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Tuesday, 28 February 2017 00:00

Bosco Centre Inset Day

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The staff of Bosco Centre in Bermondsey enjoyed an INSET day at Battersea this week. The group explored resilience in adults and looked at how Don Bosco's approach built resilience in those who care for the young.

There will be a second INSET for the staff of the Bosco Centre Nursery later in the year.

This project was led for many years by Sr Cecily Dunn FMA who died suddenly last summer. The Centre is still coming to terms with that sad loss and asks for the prayers of the Salesian family as it moves forward.

You can read more about the Bosco Centre on their website


Savio Salesian College is proud to be hosting the Yad Vashem "No Child's Play"  exhibition, which has come all the way from the Israeli National Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. The school was approached to host the exhibition because of its outstanding reputation in RE & Chaplaincy. 


Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, is the ultimate source for Holocaust education, documentation and research. The organisation explains the focus of the exhibition:


"This exhibition opens a window into the world of children during the Shoah. Unlike other Holocaust exhibitions, it does not focus on history, statistics or descriptions of physical violence. Instead, the toys, games, artwork, diaries, and poems displayed here highlight some of the personal stories of the children, providing a glimpse into their lives during the Holocaust.


"Dolls and teddy bears became integral parts of the lives of the children they belonged to during the war. In many cases, they accompanied them throughout the war and were a primary source of comfort and companionship. For some children, the teddy bears and dolls were the most significant possessions left with them at the end of the war. Even today, as adults, their attachment is so great that they have difficulty separating from them.


"The exhibition tells the story of survival - the struggle of these children to hold on to life. It describes their attempts to maintain their childhood and youth by creating for themselves a different reality from that which surrounded them. In many cases, it was the children who gave their parents the encouragement and hope to continue their desperate daily fight for survival."


The exhibition is being housed in the schools dedicated Primary Base and is open to the entire school community and to schools wishing to visit. It is open from 23rd February until 17th March.


For further information, contact Savio Salesian College, Bootle

Tel: 0151 521 3088




Thursday, 23 February 2017 17:40

Farnborough candidates prepare for Confirmation

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This year the two parishes of Farnborough – Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady Help of Christians – have come together to prepare 36 young people to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in St John' s Cathedral, Portsmouth in May.

The candidates spent three days – Friday 10th February to Sunday 12th February -  at Cold Ash Retreat and Conference Centre on a Confirmation Retreat. They now look forward to the Flame Event on Saturday 11th March.

Thanks go especially to the Leaders – Karen Powell, Anthony Connelly and Deacon Paul Page-Tickell. Thank you also to the parish communities who through their generosity make this possible.


Fr Tony Sultana SDB






The Salesians’ Signposts programme was invited to present at a high-profile careers event in London earlier this month. Anita Morais and Fr David O'Malley SDB were the guests of Heythrop College at their final Careers Dinner, hosted at the historic Drapers' Hall, in the heart of the City.

Anita and David were able to present the purpose and approach of Signposts to a wide range of students and professionals in the careers development departments of the University of London.

The Signposts team was invited specifically to address those students who were struggling to find a sense of direction as they came to the end of their degree courses to offer ongoing help to those still searching for their best next step. They outlined the content of the workshops and weekend experiences, took questions from career professionals and dealt with enquiries from students.

The Careers Dinner has been an annual event for Heythrop College, and aims to enable students - final year undergraduates in the main – to meet and network with a range of professionals in order to learn more about the sector they represent, with the possibility of having work experience and/or internships.

The keynote speaker was Professor Graham Zellick CBE QC (Barrister and Master of the Bench of the Middle Temple; former Vice Chancellor, University of London). Other professionals attending included Jane Leek, Regional Director of Porticus UK, Tamsin Eastwood Consultant at Stone King (Lawyers) and Chair of Heythrop Governors, and Brendan Walsh, Literary Editor of The Tablet.

