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Appreciating Two Popes
2014 n. 2
Appreciating Two Popes2
Founded by St. John Bosco in 1877,
the Salesian Bulletin is the medium
of communication, animation, and formation
of the Salesian Family around the world,
published in more than 50 editions. Salesian
Bulletin U.S.A. is published quarterly by the
Salesians of Don Bosco of the New Rochelle
and San Francisco provinces.
For free subscriptions and address updates
in Eastern U.S., contact Salesian Bulletin,
P.O. Box 639, New Rochelle, NY
10802-0639 or
In Western U.S., contact Salesian Bulletin,
1100 Franklin St., San Francisco, CA 94109
Copyright 2014 The Salesian Society, Inc.
3 Strenna 2014
Drawing upon Don Bosco’s
Spiritual Experience
6 Appreciating Two Popes
Pope Benedict XVI’s Gifts
to the Church
The Franciscan Revolution
12 Family Life Matters
Kid Pressure Leaves Little Room
to Grow
14 Youth Culture in the ’10s
Contemporary Youth Culture
Challenges Parents, Ministers
17 Salesian Family News
20 Holiness in Don Bosco’s Style
22 Around the Salesian U.S.A.
26 Around the Salesian World
31 Recently Deceased Salesians
Fr. Thomas Dunne, SDB
Fr. Thomas Prendiville, SDB
Fr. Michael Mendl, SDB
Joseph Rodriguez
Sr. Juanita Chavez, FMA
Sr. Denise Sickinger, FMA
Fr. John Itzaina, SDB
Editorial Board
Mary Kate Havranek
Business Manager
Jo Ann Donahue (New Rochelle)
San Francisco Province Development Office
Graphic Designs by Mike Gasparre
Layout & Design
Century Direct Inc., Long Island City, NY
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and
Pope Francis exchange Christmas
greetings with each other
(L’Osservatore Romano)
Cover Art
Volume 95, n. 2 • Spring 2014Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014 3
The word strenna
in Italian means, liter-
ally, “gift.” The Sale-
sian tradition of
offering a strenna as a
spiritual gift for the
new year was begun
in 1849 by Don
Bosco himself, and it
has always taken the
form of a theme or
practice for all the
members of his family
to try to follow in the
year ahead.
For 2014, the
third year of preparation for the
celebration of the bicentennial of
Don Bosco’s birth (1815-2015), the
Rector Major chose a topic that goes
back to the source of the Salesian
charism by drawing on Don Bosco’s
The true “gift,” some would say, is
not the three- or four-line theme but the
commentary on it that Don Bosco’s suc-
cessor publishes on New Year’s Eve for
the entire Salesian Family.
In this year’s commentary on the
strenna, Fr. Chavez invites all members
of the Salesian Family “to draw from the
sources of Don Bosco’s spirituality,
meaning from his educational and pas-
toral charity. Its model is Christ the
Good Shepherd; it finds its prayer and
plan of life in Don Bosco’s motto Da
mihi animas, cetera tolle. Following this
program we discover ‘Don Bosco the
mystic,’ whose spiritual experience is at
the basis of our way of experiencing
Salesian spirituality today in the diver-
sity of vocations which it inspires; and
we too can have a strong experience of
Salesian spirituality….”
Fr. Chavez continues: “Behind
everything, as the source of Don
Bosco’s fruitful activity and his rele-
Strenna 2014
Drawing upon Don Bosco’s Spiritual Experience
So as to Walk in Holiness
Fr. Chavez presenting his commentary on the
2014 Strenna on New Year’s Eve.
Fr. Pascual Chavez’s last annual strenna, or theme, for the year is
“Da mihi animas, cetera tolle.”
Let us draw upon the spiritual experience of Don Bosco,
in order to walk in holiness according to our specific vocation.
“The glory of God and the salvation of souls.”vance to us today, there is something
that we often miss, we his sons and
daughters: his deep interior life, what
we could call his ‘familiarity’ with God.
Who knows, but this may be the best
thing of all that we have from him in
order to love him, call on him, imitate
him, and follow him as we encounter
the Lord Jesus and get young people to
do likewise.”
The point of departure for Don
Bosco’s spirituality was the glory of
God and the sal-
vation of souls;
the profound root
of his interior life
and his apostolic
activity was his
union with God;
the instruments
which realize the
Salesian religious
and apostolic mis-
sion are those
which translate in-
visible values into
visible works; the
point of arrival is
holiness for every-
one, each accord-
ing to his or her
own state in life.
The second
item which the
Rector Major calls
to our attention is
pastoral charity as
the center and syn-
thesis of Salesian
Through his dedi-
cation to the
young, Don Bosco
wanted to commu-
nicate an experience of God to them.
Any spirituality aims at instilling char-
ity in a Christian. Charity is the form
and substance of all virtues, and what
constitutes and builds up the individ-
ual. For Salesians, such charity is
spelled out as pastoral charity—our
contemplation of Jesus the Good
Shepherd encourages us to practice
“Da mihi animas, cetera tolle.”
4 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
Boys at the Salesian work for street children in Hospet, India, lack desks for
their school work, but they have an opportunity to go to school.
Matthew Pirrall
More than 50 infants were baptized at Christmas Mass at the Salesian mission in
Juba, South Sudan.
Patrick SabolThe third item that Fr. Chavez high-
lights is how Salesian spirituality—
while having things in common which
are true for every vocation that draws
inspiration from that spirituality—is
nevertheless experienced in particular
ways according to the specific nature
of each Salesian group and each one’s
state of life: consecrated life, priestly
ministry, lay faithful, family, and young
Salesian youth spirituality consid-
ers daily life as the place where we
encounter God and is rooted in the
proclamation and experience of the
Risen Lord. It is joyful and optimistic.
It educates to friendship and personal
relationship with the Lord Jesus, in
ecclesial communion and with Mary’s
help, and matures as vocational choice
and responsible service.
Salesian Family groups involve
many lay people in their mission and
are called to experience a Salesian lay
Aware, then, that there cannot be
youth ministry without family ministry,
we are now committed to developing a
Salesian spirituality for families.
Finally, the Rector Major offers
some concrete tasks for the Salesian
Family: getting to know Don Bosco’s
spirituality better; practicing pastoral
charity; proposing and communicating
Salesian spirituality according to the
diversity of our vocations; reading cer-
tain texts by Don Bosco that are
sources of Salesian spirituality.
Fr. Chavez concludes: “My first let-
ter as Rector Major bore the title ‘Sale-
sians, be saints!’ It was a letter that I
considered to be programmatic for my
time as Rector Major. I am happy that
my last letter written as successor of
Don Bosco is a heartfelt invitation to
drink deeply of his spirituality. We find
here everything that I would like to live
and propose to you, dear members of
the Salesian Family and young peo-
The complete text of the strenna is
available at http://www.donboscow,
and a video commentary is available at
Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014 5
Sr. Janet Keller with students at Villa Madonna School, Tampa.
