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Chief Editor:
Fr. Sebastian Koladiyil
Editorial Team:
Fr. LUIS Neville
Fr. HUBERT Pinto
Fr. FELICE Molino
Sr. VIRGINIA Bickford - FMA
Sr. JACqUELINE Wanjira - FMA

Administration Office
Tel: 0706 349 971
0789 479 161
Bosco Eastern Africa Multimedia
Services [B.E.A.M.S.]
P.O. Box 2 - 00502, Karen - Kenya.
Tel: 0703 576808
0734 719 449
Layout & Design
Anthony Mungai
Tel: 0721 582 787
Photos Courtesy
Printed by:
P.O. Box 158 - 01020,
Makuyu, Kenya
The Salesian Bulletin was founded by St. John Bosco
in 1877. ‘Don Bosco Eastern Africa’ is the Salesian
Bulletin published by the Salesians of Don Bosco,
Eastern Africa Province, Nairobi, Kenya.
We welcome letters to the Editor. Send
your comments and suggestions.
2 Editorial
3 The Message of the Rector Major
5 A Musing on Spirituality of Don Bsco and
its challenges today
6 Don Bosco, Joy of my Youth
9 Synod on the Family intergrates Truth
and Mercy
11 Synod of Family: A lesson for the Church
in Uganda
17 Freedom of Letting Go
22 Peace in the Footsteps of Saint John Bosco
23 IYS students' Recollection Day
24 First Profession Amidst the Renewal Mass
26 A Camp to Remember
28 FMA Provincial Gratitude Day
30 Family: Transformative Parenting
33 International Historical Congress for the
36 Christians struggle to rebuild their lives in
40 Nobel Peace prize goes to Pakistan's
Madala and India's Satyarrthi
Merry Christmas
a Happy New Year
From the
Bicentenary celebration of the birth of Don Bosco is already taking
place in our houses. We began this on the 16 th of August 2014 with
special events in our communities.
At the level of the congregation the Bicentenary was officially
opened on 16 th August 2014 at the cradle of our Salesian life and
spirituality, Colle Don Bosco. Many things have already taken place.
Conferring of the Missionary Cross in September in Turin and an
International Historical Congress in November in Rome. In March
2015, an International Pedagogy Congress will take place at UPS, Rome and in May a
meeting of all the Salesian Bishops, who are many, will take place in Turin. In August
an International Congress on Mary Help of Christians and a congregational level SYM
(Salesian Youth Movement) will take place in Turin and Colle Don Bosco and the
grand finale of the Celebrations will be on 16 th August 2015 at Colle Don Bosco. The
Holy Shroud will be on display in Turin for 45 days between Easter and the end of the
Bicentenary celebrations. Pope Francis has accepted the invitation of the Salesians to
come to Turin for the celebrations.
In the province we have planned many meaningful events to celebrate the Bicentenary.
Every house in the province together with the staff, youth and friends spent at the same
time a moment of prayer on Oct. 29th. An album (CD), 9 songs of Don Bosco has already
been released by Fr. Filiberto, the Counsellor for Social Communication, when the Social
Communication Delegates of the Africa Region met at DBYES. T-Shirts with the logo of
the Bicentenary is being distributed. With the help of the students of Theology a prayer
book and radio programs on Don Bosco are to be produced. Two symposiums; one at
Don Bosco Utume and the other at Don Bosco Moshi on the Salesian spirituality are to
take place next year. In Kenya a grand youth meet is to be held with the theme “YOUTH
TRANSFORMING THE WORLD” in which celebrities will be invited to perform. This
will be an occasion to showcase Don Bosco and the Salesian activities, to give messages
to the youth and to make Don Bosco known to the general public especially the youth.
Don Bosco’s fest is to be celebrated at our Marian shrine at Upper Hill in which every
community is to show case their activities. The Provincial level conclusion of the
centenary will be held at the Shrine and on this day first profession and final profession
will be celebrated. A centenary book on the Province is to be published. And each
community is to celebrate the centenary in their own particular way.
All these are many activities and surely they will make us more popular as it did during
the pilgrimage of the relic. One question everyone connected with this great saint could
ask is: all these activities are being done to celebrate the father and friend and youth at
the congregational, provincial and institutional level but what am I doing to celebrate
and to make myself more and more like Don Bosco?
The main theme of this issue of the bulletin is the spirituality of Don Bosco lived
today. There are articles to explain this theme from various parts of the province. Also
there is reflection on the recently concluded Synod on the family. Let’s remember that
family is the basis of all that we are and we become. Let this issue of Don Bosco Eastern
Africa help us to invigorate the enthusiasm in celebrating the Bicentenary of Don Bosco
as the members of his family.
As we approach the Feast of the Birth of Jesus, I wish all the readers of Don Bosco
Eastern Africa, a Christmas filled with many blessings.
Sebastian Koladiyil
To fly higher and go farther
I believe that one of the greatest
gifts we can give Don Bosco for his
200th birthday is the gift of a Salesian
Family that’s more missionary, more
apostolic, more “outgoing,” as Pope
Francis reminds us.
My dear friends in the Salesian
Family, the greetings of the Salesian
Bulletin this month come to us when
we’re already well into this jubilee year,
this year of grace that is the bicentennial
of Don Bosco’s birth.
World Missionary Month has barely
gone by. I’ve been repeating and have
already shared with you many times
that it would be really beautiful if in this
bicentennial year of our beloved father
Don Bosco, and in the following years, we
were able to count on a strong animation
of our youth ministry throughout the
Congregation and the Salesian Family,
an animation that would be translated
into an abundant harvest of missionary
fruit, in the form of the missio ad
gentes of our whole apostolic family.
This missionary character is very much
“ours,” an essential part of our charism.
At this moment the missionary
commissioning celebration over which I
had the grace and the joy of presiding in
the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians
at Valdocco on September 28 is very
alive in my memory and my heart. It
was the 145th Missionary Expedition. I
thought a lot about the first expedition,
over which Don Bosco presided with
emotion and determination, when he
sent his first sons, captained by John
Cagliero, into far-off Argentina, on that
not so very long ago November 11, 1875.
Statistics tell us that 11,000 Salesians
of Don Bosco and 3,500 Daughters of
Mary Help of Christians have departed
since then from the Basilica.
Rummaging through the baggage of
my own experience, I can relate that
during my service in the province of
South Argentina in these recent years,
particularly in dialog with the Salesian
confreres of Patagonia, I could examine
with greater attention and admiration
the heroic pages of our missions and
the extraordinary apostolic dimensions
of those first sons of Don Bosco, as well
as the daring of our sisters, those young
Daughters of Mary Help of Christians,
in the South American continent. And I
could appreciate once again the human
The Message of the
Rector Major
quality, the apostolic courage, and the
holiness of those first missionaries.
In his biography of Cardinal Cagliero,
Father Raul Entraigas has written, “It
seemed that those men knew how to
draw out of Don Bosco’s heart the secret
of his holiness.”
In the celebration in the Basilica a
month ago, I fixed my gaze and my heart
on each of the Salesians, Daughters
of Mary Help of Christians, and lay
persons who was receiving the cross
and being commissioned at Valdocco
as a missionary, and I quickly reviewed
every member of the Salesian Family
throughout the world. That little group
wasn’t meant to be a simple group of
privileged people or persons selected
in some exclusive manner; rather, was
meant to be a pinch of yeast in the mass,
a stimulus for everyone in the whole
world because we’re always, wherever
we may be, authentic evangelizers and
missionaries of the young. I believe
that one of the greatest gifts we can
give Don Bosco for his 200th birthday
is the gift of a Salesian Family that’s
more missionary, more apostolic, more
“outgoing,” as Pope Francis reminds us.
To reawaken the
imagination for charity
Therefore, in this missionary month
of our jubilee year I invite every group
of our family to take some time at the
various levels of responsibility to carry
out a sincere missionary self-evaluation
that leads them to ask how they might be
more missionary, better missionaries,
according to the particulars of the
group’s charismatic identity. My
invitation is addressed also to every
friend of Don Bosco, every youth who
feels the inspiration and love of the
Father of the young, every couple and
every family who consider Don Bosco as
their protector and model.
This means asking ourselves what
goal Don Bosco is inviting us to aim
for, personally, as a family, or as a
group in this missionary jubilee year.
I’m convinced that if we sincerely ask
it of Don Bosco, especially in prayer,
numberless initiatives and new Salesian
missionary paths will open up little by
little, right where it seemed that hope
had been stifled. It’s enough to think
of the wonderful example of the group
of young people who in recent months
in Sierra Leone, inspired by Don Bosco
and Dominic Savio, have decided to
roll up their sleeves and risk their lives
to save the lives of so many of their
brothers and sisters who are tragically
beset by the Ebola virus.
In this we perceive an essential
element of the missionary renewal
of the Salesian Family: to know how
to reawake in our youngsters the
“imagination for charity,” as Saint John
Paul II liked to say.
There, where we adults who are with
Don Bosco can run the risk of “getting
bogged down” in complex old structures
that don’t always respond completely to
the urgent needs of the poorest, most
excluded, and most endangered people,
the young, animated and inspired by
the experience of adults, can find “new
heavens and a new earth.”
