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Thursday, 25 August 2016 15:27

Blessed Ceferino Namuncurá

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On 26th August, the day of his birth in 1886, we remember Ceferino Namuncurá, the 'Prince of the Pampas'. He was a Salesian student and aspirant, the son of the last great Chief of the Mapuches, the indigenous people of southern and central Chile and southern Argentina. His mother was a Chilean captive, one of the Chief's three consorts. As a young boy, he witnessed the destruction of his people's way of life, following the 'Conquest of the Desert' which brought tremendous suffering and desperate poverty, and from an early age, he sought a way to help them. Ceferino embraced the Catholic faith and the charism of Don Bosco, seeing a Salesian education as the path to a better life for all of his his people. He wished to become a Salsian priest to return to his own land and share the benefits he had received. 

Fr Pascual Chavez SDB, who was Rector Major at the time of Ceferino's beatification, described him as 'a fruit of salesian youth spirituality', and he is seen as an example of how a distinctive culture can be integrated with faith to create harmony in times when there are so many tensions and conflicts between cultures.

Ceferino died of tuberculosis in Rome at the age of 19. He was beatified in 2007.

Read more about his life

Thursday, 25 August 2016 10:46

Celebrating Blessed Maria Troncatti

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On 25th August we celebrate Blessed Maria Troncatti, a Salesian Sister, who trained and worked as a Red Cross nurse in military hospitals in the First World War, and was a missionary in Ecuador for many years.

 

She was part of an initially tiny group of Sisters engaged in evangelisation and care for the Shuar people of the Amazon forest, looking after their physical needs as nurse, surgeon and dentist, and their spiritual needs as catechist, envangeliser and role-model. The work she began in an isolated and dangerous environment continues today.

 

Blessed Maria was killed in a tragic plane crash on 25th August 1969. She was beatified in 2012.

 

Read more about her remarkable life

 

A PRAYER THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF BLESSED MARIA TRONCATTI

Father, who enkindled an active love in the heart of Blessed Maria Troncatti,
ready to spend her life without reserve for the good of every person,
grant us the graces that we ask through her intercession,
and make us capable of imitating her faith
and her ardent love for you and our neighbour.
Through Christ Our Lord.

Amen

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Brother Kevin O'Donnell was ordained to the Diaconate by the Most Reverend Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark on Saturday 6th August in the Sacred Heart Parish Church, Battersea.

Joined by his mother and family, friends, parishioners of the Parish and members of the Salesian Family from all over the UK, Kevin committed himself to the ministry of worship and service for the glory of God's name.

The Rector, Fr Tom Williams and the Salesian Community in Battersea invited all the guests to continue the celebrations with a buffet reception in the main hall of St John Bosco College.

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Tuesday, 23 August 2016 16:37

NEW PROVINCIAL - FR GERRY BRIODY SDB

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On Sunday 14th August 2016, our new Provincial was installed at a Mass at Thornleigh Salesian House, Bolton. Fr Tadeusz Rozmus SDB, Regional Councillor for Central and North Europe, presided at Mass, during which he thanked Fr Martin Coyle SDB for his 6 years of leadership as Provincial of the Province of St Thomas of Canterbury (GBR).

 

After the homily,  Fr Rozmus read the Rector Major’s Letter of Appointment and Fr James Gerrard Briody SDB made the solemn Profession of Faith in order to assume the ministry of service and leadership as Provincial.

 

Our congratulations go to Fr Gerry on his appointment, and we pray and celebrate this great occasion.

 

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 Fr Martin Coyle SDB, Fr Tadeusz Rozmus SDB and Fr Gerry Briody SDB

 

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Photos © Fr Michael Winstanley SDB

 

Thursday, 11 August 2016 15:57

Fr Martin Coyle SDB ends his term as Provincial

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MartinCoyle

 

This weekend, we say farewell and thank you to Fr Martin, who has been our Provincial for the past six years. Fr Martin leaves us with this message.


It hardly seems possible that I am now in my last few days as Provincial. The last 6 years have gone by very quickly - at least for me. It’s been a privilege to be entrusted with the service as provincial and to journey with all the members of the province and the Salesian family, especially during the significant time of the bicentenary of Don Bosco.

