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 email@example.com.
Affectionately in Don Bosco:
Fr Filiberto González Plasencia sdb
General Councillor for SC
Information: Salesian blogging
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 sdb.org. 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
We are gradually developing a policy that can ensure
that blogs hosted on sdb.org can further the Salesian mission in this
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
In applying to the firstname.lastname@example.org 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 sdb.org 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
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
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
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
(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?