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Germany – Centenary commemoration of death of Fr Josef Thannhuber, missionary in Mato Grosso

3 weeks 4 days ago
Germany – Centenary commemoration of death of Fr Josef Thannhuber, missionary in Mato Grosso

(ANS - Wurmannsquick) - In his hometown, Wurmannsquick, diocese of Passau, on 26-27 September 2020, one of the first German-speaking Salesian missionaries, Fr Josef Thannhuber (1880-1920), killed in Brazil as an innocent victim, was commemorated.

Fr Thannhuber arrived in Foglizzo, near Turin, at the age of 17, as the "Son of Mary"; after completing his novitiate in Ivrea, he was sent as a missionary to Brazil in 1903. Before leaving, Rector Major Fr Michele Rua told him: “Prepare yourself for martyrdom.” This prediction was effectively fulfilled on August 29, 1920: Fr Thannhuber, Rector of the house of Palmeiras, in Mato Grosso, was killed by a bandit, after asking the latter to spare the other religious and to kill only him. Even if the case has never been completely resolved, it can be assumed that the reason lay in the differences on land issues, with the Salesians committed to defending the rights of indigenous peoples.

The commemorative function for the testimony of Fr Thannhuber began on Saturday 26 September with solemn Vespers celebrated in the parish church of Wurmannsquick in the presence of several members of the Thannhuber family and many faithful from the region. After Vespers, Fr Josef Grünner, Head of the "Don Bosco Mission" Salesian Mission Office in Bonn, spoke about the life and work of this enthusiastic Bavarian Salesian missionary who had worked with zeal in Cuiabá, Corumbá and Palmeiras, being highly appreciated everywhere.

The commemoration reached its climax the following day, Sunday 27, with Mass presided over by the bishop of the diocese of Passau, Salesian Msgr. Stefan Oster. In his homily, taking Fr Thannhuber as an example, he underlined the meaning of conversion as a connection with Jesus and the meaning of missionary action as life in the following of Christ and in devotion to one's neighbor: “Today in our Church we need men, women, passionate young people who know how to narrate Christ ... Let us learn from him to be missionaries where we are, to bear witness of Christ's love.”

The Provincial of the Salesians of Germany, Fr Reinhard Gesing, also participated in the commemoration and emphasized the value of Fr Thannhuber’s testimony for today: “Pope John Paul II left us an appeal to not forget the martyrs. Because from their courageous testimony we can draw strength for our testimony of faith today. And in these difficult times, we need their intercession, too.”

Mons. Oster concluded his speech with the words: “I am happy, as a bishop, to be able to celebrate in this place a martyr who gave his life for love of Christ.” The Diocese of Passau, as well as the Province of Germany, intend to work to cultivate and pass on the memory of Fr Josef Thannhuber.

  • Germania
  • Martiri
  • Brasile
  • Josef Thannhuber
  • Stefan Oster
    Gian Francesco Romano

    South Sudan – Salesians support internally displaced persons and most vulnerable

    3 weeks 5 days ago
    South Sudan – Salesians support internally displaced persons and most vulnerable

    (ANS - Tonj) - The Salesian organization "Don Bosco Mission" of Tonj, in these months marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, has been at the forefront to improve the standard of living of the South Sudanese population. To do so, it has received support from the Salesian Mission Office of Madrid via the network of “Solidarity Vs COVID-19”.

    The objective of the project supported by the Madrid Mission Office was to offer support to the internally displaced people of Tonj and the western state of Bahr-el-Ghazal, who find themselves in this situation due to violent border conflicts. These people were left homeless and forced to take refuge in the adjacent forests without food, water, shelter, sanitation, medicine.

    After being contacted and duly registered, the displaced families received a donation of basic necessities. More than 3,500 internally displaced people have benefited from these emergency items. The whole population expressed happiness and great appreciation for the commitment of the Salesian missionaries who have never stopped providing their support to vulnerable communities and those most affected by conflicts.

    In addition to the distribution of primary goods and medicines, radio programs were also broadcast in recent months; the preventive measures to be taken to prevent coronavirus infection were described.

    As explained in detail in a report written by Fr Joseph James Nakholi, the main areas of intervention were the State of Tonj (and the capital of the same name), and that of Bahr-el-Ghazal, especially in the areas of Bap-Chok, Kapara, Dakum, Kuelcok and in the Checkpoint area.

    “The health standards of families, and especially of children, have improved thanks to the supply of medicines,” continues Fr Nakholi in the report. “The population has also recovered emotionally and psychologically after the intervention of the Salesians.”

    Similar actions, aimed at IDPs, were also extended to the village of Lepers, thanks to the intervention of the Salesian Mission Office of South Korea and the "John Lee Memorial Foundation", a foundation erected in memory of the late Korean Salesian missionary Fr John Lee, SDB, in order to help the mission in South Sudan.

    {gallery}Sud Sudan - Sostegno sfollati 2020{/gallery}

    • Sudan del Sud
    • Rifugiati
    • Solidarietà
    • Coronavirus
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Slovenia – "A reflection of the East". The story of Servant of God Fr Andrea Majcen, SDB, in an illustrated book

      3 weeks 5 days ago

      (ANS - Ljubljana) - On the occasion of the Dies Natalis of the Servant of God Fr Andrea Majcen (Maribor-Slovenia, 30 September 1904 - Ljubljana, 30 September 1999), the Salesian Province "Saints Cyril and Methodius" of Slovenia and the publishing house "Salve" have published an illustrated book for children that tells the "missionary adventures" of Fr Majcen.

      Fr Andrea Majcen, a Salesian and heroic missionary, is considered the "patriarch of the Salesians" of Vietnam, a country he reached in 1952 after being expelled from China. He remained in Vietnam until the advent of the communist regime in 1976, when he returned to Slovenia, becoming a missionary animator, spiritual director and confessor until the end of his life with forty-four years of missionary apostolate in China and Vietnam and 20 years of missionary animation in Slovenia. The reflections and meditations, collected in his diaries (more than 6,000 handwritten pages), express a profound Christian and religious life and a personal commitment to spiritual growth. In his long and fruitful life, Fr Majcen fulfilled the mission of being in the Church a sign and bearer of God's love, drawing from the very Heart of Christ that pastoral charity marked by great apostolic ardor and a predilection for young people.

      Today his missionary, religious and human history is collected in an educational comic book, created by illustrator Juan Juvančič, a Salesian past pupil of the Don Bosco Institute in Buenos Aires, thanks to the collaboration of the vice-postulator of his cause, Fr Alojzij Slavko Snoj, and of the Delegate for Social Communication Marko Suhoveršnik.

      The book's illustrator, Juan Juvančič, was born in Argentina to Slovenian parents. He attended Salesian schools and started a family and lived for many years working in Argentina. In 2008 he moved to his parents' land where, in addition to other jobs, he collaborates with the Salesians.

      The artist learned about the figure of Fr Majcen only a year ago, on the occasion of the closure of the diocesan process of his cause, but was immediately fascinated by him. He studied his life and via illustrations he tried to narrate significant and amusing events of his missionary actions. In doing so, he used bright colors and action scenes, so that the message that the Servant of God lived and transmitted the Word of God in China and Vietnam was clearly expressed in just a few words.

      The comic is also accompanied by a short animated video in various languages, which lists the most important dates in the life of Fr Majcen and summarizes the human, spiritual and apostolic life of the Servant of God:






      {gallery}SLO - Fumetto Majcen 2020{/gallery}

      • Slovenia
      • Santità Salesiana
      • Arte e Cultura
      • Comunicazione Sociale
      • Andrej Majcen
        Gian Francesco Romano

        United States – “St. Philip” Province Honors 20 Jubilarians

        3 weeks 5 days ago
        United States – “St. Philip” Province Honors 20 Jubilarians

        (ANS - New Rochelle, N.Y) – The province of St. Philip the Apostle celebrated the profession and ordination anniversaries of 20 jubilarians on Saturday, September 26, at the Marian Shrine in Haverstraw, N.Y. The jubilarians included 14 confreres observing 25th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 65th, and even 70th anniversaries of their first religious profession in 2020; 4 observing 25th, 40th, or 50th anniversaries of priestly ordination; and 2 observing both priestly and religious anniversaries.