My overwhelming sense is one of gratitude. I wish Gerry every success as he leads the province forward with great energy, competence and wisdom.

 

Fr Martin Coyle SDB

Thursday, 11 August 2016 14:08

Leaving your mark in this world - A WYD refelection

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Lizbeth Cabral was part of the Salesians GBR group at World Youth Day in Krakow. Here, she considers the message Pope Francis had for young people, and his challenge to ‘leave your mark’.  (Photo: Salesian Sisters UK)

 

The only event to unite all the youth under one faith, Catholicism, has come and gone. From the 25th to 31st of July, young people, regardless of culture, language, or nationality, came together under the guidance of Pope Francis to celebrate God’s mercy. BłoniaPark and Campus Misercordiae, in Krakow, Poland, were witness to the Pope’s message of hope and mercy to the young people.


Pope Francis praised and recognised the young for their energy, resilience, and capacity to change the world. However, he did not stop there. He is a wise man who is in touch with reality and recognises that despite their versatility there are still obstacles and problems facing the youth. He not only praised and recognised their talents he also called them out and warned them about present day evils that cut their potential short.

 

On his first encounter with the youth, on 28th in Blonia Park, Pope Francis lamented the fact that many young people enter into an “early retirement.” Referring to the young that “are defeated even before they begin to play, who walk around gloomy as is life has no meaning.” He laments the fact that today a great part of the youth fails to get involved, to criticise, and to challenge. Instead they “waste their lives looking for thrills or a feeling of being alive by taking dark paths and in the end having to pay for it.

 

“These young people are bored and boring … they waste the best days of their lives chasing false illusions, empty promises … This is dangerous because they fail to truly live … they fail to leave their mark in the world … instead, they lose their freedom; they lose their purpose of living.”

 

In his address at the World Youth Day Prayer Vigil at Campus Misericordiae, the Pontiff continued to awaken the conscience of the youth. He warned about other evils that force the young into an “early retirement.” He spoke of the dangers of fear which “only leads to one thing: the feeling of being closed in on oneself, trapped”. He also spoke of fear’s twin sister, “paralysis”. Together, they lead to the belief that “in this world, in our communities, in our cities, there is no longer any room to grow, to dream, to create, to gaze at new horizons. This paralysis prevents us from sharing with others, making friends, and waking with others side by side.”

 

Once again we lose our purpose of living. We are no longer living or leaving a mark instead we are living dead. The paralysis caused by fear confines us to our comfort zone. We are displeased to meet or even help people that do not look like us. Fear makes us indifferent to their suffering. We turn our backs to our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for sharing our own faith. Fear prevents us from seeing them as victims. We treat them as a threat instead.

 

According to Pope Francis there is another even more dangerous kind of paralysis, “sofa happiness.” This type of paralysis occurs when we confuse happiness with the comfort of a sofa. “A sofa that promises us hours of comfort so that we can escape to the world of video games and spend all kinds of time in front of a computer screen. A sofa that keeps us safe from any type of pain and fear.” Sofa happiness can truly strip us of our freedom. Its comfort slowly dulls and numbs us. We are like the frog who is placed inside a pot of tepid water and whose temperature is gradually raised. The cold-blooded amphibian adapts to its outside temperature therefore when the water temperature is gradually raised the frog will adjust its temperature to the water. The frog does not figure out what it's going on until it is too late. It's unable to jump out because it has wasted all its energy adjusting its temperature. Very soon the frog dies inside the pot. We are the frog, the couch is the pot and video games are the tepid water. They numb us. They prevent us from living our reality; from questioning the decisions made on our behalf. We are more interested in what our favourite celebrity wore to the award show rather than on the laws that our policy maker enacted on that day.

 

If we don't jump out of the pot before it is too late we are going to end up like the frog, boiled. We need to leave the comfort of our couch and venture out into the world. We need to inform ourselves and criticise our policy makers’ actions. We need to dare to dream and to leave our mark in this world. The raising temperature of the water can already be felt. Is a politician who preaches hate, racism, and divisions truly the best candidate for a presidency? Is opting out of a partnership with other countries because of fear of rising immigration the best for a country? Is turning our back on refugees the best for humanity? All of these are decisions that affect our future but we do not bother to stand up and express our opinion on what's best for us because the comfort of our sofas seems more appealing.