FMA Haledon Province6 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
By Michael Mendl, SDB
One of Benedict’s most lasting
services in the papal office may well
turn out to be how he left it, by volun-
tary resignation when he found that he
no longer had the rigorous physical or
mental stamina that the office de-
mands. Talk of papal resignation had
surfaced from time to time in the past,
e.g., when Pope Pius XII considered
what to do if the Nazis were to invade
the Vatican and arrest him, and when
Pope John Paul II’s frailties severely
handicapped him in his last years. But,
as much as they hated him, the Nazis
didn’t try to seize Pius, and John Paul
insisted that “a father cannot resign his
But Benedict did resign, winning
universal praise for his humility in
leaving behind the power and the au-
thority that he’d never wanted in the
first place, for an act of service to the
Church that allowed Peter’s See to be
filled by a man who could govern it
capably, and for an act that frees future
Pontiffs to take the same step if circum-
stances warrant it. On the resignation’s
first anniversary (2/11/14), Catholic
News Service’s Frank Rocca wrote:
“No words or gestures could have
demonstrated more powerfully that the
pope is not a mere figurehead, but
truly the leader of 1.2 billion people
around the world, than Pope Bene-
dict’s admission that a stronger man
was needed to fill the role.”
Another aspect of Benedict’s service
was his teaching. That doesn’t surprise
us; after all, he was a classroom teacher
until Paul VI made him a bishop. From
presenting systematic theology in ways
accessible to university students, he
moved to presenting all forms of theol-
ogy in ways accessible to many listen-
A year ago the Church underwent a startling papal transition. Pope Francis
already seems to be making a profound mark on Catholics around the world,
and on non-Catholics as well. Obviously, it is not possible to assess the final
impact of his Petrine ministry only one year into it, and thus exactly how
profound a transition occurred.
A year after the transition, we review some of Francis’s steps and consider
what impact they may have. A year after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI,
we offer a tentative assessment of what his ministry has meant for the Church.
Pope Benedict XVI’s Gifts to the Church
Appreciating Two Popes Appreciating Two Popes
Jeffrey BrunoSalesian Bulletin Spring 2014 7
ers and readers: in his weekly audi-
ences, in his encyclicals and other offi-
cial writings, in his Jesus of Nazareth
trilogy, etc. Benedict the Teacher tack-
led the great heresy of our day, that of
relativism, which denies that anything
is certain and makes a person’s own
desires the highest good to be sought.
He, instead, insisted on Eternal Truth as
the standard of right and wrong, as the
goal of all human desires. That Truth is
personified in Jesus Christ. For Bene-
dict, the Christian faith is not a set of
doctrinal or moral propositions but the
Person of Jesus. From Jesus and our re-
lationship with him flow the doctrines
and the practices of our faith. Benedict
constantly showed the reasonableness
of Christianity, that faith and reason
both seek Truth and can find it. With
reference to Benedict’s legacy, colum-
nist Ross Douthat wrote in the New
York Times (3/3/13), “yes, the church
believes that its doctrines are compati-
ble with reason, scholarship and sci-
ence.” An editorial in another New
York paper noted that “Benedict made
his most important mark charting a
back-to-basics doctrinal course in an
increasingly secular world” (Daily
News, 3/1/13). Some observers con-
sider Benedict one of the greatest
teaching Popes in the
Church’s 2,000-year
history; Fr. Raymond de
Souza says flat-out in
the National Catholic
Register (2/13/14),
“Benedict was the
greatest papal preacher
since the patristic age.”
Benedict’s third
great service was to
keep the Church on the
path marked out by the Second Vatican
Council. He was the last of the five
Popes who actually participated in the
Council, and as a participant like his
immediate predecessors he was able to
uphold what the Council had said and
done, and to distinguish that from what
others claimed the Council said or did
or what others proposed as the “real
spirit” of the Council. Benedict insisted
Michael Mendl, SDB
Pope Benedict greets young people at World Youth
Day in Madrid in 2011.
Jeffrey Brunoon the continuity between Vatican II
and the centuries of Christian tradition
before it. This continuity is related to
the preceding point, insistence on the
truths of the faith, both doctrinal truths
and moral truths.
Related to Benedict as teacher is
his promotion of the New Evangeliza-
tion initiated by John Paul II. This is the
Church’s response to the de-Christian-
ization of Western culture, especially
in Europe, brought on by neo-pagan-
ism, decades of Communist rule, and
the influx of Muslim immigrants. Bene-
dict called for clear presentation of the
Faith and for fresh missionary efforts to
restore Europe to its Christian heritage
—not forgetting other parts of the
world. This effort is based on establish-
ing a relationship with Jesus Christ and
then, courageously and joyfully, invit-
ing others into that relationship.
A fifth, and underappreciated, ser-
vice of Benedict XVI was his confront-
ing the sexual abuse scandal. Even
before his election as Pope, when he
was prefect of the Congregation of the
Doctrine of the Faith, he had taken
such steps as he could to identify and
remove abusive priests. As Pope he
acted firmly, e.g., removing the notori-
ous Fr. Marcial Maciel from leadership
of the Legionaries of Christ, speeding
up the laicization process for abusers,
and urging national conferences of
bishops to face the issue in the manner
undertaken by the American bishops.
As Pope, Benedict XVI brought his
own distinct persona and style to the
papal office. His ministry was less than
one-third as long as John Paul II’s, but
he has undoubtedly left his mark on the
Church and on the Papacy, and all
Catholics are indebted to him.
By Juanita Chavez, FMA
On March 13, 2013, Cardinal
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of
Buenos Aires, was elected to succeed
retired Pope Benedict XVI. The elec-
tion of a Pope from the New World
was unprecedented, as were the elec-
tion of a member of the Society of
Jesus (the Jesuits) and the new Pon-
tiff’s choice of name: Francis. Surprise
and joy, curiosity and wonder filled
Catholics and non-believers and
everyone in between. What would
this new Pope bring to the Catholic
Pope Francis’s down-to-earth ways,
his genuineness, and his concern for
persons touched a chord in people
The Franciscan Revolution
Jeffrey Bruno
8 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014 9
throughout the world. He wants to be
close to the people, which is why he
chooses to live in the Vatican guest
house rather than in the isolation of the
Apostolic Palace, where Popes have
lived since the 14th century. He is a
man of dialog, mercy, and joyful wit-
ness. Christians and non-Christians
alike have responded to his simplicity,
humility, and message of God’s love
and mercy offered to everyone. They
love the way he combines a plain and
direct style of preaching with gestures
that communicate volumes. His sim-
ple and austere lifestyle makes a state-
ment to the world that he is in soli-
darity with all.