So we mustn’t be afraid to give youths
room to soar, to go farther, and thus
with their whole Salesian Family to fly
higher and go farther. They can be more
missionary and more apostolic, as Don
Bosco conceived the Family, dreamt it,
and shaped it.
A warm embrace with much affection,
invoking on all of you the intercession
and blessing of Don Bosco.
Angel Fernandez Artime
Rector Major4 TH QUARTER 7
A Musing on Spirituality of Don
Bosco and its challenges today
He rolled in bed alone in the dark confines of his room, searching for meaning to his
dreams. He dreamed because he cared. His concern for the sheep made him dream
continuously. To dream is to live and to live is to dream sums up Don Bosco. He had
all his energies geared towards youth. His spirit was overwhelmed by youth situations
and their concerns. Nothing else mattered. I feel this should be the heritage that we
want to celebrate during this bicentenary celebration of birth Don Bosco our father
and founder.
We too would dream only if we care. Our dreams are our concerns. What are we
caring about here and now? To me, three practices or principles that still make us
worthy sons Don Bosco are: ‘AWARENESS THAT GOD SEES US’, ‘OUR PHYSICAL
PRESENCE WITH YOUNG’, and ‘A WORD IN THE EAR’. These elements were the
pillars of the spirituality of Don Bosco. Of course these principles are part of the
Salesian Preventive System which is the hallmark of our educational system. The
Preventive system besides restoring dignity, it also enhances relationship and the
beauty of encountering God early in life.
I personally believe, ‘presence of Salesians with the young’ and ‘word in the ear’ are
the two sure means of implementing Salesian spirituality. Both are inter-connected.
They go hand in hand. We are present with them collectively and give ‘word in the
year’ individually. That was the style of Don Bosco. Nobody knew what he whispered
into the ear, except the one involved, and the whisper goes directly to the heart and
soul. If you ask me to define in a few words the spirituality our founder Don Bosco,
I would say, it is his craving love for care and concern of the youth. Thus the youth
became His ‘burning bush’. This is a real challenge for us who want to imitate the
spirituality of Don Bosco.
Who is a good Salesian? ‘A Jack of all trades and master of none’ or those with
masters and PhDs or a simple Salesian who is generous with his ‘physical presence’
among the youth and a ‘word in the ear’? Whatever be our qualifications, to be Salesian
after the heart of Don Bosco means, to give our valuable ‘physical presence’ and much
needed ‘word in the ear’ to the young, without which we fall short, to live up to the
dreams of our great founder Don Bosco. It is a spiritual challenge for us today
Don Bosco used to say, ‘a grateful child is a happy child’. And I am convinced that
only grateful children can grow into happy men and women who would make a
positive difference in the world. Those who came in contact with Don Bosco became
grateful children. Creating grateful youngsters is yet another challenge for us today.
Don Bosco instilled in us family spirit, and that is the hallmark of our community
life. As we struggle and sacrifice ourselves for the youth let our thoughts and toil
be, to instill catholic family values. If, half of our youth whom we serve become
committed family men and women, our work is not in vain. And it is yet another
daunting challenge for us Salesians today.
Youth are constantly on the run so we need to move fast to make meaning in their
lives. They should be in our daily thoughts. It is when the young become part and
parcel of our life, and then shall we roll in bed, dreaming like our founder, searching
for meaning and thus know and understand how to live with the ‘burning bush’ today.
Fr. Thomas Kunnumchira sdb4 TH QUARTER 8
D on B osco , J oy of my youth
The school anthem of St. Joseph Vocational Training Centre, Kamuli has the
beautiful words “Don Bosco, Joy of my youth” which is packed with meaning for life.
It is also an honour to St. John Bosco who is a saint of joy and wanted young people to
be happy “here in this life and in eternity” as he himself would tell his young people.
The motivation and the original meaning of the author of this anthem is not known
but surely it is an invitation to look into the life of St. John Bosco and learn to live in
joy especially in the youthful years of life. It is also an invitation to look into our life
of joy—where do we find joy and what makes us happy and joyful.
Majority of our trainees in our Vocational Training Centre come from difficult and
vulnerable situations of family and society. As we sing these words at the beginning
of the school I often wonder what goes on in the mind of our boys and girls. I console
myself saying, ‘it is good to begin the day with the thought of joy.’ And Don Bosco
becomes our model in finding joy amidst challenges of life.
All of us need lessons in joy. We all need models in life to follow. Models who
lived joyful and exciting life, who found joy that is permanent and worth imitating.
Teaching young people the right notion of joy and teaching them the right ways of
finding true joy is indeed a pastoral ministry among the young. Making young people
to live with joy is helping them to build a strong foundation for happy living for years
to come.
Don Bosco’s name and character are
synonymous with joy and cheerfulness.
“God loves the cheerful giver”, is one of
his cherished quote from the scripture.
St. John Bosco was a cheerful lad right
from his childhood. He understood well
that happiness is an inside joy and made
himself joyful, happy and cheerful all
the time in spite of the hard condition
economic and family condition he found
From his early childhood his joy
consisted in making other people happy.
He learnt many skills and tactics to
live happy life and his happy life made
others happy. Little John’s happiness
consisted in living a sound moral and
spiritual life. When he was only seven
or eight years old he had a great ability
of keeping around him many children
of his age or even children much older
to him. He played with them, prayed
with them, and taught them to live well.
After playing exciting games filled with
joy he would come home with bruises 4 TH QUARTER 9
and scratches in his hands and legs and his mother urged him to stop such games
and avoid children who play violent games. But little John would entreat his mother,
“Mother, please do not stop me from playing with them; because when they are with
me they behave well and they do not do anything that is immoral that you yourself
have taught me to avoid.”
Early in life Don Bosco realized that joy is the character of a person who is morally
upright, emotionally balanced, generous with others and who is well motivated to
serve God and others. He also knew that Joy is greater, deeper, and larger than
happiness. Early in life his venerable mother taught him to be tough in meeting the
challenges of growing up in trying moments. “Tough solutions are required for tough
situations”, she would say. This reflects the humanism of Kahlil Gibran who said, “He
who has not looked on sorrow will never see joy.”
God seems to have prepared little John Bosco through many trials and challenges
so as to make him understand the hardships that many young people undergo. Due to
economic hardships at home, especially after the death of his father little John Bosco
struggled to go to school and realize his dream of becoming a priest. After becoming
a priest he struggled hard to make his ends meet in establishing a home (Oratory) for
Don Bosco’s words to his Salesians later in life “Let nothing upset you,” are lessons
he learnt early in life. It is finding God beyond the struggles of life. It is like being like
Job of the Old Testament finding joy and providence of God in pain and frustrations.
For the virtuous man or woman, joy is more than just an emotion. Joy is a Spiritual
tool that we can use to overcome our circumstances, to empower us to rise above the
pain and the sorrows of this life.
Joy is something we choose; it is a decision to be fruitful and contented. Joy is the
response to something bigger, something eternal and often comes from conquering
oneself and willingly enduring suffering, insults, pain, humiliation, or hardships for a
virtuous cause. True joy nourishes our soul even when our lives are often difficult and
filled with hardship. Joy is a matter of our soul, it runs deep into the core of us and
radiates throughout our being.
Don Bosco understood that joy is a divine virtue, but it cannot be separated from
our earthly life. There is a deep correlation between our earthly life and heavenly
life; living a joyful life will necessarily lead us to heaven, which is eternal joy or bliss.
Joyful life is a fruit of virtuous living—a worthy living of Gospel values.
His recommendation to little Dominic Savio who wanted to be a saint, is to be
happy and happy all the time. As the Spiritual Father Don Bosco advised him that
he does not need to do exordinary penance or mortifications to please the Lord, but
the Lord is pleased with our joyful living. Joyful living consists in doing ordinary
things in extraordinary ways. Dominic Savio, would become the youngest saint who
understood well Don Bosco’s simple pedagogy for sanctity, “God loves the cheerful
giver”. Don Bosco kept repeating to the boys of his oratory, “Play, jump, sing and
dance, but do not sin” because sinning is being sad that ruins one’s joyful living. This
is the synthesis of Don Bosco’s educative love, the Preventive System—preventing
situations of sin and sadness.
Fr. Lazar Arasu SDB4 TH QUARTER 10
The new flavour of SDB spirituality
These days if you are in touch with
Salesians, Salesian publications,
programmes and anything Salesian,
especially the bicentennial celebration
preparations, you can feel the flavour,
the touch, the feel of a special post
chapter (GC27) aura. This flavour
being characterized by a missionary
under current, a papal Franciscan
(of pope Francis) prioritization of
the peripheral, marginalized, poor
church and the rector major’s (of Fr.
Angel Fernandes Artime) accent on
an actualized fraternity characterised
by spontaneity, intimacy and transparency in contrast to the utopian fraternity of
formalism, of power, rules, words and pharisaic superficiality and show.
Spiritual renewal is aflame and has touched every Salesian in these past 6 months.
We now have to keep up this newness and go beyond the flavour, feel and taste to
make it a permanent culture of our identity. Our very fulfilment is in being a loving
missionary like Jesus, specifically in the fields touched by pope Francis with a
methodology of brotherly love that is familial and homely just as it was with Don
Bosco, with Mama Margaret and the days of the oratory, drawing ourselves and our
keep (the young) to the intimacy of Jesus & Mother Mary.
