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Nov - Dec 2011

AFW Ghana Liberia Nigeria Sierra Leone

Celebrations: A number of activities were held to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Salesian Presence in Sierra Leone.  a rally through 5 Radios of Freetown, during 5 consecutive hours speaking of Don Bosco and the situation and rights of children;  a forum for young people, university students, teachers, social workers on The Preventive System and the building of a new Sierra Leone;  press conference with 10 newspapers and 10 radios, including the BBC, other celebrations in Freetown and in Lungi. The climax was on Friday 18th November when we celebrated the Eucharist with the presence of the Archbishop of Freetown Most Rev. Edward Tamba Charles and the Bishop of Makeni, Most Rev. Bp George Minguzzi SX. We were grateful to the first pioneers who brought and inculturated the Salesian Charism in Sierra Leone, to the people of the land who received the Salesians with open hearts and to so many benefactors who helped us to make Don Bosco‟s dream become true. We remembered our deceased confreres Br Philip Avuleteh and Br Bill Regner who with their simplicity, humility and hard work contributed to the establishment of our presence there.

Don Bosco always wanted his Salesians and children to be grateful to the Lord, to others and especially to benefactors. As good children of such great Father, we Salesians, lay collaborators, young people and children met in Freetown and Lungi to express our gratitude and thanksgiving to the Lord for 25 years of Salesian presence in this country of hope. All the activities to mark this very significant moment were not only “celebrative” but above all educational and evangelizing If we have to summarize the work of the salesians in these 25 years we could say that our biggest contribution to the Country and to the Church -apart from inculturating the Salesian Charism- has been EDUCATION AND EVANGELIZATION of children and youth: Lungi has been characterised by EDUCATION with a chain of primary catholic schools from Tintafor to Tagrin; Saint Augustine Junior and Senior Secondary School, St Mary‟s Junior Secondary School. Education is without doubt the key to the social transformation of Sierra Leone. Freetown has been noted for its work for the promotion and protection of street children: today they have a mobile programme (Don Bosco Bus), the residential and family tracing programme, 1


 71 % of children aged 5-14 don‟t go to school because they are working with or without payment. They remain ignorant, illiterate (they are 130 million in the world in the same situation!)  Children begging in the streets of Freetown: 2500 of them still there (100 million in the world!) “If we do not take care of them today, they will worry us tomorrow”, Don Bosco would also tell us today!  Hundreds of girls- minors, teenagers selling their bodies in the night, victims of pedophilia or sex tourism.  Abandoned Children whose parents are divorced or separated... 10,000 in Sierra Leone.

the girls shelter and the 116 hot line, the youth centre, the parish, the oratory. We offer an alternative environment to children that offers them security and at the same time educates them to become responsible in the future, assuming responsibilities today. The most beautiful thing is that we don‟t consider ourselves a simple NGO doing children rights advocacy, NO! Our mission goes beyond offering shelter, food, clothes and education. Our mission is to work for the salvation of children and youth, to bring children to Jesus and Jesus to children not with the force of a cane and fear but with the loving kindness of St Francis de Sales. This work is carried out with professionalism by Salesians and a battalion of lay collaborators. A lot has been done so far but the route ahead is arduous: we should listen to the cry of children and young people as we see some statistics that challenge our creativity and capacity to take initiatives today, because tomorrow can be too late! We Salesians cannot remain indifferent to the cry of Sierra Leonean children. With Don Bosco we have to say: “ I have promised God that I would give of myself to my last breath for my poor boys”, “that you are young is enough to make me love you very much”, “for you I study, for you I work, for you I live, for you I am ready even to give my life”. We have to roll up our sleeves and start to do something today! Don Bosco has come to Sierra Leone to stay. We are not going away. “Don Bosco is for Africa and Africa is for Don Bosco” Don Bosco is for Sierra Leone and Sierra Leone is for Africa! We are the hands of Jesus. We are Don Bosco in Sierra Leone and we continue their “healing ministry” among children and the young. Fr George The first pioneers, as well as the “continuers” who are on the field today have had a beautiful programme of life in those simple pieces of advice given by DB to the first missionaries: “Seek souls, not money, honours and dignities. Take special care of the sick, of the young, of the old and of the poor; you will win the blessing of God and the goodwill of men. Show respect for civil and religious authorities. Shun idleness and disputes, and observe great moderation in eating, drinking and sleeping. Love and reverence other religious orders. Let the world know that you are poor in clothing, food and abode, and you will be rich in the sight of God, and will win the hearts of men. Constantly promote devotion to Mary Help of Christians and to the Blessed Sacrament. Recommend to the boys frequent confession and communion. In time of fatigue and suffering do not forget that 2 reward prepared for us in Heaven” we have a great


“[All Christians] are also called to cooperate with the grace of the Holy Spirit, so that the miracle of Pentecost may spread throughout the continent of Africa� Africae munus 176

