RM Resources

Social Communication, Europe Mission, Youth Ministry, Formation contribution to achieve Project Europe




Via della Pisana 1111 - 00163 Roma

General Councillor for Formation

Rome, 26 November 2010

The Formation contribution
to achieving Project Europe


I am proposing that we firstly evaluate what was planned for 2009-2010, as the first steps in Project Europe, approved 31 January 2009.

1.1.2.a. European novices gathering in Turin
The Formation Department, starting in May 2010, will set up an annual gathering of novices from Europe in Turin on the occasion of hte Feast of Mary Help of Christians, as an occasion for encounter amongst these novices and especially to give them some knowledge of the Salesian places.
At the beginning of 2010 I sent the Novice Directors in Europe an invitation to take part, with their novices in the first gathering of European novices in Turin. Following that the Novice Director from Pinerolo made contact with them all to agree on a programme. From 21-25 May the gathering took place to everyone's satisfaction; there were 59 novices there. At the time there were seven novitiates: Pinerolo, Genzano, Granada, Poprad, Kopiec, Swobnica and Czerwinsk; now there are six.
Particular opportunities in linguistic and also common groupings were planned for Don Bosco's places. The Rector Major spoke to them; I had one meeting with the novices and another with the Novice Directors. The novices visited the Shroud Chapel along with the Salesian Bishops and animated the Eucharist; then they took part in the festivities and procession for MHC.
One purpose of the gathering, which will be held yearly from 21 to 25 May, is to help form a European mindset right from the beginning of the formation journey. The idea is that this gathering would also foster, from the beginning of the vocational journey, attention on the Salesian places, Mary Help of Christians and Don Bosco; and also to bring young European vocations together.

1.1.2.b. Missionaries in Europe for their Practical Training and specific formation
Councillors for Formation and the Missions will reflect together in 2009 - 2010 on the experience of missionaries coming to Europe for their Practical Training and theology studies, and will let the Project Europe Commission know of their findings.
Regarding this we have just begun our discussions with the Missions Department; after this meeting reflection on common formation will need to be deepened.
For Practical Training, giving attention to how the young confreres fit in to a community which is suitable and welcoming, there has been a positive evaluation on sending those who should experience this phase in the context of their future mission. In a number of cases serious language difficulties have stood out. In order not to negatively affect the Practical Training experience and if the missionary must do his specific formation in the language of the country, then three years of PT are advised: a year for serious language study and two years for PT and language practice, spoken and written..
For specific formation of Salesian clerics the most consolidated experience for German is at Benediktbeuern. For other languages there are communities emerging for this phase: at Lyon for French, English at Battersea in London, Hungarian at Budapest, Flemish at Heverlee; but these are communities without a Salesian Study Centre. These emerging formation communities should be formalised through written request to the Rector Major. We have to ask ourselves whether in some cases it would be better to foster formation in international communities with a Salesian Study centre or allow these new “formation” communities to exist.

1.1.3. Meeting of European Formation Delegates
The Formation Department will organise a meeting of European Provincial Formation Delegates in May 2010 and 2012, in order to enable inter-province cooperation in initial formation and foster European initiatives in initial formation, formation of formators and ongoing formation. It will study the Practical Training experience in its various forms in Europe, will begin to reflect on study of languages and will consider the possibility of gatherings for those in various stages of formation. It will help create in Delegates attention to Project Europe and a European mindset.
From 5-7 May in Krakow there was a meeting of Provincial Formation Delegates from around Europe. The programme for the meeting saw various reflection and discussion topics, as seen in 1.1.3. for the 2009-2010 planning.
Important time was taken up in reflection and discussion on how to understand Project Europe and how help Delegates to sensitize confreres in their provinces on both initial and ongoing formation. Some practical topics were taken up such as inter-province cooperation, the 'European' Practical Training, meaning the experience of Practical Trainees who experience their PT in Europe whether or not they actually come from European provinces, language study, specific formation for missionaries in Europe, helping new missionaries to fit in. Finally we began to consider the requirements and needs of ongoing formation in Europe.
At the Delegates' meeting there was also an evaluation of the opportunity for taking part in the Madrid World Youth Day. The advice is to invite aspirants and prenovices, postnovices, practical trainees, Salesian clerics and brothers in specific formation, for these days. It is considered important that they take part in a world event, but that it certainly have a great European impact; no gathering of those in initial formation is planned.


