Main page content

India – Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil SDB awarded ICPA - Fr Louis Careno Award 2020 for Excellence in Journalism

3 weeks 5 days ago
India – Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil SDB awarded ICPA - Fr Louis Careno Award 2020 for Excellence in Journalism

(ANS – New Delhi) – The Chief Guest, Retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Kurian Joseph, presented the Indian Catholic Press Association’s (ICPA) prestigious Father Louis Joseph Careno Award in Journalism for the year 2020 to Archbishop Emeritus Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati at the 25th National Convention of Christian Journalists on February 29, 2020, held at the Don Bosco Provincial House, Okla, in New Delhi, India. The topic for the Silver Jubilee edition of the convention was “Journalism Today: Pragmatism Triumphs over Principles.” The esteemed guests included Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto of Delhi; Bishop Salvadore Lobo of Baruipur, and a host of diplomats, dignitaries and nearly 100 media persons from across the country attending the programme.

Addressing the gathering after receiving the award, Archbishop Emeritus Menamparampil spoke about the importance of dissent, its legitimacy and its need for the emergence of common wisdom. He also urged the members of the audience to engage in intelligent dialogue for the truth to emerge eventually. The Salesian Archbishop Thomas believes in social activism and is a firm believer of peace-building and social harmony who often repeats, “Peace comes when all of us recognize that we need each other.”

This award is given for his relentless peace-activism and his bold writing against Communalism and fundamentalism gaining ground globally. Archbishop Menamparampil’s name is synonymous with peace, inter-community dialogue and social harmony. His incisive, though-provoking writing on these subjects are noted for their lucidity, clarity, relevance and authenticity. His razor-sharp analyses of social-cultural and political issues, especially relating to North-East have lead to soul-searching debates and concrete peace-initiatives, for which he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. The Father Louis Careno Award is instituted by the (ICPA) with the support of the Salesian Province of Mumbai in fond memory of Fr Louis Careno, a Salesian missionary who worked in Indian for several years, himself a renowned writer.

ICPA President Ignatius Gonsalves delivered the presidential address and set the tone by highlighting that the context clarifies and magnifies the content, and that journalists today are precariously placed to speak the truth. The welcome address was rendered by Fr Suresh Mathew, ICPA secretary and chief editor of Indian Currents weekly magazine, who in his speech quoted famed newspaper publisher Mr Ramnath Goenka and said criticism from the government should be a badge of honour for journalists. The session began with the attendees reciting the Preamble of the Constitution of India.

Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi bemoaned the sorry state of media in the country. “Most of the news channels have become cheerleaders of the ruling party and they have given up the pretense of being custodian of truth. India has dropped to 140 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index in 2019. The media must reflect reality,” he said. “As a Christian journalist, you have a sacred duty to raise your voice against evils in the society and in the Church.”

Rohit Wellington Rajan, senior news editor and anchor of New Delhi Television (NDTV), a panel member, agreed that everyone now lives with fear and resentment. “In our conversations, there is little acceptance of the other point of view and certainly very little nuance,” he explained. Rajan regrets that journalism, especially television, now serves viewers on opinion. “What is largely missing are the facts. That is the first challenge we face,” he added. Rajan noted, “the collapse of empathy in journalism” that has become “highly elite, much distanced from the ordinary people’s experience. He noted that we need to be voice to the voiceless people and promote truth and justice. Opinion is cheap; facts are sacred. In this age of fake news and half-truths, the media needs to a flag-bearer of facts and portray the truth.” 

The ICPA honoured 25 journalists from around the country for their courageous and unbiased journalism over the many years.

Fr Santosh Kumar Digal received the ICPA’s award for the Best Reportage on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for consistently being the voice of people’s rights, especially the tribals who are susceptible to exploitation and injustice. Fr John Deepak Sulya received the ICPA’s Swami Devanand Chakkungal Award for the Best Hindi Writer for his significant contributions to Hindi literature. 

by Father Joaquim Fernandes, SDB

  • India
  • Premi e Riconoscimenti
  • Thomas Menamparampil
  • Comunicazione Sociale
  • Società
    Jesus Jurado

    Republic of the Congo – In a context hostile to women, a future as seamstress opens up for young mothers

    3 weeks 6 days ago
    Republic of the Congo – In a context hostile to women, a future as seamstress opens up for young mothers

    (ANS - Brazzaville) - According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the risks of being a woman in Congo are very high. In fact, the journalist M. Velasquez writes: "Congo can be called 'the worst place in the world for a woman'". On the outskirts of the capital of the Republic of the Congo, Brazzaville, the Vocational Training Center (VTC) of the Salesian house "Cité Don Bosco" serves a large number of minors within a working class neighborhood. Many of the young inhabitants of the area attend the vocational training courses offered by the Salesians, which welcome 600 students every day.

    In consideration of the situation of female in that context, the Salesians have long proposed to start a new project for the young women who attend the work, with the aim of opening a workshop to train future seamstresses. Now the initiative has started and intends to place women in distress in the neighborhood as a priority for training. The profile of the beneficiaries is in fact that of the girls and young people who have left school for some time and who in most cases are single mothers.

    In addition to training as seamstresses, the 35 first lucky young women who participate in the program will also receive, at the end of the course, help to start a small income-generating business, so that they can support themselves and their families and feel like active and recognized citizens in society.

    The program enjoys the support of the Salesian Mission Office of the "Don Bosco Missions" of Turin, as part of the projects for the promotion of women, and aims to contrast those factors such as poverty and the lack of opportunities and jobs that are fertile ground for gender inequalities.

    Teaching young people a profession therefore becomes an opportunity to (re)claim the importance of the role that women play within the family and society. And thanks to this vocational training course set up by the Salesian center, the promotion of female talents receives a new impetus in this vulnerable area of Brazzaville.

    Offering young people the tools to live in society as citizens aware of their rights and duties is the main objective of the "Cité Don Bosco" Salesian Center in Brazzaville which, in addition to the workshop for future seamstresses, offers other courses in Mechanics, Welding, Carpentry, Construction, Agriculture and Livestock, Electronics and Air Conditioning Installations.