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Entrustment, renewal of vows and First Profession: On the 7th September,2011 in the chapel of the Odumase community in a simple but meaningful ceremony, 15 new novices for 2011-2012 were entrusted one by one to their new novice master Fr. Silvio Roggia SDB. The provincial Fr. Jorge SDB who presided over the ceremony addressed the novices and spoke to them about the nature of the Salesian vocation. He remarked that the young are God‟s gift to the Salesian family: they are not merely beneficiaries of our activity; they are our vocation, they are the first and principle targets of our mission. He emphasized that the year of novitiate- unlike any of the other years information- is a very beautiful year where each novice has the opportunity to deepen his motivation and choice for this way of life and to become expert in the life of Don Bosco. Next, Fr Jorge invited each novice to approach their new novice master and by placing his hands in those of the novice master declare his intention to place himself completely under his guidance in a spirit of openness and humility. Each of the new novices was then presented with a copy of the African Bible. In addition, four post-novices namely: Acquaye Anthony, Dike Kenneth, Enu Bernard, John Paul Aneke and Okon Cornelius also renewed their religious vows for a further year during the ceremony. The following day in the parish church of Mary, Help of Christians and on the Nativity of Mary, Our Mother the community rejoiced and welcomed 16 newly professed Salesians to the congregation. During the Eucharistic celebration Fr. Jorge addressed the newly professed and told them “today you will say your first yes to God”. Mary was also faithful to her “yes” till the end. He remarked that faithfulness to God requires consistency to live in accordance with what one believes; to

Sunyani - 8th September 2011 – Shrine of Mary Help of Christian;: Newly Professed: ADOMA Bernard; AKINYELE Raphael Cyril; ANOKYE Anthony; BOADI Isaac; OHUAKANWA Donald; DEREKONG Victor; Eshun Mark; ETIE Kingsley; Gaywhea Edwin; OKOLO Michael; OMATU Daniel; OSHIOBUGIE Gerald; SEsAY Samuel; UDECHUKWU Paschal; UGHONU Bonaventure; UGWU Caius 5


be faithful to the constitutions and charism of the congregation; and to adapt one‟s own life to accept misunderstandings and sufferings and persecutions that are part and parcel of our daily life. This, he highlighted is consistency. Similarly, he added that faithfulness also requires constancy. It is easy to be consistent for a day or two. It is difficult and important to be consistent for one‟s whole life. Likewise, he pointed out that it is easy to be consistent in an hour of enthusiasm; it is difficult however to be in the hour of tribulation. And only consistency that lasts throughout the whole of life can be called faithfulness. He appealed to the newly professed to look to Mary‟s fiat at the annunciation which finds its fullness in the silent fiat that she repeated at the foot of the cross. Immediately after the celebration of the Eucharist there was a reception in the parish hall for the newly professed Salesians. Many of the young people from various oratories provided entertainment, dances and made presentations to the newly professed. Later on that evening an evening, a celebration at the Simon Srugi community was held to mark the occasion whereby parents and friends were in attendance to welcome the newly professed to the congregation. What a beautiful end to end such a special occasion! We wish the newly professed confreres every joy and happiness on the road ahead and assure them of our constant prayers for their intentions.

The new novices being presented to the Parish of Odumase: AGBO Alpheus; CHIBUEZE Nicholas; DUGHAN Peter; FEENEY Sean (IRL); IKE Charles; ILODIGWE Emmanuel; MBAYO Edison; NWANWA Donald; OBALLAH Solomon; ODENUSI Joel; OGUOCHA Justin; OKAFOR Cosmas; PESSIMA John; PILAKU Joshua; RICHARDS Julius; UWORA Moses.

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Br Papi first arrived in Africa as a missionary at the age of 75 years and worked there with great enthusiasm of so many years, helping to establish the workshop in Ondo. His passing away on the 3rd September 2011 at the age of 99 was indeed felt far and wide. Here we bring some of the letters of condolences sent by people who lived and worked with him and knew him well.

Dearest Fr Stefano, Fr Albino and confreres of Vigliano (Italy) When I received the news of Papi‟s sad departure, many memories, emotions came welling up. However it is gratitude that will remain as the main sentiment , not only my own, but that of all Salesian West Africa. The news of Papi‟s death came like one of those tropical rain and down-falls; when it arrives it prevails on everything else - sounds, colours, activities… everything stands still before the „fortissimo‟, the power of such a symphony of nature. Brother Papi, had a limited vocabulary of twenty-one words, as he himself jokingly liked to describe his level of the English language. Yet he had the remarkable capacity to communicate don Bosco to the young people, much more than they would have learnt if they had read volumes. This ability to communicate the Salesian spirit has been one of his greatest gifts to our Vice-province, which he offered to the first generations of Salesians in West Africa, whose first basic steps in their vocational journey were in Ondo Formation House. As Novice Master, I often used to invite him to narrate his life story to the Novices: the energy with which he was able to communicate through his gestures and facial

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expressions was much more eloquent than any possible word could have done. Whoever met Papi could clearly understand what it means to have a boundless love for don Bosco and to want the good of young people, whatever the cost maybe. He was able to express this love for Don Bosco and for the young in such a vital and down-to-earth manner, through his tireless work and the high professional standard that he demanded of himself and of others, always shaped by the Preventive system from beginning to end.

