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In the penultimate week of Lent, the Rector Major considers the heart of the Salesian spirit, in the rich network of relationships we form in our lives, and Fr Graham Forristalle looks at holiness in a parish preparing for the holiest time of the year.

 

Each Lenten Friday evening in Cowley, the people of the parish gather in the church for 6pm. Altar servers have come to join us, and together we follow the Way of the Cross. In the fourteen stations the family of the parish meditate on Jesus who suffered and gave his life for us all. This family has members from Latvia, from Malawi, from Goa, East Timor and Poland: from Brittany and from all parts of Europe. We are praying in English: whether this is our first or second language we acclaim the one saviour, and the image and pattern of his sacrifice is our pattern of holiness. In one scripture during the Stations, we read about the paradox within Jesus’ sacrifice. “For our sake God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

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In our Lenten reflection this week, the Rector Major discusses joy lived out in a holy life, and Fr Bob Coupe SDB looks back at the inspiring holiness of those who supported and formed his faith and Salesian vocation over the past 68 years. Above: Fr Bob with footballers from Shrigley in 1969.

 

1941. I’m standing on the corner of the largest playground I’ve ever seen. There are about twenty of us, all strangers. Some have unfamiliar accents -they’re from Bolton, Westhoughton, Leigh, Bury, Edenfield. We’re waiting nervously to take an entrance exam for Thornleigh. We see a small figure approaching. He’s dressed in a cassock, he’s quite stout, we can’t see his feet. But he gives us a big smile, and asks ‘Are you all good runners?’ It was Fr Poggio. The first Salesian I’d ever seen. Little did I know that this was a day that would define the rest of my life.

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We take another look together at the Rector Major's Strenna 'Holiness for you too', as we continue to seek holiness around us and within us during Holy Week. Our closing thoughts for Lent 2019 come from Fr John Dickson SDB, who considers the holiness he sees as a University Chaplain. (Fr John pictured above with Chaplaincy colleague, Nina).

 

One of our Muslim students once said to me: Where you find ‘goodness’, follow it!


Indeed in my seven years at Royal Holloway, I have been blessed to find both ‘goodness and holiness’ in abundance among so many students and staff in the apparently unlikely atmosphere of a prevailingly secular University.


I have found ‘Goodness and holiness’ in young people for whom ‘fairness and honesty’ demands ‘transparency’ in dealing with others. ‘Goodness and holiness’ is evident in young people who have the courage to seek for the truth even though it may be unpopular and who are prepared to challenge the prevailing view. It shines in young people who generously share their enterprises and develop those with disability or who are in difficulty. It is clear in young people who volunteer to help others when it is massively inconvenient for themselves; in young people who help friends who get into difficulty by referring them to staff who can help; In young people who develop their faith by building a community that prays and plays together.

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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?

 

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Our reflections this Lent are based on the Strenna (or gift) of the Rector Major for 2019 - 'Holiness for you too'. We present extracts from his commentary on the Strenna, and thoughts on holiness from members of the Salesian Family, along with scripture readings and prayers for you to pray and reflect on during each week of the Lenten season.

This week, on International Day of Happiness, Theo and George, volunteers on the Savio House Retreat Team, write about where they see holiness and happiness in their work with the young. Photo: the Savio House Team 2018-18.

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During Lent, we are reflecting on the Rector Major's Strenna for 2019, 'Holiness for you too', presenting extracts from his commentary on the Strenna, and thoughts on holiness from members of the Salesian Family, along with scripture readings and prayers for you to pray and reflect on during each week of the Lenten season.


This week, we hear from Sue, Youth Ministry Animator for our Province.

 

Holiness in the office of youth ministry is grounded yet often not tangible. It is the daily response to the Lord in serving the volunteers and in turn walking with the young.

 

Holiness, for me, is being ready and available to be used as a mouthpiece for the Word of God to reach others. The small joys in the journey are seeing the young respond to the Lord they hear calling them through this service.

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Tuesday, 05 March 2019 21:34

Ash Wednesday - Reflection

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During Lent this year, we will be reflecting on the Rector Major's Strenna for 2019, 'Holiness for you too'. We will present extracts from Fr Angel's commentary on his Strenna, and thoughts on holiness from members of the Salesian Family, along with scripture readings and prayers for you to pray and reflect on during each week of Lent.

We open with some thoughts from Hazel, a member of the Chaplaincy Team at Savio Salesian College, Bootle, written for teachers but speaking to all who aim to support young people following Don Bosco's example.

 

Does a saint sit in your front row?

God is truly marvellous! As teachers, we can appreciate this more than most. Our students come to us fresh-faced, eager, apprehensive; some bold, some a little afraid; some contemplative; some sporty; some law-makers, a few lawbreakers; some a mixture of them all. But all have one thing in common - potential.

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