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Tuesday, 19 June 2018 16:33

World Refugee Day 2018

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WorldRefugeeDay18 Unlesswatersaferthanland

 

World Refugee Day is on 20th June. We pray for all those facing hardship, anxiety and danger as they are forced to seek refuge away from their homes, for the people who help them, and for our politicians, who need to find fair, caring and Christian soluntions to the world wide refugee crisis, and the conflict and poverty at its root. 

 

Speaking in support of the Caritas Share the Journey campaign, Pope Francis has encouraged "all people of good will to create ever new spaces for sharing” with refugees and migrants to create greater compassion, understanding and solidarity.

 

Read more on Vatican News

Monday, 18 June 2018 15:16

Comical Games at Savio Salesian College

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Comical Games??? Hazel Fort, from the Chaplaincy at Savio Salesian College Bootle near Liverpool, explains all about this day of fun for the younger members of the Bosco Group - students who volunteer to be directly involved in Don Bosco's mission at school.

 

May 24th, 2018 dawned fair but cloudy. As it progressed, the day matched other days that week and spawned a heatwave. Thus many prayers were answered by God and Mary Help of Christians, whose feast day it was: we could hold our Comical Games.

‘What are Comical Games?’ asked the Junior Boscos somewhat dubiously.

‘It’s like the Olympic games with all the serious bits taken out!’ I answered.

 

We were at the end of a long, dark year in which the Junior Boscos had worked their socks off. Every dinner break, they had been involved in Charity Fund Raising, Liturgical Art, Drama to animate the weekly Gospel, or planning their Peer Chaplaincies – all leading up to submitting their work for their Faith in Action qualification. They had spent a fortnight polishing up their reports or seeking out photographs for evidence. It was time for fun.

 

I instituted a games tournament in which they had teams and played three card games, three board games, three games of air hockey and three games of Pool. BUT the culmination was to be the Comical Games played outside on our Sports Field.

 

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Two of our Senior Boscos volunteered to help: Aleisha and Kieron (Year Ten) had become pretty used to organising the youngsters and had a good rapport with the Year 7 & 8 students. Solemnly, they instructed them on the wearing of sun cream, hats and appropriate shoes and clothing. They marked out three lanes on the field in which the students would be competing.

 

Come the day, I cast a doubtful look at the sky and said a quick prayer to Mary. She must have had sympathy with me - or she, too, was interested to see what would happen. Our excited but suspicious students changed into their games kit.

 

‘My knee’s very sore. I don’t think I can compete. I can't run.’ One of them told me dismally. (Really, Kelsey? Who said anything about running?)

‘I don’t think I can come. I’ve got football practice. But I could come at the end. Can I still join in?’ (Certainly, Keira)

I gave instructions. ‘Each race has to take place three times to get a fair result.’ (Liar, Hazel! You just wanted to make sure of the photographs!)

ComplexCatholicismReports

 

Over 70 representatives from Catholic youth organisations and religious orders attended the launch this week of 'Complex Catholicism', a new study from the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed) and strategy consultancy Camino House, into the shifting dynamics in the faith and life of Catholic young adults in England and Wales. The report and a typology tool to help in applying the research is available to download or purchase.

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Matt, Jessica, James and Sue

 

The Salesian Cooperators is the lay movement of the Salesian Family. They are people who carry Don Bosco's approach to the young into all aspects of their lives and work, and this was highlighted at the latest meeting of members of the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed) in London, when four Cooperators were present, representing the organisations they work for.

 

Province Coordinator for the Salesian Cooperators, Jessica Wilkinson, is Youth Coordinator for the Diocese of Leeds; James Trewby is Justice and Peace Education worker for the Colomban Missionaries UK, Matt Jeziorski is Schools and Youth Education Officer for Pax Christi UK, and Sue McDonald is Animator for Salesian Youth Ministry UK.

ChertseyDonBoscoWindowCr 500

 

Salesian School, Chertsey, now has an added attraction in its St  Francis de Sales Chapel. Last year, Nicola Howie, who is now a Year 8 pupil, came up with the idea of running a stained glass window competition for the school chapel. A number of entries were submitted and passed to the Chaplain, Fr Marco Villani SDB.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018 15:13

SJBC students learn about Hinduism

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Year 7 students at St John Bosco College, Battersea, have been learning about Hinduism this term. Kyron, Animashua and Ryan have written about the activities that formed part of this topic.

 

Hindu Speaker at St John Bosco College


We had a speaker who came to visit our school to talk to all of Year 7 about Hinduism, this is because we are studying Hinduism at the moment in RE. I liked the talk because the music was interesting and also I enjoyed hearing about the many different gods and goddesses the Hindus worship.

 

I also found out that Hindus have small shrines in their homes where they pray and that they can go and pray in their temples (called mandirs) on any day of the week.


Kyron Hylton-Taylor – Year 7

 

Visit to the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

We visited the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on 25th June because we have been doing a project on Hinduism in RE. It was an amazing day for us because it was an experience that will probably be a once in a lifetime chance for us. I really enjoyed the part where we saw the statues, they were interesting and unique and I liked the music which was in a language that I didn’t understand, however, the beat was good and interesting.


