis reflected on the educational and pastoral aspects of the festive oratory, and ended the assembly with a Eucharistic celebration.

According to the archbishop, the project's creator, "this activity [the festive oratory) is not exclusive to the Salesian Congregation and will be an important form of redemption, or return, of a diocesan heritage that had been lost. Let us remember that both St. Filippo Neri and Don Bosco were diocesan priests. In fact, the festive oratory is an educational and pastoral patrimony of the Church. Young people are enthusiastic about this project and have great expectations."

  • Brasile
  • BMA
  • Vescovi
  • Oratorio
  • Antônio de Assis Ribeiro
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Italy - "150 teens in search of an author.".Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco in support of young people

    1 week 5 days ago

    (ANS - Rome) - To counteract young people dropping out of school, the Salesian "Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco" association in Rome, with the association "Rimettere le ali Onlus", is about to launch a campaign called: 150 teens in search of an author. The initiative aims to offer help and support to 150 children living in dire conditions of family, economic and social hardship.

    Although the school drop-out rate in Italy is decreasing, and rate has decreased from 14.7% in 2015 to 13.8% in 2016, (source: Eurostat) the risk persists, especially where conditions of hardship are experienced. This result highlights two things: the fight against early school leaving is bearing fruit; this encouraging data, therefore, calls for ongoing targeted action in territories marked by hardship. This is the case of the peripheral territory wherein Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco operates, an area affected by different types of poverty, not just economic.

    "Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco undertakes to involve and seek out new benefactors who can become proactive authors of change and for the future of young people in difficulty," said the initiative's promoters in a statement. "The support of benefactors becomes extremely valuable, if not indispensable, to be able to carry out projects and offer services that institutions often fail to adequately support."

    For the launch of the campaign, Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco and "Rimettere le Ali Onlus" organized a free show of social theater at the Teatro Filippo Smaldone in Via Prenestina 382, ​​Rome, at 8.30 PM, on Friday, January 12, 2018.

    Established in 1948 to welcome the "sciuscià", or the post-war orphans, the "Borgo Ragazzi" continues to welcome, even today, young people at risk and in social, economic and/or family difficulties. It operates in East Rome (Municipalities IV, V, VI), defined as high risk zones by the Ministry of the Interior for the presence of a high incidence of citizens living in an emblematic condition of social hardship (difficulty of cultural integration, high unemployment, high early school leaving rate, high rates of juvenile crime). Even the most recent report of the City of Rome marks this area of the capital as the one with the highest percentage of social hardships.

    For more information, visit: 

    • Italia
    • ICC
    • Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco
    • Giovani a Rischio Sociale
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Italy - In memory of Fr Pietro Zago, SDB

      1 week 6 days ago

      (ANS - Perosa Argentina) - The death of Fr. Pietro Zago, a Salesian missionary who passed away on 28 December 2017 in Perosa Argentina, near Turin, has greatly affected the Salesian Congregation, especially in Asia-Oceania. He had retired to Turin a few months ago due to his worsened health conditions, after a life spent for the young in need in many different countries.

      "He was a man of prayer, a devoted son of Mary. He was Don Bosco among the young," says Fr David Buenaventura from the Philippines where Fr Zago served for over 25 years, becoming from 1992 to 1997, the (FIS) South Philippines Province's first Superior.

      "Many have expressed the desire to follow Jesus in the consecrated life on seeing his warm and joyful style of life. I am one of those who, fascinated by his laughter and by the ever-present rosary, moved to live with the Salesian community led by this loving father," declares Fr Samuel Adnan Ghouri, the second Pakistani Salesian priest.

      Mgr. Patrick Buzon, SDB, bishop of Bacolod, also in the Philippines: "Our deepest gratitude to our beloved founder of the Philippine-South Province and the Pakistan mission! On a personal note, thank you, dear Fr Peter, for patiently mentoring me! Enjoy your deserved reward in the Father's house and pray for us."

      "Fr Peter will not rest ... not even in heaven... he is busy setting up a new Vocational Training Center... or another Oratory for the poor... He is a true model for us all!," said msgr. Luciano Capelli, SDB, bishop of Gizo, Solomon Islands.

      "Fr. Peter Zago started the work at the Don Bosco Technical School. He is still remembered by the first students of DB Vunabosco and by the people of Rabaul. May he rest in peace!," adds msgr. Francesco Panfilo, SDB, archbishop of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.

      Of his nearly 83 years of life, Fr Zago spent 62 as a missionary. He served the young of India, Indonesia, East Timor, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and finally Pakistan, where he spent the last 18 years of his life and founded the two centers currently present in the countrymn, namely Quetta and Lahore. He also actively contributed to the support of refugees and the poor and to the reconstruction of the villages damaged in the 2005 earthquake and the 2010 floods.

