Salesians of Don Bosco | Province of St. Philip the Apostle | Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry
Signs and Bearers of God’s Love for the Young and the Poor
HSalesians of Don Bosco
Province of St. Philip the Apostle
Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry
315 Self Place, South Orange, NJ 07079
2-8 Reflections on Mary
from Salesian youth, young adults,
and youth ministers
9-10 Salesian Family Day at Six Flags
11-12 Young Adult Retreat
13-14 The Good Night
15 Upcoming Events
Tell us what’s happening in your neck of the woods!
Submit your stories and reflections for the next
BoscoNews to email@example.com.
This summer, the Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry will be relocating
to the Provincial House & Offices in New Rochelle, New York
As of August 1, 2013, our address will be:
148 Main Street
New Rochelle, NY 10802
IN THIS ISSUE BQSCONEWS
VOLUME 4, ISSUE 4
I\/KAY 31, 2013
WE RE MQVINGY
. Vof God. She bravely replied, “Behold I am the handmaid
of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your
As a preschooler at St. Jerome Early Childhood Center, I
learned that I had two mothers. My earthly mother
would return for me after three hours of playing, singing and painting. If I missed her while she was away, I
knew that I had another mother, a heavenly one, who was with me always. This understanding remained with
me throughout life. Now, as a teen, I still rely on the presence of the Blessed Mother in my daily activities and
especially in my trials. She gives me comfort, peace and an understanding shoulder to lean upon. I tell her my
cares and troubles and ask her to intercede on my behalf to her son, Jesus. Furthermore, Mother Mary serves
as an example of who I am to be as a Christian woman.
As a Salesian, I learned that Mary is the Help of Christians. I have embraced this devotion and ask Mary for
help in all my needs. I seek to have a deeper relationship with Mary in the future. As I enter college, I know
that I will need her constant guidance and encouragement in order to follow God’s will. I found the movie
The Nativity to be very inspiring, and Mary’s courage and faithfulness to God, exceptionally moving. I found
that many situations in high school called me to be courageous. Standing up for what was right was not
always popular, but in the end, I found that people respected my choices and later came to me for advice. It is
not easy to be principled in our world today. We must rely on God’s grace and the help of His mother in order
to lead a holy life.
Alex Steele, ‘13
St. Petersburg Catholic HS
St. Petersburg, Florida
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Taken
from the Canticle of Mary, this passage signifies how humble a servant Mary was to the
Lord. Mary is as present in our lives as Jesus is. She provides us with a role model figure to
show us that we are called to love others and surrender our lives to God. Mary was only
about 14 years old when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her and asked her to be the mother
A depiction of our Blessed Mother appearing to Don Bosco
during his Dream of Nine at Mary Help of Christians Academy.
iGabriel, when she was asked to bear the Son of God.
While Mary questioned Gabriel when he told her this, she
accepted the task without hesitation. For us, God’s plan
won’t be directly laid out, but we still need to listen for it.
Our vocation is one of the greatest choices that we have to make through God. We should use Mary as our
example for how to respond to this call. While we may question God’s plan for us, we should always accept it
and strive to carry it out as best as we can. This is the manner in which Mary carried out the plan God gave her.
This tested her faith in many ways, mainly because she was so young and under scrutiny from those around
her. At one point, she was even faced with the threat of being stoned. Even though she was confronted with
these obstacles, her immeasurable faith in God allowed her to continue forward and carry out what she was
being called to do.
Just as Mary’s faith was tested, ours too, will be tested when we carry out what God has in store for us. Again,
we can use Mary as our example for how to carry out His will in a time of adversity, misunderstanding, and
persecution. These obstacles thrown our way aren’t going to be short lived. Rather, it will require a long-term
commitment to overcome these difficulties.
Mary’s struggles didn’t end after Jesus was born, in fact, they worsened as Jesus got older. She had to accept
the horrible fate of her son being persecuted and crucified on a cross. While this may have been hard for her to
understand, she fully believed and trusted in God.
We may not know what’s in store for us and why we are called to do certain things, but God does. If we are
open to the call and pursue it even when times get hard, as Mary did, then God’s plan can unfold into
Tony Sepulvado, ‘13
Archbishop Shaw High School
Mary is an ideal figure of someone who showed immense faith in God and one whose
persistence in the work of our Lord conquered the hardships that were thrown at her.