        Distance, health, or Covid-19 restrictions prevented 15 of the jubilarians from being physically present at the Shrine for the celebration. In fact, New York state’s coronavirus policy kept half of the province’s leadership (council, directors, and sector leaders) from taking part in person in the leadership meeting of the preceding two days (September 24-25) at the Don Bosco Retreat Center.

        The jubilees Mass began shortly after 10:00 a.m. and lasted almost 90 minutes. Taking part, in addition to Fr. Tim Zak and 5 jubilarians were another 26 priests, 17 brothers, 3 prenovices, 3 candidates, and almost 30 family members, Cooperators, and other friends of the jubilarians. The Mass was livestreamed, giving confreres and friends throughout the province the opportunity to take part in the rites, which included the renewal of priestly commitment by the men celebrating their presbyteral jubilee, and the renewal of Salesian religious profession by those celebrating that anniversary.

        Fr. Tim called the jubilarians “living witnesses to what the provincial council and province leadership studied” during the preceding meeting days. He stated that GC28, which met earlier this year, calls Salesians to return to Jesus Christ, the center of religious life. The jubilarians have presented Jesus to their confreres in multiple ways: as apostle, high priest, Son of God in human form, carpenter’s son, meek and humble, welcoming the poor, zealous preacher and healer, teacher, good shepherd, unifier in brotherhood, a living rule.

        Fr. Tim continued: All “the jubilarians have found in Christ the happiness for which we were created.... They’re living memorials of our Lord.” With the prophet Isaiah (first reading, Is 44:1-5), they’ve responded to the Lord’s invitation by saying, “I am the Lord’s.” Their fidelity has brought us the fruit of the Lord’s blessings and reminds all of us that we’re chosen by the Lord. Therefore we all join the jubilarians in thanking God “for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus” (second reading, Phil 3:8-14).

        2020’s “double jubilarians” are Fr. Jim McKenna (40 years ordained and 50 professed) and Fr. Jim Cerbone (also 40 and 50).

        The longest-serving confreres are Fr. Jan Bernas, professed 70 years; and with 65 years professed, Bro. Gerard Richard and Frs. John Blanco, Bob Falk, and George Hanna.

        Fr. Jan Bernas, a former missionary in Zambia (1984-1994), is now semi-retired at age 90, after 23 years as chaplain at St. Joseph’s Terrace, a Polish nursing home in Woodbridge, N.J., where he still resides. He was born at Oswiecim, Poland, where one of the main Salesian works of his native land is located. He made his first profession at Kopiec, Poland, on August 16, 1950, and was ordained in 1958 in Krakow.

        Bro. Gerard Richard, 97, is the oldest confrere in the province. Born at St. Louis de Kent, N.B., in 1923, he professed at St. Joseph’s Novitiate in Newton, N.J., on September 8, 1955, and has spent most of his life in the Salesian works of Canada: Boucherville, Que., Jacquet River, N.B., and especially Seminaire Salesien in Sherbrooke, for over 40 years. He served as a general fix-it man, doing electricity, plumbing, carpentry, and locks, and was a skilled craftsman in wood. Before joining the Salesians, he worked to pay for the studies of his youngest brother, Arsene, who became a priest and, eventually, bishop of Bathurst, N.B. Bishop Arsene died of cancer in 1989 at age 53; Bro. Gerard spent 6 months caring for him until he passed away. Bro. Gerard belongs still to the Sherbrooke community. His greatest joy was to participate in Arsene’s episcopal ordination, for which he crafted the episcopal crosier, and he presented it to him the day of his ordination!

        Fr. John Blanco, 90, has been serving at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, home of the Ironmen, for the last 3 years. He has proven to be an ironman his whole life, still working at odd jobs around the house rather than “retire.” The New Rochelle native, a member of the city’s Hall of Fame, first professed at Newton on September 8, 1955. He has been a house treasurer for much of his Salesian life in Ramsey, Columbus, New Rochelle, East Boston, and Paterson-DBT (24 years total) as well as director in Marrero for 6 years and a parish priest in Port Chester-Corpus Christi and Manhattan-Mary Help of Christians for 13 years. As a Salesian he has found his greatest satisfaction in celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, and preaching.

        Fr. Bob Falk, 88, has been a missionary in Korea for his entire Salesian life. He hails originally from Green Bay, Wisc., and he also made his first profession at Newton on September 8, 1955. He was ordained in Turin in 1963. In Korea he has been director, master of novices, and delegate to the Cooperators and the Don Bosco Volunteers, besides teaching and preaching retreats.

        Fr. George Hanna, 86, is assistant pastor at St. Rosalie and St. John Bosco parishes in Harvey and a member of the community of Marrero. He was born in Pawtucket, R.I., and made his first profession at Newton on September 8, 1955. He was ordained in Rome in 1966 and has been a parish priest for most of the years since, in Paterson, Port Chester-Holy Rosary, Elizabeth, Harlem, Orange, Washington, and Marrero (47 years in all). He was director of the communities of Port Chester, Harlem, the provincial house, and Washington (22 years), and part of the province’s vocation team for 4 years early in his priesthood. Fr. George states: “I have great joy and satisfaction from my Salesian family and from the parishioners, young and old in various parishes who have touched my heart, to have journeyed with these people and to have had the privilege to love them and be loved by them. More now than ever I have come to understand that we are deeply loved by God. What greater joy can there be!”

        Jubilarians celebrating 60 years of religious profession, from September 8, 1960, when they completed their novitiate at Newton, include:

        Bro. Mike Brinkman, 88, has been retired at the St. Philip Residence in Tampa since 2012. His hometown is Dayton, Ohio. He taught electronics at Don Bosco Tech in Rosemead, Don Bosco Tech in Boston, and St. Thomas the Apostle in Harlem (16 years total). He also taught at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, was principal at Don Bosco Tech in Paterson, and was on staff the of Don Bosco Multimedia in New Rochelle, the province development office at the provincial house, and for 10 years at Salesian Boys & Girls Club in Columbus.

        Fr. John Grinsell, 78, was ordained in 1971 in Columbus. He was director of the communities of New Rochelle-Salesian, Ramsey, and St. Petersburg for 6 years each and master of novices in Newton (1986-1989), and he did a lot of teaching and/or guidance work at Cedar Lake, Paterson-DBT, and South Orange-formation house. He served in parishes for 16 years in Port Chester (Holy Rosary and St. John Bosco), Miami, and Orange. He has been coordinator of the Don Bosco Community Center in Port Chester since 2015.

        Bro. Jerry Meegan, 78, was born in Teaneck, N.J. He taught in the junior seminaries at Haverstraw and Goshen and served as principal in Boston-DBT, New Rochelle, and St. Petersburg (13 years total). He was a provincial councilor and superintendent of province schools during 12 years at the provincial house. He has also served as coordinator of the Don Bosco Retreat Center in Haverstraw (2 years) and director of youth ministry for the diocese of St. Petersburg (9 years). From 2010 to 2020 he was CYM in Marrero. He is beginning a new assignment at Cristo Rey Tampa High School. Bro. Jerry states: “My greatest satisfaction as a Salesian brother has been working with young men and women as a high school principal and a campus minister. These opportunities gave me a chance to get closer to young adults and help them along their journeys.”

        Fr. Frank Twardzik, 80, is a golden jubilarian of ordination. He was born in Springfield, Mass., and was ordained at St. Anthony Church in Elizabeth on March 21, 1970. He has been a member of the community of the Salesian formation house in Orange since 2017. He made his first profession in Newton in 1959 and has spent most of his priestly life in parishes of Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic: assistant pastor in Minersville (1973-1976), past in Dunellen, N.J. (1978-1989), and Scranton, Pa. (1989-2017). He had brief stints as a teacher in Tampa and Marrero and one year at St. Rosalie in Harvey. Since the pandemic outbreak, he has resided in Haledon as chaplain for the Salesian sisters.

        Fr. Jim Cerbone and Fr. Jim McKenna completed 50 years of religious profession this year and 40 years of ordination. They professed together in Newton on September 1, 1970, but were ordained separately.