The European Regions will follow firstly the process being followed by the entire Congregation in this area, with attention to GC26 and application of the “Ratio”. Then there are specific aspects for Europe; I am now offering some suggestions for 2011-2012; other suggestions might emerge during this meeting.
2.1. What is fundamental throughout formation is to help confreres mature in our charismatic identity, which is the Salesian consecrated vocation. This demands a knowledge of consecrated life in Europe and how it is being revitalised; it means especially arousing fascination for consecrated life. It is also a case of helping a growing understanding of the two forms, ministerial and lay, of the one Salesian consecrated vocation.
2.2. To me it seems important to study how to realise despite different places, a European initial formation. It means finding content, method, processes and interventions that will ensure a precisely European formation. It seems to me especially necessary to understand how to create a European mentality amongst confreres and how to carry out a pastoral theological formation attentive to the processes of education and evangelisation in Europe.
2.3. Formation communities for specific formation of Salesian clerics are still fragmented and widely spread, with few people in formation and a handful of formators and sometimes with dubious quality in studies. We need to set up new cooperative processes amongst provinces in this phase; my way of seeing it is that we foster formation communities with Salesian study centres. Sufficient steps have not yet been taken to have inter-provincial teams of staff and formators. For the specific formation of Salesian Brothers we need to give more weight to the experience at the Valdocco formation community, with its study centre at the Crocetta.
2.4. Salesian philosophy, pedagogy and theology study centres must give more focus to understanding European culture, the educational emergency in Europe and on a pastoral theology which helps the evangelisation of Europe.
2.5. In Italian language formation communities there is a need to ensure a good level of knowledge of the language for non-Italian students, with request for a prior year of study of the language and an entry test certifying the required level for enrolment in an Italian University.
2.6. Provinces need to foster more serious commitment to study of common languages for Europe: Italian and English. Certain approaches are to be identified for the Provinces in this matter. We will also consider the possibility of exchange of practical trainees in European provinces.
2.7. Agreements will be drawn up between provinces for the temporary transfer of confreres in initial formation or for pastoral work; the Councillor for Formation and the Regional Councillor is to be kept informed. See the appendices.
2.8. Along with the Youth Ministry Delegates it is necessary to discuss the more successful vocation ministry experiences and various kinds of aspirantate in Europe. Also with Youth Ministry we need to study how to achieve pastoral formation both in initial and ongoing formation.
2.9. Confirmation is given for commitments taken on at the annual European novices gathering and for 2012 for Provincial Formation Delegates in Europe.


Our Regulations say this: “For a just reason the Provincial, after hearing the opinion of his Council and the confrere concerned, may on request send him temporarily to another province under a written agreement with the Provincial who receives him. Permanent changes of province require the authorisation of the Rector Major” (R. 151). 

1. Confreres temporarily in Europe for formation or studies

Situation. There are young men in initial formation coming into European provinces, either from European or from non-European provinces, for practical training, specific formation or for studies. These experiences help them get to know the European situation and are an opportunity for European provinces, but they cannot be considered as part of PE.
Guideline. The Councillor for Formation will follow up these situations and ask the European Provincials to loet him know about the temporary agreements they set up.

2. Confreres temporarily in Europe for pastoral work

Situation. In Europe there are temporary transfers for pastoral work amongst European provinces or from non-European provinces to European provinces. This possibility is regarded positively.
Guideline. Temporary help for pastoral work will be facilitated, and regulated by agreements amongst provinces. The Regional Councillor will be informed of these transfers and the agreements relating to them and will let the PE Commission know of them. Temporary transfer should last at least 5-6 years, according to the practice of “Fidei Donum”. In cases of very short periods of 2-3 years, the intercultural and linguistic factor and effective pastoral assistance seem difficult to achieve.



Via della Pisana, 1111 P. 18333 - 00163 ROMA - Tel. 06.656.121 Fax: 06.65612556 - www.sdb.org
Don Fabio Attard sdb - Consigliere Generale per la Pastorale Giovanile - fattard@sdb.org

Project Europe
Department of Youth Ministry

In these last two years the Department of Youth Ministry operated on various levels and in various sectors to favour the implementation of Project Europe:

    1. the experience of CONFRONTO has confirmed the value of youth themselves being at the centre of pastoral action at a local level. This meeting is allowing them to interact and share experiences of salesian youth spirituality on a European level. On the local level each province is working well in promoting these experiences, while in the case of Spain and Italy the local organisation is ever more present in its proposal of clear journeys of faith on a national level.
    2. the development of the European Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) is a growing reality. Its strength lies in the provinces where the young people themselves are building its European face. In these days, in Budapest, there is a meeting of young people from all Europe with the aim of continuing the efforts to strengthen SYM Europe. The Department is closely following and encouraging this journey through the presence of Dominic Sequeira, responsible for the SYM, and Miguel Angel Garcia, the one who is accompanying the three European regions.
    3. the third congress of the salesian school in EuropE, held in Seville, Spain, in the month of February 2010, has strengthened the process started in Rome and further confirmed in Cracow. Together with the FMA’s, we are presently looking into ways of renewing the Consulta and the Commission of the school in Europe so a to better meet the coordinate the school sector and also to benefit from the reflection that the Seville Congress has proposed.
    4. it is worth recalling the ever growing collaboration between Italy and Spain in the professional and vocation formation sector. This collaboration is already benefitting this sector in both countries. It is also offering the opportunity to share the acquired ‘know how’ with Don Bosco Tech India (an organisation of 123 salesian colleges within the Indian provinces, offering professional and vocational formation).