The new Pope quickly identified
himself as the “bishop of Rome” in the
first place, somewhat de-emphasizing
“Pope.” That is said to have prompted
the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch of
Constantinople to attend his inaugura-
tion—the first time that had happened
since the Great Schism of 1054.
It is evident that Pope Francis wants
to recover the Church’s Christian influ-
ence on the world. With the credibility of
the Church very much on his mind, he
soon established a council of eight cardi-
nals to advise him on restructuring the
Roman Curia, and he set up commissions
to oversee Vatican finances and the is-
sues surrounding clerical sexual abuse.
All of these issues have damaged the
Church’s moral voice. The commission
on clerical abuse is to advise him on how
to protect children from pedophile priests
and to counsel victims; it was hailed by
the bishops of the United States as “a
most welcome initiative.”
Pope Francis released a document ti-
tled Evangelii Gaudium, his first apos-
tolic exhortation. It is devoted to the
theme of the New Evangelization in the
Church and can be summarized as fol-
lows: 1) reform of the Church in a mis-
sionary key, 2) the temptations of pastoral
agents, 3) the Church as evangelizer, 4)
the homily and its preparation, 5) the so-
Pope Francis meeting with his council of cardinals. Salesian Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez is third from the left.
L’Osservatore Romano10 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
cial inclusion of the poor, 6) peace and
social dialog, 7) and the spiritual motiva-
tions for missionary action.
The Holy Father himself evangel-
izes in his homilies, which emphasize
the merciful love of God and God’s
personal interest in each one of us.
When people encounter Pope Francis,
they sense the presence of Jesus Christ
and His joy, and so they share an expe-
rience of God’s love. Pope Francis ex-
plained, “God, the source of all peace
and love, has taught us throughout
these years to regard one another as
members of the same family.”
Pope Francis has shown himself to
be friend of the young. In Rio de
Janeiro for World Youth Day in July
2013, he spoke with emotion and
strong conviction to the youths of the
world. They responded with equal
emotion. Although he was addressing
the young, his words resonated with
everyone. All Christians are called to
accept the Holy Father’s challenges.
1) Be disciples with a mission! 2) The
best tool for evangelizing the young
is another young person. 3) Use the
power of the Gospel to break down
evil and violence, selfishness and intol-
erance, so as to build a new world.
4) “Be revolutionaries.... Rebel against
this culture that sees everything as
temporal and ultimately thinks you are
incapable of responsibility, incapable
of true love.” 5) On vocations to the
priesthood and consecrated life: “Do
not be afraid of what God asks of you!
It is worth saying ‘Yes’ to God. In him
we find joy!”
Pope Francis greets an immigrant family during his visit to the Salesian parish of the Sacred Heart in
Rome on Jan. 19.The Pope’s focus is on mercy. The
Franciscan revolution isn’t one of con-
tent but of tone. He believes it’s time
for the Church to lift up its merciful
face to the world, in part because of its
own self-inflicted wounds and in part
because of the harsh and unforgiving
temper of the times. Veteran Vatican
correspondent John L. Allen Jr. says
that this is a Pope who will look for
every chance to express compassion,
steering clear of finger-wagging unless
it’s absolutely necessary.
With the heart of Christ, Pope Fran-
cis is sincerely concerned about the
difficulties faced by the many Chris-
tians who are persecuted for their faith
throughout the world. “Wherever a mi-
nority is persecuted and marginalized
because of their religious beliefs or eth-
nic origins, the good of society as a
whole is placed in danger, and we
must all consider ourselves affected.”
The Holy Father even makes many
phone calls personally rather than
through secretaries or other officials.
He calls not only important persons
but even ordinary people who’ve writ-
ten to him. This gives evidence of his
pastoral attempt to reach out to suffer-
ing humanity. He strives to share the
experience of God’s love. He doesn’t
seek personal renown and success; he
carries out his service for the love of
God and the good of all. He has ex-
pressed his desire to touch everyone’s
life, as from his heart he said, “How I
would like a Church that is poor and
for the poor,” challenging us “to have
an open heart.”
L’Osservatore Romano
Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014 11
Bosco Young People in Action
Is God calling you to
become a Missionary?
Short mission trips available FAMILY LIFE MATTERS
By Mary DeTurris Poust
Olivia, 13, came downstairs one morning
with a bad headache and a fever over 101.
As any parent of a school-aged child knows,
a fever means no school, no question. So I
phoned her in sick and sent her back to bed.
Then I opened my emails for the day and
found a note from the directors of the middle
school play saying that any student who
missed a rehearsal for any reason could be
thrown out of the production. Olivia hadn’t
missed a single rehearsal up until that point,
but I knew I’d better not take any chances. So
I sent off an email explaining the situation and
waited for what I assumed would be an assur-
ance that a fever is a legitimate reason to miss
rehearsal. Wrong.
The message said that while she would not be thrown out of the play en-
tirely, she might very well lose her part if they happened to rehearse that scene
while she was out, which sounds suspiciously like being thrown out of the play.
If at all possible, they wanted her at practice, sick or not.
On top of that, Olivia happened to have competition dance classes that night.
That’s her main “sport” and a commitment that leaves almost no wiggle room for
conflicts or illness. You are allowed three absences or you are out, no matter the
reason, and she was saving up her absences for when she had to perform in the
aforementioned play.
So on a day when she
was too ill to go to science
and math class, she dragged
herself to a two-hour play
practice followed by a two-
hour dance session. Yes, I
questioned my own parenting
decisions on this, wondering
if I should have just said, no,
even if it meant she might
lose out on everything she’d
12 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
Used with permission of Mary DeTurris Poust.
Mary DeTurris Poust is a columnist for
Catholic New York and the author of six
books on Catholic spirituality, including
Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic
Tradition of Spiritual Friendship. Visit her blog
and website at
Mary DeTurris PoustSalesian Bulletin Spring 2014 13
worked so hard for. Then I questioned our society’s “norms,” where teachers and
coaches often push children beyond what their growing bodies can handle, even
when their growing bodies are sick.
Sadly, there’s no easy answer,
because if we pull her out of those
programs, there are more of the
same right behind it, at least if she
wants to be involved in anything at
an even moderately advanced
level. In our local high school, for
example, if you want to play in the
orchestra, you have to commit to
daily orchestra classes in lieu of
any other electives—no art or ma-
rine biology or business. If you
want to try to have it all, you have
to skip lunch and book your elec-
tives in that slot, meaning no down
time, no food, no socializing. We don’t allow that, and when we tell guidance
counselors or other parents that Noah—and now Olivia—must have a lunch
period, we are often greeted by looks that say without so many words: “slacker.”