I'm still shocked when I saw Papi lying in his bed already passed away. It seemed he was still sleeping: just a small drop of blood on his lips. The previous evening, during the supper, he talked more than usual and he asked to be invited to Torino for the fifty anniversary of the oratory. Nobody was prepared even if many times we were joking about his departure, but we did not expect it before he completed his full century! Immediately we prepared the room downstairs: I went for flowers and a frame to be put in front of the coffin, with the picture he had chosen long time before (when he was greeting the Pope at Le Combes, two years ago). Then I myself had to call for medical emergency. I had, for the third time, a very painful attack on my chest. I was taken to the hospital and I received a lot of treatments. The doctors did not allow me to go home when pain seemed to go down and I left the hospital friday 9 of September. So I could not attend Bro Papi burial. But I heard it was really solemn with a lot of confreres, friends and past pupils. Fr Vincenzo Marrone was present too with the two AFW students: John and Damian. The community miss him a lot. Until the last moment he was walking with the aid of his "girello" (called at time "maserati" and at time "ferrari") to meet people in the offices or in the kitchen, always greeting them in a special way. Always present, in the chapel and in the refectory, always ready to point to the void seat asking if any one is absent. He was and remains for us all the "fuori serie". May he rest in peace. Let us be united in the daily rosary. Fr Albino Sossa 8

Papi has been a patriarch-prophet figure for the beginnings of the Salesian presence in Nigeria which was not easy and was often marked by uncertainties and hard difficulties; through his heroic dedication and commitment Papi wrote pages of history of salvation. Papi was able to mobilise hundreds of past pupils and friends of don Bosco in Italy and solve with great ingenuity many technical problems while he was developing the centre in Ondo. It is through his courage that our technical school came into being and acquired a standard that continues to be taken as model in the Country. So many young people found a job thanks to the training they received, which was „professionalâ€&#x; and of high standard not only in the technical line. with his worn out overall and always in the midst of the youth, Br Papi was able to set a high standard of moral and Christian commitment through his exemplary life style. I remember a question that once a novice asked him when he was celebrating his 90th birthday. Papi had narrated to the novices his long adventure with don Bosco and with the youth, from his very first encounter in Rimini (his native town) with Fr Cojazzi who captivated him with his guitar playing in the town square (in the twenties! Definitely unusual for a priest in those days‌), to the aspirantate in Avigliana, the novitiate with the first profession in


Kindly accept my message of condolence for the passing away of our dear 'Papi' I think he was fundamentally instrumental for the understanding of the Salesian lay consecration especially during his years at Ondo. He was a personal friend to me and called me sometimes, when he took ill in Ondo to his bedside for prayers and some intimate chats. I will always remember him as someone who was a 'bridge', linking us (the new generation of Salesians) with the past by means of his talks and sharing about 'essentials of our congregation' and what it meant to be 'Salesian'. The last time we met was in summer of 2007 in Valdocco after I received the missionary cross for Sudan. He made it a, point of duty to be there and gave me a very 'strong' hand shake (some people may have had that taste of Papi's strong hand shake) He collapsed at table during lunch that day and, since we were at the same table, we rushed him to a little rest room untill the medical services arrived. He survived that and God gave him another 4 years before his home call. So many deep mysteries to think about these days! As the scriptures says: Who can understand the mind of God or discern his ways? … the one with a pure heart. May his soul rest in peace. God bless. Cyril

the hands of Blessed Philip Rinaldi, the hard time during the second world war in Rebaudengo, the starting of the school from scratch at Vercelli, where Fr Ricaldone had sent him immediately after the war, the founding of other schools in Muzzano and Vigliano… till the day he arrived in Ondo, for the first time at the venerable age of 75. After listening to the account of such a wide and long experience of life a novice asked Bro Papi: “Brother, Facing so many different situations in so different times and places… What kept your life together? What has helped you to find meaning and keep focused during all these years? What helped you to move forward in Italy and now in Nigeria?”. I remember exactly his immediate reaction. He did not allow me to finish the translation of the question; His reply came like a cannon ball: I GIOVANI! (Young People) There was no need of translation. There was a pregnant silence as everyone stood still for a while astounded by the power of the truth in his answer. Ninety years of his life carved out and all spent for YOUNG PEOPLE entirely, without conditions, right to the very end. All those different youth, so diverse in their generations, in their way of dressing, thinking, speaking, in Turin Rebaudengo before the war, in Vercelli after the war, in Ondo, in Vigliano: those 'youth' have been his permanent guiding star from the beginning right to end, wherever he was. Papi has been for all of them always so special, without any titles that came between them and his heart; he had given all and only for their good! Silvio Roggia

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Br Pappi’s last Christmas with his community in Vigliano who took great care of him in his last years. In the photo there is also Fr Albino Sossa and Br John Patrucco.

Fr FRANCO BURZIO Fr Franco born at Poirino (around Turin) on 29 May 1952 from a very sound Christian family with seven children. After his basic studies he entered the Salesian Novitiate in Pinerolo in 1969. While continuing his theological studies he attended the University of Turin and was graduated in Pedagogy in 1979. The following year he was ordained priest. He spent years of service as teacher and coordinator of the youth ministry in various communities of the his Province. In 1991 he made himself available for the "Africa Project" and was sent to the Salesian Community of Akure in charge of the Oratorio-Youth Centre. There his presence left wonderful memories, and many youth and parishioners still remember him vividly for his characteristic personal approach of persons and issues. Due to some health problems he went back in 1994 for more than a year before returning to become parish priest and in charge of the Oratorio-Youth Centre in Ondo town. There he enthusiastically dedicated himself to the pastoral activities by tackling the issues with determination and firmness. He also renovated the inner part of the church, since he was gifted of aesthetic skills and a sense of entrepreneurship. Two years later he returned back to Italy. There he served as parish priest of Castelnuovo Don Bosco, the very parish in which Don Bosco grew, before moving to Turin. There he spent of his energies, as a good shepherd with lot of initiatives for the benefit of the youth and parishioners. Unfortunately a disease gradually took power upon his strong physic: it was not easy for him at the beginning. Towards the end he himself was encouraging the visitors saying that he received the best gift from God: the peace in his heart. He died in Castelnuovo Don Bosco on 19 March 2011 at the age of 58, after 40 years of religious profession and 30 of priesthood.