    • Donne
    • Rep del Congo
    • ACC AFRICA CONGO CONGO
      Jesus Jurado

      Cambodia – 4th Meeting of Don Bosco Tech ASEAN

      3 weeks 6 days ago
      Cambodia – 4th Meeting of Don Bosco Tech ASEAN

      (ANS – Phnom Penh) – A small group of Salesians and lay-mission partners have gathered in Phnom Penh from 25 to 28 February 2020 to think of how the TVET (Training Centres) in 8 EAO countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, East Timor and Vietnam) can fulfil the expectations of jobless youth.

      The 38 TVET Centres of EAO have become part of a capacity-building network called the Don Bosco Tech ASEAN. This is an initiative of Fr Klement Vaclav, SDB, the Councillor for the EAO Region, involving Don Bosco Mondo-Germany to facilitate the revitalisation of the many Non-Formal Training Centres of the EAO Region. After its first fiscal year, this meeting in Cambodia will clarify reporting formats, financial reports, past achievements and future plans to continue forming God-fearing apprentices and upright citizens. 

      The first day was set off by the welcome remarks of Fr Ceferino Ledesma, SDB, Provincial Delegate for Cambodia. This was followed by 3 days of sharing experiences, reports, and best practices, and planning, including the visit to the Salesian TVET Centre of Phnom Penh. 

      In one of the sessions, Dr. Duong Vuth, the director of SEAMEO TED (Southeast Asian Centre for Technical Education and Development), based in Phnom Penh City, was invited to share insights on collaboration among countries regarding Non-Formal Skills Training. He also praised the Salesians who work among the underprivileged youth and those who cannot continue with formal schooling, providing the youth of Cambodia with competencies for their future livelihood. 

      This meeting hopes to keep the Salesians continually aligned towards the Salesian Strenna of 2020 – on the theme “Good Christians and Upright Citizens” – and also be the answer to what the youth expect from the Salesians of today.

      Br. Ephrem Santos, SDB

      Source: AustraLasia

      • Cambogia
      • Don Bosco Tech Africa
        Jesus Jurado

        Italy – GC28: friendship and listening

        3 weeks 6 days ago
        Italy – GC28: friendship and listening

        (ANS - Turin) - Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin, in the homily he addressed to Chapter members on Saturday 29 February, said: "In the community, simple words are needed, together with concrete life experiences and, above all, a lot of friendship and mutual listening: this manages to arrive directly to people's hearts, more than anything else." Friendship and mutual listening are part of the air one breathes in these first days of capitular commitment.

        "There is a concentrated, intense atmosphere, a constructive will, a lot of understanding for the travel and some necessary discomfort, but the feedback from this first half is absolutely positive. The discussion on the Rector Major's report and his responses was perfect and exemplary," said Fr Saimy Ezhanikatt, Chapter Secretary and deus ex machina of the whole organization.

        An organization that is functioning with admirable efficiency. The teamwork is highly coordinated: from behind the scenes, where the operators of the digital network that supports all forms of communication are stationed full-time, as are the translators, hospitality workers and liturgical moments; but what matters most is the collaborative attitude of the Chapter members.

        The basic media coverage is also excellent, aiming to create communion between the participants of the GC28 in Turin-Valdocco and each local "Valdocco" in the outskirts of the Congregation. In this case, digital media have the ability to put the center on the same level as the communities and works of the periphery.

        "The commissions and subcommittees were created in very little time and immediately went to work," continued Fr Ezhanikatt.

        The commissions are formed by language areas and subdivided in turn into subcommittees to foster the maximum possible dialogue. The only slightly different commission is the one that deals with legal issues, some of which are urgent and not easy to resolve.

        Naturally, there is much anticipation for the week of March 16-21, the election week, which can mean a lot to understand the orientation of the Congregation.

        In all there is that will "lit" by Pope Francis and that the Archbishop summarizes thus: "The Church cannot be satisfied with waiting for the young to return, but must seek them and meet them where they are, opening the doors, going out into the open sea, challenging the cultural and environmental storm, mass media and digital ... in short, the new world where young people swim like fish in water."

        The frequent moments of prayer in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, "place of the heart" of Don Bosco and of all the Salesians, are sipped at the source of that spirituality that originated here.

        Photos on ANSFlickr

        • Italia
        • CG28
        • ICP ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE SPECIALE PIEMONTE E VALLE D'AOSTA
          Gian Francesco Romano

          Italy – A model for Italy and Europe: VTC of Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco

          1 month ago
          Italy – A model for Italy and Europe: VTC of Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco

          (ANS - Rome) - "Yesterday I visited an institution here in Rome, Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco, and I was amazed by what Vocational Training they offer! They told me that after six months, 90% of their students have a job, a contract - and not the ones of just a few months; sometimes they are indeterminate. This is the right way to proceed: Promote Education and Vocational Training!" Thus stated the European Commissioner for Labor and Social Rights, the Hon. Nicolas Schmit, speaking to the “Labor and EU Policies” Commissions of the Italian Parliament and Senate.

          The report of the European Commissioner was only one step in a wider path. In Italy for a series of official appointments with the Italian authorities, the Commissioner asked the officials of the Lazio Region to be able to visit a center of excellence for testing the Dual System for apprenticeships. The Lazio Region proposed he visit the Borgo Don Bosco Vocational Training Center.

          The visit took place on Monday 24 February. Accompanying the Commissioner were several officials from the Lazio Region, in addition to the Councilor for Social Policies of the Lazio Region, Claudio Di Berardino; to receive the guests on behalf of the Salesians was the director of CNOS-FAP Lazio, Fabrizio Tosti; Fr Mario Tonini SDB, National Administrative Director of CNOS-FAP; and Renato Cursi, Executive Secretary of "Don Bosco International" (DBI).

