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India - Don Bosco school-hut in a slum

1 month 2 weeks ago

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

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

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

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

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

  • India
  • Scuole
  • Slum
    Jesus Jurado

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

    1 month 2 weeks ago

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

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

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

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

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



    • Vaticano
    • Pace
    • Migranti
      Jesus Jurado

      Mongolia - A great gift to the Salesians for 2018

      1 month 2 weeks ago

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

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

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

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

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

      • Mongolia
      • Parrocchie
        Jesus Jurado

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

        1 month 3 weeks ago

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

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

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

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

        • Vaticano
        • Vescovo
        • Cristóbal Lopez
        • Arcivescovo
          Jesus Jurado

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

          1 month 3 weeks ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Perù
          • Luigi Bolla
          • Tecnica
            Jesus Jurado

            Myanmar - "A program of love and peace" for the country's New Year

            1 month 3 weeks ago

            (ANS - Yangon) - On the occasion of the Christmas holidays and in view of the new year, the Archbishop of Yangon, Salesian Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, sent a message to his fellow citizens to reiterate the message of peace and love, also a theme of Pope Francis' visit, the peace and live which the nation needs, marked as it is by economic, social and political wounds.

            "2017 has been a very important year for Christians and the people of Myanmar," said the cardinal immediately after the visit of "Pope Francis, the apostle of Love and Peace" who "visited every component of the country, urging everyone to continue on the pilgrimage of peace."

            "Healing the wounds, seeking complete reconciliation, repaying hatred with redemptive love" is what remained, as a synthesis of that visit, in the words of the cardinal. "War rages in many areas. (...) People who thrive in hate speech hurt our brothers and sisters with war, displacement and poverty, making a country blessed with so many natural resources into one of the world's poorest nations. Economic setbacks, social ills, political conflict continue to make the nation bleed. Recent events have seen the nation challenged by the international community. We must implement a program of Love and Peace!"

            After speaking of the exploitation of natural resources, with special mention of the Irrawaddy River, "a river sacred to the people," Cardinal Bo said encouragingly that: "peace based on healing wounds is possible. True peace is built on love (...). Compassionate love must become the common religion of this nation. Religions must come together for peace. Those who seek hatred in the name of religions lack love."

            "Let us see, in a creative fashion, a nation of hope," concludes the Salesian cardinal. "Christmas is that season of hope. I pray that each one of us receives their blessings so that we can mobilize our spiritual instincts towards building Myanmar as a nation of opportunity, peace, love and healing for all of us. Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all!"

            Source: AsiaNews

            • Myanmar
            • Pace
            • Amore
              Jesus Jurado

              Spain - "Accompany me?" Formation for educators

              1 month 3 weeks ago

              (ANS - Madrid) – For December, the "Spain-Saint James Major" (SSM) Province organized its Level II Training Course on Accompaniment. It is a course that is absolutely consonant with,  the Rector Major's Strenna for 2018 which emphasizes the relationship of educators towards young people, and invites us to focus on two fundamental aspects that become educational: listening and accompanying. Accompanying young people is certainly a commitment, but is, above all, an art learned in time, with reflection, study and prayer with God.

              The formation session also took place in Madrid, for the centers of that zone, and in Santander, for those in the north of the Province. During the workshops, three themes were discussed and explored: "accompaniment in youth ministry"; "Salesian accompaniment"; "the quality of the inter-relationship of the accompanying person to the accompanied."

              In the evaluations, of note were the broad scope of discussions, the many questions still to be resolved, the desire to prepare well in this pastoral ministry, and the opportunity and relevance of this work for the animation of Salesian educational and pastoral communities.

              The Rector Major stressed that Strenna 2018, in relation to the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the theme "Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment", is intended to be a point of reference to "an issue that fully affects the most essential aspects of our charism and for which it is necessary to prepare oneself in the best possible way, and that is, "to learn and know how to accompany young people."

              For the Madrid area, a total of 39 people began this specific formation course, all persons wishing to better qualify their educational-pastoral actions in the field of pastoral accompaniment. Added to these were 33 pastoral workers who made the same journey to Santander, to respond, for the fifth year, to a need that is felt increasingly urgent in Salesian houses.

              An example, some of the participants expressed their concern: "we are very good at animating environments and working with groups, but we lack the one-to-one relationship, which qualifies and completes all pastoral work."

