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Monday, 16 December 2013 13:01

DBYN in Munich

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Between the 8th of March and the 11th march 2012, we attended a seminar in the German City of Munich, as participants from Salesian Youth Ministry UK. The Seminar was entitled ‘Generations of Participation’ and was aimed at allowing us to learn from the messages of Older SDBs, FMA’s and Salesian Co-operators. This was primarily achieved by each participant preparing an interview of an SDB, FMA or co-operator. This interview was composed in the participants’ native tongue, and an English transcript was prepared.

Monday, 16 December 2013 12:59

DBYN Network meeting – Confe Don Bosco

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ON the 11th to the 14th October, myself and Partick Kerridge attended a DBYN network meeting in Logroño, Spain. The meeting was hosted by the Spanish youth ministry team, Confe Don Bosco, who were also holding their 17th congress of the Salesian youth centres at the same time. Confe Don Bosco were concentrating on how recent levels of youth unemployment has affected Spanish volunteers. DBYN saw this as an opportunity to work alongside Confe and discuss how DBYN can tackle youth unemployment as a network and to discuss what each partner organisation are doing within their provinces to reduce unemployment.

Monday, 11 November 2013 10:05


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- St Francis de Sales


Training as a Salesian (SDB)

Life is a journey and so is the process of becoming a Salesian. Becoming a Salesian brother or priest involves a formation process that includes prayer, study, community life and practical experiences with young people.

The basic steps are:


A time of initial discernment usually lived in an active salesian community.


A one year period of intensive prayer and study learning about the salesian life. It is at the end of this year that temporary vows are taken if the applicant and the Salesians both agree that this is the appropriate next step.


A period of professional and spiritual study in preparation for active Salesian life.

Practical training

Two years living in an active Salesian community and working with young people in a Salesian school, parish, youth centre or hostel. It is usually after the period of practical training that final vows as a brother or as someone entering final preparation for the priesthood are taken.

Theological studies

A programme of preparation for the priesthood for those whose salesian vocation will be lived as an ordained priest.

Further studies

Brothers and priests undertake further studies after practical training in areas that accord with the direction their vocation is taking.

Monday, 11 November 2013 09:55

Discernment resources

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- St Francis de Sales


God has many ways of calling His servants into His service. Sometimes He makes use of sermons, at other times of the reading of good books. There are those who have been called by hearing the holy words of the Gospels like St. Francis and St. Anthony. Others have been called by weariness, disasters, and sorrows which came upon them in the world.

Our Lord has often made use of such means to call many to His service, who otherwise would certainly never have entered it. For although God is Almighty and can do whatever He wills, yet He does not will to deprive us of the liberty which He has once given us; and when He calls us to His service, He wants us to  come of our own free will, and not through force or constraint.

(St. Francis de Sales, Spiritual Conferences, Conference XVII)

"If any of you hear the Lord's inner call to give yourselves completely to him in order to love him 'with an undivided heart' (cf. 1 Cor 7:34), do not be held back by doubts or fears. Say 'yes' with courage and without reserve, trusting him who is faithful to his promises. Did he not assure those who had left everything for his sake that they would have a 'hundredfold in this life and eternal life hereafter'? (Cf. Mk 10:29-30)." Pope John Paul II

Download this booklet here

Monday, 11 November 2013 09:35

World Youth Day

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wyd madrid

A group of 25 people involved with the Salesians in England and Scotland are heading to Spain this August to celebrate at the international Catholic youth event held every 2-5 years, World Youth Day. The Salesian group has been growing in size pilgrimage after pilgrimage, this trip is building on the success of the Salesian trip to World Youth day in Australia, 2008.

Thursday, 27 September 2012 12:59

A Short Message

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What a great summer we’ve had as Salesians in the youth ministry! Do write in and tell us about your experiences and give us any photos you would like to share!