          Following a visit, dr. Di Berardino also spent words of great praise towards the Salesian VTC: "This afternoon I visited the national center of Salesian Works in Don Bosco for ongoing formation together with the Commissioner for Labour of the European Commission Nicolas Schmit. As a region we have been able to proudly show the training courses that hundreds of students do every year. The training offered in this center has the enormous advantage of preparing young people to enter the world of work with professional skills that can be immediately spent, without neglecting preparations of basic general knowledge."

          "These paths are 'incubators of social inclusion' in which the risk of dispersion is answered with concrete opportunities for growth and insertion in society and in work," he continued.

          "The mechanics, home automation and catering workshops were esepcially appreciated, which are only an example of a variety of professional profiles that are created with dual learning methods in companies in the sector, and which represent paths with a high percentage of entry into the labour market. The courses are planned and managed by the Lazio Region and financed with EU (European Social Fund), national and regional funds," the Councilor concluded.

          {gallery}Visita Commissario EU al BRDB - 2020{/gallery}

          • Italia
          • Europe
          • Unione Europea
          • Formazione Professionale
            Gian Francesco Romano

            Bolivia – "Proyecto Don Bosco", reference point for street children

            1 month ago

            (ANS - Santa Cruz) - There are many places in Bolivia where the Salesians strive to save children, adolescents and young people from the street, trying to gradually remove them from a condition they have become accustomed to. Many of them live on the streets in the absence of a family reference, while others survive with a few small jobs, exposed to all kinds of addictions: drugs, alcohol, glue inhalation …

            Unicef ​​data in Bolivia for 2019 show an alarming reality. "Half a million children under 12 are not registered in the registry, 210,000 are orphans and 366,000 are abandoned; 313,000 children are forced to work; about 2,200 are on the street.

            One of the works that the Salesians are dedicating to these vulnerable children is in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, where the "Proyecto Don Bosco" was launched 29 years ago, thanks to the initiative of Fr Ottavio Sabbadin; it educates hundreds of vulnerable children according to the principles of the Don Bosco Preventive System.

            Bolivia, with all its natural wealth, is a poor country. It is among the 10 poorest countries in the Americas in terms of per capita income and this situation is reflected in wages, which on average never reach 100 dollars.

            The weakest groups are those who suffer the most from social injustice and many families are at risk of exclusion due to the political, economic and social crisis that the country is experiencing.

            Although laws and initiatives exist to protect children, only 7% of children living in rural areas end the eight years of compulsory schooling.

            The Don Bosco Project is an initiative aimed at the recovery and social reintegration of street children. It consists of three centers located in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra: the Hogar Don Bosco, the Mano Amiga shelter and the "Barrio Juvenil Don Bosco" Center.

            These centers are attended by 900 minors in a situation of high social risk, but thanks to "Papa Ottavio" - as the minors call him - and to other Salesians and collaborators, these children and young people can get an education for their future and, possibly, their reintegration into their families of origin.

            • Bolivia
            • Progetto Don Bosco
            • BOL BOLIVIA
            • Bambini di Strada
            • Missioni
              Gian Francesco Romano

              Italy – GC28: the silent work of discernment

              1 month ago
              Italy – GC28: the silent work of discernment

              (ANS - Turin) - "In silence, God does not remain silent." Yesterday, Thursday 27 February, with this wonderful phrase from a synodal father, Fr Rossano Sala concluded the presentation of various important communiqués and several suggestions to guarantee a good journey and proceedings for all participants. The Chapter definitely enters the work phase.

              There is a tangible good and positive focus and everyone's commitment is clearly visible.

              The commissions must study the theme in its various parts, starting with the Work Tool prepared by the Pre-Chapter Commission; then formulate in writing the proposals to be presented to the Assembly; and finally vote them.

              The four commissions on the topic will work on all three nuclei, in succession. This means that they will start from the first nucleus - "Priority of the Salesian mission among young people today" - by working on the three moments of discernment (recognizing, interpreting, choosing). Then they will move on to the second core, and finally to the third.

              Silence must punctuate reflection and give it the necessary spiritual inspiration.

              The nature of spiritual discernment implies discipline. There is no true discipleship if there is no discipline. It requires entering personally and as a group in the various moments of the ongoing process, which had a "preview" (the choice of the theme by the Rector Major, the celebration of the Provincial Chapters and the work of the Pre-Chapter Commission) and will have an after (implementation and reception in the various realities of the Congregation: General Council, Regions, Provinces, communities). This does not condition freedom of expression, rather it favors it and makes it more profound and fruitful.

              The commissions may organize themselves into subcommittees, so as to encourage exchanges and sharing. Each subcommittee should be involved in all three stages of discernment (recognize, interpret, choose).

              Since the second step (interpreting) is broader and more demanding, as it implies answering three groups of questions, each commission must evaluate the appropriateness of preferentially assigning one of these groups of questions to each subcommittee.

              The Central Commission also dictates the calendar of working times.

              The Commissions will have to deliver their contribution on the first nucleus by 15:00 on Monday 2 March. The organization of the calendar takes into account the opportunity to carry out a first study of the three nuclei before election week (therefore by Saturday 14 March). If this objective is achieved, the editorial team will have the time necessary to prepare the first draft of the Final Document.

              In this way, the capitulars will have a full week after the elections for discussion in view of the second draft.

              Photos on ANSFlickr

              • Italia
              • CG28
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Ecuador – Achuar youth reflect on Strenna 2020: "Good Christians, Upright Citizens"

                1 month ago

                (ANS - Wichimi) - In the Ecuadorian Amazon, the evangelization of the Achuar people began in 1971, with the arrival of Salesian Fr Luis (Luigi) Bolla in the community of Wichimi, who decided to stay there to share the Gospel through the testimony of his life and culture. More than 45 years have passed and the missionary work of the Salesians continues.

                An example was the meeting of the young people of Achuar which took place from 14 to 16 February 2020, with the presence of 50 young people from five communities: Wichimi, Saapap-Entsa, Karakam, Setuch and Mamantsa.

                The event was held for the first time in 2016, on the initiative of Fr Agustín Togo.

                "This appointment was born as a result of pastoral visits to the communities, targeting primarily young people as Salesians," explained the priest, who belongs to the Wasakentsa community.