So Olivia is giving up violin and her chance to be in orchestra rather than
give up the opportunity to try her hand at studio art or some other elective that
might make her a more well-rounded
person, that might expose her to the very
thing she is meant to do in this life. I’m
proud of her for being willing to make that
tough call, but it’s lousy that she has to
make it at all, that at this age there can’t
be a happy medium. There should be
room to explore, room for joy, room for
the kind of idleness and quiet that leads
to self-discovery and creativity. But our
world sees that as unproductive, and,
sadly, too many of us buy into it.
And then we wonder why we live in
a world where most people are stressed
out, unhappy at work and unfulfilled in
everyday life. How can we be truly happy
if we’re never allowed to rest or eat in
peace or heal, if we see ourselves only
as a human doing, not a human being?
ANS14 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
Youth Culture in the ’10s
By Juanita Chavez, FMA
If we were to take the youths of today and place them as an artistic
arrangement on the wall, we would probably be looking at a massive,
indescribable tapestry. It might even appear to be the back side of the
work of art. There would be noticeable hues and designs woven in bla-
tant and modest inequalities.
Today’s youths are fragmented and alienated. They’re exposed to
many situations and incidents to which past generations had little expo-
sure. There’s a visible suffering in regard to their own identity, insecurity,
and fear of the unknown future.
Youngsters are uncertain and confused because society’s value sys-
tem has become unstable
and fluctuating. The media
have contributed to youths’
being more alone and inse-
cure with regard to commu-
nicating with others. Texting
has diminished creativity in
language because peer-to-
peer text messaging focuses
on inflexible verbal limita-
tions with the many symbols
it uses instead of words.
Adolescents are seeking meaning in their lives while at the same time
dealing with the complexities of their own personalities and life experi-
ences. They seek their independence while at the same time often acting
in such a way as to hinder the freedom they pursue. We see our youths
as persons who are struggling with life between two stages. They’re no
longer children, and still they’re not adults. In a sense they’re in a class
all their own. They often lack the guidance and strength to overcome liv-
ing in a world that feeds them illusion; and while caught in the mesh of
deceit, they desire to be set free from the slavery of selfishness and indi-
vidualism. As a result, adults do a poor job in understanding or even
reaching out to them.
Contemporary Youth Culture Challenges Parents, Ministers
Youth Culture in the ’10s
bosela - SXC
ANSSalesian Bulletin Spring 2014 15
In their search to find themselves while being a part of a group, they
exhibit behavior that speaks of indifference, denial, and disapproval for
styles of living that adults are reluctant to accept. They appear to be aloof
from God and religious practice; they avoid ordinary participation in
their faith; often they’re drawn toward bogus religious experiences.
Adults need to go beyond the facades that youngsters erect in order to
touch their lives significantly.
Young people, in fact, are receptive to the supernatural and what lies
beyond this life. They’re open to experiences of prayer; they respond to
the witnessing of peers and adults who live their faith. They’re positively
drawn to a life of authenticity and want to live a life of genuineness.
They also desire to have a safe space of their own where they can be
themselves, where they have some basic structure and activities that they
can engage in with their peers.
Our consumer world and its lack of an essential value system leaves
them victims of materialism and money. The media expose them to so
much advertising that they fall prey to the conviction that pleasure, pos-
sessions, and looks are what are important. They retreat into what is
passing and superficial and indulge in the craze of the now. These in-
clude the cult of the body and the notion that love is just a fleeting expe-
rience or mere gratification. At World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro last
summer, Pope Francis reminded the youths that “possessions, money,
and monetary power can give a momentary thrill, the illusion of being
happy, but they end up possessing us and making us always want to
have more.”
Today’s young people are strong and spirited. They’re perceptive
about human rights, respect for persons, solidarity with the poor, and the16 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
dignity of the person, to name a few important topics. They want to look
at life with hope, to seek communication on a deeper level, and to de-
velop genuine relationships. When trusted adults guide them to aspire to
a high Christian value system, they’re willing to accept a challenge to be-
come the best they can be.
We can take up the challenge of guiding youths, being attentive to
their needs, and helping them to strive to live the dream of a future that
diminishes evil so that every young person can grow and develop into a
strong Christian. We can dare to take the initiative of witnessing to our
faith and so educating them with our example. We can encourage them
to an active and generous partnership of witnessing among their peers.
Educators, parents, and volunteers alike need to embrace the challenge
of shaping values and consciences for good, and forming strong healthy
characters so as to restore the image of God in young men and women.
We live in an age that seeks freedom with violence, fostering disor-
ders. We need to set our Christian values in motion and, like the great
saints who fostered peace and the spirit of freedom, work to promote a
culture of life, of respect, treating everyone with compassion and humble
understanding. Youths need to meet “the living Jesus, in his large family
that is the Church” (Pope Francis to youth, July 2013).
Especially with our youths who are most in need, as Christians we
“must hold the hand of those who have fallen into the darkness and en-
courage them to rise and stand strong with our help. We need to offer the
motivation, encourage them to stand up, and then stretch out our hand to
help.” (Pope Francis, at Rio hospital, 2013)
Pope Francis celebrating Mass at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, July 28, 2013.
ANSSalesian Bulletin Spring 2014 17
By Denise Sickinger, FMA
Twenty-eight groups of the
Salesian Family, including most
of their leadership, took part in
the 32nd Annual Spirituality
Days in Rome, Jan. 16-19. In
addition to the usual attention to
Salesian spirituality, they came
also to thank Fr. Pascual Chavez
for his concern and guidance
during his 12 years of service as
Don Bosco’s successor.
The purpose of this year’s gathering was to help everyone in the Family know
and live Don Bosco’s spirituality better as individuals, as individual groups ac-
cording to each group’s specific vocation and apostolate, and as a united Salesian
Family. All the talks and discussions centered on the theme of the 2014 Strenna,
“Da mihi animas, cetera tolle—the Glory of God and the Salvation of Souls.”
This is exactly what I take away with me from the SFSD: we belong to a
huge, wonderful Family which seeks in so many varied ways to live and work for
the glory of God and the salvation of souls. All the many presenters shared their
thoughts on what it means to belong to Don Bosco’s Family as regards our
unique spirituality and mission and how to grow in that spirituality.
We heard from young adults who grew up in Salesian homes or environ-
ments and who now have committed themselves as Cooperators, members of the
Salesian Youth Movement, and/or members of the Past Pupils Association, carry-
ing out a variety of apostolates among the young and the poor. Consecrated reli-
gious shared their convictions, reflections, and experiences on deepening our
relationship with Christ and then reaching out to others with His pastoral charity.
We listened and pondered as they also spoke of the mission entrusted to Don
Bosco and how we can incarnate it faithfully in today’s world with all its new
possibilities and challenges through social media, through outreach to refugees—
even within our Western world—and through involvement in the socio-political
and economic spheres.