      • Italia
      • Pakistan
      • Filippine
      • FIS
      • Missioni
      • Decessi
        Gian Francesco Romano

        Spain – "Spain-Saint James Major" Province launches 2018 vocational campaign

        1 week 6 days ago

        (ANS - Madrid) - The Salesian Family is preparing for the celebration of the feast of St. John Bosco on January 31st. Through religious, sporting and cultural activities, Salesian houses promote the figure of the Saint of young people. One of the usual appointments of this era in Spain is the vocational campaign whereby the Salesians invite young people to reflect on the meaning of their lives and of their vocations, marriage, consecrated life, the priesthood.

        Based in Madrid, the "Spain-St James Major" (SSM) Province presented the 2018 vocational campaign, developed around the motto: "Happiness begins with faith." The idea comes from the year's pastoral theme: "The taste of happiness."

        The Province's Delegation of Vocational Animation has prepared a series of resources so Salesian houses can distribute the campaign to their respective environments: schools, youth centers, social platforms ... The SerSalesian site offers material for accompaniment, prayers, celebrations, moments of conviviality, and more.

        The campaign also provides material for the formation of people who are part of the educational community in Spain's Salesian centers. As stated by Fr Xabier Camino, Provincial Delegate for Vocational Animation: "the creation of an authentic vocational culture requires all of us, Salesians and laity, to foster and take care of an environment of permanent evangelization in our centers."

        The Salesian also adds that "vocation is a personal gift God gives to all of us." It is not "a privilege for the chosen few, because we are all called to be happy, to discover and live the dream God has for each of us, his children." However, he clarifies that, "vocation is also a responsibility that requires us to take care of our lives of faith, to intensify our moments of prayer, to cultivate the celebration of the sacraments, to strengthen our apostolic commitment to others ...".

        The campaign's video presentation shows how faith is the first step to embarking upon on the journey of a vocation in life and achieving happiness. A path marked by sharing with others, through generosity, loyalty, sacrifice, patience, love ... The idea conveyed by the campaign is that a generous response to vocations leads to happiness, why it is fundamental to ask oneself what God wants from each person. The video concludes with a question that encourages the young person to reflect on this very question: What is your path, the road you must choose and travel upon?

        • Spagna
        • SSM
        • Vocazioni
          Gian Francesco Romano

          India - Fr Tom's thanks: "You have purchased freedom for me from the Lord"

          2 weeks ago

          (ANS - Bangalore) – "I understand that if I had not been hurt by my captors, if my mind was sane if I was tranquil all these is the fruit of your prayers and your sacrifices." With conviction and serenity, with that calm faith that has marked his public talks since liberation, Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, through a short video, thanked all the Salesians, the Salesian Family and all the people who during the 18 months of his captivity in Yemen prayed and offered sacrifices for him.

          His message was recorded and broadcast in the first days of January, almost a wish for the new year, to signify the beginning of a new page in his life, after his long experience of isolation and slow recovery.

          Fr Tom's gratitude is addressed to God, first of all, and then spreads throughout the Congregation and the Salesian Family: "In the Lord’s name I wish to thank our Rector Major, the council, all the provincials of the entire Salesian world, the rectors of the various communities, the confreres, the novices, the aspirants and their families, in short, the entire Salesian Family who have been with me."

          "You have purchased freedom for me from the Lord," he concludes, finally, specifying at the same time how he conceives the future of his vocation and his service for the Church and for society: "My mission in the coming years, or the period that the Lord has left for me, is to bear witness to this fact that the prayers of each of us are heard by the Lord and we are blessed."

          The complete video is available on the ANSChannel on YouTube in the original English version and with subtitles in Italian and Spanish.

          • India
          • Tom Uzhunnalil
            Gian Francesco Romano

            RMG - Salesian Mission Day 2018: "Whispering the Gospel in Asia"

            2 weeks 1 day ago

            (ANS - Rome) - The theme of Salesian Mission Day (GMS) 2018, "Whispering the Gospel in Asia", was presented on the day of the Epiphany. This year the focus falls on the first proclamation of the Gospel on the Asian continent, especially those spoken via the Vocational Training Schools.

            The Congregation invites everyone to celebrate the Salesian Mission Day on 11 November, or thereabouts, the departure date of the First Missionary Expedition, but the Provinces may choose to celebrate the day on other dates, according to their own convenience.

            As part of the presentation, the GMS poster was released. It sets the new Salesian Missionary Cross at its center, a reminder that the Salesians of Don Bosco and the Salesian Family are called to be missionaries of the young, their hearts shaped according to the Good Shepherd, the source of joy, faith, hope and love.

            The radiant golden light descending from above that continues as a stream of water in the background represents the presence of the Holy Spirit who constantly guides and illuminates each missionary in their life of service. That gentle stream indicates, too, the methodology of the First Announcement, one of serene, discreet and respectful patience as it communicates the Good News.

