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Thursday, 17 October 2013 18:40

Don Bosco UK - Safeguarding

Don Bosco UK - Safeguarding

Safeguarding

For advice on Safeguarding matters, the Salesian contact person is:

Fr T Williams SDB
Chesnut Grove
Bootle
L20 4LX

Tel: 0151 944 1039
Email: tsrwills(at)hotmail.co.uk

See also the site of the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS).

Thursday, 17 October 2013 18:40

Don Bosco UK - News

Don Bosco UK - News

News from near and far

Pilgrimage Petitions
During the Pilgrimage of the Relics of Don Bosco in...
Pilgrimage of the Relics of Don Bosco
Early in January 2013, the casket containing the Relics of...
Renewal of Vows
On 8th September 2012 Br Sebastian Marcisz of the Warsaw...
New Communications Office
Based in the Salesian Parish in Cowley, Oxford, the new...
Phoenix Holidays 2012
On 29th July Savio House was given over to 27...
Cornwall visits Wintershall
Salesian Cooperators from Cornwall gave some young people in their...
Don Bosco Evening
Salesian School Chertsey hosted a Don Bosco Evening on 14th...
Bosco Magic at Chertsey
Students at Salesian School Chertsey have the opportunity of expert...
Saint James' 125th Birthday
On a very rainy Sunday 3rd June 2012, the Salesian...
Salesians in Liberia
Fr Harry O'Brien, currently (2012) Rector and Parish Priest in...
Scouts at Savio
From 25th to 27th May 2012, one of the hottest...
May Procession in Chertsey
The annual May Procession was held at Salesian School Chertsey...
The Salesian missionary communities of Papua New Guinea
Shaun Larcom studied for a doctorate at University College London....
WYD 2013
The Salesians in the GBR province are organising a small...
Salesians at 'Flame'
It is said in football circles that 'all roads lead...
India Night at Chertsey
On the feast of St Patrick (17th March), there was...
Business Secretary visits Chertsey
The Right Honourable Dr Vincent Cable MP, Secretary of State...
Golden Jubilees
Fr Sean Murray SDB celebrated his Golden Jubilee as priest...
All Saints meet the Queen
Children from the Salesian parish of St James, Bootle, accompanied...
Chertsey in the North West
On a rainy Friday morning in January, 14 boys set...
Salesian Study Days
The Salesian Study Days in 2012 took place in three...
Strenna for 2012
Fr Pascual Chez, the Salesian Rector Major, has presented his...
Memories of World Youth Day
Back in August a contingent of young people from Great...
Our Missionaries
Salesians who have come from overseas to the British (GBR)...
Cornwall Cooperators
On Saturday 3rd December ten Salesian Cooperators, plus eight others...
Three Meetings
The week following Friday 25th November 2011 was a busy...
National Youth Symbol
From 23rd to 30th October 2011 the Salesians of Don...
Salesian Student Gathering
Salesian students from Bootle, Bolton, Farnborough, Croxteth, Chertsey and Wimbledon...
Salesian Cooperators of Great Britain Retreat
On the weekend of 8th and 9th October, nearly 40...
Salesian Schools Conference
This year's Conference for Salesian Schools took place in Stoke...
Olympic Relay of Prayer
Young people from the Diocese of Salford converged on Thornleigh...
Salesian Youth Animator
Sue McDonald has begun her new role as Salesian Youth...
Artwork in Bootle
Two pieces of artwork have recently been unveiled in the...
Salesian group at Greenbelt
This summer a Salesian group of 20 people attended Greenbelt,...
Renewed Commitment
Brother Jakub Ruszniak SDB (24) from the Northern Polish Province...
Dr John Lydon
John Lydon, Assistant Headteacher at Salesian School Chertsey, graduated as...
Cooperators' Summer News
Our current Salesian Cooperators' Council, formed last November, held a...
Thanksgiving Mass at Battersea
At 2pm on Thursday 7th July there was a Mass...
Jubilees
Every year the Province celebrates significant Jubilees of profession and...
Loyal Service
There was a celebration in Thornleigh House Bolton on Tuesday...
Salesian Students Unite
Organised by Fr James Gallagher SDB and Mr Kevin Regan,...
Salesian Youth Ministry Animator
The Salesians of Don Bosco are advertising an important post...
BOVA goes to Rome
From 10th to 12th April 2011 there was a meeting...
Salesian Soccer in Sri Lanka
The Don Bosco Soccer Club, Negombo, has won the 2011...
Church School Awards
2010-11 marked the first year of the Church School Awards....
Chertsey visits Bootle
On Saturday 2nd April 12 Year 11 footballers from Salesian...
Don Bosco's Lenten Journey
On Saturday 19th March 2011, following the morning mass for...
Visitors to Ratisbonne
It's is not too often that the Salesians in Jerusalem...
Notre Dame Weekend Retreat
Eleven students from the London Centre of Notre Dame...
Celebration at Hidden Gem
For the past few years Salesian volunteers and past volunteers...
News from Jerusalem
Fr Gianni Caputa, who teaches at the Salesian Theological College,...
