Return to Zambia

This copy of an email of a former VIDES+East USA volunteer relates her latest return there – this time with her husband and their child! We had a wonderful trip to Zambia May 23-June 15, visiting with old friends and making new ones. The work we did was on 3 different projects: Eric was able to work on and clean up the truck that the Salesians use as one of their two vehicles. We spent some time working with 7 of the girls on their computer skills as they have tests in school over material that really only makes sense to learn hands-on! PVC plumbing was replaced with galvanized parts for 2 of the 3 houses while we were there! with your help we were able to buy all of the parts and hire a local plumber to do the work. The girls are extremely grateful, as they went from 1 working shower and 0 flushing toilets, to 3 showers and 2 toilets in each house. If you were able to contribute financially, be sure to check your mail soon for a thank you letter signed by the girls, as well as receipts of the parts we purchased. No matter your contribution (financial, prayers, well-wishes) we are so grateful for your assistance and the opportunity to help the community of City of Joy! We’re enjoying being back home though, as we’re preparing for the birth of baby Palmer. Please keep us in your prayers and be assured that you are in ours! With love, Annie, Eric, and baby Cora A few photos with the girls and the plumbing... read more

RMG – Amiability, Salesian joy

Source: RMG – Amiability, Salesian joy (ANS – Rome) – In our world, in our families, with those around us we need amiability; more so with young people. We need to ask it as a gift, and to increase it as a virtue and through gestures that favor communication, relationships and make God’s love evident. It all begins with a kind word, or a subtle, kind, courteous, loving detail.   Paul in his Letter to Timothy considered it important and recommended all Christians to be amiable to everyone. Lovable is a person who, from their affectionate, gentle, caring and affectionate attitude, is worthy of being loved. As a “pedagogue” of young people, Don Bosco knew by experience that it is not enough to love. “Pedagogical charity” requires more; “make oneself loved and lovable; that is, know how to translate love into behavior and acts of generosity, kindness, in a methodology of friendliness, familiarity through dialogue and the joy of living together “(cit. ACS 310, pp 11-12). It is, in the end, “to be loved”, the result of a spirituality and apostolic methodology that is especially original. This was to be Don Bosco’s desire for the Salesians: “study how to make yourself loved” by young people, a fundamental aspect of his educational proposal. Amiability produces peace and is contagious, has the power to “disarm hearts”; in other words, courtesy has the ability to free others from negative emotions because the other lowers their hands, calms down, before a kind gesture. RMG – Building a family, in the rituals of every day RMG – Strenna 2017: “Parents must promote the ethical formation... read more

Italy – Accompaniment of the young. A common journey

Source: Italy – Accompaniment of the young. A common journey (ANS – Castelgandolfo) – The traditional summer meeting of the General Councils of the Salesians (SDB) and  Mary Help of Christians (FMA) was held at the FMA venue in Castelgandolfo on the afternoon of July 24, 2017. Again, as in the previous winter’s meeting, the main theme was the forthcoming Synod of Bishops (October 2018) on the theme: “Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment.” The specific objective was to identify several elements essential to a common journey towards the Synod. Presided by the Rector Major, Fr Angel F. Artime, and FMA Superior General, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, with the two General Councils in full attendance for a total of 30 participants, spent five hours together in a spirit of family. After Vespers, the Rector Major shared his  Salesian Good Night Talk on the leadership crisis in the world and in the Church, which could be overcome in the style of Pope Francis – via honest behavior and credibility. Compared to the previous meeting, taking place last January, significant progress was made in steps leading to the forthcoming Synod. Mother Reungoat published her letter to FMA Sisters: “Towards the Synod with the young”  – n. 970, May 24, 2017. Fr Ángel published his letter to the Salesians, 24 July 24 2017, on the Synod’s “Lineamenta, or preparatory document, as our journey’s compass.” Both the SDB and FMA were invited to listen to the young as per Pope Francis’ request for the Synod. During the exchange – first discussed in four small groups, then shared with the assembly – what emerged were several examples... read more


PRESENTATION OF STRENNA 2018 Rome, 16 July 2017 Feast of Our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel «Sir, give me this water” (Jn 4:15)  LET US CULTIVATE THE ART OF LISTENING AND  OF ACCOMPANIMENT   Synthesis – a summary of what the presentation of the Strenna will be when sent out at the end of this year. I begin by saying that this is not the commentary on the Strenna 2018; here I limit myself to offering some hints. The synthetic phrase of the strenna corresponds to the heartfelt request that the Samaritan woman makes to Jesus at Jacob’s well. In her meeting with Him, the woman feels that she has been listened to, respected and appeciated; and so in her heart she feels impelled to ask for something even more precious: “Sir, give me some of that water” (the water of life to the full that you are offering me). Following the central theme of this gospel passage, we would point out, in the context of the coming Synod of Bishops («Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment »), the importance for all our Salesian Family and for its mission in the world. of cultivating the precious art of listening and of accompaniment, with the conditions that need to be ensured, the demands and the service that is involved in both listening and accompanyng, in the process of personal, Christian and vocational development. FOR COMPLETE DOWNLOADABLE TEXTS IN ENGLISH, FRENCH, AND... read more

Launch of New Website and Registrationfor World Meeting of Families 2018 


RMG – Towards Madrid 2017: International Congress on Youth Ministry and The Family ENG, FR, IT, SP

