Vatican – Pope calls two Salesians and a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians among Consultors of CIVCSVA

12 April 2021 (ANS – Vatican City) – On Saturday 10 April, the Press Office of the Holy See announced the names of the new Consultors of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CIVCSVA) appointed by the Holy Father. Among the 19 chosen, three members of the Salesian Family. They are: Fr David Ricardo Albornoz Pavisic, SDB, Judge of the National Ecclesiastical Court of Appeal of Santiago de Chile. Born in Punta Arenas on 4 November 1963, he has been a professed Salesian since 1989 and was ordained a priest in 1996. For the Chilean Province, he is currently also Provincial Vicar, Delegate for the Salesian Family and the Salesian Bulletin; Fr Mario Oscar Llanos, SDB, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. Argentine, from Córdoba, he was born on 17 April 1959, and has been a professed Salesian since 1978 and a priest since 1987; Sister Pina del Core, FMA, Director of the Institute of Psychological Research in the Educational Field of the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences Auxilium in Rome and former Dean of the “Auxilium” for nine years. In 2016, she had already been appointed by Pope Francis as a Consultor of the Congregation for Catholic Education. The consultors are appointed by the Supreme Pontiff – for a five-year term – to collaborate with the members of the Congregation according to their specific competence and in relation to the objectives and commitments of the Dicastery. The consultors offer their contribution through consultations, studies or opinions on specific situations or questions concerning the life, mission and government of... read more


FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD April 12, 2021  EASTER MONDAY 2 WORD of the DAY  There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”                               (John 3: 1-8) How shall I live this Word?    In what sense is it necessary to be reborn and how can a person be born when old? Can one possibly enter a mother’s womb a second time? The resistance that Nicodemus makes in understanding the words of Jesus is our own resistance when in the depths of our hearts we ask ourselves: can we really change? Yes, one can truly be reborn, the life of faith is a new life, every day. It is an experience, not a concept. Believing is a personal decision. How do we want to “be given back to the world”, to be born continuously. Lord Jesus, You ask me if I am attached to my things, to my ideas, or if I am open to the God of surprises that You proclaim and witness to. I listen for the response of the Spirit. The Voice... read more


FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD April 11, 2021  EASTER SUNDAY 2 DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY WORD of the DAY  On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”  (John 20: 19-31) How shall I live this Word?    Jesus turns to Thomas whom He Himself had educated to interior freedom, to disagree, to be rigorous and courageous, alive and human. He does not impose Himself, He proposes. Put your finger here and look at my hands; reach out your hand and put it in my side. Jesus respects fatigue and doubts. He respects everyone’s timing and the complexity of believing. He is not scandalized, He proposes... read more


FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD April 10, 2021  EASTER SATURDAY WORD of the DAY  When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country. They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either. But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”     (Mark 16: 9-15) How shall I live this Word?    The Eleven live the experience of mourning like anyone else who experiences detachment from a person with whom they walked together would live it. Yet, repeatedly the Master on the way to Jerusalem, in announcing His passion and His violent death, had also announced that after three days He would rise again. The news of the resurrection of Jesus that Magdalene and the disciples of Emmaus communicate to them should not have taken them by surprise. They should have waited for it. Despite everything, they don’t believe. But why? The problem is always the same. The one that constantly occurs where there is someone who, having... read more

Fr Caputa introduces Simone Srugi

09 April 2021 Simone Srugi, second from the left (ANS – Beitgemal) – The Salesian Fr Giovanni Caputa, former professor of Theology in Cremisan and Jerusalem (1980-2017), has since 2014 been a collaborator in the cause of beatification of Venerable Simone Srugi, a Salesian brother who was a central figure for the Salesians of the Middle East. Fr Caputa recently wrote a new book in Italian on Simone Srugi (Simone Srugi nella storia di Betgamāl), and today he illustrates the history of the Venerable and the value of this publication. It is not your first book on Srugi. What’s new in this one? In 2018 I published Vita e scritti di Simone Srugi (Life and Writings), which contains all the documentation. In this last book, I better frame one and the others in their historical context, that is, the hundred years between the reconstitution of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (1847) and the partition of Palestine (1947). It was part of a region that during that century completely changed aspect, from a political, socio-economic, cultural and religious point of view … The maps and the “photo gallery”, which complete the volume, help to offer a better picture. Against that background, the life and action of Srugi stand out; after his childhood in Nazareth and the years of apprenticeship in Bethlehem (nurse, tailor and baker), he made his religious profession as a Salesian brother (1896) and carried out his mission for 50 years in Betgamāl. In this out-of-the-way and malarial locality, the Salesians welcomed Palestinian orphans, Armenian, Lebanese, Syrian refugees, and finally also Poles. They ran an agricultural school with an attached mill,... read more

Don Bosco debtor of St. Francis de Sales: educational relevance of thought and example of saintly bishop of Geneva

(ANS – Turin) – Without the action and the person of Francis de Sales, would there ever have been the Don Bosco of the Preventive System? And why did the Saint of Youth choose him as a source of spirituality for the congregation he gave life to? Even more radically: “Was Don Bosco a true SALESian?” These questions were answered by Fr Gianni Ghiglione, one of the greatest connoisseurs of St. Francis de Sales’ thought. For Fr Ghiglione some expressions that embody the Preventive System – “it is necessary to win the hearts of young people”; “To be authoritative you need to be loved”; “Let us form good Christians and upright citizens” – even if they spring from the heart of Don Bosco, they started from the mind of Saint Francis de Sales. These roots take nothing away from the genius of Don Bosco, who was able to translate the intuitions and innovative methodologies making them the cornerstone of his service to young people, especially the most “at risk”. And when it is necessary, as in this time, to face the educational emergency, the search for those roots and their extension to the present is a commitment to be assumed in the Salesian house and beyond. “Two beautiful and important things St. Francis de Sales can still teach us today,” Fr Ghiglione underlines. The first is the sense of friendship: one finds ample traces of it in his biography and precise definitions in his letters. “When he finished his studies in Paris, his return to Annecy was a march of over 300 kilometers on foot, on horseback and in a... read more

Do whatever Jesus tells you…

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD April 9, 2021  EASTER FRIDAY WORD of the DAY  Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. (John 21: 1-6) How shall I live this Word?    So much effort the previous night, to note with bitterness that the nets remained inexorably empty. Empty like many of our churches, our seminaries, our novitiates, our pastoral assemblies. Faced with this emptiness, we can let ourselves be attacked by the temptation of discouragement and resignation that can be overcome only on one condition, that of remaining faithful to the Word of the Gospel. A Word that, at times, can appear difficult to understand and to realize. Just think of the request that the Risen Jesus, not yet recognized, makes to His friends when He invites them to... read more


FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD April 8, 2021  EASTER THURSDAY WORD of the DAY  The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. (Luke 24: 35-43) How shall I live this Word?    The Risen One makes Himself present in the midst of His disciples in a personal, real, concrete way and not as a ghost or a simple idea. In this way He fulfills the promise made along the way: “When two or more are gathered in my name, I will be among them”(cf. Mt 18:20). Believing that Jesus is present in the community gathered in His name is not, however, a foregone conclusion. The evangelist underlines this difficulty when he affirms that the disciples “were still incredulous for... read more