            The photomontage of the young people of the Vocational Training Centers represents the field of work in Asian countries, in societies sometimes marked by the contrast between wealth and poverty. In Asia, there are, of course, many young people of different cultural, religious and economic backgrounds which the Salesians, with patience, kindness and gentleness, are called to accompany and instruct in their studies and vocations so they may grow up as honest citizens and good Christians, or children of a different faith, as people who contribute to society experiencing true joy - in this life and in the future.

            The poster's visual journey ends with a photo of Don Bosco sitting next to a globe,  reminder of the Founder's missionary dreams: he invites his spiritual children to travel and go around the world bringing Good News to the young. Through a fraternal presence and offers that are educational and pastoral, Salesians foster a welcoming and family-like environment, one that nurtures a sense of personal dignity and inclusion in society, while communicating, like "words whispered to one's ear", words of joy, faith, hope and love: the whispered words of the Gospel.

            The GMS poster and prayers, and later also the booklet for missionary animation, will soon be available, in various languages, at the website

            • RMG
            • Giornata Missionaria Salesiana
            • Missioni
              Gian Francesco Romano

              Uruguay - Music is an art to evangelize and transmit the essence of Salesian charism

              2 weeks 1 day ago

              (ANS - Montevideo) - Music as art to evangelize and transmit the essence of the Salesian charism, because being musicians and sharing the Salesian spirit are often things that go hand in hand. Diego Melano and Francisco Romero, two young musicians, narrate the beginning of their artistic vocation.

              "The idea came from a group of animators of Maturana," they explain, "that at a party of Mary Help of Christians decided to change the rhythm of the Mass songs and give it a different rhythm." Francisco Romero adds: "They are not a musical band, but a group of animators playing instruments, who try to entertain others, that convey joy and above all the Salesian charism."

              When they first started playing and performing, the audience response was an immediate success. The musicians realized this could be a channel for conveying a message using a youthful language. Both artists agreed that was the way they liked to live the faith, and in which they felt most comfortable when it came to doing animation: to live the art world as a vehicle for evangelization.

              There is a key moment in which each artist discovers his or her vocation. Francisco was not interested in music at first, but something that manifested itself in adolescence. "I remember there was a guitar at home ... It was just there and it attracted me, so one day I asked my mother to teach me some chords. Since then I have never stopped playing."

              "I realized," Diego adds, "that young people listened to what I would say on the microphone. The person who speaks up there has a chance ... Orators speak to many people and the stage ensures they are watched. I understood then that what I say and do is what God tells me."

              Both artists agree that sharing the Salesian charism reflects directly on their art. "My Salesian spirit is tied to the theme of joy. The music I play transmits my values. I try to be myself at all times with my Salesian spirit and rejoicing in what I do," says Francisco.

              "I can present songs that talk about life itself," Diego explains, "and this is really God. My story could not be any other way. Being a Salesian and being a musician is the same reality."

              {gallery}Uruguay - Musica e arte{/gallery}

              • Uruguay
              • URU
              • Musica
              • Arte
                Gian Francesco Romano

                RMG - 36th Salesian Family Day in Turin: first time in Don Bosco's house

                2 weeks 4 days ago

                (ANS - Rome) - The 36th Salesian Family Day will begin in a few days. Fr Eusebio Munoz, Secretary of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family and responsible for the Salesian Family Day (GFS -2018), has been working for several months in the mother house of the Salesian Congregation in Valdocco to organize an event that brings together hundreds of people from all over the world. The work focusses on Strenna 2018, recently presented by Fr Ángel Fernández Artime: "Cultivating the art of listening and accompanying." It explores and discusses the biblical text, "Lord, give me this water" (Jn 4:15).

                The 36th Salesian Family Day begins a new chapter in Valdocco, the site where Don Bosco gave the first message to his Salesian sons; over time, it assumed the name "Strenna". For over a hundred years this message has been issued by the Rector Major, who studies, animates and directs the tradition: "A theme that completely touches the essence of our charism."

                Scheduled in Turin - Valdocco from 18 to 21 January, the Day will be inaugurated by the Rector Major. Sister Paola Casalis, FMA, shall present the first paper: "Listening to the young", while Fr Juan Crespo, SDB, discusses the Strenna theme: "Discernment and decision in accompaniment." Turin's Archbishop Mons. Cesare Nosiglia shall preside at the solemn Mass.

                The 36th Salesian Family Day will be broadcast live on the ANS Facebook page for the entire Salesian world at:

                • RMG
                • Giornate di Spiritualità della FS
                • Famiglia Salesiana
                  Jesus Jurado

                  Chile - Welcome Pope Francis! Two Salesian bishops receive the Holy Father.