        Fr. Jim Cerbone, 71, was ordained in East Orange, N.J., on October 4, 1980. He was born in Newark, N.J., in 1949. During his Salesian life he spent 7 years at the provincial house as assistant province treasurer and another 9 years in residence while serving as campus minister at Manhattan College. He taught at Ramsey and New Rochelle for a total of 10 years and has also done parish ministry in Manhattan and Poughkeepsie. He has been part of the Ramsey community for the last 11 years and is now in a nursing home in Paramus.

        Fr. Jim McKenna, 69, was ordained on May 24, 1980, in Columbus. Since 2009 he has been director of the Marian Shrine-Don Bosco Retreat Center in Haverstraw-Stony Point. He comes from Jersey City and is an alumnus of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey. He was province treasurer (1991-1994) and treasurer of the communities in Newton and Tampa, director in Marrero, and pastor in Port Chester-Corpus Christi. He taught briefly in Tampa and Ramsey and was an assistant pastor in Manhattan and Belle Glade. He has found that the years went fast, and “being a Salesian priest has been a great fit for me vocationally. The many places being of service have given me a wider view of how God in this world is present in His church and sacraments.”

        Three confreres who came to our province from elsewhere have observed their 40th anniversary of profession: Fr. Rufo “Junji” Zarate, Fr. Sagayaraj Devadoss, and Fr. John Louis Mariapragasam.

        Fr. Sagayaraj Joseph Devadoss was born in 1960 in Tamil Nadu state, India, and made his first profession on May 24, 1980, in the province of Madras (Chennai). He was ordained in 1991 in Madras. The most interesting periods of his priestly life came in houses of formation—a diocesan major seminary and a Salesian studentate of philosophy. Since 2018 he has been pastor of St. Dominic Savio Parish in Edmonton, after two years as pastor of St. Thomas More Church in the same city. He states: “Ministering for the holistic growth of those in their postnovitiate formation was a more enriching experience (not without challenges, of course) both for the candidates and for me.”

        Fr. John Louis Mariapragasam, 60, is from Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu State, India, and made his first profession on May 24, 1980, in the province of Madras (Chennai). After ministry in many of that province’s schools and parishes as teacher, director, and parish priest, he came to Edmonton in 2013, where he was director of the community and pastor of St. Matthew Church. In March 2020 he was transferred to Etobicoke, Ont., as director of the community of St. Benedict Parish.

        Fr. Rufo Zarate, 59, is from Binan (Laguna), Philippines, made his first profession on April 1, 1980, and was ordained in 1990. After ordination he served as a campus minister in several schools, as a parish priest, administrator of the province retreat center, and administrator of one of the most important schools in the province, Don Bosco Makati (2008-2014). He came to Canada in 2014 to minister to the Filipino members of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Surrey, which he continues. In addition, he’s the local delegate for the Salesian Cooperators. In 2019 he transferred from the North Philippines Province to that of New Rochelle. He has found his greatest joy as a Salesian priest in his strong faith in the real presence of the Lord especially during the Eucharistic celebration, inculcated by Don Bosco through his admirable mentors in formation.

        Fr. Dominic Tran, 51, is the only silver jubilarian of religious profession. A native of Dalat, Vietnam, he came to America as a young boy and was professed on August 15, 1995, in Bellflower. He was ordained in 2003 at Orange. Since 2016 he has been province director of vocations, based at the provincial house. After 6 years teaching at Paterson and New Rochelle, he was assigned to formation ministry in Orange (2007-2016), including 3 years as director.

        Celebrating jubilees of priestly ordination are Frs. Dennis Hartigan, Gus Baek, and Rich Rosin.

        Fr. Dennis Hartigan, 69, ordained for 40 years, comes from Kearny, N.J., and was ordained for the diocese of Toledo, Ohio, on June 7, 1980. He had entered the Salesians and professed in 1971 but withdrew when his vows expired in 1977. After many years of both high school and parish ministry in the diocese, earning a doctorate in educational leadership, and teaching at the University of Dayton, he returned to the Salesians and professed again in 2014. He is teaching now at Cristo Rey Tampa High School. Previously he served in Ramsey, Orange, and Takoma Park.

        Fr. Gus Baek, 62, was ordained on May 28, 1995, in Columbus. He is currently director of Salesian Missions in New Rochelle, having taken on that responsibility a year ago. He was born in Kwangju, Korea, in 1958 and was influenced by Fr. Henry Bonetti to join the Salesians, which he did at Newton in 1985 as a Son of Mary; he professed in 1987. He has taught in Marrero and East Boston, done Boys & Girls Club ministry in East Boston and parish ministry in Port Chester-Corpus Christi and Orange, and taught theology at Caldwell College in New Jersey. For 15 years he coordinated Korean youth ministry from the Reborn Young Christ Center in Stony Point, N.Y. (2004-2019), and that ministry, chiefly conducting retreats for the high school students, has been his greatest joy as a Salesian priest. He feels blessed to be a Salesian priest for 25 years, working for the young and the poor. “I am very grateful to God,” he adds, “for the many blessings that have been given me. I would like to ask the Lord His wisdom, courage and strength to continue working for the poorest children and families of the world.”

        Fr. Rich Rosin, 58, was ordained on May 28, 1995, at Columbus. He comes from Astoria, Queens, and was professed at Newton in 1988. He served mainly in schools: Marrero, New Rochelle, Ramsey, and St. Petersburg, including stints as principal in Marrero and New Rochelle and director in St. Pete. He has also been a parish priest in Etobicoke and Chicago.

        {gallery}SUE - Celebrazioni 2020{/gallery}

        • Stati Uniti
        • Anniversari
          Gian Francesco Romano

          Italy – Mons. Giuseppe Cognata: "A light that has never gone out"

          3 weeks 6 days ago

          (ANS - Reggio Calabria) - "A light never extinguished": this is the motto with which the city communities of Pellaro and Bova, with the entire ecclesial community of Reggio Calabria, wanted to remember the Servant of God Mons. Giuseppe Cognata , SDB, former Bishop of Bova from 1933 to 1940 and founder of the Congregation of the Salesian Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart, of which Pope Francis gave his consent last February for the opening of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization.

          On Saturday 26 September, Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, Postulator General for the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family, presented to the Christian community of Pellaro (Reggio Calabria) the biographical and spiritual profile of the Salesian bishop, together with the steps taken in recent months in view of the official Opening of the Cause which will take place on 12 December in San Vittorino Romano (Diocese of Tivoli). A street in the city was later dedicated to Mons. Cognata.

          Sunday 27 September 2020, in Bova, at the Co-Cathedral Maria SS. dell’Isodia, episcopal seat of Msgr. Cognata, greetings took place with the welcome to all the authorities and public by Sister Caterina Quattrone, Provincial Superior of the Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart, which was followed by a greeting from Mother General, Sister Graziella Maria Benghini, who underlined the significance of a place where Mons. Cognata exercised his episcopal ministry and where the first sisters of the Congregation made their vows.

          Fr Cameroni recalled how the Church of Reggio Calabria-Bova has always spent itself in favor of the Cause of Msgr. Cognata, starting from the first dark hours of the sad story that saw him as protagonist, when the Salesian found fraternal comfort in Archbishop Enrico Montalbetti, and took up the prophetic words spoken by Archbishop Lanza to the Salesian Fr Umberto Pasquale in 1950, saying : “He was a Salesian. But know that he is an innocent and a saint ... Fortunately for us there is a God who, in due time, will do justice. Tell him that he is innocent and that he is a saint! ”.

          Subsequently, in the central square, the solemn Eucharistic concelebration took place - broadcast live on Facebook (visible here) - and presided over by Msgr. Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini, Metropolitan Archbishop of Reggio Calabria-Bova, who in his homily highlighted how Msgr. Cognata was a man of faith who in the hour of trial and the cross joined in Jesus' obedience to the Father.

          At the end of the celebration, the Mayor of Bova, Santo Casile, and Fr Leone Stelitano, Parish Administrator of Bova and Vicar of Forania di Bova, thanked all participants.