32nd Annual
Salesian Family
Spirituality Days
ANS18 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
We watched and reflected as the SDB postnovices presented the strenna in
the form of a play. We prayed, we ate, we shared, we worked, we celebrated;
i.e., we lived life to the full, as Jesus would have us do, while strengthening our
commitment to and understanding of this great Family and its common spiritual-
ity with an eye to increasing our collaboration for the salvation of souls. Most of
all, we were challenged to grow in our union with God—to become saints!—so
that the zeal for souls, the pastoral charity, that Don Bosco lived can become our
own; become our reason for untiring apostolic work as we encounter God in the
young and in communion with each other and the Church Universal. As Fr.
Chavez put it in his homily at the closing Mass: “Here is our Salesian mission,
dear brothers and sisters: being people who render testimony to Jesus for young
people, especially the poorest from a social and economic point of view; also the
emotionally needy, at risk because they could lose a sense of life’s meaning, lose
hope and their future. We shouldn’t forget that the effort to chase God out of our
lives will never convert the earth into paradise. Indeed, it makes our work more
difficult, our life more fragile, the lives of young people more difficult, and our
entire earth less of a paradise.”
Fr. Chavez’s closing speech highlighted five themes which he stressed during
his two terms as Rector Major. He re-proposed them as goals for the whole Sale-
sian Family as part of their commitment to the salvation of young people: life,
family, education, evangelization, and vocation.
The Rector Major also made an urgent appeal to all the groups of the Family
to work to carry out joint projects in each territory so that each group may feel a
sense of belonging, not just to one unit of the Salesian Family, but to a vast move-
ment inspired by Don Bosco’s spirituality.
This, then, is our call: to bring life, joy, optimism, faith, hope, love, and
meaning to the lives of the young because we, like Don Bosco, have “our feet
firmly planted on the ground while our hearts are fixed in Heaven,” and to share
that spirituality with the young!
The Salesian Family of the U.S. was represented at SFSD by Sr. Denise
Sickinger, FMA, Fr. Thomas Juarez, SDB, and Sr. Suzanne Dauwalter, FMA.
SFSD participants gave
Fr. Pascual Chavez a standing
ovation on the last day of
their meetings, in appreciation
for his 12 years of leadership
of the Salesian Family
ANSSalesian Bulletin Spring 2014 19
80 members of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA) from Miami
took part in a retreat directed by Fr. Raul Quesada at Immaculate Conception
Church in Hialeah. The retreat emphasized generosity with our Lord in one’s
daily life. The Miami unit of ADMA is now 15 years old. (Mari Carmen Acosta)
In December the
Community of the
Mission of Don Bosco
(CMB) elected a new
general council in
Bologna, Italy. The
CMB is a group of the
Salesian Family and is
present in Italy, Mada-
gascar, Burundi, Ar-
gentina, Chile, Haiti,
and Ghana. The new
council is made up of
Guido Pedroni,
guardian general;
Marco Golinelli,
deputy guardian general; Maurizio Roffi, spiritual guardian general; Maria Mad-
dalena Morritti, treasurer general; and Andrea Bongiovanni, secretary general.
They will serve three-year terms. One of their tasks will be preparation for the
Second General Assembly of the CMB in 2016. (ANS)20 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
Holiness in Don Bosco’s Style
Positio of Servant of God Fr. José Vandor Delivered to Vatican
On Jan. 16,
Fr. Pierluigi
Cameroni, pos-
tulator general,
handed in to
the Congrega-
tion for Saints’
Causes the po-
sitio (basic
documentation) on the life, virtues, and reputation for holiness of the Servant of
God Fr. José Vandor, SDB (1909-1979). The positio will be examined by theolo-
gians on behalf of the CSS.
Fr. Vandor was born in Hungary and came to the Salesians hoping to become
a missionary priest. He made his first profession in 1928, was ordained in 1936,
and then was sent to Cuba, where doing good and caring for the salvation of
souls would be his sole concern for over 40 years. His personality, spirituality,
and pastoral creativity made a deep impression in the diocese of Santa Clara,
where Fr. Vandor arrived in 1954 in order to build a trade school and serve as
pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
Fr. Vandor has been compared to St. Francis de Sales for his patient docility,
prudent dedication, and enlightened wisdom in the spiritual direction of souls,
and to St. John Bosco for his apostolic dynamism, love for the poor, spirit of faith,
serene joy, and cordial manners.
Diocesan Inquiry Opened for Fr. Braga’s Cause of Beatification
On Jan. 30 the diocesan investigation into
the life and virtues of the Servant of God Fr.
Charles Braga, SDB (1889-1971), aiming at his
beatification and canonization, was opened at
Pampanga, Philippines. Fr. Braga was a mis-
sionary to China and founder of the Salesian
work in the Philippines.
Charles Braga, from Lombardy in northern
Italy, professed as a Salesian in 1905, was
drafted into the army during World War I, and
after the war was sent to China, where he be-
came a collaborator of St. Louis Versiglia,
bishop of Shiu Chow. In 1930 he became
Salesians, Cuba
Future bishop and martyr Fr. Louis Versiglia
cutting Fr. Braga’s hair in 1920.Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014 21
provincial and significantly boosted the development of the Salesian work in
China. He founded the first Salesian school in Beijing, fulfilling one of Don
Bosco’s dreams (MB 18:71-75). Salesian expansion was interrupted by the Com-
munist takeover of the country. Fr. Braga was sent to the Philippines, where he
started the Salesian presence and in 1958 became the first provincial.
Profound optimism, fatherliness, and happiness were Fr. Braga’s salient fea-
tures. He promoted a wonderful family spirit everywhere he went.
Diocesan Inquiry Opened for Cause of Nino Baglieri
On March 2, seventh anniversary of the death of the Servant of God Antonio
(Nino) Baglieri (1951-2007), Bishop
Antonio Staglianò of Noto opened the
process of inquiry into his life, virtues,
and reputation for holiness in view of
his possible beatification. Mr. Baglieri,
who was crippled in a work accident
in 1968, became a member of the
male secular institute Volunteers with
Don Bosco. He is described as a man
imbued with Don Bosco’s charism
who offered his sufferings for the life of
the Church and the welfare of young
The Miracle of Caterina Lanfranchi Pilenga
During its winter pilgrimage through
Piedmont and Lombardy, the relic of Don
Bosco came to Urgnano, near Bergamo.
This was no ordinary stop in the relic’s itin-
erary. Urgnano was the home of Caterina
Lanfranchi Pilenga, who from 1903 to 1931
suffered a severe form of arthritis and had
gone twice to Lourdes to seek healing, un-
successfully. But she was healed after invok-
ing Don Bosco’s intercession—the final
miracle needed for his canonization in1934.
