Roman Sikoń SDB, Dawid Waliczek SDB
Don Bosco and Lenin
Lenin once said: “Cinema is one of the greatest works”. It was one of the ways he broadened his propaganda machine thus having considerable influence on the development the former Soviet Union.
Many years before, in Turin, Don Bosco bought the most modern printing machinery in his time, and used such modern inventions to proclaim the Good News. This great Saint of Turin set up a Publishing House. He also spent many hours in front of cameras to ensure he was photographed, given that it used to take a long time to do this then. So Don Bosco benefited from every social communication opportunity.
It should be no surprise to us that the Salesian Constitutions have Article 43, where we read:
“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 patterns 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 utilise as God's gift the great possibilities which social communication offers us
for education and evangelisation.”
So then we become aware that one of our greatest duties as Salesians is to use mass-media to evangelise. We certainly consider all mass-media, not just press, also cinema, radio, television, and today, especially, in a privileged way, Internet. It would seem that these media are not yet sufficiently valued. However in recent years they have become basic tools for social communication, since they have much greater impact than the “written word”, especially for the young. This should urge us to develop the most modern media, while obviously not forgetting about print.
Armed with this belief, in 2006, at the Theological studentate in Krakow, a group of young confreres founded a movement called : “ART. 43”. This gave rise to the “ART. 43 Salesian Movement”, which aims to popularise awareness amongst Salesians and young people of the challenge of mass-media so it can be employed in the Salesian mission field of evangelisation. So far 4 core groups of ART. 43 have been founded. One is in the studentate in Krakow, another within the Mission Volunteer Movement “Young people for the world”, the third in the studentate in Ląd and the fourth in Piła. This last one was the initiative of young people! In 2010 the first ART. 43 workshop was set up in Ghana.
Our hope is that this movement will grow in the Salesian world in the future, including in poor countries. It promotes: radio, television, Salesian web sites. If someone invents new ways of being present in the mass-media, we Salesians will be the first to use it to proclaim the Word of God. These are the “new areopagi” as termed by John Paul II in his Encyclical Redemptoris Missio. We are all invited to be part of this mission.
Results of ART. 43