                To reach Wichimi, many young people had to walk up to three hours, accompanied by their respective Etserin, that is, their catechists; it is an effort that demonstrates the motivation that the educational-pastoral proposal proposed by the Salesians generates in them.

                On the inaugural day, several videos were presented on the reality of the Salesian presence in the world, in Ecuador and in the Amazon. The participants saw the work that the Salesians and lay people do for young people in different sectors: education, parishes, Andean missions, Amazonian missions ...

                On Saturday morning, the young people present worked on the Rector Major's Strenna for 2020, which was the main theme of the meeting. Personal and group activities were developed that motivated the reflection and the pledging of concrete commitments on how to be a better Christian and an upright citizen at home, at school and in the community.

                Sunday was the day chosen to carry out the "Garbage Challenge" project, a "challenge" that has become viral all over the world and that obliges the participants to clean up the natural spaces. Young people and the whole community went to collect the garbage in the main spaces of the community: the didactic unit, the dining room, the football field, the landing strip for small aircraft and the gym.

                This activity ended with a message from Fr Tien Nguyenhuu, a Vietnamese Salesian missionary, who spoke about the importance of taking care of the "Common Home".

                Subsequently, the Salesian Communication Office (CSO) held a report on communication and Salesianity, addressing the figure of Don Bosco as an apostle of the good press; the need to be communicators of Jesus' message to other people; and the responsible use of new information technologies and social networks, given that some of the participants have a profile on Facebook.

                Every day there were also moments of prayer and the Eucharist was celebrated in the early morning with the traditional songs of the Achuar culture.

                • Ecuador
                • Strenna 2020
                • Indigeni
                • ECU ECUADOR
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  Vatican – The cause of martyrdom of Fr Elia Comini, SDB, proceeds

                  1 month ago
                  Vatican – The cause of martyrdom of Fr Elia Comini, SDB, proceeds

                  (ANS - Vatican City) - On Tuesday, 25 February 2020, the historical Consultors of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints expressed a positive opinion on the Positio super martyrio of the Salesian priest Fr Elia Comini (1910-1944): Positio drawn up after, on February 22, 2019, the same Congregation had granted that this Cause, which started super virtutibus, could indeed be studied super martyrio, also in light of new historical-documentary evidence.

                  The supplementary Positio delivered on 8 October 2019 to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints clearly reveals the story of the Servant of God linked to the Nazi massacre of Monte Sole (October 1944): Fr Elia Comini and the Dehonian father Martino Capelli decided lucidly, on the morning of September 29, 1944, to rush towards the locality of "Creda di Salvaro" in the municipality of Grizzana (Bologna) to administer the last comforts of faith to a group of agonizing victims of Nazi barbarism.

                  They did so while remaining clearly identifiable as priests, with the stole, the holy oils and a display case containing the Eucharist: instead of staying, fully aware that by staying in the church or in the adjacent rectory they would not run any risk, they went. Immediately captured, they were stripped of their priestly insignia and heavily humiliated by the SS, even with hard forced labour: they are forced to transport ammunition on mountain paths and are seen by a few witnesses: they are overloaded, tired, almost deformed by effort, near chains that perhaps tied them. They are then put into captivity and subsequently killed together with a group of old and disabled people, in the locality of Pioppe di Salvaro.

                  In the final moments, an SS soldier severely hits Fr Elia Comini's hands to force him to leave the Breviary; and Fr Elia himself accompanies the dying by intoning the Litanies, while Father Capelli invokes forgiveness and, also struck, in his last moments he blesses the fallen and his companions in agony. It was the evening of October 1, 1944.

                  On the basis of testimony and documentation, an attempt was made to ascertain and demonstrate the martyrdom of the two religious, who exposed their lives only to fulfill priestly duties and administer the last sacraments to the dying. In the days after the massacre of the cask of Pioppe di Salvaro, despite having killed over 40 people, the SS seem to have boasted of only the death of the two priests, with the words "Zwei Pastoren kaputt" (two broken shepherds).

                  • Vaticano
                  • Elia Comini
                  • Santità Salesiana
                  • Martiri
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    Eritrea – A little water to benefit a large, great mission

                    1 month ago
                    Eritrea – A little water to benefit a large, great mission

                    (ANS - Decamerè) - In one of the world's poorest countries, Eritrea, the spiritual children of Don Bosco face many challenges, one being the shortage of water. For this reason, in Decamerè, where the Salesians have a large work that is engaged in multiple activities, a project has been launched for the construction of new water supply structures.

                    In Eritrea, the population lives on subsistence agriculture, breeding and fishing, and 58% have less than € 1 per day. Of the approximately 3.5 million inhabitants, more than half are under 15-years-old. But the school system is inadequate and in order to have access to higher education, students are forced to follow the national service program, a sort of military/civil service initially designed for a year, but since 1998, in fact, rendered indefinitely.

                    For all these reasons, around 4,000 people flee the country every month.

                    The Sons of Don Bosco have been in Eritrea since 1995. In line with the Salesian concreteness and charism, their mission has focused on education, aimed at the poorest and, above all, the young and disadvantaged children to provide them with the tools to live a future of dignity in their land, thus contributing to the creation of a fairer and freer social context.

                    In Decamerè, about 40 km from Asmara, the Salesians are very busy through a center, an oasis, that is a flourishing of opportunities in the surrounding "desert": the educational-pastoral community, in collaboration with the local dioceses, animates the peripheries, offers oratory service to more than 600 young people, and, thanks to the youth center, provides a library and offers basic training in Computer Science, Graphics and Music.

                    At the Decamerè work, there is also a guesthouse, an aspirantate, a public chapel and a technical school, which is the flagship of the work; it consists of four huge laboratories, classrooms and rooms, a library, a cafeteria, a kitchen and dormitories, and it boasts football, volleyball and basketball courts. It is a very well organized structure, which has trained 2,384 students in various technical disciplines: Bodywork, Mechanics, Metal Carpentry, Carpentry, Electrical Engineering and Electronics, and represents the flagship of the Salesian activity.