The first Youth Ministry Weekend this year is 2-4th November and is all about evaluation, setting up of this year’s small teams and planning the year ahead.

If you have any ideas for the year ahead of the meeting then please do get in touch with me so that we can chat things through.

If you are on the small groups or have been invited to join groups this year then I’ll look forward to seeing you at the weekend.

Thursday, 05 July 2012 12:59

Camp St. Francis - Update

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Two volunteers (Liam Parr and Alex Snee) from the United Kingdom have gone to America and help with Camp St. Francis. Here is a little update about how they are doing over there:

“So far in America, we have met so many amazing people, we have eaten a proper maccies, been to the ‘movies’, seen santa cruz, eaten in an ice cream palor that was in ‘up’, spent a fair amount in the converse shop, and then we possibly could be going to LA, seeing Hollywood and Disney land after work finishes but tomorrow: we are going to the jelly bean factory for a private tour :D love it soooo much! cant wait to start the camp either because it’s going to be amazing!”

Called to a Noble Adventure – A Vision for Catholic Youth Ministry in England and Wales to guide youth ministry development has been published. It is the product of consultation with youth workers and other professionals and volunteers who work with young people prepared by the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed) on behalf of the Department of Catechesis and Evangelisation of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

Its launch was included as part of CYMFed's Members' Meeting, which took place at the Salford Diocesan Centre last week (13th June 2012). CYMFed is a network of the principal youth officers of dioceses, religious orders, movements and other organisations that provides leadership, conferences, resources and programmes for enhancing Catholic youth ministry at every level of the Church.

Called to a Noble Adventure is not a new programme or service strategy. It is primarily about our relationship with young people. It is a Vision for Youth Ministry in England and Wales, built on a foundation of partnership, collaboration, and communication, as well as a solid commitment to serving our young people. As a common vision it provides a shared language for talking about, planning for and implementing a vibrant youth ministry that will engage, inspire and empower young people for discipleship and active participation in the community.

Four interdependent and equally important goals guide the Church's ministry with adolescents. We want to try and ensure that our young people feel accompanied, that they feel that the rest of the Church is walking alongside them and vice-versa. They need to hear a positive call to live as disciples of Jesus Christ and be rooted in the Church. We need to enable them to share as fully as they can in the life of the Church, however demanding that might be, and finally we ask young people to go out as prophetic witnesses and inviting the Church and world to be renewed in faith, hope and love.

These goals state what it means for the Catholic community to respond to the needs of young people and to involve young people in sharing their unique gifts with the larger community. They express the Church's focus for ministry with adolescents, while encouraging local creativity in developing the programmes, activities, and strategies to reach these goals.

Called to a Noble Adventure is a call to make ministry with adolescents a concern for the entire Church community. Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II have emphasised repeatedly the importance of young people and ministry with them. This document encourages our church communities to provide good opportunities and supportive relationships. It sets a challenge to us all to deliver on that vision.

Fr David O'Malley SDB, Vice Provincial of the Salesians of Don Bosco in the UK and Rector of Savio House Youth Retreat Centre in Cheshire, says "Called to a Noble Adventure is more than a document – it is an inspirational text that ties concern for young people into the paschal mystery at the heart of the church. Its vision penetrates and connects the activity of a youth minister in a parish with the eternal reach of the Gospel and with the presence of God. It gives parents, teachers, catechists and youth ministers new reasons for living and hoping"

