Council Resources

Newsletter October 2012

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Newsletter no. 37, October 2012

At a glance
In other news

Fr Robert Giannatelli - a great Salesian Communicator


Fr Robert Giannatelli passed away on Friday morning, 12 October 2012. He was born in Milan on 26 June, 1932, became a Salesian in 1949 and was ordained priest on 11 February, 1960. A great expert on pedagogy, catechesis and communication, he spent his life in education and training at the UPS. As Rector Magnificus from 1983 to 1989, he taught countless classes. He was an adviser to the Italian Bishops' Conference, the Congregation for the clergy and the Pontifical Council for Cocial Communications, as well as a prolific author of texts and articles. A great popularizer of Media Education, especially in Italy, he was the founder of MED, the Italian Association for Media Education and Communication, along with a handful of lay people.
Fr Giannatelli was laid to rest on Monday 15 October after a solemn Requiem at the UPS celebrated by Bishop Mario Toso, sdb, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and peace, a former Professor and Rector at the same University.

BOSCOcrew, or creating an educational space


BOSCOcrew is a production house belonging to the Salesians of Don Bosco in Malta. The aim of BOSCOcrew is to promote a holistic education and evangelisation through media. This non-formal approach, inspired and motivated by the Oratorian criterion of St. John Bosco, provides a space whereby young people can invest in their knowledge, in their creativity and in their skills in a different way.
BOSCOcrew strives to read the signs of the times and contributes towards a cultural change. This is achieved by embracing humanistic values which eventually lead to a personal encounter with the Risen Lord.
Over past and recent years, Malta has witnessed the onset of several media houses. The Salesians in Malta see BOSCOcrew not as another entity offering a service but a space whereby accompaniment through human and spiritual development deepens in a process of maturity. BOSCOcrew, in fact, is currently based in one of our Youth Centres, and it assures the daily contact of the members with the Salesian community in a friendly and Oratorian atmosphere and guarantees the Salesian identity which is central to the initiative.
Challenged by the actual situations and elicited by the the Rector Major’s statement “Every Salesian is a Educator-Communicator-Evangelizer”, the Salesians in Malta have entrusted BOSCOcrew with a pioneering project to the islands of Malta.
During a seminar earlier in the year, the Personal and Social Development and Media Education Department presented 65 teachers at church schools with resources to help them promote the topic. The Archbishop’s delegate for social communications said that media education should not be just digital skills as that would make it just an extension of education technology.
One of the invites for this meeting was Fr. Eric Cachia SDB who launched “FilmE” pilot project for all Church Schools in Malta on behalf of BOSCOcrew. This project will accompany Form 3 students (13 to 14 years applicants) on a hands-on approach journey of holistic development through the language of media. Film making will be the main tool used, putting the emphasis on the process rather than on the end result.
Dr Marianne Lauri, Pro Rector of the University of Malta and a pioneer lecturer in psychology and media education vividly backed this Salesian initiative and insisted that this is what “media education” is all about. This project, run by supervised and accompanied young adults will provide a space whereby, through idea generation, filming, acting and editing, the participants come to mix, learn how to respect the ideas and feelings of others. BOSCOcrew believes that technology as well as the digital era we live in are not ghosts to hunt but the language of the new generations which is providing an opportunity to affirm their values and their direction.


Thanks to the charitable project carried out in collaboration with “Computer Buffs  Without Frontiers” (ISF), an organisation of volunteers who are professionals in information technology  and “Monclick”, one of the main online companies selling technology products in Italy, the Salesian mission in Bevaneviky, Madagascar, can offer its young people new services and a better formation.
     ISF is an organisation set up in 2005 to make user of knowledge and skills in computers to help people living in situations of marginalisation and difficulty. It sets out mainly to help peoples in the poorest areas to bridge the so-called “digital divide” – the gap between those who have easy access to computers and those who haven’t. in the conviction that effective use of modern technologies is one of the most extraordinary means for economic and social development.
     On its part, the Monclick company decided to collaborate with ISF and to contribute a part of its income from its autumn Sales “Back to School” and “Back to Work” as a form of solidarity: with the Bevaneviky project, which will provide a computer room at the Salesian Mission and train the teachers.
     In this campaign Monclick will provide 4% of the income from sales of is products included ion the autumn Sale. Begun on  21 August and continuing until 30 September, it has noticed a great deal of interest among those using its site, in the first ten first days  registering over 12,000 visits to the special page. By 18 September the amount raised came to 16,660 Euro, in this way surpassing the target for the Bevaneviky project and making it possible to think in terms of further contributions top wards other plane from future income expected before the end of the  campaign.
     “In addition to its practical results this sort of collaboration with Monclick  has great symbolic value Girolamo Botter, President of ISF observed. “It shows how  commercial companies can make a contribution to our mission to reduce the digital divide in the most disadvantaged areas in the world without any detriment to its own commercial interests of making a profit.”
     At Bevaneviky the Salesians themselves run or collaborate in the running of elementary, middle and high schools for over 3,200 pupils. The place where they are working is particularly disadvantaged above all suffering from the effects of the widespread abuse of khat, a cheap but socially devastating drug. With the new computer room  the Salesians intend to offer the best training available to the local young people helping them to bridge the digital gap; also spreading information about and preventing the effects of dangerous drugs.

From you

Fr Robert Giannatelli - a great Salesian Communicator
We got news today that Amazon have just opened up in India.
This means that our 14 Don Bosco Publications Ebook titles are now available for 20 million Catholics.
How's that for instant missionary work.
The wonders of technology!
Tony sdb

Gracias por SSCS News, con el compromiso de favorecer esa cultura de la comunicacion. Si pudieramos traducir al francés la obra de A. Lenti o incluso las 1000 frases de DB... Tenemos aun un gran camino delante nuestra en la traduccion francesa. Todo se andará.
Feliz fin de session del Consejo
Cesar sdb

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India - Kolkata: Fr Filiberto will make an animation visit to communications activities in Guwahati, Shillong, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata

Animation - Letter from Fr Filiberto

My dear confreres and friends of SC,

Warm greetings and trusting that all is well with you and your communities and families.
     This time I am offering a double invitation. Firstly, begin your preparations for the Provincial or National Social Communications Day, as far as possible, by taking a close look at the 47th WCD theme already announced by Pope Benedict XVI on 29 September last: "Social networks: portals of Truth and Faith. New space for evangelization". Let's join forces to animate, form, create a communications ecology, change ways of thinking and come together as a Salesian Family.  as we are all aware the message will be promulgated on 24 January 2013, St Francis de Sales' Feast Day, a particularly significant day for us.
     The second invitation is to closely follow the 13th Synod of Bishops on "New Evangelization for handing on the Christian Faith". The 'instrumentum laboris', in nos. 59 and 62, present communication as its sixth scenario because: "today it offers enormous possibilities and is a huge challenge for the Church… the influence of media and digital culture is more and more becoming the 'place' for public life and social experience" (59).
     Salesians support this view as part of our charism and we need to keep Art. 43 of the Constitutions very much alive: "We work in the social communication sector. This is a significant field of activity which constitutes one of the apostolic priorities of the Salesian mission. Our Founder had an instinctive grasp of the value of this means of mass education, which creates culture and spreads ptterns of life; he showed great originality in the apostolic undertakings which he initiated to defend and sustain the faith of the people. Following his example we utilize as God's gift the great possibilities which social communication offers us for education and evangelization".
     May the Virgin Mary inflame our hearts with passion for God and the salvation of youth. Greetings from the members of the SC Department, and be assured of my prayer. Please also pray for me.
Your friend and brother,
Fr Filiberto González, Councillor for SC

Information: 47th World Communications Day Theme

On Saturday 29 September, the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, the theme chosen by Benedict XVI for the 47th World Day of Social Communications to be celebrated on May 12, 2013 was announced: "Social Networks: portals of truth and of faith: new spaces for evangelisation".
It is a theme that has at least in part occupied participants in General Synod of Bishops on "the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith".
     The digital environment, as stated in the Vatican Bulletin, is one of the most significant challenges of evangelisation today; can the technology, which "tends to become the connective tissue of many human experiences such as relationships and knowledge",  help us to encounter Christ in faith? The Pontiff  then made further reference to social networks, "which allowed the accentuation of a style of dialogue and communication and interactive report".
     In expectation of the message - to be delivered as usual on 24th  January, the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, patron of journalists - Fr Filiberto Gonzalez invites provincial delegates and those engaged in communications to make the most of the dates of January 12th  and 24th  May and, above all, to engage in the promotion of raising awareness and introducing  training initiatives for young people  called by Benedict XVI to be evangelisers of their peers, and also the Salesians.
     "We cannot envisageYouth Ministry and evangelisation that do not take into account our presence as educators in social networks. Fr Gonzalez points out the Pope's latest message for World Day of Social Communications  as offering us the necessary attitudes which makes us 'signs and bearers of God's love to the young ', as we are asked by our Constitutions. The theme chosen for the 47th  World Day of Social Communications  and the subsequent message become opportunities for study, reflection and shared action".

Formation: The question of God in the Net (Archbishop Celli)

I believe courage and wisdom are needed in our pastoral ministry to find other ways and abilities in using new languages to evangelise in a context where man is swamped by messages or not a few answers to questions that haven't even been asked.
     The tension in seeking truth, which is the most authentic dimension of human dignity, has to find room amidst a multiplicity of information assailing man in his everyday existence.
     This is also the case in the sometimes difficult search for God, and as Pope Benedict XVI reminds us: "As a first step in evangelisation we must try to keep this search alive; we must see that man does not shelve the question of God as an essential question of his existence. We need to see that man accepts such a question and the nostalgia hidden within it" (Address to the Roman Curia, 21-12-2009).
     What the Instrumentum Laboris says in this regard seems to me more appropriate than ever before,: "Christian communities then have been able to learn that mission is no longer a North-South or West-East movement, since it has to be disconnected from geographical boundaires... and this delinking from borders means having the energy to pose the question of God in all the processes of encounter, mixing, rebuilding social relationships that is going on everywhere" (n. 70).
     The new technologies of communication play a particular role in this area since they give origin to a true and proper culture and help shape a society marked by the phenomenon of globalisation.
     Since faith involves a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, evangelising activity has to pay special attention to the concrete and singular situation of the one to whom the proclamation is addressed, in respect of the absolute primacy of the relationship with the individual. Here I believe that it is important to recall the importance of the various languages in which we are called to proclaim the Gospel to people today, in the sad awareness that little by little the future generations, especially in the European continent, are growing up without knowing the basic content of the Gospel message and Christian symbolism itself.
     What language should we use so that Jesus Christ may be proclaimed to people today and so it can challenge the heart of each human being? I believe that this may be one of the most important and urgent challenges for the saving mission of the Church in the contemporary world.
     The eminently interpersonal nature of evangelisation and testimony seem at first sight to be two aspects of this fundamental mission of the Church in contrast with the features of the world of communication today. The digital dimension seems to be badly aligned with the requirement of concreteness tied to the journey of evangelisation, and the same could be said for the almost impersonal, globalising perspective of the web that seems to be in strident opposition with the essential personal dimensions - we are speaking of spirit, of heart - in the relationship between the human being and God in Jesus Christ.
     I do not deny that there is some truth in some positions suspicious and critical of new technologies - the Instrumentum Laboris mentions certain limits in no. 62 - but it is also true that they have enormously increased the cognitive and relational capacities of mankind and social networks are the existential environment for hundreds of millions of people connected through the Net.
     What an opportunity and challenge for the community of believers in Christ, which has the Word of life in its hands!
     This is why we have the invitation that Pope Benedict XVI offered us in 2010 in his World Communications Day Message: "The development of the new technologies and the larger digital world represents a great resource for humanity as a whole and for every individual, and it can act as a stimulus to encounter and dialogue. But this development likewise represents a great opportunity for believers. No door can or should be closed to those who, in the name of the risen Christ, are committed to drawing near to others. To priests in particular the new media offer ever new and far-reaching pastoral possibilities, encouraging them to embody the universality of the Church’s mission, to build a vast and real fellowship".
     I think the Pope is fully aware of the limitations of new technologies and certain negative influences they exercise especially on the world of the young, but he does not fear this, indeed he invites the Church "to exercise a 'diaconia' of culture in today's 'digital continent'. ... With the Gospels in our hands and in our hearts, we must reaffirm the need to continue preparing ways that lead to the Word of God, while being at the same time constantly attentive to those who continue to seek; indeed, we should encourage their seeking as a first step of evangelization".
     The papal reflection goes as far as asking for "a pastoral presence in the world of digital communications, precisely because it brings us into contact with the followers of other religions, non-believers and people of every culture", and to keep in mind "those who do not believe, the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute"..
     Continuing along these lines the Pope asks himself – using a brave but meaningful image – if the web might not be able to make room, as the courtyard of the Gentiles at the Temple in Jerusalem – also for people for whom God is as yet unknown.
     These texts from the Papal Magisterium are pastorally enlightening words that can help us reflect with "courage and wisdom", on the great challenge that the new technologies of communication pose in the journey of evangelisation, where we can also see great opportunities. 

Production: "E-vangelizar 2012"

On 5 October, about 700 pastoral workers – catechists, animators and priests – from Viana do Castelo, Braga, Porto, Aveiro, Bragança, Leiria, Viseu and Lamego, gathered at the Salesian School in Porto to improve their ability to proclaim the Gospel. The initiative, called "E-vangelizar 2012" was promoted by the Salesian Training Centre co-ordinated by Edições salesianos.
     In opening remarks Fr Rui Alberto Almeida, sdb, expert on Catechetics and Youth Ministry, presented the project "To profess the Faith," a teaching aid for the Catechesis of pre-teens. "This is the first generation of ‘digital natives’, i.e. youth born into a world of mobile phones, internet, mp3s and with a digital communication which necessarily involves interaction," he said. The Salesian showed how kids of today move better in the hypertext network, rather than in the linearity of a book; for this reason, catechists should try to implement in catechesis this "talk-active" network, along with the interaction.
     The participants visited various parts of the school, where, throughout the day, they were able to attend 5 workshops of a total of 27 available.
Fr Tarcizio Morais, Rector of the Salesian Centre, when asked about the needs and difficulties of E-vangelizar 2012 , explained: "This formation proposal is bold and challenging from the point of view of its organization, but as Salesians we are committed to helping Youth Ministry to find new ways of evangelizing young people of this time and culture".