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Italy - 1 October 1944 - 75th anniversary of Fr Elia Comini's martyrdom

3 weeks ago
Italy - 1 October 1944 - 75th anniversary of Fr Elia Comini's martyrdom

(ANS - Rome) - One of the most brutal massacres carried out by the Nazi SS in Europe during the Second World War was that consummated around Monte Sole, in the territories of Marzabotto, Grizzana Morandi and Monzuno, commonly known as the "Massacre of Marzabotto" (Bologna). Among the victims there were several priests and religious, including Salesian Fr Elia Comini. October 1st marks the 75th anniversary of his martyrdom.

The Servant of God Fr Elia Comini was born in the locality of "Madonna del Bosco" of Calvenzano di Vergato (Bologna) on 7 May 1910. Very young, Mons. Fidenzio Mellini, a former student of Don Bosco in Turin, directed him to the Salesians of Finale Emilia. Novice on 1 October 1925, he made his first profession on 3 October 1926 and was perpetually professed on 8 May 1931. Ordained a priest in Brescia on 16 March 1935, the Servant of God lived in Salesian houses in Chiari (in the province of Brescia, until 1941) and in Treviglio (in the province of Bergamo, from 1941 to 1944), and stands out as a good teacher of humanities and a solid, certain reference for many young people. In summer, in agreement with his superiors, Fr Elia returns to the Bolognese Apennines - in Salvaro - to help his mother, now old and alone. Mons. Fidenzio Mellini himself helps in the pastoral care.

A hardy journey, so much so that it commits Fr Elia Comini through the extremely difficult summer of 1944. He arrives in Salvaro on 24 June. He will remain there for just over three months, until his death. He helps the population in concrete terms, in the many needs dictated by the time of war. He animates the liturgy and promotes the frequency of the sacraments, supports the consecrated and lives an intense apostolate in the exercise of all the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. He also mediates between the opposite fronts: the partisans and the Germans of the Wehrmacht. The Servant of God institutes, with the young Dehonian father Martino Capelli, a priestly fraternity that associates them in the ministry.

On 29 September 1944 morning, Fr Elia and Fr Martino Capelli rushed towards the "Creda", a settlement where the SS of the Sixteenth Armored Division had just committed a massacre: stoles, holy oils and techa clearly identify them as priests in the exercise of their ministry of comfort to the dying. Regardless, they were captured, stripped of priestly insignia, used as beasts of burden in the transport of ammunition; thus began their triduum of passion. From the very beginning, Fr Elia is convinced that he is destined to die; nonetheless, is close to the prisoners (a few hundred raked into one same space), always ready to comfort, help, and finally absolve. The different mediations with which they try to save him fail, while he intercedes for everyone.

On the evening of October 1, 1944, he was killed together with Father Martino and the group of the "incapacitated" - despite being young and able to work - at the "Botte" of the hemp field of Pioppe di Salvaro at the end of a surreal liturgy in which the SS had the prisoners paraded on a catwalk before mowing them down with machine gun fire: he, chanting the Litanies and finally shouting "Pietà!", had transformed it into a prayerful advance towards Heaven. Shortly before his death, a German soldier violently strikes his hands and his breviary falls between the bodies. In the impossibility of recovering the bodies, the river grids will be subsequently opened and the impetuous current of the river Reno will forever carry away those poor remains, already consumed and become "earth". In the moments of execution, the body of Fr Elia Comini had protected one of the only three survivors of the "Botte" massacre.

Fr Elia Comini is immediately associated with a reputation for martyrdom, thanks to which his previous holy life is also re-read in a light of new awareness. He is a witness to the charity of the Good Shepherd who watches over the flock, ready to give his life for it, in defense of the weak and the innocent.

  • Italia
  • Elia Comini
  • Martiri
    Jesus Jurado

    South Korea - Historical manual for Salesian translators worldwide published

    3 weeks ago
    South Korea - Historical manual for Salesian translators worldwide published

    (ANS - Seoul) - After the 2nd Seminar for Salesian Translators which took place in Myanmar in August, the first "Manual for Salesian Translators" was published. Published by Don Bosco Media of Seoul, 300 copies of the 72-page manual have already been printed.

    Long overdue, this publication is now being distributed among Salesian translators in the East Asia-Oceania Region and beyond. This is an important document for Salesian history, since it is the first manual designed specifically for translators. The manual came out just in time for the feast of Saint Jerome, which occurs on September 30 and which coincides with the International Day of Translators, called by the United Nations.

    The manual consists of 5 chapters, named as follows:
    1. Introduction
    2. The Salesian Translator
    3. The key processes of translation
    4. The post-translation process
    5. Appendices

    One of the most significant parts of the entire manual is, without doubt, the introductory note by the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime. Simple and encouraging words, which reach Salesian translators from all over the world.

    "Five years ago," writes the Rector Major, "when some translators from the East Asia-Oceania Region met in K'Long in Vietnam, I remember telling them how happy I was with initiatives like these, which are the result of a deep and rich vision. Those Salesians, men and women, have planted a seed."

    The process that led to the writing of this manual was long and complex, required a lot of commitment on the part of the authors and it took several consultations before it actually saw the light. But it was really necessary to continue spreading the charism of Don Bosco throughout the world.

    "Translation is important. It has been for the Church for over two millennia and it is so for our Congregation," the Rector Major writes. "It is important for society as a whole, especially in a globalized world like ours. The United Nations, from 2017, have adopted the Feast of St. Jerome, Patron Saint of Translators, as 'International Day of Translators'. It is encouraging to see that our Salesian translators have deemed this role so important, so much so as to want to explain their work through this Manual, in an attempt to encourage others to take on this task."

    • Corea del Sud
    • Documento
    • Traduttori
      Jesus Jurado

      Spain - "The magic of the family": family camp

      3 weeks ago

      (ANS - Jaen) - "We cannot encourage a path of fidelity and mutual self-giving," writes Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia, "without encouraging the growth, strengthening and deepening of conjugal and family love." In this perspective, from August 19th to 24th, in the Sierra de Cazorla (Jaén), a group of 80 people, composed of 18 families, 5 animators and a Salesian of Don Bosco, lived a family camp for the second consecutive year, an experience of being Salesian, family, joyful, formative and spiritual entitled "the magic of the family."