                    The Salesians of Decameré now need to install two reservoir tanks and a hydraulic system in the mission, otherwise it will become difficult to continue guaranteeing their presence, which represents the lifeline for the lives of many people.

                    For more information, visit: www.missionidonbosco.org 

                    • Eritrea
                    • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                    • Acqua
                    • Missioni
                    • Missioni Don Bosco
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      Italy – GC28: rediscovering the "Gospel of Don Bosco"

                      1 month ago

                      (ANS - Turin) - "If Muhammad does not go to the mountain, the mountain goes to Muhammad." The ancient proverb came true at the beginning of yesterday, Wednesday 26 February. Since the planned pilgrimage of the capitulars to Chieri and Colle Don Bosco was not possible due to public health provisions, the Director of Chieri, Fr Eligio Caprioglio, landed in the main hall of the Chapter and presented a vivid portrait of the city that welcomed the teenager Giovanni Bosco. He did it with enthusiasm, a nice video produced with young people, many souvenir objects left to the capitulars and real emotion.

                      The retreat day for Ash Wednesday was then opened by a touching and lucid meditation by Fr Pascual Chávez on Don Bosco's "Letter from Rome".

                      "The letter from Rome is the 'gospel of Don Bosco', it breathes the air of the beginnings, which continue to be 'normative' and not simply 'anecdotal', and invites to conversion [that is] spiritual (to God), pastoral (to young people), structural (making our presences more evangelizing so as to bring young people to Christ and the Church)."

                      It is here that we find that splendid phrase of Don Bosco: "That young people not only be loved, but that they themselves know they are loved."

                      "It is, of course, the most transparent meaning of the letter, an enunciation of the great principle that we could call the 'visibility of love'" suggests Fr Chávez. In the texts of the New Testament love is associated with light, as irradiation of the Light itself which is God.

                      And the love that the Salesians show for young people could be compared to a small Transfiguration.

                      It is therefore necessary to verify, learn and invent the languages of love, of which the Salesian must be a passionate “connoisseur” or “lover”, in the sense that Don Bosco gave to this word: "concern, commitment, passion."

                      "Today, this is," continues Fr Chávez, "the fundamental challenge of the educator: to make him understand that he really loves, that he loves forever, that he loves everything of that human who appears before him and who reveals himself and changes with the passage of time; demonstrate that he loves even in the face of refusal, forgetfulness, distortion or profiting use; and thus to convince to love, that is to give birth to the inner conviction that one is worthy of love, and, even more, that one is capable of love (and it is the perception of one's own inalienable value, is the foundation of one's dignity, is the root of all authentic hope); and to make you understand (but this is also grace) that there is a Source, which is for me and for you, always open and available, never exhausted in its inexhaustible wealth."

                      The pedagogical genius of Don Bosco is expressed in the other extraordinary phrase: "That being loved in those things they like by participating in their childhood inclinations, they learn to see love in those things that naturally they like little; such as discipline, study, self-mortification and these things they learn to do with love."

                      "There is therefore an element of rationality that must intervene, that is, a need for knowledge that must take and guide the Salesian educator: and it is knowing young people, understanding the situations, the questions, the needs to be able to cope with them."

                      Love becomes, in two directions: meeting, trust, industrious cordial collaboration and, above all, the joy and happiness of "feeling good together."

                      And for Don Bosco, happiness is a privileged way for evangelization ("seeing you happy in time and eternity") and a road that opens up to God.

                      Photos on ANSFlickr

                      • CG28
                      • Pascual Chávez
                      • Don Bosco
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Kenya – President of “WorldSkills International” visits “Don Bosco Boys Town”

                        1 month ago
                        Kenya – President of “WorldSkills International” visits “Don Bosco Boys Town”

                        (ANS – Nairobi) – Outgoing Honorary President of “WorldSkills International”, Mr. Simon Bartley – OBE FWS visited “Don Bosco Boys Town” (DBBT) in Nairobi. While addressing trainers and students, he urged the youth to embrace globalization that will go a long way in fulfilling the world’s future needs. “The future of our world is in the hands of our young people of today,” he said. Mr. Bartley further eulogized the late Jos de Goey, President and Chair of the WorldSkills Board as a visionary, charismatic and devoted leader in youth empowerment.

                        The mission of WorldSkills International is to raise the profile and recognition of skilled people, and show how important skills are in achieving economic growth and personal success. This resonates with Don Bosco Tech Africa’s mission of enhancing youth development in Africa through efficient resource management and Skill Training.

                        In attendance was Don Bosco Tech Africa (DBTA) Executive Director Fr TJ George, Fr Benn Agunga, Principal of DBBT, Mr  Julius K Serem and Mr Tom Olang’o, both from the Technical and Vocational Education Training Authority (TVETA). The team proposed the formation of the Kenyan Chapter of the WorldSkills International, where Br John Njuguna, the Deputy Director of DBTA, is a national steering committee member.

                        The climax of this engagement was a high-profile dinner attended by Dr Kevit Desai, Principal Secretary, State Department of East African Community (EAC); Ms Joyce M. Njogu, Head of Kenya Association of Manufacturers Consulting; Prof Eric Okoth Ogur, TVET Advisor to the Education Cabinet Secretary; and Dr Kipkirui Langat, Director General of the TVET Authority.

                        Fr TJ George shared a Job Service Manual developed by DBTA with the guests. The officials pledged their commitment to support the DBTA programs that are tailored to empower the young generation.

                        • AFE AFRICA EST
                        • Formazione Professionale
                        • Don Bosco Tech Africa
                        • Personaggi illustri
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          Italy – GC28: Work Tool presented

                          1 month ago
                          Italy – GC28: Work Tool presented

                          (ANS - Turin) - "The fire and the canoe". With this beautiful image, Fr Andrea Bozzolo, SDB, professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Turin Section of the Faculty of Theology of the Salesian Pontifical University, presented the Working Tool of the 28th General Chapter (GC28) to the capitulars gathered in the Teatro Grande of Valdocco.