Even though she was young, she showed us important aspects on how we should live
our faith today. One of the most important qualities that Mary showed us was her ability
to listen to the call from God. Mary listened to the word of God that came through
Statues of our Blessed Mother at
Tony’s alma mater, Archbishop Shaw.
1unmarried – yet pregnant? Long before Jesus spoke the
words, “Fear is useless, what is needed is trust” (Luke 8:50,
Mark 5:36), Mary was living these words.
Doing the right thing in life does not always line up with
doing the easy thing. Many times, the road that leads to
choosing the right thing is the bumpiest of all. “What is needed is trust.” Mary teaches us that choosing to do
the right thing may not always be the most comfortable or the easiest choice, but the reward with the Father is
always the greatest. Mary said yes to God, bearing his Son and being a mother to Jesus. Mary teaches us
tremendous trust and faith in the Lord through her simple, unyielding, powerful “yes.”
Jesus is the truth and the way. Jesus is love. It’s hard to imagine the intensity of the love between this mother
and this child. Imagine what Mary felt as she watched her Son during His passion. Mary trusted that God’s plan
was being carried out, yet the pain and grief she felt as she watched her Son struggle must have been
unbearable. As Mary watched Jesus suffer, I think of how she did not know exactly what God’s plan was, but
trusted in Him with her whole heart. I marvel at the way Mary placed her life in God’s hands. When I think of
the heartache in our own lives, especially in this day and age, I look to Mary as an example of perseverance and
pure trust in following the Father’s plan.
Mary never focuses on herself; she always leads us to Jesus. Through Mary’s example, we can learn a greater
sense of trust and love for God and for each other. By praying to Mary and by keeping her in our minds, the
road to the right thing may become much more bearable, even if it is bumpy.
Port Chester, New York
Mary, the Mother of God, trusted the Father whole-heartedly. Learning that she was the one
chosen among all other women to bear the Son of God was the greatest honor ever
bestowed on a person, yet can you imagine how fear might have crept up on Mary? How
she was probably very nervous to carry Jesus? To tell Joseph? To have people look at her
with eyes of misunderstanding as she walked amongst them, betrothed to Joseph –
A statue of our Blessed Mother
in the St. Joseph Chapel at Mary
Help of Christians Academy in
North Haledon, NJ
' one of us. She went through a great deal of struggle
throughout her life, just like each one of us. Mary, by
herself, perfectly realized God’s will, and serves as the
perfect role model for all of us.
I thank God for giving me such a great mother who can
teach me in simple and quiet ways. My mother Mary has
taught me, and can teach each and every one of you, to
persevere in the hope of Christ. Through the power of the
Holy Spirit , the Blessed Virgin became the mother of our
Savior. Holy Cow, that has to be a big responsibility! I’m
sure it wasn’t easy at all; she was misunderstood and
even jeered at by her community and peers. Mother Mary
teaches me to expect that others may not always
understand the path I find myself on with God, yet persevering with Christ will always lead to a life closer to
Him. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope with the grace of God, to persevere to the end, and
obtain the joys of heaven (CCC 1821). The Blessed Mother was at the foot of the cross, watching her son get
crucified to the cross. She didn’t ask questions, but instead, offered him the love of a mother and her
presence. She has taught me to trust in God’s will even though the situation may seem dark, hopeless, and
without purpose. She is truly a person of faith, and someone each and every one of us should look up to.
I am united with Mary through suffering. We as human beings experience sadness through our own suffering. I
realize the fullness of Mary’s humility when I think about the intensity of her shock, disbelief, and intense
sorrow as she remained with her son from birth until death. His death was so horrific that nearly all his
followers abandoned him. Yet, Mary, Mary Magdalene and his apostle John remained. I ask myself all the time;
“What enabled Mary to remain with Jesus and preserved her through his suffering?” Mary’s love for Jesus as his
mother, and her faith and hope in his divinity, enabled her to endure the path to his death. Often when
someone else is suffering, the best way we can help is just simply being with them and praying for them. Each
one of us can imitate Mary in our own lives, by reaching others who are suffering. At times this can be relatively
easy but at other times, the witnessing of suffering may require much greater effort. During the times when
our suffering is most intense, we can remember Mary with her son’s suffering. Yes, it can be hard, and at times
we may feel as Mary did-- that we can’t go on. Yet Mary teaches us that through our love for others, rooted in
our love for God, and faith in the resurrection and power of God’s grace, we have the strength and courage to
persevere through any suffering the world presents.
