We become counsellors, nurses, secretaries, companions, protectors as well as educators. We have to become, by the nature of our job, in loco parentis. Does this ring any bells? ... especially with you married teachers with children of your own?
Each year, we take on hundreds of students as our second families. We want to do the very best for each of them which means we have to get to know them and their personalities, their talents and abilities. We take on board their happiness as well as their tragedies; we applaud their successes and mop their tears when things go awry. We scold them when they miss the mark and laugh with them over the funny things. We teach them about the world and hope they take the lessons on board against that day when they must leave the nest.
It doesn't matter whether they are sky blue pink with yellow dots or intransigently committed to the worship of one God or no god at all. One of God's most marvellous aspects is His ability to wait, patiently, for His lost children to turn to Him. Brother Lukasz has given our students a mantra that they love: GOD IS GOOD - ALL THE TIME! ALL THE TIME - GOD IS GOOD!
We care about how happy and fulfilled they are, and that is all God is concerned about. Do you see how I've taken over from God? I'm preaching what God wants. Sorry, God! I hope He doesn't mind but I feel passionately about giving our students the best start possible. St John Bosco had it right. (There I go again! Presuming!) He wanted to give the boys the best start in life and worked hard to ensure it - with God and Our Lady's help - and we strive to follow in his footsteps.
His recipe for holiness shocked some of our students in its simplicity:
i) be happy
ii) pray and study
iii) do good for others
His recipe for saintliness was no less shocking!
'Everyone is called to be a saint and it is easy to be a saint: just diligently do the ordinary things of the day in an extraordinary way.'
Is it really as easy as that? Or as hard? Doing the ordinary things of the day can sometimes be hard for our students with peer pressure and with all the demands of modern life. We have to steer them on the right track. Sometimes, a train is derailed or is halted temporarily and you just have to wait patiently until normal service is resumed. So it is with our students in their lives, just be there for them and be patient.
'I want no long faced saints here.' Don Bosco declared. He cared only about the happiness of his boys, with joyful faces and a love for God and Our Lady.
Here, in Savio, we have a caring and committed staff dedicated to the leadership of Don Bosco. We have a caring and committed Chaplaincy Team. We hope that Don Bosco will inspire us so that, one day, we will be praying to St Tracy of Bootle or St Finlay of Kirkdale who did the ordinary things of life extraordinarily well.
Savio Salesian College Chaplaincy
Fr Angel on the Strenna
The Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime SDB, begins his commentary by explaining that his Strenna this year comes in response to Pope Francis’ exhortation: Gaudete et Exsultate
HOLINESS FOR YOU TOO
My dear Brothers and Sisters, my dear Salesian Family,
In choosing this subject and this title l want to translate into our own language, in the light of our charismatic sensitivity, the strong appeal to holiness that Pope Francis has addressed to the whole Church. Therefore I want to emphasize those points that are typically "our own" in the context of our Salesian spirituality, shared by all 31 groups of our Salesian Family as the charismatic inheritance received from the Holy Spirit through our beloved Father Don Bosco, who will certainly help us to live in the same deep joy that comes from the Lord: "So that my joy may be in you" (John 15:11).
I accept the invitation addressed by the Pope to the whole Church. His exhortation is not a treatise on holiness, but a call to today’s world, and especially to the Church, to live life as a vocation and as a call to holiness; a holiness incarnated in this present time, today, in the real life of each one, in our current circumstances.
It is God, for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and the action into you.
Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing and then you will be innocent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood, and you will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life. This would give me something to be proud of for the Day of Christ, and would mean that I had not run in the race and exhausted myself for nothing.
You know our lives are busy, hectic, and often confused.
Sometimes, our daily tasks seem boring, or rushed.
Help us make time, especially this Lent, to accompany you on your journey to the Cross.
Show us the holiness in the ordinary things we do, and in the people around us.
Help us to find our own holiness in doing ordinary things to the best of our ability.