db_slider February January crowd shake hands candle roof pattern donboscocut copy priests-bw copy priests copy lights-resized copy interior copy children copy bosco coffin copy

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Joe pictured with Fr Tom Uzhunnalil SDB


BOVA volunteer Joe writes about how his experience in India is helping him discern his vocation to the priesthood


For as long as I can remember I have had an inexplicable desire to be a priest. This desire is not something that comes from me, it is not something I want to do; it is something I feel called to do. For a long time, I supressed that calling, instead, aspiring to a more 'normal' life: school, university and married life like a 'normal' person. It was only when faced with the reality of university – looking up courses, visiting campuses, going on open days – that I realised that this really was not what I wanted to do and that I could not happily pursue such a life. And so, having already accepted to study in Derby, I withdrew my application and entered into a 'gap year'.

That gap year has now become two years of 'gap' and I have no regrets. At first, to my mother's dismay, I had no idea what I was planning to do. I knew I wanted to pursue my vocation to enter the priesthood and that I wanted to enter seminary but I felt I wanted more time to discern my calling before making any formal steps. I planned to volunteer with a Catholic organisation as I knew I wanted to spend some time in a religious environment, growing in spirituality and discerning, but also putting into action my faith and doing something proactive. I wanted somewhere far from home, completely outside of my normal life, somewhere I could pursue my faith and vocation unhindered.

Thursday, 22 February 2018 14:57

Students' Krakow visit honours SDB killed in Auschwitz

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Salesian Church Debniki Krakow 1


This month, Salesian students from Farnborough, spent some time following the footsteps of Bl Józef Kowalski, one of the Salesians killed in Auschwitz


During their trip to Krakow during half term, 44 students from Salesian College Farnborough, visited the Salesian Parish of Saint Stanislaus & St John Bosco in Debniki, where St John Paul II had been a parishioner.


They were welcomed by Fr Zygmunt SDB and, as it was Ash Wednesday, he administered the ashes to the group.

2ndWkLent 2018


The Keys of the Kingdom, hidden in our hearts


Lent gives us an opportunity to look within for anything holding us back from being transformed by God.  Fr David O'Malley SDB looks at one of those things - our need to feel in control - and at the gentler ways we can support our young people and help to unlock God's Kingdom.


The keys

I felt naked without them, a little apprehensive too; having lent them to the badminton group to get the equipment out. It was strange not to have the keys jangling in my hands like worry beads or reassuringly heavy in my jacket pocket. I sat at my desk wondering what the young people were doing with my keys, probably pressing each key  into a bar of soap so they could copy it later I thought suspiciously. They seemed to be taking forever and I was getting nervous. Then paranoia began to set in. Worse than the young people getting the keys would be another staff member! Some of them would love to see what I'd got in  my store room especially as money for equipment has been tight recently.  



As part of the parish’s celebration for our 125th anniversary of the consecration of Sacred Heart Church, we are holding a series of lectures in honour of a much loved priest of the community, Fr Pat McGrath Sdb. The opening lecture in January looked at the history of Christianity in Battersea from the first Christian settlement to the re-founding of the Catholic Mission at Battersea Park in 1860. The present Parish Team Leader, Gerry O’Shaughnessy and the local Anglican Vicar, Rev Simon Butler led that session

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Srs Connie, Linda and Pauline of the Formation Team outline the forthcoming Formation for All Salesian Family Training Day. The event will be held in Kendal, Cumbria on Saturday 10th March 2018, and all are welcome.


We would like to invite you to attend a Salesian Family Training Day on the following theme: “WORTHY”: Accompanying vulnerable young people in the development of self-worth.

Friday, 16 February 2018 13:47

New BOVA volunteers are off to India and Cambodia

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BOVA Alan Paul Feb2018


Anita Morais tells us about the latest BOVA (Bosco Volunteer Action) volunteers as they set off to their placements.


Paul and Alan are both beginning their BOVA placements this month. 


Alan is the first volunteer we are sending to Don Bosco Ashalayam, Kolkata, through the links we have had from Fr Andrew Ebrahim's visits to the community. Alan will spend 2 months initially with the community in Kolkata and hopes to return for a longer term placement over the course of his career break. 