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The importance of young Salesians in the Salesian Mission is never to be underestimated. As Article 46 of the constitutions which speaks about young Salesians, re-echoing this: Their contributions to the mission, is so important that we are told that “….they are closer to the rising generation; they can provide inspiration and enthusiasm; they are ready to try new solutions…” C.46. Seeing the importance of this stage of formation, the congregation sets aside annually a meeting for these young Salesians at Practical Training. It is for this reason that AFW vice province brings together once a year, all the practical trainees working in various communities in the viceprovince. This year the annual (PT) gathering brought together 19 young men from all corners of the AFW vice-province Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone for a two day meeting (4th-6th November,2011) in SunyaniGhana. The meeting in Sunyani which was animated by Fr Silvio Roggia, SDB, the Vice-Provincial, was done in an atmosphere of brotherly friendship. During the meeting, we had the opportunity of sharing our experiences and making concrete suggestions on how to make the period of practical training more formative and in general a moment of in-depth growth in our relationship, Salesian spirituality, the

experience of the preventive system and confirmation of our specific identity. This wonderful moment of sharing was followed by the practical trainee annual retreat which took place at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Sunyani. We had the privilege to have as preacher, Fr Hugh Preston, the twin brother of Fr Francis Preston, former provincial and rector of the Salesian theologate in Ratisborn, Jerusalem. Retreat is a moment of withdrawal, a moment to move back from our difficult situations, busy schedules, daily routines, finding a quiet moment in order to allow the “interior Guest to speak so that He can transform our lives”.Fr Hugh, in his introductory talk highlighted the importance of silence and remaining disconnected from our daily activities in order to be connected to the SOURCE. It has been great listening to the wonderful inputs of the preacher, a simple and experienced Salesian and also sharing our vocation stories. These moments have helped us build stronger relationship with Jesus, the Apostles of the Father who calls us to be good shepherds as we work and journey with the young. It has also enabled us to develop strong bonds of affection with one another as we shared and listened creatively to the vocation stories of each confrere. 11

We, the (PTs), are highly indebted to the provincial and the province for giving us the opportunity to retreat from our busy schedules so as to have intimate and quality time with Jesus in a conducive atmosphere.Fr Hugh, during one of his talks, stressed on the fact that “getting to know a person is entering into a mystery. It is only when we have time to spend with a person that we get to know him/her better”. Certainly, these days, for us (PTs), have been moments of spending time with Jesus, listening to Him in the silence of our hearts and getting to know Him better. It is however important to note that at the meeting 2 young confreres who are members of the vice-province, could not be present, since they are on the missions at the Sudan Delegation. They are Odior Anthony and Okoh Isaac. We thank them for their missionary generosity and pray God to bless all their efforts for His greater glory and honour. We would also like to express our gratitude to Fr Hugh Preston, who out of generosity, accepted to come to Africa to preach this retreat. The (PTs) and other confreres would agree with me that it was a unique and wonderful experience. We are also grateful to Fr Chris Nizniak, the retreat moderator for helping us remain focused during the retreat. We can‟t but also thank Silvio, the Novitiate community and St. John Bosco community for their hospitality. Personally, I would like to thank all the (PTs) for their composure during the retreat, they were simply great. Maximus Okoro & Chikezie Ekugbah


The secret of Don Bosco’s success was his educational system which he liked to call the preventive system. Education is a matter of the heart he used to say. Here in an interview with one of the Practical Trainees, S Kenneth Nnadi responds to a question put to him.

“YOU HAVE JUST BEGUN YOUR EXPERIENCE OF PRACTICAL TRAINING, FULL TIME WITH THE YOUTH, HOW DO YOU SEE THE PREVENTIVE SYSTEM AT WORK?” The Preventive System (PS) as handed on to us by Don Bosco is a true gift from God for the salvation of many young people. As we know, beyond its being pedagogy of education is the fact that it is spirituality- a way of life- that is readily welcomed and appreciated by young people of every race and background.

Secondly, I have come to realize that it is in the field of work that is, living in the community of the young people, that one meets his weaknesses and incapacities as regards loving unconditionally which is the hallmark of the PS.I have seen that there is a big gap between “theoria” and “praxis”. It is very easy to read, study and assimilate the PS but it is far more demanding to practice and live it. My experience has been one of daily struggle for faithfulness. In all humility I am

From my experience, it has become very obvious for me that the PS is capable of changing the most hardened heart, though this is not achieved without paying a price. I have realized that when I am able to love even when it hurts, that is, as St Paul says, that love bears, endures, hopes….all things….(cf.1cor 13:7), then I am able to win the hearts of the boys even the most hardened one. This is the most beautiful thing I have seen in the PS.

From my experience, it has become very obvious for me that the Preventive System is capable of changing the most hardened heart, though this is not achieved without paying a price.