How do children let their mother know they love her? They obey her, listen to her and run to her in times of
Lessons from Mother Mary are truly lessons that God taught her in the silence and openness of her
Immaculate Heart. May we trust, listen, and run to our Mother in order to better hear and follow the will of her
Salesian Domestic Volunteer
St. John Bosco Parish
Niko is currently living and serving with the
Salesian community at St. John Bosco Parish in
Chicago. He’s originally from the West Bank of
New Orleans, and as much as he loves the work
he’s doing in Chicago, he misses his family,
especially his baby nephew Landon!
Sometimes people wonder why Catholics like to honor Mary. Each one of our responses
should be, “WHY NOT?” Why should we not honor the woman who said “yes” to God
and gave birth to our Savior? We as Catholics honor Mary and try to imitate her because
she is the true definition of a great mother, and she was the first disciple of Jesus Christ.
Mary is, of course, a person of faith, hope, and love. She is a human being just like each
' Juniors crown the statue of Mary Help of
Christians at the Academy of Our Lady
Bosco's life and, in turn, in the lives of Salesian educators
and students today.
We all know the familiar story of Don Bosco's dream in
which Mary guided Don Bosco to change the attitude of
the misguided young boys by teaching them with loving
kindness. At such a young age, Don Bosco may not have
fully understood what Mary was calling him to, but he
put his trust in her and through her inspiration, Don
Bosco led many young souls to Jesus. What I did not
know was that the people of Turin had been honoring Mary Help of Christians for many years before that
Shortly before Don Bosco was born, the city of Turin welcomed Pope Pius VII, on his way back to Rome after
being freed from exile in Savona. Napoleon had arrested and imprisoned the Pontiff for years, and he
attributed his freedom to the intercession of Mary Help of Christians. This visit solidified a strong devotion in
and around Turin to Mary under the title “Help of Christians.” (You can learn so much from paying attention
to the homily of an SDB!)
Saint John Bosco considered all that was accomplished in his oratory, only possible because of Mary Help of
Christians. He encouraged his boys to keep this devotion as well, telling them, “Trust all things to Jesus in the
Blessed Sacrament and to Mary Help of Christians, and you will see what miracles are.”
As an educator in a Salesian school, it is important to teach my students that same devotion to Mary. At AOL,
our girls wear the word "Fiat" on their school blouses - a reminder to them to say yes to all God asks of them,
just as Mary did. Our students know well that Don Bosco turned to Mary in all things, because as a school, we
too turn to Mary at all times. Mary is the role model of a strong woman that I hope my students will continue
to become. She said yes to God's plan for her to be Jesus' mother, despite the difficulties she would face
because of that yes. She then raised her son only to watch him suffer and die for reasons she did not yet fully
understand. The trust Mary had in God as she watched the Passion unfold is something to aspire to when
faced with what seems to be impossible hardships in our own lives. It is Mary who can offer us comfort and
Mary who can lead us to Christ when we turn to her for help.
Don Bosco gave his Salesian family a great gift when he taught us to trust in Mary. May all people, students,
educators, and friends who spend time in our Salesian schools find an opportunity to reflect on our mother
and become closer to her son.
Coordinator for Youth Ministry
Academy of Our Lady
In addition to teaching and ministering to her girls
at the Academy of Our Lady, Theresa is also the
proud mother of Ana, who just turned 1 this month!
If you walk into any room at Academy of Our Lady, you will notice three things on our wall: a
crucifix, a picture of Don Bosco, and usually right next to Don Bosco, a picture of Mary, Help
of Christians. These three images can likely be found frequently in all of our Salesian
schools, because it is through Don Bosco and Mary that we focus our students on Jesus. In
this month of Mary, we have an opportunity to reflect on the importance Mary had in Don
11anyone offers scandal to one of these little ones, it would
have been better for him not to be born.” The
suggestions were many and good. However, after
listening to all of these and giving some thought and
prayer to it all, Fr. Ricaldone opened the New Testament
to the Gospel of John 2:1, and chose the words: “…and
the mother of Jesus was there.” Those words, he said,
gave the total summary of the life of the Salesian
Congregation and its mission on behalf of the young. As
the years of experience pass in my own Salesian life, I
continue to come to understand and appreciate more and more the wisdom and reasons for Fr. Ricaldone’s
“And Mary the mother of Jesus was there…”, not just in Cana at Galilee, but also in the poor house in Becchi,
where little nine year old Johnnny Bosco had his first dream, and the mysterious personage in the dream gave
Johnny his teacher, “the one whom your mother has taught you to greet three times a day” – and from that
night on, Mary’s presence was palatable in Don Bosco’s life. Mary was there when Mamma Margaret taught
him catechism and spoke to him of the role and place of Mary in the life of a good Catholic. She was there in
his meetings with Don Joseph Calosso. She was there when he found himself feeling lonely at the Moglia farm.