          {gallery}IME - Feste mons Cognata 2020{/gallery}

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

            Vatican – Pope Francis to Michaelites: "Dedicate all care and attention to the young and social realities exposed to danger"

            3 weeks 6 days ago

            (ANS - Vatican City) - “Your charism, ever timely, is characterized by your concern for poor, orphaned and abandoned children, unwanted by anyone and often considered waste by society. While I am pleased with everything you have done in these decades in favor of abandoned children, I invite you to continue with renewed enthusiasm in the educational commitment for those who often no one wants to welcome and defend.” Thus writes Pope Francis in the message he sent to Father Dariusz Wilk, Superior General of the Congregation of St. Michael the Archangel (CSMA, or "Michaelites"), XXI group of the Salesian Family, on account of the opening of the jubilee year for the Centenary of canonical approval of the Congregation, which took place on 29 September 1921.

            In his message, the Pope begins by encouraging “to continue with conviction, joy and renewed fidelity the path traced by the Founder, Blessed Bronislao Markiewicz.” He knew how to cultivate the seeds given to him by Providence “through the experience of religious life in the Salesian Congregation and in the amiable direct relationship with St. John Bosco.” And in his homeland, Poland, he gathered men and women in the service of poor and abandoned children, and his legacy has been collected and carried on by many of his spiritual children - even at the cost of their lives, as the martyrs and Blessed Ladislao Błądziński and Adalberto Nierychlewski, CSMA, testify.

            Today the Michaelites are active through schools, oratories, foster family homes, shelters and other welfare and formation settings. This is why Pope Francis points out to them the vast field of “human and Christian education ... the greatest gift that even today you are called to offer to neglected children and young people.” And recalling the phrase of Blessed Markiewicz: “I would like to gather millions of orphaned children from all nations and all races to lead them to God,” the Pope urges the CSMA: “Your Institute is called to devote every care and attention to the circumstances of youth and society exposed to the danger of evil and estrangement from God”, aware that “the most needy today take on the face not only of those who live in material want, but are often slaves to modern conditioning and addictions.”

            The apostolate of the Congregation through the media is also underlined by the Pontiff. “The Michalineum Publishing House and the two reviews: 'Temperance and Work' and 'He who is like God', are not only the legacy of the Founder, but constitute precious means of social communication which, adapted to current needs and enriched by modern technologies, can reach many, generating fruits of good in the minds and consciences of people.”

            “The present times,” concludes the Pope finally, “need consecrated persons who know how to look more and more to the needs of the least, who are not afraid to fulfill the charism of their Institutes in modern field hospitals ... It is necessary to be men of communion, to overcome borders, building bridges and breaking down the walls of indifference. In the itinerary of a renewed fidelity to the charism, do not fail to refer to the words that along these hundred years have illuminated the path of your worthy Congregation: the victorious cry of St. Michael the Archangel, 'He who is like God!'."

            {gallery}Vaticano - Messaggio Micheliti 2020{/gallery}

            • Vaticano
            • Bronislaw Markiewicz
            • Santità Salesiana
            • Famiglia Salesiana
            • Micheliti
            • Educazione
              Gian Francesco Romano

              Italy – "Our Lady" to Turin for inauguration of "Casa Don Bosco" Museum

              3 weeks 6 days ago

              (ANS - Turin) - There are many and different initiatives designed to celebrate the opening of the "Casa Don Bosco" Museum in Turin: presentations, civil and religious celebrations, as well as singular artistic events, such as the transfer of important works of art. Like the painting of the "Madonna" by Reffo, traditionally placed at the Institute "Our Lady of Grace" in Nizza Monferrato; in the forthcoming weeks, the painting will instead be exhibited in the new Salesian museum space in Valdocco.

              In 1905, to complete the Church of the "Sacred Heart",  Mother Elisa Roncallo, FMA, had a Marian chapel dedicated to "Our Lady of Graces" built for the girls who attended the Institute "Our Lady of Grace" in Nizza Monferrato. Don Bosco, in fact, out of respect for the Franciscan friars - who had twice been forced to leave the convent and the adjoining sanctuary dedicated to "Our Lady of Grace" for the suppression of religious orders and the consequent confiscation of goods by the State - had preferred to leave the Marian title and not change it with the one dear to him of "Mary Help of Christians". A talented Piedmontese painter was called in, Enrico Reffo.

              The painting depicts the Madonna sitting on a neo-Gothic throne with cherubs on the sides and is wrapped in a large blue mantle; the background is golden and highlights the subject. In her arms, asleep, the Baby Jesus. Mary's face has a pale complexion illuminated by the halo, while that of the Child is rosy, in a peaceful and deep sleep. Reffo depicts two powerfully realistic figures; the painter prefers bright colors and manages to express a strong feeling of contemplation and deep devotion. One can see the study of light from life; the colors are clean, clear, brushed large across the background.

              This painting was requested for the inauguration of the "Casa Don Bosco" Museum where it will be exhibited until January 31, 2021. It is an ambitious project by the Salesian Congregation, which - as explained by the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime - “has the joy and responsibility of delivering, for the good of the whole Salesian Family in the world, for the pilgrims and tourists of the City of Turin, the new museum, completely renovated, of the places of origin, of the educational adventure spirituality of Don Bosco.”

              Reffo's "Madonna" is not the only artistic work that will embellish the rooms of Valdocco for the inauguration of the "Casa Don Bosco" Museum. For the same purpose and in the same spirit, the painting “Don Bosco in Valdocco” by David Pastor Corbì, kindly loaned by the “Colegio Salesiano San Juan Bosco” in Valencia, will also be exhibited until 31 January 2021.

              • Italia
              • Musei
              • Arte e Cultura
              • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Spain – Salesian Social Platforms ask to defend rights of migrants

                4 weeks ago
                Spain – Salesian Social Platforms ask to defend rights of migrants

                (ANS - Madrid) - On the occasion of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, celebrated yesterday, Sunday 27 September, the Salesian entities, in addition to reaffirming their commitment to continue welcoming and including migrants and people in situations of vulnerability, ask public administrations and society itself to guarantee the necessary means to defend the rights and dignity of migrants.

                Pope Francis, in the letter he wrote to convene this day, explains that the drama of internally displaced people, to whom the day was dedicated, is “an often unseen tragedy that the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated … The crisis we are facing should not make us forget the many other crises that bring suffering to so many people.”

                Faced with the circumstances of migrants and asylum seekers in Spain, the Salesian Social Platforms work to accompany the processes of reception and integration of these people: they mainly accompany children, adolescents and young people, many of whom are unaccompanied, but they also develop programs to assist their families and especially adults who are most vulnerable. The Salesian Social Platforms currently deal with over 35,000 migrants and about 1,000 people seeking asylum or refugees.

                Salesian projects respond to their specific needs by offering extracurricular educational programs, support in the regularization of documentation, specific work placement itineraries, foster family homes, psychological support, actions to promote non-discrimination and intercultural mediation, activities to promote social participation of migrant women, healthy habits, positive parenting and the offer of information, guidance and legal advice.

                Especially noteworthy is the program for the comprehensive reception of young asylum seekers and refugees between 18 and 26 years of age. During 2019 and 2020 thus far, 84 young asylum seekers were assisted. Of the total number of applications submitted, 19 were rejected, 7 were approved with refugee status, and 1 was approved with subsidiary protection, while 68% of the applications presented by the Salesian Social Platforms are still awaiting a result.

                “To preserve our common home and make it conform more and more to God’s original plan, we must commit ourselves to ensuring international cooperation, global solidarity and local commitment, leaving no one excluded,” said the Pope in the letter issued for the Day.

                Similarly, the Salesian Social Platforms are now encouraging all of society - as it had already done with the campaign "Tu voz también es refugio" (Your voice is also a refuge) - to take a step forward for these people, offering one's voice to fight false news and build a better, more fraternal, more just and more united society, where the dignity of all people is acknowledged and no one is left behind.