However, with my experience of working „full time‟ with the boys I have experienced difficulties and challenges with the PS. First among them is the struggle to keep the balance between firmness and kindness. In a school setting, like where I work, there is a need to put place disciplinary measures that offer the boys an opportunity to grow in value and in their formation experience. At the same time, this has to be done in the spirit of the PS such that love and kindness become the ultimate motivation and guide to discipline and punishment. It has not been easy for me in trying to strike a balance between the two – firmness and kindness.

learning and growing day by day from my mistakes. Sincerely, it takes the grace of God to give oneself as the PS demands active presence, assistance, love, punctuality, kindness and being available for the boys always. Another difficulty I have faced is the variance in interpreting the PS among older confreres to whom I look up to as models and guides. Regarding this challenge, I am still reflecting on who has the authority of interpreting the PS. However, I am already convinced that only Don Bosco himself is the master of Preventive System. Kenneth C. Nnadi. 12


Indeed formation is the key for a good foundation in Religious life. Here Joseph, also a practical trainee, shares with us some reflections on his experience of accompanying the pre-novices in their formation as well as some news from the pre-novitiate.

The strength of every building depends on the foundation of the building, thus the Holy Bible says “once the foundation is destroyed, what can the just do.” And “If the Lord does not build the house in vain do the builders labour” With this in mind, I want to express my gratitude to all my formators who laid a strong foundation for me especially in the Aspirantate and the Novitiate programme. As a Practical Trainee working in the Pre-novitiate Formation House, I want to make it clear that it is the best experience I have ever had since I joined the Salesian congregation. Assisting in the pre-novitiate has really helped me to be more faithful to my Salesian life since the pre-novices hold me as their role model.  It helps me to be more creative in carrying out my activities with the pre-novices. Any event for them must be educative, formative and must be spiritual in nature.  My major joy is that as I am assisting the pre-novices, they are also helping me to be more focused on vocation, in other words, we are assisting each other. Working or assisting in the formation house is demanding and exhausting in nature. The major fatigue is in helping the pre-novices to form a bond (group) instead of acting on individual basis. The reason I think, is because of their different background, country etc. Creating a sense of equality is also a difficult task on its own, since some do see and take themselves better, more important and have greater chance than others. My candid advice to the Novices is that, they should see and take their formator as a father, have a fatherly relationship with him, that is, a relationship based on TRUST and OPENESS. Joseph Oraegbuman

Pre-novices DELES PROGRAMME 2011 This year‟s deles programme started on the 3 rd and ended on the 7th of October, 2011 at the S.M.A formation house Ibadan. It was well attended by the Novices of different congregations. The programme was facilitated by Mr. Joe, Sis. Amaka and Rev. Sr. Mary A. From the first day, the programme dealt with listening skills and the do‟s and don‟t of listening, of how to be a leader and what are the qualities of a good leader. Community building and how to keep the community going was also discussed. Public speaking and some of the difficulties and solutions were discussed. The Psychological dimension of our human nature was also touched via a topic of JOHARIS WINDOW which is a tool that helps in discovering one self and also to know how to work on ourselves especially our state of mind and spirituality. Planning and time management were also discussed. During the week, different activities and events took place some of which were POPO (Participation Observation and Participant Observer), faith sharing and sharing of one‟s story known as river of life. All these were channeled towards building trust, develop leadership skill, listening capacity and the ability to share with one another. The DELES programme has helped the prenovices to know what it means to be a leader. It has also given us an insight on what we should expect in community life which we are about to commit ourselves to, how to discover its problems and how to resolve these without hurting ourselves. This programme gave us an opportunity to meet and share with other like-minded people from other Congregations our vocational journey and discernment. This served as an encouragement to us all. This programme has also helped us on how to identify the practical ways to actualise ones aim and goal. 13


(ANS – Lubumbashi) – From the 17th to the 20th of September 2011, the youth ministry delegates of the Salesian provinces in Africa and Madagascar gathered together for their annual meeting at the Salesian provincial house in Lubumbashi (Congo). Also present for the meeting were Fr. Fabio Attard, the General Councilor for Salesian Youth Ministry. He was ably assisted by Fr. Francois Dufour the representative of the CIVAM and Fr. Dominic Sequeira a member of the youth ministry department in Rome. The first day was spent in studying the theme of “Catechesis in the African context”. It was noticed that the provinces are leaving no stone unturned in order to bring the message of the Gospel to the young by means of regular formation programmes, availability of catechetical materials, inter provincial collaboration, involvement of the Salesian family, effective use of mass media and by working in line with the diocesan programmes. A salient feature of the young in Africa is their deep interest in religion, which should not be seen merely as a social situation but as a unique gift to our catechesis. The entire second day was spent in studying the process of “Rethinking Salesian Youth Ministry” which has been a challenge of GC 26 to the entire congregation. The youth ministry delegates now have an instrument to carry forward this process of rethinking by involving every local community and every Salesian of his province in this process. A clear plan to help the local communities was worked out and it involves many creative ideas like making the study document available to every confrere, making use of the already available meetings at the provincial level and to make the rectors of communities protagonists to carry forward the process of rethinking at the local level.

region. Fr. Miguel Nguema the coordinator of the CIVAM youth ministry delegate presented his reflections on the Consultation on the theme “Returning to DB” that was held in Rome in the month of February 2011. He focused on the idea that a return to DB is synonymous to our dedication in our role as Youth Ministry delegates. A good amount of time was spent on the preparations that the provinces are doing for the forthcoming visit of the Casket of DB which will be going around the continent in the forthcoming months. It was noted with joy that a great amount of interest has already been generated by the provinces by means of publications and advertising materials to make DB known in Africa. When the forthcoming meeting on “Social Communication” to be held for the region came up for discussion, it was evident that we do a lot of activities together as delegates of youth ministry and social communication but it was felt that there is a need for a greater synergy. The website of the region needs urgent attention as it is great tool for coordinating the activities and initiatives of a region that has great distances. The sharing on the World Youth Day left a great feeling of optimism and satisfaction for the way it was organized and for the number of benefits reaped by the provinces and the youth who took part. The delegates are now looking forward to the next meeting that will take place on the theme of “Vocational guidance and Family Ministry” in the month of September 2012.