News from Tunisia
Fr Laurence Essery SDB, a Salesian from Great Britain who...
Project Europe: 2011 to 2012
Salesian Provincials from all over Europe, including our GBR Provincial...
The Don Bosco Salesian Book Club
Fr John Dickson SDB is launching a Club to raise...
New Salesian Cooperators Centre in Cornwall
On 8th December, the Feast day of the Immaculate Conception,...
Student Voice
In October 2010, student representatives from Salesian College Battersea, Salesian...
Salesians in Teheran
Fr John Dickson has sent this fascinating account of an...
Prague Blog
From Thursday 4th to Wednesday 10th November 2010, in Prague,...
Parish Meeting
Salesians working in parishes met at Hothorpe Hall from Monday...
Formation Weekend in Battersea
This year there are four young Salesians in initial training...
Salesian Cooperators Retreat 2010
Salesian Cooperators in Great Britain met in Savio House during...
Salesian Education Conference
Over 150 educators from our Salesian Schools and Retreat Centres...
Papal Award for Maria Barnes
On Saturday 25th September 2010 Mrs Maria Barnes received the...
Salesians respond to the Pakistani floods
There are two Salesian houses in Pakistan, the Don Bosco...
Papal Visit to Great Britain
The Salesian Family was well represented at the various events...
Cowley Improvements
For several years Fr Kieran Anderson SDB, Parish Priest of...
New Provincial takes office
On Saturday 14th August 2010 the Bolton community gathered in...
Salesian Sisters Celebrate
On the evening of Wednesday August 4th the Salesian Sisters...
Salesians out Serving
The first SOS (Salesians out Serving) programme for 2010 ran...
Salesian School Chertsey raises 27,000+
In the Section 48 Report of November 2008 it was...
Fr Robson at the Palace
Fr George Robson SDB was awarded the MBE in the...
One Heart
The Salesian Spirituality Team, which includes members of the Salesian...
Student Voice 2010
Students from Salesian College Battersea, Savio Salesian College Bootle, St...
A new Salesian priest
It has been ten years since our province has had...
Ruby Jubilee
On Saturday 26th June 2010 Fr Charles Garrick celebrated forty...
Silver Jubilees
On Saturday 19th June 2010 two Salesians in the Great...
UK-OZ Wiki
Salesian Schools on opposite sides of the world are using...
Provincial Chapter 2010
Every three years Salesian representatives from the UK meet for...
Group 711 in Lourdes
During Easter Week 2010 fifty one sixth formers and fifteen...
Marathon Men
On Sunday 11th April 2010 two of our young Polish...
Two Jobs at Savio House
NB. Both posts have now been filled. ...
More help for Haiti
On Sunday 14th February Fr Michael Winstanley, our Provincial, was...
Gospel Reflections for Lent: Year C Palm Sunday
On this Sunday there are two readings from Luke's Gospel....
Chertsey India Exchange
In February 2010 Fr Andrew Ebrahim took a group of...
Gospel Reflections for Lent: Year C Sunday 5
The Gospel reading chosen for the Fifth Sunday of Lent...
Gospel Reflections for Lent: Year C Sunday 4
Today's Gospel reading contains what is probably the best known...
Concert for Haiti
Donations continue to arrive for the Salesian relief work in...
Gospel Reflections for Lent: Year C Sunday 3
Last week, after the transfiguration, we left Jesus as he...
Gospel Reflections for Lent: Year C Sunday 2
For the second Sunday of Lent the Gospel reading is...
Gospel Reflections for Lent: Year C Sunday 1
Each year the Gospel reading for the First Sunday of...
Our Lady's Fiftieth
The church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Newent, Gloucesteshire,...
Hearts for Haiti
An enterprising teaching assistant at the Blessed Sacrament Junior School...
St Clare's Fiftieth
On the Feast of Saint John Bosco, 31st January 2010,...
Salesians in Haiti
The terrible earthquake which struck Haiti at 16:53 local time...
Salesian Family Study Days
For 2010 the Salesian Family Link Group (Consulta) decided to...
MBE for Fr George Robson
Fr George Robson has been awarded an MBE in the...
The next GBR Provincial
The next Provincial of the GBR Province will be Fr...
Christmas in Jerusalem
This Christmas, Fr Andrew Ebrahim from our Chertsey community was...
Christmas in Tunisia
Fr Laurence Essery is the Rector of the small Salesian...
Just another snowman?
There has been quite a lot of snow this year...
Fr Gilheney with Catenians
Fr John Gilheney, former Headteacher of Salesian School Chertsey and...
Opening of All Saints
The new Bootle super school, All Saints RC Primary based...
Bro Marco ordained Deacon
On Monday morning, December 7th 2009, in the Salesian parish...
Thornleigh Pupil in Downing Street
Zoe Cook, a pupil from the Fairtrade Group at Thornleigh...
Fr Albert at 90
Fr Albert Carette celebrated his 90th birthday with his community...
Battersea returns to Turin
Students from Salesian College Battersea returned to Turin this summer...