I learnt that the red dot on the head and the ‘U’ shape painted on the foreheads of Hindus represent us standing the presence of God. The building was incredibly big and the carvings were very detailed and attractive and colourful. We had never seen statues like these before. The people we met were very friendly and told us more facts about Hinduism and that the statues are like human beings and so are called murtis and were even given baths.


Animashuan Oluwatobiloba – Year 7 and Ryan Osinaga Ross – Year 7

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Photo: Anes Sabitovic on Unsplash

On Thursday July 12th 2018 pupils and staff from Salesian School’s Fairtrade Committee took up the offer of delivering an assembly on the topic of Fairtrade to pupils and staff of St Anne’s Catholic Primary School Chertsey.

 

Niamh and Calogera (Year 10) together with the Chaplain Fr Marco Villani SDB and the Assistant Chaplain Br Mateusz Papierz SDB arrived at St Anne’s to meet with the Deputy Headteacher Hanorah Murphy together with pupils and staff in the hall.

 

With the technical assistance of Br Mateusz operating the powerpoint, Calogera and Niamh delivered an inspiring presentation about the benefits of Fairtrade, both for producers and consumers. The pupils of St Anne’s were very much engaged with the content of the assembly and the strong message of social justice that it conveyed.

 

Many thanks to Hanorah Murphy for the welcome given to us as well as Niamh, Calogera and Br. Mateusz without whom this event would not have been possible.

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'God has given us this cross, and he is giving us the strength to carry it'

 

The memorial of Polish Salesian martyrs Blesseds Francis Kesy, Edward Klinik, Jarog Wojciechowski, Czeslaw Jozwisk and Edward Kzmierski is celebrated on 12th June. 

 

They attended the Salesian oratory in Poznan, Poland, and were involved in the youth work there. Following the Nazi occupation, Francis took a job in a factory, spending his free time at the oratory, and after the house was taken over by the Nazis as a barracks, the young people gathered in the woods, to continue their prayer and the work of the youth groups. In September 1940, these five young men were arrested, accused of belonging to an illegal organisation - the fear was that Catholic groups like these could form the basis of a resistance movement.

 

Bro GregoryVolAward2

 

Br Gregory Echegwo SDB was selected from over 300 students to receive a Volunteer Placement Award  award for 'Values' from St Mary's University, Twickenham, where he is studying. 

 

Br Greg was nominated by St John Bosco College, Battersea, for the outstanding contribution he made to the Religious Education Department during his placement there in the Autumn Term.

Thursday, 07 June 2018 15:02

Memorial of Blessed Stephen (István) Sándor

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István Sándor 2014 Hungarian stamp 2 1

‘I feel the call to enter the Salesian Congregation. There’s a need for work everywhere;

without work, one can’t reach eternity. I like to work.’

 

On 8th June, we celebrate the memorial of Blessed Stephen Sándor, a Salesian Brother from Hungary, who was martyred on this day in 1953, at a time when teaching the faith was prohibited by the communist government.


Through the Salesian Bulletin and other publications by the SDB, Stephen came to know the spirituality of Don Bosco, and after a delay because of his conscription into the military, he became a Salesian Brother. He trained as a printer with the Salesians, mentoring and teaching the young trainees after he qualified as a Master Printer.


As the times became increasingly dangerous for priests and religious in Hungary, he was urged to flee the country, but he remained in order to continue his Salesian vocation with young people. He carried on his ministry to them in secret, and after the Association of Young Catholic Workers was banned, he worked to reorganise groups.


The communist government felt that orphaned youth – the young people the Salesians educated and cared for – could be formed as obedient officials and members of the secret police, and they recruited several of Stephen’s former students, who remained loyal to him and to whom he continued to minister. The regime used the fact that a religious had close access to police officials to concoct a conspiracy charge.


Stephen was working at a soap factory under an assumed name when the authorities discovered his true identity and arrested him, along with 16 others, including priests, lay people and a teenage boy and girl.  According to the granddaughter of a young man who was sentenced to death along with him, Stephen had the courage to speak up for the younger man, persuading the court to commute his death sentence to imprisonment. Stephen and two others were hanged on 8th June 1953. His family was not officially informed of his death until 1955. He was rehabilitated in 1994 by a Budapest court.

 

At his beatification Mass in 2013, Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest,said, ‘We celebrate in him the hero who was true to his calling as a Salesian brother, even at the cost of his life … We stand deeply moved before the victim of a show trial who was tortured, sentenced to death and executed based on false testimony.’

 

Read an account of his life by János SzöKe on the Salesians Ireland website

 

 

Saturday, 02 June 2018 09:26

Corpus Christi

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3ChurchShowsWorldCorpusChristiJP2 500

 

This Sunday, we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, honouring the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

 

Read more at the e-Testament

 

Monday, 28 May 2018 19:25

Memorial of Bl Joseph Kowalski

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BlJosefKowalskiCollage

 

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, the Salesians tried to continue with their education and youth work, despite the ban on non-approved programmes, but on 23rd May 1943, twelve Salesians in Krakow were arrested by the Gestapo.

 

Fr Józef Kowalski was sent to Auschwitz on 26th June, where he did all he could to encourage his fellow prisoners in Block 25, bringing them spiritual comfort and urging their will to survive; secretly administering the sacraments, talking to them about Don Bosco, and at least once, publicly giving absolution to all of the condemned at a mass execution.

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