The last two days were spent studying many events that are fundamental to the

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The meeting for the Youth Ministry Coordinators was held in the Provincial House from 2nd to 4th October 2011. Fr George Crisafulli, the Provincial, in his welcome address pointed out that SYM has done a good journey but that it should be strengthened both at a national and provincial level. He emphasised that Personal accompaniment is essential in our ministry. He pointed out that perhaps Faith formation is one of the weakest point of our ministry. In the coming years we have to focus on evangelization and catechesis and that - Youth ministry should work hand in hand with the vocation animation team. country of the Province; these four representatives together with the Provincial Delegate of Youth ministry will constitute the Youth Ministry Commission of AFW. The following people were selected by the Salesians working in the respective countries: Ghana – Fr Joe Gyamfi Nigeria – Fr Fidelis Agbara The Youth Ministry Liberia – Fr Matthew Udoka Coordinators appointed a Sierra Leone – Fr Sergej representative from each Goman Fr Peter Wojnarowski, the Provincial Youth Delegate presented to the participants the working document on Youth Ministry that has been prepared by the Youth Ministry Department in Rome in order to help us to rethink and renew our ministry.

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The meeting continued by discussing and planning the different aspects and challenges that face us in the Province. Amongst the things discussed was the youth magazine YOUTH.COM, the animation involved for the Don Bosco Casket, the preparation and animation of volunteers amongst other things.


Taize in Tonj I have heard of the popular place called Taize. An ecumenical monastic order in France; composed of 100 brothers with a great devotion to peace and Justice through prayer and meditation. A minute with Taize songs can turn to be an hour and later a day. So it goes unending. It garnishes the mind and heart with the glorious yearning for the eternal Kingdom that was promised by Christ. I must confess, I was hypnotised the first time I listened to a Taize chant. I was actually spellbound by the devotion and credence with which they chanted and sung the psalms. It gives a feeling or puts one in a state of „I want to be there.‟ One cannot but wish to be there to experience the stunning rhythmic atmosphere of prayer and praise. I can still remember in my pre-novitiate and novitiate moments of special prayers where Taize songs were played. As these songs were played, we repeat the words of the songs in our hearts as directed by the then directors. It was always a special moment for me because these songs permeated through my spirit like a spell which I never wished to be cured of.

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Today in the Salesian community in Tonj, we welcomed Brother Luke, a Taize brother from France. He - Brother Luke – is presently residing in Nairobi with other Taize brothers. There they organise prayer services for young people. Brother Luke with the help of the Salesian community organised for us and the young people Taize prayer service. The organist, guitarist and the flutist, composed of two volunteers and our boarding boys were all prepared to give us the natural taste of what could be the reality in Taize itself. Taize songs featured were: Adoramus te Domino; Jesus Remember Me; O Lord hear my prayer; and A local Alleluia song. It was a wonderful and stunning experience for me. However not without the typical restlessness of some and unexpected squeal of the mobile!. Silence can be difficult for the young but once they experience it in a meditative way, they yearn for more. It was Taize in Tonj! Odior Toni


Damien and Gilbert are our two the thologate in Rome. They are coming from 21Countries, with Rector. Here Fr Riccardo gives about his community.

students studying at in all 39 Students Fr Riccardo as the us more information

Dear Friends, On 19th September 2011 our Gerini Community has retaken its formation journey for the new Community and Academic Year 2011-2012. The face of our community every year is automatically renewed by the arrival of new confreres in year one. This year they are 8 (from 7 different Provinces). We have also 2 new faces in the formators team. Moreover we

Africa: 9 from Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Nigeria, Ruanda, Tanzania Asia-Oceania: Timor, Vietnam

12

from

India,

South America: from Bolivia, Brasil, Perù Caribeans: Domingo

4

from

Europe: 8 from Poland, Portugal

Haiti,

Santo

Belgium,

Italy,

Provinces & Vice-Provinces: 23 Africa-Madagascar Region: 5 (AFE AFM AFW AGL ANG) 10 Students South Cone Region: 2 (BMA BRE) 3 Students Interamerica Region: 3 (ANT BOL HAI PER)

7 Students

East Asia – Oceania Region: 2 (TIMOR VIE) 5 Students South Asia Region: 4 (IND ING INH INN) 6 Students North Europe Region: 1 ( PLN) 2 Students West Europe Region: 2 (FRB POR)

2 Students

Italy – Middle East Region: 4 (ICC ICP ILE IME) 4 Students Average age: 30.36 (as at 1st October 2011)

have “old faces”: the Deacons. This is the real new development: up to last year they lived in an “ad hoc” Community in UPS. As from this year they continue the journey at Gerini while attending the IV Year Course for Pastoral Theology at UPS. In short our community has increased in numbers (39 Students and 5 Formators) and in quality (the deacons add spiritual and pastoral quality to the community).