Missionaries for Britain
Two young Salesians from India are preparing to come to...
Retreats in Zambia
Fr John Dickson SDB writes from Lusaka, September 22nd 2009:...
Australians in Bolton
A unique event took place on September 22nd 2009 at...
Final Profession
Br Marco Villani made his perpetual profession as a Salesian...
Ready for Action
Many Salesians from overseas come to the UK to improve...
A Birthday Surprise
Fr George Robson SDB, parish priest of St Dominic's Huyton,...
Celebrating Faithful Service
For nearly 30 years the GBR Province has benefited from...
Province Retreat at Ammerdown
The 2009 Retreat for Salesians in the Great Britain Province...
New Single from Salesian
On the feast of Mary Help of Christians, 24th May...
School Leaders visit Turin
A group of senior staff and governors from Salesian Schools...
Agnelli visits London
In February 2009, 130 students from the Salesian Agnelli School...
Reflections on Dominic Savio
'Young people are that part of human society, so rich...
Fr Fabio in Britain
Fr Fabio Attard, General Councillor for Youth Ministry, visited the...
Remembering 1st April 1934
Past pupils of the Salesian Missionary College, Pott Shrigley, gathered...
Gospel Reflections for Lent: Year B Sunday 6
In Year B we are offered two options for the...
Gospel Reflections for Lent: Year B Sunday 5
The Gospel extract this week takes us to the last...
Salesian Family Survey
At the beginning of January 2009, the Salesian Family Link...
Gospel Reflections for Lent: Year B Sunday 4
This Sunday we stay with John. Our Gospel extract is...
A Past Pupil returns to Chertsey
On 16th March 2009 Dr John Lofting visited the Salesian...
A Rectors' Meeting with a Difference
Fr Francis Preston, former Provincial of the Salesians in Great...
Gospel Reflections for Lent: Year B Sunday 3
Today we switch from Mark's Gospel to that of John,...
Gospel Reflections for Lent: Year B Sunday 2
For the second Sunday of Lent the Gospel reading is...
Gospel Reflections for Lent: Year B Sunday 1
Each year Lent is introduced with the story of the...
Memorial Mass for Brother John
About 60 people gathered for a memorial Mass for Brother...
Salesian Family Days 2009
Over four hundred people, SDB, FMA, Cooperators, Past Pupils, volunteers...
Student Voice at Savio House
Twenty six student representatives from Salesian Schools in Great Britain...
Cardinal celebrates Advent with US Students
Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, kindly agreed to...
St James' Parish Christmas Production
The week ending December 13th 2008 saw a unique take...
The Power of Rualink
Blaisdon Old Boys came to the help of Father Brian...
Meeting of Salesian Parish Clergy
From Monday 27th October to Wednesday 29th October 2008, Salesian...
Chertsey Teacher on Executive Council of WUCT
Mr John Lydon, from the Salesian School in Chertsey, has...
Retreat in South Africa
Fr Michael Winstanley, Provincial of the GBR Province, was invited...
A new Salesian Brother
On Saturday 16th August 2008, Don Bosco's Birthday, Alexander (Sandy)...
Joseph comes to Bootle
They were rocking in the aisles in St James in...
Two Golden Jubilees
Fr Frank Sutherland and Fr John Booth celebrated their Golden...
Fr Vincent receives his award
Fr Adriano Bregolin, Vicar of the Rector Major, is spending...
First Salesian Centenarian in Great Britain
On Sunday 15th June 2008 Br Christopher Gorton SDB celebrated...
Province Retreat at Ushaw
Forty Salesians made their annual retreat in Ushaw...
British contingent at the Vatican
On Monday 31st March 2008, the members of the 26th...
Bootle Parish at Los Angeles Religious Education Congress
A group of parishioners from St James' Parish, Bootle, were...
Dinner for Catholic Lay Associations
John Lydon, representing the Catholic Association of Teachers, Schools and...
Welcome for new Head at Thornleigh
Mrs Alison Burrowes took up her post as Head Teacher...
Salesian Study Days
As a way of preparing for the Feast of Don...
Salesian Student Voice
During the first weekend of October, student leaders from SDB...
Catholic Teachers meet in Rome
John Lydon, Assistant Headteacher of Salesian School Chertsey and a...
Thornleigh Sixth Formers in Tanzania
On Saturday 21 July, after several months of fund raising...
Spanish Martyrs Beatified
Fr Enrico Saiz Aparacio, and sixty two other Salesian priests,...
New Novices
On the evening of the Feast of the Assumption (15...
Two events in Catholic Education
Professor Gerald Grace hosted the launch of a book entitled...
Donation for Liberia
At the June meeting of the Runnymede Circle of the...
DPhil for UK Salesian
Fr Martin Poulsom SDB graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy...
The Salesian Cemetery at Shrigley
On 21st July 2007, following the Annual General Meeting of...
Ninety Nine Today
Brother Chris Gorton SDB celebrated his 99th birthday on 15th...