                  2 weeks 4 days ago

                  (ANS - Santiago) – A few days from now, the Holy Father will visit two Latin American countries: Chile and Peru. In these nations, the Salesians work together with the people in difficult situations of conflict. Chile proposed as a theme: "My peace I give you", a phrase Jesus addressed to his disciples at the Last Supper. Two Salesian bishops will welcome the Holy Father in their respective dioceses: Bishop Héctor Vargas Bastidas, SDB, bishop of Temuco, and the Archbishop of Santiago, Cardenal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, SDB, who sent a message to all the congregations motivating the Pope Francis' visit to Chile:

                  "In a few days we will receive the visit of the 'Vicar of Christ', Pope Francis. He arrives in our city and in our country. It is a great gift for the Catholic Church, but also for all men and women of good will who want to hear the message of peace, understanding and fraternity that he brings us.

                  Pope Francis comes to visit a church that is constantly reaching out and living "outwards", considering the initiatives in caring for the material and existential peripheries that influence believers and non-believers alike with an essential question: "What can I do for you?", a question posed with humility and gratitude, without wishing for anything in return, done in the hope that does not deceive, that hope that only the Son of God can offer you.

                  The visit of Pope Francis ... is an opportunity to heal old and new wounds and propose new and demanding challenges in the greater aim of making Chile a home for all, a country where we create greater cohesion, take care of each other ... At your invitation: 'Do not forget to pray for me', we recommend you to the Virgin of Carmen."

                  The current context of the Chilean Church is difficult and complicated, and for this reason he has decided to meet with young people, with the reality of the indigenous, and the Mapuches. Welcome Pope Francis!

                  • Cile
                  • Papa Francesco
                    Jesus Jurado

                    Nepal - Tour of Indo-Nepalese friendship commemorates Don Bosco's 25 years in Nepal

                    2 weeks 4 days ago

                    Darjeeling - A radio from the university community in the hills of Darjeeling has organized a historic "Indo-Nepalese Friendship Tour" with a team of radio journalists; a visit to 7 institutions in Nepal run by former students of the Salesian College Sonada (SCS) is planned to celebrate its 80th anniversary, as well as the 25th year of the presence of the Don Bosco Society in Nepal.

                    The show also recorded the first year of Radio Salesian, the original university radio station in Bengal and in North-East India. The tour on Radio Salesian Maruti Omni Van begins on Sunday 7 January from Sonada, passing through the Indo-Nepalese border of Kakrabitta near Siliguri and then proceeding to Dharan, from where the Don Bosco Society's activity in Nepal began; it will then reach Kathmandu, in western Nepal.

                    The station director and vice-president Prof. C.M. Paul, program coordinator RJ Samir Chhetri, Mr. RJ Sagar Rai, and the driver Kabi Rai make up the team.

                    The SCS vice-president Paul illustrates the program: "To promote higher education in the Salesian College Darjeeling and the Siliguri campus we will in a week visit the institutions of Don Bosco, as well as two secondary schools (Kakrabitta, Birtamod, Dharan, Biratnagar, Ithari and Kathmandu)."

                    Radio journalist Chhetri adds: "We will create radio programs for the 25 years of the Don Bosco Society of Nepal and interact with the community radio stations, in particular in Dharan - the cradle of the Don Bosco Society in Nepal."

                    The history of the Nepal Don Bosco Society began in 1992 with the center of Dharan, in eastern Nepal, started by the late Fr George Alakulam.

                    The Salesians reached Sirsia (1996), then the capital Kathmandu, with two centers - in Lubhu, founded in 1996, and Thecho in 2001; Baroul and Chakkarghatty then opened (2014) in eastern Nepal; and finally Biratnagar in 2017, for a total of seven houses, now run by 18 Salesians from various states of India.

                    On 11 November 2017, the silver jubilee was celebrated at the Don Bosco School Biratnagar (1992-2017).

                    The Nepal Don Bosco Society is engaged in numerous activities dedicated to young people in the country: two technical schools, four academic schools, three social awareness centers, four boarding houses and various non-formal education centers.

                    A number of social programs are also offered: scholarships for students and emergency response projects, such as the consequences of the tragic earthquakes of 2015.

                    According to the 2011 census, 81.3% of the Nepalese population were Hindu, 9.0% Buddhist, 4.4% Muslim, 3.0% Kyratian (indigenous ethnic religion), 1.4% Christian, 0.2% Sikh, 0.1% Jainist and 0.6% follow other or no religion. Out of circa 29 million people, about 7,000 are Catholics.

                    • Nepal
                    • INC
                      Jesus Jurado

                      Brazil - Listening among the people of Bororo: Beatus Volkmar, Indonesian missionary

                      2 weeks 5 days ago

                      (ANS - Mato Grosso) - My name is Beatus Volkmar Tola. I come from Indonesia, the island of Flores. I arrived in Brazil in 2014 at the age of 26. My experience of the Salesian community and of the life of prayer in Indonesia was very beautiful. In fact, for me community life helps me a lot to grow every day through experience, the messages and testimonies of my brothers that I have seen and listened to.