entertain the gathering with the musical interlude. It was the first time we were given such a responsibility. We presented three polyphonic pieces. It took time to prepare and reharse, but it was worthwhile: the success was … beyond expectations!!! It helped also to create a sense of oneness in If you are keen in statistics the community at the very you can see the composition of beginning of the year. the group of our students in the adjacent table. All activities are now in full swing and the year is running We took time for the Annual fast. This year we have the Planning (Genzano, 26-29 Extraordinary Visitation. It will October 2011). In our be conducted by Fr Cereda, planning we look steadily at starting from 12th November two guiding stars: the Homily 2011. of Benedict XVI to the Seminarians in Madrid and the There is a lot of good will and Strenna 2012 of the Rector commitment in everybody and Major. The result was the we look forward to a successful Formation Plan 2011-2012, formation year. We hope to worked out in serene dialogue reach the end of it with a and approved unanimously. deeper knoweledge and a Now all efforts are at its better imitation of Don Bosco implementation in our deily and of Jesus, the Good life! Sheperd. The Lectures at UPS started on We wish you a Happy Feast of 4th October 2011 and the Bl. Artemide Zatti. “Official Inauguration” of the Academic year took place on Fr Riccardo Rome, 12th October. On this 9th November 2011. occasion the Theology Community was invited to

17


community was able to have its first assembly of confreres for the academic year.

The NEWLY PROFESSED SALESIANS arrived in Ibadan on 13th of September. They had some days of orientation and had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the house before the arrival of the second and third year confreres on the 18th. The student confreres quickly entered into the atmosphere of studies. We had a week of seminar from the 19th-23rd of September facilitated by Fr Michael Smyth and Br. Paolo Vascheto. During the course of the same week, the

The official welcoming of the first year confrere took place on Sunday 25th of September. They were welcomed into the community with the traditional initiation ceremony. They were welcomed by the Rector Fr. Vincenzo Marronne after which he presented them with the necessary materials they need to accomplish their mission of searching for wisdom. They were all very happy to be welcomed as members of the community as they expressed their appreciation through a song. The official opening of the academic year was held on Monday 26th September. It all began with the Holy Mass which was presided over by Fr. Vincenzo Marronne. Fr Michael Smyth and two other

Guanelian priests Fr. Nnaemeka and Fr. Basil concelbrated. The programme of events of the inauguration then took place in the hall. During the occasion, Fr Roberto, the Dean of Studies, lighted a candle which signified the opening of the 2011-2012 academic year. Fr Vincenzo gave the opening speech, Fr Roberto gave the report on the school. The inaugural lecture was given by Dr. Modestus Onyeaghalaji. He focused on philosophy and spirituality, highlighting the ways in which philosophy could either interject or complement spirituality. After Mrs Emore, one of the lectures, gave the vote of thanks. All these events marked another beginning in the life of the community of Ibadan. Theophilus Ehioghilen

Utume of London Fr Charles Uzoeto Hello my beloved Confreres of AFW! It may surprise you why I chose this title for my sharing with you. Well, my present community here in Battersea, London reminds me of the Utume of Old in Nairobi, Kenya, where we were basically coming from every corner of the planet earth. It was a unity in diversity. Here in Battersea, we are not exactly as inter-continental as we were in Nairobi but it is not too far from it. Here is a community of 13 confreres: three from India, three from Poland, one from Vietnam, one from Slovakia, one from Nigeria, one from Scotland (The Rector), and the other four from England. One will agree with me that it is really intercontinental. It is only American and Oceanic countries are missing in the list. Our community is really a community of difference, yet quite pleasant to be part of as long as one makes himself present. I thank God for the strong background I got before coming over this place.

In all these, I love the concept of time and order here. Everyone knows the rules and obeys them. Human rights are respected and observed. Everything moves accordingly in terms of infrastructural organization. I thank God who made it possible for me to be here in London at this time after a long and tedious process to obtain a visa to UK. I am here finally doing MA in Biblical Studies. To be frank, it is a tough experience to do MA in Biblical Studies in a year. But I have to take the bull by the horns. It has not been easy but we are moving forward in faith and in Christ. Please, keep me your prayers as I do for you all.

procedures are there to protect both the young as well as those who work with them. All this makes working with the young a challenge. I also render my humble pastoral service on Sundays in our parish (Sacred Heart Parish) and sometimes to the convents on weekly bases. Finally, I was very happy to meet the Rector Major who came for a three-day meeting with the provincials of Europe which ended on 27th of November. After the meeting, we had a wonderful gala night with Rector Major with his Vicar, of cause a prolonged good night from the Rector Major.

Regarding my apostolate, working with the young people here takes on a different tone, for one has to follow clear procedures when interacting with the young. A lot of Now, we are entering to a cold these where set in place because of the problem of child abuse of which winter. Pray for me that I may not frozen! God bless! we are all well aware of. But these be

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Maiden yet a mother, daughter of thy Son, high beyond all other, lowlier is none; thou the consummation planning by God’s decree, when our lost creation nobler rose in thee!

"To Risk" by William Arthur Ward

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool, To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out to another is to risk involvement, To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.

Thus his day prepared, he who all things made ‘mid his creature tarried, in thy bosom laid; there his love he nourished, warmth that gave increase to the root whence flourished our eternal peace. Noon on Sion’s mountain is thy charity; hope its living fountain find, on earth, in thee: lady, such thy power, he, who grace would buy not as of thy dower, without wings would fly. the Divine Comedy - Dante Alighieri translation - Mgr Ronald Knox.