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 12:59

St James' 125th Birthday

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On a very rainy, Sunday 3rd June, the Salesian Parish of St. James’ Bootle, celebrated 125 years of ministry within the Bootle Community. To mark the beginning of this day, Fr. Martin Coyle SDB provincial celebrated Mass in a full church. We were joined at Mass by pasted parishioners, Staff and Governors of both Savio Salesian College and All Saints Primary, pupils of the same schools and our regular, dedicated parishioners. After the thanksgiving Mass we took the short walk over to the primary school, where since 7am Sunday morning, our Youth Team had been setting up the ‘Fun Festival’. Every single young person and not so young people enjoyed the fun filled day, even though the weather was dreadful. Within the school hall there were; game stalls (e.g. role a penny, key in the door, hook a duck etc.), an arts and crafts section, a bouncy castles, an inflatable obstacle course and an inflatable climbing frame. Outside; a climbing wall, stage, a burger van and an ice cream van. Over in the church; Bingo, a VIDES UK stall, a Salesian Youth Ministry stall, a Mamma Margret’s stall and an exhibition of the history of St. James’ (which will be up until the summer) the day was a complete success, we have to say a massive thank-you to all present and all those who sent prayers our way, all were very appreciated.

Our festivities continue with a 125 Oscars evening on Saturday 16th June, tickets are still on sale NOW at a fantastic price of £10, also until the beginning of the summer the exhibition in church will remain erect.

This year is doubly special for us here in Bootle as it’s our Fifth and final year of VIDES UK’s involvement in our Parish, we would like to take this time to thank all volunteers for their hard work and time given to us these past four years.

As you can see the Salesian Parish of St. James’, Bootle is a living parish with many event happening over the course of a year, this is all down to a dedicated Salesian Community, dedicated Parishioners and dedicated young people who make St. James’ what we are. We truly do follow our motto; ‘Building the future on firm foundations’.


Monday, 02 April 2012 12:59

Flame Congress 2012

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Half past 5 on a Saturday morning and the alarm clock starts blaring. On any other Saturday I would be wondering why the alarm clock is going off at this time of the day but today is different. Wembley was Calling. After Jam on Toast and a cup of tea, the walk to the train station awaited. Thankfully, the weather was clear as the sun started sneaking up over the horizon although it was a little bit chilly. Upon the arrival to the train station, the first Salesian meeting took place. This involved  a quick catch up, buying energy drinks and buying a little bit more  of a sugary breakfast for the journey. 

After the 2 hour train journey we arrived in sunny London. Then the excitement and uncertainty of the tube beckoned. We successfully negotiated the tube and arrived at Wembley Park looking down Wembley way. It was also quite quiet around Wembley but there were a few people around and the atmosphere was apparent and building. When we were eventually allowed in we took our seats and welcomed any and all Salesians that joined us where we were. A lucky few of us were taken backstage at Wembley because we were going to be running workshops outside the front of Wembley Arena.

Then we took to our seats yet again and eagerly awaited the start. Looking around it was quite a warm but surreal feeling to think that there is still a strong youth Catholic presence within the UK. Even after having been to World Youth Day last year and meeting thousands of young Catholics over in Madrid, it was still great to feel such a strong presence.

The programme started with a bit of a dance and then two the two MCs, David Wells and Paschal Ushe welcomed us to Wembley and started the programme off with the theme on Respect. Which was the first of 3 and all were based on the core Olympic values. The theme of Respect had talks from Bridget Parker, Fr Timothy Radcliffe and Jason Gardener. There was also a small drama from Rise Theatre which was about giving respect to yourself and the people around you.

We were then let out to enjoy the wonderful sunshine that we weren’t able to see from inside the arena. While we were in the sun we played games with the young people and as you can see from the photo, the game Splat, was quite popular. There was just enough time between the games and the start of the next session to fit in a bite to eat.

The next session focused on the theme of Friendship. The session involved talks from Barry and Margaret Mizen, who had lost their son, Jimmy Mizen, in a tragic altercation. There was also a interview show on the stage which was about the work of CAFOD and some volunteers that have done work over in Kenya. There was also a group from the Safe Gorton Project where we were shown the formation of a band that had formed there and they then led us in all of the song for the rest of the day.