 

Pope Francis urges us to trade the comfort of our sofa for a pair of walking shoes. He urges us to follow Jesus into uncharted paths, to “ take the path of our God who encourages us to be politicians, thinkers, social activists.”

 

We need to take charge of our life and be the protagonist of our history. Only we can decide for ourselves. God want us to leave a mark in life. This is what it means to truly live, to truly experience life and reality.

 

Despite all the temptations that are consuming us, Pope Francis still believes in us and is calling on us to help. Adults want us to believe that closing ourselves is the best way to protect ourselves from what hurts us; however, we can teach them that this is not the case. We can teach the adults to live in harmony alongside different cultures. We can teach them that, “it is easier to build bridges and not walls”. Our young, energetic, and merciful hearts can build a bridge of fraternity by extending our hand to someone who does not look like us; can teach adults to leave behind the thoughts of separation and nonsense.

 

Pope Francis’s message was one of mercy, compassion, acceptance, and fraternity. It helped me realise that the church has a big role to play in the twenty-first century. As followers of Jesus it is our duty to denounce any injustice. It is our duty to replace any signs of exclusion with fraternity. As Pope Francis mentioned, God wants us to build bridges by extending our hand to our fellow brothers and sisters.

 

This it what it means to leave a mark in this world. This is what God expects from us. Jesus left us the example. He did not exclude Zachaeus, the tax collector. He did not reject Mary Magdalene, a woman of doubtful reputation. To the contrary, he extended a hand towards them and included them in his plan of salvation. In times of exclusion and fear of one another, it is the job of the church to spread and take this message to heart.

 

I got the message; I want to leave a mark behind. I will start by evaluating my self and then extending my hand to my fellow brothers and sisters.

 

How will you leave your mark in this world?

 

 

 

Wednesday, 10 August 2016 14:54

Meet our new Brothers from Poland

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This week, we welcomed Brothers Krystian Lipinski and Maciej Sokalski to the Province of St Thomas of Canterbury. They have been studying at the Salesian seminary at Ląd, and the Wyszykski University, Warsaw, reading philosophy and pedagogy, and will continue their formation as Salesians of Don Bosco in the UK.

 

Both were involved in World Youth Day in Krakow, where Br Krystian accompanied a group from an orphanage, and Br Maciej was a volunteer with the Salesian team, transporting pilgrims from the airport to the seminary where they were accomodated, and helping with the organisation of the Salesian Youth meeting. The highlight of WYD for Br Krystian was seeing the Pope, which happened by chance: his group was on a sightseeing trip, when a lady leaned out of her window to tell them to wait, as His Holiness was due to pass by at any moment. But Br Maciej says he doesn't mind missing Pope Francis, because the young people were able to see him, and that's what the event was all about.

 

With very little time to recover from WYD, the two young men arrived in Bolton in a busy but joyful week, joining the Salesian Sisters at Blundellsands to celebrate the jubilees, and then dashing off to London for Br Kevin's ordination. They will be spending a few weeks at Thornleigh House, attending language school in Manchester to brush up on their English (which is already very good!) and getting used to life in the UK, before taking up their new roles in September. Br Maciej will go to the community in Bootle, where he will work in the chaplaincy at Savio Salesian College, and Br Krystian will remain in the Thornleigh community, working at the school (and, we hope, helping us at Salesian Link too!)

 

We wish them every blessing during this stage of their formation, and hope they enjoy life in Bootle and Bolton.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 10 August 2016 13:48

Bro Kevin's Ordination to the Diaconate

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The Salesian family in Battersea assembled on Saturday 6th August to celebrate Br Kevin O’Donnell’s ordination to the diaconate, and together with the community, welcomed him in his new role within the Church.


The Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Reverend Peter Smith, celebrated the Holy Mass at Sacred Heart. The parish community, which has seen Br Kevin involved in activities and always ready to receive the people on Battersea with his big smile, was present at the ordination and at the following celebration later that day.