She was there when he went to study in the city and when he went to the seminary. She was there in his
friendships with Louis Comollo and Joseph Cafasso. She was there on his ordination day, June 5, 1841; and she
certainly was there on the eventful morning of December 8, 1841, when Don Bosco tells us he met the first boy
and began his work with the young with a Hail Mary and a simple catechism lesson. She was there in June,
1868, at the consecration of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, on whose walls are inscribed the words that
Mary built this house for herself – through graces and miracles received through her intercession and the
prayers of her servant, Don Bosco. In fact, Don Bosco himself tells us he never took a step in his mission or in
the founding of his Society without first consulting our Blessed Mother.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was certainly there in May, 1887, at the consecration of the Basilica of the Sacred
Heart in Rome when, while celebrating Mass at the altar of Mary Help of Christians, a worn out and feeble Don
Bosco broke down and cried. When he was asked why he was crying so much, Don Bosco’s answer was both
simple and profound: “only now have I come to understand the dream I had when I was nine years old!” And
Mary was there on that train ride back to the Oratory after the celebrations in Rome for the dedication of the
Basilica of the Sacred Heart, when, with tears in his eyes, Don Bosco turned to his faithful secretary, Father
Charles Viglietti, and said to him: “If only I had had more faith in Mary Help of Christians, how much more I
could have done!” We know, and Don Bosco and the Salesian Constitutions tell us clearly, that the true
foundress of the Salesian Society is Mary, herself. “Mary did it all!”
(continued on next page)
Fr. Pat Angelucci, SDB
Salesian High School
New Rochelle, New York
Fr. Pat is completing his third term as the Director
of the Salesian Community and President of
Salesian High School in New Rochelle
It has been told that our Rector Major, Fr. Peter Ricaldone, was once asked to select a
scriptural passage which he thought would best summarize the Salesian Congregation and
its mission on behalf of young people. Many Salesians came forward to offer him
suggestions which included phrases like: “let the little children come unto me”, or “unless
you become like a little child, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven”, or again, “ifThe Salesain Constitutions tell us that Mary was there as Don Bosco’s teacher, as he lived the spiritual and
educative experience which we call the Preventive System (C#20); and that she is present in the process, even
today, as a mother who helps and infuses hope as we strive to evangelize the young people of today (C #34).
Mary is present, I believe, because at Cana in Galilee she gave us the key to understading Don Bosco’s mission
to the young – and to all we serve – when she tells us to “do whatever Jesus tells you.” This is, in fact, what
Don Bosco spent his life doing -- and wore himself out doing: introducing his young people to Jesus, so that
they could come to know and understand Him and to learn how to live as Jesus tells us to live. And this
continues to be the challenge we Salesians face today in the new evangelization -- in our time, in our culture in
our technological age -- how do we introduce Jesus to young people and teach them to live as Jesus tells us to
live in a language and way they can understand? Certainly the one to help us and fill us with the hope that we
can succeed, regardless of the over-powering voices that proclaim a message other than Jesus’, is Mary -- the
mother of Jesus -- and our mother. Mary the mother of Jesus IS here!
Just as Mary was present in Cana, and realized the difficulty that the young couple was facing before anyone
else noticed, Mary recognizes the difficulties and challenges facing our young people today. In the same way
she knew that those servants were going to be able to help that young couple only if they first met Jesus, she is
anxious that we (servants of the young today) come to know Jesus more deeply, so we can help the young in
their challenge of changing the water of life into the rich wine of faith and hope and love. Mary is constantly
introducing us to Jesus, and constantly bringing Jesus along to meet us. And the formula for evangelization
and for the fulfillment of Don Bosco’s mission remains the same: “Do whatever He tells you!”