                • Spagna
                • Migranti
                • Rifugiati
                • Piattaforme Sociali Salesiane
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  RMG – 28 September 2020: 125th anniversary of birth of Venerable Stefano Ferrando, SDB

                  4 weeks ago
                  RMG – 28 September 2020: 125th anniversary of birth of Venerable Stefano Ferrando, SDB

                  (ANS - Rome) - Mons. Stefano Ferrando, Salesian Bishop and founder of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians, was born in Rossiglione (province of Genoa and diocese of Acqui Terme) on 28 September 1895. Today is thus the 125th anniversary of his birth.

                  Stefano Ferrando attended schools with the Salesians, first in Fossano and then in Turin, and was fascinated by the life of Don Bosco. He forcibly interrupted his studies at the outbreak of the First World War, in which he participated as an officer, earning a silver medal. After his priestly ordination in 1923, he left for the Salesian missions in the North East of India, where he became one of the great pioneers of the Salesian missionary epic in that vast region.

                  In 1934 he was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Krishnagar by Pius XI, but after just one year, he was transferred to the see of Shillong, which will become the center of all his fruitful apostolic and evangelizing activity for the next 35 years.

                  His apostolate was characterized by the Salesian style: joy, simplicity and direct contact with people. His humility, simplicity, love for the poor inspire many to convert and to request Baptism. He rebuilt the great Cathedral and the mission buildings. The devotion to Mary Help of Christians and Don Bosco spread. He undertook to ensure that the Indians became the first evangelizers of their land.

                  From a first group of Indian catechists, he started the foundation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC), aggregated to the Salesian Family on 27 June 1986.

                  On June 26, 1969, after taking part in the work of the Council, he resigned from his diocese. In Assam, he had found 4,000 Catholics; on leaving, 500,000. In Italy, the elderly missionary bishop retired to the Salesian house in Quarto (Genoa). He died on June 20, 1978.

                  On March 3, 2016, Pope Francis recognized his heroic virtues by declaring him Venerable.

                  • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                  • Stefano Ferrando
                  • Santità Salesiana
                  • India
                  • Anniversari
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    RMG – Strenna 2021 Poster released

                    4 weeks ago
                    RMG – Strenna 2021 Poster released

                    (ANS - Rome) - 'Moved by hope: “See, I am making all things new” (Rev 21: 5)'  is the title that the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, has chosen for the message of his Strenna for 2021. As every year, his message is accompanied by a poster that graphically translates the insights and orientations that the Father and Center of Unity of the Salesian Family intends to offer to all the followers of Don Bosco. Here, then, is the poster for the Strenna of 2021, which is being sent to Salesian houses all over the world in these days.

                    Following on from a path already undertaken some years ago, that of assigning the preparation of the poster of the Strenna to artists from different contexts and geographical origins - so as to grasp each time the different sensitivities present in the Salesian universe - the Department for Social Communication wished to privilege the perceptions of Latin America for this edition.

                    Among the various illustrations proposed, the winner was that of the Argentine artist Gustavo Daguerre, 41 years of age and a whole life spent in Salesian circles, who currently works as pastoral coordinator in an institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and who in the past illustrated the pages of the national Salesian Bulletin.

                    Here's how he presents the poster:

                    "When I learned the phrase that will accompany the Strenna for 2021, I thought of the need to offer through an image what is strong for me in that prayer ... HOPE. And for us, as a community of believers, our hope is in Jesus. We often feel, in these times in which we live, that people are without hope. A pandemic is enough to make humanity 'tremble' and make it much more vulnerable. And in that wounded humanity, there are also our young people ... the privileged of our charism.

                    This is why, and almost by 'praying', we find the image of Jesus at the center, who supports us, invites us to rise, and not only with an outstretched hand, but also with an understanding gaze that gives dignity. And around it there is an environment that tends to convert, from a gray, dark, dense scenario to another full of color, with the necessary brightness to see in the faces of those who receive us, the testimony of Christ.

                    Our great challenge, as the Salesian Family, is simply to be a sign of Hope, to put light and color, to look with understanding, to continue to heal and accompany what this pandemic has hurt, to continue to be attentive to the needs of others, as Mother Mazzarello and Don Bosco taught us.

                    The poster will be distributed in paper form and - compatibly with the postal services of the various countries - will reach the Salesian houses by October. Salesian illustrators from all over the world will also be able to modify the background to represent the different local contexts.

                    The poster, digitally, in the six most spoken languages in the Congregation, is accessible on the web.

                    And on ANSFlickr, too.

                    {gallery}RMG - Poster Strenna 2021 lingue - 2020{/gallery}

                    • Strenna 2021
                    • Poster
                    • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                    • Rettor Maggiore
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      Italy - Rector Major's thanks for Salesian response to pandemic

                      4 weeks ago
                      Italy - Rector Major's thanks for Salesian response to pandemic

                      (ANS - Turin) - Since the coronavirus pandemic has spread all over the world, the Salesians have immediately taken action to help the population in any way possible. Numerous initiatives have taken place to reach the most needy, young people and families in difficulty. The heartfelt thanks of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, went to those who did not hesitate to help and to give their contribution. 

                      From Turin, where he is located for the inauguration of the "Don Bosco House Museum", the Successor of Don Bosco invited everyone to continue doing good. "Months ago we made a call saying: we can all help each other and immediately there was a very beautiful response," said the Rector Major.

                      The full video is available on ANSChannel, in Italian and Spanish.

                      • Rettor Maggiore
                      • Coronavirus
                      • Valdocco
                        Virginia Nitto

                        Italy – "Don Bosco House Museum", 3 days of celebration for inauguration

                        1 month ago

                        (ANS - Turin) - The initiatives for the inauguration of the "Don Bosco House Museum" are just a week away. The new museum set up has been completely renovated, features the places of the origins of Don Bosco's educational and spiritual adventure. Next Friday, 2 October, in the presence of the Rector Major and other prominent figures, the press conference will take place for the presentation of this new center which stands where the Salesian charism was born, renewed to make the huge cultural, devotional and identity heritage of Valdocco available to pilgrims and tourists in a completely new form.

                        The entire series of events will also be accessible remotely thanks to the digital live coverage curated by ANS.

                        The press conference on Friday 2 will be held at 11:45 (UTC + 2) at the entrance of the museum and will be moderated by Fr Giuseppe Costa, SDB, spokesman for the Salesians. The Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, will sit at the table of speakers: the well-known art critic Vittorio Sgarbi; Alessandro Isaia, Secretary General of the Turin Culture Foundation; Sergio Sabbadini, Head of the architectural project; Massimo Chiappetta, Head of the museographic project; Fr Cristian Besso and Stefania De Vita, in charge of the museological project.

                        At the end of the press conference, these last three will be the guides who will accompany the day's guests on a preview visit to the new museum space.

                        The day's activities will end with an aperitif offered by the students of the Vocational Training Center (CFP) of Valdocco under the "good night" arcade.

                        On Saturday 3 October the inauguration of the "Don Bosco House Museum" will take place in the presence of the civil and religious authorities. At 11 local time, the journalist Antonio Labanca will start the presentation of the restoration works. Once again, as “landlord”, the Rector Major will speak, followed by presentations by Anna Laura Orrico, Undersecretary of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and for Tourism; the greetings from the President of the Regional Council Alberto Cirio and the Mayor of Turin Chiara Appendino; and exhibitions by those responsible for architectural works and museographic and museological projects.

                        An emotional video about the museum will serve as a prelude to the symbolic ribbon cutting, while the morning will end again with the offer of an aperitif by the students of the CFP of Valdocco.

                        Finally, on Sunday 4 October, the celebratory triduum will end with a Mass to be presided over by Fr Ángel Fernández Artime at the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians (9:30 am) and with the official opening of the museum to the general public.

                        All the events of the three days can be seen across the globe thanks to the live coverage curated by ANS and broadcast digitally: on the ANSChannel YouTube channel in the original Italian version; and on the ANS Facebook page with comments not only in Italian but also in English and Spanish.

                        Finally, it should be noted that all the events have been designed and prepared to comply with the precautionary measures to prevent Covid-19 infections.