Friday, 16 February 2018 13:42

Cook needed at Savio House

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Savio House, our youth retreat centre in Bollington, Cheshire, is seeking a well-qualified, part time cook.


Find out more on our Job Vacancies page.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018 23:43

Ash Wednesday - Lenten Reflection

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1stWkLentHeader 2018


The Spirit of Jesus drives us forward


Fr Michael Winstanley SDB reflects on the challenges and the gifts that surround us as we begin the season of Lent, in the  desert with Jesus.


As we set out on our Lenten journey, our annual desert safari, I'm wondering about the contours of my own desert. The Judean wilderness consisted of ravines and limestone hills, a bleak, unfriendly landscape. We are familiar with pictures of the seemingly endless, undulating miles of the sandy Sahara. Nearer home l recently gazed across the lonely barrenness of Bowes Moor, which reminded me of the flats and troughs of Kinder Scout, and the contrast of dry dust and mud bog. Wastelands assume a variety of forms. As individuals and communities too, sharers in Jesus' mission, we all have our desolate wastes. At times our lives can be dry and harsh, exhausting and barren. It is important to locate our points of vulnerability and weakness, and  to seek to identify the shapes which the wild animals of our desert might adopt. Lent invites us to face our demons.  

 CooperatorsRetreat2018 FeatImgFINAL

At a time when the Church’s focus is on young people, the faith and vocational discernment, the theme of our Salesian Cooperators’ Retreat 2018 is Listening, Accompaniment and Vocation, and will be held at Savio House, Bollington, from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th June 2018. Enquirers are welcome as well as enrolled members.

Our retreat will include:

 Chance to pray and reflect on the PAL and our own vocations
 Opportunity for fellowship
 Input from SDB Provincial Fr Gerry Briody
 Reflection on the Rector Major’s Strenna 2018 and the Synod in Rome
 Mass and renewal of promises

The cost is £150 including all meals, accommodation and retreat costs.

Places are  limited, so early booking is recommended. Please use the booking form below.


For further information, email Jessica at salesiancoopcoord20162019@gmail.com


Download the booking form


Download a poster


Thursday, 08 February 2018 17:37

Feast of Blessed Eusebia Palomino Yenes

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Eusebia’s short life was full of challenges, which she bore with grace and piety. Born in Spain in 1899, into a poor farming family, she became accustomed to begging to help her family survive in bad times. She worked as a servant to a wealthy family, and later became a nanny at an orphanage. Her call to religious life led her to become a lay assistant to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (the Salesian Sisters), where her spiritual gifts were recognised, and she entered the novitiate. In the early 1930s, as the Church was menaced by anti-Catholic forces in Spain, Sister Eusebia offered herself to God for the salvation of her country. In 1932, she contracted an illness which could not be explained by doctors, causing painful contraction of her limbs. She died on February 10, 1935, and was beatified in 2004. We celebrate her feast on 9th February.


Learn more about Bl Eusebia



It's an exciting time for Savio House, our lovely youth retreat centre in the Cheshire countryside. Following last week's launch of  the new Savio100 scheme to support their work with young people, Centre Manager Emma updates us on their new website and a special offer.


Savio House has just launched its new website,  www.saviohouse.org.uk, where you can find all the information you need about our work, visiting us and volunteering with us. To go along with this, we have also started a reduced rate for youth groups hiring the Barns. The price has been reduced to £35 per person for a 2-night stay during the week or weekend. Through this we hope to enable as many young people as possible to have an experience at Savio House.

Thursday, 08 February 2018 14:22

SDBs try out Farnborough students' Social Media 101

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Photo: Ben Martin


Fr Pat Sherlock SDB reports on a valuable new initiative from students of Salesian College Farnborough. 

On 7th February, members of the Salesian Community in Farnborough attended a practical session on Social Media organised by a group of Year 12 students in the College.


Last year, the students received a grant from Caritas Portsmouth and the Catenians to develop a project to coach older people in the use of computers, mobile phones and similar devices. The project arose from the Diocesan 'Dragons Den' competition some of the sixth-formers entered that year. They hope to extend this to local parishioners and the grandparents of current students, but they began with a pilot group of SDBs.

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