      This initiative arises from the Consulta of the Salesian Family of Seville, after a process of discernment and reception of the invitations that the Church, the Congregation and society offer to take care of the family. This is how the "Family Camp" was born.

      In this second year there were many requests from many families who wanted to be chosen to live this great adventure.

      "We have lived a beautiful experience," writes Eva Sanchez, "that touches the heart and leaves traces in life. They are experiences that help you to face the problems of life and are like a fuel to face personal and family struggles. It is not easy to find a space for reflection and dialogue with oneself, one's partner and one's family."

      The group lived this encounter in a privileged environment, not only for the beauty of the surrounding nature, but above all for the human level and faith of each of the members of the camp, each in their own style, but with a common denominator: to make the days a wonderful experience.

      Accompanied by families held by the hands of God, the experience took place across five days, lived with intensity, and experience that was indeed full and of community.

      "We discovered ourselves," says Eve, "and what it means to be a community, what it means to be a family. We have deepened the meaning of discernment and of our mission as families, and we have done it together with our children and our spouses."

      The camp was a team effort, with the presence of a Salesian of Don Bosco and of the families, who succeeded in forming a profound community experience.

      Fr Alejandro Guevara writes: "We now have but to share what we have experienced, reflect it towards others and be witnesses of this spiritual recharge. Note that we are children of a dreamer and that always being happy is the best way to face life. We are bearers of this magic received. Undoubtedly we have been chosen. Now we must transmit the magic of the family, an experience that helps to renew and reinforce families."

      • Spagna
      • Famiglia
      • Campo Famiglia
        Jesus Jurado

        East Timor - Gratitude of President Guterres for contribution of Fr João Pires de Deus

        3 weeks 1 day ago
        East Timor - Gratitude of President Guterres for contribution of Fr João Pires de Deus

        (ANS - Dili) - Fr João Pires de Deus, the oldest Salesian of the East Timor Vice Province, died Sunday 22 September at the age of 91, after 61 years of missionary life spent in East Timor and 53 as a Salesian.

        Fr João de Deus was born in Mirandela, Bragança, Portugal, on April 15, 1928. In 1958 he was sent to East Timor, where he remained until his death. Here, in 1963 he founded the "Fatumaka Technical School of Agriculture" and supported the development of Catholic missions in Baucau.

        In 1975, with the civil war raging, the Portuguese government ordered the immediate evacuation of all Catholic missionaries from East Timor, but Fr João de Deus decided to stay in the country, despite the risks and dangers he was running.

        In that year he was captured by the Indonesians and was released only a few weeks later.


        After the dismantling of the bases in 1978, the Catholic Church was the only institution that remained with the population during the Indonesian occupation. To support the resistance, the Portuguese missionaries built orphanages in Baguia, Laga and Quelicai, which welcomed war orphans. When East Timor gained independence, Fr João remained there and continued to support the local population.



        In 2012 he was awarded the Medal of the Order "Martinho Lopes", an order created by the State to recognize the contribution of the Catholic Church in the national liberation of East Timor and to offer thanks for the support and closeness to the local population.

        Francisco Guterres, President of the Democratic Republic of East Timor, personally offered his last farewell to Fr João de Deus, going to the Chapel of Don Bosco in Comoro.

        On behalf of the whole State, the President expressed the greatest gratitude for the contribution that Fr João had made for national independence. President Guterres then signed a presidential decree, published yesterday, 24 September, where he once again expresses his thanks for what Fr João de Deus did in the most difficult years for the country.

        The East Timorese Head of State then brought his condolences to the Salesian Family for this great loss.

        • Timor Est
        • TLS
        • Joao Pires de Deus
          Virginia Nitto

          Italy - Don Bosco Missions Ethnographic Museum opens 28 September

          3 weeks 1 day ago
          Italy - Don Bosco Missions Ethnographic Museum opens 28 September

          (ANS - Turin) - On the eve of the 150th departure of Salesian missionaries from Turin, the Missioni Don Bosco Ethnographic Museum is soon to be inaugurated. Wanted and designed to make the knowledge of the missionary world increasingly accessible to the pilgrims of Valdocco, the museum is located in the building next to the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. It constitutes an original showpiece of Turin's international dimension and is a scientifically relevant warehouse of the culture of the native peoples from across the globe.

          On 28 September at 2:00 pm the Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, will bless this new space with the participation of 17 provincials from all over the world, 13 missionaries returned for refresher courses in Italy and 36 new starters. With them the president of Missioni Don Bosco, Giampietro Pettenon.

          "This small museum tells of a meeting," explains Elisabetta Gatto, ethnologist and curator for the Don Bosco Missions of the new cultural space, "the one between the Salesian missionaries and several populations with whom, starting with the first expedition to Patagonia in 1875, they entered in contact. Testimony of this meeting are the objects that the missionaries brought to Italy and which are part of the collections of the Ethnological Missionary Museum of Colle Don Bosco."

          Exhibited visitors shall find tools, furniture, clothes, ornaments, fruit of the creativity with which the different human groups have been able to adapt to the environment, transforming the resources available for the needs of everyday life and for the realization of cultural and ritual practices.

          The museum map is designed by geographical area; it is possible to deepen the visit by choosing the thematic itineraries by subject, available in the audio guides.

          Far from wanting to be exhaustive about the widespread presence of Salesian missions in the world, this museum space is a showcase of the most significant Salesian presences alongside indigenous peoples and for the protection of different cultural traditions.

          The itinerary begins with Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, destinations of the first Salesian missionary expedition in 1875. The exhibits are an important testimony of cultures and populations now extinct; the artifacts collected by Fr Borgatello in 1911 and Fr De Agostini in 1932 can be considered unique pieces today.

