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Monday, 09 December 2019 16:11

UK friends change lives for Kenyan children

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Fr Francis Preston SDB writes from Nairobi about some of the children kind Salesian donors in the UK are helping to educate.


During my first year in Kenya, I came to understand that many children here in Kenya don’t attend school, or only very irregularly, because their parents or guardians can’t pay their school fees. So when Caroline, a Catholic social worker based at St Monica’s parish in a very poor area of Rongai, a dormitory town outside Nairobi, asked if I could help pay the school fees of two or three children, I readily agreed to do so. Over the last three years, the number of children that the generosity of friends back in the UK is helping to support has increased to nearly twenty.

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Violet DeSousa visited Don Bosco Ashalayam in Kolkata with a group from St John Bosco College, Battersea. She writes about the lasting impact of the experience.


When I said good-bye to 2018 and opened the door to 2019, little did I know that God had an amazing adventure planned for me. That cold winter day in February, as the plane took off, heading towards Kolkata, I was feeling very apprehensive and nervous about what the next nine days would have in store for me. However, I was totally blown away by the warmth, respect and love I received from all the children we met at Don Bosco Ashalayam and at the night school too.

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One of our brothers in formation, Martin Pushparaj SDB, renewed his vows last weekend at Savio House. Br Martin, a Project Europe missionary to Great Britain, is a member of the retreat team at Savio, welcoming hundreds of young people each year and providing typically Salesian activities to refresh and nurture them, mentally physically and spiritually. The renewal of vows took place on Sunday evening, after a busy weekend helping to prepare children from the local parish for confirmation. It was witnessed by members of the Thornleigh community, and of course, Savio’s community, which is made up of both Salesians of Don Bosco (SDBs) and young adults who volunteer to spend a year on the team.

While he was at Thornleigh House last week on retreat, I talked to Br Martin about his vocation and formation, and we also chatted about vocation more widely, with the recent Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment fresh in our minds.

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Fr Larry McDonnell SDB was an Irish Salesian, known to many in our Province from his time at Shrigley and elsewhere, in the days when the British and Irish Provinces were one, before following his missionary vocation to Swaziland.


The impression Larry made on his students and those he mentored - a list that includes prominent figures in business and politics in the region - was so profound that his former pupils decided to pay tribute to him in the form of a book. 'Larry, Simply Larry' by Elias Masilela, tells his remarkable story. Larry died on Christmas Day last year, shortly after the book was completed and launched in Swaziland.

Published in Featured News

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We continue our Lenten reflections based on the Rector Major's Strenna 'Holiness for you too', with extracts from his commentary on the Strenna, thoughts on holiness from members of the Salesian Family, and scripture readings and prayers for you to pray on during each week of the Lenten season.

We are now mid way through Lent, and this week, we hear from Fr Kieran, Director of our Mission Office, on holiness in the missionary role of Salesians.Photo: Fr Kieran (centre) with Project Europe missionaries, Br Joe and Br Greg.

I count it as one of the great blessings of my life as a Salesian of Don Bosco that I have had the opportunity to live with other Salesians who have been missionaries. How has holiness revealed itself in the lives of these wonderful confreres? Perhaps I can speak of it to you by recalling a couple of lines from three songs?


Published in Featured News

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Fr Poitr, Sarah, Fr Peace, Fr Carlos and Br Sheldon outside the communty house.


While she was on holiday in The Gambia, Sarah Seddon, Manager of Don Bosco Publications, took the opportunity to visit the country’s recently established Salesian mission, with some gifts from our Province.


On Monday March 18, I took a break from relaxing in the sun to pay a visit to a new Salesian community the small Manjago village of Kunkujang Mariama in The Gambia. I took with me a case of Don Bosco Publications' books to help with the Salesian mission there. Travelling off the tourist trail to a little village in the middle of the African bush can be rather daunting, but I received a warm Salesian welcome and was immediately put at ease.

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Maureen Devereux, mother of Sean Devereux, maintains strong ties with Liberia, where Sean began his humanitarian work as a volunteer with the Salesians. She recommended that the country take part in the Special Olympic World Games, held last week in the United Arab Emirates, and was there to see Liberia's athletes win THREE Gold Medals - and a Bronze! Photo: KMTV Liberia

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Their recent visit to see Salesian works in Kolkata made a deep impression on students from St John Bosco College, Battersea, and they were kind enough to write some of their thoughts for us.

The Salesian work in Kolkata is absolutely amazing and inspiring. In all the schools that we had visited it was very clear, the commitment that everyone puts into helping the children, from the night school kids to the Don Bosco Ashalayam, to the boys working with Christophe.

Published in Featured News
Saturday, 15 December 2018 01:22

Third Week of Advent 2018

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Spiritual Gifts and Practical Gifts - Training Young Salesians in West Africa


In the third week of Advent, as we focus on joy, we hear from our GBR Missions Office, which supports the work of Salesian Missions across the world, and in particular, funds the training of young Salesians in the Anglophone West Africa (AFW) Province: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria.


The British Province has had a long connection with Liberia in particular, and this continues in its financial contribution towards  the training of young Salesians in the AFW Province. For several decades, through the GBR Missions Office, we have made a commitment to send £7,500 a month (£90,000 a year), to support the formation of young men from this very youthful Province, where over half of the approximately 200 Salesians are in formation. This formation takes place in the countries of the AFW Province and beyond, as they continue their studies in East Africa, Italy, Germany and Great Britain.

Published in Featured News
Wednesday, 18 April 2018 23:36

Salesian Mission Days 2018 - Thailand

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Internal migration is a major feature in Thailand, as industrialistation increases and people move into the cities, where they have to adapt to a hectic lifestyle, away from their close-knit rural families. The country has the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia, and is one of the most developed countries in the region. The capital, Bangkok, has grown rapidly to a population of 10 million, and a further 2 million people travel in and out of the city each day to work.


The Salesians are present in this bustling city, working with the young in the spirit of Don Bosco, and this week's Salesian Mission Day film focuses on the professional training they offer to enable young people who are deaf or blind to live independent lives so they can achieve a better future and participate as fully as possible in society.

Published in Featured News
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