The very special venue for the final Careers Dinner was arranged by the kindness of one of the Heythrop Governors, Jane Makower Mather, who is a Trustee of the Drapers’ Guild. The Drapers’ Company is over 600 years old and is established by royal charter initially as guild of professional drapers and has now developed into a major philanthropic company. Its location at the centre of the City of London reflects its long history and the wealth that it now shares with many needy causes.

The event was a great success, and the Signposts team is pleased that the London University Careers Service has expressed a strong interest in enabling their workshops to run in a number of different settings.

The development of one to one guidance is still going on for Signposts but progress so far includes the development of a team of workshop leaders, a revised weekend programme and a growing network of contacts in universities and across many church organisations. The project continues to raise its profile in the south of England and will soon be developing networks in other parts of the country.

The next Signposts weekend will take place on April  22-23rd in Savio House and further workshops and training are taking place during lent and Easter.

If you want to know more about Signposts visit the website

Photos: Anthony Kelly





Tuesday, 21 February 2017 20:20

Celebrating Don Bosco in Bollington

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St Gregory's parishioner Annette Hurst describes a wonderful celebration in Cheshire

The last weekend of January saw our Parish family at St Gregory’s in Bollington celebrate the feast of St John Bosco the founder of the Salesians. We are a Salesian parish looked after by the priests at the nearby Savio House, a retreat house for young people.

Sunday started with a family mass celebrated by Fr. Cyril Edamana SDB and Roman Szczypa SDB. The church had been decorated beautifully with pictures of Don Bosco, banners and posters of the work of the Salesians and the many ways we can get involved. “I’ve never seen so many priests, deacons, brothers and servers on the altar” said one parishioner.

The children’s liturgy concentrated on the life of Don Bosco and after the homily the children brought their colourings of the saint into church. The older children read the bidding prayers and the younger children hung a banner on the altar rails.

The choir were in full voice with a special Don Bosco hymn and Katherine sang two solos –which had many heads turning towards the choir loft to see the person with the angelic voice.

After mass there was a social gathering in the church hall where Xavier provided a truly wonderful hot lunch for 80+ people. The cakes and pastries were provided by a talented team who would surely shine at the Great British Bake Off!



Father Roman organised a short film on the ‘We are family’ Salesian ethos, and this gathering and sharing of food, certainly showed that ‘we are St Gregory's family’ and a truly social and spiritual caring community.

Father Roman read a lovely thank you message from Father Tony (away in India) which sparked two spontaneous short speeches from parishioners expressing a huge thankyou on behalf of the parish for our inspirational priests at Savio house who have more than risen to the challenge of looking after our parish together with their existing mission.

“We are truly blest. Great things are happening here in Bollington”, said Paul the chair of our newly formed Parish Council.



Fr Roman presents the 2017 Strenna "We are a family'

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 16:10

Sts Louis Versiglia and Callistus Caravario

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StsLVers CallistoCarvario

On 25th February, we honour the Salesian Saints, Louis Versiglia and Callistus Caravario, martyred on this day in 1930.

Louis  was born in Oliva Gessi (Pavia) on June 5, 1873. Although his devotion from childhood led people to believe he would be a priest, his first ambition was to become a vet. After meeting Don Bosco when he was twelve, he later discovered his vocation, with a special hope of going to the missions.

He led a group of six Salesians who arrived in China in 1906. In 1918, the Salesians received the mission of Shiuchow from the Vicar Apostolic of Canton, and on January 9, 1921, Fr Versiglia was consecrated its bishop.

Callistus Caravario was born at Cuorgné, in the province of Turin, on June 18, 1903. He entered the novitiate and became a Salesian. In 1922, Bishop Versiglia was in Turin and spoke of the missions to the Brothers. Callistus told him: "Bishop, you will see me in China."

After travelling as a missionary for a few years, in May 18, 1929, Callistus returned to Shiuchow, where bishop Versiglia ordained him priest and entrusted him with the mission at Linchow.

