Council Resources

Newsletter February 2013

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Newsletter no. 40, February 2013

At a glance
In other news

WYD RIO 2103

WYD 2013 Rio

Request from the joint YM and SC Commission at national level in Brazil - Could you please include this banner (and its link to their site at in your local Salesian websites.

Salesians in formation: new spaces for evangelisation

Social communication, Internet, social networks and use of such tools for an improved evangelisation were topics tackled during the meeting of Salesians information in Venezuela, held from 8-12 February at Sacred Heart Novitiate, in San Antonio de los Altos.
     The inspiration for the gathering was the recent message of Pope Benedict XVI for World Communication Day: “Social Networks: portals of truth and faith, new spaces for evangelisation”. The media influence in society amongst young people today is evident, the Holy Father says, “social communication and social networks are a way to bring digital evangelisation to many people in these virtual fields”.
     As reported in the Message, it is natural that someone with faith wants to share it respectfully and tactfully, with those they meet in the digital forum; discussion on faith in social networks confirms yet again the relevance of religion in public and social discourse. Nevertheless, recalls the Pope “if our efforts to share the Gospel bring forth good fruit, it is always because of the power of the word of God itself to touch hearts, prior to any of our own efforts. Trust in the power of God’s work must always be greater than any confidence we place in human means”.
     As part of this discussion over the 5 days of work, there were workshops run by professionals, aimed at improving our pastoral service to the young: these were about design, theatre, music, audiovisuals, internet and digital graphics. Fr Raúl Biord, Vice Provincial and Formation Delegate was the coordinator, along with Dr. Alba Rondon, national Social Communications Delegate.
     The students of theology led sporting and recreational activities which helped create a happy climate for sharing. Aspirants from Puerto la Cruz, prenovices and postnovices from La Macarena, novices, who hosted the meeting, and theology students from Macaracuaym, took part, as well as three volunteers from San Fernando de Atabapo, Valencia and Molinete. Practical trainees were unable to take part since they were tied up with academic activities. Bishop Luis Tineo, Auxiliary bishop of Caracas was also part of the event, sharing his experiences in the social communications area and presenting the “Church Now” project, a weekly publication that brings together ideas and reflection from the faithful in Caracas archdiocese.
     The event was also an opportunity for fellowship and prayer, as well as allowing those in formation to better appreciate what the media and technology offer by way of advantage in the Salesian mission, and for opening up paths to evangelisation.

Don Bosco’s feast day with media professionals

The Institute for Culture and Rural Development (I-CARD), based in Jorhat, Assam, India, organised a special event for Don Bosco's feast day on 31 January for media agencies in the north east.
     Six newspapers and local magazines took part in the event – The Ecletic, The Assam Tribune, Eastern Chronicle, Jan Sadharan, Asomiya Khabar and Amar Oxom –  who came together at the Don Bosco-Life Plus campus to celebrate and honour Don Bosco on the 125 anniversary of his death. They recognised his great capacity for media.
     “The gathering aimed at rendering homage to Don Bosco, a Saint who was a media giant” said Fr Thomas Kalapurackal, sdb, founder and director of I-CARD. Celebrations began with a cultural programme, run by Mrs Puspalata Mili, a young woman who had left school but then took it up again and finished up with a Masters in communication and journalism.
     After highlighting Don Bosco's contribution to media Fr Kalapurackal invited the various professionals present think how media can foster development rather than just mirroring what is happening. He emphasised how it is necessary for media to move from just being passive spectators, often focused on negative dimensions of reality, to being proactive agents of development in the community.
     The director of I-CARD also promised to make the Salesian structures and possibilities at I-CARD available to media professionals who wanted to conduct workshops or formation programmes. “I-CARD would be very proud to collaborate in helping inforamtion media in this region to be more professional and up to date”.
     Mr Suryya Kr Chetia from the Assam Tribune, along with other professionals, showed certain interest in the idea of starting up an information agency in Jorhat to cover the Upper Assam region. “I-CARD could be an ideal base: with its 350 young Misings (local tribe) groups spread around villages in 8 districts throughout Assam and 3 in Arunachal Pradesh, it would be a perfectly suitable 'galaxy' for gathering and distributing news” Fr Kalapurackal said.
     Meanwhile the Salesians are setting up an audio-video and radio studio there for the community, tools that can be a support platform for the hypothetical news agency.

Ecuador - 125 years

On Monday 28 January, Ecuador celebrated the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the Salesians in the country. The first missionaries disembarked at Guayaquil on 12 January 1888 and reached Quito on the 28th of the same month. Don Bosco, who died three days later, on 31 January 1888, found out about their arrival and sent them his blessing.
     To celebrate the occasion the new set-up for the “Grupo Editorial Salesiano” was opened bringing together Salesian Social Communication works – LNS, Abya Yala, Audiovisuales Don Bosco. There is also space for the José Ruaro Salesian Publications Centre, which looks after: “Ser Joven”, “Ser Familia”, “Anunciar”, “Ser Peques” and “Luz del Domingo” magazines.
     Fr Marcelo Farfán, the Provincial, presided at the blessing ceremony for the new area, and many Salesians, officials and members of Salesian communications work were present.
Dr. Viviana Montalvo, Vice Rector of the Salesian Polytechnic University, Quito proposed the toast and emphasised how the Salesians had been able to carry out all their projects thanks to a work of cooperation and the great contribution of people who had accompanied them over the years since they came to Ecuador.
     The new Salesian Provincial House community dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was also blessed for the 125th. It brings together the El Girón and old Provincial House, a process that has been in place since August 2011.
     The new community structures are open to Salesians throughout the province  and also offer better care for those who are of poor health; this has all been possible thanks to the cooperation of many people, coordinated by the Provincial Economer, Fr Alfredo Espinoza

From you

A meeting of the “Africa Regional Consulta” of the Social communication is taking place in Lubumbashi DR Congo. Three people: one from the English speaking region, one from the French speaking region together with the Provincial in-charge of communication of the CIVAM are trying to make an Africa Salesian Social Communication System (ASSCS) basing on the Salesian Social Communication System (SSCS) of the Congregation. This will be finalized in the meeting of all the SC delegates of the Region in November 2013. This draft will also be presented in the World Consulta which will take place in Rome in April 2013. There are also other agendas which are discussed in the meeting. The meeting will end on 15th Friday this month.
Harambee Link,
East Africa

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BRAZIL: animation visit to 6 Provinces: 16 Feb - 9 March
ROME:  Pisana-Salesianum, 11-14 April 2013, the SC World Advisory Council (aka Consulta).

ROME: UPS, 3-4 May 2013 Formators and formandi, initial formation Italy for study of World Communications Day Message 2013.
ROME: Pisana-Salesianum, 9-12 May 2012, all SC Delegates Europe.
ROME: Pisana 3-6 October, European Publishers
THAILAND: 21-24 October 2013 all SC Delegates EAO (precise location t.b.a).

Animation - Letter from Fr Filiberto

My dear confreres and friends of SC,

It is a pleasure as always to greet you - this time from Recife. I am making an animation visit to the Provinces in Brazil. I have already visited Sao Paulo, Fortalezza, currently Recife and then I leave for Campo Grande.

You know that one of the principal concerns of our sector has always been to foster joint effort and unity amongst sectors so that we can carry out the Salesian mission to the young all together.

Recife Province, in order to achieve this new way of thinking, brings all local coordinators of sectors together every six months. They are called together by the Provincial and the meeting is organised by Delegates of each sector: youth ministry, vocations, missions, communication, administration and the schools network, parishes, social welfare activity...

I have been asked to present the SSCS to 70 people here, all from these local sectors. I have to say that while the fact is in itself remarkable, the process that is involved and the change of mindset that it is generating is even better.

Good experiences like this are to be praised and imitated, since it is an investment in the future and for the good of the charism, youth and the Salesian institution. We have to change along with the young people and the times, but always at the service of God and these young people, as Don Bosco did.

Greetings from members of the team both at the Pisana and in Recife,

Fraternally in Don Bosco,
Fr Filiberto González, Councillor for SC

Information: Data completion GC27 & SC Department

Data concerning Social Communications in the Province.
We need this data to be filled in online by every province around the world - so that GC27 members in the first instance, but also the Department, have accurate data.

SC Delegates are already accustomed to providing one of these forms online. We need this form to be updated and also the GC27 data (different data) to be completed.
You can access both data forms at:
SC statistics
Or alternatively, see full URL at bottom of page.

If you need to contact us:

Provincial Delegate for Social Communication
It is essential that you are registered with and that you are logged in with your registration details (username and password). cf: sdb guide
Whoever compiles this data must be enabled by to do so, otherwise he or she will not be able to access or save the form’s details. Under normal circumstances the compiler is the SC Delegate. If that person is newly registered or has changed, he or she should inform of the fact so they can be duly enabled.
Two separate forms are to be filled in:
       *  Basic information for GC27
        * Basic information for the SC Dept.
3. PROCEDURE FOR Basic information for GC27
        * Choose your Province from the dropdown list
        * Choose the country (belonging to your province) which is relevant for each response. This is essential for GC27 information since the Statistical Data booklet (or its online version) provides information regarding activities per country as well as per province.
        * Choose 2013 as the year
If your province has more than one country, complete the form for each country (even if you only need to insert a series of zeros as a response to the questions or leave them blank) and click send when you complete the details for that country. Repeat this operation each time for as many countries as you have selected, that is each country in your province.

    Meaning of terms:
    beneficiaries translates the Italian 'destinatario', a target group or set of individuals. In some cases it may be impossible to guess how many these are, so leave it blank if that is the case. Where you have at least an approximate round figure, you can include it. In rare cases you will have a quite specific number in mind.
    part time: SDB with more than one assignment.

If you had already filled in relevant data in a previous year, it will show up in the boxes - this will only be the case for certain boxes which previously belonged to the second form, Basic information for the SC Dept. You can always adjust this data if it is currently different.

Compiler’s name
Whoever the person is who fills out this form needs to complete the form by putting in his or her name (Surname, first name), and date. An optional space is provided for comment. If there are questions relating to the details on the form, doubts about certain items, it would be best to send a separate email.

Please do not forget to press Send, as many times as you need after completing data for a country. This places the data in a holding place where it will be checked by a human being before being transferred to the definitive database.

4. PROCEDURE FOR Basic information for the SC Dept
This form is essentially the form that has already existed for several years, so by rights it should already show information that the Delegate has earlier completed earlier.
The procedure is similar to what has just been applied to the first form except that there is no need to identify the country for any of the items. But please choose the current year - 2013. If data has not altered (and is visible) you may leave it as such. Otherwise update it.
The questions are of a yes/no type, so none of the questions should present any particular difficulty.
As for the first form, do not forget to press Send after completing the form.

Formation: Seeking help from scholarship. no. 3

If we are prepared to assert the theological import of communications per se, then it makes sense to seek out appropriate guides who are both knowledgeable and perceptive about communications, and open to its intrinsic fides querens intellectum possibilities.
     One need go no further than Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian, convert to Catholicism (after coming into contact with the writings of people like Chesterton, Lewis…) and an extraordinary communications guru of the 20th century. He knew his Aristotle and Aquinas better than many of the clerical scholars of his time, and applied this thinking to his own novel perceptions of what was really going on in contemporary communications. Nor should we overlook the fact that he was a member of the then Pontifical Commission for Social Communication.
     McLuhan's communication scholarship cannot be fully appreciated without first appreciating his Catholic Faith. He had a Catholic sacramental imagination - baptism and communion first; he believed that God uses the tangible things of this world as a means of grace. Of course, the implication of this for him was that 'electronic communication', as he called it, was anti-sacramental. We become disincarnate bodies on the telephone - an idea now very much more reinforced by all of our 'virtual' experience online. McLuhan's importance for the 21st century lies in this kind of insight. It suggests we reaffirm our belief in an incarnate personal God in Jesus Christ as the only real way forward for true communication. McLuhan's most famous or best known dictum is "the medium is the message". What commentators often fail to quote is what he has said of that very dictum on at least two occasions:
(1) "In Christ, Medium becomes message. Christ came to demonstrate God's love for man and to call all men to Him through himself as Mediator, as Medium. And in so doing he became the proclamation of his Church, the message of God to man. God's medium became God's message."
(2) "In Jesus Christ, there is no distance or separation between the medium and the message".
     In other words, even without going to the theologians first, we already have indications from good communications scholarship that communication theology might well be located with those tracts of theology where we primarily study Jesus Christ: Fundamental theology and/or Christology.
     There is something attractive about McLuhan's insights, once we understand the place his religious convictions have for them. And we Salesians have much we can learn from him as we try to tease out the exhortation of the General Councillor about being adequate manifestations of God's love. That is a truly Christ-like competence! But it must also be obvious by now that if we are to gain some understanding of McLuhan and for that matter of other scholars in the communications area, and if we want Salesians in formation to begin to appreciate the importance of communication for their work of evangelisation and education (both of which McLuhan was vitally interested in), then we need to find room for that to happen and more, we need direction from our own governing and animation entities (be they departments or whatever) as to how to best achieve that.
     Communications is too central to the Salesian enterprise - it is charismatically so, we already know from the Constitutions - to allow it to be subsumed under some general notion, be it youth ministry, theological formation, general services, or other. It might be at the heart of theological formation today, but it is also at the heart of just about everything we do as Salesians, especially our catechising ventures, since our Society began "as a simple catechism lesson".

Production: Elledici, France

On 30th January the new headquarters of Elledici were opened. The speakers at the event were the Rector Major Fr Pascual Chávez, the Mayor of Turin, Hon. Piero Fassino, and Dr. Giampiero Leo, representing the President of the Regional Council of Piedmont.
Elledici started in 1941, and has now left the historical Leumann building, built in 1963, to move to Turin in Corso 333/France 3, in a modern building of 1500 square metres, on three floors, to be more responsive to the new requirements of the market.


The Salesian Family in France-South Belgium Province has a new website. It is conceived as a virtual space for exchanging information, but also as a window on Salesian pedagogy and spirituality. The site has been 'baptised' as Don Bosco Aujourd’hui, that is, bearing the same name as the French language Salesian Bulletin. The official launch took place on 24 January, Feast of St Francis de Sales, patron saint of Catholic publishers.