                        • Musei
                        • Rettor Maggiore
                        • Ángel Fernández Artime
                        • Luoghi Salesiani
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          RMG – World Day of Migrants and Refugees

                          1 month ago
                          RMG – World Day of Migrants and Refugees

                          (ANS - Rome) - On Sunday 27 September the Church celebrates the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, on the theme of internally displaced persons (IDPs), chosen by Pope Francis, with the motto: "Like Jesus, forced to flee."

                          Worldwide, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), last year there were 45.7 million internally displaced persons, or people forced to flee their homes due to persecution, climate change, poverty, conflict or other reasons, but without the possibility of actually leaving their country.

                          In his message for this day, the Pope proposes six pairs of verbs to meet the Lord in the face of the displaced with concrete actions: you have to know in order to understand, you must be close in order to serve, listen to be reconciled, share to grow, be involved to promote and cooperate to build.

                          The Salesian Congregation welcomes this challenge among the priorities of the Sector for Missions for the next six-year term, with the intention of intensifying the work that many Salesian communities all over the world do alongside young people in difficulty who have been forced to flee their homes.

                          For example, in Palabek in Uganda, and in Kakuma, Kenya, the Salesian communities live in refugee camps, while in South Sudan, in Juba, and in Syria there are many displaced people being helped through material aid, education and pastoral animation. The greatest trials are the uncertainty about the future and the "paralysis", or limbo, in which many feel imprisoned due to the vulnerabilities of their situation.

                          The work of the Salesians is a constant accompaniment to give hope to the new generations through schooling and vocational training courses of various kinds, to teach jobs that can be used to match the demands of the labor market and, at the same time, to transmit an outlook of faith through catechesis, the celebration of the Eucharist and various activities.

                          The hope is that sensitivity towards this frontier of today's world will grow, to nurture Don Bosco's missionary dream and coordinate for an even more effective and incisive commitment.

                          • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                          • Missioni
                          • Rifugiati
                          • Migranti
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Ecuador – Fr Rubinsky Sanchez, SDB: he fought hunger

                            1 month ago
                            Ecuador – Fr Rubinsky Sanchez, SDB: he fought hunger

                            (ANS – Machala) – In Fr Rubinsky Sánchez's diary, the date of 12 March is highlighted with a spherical shape so as not to forget it. From that day on, the life of this Salesian priest and the community of Machala took a 180° turn. It was no longer possible to be near the parishioners or to accompany the children in the playground. The directive was clear: stay at home so as not to catch the coronavirus.

                            The first days of this new normal, he describes them as taken from a "horror movie", because there was nervousness and panic in the population because of the messages circulating in the media and social networks. Food and certain medicines became scarce and compulsory confinement aggravated the situation of the poorest.

                            Faced with this situation, Fr Rubinsky's pastoral work focused on how to help the families served by the Salesian community during the hardest weeks of the pandemic. A good number of them suffered a hard blow to their economy, as their income depended on informal trade and they could not go out on the streets to work. "If the coronavirus doesn't kill us, my family and my children will starve," was what we heard on the news.

                            At the end of March, he saw a light of hope for assisting the poorest. On a call on his mobile phone, he heard: "Father, I want to help your parish because you (the Salesians) are doing wonderful work with the people." It was a great emotional moment because this benefactor had committed to donating 500 food kits.

                            And now what do we do, was the question that Fr Rubinsky asked himself. Calling people to the parish or to the community would have created crowds and chaos. So, following the example of Jesus and Don Bosco, as a community they made the decision to go out to meet the people most in need.

                            During those weeks, even though the number of infected people had been growing rapidly, and in the surroundings of the community one could hear of people dying from the virus, their commitment to helping people was stronger than their fear of the disease; there being a priest called them to share their pain for the death of a loved one and to make them feel that the Church and the Salesians were with them. 

                            "I'm one of those who get into the van and go and give a hand to the people. I am not looking for death, I am not looking to get infected, but I do not like to be locked up, I am not a father who stays behind the desk," said the Father who experienced a similar situation in April 2016.

                            At that time, he was the parish priest in Manta and felt, in person and at the forefront, the destruction and death caused by an earthquake. His attitude was the same then; he went out to talk to the families who were sleeping in the streets and he gave them food coupons. This experience was valuable in knowing how to properly channel the donations received.

                            It was then that, together with Fr José Luis García and a group of lay people and young people, he formed a group that was at the forefront of helping and accompanying hundreds of families. Protected by gloves, glasses and a mask, he organized the delivery of food kits to the poorest sectors served by the Salesian mission: Nuevo Pilo, Venezuela, Voluntad de Dios, El Bosque, Alcides Pesántez and Rayito de Luz. In 20 days he travelled through these neighbourhoods where he distributed, at first, 500 food kits and then 1,000 more that reached the community.

                            "I would arrive, knock on the door, talk to them and know their situation, before handing out the food. You can't imagine the excitement they had, some were even dancing for joy because they had nothing to eat anymore. But I didn't just give them something to take to the table, I also shared a word of encouragement so that they wouldn't lose hope for better days," says Fr Rubinsky as his eyes moisten and his voice breaks due to the harsh realities he knew up close.

                            Then, the aid from Don Bosco Mission arrived and he went out again to deliver the $60 cards so that the families could buy food in the supermarkets. More than 600 cards were distributed and this aid still continues through the "Daily Bread" campaign.

                            On these long walks he encountered really difficult situations, such as a household where the four members were disabled and could not move around on their own. He went to a supermarket, did their shopping and personally took the food bags to them.

                            Through the contacts of Fr Rubinsky, a company in the city donated 27 thousand litres of milk. The Salesian parish worked as a collection centre and, together with Caritas of the Diocese, this product was distributed to different churches and later delivered to the parishioners.

                            Despite being in constant contact with people, he has not contracted the virus. He has had three tests and all have come back negative. Who do you thank for this protection? Well, he does not hesitate to say that it has been the protective mantle of Mary Help of Christians, whose figure he placed at the entrance to the community to block the entry of the Covid-19 and to look after his Salesian brothers who are elderly: Father Arturo Gallardo and Father José Luis García.

                            "I have asked God to protect me and Mary Help of Christians to shelter me. Since I was a novice I have been very devoted, I believe in her very much, and I ask her to end this because it has brought so much pain to the people." 

                            During this time, there were also many moments of anguish that prevented him from sleeping. It was then that he began to write at night and in a notebook, he wrote the "Story of a Pandemic". In those writings, he captured his emotions, the feelings of the parishioners and helped him to channel all the stress and worry he felt at the time.

                            Father Rubinsky considers that the main challenge of the present times is to continue being with the people, to continue being a light through our animating presence as a Salesian community. He considers these moments as stages that have marked his personal and religious life, because they have allowed him to strengthen his vocation of service and to thank God for continuing to give him the gift of life and the opportunity to continue to demonstrate his love for the most needy.

                            • Ecuador
                            • ECU ECUADOR
                            • Coronavirus
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              Indonesia – Further exploratory visit to Ruteng diocese on Flores island

                              1 month ago
                              Indonesia – Further exploratory visit to Ruteng diocese on Flores island

                              (ANS – Ruteng) – The first goal of the Salesians is to serve the Church and young people. So, the Salesians are happy to accept whatever work could be given to them, because they are serving the Catholic community with the charism of Don Bosco by evangelizing poor young people and encouraging vocations. For this reason, after the first exploratory visit last October 2019 to the three dioceses of Flores Island (Ruteng, Maumere and Ende), on 13-17 September the “St. Louis Versiglia” (INA) Vice-province Superior, Fr Andrew Wong, accompanied by Br. Bernardinus Mei, paid a visit to the Ruteng diocese, emerging as the possible new presence of the Salesians of Indonesia in this mostly Christian island located in the Eastern part of Indonesia (East Nusa Tenggara).

                              On 14 September both of them traveled from Jakarta to Ruteng - the capital of Manggarai district, Flores. In Ruteng they met the recently ordained Bishop, Siprianus Hormat, before evening prayer in his residence.