Our spirituality then has to be a ‘walking seeing the invisible’ as well as ‘seeing
the confreres’ and ‘seeing the young’. As the rector major puts it, our spirituality
consists of a belonging more to God, more to the confreres and more to the young.
Our spirituality today is in making this centrality of Jesus, confreres and the young
come alive with a charismatic freshness, radically contextualized among the poor &
marginalized at the periphery of society. To make it more practical and vibrant let us
bring to life the saying of Abbot John Maine. He said: Find your Mantra, your Jesus
prayer, if you want to step into the wonder land of spiritual experiences and feel the
fragrance of holiness.
Find your Salesian mantra, let your young discover their mantras and let us walk
together into the freshness and flavour of sanctity among the poor, among the poorest
of the poor with right questions, possible answers and always synergy, with sunshine
and a future. Yes we can be the generation with hope and love, becoming the ‘Word’,
becoming Jesus, with a passion for the word of God.
Mary is our sure guide as she was to Don Bosco. The first dream of Don Bosco
is our dream too as Salesians. Anyone who makes it his dream and lives up to its
challenges will be the Don Bosco of today and tomorrow and in it will be the future
of our congregation.
Jim sdb.
Maridi. Ross.4 TH QUARTER 11
Synod on the Family Integrates
Truth and Mercy
As Pope Francis officially opened the
Extraordinary Synod on the family,
he gave its participants just one rule:
to speak honestly. The synod that was
‘celebrated’ from 5 th to 19 th October
brought together 253 participants,
including 25 women, from different
parts of the globe. And it was indeed a
moment of frank talk.
“Fraternal and open discussions
help develop theological and pastoral
thinking,” Pope Francis had said a
month prior to the synod. What some
sections of the media sensationally
reported as disagreement among the
synodal fathers was nothing but a
profound expression of that collegial
atmosphere currently prevailing in the
Catholic Church.
The Triple Agenda
Already in the build-up to the synod
there were open debates among some
Church leaders. Cardinal Walter Kasper
was proposing an agenda of mercy. On
the other end of the spectrum, there
were some Cardinals who were focussed
on an agenda of truth – in the definition
of marriage and family, and in Church’s
approach to people in special situations
such as homosexuality, and divorce
and remarriage. This group was
spearheaded by the American Cardinal
Raymond Burke.
There were other Cardinals who
sincerely sought the middle path. For
instance, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of
Munich appealed to his fellow leaders
not to be carried away by particular
issues, but to focus on general
guidelines. As for the Pope himself,
despite his conspicuous slant towards
pastoral care, he came to the table with
a collegiality-agenda.
In any case, what we have witnessed
in the past synod is a revival of the days
of the Second Vatican Council. Despite
the struggles and “temptations” to hold
extreme positions – as the Pope himself
referred to, in the dynamics observed
during the present synod, the Church
has effectively integrated truth and
mercy (John 1:17) in its teaching on, and
the pastoral care of, the family.4 TH QUARTER 12
Married Couples at the
The celebration of the synod itself had
several other positive dimensions. One
highlight was the presence of 13 married
couples at the synodal assembly. They
came from different continents and
various walks of life. Most of them were
involved in some form of ministry to
families in the Church, notable among
them were the representatives from the
Focolare Movement - of Italian origin,
and the Couples for Christ – originating
in the Philippians. Both movements are
now worldwide.
Almost every plenary session of the
synod began with stories from the
couples. They shared their commitment
to the truth of the teaching of the
Church regarding marriage and family,
but also brought to the attention of
the clerics at the synod the struggles
that accompany the commitment. The
couples also appealed for mercy and
greater sensitivity as they presented the
participants with some uncomfortable
Proposals Made by the
Being a consultative body, it is
customary that the synod only presents
a list of propositions to the Pope
to be included in the ‘Post-synodal
Exhortation to be issued by the Pope
himself. In the case of the present
extraordinary synod the definitive
document is likely to be issued after the
sequel that will take place next October.
The statement containing the
summary of the synod has a look
of a document that provides a solid
framework for further discussion on the
pastoral care of the family. The outline
of the document follows an adapted
rendering of the See-Judge-Act formula,
which, in the recent decades, has become
more used in pastoral reflection in the
Catholic Church. The method is also
referred to as the Pastoral Cycle. In the
present document, seeing or listening
consisted in openly perceiving and
understanding the prevailing situation
regarding marriage and family life in
the world today. The stage of making
judgement was led by the Scripture and
the Tradition of the Church. And finally,
a way forward has been proposed in
pastoral accompaniment of the faithful.
As a result, the ‘relatio synodi’, as the
document is referred to in Latin, does
not attempt to change the fundamental
truths about the definition of marriage
and family. It was not expected to do
so. On the other hand, it focuses on
expressing a greater sense of care and
empathy towards those in some form
of difficulty in marriage. It further
challenges young people to take their call
to married life seriously, and the Church
obliges itself in preparing the young
people towards life-long commitment
in marriage.
The closing speech of the Pope, for
which he received a standing ovation,
was sincere and serene, yet challenging.
He appreciated the open atmosphere
that prevailed in the synodal assembly,
and encouraged continued dialogue. He
also warned them of extreme positions.
He said, “Now we still have one year to
mature, with true spiritual discernment,
the proposed ideas and to find concrete
solutions to so many difficulties and
innumerable challenges that families
must confront.”
A previous version of this article
appeared on Sunday Nation (26 Oct
Sahaya G. Selvam, sdb
the Church in Uganda
“What is the most challenging pastoral problem in your local church?” An eminent
pastoral theologian asked this question to a group of students of Pastoral Theology who
came from different corners of the earth. I was part of the vibrant group. I retorted, “I
am a missionary to the Church in Uganda, according to me the biggest problem facing
the Christian faith in Uganda is cohabitation. It is linked to various other problems
such as ‘loss of sacraments, weakened institution of marriage, disrespect to the local
culture, and continuous falling church attendance.’”
As the discussion heated up I continued, “Other practical problems of cohabitation
are child abandonment, domestic violence, unfaithfulness between spouses,bad
example to children and young people and impossibility of getting religious and
priestly vocations.” I also mentioned that in one way or another local Church’s
hierarchy and pastoral agents at the grassroots havenot given enough guidance and
pastoral support towards this vital aspect of Christian living.
Family has been a point of discussion and theological reflection in the past Church
gatherings in and for Africa. In the late 80s the Eucharistic Congress that was held
in Nairobi, Kenya was centred on the family theme, the first African Synod in the
mid 90s discussed the Church as Family. Following the same trend often various
regional and diocesan synods further discussed this familiar theme.Surely it shows
that family life is not forgotten in the Church, but indeed it is the centre of Christian
faith and the pastors of the Church are concerned with its many challenges. Everyone
will agree that much documentation have been done, but it lacked implementation
and practice.
Once again a synod is called by the Pontiff to discuss many pressing issues affecting
the family life of the faithful. The theme/title of the synod explains it all: “The Pastoral
Challenges on the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” It is a pastoral synod
discussing the challenges that are faced by the Christians in living their ordinary life
and of the pastors of the church who shepherd them. This synod reflects the spirit
of Second Vatican Council that was held over 50 years ago. In the first article of the
Pastoral Constitution of the Church (Gaudium et Spes) produced by the council
stated, the church shares in the joys and sorrows of her flock. This synod is a concrete
living of the council.
This synod is an effort to “Evangelize” the family. Evangelization is spreading the
Word of God. Christ is God’s Living Word. It is in bringing Christ, his love and mercy
to the family that evangelizing consists of. This synod also reflects the pastoral spirit
that has been brought by our beloved Holy Father Pope Francis. Pastoral renewal
has been one of the highest priorities of his pontificate. The Salesian cardinal Oscar
Maradiaga, from Honduras, one of the eight Cardinal-advisors of the Holy Father
says, ‘Pastoral Conversion’ is the top priority of the Holy Father during the Family
Synod; the Fathers of the Synod and the Pope want to focus on how parishes and
pastors form and nourish families.
The cardinal explained that this pastoral conversion means getting the pastor and
parish leaders to realize that they “cannot continue doing the same thing they did
10 years ago,” and they must really respond to the laity’s desire that the parish be a
vibrant place of community and of living faith.
It is needless to narrate all the pastoral challenges faced by the universal Church
as well as the individual local churches all over the world. The synod mainly wants
to face the challenges relating to the family life of people. Individual churches face
problems in a particular way. For example, as stated at the beginning of this article
the Church in Uganda needs to find a solution to the problem among numerous
members of our Church living their conjugal life without the sacraments by engaging
in a cohabiting relationship. The Church in other places is faced by the question of
divorce and remarriage, communion to the remarried, homosexuality and the like.
The Archbishop of Kampala, His Grace Cyprian Kizito Lwanga in his address to the
members of the synod said that poverty is one of the major obstacles in Africa and in
Uganda for the stability of the family. The question Pastoral agents are faced with is
how they should/can spiritually influence the decision of Christian/Catholic couples
to build a home. Our actions should be influenced by our faith and commitment to
God. The synod is not merely a gathering that tries to solve secondary issues such
as communion for the divorced and remarried, rules for divorce, treatment of those
differently oriented in sexuality and guidelines for the cohabiting couples, but it is
concerned about the spirituality of family life and finding the best way to serve them
In the words of Cardinal Maradiaga, the synod’s “main concern” is, in the first
place, the sacramental validity of many Catholic marriages. It is more concerned
about pastoral implementation rather than the doctrine itself. “The doctrine is not
going to change, because the indissolubility of marriage comes from Jesus,” he said.