                                By: Fr Beatus Volkmar Tola, SDB

                      The community life that I have lived has always guided me well until now, supported me when I was not well or I was sad. Another thing is the life of prayer. For me, the life of prayer is very important because in the environment of prayer I found my existence as a person who always needs God's help. Then I understood that God is speaking to me in many ways and listening to all my complaints, pains and joys. I always remember what our father Don Bosco often said: Vocations are preserved only through prayer; those who leave prayer will certainly leave their vocation.

                      The Brazil that I knew before my arrival was a great country, very famous for football. The first time I arrived in Brazil, I was confused because I did not understand what my brothers and my Salesian people were saying around me. I spent my first year of practical formation in the village of Boeri-Bororo, Meruri (Mato Gross). The first time I went there, the Bororo welcomed me with great joy; obviously they expected me to give them something. So I took up the challenge because, first of all, I still did not know how to speak or understand the Portuguese language. Later, I was with people who had a different culture and language from Portuguese. With these limitations, therefore, I chose to listen, listen and act. Listening and acting, I tried to participate in all the activities, both those organized by Salesians and by the indigenous leaders themselves. The other interesting thing was when I participated in the rituals of their culture. I remember the day of the Indians when the Bororo and I went to the forest to collect various materials (firewood, palm leaves, fruit to paint, etc.).

                      During the time I stayed with them, I was able to learn how to work together, respect their culture and understand more deeply that there was hope. When I speak of hope in this context, I think it is a value that will always be a source of strength for the young Bororo in pursuit of their great dreams which, meanwhile, many people doubt. Their reality and their dreams always inspire my faith and hope, that there is always the possibility of better days.

                      My interest in becoming a missionary started with an article on the adventures and hard work of Salesians in Sudan who work to help the oppressed and neglected. I read this news as an aspirant. What motivated me to become a missionary is that I listened to and followed my conscience: "Go to that place, do not be afraid, do what you can. The rest, God shall complete!"

                      For young people, or Salesians, who wish to follow the missionary call that I am living, I would say: "Listen and follow your conscience and then take your decision in prayer! When you understand what it means to listen, you come to know  many realities that need your love, especially the reality of the young, the poor and the abandoned.They need your love to listen."

                      • Missioni
                      • Brasile
                      • BCG
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        RMG - January 8: first liturgical commemeration of Blessed Titus Zeman

                        2 weeks 5 days ago

                        (ANS - Rome) - Monday 8 January marks the first liturgical celebration in the Memory of Tito Zeman, beatified in Bratislava (Slovakia) on 30 September 2017. The date coincides with the dies natalis of the new blessed who died in hatred of the faith at age 54 on 8 January 1969 in Vajnory, a suburb of Bratislava, where he was born on 4 January 1915.

                        The first of ten children, at the age of 10, he suddenly healed by the intercession of the Virgin Mary to whom he promised to "be her son forever" and to become a Salesian priest. In 1932, he made his first religious profession. In 1940, he was ordained a priest. After escaping the "Night of the Barbarians" (April 13-14, 1950), he decided to accompany several young confreres, escaped through the Iron Curtain in the direction of Turin so they could become priests. He also tried to save several diocesan priests. After two successful journeys (late summer and autumn 1950), in April 1951 the expedition failed. Father Tito Zeman was arrested, tortured, was imprisoned for 12 years and almost 5 years on supervised parole.

                        "From this we have known love: He has given his life for us; therefore we must also give our lives for our brothers."(1 Jn 3:16). It was in listening to the Word of God during the celebration of the Eucharist that Tito Zeman felt in his heart the inspiration and the strength to sacrifice his life for the salvation of vocations, overcoming fear and declaring himself ready to follow God's will to the end, entrusting himself to divine mercy and hoping for eternal life. The texts of the liturgical Memory are inspired by this decisive moment in his life when he felt the call to give his life for the salvation of young vocations.

                        His testimony is the incarnation of the Salesian charism in giving one's life for the salvation of the young by, above all, accompanying them in the journey of faith and discernment in the fulfillment of their vocations, as recalled by the theme of the next synod of bishops and the Strenna of the Rector Major.

                        The liturgical texts can be found at:

                        • Santità Salesiana
                        • RMG
                        • Titus Zeman
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          RMG - VI General Assembly of Volunteers With Don Bosco

                          2 weeks 5 days ago

                          (ANS - Rome) - The VI General Assembly sees the representatives of the “Volunteers With Don Bosco” gathered in Rome; coming from different parts of the world, they meet to reflect on the theme: «"Like living stones "(1 Pt 2:5) -  to grow in communion."

                          Introduced by the reflections dictated by Fr Pascual Chàvez and by the President of the Instituto Secolare "Cristo Re", the 17 CDB and the 6 Ecclesiastical Assistants discussed the theme of communion and fraternal life according to the characteristics of a secular institute whose members "do not have a common life, but live in communion of life."

