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On Wednesday October 19th 2016, a group of six pupils, accompanied by the Chaplain, Fr Marco Villani SDB and Mrs M Morrison of the RE department, represented Salesian School Chertsey at the inaugural Secondary School Pilgrimage, organised by the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

After arriving just before 10am in Arundel, our group accompanied several other schools in walking through the grounds of Arundel Castle, owned by the Duke of Norfolk, also the Earl of Arundel. The picturesque walk took place in ideal outdoor conditions, dry and bright, which enabled our pupils to enjoy the fresh air and scenery as they drew nearer to their goal, viz the Cathedral of Our Lady and St Philip Howard.

Bishop Richard Moth presided at Mass in the Cathedral, most fitting as October 19th is the Solemnity of St. Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, Martyr and Co-Principal Patron of the diocese. The liturgy and music were of a very high standard and was greatly appreciated by all pilgrims.

Thursday, 20 October 2016 11:36

New parish extends SDB ministry across Battersea

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Sunday 16th October saw the official hand-over of the Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Joseph's to the Salesians of Don Bosco. With the addition of the Battersea Park parish, the Salesians are now caring for the pastoral needs of Battersea East and West.


Fr Gerry Briody SDB, Provincial, said: 'It was with great joy that we gathered on Sunday, with Bishop Paul Hendricks of the Archdiocese of Southwark, to celebrate the induction of Fr Gerry O’ Shaughnessy as parish priest of the Sacred Heart Battersea, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Joseph Battersea Park. We wish Fr Gerry and his parish team, including Fr Peter and Deacons Michael, Fidelis and Kevin every blessing in their ministry.'


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Thursday, 13 October 2016 13:47

Life at Don Bosco Utume Community, Kenya

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Last month, we said farewell to Fr Francis Preston SDB, as he left for Kenya. Here, he tells us about settling in to the life of the thriving Don Bosco Utume community.


It's four weeks since I arrived in Nairobi and joined the Don Bosco Utume Community, so perhaps an appropriate time for an update on how things have been since my arrival.

The Community have made me very welcome. There are seven members of staff: the Rector is Fr Simon who is from Kenya and is also the Vice Provincial. The Vice Rector, Fr Casimir, the Bursar, Fr Henry and the Dean of Studies, Fr Chris, are all long standing missionaries from Poland. One young Tanzanian priest, Fr Peter has just joined the staff after completing his studies in Pastoral Theology and Youth Ministry in Rome. An elderly priest, Fr Ernesto, who spent many years as a missionary in Sudan and South Sudan and who is now the confessor to the Community, and myself, are the other two SDB members of staff.

There are 49 SDB students studying theology at Utume in preparation for their ordination to the priesthood. The majority are Africans from the English, French and Portuguese speaking countries of Africa, but there also 8 students from Vietnam, two from India and one each from Myanmar and the Ukraine, all of whom now belong to one or other of the African Provinces. It's been a privilege gradually getting to know them all.

The last few days have been particularly interesting. Last week one of the caskets containing relics of Don Bosco that travelled around the world in preparation for the Bicentenary arrived in Nairobi. The Rector Major has given it as a gift to the Salesians in Africa. It will eventually be installed in a special sanctuary in the Church of Don Bosco in central Nairobi, but for the time being it has a place of honour in the large community chapel here in Don Bosco Utume. (Read more about this on ANS)

This week the students have midterm break so on Monday the whole Community, apart from the Rector who is attending a meeting in Burundi, travelled three or four miles to the Resurrection Garden, the very extensive retreat and pilgrimage centre run by the Archdiocese of Nairobi. The centre has beautiful grounds and excellent retreat and conference facilities. It was the venue for our quarterly day of recollection. I was asked to give a talk in the morning and then to preside at the afternoon Mass (pictured above) which was celebrated in honour of St Daniel Comboni, one of the pioneers of the Church's missionary work in Africa.