To love is to risk not being loved in return, To live is to risk dying, To hope is to risk despair, To try is to risk failure. But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live. Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom. Only a person who risks is free. 19


Formation: Extract from the Rector Major's Letter 411

INCULTURATE THE CHARISM .....We cannot avoid living, or at least partly living in the digital continent today. As Manuel Castells has sagely said: “One might say, 'Why don't you leave me alone? I want no part of your Internet, of your technological civilization, of your network society. I just want to live my life'. ...If this is your position, I have bad news for you. If you do not care about the networks, the networks will care about you, anyway. For as long as you want to live in this society, at this time and in this place, you will have to deal with the network society.” Instead of being dragged unwillingly into the digital continent, we have a duty to be there effectively and efficiently. Today this means, amongst other things, taking care of meaningful structure, introducing meaningful connections into our documents and data. We can guide search technologies, for example, with documents focused more on semantic structure than how 'pretty' they might need to look, and especially with semantically prepared data. The former task belongs to every Salesian who 'tweets', emails, or writes! The latter, to those who have responsibility for the thousands of Salesian websites around the world. This latter group is no minor cohort of the Congregation! Very few communities, centres, works are without a website. Those responsible, ultimately we hope a Salesian SDB or lay partner, play an increasingly significant role in how the charism is to be understood and inculturated in the digital continent. They can, in fact, determine how 'charism' becomes an important search word today, leading to contexts which we wish to determine rather than leaving it to the search engines to guess, and guess wrongly. P. Chávez

Comment: Don Bosco's 'Pedagogy of Presence' in the Virtual World Realizing this, [that the internet] is a reality today, Don Bosco's "Pedagogy of Presence" is considerably challenged. For Don Bosco, being present amongst the young people, sharing their world and winning their confidence in order to be able to lead them along a path to knowledge, personal enrichment and moral probity, was central to his "Preventive System" of Education. Can what Don Bosco set out to provide for young people be accomplished today by joining in their world of digital networking/communication/togetherness? Obviously, the first step has to be meeting young people in their 'virtual world', and to explore how best to bring the intention of Don Bosco into action. Making contact with young people was Don Bosco's first task and this can certainly be greatly enhanced through the digital networks that young people so frequently use. The challenge at this

level is to be comparable in standard and style of communication and then to develop the content that will both catch the attention of young people, while at the same time being in tune with the message Don Bosco wanted to open up to young people – the knowledge, the personal enrichment, the moral probity that satisfies their deepest needs. Genuine followers (disciples) of Don Bosco (i.e. Salesians in its wide sense) will need to become immersed in this digital world so as to master the language and skills required for being in this world. In order to not simply survive/participate in this new "world" of young people, but also to use all its potential to effectively implement Don Bosco's mission amongst young people, new learning is necessary. The second step will require creative ingenuity in creating ways in which young people will engage with each other in projects of service to those around them who are in need. Don 20

J Papworth SDB

Bosco instilled in the young people around him a deep sense of appreciation and a willingness to be generous in sharing with those around them who need support and accompaniment in choosing and journeying along the "Way of Jesus Christ" – "Love one another as I have loved you." Somehow, Don Bosco was able to win the total commitment of so many young people in his time and he led them to be "good Christians and honest citizens" in a time of political and social turmoil. So there is no doubt that by placing our trust in 'Divine Providence' as Don Bosco did, this same mission can be just as successful in this day and age. It is a matter of creative intuition being applied with complete trust in the Grace of God and a generous measure of personal commitment on the part of modern day 'Salesians'. We must continually ask ourselves: how can Don Bosco's formative enrichment touch the lives of young people today?


Fr George animating one of the meetings of the AFW Volunteers meeting in Provincial House Ashaiman.

A Cultural evening for our AFW Students in Utume - Nairobi

Fr Chuks Akubueze being welcomed back by the novices after finishing his studies in Ups.

Our Prenovices on their way to work on the farm in Ogun State. It was a real Adventure!!!

Economer’s meeting which was held in the Provincial House in Ashaiman. 21


Province Calendar

We wish all our readers a blessed Advent and God’s grace and blessings for Christmas.

PASS IT ON To Friends & Benefactors It is good to forward the Newsletter to Friends and Benefactors, so that they can see the good that is being achieved through their help, especially in Formation. May God reward them for their generosity..

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December 5th Bl Philip Rinaldi 8 Immaculate Conception 15-18 SYM Forum (Ontisha, Nigeria)

2012 January 10-14 Guides for specific formation (Yaoundé, Cameroon) 28 10th Anniversary of DBTI - Ashaiman 31 Don Bosco February 4 Installation Nigeria Delegate – Assembly of confreres (Ibadan, Nigeria) 16-29 Don Bosco Relics in AFW 17 Curatorium Lubumbashi (Lubumbashi, DR Congo) 21-25 TEAM VISIT (Nairobi, Kenya) 26 Mini Provincial Council Meeting (Nairobi, Kenya) 27-28 Utume Curatorium (Kenya)

Nov 11/69 12/75 15/88 16/82 23/73 26/76 27/76 28/90 29/73

Ikeanyibe D Singtuubu E Onuchukwu S Bankole John Uchendu John Paul Morba Peter Udoka Matthew Pilaku Joshua Ekanem James

Dec 02/88 05/81 06/35 14/87 17/36 17/71 19/82 20/87 28/88 29/70 30/73 31/91

Derekong V Agbor D Pellegrini M Chisom D Albasini Vittorio Omoniyi S Turay Paul Nweke E Omatu D Sung-Iribe R Baidu Edmund Richards Julius

AFW Newsletter_Nov-Dec_2011  

The official news organ for the Salesians of West African English speaking countries: Ghana, Liberia, Nigera and Sierra Leone

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