                          The meeting was attended by the Delegate of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family, Fr Eusebio Muñoz, whose qualified contribution strengthened the sense of belonging to the Salesian Family in which the CDBs form an officially recognized Group. The visits of the Rector Major's Vicar, Fr Francesco Cereda, the SDB Regional Councilor for East Asia/Oceania, Fr Vaclav Klement, and of the Postulator General for the Causes of Saints, Fr Pierluigi Cameroni were welcomed and much-appreciated; there were also various messages of good wishes from Provincials/Coordinators of Groups of the Salesian Family.

                          Representing the entire institute, the brothers also convened to approve modifications to the Constitutions and Regulations, as well as to elect the World Director and the Central Council to lead the Institute for the next four years with functions of "animation and government."

                          The new Director was elected in the person of Gaetano C., a 42-year-old Italian teacher. He will be assisted by a Venezuelan Vice-President, a Mexican Formation Advisor and an Italian Communications Councilor. The composition of the Board will be completed when the World Director appoints the Central Administrator and the Central Secretary.

                          The Assembly was also an opportunity to inform delegates on the current phase of the beatification cause of a CDB brother, Nino Baglieri, who died in 2007 "in hunger for holiness."

                          Tomorrow, Friday 5 January, the Rector Major, Fr Angel Fernandez Artime, presides over the closing Mass for the Assembly; a CDB of Brazil will also make his perpetual profession and a young Italian CDB shall renew his temporary profession.

                          The Volunteers With Don Bosco are a Public Association of Lay Faithful oriented to becoming a Secular Institute. Currently, there are 92 members present in 27 nations (7 in Africa, 13 in America, 2 in Asia, 5 in Europe) making their own specific contribution as consecrated seculars in the Salesian style.

                          • RMG
                          • Italia
                          • CDB Volontari Con Don Bosco
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Italy Formation for IME Animators

                            2 weeks 6 days ago

                            (ANS - Naples) – Formation for Provincial animators/pre-animators (FxA) is by-now a set appointment for those young people involved in the journey of animation who come from the oratories of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Campania, Basilicata, Puglia and Calabria.

                            It is an opportunity to deepen their formation on a theoretical level, thanks to lessons on Salesian Youth Spirituality, Sacred Scriptures, the Magisterium of the Church, Psychology, Social Communication, etc .; but also on a practical level, expanding their knowledge of animation and liturgical techniques and tools. The FxA takes place twice a year: the Southern Province starts its course in winter; the course then merges into the Animators Camp that is held during the summer. The whole process completes the path of formation undertaken by the animators operating at the local level.

                            Though the young Calabrians postponed their workshop to February, this winter session for the Campani, Lucani and Pugliesi oratories was held from 28 to 30 December 2017. It focussed on the figure of Mary and the reality of the Church according to the theme characterizing the SYM year: "Home for many, Mother for all", that is: #nessunoescluso, or nobody excluded.


                            The Campani and Lucani participants gathered in Torre Annunziata; the Pugliesi in Santeramo in Colle. Both groups were immediately engaged in morning lessons. The day ended by a fun-filled and enjoyable evening. The morning of the 29th began, instead, with the Eucharistic celebration and was then entirely occupied by lessons. The topics covered during the course were: "Salesian Youth Spirituality and Mariology", "Sacred Scripture", and "Magisterium of the Church". Young sisters and confreres guided the various moments of study, prayer and conviviality. In the afternoon, participants experienced the pilgrimage to the cathedral of Salerno and in the Apulian sites of Father Tonino Bello. The evening ended for everyone with a prayer vigil.

                            On the last morning, all the participants had time for study – individually and in groups; their focus: topics covered on the previous days, topics they'd be tested on during their internship's final exam. The final Eucharistic celebration, presided over in Torre Annunziata by the Provincial Fr Angelo Santorsola, was a beautiful moment to thank the Lord for the enriching experience shared and lived together.

                            On looking on at how these young people took part in the workshop, sacrificing a part of their vacation in favor of Salesian formation, Don Bosco's words spontaneously arise from the heart: "Every moment of time is a treasure and every moment you engage well will be a treasure that you will earn!"

                            • Italia
                            • Animatori
                            • IME
                              Jesus Jurado

                              Chile – Former Salesian student will decorate the altar of Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in Iquique

                              2 weeks 6 days ago

                              (ANS - Iquique) - From 15 to 18 January, Pope Francis will visit Chile. On the last day, he will celebrate Mass in the city of Iquique, 1700 kilometers from the capital. The Holy Father will crown the image of the Virgin of Carmen de la Tirana, being exhibited together with the images of San José, who represents the first migrant, and of San Lorenzo de Tarapaca.

                              Yoing Koo was appointed as architect for the altar's construction; the decoration features traditional flowers produced in aluminum called "salitrero funeral art." The production of flowers in tin is a tradition of Iquique and the surrounding areas, a region with a particularly hot climate that does not allow for fresh flowers for very long, why villagers reuse cans and other objects to compose flowers, crowns and crosses to bring their loved ones in cemeteries.