This was then followed by the theme of Excellence. This was lead by David Wells who was accompanied by Stef Reid and Debbie Flood. This session was all about telling us about how excellent we all can be and that we shouldn’t be held back from being the best we can be. Then probably the most memorable part of the whole day was a dance-song medley in the style of glee. There were many popular hymns sung to the tune of Don’t Stop Believing. If you want to watch it then there are a few videos on Youtube.

After a short break, the mood changed and we went into a time of adoration. We reflected on everything that we had experienced in the day. We were also challenged to take those experiences and to share them with everyone around us. The programme then ended and we were gifted a performance by the band, Indecisive.

The first weekend of March saw small teams involved in the Youth Ministry come together to continue planning for the projects that are happening in the next year. The weekend was also for looking at the Strenna for 2012, “I am the good shepherd: The good shepherd lays down his life for his sleep.”Strenna2012 sito EN

Friday was left for people arriving in their own time and catching up on times and experiences since the last meeting.

The first activity of the weekend was to look at the Strenna and how it could fit into the work that we all do within the Youth Ministry. There were various points that were discussed surrounding the history of the Salesians and how the Strenna is relevant to our works. We then went off into our teams to continue planning our projects and tie up some loose ends. In the evening we came together for prayer and had the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. Following that we then had more time to socialise and to enjoy Salesian networking.

The next morning, we celebrated Mass and afterwards, put forward ideas that we could possibly work on over the next few years. It was also an opportunity to see what events were happening and what we could be involved it. 

Sunday, 26 February 2012 11:59

Don Bosco Day in Cebu

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Today, 31st January, the church celebrates the feast of St John Bosco. We, on the other hand, have already been celebrating this feast for nearly a week. Lessons ended on Wednesday to be followed by three days of events and activities with the students, Sunday was family day, and yesterday the whole staff headed to the beach to swim in the sea, eat (a lot) and play mad games. By comparison to the goings-on of the last few days, today is fairly quiet. Time perhaps, to reflect on this saint who we are celebrating.
There is no doubt about it, Don Bosco certainly gets his name about (partly owing to the Salesians’ lack of originality in naming their projects – of the twenty or so in this province, I think all bar two are called Don Bosco something!). It is a name which, this time last year, I knew of vaguely, and in a short space of time has become incredibly familiar. Along with the name, I have come to know something of the story of this holy and pioneering spirit.
In the midst of the industrial revolution, John Bosco became a priest and dedicated his life to working with those most other clerics of the time wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. He called to him the boys from the streets, brought to the cities in search of employment or wealth but finding instead only poverty, destitution and abandonment. He welcomed those who were unwelcome elsewhere, he offered them a place to call home, a chance of an education and skills. He invited them to play and have fun and be children. He offered them the gospel of a God who loves them just as they are.
Mixed up in his story are tales of magic and miracles, incidents we might doubt through our 21st century eyes, but which were perhaps much more easily accepted by the people of his day. Irrespective of whether they happened as written, or have a more rational explanation, there is no doubt in my mind that the true miracle of Don Bosco’s life was his absolute commitment to the poor and destitute children, migrants to the growing industrialised cities, abandoned by society at large. The miracle of his life was to pray holding nothing back, and so be willing to give up everything to serve these kids whose existence everyone else would rather forget.
And the miracle to which he calls us, is not to perform feats or tricks but to place those who are most excluded by society at the very centre of our thoughts and lives.
The need he saw then, for someone to show these poor, destitute, unloved children that there was someone who cared is just as real today. There are still children displaced by poverty, damaged by abuse or abandonment, scarred by war. There are still children searching for a place to be themselves, to run and to play. There are still children who need to hear someone say “you are loved”
St John Bosco has left a legacy in his name plastered on schools and youth projects around the world: but a greater legacy will be the day when the rest of the world wakes up to the call to care enough so that no child dies of a disease that could easily be cured, no child starves on the streets, no child is dragged into the misery of war, no child is left abandoned and alone, no child descends into a spiral of depression and fear.
If we live in a civilized world, surely that shouldn’t be beyond our reach?
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