          It continues with the Shuar of Ecuador (of note the especially significant work of Father Bolla), with the Yanomami of Venezuela (the work of Fr Cocco is precious), with the peoples of the Rio Negro, with the Bororo, the Xavante and the Carajá of the Brazil, with the Nagas of Northeast India. A showcase is dedicated to China, one to Japan, one to Oceania. The itinerary closes with two showcases dedicated to the African continent.

          The museum opens up to the contemporary thanks to the documentation contained in the maxi-screen that testifies the current commitment of the Salesian missionaries in the world in favor of the most disadvantaged and those most in need of help. The visitor will be able to explore some realities of Salesian presences in the five continents through a monitor, also told through short videos and photographs.

          • Italia
          • Missioni Don Bosco
          • Museo Etnografico
            Jesus Jurado

            Syria – Syria transformation continues: from Damascus battlefield to new Salesian youth center

            3 weeks 1 day ago
            Syria – Syria transformation continues: from Damascus battlefield to new Salesian youth center

            (ANS - Damascus) - For years the bullets and the blast of bombs have been the background of the Jaramana neighborhood, in Damascus. The war that Syria has been going through since 2011 has destroyed this part of the city and its traces are visible. Most of the children and young people who participate in the activities of the Salesian Youth Center in the country's capital come from this area, with 1.5 million people. Now that the war seems to have calmed down - even if these days, very close to Jaramana, large explosions have been heard - the Salesians are continuing the construction of the Youth Center, a church and a vocational training center.

            For some time, the Salesians of the Middle East Province had decided to get their activities as close as possible to the most remote and needy populations. At the height of the war dramatic moments were experienced indeed with families that made young people and children get on the buses, in the middle of the bombings, running a terrible risk.

            "On many occasions we have suspended the bus lines. We had the opportunity to communicate with the educators and then to inform the families," said Fr Alejandro León, Superior of the Salesian Province of the Middle East.

            The district of Jaramana is located one hour from the current youth center of Damascus, due to the city's traffic. The objective of the Salesians is to move to this area, with a Muslim majority, "to open it also to the youth of that neighborhood in these difficult times in which the reconstruction of the country is beginning."

            Fr León wanted to remember one of the great lessons he received from some of the children in this district. "One day when, due to the bombing, we suspended the route of the buses that took the kids to the youth center, I saw that at two o'clock in the afternoon an educator and several children from that neighborhood showed up at Mass. They had walked in the middle of the bombardments for more than two hours. At the end of the Mass I told them that I was very angry because they had disobeyed and had put their lives in jeopardy. The educator, very serene, gave me a lesson in theology and faith at the same time when he asked me who I was to forbid them from going to Mass on Sunday."

            Now, with the help of many benefactors, a Salesian center will be established to accompany the formation of thousands of young Syrians affected by the war.

            • Siria
            • Damasco
            • MOR
            • Alejandro Leon
              Virginia Nitto

              Ecuador - Leadership and Catholic and Salesian identity, axes of reflection for IUS Leadership Course

              3 weeks 1 day ago
              Ecuador - Leadership and Catholic and Salesian identity, axes of reflection for IUS Leadership Course

              (ANS - Quito) - A strategic guideline of the common program of IUS, the Salesian Institutions of Higher Education, at the global level constitute the formation of the leaders of universities and centers of higher education; under this premise, at the Salesian Polytechnic University (UPS) – Quito campus, 28 rectors and academic authorities meet for module 2 of the Course for IUS directors. The meeting began on September 23rd and ends on Friday September 27th.

              Fr Marcelo Farfán, IUS general coordinator, said that this second module is essential to share key elements around two themes: how to animate and manage a Salesian institution of higher education and how to animate and manage the Catholic and Salesian identity of these institutes.

              Through various interventions and experiences the following skills are hoped to be tested and fostered:

              - Develop a better understanding of the mission and identity of a Catholic and Salesian Higher Education Institution.
              - Ensure the evangelizing intentionality of a IUS.
              - Experiment with the Preventive System in the context of higher education.
              - Guarantee the centrality of the option for young people, especially the poorest people and  'working class' neighbourhoods.
              - Ensure the pastoral dimension of the university.

              Fr Javier Herrán, UPS Rector, welcomed the participants from Europe, Africa and America. The first session was led by Fr Fernando Montes, a Jesuit priest, on the theme "Identity and Mission of the Catholic University", followed by the theme "Salesian presence in education: from the Oratorian experience to higher education", given by the Salesian Center for Ongoing Formation America (CSFPA).

              Some of the topics covered during the course are: "The historical process of IUS", by Mario Olmos; "The IUS network today" and the "Salesian University Pastoral", by Fr Marcelo Farfán; "The Salesian Educational-Pastoral Model", by Fr Fabio Attard, General Councilor for Youth Ministry, via Skype; "The option for young people, especially for the poorest and 'working class' zones", by Fr Ronaldo Zacharias; "Salesian University Leadership", by Fr Alejandro Rodríguez; "The Preventive System in Salesian Higher Education", by Fr Michal Vojtas, among others.

              The work methodology is characterized by being formative-experiential, allowing participants to deepen, reflect and take on the role of leadership. Undoubtedly, training university leaders is pointing to the future.

              • Ecuador
              • IUS
              • Corso
              • Identità Salesiana
                Jesus Jurado

                Italy - Appointment with Harambée and 150th missionary expedition returns

                3 weeks 2 days ago
                Italy - Appointment with Harambée and 150th missionary expedition returns

                (ANS - Turin) - From 27 to 29 September, the traditional missionary appointment with the Harambée will take place in Turin - Valdocco, which this year will be enriched by an important anniversary: ​​the 150th missionary expedition. 36 Salesians and 13 Daughters of Mary Help of Christians will receive the missionary cross from the hands of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, during the celebration in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians.

                Don Bosco's missionary dream continues, after 150 years, thanks to the commitment of the 36 Salesians who will receive the missionary cross. 9,523 missionaries have been sent avroad in 150 expeditions. "We must respond generously to the Lord: if today the Salesian charism lives in 134 nations, it is due to confreres like these who have brought the Gospel into the world by educating the young," said the Rector Major.