On Tuesday, the whole Community travelled in two rather elderly buses to Lake Naivasha for the annual "Big Picnic". The journey to Crayfish Camp, which the students had chosen as the venue for the Picnic, should have taken us about two and half hours. Unfortunately the bus in which I was travelling was stopped by the police at a check point just 30 minutes from our destination and our driver discovered to be lacking the necessary paper work. All of which meant a detour to the local police station and the magistrate's court, and an unscheduled stop of nearly an hour in the police car park while the situation was resolved. When our bus did eventually reach Crayfish Camp just before noon we were able to cool off in the swimming pool in the grounds and then enjoy a lunch cooked by the students of barbequed goats meat and pork. Thankfully the journey back to Utume passed off without incident. All in all it had been a very enjoyable and relaxing day and one that I won't forget in a hurry!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016 16:01

Feast of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa

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On 13th October, we remember Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa, a Salesian Cooperator and mystic who lived in tremendous pain for over thirty years, finding happiness in her suffering, and managing to care about the troubles of others despite her own situation. At the age of 14, she severly injured her spine jumping from a window to escape from an attemted rape, and by the age of 21, she was totally paralysed. After praying for a cure at first, she came to see her vocation as a 'victim soul', and received the grace to bear her suffering, offering it 'for the salvation of the young' and for peace in the world.

In his homily at her beatification in 2014, St John Paul II said: '"Do you love me?", Jesus asks Simon Peter, who replies: "Yes Lord, you know that I love you". The life of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa can be summarised in this dialogue of love. Permeated and burning with this anxiety of love, she wished to deny nothing to her Saviour. With a strong will, she accepted everything to demonstrate her love for him. A "spouse of blood", she relived mystically Christ's passion and offered herself as a victim for sinners, receiving strength from the Eucharist: this became her only source of nourishment for the final 13 years of her life.

With the example of Blessed Alexandrina, expressed in the trilogy "suffer, love, make reparation", Christians are able to discover the stimulus and motivation to make "noble" all that is painful and sad in life through the greatest evidence of love: sacrificing one's life for the beloved. Her secret to holiness was love for Christ"


Read more about her

Monday, 10 October 2016 11:42

Blessing Battersea's pets in honour of St Francis

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On Saturday 8th October, Sacred Heart parish opened its doors - in the name of St Francis - to animals!


They came in two by two to receive a blessing from the pastoral team leader: Fr Gerry O'Shaunessey SDB. It was lovely to see many dogs, cats and rabbits, as well as a tortoise - and a guinea pig called Gerry, feeling so comfortable in the church centre. The service was a very good success as Sacred Heart continues to grow and widen its parish outreach.

Please continue to pray for the Parish team as they guide the community into pastures new over these next few weeks.


Br Ste Lloyd SDB




Friday, 07 October 2016 15:36

Fr Andrew is 'Local Heroes' Teacher of the Year!

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Father Andrew Ebrahim SDB has won the Eagle Radio 'Local Heroes' Teacher of the Year Award 2016.

For fifteen years, Father Andrew has been a dedicated RE teacher at Salesian School in Chertsey but he's much more than that. His nomination went as far as to say that he should receive "person of the century".

Fr Andrew received his award from Eagle Radio at the Salesian house at Farnborough. He is now in India, working with the Salesians at Don Bosco Ashalayam, a project for street children, which Fr Andrew has supported for many years, taking students to Kolkata to visit and work, in a project the school decribes as 'his lasting legacy'.

A series of moving tributes to Fr Andrew with personal stories of how he has impacted the lives of students and teachers was filmed by the radio station, including an interview with Fr Andrew and the presentation of his award. He dedicated the award to all those who have supported him and his work in many different ways.

This is a wonderful tribute to a much-loved teacher, who will be very much missed at Salesian School, and in the Province. We wish you every blessing and success in your future work, Fr Andrew!


Watch the video on Eagle Radio


An open workshop is being held at Salesian House, Battersea on Tuesday 29th November, which is especially aimed at young adults who would like support in decision-making, but are not attached to a particular group. The workshop will be held from 7 - 9 pm, and will include a light supper. Contact Anita Morais to book a place or to find out more. (See below)

Signposts is a Salesian programme that aims to increase the quality of decision making, resilience and flexibility in young adults as they manage a wide range of choices. The workshops introduce the area of choice-making and explore a way of making personal choices that come from a deep sense of purpose, passion and meaning in life.

The Signposts team is available to deliver in-house workshops for young adults, introducing them to strategies for making life choices. Please contact Anita at development@signposts.uk.net to find out more about what we can offer you and your group.