                          The fire of the Spirit of God marks and illuminates the course that the Chapter canoe must follow. Embarked on it, the Salesians must stay the course together with the young people who row vigorously, all facing the same goal that is the objective of the Chapter, made up of three groups: the priority of the mission for young people, with all the challenges it implies, the profile of the Salesian, and the co-responsibility with the laity.

                          The starting point are the Provincial Chapters, the contributions received from the individual Salesians, and the reflections of the young people. The Precapitular Commission on the theme of the Chapter, made up of 13 Salesians from all regions of the world - including Fr Bozzolo himself - has transformed all of this into a text that challenges the Chapter members; now it's up to them to deal with it via the method of discernment, which is not a technique, but a spiritual-practical art, the wisdom or knowledge of those who know how to listen and how to speak frankly.

                          The Chapter - it has been remembered - is not a "parliament", but knowing how to recognize God in the voice of one's brothers.

                          Hence the successive stages that will lead to choices, through the triple sieve: recognize-interpret-choose.

                          Always in the light of the Word of God, of the indications of the Church, of the spiritual heritage of Don Bosco.

                          And it will be a new Pentecost. This is everyone's wish and will.

                          Photos on ANSFlickr

                          • CG28
                          • Italia
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            India – Pappu Shukla, saved from child trafficking: "I'll never forget what ‘Don Bosco Ashalayam’ did for me"

                            1 month ago

                            (ANS - Ashalayam) - "Don Bosco Ashalayam" is a Salesian NGO that works for the rehabilitation of street children in India. The Salesians provide assistance to all children in difficulty, regardless of their religion, caste or gender. More than 500 children currently reside in the 23 shelters in Ashalayam and they benefit from educational and recreational opportunities. Through its presence on the streets and the courses and programs offered in slums and railway stations, the Salesian NGO provides assistance to thousands of street children every year: over 80,000 children have benefited in three decades.

                            Don Bosco Ashalayam's "Childline" is a free telephone line that works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and which, via the number 1098, street children can call anonymously. The Salesian house "St John Bosco" in New Delhi, through the Salesian welcome center "Don Bosco Ashalayam", manages the "Childline" to guarantee the rights of children in difficulty and to provide them with specific care and protection.

                            This Salesian work operates closely with the police, health services, the juvenile court, transport companies, media and communication agencies and local communities with the aim of making the rights of children known and, at the same time, to provide protection services to the most vulnerable and neediest children.

                            Pappu Shukla was only 7-years-old and playing on the street with his older sister when he was deceived by a man, who eventually took him to his car and kidnapped him. When Pappu got out of the vehicle, he did not know where he was, but was told that he would have to work as a servant.

                            Today Pappu Shukla is 17-years-old and is an example of Salesian educational work for children's rights in India.

                            "Those people were horrible. Often they got drunk and beat me, so after a while I decided to run away," remembers Pappu. "After running and wandering about a lot I got on the first train I saw and got to the end of the line. The last stop was Calcutta station, but I had nowhere to go. Fortunately, an operator of the Salesian 'Childline' project found me while I was wandering around the train station. I didn't know which state or city my parents came from and nobody had reported my disappearance, because we were very poor, so they couldn't find my family."

                            "The Child Welfare Committee," the boy continues, "decided to send me to Ashalayam and, although to date I haven't been able to track down my parents, I'm happy, because the Salesians have given me a new family."

                            "Thanks to the Salesians," says Pappu Shukla, "I passed the [school] exams and now I'm studying Graphic Design at the University of New Delhi. I have come a long way and I'll never forget what Ashalayam has done for me."

                            Source: Misiones Salesianas

                            • India
                            • INC INDIA CALCUTTA
                            • Ashalayam
                            • Giovani a Rischio
                            • Bambini di Strada
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              Spain – "Enredados" campaign: accompanying families in digital environment and for a secure Internet

                              1 month ago

                              (ANS - Madrid) - The Safer Internet Day was celebrated on 11 February. Concerned about this reality, at the beginning of the new academic year, the Salesian centers launched the "Enredados" campaign, an initiative that comes from the "Spain-St James Major" (SSM) Salesian Province, which wants to help families to answer, together with their children, the traditional questions of today's parents: “What are they doing online all that time? What are they looking for in social networks? Are they making good use of technology? How and why should they be in that digital environment?"

                              Families are offered tools and resources to accompany children and young people in the digital environment. And every quarter a job proposal to be developed in the family will be published.

                              Fr Fernando García, coordinator of the Schools of the SSM Province, explains: "With the end of this first quarter of courses, the 'Enredados' campaign has come to light. It is an initiative that we coordinated within the pedagogical area of our Province to help the parents of our students in the difficult task of accompanying and educating their children in a digital environment. The 'Enredados' project was born to get closer to families, to count on them and to provide them with reflections and materials that help them communicate with their children."

                              The first theme proposed concerned privacy and the next one, in March, will focus on healthy habits in the use of the internet and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), trying to avoid addictions; the course will end with an interesting proposal for reflection on "personal relationship-virtual relationship."

                              "Enredados" offers a series of tools to talk about these topics at home with the children, as well as informing them about fundamental aspects of the use of ICT and providing support to help families build their children's personalities in a digitalized world.

                              For this reason, the Salesian pedagogical team proposes work based on dialogue, in search of the opportune moment, and with an invitation to reflect together, as adults are also users of the network and may be vulnerable themselves and not enjoy a safe digital environment.

                              The materials available on the innovation portal: innovacion.salesianos.es/enredados/ offer families guidelines for dealing with the topic with their children.

                              The Safer Internet Day is an event promoted by the INSAFE / INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, and is addressed to everyone with an invitation to use technology in a responsible, respectful, critical and creative way.

                              With the aim of underlining the positive character of the Internet, the slogan of this 2020 was: "A better Internet starts with you: together we learn cyber security"; a motto that invites you to join the global movement, to participate and to take advantage of the best of the Internet to bring people together.