                To underline the importance of this anniversary, during the days of the Harambée there is a Salesian re-reading of the testimonies of Salesian holy missionaries together with the presentation of the departures, before the large celebration in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians.

                The event will start on Friday 27 September with the welcome of the participants, followed by an introductory moment. The following day, Saturday 28 September, there will be the awaited inauguration of the Missioni Don Bosco Ethnographic Museum intended to make the knowledge of the missionary world increasingly accessible to the pilgrims of Valdocco. At 2 pm, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime shall bless this new space, which was built in the structure of the Mission Office. It contains many objects from the daily life of ethnic minorities that the Salesians have encountered over the years in mission lands.

                Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major, will officiate Mass in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin and, accompanied by Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, will hand over the missionary cross to Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians who are preparing to begin this new path. Furthermore, before the beginning of the Mass, Fr Guillermo Basañes, General Councilor for the Missions, and Fr Alejandro León, Salesian Provincial of the Middle East (MOR) shall speak to the future missionaries.

                Also present at this missionary feast will be the Superiors of various Italian Salesian Provinces and the participation of Salesians and FMA of the Provinces of origin of the departing members is foreseen.

                On Sunday 29 September it will be possible to follow the presentation of the participants at 9.00 am and the Holy Mass at 11.00 am on the ANS Facebook page. The live broadcast is available in three languages: Italian, Spanish and English.

                • Italia
                • Harambée
                • Spedizione Missionaria Salesiana
                  Jesus Jurado

                  Panama - President of Panama visits Don Bosco Technical Institute, delighted by warm welcome

                  3 weeks 2 days ago
                  Panama - President of Panama visits Don Bosco Technical Institute, delighted by warm welcome

                  (ANS - City of Panama) - On Thursday 19 September the Don Bosco Technical Institute received a surprise visit from the President of the Republic of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, interested in getting to know first hand the progress in the restructuring of laboratories and curricular projects of the institute. The President emphasized the relationship he has always had with the school that teaches students from working class areas of the capital and the peripheries.

                  The institute's students and collaborators were encouraged and motivated by his visit. The notes of the Salesian hymns resounded across the gym, making President Cortizo feel very much at home. The words of welcome were given by Fr Dante De La Gaspera and by the student José Jiménez. The official poster and the invitation to the inauguration of "Expotecnia 2019" were presented, the fair a window for students to show the public the creativity and ingenuity of the technical and scientific projects they have developed.

                  The President visited the new mechatronics laboratory (former electromechanical laboratory), and Dr. Victor Costella, coordinator of the technical area, provided information on the work being carried out, plans and projects to which President Cortizo was very interested. The President promised that through the Institute for Training and Valorisation of Human Resources, 500 scholarships will be awarded, which include transportation, special and quality level courses, for the benefit of less affluent students so that they can study in the institute. Furthermore, public school students, apart from regular lessons, will be able to take technical courses to complete their formation.

                  The Don Bosco Technical Institute is the only school in the country that is accredited by the Ministry of Education as a technical training body, which allows it to develop programs and projects aimed at the formation of students, instructors and the general public.

                  Teacher training for vocational and technical schools in the nation will be carried out by the Don Bosco Technical Institute, which is considered as a model institution of technical education. Furthermore, laboratories and workshops with modern equipment will be restructured by the end of 2019.

                  At the end of the visit, students and teachers thanked the President with the Salesian joy that distinguishes them. The President told the students gathered in the gym, where he went on Sunday to attend Mass, that he was delighted by their warm welcome.

                  • Panama
                  • Istituto Tecnico Don Bosco
                  • accoglienza
                    Jesus Jurado

                    Italy - English-speaking Salesian Family Delegates in Rome for formation week

                    3 weeks 3 days ago
                    Italy - English-speaking Salesian Family Delegates in Rome for formation week

                    (ANS - Rome) - Three years after the joint formation sessions for the Salesian Family Delegates, which took place in November 2016, Fr Eusebio Muñoz, Delegate of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family, prepared together with his team the much-awaited meeting of the Salesian Family Delegates. This meeting was aimed at the English-speaking Delegates; last week's was for the Romance languages.

                    The event, which took place from 17 to 22 September at the "Pius XI" Institute in Rome, was organized in view of the forthcoming GC28.

                    The meeting was opened by Mass, presided by Fr Jayapalan Raphael, Delegate for the Past Pupils of Don Bosco, who invited all participants to entrust themselves to the Holy Spirit. Fr Eusebio Muñoz then presented the program and invited participants to introduce themselves and to illustrate the work being carried out in their respective Provinces. After the brief introduction, the participants were divided into five groups, subdivided by Regions, and shared the situation of the Salesian Family in the different Provinces. They discussed the strengths, the possibilities of growth, the struggles and the challenges that await the Salesian Family.

                    During the meeting, of note the presentations of Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, Spiritual Animator of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), of Fr Joan Lluis Playà, Spiritual Assistant for Don Bosco Volunteers (VDB) and Volunteers with Don Bosco(CDB), which offered an overview of these two groups, and of Antonio Boccia, Coordinator of the Salesian Cooperators.

                    Great importance too was given to the figure of the laity. Among the approximately 500,000 members of the 32 groups of the Salesian Family, a significant part is constituted in fact by the laity. A large number of lay people from different groups of the Salesian Family shared their vision and their vocational experience: among the most important interventions were by Antonio Boccia and Renato Cursi, Salesian Cooperator, currently Executive Secretary of the DBI.

                    During this past week, there were also discussions on topical issues such as the family, children's education, parenting and the situation of today's youth. Speakers and Delegates of the Salesian Family discussed these issues, exchanging ideas and opinions.

                    In this English-speaking group, there were 35 delegates: 14 from the East Asia-Oceania Region, 8 from South Asia, 2 from Interamerica, 6 from Central-Northern Europe and 5 from Africa Madagascar.