Moshi, here we come!
Sixth Formers from Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton, met in the...
From Pentecost to Visitation
The Provincial Chapter of the Great Britain Province met at...
Schools Pilgrimage
From Friday 4 May to Monday 7 May a group...
An informal visit
Fr Albert Van Hecke SDB, General Councillor for the Northern...
Province Retreat at Worth Abbey
During Easter week 2007 nearly fifty Salesian priests and brothers...
New Look in Newent
The parishioners of Our Lady Lourdes in Newent, Gloucestershire, have...
Mass in Jerusalem
On Thursday 29th March 2007 the Ratisbonne Salesian Community gathered...
Hot off the Press
The arrival of spring and the build up to Easter...
New Books for Teachers
The annual meeting of The Catholic Association of Teachers, Schools...
The Gospel According to Judas
Fr Francis Moloney SDB and Jeffrey Archer will be taking...
Chinese pupils visit Bootle
Did you know that Merseyside has the oldest Chinese community...
Fr Laurence visits Hong Kong
In January 2007, Fr Laurence Martin visited the Salesians in...
South African Provincial Team
Kgotso! Pula! Nala! That means Peace! Rain! Prosperity! - a...
Opening of All Saints
Over five hundred people packed into St James' Church on...
Mamma Margaret Days
On 13th, 27th and 28th January 2007, just before the...
Parish Mission in Bootle
It was fitting that the Faith Formation Team from the...
Cooperators meet in Rome
The Third World Congress of Salesian Cooperators took place in...
World Post for British Past Pupil
Peter Hunter has been appointed as the new Councillor of...
Education - A Path To Love
Mr John Lydon, Assistant Headteacher of Salesian School, Chertsey, was...
Doctorate for Manchester Salesian
Fr Edmund O'Neill SDB received his Doctorate in Canon Law...
Name chosen for New School
The Governors of the new community school based at St...
Chertsey All-Weather Sports Facilities
Thursday 21st September 2006 saw the opening of the new...
Training for Leaders in GBR Salesian Schools
The Youth Ministry Schools Team organised its annual residential in-service...
New Team at Savio
After two weeks of intensive training the new volunteer members...
Ninety eight not out!
Brother Christopher Gorton had a day away from the Nursing...
Battersea Past Pupil ordained Deacon
Michael Kennedy was ordained as a Permanent Deacon with five...
More Pictures from Liberia
The school run by Amadu Sarnor in the village of...
Rector Major visits Great Britain
The Salesians in Great Britain were privileged to have their...
Fr Tony Bailey celebrates 40 years
On 4th March 2006 there was a Mass and Buffet...
Key Government appointment for Director of Youth Outreach
HONG KONG: 1/3/2006 The Hong Kong Education and Manpower Bureau...
Flying Visit to Tappita
With a little help from the United Nations, Fr...
Salesian Family Directory
Each year Annabel Clarkson, Salesian Cooperator and Secretary and Registrar...
Great News for Savio High
Congratulations to Savio High School, Bootle on gaining Specialist School...
New Head for Chertsey
Mr James Kibble has been appointed as the new Headteacher...
Memorial Mass for Fr Chris McMahon
Fr Chris McMahon SDB, who died in South Africa on...
Fr Provincial in Galilee
Our Provincial, Fr Michael Winstanley, was invited by the Salesian...
Fr Graham receives his MA
Over the past three years Fr Graham Forristalle has been...
Sparks fly at Bootle!
Nearly two hundred members of the Salesian Family from all...
Our first VDB
On Friday October 28th 2005 Ina Coles made her final...
SDB Parish Clergy meet at Savio
It has been ten years since the SDB parish clergy...
Memorial Mass for Fr Pat Kenna RIP
Fr Pat Kenna SDB, who died on 8th July 2005,...
FMA Provincials visit Ratisbonne
On the evening of 15th September 2005, 18 FMA provincials...
Profession Day
Bro Marco Villani SDB (left) and Bro Matt Jeziorski SDB...
New challenge for Fr Preston
Fr Francis Preston, who was Provincial of the GBR (British)...
Novices on the home straight!
Our novices made their pre-profession retreat at Savio House in...
A remarkable gathering
After their visit to Italy at Christmas 2004, Fr John...
Fr David O'Malley celebrates 25 years
At Thornleigh College, Bolton, on 25th June 2005, Fr David...
Honours for Battersea Past Pupil
It has been a very special week for Augustine ('Gus')...
Passing of a great Salesian
Fr Ainsworth passed away on 5th June 2005 after a...
Province Retreat 2005
This year the Province retreat was held at Ushaw College,...
Cooperators celebrate at Savio
On the eve of the Feast of Saint John Bosco,...
Salesian Family Celebrates in Rome
Fr Bernard Parkes SDB from Savio House has sent the...
Visit to Rome and Turin - New Year 2005
Immediately after Christmas, our Director of Novices, Fr John Dickson...
A Life Given for Africa
Don Bosco Publications announce the publication of a new book...
Thursday, 17 October 2013 18:40