                              On September 15 in the morning, there was an official meeting with the bishop, who opened the meeting by greeting both Salesians and presented his large diocese and its history, which goes back to the early years of the 20th century. The Catholic faith has been planted there since the first baptism on 17 May 1912 in Jengkalang, Reo (north of Manggarai district), then with the establishment of mission schools in Labuan Bajo, Reo, and Ruteng. On 23 September 1920, a permanent mission in Ruteng began, slowly developed into the Ruteng Apostolic Vicariate, and officially became the Ruteng Diocese on 3 January 1961, with its first bishop Wilhelmus Van Beckkum, SVD.

                              The current bishop, Bishop Siprianus Hormat, is the fifth bishop of Ruteng and the fourth son of Manggarai. The diocese has one Pastoral Centre, six Educational works, one minor seminary, two intermediate Seminaries, three postulates or aspirants, three novitiates, two charitable social works, and three health works. Ruteng diocese has 89.7% Catholics - 851,609 of a population of 950,000, with 176 diocesan priests and 116 religious priests (SVD, OFM, SMM, SC, OSM, CRS and SDV), 184 male religious (CSA, SVD, OFM and SMM) and 526 religious sisters, divided into 86 parishes and 4 deaneries: Ruteng, Labuan Bajo, Borong and Reo. Most of the religious houses are concentrated in the city of Ruteng – 54 of them.

                              In turn, Fr Wong continued the exchange with gratitude for his welcome and hospitality. The INA Provincial said that since he was appointed as the Salesian Superior of Indonesia, he observed that many Salesians came from eastern Indonesia and particularly from Flores. Then he began to consult different diocesan priests, bishops and also the Papal Nuncio in Jakarta. There was a converging suggestion to open ministries in Flores. All of those consulted indicated Ruteng diocese as a place to be and to serve for the Salesians.

                              In the following discussion in which also the Vicar General Fr Alfons Segar and Fr Max Haber were involved, some possible kinds of apostolic work were spoken of that might be fitting for the Salesian charism in Ruteng diocese: parish, youth centre, TVET (non-formal vocation training centre), centre of Marian devotion (there is a strong Marian devotion in Flores), looking after school dropouts.

                              On 16 September, together with the bishop, the two visitors went to Borong Vicariate, East Manggarai, and then they visited the Minor Seminary of Pius XII in Kisol: 400 students of junior and senior high school. The visitors were introduced to classrooms, dormitories, chapel, and libraries. There were two points that struck them: the young seminarians are well-educated from a spiritual, intellectual and human perspective; also the well-prepared (MA degree in education in many fields of languages, history, counselling or guidance) formators both priests and practical training brothers or clerics from the diocese, as well as from several religious congregations. So, the candidates could see a variety of different spiritualities during their stay. In this way, the graduates of Kisol minor seminary are much appreciated in the local Church.

                              On 17 September, Fr Wong and Br Mei traveled back to Labuan Bajo and also had time to look at the Minor St. John Paul II Seminary. On 18 September 2020, the second exploratory trip to Flores ended and both visitors returned to Jakarta by Batik Air.

                              “We ask your prayers during this delicate period of discernment, as to when, where and how to start our first Salesian presence on Flores island,” Br Mei concludes.

                              Source : AustraLasia

                              • INA INDONESIA
                              • Indonesia
                              • Missioni
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                RMG – “Animating and Governing the Community - The Ministry of the Salesian Rector”: Interview with Fr Martoglio and Fr Coelho on the 1st part of the document

                                1 month ago
                                RMG – “Animating and Governing the Community - The Ministry of the Salesian Rector”: Interview with Fr Martoglio and Fr Coelho on the 1st part of the document

                                (ANS – Rome) – The video presentation of the first part of Animating and Governing the Community: The Ministry of the Salesian Rector is available on YouTube (links below), along with other animation aids for the communities, which is going to be disseminated via email to all Provinces and Rectors. The video, originally in Italian, has been dubbed in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

                                The video consists of an interview with Fr Stefano Martoglio, Vicar of the Rector Major, and Fr Ivo Coelho, General Councillor for Formation and deals with “The Salesian consecrated identity,” which is the first of the three parts of the document that was released during General Chapter 28.

                                This part sees our consecration from the point of view of our mission, which is not so much “working for young people” but “being signs and bearers of God’s love to them.” It talks about how we Salesians share in this mission precisely as consecrated people – Brothers and Priests – among the many others who partake in the same mission. It highlights the Rector’s role as guardian of Salesian identity rather than manager of the Work and invites him to exercise authority as a brother among brothers: “Strive to make yourself loved.” 

                                The video will be accompanied by a PowerPoint /PDF presentation and a handout, aimed to facilitate the personal study and the community sharing, ending up with four questions touching the main points emerged from the video interview. For those interested  – individual and communities - there is digital open forum on the same questions, where opinions can be shared with confreres of other Regions and provinces - the same link will be available in the handout.

                                Communities are invited to make use of these tools as a help for reading and digesting the first part of Animating and Governing the Community: The Ministry of the Salesian Rector over the next three months, from October to December 2020.

                                Formation communities, instead, have been invited to study Young Salesians and Accompaniment: Orientations and Guidelines with the help of the “video-seeds” that will be disseminated in monthly basis, from September 2020 – already sent – to June 2021.

                                The video interview on YouTube

                                • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                • Formazione
                                • Stefano Martoglio
                                • Ivo Coelho
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  Italy – Book presentation: "Don Silvio Galli, prete delle Beatitudini"

                                  1 month ago

                                  (ANS - Chiari) - “I'm nothing but a poor priest, I have nothing but the priestly robe I am wearing. It amazes me too that all people afflicted with problems, sometimes unsolvable, turn to me. I give my blessing also to their families, then I send them away with the conviction that if they pray and do so with faith their problems will be solved.” These words, said by Fr Silvio Galli, introduce an intense and participatory evening dedicated to the presentation of the book "Don Silvio Galli, prete delle Beatitudini - priest of the Beatitudes", in an event held on Friday 18 September in Chiari (Brescia, Italy) at the Salesian Institute "San Bernardino."

                                  Promoted by the Salesian community and the "Centro Auxilium", the initiative saw the presence of over 500 people, a sign of the interest and reputation for holiness that accompanies this Salesian of Don Bosco who was born in 1927 and died in 2012.

                                  The meeting was moderated by the journalist Clara Campani, who interviewed and conversed with Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, author of the book and Postulator of the Cause of Beatification of Father Galli. Fr Cameroni offered a number of interpretations of the figure and work of Father Galli: priest of welcome and hospitality, builder of peace, minister of reconciliation, sacrificed for the good of his neighbor. Even as a boy, his had been a life marked by a profound spiritual experience, as revealed by the written request to be admitted to the novitiate, when he was not yet 15 years old: “Oh how much I desire this! This is stimulated by a mysterious voice that speaks to my heart, an even mysterious force that pushes me more and more to God, a great peace that tells me how beautiful it is and how much more beautiful it will be to serve God. I do not understand the greatness of this double grace that God has given me. However, I feel so unworthy.”

                                  This "dream" that he wanted to fulfill came true through his words and gestures, which continue to be a strong provocation that shakes consciences, having wanted to share the poverty of Jesus with respect to a culture marked by consumerism and the search for exclusively material well-being. Without proclamations, with the eloquence of life, he made the evangelical choice to be poor and to serve the poor in the name of Jesus. The poor would remain his recipients until the end, against all forms of their being cast off, set aside, and indifference.

                                  The evening ended with a moment of prayer and with the announcement of the opening of the diocesan inquiry into the Cause of Beatification on Sunday 11 October which will be chaired by the bishop of Brescia, Msgr. Pierantonio Tremolada. On this occasion the Rector Major will be present, signifying the esteem and gratitude of the Salesian Family for this son of Don Bosco.

                                  As one of those present testified: “He was a great Priest, a true Father for all of us, in contact with him we felt his great love which he gave to everyone.”

                                  Audio of the evening

                                  Short video

                                  {gallery}Chiari - Don Galli 2020{/gallery}

                                  • Italia
                                  • Silvio Galli
                                  • Santità Salesiana
                                  • Pier Luigi Cameroni
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    France – Salesians arrive in Guadeloupe

                                    1 month ago
                                    France – Salesians arrive in Guadeloupe

                                    (ANS - Les Abymes) - Last Sunday, 20 September, the Salesian priest Fr Christian Tshala, SDB, took possession of his new parish. What makes this event special, in itself similar to many others, is the fact that it is a "first Salesian presence" in Guadeloupe, an overseas region of the French Republic, located in the middle of the Antilles, in the Caribbean Sea.