In his Homily, the Archbishop reminded us how important service is in the life of a minister of worship, as it is for all those called by Jesus. the Word – represented by the Gospel of Christ, placed in the hands of the new deacon -, the Sacrament, and Charity will be indeed three milestones from now on in Br Kevin’s journey.


Br Kevin was vested with the stole, brought by his mother Hannah, and the dalmatic, presented by his sister Annemarie.
Deacon Kevin then assisted the Archbishop in the celebration of the Mass, incensed the altar and the people, and administered the chalice to the communicants.


Prayers were offered for Br Kevin’s ordination and the intentions of the growing Salesian family in Battersea.

The celebrations continued later on in the Main Hall of St John Bosco College, with a reception and plenty of time for everyone to get together after the intense experience of World Youth Day, and before the summer break.

 

Cristiana Ferrauti

 

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Wednesday, 10 August 2016 12:36

Jubilarians celebrate 315 years of FMA life

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The 144th anniversary of the founding of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians last week was celebrated with even greater joy in our Province, as there were six jubilarians this year.

On this wonderful occasion, a combined total of 315 years of religious life was commemorated at the Provincial House in Blundellsands: Sr Lisetta, 70 years; Sr Anne, Sr Ella and Sr Sally, 60 years; Sr Kay, 40 years; and Sr Linda, 25 years.

The sisters renewed their vows during a beautiful Mass at St Joseph's parish church, and the celebrations with friends, families and sisterhood continued at the House.

We congratulate them, and give thanks for their inspiring commitment and dedication.

'God of love, we thank you for our Sisters Lisetta, Anne, Ella, Sally, Kay and Linda, and for their loving service to the young'

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Monday, 08 August 2016 15:08

Salesian youth visit Medjugorje

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World Youth Day rightfully commanded a lot of attention, but this summer (and every year) many young people have been making different pilgrimages. Here, one young pilgrim describes the impact of a visit to Medjugorje.

The Salesian community of Chertsey organised a pilgrimage of young people to Medjugorje last week. Salesian youth from all over the country joined together and embarked on a pilgrimage from 28th July to 2nd of August, to the most holy site of Medjugorje.

The young people said that upon arriving in Medjugorje they could instantly sense the presence of our Blessed Mother. As they entered into Adoration of the Eucharist together with thousands of other pilgrims, they were engulfed by the stillness and beauty of the Lord’s presence. The young people attended Holy Mass in which they were able to witness the unity of the universal church as they came across people from all over the globe.

They climbed the Cross Mountain whilst reciting the Stations of the Cross. It was seen as a penitential climb that led the young people to reflect upon Jesus’ agonising way to Calvary. After the exhausting climb they reached the summit to gaze upon the cross, which holds a relic of the true cross of Christ.

As the youth visited the Blue Cross on Appartition Hill, they felt the urge to pray in silence and meditate upon the places where our Blessed Mother appeared. They all left the mountain with an even more intimate relationship with the Holy Mother. The Apparition Hill uplifted the faith of the young pilgrims. As they knelt at the site of the apparition they could fully embrace the essence of Medjugorje.

The visit to the Cenacolo community, which was filled with many youth, drug addicts, non-addicts, and those searching for the true meaning of life humbled the youngsters. They sat in for talks given by members of this community, sharing with them their own testimonies about freedom from addictions through Jesus. The ‘Mothers Village’ was also a place of deep reflection as the young people saw the houses that were built by Fr Slavko Barbarić who worked for the justice of abused women and children in Medjugorje.

It was truly a divine journey that the Salesian youth undertook and some of them commented, “every young person should have this opportunity to experience the presence of the Most Holy Mother in Medjugorje.”

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Leaving your mark in this world - A WYD refelection

Youth Ministry

Leaving your mark in this world - A WYD …

Clare Lewis | 11-08-2016

  Lizbeth Cabral was part of the Salesians GBR group at World Youth Day in Krakow. Here, she considers the message Pope Francis had for young people, and his challenge to...

Jubilarians celebrate 315 years of FMA life

Salesian Sisters News

Jubilarians celebrate 315 years of FMA l…

Clare Lewis | 10-08-2016

The 144th anniversary of the founding of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians last week was celebrated with even greater joy in our Province, as there were six jubilarians...

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