Salesians of Don Bosco UK

Salesians of Don Bosco UK

Strenna for 2013

strenna2013small

Each year the Salesian Rector Major sends a Strenna or slogan to the Salesian Family. This year Fr Pascual Chez, has chosen Like Don Bosco the educator, we offer young people the Gospel of joy through a pedagogy of kindness. You can read more about it by clicking on the image of the poster above.

Working for Youth in Need

The Salesians of Don Bosco, (SDB) are an international Roman Catholic Religious Order of men dedicated to be signs and bearers of the love of God for young people, especially those who are disadvantaged.

Founded by Saint John Bosco in Italy during the nineteenth century, we now number nearly 16000 Priests and Brothers, present in over 130 different countries all over the world.

Wherever we work, the development of the young through education and evangelization is the focus of all our concern because we believe that our total dedication to the young is our best gift to humanity. Saint John Bosco said, "I have promised God that I would give of myself to my last breath for my poor boys."

In the Salesian province of Great Britain we have over 80 Salesians (Priests and Brothers) working from eight communities, with responsibility for schools, parishes, youth work and a retreat centre.

We collaborate with other members of the Salesian Family including the Salesian Sisters, Cooperators, Volunteers of Don Bosco and Past Pupils.

You can taste our charism, our Salesian Way, in the pages of this website, especially in the sections Salesian Footprints and Led by a Dream

We maintain support for our Mission in Liberia, West Africa, where Salesians work for the children especially those who were soldiers in the recent wars.

Thursday, 17 October 2013 18:40

Don Bosco UK - St Joseph Cafasso

Don Bosco UK - St Joseph Cafasso

Saint Joseph Cafasso (1811-1860)

StJosephCafasso

Seminary director

Joseph Cafasso was born in Castelnuovo d'Asti in 1811. Son of small land owners, he was the third of four children, of whom the last, Marianna, would be the mother of Blessed Fr Joseph Allamano. From when he was very young the family and the entire village regarded him as a young saint. He completed his theological studies at the seminary in Chieri and in 1833 was ordained priest. Four months later he went to the Convitto Ecclesiastico, a residential pastoral institute for putting the finishing touches to his priestly and pastoral formation. He would remain involved there for the rest of his life, eventually becoming its Rector.

Spiritual director

At the Convitto the spirituality of Saint Ignatius reigned supreme as well as the theological and pastoral orientations of Saint Alphonsus Maria Liguori. Teaching was given much attention and was aimed at forming good confessors and capable preachers. Joseph studied and gained a deeper understanding of the spirituality of St Francis de Sales, which he then passed on to one student in particular: John Bosco. Cafasso, his spiritual director from 1841 to 1860, contributed to forming and guiding Don Bosco's spirituality.

Typical of his teaching was his appreciation of daily duty as a way to holiness. As the Founder of the Salesian also testified: "the extraordinary virtue of Cafasso was his marvellously faithful and consistent practice of ordinary virtues".

Apostolate to the poor

Always attentive the needs of the poorest, he visited and also financially supported those who were poorest, bringing them the consolation that came from his priestly ministry. His apostolate also consisted in spiritual accompaniment of prisoners and those condemned to death, to the point where he was defined as the prisoners' priest. Prudent and reserved, a spiritual master, he was spiritual director of priests, lay people, politicians, founders.

Pearl of the Italian clergy

Pio XI called him the pearl of the Italian clergy. Fr Cafasso also supported Don Bosco and the Salesian Congregation in material ways from its very beginnings. After a short illness he died at just 49 years of age on 23 June 1860. He was beatified in 1925 and canonised by Pius XII in 1947, who recognised him as a "model of priestly life, father of the poor, consoler of the sick, support for prisoners, saviour of the condemned". The same Pope, in his encyclical Menti Nostrae of 23 September 1950 proposed him as a model for priests.

Thursday, 17 October 2013 18:39

Don Bosco UK - Donations

This page no longer exists. 

 

Please visit our current Donations page or use the 'Donate' Button to donate online. You can also include Gift Aid with your online donation.

 

Thank you

 

Don Bosco UK - Spirituality - Don Bosco's Courage

14. Don Bosco’s Courage

Is this an unusual topic to consider as a vital part of our Salesian heritage? I do not think so. The virtue properly understood is perhaps more necessary for our focus today than ever.

We can pause and ask ourselves what is the essence of the inspiration which prompted Don Bosco to dedicate his whole life energy to the salvation of youth, especially the poorest? His dream at the age of nine inevitably comes to mind. Sometimes the familiar contains truths so often seen, they become almost invisible. Could this be true about the advice which the Shepherdess gave to Don Bosco?

We, who communicate in English, often suffer, I feel, because of the way some important texts are translated from the Italian. Sometimes the words used are accurate but lack the soul of what was intended. Could this be so for the famous Dream Don Bosco had aged nine? The words used to translate the instructions of Mary to our saint are: “Make yourself humble, strong and energetic.”

I think that a more appropriate word for strong could be courageous. Why? The root of this word is heart, cor. Our whole spirituality is based on the importance of love in our approach to community and education in every sphere. Love also needs a little word of explanation; by love I do not mean the touchy feely type of emotion, which is so often presented to us today in film, TV, adverts and news, “I feel - so it is love!” No, rather I mean the love that is sacrifice; that is the gift of oneself in promoting the good of the other, with a readiness to suffer in person so that that good might be achieved. This was shown to us by Jesus when, to redeem us, he was prepared to give up his life that we might have true life and the real freedom to realise our potential as human beings: knowing and loving the God who is and who comes to us, so that we might have life to the full and not live a sort of pseudo life in the shadow of make believe. Don Bosco himself says, “If one is to do good, one must have a little courage, be ready for sacrifice, deal affably with all and never slight anyone”. (MB III P39)

Courage in our Salesian Tradition

Re-reading the early years of Don Bosco’s mission among the young I was truly amazed to see how creative and ingenious he was in meeting the young wherever they were. Before he had the fully organised Oratory he spent much time connecting with young people where they were. I was struck by his freedom of spirit and courage in visiting inns, taverns, hotels where the usual run of the mill clergy never set foot, so that he might chat to all and sundry in places where they were at ease and enjoying free time. He was so friendly he easily made himself part of the group. He was often invited back and so had the opportunity, gradually, to bring in the good word, the invitation to do something different, to games or even to study. He often invited the whole group to come to his Sunday Oratory or to come and find him when they needed help or a chat. His genuine kindness and interest nearly always persuaded the adults present to support his requests for these youngsters to get a few hours freedom to come to his home on the Sunday. Because of his big heartedness and courage in serving the young he was not averse even to breaking up fights or speaking up for the welfare of young workers. “When one is convinced that the cause is just, one will fear nothing. When I see God offended, I cannot ignore it or do nothing about it. To prevent it I’ll fight even a whole army.” (MBVII P 231)

We can also see that Don Bosco was a man of immense courage. In his vision of how he would care for the young every opportunity was to be used and no stone left unturned. We see that the early listeners to his visions of schools, workshops, hostels, playgrounds with the best of all types of games and an army of helpers, could only conclude that he was mad. Time was to prove them wrong and his well founded trust in God’s immense providence make these dreams come true. He knew the risks but believed that God would provide, if he did the necessary work! Surely this persistence in the face of so many mountainous odds shows us his sure hope. He had a heart big enough with love of God and the young to go to the limit to provide what he saw was necessary for youth. He wanted them to have the space and opportunity to enjoy safe, wholesome surroundings where the message of the Gospel was lived so that they could choose to live by the same Gospel way themselves. “When we plan something, we should first see whether it will give glory to God. If that is the case, we should go ahead fearlessly because we shall succeed.” (MBVII)

The Good Shepherd

In giving us the Good Shepherd as our model Don Bosco has further underlined the need for courage. His image of the shepherd was that of those we still see in the Middle East, a person completely dedicated to the sheep. The shepherd’s life was spent for the good of his sheep. His was no nine to five job with long holidays; he was responsible for the sheep entrusted to his care all day, every day. Wandering around the desert was not easy. One never knew what problems, dangers or perils one could come across. Sleeping as the door to the sheepfold might sound romantic but in the dead of night, in the cold, with the possibility of attack from wolves and other creatures requires courage, preparation and readiness to be alert at all times, as well as putting the well being of these, quite easily led, creatures first. “In those things which are for the benefit of young people in danger, I push ahead even to the extent of recklessness!”

Maybe it is this wholeheartedness, which draws us to want to know more about the Salesian spirit, which inflames our hearts too and stirs up our desire to work for the good of the young today. But these feelings are not the love that comes from courage. No, this gift helps us to ponder the risks, keeping our hearts open even when the heart is asked to hold more than it can! To be courageous in a Salesian sense surely means to act from one’s inner spirit, from that which can be said to be a driving passion, so that we almost rise above pain or pleasure for the greater good of those we serve. Knowing the odds we trust in the Providence of God and put in the necessary effort to work with the tools God gives us.

 

Don Bosco UK - Spirituality - More Snippets from Scripture

13. More Snippets from Scripture

The Fourth Gospel is a richly veined mine in which we can uncover deep insights into the person and meaning of Jesus, and into the nature of discipleship. In John’s story there are two events which occur in the last week of Jesus’ life which are closely linked. The wider context for each is the celebration of Passover, the immediate setting a meal. Each event contains a symbolic gesture. Mary of Bethany anoints the feet of Jesus and dries them with her hair. Jesus washes the feet of his disciples and dries them with a towel. Together the episodes illustrate the generosity and self-giving of Jesus, and invite a similar response from his friends and disciples.

The first narrative takes place in the village of Bethany near Jerusalem. It is the place where Jesus has recently raised his friend Lazarus to life, a moment of breathtaking drama. His visit is fraught with danger, for he is a marked man. His action in giving life to Lazarus has led the Jewish authorities to decide formally on his death. Against this backcloth there is a celebration meal. Lazarus reclines at table. Martha serves. Mary, the other sister, steals the limelight as she enters with a pound of very costly ointment, and without speaking a word anoints the feet of Jesus and wipes them with her hair. Both actions are highly unusual in that culture. The house is filled with the scent of the perfume. Judas objects to her extravagance, suggesting that she should have given the money to the poor. But Jesus defends her, reminding them that the poor are always there, whereas he won’t be. He then forges a link between her action and his imminent death and burial.

Mary’s action is firstly an expression of gratitude at the restoration of her brother to the family. It captures the joy of a family reunited through the life-giving action of Jesus. It is an unrestrained expression of her love for Jesus, her devotion and commitment, her belief in him as ‘the resurrection and the life’. Her gesture is costly, lavish and extravagant. It communicates the reckless totality of her self-giving. It mirrors the generosity of Jesus, his extravagant love to the end and the uttermost (Jn 13:1). Mary somehow perceives that Jesus’ action in giving life to her brother will lead to his death, which will be a source of life for all of us.

There is an ominous solemnity about the opening of the second narrative, as the disciples gather with Jesus for their final meal together, now that the ‘hour’ has come. Jesus is fully aware of where he comes from, where he is going, what he is about. He is in control of the unfolding story. Jesus rises from table, and with studied, almost liturgical deliberation, removes his outer garments, takes a towel and wraps it round his waist. Like a servant or slave he pours water into a basin and carefully sets about washing the feet of his disciples, wiping them dry with the towel. So far he has not spoken a word. Simon Peter struggles to cope with this unexpected reversal of roles which subverts the social conventions of the day. Like Judas at Bethany, he misses the point, and objects to what is taking place, categorically refusing to allow Jesus to wash his feet. Jesus insists, observing that otherwise Peter won’t be able to share his heritage and be part of his company. Peter relents and begs Jesus to wash him entirely.

Having completed the washing of the disciples’ feet, Jesus puts his outer garments back on and returns to the table. This washing, this act of humble service, self-effacement and devotion, performed for disciples who in their fragility do not understand, one of whom is a traitor, is symbolic. It is a prophetic gesture. It points to his coming death. It is a kind of commentary which reveals the significance of the events of the following day, events through which Jesus expresses the depth of his love and brings his mission to completion. The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep.

These twin stories reveal to us the love of Jesus for us, his self-forgetful and generous love, his not counting the cost, his passion that we should be drawn from death into the circle of God’s life and love, and become children of the Father. His walking to Bethany, like his walking to Calvary, is an expression of his life-giving friendship. This is Jesus, this is what he is about.

Mary illustrates the meaning of discipleship, the discipleship of friendship. Jesus is at the centre of her life, whatever others may think. She gives her all. The perfume container is empty. She keeps nothing for herself. Jesus at the supper goes on to tell his disciples that they should follow his example of self-giving service. It is the practical way to show our love for one another.

Generosity and service are outstanding characteristics of Don Bosco. He vowed to give his last breath for the young. Nothing was too much trouble. He used his many gifts. He gave his time and energy. He suffered misunderstanding, criticism, anxiety, even death threats. Young people were at the centre of his thinking, his planning, his begging, his praying. His perfume container was empty. He was completely at their service. Anything he could do to help, he would do, no matter how ordinary, menial, or exhausting. He understood his life’s meaning in terms of generous service.

I have met many people who follow Jesus in Don Bosco’s way, generously serving the young and one another. Some are Salesians with whom I have been privileged to live and work, people who are sensitive to the needs of others, and who put themselves out to be of assistance. Others have been young volunteers, cheerful in their availability well beyond the call of duty, in order to respond to the needs of the young people who visited the centre. To be in contact with such people is a wonderful experience, stimulating, enriching, challenging.

The symbols of the empty perfume container and the basin of water transcend time and culture, and continue to speak powerfully to us today about Jesus and about our Salesian way of following him.

 

Don Bosco UK - Spirituality - Salesian Youth Spirituality

Spirituality is an old and richly meaningful word. It denotes the search for what lies deepest in the heart of every human person.

Spirituality is for everyone and is not the prerogative of the chosen few! This is the particular message that Francis de Sales preached to Christians of his day and the same message inspired Don Bosco. There are many expressions of Spirituality. The Salesian Way, however, does not refer to a style of Christian living which turns its back on daily life to find its place in the desert or Monastery. It is about living each day immersed in the mystery of God in our everyday situations. Jesus reveals to us that God is at the very heart of life. The Spirit of Jesus is at work within the very fibre of our humanness, our actions, our words and our daily life experiences. Spiritual women and men allow the mysterious and all-pervading presence of a living God to give meaning and purpose to their lives, their life choices and their optimism.

This conviction has helped us to recognize the gift Don Bosco left us, a spirituality of life and daily living. Encouraged by the words of John Paul II who acknowledged Don Bosco as a "master of youth spirituality" we are trying to live it with the new insights of our times in relation to God, the human person and education.

The noun "spirituality" attempts to reclaim a serious and challenging search based on the tradition of discipleship. The adjective "salesian" distinguishes it from other ways offered within the Church. The adjective "youth" stresses the fact that it refers to young people and has the characteristics of youthfulness even when it is embraced by adults. Finally we are saying that we want the"salesian" and "youth" aspects of our spirituality to encourage us to live the Gospel radically, a practice that has been the hallmark of so many ‘salesians’ from the beginning.

A new awareness of ‘Salesian Youth Spirituality’ burgeoned in 1988 and has spread Worldwide. Many people today, including those who are young, continue to carry forward the apostolic mission which Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello have entrusted to us through living cheerfully the ordinary events of each day, a mission which has education very much at heart.

From the smallest of seeds sown so many years ago a huge tree has grown and continues to grow wherever there is an educator working with the enthusiasm of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, spreading the Kingdom among the young.

Could this spirituality be for you?

 

Don Bosco UK - Spirituality - Praying as Salesians

11. Praying as Salesians

Don Bosco based his approach to prayer on St Francis de Sales’ vision of a loving and saving God. He modelled his prayer in a down to earth, loving kindness for the young, which reflected his deep faith in God’ presence. Six words capture this style.

Moving

Salesian prayer engages the heart as well as the head. It also moves a person towards change and to see things differently.

Youthful

There is an energy and joy about Salesian prayer that renews and challenges life and leads to hope in the future. It is active and practical.

Simple

Salesian prayer avoids long and complicated words and prayers in favour of genuine heart to heart conversation with God as Father.

Trusting

At the heart of Salesian prayer is an awareness of God’s presence as a dependable mystery at the centre of each person and their relationships. Touching and trusting that presence is the purpose of Salesian prayer.

Integrated

Salesian prayer is not an escape from life. Salesian prayer sifts life experience for God’s presence and celebrates it in personal prayer, in scripture and in sacraments. Prayer opens up an awareness of God in ordinary life and joins the inner and outer life into one story of love.

Cheerful

Salesian prayer focuses on the good and helps it grow. It does not dwell too long on sadness or failure but sees these as stepping stones to greater trust. Salesian prayer does not stop at the cross but moves though it to resurrection and celebration.

Together these words spell out the word “mystic” because Salesian prayer leads towards a practical mysticism that links life and the Spirit.

 

Don Bosco UK - Spirituality - Salesian skills in working with the young

9. Salesian skills in working with the young

INTRODUCTION

Because of who we are, our backgrounds, our experiences etc we all look at things or approach things differently. It is like looking at the world through our own inner window.

Don Bosco approached his work with young people, by looking through his window; for him his work involved four different window panes – SCHOOL, CHURCH, PLAYGROUND and HOME. The vital part of all this fourfold pattern was BALANCE. No child was pushed to pursue one at the expense of the other. If he saw a person constantly in Church and never in the playground he was concerned. If a young person was regularly alone and did not feel at home with the rest of the group he wanted to find out why. If someone was always studying and not spending time with his friends he would talk to his teachers to balance things up. Don Bosco used this fourfold approach to young people as a way of seeing into their world.

SO WHAT CAN I DO?

What skills do I need to work with the young? Maybe the language above feels a little ancient – but new words like BELONGING, LEARNING, MEANING and CELEBRATION can be substituted.

  • BELONGING – In my situation how do I make each child or young person feel welcome? What words or actions can I use to help them feel as if they are fully part of the group? A question here, a comment there; am I creating a safe and caring environment?
  • LEARNING – In every activity we do together how do I create the possibility of growth? Are my activities well planned (even those that seem to occur spontaneously)? Do I create the conditions for learning leadership skills, standing back and encouraging the young in their plans and ideas?
  • MEANING – Is the idea of linking ‘Faith and Fun’ part of my geography? How am I helping children to sense God’s presence in every situation? Do I encourage young people to take the lead in organising faith moments?
  • CELEBRATING – How many times have you been bored? I mean really bored!! Staying young with the young involves laughter and fun. Young people need to be able to run, to make noise, to do things to burn off energy – do I create the right environment for this (a safe and caring one)?

 

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DON BOSCO TODAY

Spring 2019

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