Pope Pius XI’s decree of canonization
notes: “On May 6, 1931, [Caterina] went to the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in
Turin. With help … she got out of the carriage, went into the church, and sat down to pray
in front of the body of Blessed John Bosco. A little while later, she knelt for about 20 min-
utes. She got up, went to the altar of the Blessed Virgin, and knelt down again. Then, as if
coming back to herself, she became aware that she was cured. From that moment she was
able to walk freely without any assistance, … get in and out of the carriage, and climb the
stairs without difficulty. Her recovery has lasted….”
Nino Baglieri (in wheelchair) in 1998 with
Archbishop Angelo Comastri.
ANS22 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
Alumni Return to Bosco Tech for National Engineers Week
By Karen Krynen
Because of the focus on science
and engineering at Don Bosco Techni-
cal Institute in Rosemead, Calif., Na-
tional Engineers Week is a major event
at the school. On Feb. 12, scientists and
engineers who are DBTI alumni re-
turned to the school to talk to current
students about the many exciting and
diverse professional opportunities that
the engineering field offers.
Representing such companies
as Northrop Grumman, the Jet Propul-
sion Laboratory, and the Fluor Corpora-
tion, alumni made presentations on topics like designing the infrastructure for a power
station and sending instructions to the Mars Rover.
“It was a really interesting event,” said DBTI senior Donovan Gonzales, who plans to
major in mechanical engineering this fall at Purdue or Texas A&M. “Getting professional
information from DBTI alumni who made careers in the engineering fields helps me to see
my reachable goals. They’ve done it, and they’re telling us we can do it, too.”
More than 60% of DBTI graduates pursue science, technology, engineering, or math
majors in their university studies.
Tom Nolan, an operations engineer at Jet Propulsion Lab-
oratory, Instrument and Science Data Systems, addresses
DBTI students on Feb. 12.
Dennis Donovan, SDB
By Michael Mendl, SDB
Under the weight of heavy snow,
one wing of the Don Bosco Youth
Center in Haverstraw-Stony Point,
N.Y., collapsed on Feb. 14. The build-
ing was not in use at the time, and no
one was injured.
The wing was a dormitory for
youth retreats. The Town of Haver-
straw’s building inspector ordered
the rest of the building complex–
Building Collapses at Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014 23
another dorm, a gymnasium, a chapel,
and Reconciliation rooms—closed
until certain safety upgrades are made
in the complex that was built in 1947
to house and educate aspirants to the
Salesian priesthood and was converted
to summer camp and youth ministry
activities after the aspirantate closed.
The New York City metro area
has had five major winter storms
since Jan. 2.
By Taaj Lewis
This Christmas Eve, the
youth ministry program of St.
Dominic Savio Parish in Bell-
flower, Calif., hosted about
15 mothers and their children
from His Nesting Place in Long
Beach. More than 20 youths
participated in games, con-
versations, dinner, and general
Christmas fun with the children
and their mothers. The children
ranged in age from a few months
to 13 years. The service event
was organized by Gabriela Esco-
bar, one of Savio’s youth leaders.
Kids played in jumpers, and mothers played basketball with Savio youth leaders.
Some UCLA alumni volunteers provided a meal. The parish’s youth minister, Juan Car-
los Montenegro, brought all the mothers, children, and Savio youths together for a
touching reflection, followed by responses from some of the mothers, who were almost
brought to tears as they shared what a welcoming environment St. Dominic Savio had
provided. One six-year-old named Raquel described her feelings in one word, “love.”
The day ended with all the children opening gifts brought specifically for them. As
some kids played with their toys and others cried, overwhelmed with joy, the faces of
the Savio youths revealed bliss and thankfulness. They’d sacrificed their Christmas Eve
to be with strangers to share the love that little Raquel felt. It was a small share of a
much greater love: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
A Different Way to Spend Christmas
Amayrani Gonzalez of St. Dominic Savio Church’s youth group
helps a child with a coloring project.
J.C. Montenegro
Don Bosco Youth Center24 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
Salesian Volunteers Serve the Poor in Tijuana
By J.C. Montenegro
Each year the San Fran-
cisco Province sponsors a
volunteer service trip to Ti-
juana during the Christmas
holidays. These experiences
aim to promote missionary
vocations among young Cal-
ifornians and to build rela-
tionships with Salesian youth
centers in Mexico.
This year’s trip brought
18 young men and women
from the Salesian parishes of
St. Dominic Savio in Bell-
flower, Corpus Christi in San
Francisco, and St. Luke in Stockton, to two sites in Tijuana, St. Dominic Savio Oratory and
La Lupita, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 4. They were accompanied by the San Francisco Province’s
mission delegate, Juan Carlos Montenegro, and three young Salesians from Ecuador who
were taking part in an immersion trip to the U.S. to learn English and the culture.
At a shelter for people recently deported from the U.S., which provides food, clothing,
a place to stay, and spiritual support to the deportees, the volunteers helped serve breakfast
to more than 1,200 people, prayed with them, and cleaned tables. In the evening they
helped bring hot chocolate and coffee to hundreds of homeless people living along the
river bed.
Another project was to help set tires at the bottom of a hill as a landslide preventive—
important because every time it rains, the flowing water damages the hill, which leads to
They also spent New Year’s Eve at the shelter with the deportees, sharing experiences
and praying with them about their hopes and dreams.
When the young people returned to California, they resolved not to forget this experi-
ence in which they were able to recognize God in others.
One participant in the ten-day trip, Nhu Nguyen, said of it, “I learned to take the time
to smile every day, to hug and kiss warmly, to challenge my endurance, to see Christ in
everyone, and most important, to open my arms to everyone in need and to love uncondi-
Another, Diana Serrano, wrote: “I feel proud to be able to say that I went on this life-
changing mission trip to Tijuana. I used to let my insecurities define me, which kept me
from doing certain things, but on this trip I stepped out of my comfort zone.”
Readers interested in taking part in such a mission trip may contact
Helping serve at the tables are Eddie Gutierrez (left) from St. Dominic
Savio Church in Bellflower and Alan Zarco from Corpus Christi Church
in San Francisco.
J.C. MontenegroSalesian Bulletin Spring 2014 25
By Claire Wyrsch
The students of Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park, Md.,
were privileged to have Gen. Colin Powell visit on Feb. 10. He challenged the
students to “be the best you can every day, be your own role model and set your
own standards.” He encouraged them to “make a commitment to stay away from
things that are wrong.” He also noted that “education changed the history of my
family” and would do the same for all students who were prepared to work hard
and lead others.
Gen. Powell talked of his early years, growing up in a home with immigrant
parents and surrounded by
many loving but demand-
ing relatives and neighbors.
He stated that a major rea-
son for his success is that
his family raised him to be
self-disciplined and focused
on self-improvement.
Gen. Powell is a former
chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff and secretary of
State and is the founder of
America’s Promise Alliance.
