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Newsletter july 2012

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Newsletter no. 35, July 2012

At a glance
In other news

Year Two of Bicentenary preparation


The poster for the  second year of preparation for the bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco is ready and available. The Rector Major has also made his contribution to its composition, following up the graphic design drawn up by the “Don Bosco Institute of Communication Arts” (DBICA) in Chennai.

     A month from the changeover from the first to the second year,  the Social Communication Department is presenting the second poster. “The graphic design presented last year has been taken up by almost the whole Congregation,” says Fr  Filiberto González, Councillor for Social Communication. “This is a good sign as it provides a single image for the process we are following.”

     With the colour green predominant indicating the year dedicated to Don Bosco’s pedagogy, the poster has three elements:

   * the  face of  Don Bosco reproduced from the death mask made by Cellini after his death and from which a wax mask was made which today can be seen in the casket kept in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians as well as in that travelling round the world;

    * a detail from the work of  Mario Bogani “Don Bosco with the boys” which is in the Basilica at Colle Don Bosco. In the foreground are the young people to whom the work of Don Bosco is addressed (boys and girls) and behind them those who are continuing the work: religious and lay people. In the background the fruits of holiness that flourished around Don Bosco: Dominic Savio, Francis Besucco and Michael Magone.

    * the three pillars on which the Preventive System rests: reason, religion and loving kindness.

     The Social Communication Department repeats its invitation to continue to make use of the graphic design, this second green version  and the new poster for sites, Salesian Bulletins and the various events planned in the course of this second year, dedicated to Don Bosco’s pedagogy.

     The poster, in the different languages is attached to the June issue of ANSphoto. On the site the files of the three logos and the second poster are available. In the same section it is possible to request the original file for the adaptations in the various languages.

Miscelánea Comillas praises Lenti's work


The Jesuit Comillas Pontifical University, in its review “Miscelánea Comillas” – its main publication for academic material from the Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences – in a recent very positive book review spoke highly of the first volume of the Spanish edition of “Don Bosco, History and Charism” by Fr Arthur Lenti SDB.

     The Spanish language version was edited by  Fr Juan José Bartolomé and Fr Jesús Graciliano González and published by the “Central Catequística Salesiana” (CCS) in Madrid. In agreement with the author the two editors have brought together Fr Lenti’s monumental work in seven volumes – in 3 volumes while updating the notes and quotations and adding a Spanish bibliography.

     William Rodriguez Campos, the author of the review of the first volume, recommends the work of Fr Lenti, a historian who is able to identify the main thread uniting human events, and record them objectively. Fr Lenti does this in masterly fashion presenting the life and work of Saint John Bosco (1815-1888). “The first two chapters dedicated to a study of the sources and the biographical tradition concerning Don Bosco are jewels of inestimable value for historians, social scientists and researchers” Rodriguez Campos declares.

     Using a hermeneutic approach Fr Lenti indentifies, evaluates, compares and often corrects documents and interpretation regarding Don Bosco formerly considered indisputable. He forcefully and in a definitive manner combats myths and superficial views. In this regard he emphasises the work done on the text of the “Memoirs of the Oratory”, because it subjects to a critical examination anecdotes from the life of Don Bosco which had been transformed into “categories”: Don Bosco in opposition to the parish priests, a revolutionary persecuted by the civil authorities, abandoned and alone, not involved in politics. Fr Lenti shows that all these anecdotes are false.

     In locating the saint in his religious context, Fr Lenti illustrates a fundamental aspect: the direct, conscious,  desired influence of the Jesuits, Barnabites, Franciscans, Oblates, Oratorians... In studying the social activity of Don Bosco, his spirituality and Pastoral work, the fact cannot be ignored that Don Bosco synthesises these influences in a vital, spiritual and pedagogical way.

     The atmosphere of the Ecclesiastical College as experienced by Don Bosco was an experience of formative and theological equilibrium. It was an atmosphere contrary to Jansenism, Liberalism and Gallicanism. There was a strong Jesuit influence, among other things, through the “friends’ association.” The models of moral and  pastoral theology proposed  were, in addition very different from one another: Saint Charles Borromeo, Saint Philip Neri and Saint Francis of Sales. And helping Don Bosco to move towards a spirituality founded on love and on pastoral charity there was Fr Joseph Cafasso. “In fact,”– Rodriguez Campos declares, “ Fr Luigi Guala and Fr Cafasso were the founders and the soul of the Convitto”.

