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Saturday, 05 December 2015 08:30

THE FEAST DAY OF BLESSED PHILIP RINALDI

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Born on the 28th May, 1856 at Lu Monferrato (Alessandria), Philip was won over by Don Bosco at the age of twenty-two.

As a priest, he was entrusted with the formation of the aspirants and novices. In 1899 Don Rua sent him as Director of the community of Sarriá, Spain and later as Provincial. In this role he contributed greatly to the development of Salesian Spain.

Nominated Vicar General of the Congregation, his gifts as father and the wealth of his initiatives became even more evident. He set up formation centres to offer spiritual and social assistance to young working women, planned printing works and guided and supported the Salesian Sisters through a particularly sensitive period in their history. He gave great encouragement to the Cooperators, and set up the World federations of Past-Pupils (male and female).

Working with the 'Zelatrici di Maria Ausiliatrice', he saw the possibilities for a new form of consecrated life in the world and made it a reality. This group would later become the "Volunteers of Don Bosco". He was elected Rector Major in 1922. "All that is lacking to Don Rinaldi is Don Bosco's voice: he has everything else" said Don Francesia.

He used all his energies in adapting Don Bosco's spirit to the times. He did much to develop Salesian studies and was a master of spiritual life. He worked to renew the spiritual life of the Salesians, had absolute confidence in God and unlimited trust in Mary, Help of Christians. He asked Pope Pius XIto grant the "indulgence for sanctified work". He took great interest in the missions, sending many young Salesians to learn languages and customs so that evangelism might be more effective.

He died on the 5th December, 1931. His remains are venerated in the crypt of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians.

His memorial is celebrated on the 5th December. He was beatified on the 29th April, 1990 by Pope John Paul II.

Sunday, 29 November 2015 11:12

ADVENT 2015

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photo © Bro Ste Lloyd SDB

As we prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas, let us remember all the young people in Great Britain that we, Salesians, have the privilege of serving.

We place them under the patronage of her who bore the Saviour of the World.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:19

VENERABLE MAMMA MARGARET

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"You are now a priest, and you celebrate Mass. You are, therefore, closer to Jesus Christ. But remember that to begin to say Mass is to begin to suffer. You will not become aware of this immediately, but little by little you will realise that your mother was right. I am sure that you will pray for me everyday, whether I be still living or dead, and that is enough for me. From now on you must think only of saving souls; never worry about me." - Mamma Margaret to her son, Don Bosco on the occasion of his ordination.

Saturday, 14 November 2015 09:31

ST JOHN BOSCO COLLEGE - OFFICIALLY OPEN

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Friday saw the formal opening ceremony and blessing of the new school buildings of St John Bosco College, with the Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, and Fr Martin Coyle SDB, Provincial.

In 1887 three Salesians said 'goodbye' to Don Bosco in Turin to begin their pioneering journey into the unknown, arriving in Battersea, London on the 16th November. Don Bosco was keen to expand his work into an English speaking country and had been invited by Bishop Butt to send the Salesians to Battersea, at the reqquest of and funded by the Countess de Stacpoole. None of them could have imagined that 128 years later over 140 invited guests would be gathering to open and bless a wonderful new school building - securing the Salesian Mission here for the future.

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"I am delighted that the new school building project has reached its culmination with itys official opening. It has been a labour of love and faith over many, many months, involving the many different groups, but all focused on providing the best facilities for the young people in the local area. From an idea, to a plan, to a move, to a hole in the groiund, to this wonderful new home for the pupils and staff of St John Bosco College. Thosw who now use this place have a responsibility of Stewards, to make the most of the gift they are privileged to receive, but in a way that recognises that it will be handed on to others to use. May God bless all who study and work here, and all who visit." (Archbishop Peter)

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Wednesday, 11 November 2015 15:05

BOVA - A HAPPY BIRTHDAY

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Volunteers and staff with the Regional, Fr Tadeusz and the Provincial, Fr Martin at Savio House, Bollington.

Congratulations - and here's to the next 10 years!!

Monday, 09 November 2015 16:28

BOSCO VOLUNTEER ACTION ('BOVA)

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We are delighted to send our greetings to Anita and all those involved with Bosco Volunteer Action on their 10th Birthday.

Responding to a request to the then Provincial (Fr Michael Winstanley SDB), the Salesian Youth Ministry Department in the British Province set the ball rolling.
At the last count over 150 people, young and old have offered Volunteering all around the world.
 
Long may the work of 'BOVA, especially in the field of Social Justice continue. 
 