A database is being developed that will contain the information on Schools and Formation and Vocational Centres in Europe. The aim is to share this information with all those involved in these sectors, and also favour networking in view of programmes and exchanges.

    1. the process of yearly meetings of Youth Ministry Delgates of EuropE is in place. While in ItalY and SpaIn we benefit from a central coordinating team on a national level, in EuropE NorTH great attention is given to the annual meeting of the youth delegates. As from this year, all the delegates of Europe North have decided to hold their annual meeting together, and not on the level of Conferences. This decision was taken on the basis of the great opportunity that is given when reflection is done together, thus offering the chance to benefit from the diversity that is a characteristic of this Region.

It is worth recalling how the Provincial Delegates of each of these three Regions have a plan containing themes for pastoral reflection in the coming years. Together with is, the three collaborators in the Department, apart from the responsibilities they have of the sectors, also have the role of following two or more regions. In the case of Europe, the three Regions are being followed by Miguel Angel Garcia Morcuende, salesian from Madrid.

  1. the  Department is working on the proposal of one meeting between all the Delegates of youth ministry of the three regions of europe in 2013. The proposal aims at offering the opportunity of an evaluation exercise of the three regions on how GC26 was applied in the various provinces: journeys proposed, strengths that were experienced, open challenges.
  2. other proposals that will prove helpful to our youth ministry are, first, the present process of rethinking our salesian youth ministry; secondly, the reflection on salesian spiritual accompaniment. In this sector the experience offered in Madrid, presented for the second time and very much appreciated by those following it, is proven to be a good model for similar processes in Europe and in other continents in the Congregation.

The equip within the Department is very much focused on the need for pastoral reflection, together with that of coordinating the various realities and challenges of each Region. Our methodology is centred on planning, evaluation and common reflection both within the Department as much as in continuous dialogue with the Regions.

One final comment.
It seems to me that Project Europe, from the point of view of youth ministry, should look deep into a conviction that is well rooted in our young people: for them Europe is not a destination but a reality. They are not worried about ‘building Europe.’ They are part of it already and live it in the same natural way with which they breathe the air around them.

Project Europe for us is something we need to assimilate, to make our own and let it mature, not only as an idea, but as a way of life – modus vivendi. In relation to Project Europe, young people are well ahead of us, Salesian educators and evangelisers. I believe that it is of utmost importance that in our meetings we reflect and question ourselves how do we understand all this:  it conditions our ministry, the methods we use and the targets we set.

Project Europe – Provincial Encounter 2010

November 27th, 2010
Václav Klement
Councilor for the Missions


Preliminary Note

During past two years i had the opportunity to talk about Project Europe to the confreres in all five continents, listening to their questions and continue the dialogue about their doubts, objection or curiosity raised by them.
Already the title of the third area - ‘Europe Mission Territory’- even today seems to me the main challenge to acknowledge or accept by some Provinces in Europe or to understand in concrete terms by some Provinces in other Continents. In general there is a very little knowledge about the European reality, considered by some as Christian, by some as secularized or de-Christianized. We can also build on the conclusions of the 2006 Seminar on ‘Europe Mission Territory’ (Rome, Salesianum, Nov 2006).

1.1Requests to the Rector Major from the European provinces

Starting from 2010 the Missions Departmentwill ask the Provinces more commitment for the Project Europe, with some more detailed proposals of needs (indicating personnel, place, destinataries, concrete mission to accomplish…). Also the European provinces will study how to participate with their personnel in the Project Europe.

1.1.1 Processes started

Requests for sending new missionaries (December 2008 -  July 2010)
During first two years some 11 requests from 9 Provinces did reached the Rector Major (AUS, BEN, CEP, FRB, GBR, ICC, IME, ILE, IRL). In the PE Commission meeting (January 2010, Fatima) a sample format how to present the projects in the future was made. In the Attachment (1) you see the summary of the requests for specific personnel needs fora n eventual evaluation.

Request format for the European provinces for the PE
The request is addressed to the Rector Major and presented in the format of a ‘project’.
For example:
Project for:  (name)
Each project contains only one single reality.
Basic elements of each project description:

(1) Call of God and the background
What is the Province called for with this project and how the project is placed within the life and works, and priority fields of the Provincial plan?
(2) Situation and challenges
What is the situation of the Province as regard this specific project?
(3) Goal(s) or Focus of the project
In which fields or works wants the Province concentrate the personnel and resources for this project?
What is the mission today? What perspectives for this mission? What immediate concrete steps of this plan/project? What is the medium-term or long-term plan?
(4) Confreres requested an motivation for their request
(5) Specific traits (capacity, background) of the confreres requested for the project
(6) Welcome and follow up of the newcomers
How the Province intends to welcome, form and accompany the new missionaries?