In a recent homily, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, told us that Mary is always in haste to help us – this is a key
to her mission. As we reflect in this month of May on Mary’s role in the life and mission of the Salesian
Congregation, we see that the Holy Father’s words have certainly been true for us. Truly, the Rector Major,
Father Ricaldone got it right, “…..and Mary the mother of Jesus was there” – with Don Bosco at the very
beginning, and Mary the mother of Jesus IS here today as Don Bosco’s mission continues.
Statues of our Blessed Mother at
Salesian High School.Many people ask me, what is a Salesian? And every time
my answer is the same. I describe it in five words: faith,
fun, friends, family, and food! We all come together to
create this one family; this one being in Christ. And that is
exactly what makes this day so very Salesian.
Salesian Family Day begins with people running off buses into the park and running to their favorite ride.
Racing from ride to ride, running into different parishes as they race. You can practically feel the energy in the
park. The great thing about this trip is that there is something for everyone. Whether you like roller coasters or
not, the day is still so fun!
Personally, one of my favorite things about Salesian Family Day every year is the Mass, and that’s because it is
unlike any other Mass that I’ve ever attended. The music at this mass is astounding. Everybody is up and
singing, even if they don’t know the words. The best part of the Mass is the multitude and the variation of the
people. There are so many different types of people, yet we’re still all able to come together in our differences
to complement one another. One big part of the day takes place right after mass. A boy and a girl from each
group are awarded the Dominic Savio and Laura Vicuna Award. This award is presented to individuals who are
not only dedicated to the work they do in their local ministries, but who are also joyful, faithful, gentle young
Salesians, who love Jesus and Mary.
This year, I personally had an amazing time. Not only was I able to meet up with friends that I hadn’t seen for a
few months, but I also rode my first roller coaster! And let me tell you, it was scarier than I thought, but I’ll
definitely do it again! As a senior in high school, everything just seems to have more of an impact, and this is
one day that I will not be forgetting for a long time. It is not only a day for friends and faith, but it’s also a day
to get closer to your own faith. Jesus comes into your life in many different ways, all you have to do is get on
the roller coaster, and buckle in for the ride.
St. Thomas More Youth Group
Hauppauge, New York
When I tell people that Jesus is in everything they do and everyone they meet, most times
they have a hard time believing me. Some people say, “Jesus in is mass,” or “Jesus is in
prayer,” or other statements such as these, and these statements are very true. But what
some people don’t realize is that Jesus is also in laughter, tears, and music. Salesian Family
Day at Six Flags Great Adventure is one of the most joyous and Salesian activities of the year.
Left: Holy Rosary, Port Chester, arrives at the park.
Center: Fr. Tom Dunne during the Homily.
Right: Allison and Joe from St. Thomas More receive
their Dominic Savio and Laura Vicuna Awards
“their spiritual nourishment, there was a pep rally to pump
up the crowd and get them moving. After lots of
shouting, cheering, screaming, and phenomenal dancing,
the groups were given a challenge by Super Girl via
monitor. Their job for the day was to find the kidnapped
“Carmen Santiago,” (who somewhat resembled Carmen Sandiego) and along the way, take pictures of rides,
people, Father Abe, Bugs Bunny, Super Man and many others. The winners of this scavenger hunt would not
only win a prize-- but be the first group ever to win this event. There was a lot on the line. The question on
everyone's mind was which group would win? Would it be one of the biggest groups, like D.C. or St.
Anthony's? Or perhaps a smaller group, like Corpus Christi from Port Chester or Our Lady of the Valley?
Everyone left the room excited, then sprinted to the best ride in all of Six Flags: Lunch. After feeding their
bodies, the participants dashed to their favorite rides, with true Salesian fire. There may have been rain
throughout the day--but the park never closed—and it meant shorter lines for us! Even in the midst of the rain,
the fire in everyone's heart could not be put out.
It was actually during the rain that the best moment in my entire Six Flags experience occurred. I was gathered
with 16 other Salesian youth in line for bumper cars. We were singing at the top of our lungs and talking to
anyone and everyone around us. When we finally got to the ride, there was an energy like no other. People
stopped and just watched this giant group of teens fill up every single bumper car and totally steal the show.
There was signing, shouting and more importantly love throughout the ride. When the ride was over, everyone
who had been waiting in line or had stopped to video tape us had a huge smile on their face. They were filled
with the joy that only the Salesian family brings. If you ask anyone else who was on that ride, they will tell you
that it was the best part of the day.