              "The motto chosen for 2018," stated the Rector Major, "which I consider very direct, contains two elements of vital 

              • Spagna
              • SSM
              • Strenna 2018
              • Accompagnamento
              • Pastorale Giovanile
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Peru – Salesian riverboats: from "Pekepeke" to "María Auxiliadora"

                1 month 3 weeks ago

                (ANS - Yurimaguas) - "When the ship sailed from Genoa, I experienced one of the most beautiful moments of my life. As the ship moves away from the port, with immense slowness, one feels that everything is dying. Your friendships, your land, your people die. I remember praying, 'Lord, I lost everything. Now I have nothing but You.'" These are the words of Salesian Fr Luigi Bolla, a missionary who, to bring the Word of God, travelled thousands of kilometers in the Amazon jungle between Peru and Ecuador, often sailing aboard a small boat known as "Pekepeke."

                "From Pekepeke to María Auxiliadora" is a title that clearly expresses the story of over 50 years of missionary work in the Amazon. Fr Bolla first arrived in Peru in 1984 and settled in Kuyuntsa, a city located in the district of Barranca, province of Datem del Marañon, Loreto region.

                "Yankuam Jintia", or Twilight, as the Amazon natives called the Salesian, travelled from one place to another, walking in the rain and mud of the forest, or on the river. His only vehicle was the "pekepeke", a boat capable of carrying only a few people throughout their journey with the sound that gave rise to its name: peke-peke-peke-peke ...

                The Salesians of Peru, who continue the missionary work of Fr Bolla in that region, with the help of the Don Bosco Foundation of Peru, have succeeded in acquiring a new boat.

                Fr Román Olesinski, SDB, narrates: "the boat we have inaugurated and blessed is called 'María Auxiliadora' and will be destined for long journeys on the river. It is our only means of transport to reach some otherwise inaccessible places in the Amazon.

                The visits to each community are called itinerant and represent pastoral visits of animation and evangelization that take place in all the indigenous Christian communities located on the banks of the river. Thanks to the new boat, we will reach over 120 communities. These are visits that last for 3 weeks and are an opportunity to visit schools and animate young people."

                The María Auxiliadora is also a house," says Fr Olesinski. "We navigate from one community to the next. On the boat we sleep, we cook. It is a floating and missionary house. Now we will no longer hear the 'peke-peke-peke-peke' sound for hours and hours because it's the 'María Auxiliadora' that accompanies us now."

                • Perù
                • PER
                • Missioni
                • Luis Bolla
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  RMG - Salesian Historical Research Issue n. 69

                  1 month 3 weeks ago

                  (ANS - Rome) –Issue n. 69 (July-December 2017) of “Ricerche Storiche Salesiane” (RSS), the bi-monthly magazine of religious and civil history, has just been published by the Salesian Historical Institute (ISS). 

                  In STUDIES, there are the following three essays:

                  Yánkuam ', anthropologists and missionaries is the study of Antonino Colajanni, Anthropologist, former professor at the University of Rome "La Sapienza". The essay is a critical study of the personality, work and thought of the Salesian missionary Luigi Bolla (1932-2013), called Yánkuam by the indigenous Achuar. The author draws on personal memories, interviews and correspondences, and presents observations on the man, on his working method, on innovative proposals for missionary action, on his anthropological curiosity, on the argumentative and listening attitude, on the extraordinary ability to adapt the Gospel to the simple things of life and to the production of knowledge.

                  Don Bosco revisited in the light of some letters published in the new epistolary is a contribution made by prof. Fr Francesco Motto, emeritus Director of the ISS. In it, we read that in the light of new sources or new perspectives of reading the sources already known, historians are called to a continuous review of the results achieved. Several unpublished letters open up new glimpses on the "being and work" of Don Bosco.

                  The Venerable Simone Srugi Salesian coadjutor (Nazareth 1877 - Betgamàl 1943). Historical-spiritual profile is the research of prof. Fr Giovanni Caputa, professor emeritus at the Faculty of Theology of the UPS in Cremisan (Palestine) and Jerusalem (Israel) offices. This brief research paper revisits the first biography of Simone Srugi, broadens the historical picture on the basis of other archival documents (of which a complete inventory is made) and of some recent publications. It also traces the relationship between the "little world" of the Salesian house of Betgamàl and the contemporary events of world and regional history.

                  In the FONTI or SOURCES section: The Regulations of the Compagnia di San Luigi Gonzaga compiled by Don Bosco (1847). A critical edition by Rodolfo Bogotto. The text returns to the origins of the Oratory of Valdocco (spring 1847) during which the young Don Bosco faced different types of poor and abandoned young people. Building on the experiences of educator priests, he draws up regulations and guidelines to encourage the creation of a youth association among the oratorians, whose cornerstone is Article 1: "avoid anything that can cause scandal" and "give a good example everywhere."