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Wednesday, 04 November 2015 09:00

SALESIAN SPIRITUALITY WEEKEND

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'Many people err in imagining that many different things, many different methods are needed in order to make prayer good. I do not say that one should not make use of particular methods; but we should not cling to them or hang on to them to the extent that we put all our trust in them. In order to pray well, one thing only is necessary, namely, to hold our Lord in our arms. When we do this, our prayer is always well made, no matter in what ways we may choose to approach it.' (St Francis de Sales)

Monday, 02 November 2015 17:18

EXTRAORDINARY VISITATION

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On behalf of the Salesians and Salesian Family, we are delighted to welcome Fr Tadeusz Rozmus SDB, the Regional Councillor for Central-North Europe to the British (GBR) Province for the Extraordinary Visitation during the month of November. Fr Tadeusz comes in the name of the Rector Major and will visit each Salesian Community and speak with each Salesian Confrere. In a very tight schedule he will also have the opportunity to see the different Salesian works, meet those who share in our mission, meet members of the Salesian Family, attend the Youth Ministry Weekend and the Opening and Blessing Ceremony for St John Bosco College, Battersea.

Fr Tadeusz visited the GBR Province briefly in May 2014 when he met the confreres on retreat at Hothorpe Hall and in Farnborough and St Joseph's, and he also joined the group of SDBs on the Pilgrimage Retreat to the Holy Land in May 2015. We are delighted that he will be able to spend more time with us and in the Province.

Another important task during the Visitation will be to conduct the Consultation for the new Provincial for the term 2016-2022. We have celebrated a novena of Masses around the Province in these last days for the 'light of the Holy Spirit' and will continue to pray for God's blesing during the coming month.

May God bless Fr Tadeusz in his work with us.

Sunday, 01 November 2015 10:30

THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS

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For a very long time, the Church has reserved one day in which to honour all the saints, both those officially recognised and those known only to God. Saints are not seen as 'super' human beings, but as those people who realised the vocation for which all of us were created and to which we are ultimately called. We are not called to be another St John Bosco or St Mary Mazzarello - but to engage our own talents and temperaments, our own strengths and weaknesses, and to respond to the needs of our brothers and sisters around us. This Feast strengthens and encourages us to create our own pathway to sanctity.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015 18:00

MEETING OF SALESIANS IN PARISH MINISTRY

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12-14 October

Hothorpe Hall

Nine Salesians from various parishes up and down the Province came together for their annual meeting in the countryside of Leicestershire. Also in attendance was the Provincial, Fr Martin Coyle SDB and the Youth Ministry Animator, Sue McDonald.

Fr Martin led Monday afternoon's session. He invited people to look at their own specific Parish - What are its strengths, its weaknesses? What challenges or threats are facing us? How can we respond to the opportunities that are in front of us? The session allowed people to speak about their parish, the people within those parishes - and the high points (and low points!) of their ministry.

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Tuesday was led by Fr David O'Malley SDB - over three sessions during the day, David guided the group to look at some of the challenges of General Chapter 27 - how do we as Salesians move or further develop the Parish Community to an authentic place exhibiting Gospel values? How do we respond to young people within the Parish setting - how do we effectively continue to address their needs? Recognising that many young people often need an excuse to 'cross over the door', how do busy priests (already responding to the many needs of everyone else) make those connections? Using pieces of solid secular research, David guided the group in exploring where today's young people stand - and how religion and faith can indeed help young people to grow and survive in today's world. It was noted that the development of Don Bosco's work was through young people - 'come back next week, and bring your friends!'

David's input allowed people to reflect and discuss with each other on all the issues raised - a gentle timetable and approach id always very much appreciated when people live very busy lives.

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The Wednesday session looked and felt very different. Fr Bob Gardner SDB (Salesian Link) - spoke briefly about where things were developing in the Media and Communications field - and presented all present with the new DVD resource from the Southwark Catholic Youth Service, 'Life in Christ'. He was followed by Sue McDonald from Youth Ministry who thanked all for the great support during Flame 2. She also outlined various activities that were happening (World Youth Day in Poland, the Young Adults Spirituality weekend etc) and offered support to those working with young people in the parishes.

There was a general discussion about the format of the Parishes Meeting for the future. People wanted to continue to meet, which was very positive - and a variety of topics were explored as to future themes/topics for the meetings. Fr Martin then spoke about the up and coming 'Visitation of the Province', the consultation for the new Provincial, as well as the Provincial Chapter to be held in 2016, at Limehouse, London. As one person commented - "The Salesian Charism is stronger than it ever was in the Province!"

The ministries of prayer and hospitality are always hugely important on these occasions - prayer, Mass, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament - along with excellent food and relaxing company. Hopefully people are going back to their Parishes feeling refreshed and encouraged, continuing to bring the Gospel to the Church, respecially the young, in a Salesian way.