“The word of God says what God has united men do not separate.” That is clear, of
course; but the question is has God united only some couples?”“In other words, is
there a sacrament or not? This is the key,” he said.4 TH QUARTER 15
As the flock face challenges of Christian living, the pastors of the flock to face
challenges in meaningfully serving them. It is a question of reaching out to them with
the love of Christ, the Good Shepherd. A major challenge is getting pastors and those
working in the parishes to know their flocks and not see them as a number, but souls
which need to be nourished and taken care of. It is also a question of updating the
pastoral approaches of the priests and ministers of the church. It is building a living
community where we truly meet Christ and be nourished by each others’ faith.
The Cardinal continued, “This conversion in pastoral care ‘is one of the biggest
questions’ the Church must face.” Pastoral care of the family has to be re-examined.
He pointed out that marriage preparation as a two- or three-weekend experience is
attended by most who feel it is an obligation and little more, but this treats the Church
as a “customs office” for sacraments.“The Church is not a customs office; we are not
customs officials,” he said. “We have to facilitate faith.”
The synod was blessed with the participation of 12 married couples from different
parts of the universal Church. They brought their “family spirit” to the synod. It is
an unprecedented effort of the Church to listen to the flock. Their unique presence
shows that the pastors of the Church value their presence and contribution in the
Church and they too can guide the church in the course of its journey to the Lord in
the modern times. It is a fact that the spirit of the Lord guiding us even to the choice
of this title. We can be sure that as the family truly needs so many forms of pastoral
assistance the Spirit will guide us to find the solutions.
Now what lesson or guidelines we can take from the spirit of the synod (as its
conclusions have not yet been consolidated) for the church in Uganda as it faces
problems such as cohabitation and polygamy: Church’s hierarchy such as bishops
make conserted effort in making pastoral guidelines, inculturate traditional marriage
customs in line with accepted Church’s canons, instruct the faithful in making
priority in celebrating matrimony amidst financial challenges, be pastorally sensitive
in accommodating the poor and disadvantaged in church’s activities, put in place
catechetical formation for young people in post-confirmation/ mugigi period and
above all cultivate family spirituality through liturgy, family prayer, pastoral visits,
small Christian community activities and other parish programmes.
Let us make Pope Francis’ prayer for synod our own:
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,in you we contemplatethe splendor of true love;to you we
turn with trust.
Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion
and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospeland small domestic Churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection
and division: may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and
Holy Family of Nazareth,make us once more mindfulof the sacredness and
inviolability of the family,and its beauty in God’s plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,graciously hear our prayer.Amen.
Fr. Lazar Arasu SDB
arasuafrica@gmail.com4 TH QUARTER 16
Dates Set for Second Phase of
Synod on Family
The second phase of the Synod on the
Family will be held October 4-25, 2015,
under theme “The vocation and mission
of the family in the church and the
modern world,” Vatican has announced.
The proclamation came as discussion
at the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops
on the Family got underway.
Following the announcement the mid-
term report outlining the main questions
highlighted over the past week of General
Congregations was presented by General
Rapporteur, Cardinal Peter Erdő.
The report shall now be examined
by the bishops, fraternal delegates,
auditors and experts in the ‘minor
circles’ or small working groups.
In the mid-term report the Synod
Fathers noted the need for further
reflection on whether sacramental
fullness doesn’t exclude the possibility
of recognizing positive elements even in
imperfect forms.
For example, whether
there are positive elements
in irregular marriages.
The Synod Fathers make
the point that when a civil
marriage is stable, shows
deep affection and care for
children, then the Church
should work to accompany
it toward Sacramentality.
In the report the Synod
Fathers state that the
Church is particularly
called to recognize
suffering of abandoned
spouses and how children
are the real victims of
family breakups.
Regarding divorced and divorced and
civilly remarried Catholics, the report
speaks of the need for “courageous
pastoral choices” and “new pastoral
paths”. The report calls for case-by-
case discernment according to law
of graduality, particularly regarding
access to the Sacraments. Card. Erdő
said dialogue on this topic will continue
in local Churches over the coming year
and responses will be brought to next
year’s Synod.
The report noted that the question
of cohabitation might indicate
commitment-phobia, but also a choice
that is taken “while waiting for a secure
existence” such as a steady job and
Union with God means living one’s life brilliantly in God and his presence. Thereby,
one’s body becomes a dwelling place of the most Holy Trinity; the sanctuary. The
fullness of invisible God; God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit becomes visible in
his life. The union with God in one’s self is powerfully and precisely contributed
by authentic and frequent reception of Jesus in Eucharist. And here the journey of
Holiness begins officially with one’s awareness. Holiness depends greatly on one’s
cooperation with Grace; the Sanctifying Grace. “Absence of cooperation with Grace
of God is the absence of Holiness.”
As engine cannot function without petroleum or any other oil necessary, so our
spirits seeking for sanctity fails in absence of Eucharist. The Eucharist becomes
the activator for Holiness in this sense, where the fullness of Trinitarian God finds
dwelling place in our hearts and mostly the heart that is prepared for the banquet.
This preparation takes me to the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Here
we find God’s mercy, love and forgives. Forgiveness is not found on earth but from
above is rendered and imparted to the heart that is remorseful. And so the need for
preparation and sincere confession is profoundly necessary here. For this reason it
is recommended for frequent and authentic confession, as much as possible as Don
Bosco would insist with his boys.
I think many have the same experience as I do that certainly the union with God
and journey of Holiness is made difficult but not impossible by various obstacles,
imperfection, spiritual defects, devil and desires of the flesh as found in the letter of
st Paul to Galatians 5:18-25. All these make the spirit sluggish in moving towards to
the Master who calls for perfection. St Francis de sales speaks about the sluggishness
of the soul when attached to the above mention desires of the flesh. Here he gives
three examples of three types of birds; ostrich, hen and eagle. Ostrich does not fly at
all due to its heaviness. It represents those loaded and living in mortal sin. It becomes
difficulty for them to ‘FLY‘towards their Creator. The hen flies once, shortly and with
Union with God4 TH QUARTER 18
difficulties, representing those living in attachment with venial sins and worldly
material. Eagles flies always smoothly, freely and systematically representing those
who are free from sin and worldly materials.
Devout Christians find a concealing place in our mother, Mary Help of Christians
who always grants us her motherly protection. Looking at the history of the church,
no saint has ever attained sanctity without motherly intervention of Mary. Mary plays
an important role in our journey to holiness. She accompanied St John Bosco from
his childhood up to the last breath of his life. Don Bosco could always say “Mary has
done everything, it is the hand of Mary and much more, Mary will provide.” Don
Bosco knew what it means to be devoted to our Mother. And so for Christians to deny
the fact of active presence of Mary in the church and their lives alike, brings an idea
to me about a child that has been abandoned and thrown in the bush by irresponsible
mother. This applies to us when we tend to shut doors of our hearts for Mary not to
enter. Why do we do so? The heart that has encountered our Mother, remains in good
position of attaining union with God for she is always there to draw all souls to Jesus
that are in need of salvation . And so she fully participate in the salvific plan of God
for all people.
Don Bosco remains a vivid example for us all. In his century many would always
wonder about a tendency of a priest going to streets, a priest with cassock playing
with rugged boys. Many could also ask when Don Bosco prayed. But to Don Bosco
everything was prayer. He was a priest open to the signs of time. As we celebrate the
Bicentenary of Don Bosco, let everything that we do, be done for the great glory of
God and salvation of souls and by doing so, Holiness will accompany us for the rest
of our lives.
Novice Titus Mwau
Nun to release debut album featuring ‘Like a Virgin’
Sister Cristina, the Italian nun who became world famous after winning the first edition
of “The Voice” contest in Italy this year, is set to release
her debut album, in which she sings Madonna’s
classic “Like a Virgin”.
The album, to be released Nov 11, has been
produced by Elvezio Fortunato and recorded in
several studios in Los Angeles, while the videoclip
of her first single, “Like a Virgin”, was premiered
Monday on the Vevo musical website
Cristina Scuccia, 25, said her choice of “Like a
Virgin” was intended as “a testimony of god’s
capacity to turn all things into something new”
and of the call she received for a new life, in remarks published by her recording
During her participation in “The Voice”, the Ursuline nun got 100 million visits on
YouTube, where she appeared singing themes like Alicia Keys’s “No One”.
You can watch it on:
UCAN India
Freedom of letting go
My journey to religious life is one I think about everyday. It is really not
the norm to become a religious in today’s world. The time that I decided to
join religious life one of my friend remarked ‘YOU WANT TO LEAVE A JOB
is one among many that were thrown to me when people found out that I was
a Salesian Aspirant in Don Bosco Didia two years ago. For before I told them I’m
having a long holiday before revealing the secret to them. I myself sometimes
sit and wonder and ask myself ‘why did I choose this life?’