                                    Fr Tshala, a Salesian missionary born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but belonging to the "France-Belgium South" Province (FRB), reached the island of Guadeloupe on 31 August, accompanied by Fr Pierre Gernez, who became parish vicar, and by lay collaborator in the Salesian mission Arthur Massiet du Biest, of the association “Le Valdocco”.

                                    Guadeloupe clearly represents a privileged mission field for the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco: it is the most disadvantaged Department in the French Republic and has a large youth population - with a third of the population under the age of 20, of which about 20% lives below the poverty line. Furthermore, 20% of young Guadeloupans leave school without qualifications and the absenteeism rate is the highest of all the French departments; not to mention the unemployment rate among young people between 15 and 29, equal to 43.7%.

                                    Sensitive to the worrying situation of most of the young people, Msgr. Jean-Yves Riocreux, bishop of Basse Terre, the capital of Guadeloupe, invited the Salesians to settle in his diocese.

                                    The arrival of the Salesians in Basse Terre foresees a double involvement:

                                    The animation of a parish. Archbishop Riocreux has entrusted the parish of "San Luca", in the city of Les Abymes, to the Salesians. It is a municipality of 58,500 inhabitants that includes several working-class and poor areas and a very important school complex (with schools, colleges, general, technological and vocational).

                                    The Christian community is very lively and youth ministry is very developed, with several hundred children attending the Catechism, sees the presence of French Scouts, school chaplaincies, a youth orchestra, a large group of altar boys.

                                    A socio-educational presence among young people in difficulty. The idea is to create, with the involvement of the inhabitants and local collaborators, a local association according to the model of the "Le Valdocco" association and which is part of the "Don Bosco Action Social" network.

                                    Arthur Massiet du Biest, sent by the association for this purpose, will accompany the development of this socio-educational project, based on three axes:

                                    - street animation and organization of leisure time and recreation (trips, camping trips);

                                    - educational and scholastic support, as well as help with orientation and vocational integration;

                                    - support for parenting;

                                    The parish is ready to make the premises available to this new association and the public authorities (state and local authorities) are ready to support the functioning of this new association. But the association also needs material resources to be able to start its activities.

                                    For more information visit the website: 

                                    • Francia
                                    • FRB FRANCIA BELGIO SUD
                                    • Guadalupa
                                    • Nuova Presenza
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      Venezuela – A "back to school" marked by hunger and fear of Covid-19

                                      1 month ago

                                      (ANS - Caracas) - Venezuela has gone from being South America's richest country to a situation comparable to that of the poorest nations in Africa. The economic, political and social crisis that the population has been suffering places them in conditions of extreme poverty. Without food, water, electricity, medicine, fuel and, moreover, with the constant threat of the coronavirus, going back to school becomes a risk for minors.

                                      The situation is critical for the entire population, but the pandemic is the least of concerns for families. The priority is not the fear of contagion, but being able to eat. The average daily income of a Venezuelan is the equivalent of 0.55 euros. The conclusion is clear: everyone is poor today.

                                      Inflation gallops to record highs and to get food, fuel or medicine people have to stand in endless queues. Thus children and young people become the most vulnerable segment of the population. A recent study reveals that the nutritional status (height/age ratio) of children in Venezuela is more similar to that of African countries such as Nigeria or Zambia than that of any other neighboring country.

                                      Faced with this situation, the Salesians denounce the oppression suffered by the population and continue to stand alongside those most in need. The main help consists in the distribution of food, water and hygiene products. They do this especially among the children who every day participate in one of the seven programs that the “Red de Casas Don Bosco” has throughout the country. But they also help returning migrants, organize “solidarity pots”, community kitchens, in parishes and accompany indigenous communities in the Amazon.

                                      “The coronavirus emergency has aggravated the humanitarian crisis that began in 2016 and from which there is no way out. At the moment the coronavirus is the least of our concerns, even if infections and deaths are on the rise, without the real figures being known,” the Salesian missionaries explain.

                                      The "Red de Casas Don Bosco" Civil Association offers every day, in its seven centers, more than 700 breakfasts and meals to children in vulnerable situations, as well as hygiene kits. “If it were not for this support they'd have nothing to eat, and we have more and more cases of malnutrition,” says Leonardo Rodriguez, Director of these Salesian social works.

                                      Thanks to the support of the Salesian Mission Office of Madrid “Misiones Salesianas”, the program offers children a personalized basket for breakfast and lunch, while social distance and hygiene measures are being maintained at all times.

                                      But the uncertainty of this month also affects the return to school. In many places there are no teachers because they have not been paid and in most schools it is impossible to implement sanitation measures due to structural deficiencies. In consideration of this situation, the "Red de Casas Don Bosco" has implemented an emergency education mode in its seven programs, with the enrollment of 4,184 children and adolescents.

                                      Amid difficulties, the Salesians, as Don Bosco would have done, continue to help and instill hope in the population.

                                      • Venezuela
                                      • Fame
                                      • Povertà
                                      • Coronavirus
                                      • Scuole
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        RMG - Secretariat of Salesian Family: first steps of new 6-year term

                                        1 month ago
                                        RMG - Secretariat of Salesian Family: first steps of new 6-year term

                                        (ANS - Rome) - The Salesian Family, that vast movement of persons dedicated to the salvation of young people in the following of Don Bosco, is a living organism, which has taken on an increasingly central role in the consideration and apostolate of the Congregation. The Rector Major's reference to the Salesian Family in the closing address of the General Chapter, in this sense, is truly significant: “The Salesian Family, together with the reality of the mission shared with the laity, will be the point of arrival and the guarantee of the Salesian mission ... This is an essential charismatic element, much stronger today than in Don Bosco's time ... This is why I invite you to continue to believe in the Salesian Family.”

                                        The first element of novelty, testimony to the vitality of the Salesian Family, was the renewal of the team of the Salesians of Don Bosco present in the Secretariat for the Salesian Family: Fr Joan Lluís Playà succeeded Fr Eusebio Muñoz as Delegate of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family; Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, former Spiritual Animator of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), continues to be part of the Secretariat, but as Postulator General for the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family; Domenico Nam has taken on the positions of World Delegate for the Salesian Cooperators and for the Past Pupils of Don Bosco, previously assigned to Fr Giuseppe Casti and Fr Jayapalan Raphael; while the new Spiritual Animator of ADMA is now Fr Alejandro Guevara.

                                        With the offices renewed, the first digital contacts were then made. Attention was paid to requests from the Provinces or from specific groups of the Salesian Family from different parts of the world: animation of the Spiritual Exercises, participation in provincial meetings, meetings with the Past Pupils of the Provinces of East Asia, meeting with ADMA Primary… Without neglecting the translation of the book of the Salesian Family.

                                        From 10 to 12 September the team of Salesians of Don Bosco present in the Secretariat gathered, and on 11 September, in particular, they took part in the Plenary meeting of the Secretariat, which was also attended by Sr. Maria Luisa Miranda and Dina Moscioni, who were already members; and Margarita F. and Antonio Boccia, whom the Rector Major recently appointed members of the Secretariat.

                                        They were days of acknowledging the character of the Secretariat as an organ at the service of the Rector Major for the animation, formation and coordination of the Salesian Family; reflection on the functions to be assumed and on the way to organize; preparation of the part of the six-year program corresponding to the Salesian Family in the light of the nuclei of animation proposed by the Rector Major; and reasoning on how to face the next Days of Spirituality of the Salesian Family.

                                        “Here, in a nutshell, are the first steps taken in this new 6-year term, while we continue to trust in the enveloping love of God who has given His Church the gift of our Salesian Family,” concludes Fr Playà, Delegate of the Rector Major for the Family Salesian.

                                        • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                        • Famiglia Salesiana
                                          Virginia Nitto
                                          38 minutes 20 seconds ago
                                          ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana
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