In the PE Commission works we have only commented the requests, but not reached a standard of a true evaluation process and prioritizing the requests.
In order to raise the awareness about the personnel needs we use the Missionary Animation Bulletin Cagliero11 in general, or in some concrete cases the ANS (October 2010).

      1. Some difficulties met during first two years 

Some Provincial requests are described in rather generic way. But the main difficulty is WHO and HOW should COMMUNICATE in a clear, concrete and attractive way to the whole Congregation about different projects. This is one of the main obstacles of the not so enthusiastic answer on the part of the Non European provinces

1.1.3 Process or interventions within next two years (2012)

From the operative point of view the request reaching the Rector Major should be discerned, according some priority levels, according the urgent needs in the time and the nature of each project. In the PE Commission we have seen some three possible categories of projects:

(A) Requests for the very urgent projects (absolute lack of personnel, especially young SDB)
(B) Request for the important but not so urgent projects (re-dimensioning of the Province)
(C) Request for the important projects, with very specific qualities (capacity, language) for long term needs

It’s my personal opinon, we need a system of communicating concrete projects which can be an aswer to the needs of the other (European and non-European) provinces.

    1. Missionary candidates for the PE and their integration in the European Provinces 

‘Will work out criteria for the discernment of the missionary candidates for the Project Europe, for the communities and provinces who are welcoming and forming the new missionaries regarding their inculturation and integration process.’

1.2.1 Processes started

After the CG26 about 17 confreres did offer themselves to the Rector Major for the Project Europe, in the same time some 24 confreres were sent during past three missionary expeditions (139° - 140° - 141°) 24 to five different provinces of Europe. See Attachment (2)

After the experience of first two years we were able to discern some concrete criteria for the missionary vocation discernment, especially within the context of Project Europe, with the co-operation of both sides (sending and receiving provinces). See Attachment (3)

In the Salesian experience we distinguish usually four fundamental qualities before we start a serious discernment path of the Salesian missionary vocation

  1. Spirit of faith, rootedness in Jesus Christ, since the missionary proclaims Jesus Christ
  2. Capacity of community life, since usually he will live within a multicultural community
  3. Availability to the kenosis and sacrifice, since his life means a selfless service to others
  4. Robust personality, good health, capacity to learn more foreign languages

Qualities expressed by the European provinces receiving the missionaries:

  1. Know how to work within a secularized, consumerist culture (poverty witness)
  2. Know how to work with the lay mission partners in our works (school, social work)
  3. Creativity and enthusiasm, flexibility in the adaptation to the cultures and youth
  4. Know how to learn also from the local Salesian culture (charismatic richness, sanctity)

Qualities expressed by the new missionaries present in Europe

  1. A robust Salesian vocation (openness towards others, mature interpersonal relationship, spirit of prayer, joyful character)
  2. Humble and patient in helping the local Salesian as protagonist: ‘Europe is evangelized mainly by the Europeans’.
  3. Due openness and flexibility in the adaptation to the European cultures which is a life long process

During my visit to five European provinces who have already accepted or are asking the missionaries (October 2009 (UNG, GBR, IRL, BEN, AUS) I have shared both the experience of the missionaries or the accepting European provinces. We can share a good practice of the GBR Province (Guidelines for the Rectors, 2009). See Attachment (4).

At the level of new missionary formation we are still at the beginning. The UNG Province does offer some interesting points from the 11 missionaries experience coming from Vietnam, India and Poland. During the new missionary course (Rome – Turin, September 1-25, 2010) there was a meaningful sharing of one non European rector present in Europe since 1997 – in Rijswijk (BEN, Netherland Delegation).

      1. Difficulties met

Main difficulty is simply the lack of explicit missionary candidates offering themselves to the Rector Major for the Project Europe. In some non European regions the young confreres are ‘frightened’ by the superficial image of ‘secularized Europe’. Some provinces express certain discrimination experienced in the past when studying or doing their practical training in Europe. Due to the lack of explicit candidates for the PE, the Missions Councilors starts personal ‘online dialogue’ with the apparently suitable candidates who show some necessary characteristics needed for the Project Europe.

The accompaniment of the practical trainees, or missionaries coming from other European provinces or coming from non European regions is very different. We are in the beginnings. Also for the entry ‘missionary’ visa of some newcomers we spend some 11 months. Some Provinces are well organized, some are learning fast from the initial experiences or some can offer their model – experience.

There is an open question about the suitable study center or formation community for the specific formation of candidate to the priesthood of the new missionaries. Apart of Jerusalem – Ratisbonne theologate, there is no (English) Salesian study center in the European context.

      1. Processes or interventions for the near future (2012) 

There is a need to build up a communication system for the projects submitted to the RM for the need of new personnel in more concrete, narrative form.
In the same time there is a need to work on the removal of some prejudice or bias regarding the openness, welcoming and treatment of the non European confreres. Possible more direct communication between the sending and receiving Provinces might be a priority to face. A constant and patient journey for the promotion of missionary vocation is the key of the process.
At the operational level a working group meeting of those confreres in charge of the new missionary accompaniment in the provinces seems be urgent. 