Leaving all the pleasures of life in the world out there as a Loan officer in one of
the Bank in Tanzania, I used to recall the quote from Joan Chittister ‘ONCE
DIVINE, LIFE BECOME LUMINOUS’. This is indeed what I feel when I’m
surrounded by Salesian Priests, brother and my fellow Novices here and now in
the Novitiate community in Morogoro. They bring much joy and light in my life
that they let me see who I am and encourage me to share my gifts and talents with
them and the young people in our neighborhood. They lit a light into my heart that
made me see the needs of the world of today and taught me by example and actions to
serve the youth of today with compassion and gentleness. They taught me to see God
in each and every single individual.
For the rest of my life time I will surrender the remote control of my Life and
time to Jesus through the Charism Of Don Bosco. I know well that from now on
I will not have much control over the way I will spend my time, where I will be,
what I will do next etc. I will spend much of my time in my community, believe it
or not this will be the most freeing year of my life. I’m glad to say my community
helps me to stay committed and I continue to choose and grow in my religious
life. HOPE this is a word which encompasses so much meaning for me H-Heart,
O-Opportunity, P-Perseverance and E-Energy, is what hope means to me.
I need all this to be on this journey. First of all my heart has to be in it fully and
secondly this life brings forth opportunity of growth and new insights.
Since religious life is not a norm, many people see it odd to even think about
becoming a priest. I choose to persevere despite what the majority of the world might
think and speak about me. Since in some parts of the world the number of people
joining the Consecrated life has declined some people consider that consecrated
life is going through a serious crisis however for me as a young person intending to
live a Salesian life I look more into the bright side of religious life where I see ever
increasing number of young people willingly coming forward to offer their life to God
and the world of the young people. I’m too busy enjoying the light. My heart is in
what I do and I see opportunities in this ever-changing world. I persevere in being
a good religious as I can be, so when it comes to the future of religious life, I’m
not worried. I can’t dwell on what the past used to be for me nor on what the future
might be. I live the present as happy as I can be. If I dwell on the past and worry
about the future, I will miss what is in front of me today. I have to admit, though, I'm
a bit nervous about it all, this is entirely new to me in almost every way. No one likes
change, especially when that change is as intense one as it is for me. It is part of the
letting go. It is not just about possessions and auotonomy, it also has a lot to do
with letting go of expectation that may prevent me from being completely open
to the Current experience. JESUS has the wheel now and he knows what he is doing
he knows why he took me from there. So JESUS MY LORD lets go on the journey and
I’m coming along for the ride.
Novice Gregory Mpotwa
Fire! Fire! ….Burning bush in
“Fire! Fire! There is the blaze of fire in
the bush, but the bush is not consuming”.
We were all filled with amazement
mixed with fear, worried and frightened
we turned and looked keenly, there in
the burning bush of charming Muslims
boys and girls, young and energetic. We
heard a soft sound saying “Remove your
shoes for the place you are standing is
Holy ground.
That is how we entered novitiate and
found home oratory and parish oratory
in Kihonda Kilimanjaro Morogoro
diocese. Young people welcomed us
with open arms. It has been a very
momentous encounter for us because
God provided us the chance to evangelize
to Muslims. How could a Muslim listen
to a Christian? This reality was far away
from most of us that is why we looked
abet scared at first but as an adage
goes “Don’t judge a book by its cover,”
the young people are not only listening
to us but also many admire our work
including Muslims.
We now have three oratories. Home
oratory, parish oratory and Christ the
King oratory in one of the out station
and is the new oratory. The oratory
starts in the morning after mass up to
2:00pm for senior youth then from
2:00pm to 3:30pm we meet the junior.
They are every gorgeous.
On Wednesdays we go to secondary
schools where we teach catechesis to
catholic students. This year we are in
four secondary schools. We entered
one secondary school for the first
time this year. Kihonda secondary has
many students but very disciplined.
Three quarters of them are Catholics
numbering around eight hundred
students who are very eager to learn and
assimilate catholic faith.
The experience I have in working
with young people is challenging. The
young people eagerly awaits to unlived
with mystics in the spirit who can be
connected to the Vne and bear abundant
fruit. All members of salasian family
young people and all people of good will
let us be mystics. May God bless you
Novice Kevin Simiyu Wasike
Tonj will never forget this wonderful
day. It was 4pm when the Salesian
Family of Don Bosco mission gathered
in fraternal communion with the
Salesian Province of Eastern Africa,
to celebrate the bicentenary birthday
of Don Bosco. One in prayer with the
whole province, the community at
Tonj remembered and celebrated Saint
John Bosco. Early in the afternoon, the
salesian family together with the youth
and got ready to go to the Parish. Once at
the parish, Father Karuiki and his team
led and animated us with a relevant and
meaningful prayer service honouring
St. John Bosco.
People from all walks of life join in
to learn and celebrate Don Bosco. The
Salesians, aspirants, pre-novices, the
daughters of Mary Help of Christians,
members of the Salesian family,
collaborators like the Kagamega sisters,
the Youth and children from the Parish,
Pupils from Don Bosco Bongo Primary
School and from Don Bosco Secondary
School Tonj joined together to celebrate
in prayer the gift of Don Bosco to the
Church. Don Bosco smiles where he is.
Emotionally and prayerfully, our
choir is animated the service. It was
time to thank God for the gift of Saint
John Bosco. Father Karuiki in his
talk presents Don Bosco as a man of
peace. He enthusiastically speaks about
Don Bosco and peace. He skillfully
links scripture, Salesianity and peace
especially in South Sudan. Everybody
follows him with delight.
One of the Youth, in order to quench
his curiosity, asks: “Father, when are we
going to gather again in this manner?”
This young man is not alone to ask such
question. We are looking forward to
having another celebration.

Peace in the footsteps of Saint
John Bosco
On Saturday 30 th August, all the
students of IYS had a day of retreat
Early in the morning, a great number of
students were already at the Carmelites
Convent ready to start a fascinating day.
Fr. Alex Mulongo, SDB, was the
facilitator. The theme was “Mary´s
Magnificat”. He compared the
Magnificat with our own lives as we also
have a mission to accomplish through
the studies. As Mary, we stand at the
service of humanity, we are agents of
change and transformation. Education
becomes a means to personal,
community and society transformation.
Like Mary, we become servants to our
brothers and sisters, all those who need
our service and help.
There was also time for personal
prayer and reflection, for walking and
for sharing with the others. Then we
had lunch together as we were from
different courses and classes.
This day of recollection, besides being
a day of prayer, also gave the students
an opportunity to meet and know the
students of the evening programme
held at the Holy Family Basilica, as
well as the ones doing different courses
(certificates, diplomas, BAs or MAs) in
The interaction part was also a very
interesting part of the programme. It
was a great opportunity to get in touch
with the fellow students whom we
usually do not have the opportunity
to talk to as we all are carried by our
respective courses and timetables.
The students were very grateful for the
experience and they suggested to have a
day like this more often!!!
We thank Fr. Matthew Puthumana,
sdb the new IYS Director, and his team
for providing this opportunity which
is also very important as part of our
Sr. Mary Nginah, FMA
and Sr. Mª Pilar García
Moreda, FMA
First Profession Amidst the
Renewal Mass
15 th August was a very special day in St. Joseph Novitiate - Mutuini, wherein the
First Professions, Renewals and Final professions took place.
During the Morning Mass celebrated by Fr. Hubert Pinto sdb and concelebrated by
Fr. Felice Moline sdb and Fr. David from Sudan, sixteen junior sisters renewed their
vows after which Sr. Cecily Njue (from AFE), Sr. Yodith Belay and Sr. Viola Dakanja
(from AES) made their first profession. The event is a prototype in AFE province. In
attendance were the novices, sisters from AFE, representatives from AES and some
members of Sr. Cecily’s family.
In his homily, Fr. Pinto highlighted five invitations of Mary during her life and how
God does the same with us.
- Invitation to recognize God’s calling (Attuning ourselves to God’s calling)
- Invitation to formation (chance to dialogue with God)
- Acceptance of the call (Making a move after discovering the call of God)
- Ministry (Calling to serve)
- Mary’s song of praise “He is alive” (Voice of the Lord accomplished in us)
He invited the newly professed sisters to be attentive to the voice of God who
calls and gives the grace to the ones he calls. Novices and sisters took active part in
the liturgy with their singing and dancing. After Mass, Sr. Chantal announced the
obediences of the three newly professed Sisters although two were from AES.
Sr. Jackie Kiura, fma
Shortly after the celebrations of
Renewal/First Profession, there was
another Mass in which Sr. Serah
Njeri made her final profession. The
main celebrant was Fr. Simon Asira
sdb the Provincial Vicar for AFE, the
concelebrants were Fr. Samuel Mwangi
sdb, Fr. David Nduati sdb and Fr.
Mbugua the parish priest of Dagoretti.
Sr. Serah was received as a perpetual
member of the institute by Sr. Chantal
Mukase, the provincial, an event
witnessed by two other sisters.
During this Mass, Fr. Simon explained
to all present the meaning of the three
vows as a concrete way of living the
beatitudes proposed in the gospel.
In attendance were all sisters who had
attended the morning Mass, others from
other communities who arrived later,
young people in formation, parishioners
of Dagoretti, friends and relatives of Sr.