RMG – Towards Madrid 2017: International Congress on Youth Ministry and The Family 20 July 2017 (ANS – Rome) – Let’s meet in Madrid! From November 27 to December 1, 2017, approximately 400 people representing all the Provinces of the worldwide Salesian Congregation shall meet in Madrid, Spain, to celebrate the International Congress on Youth Ministry and Family, the first step of a pastoral process animated by the Dicastery for Salesian Youth Ministry in light of the recent synodal path of the Church and of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia”. An official video is now available that briefly describes the content and methodology of the Congress.The Congress on “Youth Ministry and Family” was born following the promulgation of “Amoris Laetitia”; as a first step, the Salesian Congregation initiated a consultation through a letter and questionnaire sent by the Rector Major to every Province asking them to respond with their experiences on the subject.Four months from now, representatives of every Province shall meet for the second stage, the Madrid Congress, to inspire reflection on the themes of Youth Ministry and the Family.Both Pope Francis and his predecessor Benedict XVI have repeatedly and explicitly asked the Salesians of Don Bosco to reflect on and work on this issue since in the education and evangelization of young people “it is extremely important that the family be an active subject.”At the Congress’ official website – – the names of conference speakers opening sessions every morning will be available. The agenda also includes sessons wherein all participants form regional working groups to compare, ponder and look for common points in view of the... read more

National Convention of Domenico Savio Club Animators

HAS THE TIME COME TO RESURRECT THE SAVIO CLUB IN NORTH AMERICA??? Chile – National Convention of Domenico Savio Club Animators 19 July 2017 (ANS – Santiago) – With 55 animators and assistants from all the country’s communities, the National Convention of the Animators of the Domenico Savio Clubs (CDS) took place in the Lo Cañas retreat from 7 to 9 July.The day’s purpose was to compare and exchange experiences among animators, to meet with each other and with Christ, and share the various positive approaches of the charism and the various forms of service of the CDS.During the meeting there were various workshops during which participants elaborated different paths, studied the Salesian Youth Movement’s Identity Card (SYM), the service of the Salesian animators … An evocative meeting of prayer was prepared and animated by young aspiring Salesians.Finally, the meeting made progress on preparations for another important event: the CDS Congress to be held next October.The participants gave a very positive opinion of what took place at this meeting and on several times the characteristic shout of the CDS resounded: “San Domenico Savio … I want to be like you!”The CDS are a SYM proposal for pre-adolescents and adolescents aged 10 to 15 years.Its purpose is to encourage club members opting for a Christian life engaged in answering the call of the Lord Jesus, and find inspiration in the model and figure of the Salesian saint Domenico Savio.This experience is developed in a family and community perspective with special emphasis on the sense of joy, responsibility in daily life, service, communion with the Church, attendance to the sacraments and devotion... read more

A Connected Life – Mystical Christianity for Today

A Connected Life – Mystical Christianity for Today 18 July 2017 “There is, in all of us, a homing device that calls us to our deepest centre, the core of our being, what we call the soul. It is not easy to define the word soul; in fact it is impossible but there are times in our lives when we feel the need to connect with this spiritual centre of our being. This is what I am trying to describe in this short book” (Fr Michael J. Cunningham).I am not an original thinker but I have tried, however inadequately, to point to some of the exciting writers who are exploring this territory. What is commonly agreed is that there is a profound experience of connection at the core of our being. This has always been the case but today we are experiencing a revolution in human experience. We live in a period of time when global connection is a fact as well as a dream. We are connected electronically, economically and politically. If we neglect the deepest connection at the level of our souls – that we are one with God, one with others, and one with creation – our technical connections alone will not satisfy our deepest longings and hunger.Don Bosco Publications, 120 pagesFurther Information Source: A Connected Life – Mystical Christianity for... read more

RMG – “Giulio Barberis’ Pedagogy Notebook” A critical edition

RMG – “Giulio Barberis’ Pedagogy Notebook” A critical edition 19 July 2017 (ANS – Rome) – Salesian priest Giulio Barberis (1847-1927) was one of Don Bosco’s disciples and associates recognized as a key figure for the genesis and development of the Salesian Opera in organizational, institutional, training and charismatic aspects. For this reason, Fr José Manuel Prellezo, a member of the Salesian Historical Institute (ISS), curated a critical edition of the famous “Footnotes of Pedagogy” by Fr Barberis (1897).This volume, published by the Salesian University Library (Libreria Ateneo Salesiano) for the “Fonti” series, opens with an ample introduction of the curator, a Professor of History of Pedagogy and Education at the Salesian Pontifical University (SPU) in Rome. Underlying the work’s features, Fr Barberis pointed out that he did not propose to produce a “complete pedagogical treatise”, but rather to offer young educators some help “in the difficult task of educating well.”Generally speaking, the “Notes” do not deviate much from the pedagogical manuals of its epoch. After the exposition of General Notions, the central body of the opus is divided into five parts: Physical Education, Intellectual Education, Aesthetic Education, Moral and Religious Pedagogy (with a section titled: The Preventive System). The book offers an authoritative testimony of a loving disciple and active collaborator of Don Bosco. Unconditional fidelity and deep admiration for the educational method of the “father, friend and teacher” did not impede, indeed, empowered the Salesian writer to broaden his range of interests towards the work of Italian and foreign, ancient and modern pedagogues and educators.The volume’s Afterword, by Fr. Darius Grządziel, SDB, Extraordinary Professor of Pedagogy and Didactics... read more
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