More about Signposts


On 1st October, 30 pupils, 2 staff and 15 parents from Savio Salesian Collge, Bootle, participated in a nine-hour shift of bag packing at Sainsbury’s Supermarket on Rice Lane, Walton, in order to support the College's bi-yearly pilgrimage to Lourdes.

The team excelled in their duties and won the praise of the staff and customers of the store, with one parent getting in touch to say the pupils were a credit to the school.

Although a gruelling task, the team was full of smiles and joy as they worked cheerfully and happily throughout the day. Many customers asked the team to pray for loved ones and shared tales of their own pilgrimages to Lourdes.

In total, the team raised an outstanding £877.29 to contribute towards their pilgrimage. The College would like to thank Sainsbury’s Walton for giving them the opportunity to spend the day in store to fundraise.

See the College website for more photos


The Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, recently introduced a new initiative which includes meeting with Provinicals half-way though their term of service. ANS Rome interviewed Fr Ángel to ask about his impressions of the first meeting.

"The goal we set ourselves was achieved perfectly." This was the Rector Major’s positive evaluation of the meeting with the Provincials who were halfway through their term of office. Here is how Fr Ángel Fernández Artime described this new initiative:

Where did the idea of this mid-term meeting come from?

For the current six years we set ourselves two major targets, among many: to take great care of formation and of all the formation communities in the Congregation; and to accompany Provincials closely. In this context, therefore, two new initiatives were created: the new Provincial’s meeting with the Rector Major, the Vicar and the Councillors of the various sectors, just weeks after his appointment, so that when the provincial returns to his province he has a “navigation chart" for the six years; and then this meeting with the Provincials in mid-term, to offer them a spiritual experience once off so to speak, a time of spiritual and personal rest, and an important dialogue with the Vicar and with the Rector Major.

What were the results of the experience?

Certainly there was a renewal of the sense of Salesian belonging created by living together for seven days in Valdocco, in the heart of the Salesian spirit; then also the spiritual experience, enriched by a number of conferences and reflections on the Salesian spirit which were really of a very high level; and the chance to experience fraternity among themselves – twelve provincials from four continents - and the sense of communion and unity of the whole congregation. Finally, what was one of the specific objectives of the meeting - the possibility of an ample personal interview of the Provincials with the Rector Major and his Vicar. This allowed each provincial to return to his province with a clear vision of the challenges and priorities, and the way forward.

How did you find the Provincials three years after taking up office?

I found them in good health: physically, spiritually and vocationally, enthusiastic in their service and, of course, tired from the effort of coping with the difficulties in the various areas. Above all I found them with the serenity of people who see the future of the Province and of the Congregation with hope and optimism.

GC27 put fraternity at the centre. Was this felt during this meeting?

Fraternity is not only a core value of the General Chapter: it takes effect only when it is lived! This was a wonderful experience of great fraternity, in the simplicity of daily life and the time we shared. Besides, for us it is an essential element: Salesian life cannot be understood without the family spirit that Don Bosco always lived.

What do you think will be the influence of this type of meeting over time?

The Provincials insisted that it was not just a meeting, "we were called together for something important”, they said. I am convinced that in the years ahead, if we continue like this, the fruit of these events will be seen both in terms of a stronger communion between the Rector Major and his Council and each Province, through the person of the Provincial, and through precise paths of accompaniment which will mean having the whole congregation "on the same track," so to speak – one carriage after the other, but all travelling in the same direction with the same spirit and objectives.

Friday, 30 September 2016 15:02

Sr Cecily Dunne's ashes laid to rest

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On the 17th September at 11.30 a small group of the Salesian family gathered to lay to to rest the ashes of Sr Cecily Dunn FMA who died on May 24th after a three week period of illness.

The service took place at Alvin's funeral directors memorial garden which lies directly across the road from the Don Bosco Centre where Sr Cecily had worked for over thirty years. The service was led by Sr Pat Devine with support from Sr Norma and Romaine Shilling.
The Bosco Centre has undergone a major refurbishment since the death of Sr Cecily and is already working to full capacity in its nursery and college sections.

The last words of the ashes service were these:
Finally as we leave her ashes here with a promise to visit when we can, we remember in silence her zest for life, her inspirational leadership, her passion for the young which mirrored that of Don Bosco, her vision to free the potential in each young person and her complete and utter conviction that love is all you need.

Fr David O'Malley



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