The day drew to a close and the victory of the scavenger hunt belonged to Brooklyn's Bensonhurst Cluster of
Youth Ministry. They may not have won a trophy, but their stomachs full of candy were good enough. As the
last group finished to leave, a huge down-pour of rain came out of the sky. It was a blessed day filled with fun
and love from everyone who attended. There's nothing quite like a day with over 400 Salesians!
Joe “Brooklyn” Hadzovic
Bensonhurst YM Cluster
Brooklyn, New York
Salesian Family Day at Six Flags Great Adventure is easily one of my favorite days out of the
entire year. Imagine that you and 100 of your friends go to the movies and buy out the
entire theater for one show. That's what that day is like for me. It’s me and my Salesians
friends taking over Six Flags with the spirit of Don Bosco.
The day started with mass said by the Provincial Father Tom Dunne, SDB. After everyone had
Left: Joe and Kelly animate the Youth Rally
Center: Carmen Santiago receives her “award”
triggering a scavenger hunt to find her in the park
Right: St. Anthony’s in Elizabeth gathers for lunch
Qweekend of YAR, Marian Day was to be celebrated at the
Marian Shrine. Being able to celebrate and participate
with the whole Salesian family was a reminder for me on
why I love the Salesians so much. They demonstrated
their true devotion to the Blessed Mother, with the
crowning of the Mary statue, even in the rain.
YAR was a wonderful experience, with a message to reunited Salesian past pupils in a loving and spiritual
setting. This year’s YAR theme was, “Will You Stay with Don Bosco?” This theme really embraced the idea of the
true meaning of being a Salesian for life. Throughout this retreat, the participants were encouraged to question
themselves on how each was to continue living in the path of Jesus Christ. How were we being Salesian
disciple, and living as an example for those around us? I personally came to the realization that a way of
remaining in Christ and in Don Bosco was through prayer for the strength to not drift away, but to be an
example of Christian discipleship.
In many ways, YAR was similar to a Leadership Retreat in the sense that throughout the weekend there were
witness talks, time for small group discussions, prayer, Mass, adoration and reconciliation; but what made this
experience different for me, were the talks. This time around, maybe because of where I am in life, I felt that I
was able to relate on a more personal level to the messages portrayed in each talk and discussion setting.
Personal growth is one of many attributes gained in YAR, as well as reassurance that the Salesian Family awaits
your return with open arms and a loving heart.
Karen Salmeron, ‘12
Don Bosco Cristo Rey HS
Takoma Park, Maryland
The Young Adult Retreat was a weekend retreat for young adults, which fittingly brought
together twelve participants, the same weekend of Pentecost. Participants from three major
cities (Chicago, New York and Washington, DC) came together to share themselves with one
another. Throughout the entirety of the retreat, we felt that we were not brought together
by accident, but by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother. For on the same
\This retreat, however, was different than any other retreat
I have been on. Fittingly, there were only 12 young
people on the retreat, one for every disciple. I have been
on retreats in the past with 50 or 60 kids, so this was a
great change of pace. It was relaxed and beautiful, giving
us the chance to be intimate with God, as well as to meet other young people from around the province.
Attending the retreat were alumni of Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Washington D.C. as well as our
friends from the local Stony Point area and from Chicago. Even though we come from different backgrounds
and geographic areas, we came together in Christ as sons and daughters of Don Bosco. We were led by
Salesian Domestic Volunteers Niko Valladares and Rachael Pineiro, as well as Salesian cooperator Nick
Magrogan and of course-- Father Abraham Feliciano.
As usual, it takes time for young people to get acquainted, but we were given activities to break the ice. For
example, we played hot potato with a tissue box; when it landed on one of us, we were assigned a funny thing
to do. For example, I had to do three pushups every time the box passed me. On the second day we were
together, we put on a skit describing young Johnny Bosco’s dream at 9 years old, then attended mass for the
Marian Day celebration. One of the most touching parts of the day was marching to the massive statue of
Mary as we said the rosary, then watching as Niko and Rachael crowned our beautiful mother with a little help
from a fire truck extension ladder. The Lord even put His blessing on the day with rain sprinkled from Heaven.
That night, however, is the part of the retreat that stands out for me. We attended adoration of the Blessed
Sacrament, and as always, Christ Himself touched everyone in different ways. Some people (like myself) were
brought to tears. At this time, we also had the opportunity to attend Reconciliation and get right with God. In
that moment, I could see God working in the hearts of everyone in attendance. As I glanced at the Blessed
Sacrament, it appeared so bright to me that I had to look away -- as I realized that I was looking at the physical
form of our Savior Jesus Christ. It was absolutely beautiful.