                    {gallery}Famiglia EN{/gallery}

                    • Italia
                    • Famiglia Salesiana
                    • Roma
                    • Formazione
                      Jesus Jurado

                      RMG - Rector Major meets CDBs for Institute's XXV anniversary

                      3 weeks 3 days ago
                      RMG - Rector Major meets CDBs for Institute's XXV anniversary

                      (ANS - Rome) - "Between memory and prophecy". This was the slogan that served as a guideline for the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the "Volunteers with Don Bosco", better known as "CDB". On September 20 and 21, 24 CDBs from 10 different countries met at the Salesian Central Office in Rome, representing the approximately 90 CDBs scattered throughout the world.

                      The occasion was to celebrate the XXV anniversary of the Institute's foundation. Saturday 21 September was enriched by the presence of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, by representatives of various Groups of the Salesian Family, and by Mgr. Calogero La Piana. A pleasant surprise was also the visit of Monsignor Cristóbal López, Archbishop of Rabat, recently appointed Cardinal by Pope Francis; he, in fact, is close to the Institute since, from the beginning, he has followed several young people from Paraguay who had the desire to live a consecration in the world.

                      During his speech, the Rector Major gave a gift of a letter to the CDB entitled "Who do you say that I am (Mt 16:15). The CDBs on the path of fidelity". The Letter shall be presented to the entire Salesian Family.

                      This document, which traces the experience lived by the Institute from its establishment to today, offers indications on the elements of Don Bosco's charism of special importance for Salesian consecrated secularity, several indications for the Institute's future path, as well as an invitation to the Family Salesian to commit itself to accompanying young people to the knowledge of this specific vocation.

                      During Holy Mass, celebrated at the Basilica del Sacro Cuore, two CDB Volunteers renewed their profession of evangelical counsels; the celebration ended with the entrusting of the Institute to the Virgin and with the blessing of Mary Help of Christians.

                      In the afternoon a number of witnesses of the early days spoke on the origins of the Institute and on the future perspectives that will see the individual CDBs engaged in a significant testimony of apostolic life in the realities of the world in which they are - by choice and 

                      • RMG
                      • CDB
                      • Volontario Con Don Bosco
                        Jesus Jurado

                        Italy - Salesian participation in the Synod: "The Salesian Amazon that challenges us"

                        3 weeks 3 days ago

                        (ANS - Rome) - On 15 October 2017, Pope Francis convened a Special Synod Assembly on the Pan-Amazonian Region, indicating the main objective: "to identify new ways for the evangelization of that portion of the people of God, and especially the indigenous peoples" in this region of the world "who are often forgotten and without the prospect of a serene future, also because of the crisis of the Amazonian forest, [which is] a lung that is of capital importance for our planet." There are now only a few days to an event of great importance, an event that will be a moment of grace for a renewed presence of the Church in this region and to offer a significant contribution to integral ecology. It is a Synod in which our "Salesian Amazonia asks us to give a renewed response to the Amazon youth," said Fr Martín Lasarte, SDB.

                        The Salesians are present in various countries and regions, one of which is the Amazon region. The Pan-Amazonia region is composed of nine countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Surinam, Guyana and French Guyana, and it is a region that is an important source of oxygen for the whole earth, an area that houses more than a third of the world's primary forest reserves.

                        The Salesians are present in 6 countries and have 47 communities with 245 Salesians, serving the rural and urban areas of Amazonia and Mato Grosso.

                        The Vatican has recently published the names of the participants. Of the 185 appointed, there is a considerable Salesian presence, both of the Salesians of Don Bosco and of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

                        1. Archbishop Edmilson Tadeu Canavarros Dos Santos, S.D.B., Titular Bishop of Feradi Minor, Auxiliary Bishop of Manaus
                        2. Archbishop Antônio De Assis Ribeiro, S.D.B., Titular Bishop of Babra, Auxiliary Bishop of Belém do Pará
                        3. Mons. Flavio Giovenale, S.D.B., Bishop of Cruzeiro do Sul
                        4. Mons. Néstor Vidal Montesdeoca Becerra, S.D.B., Apostolic Vicar of Méndez, titular bishop of Celle of Mauritania

                        5. Archbishop Augusto Martín Quijano Rodriguez, S.D.B., Apostolico Vicar de Pucallpa
                        6. Mons. Pablo Modesto Gonzalez Pérez, S.D.B., Bishop of Guasdualito
                        7. Mons. Jonny Eduardo Reyes Sequera, S.D.B., Apostolic Vicar of Puerto Ayacucho, titular bishop of Canapio
                        Papal appointments
                        8. Card. Óscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras)
                        9. Gaetano Galbusera, S.D.B., former Apostolic Vicar of Pucallpa, Titular Bishop of Mascula (Peru)
                        10. Fr Martín Lasarte Topolanski, S.D.B., from the Missions Department of the Salesian Central Office in Rome, a missionary in Angola.

                        11. Fr Rossano Sala, S.D.B., Professor in Youth Ministry at the Salesian Pontifical University and director of the journal "Note di Pastorale Giovanile" (Italy)
                        Members of the Pre-Synodal Council
                        12. Mons. José Ángel Divassòn Cilveti, S.D.B., former Vicar Apostolic of Puerto Ayacucho, titular Bishop of Bamaccora (Venezuela)
                        13. Archbishop Edmundo Ponciano Valenzuela Mellid, S.D.B., Archbishop of Asunción, (Paraguay)
                        Collaborators of the Special Secretariat
                        14. Fr Giovanni Bottasso, S.D.B., former professor of the Salesian University of Quito. Researcher specializing in Amazonia and Indigenous peoples (Ecuador)
                        15. Fr Justino Sarmento Rezende, S.D.B., Expert in Indigenous and Inculturated Pastoral Spirituality (Brazil)
                        Publishers and auditors
                        16. Sister María Carmelita De Lima Conceição, F.M.A., of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Superior of the “Laura Vicuña” Province of Manaus (Brazil)
                        17. Sister Mariluce Dos Santos Mesquita, F.M.A., of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, a religious of the Barassana ethnic group (Brazil).