1.3 Non European Provinces in front of the Project Europe

‘The Non European provinces reflect how they want to partecipate in the Project Europe  of the Congregation and will send their reports to the Coordinator for the PE within the year of 2010’

      1. Processes under way (awareness about the PE)

First survey (July 2009)

  1. A positive attitude (20 of 60 Provincials replied within 4 days time), asking more info

Second survey (July - October 2010)

  1. Rather slow and timid attitude (37/58 Provincials replied within 4 months time)
  2. At the level of information (sometimes very essential) 10 of 37 Provinces, other 27 provinces who replied dedicated to the PE quality platforms (Provincial Chapter, Rector or Council meeting, Confreres assembly, Canonical visitations or Spiritual Retreats…)
  3. Almost all 37 Provinces acknowledge the absence of communication to the SF members of to the youth in our works

Main motivation of interest, enthusiasm

  1. Acknowledgment that Europe has a big need of the Project (=to be helped)
  2. Process of re-evangelization or first proclamation of the Gospel (=raising interest)
  3. Congregation does offer very challenging field for Salesian Mission
  4. There is a feeling, that the same challenges faced by Europe today will be faced by the non European provinces in a near future (Latin America: Europe is your future!)
  5. Gratitude to the European provinces who were evangelized and founded by European missionaries in the past and now would like to answer with action (6)
      1. Difficulties met

Communication of the Project Europe in non European provinces

  1. Some recognize honestly, that the PE is either known or owned by the confreres (9)
  2. Some province acknowledges that the PE was communicated in a wrong way as the exchange of personnel between the European province with few vocations or only as a move towards the re-evangelization of Europe
  3. Need to clarify some doubts, prejudice towards the Project Europe in some Regions

Acceptance of the Project Europe in the non European provinces: objection, doubts

  1. Some provinces fear that the missionaries would be not welcomed or not well accompanied by both sides (new, old Province) or even treated un-equally (10)
  2. Some provinces dont’ feel involved in the PE due to larger distance (8)
  3. Missing more explicit and concrete invitation of European provinces in order to raise more interest for specific country, work or specific field of Salesian mission in Europe(3)
  4. Until now the PE communications did not generate more significant interest, hence it was not much discussed in some provincial forum of confreres (1)
  5. Main doubts: what kind of specific contribution could offer new missionaries? How could a confrere from Africa or Asia exercise major impact on the European culture?
      1. Processes or interventions for the near future (2011/2012)
  1. Create enthusiasm among the young confreres who could answer to the needs of PE, sending the personnel: trainees, priests, systematic missionary vocation promotion (11)
  2. Prayer for the PE at the provincial level; regular prayer intention (4)
  3. Need to continue an awareness campaign about the PE, spread the motivations and interest among the confreres about the Salesian situation in Europe. One basic conviction: more we know, more we can help the PE – with concrete actions that can be shared; publish concrete lists of specific needs in the Project Europe (10)
  4. Suggestion to produce 3 DVDs about 3 European regions, that can show the specific reality with the needs, challenges, opportunities and new frontiers (2)
  5. After the Provincials meeting of 2010 inform the rest of the Congregation in more detailed way. After the 2008 Provincials meeting some concrete programs missed.
  6. Start a discernment among the sending and receiving provinces about a possible mutual help (migrants etc), that can involve both sides (visits to the non European provinces (6)
  7. Communicate the exact role expected from the non European provinces (4)
  8. Clarify if the PE deals about re-evangelization of de-Christianized continent, about the dialogue with the secularism OR is about the maintenance of ecclesial structures since there is a lack of Church personnel (2)
  9. Missionary volunteer movement from Europe to Africa, America and Asia (2)
  10. Foundation and opening of the first non European missionary Aspirantate (2011-ING)
  11. Recover the historical memory of European missionaries to the non European provinces
  12. Build the communities only with the newly arrived Salesians, in order to avoid rejection.
    1. Missionary study days: First proclamation of Jesus in Europe

(SDB & FMA Missions department, Prague, November 2010)

      1. Process started

According the Project of the RM and his Council (2008-2014), last November 4-10, 2010 were held ‘Missionary study days about the First proclamation of Jesus’ in Europe. The main theme is for the whole Sessenium, and for all 8 regions, but the process was started in Europe.
During the 5 days work the 35 participants (SDB, FMA, VDB, ACS) deepen the challenges and opportunities for the first proclamation of Jesus Christ.For the main contents and conclusions see the Attachment (5). One of the Study Days participants posted in the BLOG all contents (GBR): http://cgi.www.salesians.org.uk/cgi-in/www.salesians.org.uk/newsitem.pl?item=item195

      1. Difficulties foreseen in the near future

Usually the ‘first proclamation’ awareness among the Salesians in Europe is not high. Although the European bishop deal with the topic since 1993, we are not much aware about it. We need a patient, long term commitment in order to spread the conclusions of the Study days at the level of ordinary confreres. The Youth ministry animation could build on the 2010 Study days conclusions.