                  The volume is completed by several references listed in the NOTE, Reviews and 

                  • RMG
                  • Storia
                  • ISS
                  • Ricerche Storiche Salesiane
                    Jesus Jurado

                    Vatican - Agreement signed between Vatican Communications and Salesians

                    1 month 3 weeks ago

                    (ANS - Vatican) - At the center of the agreement is the collaboration in the Holy See's information and communications system. 

                    The agreement between the Secretariat for Communication (SpC) of the Holy See and the Society of St. Francis de Sales has been signed. At the center of the agreement is the collaboration within the Vatican information system as per the communications reform called for by Pope Francis. The agreement comes after the signing of a similar document with the Society of Jesus, now present as a mission community within the Vatican communication system.

                    The signing of the agreement

                    Following the indications of the State Secretariat, the SpC has recently signed the agreement with the Salesian community, which will allow the contribution of Don Bosco's charism to be shared within the framework of the different services provided by the SpC. The agreement will last three-years, after which it may be renewed.

                    Signing the agreement were the Rector Major of the Society of St. Francis de Sales, Father Ángel Fernández Artime, and the Prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò.

                    Source: Vatican – news

                    • Vaticano
                    • RMG
                    • Comunicazione Sociale
                      José Luis Munoz

                      Germany – Refugee in Germany after escaping the Taliban

                      1 month 3 weeks ago

                      (ANS - Sannerz) - "The Pakistani Taliban terrorist organization kidnapped and stole Abdullah, a 15-year-old boy, from his family to train him to become a suicide bomber for the holy war, jihad," explains Roland Müller, Abdullah's supervisor at the Don Bosco Youth Help Center in Sannerz, Germany. Only three days after being kidnapped, however, the boy bravely managed to escape from an open window. He immediately headed for Europe, covering a distance of 5,000 kilometers - as the crow flies - to recover his freedom. "I traveled for 45 days by car, by train and on foot," recalls Abdullah, speaking of his flight.

                      After arriving in Frankfurt's refugee center, Abdullah Zadran was sent to the Don Bosco house in Sannerz after only two weeks. Before that, the local director had made contact with the Riedberg Sports Club, an association in Frankfurt where, in addition to football, basketball and rugby, cricket is also offered and played, cricket being Abdullah's favorite sport.

                      In Gardez, the young Abdullah's birthplace, in the province of Paktia, 100 kilometers from the capital Kabul, near the border with Pakistan, cricket is the national sport, as it is in India and many other Commonwealth countries. It is a sport similar to baseball where two teams, one in offense and one in defense, try to score points by hitting a tennis-sized ball and running to bases.

                      Several times a week Abdullah Zadran travels by train to the capital to train or to play with the Riedberg Cricket team. The boy proudly shows a cup given to him by two cricket stars who had come especially from Afghanistan for the award. On the trophy, the inscription: "Best pitcher." In cricket, the pitcher has to throw the ball hard and fast to prevent the opposing player from hitting it into the field with a wooden bat.

                      In the sports field of the Don Bosco youth center, Abdullah shows his skills. At bat, he strikes the hard leather ball, from which players must protect themselves with appropriate clothes, to avoid injury from the fast-approaching ball. His eyes shine, when he hits the ball with confidence.

                      Isn't he also interested in soccer (football), so popular in Germany? "With his feet, Abdullah does not have the same capacity; he has much greater skill with his hands. I could imagine him as a goalkeeper," said manager Roland Müller, smiling. After arriving in Germany, Abdullah, young and full of energy, soon graduated from junior high school and also attended several German language courses.

                      He is now attending the second year of a vocational training course in Carpentry. "At the moment, as part of our integration project, nine young people from Sannerz are attending courses for carpenters, painters and metallurgical workers; fortunately we have received donations," explains the director and head of the formation project, Fr Clemens Schliermann.

                      Abdullah Zadran regularly keeps telephone contacts with his family – the parents, two sisters and three brothers he had to leave in Afghanistan. He can now speak only with his mother and four of his five brothers. "My father and one of my brothers have disappeared without a trace. They were probably kidnapped by the Taliban," says the boy sadly.

                      Source: Kinzital Nachrichten Agency

                      • Germania
                      • Rifugiati
                      • Giovani
                      • GER
                        Jesus Jurado
                        33 minutes 59 seconds ago
                        ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana