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We take another look together at the Rector Major's Strenna 'Holiness for you too', as we continue to seek holiness around us and within us during Holy Week. Our closing thoughts for Lent 2019 come from Fr John Dickson SDB, who considers the holiness he sees as a University Chaplain. (Fr John pictured above with Chaplaincy colleague, Nina).


One of our Muslim students once said to me: Where you find ‘goodness’, follow it!

Indeed in my seven years at Royal Holloway, I have been blessed to find both ‘goodness and holiness’ in abundance among so many students and staff in the apparently unlikely atmosphere of a prevailingly secular University.

I have found ‘Goodness and holiness’ in young people for whom ‘fairness and honesty’ demands ‘transparency’ in dealing with others. ‘Goodness and holiness’ is evident in young people who have the courage to seek for the truth even though it may be unpopular and who are prepared to challenge the prevailing view. It shines in young people who generously share their enterprises and develop those with disability or who are in difficulty. It is clear in young people who volunteer to help others when it is massively inconvenient for themselves; in young people who help friends who get into difficulty by referring them to staff who can help; In young people who develop their faith by building a community that prays and plays together.

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Our Salesian Youth Ministry (SYM) team is developing a new summer camp project which will offer much-needed breaks to young refugees and asylum seekers aged 14-17, and they need your support. Watch the video below.


The Valdocco Project is inspired by our Salesian charism and named after the place where Don Bosco first gave hope and joy to excluded young people. It's a response to Pope Francis' calls for compassion towards those seeking sanctuary, and to "recognise and welcome the Lord Jesus among the smallest and most vulnerable." The project has also been shaped by the Rector Major's request to the Salesian family in Europe to seek practical ways to offer assistance in the refugee crisis, paying “particular attention to unaccompanied minors and young people".

Wednesday, 10 April 2019 01:04

Lent reflection - The parish is led to Passiontide

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In the penultimate week of Lent, the Rector Major considers the heart of the Salesian spirit, in the rich network of relationships we form in our lives, and Fr Graham Forristalle looks at holiness in a parish preparing for the holiest time of the year.


Each Lenten Friday evening in Cowley, the people of the parish gather in the church for 6pm. Altar servers have come to join us, and together we follow the Way of the Cross. In the fourteen stations the family of the parish meditate on Jesus who suffered and gave his life for us all. This family has members from Latvia, from Malawi, from Goa, East Timor and Poland: from Brittany and from all parts of Europe. We are praying in English: whether this is our first or second language we acclaim the one saviour, and the image and pattern of his sacrifice is our pattern of holiness. In one scripture during the Stations, we read about the paradox within Jesus’ sacrifice. “For our sake God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Tuesday, 09 April 2019 15:04

Work begins on Thornleigh chapel

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This week, essential work to renovate Thornleigh chapel began.


The chapel, built in the 1950s, is used for school and youth ministry events, and has been the venue for several ordinations. It will be out of use for several months, which new heating and electrical systems are installed, and other restoration work and minor alterations are carried out, to bring the building up to date.

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Parishioner Joy Mowat sends news from Chertsey. Joy is pictured above with the Parish Council: Fr Michael Hines, SDB; Gwyn Williams UK Director and Libia Roldan, organiser.


This Year, St Anne’s, Chertsey, is celebrating 90 years as a Parish church. We have a year-long programme of events to mark the occasion and on the 3rd Sunday of Lent we took part in a “Feed the Hungry” packing event. This charity supplies meals to those most in need and our efforts were being sent to children in Burkina Faso and flood victims in Zimbabwe.

Friday, 05 April 2019 13:47

Excitement mounts as 50th preparations continue

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Excitement is building for the celebrations in August to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Salesian Sisters arrival in Scotland.


The Easterhouse and URSpace communities came together this week to discuss and develop ideas for this wonderful celebration.


The gathering included looking through documents, cuttings and scrapbooks with memories of over 50 years of presence in Scotland, serving young people in Paisley, Milton, Easterhouse, Elderslie and Johnstone, Nitshill, Newmains and Newlands.

The celebration Mass on Saturday 24th August will be presided over by the Right Reverend John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley and a past-pupil of Shrigley.


The Mass will be at St Fergus Church, Ferguslie Park, Paisley, on Saturday 24th August 2019, at 3pm. Please save the date!



Thursday, 04 April 2019 14:36

As the Crow Flies ... in Hull - poetry book launch

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Last weekend, Adam Ditchburn, a volunteer at Savio House in 2006, launched his first collection of poetry, As the Crow Flies, at an event at Hull Library, in his home town.


Adam, pictured above with his wife and children, has been writing and performing songs in the UK and USA for several years, but the book, published as part of Don Bosco Publications' Pocketbook series, marks a shift of his writing focus towards poetry and prose.

Wednesday, 03 April 2019 14:28

Former pupils reunite at Thornleigh and at SJBC

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This week saw two gatherings of Salesian past pupils, in Bolton and Battersea.


A group of former students reunited at Thornleigh Salesian College, which they attended from 1970-77. They were given a tour of the school, and shared some very funny stories, and fond memories of their schooldays, and as the photo above shows, the sun came out for them too.

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In our Lenten reflection this week, the Rector Major discusses joy lived out in a holy life, and Fr Bob Coupe SDB looks back at the inspiring holiness of those who supported and formed his faith and Salesian vocation over the past 68 years. Above: Fr Bob with footballers from Shrigley in 1969.


1941. I’m standing on the corner of the largest playground I’ve ever seen. There are about twenty of us, all strangers. Some have unfamiliar accents -they’re from Bolton, Westhoughton, Leigh, Bury, Edenfield. We’re waiting nervously to take an entrance exam for Thornleigh. We see a small figure approaching. He’s dressed in a cassock, he’s quite stout, we can’t see his feet. But he gives us a big smile, and asks ‘Are you all good runners?’ It was Fr Poggio. The first Salesian I’d ever seen. Little did I know that this was a day that would define the rest of my life.

Friday, 29 March 2019 16:13

Saints in Action at the Bosco Group

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Br Lukasz from Savio Salesian College writes about the school’s Bosco Group and their weekly “Faith in Action” reflections.


Imagine Savio Salesian College students talking about the weird case of St. Peter, considering the motivation of merciful Mother Teresa or discovering that Don Bosco’s dream is still happening. It’s been a long time since the Bosco Group started weekly reflection as a part of the “Faith in Action” curriculum.


Hazel, from our Chaplaincy team, in the beginning of the school year, gathered quite a few volunteers to take part in Faith in Action, a well-known annual Catholic Youth Programme. Each Wednesday the whole group meets in the “Bosco Room” for a reflection on the life of another Saint which is being delivered by me. Every week the Bosco Group goes over one saint with a fine-tooth comb.

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