      1. Processes or interventions for the next two years (2011/2012)

First destinataries of the Study days conclusions are the YM, Miss.Animation and Formation
Delegates. At the beginning of 2011 a simple set of ongoing formation materials for the local communities could be ready for translation into main 5 languages.

Attachment – Third area: EUROPE MISSION TERRITORY 2010
(1)Requests – projects submitted to the Rector Major (2009-2010)
(2)Missionaries sent to Europe (2002-2010, especially 2008-2010)
(3)Criteria for the Project Europe missionary vocation discernment (2010)
(4)Guidelines for the Rectors – accompaniment of PE newcomers (GBR)
(5)First Proclamation of Jesus in Europa (2010, Praha – Conclusions)

AD GENTES – AD EXTRA – AD VITAM  Attachment 3: 2010-Project Europe

    1. Persons involved in the discernment process at (4) different levels
      • The confrere himself: listening to his spiritual guide, confessor, formators..
      • The community where the confrère lives: rector, formator
      • Provincial and his Council
      • Councilor for the Missions
    2. For discernment at a general level – Church and Salesian tradition

Essential points needed for discernment:(1)Right intention(2)Free decision (3) Suitability
Necessary quality according the Catholic Magisterium (Vatican II)
Suitability: other than the specific lay, religious or priestly vocation, AG 25 emphasizes:

      • A certain moral strength to overcome difficulties of the mission
      • Patience, understanding, humility, charity in order to discover authentic values in other religions
      • Supernatural spirit to make mission more than something merely philanthropic or social
      • Becoming a clear witness of the Gospel to non-believers
      • Communion and obedience in common apostolate, under the guidance of one's bishop.

In the Salesian experience we distinguish usually four fundamental qualities before we start a serious discernment path of the Salesian missionary vocation

      • Spirit of faith, rootedness in Jesus Christ, since the missionary proclaims Jesus Christ
      • Capacity of community life, since usually he will live within a multicultural community
      • Availability to the kenosis and sacrifice, since his life means a selfless service to others
      • Robust personality, good health, capacity to learn more foreign languages
    1. Some contra-indications of a missionary vocation ad gentes

Adventurism – simple desire to change the place where one works
Urged on by a third person (parents, Salesian, friends...)
Escape, avoid problems (relational, personal, vocational…)
NB: We should absolutely avoid sending as a missionary a confrère who already has problems fitting in to ordinary community life in his province of origin. In missions, where ordinarily the setting is much more demanding, there is no help for these kinds of problems.

    1. Insufficient indicators

Not enough to be a ‘good confrère, good Salesian’ – this is a new call not common to every Salesian in the Congregation
Not enough to have some vague missionary idea (e.g.: a vague wish to work for poor youngsters or in a poorer setting)
Not enough just to be enthusiastic about the missions, since this may not last long.

  1. Criteria to be considered  (Superior with his Council, the candidate himself)

( )  Good health, Human maturity; Psychological balance
( )  Relation ability, Sense of responsibility in the mission, Community oriented person
( )  Ability to adapt to culture (local & Salesian) different from country of origin
( )  Prayer life including personal prayer, Eucharist centered life
( )  Respect for others (lay mission partners, the young), other cultures, creeds
( )  Commitment ‘ad vitam’ for the new country, culture – leaving all for the Kingdom


Guidelines for Rectors (GBR 2009)

Receiving SDBs from other provinces

1. Initial Information
Provincial secretary can provide:

  • Name, date of birth and contact details including email
  • A testimonial letter from the student’s own provincial.
  • A police clearance certificate

2. Information the Rector needs to receive from the student

  • A copy of the SDBs passport kept on file and a copy sent to provincial office
  • Full details of next of kin and contact numbers
  • Any relevant dietary needs and medical history.
  • Preferences regarding areas of pastoral experience
  • The dates for the renewal of their vows if applicable

What the Rector needs to do- a checklist

  1. Welcome the new arrival and introduce them to the community giving a general picture of how they will be working within the Salesian mission.


  1. Have a conversation that explores the background of the student, family, Salesian vocation story and hopes for the year ahead.


  1. Ensure that a simple and consistent arrangement is made for cash for their day to day needs.


  1. Provide morning and evening prayer books and a daily missal.


  1. Identify an appropriate person to line manage their pastoral experience. This could be a lay colleague.


  1. Identify a spiritual director in the community who is not the main person directing their pastoral experience.


  1. Arrange for them to register with the local doctor.


  1. Ensure that they have a balanced programme of work with young people and enough time to study English and relax


  1. Organise for a recognised ESOL course with the student.


  1. Any needs for clothing and equipment to begin pastoral experience.



General Guidelines



Child Protection


Schools should initiate a CRB check on students they take on for pastoral experience. Further documentation from their own national authorities is available from Fr Patrick at Provincial Office



No SDB arrival may drive a province car until they have demonstrated that they hold a valid licence and have had at least one session with a qualified driving instructor. The instructor should be asked for an opinion, preferably in writing stating clearly that they consider the student safe to drive in Britain.