Gen. Colin Powell Challenges, Inspires DBCR Students
Wolfpack Wire
Peter Higgins, a dedi-
cated volunteer at Don
Bosco Cristo Rey High
School in Takoma Park,
Md., brings the science
of biometrics to the
DBCR classroom as he
educates the next gen-
eration of aspiring CSI
agents. Latent finger-
prints connect to the
chemistry curriculum
because they’re made
of water, amino acids, and other chemicals. Students learn how fingerprints
interact with three different types of surfaces—porous, nonporous, or semi-
porous surfaces—and the proper method of collecting, storing, and analyz-
ing evidence. (Claire Wyrsch)26 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime Elected Rector Major
Fr. Timothy Ploch Elected to General Council
The SDBs’ 27th General Chapter elected
Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime as Rector Major,
to succeed Fr. Pascual Chavez Villaneuva,
who had completed two six-year terms and
wasn’t eligible for re-election. Fr. Fernandez
was elected on March 25 after a month of
discernment by the general chapter. Accept-
ing his election, he said, “I abandon myself
to the Lord. We ask Don Bosco and Mary
Help of Christians to accompany us.”
Fr. Fernandez was born Aug. 21, 1960, at
Luanco, Spain; he made his first profession in
1978 and was ordained in 1987. He has a
doctorate in pastoral theology and a licenti-
ate in philosophy and pedagogy.
Originally from the SDB province of Leon, Spain, he served there as director,
youth ministry delegate, provincial councilor, vice provincial, and provincial.
Since January 2010 he has been provincial in Southern Argentina, based in
Buenos Aires, following a major reorganization of the Argentine provinces.
GC27 elected Fr. Timothy Ploch, former provincial
of both U.S. provinces, as the new councilor for the
Interamerica Region. He succeeded Fr. Esteban Ortiz,
who served for 12 years.
Fr. Ploch was born in 1946 in Paterson, N.J., and
entered Don Bosco Juniorate in 1960. He made his first
profession in 1965 and was ordained in 1976. He has
been principal of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J.,
director of the Salesian Center in Columbus, director-
pastor in Port Chester, and provincial in New Rochelle
(1991-1997) and San Francisco (2009-2014). He took part in the 22nd and 24th
general chapters and served on the precapitular commission for GC27.
ANSSalesians Hold 27th General Chapter
Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014 27
The 27th General Chapter of the Salesian Congrega-
tion was held in Rome, March 3-April 12. According to
Salesian Constitutions, “Supreme authority over the whole
Congregation belongs to the general chapter.” GC27 had
220 official participants from all 90 provinces of the
Congregation and from 58 nations. Surprisingly, the most common language at
the chapter was English, the first language or the preferred second language for
74 members.
The chapter elected a new Rector Major and general council (see p. 26),
tackled several juridical questions including the regional structure in Europe, met
with Pope Francis, and studied in depth the chapter’s theme, “Living the Gospel
in a Radical Manner.”
The next issue of the Salesian Bulletin will look more closely at GC27’s work.
Salesian Society
Salesians Caring for 42,000 Refugees in C.A.R.
Since early December, the two SDB
campuses in Bangui, Central African Re-
public, have been crammed with refugees
from the Christian-Muslim violence that
has terrorized the country. The Don Bosco
Center has been hosting 40,000 people,
and St. John’s Parish has 2,000.
One Salesian said: “We’re completely
overwhelmed by the crowd of people who occupied every corner of the play-
ground, the classrooms, and the church. We have to deal with security issues,
water supply, and sanitation, as well as looking after the injured and removing
the dead.” Salesian Missions in New Rochelle (
and Madrid are doing what they can to help with food and medical supplies.
Dramatic Situation in South Sudan
Amid ongoing tribal violence in South
Sudan since mid-December, the SDB mission at
Juba has been one site to which thousands of
people flee for safety. The SDB superior in
South Sudan, Fr. Ferrington, described the situa-
tion in January: “We regularly take in [people
fleeing] the violence. We’re trying, with the pro-
tection of the police, to send some out of the
ANS28 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
Holy Shroud to Be Exhibited in 2015
More Than 200 Syrian Families Depend on Salesians
country, while yet others are being accompanied to the UN compounds. We have
received more than 100 families, mostly women and children. We’re trying to pro-
vide a little food, clean water, and basic medical services. Unfortunately, we’re not
adequately prepared to deal with this crisis.”
Working with Catholic Relief Services from the U.S., Salesian Missions in New
Rochelle ( has been providing food, medicine, and
first aid and hygiene supplies for the refugees.
The Salesian community also visits displaced persons at the U.N. camps to
encourage them and witness to the Church’s closeness to them.
Condensed from Catholic News Service
The Holy Shroud, believed by many Christians to be the linen cloth used to
wrap Jesus’ body for burial, will be put on rare public display, April 19-June 24,
2015, in conjunction with the bicentennial celebration of St. John Bosco’s birth.
These 67 days will be the longest period that the Shroud has ever been shown—
in part to make it easier for Pope Francis to schedule a visit. (A few days after
Francis’s election, Fr. Pascual Chavez invited him to Turin for the feast of Mary
Help of Christians in 2015, and the Pope said he would like to do so.) The theme
for the Shroud’s exhibit will be “The greatest love.” Abp. Cesare Nosiglia of Turin
explained, “The greatest love is God’s love for men and women” as revealed by
the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for the salvation of all humanity.
Millions of people in Syria need urgent help, the
eight SDBs serving in Aleppo, Damascus, and Kafroun
report: “Food, water, medicine, and fuel are the things
most needed. But it is just as important to give hope
and stay close to the people.” The people are stressed
by three years of civil war, and many teens and
children “don’t understand why they have to study
or make an effort if a bomb is likely to fall on them
The SDBs try to stay close to the civilian population
and have witnessed numerous tragedies: deaths, injuries, kidnappings, and homelessness.
They’re helping over 200 families survive each day. “We offer financial support, or we help
them find food. Then there are 60 other people who have taken refuge in our house in
Kafroun practically since the beginning of hostilities.”
According to the U.N. and other international organizations, the war has created more
than two million refugees and left more than 200,000 people in a state of siege, five million
children scarred by violence, ten million people in need of emergency aid, and eight million
without adequate health care.
Salesian Missions, MadridSalesian Bulletin Spring 2014 29
Pope Francis Visits Salesian Parish in Rome
The Rolls of Marega, a Salesian Treasure
Pope Francis visited the SDB parish of
the Sacred Heart in Rome on Jan. 19;
Sacred Heart, across the street from Rome’s
main rail station in the city center, was
founded by Don Bosco.
The Pope was attracted to this parish by
the Salesian community’s missionary and
apostolic zeal, which today is focused on
care for immigrants. The SDBs are assisted
by the Missionaries of the Risen Christ, a congregation of sisters. In a very friendly
encounter, the Holy Father talked about various pastoral themes, showing great in-
terest in the work at Sacred Heart as a missionary outpost reaching out to people on
society’s margins, so dear to Pope Francis and the Salesians.