                        "Our congregation is missionary. We are in 134 countries and we consider ourselves an eminently missionary congregation," Fr Lasarte said, "not because of the things we do in the middle of the Amazon, but because we announce Jesus Christ ... This Amazonian Synod is a time to rethink the missionary dimension of the Church and of the Congregation."

                        • Italia
                        • Sinodo
                        • Amazonia
                          Jesus Jurado

                          India - "Don Bosco College of Agriculture" organizes agricultural exhibition

                          3 weeks 3 days ago

                          (ANS - Sulcorna) – Several students attending the fourth year at the Don Bosco College of Agriculture (DBCA) in Sulcorna organized an agricultural exhibition at the English-language high school "Somnath", aimed at students and local farmers.

                          The students exhibited what they had learned during their studies at the DBCA, illustrating to the participants the various parasites that affected the main crops of the State of Goa, such as coconut, mango, sugar cane and cucurbita. They explained how to manage pests and how to recognize the symptoms of the diseases they cause to plants. The DBCA students also presented sericulture, or silkworm breeding on mulberry leaves, and beekeeping, which is a profitable commercial option. They then explained the advantages of vermicomposting, low cost biotechnology that uses earthworms and that is easily replicable and affordable for everyone.

                          Subsequently, the high school students were involved in an interactive workshop and were invited to collect and identify plants and insects. Later, the students participated in a competition, which consisted of creating posters to illustrate indigenous technological knowledge. This helped them to learn about and recognize the old but effective knowledge implemented by their ancestors.

                          Assistant professor Rajan Shelke gave a lecture, again focusing on how to recognize the symptoms of diseases transmitted by parasites. Furthermore, during the exhibition, they discussed fertilizers and insecticides, so that local farmers could learn to use them responsibly. The DBCA students, in fact, were happy to make their knowledge and experience available to solve and advise farmers on the agricultural problems they face.

                          The DBCA offers students a targeted educational path in the agricultural sector, which will facilitate their entry into the labour market. Their motto is in fact the Latin phrase "Labor omnia vincit", which means "hard work wins everything". The phrase is taken from a poem by the Roman poet Virgil, who composed it to support and promote Caesar's campaign "Back to earth", aimed at encouraging the Romans to undertake agriculture.

                          Thanks to its innovative programs and high quality teaching, the DBCA has been evaluated as "the best agricultural university" by the Indian Agricultural Research Council (ICAR), of the Ministry of Agriculture.

                          • India
                          • Don Bosco College
                          • Agricoltura
                            Jesus Jurado

                            Dominican Republic - Network of Social Centers and Services for Youth at Risk

                            3 weeks 6 days ago
                            Dominican Republic - Network of Social Centers and Services for Youth at Risk

                            (ANS - Santo Domingo) – Since 1998 the "Network of Social Centers and Services for Young People at Risk", of the Interamerica Region, has been meeting to reflect, analyze and foster networking in the region. It counts on a team of Salesians and lay people chosen by the delegates of each province in the region. For this reason a general meeting of the delegates takes place every two years; the year before the meeting, the regional group meets to plan, evaluate and develop the process.

                            This Network team of centers and operational services has existed since 2008 with a 6-year strategic plan. In fact, in 2014 a new plan was evaluated and completed which will be completed in 2020 and another will be generated in accordance with the guidelines of the General Chapter, the guidelines for Youth Ministry and the region's social state.

                            From 6 to 16 September, the team of the "Network of Works and Social Services for Young People at Risk" met in the Dominican Republic to analyze and evaluate the 2015-2020 strategic plan, to review, update and promote the work as a team across the region and to prepare for the 2020 delegates meeting.

                            It was possible to gather important information that motivated the network's consolidation with the aim of contributing to the quality and visibility of the 193 Salesian Centers that work with young people at risk.

                            Research based on the reference framework indicates that there are 34 programs that serve street children, 14 programs for children with special needs, 6 centers working with young people who use psychoactive substances - HIV AIDS, 14 programs at the service of migrants and immigrants, 98 programs offering recreational curricula, 39 programs inserted in working-class areas, 23 family support centers and 15 centers that promote women.

                            The team's objective is to standardize the processes of the 14 provinces (19 countries) and improve the quality of the service offered to over 60,000 vulnerable and at-risk people in the region.

                            As a result of this meeting the team prepared a project to ask for the support of the Rector Major to consolidate three important aspects: management (team and office), marketing communication and formation for all the people who are part of the network, so it is configured once more as a visible and sustainable network.

                            • Repubblica Dominicana
                            • Opere Sociale
                            • Giovani a Rischio Sociale
                              Jesus Jurado

                              Mexico - Memorable meeting between "Legends of Puebla" and Don Bosco Oratory

                              3 weeks 6 days ago

                              (ANS - Puebla de los Ángeles) - The city of Puebla de los Ángeles dressed up for the festivities of this past September 8th. In fact, a truly memorable event took place at the Don Bosco Oratory: Salesian brother José Víctor López and the Oratorian community, composed of catechists, young animators, Oratorians, coaches and leaders, welcomed the "Legends of Puebla" team, formed largely by the winning formation of the Mexican soccer championship 1989-1990.

                              Also attending, alongside the team of the "Campeonísimos", the champions, was Jacobo Ordaz Moreno, President of the Municipal Council of Puebla, who made it possible for this event to be staged.

                              The match itself was much fought, but the scoreboard favored the team of the "Legends of Puebla" from the beginning, the team appearing to be completely unaffected by the years.

                              The most important thing about the game, however, was the joy of being able to meet and play with the young "stars" of the Oratory. For José Alfonso Pérez Mejía, for example, it was a great thrill to return to the Oratory, intensely relive the memories of his childhood and those moments in which he could count on the support of Fr José Hiram Huerta. He recalled, in fact, when he was a child and this priest was waiting for him with a ball, urging him to play, leading him to consolidate his life as a professional footballer. He then spoke of all the work and effort of the catechists and leaders and was happy to meet them again.