The next day, our retreat came to an end—but nobody wanted to leave. In just two days, we went from
strangers to family. God worked and made us disciples in just two days. The Lord never ceases to amaze me. A
friend of mine from Washington D.C. was with her friends and she said something that struck me. She spoke to
Father Abraham and said, “Father, can we live here?” I just thought that line was so beautiful because in two
days, we went from venturing out with strangers to crying that we had to leave. But in order to do God’s work
as disciples, we had to leave. During the final mass, Father Abraham said, “Is the world ready for us?” The
answer was probably not. Than he asked, “Are we ready for the world?” My answer to this is -- with the help of
Don Bosco, the guidance of Mary Help of Christians, and the power of God -- there is no doubt that we are.
Nick Mongelli, ‘11
Salesian High School
New Rochelle, New York
I attended the 2013 Young Adult Retreat at the Marian Shrine in Stony Point, New York. I am
an alumnus of Salesian High School in New Rochelle, New York -- class of 2011. I am a
veteran of Salesian retreats, as I attended the March Leadership Retreat in 2010, and then
came back as a member of the Young Team on the October Leadership Retreat that same
year. As if the great affection and devotion with which he had
carefully chosen them for her wasn’t enough, he
presented them to me or review and implicit approval. I
could not help but marvel at his sincerity and eagerness.
That May afternoon, his greatest desire was to make his
mother happy, and to express to her just how much her son loves her. He was (and still is to this very day),
grateful for the gift of his mother and the role that she has played and continues to play in his life.
The month of May annually provides each of us with the opportunity to make our earthly mothers happy and
to express our love for them in a special way through our celebration of Mother’s Day. But it also affords us
the opportunity to celebrate and honor someone else, our Heavenly Mother, Mary. Traditionally, the month of
May has been designated by the Church as the month of Mary, and it is more than mere happenstance that
Our Lady’s month coincides with the annual celebration of Mother’s Day (which is celebrated in numerous
countries worldwide on different days throughout the month May). However, the question arises: do we
realize the great gift that Mary is to the Church, the Salesian Family, and to each of as disciples of the Lord
Jesus? Do we really cherish the mother of Jesus as the mother of us all?
The singular role that Mary played in the life of Jesus is indisputable. The Gospel of Luke provides us with most
of the information that we know about her and best describes who she was in the life of Jesus:
“’Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a
son, and you shall name him Jesus.’ . . . Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me
according to your word.’” (Luke 1:30-31, 38)
Though the Angel Gabriel announced that Mary would be the mother of Jesus, she was not only Jesus’ mother.
She was his first disciple, the first to believe and follow him, and the only one who was truly with him from
beginning to end, from the moment of the Annunciation to the moment of the Crucifixion. She showed all of
humanity how to make Jesus really the center of our lives.
And yet, Mary is much more than an extraordinary role model or the quintessential example of discipleship for
us to emulate. While the Gospel of Luke tells us the most about Mary, it is the Gospel of John that best
explains Mary’s role in the life of the Church, and who she is to each of Jesus’ disciples:
“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your
son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”
While on the cross, Jesus entrusted his mother to the disciple whom he loved most, John. But, in that moment,
John was also representative of all of Jesus’ disciples past, present and future. In giving, Mary to John, Jesus
was giving her to all of us. Mary is not only the mother of Jesus, she is also our mother, the mother of each
and every one of us.As she was for Jesus, she also has been and always will be there for each of us from the
very beginning of our earthly lives to the very end. She has taken each of us into her loving heart, and asks us
to open the door of our hearts to her so that she might fill them with the love of her son. And, this is by the
very will of Jesus himself who gave her to us while he was on the cross.
Fr. Abraham Feliciano, SDB
Province Delegate for
One of the simplest, and yet sublime memories of some of my former students dates back
to the first of my five years at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in the Archdiocese of
Washington. There was a young man, who was then a 9th grader waiting for his mother in
the parking lot after school. He was extremely excited because it was his mother’s birthday
and he couldn’t wait to give her the card, balloons, and flowers that he had bought for her.