On February 13, 1930, Fr Caravario was in Shiuchow to accompany the bishop on his pastoral visit to the Linchow mission. Some young boys and girls who had been studying in Shiuchow went with them. On February 25, a group of Bolshevik pirates stopped the bishop’s boat, wanting to take the girls. Bishop Versiglia and Fr Callistus stopped them. They were taken by force and ultimately shot, but before they were killed they heard one another’s confessions. Their last breath was spent for their beloved China.

Pope Paul VI declared them martyrs in 1976, John Paul II declared them Blessed in 1983 and canonized them on October 1, 2000.

Source: Salesian Missions

Friday, 17 February 2017 20:45

Salesian Clan Gathers in Scotland

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On Sunday 5th February, 52 members of the Salesian Family gathered at St. Benedict's, Easterhouse to celebrate the feast of St. John Bosco. We were blessed with the presence of Fr. Michael Winstanley, Fr. Bob Coupe and Fr. Joe Brown who joined us from the Bolton community to concelebrate the Mass. Also with us were 5 Salesian sisters based here in Glasgow.

The largest group of the Salesian family were the 26 Cooperators, who helped to make the day the best yet. We also had 18 Shrigley Old Boys, who when added to the rest of the family guaranteed a wonderful party of song and laughter, roll on next year.

After Mass, there was an extensive buffet provided. We were then entertained in song by a “DON BOSCO RAPPER” - from East Kilbride. She was brilliant. Don Bosco would have been proud.

The socialising really started in earnest, enabling us to mingle and swap stories with the Salesians and co-operators and recall many happy memories.

With Paddy O'Neil up from London we were updated with news from England and the date of the next Shrigley Old Boys week-end Fri/Sat/Sun the 8, 9, 10th. September


Greig Bell; John Clark; Michael Crossan; Terry and Sheana Devine; Joe and Tricia Doogan; Felix Gilfedder; Brenden and Rosemary Gill; Vincent Gill; Jim Hughes; Bill McEleny; Vincent Mochan; David Murphy; Paddy O'Neil; John Meehan; Tony Quinn.

Joe Doogan



Thursday, 16 February 2017 15:30


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In a world where quite often we silence God and where He is pushed aside, we need the witness of young people for whom the Lord is truly the Lord of their lives and the path to happiness and authenticity.


I recently returned from the Antilles, or more exactly, from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, where we celebrated 100 years of Salesian presence and the beautiful feast of Don Bosco. As always, I met with our wonderful Salesian Family, with many lay people who have great affection for Don Bosco as well as for me, the Rector Major, and I also encountered some magnificent young people.

I remember that before I left for this trip, I had sent to all the young people of the Salesian world a message with a theme for the feast of Don Bosco. In that video I shared with them the words which Pope Francis had directed to them during one of his encounters with the young. Just like Pope Francis, and I know just like many of you, dear readers and friends, I trust in the young; I pray for the young; I encourage them to be courageous, to be the protagonists of their own lives, and to swim against the tide, to be countercultural.

I met with many bright young people who are capable of being animators of other youths, of other boys and girls; young people who were already working or who were still studying while working so as to be able to help out at home and at the same time to have greater opportunities in life. These young people, aged 20 to 25, who have no qualms about helping with liturgical celebrations as servers, or taking part in a magnificent choir in the church, or performing at the evening recreation, demonstrating their magnificent talents as actors and dancers. These, too, are our young people.

To these young people I say that there are many adults like us who place great hope in them; that there are many adults who encourage them to be courageous in their life, recognizing that the world which we offer them is not an easy one and that opportunities are scarce. I also tell them that this is no fault of their own. We adults, too, must be self-critical. So, together with Pope Francis, I encourage them to have the strength to “swim against the current,” to be countercultural, when the call to be faithful to themselves and to Jesus resounds mightily within their hearts.

The world needs you

Dear young people, I tell you that the world needs you. It stands in need of those great ideals which are proper to youth and to your youthful dreams. The world, everywhere, on six continents, now more than ever needs young people filled with hope and with courage, who do not fear to live, dream, and seek a profound and true happiness in which God inhabits their hearts. In a world where quite often we silence God and where He is pushed aside, we need the witness of young people for whom the Lord is truly the Lord of their lives and the path to happiness and authenticity.