                              Among the Puebla players, their smile was the hallmark, as was their cordiality and proximity. They made themselves available to everyone, autographed balls, photographs, jerseys and much more. They also had selfies taken with their many admirers, including those who played as adversaries, or the Oratory leaders. It was thanks to the efforts of the oratory leaders that, over the years, true football talents such as José Alfonso Pérez, Rafael Tendilla and Antonio Brito have emerged from the Don Bosco Oratory.

                              The players, together with the President of the Municipal Council of Puebla, stated that spaces like the Oratories are important, because they offer young people a great opportunity to develop as good citizens and as promoters of peace.

                              Finally, dinner was offered to the President and to all the players of the "Legends of Puebla" team. Everything took place in the house of Don Bosco in a convivial and fraternal atmosphere, one that was typically Salesian.

                              • Messico
                              • Giovani
                              • Oratorio
                                Jesus Jurado

                                Italy - From Roma camp to bakery, Adriana's leap into a "normal" life

                                4 weeks ago

                                (ANS - Rome) - Adriana is a Roma girl who followed the path to the Minors Reception Center of Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco in Rome. Hers is a story of redemption and love of God.

                                Adriana is now 23 years old, has a home, a family, friends and a job in a bakery in Rome. She likes her job a lot, but above all she likes to chat with the people of the neighborhood, for whom Adriana is no longer the "gypsy" from which to watch their backs, but a girl like many others, with many dreams.

                                The story of Adriana and her family is marked by abandonment, refusals and painful moves in an attempt to find a place where they can feel welcomed. The father is the first to leave them; immediately after, the grandparents, then a sister. The mother barely manages to take care of her 6 children. Until the age of 15, Adriana lived by petty theft, begging, washing car windshields at traffic lights and sleeping on the street.

                                The turning point comes on a summer day with the conversion of the mother who finds herself, desperate and sick, entering an evangelical Church. The encounter with Christ, the acceptance of the community, the power of prayer, from that moment sowed the need in Adriana to make a radical choice: to abandon Roma life forever and create a better future.

                                But changing life is not easy. Her father returns and convinces the family to leave Rome, to move first to Naples, then to Spain, and later to France. Adriana has no friends, doesn't know the languages ​​of the places she lives, suffers the diversity. In the end, her parents decide to return to Italy and her father leaves his family again. But for Adriana a new possibility is about to open up.

                                The girl comes into contact with the Minors Reception Center of Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco in Rome, which is transformed for her into the "hand of God", that invisible but certain hand to grab onto finally to make that jump. For Adriana there is the possibility of a work placement path through a training internship, made available by the Child Reception Center. Support and orientation talks begin. In 2014 she managed to obtain her middle school diploma and, after holding various jobs, comes the proposal of the bakery in 2015 where Adriana still works today.

                                "God saved me," says Adriana, "I feel loved by Him and this is the most beautiful thing that exists in the world. I made that jump and I'm happy."

                                Source: Vatican News


                                • Italia
                                • Rom
                                • Panetteria
                                • Adriana
                                  Jesus Jurado

                                  Rwanda - Salesians committed to moving from external financing to self-financing

                                  4 weeks ago
                                  Rwanda - Salesians committed to moving from external financing to self-financing

                                  (ANS - Kigali) - As the world is developing more and more rapidly, the countries of the African continent are trying to finance themselves. This is the case, for example, of Rwanda, where the Salesians of Don Bosco, in particular in the Africa Great Lakes Vice Province (AGL), are studying how to use existing resources to create means of self-financing, without having to depend on external help.

                                  Thus on Friday 13 September there was a meeting attended by the Economers of the Africa Great Lakes Vice Province, in particular of Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. The Provincial Economer was also present at the meeting, namely Salesian brother Hubert Twagirayezu.

                                  Br Hubert explained that although the meeting focused on several other topics including long-term sustainability, fundraising, good resource management and the importance of planning and development offices, the main emphasis was set on the new procedures to be adopted to create initiatives for the Vice-Province's self-financing.

                                  "This meeting is organized every year by our Vice Province. This year, in particular, we wanted to concentrate on the ways that can conduct us to self-financing, without therefore always depending on external financing," said Br Hubert.

                                  He added that some specific areas have been identified where Salesians can work with regional governments and create partnerships with local NGOs to carry out projects that can bring positive changes among the communities.

                                  On the question of self-financing and Salesian Volunteering, Br Hubert then explained that the objective of self-financing is not to accumulate money in Salesian bank accounts, but to seek funding to continue the work of training young people in the countries of the Vice Province. The ultimate goal of self-financing is to have a well-educated generation, which can also contribute with its own experience in developing their countries of origin.

                                  He noted that the reason why Salesians help the poorest young people is always the same: because young people are, and shall always be, the engines of their countries' development.

                                  The Salesians of Don Bosco have been present in the Great Lakes region for over 50 years and even here they have always been at the service of young people, providing them with educational, social and evangelization programs, starting from Rwanda (1954), and then in Burundi ( 1962) and in Uganda (1985).

                                  • Ruanda
                                  • Salesiani
                                  • Autofinanziamento
                                    Jesus Jurado

                                    Venezuela - Schooling emergency increasingly dramatic

                                    4 weeks ago
                                    Venezuela - Schooling emergency increasingly dramatic

                                    (ANS - Caracas) - "The new school year will be a tragedy": this is the beginning of the article that the Catholic historian and theologian Luis Ugalde, Jesuit, recently published to testify to the state of Venezuela today. At the forefront of the country's moral rebirth, the Salesian bishops share this vision and propose it to the Don Bosco Missions so that it may be its spokesman in Italy.

                                    "During the 2018-2019 school year," Ugalde denounces, "the government broke all the negative records and left schools without teachers, without students and without resources." The teaching profession is so degraded that students increasingly abandon the faculties of pedagogy and education.

                                    The exodus of educators and hunger in families generate the emptying of schools. Before such an emergency, the Church seeks solutions. The Salesians and other congregations have been concerned for some time about combating this enduring contingency "with food and books".

                                    Luis Ugalde continues his analysis: "We know that individually neither the teachers, nor the parents, nor the ministry officials have the strength or resources to overcome the disaster," he writes. So where to find the resources to rescue Venezuelan education and give the new generations hopeful prospects?