                              • Spagna
                              • Internet
                              • SSM SPAGNA SAN GIACOMO MAGGIORE
                              • Comunicazione Sociale
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                Italy – GC28, the Chapter "machine" begins to move: Secretaries and Moderators elected

                                1 month ago

                                (ANS - Turin) - The General Chapter is a great two-faced "machine". The first, very important, is the spiritual charismatic one, custodian of the great hopes of the entire Salesian Family. The second, minor but necessary for the functioning of an authentic choral participation, is the IT network, the true nervous system of the chapter body.

                                Yesterday morning, Monday 24 February, the language translation test trials and a test on the votes were carried out. 222 voters contributed to fine-tuning the system.

                                This was followed by the appointment of the Secretaries, proposed by the Regulator and voted by the assembly. Fr Enrico Gaetan, Fr Luca Barone and Fr Daniele Merlini were elected.

                                It was then the turn of the moderators. The following were elected: Fr Manuel Cayo, Provincial of Peru (PER), Fr Jose Kuruvachira, Provincial of India-Dimapur (IND) and Fr Manuel Jimenez Castro, Visitor of Africa Congo Congo (ACC).

                                The capitulars then immersed themselves in the individual reading of the Regulations and then divided into the four commissions on the subject and the one (one) on the juridical subjects.

                                Today, Tuesday 25, will also be marked by small, but important procedural steps: approval of the GC28 Regulations is expected early in the morning; two sessions of presentation of the Chapter Work Tool are scheduled immediately afterwards - the text drawn up by the two Precapitular Commissions appointed by the Rector Major (the one on the theme of the Chapter and the one on the juridical aspects) which serves as the basis for discernment and which is structured around the three fundamental themes of the GC28:

                                - mission priority with young people;
                                - profile of the Salesian today;
                                - mission shared between Salesians and lay people.

                                The last activity of the day will be the presentation of the final summary of the contributions of the commissions on the Report of the Rector Major, with the opportunity then for the Rector Major to answer to the comments.

                                Photos on ANSFlickr

                                • CG28
                                • Italia
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  RMG – February 25: 90th anniversary of martyrdom of St Luigi Versiglia and St Callisto Caravario

                                  1 month ago
                                  RMG – February 25: 90th anniversary of martyrdom of St Luigi Versiglia and St Callisto Caravario

                                  (ANS - Rome) - In one of his dreams Don Bosco had seen two large chalices rise to Heaven, calices with which his children would water the Salesian mission in the East: one was full of sweat and the other of blood. After a few decades, Fr Luigi Versiglia from China would have written to another Salesian who had given him a chalice: “May the Lord ensure that I return the chalice that has been offered to our Pious Society. May it overflow, if not with my blood, at least my sweat!"

                                  Luigi Versiglia was born in Oliva Gessi (Pavia) on June 5, 1873. At the age of twelve, he entered the oratory of Valdocco where he met Don Bosco. Ordained priest (1895), after being Director and master of novices in Genzano di Roma, he led the first Salesian missionary expedition to China in 1906. In 1918, the Salesians received the mission of Shiu Chow from the Apostolic Vicar of Canton. Fr Luigi Versiglia was appointed Apostolic Vicar and on 9 January, 1921, he was consecrated Bishop. He was a true shepherd, entirely devoted to his flock. He gave the Vicariate a solid structure with a seminary, houses of formation, himself designing various residences and shelters for the elderly and needy. He looked after the formation of the catechists with true conviction.

                                  Callisto Caravario was born in Cuorgné (Turin) on June 8, 1903, and was a student at the Valdocco oratory. In 1924, still a cleric, he left for China as a missionary. He was sent to Macau, and then for two years on the island of Timor, edifying everyone with all his goodness and his apostolic zeal. On May 18, 1929, Msgr. Versiglia ordained him a priest.

                                  On February 25, 1930, the two missionaries were travelling by boat for a pastoral visit when a gang of Bolshevik pirates intercepted them. The Communists climbed on board and, finding three young catechists, wanted to take them away with them. The two missionaries interposed and were attacked and tied, while the pirates ransacked their possessions. One of the bandits, snatching the crucifixes from a catechist, shouted: “Why do you love these crosses? We hate them with all our souls!" The young women were able to see the missionaries confess to each other in a low voice before being shot in a forest. Thus the two chalices dreamed by Don Bosco were raised to Heaven!

                                  John Paul II beatified them on May 15, 1983, and canonized them on October 1, 2000. On the occasion of the beatification, he said: "The blood of the two Blesseds is at the foundations of the Chinese Church, just as the blood of Peter is at the foundations of the Church of Rome."

                                  Because of this anniversary, the Provincial of the “Mary Help of Christians” Province based in Hong Kong is promoting a series of events from February 25 to November 13, and issued a message in which he said: “I hope that through the various activities that we are organizing this year we will know how to learn the spirit of martyrdom from these two Saints ... Every Christian participates in the 'white martyrdom' if he puts the Gospel into practice and carries his own cross. Let's model ourselves on the example of Saints Luigi Versiglia and Callisto Caravario!”

                                  • Luigi Versiglia
                                  • Callisto Caravario
                                  • Santità Salesiana
                                  • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    Italy – GC28: unity and diversity on the world horizon and in local communities

                                    1 month ago
                                    Italy – GC28: unity and diversity on the world horizon and in local communities

                                    (ANS - Turin) - Diversity of faces and multiplicity of languages are the expression of the variety of cultures and situations in which Don Bosco's educational experience is embodied. There is no lack of fraternity, which creates bridges on every occasion in which there is a border to overcome and a thought, an experience, a tradition and a history to understand.

                                    The Salesians of the world, and with them the groups of the Salesian Family, the lay people and lay collaborators, the young people, are all represented in Turin-Valdocco in the 28th General Chapter.

                                    Unity and diversity are clearly present, in the respect and acceptance of the opinions of others, especially when they express the diversity in which the Salesians and the educational communities they represent are active.

                                    All of this was amply represented in the first week of the Chapter work, starting with the Rector Major's Report, presented personally and with the collaboration of the General Councilors. Three whole evenings dedicated to their examination followed in Regional groups coordinated by the Regional Councilors.