(continued on next page)What is more is that as Salesian Family, Mary has a preeminent place in our unique history and lives. In 1824,
Jesus once again gave his mother to another John, a then nine-year old boy named John Bosco as mother,
teacher, protector and guide:
"[Jesus] ‘I will give you a teacher. Under her guidance you can become wise. Without her, all wisdom is
foolishness.’ [John Bosco] ‘But who are you that speaks so?’ [Jesus] ‘I am the son of the woman whom your mother
has taught you to greet three times a day.’” (Memoirs of the Oratory of St. Francis De Sales by Saint John Bosco)
Indeed, and as we already know, Mary would be St. John Bosco’s guide from that moment on, and her role as
his mother would only increase with the passage of time. Upon the death of his beloved earthly mother,
Margaret Occhiena, who spent the last years of her life working beside Don Bosco in the first Oratory, Don
Bosco entrusted himself and his boys completely to the maternal care of Mary:
“Most Compassionate Virgin, my sons and I are without a mother! Please be our mother from now on.” (The
Biographical Memoirs of Saint John Bosco- Volume V, p. 374)
Without fail, Mary has cared for the Salesian Family from its very beginning to our present day. She has taken
a direct and personal interest in each of us, loving us, watching over us, and nurturing us, just as she did her
son Jesus, John the beloved disciple, and St. John Bosco. In his circular letter on Mary as the mother and
teacher of Don Bosco, Our Rector Major, Fr. Pascual Chavez comments on Don Bosco’s dream at the age of
nine telling us:
She is this "lady of stately appearance ...wearing a mantle that sparkled all over as though covered with bright
stars". She explains the vision and indicates the mission which God is entrusting to him: "This is the field of your
work. Make yourself humble, strong and energetic; and what you will see happening to these animals in a
moment is what you must do for my children".
This last expression is extremely significant: receiving his orders from Mary, little John identifies her as the Mother
of the young who are poor, abandoned and in danger; those who at the end of the dream are transformed from
wild animals into gentle lambs, "which were all jumping and bleating as if to welcome that man and lady.”
(Letter of the Rector Major - AGC 414)
All of us who are members of the Salesian Family are the very “field of work” that Mary indicated to little John
Bosco. We are the young, ‘poor’, ‘abandoned’ and ‘in danger’ (materially and/or spiritually) who are being
transformed everyday into those gentle lambs. Mary is our mother, and we are her children. What gift shall
we give to her? How eager are we to bring her joy? In what way can we let her know that we love her? More
than cards, balloons, or flowers, the only gift that Mary requests of us is that we express our love and gratitude
to her by loving and following her son, Jesus. She wants us to live well the life that he won for us with the
Cross and his Resurrection, and she desires that not a single one of us be lost. As we bring to a close this
month of Mary, and prepare for the months of summer, let us renew our love and devotion to Our Blessed
Mother, and through her, our commitment to and love for her son, Jesus. By doing so, we will show genuine
appreciation for her role in our lives and give her the best present she could ask for, making her
The Salesian "Good Night" is a tradition begun by St. John Bosco's mother, Margaret Occhiena Bosco during her time
assisting her son in the very first Salesian Oratory. Practiced throughout the Salesian World today, the "Good Night" is
a brief thought or message usually shared at the end of the day or at the conclusion of a Salesian gathering. Its
purpose is to not only provide “food for thought”, but also to offer the Salesian Family a focus, a theme, or a point of
reference that assists in discovering the deeper meaning of the day’s activities and events. It is a way to become more
sensitized to God’s action in our daily lives. By Don Bosco's own definition, the Good Night was the "key to good moral
conduct, to the good running of the house, and to success in the work of education".Gospel Roads Summer 2013
Gospel Roads I
(intended for high school students)
New Orleans, LA June 15-22
Washington, DC July 6-13
Tampa, FL July 6-13
Toronto, ON * July 20-27
Stony Point, NY August 4-10
Gospel Roads II
(intended for youth & young adults, 18 and over)
Port Chester, NY June 22-29
Limited space remains for some of this summer’s retreats.
If you are interested in joining us for Gospel Roads, please contact
the Office of Youth Ministry as soon as possible!
For more information about Gospel Roads
please visit us online: www.gospelroads.org
Statues of our Blessed Mother from Around the SDB and FMA Provinces of St. Philip the Apostle
Left to Right: Mary Help of Christians Academy (NJ), Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School (MD),
Marian Shrine (NY), Salesian Formation House (NJ)
Gospel Roads Summer 2013