     The author of the review goes on to note that Chapter XIV makes the most impact and containing the most extensive documentation; demonstrates the “explosive discovery by Don Bosco of the poor and abandoned boys of Turin.” In a most disillusioned manner he describes the social, moral and religious situation of youth. The increase in the population and the urban expansion contributing to making worse the living conditions of the rural population with hunger, exploitation of the work force and unemployment, poverty illiteracy, and beggary. Whereas at the Oratory the boys found a house, a school, a playground. The novelty of Don Bosco’s Oratory:  its fundamentally religious purpose.

     Rodriguez Campos also points out that through the Regulations for the Oratory one can recognise another of Don Bosco’s gifts, that of the writer. And he concludes: “An extraordinary work. Full of topics and themes. An excellent and successful  effort uniting harmoniously a realistic view of the life and work of Don Bosco and his genuine religious motivation.”


Do you want to prepare a banner for You could prepare for an upcoming feast day, or the Strenna theme or other.... 570x165 px please.

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Guadalajara-Mexico City: SC Delegates, the Americas. 4-7 August at Guadalajara, and 7-9 August in Mexico City.

India - Kolkata: SC Delegates S. Asia Region 8-13 November, after which Fr Filiberto will make an animation visit to communications activities in Guwahati, Shillong, Chennai, Hyderabad

Animation - Letter from Fr Filiberto

My dear confreres and friends of SC, 

Over the last few weeks I have had the good fortune to read good news from and dialogue with Salesians of various nationalities concerning the Salesian tradition of communication.
     Don Bosco was intuitive when it came to the kind word and the power of languages of communication, whihc he used effectively and originally in dealing with his boys. He knew how to affect the heartstrings, and this is why he succeeded in educating and evangelising. He was more than just an educator and evangeliser; he was a communicator. These three things go together in the ecology of communicaiton that Don Bosco invented when he proposed the formula “good Christians and upright citizens”.
     Popular expressions of this ecology of communication are things like: theatre, music, song, displays, telling about his dreams and the Good Night. Brought together intelligently, and along with the many other things he did they make up an “ecology involving education, evangelisation and communication in the Oratory”. He didn't achieve all this by magic, but it was something that emerged from his deep experience of God and his great apostolic passion, always for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. This and none other is Don Bosco's source.
    The SC Delegate coordinates and gives impetus to this ecology by following the SSCS, bringing together the traditional and the modern, and by drawing from that same source as Don Bosco's, therefore bringing Don Bosco into our own time.
     When you visit communities, schools, oratories, parishes, try to encourage all of them, Salesians and lay, students and teachers to recover this ecology and its expressions as a true treasure of Salesian tradition, something of the first and now the modern oratory, without overlooking IT and the digital continent.

Greetings from the SC Department Team
Affectiionately in Don Bosco:

Fr Filiberto González, Councillor for SC

Information: Catholic Media Conference praise for ANS
Catholic media

Catholic Media Convention, held 20-22 June at Indianapolis, United States, was an event which brought together about 400 journalists and media professionals from all round the world. Fr Michael Mendl, East United States Province (SUE). was one of them.
    This annual meeting is organised by the “Catholic Press Association” (CPA) which involves the Catholic media of the United States and Canada. The theme this year was taken from St Paul: “We, though many, are one body” (1 Cor 10).
     The Convention provided a wide series of opportunities through workshops, round-table discussions, conferences, groups, reports to become familiar with the great variety of the Catholic Media. … Among the several keynote addresses greatly appreciated by those taking part was that by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
     After making the point that they were many persons of diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, but all members of one body in Christ, Archbishop  Celli said that “striving for excellence” both in faith and in work, is an ongoing, lifelong process of inner dialogue and conversion.  Then referring to the Message of the Holy Father for the 46th World Communications Day he emphasised that “even more important than the new technologies are the new ways people relate to one another through social media, for example.”
     The Archbishop then observed that communication reflects our participation in the creative, communicative and unifying Trinitarian Love which is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and in conclusion suggested the following characteristics of Catholic communication: the search for truth, fairness in reporting, respect for human dignity, with a vocation to build up communion within and outside the Church, and to be missionary.
     In one of the working groups words of praise was also expressed regarding ANS, which according to some of the professionals in the field provides “the best news service from the religious institutes.”
     In the course of the Convention there were the presentations of the “Saint Francis De Sales” Award - the highest honour bestowed on a individual by the CPA, in consideration of their “exceptional contribution to Catholic journalism”; and the “Presidential Medallion”, awarded by the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals as  their highest honour, recognising lifetime achievement and service to Catholic communications.