Significant expenditure


Any costs for clothes equipment medical and travel should be agreed specifically by the Rector. There may be a number of items required at the start of the year that fall into this category so that they are able to work effectively with young people.

Pocket Money


Credit cards are not appropriate for SDB arrivals during their initial months in the province. In general cash from the bursar is the preferred method. An agreed sum can be given (one community has chosen the sum of £50). The SDB should present an account of how this money has been spent together with as many receipts as is possible before receiving further cash.

Holiday at


It is understood that SDBs from Poland will be required to attend a formation event in Poland in the Christmas holiday. They should be with the community until at least the 26th December and not miss the feast. Cheap flights should be booked in advance. Their time in Poland is directed by the guidelines and leadership of their own province.

Half term breaks


It is recommended that the SDB arrivals in initial formation spend at least part of their half term in community, perhaps doing some practical work agreed with the Rector.



Payments in


Any payments made by schools or others for the service of SDB  should be regarded as part of the community income.

Spiritual Direction


In general the Rector of the community should act as the spiritual director of the SDB student but there may be circumstances where another SDB in the community may be better placed to fill that role. The Rector should check that these sessions occur at least monthly and ideally close to the monthly recollection.



When the work of SDB arrivals is largely focused on school ministry care should be taken to have some structured roles at the weekend providing regular and clear engagement with young people in the neighbourhood. In most settings this will be in a parish close by.

Further study


Part of the benefit of working in Britain is an enhanced fluency in spoken and written English. Each student should be engaged in further study of English through a recognised ESOL qualification (most commonly the Cambridge Certificate) studied at a level that will stretch their learning beyond its present level.

Province Youth Ministry Involvement


Where possible SDB arrivals should be made aware of opportunities to work from time to time with more committed youth within the Salesian network. Student Voice, Youth Easter and SOS programmes are especially appropriate events to consider. Where involvement happens it should be with the approval of the local Rector.

Balanced living


SDB arrivals are here to live the experience of a different culture in a balanced way. Guidance should be offered about how to avoid any unhealthy intensity in work or spirituality. Home. School, playground and church should be balanced in their lives through regular spiritual direction.



Formation meetings


There will be up to six meetings each year for those in initial formation in the province. These are important dates and are not optional. They aim to broaden the reflection of the students and to build regular sharing and celebration moments into their year of Salesian experience. The next two meetings are as follows: Oct 23rd – 24th Battersea Nov 28th – 29th Venue to be confirmed

Ministry to National Groups


The SDB arrivals are in our province primarily to experience the mission of the SDBs in Britain. They are here to learn alongside SDBs and not primarily to develop a specific national apostolate based on natives of their own country. Such contacts can be very helpful from time to time but they do not form a central part of their apostolate in Britain.

Line management


During apostolic work, in schools especially each \SDB arrival should have a named person (SDB or a lay person) who will organise the students work and offer them regular opportunities for supervision and on-going training for their role in school. This is not the same as spiritual direction and it is important that the line manager is not the Rector or the spiritual director. A structured journal is available for those who would like a more organised approach to this task.



SDB arrivals should be encouraged to seek out a specific SDB as their confessor. Ideally this would be an older SDB who is not directly involved in their day to day work. From time to time a confessor who speaks their native language may be appropriate.




The student should be registered with the local doctor and all costs including dental work and opticians’ costs should be covered by the community. Students from Europe should have their European Health Insurance Card or an equivalent and obtain the relevant reductions and exemptions where possible.

Provincial responsibilities in this area:

  1. General Formation Direction   Dave
  2. Initial Formation John
  3. Documentation  Pat


Information about the Social Communication Department

Rivitalisation from within

1. Procedures or actions undertaken In Europe or in the Regions in  2009-2010


Reflection and discussion on PE

  • In all the meetings organised by the SC Department and also in those to which invited, we have spoken and shared ideas about PE , devoting more time and effort in preparation for the European meetings.
  • Meetings held have been at European level, involving the three Regions, trying to initiate relationships and reflection on topics concerning  a European mind-set and the centrality of consecration for the common mission.


The site of the Direzione Generale, www.sdb.org, dealing with PE.

  • Since June 2009 available on the site www.sdb.org there is an area, indicated by an appropriate icon, containing the documents and the minutes regarding the Project for Europe.
  • Since July 2010 available on the site there are articles and reflections by high quality authors who contribute information and serious ideas about European culture.

BS supporting PE.