                              Mr. Humberto Alache, a visual arts professor and former pupil of the Salesian College Don Bosco of Iquique, is creating 12,000 flowers in the style of the traditional local funeral art to decorate the altar Pope Francis will celebrate at on January 18.
                              The teacher, and collaborators Aurora Cordano, Norma Araya, Yolanda Cañas, Sandra Godoy, Patricia Herrera Chacón and Silvana, have been doing an immense amount of work since October to complete the work in time.

                              They are creating roses and other works of art from tin cans painted in gold and copper. Inserted in 48 paintings, the flowers shall then be delivered to the institutions and parishes as testimony of Pope Francis' visit to the city.

                              Figures carved in the church of Tarapacá are also being prepared.

                              The origin of the tin flowers dates back to the time of the British who, on seeing that the natural flowers could not survive in the arid desert, began to use flowers fashioned from tin.

                              • Cile
                              • Exallievi
                              • Papa Francesco
                                Jesus Jurado

                                India - Don Bosco school-hut in a slum

                                3 weeks ago

                                (ANS - Vishakaptnam) - State of Andra, India. In the Kacherapalem slum about 800 people live in 150 tents and huts. The shantytown has existed for 20 years and is located under a bridge near the railway. There are no toilets, no waste collection, no electricity in the houses - they use lamps or candles. Most adults recycle waste on the street, collecting plastic, glass, metal, cardboard, and sell small handicraft or fruit products. Children do not attend school because parents cannot afford it and prefer to let their children work.

                                The Salesians of Vishakapatnam started educational activities in the slum in December 2016, initially under a small tent. In February 2017, Massimiliano Schilirò, an Italian traveler from Gavi (Alessandria province, a few km from Mornese) visited the slum and left a small contribution with which a wooden school-hut was built. This new structure, although small, effects a greater number of children (about 60, aged between 4 and 14 years) and positively impacts the entire community. The objectives are many: to provide basic education ("school-bridge", allowing them to be integrated into the Indian school system), offer one nutritious meal per day and medical assistance to the children; for young people, create an aggregation center where they can play and have fun together.

                                Back in Italy, Massimiliano (known in his area as "Massi on the road") started a fundraising program for the project. Through the sale of his two travel books, and various public and school readings and presentations, he collected 4,000 euros for the school-hut, which was then sent to the director, Father Ratna, via the "Don Bosco nel Mondo" Foundation.

                                The result: these past 10 months, about 60 boys and girls from the shantytown have had a small but clean and safe place to learn, play, eat and grow together. A number of initiatives have also been created for parents, who have thus become actively involved in the project itself.

                                For Christmas, Massimiliano and his friend Gaviese (the cartoonist Guzio) have created a cartoon that represents the project. In this image, simple and complex at the same time, hope is summarized in a better future, citing the words of St. Teresa of Calcutta: "Peace begins with a smile."

                                • India
                                • Scuole
                                • Slum
                                  Jesus Jurado

                                  Vatican - "Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace": World Day of Peace 2018

                                  3 weeks ago

                                  (ANS - Vatican City) - World Day of Peace 2018,  a 51-year initiative of courage and prophecy of the Catholic Church. Established by Paul VI with a message dated 8 December 1967, it was first celebrated on 1 January 1968. Since then, the Pope sends a message to the heads of nations and to all men of good that calls for reflection on the theme of peace, disarmament, justice and development.

                                  Pope Francis has issued his fifth Message, prior messages being: 1. "Fraternity, foundation and path to peace" (2014); 2. No longer slaves but brothers (2015); 3. "Win indifference and conquer peace" (2016); 4. "Nonviolence: style of politics for peace" (2017); and 5. "Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace" (2018).

                                  Pope Francis' best wishes for peace: "Peace to all people and to all the nations on earth! A profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence."

                                  Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. Pope Benedict XVI, my beloved predecessor, spoke of them as “men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace.”[2] In order to find that peace, they are willing to risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal.

                                  The full text of the 2018 World Day of Peace is available at:



                                  • Vaticano
                                  • Pace
                                  • Migranti
                                    Jesus Jurado

                                    Mongolia - A great gift to the Salesians for 2018

                                    3 weeks ago

                                    (ANS - Ulan Bator) - On 31 December 2017, on the outskirts of Ulan Bator,  Mongolia's capital, in the village of Shovoo, a new Salesian parish with the name of "Holy Family" opened its doors, a structure built by the Mongolian prefecture.

                                    Fr Mario Gasper Santosh, SDB, was appointed as its first parish priest by His Excellency Wenceslao Padilla, the bishop of Mongolia. About 200 people from all over the prefecture attended the great event, including 10 Salesians, other religious and priests. To celebrate the day, seven people were also baptized, including young people and adults.