Formation: in consecrated life

Formazione a portata di Click

Pina Riccieri, Paoline 2011Formazione a portata di Click

Pina Riccieri, Paoline 2011

Sr Pina Del Core FMA, Principal of the Pontifical Education Faculty at the "Auxilium", Rome, introduces this book by Pina Riccieri, in the following words (amongst others):
      "The title arouses curiosity and interest not only for those engaged in this area, but for a much broader readership which is attracted by the word 'formation' on the one hand, and also captured by the term 'digital communication', being strangely associated with 'sanctification of the mind'. This book by Pina Riccieri, then, a Pauline Sister so a communicator by calling, tackles a very much relevant topic, and a crucial and possibly thorny one too for formation in consecrated life. How do we form today, in the Web era, without losing the legacy of praxis and cultural transmission that we have inherited from centuries of formation experience of generations of religious? What challenges do globalisation and new communication technologies pose for formation today? What are the implications for the processes of personal growth and the formation styles of religious institutes and congregations? How do we go about new situations in formation that come not just from cultural, historical and social changes but especially from the young themselves, by now all natively digital generations?
      The response to these and many other questions in the book, while tackling something already broad and complex in itself, neatly photographs the reality, calling on expert voices from various areas. The whole theme of formation to consecrated life, nevertheless, is described and related to the problems posed by new communications technologies, noting the influence on learning processes and acquiring so-called 'transversal' competencies demanded by the specific vocation and mission of someone called to follow Christ and communicate his Gospel today.
     The book's focus is the hypothesis that a commitment to knowing and appreciating communication in all its technological innovations is now an urgent one if we want to face up to the new models of learning and formation, especially in the intellectual area, that emerge from today's digital context and which demand critical users and free and responsible individuals, ones able to interact with media, and become "digital apostles".
     In fact formation, finding itself taking a cultural turn today of unheard-of proportions and not forseeable ones either, needs rethinking and reorganising, especially the formation models that now constantly have to respond to cultural circumstances and the new questions and needs of people and communities. This leads to the need to tackle the cultural phenomena and processes in society today. These are ever more complex and globalised, digital society now being the context in which new generations build their sense of personal, social and vocational identity. Today's formation needs to identify appropriate strategies which will help the all-round development of the individual, as well as likely formation processes to put into place in the various formation communities".

Production: Apps

Another growing area of production in the Salesian world is the App, an application for iOS, Android and other similar devices. Last year we reported the iBreviarium (Hong Kong) by Fr Paul Leung.  Then there is the 'Shake & Pray' app by GBR's Don Bosco Publications. Edebé has produced educational apps. Now comes news of another from Spain:
       In view of the Bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco, Salesians and students in the Seville Province have produced an application for smartphones with a 1000 of the best sayings, aphorisms and expressions of Don Bosco.
     Don Bosco was a man ahead of his times. Many people spoke about him as a priest well-known for being in the courtyards, prisons, squares and streets of Turin promoting a positive form of education for the most needy youngsters. It is for this reason that  Don Bosco’s presence nowadays on youngsters’ mobiles seems a natural development in a process begun many years ago.
     It is made possible nowadays thanks to the Android application that can be downloaded free from the site and to Google Play, which makes it possible to read a selection of 1000 of Don Bosco’s phrases – in Spanish - organised in various categories.
     The application has been developed by students in the first technological baccalaureate year at the “Saint Francis of Sales” Salesian Institute in Córdoba, under the guidance of the computer programmer Sergio Martínez. The students chose the selection of phrases as part of a religious education course.
     In this regard the work of the Mexican Salesian Fr Rafael Sánchez Vargas, who died in 1986 was very valuable. Years ago he had done a lot on work on the writings of  Don Bosco, because of his great admiration for the poetry, letters and other writings of the Saint.
     With this new application users have available to them a search engine which can find phrases containing  a chosen word: a  system enabling any member of the Salesian Family, teacher, friend of the Salesian world or young person to make use of this material whenever they want or need to.
     In a few hours the application was downloaded far more frequently than expected – at present the statistics indicate  between 500 and 1.000 users – and this seems to confirm one of the sayings in the collection: “Spread devotion to Mary Help of Christians and you will see what miracles are.”