Dagoretti choir, youth and PMC
children were a great presence during
the Eucharistic Celebration.
After the Mass, lunch was offered
to all. There was also a time for
entertainments presented to Sr. Serah
and other sisters who had made their
profession earlier in the day, after which
gifts were offered to all.
After the celebrations, all in attendance
left at leisure.
Sr. Jackie Kiura, fma
Final Profession
Once again the VIDES KENYA
compelled by the Love of God invaded
Mutuini with great enthusiasm. They
came to serve and reach out to the
many young people of this area giving
them moral and spiritual formation.
Driven by the theme, ‘Drawing from the
spiritual experience of Don Bosco, we
walk in holiness,’ the volunteers, FMA
sisters and novices embarked on a two
weeks camp to journey with the young
people to holiness.
The Volunteers arrived on 16 th august
and immediately twinned up with the
Sisters, novices and the local animators.
To run this annually awaited event.
They began with three days referred to
as “Together days” basically meant to
be for bonding and final touches for the
camp. The camp was fully entrusted to
God and the guidance of our Lady help
of Christians as Fr. Sebastian Koladiyil
celebrated the camp Entrustment
Mass. On 19 th August, green grounds of
Mutuini Educational Centre become a
serene haven for more than 800 young
people from age 5 to 19 years. They
came daily at 8.30 am, received the
formation lessons based on the camp
theme, life skills sessions, art and craft
and very educative games. The program
ended at 4.45 pm daily.
One of the events witnessed during the
camp was the camp reach out program
to other disadvantaged children at
Dagoretti Centre special children’s
home and school. This event was carried
out by the Volunteers and the Sisters
as it was on the weekend. Charity is at
the core of every volunteering initiative
A Camp to Remember – VIDES
Camp August 2014
and they spent the weekend sharing
shared love with children with special
health condition and learnt more about
children’s rights, care and protection.
It was a day set out to experience the
gospel lifestyle of Jesus in daily lives
as a way of making our society a better
place for bringing up the little ones in
the light of God’s faith. The same team
reached out to the Missionary children
at Our lady Queen of apostles’ Dagoretti
parish church and spent their time
guiding them and having fun with them.
This act of charity was extended to the
camp participants. All of them were
involved in a reach out charity exercise
to the neighbourhood. They brought a
lot of food stuff and visited the sick, the
aged and those who are in need within
the Mutuini surroundings. They became
evangelizers of the good News.
It was a touching experience as
children did a lot of cleaning, fetching
water and firewood, shaving the elderly
and many other acts of kinds. Prayers
preceded everything.
The camp progressed very well and
days seemed to fly. On the closing day,
the area chief Kange’the with three
associates, four members from the
parish council of Dagoretti honoured
the event. They gave very encouraging
words to the Children and youth. They
registered their appreciation for the
work done by the VIDES group in
collaboration with the Sisters. On the
other hand all the children and youth
gave a true witness and a seal to whet
they had learnt by displaying creatively
the theme. They had poems, songs,
dances and act outs that left everyone
amazed and touched.
Going out of the compound was
difficult and everyone was happy seeing
the success of the camp. The camp was
officially closed with a Thanksgiving
cum commissioning mass celebrated
by Rev. Fr. Minja SDB from Bosco
Boys Kuwinda. eleven Volunteers were
commissioned as it was their first camp
experience while the others renewed
their Volunteering commitment. Many
thanks to Sister Teresa Fernandes and
the entire Mutuini community whom
we cherish and owe much of thanks
for giving us the school compound to
carry on with our camp 2014 program.
The welcome accorded to all the
Volunteers was unforgettable. Our
heartfelt gratitude to Sr. Laurenzia,
Sr. Juliet from Makuyu , Sr. Irene
from Dagoretti community and Sr.
Florence from Embu Community all
FMAs for their continued material and
spiritual support. Many thanks too to
all the benefactors who made this camp
special through generous donations.
Without them we could not manage.
Special thanks to all the Volunteers who
physically participated in the camp and
those who supported the camp from
a distance. The VIDES Leaders who
worked very closely in collaboration
with the Sisters to see through the
camp program. And to those who made
unseen sacrifices and offered prayer for
the same, we say a big THANK YOU!!!
May VIDES Kenya continue growing
day by day and may we touch many
lives. Viva VIDES KENYA!!!!!
Bernard Ngigi
VIDES Kenya Chairman
On 2 nd August, sisters representing all
the FMA communities of AFE Province
gathered in Laura Vicuna Community -
Makuyu for the Provincial Gratitude Day.
The day began with Holy Mass
presided over by Fr. Abel Njeru sdb the
parish priest of Makuyu. In his homily,
he expounded the theme of the day:
“Rejoice!” with some of the reflections
given in the encyclical of Pope Francis,
“The joy of the Gospel”. He
stressed on the importance of unity in
community from where we are sent and
the only place where we can fully express
our joys and concerns of our mission.
During the Mass, the young people in
formation and a number of sisters took
part in liturgical dances and singing that
made the liturgy livelier.
Soon after, there was lunch, followed
by entertainment in which different
groups/communities took part. During
this moment, sisters presented their
gifts to Sr. Chantal.
When all was done, Sr. Chantal gave a
speech to the sisters appreciating each of
them for their signs of love, prayer and
support. She gave to each one present
a chocolate bar and a souvenir bearing
the theme of the day. May God guide
Sr. Chantal in this great and noble task.
Sr. Jackie Kiura, fma
FMA Provincial Gratitude Day
VIDES KENYA has been on the move
since its humble beginning back in
2000. Numerous Kenyan young adults
have given their time, talent, love and
service freely to animate young people
in various activities. This August it
celebrated its 14 th Anniversary as VIDES
Kenya. Reflecting on those 14 years we
can conclude that VIDES Kenya is truly
God’s initiative. He inspired those from
the United Kingdom who brought and
sowed the seed and those who continued
to water and look after it here in Kenya.
The leaders have been working hard
with great commitment and dedication.
They have been organizing one program
after the other and every year the VIDES
group reaches out to over 2000 children
and youth in various activities of
animation. The Volunteers themselves
have been amazingly vibrant and
enthusiastic. The Sisters have given this
group maximum support and this has
seen its growth as these youngsters feel
so happy and appreciated. Currently
the active members number 120. They
are organized in eight small local units
but many activities constantly bring
them together. These activities range
from very active ones like the holiday
formation camps and Easter and public
holidays fun days to contemplative ones
like the annual retreat and formation
sessions. May God continue blessing
this seed.
Sr. Laurenzia Ndiwiga, FMA
VIDES Kenya on the move
As we come to the close of this meaningful year (2014) of the family, DBYES
community thought it wise to have a symposium on family. Through this short article,
we share with you part of the reflection we had during the symposium.
Since God’s plan for marriage and the family touches men and women in the
concreteness of their daily existence in specific social and cultural situations, the
Church ought to apply herself to understanding the situations within which marriage
and the family are lived today, in order to fulfill her task of serving.
Family is the basic fabric of the society. But what is meant by family. The word
‘family’ is from Latin word Familia. In the human context, the family is defined as ‘a
group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence.
In most societies it is the principle institution for the socialization of the children.
The families and the extended families or kinship ties were the only kind of institution
in the pre-colonial era or the so-called primitive societies. This means to talk of
societal institution was to refer to families. The family carried out all the functions
of the society such as political, educational, religious, economical, emotional and
protective duties.
The historical situation in which the family lives therefore appears as interplay of
light and darkness. This shows that history is not a fixed progression towards what
is better, but rather an event of freedom, and even a struggle between freedoms that
are in mutual conflict between two lovers: the love of God to the point of disregarding
Causes of the family disintegration and problems
 Secularism materialism
 Eclipse of sense of faith in God and the human person e.g Godlessness
Family: Transformative Parenting4 TH QUARTER 33
 Selfishness
 Lose of meaning of family and value of life
 In appropriate Media exposure
1. Family prayer
Educating the children to moral Values- it becomes necessary therefore on the
part of all to recover an awareness of the primacy of moral values, which are the
valuesof the human person as such. The great task that has to be faced today for
the renewal of society is that of recapturing the ultimate meaning of life and its
fundamental values.
Only an awareness of the primacy of these values enables man to use the immense
possibilities given him by science in such a way as to bring about true advancement
of the human person in his or her whole truth, in his or her freedom and dignity.
Science is called to ally itself with wisdom.
2. Parent intervention to children exposure to media
Good examples and genuine witness by parents and leaders.
3. Proper understanding of freedom
The following words of the second Vatican Council can either be applied to the
problems of the family: ‘Our era needs such wisdom more than bygone ages if the
discoveries made by man are to be further humanized. For the future of the world
stands in peril unless wiser people are forthcoming.
The education of moral conscience, which makes every human being capable of
judging and discerning the proper ways to achieve self-realization according to his or
her original truth, thus becomes a pressing requirement that cannot be renounced.
What becomes of the family today depends largely on the parents, environment, society,
government and church. Everybody therefore, must work hard to save the family.
Fr. Benn Agunga, DBYES- Nairobi,Kenya.
What friendly place to be very nice clean welcoming and
above all cool environment to enjoy. Personally I liked it being
there for only one week to me it seemed to be many years.
I was moved by the activities that took place before I resumed
back to school. My gratitude goes to Salesians Fathers at
DBYES, staffs, animators (tutors who we were easily coping
with in all we did) and my colleagues, youths who helped me
a lot in revision . Myself I also felt very comfortable especially
when they came up with a smile situation that I was going
through I was very happy and thankful for that.
Finally I want to confirm to you that the programme was great and we are longing
to have it again come next holiday promising to inform other youths about what I
learnt. May God bless you all again. Thanks a lot.
MaryAnn Njeri –DBYES Youth (Komothai Girls)4 TH QUARTER 34
I never imagined that spending a day
full of noise could lead to happiness. You
just never know how weak you are each
day when dawn presents yet another day
full of noisy blessing. The experience of
living Salesian Spirituality unravels this
mystery every time i animate a group
of young people seeking happiness. It
is not easy for an educator to entertain
noise but it takes steadfast love to
appreciate such noises and find solace
amongst hundreds of noisy children.
This is a real test of patience that
our Great Father Don Bosco made it
ordinary till this digital era.
As a Vides Kenya leader, you just don’t
know how to make fuss of volunteers
every time a situation arises and you
ought to listen even though your ears
can hear reverberation of children
shouting or chanting simple lyrics. This
is the reality I personally experienced
during our annual Vides Camp at
Mutuini Education Centre in the month
of August. I woke up every morning
just glad to be alive and mingle with my
fellow volunteers as well as animating
the young people who frequented our
camp sharing the love of God. It was such
a great joy to cheer up everybody during
the morning assembly praising God
for the blessing of a new day. To them,
Vides volunteers are just friends whom
they share and open up their hearts to
without feeling nervous. For the two
weeks Vides Kenya animated the young
people in the camp, many concerns
were raised especially about the moral
lifestyle young people are exposed to
and forced to live by circumstances of
life. I felt challenged by these new ways
of life and especially modern parenting
that has much to borrow from the Holy
family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
In my life as a volunteer formed
in the Salesian way, I learnt that
it is worth to put up with the
noise of the children so that I can
understand them better. This for
sure is something that i deem
paramount to share with all as it
is what Don Bosco wants of me
– to hear and recognize the voice
of the sheep journeying together
in holiness. When we give off
ourselves in the service of the
Lord, we simply choose the way to
happiness which could be full of
challenges but always promising
and full of hope. This I have experienced
in my own personal level both as a Vides
volunteer and educator.
It felt so good and rewarding
especially when I reflect on the words
of St. Josemaria in his book the way
no. 487, “don’t worry over the financial
difficulties which threaten your apostolic
undertaking. Have greater confidence
in God, do all that your human means
permit; and you will see how soon
money ceases to be a difficulty!
I thank God for the gift of Don Bosco
for through him Salesian Spirituality
has become a means to happiness even
in the midst of noise.

Vides Kenya Chair
The way to happiness4 TH QUARTER 35
The International
Historical Congress
for the Bicentenary,
one of the major
events planned for
this year, will be held
at the Salesianum
in Rome from 19
to 23 November. It
will bring together
representatives of
all the Provinces of
the Salesians and
the Daughters of
Mary Help of Christians. The theme is
“Development of the charism of Don
Bosco up to the middle of the twentieth
It is an event designed jointly
by SDB and FMA from the outset.
The coordinating group consists of
Fr Francesco Cereda, Vicar of the Rector
Major, Sister Piera Cavaglià, Secretary
General of the FMA, Fr Aldo Giraudo
for the history of Salesian spirituality,
Fr José Manuel Prellezo for the history
of Salesian pedagogy, Fr Giorgio Rossi
for the history of the Salesians and
Fr Bruno Bordignon as secretary.
The final version of the programme
of the Congress was published recently.
There will be nine lectures in the course
of the mornings and thirty-eight group
sessions in the afternoons. There will
also be the launch of three books:
“Salesian Sources”, “Letters of Don
Bosco”, and “Salesian Historiography -
studies and documentation in the post-
conciliar period”.
The programme is divided into three
days of study on the history of Salesian
work, pedagogy and spirituality.
There will be two half-days, one for
the opening and another to conclude.
In these sessions there will be some
presentations on the current state of
the charism of Don Bosco. Among
those present will be the Rector Major,
the Mother General of the FMA and
representatives of the groups of the
Salesian Family.
The Preparatory Committee agreed on
the theme and title of the Congress after
several meetings and much discussion.
Sister Grace Loparco explains: “The
question may arise: why celebrate the
Bicentenary of the Birth of Don Bosco
with an event that aims not to study
his person directly, but the work that
originated from him and continued after
him? In fact, the biographical story of
Don Bosco remains in the background,
for several reasons. One is that much
has been written about him and the
context in which he lived. Another
conference on the personal story of Don
Bosco would be less useful as we look
forward, as he loved to do, in terms of
history and geography.”
She goes on to say: “With this theme
we are fully in line with the Salesian
historiography which, for at least the
past fifteen years, has been studying
Salesian work after the death of the
founder. There is the story of a life that
began on 16 August 1815 and ended on 31
January 1888. There is simultaneously
the story of the origin of a charism that
began with him and has spread to all
International Historical Congress
for the Bicentenary4 TH QUARTER 36
Oratorian at Rimini
Alberto Marvelli was born at Ferrari
on 21st March 1918, the second of seven
brothers. When he moved to Rimini
with the family he began to attend the
Salesian Oratory there. He was always
available and became a catechist and
leader: the Salesians’ right arm. He
loved to play all kinds of sport. He
took St Dominic Savio and Pier Giorgio
Frassati as his models. At 17 years of age
he wrote down his project of life in his
diary; it would renew his life.
Catholic Action
He joined the Oratory group for
Catholic Action soon becoming its parish
president. He offered his service to the
Church in Rimini as the diocesan vice
president of CA. As an engineeering
student in Bologna, he took an active part
in FUCI, remaining faithful to daily Mass.
Work with FIAT, Turin
In June 1942 he graduated and began
working with Fiat in Turin. He did his
military service in Trieste, and succeeded
in bringing many of his friends to Mass.
During the Second World War he
became an apostle amongst displaced
persons and a real source of providence
for the poor.
Town clerk at Rimini
After the Allies arrived in Rimini
he was apppointed as an alderman in
the Town Council in the department
responsible for rebuilding, and the
engineer in charge of civil engineering:
“ The poor are on our doorstep” he said;
“the others can wait”.
Candidate for Christian Democrats
He agreed to run for the elections as a
candidate for the Christian Democrats.
He was recognised as a committed
Christian by everyone, but was never
divisive, so much so that one of his
communist opponents said: “I don’t
mind if my Party loses, so long as
Engineer Marvelli becomes Mayor”.
Nurtured by the Eucharist
The Bishop appointed him president
of Catholic graduates. His Marian
and Eucharistic devotion really were
the supporting columns in his life:
“What a new world opens up to me
contemplating Jesus in the Blessed
Sacrament”, he wrote in his diary. Each
time I receive Holy Communion, each
time Jesus in his divinity and humanity
enters into me, in contact with my soul,
it awakens holy ideas in me, a burning
and consuming flame, but one that
makes me so happy!”.
Good Christian and honest
He died when he was hit by an army
truck on 5th october 1946. He was, as
Don Bosco wanted, a good Christian and
upright citizen,
committed to
the Church and
society with a
Salesian heart.
As a youth his
motto was: We go
forward or we die.
He was beatified
on 5 September
2004, at Loreto,
Italy, by Pope
John Paul II.
Alberto Marvelli - Salesian Saint4 TH QUARTER 37
From Monday to Wednesday, 6-8
October, a meeting took place at the
Salesian Generalate of the international
team that will decide on the content and
methodology of SYM DON BOSCO 2015,
the great international meeting of the
Salesian Youth Movement which will be
held in Turin and Colle Don Bosco from
10 to 16 August 2015. “I like the idea of
this meeting, and the composition of the
Commission, because it is international
and inter-cultural. This is the spirit of
the present age.” So said the Rector
Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, at
the beginning of the first session.
The meeting involved 21 people,
Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help
of Christians involved in youth ministry
from all the Regions of the Congregation.
The common goal is to prepare the
material for the morning reflections,
liturgical celebrations and the vigil for
15 August 2015. The motto that
guides and enlightens the work
is the Strenna for 2015: “Like
Don Bosco, with young people,
for young people.”
The work methodology
provided, in the first place, a
focus on the objectives to be
achieved by following the path
suggested by the Rector Major
in his Strenna. The group
reflected on two questions:
• What are the elements, the
content and the procedures
to be put in place to make
prayerful experience and
a model of prayer for the
Salesian Family?
• What contribution can
the event make so that
it can have strong spiritual and
charismatic results not only during
those days in Valdocco and Colle,
but also thereafter?
As a second step, working groups
were set up with specific aims: music,
liturgy, Don Bosco’s charism, personal
testimonies, and so on.
The General Councillor for Youth
Ministry, Fr Fabio Attard, insisted on
a number of criteria for the success of
the group: working together; valuing
our charismatic and spiritual heritage;
keeping in mind the universality of
the Salesian Family; thinking globally
(languages , gestures, expressions,
etc.); establishing effective systems of
communication and sharing; making
contact with others in various parts of
the world.