                                    The author of the appeal acknowledges the necessity to create "new synergies, which support each other in order to jointly promote, organize, take responsibility for national and international humanitarian aid, which so far have been started very timidly with the Red Cross or with Caritas."

                                    The Salesian Family, in all its components, has also taken active part in building this flow of resources. The Venezuelans are supported by the entire Salesian Congregation and by the Rector Major. "You are not alone. From the various parts of the Salesian world we are concerned about you. We are attentive to what you are living and well aware of everything that happens to you," wrote the Successor of Don Bosco in April 2017. Fr Ángel Fernández Artime has repeatedly reassured the Venezuelan confreres that he, and the Congregation, is at their side: “We sense the pain you experience and the tiredness you have reached. For a long time we have prayed for this beautiful country and its good people."

                                    The Salesians are an eminently educational Congregation, why they have not abandoned schools and vocational training centers. A concrete contribution of the sons of Don Bosco is in fact the presence in 18 scholastic works at the national level, including primary, general and vocational education. The educational service is aimed at children and young people, especially the poorest and most disadvantaged.

                                    Source: Don Bosco Missions

                                    • Venezuela
                                    • Emergenzia Scolastica
                                      Jesus Jurado

                                      Germany - "Stephanus" Foundation awards Fr Tom, "witness of faith"

                                      4 weeks 1 day ago

                                      (ANS - Frankfurt) - Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, the Salesian Indian missionary kidnapped in Yemen in March 2016 by a militia commando and released after 18 months, received the "Stephanus Foundation" award for Christians persecuted across the globe. The award was granted on Sunday, 15 September, at the headquarters of the foundation in Frankfurt.

                                      Despite what he has experienced, in his public meetings he always tries to instill calm and serenity and always proposes the theme of dialogue and encounter. He testifies to the value of "prayer" in the difficulties and "the importance of fighting alongside the persecuted," the organizers explained.

                                      The "Stephanus Foundation" for persecuted Christians is named after the deacon of the early Christian church, the first martyr to be stoned for his faith in Jesus Christ. According to the statute, the association helps persecuted Christians in need by providing subsistence compensation or covering legal fees, as well as reporting cases of violation of religious freedom.

                                      In the context of the award ceremony, just over two years after his release, the 61-year-old Salesian again spoke of the experience of his missionary service in Yemen - a mission that was founded by his uncle, Fr Mathew Uzhunnalil - and then he retraced what he had experienced in the hands of the kidnappers.

                                      Still very much alive the Christian community's memory of the attack on the home for the elderly of the Missionary Sisters of Charity in Aden - the Sisters of Mother Teresa - of March 4, 2016, in which four religious and another 12 people, including guests and service staff, were killed. It was on that occasion that Fr Tom was kidnapped and, after months of captivity, finally released on 12 September 2017.

                                      Among those who have received the award in recent years, there are some leading personalities of the ecclesial world: card. Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans (Iraq); Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, also a Salesian; and Fr Samir Khalil Samir, an Egyptian Jesuit and a great expert on Islam and the Arab world.

                                      Source: AsiaNews

                                      • Germania
                                      • GER
                                      • Tom Uzhunnalil
                                      • Fede
                                      • Premi e Riconoscimenti
                                        Jesus Jurado

                                        Argentina - "Christian life is a missionary life": at 81, Msgr. Melani, SDB, starts for Peru as missionary

                                        4 weeks 1 day ago

                                        (ANS –Neuquén) - The bishop emeritus of Neuquén, Msgr. Marcelo Angiolo Melani, SDB, is embarking on a new journey at the age of 81: he will leave for Peru as an ad vitam missionary, as part of the 150th Salesian Missionary Expedition, and will be sent to the Amazon on the eve of the Extraordinary Synod convened by Pope Francis. Speaking of his expectations and the significance of this new phase of his life, he said: "I believe the Lord continues to tell me: 'Don't be afraid ... I'm at your side.'"

                                        Following his episcopal motto, "Not to be served, but to serve", mgr. Melani takes on this new mission "marveled" at thinking that God has a new project for him at this time in his life.

                                        Although his departure was on 12 September, he will actually arrive in Peru in December, since before then he will participate in a "Missiology" course in Rome.

                                        Interviewed about his expectations in this new destination, he said: "The only expectation I have is that I can serve men and God." For this reason, he explained: "I am not worried about what activity I will have. I will certainly be able to confess, listen and advise," he said.

                                        "For 48 years I have been a missionary in Patagonia. Now I feel that this appeal has been renewed in me: 'Leave your land,' because Patagonia is my land," said the prelate, born in Florence in 1938.

                                        Regarding the appeal, he acknowledged: "It amazed me to hear again that call with such force and I was surprised to think that God has a new project for an 81-year-old." "The charism of the Salesians," he continued, "is itself a missionary. Don Bosco looked for missionaries where they were; he didn't wait for them to come. When the Congregation had few members, he sent the best to America."

                                        Msgr. Melani then added that "one cannot be a missionary unless one is totally in love with Christ." Today Christ calls him once again, at 81, with a clear message, to leave everything bhind and to follow Him. "I believe the Lord continues to tell me: 'Don't be afraid ... I'm at your side.' Saint Paul said: 'I run towards the Lord' and He runs with me."

                                        Finally, the bishop emeritus sends a message to the community of the faithful: "The Christian life is a missionary life; we are not afraid to cross it. With Jesus everything is possible."

                                        With a long testimony of life given to Christ behind him, and under the protection of Saint John Bosco, of Blessed Ceferino Namuncurá, of the saint "Cura Brochero" and of many Salesians "who gave their lives to announce the love of the Lord", Msgr. Melani left Patagonia and embarked on a new missionary adventure.

                                        Source: AICA

                                        • Argentina
                                        • Missioni
                                        • Mons Melani
                                          Jesus Jurado
                                          2 minutes 11 seconds ago
                                          ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana
                                          News - Salesians of Don Bosco