  • The European meeting of the BS held in Munich in Bavaria (2009.05.10-13), aimed at providing support for the PE trying to find the appropriate means to make it known. European BS editors  were invited to reflect and to exchange articles on some topics which are a challenge to our presence in Europe as educators, evangelisers, communicators. Subjects identified were inter-culturation, relativism, secularism, Islam, nihilism, the loss of status  of pubic institutions and personalities. The editors were to present and exchange  among themselves articles experiences providing information about PE in all its stages or aspects.

ANS at the service of  the PE.

  • In addition to reporting twice a year on the occasion of the meeting of the Commission for the Project for Europe, ANS has asked each Province to appoint a reference person for the Project for Europe, who in close collaboration with the Provincial Delegate for SC, should keep the confreres well-informed about what is happening and be in contact with ANS and with the site of the Direzione General to ensure a wider diffusion of information, both in Europe and at world level.
  • The Provincial reference person has been asked to send to the CS Department (ANS and BS) material and information about what is being done about the PE and, at the same time, keep the confreres in the Province aware of what the Congregation and the other Provinces in Europe are doing.
  • ANS is already engaged in encouraging its European correspondents to collaborate  for the PE. For example they have been asked to send material about the more significant conclusions of the various Provincial Chapters.
  • To involve the confreres and to have a common image  there was a competition for the  logo for the PE which was well supported. After the selection of the three winning logos having consulted experts and others the Commission arrived at its final decision using the logo of the Direzione Generale with the addition underneath of: Salesians of Don Bosco, Project for Europe.


Centres of multimedia production

  • At Bratislava there was a meeting of the centres of production radio, video and television. Taking part were representatives of Missioni Don Bosco, ANS, TV Lux, TV Noè, radio and multimedia production groups in order to examine methods for short  interviews and videos to be distributed in various ways across Europe. Present at this meeting were SDB, FMA and laity experts in the field of SC.

Publishing Houses

  • Their role in the PE ought to be to create, undertake initiatives, promoting a European Christian Salesian culture in society and for the young (education, evangelisation, ministry).

1.2. Difficulties met in Europe  or in the Regions in  2009-2010

  • Lack of information, communication and awareness on the part of Salesians  regarding the PE.
  • Lack of cultural openness and acceptance by some SDB who need to change their attitude.
  • Reduction of the implementation of the PE to the simple arrival of Salesians and to Regional and Provincial restructuring
  • Similar difficulty of openness and cultural - charismatic adaptation both on the part of those who arrive and those who welcome them.

1.3. Procedures or actions to be proposed  for Europe of for the Regions for 2011-2012?

  • Considered the nature of the PE, a project of life and of hope and not only piece of news or an event, the distinction needs to be made between “information and communication” and their integration.
  • Faith in the call of God to act in a prophetic manner is the conviction in the “priority” of the PE at this moment in the history of salvation for the poorest young people requires conviction, passion and personal involvement, and it is only in this way that one can  “communicate a project of life” after which comes information about what one loves, one hopes, one believes, and one does. Information alone does not set the life of a confreres on fire, it does not re-vitalise a vocation, nor stimulate a more  generous gift of oneself to the Mission. The Provincial Reference Person and the Delegates for SC provide information about what is being communicated in each Province. The Department for SC provides information for Europe and the Congregation.
  • ANS will encourage a more frequent net-work communication especially through You Tube and other digital means, with the collaboration of the Provincial Reference Persons and the Delegates for SC, with these or other similar subjects: what do the Salesians have in mind regarding Europe; the ‘good news” of the PE; what people think about DB/ Preventive System; what do the young expect from the Salesians.
  • Activities at European level: an international multimedia camp (France,  Czech Rep., Slovakia, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Poland) a type of Fest-Clip; giving positive messages about PE; circulating a video in various ways among SDB which presents PE; mini-video on spirituality.
  • Continuing with meetings of Delegates for SC, businesses and BS at European level and holding a meeting for the European reference persons with ANS.

Meetings organised  in Europe by the Department for Social Communication in 2009 – 2010: World Consultative Committee  for  SC, Madrid, 22-26.02.2009; Provincial Delegates  for SC Italy Middle East Region, Rome, 06-08.03.2009; Editors of the BS in Europe, Munich, 10-13.05.2009; Editors of the BS in the Rest of the World, Rome, 17-20.05.2003; Provincial Delegates for SC Iberian Region, Barcelona, 16-19.10.2009; European Publishing Houses, Barcelona, 3-8.02.2010; Invited to Provincials’ Meeting West Europe, Lyon, 03-04.03.2010; Meeting of Provincial  Delegates  for SC in Europe, Lyon, 07-10.03.2010; Web Master, Córdoba, 07-09.05.2010; Radio, TV, Multimedia SDB - FMA, Bratislava, 13-16.05.2010; Publishing Houses (Madrid, Lisbon, Paris, Bonn), Madrid, 28.05.2010.

Const. 41; GC 26, 104 - 111