                                    It is not an assembly of shareholders of an industry, not a political assembly with factions with conflicting interests that are economic, of prestige, or ambitions: repeatedly and in different words, the ecclesial nature of this ample and numerous assembly has been marked and highlighted every day by prayer, in linguistic groups, too. And the week that begins includes the celebration of Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

                                    Ample time was spent in three mornings to meditate and pray on the three nuclei into which the central theme is divided: Salesians for today's young people. And Saturday 22, the official and formal beginning of the GC28, the follow-up to what was clearly indicated in an article of the Constitutions of the Salesians of Don Bosco was followed: "Through the General Chapter the whole Society, letting itself be guided by the Spirit of the Lord, seeks to know, at a specific moment in history, the will of God for a better service to the Church."

                                    Chapter work continues with the Presidency of the Rector Major and the coordination of the work led by the Regulator Fr Stefano Vanoli. The week also begins with the activation of the procedures necessary for the proper functioning of the assembly in all its components: approval of the Regulations, appointment of secretaries and moderators, establishment of study commissions.

                                    Not to be missed, the fact that paper has almost completely disappeared and photocopies rendered useless. Each chapter member moves in the company of his PC: in it, there is everything he needs to read; with it, he shall proceed to vote; connected to it, each capitular has already experienced the simultaneous translation of the interventions.

                                    Photos on ANSFlickr

                                    • Italia
                                    • CG28
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      Italy – GC28: Official opening of work sessions in Turin-Valdocco

                                      1 month 1 week ago
                                      Italy – GC28: Official opening of work sessions in Turin-Valdocco

                                      (ANS - Turin) - The official opening of General Chapter 28 took place on the morning of 22 February in Turin – Valdocco, after a week of work, almost a preparation and even a foretaste of what the life and experience of a chapter assembly that widens its gaze to the 132 Nations represented by the 242 Salesians present is.

                                      The morning began with the Eucharistic celebration in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. It was presided over by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

                                      At 10.30 am, the Chapter Assembly met in the Teatro Grande inside Valdocco and began work with prayer and singing of the Veni Creator Spiritus and the prayer to Don Bosco proclaimed in multiple languages.

                                      Fr Stefano Vanoli, Regulator, coordinates the work of the Assembly and, alongside Chapter members, were many Salesian guests, including Cardinals Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, Tarcisio Bertone, Ricardo Ezzati, and a number of Bishops.

                                      After attending Mass, Mrs. Chiara Appendino, Mayor of Turin, sent a greeting address presented at the Assembly.

                                      The Bishop of Turin, Monsignor Cesare Nosiglia, who will be present on 29 February, also sent a message.

                                      Speaking, representing the groups of the Salesian Family, were Mother Yvonne Reungoat Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and Mr. Renato Valera, President of the "primary" Association of Mary Help of Christians.

                                      Cardinal João Braz de Aviz again took the floor; in addition to his greeting address, he made explicit in his own words the ecclesial context in which a general chapter acts.

                                      Fr Angel Fernandez Artime, Superior General, gave the opening speech.

                                      Then Fr. Stefano Vanoli, Regulator, finally declared the work of the General Chapter 28 formally and officially open.

                                      The morning's work ended with the song Sub tuum praesidium.

                                      Photos on ANSFlickr

                                      • Italia
                                      • CG28
                                        Jesus Jurado

                                        Italy – CG28, official opening: "A strong time of meeting, of prayer and of discernment"

                                        1 month 1 week ago

                                        (ANS - Turin) - Don Bosco is certainly happy and rejoices at hearing the expressions uttered on the official opening morning of General Chapter 28.

                                        Several times, in the greetings, those who took the floor or sent a message referred to the origins and to Valdocco.

                                        Turin's Mayor, Ms Appendino, recalls that "seed that, in just over two centuries of history, has left indelible marks and contributed to strongly connote the character of our city." And today that character is still present in the city of Turin: "like the activities of the Salesian congregation, it's reflected in the continuous commitment to educate young people, to teach to be supportive and attentive to the weakest, to welcome without prejudice those who leave their own country of origin and dreams of building a new life for themselves."

                                        Monsignor Nosiglia, Bishop of Turin, highlights the current relevance of Don Bosco's educational experience: "from the wealth of experience that Don Bosco has left us, we can today also draw several fundamental features of each educational action: the authoritativeness of the educator, the centrality of the personal relationship, education as an act of love ('a matter of the heart,' as Don Bosco would say), the integral formation of the person, co-responsibility for the construction of the common good."

                                        With a gaze to the Salesian Family, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, Superior General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, highlighted the opportunity and necessity of each Chapter Assembly in the world horizon (the FMA are also preparing to celebrate their General Chapter): "They are precious opportunities to revive today the apostolic and missionary passion that nourished the beginnings of the Salesian Family and that we try to keep alive today."

                                        Thanks and best wishes also on behalf of all the laity of the Salesian Family were expressed by Renato Valeria, President of the "primary" ADMA of Turin who thanked participants for their presence and offered his best wishes for "a strong [intense] time of meeting, of prayer and of discernment."

                                        Cardinal João Braz de Aviz offered his message to speak of an ecclesial horizon open to the present moment. It is in this context that a renewed document dealing with the relationships of consecrated life in the Church (mutuae relationes) is now at the final stages. He continued with the presentation of some current challenges for consecrated life.

                                        First of all, he mentioned, those involving formation choices. Then he underlined the attention that must be paid to give a just and renewed importance to man-woman reciprocity. Another open challenge is that which concerns the service of authority. Last but not least, is the challenge that awaits the management of ecclesiastical assets dependent on institutes of consecrated life.

                                        Photos on ANSFlickr

                                        • Italia
                                        • CG28
                                        • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
                                        • Yvonne Reungoat
                                        • ADMA
                                        • Cardinali
                                        • Famiglia Salesiana
                                          Jesus Jurado
                                          Checked
                                          44 minutes 3 seconds ago
                                          ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana
                                          More posts about Salesian World News (ANS-Rome)