This world of ours needs young people who feel attracted to make a commitment and are able to sacrifice themselves and love “until it hurts,” as Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say in her day – she who is now a saint. We need young people who are capable, through their commitment, to give of their time and of themselves.

Is this asking too much? I do not think so. Certainly, I am setting the bar high, but it is the same as Don Bosco asked of his boys at Valdocco – whether in the normal things of everyday life or in the heroicity of attending to those who were ill with the cholera.

I also remind you young people of today that we need you because other young people need you. You are the ones who can best understand and help them because there are many young people who are “tired, bored, or disenchanted,” or who simply never get excited about anything. There are young people who are very weak and fragile and need other young people to speak to them about life, using their language, so as to show them that there are other paths and possibilities open to them. They need others who will help them truly believe that running away from the challenges of life is never a solution. They also need true “missionary disciples” who will help them discover Jesus in their lives and help them believe in Him – in a Jesus, I tell you, who will not sell them “a pig in a poke” ('no les vende humo’) but will offer them life, authentic life, His life, and His very self.

A short while ago, Pope Francis wrote a message to all the young people of the world in which he said: “I do not fear…. A better world can be built also as a result of your efforts, your desire to change, and your generosity. Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit, who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master.

Hence, my invitation in these pages seeks to help many young people of the world be generous. It is also a call to us adults to stand beside them, place our bets on them, believe in them, trust in them, and pray for them – for those whose faith is alive, as well as for those who are seeking or simply feel lost. God never abandons any of His sons or daughters.

Be happy!



NOW Fest3


Ten students from St John Bosco Arts College in Liverpool are set to perform a moving performance at this year’s NOW Festival, held during Children’s Mental Health Week.

The performance is part of the Merseyside Youth Association’s NOW Festival, taking place at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre on Friday 10 February.

After the success of the inaugural NOW Festival in 2016, NOW 17 will feature performances from Liverpool young people, all telling stories that tackle issues related to mental health.

Coinciding with Children’s Mental Health Week (6-12 February), St John Bosco’s performance will use dance, theatre and film to explore post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the effect it can have on a child.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.

The performance piece is titled, ‘Me, myself and the battle inside’ and will be performed by students Ellie Mulhall, Lucy Soper, Rebecca Duckworth, Klaudia Biernacka, Megan Garrett, Beth Dixon, Alisha Hyland, Malika Basanmay, Amaya Djari and Lily Richardson.

The synopsis of the piece reads: ‘Here we tell the story of a simple girl, facing inner demons in her own world. Feeling rejected and tangled with woe. Our story begins and has a long way to go. It’s important to remember help is at hand but to fight this battle first you must understand.’

Pauline Ellison, faculty head of Performing Arts at St John Bosco, says: “The NOW Festival is a fantastic experience for our students to come together and gain a greater awareness of mental health. Through the creative medium of dance, theatre and film, our talented dance company have learnt new skills and choreographed a unique piece which explores PTSD. They are very excited to perform on Friday and showcase their piece at the Festival.”

Darren Gidman Headteacher, says: “This project is a wonderful opportunity for students and the school to take part in and will plant the seeds for school development in this area”

Working with guest artists Darren Suarez; Paul Furlong, Maurice Bessman; and Carl Cockram; along with Merseyside Youth Association and the Liverpool CAMHS partnership, young people from 21 Liverpool schools and youth organisations will showcase a mixture of original live performances and films around the subject of ‘Mental Health & the Rights of the Child’.

Dr Simon Bowers, NHS Liverpool CCG clinical vice chair, adds: “Projects like the NOW festival are important as they help raise awareness of some of the pressures affecting young people’s mental health and can inspire others to ask for help.