                                    The parish has more than 60 Catholics. About 10 years ago the government granted the village Shovoo to carry out social and religious activities. Started by the ICM sisters (Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary), it was then consigned to the prefecture. Then, entrusted to the Salesians one year ago, the Salesians now manage the crèche, an unofficial parish, the farms during summer, and many other social initiatives.

                                    The village, with a population of 10 to 15 thousand people, is in a mountainous environment and surrounded by a river. In winter, snow blankets the land; in summer, green pastures bring on a life full of activity everywhere. A simple population, open to evangelization, as well as other development work.

                                    For the Salesians, the New Year has started with a wonderful gift. We thank God for granting such a gift, useful for spreading His good news and serving His people.

                                    • Mongolia
                                    • Parrocchie
                                      Jesus Jurado

                                      Vatican - Fr Cristóbal López Romero, SDB, appointed Archbishop of Rabat Archdiocese (Morocco)

                                      3 weeks 4 days ago

                                      (ANS - Vatican City) - Rev. Fr Cristóbal López Romero, SDB, was born on 19 May 1952 in Vélez-Rubio Diocese of Almeria, Spain.

                                      He entered the Salesian Family in 1964. After completing his secondary studies at the Salesian Seminary of Gerona, he entered the Salesian Seminary in Barcelona, where he studied Philosophy (1973-1975) and Theology (1975-1979). He obtained his Degree in Information Sciences, Journalism section, at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (1982).

                                      He made his first profession on 16 August 1968 and solemn profession on 2 August 1974. He was ordained a priest on 19 May 1979.

                                      After his priestly ordination, he held the following positions: 1979-1984, Ministry in favor of the marginalized in La Verneda, Barcelona; 1984-1986, Youth ministry in the Salesian College of Asunción, Paraguay; 1986-1992, Provincial Delegate for vocational youth ministry in Asunción; 1991-1992, Director of the Salesian Bulletin in Asunción; 1992-1994, Parish priest in Asunción; 1994-2000, Provincial of the Salesian Province of Paraguay; 2000-2002, Community Director, pastoral and teacher in College of Asunción; 2002-2003: Ministry in the Missions in Paraguay; 2003-2011, Director of the Community, parish and scholastic ministry in Vocational Training Center of Kénitra, Morocco; 2011-2014, Provincial of the Salesian Province of Bolivia; since 2014, Provincial of the Salesian Province of María Auxiliadora, Spain.

                                      • Vaticano
                                      • Vescovo
                                      • Cristóbal Lopez
                                      • Arcivescovo
                                        Jesus Jurado

                                        Peru - Technical Training Center: "Fr Bolla's dream comes true"

                                        3 weeks 4 days ago

                                        (ANS - Yurimaguas) - It was the dream of Salesian Fr Luigi Bolla (Yankuam Jintia, the name given to him by the natives for whom he worked all his life): to build a center to form young people. Now, Fr Diego Clavijo and Fr Nelson Vera, missionaries in the same area as Fr Bolla, have made the dream come true, giving rise to opportunities for the young of the indigenous peoples of different ethnic groups, otherwise abandoned to themselves.

                                        Until now, the area's young people did not have access to technical training; now, the "Don Bosco Foundation" of Peru provides one, thanks to the construction of the Intercultural Technical Training Center.

                                        It was December 2015 when the Salesian NGO "Don Bosco Mondo" announced that the German government had approved the project thanks to which the "Yánkuam Jintia" Intercultural Technical-Productive Training Center (CET-PRO) was set up.

                                        The center started its activities in August 2016, after a time for its construction and the supply and placement of equipment. Right from the start, three courses were immediately offered: Outboard Motors Mechanics, Carpentry, and Agropastoral Sciences, specialties that respond to local needs.

                                        The training is modular and the courses last four months. During this time, the students - of different ethnic groups: Achuar, Quichua, Kandozi, Awuajum, Wampis, Shawi and Mestizos - are housed at the center as returning home for them would be very difficult due to the distances involved. To get to the center, some of them have to walk for 2 or 3 days and then navigate a week along the river aboard the boat known as "pekepeke" - for the noise the boat makes. "The students are really worthy of admiration because they have to make a lot of effort to make their dreams come true," comment the Salesian missionaries in the area.

                                        And it is not only the distance, but also the heavy ball and chain the students drag behind due to their poor preparation during basic school education: even when they leave secondary school, many do not know how to read, write or understand Spanish correctly.

                                        These days, however, the students and the educational community of CET-PRO are all satisfied because a new formation cycle has come to its conclusion bringing the total number of graduating students to over 150 - all of whom, in addition to the training received, have also learned much from living together with people of different origins and backgrounds.

                                        • Perù
                                        • Luigi Bolla
                                        • Tecnica
                                          Jesus Jurado
                                          1 hour 2 minutes ago
                                          ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana