Council Resources

Newsletter - September 2009


Newsletter no. 6,  September 2009

Animation - Letter from Fr Filiberto

Dear Confreres,

Fr Fili with 'El Sembrador'Greetings from another part of the world where the ministry of service of the Congregation has currently called me (Extraordinary Visitation of MEM).
    As I begin to see more and more of the Salesian world in action, and understand more and more of its potential as well as its challenges, I cannot but fail to thank the Lord for his gifts to us, especially those being manifested through our impressive work of evangelisation through communications.
    Only recently I was in discussion with a major evangelisation enterprise based in Los Angeles but with significant presence also in Mexico. It is known as ESNE. (El Sembrador Nueva Evangelización) or more simply El Sembrador - the Sower, in English. The two bodies, by which I mean ESNE and the Salesian Congregation, realised that together they could accomplish much, so we have agreed on a range of cooperative possibilities - ESNE can help us spread the Salesian charism via its media, and given the tools and training experience already produced by the Salesians, we can help them. They can also help us refine these materials.
    All this is in view of the one mission of the Church, but a mission which in our case has a particular Salesian stamp on it as we seek the salvation of souls, but especially those of the young who are poor and neglected.
    Which brings me once again to one task we are still working hard at - and here I make a special appeal to SC Delegates in particular.  I know that in Rome they have begun the long task of working through responses to the SSCS framework document often mentioned in these Newsletters.  From Rome they tell me that one area in particular is still lacking and that only the SC Delegates can really help us with this.  I refer to Nos. 159-180 of SSCS.
    So my appeal to you now is a very concrete one. By 15th October at the latest, I am asking all SSCS Delegates throughout the world to have met with their team at least once, and to have made notes on how 159-180 seem to respond to your needs, your province's and region's needs as you see it.  Does this section need either minor or major adjustment?  Are there elements which may need to be added given the ever-fluid situations we live in?
    Thank you for this.  It will be much appreciated.  Send them directly to the one coordinating this effort - Fr Julian, at

Affectionately in Don Bosco:

Fr Filiberto González Plasencia sdb
General Councillor for SC

Information: Salesian blogging

sdbblogSalesians in many parts of the world are running blogs. This aspect of 'information/production'  becomes yet another element of Salesian presence in the 'digital continent'.
   You may have noticed some growth in this area on
.  There is a 'Salesian Blog' link which currently features 5 Salesian blogs - most of them, at the moment, run in English.
    This opportunity now exists for any Salesian group in any language.  We say 'group' because while we realise that blogs are usually managed by an individual, it is our experience that it is possible to run an institutional blog with a group of three administrators who put up 'posts' and who control comments - no comment is published unless it is approved by one of the three
    We are gradually developing a policy that can ensure that blogs hosted on can further the Salesian mission in this medium.
    In very simple terms, then, we offer the possibility of a blog in any language;  certainly in EN, ES, IT, FR, PT but others are possible, and a blog could also be multilingual where applicable.
    In applying to the for this possibility we ask that the SC Delegate approve of three people who agree to administer the blog. The application should indicate a purpose for the blog and a title.
    The Webmaster and coordinator of retain absolute administrative privileges, meaning they could intervene, if required, but in general terms they would leave the administration of the blog to those designated.

Formation: A new project eventually available to all

shepherdsOne of the questions often asked of the SC Department in Rome is what material can be offered to help at various levels of formation to social communication in a province. At the moment the response has to be that there are two, possibly three items which can provide an overview, but no specific curricula or content.  The three 'overview' items are the SSCS, the 'Formation of Salesians in Social Communication' joint document from the Formation and SC Departments, and perhaps the 'Salesian, Communicator' Manual for SC Delegates.
    But now a small group of the SC 'Consulta' is working on what it calls the Boscom Project. Work on this is necessarily restricted to this group at the moment, but hopefully by January of next year it will be open to any Province which wishes to draw on the material.
    Currently in English, the project consists of detailed lesson plans and content, now available (in theory) online, hence enhanced with other digital resources. These detailed plans cover every level from prenovitiate to ongoing formation.
    The Boscom Project is based on an earlier printed set of materials from India known as 'Shepherds for an Information Age'. In principle this material has received excellent reviews, been implemented in many situations, especially in Salesian India, and its worth has been recognised by the Indian Episcopal Conference which has now almost completed its development of an extended and altered version of the same for use in seminaries.
    Hence the group is confident that the online Boscom Project once complete, will benefit the entire Salesian world in its formation to social communication efforts.
    English-speaking members of the 'Consulta' are working on the project now; wtihin a short period they will open this working group to others. Then finally the mateiral will be open to all. At that point translations into other languages will be possible.

Production: Towards guidelines for Salesian webmasters

webmastersSince all provinces by now have websites and most communities have one or more websites depending on their settings (parish, school, oratory...) it may well be time to consider, at least in broad terms, what kind of guidelines we might offer our webmasters. In many cases these webmasters are young, highly skilled technical people - but guidance is still needed for the overall 'presence' that a Salesian website is today.
    Some small steps are now being taken in this direction, but we would also like to invite those with experience and ideas to help. The question should form part of the SSCS revision, since much development (e.g. the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0) has taken place since SSCS was printed six years ago.
   SSCS can only offer broad principles.  Maybe an additional set of more spceific guidelines is in order. At this early stage of thinking we offer three criteria for webmasters of Salesian sites:
     (1) Identity: the Salesian charismatic element, the fact that the website is also a presence of the Church online, and an institutional identity, specific to the setting, but also because the website is 'Salesian' and therefore part of the Congregation's presence in the world. In important ways C. 40 ("home that welcomes..." etc) becomes an expression of criteria that must now be adapted to the online Salesian presence.
    (2) Focus: a website has a particular focus to guide it usually - is it for information? Is it for formation? Preservation (as in storage of documents)?  Publicity? Usually a website will be one of this principally, otherwise it may be vague in purpose.
     (3) The nature of the medium itself. This introduces many factors - no website today would set out to be Web 1.0, but it may end up being so by default! What kind of interactivity is desired?  Why?  How?