“The continuing partnership between schools, voluntary groups and health providers means that mental health conditions can be addressed earlier, and families are supported as young people enter adulthood.”


Photo and text: Foundry Agency

Friday, 10 February 2017 17:26

Farnborough prepares for HCPT Pilgrimage

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On Saturday 4th February, Year 12 students from Salesian College Farnborough spent the day rehearsing for liturgies during the HCPT Easter Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

This year the West Country Region is responsible for providing music for the Trust Mass in the Underground Basilica, Torchlight Procession and other events during the week. As they are a small region, without a large youth group, they called on Salesian College to provide extra support. Girls from nearby Alton Convent School also took part. Regular instrumentalists of the HCPT core music team were joined by a Salesian sixth former who is a Diploma level clarinettist.

In addition to forming the chorus of singers, Salesian students started work on liturgical movement which will illustrate the Pilgrimage theme, ‘Come to the Water’. (Photo bleow)




The Salesian Community in Farnborough was also involved as several members of the HCPT team stayed in Valdocco House and Saint John Bosco House for bed and breakfast over the weekend.

This year, This year, HCPT group 711 from Salesian College will include 60 Year 12 students and 19 members of staff. The Easter Pilgrimage to Lourdes is a highlight of the spiritual life of the school.


Fr Patrick Sherlock SDB, College Chaplain



Friday, 10 February 2017 15:42

Savio Salesian students support local hospice

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Savio Cheque Presentation small

 Students (l-r); Michael, Kieron, Megan and Beth with teachers (l-r); Mrs Harrison, Mr Kearney, Salesian Provincial Fr Gerry Briody SDB

and Mr Bennett donating their latest cheque of £445 to with Laura Smith, community fundraiser at St Joseph's Hospice.


Students and teachers from Savio Salesian College, in Bootle, have been dedicated to raising money for patients at St Joseph’s Hospice, on one of the oldest hospices in the country, and have raised in the region of £5,000 since their fundraising began. 

Students at the college have developed some innovative ways of fundraising for the hospice and they have even donated their own pocket-money to this very worthy cause.

An annual event in the school is the 'Reindeer Romp' which is held at Christmas time. All 500 students and teachers make a donation to the hospice before completing two laps of the school site wearing Reindeer antlers. Students love the combination of having fun while at the same time supporting the work of the hospice. The students also sold 250 St. Joseph’s Hospice teddies and over 150 Light up a Life badges last term.

Mike Bennett, Associate Assistant Headteacher and Head of RE, explains why the school is dedicated to supporting and fundraising for the hospice: “Over 70 per cent of hospice patients are from the Bootle area and so most of our staff and students have a personal connection to the hospice.

“The mission of the hospice’s founder, Father O’Leary, has always struck a chord with our students

 and staff and the work of the hospice has become a cause that is very important to our whole school community.

“Our Reindeer Romp has become a part of our school calendar and is very popular with all of our students. It’s great fun and is the perfect way to raise money in the run up to Christmas.”




Laura Smith, Community Fundraiser at St Joseph’s Hospice, said: “We provide specialised end of life care for over 200 patients every year, as well as supporting their families, but we need to raise £6,500 every day to keep our services running so donations like this are vital.

“We are so very grateful for the support we receive from Savio Salesian College and want to thank the students and teachers for their generosity.”


Photos & text - Savio Salesian College & Jospice


Friday, 03 February 2017 14:06

Chertsey students prepare with BOVA

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Chertsey India training 260117


To prepare for their upcoming trip to India to visit Don Bosco Ashalayam Kolkata, the sixth form group from Chertsey spent some time working with Anita from Bosco Volunteer Action (BOVA) .


The group focussed on reflecting on their motivations for wanting to go on a trip like this and what they might be able to build on from the experience. The group also spent time learning more about Salesian spirituality, managing culture shock, and thinking about their own attitudes towards poverty and sustainable development.


We wish them a safe and fruitful journey and look forward to hearing about their experiences on their return. Good to see them pictured with the latest book from Don Bosco Publications too!




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