Working towards the SYM Don
Bosco Meeting in 20154 TH QUARTER 38
In Lebanon, a Major Catholic
Village Walks Its Way of the Cross
At Border With Syria, Town of Kaa
Has History of Terror, Discrimination
The village of Kaa is in the north of
the Bekaa Valley, close to the Syrian
border. It has a population of some
13,000 Christians, most of them
Melkites. After the city of Zahle, this is
the home of the country’s the largest
Catholic population. Kaa is surrounded
by mostly Shiite Muslim communities.
Kaa has been very poor for a long time,
with government services largely absent.
On July 1, 1975, Islamic extremists from
adjacent villages violently attacked
the community. Five people were
martyred. The government did nothing
to intervene. In fact, army reports at the
time did not even mention the incident.
After the arrival of Syrian troops in
Lebanon in 1978, Kaa residents were
divided into those supporting and
opposing that presence. The government
cracked down on local critics, especially
members of the Kataeb party. On June
28, 1978, Syrian intelligence forces
arrested 15 young members. Their
lifeless bodies were brought back the
next morning.
That incident left deep scars. It created
a climate of fear and many residents
opted for moving to Beirut. At the same
time, there was an aggressive push to
sell local land to outsiders.
From 1978 until 2005—that is to
say, during the time of Syria’s de facto
occupation of Lebanon—the Syrian army
took charge of security in the village.
That meant a climate of repression, as
well as psychological and ideological
terror that came to dominate the daily
life of the local population.
Ever since that time, according to
well-informed sources at the municipal
level, there have continued to be
illegal seizures of land, and a complete
absence of legality governing the 4 TH QUARTER 39
allotment of housing. Inhabitants of the
neighboring Sunni village of Ersal set
up shop in an agricultural zone dubbed
“the Kaa projects.” They built houses
there, as well as mosques and schools,
without any permission or any kind of
regulation. This development has made
local Christians afraid of a demographic
shift that would erase the Christian
presence in the community.
With the start of the Syrian civil war
in 2011, the area came into the spotlight
again. Kaa became home to 25,000
Syrians, most of them Sunni, and
sporadic fighting broke out between
the Syrian army and the opposition—a
further setback for the people of Kaa.
A number of homes were damaged and
fields burned down. Trade with Syria
was greatly hampered. A still worse
climate of insecurity and instability
was created. Each arrival of strangers
triggered fears of massacres such as
the ones being committed in Syria. The
future for local Christians has begun to
look very dark.
Throughout the history of Lebanon,
the village of Kaa only made the news
during crises. And so it is today,
with the spill-over from the warring
factions in Syria, such as Al-Nusra and
Hezbollah, continuing their battles
across the border here in Lebanon.
The Syrian conflict is raging all along
from the Syrian hinterland to chain of
mountains straddling the Lebanese-
Syrian border to the east, from Ersal to
Kaa. The border is regularly bombed by
the Syrian army, with shells and rockets
striking Lebanese territory.
The Christians of Kaa are living in
a state of permanent terror regarding
their future—for a number of reasons:
The location of the village being
right beside the border; any fighting
just across the border in Syria has
ramifications in Kaa;
The people of Kaa are living in territory
controlled by the Shiite Hezbollah, who
in support of the Syrian regime use
Lebanese border villages as staging
grounds for rocket attacks aimed at
rebel forces in Syria;
Then there is the massive Sunni
presence in the region that is home
to the “Kaa projects,” an area that has
continued to grow considerably in the
wake of the arrival of waves of Muslim
Syrian refugees who threaten to displace
the local Christians.
Bands of Islamic radicals belonging
to factions like Al-Nusra freely move
about in Ersal, killing civilians and
engaging the Lebanese army in fire
fights. The people of Kaa are on
constant alert in the face of the threat of
terrorist organizations expanding their
presence, a presence that can easily turn
murderous for Christians. Just like the
Christians that suffered such heinous
acts at the hands of ISIS in Mosul, many
residents of Kaa are driven to exile.
Under these sad and difficult
circumstances and utterly lacking
security, the Christians of Kaa have no
choice but to arm themselves with their
faith and hope—all the while waiting
to see how the situation in Syria will
develop. Although Kaa is in Lebanon,
its fate is always tied to the conditions
across the border. As such, the situation
of the Christians of Kaa is as dramatic
as any faced by other Christians in the
Middle East.
Nun and Archbishop Tell Their Stories
Sister Maria of Nazareth has committed herself to an extraordinary mission. The
Argentinian nun from the Institute of the Incarnate Word has been living in Aleppo,
Syria, for the past two months, ministering to a traumatized Christian community in
the former million-strong metropolis in the north of the country, which has suffered
some of the worst violence of
the three year civil war.
Previously based in the Gaza
Strip, Sister Maria has seen
her share of violence. “Our
task in this country is very
special. We are constantly
confronted with people’s
suffering. The war is having a
profoundly deleterious effect
on human dignity. People are
losing their loved ones, their
freedom and their rights due
to the violence. On top of this
there is poverty and a lack of
the most basic things, such
as electricity and water,” the
young nun reports.
She lives in the compound of the Apostolic Vicariate of the Latin Rite in Aleppo,
together with some fellow nuns. All of Syria’s Roman Catholics fall under the Vicariate.
Reports Sister Maria: “We work in a hostel for female students at the local university,
which is operated by the Vicariate. We also take care of the sacristy and the liturgy in
the cathedral. On top of that, we look after the faithful who visit the cathedral. Our
main task is to listen to the people who are suffering, offer them words of hope, and
help the best we can to meet their most basic needs.
“Certainly only the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ can bring about the miracle of
sowing the seed of hope in these souls. But war is a terrible and cruel thing.”
Archbishop Jean Abdo Arbach of the Melkite Diocese of Homs knows this all
too well. The Melkite spiritual leader is coping with huge damage in his diocese,
whose history goes back to the 4th century. Dozens of churches, some dating back to
the local Church’s very beginnings, have been damaged or destroyed.
“Last February, an armed gang broke into the Church of Our Lady of Yabroud, a 4th
century church. They destroyed the fittings in the church, smashed the crucifix, threw
the icons on the floor and tore the pages out of the Gospel. Then the gang burned the
altar,” the archbishop recounts.
However, some churches were destroyed not by the rebels, but by the Syrian army,
Christians Struggle to Rebuild
Their Lives in Syria
such as the Church of St. George in nearby Nabek, which crumbled under an army
bombardment in November 2013.
Not only the infrastructure of the diocese is in terrible shape—the people of the
region, above all, have suffered the devastation.
“To date our archdiocese has counted 96 martyrs. The fate of 26 people is uncertain,”
the archbishop notes. More than 1,800 families from his diocese have left their houses
to seek safety elsewhere in Syria or have fled to Lebanon.
“From my visits to the houses of the families and from the reports by my priests, it
is clear that everyone has been hurt by the tragic events. We have begun to support
about 600 families with monthly assistance,” says the prelate, explaining that Syria’s
high inflation rate is causing the local community great difficulty: “The prices are
shooting up while wages are stagnating.”
Despite all the hardships, however, the archbishop affirms that there are no signs
that people’s spiritual life is collapsing. On the contrary, he insists: “The crisis has
triggered a major return to faith and prayer among those who have not left their
villages. Though having to deal with fear and the constant threat of bombs, families
are remaining loyal to their religious convictions.”
The local Church is doing what it can to continue its catechetical work to ensure that
the faith is passed on to children and youth. “About 3,300 young people take part in
our catechetical classes. Some 350 teachers are looking after them,” the archbishop
Still, a number of Church facilities where those classes are held have been damaged
in the fighting and Archbishop Arbach relies on help from Catholic charities to find
the means for repair and rebuilding initiatives. “Our Church needs help of all kinds:
spiritual, material, medical and psychological. The Church in this part of Syria will be
in real danger if we don’t react quickly,” he warns.
The Nobel Peace Prize went Friday to
17-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai
and India’s Kailash Satyarthi for their
work promoting children’s rights.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee
awarded the prize saying that peaceful
global development can only come about
if children and the young are respected.
Malala is the youngest person to be
awarded the globally prestigious annual
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee
has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize
for 2014 is to be awarded to Kailash
Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their
struggle against the suppression of
children and young people and for the
right of all children to education,” the
jury said.
Malala Yousafzai who survived being
shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012
was recognised for fighting for years for
the right of girls to education, showing
by example that children can contribute
to improving their own situations.
“This she has done under the
most dangerous circumstances,” the
committee said. “Through
her heroic struggle she
has become a leading
spokesperson for girls’ rights
to education.”
In response to hearing
news of the award, Pakistan’s
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
said that Malala was the
‘pride of Pakistan’.
It also said that the
prize recognised work by
Satyarthi to head various
forms of protests and
demonstrations, all peaceful,
focusing on the grave exploitation of
children for financial gain.
“Children must go to school and not
be financially exploited,” the committee
“In conflict-ridden areas in particular,
the violation of children leads to
the continuation of violence from
generation to generation.”
Nobel Peace Prize goes to Pakistan’s
Malala and India’s Satyarthi4 TH QUARTER 434 TH QUARTER 44