Roll on the 17-19 October, 2016!!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015 15:20

BLESSED ALEXANDRINA DA COSTA (1904-1955)

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Blessed Alexandrina da Costa was born on the 30th March 1904 at Balasar in Portugal. She was brought up in the faith by her mother, along with her sister Deolinda. Alexandrina stayed with her family until she turned seven, then was sent to Póvoa do Varzim to board with a carpenter's family, so she could attend the primary school that she would have missed out on at Balasar. After returning to Balasar she worked as a farmer, as a lively affectionate and playful girl, much sought out by her friends.

Injured in jump from window to save her virtue

When she was fourteen years old she jumped from a window into the garden at home to safeguard her virtue when it was under threat from some evil intentioned young men. Five years later, the damage caused by the fall left her totally paralysed and she was bed-ridden for thirty years. She was looked after by her older sister.

Salesian charism includes desire to suffer for souls

She sought the grace of a recovery, but the Mother of God instead gave her the grace to accept her suffering as well as a desire to suffer for the salvation of souls. The Salesian charism included that of being a victim, something she developed along with Frs Beltrami, Czartoryski, Valaria and Sister Eusebia. It also inspired Alexandrina. She offered herself to Christ as a victim for the conversion of sinners and for peace in the world: "I have no purpose other than that of giving glory to God and saving souls".

No food or drink for 13 years - other than the Eucharist

For four years(1938-1942), overcoming her constant paralysis, she was able to get up from her bed, and on 182 occasions relived Christ's passion every Friday, for three sorrowful hours. She asked and obtained from Pope Pius XII that the world be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (31 October 1942). From the 27th March 1942 until her death, 13 years and 7 months later, she took no food or drink other than her daily communion. This unexplainable fact was scientifically verified by different doctors, sometimes in a way which was humiliating to Alexandrina.

Becomes a Salesian Cooperator

She was a great mystic. In constant union with Jesus in the world's tabernacles, she was the subject of ecstasies and revelations. The Lord provided that her second spiritual directorvbe a Salesian, Fr Umberto Pasquale, who kept her diary. She then asked to be a Cooperator. She said, "I feel I am in great union with the Salesians and with the Cooperators all over the world. And frequently I witness to my belonging to them and offer my suffering, united with them all, for the salvation of the young! I love the Congregation. I love it very much and will never forget it in heaven or on earth".

Thousands came to her bedside to get comfort from her words. On the 13th October 1955 she died at Balasar, where she is now buried, facing the tabernacle. Crowds of pilgrims regularly visit the place.

Pope John Paul II beatified her on 25th April 2004. 

 

Monday, 05 October 2015 11:19

BLESSED ALBERT MARVELLI

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Oratorian at Rimini

Alberto Marvelli was born at Ferrari on 21st March 1918, the second of seven brothers. When he moved to Rimini with the family he began to attend the Salesian Oratory there. He was always available and became a catechist and leader: the Salesians’ right arm. He loved to play all kinds of sport. He took St Dominic Savio and Pier Giorgio Frassati as his models. At 17 years of age he wrote down his project of life in his diary; it would renew his life.

Catholic Action

He joined the Oratory group for Catholic Action soon becoming its parish president. He offered his service to the Church in Rimini as the diocesan vice president of CA. As an engineeering student in Bologna, he took an active part in FUCI, remaining faithful to daily Mass.

Work with FIAT, Turin

In June 1942 he graduated and began working with Fiat in Turin. He did his military service in Trieste, and succeeded in bringing many of his friends to Mass. During the Second World War he became an apostle amongst displaced persons and a real source of providence for the poor.

Town clerk at Rimini

After the Allies arrived in Rimini he was apppointed as an alderman in the Town Council in the department responsible for rebuilding, and the engineer in charge of civil engineering: “ The poor are on our doorstep” he said; “the others can wait”.

Candidate for Christian Democrats

He agreed to run for the elections as a candidate for the Christian Democrats. He was recognised as a committed Christian by everyone, but was never divisive, so much so that one of his communist opponents said: “I don’t mind if my Party loses, so long as Engineer Marvelli becomes Mayor”.

Nurtured by the Eucharist

The Bishop appointed him president of Catholic graduates. His Marian and Eucharistic devotion really were the supporting columns in his life: “What a new world opens up to me contemplating Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament”, he wrote in his diary. Each time I receive Holy Communion, each time Jesus in his divinity and humanity enters into me, in contact with my soul, it awakens holy ideas in me, a burning and consuming flame, but one that makes me so happy!”.

Good Christian and honest citizen

He died when he was hit by an army truck on 5th october 1946. He was, as Don Bosco wanted, a good Christian and upright citizen, committed to the Church and society with a Salesian heart. As a youth his motto was: We go forward or we die.

He was beatified on 5 September 2004, at Loreto, Italy, by Pope John Paul II.

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