The two religious communities offer young people faith programs that lead
them to an encounter with Jesus, and at the same time allow them to grow in love
for others through volunteering with homeless people, refugees, and the sick.
In January the Vatican Library and four Japanese historical institutes signed an agree-
ment to translate and catalog the so-called
“Rolls of Marega,” a collection of about
10,000 documents that describe the pres-
ence and the persecution of the Catholic
community in Japan from the 1500s to the
1800s. This archaeological treasure came to
light thanks to an SDB missionary, Fr. Mario
Marega (†1978), facilitated by another SDB
missionary, Fr. Vincent Cimatti (†1965), and
was rediscovered through Cardinal Raffaele
Farina, SDB.
The Rolls of Marega take their name from the Salesian who found them. They origi-
nated in the civic archive of Bungo, Japan, in the prefecture of Oita, where Fr. Marega
ministered for many years. An astute and passionate collector, he gathered about 10,000
documents written on rice paper. They are of great value—the oldest records the arrival of
Christianity in Japan in 1549. Msgr. Cesare Pasini, prefect of the Vatican Library, told
Catholic News Service that they “remind us of the Christian martyrs, along with those who
could not withstand the trials, and constitute extraordinary documentation for the study of
Christianity in Japan. In fact, experts on the subject know of no other collections of this
size and breadth.”
Wikipedia Four Years since the Haitian Earthquake
30 Salesian Bulletin Spring 2014
The Marega documents were rediscovered during the 2007-2010 renovation of the
Vatican Library. “We began studying what kind of documents there were and how many—
at first we didn’t realize how much was there,” said Cardinal Farina, Vatican librarian and
archivist emeritus, in an interview with CNS.
The documents most likely came from Japan to the Vatican Library through the Vener-
able Fr. Vincent Cimatti, first SDB superior in Japan (1935-1945) and prefect apostolic of
Miyazaki. He seems to have spoken about them with Pope Pius XI. Fr. Cimatti wrote in
1938 to Fr. Marega, “The Holy Father … sends you a very special blessing and encourages
you to work really hard in this field of apostolate too, which indirect though it may be, is
no less important and fruitful.”
Jan. 12, 2014, was the fourth anniver-
sary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti.
Since 2010, the Salesians and their partners
have developed an intervention program
designed to go beyond the emergency
phase to the phases of reconstruction and
human development.
Major results of Salesian effo rts include:
• The Little Schools of Fr. Bohnen are
back in operation, offering education
and daily nutritious meals to more than 21,000 children.
• The Timkatec 2 school has added a new wing. This year it had a record 71 graduates,
and enrollments rose from 430 before the earthquake to more than 600 today.
• Timkatec 3 School for girls was opened. It offers training for 186 students and
overnight accommodation for 40.
• The agro-technical school in Cap-Haitien offers classes to 140 students, while
the professional training school has trained an additional 200.
• At Fort-Liberté, more than 170 young men and women have received basic
technical or professional training, and about 160 young women have attended
courses at the School of Nursing.
• New computer labs have been set up in 13 centers for students of the new
Salesian University Network.
• At Immaculate Conception Church in Cité Soleil, young people take courses in
music and dance that help them overcome their trauma after the earthquake.
As Rector Major, Fr. Pascual Chavez emphasized the need for the Salesians in Haiti to
continue the physical and social reconstruction of the country: “Images of the enormous
tragedy that struck this country are still alive in our minds and hearts. The reconstruction
done so far and what is still to be done will not be complete unless it’s accompanied by the
creation of a new culture that helps to ensure that the country will not have to suffer disasters
such as these in the future. It’s not enough just to rebuild the walls.”
ANSSalesian Bulletin Spring 2014 31
Fr. Miguel Gonzalez Garcia, SDB (1927-2014)
Fr. Girard
“Jerry” Bonjean
died of cancer
on March 10 in
Duarte, Calif.
He was 77.
Jerry grew up in the Salesians’ Sts.
Peter & Paul Parish in San Francisco,
which was the center of his family’s
life, and from the parish and Salesian
Boys Club he received all his early ed-
Jerry entered Don Bosco College
Seminary in Newton, N.J., in 1955 and
made his first profession of vows there
in 1957. He studied theology in Italy
and was ordained in 1967. As a priest
he served in Salesian schools, parishes,
and formation assignments up and
down California: Watsonville,
Richmond, Rosemead, Bellflower,
and San Francisco, including terms as
director in several communities. As
director of the formation program for
candidates and prenovices, Fr. Bonjean
was outstanding for his leadership and
kindness. The program relocated several
times, and he always moved with it.
Fr. Girard Bonjean, SDB (1937-2014)
San Francisco Province
By Thomas Prendiville, SDB
Fr. Miguel Gonzalez Garcia, SDB,
founder of the Damas Salesianas, died
in Caracas, Venezuela, on March 14 at
age 86. The Damas are one of the
member groups of the Salesian Family.
Spanish-born Fr. Gonzalez was or-
dained in 1954 with the motto “For
you, O Lord, the honor and the glory;
for me, the work.” Serving in both
Cuba (1954-1961) and Venezuela
(from 1961), he was a bold visionary,
particularly with regard to the inclu-
sion of the laity in social work. Con-
vinced that society’s upper classes
have to work for social justice, he
organized them to work on behalf of
the poor. When he built the National
Shrine of St. John Bosco in Altamira,
he had the basement set up for social
works, and it became the motherhouse
of the Damas Salesianas.
On May 13, 1968, the Association
of Damas Salesianas was formally es-
tablished as a private group of lay-
women to promote total human
development, particularly of women
and young people. The Damas re-
ceived formal ecclesiastical approval
in 1988 and were recognized as mem-
bers of the Salesian Family that same
year. Today they have 127 centers in
the Americas, from California to
Patagonia, as well as in Spain and the
Philippines.Salesian Theme (Strenna) for 2014
Salesian Bulletin U.S.A.
148 Main Street
New Rochelle, NY 10801
Share the blessings of the Lord with His poor.
When you give to the Salesians, you help
poor youngsters and others in need with a
Catholic education, a trade, and social
programs, and you support seminarians.
The legal title of the
Salesians of Don Bosco is
Salesian Society, Inc.
For further details contact your
nearest Salesian school, parish,
youth center, or:
Salesian Provincial Office
148 Main Street
New Rochelle, NY 10801-0639
(914) 636-4225
Salesian Provincial Office
1100 Franklin Street
San Francisco, CA 94109-6814
(415) 441-7144
so as to walk in
holiness according
to our specific
da mihi animas, caetera tolle
The glory of God and
the salvation of souls
of the Rector Major, Fr. Pascual Chavez